How Healthy is Adventist Eschatology? A Missiological Imbalance (Part 6)


#282

Jeremy,

To tell you the truth, I think that this WO issue reveals how much the church is in a state of confusion on both sides of the question.

On one hand, the church is not coherent. The biblical question is not about knowing whether a woman can be an ordained pastor but rather if a woman CAN be a pastor. Because in the Bible the question is about the role or function, not about ordination.

So, if the church says that women can be commissioned pastors, that is, if they can occupy the position of pastor, then they can be ordained pastors. It is as simple as that.

But if the church says that women cannot be ordained pastors then why do they allowed them to be commissioned pastors? And why allow them to study theology? It is not fair to let them study theology and then arbitrarily say, “Sorry, you cannot go further”. This doesn’t make sense.

The church has a big part of responsibility for this situation that confuses and hurt many.

Again, if the church allows women to be commissioned pastors then, according to me, they should allow them to be ordained because the real issue is the function/role not the ordination or lack thereof.

On the other hand, many, on the pro WO side, are mixing different issues together (i.e. ordination, women ministries, equal pay, equality, abuses against women, etc) and, at time, use wrong (according to me) biblical arguments in order to support their cause. In order to support their positions many are willing to disregard portions of the Bible, to consider some texts as irrelevant or biased, or even to malign some biblical writers, not realizing that they are undermining the relevancy of the entire Scripture (after all, if one portion of the Bible is not trustworthy here why should I trust that the Bible is trustworthy there?).

Now, concerning the behavior of the people on both sides of the matter, here also, I see a lot of problems.

On one hand, the GC is reduced to issuing threats of sanctions against non-compliant elements of the church. This might not be the best strategy (though I still believe that the GC has the duty to implement the decision taken by the church in session even if some people don’t like it).

One the other hand, some women think, rightfully or not, that they deserve some particular positions or status (or some people think that they do). But even if they do, I am not sure that the we are witnessing the same spirit as found in Jesus “who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God” (Philippians 2:6)

Also, many on the WO side don’t realize the danger of disregarding the decision taken by the church in session. If the pro WO are allowed to disregard the vote, we create a precedent that will be used by anybody who doesn’t want to comply with a vote.

And, to finish, people on both sides have the tendency not to respect the other side but both sides believe they are led by the Holy Spirit.

So, what do I see concerning WO? I see people letting the enemy of our soul run wild in the vineyard of the Lord.


(George Tichy) #283

I asked myself the same question. And my answer was, “I see a bunch of men behaving as adolescent boys protecting their boys club by discriminating against women.”

This in the 21st Century!!! :open_mouth:


(Tim Teichman) #284

Yea, but shouldn’t we look to day’s gone by for inspiration? What could the future hold that we’d be interested in?

I love these lyrics from The Days We’ve Yet To Meet by my fave band Flogging Molly. They suggest a better way:


Turn back the time before the seconds disappear
The same old clock will steal the minutes it now fears
No telling when or how the hour still agree
For it’s tomorrow and the days we’ve yet to meet
Yeah it’s tomorrow and the days we’ve yet to meet

On my own and green as hell
The first night that I saw you
You told me then this is where and how
We have so much more to give
And we sing…

And now remember you when you were seventeen
Still had your hair and life was looking pretty sweet
But yesterdays in hindsight are meant to be
For it’s tomorrow and the days we’ve yet to meet
Yeah it’s tomorrow and the days we’ve yet to meet


I keep finding that song lyrics often speak to me more than church teachings. Weird, perhaps.


(James Peterson) #285

This is what God said about the new covenant:

  1. I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and
  2. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
  3. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord.
  4. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.

That is a strange covenant in that a covenant is usually between two parties where one pledges to a certain thing and the other also pledges to certain other things; but here, God pledges to do everything. What then, is the pledge of the house of Israel and Judah?

  1. In Exodus 19, God asked Israel through Moses whether they were willing to enter into a covenant with Him seeing that He had freed them from slavery. They replied, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” Exod. 19:8.

  2. In Exodus 20, God spoke to Israel from the Mt. Sinai: THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. They responded by saying to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” Exod. 20:19

  3. So Moses went up to the mountain and God spoke all the words between Exod. 20 and 24, expounding, applying and extending on THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.

  4. In Exodus 24, Moses writes the very words down in a book and again asked the people whether they were willing to enter into a covenant with God, to which they replied in the affirmative. “All the words which the Lord has said we will do.” Exod. 24:3. This would be the third time they pledged their commitment.

  5. And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you according to all these words.” Exod. 24:8

  6. Then the Lord said to Moses, Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.” Exod. 24:12
     
    (“And Moses turned and went down from the mountain, and the two tablets of the Testimony were in his hand. The tablets were written on both sides; on the one side and on the other they were written. Now the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God engraved on the tablets.” Exod. 32:15-16)

  7. So then, the entire covenant was encapsulated into THE TEN COMMANDMENTS and written with the finger of God on two tablets of stone. And all of Israel promised to be obedient.


I went through all of this patiently, in great detail, step by step, to show you that in the context of the covenant (whether old or new), “the law” is THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. See God’s own words in #6 above.

So then, because the new covenant is NOT between God and the nation of Israel altogether like before but between God and each individual, and because Gentiles like ourselves were offered a part in it, what should be OUR pledge? Should it not be humbly, willingly, joyfully, “All that the Lord has spoken, we will do”?

Mat. 4:3-4

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(Frankmer7) #286

You guys just keep pounding the idea that Law/Torah =Ten Commandments. It simply does not mean that! Ask any Jewish rabbi. Torah is the whole content of the Pentateuch, and then all the instruction contained therein, 613 commands, which included the ten. The ten were called the covenant and the basis of it all, but are not what is meant when the word Torah is used.

In fact, Exodus shows that YHWH did not give the ten isolated from the other instructions on Sinai. Chapter 23 speaks of commands for the care of the poor, and foreigners, and regulations not only for the Sabbath, but for all the feast days. Chapter 25 also shows YHWH giving regulations for the tabernacle and the priesthood. These were not just written by Moses, they were recorded as being communicated by YHWH to Moses on Sinai, as he was receiving the ten.

This means that the ten were never received or given in isolation from the rest of the Law. Nor were the regulations just from Moses…it all came from God with the ten being the basis of the entire covenant arrangement for the nation. It was meant for Israel. If one transgressed the terms of the covenant, which they did shortly after, the law and regulations for sin and mediation were in place for restoration of the broken covenant.

This is what the whole idea of Torah covers. The Torah pertained to the sacrifices for forgiveness as well as the declaration of thou shalt nots, and much more, for the life of the nation. In particular, this promise of forgiveness is part of the Law engraved on the heart of the New Covenant. The entire essence of the Torah, encompassing changed hearts, newly ethical behavior, and the provision for forgiveness, were what God promised to Israel, but opened strangely and unexpectedly to the entire world through the crucified and risen Messiah, and his Spirit. The Torah/Law written on the heart also includes the idea that sins are remembered no more.

This is not a one to one correspondence with the ten words or the entire Old Covenant. But, this experience is the fulfillment of the entire sweep of the Torah. This is what miraculously happens to all who experience the power of the Spirit as they come to Jesus, join up with him by faith, and receive the new life that he gives. It is this very experience, born from the cross and the empty tomb by his Spirit, that is the fulfillment of the Law written on the heart, in and of itself! We look to Jesus, and live by the Spirit, not the letter.

This explains why so many people come to Jesus, experience new life, see their lives miraculously turned around by the power of God, and are never convicted about sabbath, or food laws. Or, they have varying convictions on food and holy times, as Paul speaks of in Romans 14-15. These are not essential to Christian life and experience. What is essential is that with one mouth and one voice , we glorify God together, no matter what our convictions are concerning these matters. And, that we accept and welcome one another, as God in Christ, has welcomed and accepts us.

I’ve said all I can say.

Thanks…

Frank


(Cfowler) #287

The Abrahamic Covenant is an unconditional covenant that God alone promises to fulfill. The fulfilling belongs only to God, not to Abraham.

Christians are part of the Abrahamic Covenant, not the Mosaic.

I’m, of course, not Frank. Pardon my butting in. :slightly_smiling_face:


(James Peterson) #288

That’s ok; but concerning the Abrahamic covenant of blessing, this was the testimony that God bore of Abraham as reason for the blessing. “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son — blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, BECAUSE you have obeyed My voice.” Genesis 22:16-19

In another place, God, referencing Abraham, told Isaac, “… I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; BECAUSE Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” Gen. 26:4-5

To follow God, to walk in the footsteps of Abraham and of Christ: THERE REALLY IS NO WAY AROUND THE SIMPLE TEN COMMANDMENTS. Deut. 5:29, “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!

John 8:29

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(Cfowler) #289

In this chapter God was testing Abraham, and yes, he obeyed what God had instructed him to do.

In Genesis 15, God told Abram:

5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring[d] be.”
6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

Then the covenant ceremony was performed by God, while Abram was in a deep sleep. It is a unilateral covenant that is only God’s to keep.

We don’t have any listing of the laws, commandments, statutes, etc. that are specifically referred to here.

We move to Galatians:

7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”[d] 9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”[e] 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”[f] 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”[g] 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”[h] 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.


#290

Frank,

It is true that the first five books in the Bible are called Torah but the one of the primary meanings is “law” and the word can be used as such even when not referring to the five books written by Moses.

For example, in Habakkuk 1:4, it is written:

“Therefore the law (torah) is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.”

Here, the word law (torah) is used in a general sense and doesn’t refer to the books of Moses (to say that the Pentateuch is “slacked” doesn’t make any sense).

But, contrary to what you believe, the word “torah” is also used for the Ten commandments. For example, in Exodus 24:12, it is written:

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there:and I will give you thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them”

This verse speaks about the Ten Commandments and guess what the word used here for law is: torah.


(Frankmer7) #291

Yes, the Torah was also looked upon as 613 commands. Israel was not following its teaching and perverted justice in the community. This was based on more than just the ten.

I already showed that Exodus 23-25 contains not only the giving of the ten from Sinai, but also laws concerning the treatment of the poor and foreigners, regulations relating not only to sabbath, but also to the yearly festivals, and directions and regulations for the tabernacle and the priesthood. In this context, Ex. 24:12 covers all of this; YHWH said that he would give Moses the tablets (the ten), and a law (Torah), and commands., that you may teach them.

The whole idea of teaching is bound up with the entire Torah, which also means teaching. From Moses, and throughout the history of Israel, the entire Torah was and has been taught as the way of life for them as the people of God…again, more than the ten.

Again, you are jumping all over the bible to try and cobble together a point. If one wants to know how the Abrahamic covenant applied to Christians, especially Gentile believers in the NT, one needs to look at how Paul used this narrative, particularly in Romans and Galatians. He goes nowhere near this text, and focuses totally on Gen. 15:6, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”

God made promises to Abraham concerning a son, an heir, and a nation coming from him, that were humanly impossible to accomplish. Abraham, hoping against hope, believed that God had the power to do what he had promised. This was before he was circumcised, before any mention of commands being fulfilled, and before any allusion to law (and there is no hint that the ten are even being talked about in Gen. 26, since they were never given until Sinai).

Paul’s point is that Gentiles who have come to faith in Christ, totally separate from the Law and the Sinai covenant, are blessed along with believing Abraham, because they too are counted as God’s friends, simply because they believed in the power of God and his promise to do for them what they could never do for themselves. This is what Paul, in Romans, calls the obedience which is faith, or obedience to the gospel.

The attempt to impose life under the Law upon Gentiles was refuted by Paul through this text, and his use of the story of Abraham’s faith. In its own way, this is the very thing that Adventism seeks to impose upon other Christians, saying that simple faith, a joining up with Christ that expresses itself in self giving love, is not enough for full acceptance into the people of God. Paul’s whole point in Romans and Galatians is that it is. It simply is!

Thanks…

Frank


#292

Carol,

Can you explain to me why Jesus said: “If you love me, keep my commandments” instead of just saying, “Have faith”?

Also, can you explain why is the law a curse? Is honoring one’s parents a curse? Is not killing a curse? Is not lying a curse? Is honoring God a curse?

Thank you…


#293

Frank,

The text of Exodus 24:12 says:

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there:and I will give you thee tables of stone, and a law , and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them”

What are the law and commandments that God has ever written? On tables of stone? The Ten Commandments.


(Cfowler) #294

Jesus gave many more instructions, teachings, commandments than just the ten.
John: 14

15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me:

23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words:

24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.

26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

There is so much that Jesus said during his time on earth, they were “his teachings/sayings/commandments”.

If the 10 were the only thing of importance, Jesus could have said…just keep the 10 commandments, that’s all.


(Cfowler) #295

The text says, “…all who rely on the *works of the law are under a curse” and “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law”. It doesn’t say the law is a curse, but the reliance on the law for justification places one under a curse. Jesus redeemed us from the curse, and by becoming the curse for us.

It doesn’t say the Law is a curse. The curse is the penalty for not keeping the law.


#296

Carol,
This is precisely my point: Jesus could also have said, “Have faith, that’s all” but he didn’t. He asked us to keep his commandments if we loved him.

Many people try to establish a false dichotomy between faith and law, or between love and law.

If we love Jesus, we will have faith in Him.

If we love Him, we will keep his commandments.

If we love Him, we will have faith that we can keep his commandments.

Exactly!

There is nothing wrong with the law. What’s wrong is us.

So, there is nothing wrong is keeping the law.

The problem is that if we rely on ourselves to keep the law in order to be saved then we are in hot water because:

  1. we are saying that we don’t need Jesus to be saved;
  2. if we choose that road then we have to keep ALL the law perfectly. If we keep 99.99% of the law then our record is not perfect and we are under condemnation.

On the other hand, if we rely on Jesus then:

  1. we are in good hand because our defender is God himself;
  2. God will give the power to overcome sin (which is the transgression of the law).

Where does faith intervene?

We have faith when we put our fate in the hand of God.

We have faith when we believe the diagnosis: we are all sinners and wicked.

We have faith when we believe the verdict: the wages of sin is death.

We have faith when we believe that God loves us and have a solution: Jesus.

We have faith when we believe that God can forgive us and save us through Jesus.

We have faith when we believe that God can give us the power to do his will and keep his commandments.

Like I said earlier, there is no dichotomy between faith and law. God is not asking us to have faith in an abstract way. This is why Jesus asked us to keep his commandments if we love him. This is also why James said that faith without work is dead.


(George Tichy) #297

Let alone the fact that there were many things that Jesus said and taught that were never recorded. Just imagine how many incidents, encounters, discussions happened in three and a half years! We know of only a few of them.

Besides, we have to be careful because everything about Him was written down many years after His death, maybe an average of 40 to 50 years? If I gave a speech to a group today, how accurate would be the info written about the content of my speech 40 years later???


(Cfowler) #298

Yep, he said a whole lot more! How many teachings/sayings/exhortations did Jesus speak? A lot!!! His commandments aren’t just the 10.

Some people try to continue to live with the Mosaic covenant. They don’t understand that the Old has faded, and we are now living in the new way of the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3
7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!

How do you interpret this text?


(Frankmer7) #299

Carol…

The problem is that he’s not coming from the paradigm of law as covenant… even if he thinks he is. He sees law as ethical existential reality only. It comes shining through his post to you. What is not being taken into account are all the places where Paul is showing that with the coming of messiah the covenant of law from Sinai is over. That it was an arrangement in history between God and one people. It served it’s purpose, just as the recipe book did before the banquet was served. But now, the supper is on the table, get out of the kitchen and enjoy it with messiah! Jews and Gentiles together around the same table with him, the law no longer as barrier or condition for belonging.

That is the main issue to Paul, not law as timeless existential reality. To ignore this is to simply misconstrue Galatians, Romans, and 2 Cor.3.

The other faulty assumption is to think that without the Law we are morally rudderless and advocating sin. These are ther very charges Paul himself faced. If anything, the New Covenant, empowerd by the Spirit, points to a higher standard than rule and regulation. It points to the self giving love of Christ on Calvary. Paul calls this kind of love the Law of Christ… as in bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill it.

Much more could be said, but I know you are familiar with all of this.

Thanks…

Frank


#300

In the past, the Israelite were justified through the sanctuary service, especially through the Day of Atonement service, once a year. In that day, the High Priest would put blood on the mercy seat.

But with Jesus, we are justified through the ministry of the Spirit. We are saved through his sacrifice that was done once for all, instead of every year with the day of atonement.


(Frankmer7) #301

How does this even address the text? How does this explain the ministry that brought death ? Paul says nothing about Yom Kippur, the sanctuary service, the High Priest, etc.

He does contrast the fading glory of Sinai and its covenant, as seen in the face and ministry of Moses, with the lasting and surpassing glory of the Spirit. He also contrasts the condemnation and death brought by the old in letters engraved on stone with the righteousness brought by the new.

The question that grows out of this text is, why would we seek to put anyone back under that letter engraved on stone, when all Paul is saying it could bring was condemnation and death? He says the same in Romans 7:1-6, and throughout the main arguments of Galatians.

Thanks…

Frank