Friday, July 13, 2012

Why Adventists Cannot Spiritually Grow

The Old Covenant with its Ten Commandments was a perfect, pure and holy covenant. It was perfect for the new child of God. Its commandments were absolutely what was needed for that time in Salvation history. The Bride of Christ was youthful, being prepared and tutored to one day have a husband. 

Paul often talks of the Church being the Bride of Christ: 

 I betrothed you to Christ to present you as a pure bride to her one husband. II Cor. 11: 2 
He died so that he could give the church to himself like a bride in all her beauty. He died so that the church could be pure and without fault, with no evil or sin or any other wrong thing in it. Eph. 5: 27.

The old covenant law was just what a youthful girl needed and could understand. She should honor her parents, not steal nor kill; she shouldn't be immoral nor covet. But please notice that because she was so young the laws were meant for that timeframe of her life. The laws were negative and self-centered. "Don't do this, don't touch that." The spiritual maturity of the laws were perfect for someone who was not an adult. In the Old Testament book of Tobit, the negative "Whatsoever you do not want to be done to you, do not do to others" is found.

However, this covenant was in place in preparation for a time when the Bride was ripe for marriage.
Before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. Galatians 2: 23-25
[T]he law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives. For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband... Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christso that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for GodRom. 7: 1-5

Now Christ has come and brought in a new covenant. It has a new law that is more spiritually mature than the old covenant because the Bride is now of age for marriage and has been betrothed to the groom. The Christian Church is now in the engagement period of this union, eagerly awaiting our groom to appear and consummate our marriage. 

This new covenant law is perfect and holy for this stage of God's people. Our spiritual maturity is such that we can now take our focus off of the me-centered, negative commandments and focus on the love of others. The law is now about loving God and your neighbor as yourself. It is a covenant of the heart as well as the mind and will. Now, we are able to sacrifice our desires for others and place them ahead of ourselves. This law of love turns the negative law into a positive law as Jesus said, "Whatsoever ye wish that others would do unto you, do ye also to them!" This covenant is centered on love and not commandments. 

The Seventh-day Adventist Church doctrines and last-day prophecies are still Old Testament focused. They are self-centered. Their sole remnant-hood status that focuses all end times prophecies on themselves shows this spiritually immature status. Their inability to unite with other Christians, their scolding of "do not drink coffee and tea, eat meat, dance and wear jewelry" is not only tending towards the negative commandments, but also treats as children the same people Paul said to, "do not let anyone judge what you eat or drink." Adventist doctrines keeps the flock in a position of immaturity rather than allow them to grow into the spiritually mature adults the New Covenant calls us to.

Adventists, think carefully about your church's doctrines. Are they allowing you to spiritually mature? Are they more me-focused and fearful than other's focused and confident? Does your doctrines allow for true faith in Christ knowing He will sustain you and protect you from false shepherds? If SDA doctrines keep you focused on your denomination, if they keep you immature spiritually, then it is time to discover the New Covenant. 

The only real doctrine keeping  you from moving on into spiritual maturity is your misunderstanding of the Sabbath commandment. No Christian is going to mind if you keep Sabbath. They will be thrilled for you. The rest of the Christian world just takes Paul at his word when he says that there are no more sabbaths in the New Covenant. Time to throw off the misunderstandings that obstruct your spiritual maturity. Time to enter the epoch of the Bride awaiting her husband in obedience of faith working through love. 

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision [the Old Covenant law which allowed you to keep the sabbaths] nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.  Gal. 5: 6


Anonymous said...

While you make some strong points, you have missed the key point. God meets people where they are spiritually. You sound as stuck as the Adventists.

I am most confident that any person can grow spiritually regardless of what church or religion the claim. Fortunately, God is bigger than the small minded people who continue to insist that they know who God will or won't save.

Teresa Beem said...

Absolutely we are in total agreement that 1. God meets us where we are...

2. That we cannot judge who God will or will not save.

My point is that AFTER God meets us where we are, we are supposed to grow and mature in that grace. We are not to be stunted Christians. St. Paul tells us we are to move from the milk to the meat and I am wondering if the SDAs doctrines help or harm that growth.

From my observations the end-time prophecies, the sole remnant-hood status, the Investigative Judgement and the inability to recognize the Body of Christ and the New Covenant impede SDA growth.

Many SDAs indeed do grow spiritually, but I would say it is in spite of and not because of those doctrines.

Arik said...

Your'e entire premise is based on one the biggest misconceptions of the Old Covenant and New Covenant, that being that salvation in the Old Covenant came by way of law and in the Christian era salvation came by way of grace. Scripture does not teach this. Notice Hebrews 11-by faith (not law) Abel...Enoch....Noah...Abraham.....Sarah...Isaac...Jacob.....Moses were all saved. Norice too, Hebrews 4:2-"the Gospel was them (Israel)". Deut 5:29-(after giving the Ten Commandments) "Oh that they had such a heart in them...." Deut 6:6-"And these words (Ten Commandments)...shall be in your'e heart." The Ten Commandments are not "Old Law" but universal and timeless in their application. Your'e own Catechism states:

2055 states: the greatest commandment as quoted byJesus "You shall love the Lord your'e God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. And the second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself, The Decalogue must be interpreted in light of this twofold yet single commandment of love, the fulness of the law."

2056 The word "Decalogue" means literally "ten words." God revealed these "ten words" to his people on the holy mountain. They were written "with the finger of God," unlike the other commandments written by Moses.They are pre-eminently the words of God. They are handed on to us in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. Beginning with the Old Testament, the sacred books refer to the "ten words," but it is in the New Covenant in Jesus Christ that their full meaning will be revealed.

"Unlike the other commandments written by Moses" is correct. The commandments written by Moses of civil statues were an interpretation and application of the Moral code to the Jewish state, and certain were to govern the symbolic ritual of sacrifice and offerings pointing to the great sacrifice of Christ.

At Sinai there was a concrete presentation of the moral law which was added "because of transgression." But note there existed a moral law written in the hearts of the great Patriarchs-note: Gen 17:9, 18:19, 26:25. Again note the Catechism:
2055 states: the greatest commandment as quoted byJesus "You shall love the Lord your'e God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. And the second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself, The Decalogue must be interpreted in light of this twofold yet single commandment of love, the fulness of the law."

The Ten Commandments are a law of Love, and if placed "in the heart" they will reflect the character of God (love), because rightly according to the Catechism, the Ten Commandments are to be interpreted as love. Love does not change, God does not change, in any age. The law was added in written terms to bring more fully into focus our sinfulness "that sin by the commandment might become exceedingly sinful"(Rom 7:13).

Anonymous said...

If it is the moral law that condemns us then it is that same law that is done away with in galatians how can the ceremonial law condemn?