I want to ask for a moment of silence. Not in remembrance of someone who is lost, but so that as a Church we can take a deep breath and think about Who we serve. Jesus Christ is the Head of our Church and we all serve Him. We must also remember that if this is truly His Church, then He is in charge and we must trust Him to lead, for it is His Church.
Lately there have been a lot of voices talking about the many "problems" with the Church. Things like style of worship, who is called to ministry, the education that our pastors receive at our institutions of higher education, even simple things like the outreach methods that are undertaken. As a Church we will always have disagreements. It's a fact of life that is magnified when you have such a diverse body as our World Church. Our Church is like at family. Actually it is a family, one that has God as its Head. Our Church family.
My concern is that recently the many voices have become very loud. Not just in volume, but in intensity. When families have arguments things tend to get nasty and heated. That is when bad things happen. Police officers will tell you the one thing they hate to deal with are domestic disturbances or family fights. They never end well, people get hurt and bad things happen. But our Family Ministry directors will tell you that when a home has Jesus Christ serving as the Head of the house, these conflicts are minimized and end up getting resolved. Why? Because when we focus on Jesus and not on ourselves, the conflicts are truly shown for what they are. Not major conflicts, but misunderstandings that can be resolved through prayerful communication.
What does this have to do with the Seventh-day Adventist Church? If we believe that Jesus Christ is the Head of our Church, then we need to let Him lead. We need to stop our talking, stop trying to run the Church our way and just pray for His leading. This is the only way we will survive as a church family. It is the only way to discuss our differences. We must also accept each other for who we are, not for what we aren't. If we believe that all are called to be servants of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:4-9), then we must trust Him to lead in our lives.
I truly believe that God is using each one of us to serve Him. So when we ridicule the efforts of others within our Church, we are actually ridiculing God for He put those people in the positions they are in. He called them to a life of service. We must trust Him to lead the Church. We don't lead the Church, He does.
For many Seventh-day Adventists, the Great Controversy is a pivotal part of our doctrinal DNA. It helps to explain all of the things that have happened in this world's history and gives us a glimpse of what is to come. Some people are uncomfortable with it, but when we truly understand the battle between good and evil that is taking place all around us, it gives us hope in the future.
But today, many of our members have taken it upon themselves to create their own Great Controversy. They are quick to judge others, condemning them as heretics for what they believe or teach. Voices are quick to proclaim that their way of reading the Bible is better, that they are the "true Adventists." They even proclaim that the Church will split and their brothers and sisters in Christ will be lost. Their voices have become very loud lately and it pains me greatly. I also know that Jesus Christ is in pain when He hears them as well.
If we truly believe that this is the Church of Jesus Christ, then we must stop the voices and let Him lead. Let Jesus resolve our conflict and heal our family. Let’s put aside our differences and support each other. This is the only way that we, as a Church, can move forward. If we focus on Jesus and not ourselves or each other, then He will lead us forward.
There is a whole world out there waiting to hear of Jesus and His love. Let's stop being selfish and focus on them and not what are perceived wrongs within our Church. Let Jesus heal the Church. Let's focus on the Mission that He has given all of us. Let's do it as a family. Together.
Image: Eugène Delacroix - Christ on the Sea of Galilee, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
Daniel Jackson is president of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. This editorial originally appeared in a special NAD NewsPoints bulletin and is reprinted with permission.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6701