I wonder how many male ordained SDA pastors would still oppose women’s ordination if their paycheck and benefits were provided for from OUTSIDE of the GC machine ?
Fear is an overwhelming force for ‘compliance’ at the expense of ‘conscience’.
But fear can also move one far beyond the limits of either.
In Fall 2016 I was away from home, working in Minnesota just northwest of Minneapolis. For several weeks I tried to find the local SDA church as it was advertised on the web and on ‘Adopt-A-Highway’ signs on the edges of the small town I was staying in. Finally, my wife contacted the Minnesota conference to learn that the congregation had moved to another town.
The second Sabbath I visited this tiny congregation I heard an obviously-popular, local lay-evangelist preach that ‘fear’ of God – being afraid of God – is useful in order to motivate us to obey Him. . . I got a tickle in my throat, stepped outside to cough, and soon decided to keep right on moving to my car and out of the parking lot to get far away from that surreal ‘SDA’ ‘worship service’. Without ‘faith’ – affectionate, ‘fear-less’ fidelity – it is impossible to please God, while James said, ‘devils believe, and tremble’.
SDA ‘devils’ ?
Well, in summer 2017, I was back in Minnesota, working just up the interstate from that same tiny church, and visiting another, larger SDA congregation on Sabbaths. Meanwhile, at home in Michigan a local SDA church elder had been ‘dismembered’ for publicly preaching against the ‘Trinity’ mentioned in the ‘28 Fundamental Doctrines’. So, in an email to the pastor of that other Minnesota SDA congregation I mentioned the tragedy back home, telling him that if the ‘28’ looked like a creed, and had actually been referred to and used like a creed, to ‘dismember’ an SDA elder, then they were in fact, a creed !
The last time I visited that SDA church, the pastor responded to my former accusation of ‘creed’, against the ‘28’, from the ‘pulpit’, telling the ‘pews’ that they are, “. . . a picture of Jesus.” ? !
So – let me interpret this ‘picture’ clearly – in order to avoid admitting to the sin of limiting the infinite Tri-une Godhead to a ‘creed’, it was preferable to this SDA ‘pastor’ to lead his whole congregation into the sin of limiting the Godhead to an idolatrous ‘picture of Jesus’, to ‘worth-ship’ a 28-facet intellectual ‘icon’ . . . ? ! ?
Within the fleshy, finite, human body of Jesus was enshrined all the fullness of the infinite ‘Godhead’. The ‘Ten Commandments’ are a comprehensive transcript of the characters of Those included in the ‘Godhead’, and are not to be added to, nor subtracted from. However the ways in which that infinite Godhead may choose to express those 10 principles in action, cannot possibly be limited to merely 10 ways, 28 ways, or a static ‘icon’ of Jesus.
Who among ‘His own’, who rejected Him, would have guessed that Jesus would not only NOT condemn Mary of Magdala for adultery, but that he would heal her, and join in with her, to become one of only 2 individuals mentioned by name in the New Testament – Mary and God-in- Christ – who would stoop to wash dirty (male) feet. . . as a bold, fearless, active, and overt ‘yes’-expression of the covert principles to be found within the ‘10’ which are mostly expressed as shrinking, fearsome ‘thou shalt nots’ ? Jesus was truly a moving ‘picture of the law’, in fearless, yes-action – “Thou shalt yes ! . . . and yes ! . . . and yes ! . . . .”
Today, the teenage survivors of the Parkland school shootings who are begging – ‘yessing’ – for gun control – in the absence of ‘self-controls’ – are being called ‘Nazis’ by those who are fearful of losing the power of controlling society through fearful gun violence and irresistible gun profits. This ‘Nazi’ name-calling is a fearful exaggeration that exceeds mere compliance with reasonable minds or with the friendlier scale of the mere conscience of kind hearts. But, I saw this unreasonable twisted-conscientious behavior FIRST, coming from a GC-‘compliant’, ‘conscientious’, ordained male SDA pastor, who was willing to lead his congregation into idolatry in order to maintain control over them through the ‘28’, and conference control over himself by the same ‘28’, thereby securing his ‘pastor’ status, employment, and benefits. . . and it turns out that the lay evangelist I ran into the previous fall and that male ordained SDA pastor are closely and happily acquainted.
(Any surprise ?)
What’s wrong with any fearful ‘picture of Jesus’, then ?
". . . fear, itself."