A Deeply Troubled Church


(Spectrumbot) #1

A person who harms themselves we would regard as troubled. A person who is of sound mind would not intentionally cut themself, nor would a person of sound mind stand in the path of an oncoming locomotive that will not, and cannot, change course. Thus I can only conclude that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is deeply troubled and not of sound mind.

In 1 Corinthians 12:12-14 the Apostle Paul informs us that we as a church, as believers in Christ, are one body. The Apostle then saw the need to reinforce the idea of oneness in Christ in Galatians 3:28 by expressing that in Christ the divisions in society that we see are no more, for Christ should be who we see when we look at one another.

This makes the decision voted at the 2018 GC Annual Council all the more disturbing in that the idea of unity is not only being legislated for by policing of conscience, but that what is being policed, or in reality what is being reinforced, are some of these divisions the Apostle counseled were no more should we choose to place our identity in Christ. In the establishment of compliance committees to police the ordination of women, we are effectively saying that the words of Paul in Galatians are true, with one small caveat: gender matters.

It is by common consensus that racism in the church is wrong and classism is frowned upon, but sexism, well that’s somehow permissible? The lack of integrity in the application of Galatians 3:28 requires gymnastics of such mental proportions to allow us to disregard a portion of it and yet adopt others that those who achieve it should consider entering the olympics.

If I cut my finger, my foot does not feel the pain, nor do my eyes, but yet the whole body suffers as a result of the pain. The first impulse of my body is not to deny that the pain exists, nor is it to amputate the hurting finger, but rather in a concerted and coordinated effort, my body responds to address the pain and to promote healing. My feet carry me to the sink, my eyes work to locate a Band-Aid, my brain processes and coordinates, my blood works to clot and seal the wound, etc. Every part of my body is put to work to resolve the pain, and yet at no point has my hand had to operate as a foot or my foot had to operate as my eyes; each part of my body has worked to bring about the common goal whilst retaining its own individual identity.

Women in leadership positions are hurting — the hurting finger of the church — especially our female pastors, but there is no coordinated attempt to decrease their hurting. Can anyone see the compliance committees promoting healing, or are they likely to cause more pain? Christ may have called us the salt of the Earth, but I don’t believe that rubbing salt into an open wound is quite what he had in mind. But that is what these compliance committees do.

Women are a part of the body of Christ and if we are to talk about unity within that body, we must address their hurt or we must accept one of two things: the SDA Church is deeply psychologically troubled or women are not part of the body of Christ.

If the first proposition is true, then we should surely desire healing. If the second proposition is true, then women are not subject to the rules and regulations applicable to the body of believers. Considering the amount of time spent policing women’s dress, speech, and positions in the church I must submit that we collectively have rejected the second proposition.

If our mission is truly evangelism to bring people into knowledge and relationship with God, then the identity of each of the separate parts of the body is necessary to accomplish that task. We need women and men, we need young and old, black and white working in unity and appreciating the equal importance in all parts to bring about our ultimate goal.

That some unions ordain women and some don’t should not be a problem to those that hold the proclamation of the gospels as our mission and aim. They are the difference between the hand and the foot, each is vital to achieving the aim, and the aim can only be achieved with each retaining its own identity and purpose. That we forbid and are attempting to punish unions that choose to further the gospel in a manner that best suits their territory is to act against our own interests; it is harmful to the mission and as a result harmful to the body.

Which leads back to the idea that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is troubled.

Very deeply troubled.

Jeremy Storm is a father, student of theology, antagonist, and staunch advocate for equality of both race and gender.

Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9372

(Steve Mga) #2

The New Testament report tells us that when Christianity reached Greece and when
Christianity reached the Roman world, that “it turned the world upside down.”
Christianity was a Revolutionary Power through its Message – ALL are one in God
and Christ. No longer was there Slave and Master, and no longer “male and female”.
The Gifts of the Spirit were given to ALL regardless of Civic Status or of Gender or
of ethnicity [Jew or Greek] as the Spirit would choose.
1 Corinthians 12:28.
Paul goes on to say in 1 Corinthians 13:13 that the GREATEST GIFT is Love.
Paul’s WHOLE DISCORSE is actually 12, 13 AND 14. [It is unfortunate that it has
been split up like it is, as it ruins his whole Sermon]
1 Corinthians 14:1 says, "Let LOVE be your Greatest Desire. NEVERTHELESS, ASK
also for the Special Abilities that the Holy Spirit gives, and ESPECIALLY the Gift of
Prophecy – the ability to preach the Messages of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Paul encouraged ALL – Jew, Greek, Slave, Master, Male, Female to ASK for the Gift
of Prophecy. The ability to preach the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Restriction of preaching to just MEN did not come into the church until very much later.
Into the Catholic Church of Rome around the time of Constantine. And the SDA church
has continued in the Roman Tradition ever since.
Ordination is a Roman Tradition that the SDA church has also continued.
Persons have attempted to bring us back to the Apostolic Times when ALL were equally
allowed to receive the Gifts of the Spirit, but since around 1901 this has been strongly
fought against. And still is.
And has hindered the proclaiming of the Gospel to the World ever since.

An Excellent History book to read is this – “Pagan Christianity? – exploring the roots of
our church practices,” George Barna and Frank Viola [2012].


(ROBIN VANDERMOLEN) #3

The Jeremy Storm,
A splendid, sterling statement screaming out for solace and balm to a “deeply troubled “ church.

The optics of our denomination’s dysfunction are odious, offensive and off putting. In any given gathering of Adventists the women greatly outnumber the men in the pews. That is, all EXCEPT in those convocations where the future of the church is decided. In those administrative assemblies, the preponderance of penises is a poignant, heart piercing proclamation that we have a “deeply troubled “ church.

Your most pertinent, provocative and also poignant observation is about the policing of our womens’ dress, speech and positions in the church.

Your word POLICING is exceedingly apt and epitomizes the petty judgementalism projected on our women members.

Our “headship “ hierarchy demeans our wives and mothers to be merely the clean up crew for the Sabbsth potluck, Or yes, maybe to provide, without monetary compensation, their musical expertise as choir leaders and organists.

These hierarchical henchmen, deride Catholicism but emulate that body in every way, in the structure of their male dominated, demographically distorted, power house of privilege.


(Thomas J Zwemer) #4

There are at least two way to read the Bible. 1. Learn what God has to say. 2. Cut and paste to prove what you believe. From Wm Miller on Adventism has used the latter. Ted Wilson has used the office to enforce his cut and paste creation. So what about Jesus useing a hen to underline His passion for all of mankind. Male domination is an abomination personified by current events in the church.


(William Noel) #5

That is one of the most on-point, unambiguous statements I have ever read on the topic. Well said!

The root problem is that members of the church have become more devoted to power than to loving and respecting fellow believers and disrespectful of their own spiritual body. If ever there was a time when we need to be learning to love each other, that time is now.


(Thomas J Zwemer) #6

The word love in this context should include respect and consideration even accommodation none of which is implicit in compliance.


(Sirje) #7

We generally think of our church in layers - local, conference, union, and general -and we stop there. Actually, there is more. God’s people (His church) spans time and distance. We don’t join that group by going in and out of a building. When scripture speaks of God’s church/people it’s talking about the larger church we seldom identify ourselves with in real time.

Adventists always see the term “God’s church/people” to mean the SDA church - and are able to substitute our name into the reading of any book of the Bible and any chapter and verse. God’s “church” is not in trouble. God “knows His own”. This group is not identified by denomination or baptismal certificate. This group is solid - and is going through time unscathed by all the turmoil we see on this globe, including the turmoil in the SDA church. This group is known “by its love for one another.” We are all welcome to join it, even without changing denomination or the building we use to worship in. We don’t have to identify with all the politics that goes by the name of “church governance”. All the “goingson” we witness within the political systems of the church are just as messy as those we see in secular politics, despite the opening and closing prayers. Those are just part of the required protocol. This “troubled church” can enact and repeal to their heart’s content but it need not affect our membership in God’s church.


#8

The irony is that most of the 28 FBs, the latest required protocol, are by definition unique within Christianity as to set themselves apart. A “peculiar” people. Why else would they invest 91% of their mission resources on “those already Christian”?


(Sirje) #9

Because they’re not the right kind of Christian - or maybe not Christian at all.


#10

Apparently. According to who? Which group are you referring to?


(Cfowler) #11

They certainly aren’t the right kind, to be sure! :roll_eyes: Certainly there are some people who attend churches everywhere who aren’t converted, including people in the SDA church…the wheat and tares, I guess.


(Steve Mga) #12

People take the time to get up, get dressed [whatever that means beyond clothing one’s
naked body], walk or get in a vehicle and get to “church” in time to meet with others who
want to meet with God in some way.
By doing so, there is a “sense” that Life is BETTER from meeting God on a regular basis.
Does one HAVE to be a “Christian” to enjoy meeting with God? NO!
However, the Good News, the Gospel, does give HOPE for an enjoyable relationship with
God, with one’s fellow Humans, and with One’s Self. It does give HOPE that the activities
of a life-time have some meaning in this life, and will have meaning in a life to come.
This is found in Community. Not sitting alone at home watching TV or listening on the Radio,
or doing “church” by Internet.

The Good News of the Old Testament is always shouted with “COME!”
The Good News of the New Testament is always shouted with “COME!”


(Sirje) #13

The reason most of SDA evangelism is directed to “Christians in other churches” is that SDA evangelists don’t respect members of other denominations as legitimate Christians.


(Johnny Carson) #14

Nor do most of the SDA folk who get behind and support/push the traditional SDA “efforts” of evangelism. It’s our way of saying to believers of other faiths, “I’m okay. You’re not. You need to be like me.”


#15

As one who has been both, I call “false-gospel, ref. adding to”.


#16

Beautiful! Communities that care for each other and meet together become bonded in Christ and His love.


(Sirje) #17

I do hope you understand I didn’t mean that they’re actually not “the right kind of Christians”. The SDA church has labelled them as “following the beast” so their faith can’t be respected.


#18

I dare anyone to get your local pastor to do a survey/poll to see what % of members feel comfortable or have ever invited anyone to their church.


(Carol June Hooker) #19

I disagree. I have been the person who was home bound, experiencing worship electronically. Members of my far-flung family currently worship by joining in via television, radio, and internet. Please do not disparage those whose physical or psychological limitations prevent regular attendance within church walls.


#20

99+ % of Christians = Deceived including SDA.

Contemporary Christianity with its contamination of paganism, Calvinism and antinomianism has become churchianity with its following of a false Jesus.

Clue: See the contrast between synergism and monergism.