I was curious, as often is the case, so I asked the five local pastors in my hometown how they knew someone was ready to be baptized. The answers varied widely from simple profession of faith in Jesus, to more pronounced statements of allegiance to the 28 Fundamental Beliefs, with one answer calling for an outright creed of believing in the true God and Ellen White as His prophet. Besides this attempted Adventist version of the Islamic Shahada, I left worried but established in what I have read and known before: we as Adventist have no real church wide, researched informed, approach to preparing someone for baptism, i.e., catechism. I’ve written on the human-relational involvement needed for helping people successfully see our church as home. Here, I want to bring out an idea for a better way of understanding baptismal preparation.
Yes, denominational indoctrination is simply there because Christianity in general has become denominationally divided over centuries…usually over non essentials and through idolizing points of doctrinal information and practices that matter little concerning faith in God through Christ and the Spirit, and belonging to his people. While denominational Christianity can be viewed as the idea that there is a comfortable fit for all different types out there, it also can be viewed as religious tribalism, with Adventism being a particularly virulent form of it.
In fact, the gospel calls people out of such tribalism based on race, gender, social, and even religious identities, into the diverse unity of the faith. It holds out the announcement that Jesus is the awaited messiah/king. It calls people to faith in/allegiance to him and joining up with him and his diverse body as a follower who will contribute to his restorative kingdom program on earth.
It’s more about who we know than what we know, and what practical ways we live this out in real time and real spirit led community to make a difference in the world…large or small. It is about bringing, not only individually but together as local bodies of believers, the gracious rule of God to bear in the here and now that points also to the future when God will consummate his gracious rule on earth as it is in heaven. It’s not primarily about having all the correct information…what denominationalism is unhealthily all about. It’s also not primarily about converting people so they can be assured of an escape to heaven after death…as if a personal relationship with Jesus that guarantees this is what the gospel is solely about. It is far more. This is the big picture gospel of the NT that finds its roots in the promises of the Old.
The church from the Middle Ages until now, and this is amplified in SDAism, has gotten it backwards.
It’s difficult to remember something that isn’t true.
If SDA’s need to be reminded of anything, it’s that if it weren’t for EGW there would be no Adventist church and without her “spirit” of prophecy (as opposed to any real prophetic gift) there would be no need to consider how to onboard new recruits.
IOW, if Adventists were more honest, and “remembered” to mention their existentially important fourth element of the Holy Trinity when preparing newbies for baptism, perhaps they wouldn’t eventually lose so many of the new sheep they bring into the fold.
Really? that is a real stretch. The Shahada says: "“There is no God but God and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”
Islam was founded by the writing of Muhammad. There would be no Islam without Muhammad
That is not the case with EGW as the foundation is still the Bible. However one may misuse EGW Adventism is not founded on EGW, I comes from a Protestant Tradition it is not a new religion based upon a singular prophet.
So who said Christianity can be defined by reading biographies he did not authorize?
Mr. Martin confirmed this how? By interviewing Jesus? Unless I missed a memory verse or two, in all of the hearsay we do have about what Jesus supposedly said and did, there is no specific mention of any of the extant organized religions which are ostensibly Christian, to say nothing of EGW or SDA-ism.
Sure, EGW repeatedly recommended reading the Bible.
But Jesus never said the same thing about Mrs. Writings, just as he never suggested that anyone needed to read the NT, as neither of these sources existed until decades after his departure from the planet, nor has anything ever been published with his imprimatur.
The point being that there is nothing irrefutably “Christian” in the NT “copy and paste” collection of propaganda nor is the term inarguably defined in the inherently contradictory compilation of EGW’s aphorisms.
To paraphrase The Wizard of Oz, what’s important is not how much any Christian loves Jesus, but what has Jesus specifically said about his love for them? In the case of organized religion, EGW and Adventism?
So until some future person is somehow able to absolutely and conclusively demonstrate that he is the messiah, come to establish a new heaven here on earth, and is the same person who walked the streets and seas of the Middle East two thousand years ago, the question of who or what constitutes Jesus’ “true” church will remain unanswered.
And BTW, if anyone is tired of thinking about the issue, I feel sorry for that person, as I find open questions infinitely more interesting than those which are purportedly settled.
I wasn’t trying to defend her writings. I was simply suggesting that none of us can say that she was not a Christian.
I used to read her writings a lot. I haven’t read anything of hers for years. I do read the Bible everyday.
I am not anti-EGW, but I don’t agree with or trust everything that she wrote. I am still a member of the SDA church, but I don’t accept all of the “fundamental beliefs.” I am a pilgrim just like all of you.