Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Adventists Worshipping on the Sabbath or Worshipping the Sabbath?

A non-Adventist recently wondered aloud to me why Adventists seem to worship the Sabbath. 

"Really, it seems as if they are obsessed with that day. They don't even talk about Jesus.... It's just Sabbath this, Sabbath that. As if being a true Christian had more to do with Sabbataransim than Jesus and the Cross."

Well, we Christians do tend towards finding our little special Christian "niche" and hanging around it. For some fundamentalists, its the Bible. They seem to worship the Bible. Pentecostals kinda hang your born-again credentials on whether you speak in tongues or not. Some people are King James Only Christians. 

We all find a way of drawing lines between ourselves. We all want an "identity" that makes us stand out among every other person. 

For Adventists, it's not about the Second Advent anymore. In the last couple decades everyone is talking about the last days and Jesus soon return. Vegetarianism has been made popular by.... everyone. So vegetarianism isn't an Adventists way of identifying themselves anymore. 

Adventist as a group aren't pro-life. They don't stand out in their defense of marriage or sexual morals or respect to parents or not coveting or stealing or taking the Lord's name in vain. They don't stand out in education or charities. 

Sabbatarianism is really it for them. It is their only distinctive label when compared to other Christians. 

Is that a bad or good thing? 


Marcos David Torres said...

As an Adventist I think its both good and on the flip side, absolutely horrible. Why good? Well, suppose I cut one of my fingers. I get some medicine and a band-aid and begin taking care of my finger. Then someone comes by and says, "Dude, why are you paying so much attention to that one finger? Don't you know you have nine others? And besides, life's about much more than your silly little finger!" My response would be, "Sir, its not that this finger is more important than the rest. It just happens to be hurt and in need of attention." I see the Sabbath that way. While its not any more important than any other Biblical teaching, its one that has been hurt and in need of attention.

Why absolutely horrible? Because the Sabbath stands for rest. The cessation of labor. It commemorates the fact that God both creates and saves all by himself without human help. With that said, Adventists should be the foremost in proclaiming salvation by grace to the world. We should be known for our grace. Instead we have turned the Sabbath into a work, kind of like how the Church of Christ has turned baptism into a work. As a result we have done more harm than good and have caused people to hate the Sabbath rather than see its timeless value. So its good, and absolutely horrible at the same time. That's my opinion anyways.


Teresa Beem said...

Hi Marcos!

How are you? How is school? Your family?

Very insightful comment. Never thought of it like that--Adventists turning Sabbath rest into a work! I never thought of Sabbath as a work when I was SDA. It was the only day our family went all together to do something. We were allowed sweets on Sabbath. We had a tradition of donuts for Sabbath breakfast and we could have Dr. Pepper on that day too. (Sounds like it was all about food!)

However, I know lots of Adventists who made the day very stressful and oppressive. It was all about what you couldn't do rather than what you could. I sincerely wonder why parents can't figure out that if you take something away from kids you need to put something BETTER in its place. So my parents took away secular stuff but put in its place family time, traditions, things we looked forward to. That is how you make anything special.

Anyway, as far as your other point. Right now, I think ALL the fingers are wounded. (If you believe the Ten Commandments are still part of the New Covenant--I do, but I would say the spirit is still there but the letter is not.) The Sabbath commandment is the very least of the Ten that are in need of attention. America is in a respect for parents crisis. We have the most disrespectful culture imaginable. We treat our parents like trash compared to God's commandment. I shudder at the disrespect for parents I see in public and private.

God's name is taken in vain like it is a requirement, almost as if it is a punctuation mark in our language--as well as taken in vain by people claiming to be Christians and who in no way follow or even try to follow the commandments of Christ.

We place money above God. We are adulterous, we covet, we steal and even if we don't murder--the violence we see on video games and in movies stimulates us into being bloodthirsty in a cyberspace level which wrecks our characters almost as if we committed the murders in reality.

All ten fingers are shredded.

Marcos David Torres said...

Hi Teresa!

Everything is going awesome. Schools on break right now and my wife is getting ready to give birth in the next few weeks. How about you guys?

I think I have to agree with all ten fingers being shredded. The time for emphasizing Sabbath above the others has long since passed. I would still argue that the Sabbath needs special attention for the simple fact that when talking about the 10, Sabbath often doesn't even get honorary mention. The Sabbath commandment is important because it keeps us from being legalists while obeying the other nine but on any note, you are totally right, all ten fingers are shredded! I wish I could say this was the case only in the world, but its also in the church. You look at the Christian church in the west and we have more resources to honor God than ever before and yet we seem to be in the worst shape. But thank God that Christ is the head of the church!

Teresa Beem said...

Will be praying for you and your wife and baby!! How wonderfully exciting. I know you are going to make a great dad.

Marcos David Torres said...

Please do! We are currently without a car and without money for a car, lol. We are borrowing one from a friend but I have to give it back soon. I could possibly buy it but it has so many issues it might end up being more of a financial burden than anything. But God is good! He has never let us down before and I know he wont do so now. :)

Teresa Beem said...

Gosh, these are the times I wish I was rich. Of course we will keep that in our prayer too. My husband is really really great at finding good deals for used cars online. We have bought all of them that way for years. If you want any help let us know. And he gets amazing deals.

Seriously, let us know what you can afford and Arthur will start looking online for you and try to find something. He has done it for other people and it has always been a great experience.

Marcos David Torres said...

Aw, thanks so much Teresa! You guys are awesome.

The biggest problem we have right now is that we have no budget. I have like 100 bucks in the bank and that's it. We have some more money coming in this week but it wont amount to much more. We aren't looking for anything expensive, just something to last us another year before we head off to Australia (yet another expense that will require a miracle, lol). Typically I would look for something in the 1-2000 range, but right now, even that is beyond our reach.

My wife just suggested I check into our church's fund for needy families. I can look into that and see what we can scrounge, lol.