First Worship: Exploration of Second Adventism Begins

Communicating heartfelt warmth and irrepressible hope, Janos Kovacs-Biro opened the first General Conference session worship service with a reflection on promises recorded at the beginning of John 14. The passage, on his reading of it, comes down to this assurance from Jesus: I am preparing a place for you. I will return. I will welcome you home.

The platform backdrop proclaimed the theme of the 2015 General Conference Session: “Arise! Shine! Jesus is Coming!” The first congregational song was “When We All Get to Heaven.” Near the beginning of his remarks, the preacher, an engaging Hungarian who serves now as Ministerial Association Secretary of the Trans-European Division, shared a telling phrase from Ellen White. We are, he said, “second Adventists,” and it seemed likely that exploration of “second Adventism” would persist through the next 10 days. A program committee chaired by the denomination’s leader, Elder Ted Wilson, did develop the schedule of speakers, after all.

Who, then, will be prepared for Jesus’ return? Kovacs-Biro made three points, each a variant on the motif of trust. As preparation for Christ’s return, he began, “Trust in the presence of Jesus.” We may, he said, have doubts, just as Thomas, with his “unbelieving finger,” had doubts. Having been invited to touch Jesus with his finger, Thomas confessed, “My Lord and my God.” But when the official whose son was dying (John 4) heard Jesus say, “Your son will live,” he took Jesus simply at his word. So, the preacher said, can we.

Kovacs-Biro went on: “Trust the promises of Jesus.” Here he noted that the new reality Jesus inaugurated is sometimes called a kingdom, sometimes a country or a city. It has, he said, a “governmental structure.” But the passage in John 14 speaks of a “house,” or home, that Jesus is preparing. A home, he said further, is a place of welcome. Mercy reigns at home.

“Trust in the person of Jesus,” the preacher continued. Here he said that “God does not have stepchildren.” Nor does God discriminate with respect to gender, age, or color. He also posed here the question of the delay of Christ’s return, and underscored its poignancy by citing his own grandfather, who four years ago died at the age of 102. His grandfather had himself been a second Adventist, hoping for Christ’s return. Why do we wait so long? Without dwelling on the issue at great depth, Kovacs-Biro reminded listeners one reason for the delay is God’s sensitivity to the fact that many are not yet ready.

Ending with quotes from both Ellen White and Martin Luther on the appeal and consolation of the Advent hope, Kovacs-Biro asked finally: “What have you done with Jesus Christ? And what you have done with what you have received from Christ?

The assumption throughout was the link, perhaps even identity, between the Kingdom of God and the hope of heaven. The first worship service ended with a song from a group called Revivals Ministry on the theme of the Holy City Christians look forward to in the future. Another group from another tradition, the Blind Boys of Alabama, has sung: “Jesus gonna be here, gonna be here soon. / I’m gonna leave this place better than the way I found it was. / Jesus gonna be here, gonna be here soon.” In their song, the connection of “second Adventism” to our responsibilities in the here and now is unmistakable. As of this morning, that connection had not yet been made in San Antonio. But exploration of “second Adventism” will continue over the next 10 days.

Charles Scriven is chairman of the Adventist Forum board, the parent organization of Spectrum Magazine.

Photo Credit: ANN / Robert East


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6899
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Thank-you, Chuck.

I will be interested in how this gets developed or not:

this sounds like it was an uplifting opening meeting…

What is a “second Adventist”? I’ve never heard this term before, and I’m not sure from the report what it is.

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i believe it’s a person living for the second advent of christ…

Thanks. Is this term new to you? Have you heard this before?

i believe it’s new, as i don’t recall seeing it before, which is surprising, since the article mentions it’s a “telling phrase from ellen white”…

"…delay is God’s sensitivity to the fact that many are not yet ready."
According to to what we read in the book Revelation, there are going to be a whole lot of humans who are NEVER going to be ready. Recall where THEY call for the Rocks and Mountains to fall?
So is THIS a Valid statement?
I have always had a problem with this statement since becoming an Adult SDA.

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I would rather think this way than to think that Jesus’ second advent hasn’t happened because WE haven’t done our work - as if we could force Jesus to delay his return. I have wondered if the verses about those who cry for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them are a conditional prophecy, or if there will be many less than we have heard who will be in this group. I, personally, believe that there will be many, many more in heaven than what we have traditionally understood.

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Me, too, Steve…it’s as if they have to come up with some justification and it sounds as good as any to say that it is simply God’s mercy. We do know that in reality not all will ever be ready.

This is interesting. “Trust the promises of Jesus.” This is a slap in the face of LGT and fundamentalism if understood in a rich way. Be gone orthodoxy; be gone legalism; be gone literalism; hello Jesus. Love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. We will embrace the life he reflected from God. The message of ONE is catching hold.

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I am a big advocate of just doing our individual work and not worrying or conjecturing why He hasn’t returned. It is crazy-making to believe that we have much control over when and how it happens.

Pretty sure that there will many more in heaven than we think and it may contain those who may be surprised to see US there! lol

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We have been taught that Christ delays His coming,
because “He is not willing that any should perish”.

Since EGW penned the GREAT CONTROVERSY,
there are BILLIONS more people on the planet
---- billions more to “perish” than if Christ had come
150 or 1500 years ago.
Christ did say through John the Revelator,
circa AD 90, that He would come SOON.
How could that be truthful,
if we believe the 1844 sanctuary prophecy?
Surely one time frame contradicts the other?

Current demographics show
one million births occur EACH WEEK,
most of them to non-Christian families,
and in conditions of utter squalor,
–shanty towns in Africa,
or sordid slums in Rio or Calcutta.
Many will die of dysentery or starvation
before the age of five, and most will "perish"
eternally being born to “heathen” mothers!

The “misery index” on our planet rises exponentially–
a miasma of misery mantles our globe
–drowning, starving migrants
on several oceans, millions of war refugees,
Ebola epidemics, ISIS atrocities ad nauseum.
It is hard to stomach the evening news–
I cringe with each new calamity!
And we are still to endure a “time of trouble
such as never was”?

How do God’s nostrils tolerate the STENCH
of so much agony and anguish?

The demographics reveal that with each
decade delay in Christ’s coming, countless
MORE are eternally lost, and millions more
are mired in abject misery.

The price tag for this delay in Christ’s return
exacted in mankind’s misery,
is getting increasingly, prohibitively EXPENSIVE.

Our initial GC speaker was not encouraging
in explaining away this delay,
and the denomination will increasingly
"have egg on its face" the longer the
time elapses since William Miller’s “mistake”.

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Based on what is written here, this first speech appears to smell LGT: Jesus is late, and His 2nd coming has been delayed because there is not enough people “prepared” for the parousia - whatever “prepared” means!

Preaching perfectionism increases the distance between the Church’s teachings and the need for God’s Grace. Is the Church really going to save us??? Are we actually going to save ourselves by becoming “perfect?” Is this a 29th that was not yet written???

I wonder if we need a “second Adventism” because the first Adventism failed…

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They can’t accept that they simply don’t know…and appear foolish because of it.