After the GC Session, Let’s Follow Paul

 

As the General Conference (GC) Session ends and thousands return to their homes, and thousands more stop listening to endless YouTube live streams, the question in my mind is, so what?


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11846

I appreciate the insightful account of how Paul disregarded the Acts 15 decision on foods offered to Idols. When I consider what the Counsel required of the Gentiles it seems to me to be a very small list. Clean or Unclean food are not mentioned, neither the Sabbath or the Passover or any other OT commands.

Paul does make some very strong statements about “God’s wrath against sinful humanity” (Subtitle in NIV) in Romans 1:18-24, that seems to me, to disapprove of “natural relations…for unnatural” (NIV). This is a challenging passage.

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Insightful commentary! Take it further to be like Paul, whether one eats kosher or not, or whether one observes holy days (I.e. sabbath) or not doesn’t matter in order to be accepted into our fellowship by baptism. What matters is faith that expresses itself in love. What matters is that the kingdom of God isn’t about eating or drinking but about righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. What matters is that every person be convinced about such issues in their own minds. What matters is that you welcome one another (with these differences) just as God in Christ has welcomed you.

Into his family. Around the same table. There is no difference.

Frank

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Thanks Tom. What you describe is Adventist/Christianity at its best: scripture-based ethics that rise to the challenges of our day rather than fighting over nostalgia.

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Thanks, Frank. Let’s proclaim it from the streets, the mountain tops, the halls of institutions of learning

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Yes, we never find Paul mounting an argument in favor of Saturday-observance for his Gentile converts. It seems to me that those early Christians who chose to continue to worship on Saturday were tolerated by Paul. But those who wanted to remember the Resurrection, the cornerstone of their faith, by celebrating it every Sunday he also regarded as solid Christians. To call the latter “apostate Christians” or “apostate Protestants” is unconscionably bigoted, even anti-Christian, in my opinion. Paul, I believe, followed the ethics of Christ who brilliantly extracted from the Mosaic code all that guarantees a happy and harmonious human society.

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This simply nails it!

Frank

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Frank…you might want to order a copy of ‘Unclobber’ by Colby Martin (not an SDA). Last I knew, SDA Kinship will send the book to you at no cost. I think Pastor Martin does a good job of explaining those ‘challenging’ texts.

Best,

Linda

I am sorry, I am so suspicious of some one trying to explain away such simple texts such as: “That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other.” Rom 1:26 NLT

Frank, I am surprised to hear that you would not give consideration of context and cultural implications in your study of the Bible.

Yes, yes, yes.

You did again, Tom de Bruin. Not that you revealed something new or spectacular. But the boldness with which you ask for a mature, come of age Christianity within the Adventist movement is encouraging, even empowering.

It is my hunch the Church in Europe will go this Pauline direction.

As am I. Often these attempts at explaining difficult texts (such as those which promote slavery, condone war crimes and atrocities, relegate women to the status of chattel, etc.) are little more than a way of avoiding admitting the obvious, namely that biblical writers got a few things wrong.

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I read the book, Linda. Unfortunately, while I can’t remember much detail, I found some but not all the exegesis convincing, especially his handling of Romans 1. I find this to be an issue that would be best handled by saying the biblical writers didn’t give same sex behaviors high marks, but science and genetics has brought understanding about sexual orientation that the ancients simply did not have. The biblical writers did not have any concept of orientation regarding this issue, nor were they largely speaking to consensual same sex relationships/ marriage…although that idea was not totally unknown in the first century.

Evolution is similar in this regard. The Bible can’t be used to support it. But, it shouldn’t be used as a science text book either. The question is, can God reveal truth through different means, science being one of them?

Finally, this is a heated discussion and issue amongst many Christians. That’s all well and good until it becomes about people we know and love. Then it becomes real.

Frank

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Thanks Frank…see…I knew we were on the same page!!

L

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I guess I am blinded. It is known that Scriptures have cultural influences, I agree. But this seems to be God’s Eden design for love and pro-creation. What right do we have to alter this?

I wish to agree with Jesus when he clearly states the marriage is between two sexes: “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female." And he said, “‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one."

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