As I suggested to Paul, read LaRondelle’s the Israel of God in Prophecy. Perhaps another larger horizen.
How nice when we had people like Des, Hans and Heppenstahl.
God Bless you down under Des. Your works will follow you…spreading the good news.
This message of Christian Century was why Christianity Today was formed. FYI
It’s not a matter of EITHER - OR. We should be able to “walk and chew gum” at the same time. If we truly focus on the gospel, we will also include getting involved with our “neighbour”. Jesus defined the Christian focus to be the love of God; AND a love for our neighbour (social justice).
Yes, we just don’t include “uncle sam” in the equation for implementation.
Okay, I’m chiming in once more.
Are we having a conversation here, or is this just the old Fox News-MSNBC clashing of ideologues? I don’t think intellectual interaction can be fully admired unless the point, in part, is to find areas of a agreement* that might open windows on to the deeper truth we are all seeking.
I earlier listed several questions I had with respect to interaction up to that point, and later a commenter named J.R. Stoval said he had read what went on before and after my questions and “nothing changed.” He meant, I think, that no one had budged. It was Fox-News-MSNBC all over again. (My earlier response, by the way, included mention of specific agreement with one point made by someone who disagreed with me.)
Since William Noel is a major player here let ask him (or anyone, actually, who would like) to respond to two questions.
Noel answered my earlier questions as follows: "Jesus didn’t come to give us an example of rising-up against injustice, He came to proclaim the Kingdom of God and teach His followers to minister as the Holy Spirit directed and empowered.” That answer has no substance at all—it is just opinion–unless, William, you actually refute the reading of the passages in Matthew offered in support of my claims. What is your, or anybody’s, responses to those passages? Please let us hear from you on that.
Another question I asked was this: if following Jesus is “just individuals ministering to the needy: How would that have eliminated child labor or slavery or Jim Crow laws?” No one touched that question. Is it that the “kingdom” – whoa, a political metaphor…is that the kingdom of God has no stake in these issues? Will we have child labor, slavery and official segregation in heaven? Answer that question, so we can all learn something, and perhaps find some small area of agreement.
I see no hope for Adventism if we cannot disagree on a deeper–and more generous–level.
I couldn’t agree more. The root question is: What is God calling YOU to do?
One of the misconceptions of Socialism is that everyone has to be focused on the same topic and have the same opinion as their political leaders. That is contrary to the concept Paul uses when he describes the church as a body made-up of may parts with each performing a different function. All are important, all contribute to the total function of the church and even the smallest parts are esteemed. They function together and in harmony. We need to recognize that there are a wide variety of ways that people can minister God’s love and have a positive influence in their communities and nation. Joseph and later Daniel and his three friends (along with others whom we know nothing about) are the premier examples of service on the national level where their relationship with God guided their decisions and gave them influence that blessed their nations.
As I said before, the root question is knowing what God wants you doing. That does not come from supporting what is politically popular or echoing the rhetoric of political leaders who are not followers of God and who are followers of a philosophy that is focused on the elimination of faith in God from society. It comes from seeking God’s guidance and being willing to be a servant in whatever way He shows you. It always starts small, yet even those small experiences will have a cumulative, life changing impact on your. How far God builds your ministry depends on your willingness to let Him use you and what purpose He has for you.
I can assure you from my experience that God is eager to show you that ministry, to guide you in it and give you more power to do it than you have ever imagined. I will also give you a prediction: there is at least a 95% probability that what God wants you doing has nothing to do with preaching sermons, passing-out literature, giving Bible studies, teaching Sabbath School or any of the other things traditionally associated with evangelism. That’s because there are a host of ways to share God’s love that are overlooked and neglected, yet are vital to growing the church.
Chuck, you are asking fair questions that deserve reasonable answers.
Jesus didn’t encourage anyone to rise-up against the Roman government for a simple reason: it would have brought swift and violent suppression that would have prevented Him from performing his mission. That left Him free to demonstrate how the power and love of God transcend even the most difficult of circumstances.
If the Number One purpose and theme of Jesus’ ministry wasn’t preparing people to be part of the Kingdom of God, I’d like to know what it is. Three years before Pentecost He sent the disciples out in the power of the Holy Spirit to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast-out demons, cleanse the lepers and to tell people that the Kingdom of God had drawn near to them. Everything was building-up to His death which would make it possible for us to be part of that Kingdom. His eternal purpose is the elimination of sin so we can be reconciled to Him and live with Him forever.
I speak from my almost 13 years of experience in actively ministering in the power of the Holy Spirit and what I have seen the powerful love of God do through me and my teammates. That experience has given me a different point of view that obviously contrasts with your concepts, which appear to be lacking in experience with the Holy Spirit and heavily influenced by popular socialist philosophy. How I wish you had more intimate experience with the Holy Spirit!
For anyone who supports popular social justice causes I have several questions. First, do you have clear evidence of God guiding you and empowering your ministry? Second, the first result of every miracle Jesus performed was an improvement in the recipient’s life and loving God was one of their responses. Are you improving the lives of others in ways that turn the hearts of others to God? Third, are you seeing your relationship with God growing as a direct result?
Social justice causes depend on human power and point people to politically-motivated leaders for guidance instead of God. The primary tools used to persuade people to support one cause or another are lying, shaming, coercion, increased taxes to fund it, laws requiring compliance with it and even threats of violence and criminal penalties to make people fear opposing it.They are fueled by dividing society into sub-groups that can be pitted against each other. More than that, the ultimate objective of Socialism is a “perfect society” which is not possible to achieve by human power and which depends on the elimination of faith in God from society unless it is subject to the wishes of the state.
In contrast, God improves our lives in intimate ways that touch our hearts and draw us to Him. His love unites us and erases the divisions that are promoted by social justice causes. He gives us the privilege of being his messengers to give others a fresh perspective on life so they can be freed from the conceptual prisons of their problems. Yes, He even performs miracles. I have seen the sick healed and demons cast-out. (No, I haven’t yet met any lepers and I haven’t seen any resurrections yet). I’ve had people arrive late at a project site to bring us materials or a tool that we needed and telling us that God had told them to deliver it. We have even been visited by angels.
Are you actually involved in social ministry? If so, I would like to hear about it so I can celebrate the amazing works of God with you. If you aren’t, I hope you will be seeking God’s guidance so you can know how He wants you working for Him.
To appropriate that title is gross blasphemy. Even James White threw her testimony into the fireplace. She said she was shown things that never happened in heaven. Many of her statements if given in a court of law would considered purgery.
I believe God did give us Rom.13 and good gov. To ensure all people were treated equal before The law. They were to use force as needed against evil. Segregation and slavery were wrong.
The problem comes when “provision” becomes part of the equation. I simply dont find redistribution of earned Income taught or implied in scripture. In fact it was warned against when Israel wanted a king. 1Sam.8:7-18. I suggest that is what many are asking for…just like the nations.
God does encourage our charity and our helping our brothers in Christ …and our neighbor in need.
I think it’s a very complex issue that’s very difficult to discuss in isolation from complex data, historical background, and various historical context. The most grounded conversation that I’ve ever heard on this subject was this one … Which I highly recommend. I would say that it’s am extremely mature discussion on this issue, which puts emotionally charged sentiments aside, and gets to the bottom of the realities of this issue rathe quickly.
John and Charles Wesley of the 1700’s in England.
From a YouTube short video.
“Every true movement of God among men affects all areas of life, thus
within the “Methodist Movement” were the beginnings of many social
changes as well.
the abolition of slavery and child labor abuses.
care for the poor
It is said that the “Great Awakening” prevented an English version of
the French Revolution.”
Two Men just wanting a deeper relationship with God, and shared it.
The Adventist faith was born and raised in a bubble that was percolated in the nineteenth century New England - the dark day - the stars falling - the moon turning to blood - all in the skies over New England. This was thought to be an apocalyptic sign that the next event would be Jesus in the cloud, presumably over (Portland, ME). When that didn’t happen, the story grew more apocalyptic transferring the action into heaven itself. That bubble is still floating around with Adventists right in the middle of it.
We have special texts that define our version of the gospel; and the major ones are in Revelation, only second to Daniel. It is reasoned that if Daniel is about 1844 and the birth of the “Advent movement” then there must be some specific mention of the little flock to be found in Revelation as well. Indeed, we found one (or more precisely, created one). Enter Rev. 12 and 19. With a little tweaking, we find Ellen White mentioned, although obliquely. Read it here:
What has been done in the article above, is a further manipulation, taking hold of the word “prophet” and swinging back to Isaiah and beyond to prove a personal point. I understand the frustration some of us have with the church’s myopic definition of the “gospel”, and so we swing, like pendulums do, far over to (should I say) - LEFT.
If Jesus came to right the injustices found on this globe, he most certainly failed. As has been pointed out before, he didn’t seem to address slavery or women’s rights, both dealt with in the US constitution since. Jesus had a bigger picture in mind. He came to initiate the kingdom of God, where the “just shall live by faith”. There is no justice on this earth and never can be. It comes in small doses by those who have been “born again” - this time, into that kingdom Jesus came to initiate.
Back to the bubble: slavery and injustice of many kinds flourish - all over the earth. Christians are hunted and killed; women are taken into slavery; despots rule countries some of us are trying to emulate (Venezuela for example). Where to begin… How to burst the bubble…
Jesus and social justice
The entire Jewish social and religious system was based on the Jews being the special people of God. They believed that they, alone. were the recipients of God’s care and blessings - as long as they did, what they thought, they were told. This resulted in meticulous commandment keeping; and the expectation was bountiful blessings - long life and good health; healthy crops and many children. They became slaves to their “good works”. This also meant that those who were poor and sick were believed to be sinners, deserving their state of affairs. The worst of the lot, were the lepers, who suffered the worst of God’s “curses”.
The list of blessings: Deuteronomy 28:1-14; the list of curses: Deuteronomy 28:15-68. The entire litany begins:
Now, it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. All these blessing will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God.
Fast forward to verse15:
But it shall come about, if you do not obey the Lord your God, to observe to do all Hs commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses wi come upon you and overtake you._
This was the ultimate definition of slavery. Jesus came to “free the captives”, by offering up his body.
And, thus, when handed the book of Isaiah, Jesus read the words and sat down, declaring, Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing. Luke 4:18.
That is the gospel we are to proclaim; not everyone’s right to be able to own an iPhone and a certain standard of living.
The needs of this world haven’t changed much. There are not enough hours in a day to address them all. The best we can do is focus on the ones we encounter; but the ultimate deliverance needs to be the message handed to us by Jesus himself.
My ministry experience contrasts with that. God ALWAYS provides what is needed so we will learn to depend on Him as the source instead of government.
I’ll give you an example. A few months ago on a Sabbath afternoon I got a call from the single mother in a household with news that their water heater was leaking. The sun was barely down before my daughter and I were on our way there and it was obvious the water heater needed replaced. I used my smart phone to find prices for that size and the prices I found were all above $500. I had to tell the mother that the repair was going to cost more than she or I could afford so we would just have to see if God provided. We were barely back in my pickup before I was calling our church treasurer to check the balance in the ministry account. I knew people had been giving but I hadn’t been checking to know how much so you can imagine my surprise when the amount she told me was more than $700! I quickly called the mother back to tell her that God had provided and we both were almost in tears when we ended the call. Even better, when we got to Home Depot first thing the next morning to buy the water heater we found that the replacement was not $529, but $369 because the price had just been dropped!
God promises that He will provide all of our needs, so why would we imagine depending on government resources? Plus, when it is obvious that God has provided the praise of those who have been blessed is all the louder.
I would like to challenge your thinking on something. What if we sought to follow God’s mandate in Isaiah 58 by ministering His love and power instead of relying on preaching? I think we would see a revolution in the church where people would be discovering the power of the Holy Spirit and the church membership would grow explosively as a result. I have seen more people join the church in the almost 13 years of my Spirit-driven ministry than I saw in the previous 30-plus years of other ministry approaches.
I don’t think most of us have a clue how much personal responsibility it takes for individuals to access the services they are entitled to.
A part-time, minimum wage often comes with the expectation that the individual will be able and willing to work any shift, often on short notice. Part-time is kept below the number of hours at which the employer has to pay benefits. Meanwhile, childcare is necessary, and not everyone has relatives who can fill the gap. If appointments for various benefits aren’t met, getting another anytime soon may be next to impossible. Plus the individual may be labeled non-compliant and punished in some way for these difficulties. The same goes for medical appointments for self and children. If earnings are only a few dollars more than the allotted amount, benefits are cut for the following month–which will make it more difficult to stretch the paycheck. In many communities, landlords are allowed to charge the going rate or an average for the entire statistical metropolitan area, which may amount to half the combined total of benefits and wages. Many landlords are very slow to make repairs; if rent is withheld, eviction may be the response instead of making the repairs. And eviction usually means finding another place of similar or better quality impossible–other landlords can see that record and consider the individual a poor risk. (In one poor area of a county, Adventist from the local Adventist ghetto were some of those landlords.)
In addition, transportation is a major issue. The managed care group that works with Medicaid may assign the family to a physician in another city 15 miles away. And the letter may have gone to the previous address, so it was never received. With a car, that isn’t much of a problem–if you can afford gas and maintenance. But if you are dependent on public transportation, the systems in the different areas (in the same county, mind you) don’t cooperate with each other. If you are dependent on friends, you need to accommodate their schedule. Same is true for obtaining groceries. There are major food deserts in many low-income areas, so you have to use public transportation or a friend to get to the local WalMart or it’s equivalent several miles away. And be cautious how and what you buy so that you can carry it home. It can be easier and possibly cheaper to obtain fast food closer to your home–not a healthy option.
Managing all this, often without having completed high school, takes ingenuity and shrewdness (street smarts), many of us would have difficulty managing.
This conversation might advance in a more positive manner if we stop using ideological/political/philosophical meanings for the word ‘social justice’. What would those in the time of Christ or after understood it to mean? What did Christs ministry have to say abouit it. We nearly always try to use mor modern definitions of words to explaine what was written or said thousand of years ago. How can that work? Was their even a word or words that converyed the idea or was Christ trying to show the way when talked about being your neighbors keeper?
In my view, moderns do not want togo there. I believe it requires us to give up our preconcieved ideas/beliefs/thoughts and ask again, God, can you lead me into a better understanding.
Well if you’re going to take God out of the conversation, which Sam Harris is always good at, it will not have a chance to be defined in the same way. So here’s another perspective:
SOCIAL JUSTICE & THE GOSPEL CONFERENCE
Postmodern thought has now made inroads into what until very recently, were conservative, Biblical Christian circles, all with the smiling face of “social justice.” The rapidity with which these deadly ideas have spread from the culture at large into churches and Christian organizations is truly shocking – all with an ever-present progressive political undertone that has become noticeable as the movement has gained steam.
Oh boy. All the comments are evidence of the culture war going on in the West today, no more than the article itself.
Leaving the SDA prophetic message to one side, it seems that the ties that bind are fraying badly and we are in for a rough ride, with those who lean right having been unable to own up to our own failings without the left eviscerating the positives of Western Christian thought and values