Causes of Disunity


#61

Well, the 2 pastors sat in on the large SS class yesterday Oct 13.

I stirred it up as usual and the pastors were just mute about my contributing comments. I guess they are just baffled at how to deal with someone who shares insights outside of the superficial, ambiguous , cliché loaded SDA SS class.


(Frankmer7) #62

What you can do, instead of continually throwing your stones of negativity, is to share something positive of substance. For instance, instead of criticizing everyone else on here and in all of Adventism from your superior perch about their ignorance of the gospel, share your own understanding of it, and how you think it could make a positive difference. If you do that, you open up the possibility of real discussion.

Frank


(Frankmer7) #63

Btw…I will often do the same, whether teaching or contributing.

Frank


#64

I already did in the past. You must have been on vacation, out to lunch or taking a SABBATICAL


(Frankmer7) #65

Not that long off of here. Must have missed it. Not too difficult, because compared to the many negative posts, a positive offering like that from you constitutes a minuscule percentage. Why not continue more often in that vein? Maybe you’ll really get more people engaging rather than dismissing… because the latter seems to be the present response you are generally getting on here. Just a thought…

Frank


#66

Hi gideon,

I am interested in what people think the gospel is. I don’t think there is a consensus in Christianity about the gospel, surely the central and most important truth in our faith.

On another thread I recently asked Jeremy V. what his view of the gospel is and he was kind enough to write a comment explaining his understanding of it.

As I recall, several months ago during the comments on another Spectrum article you were asked for your understanding of the gospel. Actually two commenters asked you. Your only answer was a sarcastic one in which you said something along the lines of the good news is that Spectrum won’t be around in heaven.

Forgive me if you have recently given us your view. Would you mind doing it again or directing us to the comment in which you explained it?
Thanks


(Harry Elliott) #67

[quote=“spectrumbot, post:1, topic:16972”]
be united and not to look for issues that separate us. The Lord desires His chosen church here on earth to learn how to be united in harmonious effort.
[/quote] I believe that growth guarantees issues and that our objective should be to solve the issues without separation, rather than suppressing them. Telling ourselves that we are the Lord’s “chosen church” probably contributes to disunity by motivating us to seek uniformity at all costs. Intolerance of differences is our current problem.


#68

You know Frank, your exchange with gideon reinforces a thought I have been having lately. If a Christian denomination is not centred and focussed on the gospel, how is it to be used by God?
Should unity not begin with a clear and common understanding of the gospel?
Is this not the foundation of everything?


#69

Anyone here attend sabbath school for the Causes of Disunity lesson?
If you did, did you , the SS teacher or anyone else in the class bring up the topic of current SDA disunity and what anyone thought were the causes?

I did and the substitute SS teacher deferred to let the regular SS teacher address it when he comes back. The SS teacher is a member of the GC executive committee. Stay tuned if you are interested…I will post on the next SS lesson or this one.


#70

Dave,

I will reply soon. I have a few versions of it.


#71

RIGHT ON!!

I posted before where John MacArthur Jr mentioned in a sermon where he and several other prominent evangelicals were in a hotel room for 7 hours & did not agree on what the gospel was.

Gospels:

“The gospel is the good news that God is not the person Satan makes Him out to be…arbitrary , exacting, vengeful , unforgiving, severe.” A G Maxwell (My opinion, that is not sufficient)

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24…(But what is it?)

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. Rom 1:16 (How?).

By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 1 Cor 15:3 & 4
(So how does these events from 2000 years ago save?)

EG White:"The gospel is the good news of grace, or favour, by which man may be released from the condemnation of sin, and enabled to render acceptable obedience to the law. Bible Echo 4-16-1894

My input:
The gospel is God’s rescue from sin, character restoration, and relationship reconciliation plan/program for humans who suffer desperation caused by guilt, depravity and fear of death. With cooperation from the participant/recipient, His pardoning and rehabilitating grace and power redeems from condemnation of sin and decriminalizes them so they are fit to be resurrected from death, pass God’s parole hearing, and to enter into eternal life with sinless beings.

The gospel is God’s plan of forgiving & fixing humans

Humans need to go from Rom 8:7 mindset to Rom 8:4 mindset.

Humans have shame, regret, guilt trips and haunting memories & are depraved. God deals with both.

Humans have criminal/rebellious & relationship issues.
Humans have a problem, God has a solution.


#72

Here is the flip side of PLAYING CHURCH:

The evil tendencies of mankind are HARD to overcome. The battles are TEDIOUS. Every soul in the strife knows how SEVERE, how bitter, are these contests. Everything about growth in grace is DIFFICULT, because the standard and maxims of the world are constantly interposed between the soul and God’s holy standard. The Lord would have us elevated, ennobled, purified, by carrying out the principles underlying His great moral standard, which will test every character in the great day of final reckoning.
We must gain the victory over self, crucify the affections and lusts; and then begins the union of the soul with Christ After this union is formed, it can be preserved only by continual, earnest, PAINSTAKING EFFORT…
Every Christian must stand on guard continually, watching every avenue of the soul where Satan might find access. He must pray for divine help and at the same time resolutely resist every inclination to sin. By courage, by faith, by persevering toil, he can conquer. But let him remember that to gain the victory Christ must abide in him and he in Christ… It is only by personal union with Christ, by communion with Him daily, hourly, that we can bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Faith I Live By P135


(Cfowler) #73

I’m interested…


(Frankmer7) #74

I’m interested to hear what is said.

Frank


#75

Hi again gideon,
I have been out of touch all day, so thanks for responding.
I haven’t had a chance yet to study what you wrote but after a quick read, I think I can agree with some of what you say. I hope to comment further tomorrow.

I think it would be a worthwhile idea if everyone reading this asked their pastor, an elder or another church leader to give a brief answer to the question ‘What is the gospel?’ Perhaps this could be done next sabbath and we could compare answers.


#76

The most important question, in my opinion, and the one we’re most squeamish about.


#77

Since I suggested others be canvassed about what they believe the gospel is, I think it only fair that I attempt to relate my understanding of it.

It is supernatural, it is spiritual and it is the way God has chosen to redeem us.
It is unlike anything else and so quite a challenge for us to comprehend.

I believe God created us all sinless in the first Adam when he was created (one of the meanings of the word ‘adam’ is mankind) and Adam’s failure legally impacted all of us, resulting in our mortality and sin. God then put us in another Adam, the last Adam, Christ, and so, in His death, in the eyes of God, Christ legally carried us through our death, the penalty for our sin. This means that the law, which demanded our death (the wages of sin is death) got its just verdict and has been satisfied. It no longer has a claim on us. Besides, Romans 7:1 tells us that the law only has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives.

Paul was chosen by God to explain this wonderful good news or gospel.
Here is some of the language he used in his explanation:
He called it a gift or free gift in Romans 5:15 & 16.
In Romans 6 & 7 Paul wrote we have died to the law through the body of Christ, we have been released from the law, having died to that by which we were bound, we have been baptized into Christ’s death, we have been buried with Him through baptism into death to rise in newness of life, we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, our old self was crucified with Him, he who has died is justified from sin, and we are to consider ourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Paul also said that he had been crucified with Christ and Christ now lives within him (Gal 2:20), and to those who were falling back into lawkeeping as salvific, He said, ‘I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died needlessly.’ (Gal 2:21), i.e., if a person believes that lawkeeping saves them, then Christ’s death wasn’t necessary. (They are really an Old Covenant believer.)

We are to see ourselves as being released from the law (dead to the law) and stop trying to obtain righteousness by keeping the law as the OC mandated.
‘Therefore by the works of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight’. And ‘We are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus’. And ‘A man is justified by faith without the works of the law.’ (Rom 3: 20, 24, 28). So, our obedience is not salvific (we do not have to try to earn salvation). Rather, our faith in what Christ has done for us (His death enabling ours) is the channel through which we receive it.

We are to marvel at this new creation life, this resurrection life, this eternal life that is ours (part of the gospel is this new life in Christ replacing the old) instead of still trying to perfect the doomed (and already legally dead), sinful, Adamic man (the man of flesh we were all born) by following the law.

To pass out of one realm one must die to it. In Christ, we have died to this our present, physical realm. To enter a new realm one must be begotten or born into it. In Christ, we are this new creation, spiritual life.

The Bible says that the Holy Spirit begets or implants His seed within us. Jesus told Nicodemus you must be begotten from above (John 3:3). Paul said that he had begotten believers by sharing the gospel (1Cor 4:15). Peter explained to believers that ‘…you have been begotten again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is through the living and enduring word of God.’ (1Peter 1:23). John understood this as well because he wrote that even though there is still some sin remaining in our lives and God will forgive us (1John 1:7-10), the divine, begotten seed growing within us cannot sin (1John 3:9). The New Covenant tells us that He is writing His law in our minds and on our hearts. Our old nature is being replaced with something new. Paul says we are a new creation (Gal 6:15; Rom 6:4; 2Cor 5:17). Keeping the law will become part of our nature. It is a result of our salvation, not the cause.

Much more could be said of course, but I believe this is the wonderful truth of what Christ has done for us, this is the good news or gospel. I don’t think we can really understand it but we can be thankful for it, and appreciate the love that was its source.

Gideon, concerning your comment (#72) about playing church, I agree that we are called upon to overcome the Adamic, sinful, condemned man that God has chosen not to remove from us yet. Our ‘dead man walking’ is stubborn and can be difficult to deal with as Paul told us in Romans 7. If we want to go further with God, our works will reflect this, and how we deal with our old self is part of that.

I believe Adventism is correct in saying that there will be a judgment of believers at the end of this age based on our works. The Bible is clear that we will be judged and rewarded or punished according to our works. This is stated in many verses (Matt 16:27; Rom 2:5-6; 14:10-12; 1Cor 3:8; 2Cor 5:10; 11:15; Jude 15; Rev 20:12-13; 22:12).

Paul wrote that works are important. He also said he was striving to reach something he had not yet attained. He used metaphors like running in a race to win the prize, getting fit by practicing (shadow) boxing and disciplining his body so that he would not be disqualified (1Cor 9:23-27). He said he was pressing on toward some sort of goal that he had not reached. He called it ‘the upward call of God’ and said he hadn’t ‘laid hold of it yet’ (Phil 3:9-14). I think Paul wanted to be more than a citizen of the kingdom, he was striving to be a leader.

Please don’t forget that Paul told us that salvation is a free gift of God to believers we receive by faith alone. So, I think that the issue under consideration in this coming judgment of our works is not our salvation. I believe it is to determine our roles in the coming kingdom.

The Bible gives us some ideas about this.
Some will be part of the priesthood (Is 66:21; Rev 5:10; 20:6).

2Tim 2:12, Dan 7:22 and Rev 2:26; 20:4,6 say that some will reign with Christ in the next age. Perhaps you are to become an administrator like Daniel (Dan 6:2) or a ruler over five or ten cities (Luke 19:15-19; Deut 1:13-15).

When all is finally said and done, because no type of sin will be allowed in the kingdom and there will be people judged to be at various degrees of holiness entering the next age, I believe God will bestow the honour of becoming judges to some of His saints – not to administer punishment as man does in order to separate the guilty from society and act as a deterrent but to apply the law in the compassion of Christ to correct, restore and assist those whom the judgment at the end of this age will show are still on the journey to glorification. Jesus said to his disciples,’…when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’ (Matt 19:28). Paul said to the Corinthians, ‘…do you not know that the saints will judge the world? Do you not know that we will judge angels?’ (1Cor 6:2-3).

So, I believe assessing our progress in the process of sanctification now is the issue in the coming judgment. Those who submit most fully to God in this age the Bible calls overcomers. In other words, in them the divine seed within planted by the gospel has grown to the point of maturity. This is challenging because the old, condemned Adamic man (one’s ego?) does not want to give up. Few get there in this age. Jesus says the way is narrow which leads to life and only a few find it (Matt 7:14). The ones who do (I think the Bible also calls them the elect or first fruits) will be granted this eternal life first and will be given the honour of some type of authority (under Christ of course) to assist others in their journey in the next stage of the kingdom.

In summary, the Bible is the story of two Adams. Each ‘carried us’ through something - one bad, one good (actually better than good). What each did was outside of our control. Faith is believing that the second more than outdid the damage caused by the first. I believe that is basis of the gospel, the core of Christianity.


(Frankmer7) #78

The definitions of the gospel being given on this thread seem to overlay our own modern Christian ideas onto the term itself, but do not seem to deal with how the term euangellion/good news was used in different contexts in the NT, nor how it was understood in first century Greco-Roman society. Within the latter cultural context, euangellion/good news generally referred to a public announcement concerning the emperor, his birthday, his military victories, or his taking of the throne. These were gospel in the first century empire. Caesar was the conquering and supreme lord, worthy of honor, gratitude, and even worship.

Against this backdrop, one can see how Paul used the word gospel at the beginning of Romans:

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God, the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendent of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared to be the powerful, reigning Son of God by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom. 1:1-4)

The gospel of God, was the royal announcement that the true Lord of the world, in fulfillment of God’s covenant promises to Israel, and by his resurrection from the dead, is the Messiah Jesus. He is king; he is Lord; and he has come to establish the rule/kingdom of God on earth…as it is in heaven. If this good news is true, then this also implies that Caesar wasn’t and isn’t the world’s true lord. IOW, the gospel was God’s subversive good news that the time of the rulers of this world was up, because his appointed king had now taken his rightful throne. Just as the stone in Daniel 2 had struck the statue on the feet and blown all previous human kingdoms away, so would the reign of Jesus Christ our Lord.

This far exceeds our reducing the gospel to the forgiveness of our personal sins, our personal character development, or individually obtaining eternal life. While the gospel includes and addresses these things, it’s scope, as seen above, is far beyond them, contemplating the restoration of God’s entire creation in love, justice, and shalom/peace…some of the benefits that Rome promised at the point of a sword, but could never truly deliver.

Our modern reductions of the gospel, and demand that we have a one size fits all definition of it, also don’t account for the variety of contexts in which the term is found and used throughout the NT. In the gospel accounts, Jesus is portrayed preaching the gospel of the kingdom, again implying a type of outward, political nature to its proclamation and essence. In 1 Cor 15, Paul delineates the saving gospel as the death of Jesus for our sins, his burial, resurrection, according to the Scriptures, and his subsequent appearances. In Revelation 14, the eternal gospel that is proclaimed to the first century hearers of the book is that the hour of God’s judgement has already come.

While all of these different shades of content do not conflict, they can reveal that the gospel in the NT has different shades of meaning and emphasis depending upon the purpose of the ones proclaiming it, and the needs and situations of their different audiences. I think that all this should give us pause before we try to come up with a pithy summation of the gospel, as if it can be summed up in little more than a slogan. It should also help us not to assume that there is disunity if we don’t all see the gospel in exactly the same way. After all, we need to vitally experience the gospel…knowing Jesus as our gracious, saving Lord… more than intellectually define it. We can have the former without the latter…and vice versa.

Thanks…

Frank


#79

Right from His time on earth, Christ has certainly been Lord and Master of believers in the spiritual realm. But He said at that time that His kingdom was not of this world. The problem was that men like Caesar believed they were to be worshipped and they had the power to force people to do so. Refusing carried grave consequences. Each person had to choose their course of action.
Thus, rather than letting each believer’s spiritual understanding dictate their life in the physical, the physical forced itself into the spiritual and attempted to distort it through force.

In terms of Christ’s kingdom becoming manifested physically as government of the world, that was to be accomplished in the future. Jesus said the emergence of the kingdom was like a mustard seed, starting out very small and in time growing to be the largest plant, or leaven, which takes time to work through the dough.

The prophecy in Daniel 2 is about the stone crushing the metals making up the statue that represented the various kingdoms. But that did not occur in Jesus’ day but was to crush them after the emergence of the kingdom of iron and clay, the one which has come after Rome. ‘In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed…’ (Dan 2:44). Many feel this strange mixture of iron and clay speaks of the Roman Catholic Church which, interestingly, in our day is being shaken by the revelations of more and more sexual abuses of children by the priesthood. It’s horrific of course, but God uses the weak things of the world to bring down the supposedly strong. I had relatives in the RCC and to their dying day they insisted that one must be a member of their church to be saved. One commenter here said that he believed everyone would eventually see that the Adventist Church has the truth.
We all struggle with things of the spirit. Some churches warn us to avoid them. But they are the essence of our faith. They are not intellectually discerned. Indeed we must come as children, accepting and believing God will carry out His promises to us even though they are far beyond our understanding. We have faith that He will do so in His love and power.

Being part of a like minded community that worships together based on a common understanding about God and His plans for us is great but the gospel is about each individual’s relationship with God. This divine seed, received by each one’s faith in what Jesus has done for him or her, is planted within each person. Christ in you, not where your membership lies, is the hope of glory.

God is patient and gives us time to come to understand His ways. Each successive beast (humanly governed) kingdom has been allotted its time to learn to govern according to God’s laws. There are many interpretations of the book of Revelation but chapter 13 tells us of the long, prophetic time given to the beast power through his kingdoms to have authority over every people on earth (Rev 13: 5-7) before the time of ‘the harvest of the earth is ripe.’

All these intervening kingdoms have failed and the earth is to be given to the saints of the most high to rule, under Christ, in a Godly way. I believe the next stage will be the chosen or elect saints of God being called to their roles in the administration of this new kingdom of God on earth.


#80

Seven Mountains Dominionism?

I really hope you’re not talking about Seven Mountains Dominionism, Dave.

Dominionism Rising: A Theocratic Movement Hiding in Plain Sight

Dominionism is the theocratic idea that regardless of theological camp, means, or timetable, God has called conservative Christians to exercise dominion over society by taking control of political and cultural institutions.

The term describes a broad tendency across a wide swath of American Christianity.

People who embrace this idea are referred to as dominionists.

Although Chip Berlet, then of Political Research Associates, and I defined and popularized the term for many in the 1990s, in fact it had (along with the term dominion theology) been in use by both evangelical proponents and critics for many years.

https://www.politicalresearch.org/2016/08/18/dominionism-rising-a-theocratic-movement-hiding-in-plain-sight/

They have State Prayer Generals:

The Seven Mountains of Societal Influence

In 1975, Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade and Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With a Mission(YWAM), developed a God-given, world-changing strategy.

Their mandate: Bring Godly change to a nation by reaching its seven spheres, or mountains, of societal influence.

They concluded that in order to truly transform any nation with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, these seven facets of society must be reached:

  • Religion

  • Family

  • Education

  • Government

  • Media

  • Arts & Entertainment

  • Business

The Reformation Prayer Network’s primary goal is to be a catalyst, through prayer and righteous activism, which will bring change to these areas of societal influence.

https://www.generals.org/rpn/the-seven-mountains/#begin-content