In this time of Christmas hope and cheer, the Adult Bible Study Guide comes out aggressively against other Christians. There are only two global sides prior to the next Advent: error or truth. After citing a few proof texts—with sometimes only a few words from a sentence—the lesson finishes the first day with a reductive, anti-ecumenical spirit.
Looking up both SOUL and SPIRIT in Strong’s Concordance, in both the OT and NT the definitions are as long as your arm, and overlap in all four instances. In other words, nobody knows what they’re talking about.
I fully agree with the sentiments in the commentary that these lessons have been a challenge for those who may not have been steeped in Adventism. I had prepared last week’s lesson well. But as I was glancing around, I became aware that one person in the class had never been to a Christian group. Ever! I discarded the questions I had prepared and instead focused on the positives - look to Jesus as the Author and Finisher of our Faith. If banks want to tell are the forgeries - they do it by spending time looking at the genuine instead. What a lesson for us as Adventists with this quarter’s lessons. So we spent our time looking at a God of grace and mercy who wants the best thing for us - rather than the deception focus the lesson did.
Wait, “a challenge for those who may not have been steeped in Adventism”? Bit of an understatement there… The problem goes deeper. While it’s a good idea to read your audience and adapt the presentation, eventually someone will be sent a copy of The Great Controversy or the SS Lesson quarterly and get the Real Message: we are the righteous ones and everybody else is doomed (is this one of the definitions of a cult?). Still waiting for the day the denomination repudiates their mistakes and their version of Joseph Smith and starts following Jesus. Okay, just my opinion.
With all due respect to Auntie Ellen… of the “two great errors”, it’s hard for me to see that a loving and merciful God would condemn one his followers to death because they grew up believing that the soul went to heaven after someone died versus lying in the ground asleep. Because isn’t salvation about accepting Jesus as your personal savior and repenting from sin?
Additionally, do I think those who worship God on Sunday have “a sympathy to Rome”? I don’t think a Protestant automatically has that horrible disease of catholicism. As an aside, some of the best Christians I know (as evaluated by their testimony and works) are Catholics, including one who is a President of a Catholic university and a friend for 30 years.
And it is a bit funny that to prove their point, the SS lessons author’s quote non-SDA scholars. I’m assuming that a former evangelical, a Church of Bretheren ordained minister and a teacher at Fuller Theological Seminary would also have “a bond of sympathy to Rome”? And to be clear, they were not endorsing the SDA idea that when a person dies, then their soul is asleep. They are saying that all is dead.
Lastly when I was 12, the little SDA school I attended was across the street from a public youth community center. My friend and I would go there to play basketball and stuff. One day we had a conversation with a kid about 9 years old. Turns out he was Catholic. He left our conversation in tears because we convinced him he was going to hell and that the Pope was a representative of the Devil. I was only parroting what my betters had taught me, but 4 decades later it is among the top 5 things that I am ashamed of.
Much deeper. The foundations, the doctrines and beliefs of the SDA church can’t be hidden forever. Then when people find all of that out, they will realize that they have been deceived.
The whole thing collapses when that happens, and too much money is involved for that to ever occur. Can you imagine all the back pedaling, explanations and the outright eating of crow that would need to be done to ever come to that point? No, they will continue to try to minimize the problems, hope people don’t find out or question, and refer to EGW as a “preeminent Adventist thought leader”. That was a new one.
There are other ways of looking at this that are not so fearful about hurting RC feelings. For example: Catholicism has experienced a greater net loss due to religious switching than has any other religious tradition in the U.S. Overall, 13% of all U.S. adults are former Catholics" 7 facts about U.S. Catholics | Pew Research Center
So speaking things against the RC church seems like a fertile area. Not sure that many RC Americans really care what you say about the RC church anyway, but that is another subject.
A new favorite quote of mine, birthed in the Civil War but apropos to all that hammers us in any faith community trying to move ahead. Substitute “faith,” “denomination,” “church commitments” for “country” and pray.
“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”
December 1, 1862
Message to Congress
This SS Quarterly , Teachers Edition for III and IV 2022, at least shows two exaggerating anti - RCC polemics :
The Teachers Comments on page 33 insert a commentary on " - lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" - here rather an off - topics - -
of course the Pope is wrong with his “new " interpretation, he dares to change the words of Jesus. This change is “not justifiable” Nooo, WE pay respect, WE do not change the Bible - - - . after all , as found in Henry Georg Lindell and Robert Scott, " A Gereek - English Lexicon” Oxford Calrendon 1966, page 497 - - -the active aorist sunbjunctive form - - (Lliteral quotation of the very text.)
See, and the author does not at all discuss what this unique form could ( !! ) or should ( !! ) better correctly mean ! All the other pleas are in optative (the first three = wish form) and in imperative (the others = order form) - - -
But the author does not discuss this variation of modes, he just denounces the Pope. (And WE are the good ones !!)
Is it possible that God uses politics to separate the sheep from the goats? Allowing freedom of choice, it seems that some no doubt want to embrace conspiracy theories against evidence to the contrary, some embrace authoritarian rule over their fellow men, some embrace truth over error. The great dividing test will reveal the saints from the sinners when the sabbath question is brought to trial. Christian nationalists and theocrats, with their dearly held belief that this country is a christian nation, will easily fall in line with error.
May I offer to you chapter 25 of the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan book? The mark of allegiance to the apostate system of religion in the form of Catholic Popery or Evangelical Popery is expounded by Revelation 14 in the form of 3 Angelic messages, saying to them which dwell on the earth that those whose worship of such a system and its mark of allegiance shall be destroyed, also described as a group in Revelation 13:8 as those whose names are not written in the Book of Life. The mark of allegiance to this false system of religion and worship is Sunday sacredness, confessed by the apostates themselves. Accordingly, the Sabbath is an undeniable command of the 10 mandates kept by the saints. Crystal clear.
James 2:14-26 Even so faith, if it has not works is dead, being alone… For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
John 14:15-24 if you love me keep my Commandments.
Heb 8:10 I will put my laws in their mind and write them in their hearts.
Rev 14:12-20 here is the patience of the saints. Here are the the keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus.
Live by these words and you might have a chance. We each choose our own destiny. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in he Law?” And He said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.
Which comes first, the love or the obedience? Can we obey without love? Can we love without obedience?
The answer did not zero in on the one commandment that is near and dear to Adventists. There are ten of them; and so are we keeping them all with equal enthusiasm?
We pat ourselves on the back for counting down the minutes, twice a week; but what about the rest of them?