. . . you asked:
Christ said, “I am the light of the world.”, and also, to His students, “You are the light of the world.” ‘Light’ in this case obviously being more than mere photons, but also a good and true source of information regarding the true God.
No, to make a hero-god of a mere man like Ted Wilson would be idolatry, wouldn’t it ? And yet the mere man, Paul, after telling the Christians of Corinth to “flee from idolatry” (I Corinthians 10:14) also said (I Corinthians 10:27-11:1):
“If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake. But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness.” “Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other.
For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience? But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks? Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”
Now, if the ‘sub-heads’ of the SDA church, under Christ – from Ted Wilson to those leaders who have consistently voted to enforce the dictates of their own consciences over those of their peers – would instead imitate Paul just as he imitated Christ in dealing with such tender matters of conscience, then and only then would it be safe to imitate those SDA sub-heads and leaders without being guilty of idolatry, since Christ would be the ultimate Creator of the tender and tolerant model being held before the ‘eyes of the heart’ of all. (Ephesian 1:15-23) :
“Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding [fn, “heart”] being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
The ‘eyes of the heart’, then, correspond to the ‘imagination’, and humans can assign worth to either false imag-in-a-tions of God – “idols” – or to true imag-in-a-tions of God, such as those which Paul and Christ chose to assign worth, by imitation, thereby reflecting the image, or “character”, of the true God. (In Genesis 6:5, before the Great Flood, it was said of all mankind that, “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imag-in-a-tion of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”) As Ellen described, only Christ, Who is also God, could most correctly ‘Head’, and from that position re-create, the most accurate chain-reaction of the ‘reflection’ of the invisible God’s own heart-character. This ‘chain-reaction’ is always intended by God to consist of ‘light-bearing’ created beings reflecting the true character, or “imag-in-a-tion”, of God before the ‘eyes of the hearts’ of all, until ‘the whole world is full of His glory’. (Now, wouldn’t it have been so very nice if such ‘Glory of God’ had been fully reflected from the 2018 SDA GC annual council, by Ted Wilson and all of those ‘down-chain’ from His own position as president of the GC ? . . . instead of the violation of the tender consciences of others, all-around ?)
Signs of the Times, January 20, 1890, notice all of the ‘eyes of the understanding/heart’ language that I’ve accented in bold print:
“Christ came to save fallen man, and Satan with fiercest wrath met him on the field of conflict; for the enemy knew that when divine strength was added to human weakness, man was armed with power and intelligence, and could break away from the captivity in which he had bound him. Satan sought to intercept every ray of light from the throne of God. He sought to cast his shadow across the earth, that men might lose the true views of God’s character, and that the knowledge of God might become extinct in the earth. He had caused truth of vital importance to be so mingled with error that it had lost its significance. The law of Jehovah was burdened with needless exactions and traditions, and God was represented as severe, exacting, revengeful, and arbitrary. He was pictured as one who could take pleasure in the sufferings of his creatures. The very attributes that belonged to the character of Satan, the evil one represented as belonging to the character of God. Jesus came to teach men of the Father, to correctly represent him before the fallen children of earth. Angels could not fully portray the character of God, but Christ, who was a living impersonation of God, could not fail to accomplish the work. The only way in which he could set and keep men right was to make himself visible and familiar to their eyes. That men might have salvation he came directly to man, and became a partaker of his nature.” (Note that Jesus had 12 close ‘witnesses’ with Him at all times, later sent out as ‘apostles’, who were to be the colorful bright foundation gem-stones of the church, built upon Himself the Chief Cornerstone.)
“The Father was revealed in Christ as altogether a different being from that which Satan had represented him to be. Said Christ, “Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” The love of Jesus, expressed for the fallen race in his life of self-denial and sufferings, is the manifestation of the Father’s love for a sinful, fallen world. Christ endured shame and grief and death for those who despised his love and trampled upon his mercy. He paid the debt of man’s transgression upon the cross of Calvary with his own precious blood. The men of his own nation, the leaders of the people, were so ensnared by the deceptions of Satan that the plan of redemption for a fallen race seemed to their minds indistinct and unexplainable.”
From John 3:
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
“Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”. . . .
“Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?. . . .”
““No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. . . .
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
Saved from what ? Healed from what ? . . . if not from all false imag-in-a-tions of God and all of their evil consequences ?
All of the heated and angry debate over ‘LGT’ in the SDA church, today, would evaporate if we would all simply look up at God from the foot of the cross, and say, “Now that is worthy of imitation !”
Being “born again” as a ‘child of the Father’ can not help but result --‘by beholding’ – in ultimately, "perfectly reproducing the character” – the imag-in-a-tion – of that Father’s tender Heart toward us, when we assign the greatest worth to His Heart, in our own hearts.
I did not have to struggle and work to become physically ‘perfect’ a.k.a. ‘mature’ after being born from my mother. That happened merely as a consequence of my physical birth, as long as I chose to go on living. In the ‘new birth’, through the Spirit, we ‘choose life’ as we ‘look and live’ at God from the foot of the cross. And so, Jesus told the ‘Last Generation’ Laodicean church (Revelation 3:18) :
““I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.”
Even blind and deaf Helen Keller had ‘eyes of the heart’ – an imag-in-a-tion. And although those ‘eyes’ of hers were fed by the most minimal of outer sensory perceptors, the Spirit of God could still deal directly with the imaginations of her heart, giving her the ‘Spiritual’ ‘eye salve’ necessary in order to ‘see God’, even without functioning ears and eyes.
Helen Keller, from Wikipedia:
“According to those who attended, Helen Keller spoke of the joy that life gave her. She was thankful for the faculties and abilities that she did possess and stated that the most productive pleasures she had were curiosity and imagination. Keller also spoke of the joy of service and the happiness that came from doing things for others … Keller imparted that “helping your fellow men were one’s only excuse for being in this world and in the doing of things to help one’s fellows lay the secret of lasting happiness.” She also told of the joys of loving work and accomplishment and the happiness of achievement. Although the entire lecture lasted only a little over an hour, the lecture had a profound impact on the audience.”
Helen Keller perfectly, maturely, ripely reproduced – ‘reflected’ – the loving, giving, enthusiastic character of the Father, as ‘seen’ through Christ, even while never reading the ‘Helen’ White quote that is now turning the SDA church into a blinding, deafening partisan spiritual battlefield. . . . ‘How can these things be ?’ :
Helen ‘chose life’ for her heart-spirits, and the Holy Spirit from Christ then freely entered through the door left wide open when Helen’s own dim competitive pride was finally, fully extinguished. Only then could she see Spiritual things more clearly than those with ears deafened, eyes blinded and hearts hardened by pride in themselves. Only the spiritually helpless are Spiritually re-born. True ‘LGT’ begins and ‘perfectly’ ripens just as Paul discovered, “I die daily.”