“The end time message according to the NT is the gospel…the announcement of the kingdom of God in Jesus Christ. His death and resurrection revealed God’s victory over all the evil powers, including death itself. It revealed that God had broken into this world in a decisive way that would never be defeated, that the new creation had already begun, and would be culminated with Jesus’s return.
The Adventist end-time puzzle piece prophetic scenario is an aberration. It deflects attention from the gospel, is ostensibly centered on law/sabbath and Adventist uniqueness, and is built on one method of interpreting apocalyptic texts that leads to these curious interpretive results. It ends up actually becoming an impediment to the gospel.” Frank Merendino
Frank, what you say is spot on, I agree wholeheartedly. We look solely to the consummation of the kingdom at Christ’s second coming and don’t even acknowledge what scholars like George Eldon Ladd and Herman Ridderboss showed clearly, that Jesus central message, and the mystery of the kingdom, was that the kingdom had already come in his person.
And our “end-time puzzle piece prophetic scenario is [definitely] an aberration”, and is killing what could be a very powerful message we should share, which is totally different to many modern mega church aberrations, which use a cloak of Christianity thrown over what is basically an entertainment show. They are as shallow as shallow can be. These charlatan mega-church leaders who rake in massive financial hoards and live lives of extravagant indulgence, while proclaiming to be following in the footsteps of our self-effacing Lord (who couldn’t boast a pillow to lay his head on), are not to be our examples. We need to cut to the authentic message of the Bible.
The atheist Niall Ferguson hit it on the head when he said, "…there is a sense in which many of the most successful sects today flourish precisely because they have developed a kind of consumer Christianity that verges on Wal-Mart worship. It is not only easy to drive to and entertaining to watch – not unlike a trip to the multiplex cinema, with soft drinks or Starbucks served on the premises. It also makes remarkably few demands on believers. On the contrary, they get to make demands on God, so that prayer often consists of an extended series of requests for the deity to solve personal problems." Civilisation 5361
Many consumer Christianity aberrations preach a message which is not the authentic gospel, but rather a mixture of psychological positivism, telling people only the good things they want to hear, and preaching a "prosperity gospel", where believers are promised a comfortable material life if they conform to the wishes of the leader. Preachers take a text and instead of mining "from" the text the blessed message it was originally meant to covey, they drag in any and every bit of psychological rubbish they want, to manipulate their hearers in a strange direction.
Certainly we need to re-invent many things in our century and half old church, but not abandon the huge Protestant Reformation gains we made by accepting our most important founder’s teachings (I am referring to Joseph Bates), of the continuing validity of the Sabbath, the health message, the abolition of slavery, the separation of church and state, and I am not sure who introduced the most important teaching of conditional immortality? We certainly do need to re-visit our increasingly hierarchical governance structure, especially in an electronic age. We need to re-invent our worship service (but please keep the brilliant Sabbath-school concept), by making it more inclusive, friendly, socially sharing, and possibly incorporate more singing and praising/ participation.
We also need to accept the truth that Ellen White had many flaws, and that her “lesser light” needs to be wound down to a mere glimmer of it’s former self. I know this last wish will be the most controversial point I will make, but unless we accept the truth about Ellen White we will NEVER move on to a clearer biblical message.