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  1. Vernon P. Wagner
    19 August 2011 @ 10:54 pm

    If, in the quest for intagibles such as truth & enlightenment, the seeker finds a path that no longer requires sectarian membership in a man made church, in what way is he / she morphing into a black hole of doubt?  At some point, everything that is now fully accepted as Christian orthodoxy was considered to be blasphemous by those holding opposing views.  Spiritual growth can be achieved outside the limits of dogma.  Those who dare choose that route will surely be morphing, but not into a black hole.

  2. Elaine Nelson
    20 August 2011 @ 12:47 am

     “Are you trying to get in, or are you trying to get out?”

    This is very demeaning approach.  Would  you ask your son such a question?  We should listen to any questions as an honest desire to have rational reasons that do not infer that one is seeking ways to either get in or get out.

    Answers will depend on the maturity of the questioner, but all questions should be honestly answered.
    Example:  what should you tell a teenager when she asks why it is wrong:  to wear makeup, read fiction, attend movies, or even why only SDAs observe Saturday as a holy day?  If they don't ask, be assured they are asking others are silently wondering.  If they read the Bible they may discover texts that have never been answered in either church or their SDA school.  Do they know there is not a single Bible text about wearing jewelry, makeup, attending movie or reading fiction (how much of the Bible is fiction?), and that there is no command to observe ANY holy day in the entire NT?

    Yes, there is a risk; but if faith is too fragile to receive honest questions, of what worth is it?  Does mere silence mean assent to all doctrines?  It may mean they questioner realizes that his actions are not worthy of answers, or else there are no "good" answers.

    BTW:  was your son satisfied with the answer you gave?  Be prepared for many more like that in the future.  Can you not explain the idea of metaphors or symbols?  Aesop's fables have good morals, but no one considers them to be literal.  Why not the same application to the Bible.  Does faith depend on all the Bible stories being literal?

  3. Ranald McLeish
    20 August 2011 @ 1:52 am

    Oh for the day when, " — we should not be afraid when someone seeks to examine, question, or doubt our cherished beliefs – for if they are in fact the truth, they will be able to stand up to questioning and still emerge as truth."

    As questioning the voted fundamental beliefs of the church is considered an open invertation for ridicule and persecution, it appears few are prepared to question Church teaching today. For example consider the current teaching that the Papacy has taken away, not only Christ's ministry in Heaven, but has replaced the the Heavenly host with a host of its own. And that the persecuting rule of the Papacy continues for 2,300 years. 

    As it appears mostAdventists are unaware of these teaching of the church that you and I love, the reader is invited to consider the following teachings.

    How long does the little horn reign?

    Stefanovic, Wisdom to the wise, p. 310-311. Commenting on Dan. 8:13-14: The question How long? Literally means “Until when?” putting the emphasis — on the point in time that will demarcate the end of the rebellion. — The visions main points can be summarized as follows: It speaks of the removal of the continual sanctuary services, the rebellion that causes destruction, and the surrender and trampling of the sanctuary underfoot.  As in verse 11, the continual sanctuary service pertains to the whole service in the sanctuary and should not be limited to the morning and evening sacrifices. The rebellion that causes desolation is best understood as the type of aggressive rebellion that results in the destruction of the services of the sanctuary and of some of the people who serve in it.
    Teachers SS Quarterly, 2002, p. 45After a discussion on how this little horn (the LH of 8:9) would oppose truth, it is revealed that it would be allowed to do so for “two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” (Dan. 8:14). 
    Doukhan, Secrets of Daniel, p. 127. Only after 2300 evenings and mornings will the destructive rampage of the little horn stop,— .
    Ibid. p. 131. Chapter 8 is even more explicit: the reign of the little horn lasts 2300 evenings and mornings. — (equalling 2300years).
    Gerhard Pfandl, Daniel, p. 61. In Daniel 7 the little–horn power, follows the four beasts, which together account for a reign of at least 1,000 years.

    Where does the little horn rule?

    2002 SS Lesson, p. 41. But then, the little horn  (8:9) does something that no other kingdom has done: It goes against the Prince of the Host in the heavenly sanctuary
    Ibid., p. 44, The same picture is used in Daniel 8. The little horn attacks the heavenly host and casts “down some of the host”. (vs 10); it then goes into the sanctuary where he “exalted himself as the Prince of the host” (vs. 11, NKJV). The little horn is attacking heaven and a ministry in heaven. — Hence the text says that the horn misappropriated the daily ministry of Christ and then “set over,” or appointed, its own host to control or minister it. p. 48.
    c.  Stefanovic, Wisdom to the wise, p. 311. The rebellion that causes desolation is best understood as the type of aggressive rebellion that results in the destruction of the services of the sanctuary and of some of the people who serve in it.
    12BC 394-395.  Since the “Prince of hosts” is a heavenly being (cf. Joshua 5:14) the sanctuary in Daniel 8:9-14 must be the heavenly one. — The main concern of this vision is the attitude of the little horn toward the sanctuary and the priestly work of the Prince (verses11, 12) It attacks the host of heaven, defeats them (verse 10), and goes after the Prince and the sanctuary. — The tamid is taken away from the Prince, and the foundation /place of the sanctuary is cast down and rejected. Then in a spirit of rebellion/transgression (verse 12), the little horn sets up its own force to control the tamid.  — The little horn somehow affects the Princes tamid, or mediatorial work in the holy place. The question of the horn’s interference with the mediatorial work of the Prince in the Most Holy Place is addressed in Daniel 8: 13, 14. 

    As a result of statements such as the above, I have asked the following question at all levels of the church:: Is the teaching that a Papal host has replaced the Heavenly host, the Church's official position regarding the little horn today? I have had little response, and it appears the church is not open to frank discussion regarding this fundamental belief. 

     

  4. Elaine Nelson
    20 August 2011 @ 2:23 am

    Will the real Adventist doctrinal authority stand up and be counted for all the answers above?  Is there any wonder there is so much confusion on one of the most "unique" doctrines only promoted by Adventism?

  5. Ervin Taylor
    20 August 2011 @ 2:31 am

    Is it a blessing of the Adventist Today web site that very few of those posting have any interest in the strange interpreations that are created by some Adventists based on a few versus in the books of Daniel and Revelation.  Usually these interpreations are taken totally out of the historical context which created the original texts.

    Although I have many reservations about parts of the theology of Martin Luther, I am 100% with him when he questioned the helpfulness of the materials in Daniel and Revelution. May I venture to suggest that removing them from the canon of Scripture would be of positive benefit to the life of the Christian Church in the modern era.  Just think how Adventism would be changed for the better if they were no longer afforded the standing that they currently enjoy in traditional Adventism.   

  6. Vernon P. Wagner
    20 August 2011 @ 4:47 am

    Brother Ervin has stated an excellent point.  History is replete with examples of clergymen who used  those books to predict the end of time / second advent, and ALL of them have been WRONG!

  7. Kevin Riley
    20 August 2011 @ 11:22 am

    Let us not forget what Daniel and Revelation point out very clearly: In the end, God wins.  If people misuse them, if they come to all sorts of strange conclusions, should we not do something about the people rather than the books?  I have never been fascinated by the details of Daniel and Revelation as many SDAs have.  But every time I have reead them, I have been struck by their central message that God is in control, and no matter how bad things get, He is with us and He will set things straight. 

    I disagree with traditional Adventism on a number of points, but I am quite happy to stand with traditional Adventists in voting against removing any book from the Bible.  We need the books of Daniel and Revelation for many reasons, not all of which may be apparent to any of us today.  If nothing else they keep us from assuming that once we become Christians everything is sunshine and light.  We are in a war zone, and casualties are to be expected.  It would be nice if so many weren't from 'friendly' fire, but it is still good to be reminded that all will not go well in this world because it is a contested space.  Knowing that, in the end, God wins, can make the journey easier.

  8. William Sandborn
    20 August 2011 @ 2:52 pm

    The book of Revelation is all about Christ.  Why would anyone want to ger rid of it.

    William Sandborn

  9. Elaine Nelson
    20 August 2011 @ 4:11 pm

    We needn't eliminate Daniel and Revelation, but neither do we eliminate Ecclesiastes, Numbers, and the Song of Solomon, but they are seldom used for doctrines.  D&R represent the birth of Adventism, and thus will always have a unique position, however faulty, in Adventism's history. 

     

    Would Adventism not have any salvific value without those two books?  How do they contribute to anyone's salvation or eternal hope?  Are we given insufficient assurance of God's being in control by the other 64 books?  These apocryphal books present a conundrum that Adventist's have claimed to have "unlocked the key" to their mysterious symbols and only they have the vision to interpret them.

  10. Ranald McLeish
    20 August 2011 @ 10:47 pm

    Are we considering the consequences of where these new teachings are leading? 
    For example, does the Papacy arise after the four beasts?
    Do the four beasts rule for approximately 1,000 years?
    Does the Papal little horn rule for 2,300 years?
    Has a Papal host replaced the Heavenly host?
    Is the end of the 2,300 years 2838 A.D.?
    If these teachings are correct, what happens to Fundamental Belief No 24, and the historical teachings of Adventism in particular?

    In the light of the above should we reconsider counsels such as the following, When the books of Daniel and Revelation are better understood, believers have an entirely different religious experience. — FILB 345. There will be a new perception of truth, and it, will have clearness and a power that all will discernCOL 130.

    • Ervin Taylor
      21 August 2011 @ 5:05 am

      I’d like to suggest answers to Mr. McLeish questions:  
       
      1. Does the Papacy arise after the four beasts?  Answer: No.  Comment:  No Biblical author including whoever wrote the books of Daniel and Revelation had no idea that an institution called “the Papacy” would exist.  The existence of the Christian Church with all of its major divisions and denominations lasting over 2000 years was never even envisioned.

      2. Do the four beasts rule for approximately 1,000 years?  Answer: No. Comment: First explain what the “four beasts” have to do with anything.
       
      3. Does the Papal little horn rule for 2,300 years?  Answer: No.  Comment: Same as Comment 1.

      4. Has a Papal host replaced the Heavenly host?  Answer: No.   Comment: Same as Comment 1.

      5. Is the end of the 2,300 years 2838 A.D.?  Answer: No. Comment: I thought that one of the few things that corporate Adventism has learned is not to “set dates.”   Remember what happened the first time we did that!

      6. What happens to Fundamental Belief No 24, and the historical teachings of Adventism in particular?  Answer: If I may use a delightful term of a recently deceased GC president, Fundamental Belief No. 24 should go into the “dust bin” of Adventist history where it belongs.
       
      Might I suggest that this the most helpful understanding of the comment of Ellen White “When the books of Daniel and Revelation are better understood, believers have an entirely different religious experience.”  Ignoring them would be a good start.
       

  11. William Sandborn
    21 August 2011 @ 2:02 am

    Just because a denomination has misused some books doesn't mean we get rid of them.  Hebrews
    has been misused also but read as written it gives valuable insights into Christ's ascension to the
    right hand of God and much other information also.  The problem is that we sometimes try to
    make the Bible fit our doctrines instead instead of making our doctrines fit the Bible.  The same
    is true of Revelation.

    William Sandborn

  12. Ranald McLeish
    21 August 2011 @ 7:03 am

    Hi Ervin,

    Am I to take it that along with the books of Daniel and Revelation, you would include  the book of Acts on the basis of 17:11, the book of Isiah on the basis of  chapter 28, and especially verses 10-13; and the books of Timothy on the basis of 2 Tim. 2:15 and 3:16, to name a few?

    Is it not just possible that when God's people take heed of counsells such as the SOP quoted above, the riches of Heaven associated with the Latter Rain will be poured out in abundance.

    Those who are true to their calling as messengers of God, will not seek honor for themselves. Love for self will be swallowed up in love for Christ. They will recognize that it is their work to proclaim, as did John the Baptist, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." [John 1:29.]  {GW 56.3} 
         The soul of the prophet, emptied of self, was filled with the light of the Divine. In words that were almost a counterpart of the words of Christ Himself, he bore witness to the Saviour's glory. "He that cometh from above" he said, "is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: He that cometh from heaven is above all." "For He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God." [John 3:31, 34.]  {GW 56.4} 

         In this glory of Christ all His followers are to share. The Saviour could say, "I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent Me." [John 5:30.] And John declared, "God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him." So with the followers of Christ. We can receive of heaven's light only as we are willing to be emptied of self. We can discern the character of God, and accept Christ by faith, only as we consent to the bringing into captivity of every thought to the obedience of Christ. And to all who do this, the Holy Spirit is given without measure. In Christ "dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him." [Colossians 2:9, 10.]  

  13. Ervin Taylor
    21 August 2011 @ 3:16 pm

    We can certainly honor Ellen White and her views as as providing a point of departure for the Adventist traditiion.  In the spirit of the "present truth" concept she presented in the 19th century, it is appropriate that 21st century Adventism move beyond her and advance a 21st century "present truth" Adventist vision.  Not quoting Ellen White as authoritative is one of the ways that we can move beyond her.

  14. William Sandborn
    21 August 2011 @ 3:20 pm

    Revelation 22:19 says " And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God
    shall take away his part out of the book of life and out of the holy city, and from the things that are written in this book."  If those that wan't to do away with Revelation are wrong, their loses are are very large and
    eternal.

    William Sandborn

  15. Ron Corson
    21 August 2011 @ 4:25 pm

    Melissa, I like your child. You wrote:

    "Then at the end of the story, we talked about how Jesus still keeps us safe from storms and troubles in our lives today. But when the story finished, a marked quiet came over my oldest son – the sort of quiet which signals he is deep in thought. We waited. Finally, very softly, he whispered to me, “I think the boat sank, Mommy.” 

    Shocked, I asked, “You mean you don’t think Jesus calmed the storm?”

    “No. Well, yes, maybe He did later, I guess. But the boat still sank. It did Mommy. It sank.”

    You know what you told your child is not true, Jesus does not keep us safe from the storms and troubles of life. Your 4 year old knows that and thus questioned the whole thing, the boat sank…it is not still around they got old and they were torn apart or sank. Whatever he may have been thinking he seems to have realized the error of the lesson you applied. Trouble comes and we live through it. Bad things happen to people even if they follow Jesus. You know doubt mean your statement in a much more narrow way, that is God will ultimately save us and bring us to Him in the end.

    What is interesting is that a lot of the questions that get asked are because of impossible statements that Christains have made which everyone pretty much knows can't be as stated. The church in its quest to protect particular doctrines has been terrible in this regard. some of the above conversation is quite useful in pointing those kind of errors in overstatements out.

  16. Elaine Nelson
    21 August 2011 @ 5:11 pm

    When bright children ask questions, they should be answered honestly; to do less is to be disengenuous and children realize it.  Those who don't question will have doubts in their mind and understand:  either questions are not to be asked, or that answers are not proper. 

     

    This is the story of Adventism:  those who dared to ask questions have been shown the door, beginning with Canright and many more.  When questions aren't honestly answered, those people will simply dismiss the church.

  17. Ervin Taylor
    21 August 2011 @ 5:20 pm

    If I might respond to Ron.  Redefining the meaning of words is at the very center of the history of Christian theology.  New Testament writers took terms from the Old Testament and reinterpreted and redefined them.  Thus, I submit that we can take a term used by traditional Adventists and redefine it in any way that a contemporary context requires.  Remember, traditionalists do not control how the rest of us can employ words and their meanings. If we allow them to control the discussion, that is our problem.

    • Ron Corson
      21 August 2011 @ 6:31 pm

      Actually redefining words is central to cults. That is why Walter Martin in his information about dealing with cults said the first thing is to get past the language barrier. That is they redefine words to mean something different from what the rest of Christians mean. I can't think of any terms the New Testament redefined, you would need to give me an example. They reinterpreted them in the light of the risen Christ and His instructions. Something of a bit more import then we today can say for why we should redefine a term. After all the English language has over a million words we could certainly come up with a new term for our definitions if we wanted. Why continue the confusion or add to it.  Even then if you are trying to redefine a term you had better go to some trouble to explain the redefined meaning as a simply courtesy to any reader.

      The use of ill defined terms is symptomatic to those spreading propaganda as opposed to those seeking to find or deseminate truth or knowledge.

  18. Stephen Foster
    21 August 2011 @ 5:35 pm

    For an Adventist Erv, you are clearly so “out there” (as the kids say) in your belief that The Book of (the Prophet) Daniel and The Revelation of Jesus Christ should be removed from the canon for all practical purposes (please correct me if I have in fact mischaracterized your position) that there is almost nowhere to go with you on this topic.
     
    The Biblical prophecies are among the more “probative” things about the whole “God” concept. IF God has, through human agencies, predicted—in detail—world events which eventually came to pass, and has predicted that which is currently happening and/or will happen; it is certainly suggestive or evidence supernatural intelligence.
     
    If there is no benefit to Bible prophecy, that is, if God did not inspire what is written in those books concerning “things which must shortly take place,” then there is no foundation, or basis, for belief in God at all; especially if the Genesis creation narrative is mythology. If this is your point, say so.
     
    Elaine, you seem to believe that other Christians can and do somehow continue as Christians without these books. If this is true, which of course it is not, for what purpose and to what end? As Kevin has pointed out, if there is no Biblical assurance that God “wins” in the end, what is the point?
     
    The doctrines of heaven and hell are in part derived and certainly reinforced by The Revelation of Jesus Christ. Are there Christians who don’t believe in either? Oops.

  19. Ervin Taylor
    21 August 2011 @ 6:16 pm

    It is certainly correct to suggest that I am in a minority of contemporary Adventists concerning the suggestion that these two books should be viewed in the same way that Martin Luther regarded the book of James in the New Testament.  

    However, I hope we all will recall that what writings are regarded as "in the canon" is a product of a process of decision making by humans over centuries.  I see no problem is saying that, in some cases, certain books were very helpful to the Jews (in the case of Daniel) and to early Christians (in the case of Revelation) when they were written, but, 2000 years has come and gone, conditions change, and with it, the source of what we think of as "inspired" literature also changes.

    Is it not correct that different religious communities decide which books are considered to be in and out of the "canon" and which are to be regarded as "inspired."  The traditional members of each of these different communities think that "their" books are to be regarded as the most "truth filled."  I am sure that members of the Adventist faith community along with the vast majority of Christians do not regard the Book of Mormon to be "truth filled."  I certainly share that view.

    In the same way, no matter what strange statements are contained in the writings of Ellen White, traditional members of the Adventist community seem to view these works as "truth filled."  The vast majority of Christians obviously do not.

    Just as I would suggest that certain books of the Bible (my list includes Daniel and Revelation) need to be consigned to the same place that James was consigned by Luther, certain things that Ellen White wrote also could benefit being added to an updated version of the Books of the New Testament apocrypha.  Just a suggestion.    

  20. Ranald McLeish
    21 August 2011 @ 8:19 pm

    Ervin said: Redefining the meaning of words is at the very center of the history of Christian theology.
     

    Wouldn't it be more accurate to say redefining the meaning of the words of Inspiration,2 Tim 3:16-17, (not verbal dictation) is the first step men and churches takes in thinking to change the word of God, to suit their own doctrines. Eg. The change of the Sabbath etc. by the Catholic Church.

    Don't the new teachings of Daniel amount to the same thing? Why is it that it appears no one feels comfortable, or confident, to question these particular teachings?   

  21. Ervin Taylor
    21 August 2011 @ 9:53 pm

    I'm afraid Mr. McLeish has done it again in suggesting that it was the Catholic Church who "changed the Sabbath."   He needs to read a good church history book by a modern reputable scholar.  I hope our knowledgable Roman Catholic friends will excuse people such as Mr. McLeish who insists on repreating in the 21st century, the anti-Catholic propaganda current in 19th century America.  Regretfully, some of these anti-Catholic sentiments made it into Ellen White's Great Controvery volume, although when you compare some of the language her assistants put into some of the chapters, they are not as vitriolic as other statements that were circulating in 19th Century America.  This does not mean to deny that some Catholic authorities in the Middle Ages including a number of Popes, engaged in some behavior which all Chrsitians including contempoary Catholic scholars and others, condemn and deplore.  But to continue to make false statements about modern Roman Catholic intentions that ignore the many changes that have gone on in that faith community over the last hundred years should also be deplored and challenged.  

  22. David
    21 August 2011 @ 10:06 pm

    Ervin is so predictable, when he wanted to refute a point, he points out to look for "modern reputable scholars" he never gives the sources. Please define and provide the sources if you wanted to have credibility. 

  23. Elaine Nelson
    21 August 2011 @ 11:08 pm

    "The change of the Sabbath etc. by the Catholic Church."

    This theme by Adventism has no basis in fact, other than it was taught by early Adventism and confirmed by their imprimatur, Ellen White. 

     

    A bit of history:  Many of the earliest church fathers have written that the Christians began celebrating the day of Resurrection beginnning in 100 A.D.  Barnabas, Justin, the Gospel of Peter, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian,Origen, Ignatius, Athanisus and Augustine, to name a few.

    In addition, SDA theologians, Mervyn Maxwell, P. Gerhardt Damsteegt, and Kenneth Strand have documented that the vast majority of early Christians began observing the first day of the week in honor of the Resurrection.

    As this became the day for early Christians to meet and observe this event, by the time Constantine became ruler of the Roman Empire, he gave the first ruling of religious liberty in 315 A.D. that all religions were now free to practice their beliefs:  pagan, Christian and Jews.  A few years later, he gave another order that all the empire should rest from work on the first day of the week.  He never ordered it to be a holy day, but like the Jewish Decalogue, that it should be a day of rest from work.

    In 325, because of such dissension in the Christian world, particularly of the nature of Christ, Constantine called for a church council to settle the arguments on the nature of Christ.  At no time did the church move to change the Sabbath.  There was no need as by then almost the entire Christian world had been celebrating the first day for more than a thousand years.  Catholic claims are merely that:  claims, without any evidence, yet still promoted by the SDA church.  Few have read and studied the history, so the blithely repeat what they have been taught. 

     
     

  24. Ron Corson
    21 August 2011 @ 11:37 pm

    Isn't it funny that the SDA's are trying to support the false claims of the Roman Catholic church, in effect giving it a start so much closer to the fictional start of the Roman Catholic's with Peter as the first Pope. But then when you go with tradition, Peter can be the first Pope and the Roman Catholics can change the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. What else does one really need, I think I will get out my soundtrack of the musical fiddler on the roof. Let's all sing "tradition"

  25. Stephen Foster
    21 August 2011 @ 11:53 pm

    Erv,
     
    What precisely is, or what qualifies as, an/the “ant-Catholic” statement or sentiment?  Surely you are not suggesting that the mere claim that the RCC has transferred the day of weekly observance and worship from the Sabbath to another day is “anti-Catholic.”
     
    It may help to consult the Catechism of the Catholic Church for some context:
     
    “Those who lived according to the old order of things have come to a new hope, no longer keeping the sabbath, but the Lord's Day, in which our life is blessed by him and by his death.108
     
    2176 The celebration of Sunday observes the moral commandment inscribed by nature in the human heart to render to God an outward, visible, public, and regular worship "as a sign of his universal beneficence to all."109 Sunday worship fulfills the moral command of the Old Covenant, taking up its rhythm and spirit in the weekly celebration of the Creator and Redeemer of his people.”
     
    This sounds like change.

  26. Trevor Hammond
    21 August 2011 @ 11:54 pm

    Hey, Mrs. Howell

    Ma'am, it’s so good to know that you have Family Worship. Kids are such fun to have around at this time. I note that your 4 year old doesn’t asked a question but rather makes a statement that ‘the boat sank’. This in itself is NOT doubt Ma’am. He just draws a conclusion based on his understanding of what he thinks happened. ‘Bless his dear heart’ though, for his sincerity in what he understood happened. Sincerity in insisting something happened is NOT doubt: it only reflects the persons misunderstanding of something which they perceive to be true or their perception of what they understand is a possible outcome.

    Perhaps the mention of the BIG w~a~v~e~s in contrast to the tiny boat seemed to have given him the very realistic view of a no way of escape situation, considering that even the disciples themselves thought the same was going to happen to them. Perhaps too, your son and the many others like him that we may come into contact with are not really doubters but seekers.  Maybe they simply seek a reassurance of the 'it is well with my soul' experience which reafffirms their understanding of what it means to have the MASTER with us on the boat.

    It would have been doubt had the disciples not called to Jesus for help in their desperation; but they did, and even though they didn't know that Jesus would calm the storm miraculously they believed He could help them.  There's a beautiful song I heard which has this line in it: "Sometimes He calms the Storm and sometimes He calms his Child…"  Though difficulty and calamity may come, when He is with us, it is unDOUBTedly a win win situation where doubt should always sink: not the tiny boat.

    T

  27. Preston Foster
    22 August 2011 @ 12:00 am

    Erv,

    I'm curious as to how these Catholic scholars got the impression that their chruch had, indeed, changed Sabbath observance to Sunday:

    Peter Geiermann, C.S.S.R., The Converts Catechism of Catholic Doctrine (1957), p. 50.
     
    "Question: Which is the Sabbath day?
     
    "Answer: Saturday is the Sabbath day.
     
    "Question: Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
     
    "Answer. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday."
     
    Martin J. Scott, Things Catholics Are Asked About (1927),p. 136.
     
    "Nowhere in the Bible is it stated that worship should be changed from Saturday to Sunday …. Now the Church … instituted, by God's authority, Sunday as the day of worship. This same Church, by the same divine authority, taught the doctrine of Purgatory long before the Bible was made. We have, therefore, the same authority for Purgatory as we have for Sunday."
     
    Peter R. Kraemer, Catholic Church Extension Society (1975),Chicago, Illinois.
     
    "Regarding the change from the observance of the Jewish Sabbath to the Christian Sunday, I wish to draw your attention to the facts:
     
    "1) That Protestants, who accept the Bible as the only rule of faith and religion, should by all means go back to the observance of the Sabbath. The fact that they do not, but on the contrary observe the Sunday, stultifies them in the eyes of every thinking man.
     
    "2) We Catholics do not accept the Bible as the only rule of faith. Besides the Bible we have the living Church, the authority of the Church, as a rule to guide us. We say, this Church, instituted by Christ to teach and guide man through life, has the right to change the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament and hence, we accept her change of the Sabbath to Sunday. We frankly say, yes, the Church made this change, made this law, as she made many other laws, for instance, the Friday abstinence, the unmarried priesthood, the laws concerning mixed marriages, the regulation of Catholic marriages and a thousand other laws.
     
    "It is always somewhat laughable, to see the Protestant churches, in pulpit and legislation, demand the observance of Sunday, of which there is nothing in their Bible."
     

  28. Elaine Nelson
    22 August 2011 @ 12:04 am

    It is always disconcerting to find so many believe the "anti-Christ's claims" regarding the changes they made, rather than studying history to determine what really happened.  Long before there was a Roman Catholic church, there was only one Christian church and that church never claimed to have changed sabbath to sunday, but they were the first to celebrate the only and only reason to be Christians:  the Resurrection.  Is it so strange that the entire reason for Christianity was the Resurrection?  There will always be the Sabbath celebrated by Judaism, but for those who didn't or don't recognize Christ, they ignore the Resurrection.

    Ask any Christian:  "Why are you a Christian?"  Will they ever say "The Fourth Commandment convinced me to be a Christian," or "I wouldn't be a Christian had I not realized the Sabbath is the day we should celebrate." 

    To ignore celebrating the Resurrection for many years, which the SDA church did, is a reunciation of the raison de' etre for Christianity.  Strange?

  29. Ervin Taylor
    22 August 2011 @ 12:32 am

    David wants sources. He might begin by reading the essays in Volume. 1 of the Cambridge History of Christianity: Origins to Constantine (Cambridge University Press, 2006).
     
    He also might want to read the work of an Adventist scholar who taught at the SDA Seminary at Andrews, the late Samuel Bacchiocchi.  His study clearly brings together the historical evidence that while some Christian groups continued to observe the Sabbath, a growing number of Christian congregations were worshiping on Sunday by the end of the second century AD.  Obviously, there was no Catholic Church in existence at that time.  The reasons for the slow change from Sabbath to Sunday worship in the Christian communities are complex. However, the one thing you can definitely conclude is that the Roman Catholic Church had nothing to do with the change.  I’m afraid that Ellen White’s sources got that very wrong.  She accepted those sources and included their views in her Great Controversy volume.  

  30. Elaine Nelson
    22 August 2011 @ 1:07 am

    Those who claim the Catholic church changed Sabbath to Sunday are clearly confining their Christian history to Ellen's writings where she was terribly wrong.  Anyone who accepts only one fairly recent writer such as Ellen, who had an extreme anti-Catholic bias which was common to her era, are illustrating their extreme deficiencies in early Christian history.

    It's rather strange for those who reject all Catholic teachings, to accept their statements on sabbath!

  31. Stephen Foster
    22 August 2011 @ 2:04 am

    Elaine,
     
    It does not follow that if you observe the creation Sabbath of the Lord, that you therefore/necessarily ignore the resurrection of the same Lord. That doesn’t compute. The pagan rituals generally associated with the annual celebration of the resurrection have as much to do with the actual resurrection as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has to do with the actual birth of Christ.
     
    As to the transference of the weekly day of observance and worship, this has little to do with EGW; while few Christians would claim the Sabbath as the only reason they are Christians, there must be some reason for the unmistakable instruction to “no longer [keep] the sabbath…” Furthermore, how does this square with Matthew 5:19; not to mention the Daniel 7:25 prophecy?

  32. Editor
    22 August 2011 @ 2:48 am

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  33. David
    22 August 2011 @ 3:13 am

    Erv. I'm familiar with Bacchiocchi's book. They were several factor that influenced the change from Sabbath to Sunday in early christianity, nevertheless it is a fact CC was very much involved making official.  Preston's quotations from Catholic Scholar are correct. 
    Elaine not offense… but I prefer the insights of Ellen White that from Elaine Nelson.

  34. Elaine Nelson
    22 August 2011 @ 3:30 am

    Editor,

    The topic was questioning, and apparently there are more answers than questions, which is often the case with religions: answering questions, that no one may be asking. 

    The assumptions of many Adventists have little factual basis and often the more strongly held the less need to inquire as to the reasons for beliefs.  This is well illustrated here by those who have received most of the Christian history from Great Controversy.  Had there not been a resurrection, there would be no Christians today,  and certainly no Adventist Christians.

    The Jewish Sabbath was the principal hallmark of Judaism and as the Church became predominantly Gentile in membership, the first day of the week, Sunday, became holy to Christians.  Sunday, no longer Saturday, as the proper time when Christians assembled to worship. Named "The Lord's Day" (see Revelation), Sunday became a symbol by which Christians differentiated themselves from Jews.  The Jews met their denoument when the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. and afterward, the Christian church became a Gentile church, no long associated with Judaism.

    Why have Adventists adopted so much of Judaism and less of Christianity as defined by the NT? 

  35. Vernon P. Wagner
    22 August 2011 @ 4:27 am

    As I recall, EGW was Methodist prior to the Millerite hoax of 1844.  When a 7th Day Baptist joined the 'Little Flock,' they picked, and chose which Talmudic Laws to be adopted.  Jewish rabbis of today find this totally unacceptable.  "Either observe all the Mosaic Law, or none of it," they say.

    A book by Michael Schemer, 'The Believing Brain….How We Consruct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truth' states the following: "We believe before we reason.  Once beliefs are formed, we seek out confirmatory arguments and evidence to justify them.  We ignore contrary evidence or make up rationalizations to explain it away.  We do not like to admit we are wrong.  We seldom change our minds."

  36. Ranald McLeish
    22 August 2011 @ 6:30 am

    Vernon, unfortunately, the quote is all too true, unless people become aware.

    To day the various churches seek to manilupate the Scriptures to suit their individual doctrines, while the members choose to adopt the teaching of their  favourite pastor, evangelist, or theologian. This approach is commonly referred to as diversity, variety, or pluralism, none of which is pre-eminent, none of which controls or rules the other. Thus today, in this regard, neither the Scriptures, or the Church, speak with one voice today. In the resulting confusion, the issue is not whether a doctrine is true, but is it an honest belief? Thus people are deceived into believing, sincerity, and honestly held belief's, (!!) override the word of God.

    In the churches today (the SdAchurch included) not only are people creating their own truth's, it is accepted that they have the right to do so. Thus today, doctrinal authority is being transferred from God through His Holy Word, to individuals. What greater deception could there be? 

    Very soon according to Daniel and Revelation the right to worship according to one's personal belief will be taken away again. During this time the wheat will be separated from the tares. Will we treasure the probationary time we have been given to prepare for this great test and trial of our faith? 

  37. Preston Foster
    22 August 2011 @ 10:06 am

    Vernon,

    Thanks, very much.  Your post says more, in fewer, words than most.

  38. Trevor Hammond
    22 August 2011 @ 10:08 am

    It comes as no surprise that those who wear the so-called progressive badge use intellectualism as a crutch to pass off their dodgy unbelief as legitimate credible voices of reason which has unfortunately duped many into thinking that they are some sort of ‘illuminati’ (for want of a better word) who will lead the way forward in their efforts to 1] stamp out the Sabbath  2] promote homosexual perversion  3] get rid of Daniel and Revelation 4] disregard Bible Creation, 5] promote anarchy within the organized church  6] denigrate the writings of inspired gift of prophecy writer, Ellen G. White  7] cast doubt on the word of God  8] and justify the error of their ways. 

    As these neo-fundamentalist extremists (or illuminati) strengthen their forces of insurgents against Adventism on the pretense of saving the day, they destroy and slowly erode the faith of many and encourage the unconverted into thinking all is well with their souls.  This is a far greater danger and threat that even Traditional Conservative Adventism ‘at its worst’ has never treaded on.

    This unDOUBTedly has encouraged many others to join the 'doubters anonymous' faction and more especially those that are gullible and looking for any excuse to disobey God and make their sinful ways seem a legitimate sought after virtue of heaven.  Satan tried this questioning philosophy in heaven and just take a look around at the disastrous results of what 'intellectualised' apostasy can do: Doubt is just a terrible symptom of rebellion.  I suppose that perhaps when these misguided off-shoot individuals 'mature' in their understanding of the error of their ways they will hopefully 'turn' from the darkness of error and embrace the God of the Cross.
    T

  39. David
    22 August 2011 @ 11:11 am

    I’ll add to Trevor’s comments.  You that once believed in the present truth, that now systematically opposes what the Bible clearly teaches… repent, repent, repent, before is to late.    “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea”

  40. Stephen Foster
    22 August 2011 @ 1:04 pm

    OK, in the interests of staying on the general topic of questioning authority: suppose for sake of argument we stipulate that there had been among some early Christians a tradition of gathering on Sunday. Clearly the RCC has institutionalized Sunday sacredness AND teaches that the Sabbath should “no longer” be kept—without any Biblical authority for either position—no matter what the history of tradition had been prior to its establishment. Does Elaine, or Erv, or Vernon, or Ron, or anyone actually QUESTION this?
     
    Intellectual curiosity, it would seem, would extend to QUESTION how the institutionalization of the changing of practice and of nomenclature (from the “Sabbath of the Lord” claimed by the “Lord even of the Sabbath” to “the Lord’s day;” for which there is no Biblical authority nor scriptural evidence that the Revelation 1:10 reference was any other day than the Sabbath) juxtaposes with Matthew 5:19; or Daniel 7:25 for that matter.

  41. Ron Corson
    22 August 2011 @ 3:59 pm

    I would agree that the RCC institutionalized Sunday as the day of worship, it appears simply by going with the predominate practices. But any church organization seems to start institutionalizing things. After the bishops of the city moved to individual churches and then to the Pastors that we see in most all churches now.

    If you problem is the institutionalization of practices I am in full agreement with you. It is the real danger and it is what happens when the church or people in authority start to worry when someone questions their institutionalized tradition. The Adventist church is no exception and when we declared our first set of 27 fundamental beliefs we probably moved one more giant step in the institutionalization process.

    One of the big institutionalization behaviors is that you must believe in the Biblical interpretation of the mother church. This greatly destroys the ability to question and the chance of growth for both the person and the church. Questions lead to changes, and aside from the incorrect quote above people do change their minds and they change them  more often then many people think. In fact if anyone changed their mind it proves the quote wrong since it said ""We believe before we reason." If that was true then even a seldom change of mind would not happen.

  42. Elaine Nelson
    22 August 2011 @ 4:41 pm

    Stephen,

    Adventists have similarly "instituted" Sabbath keeping as their most important doctrine. It is the one identifying difference from all other Christian bodies.

    Why not answer questions in the same manner in which you would listen to a prospective convert who truly wanted to know the reasons why certain doctrines are important? What are the sources? When did this practice begin?
     

    I thoroughly agree that there is no scriptural evidence for observing Sunday, nor have I ever stated that. Likewise, there is nothing in the New Testament where the Gentile Christians were instructed to BEGIN observing the seventh day, a day that they had never previously observed. Failure to supply such a text sorta removes the sandy foundation on which the seventh day was ever commanded of CHRISTIANS.

  43. Trevor Hammond
    22 August 2011 @ 8:18 pm

    Is there a time to question the Sabbath when even the New Testament writers and Jesus Himself makes no reference to such change?  The same promise God made to Abraham continues in the Christian Church and obviously the handwriting of ordinances (ceremonial laws) were nailed to the cross by way of Christ fulfilling its significant requirements.  Christians therefore are heirs according to the Promise. [Gal 3:29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.] [Gen 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless,]  Obedience to God is a required even in the 'new' covenant which remarkably He makes provision for in Christ as seen in [Gal 2:20].

     

     

    One of the terrible ailments of Laodicea is that they are spiritually blind and therefore unable to discern between truth and error; darkness and light; right and wrong; righteousness and unrighteousness.  If the ever was a time when people think they are spiritually rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing – this is such a time: not to QUESTION but to humbly submit to Jesus Christ and receive the remedy He freely offers for our maladies.

    Remember the Sabbath day to keep it Holy, is a part of God's immutable law, which is a perpetual sign for those who have chosen to follow His precepts and receive the Promise.  Obedience to God is required for those who walk in newness of life and this is only made possible by faith in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.  Just imagine He even provides the means for obedience…and declares us righteous by the same means in Christ.
    Matthew 12:8, 12; 24:20; Mark 1:21; 2:27-28; 6:2; Luke 4:16, 31; 6:5; 23:56; Acts 13:14, 42, 44; 15:21; 16:13; 17:1-2; 18:4; Hebrews 4:4, 9-10; Romans 7:12; Matthew:28:1; Mark:16:1-2; Luke:23:56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.; Luke 24:1; Romans:3:31

    T

  44. Elaine Nelson
    22 August 2011 @ 9:27 pm

    There is absolutely no record in the Bible of the Fourth Commandment being given to anyone other than the Israelites.  It explicitly states in the preamble:

    "I am  Yahweh your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt" 
     

    And afterward, God said to Moses, "Tell the SONS OF ISRAEL.." Never were they given to anyone else.

    "Yahweh our God made a covenant with us at Horeb.  IT WAS NOT WITH OUR FATHERS THAT God made this covenant, but with us, with us who are here, all living today."

    Neither Jesus nor the apostles ever changed a day of worship.  It gradually became a custom to celebrate, not as a holy day, the day of Resurrection.  Eventually, by the fourth century, all Christendom was meeting on this day.  History has no record of Christian Jews after the first century, so it became recognized as a special day by simple practice.  Just as many customs and traditions begin without ever making an official record of a formal change. 

     

    How does one explain the several places where Paul says we are not to judge in "regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day"?  Paul was not writing to Jewish Christians but Gentile Christians and in the Jerusalem Contoversy it "seemed good to the Holy Spirit  and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials:  that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things you will do well."

    The ASSUMPTION that Gentile Christians began observing the seventh day as the sabbath has no Bible support whatsoever.  Where is the command given to Christians?  The Jews still observe the seventh day as their heritage to whom it was given.  Can anyone imagine Christianity without the Resurrection?  It was only natural for Christians to begin celebrating their whole reason for existence.  Please answer this simple question:  Would there be a single Christian today if there had been no Resurrection?  To return to Judaism while claiming Christianity is a strange mixture; yet Jewish food laws and rules still encumber Adventism.

  45. Trevor Hammond
    22 August 2011 @ 10:06 pm

    Heb 8:8 For he finds fault with them when he says: ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​"Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, ​​​​​​​when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel ​​​​​​​and with the house of Judah, ​​​

    Heb 8:9 ​​​​​​​​not like the covenant that I made with their fathers ​​​​​​​on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. ​​​​​​​For they did not continue in my covenant, ​​​​​​​and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. ​​​

    Heb 8:10 ​​​​​​​​For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel ​​​​​​​after those days, declares the Lord: ​​​​​​​I will put my laws into their minds, ​​​​​​​and write them on their hearts, ​​​​​​​and I will be their God, ​​​​​​​and they shall be my people. ​​​

    It is clear that the New Testament Church is referenced as (spiritual) Israel and the Ten Commandments are written on their hearts – Sabbath et al.  Those that are still steeped in the religion of Egypt and Babylon won't appreciate the 'brought thee out of Egypt' part.
    T

  46. Elaine Nelson
    22 August 2011 @ 11:26 pm

    How can there be a "new covenant" if it is identical to the old covenant?  "If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second."  "Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant."  "For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also."  What was the change of law?

    "we are "servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.  But if the ministry of death IN LETTERS ENGRAVED ON STONES came with glory….how shall the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?

    If the old covenant was letters engraved on stones, is the new covenant the same?  Is the same covenant written on stone the identical one now on the heart?  Why? 

  47. David
    23 August 2011 @ 2:05 am

    Elaine says "There is absolutely no record in the Bible of the Fourth Commandment being given to anyone other than the Israelites".  looks like you really…but really need to read your Bible.  here this proof  that the Sabbath is and was more than just for one nation or one period of time . Jesus himself stated  "The Sabbath was made for man"

  48. Steve Billiter
    23 August 2011 @ 4:55 am

    Elaine,
    The 4th Commandmenmt was given at creation:
    Gen 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

    Gen 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

    Gen 2:3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

    God, Adam, and Eve, all reasted and enjoyed God's creation according to the commandment

      We can have no better lesson book than nature. "Consider the lilies of the field; . . . they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." Let the minds of our children be carried up to God. It is for this that He has given us the seventh day and left it as a memorial of His created works.  {CG 55.1} 

  49. Bill Garber
    23 August 2011 @ 5:03 am

    Of course, David, reading the rest of the conversation that includes 'The Sabbath was made for man' reveals it to be a conversation between Jews with regard to how Jews were to 'keep' the Sabbath.  There is nothing in the conversation suggesting that Jesus recognized the Sabbath as predating Judaism or was universal.  Rather he is addressing Sabbath in terms of a Jew, himself, and of Jewish leaders who were using the Sabbath to abuse their fellow Jews.  Jesus could just as well have said, the Sabbath was made for me.  I wasn't made for the Sabbath.  And his hearers would have felt equally insulted.

    Indeed the phrase, 'The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath' may well be, indeed inferentially appears to be referring to exactly the introduction of the Sabbath at the launch of the Jewish nation.  I must admit that in following up here, I was a little surprised not to have found the word Sabbath in Genesis, though I'm sure Elaine knew that. Contrary to how I felt, Sabbath as a word is not mentioned until Exodus 16:23.  Oh, and for what it is worth, the word Sabbath does not appear in Revalation, either.

    In the spirit of not letting old-earthers go without a challenge, your sport, David, Elaine seems to be doing quite well not letting theological inferentialist get buy with assumptions equally deserving to be challenged.

    That said, the two of your would be most interesting dinner guests at the same table.  I'd pick up the tab!

  50. Stephen Foster
    23 August 2011 @ 6:14 am

    Ron,
     
    Again on the subject of questioning institutional authority, or the authority of institutions, isn’t it what things are being institutionalized that matters? To the extent that any church dares to institutionalize a man-made tradition by first rationalizing said tradition to the point that it teaches the tradition as doctrine; that would obviously be a "problem."
     
    Which brings us to Elaine; who has a problem with Adventists upholding the Biblically sanctioned, God-ordained and sanctified Sabbath of the Lord—in the face of tradition to the contrary. The “Sabbath was made for Jews” argument flies in the face of Jesus’ teaching. But of course this is further rationalized by claiming that Paul’s contextual letters contradict and supersede his Lord’s clear and timeless instruction, which they do not; or by claiming that Jesus’ reference to “man” applies only to Jews—as if He Himself is only Lord of the Jews—which is of course patently ridiculous.

  51. Trevor Hammond
    23 August 2011 @ 6:14 am

    Bill Garber is saying that because cigarettes isn't mentioned in the Bible either, so it's a good argument for the Christian Church to condone smoking.  Huh? 
    (Are some of you guys saying 'the boat (sabbath) sank'?)

    1] God did REST on the seventh day of the Creation account in Genesis:

    Gen 2:2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.

    Gen 2:3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

    2] Take note – just past Revelation there is a new heaven and earth and Guess what day we will worship on?  I'll give you a clue: it starts with S. (but it ain't Sunday)

    Isa 66:22 ​​​​​​​​"For as the new heavens and the new earth ​​​​​​​that I make ​​​​​​​shall remain before me, says the LORD, ​​​​​​​so shall your offspring and your name remain. ​​​

    Isa 66:23 ​​​​​​​​From new moon to new moon, ​​​​​​​and from Sabbath to Sabbath, ​​​​​​​all flesh shall come to worship before me, ​​​​​​​declares the LORD. ​​​

     

    3] Here's Jesus (a Sabbath Keeper Himself and the Creator who rested on the Seventh day too) talking about some time in the future which is obviously after his death and resurrection.
    Matt 24:20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath.

    The Sabbath was NEVER done away with, although many, even today, try their level best to SINK it.  It is obviously not something unbelievers are keen on.  Only those searching for Truth see the SENSE of what the Sabbath is all about (seventh day rest / no. 4 in the immutable Ten Commandments / a perpetual sign).  It WILL BE the final test that will divide the true worshippers of God Almighty and those who opt for the spurious counterfeit man made religion of ancient Babylon and Egypt … and now R0m3.  <— ?

    In the Christ of the Holy Sabbath
    T

  52. Ranald McLeish
    23 August 2011 @ 8:01 am

    Am I to understand that there are not only Adventists who are quite happy to do away with the Sabbath,there are SdA's who are quite happy to do away with the Lord of the Sabbath. The surprizeis, or is it a surprize, this is apparantly the current teaching of the SdA Church to day. ie. Not only has a Papal host killed Christ and replaced the Heavenly host, the Papacy's persecuting rule will continue for 2,300 years!!!

    While the debate continues regarding the Sabbath, I am surprized all remain quiet regarding these new teachings. 

    One senior minister has responded as follows:-
     
    If that is the case, when is Michael going to stand up, or is He there with his hands tied behind his back?
    Or it may be that the 2300 days is just beginning and we got the prophecy wrong !!!  Now that is a thought that could blow the Big boys away.

     

  53. Vernon P. Wagner
    23 August 2011 @ 12:49 pm

    If a 7th Day Baptist had not joined the Whites, would they have advocated switching from their Mehtodist roots to observing the Jewish sabbath?  I'm not knocking the sabbath thing, but it WAS given to the Jews.  Watching Jews observe it in Israel is simply beautiful.  The Whites decided to keep dietary laws, tithing, and the 7th day while ignoring the rest.  In what way did EGW's decision differ from that of Joseph Smith who chose to advocate polygamy?

    In '07, I toured Israel with a group of non-SDA Christians.  We shared communion in front of the Garden Tomb.  The blessing we all felt at that time & place can't be fully described.

  54. Elaine Nelson
    23 August 2011 @ 3:57 pm

    Vernon, you are reminding us of what many know:  the FOUR unique Adventist "pillars" are all directly from Judaism, and none from the NT:

    1.  Sabbath
    2.  Unclean  meats
    3.  Tithing
    4.  Sanctuary doctrine, including the interpretation of Daniel's prophecies.

    Now, if we are Christians, isn't it strange that the SDA doctrines not held by any other Christian body are directly from the Hebrew Bible?

    Bill Garber has also asked a question:  where, in the entire Hebrew Bible, is there a command or account of anyone observing sabbath until several thousand years later at Sinai?  To claim a consistent "chain" from creation has absolutely no substantiation.  Such a claim in a student paper would demand documentation or receive a failing grade.

  55. Bill Garber
    23 August 2011 @ 6:16 pm

    Trevor, I would love for you to join Elaine and David for dinner. I'd sure pick up the tab. You are a master of inferences.  I suppose, truth be told, we all are, and without choice in this regard.  

    In any event, at dinner I'd be interested in hearing the three of you converse about a more pressing as well as personal matter, soteriology.  Sort this out, and quite possibly the other items that draw such attention of those posting here, no matter the original topic, will lose their urgency … or not as the case may be.

    Perhaps we could start by asking, What role do we allow the Seventh-day Adventist church as a church and as a compendium of beliefs to play in our personal understanding of soteriology for us individually and for humanity in the main?  To what extent does this, rather than 'plain scripture,' determin what we 'find' in scripture?

    That said, it may be more a social than a soteriological attraction.  Despite the manifest differences here, there are undeniable attractions, if yet undefined. 

  56. Melissa Howell
    23 August 2011 @ 8:30 pm

    This is the first chance I've had to read through the 50+ comments on this blog, and I know it may be a bit off topic for what is currently being discussed at the moment, but I just feel the need to say this:

    Do you realize, that many of you people have the easiest jobs here? You get to be the critics. You get to rant and complain and point fingers, you get to take words and turns of phrases and twist them to your heart's content to soothe your tired arguments. Many of you do comment kindly or at minimum sincerely, and I thank you for that.  Many of you are honest seekers, and it does my heart good to read your posts.  But too many others of you have been dragging around giant bags of issues for decades, and instead of forgiving and leaving this poison behind, you log onto this site and infect others with it too. I just can't see how this is helping anyone, yourselves included.  And I find myself wondering why you claim to love or belong to a church that you seem to only wish to tear to shreds; why you claim to have honest open minds when your hearts are embittered and shut to the possibility that faith just might be beyond even your ability to explain. 

    Over the year that I have been involved with Adventist today, I admit that some of the worst faces I have ever seen shown in our church have been shown to me right here on this site. I would be ashamed for a student of mine to read your threads. I would be downright afraid for an unchurched person to visit this site and read your comments, because I'm not sure why anyone would want either a relationship with Jesus or a place in this church after seeing what goes on here.

    This site was started as a means to provide an open forum for honest seekers and sincere questions and conversation. It has instead turned into a battleground of vicious attacks, where the faithless bow at the idols of their own reason. I had hoped we were better than this, people. I know my church is better than this. And if you are still choosing to be a part of it, yes, even if and especially if you don't quite agree with everything – then please, think about what we are doing here. Are your comments going to bring anyone closer to Jesus? Are they going to be helpful in building faith, or do you actually want to destroy faith? If you enjoy causing the faith of others to stumble, I can only say this: I would not want to be you on judgment day. God help us all, for that matter.

    Most of you who write in are highly intelligent individuals. My prayer is that you would use your gifts and your intellect to build God's kingdom up, not to tear it down. And God's kingdom stretches far beyond the confines of Adventism, to include all of us. This site could be a place where we actually learn to coexist, and to solve the real problems of Adventism and Christianity together. I constantly read your complaints against Adventist theology and practice and life, but hardly EVER do I read someone making a positive suggestion, trying to help, solving a problem, or endeavoring to come up with a working idea. That's what we need! We don't need more people tearing this church to shreds! We need people who see it in all it's imperfection and yet still choose to be proactive – choose to find a way to help. To fix things. To bring some healing. We need answers, and this site is set up in such a way that we could find those answers together. Or in the absence of answers, we could find ways for this church to move forward anyways. It's far too easy to stand on the sidelines and criticize, as some of you have shown. It's infinitely harder roll up your sleeves and to try and solve the very problems you are criticizing.

    Yes, there is a Time to Question – and God help us if we ever stop asking questions. But there is also a time to ask ourselves if we have come to cherish our questions and our skepticism, more than we cherish our faith and our Savior. Search your hearts, people, and I'll search mine: what is our goal here? And are you a worker in the harvest, or are you a thief breaking in to steal, kill, and destroy? 
     

    • William Noel
      27 August 2011 @ 2:06 am

      Melissa,

      There are times thwen you need to speak with kind illustration and times when you need to be direct.  Your posting and many of the comments have illustrated the need for both.  I greatly appreciate the kind and sensitive way in which you posed the original issue of our need to question and confirm the foundations of our faith.  I also equally appreciate the direct way in which you have addressed those who would rather argue than learn.  They've been earning that admonition for a long time.  However, I do not expect they will pay much attention.

      As for myself, memorizing the traditional proof texts and doctrinal models was a starting point beyond which I did not grow for a long time.  It was only when I discovered that my faith was too weak to help me face major challenges that I began to re-examine the foundations of my faith and really study why I believed what I claimed to believe.  The result has been a greater strengthening of my faith than I could have imagined.  So I advocate everyone re-studying the basis for their faith, not to reaffirm their memorization of proof tests but to really get to know God.

  57. Elaine Nelson
    23 August 2011 @ 8:58 pm

    Melissa,

    Did it not occur to you that the "baggage" you refer it still dragging the Adventist church down, down below the level of rationality?  Where are the new and intelligently educated converts?  People who are taught to question many of the Adventist stated beliefs that have no reasonable explanation.  It shouldn't be necessary to enumerate, but here are a few:

    The Great Controversy theme.  This cannot be biblically supported without unique-to Adventist interpretation with making assumptions that are accepted by no biblically trained scholars outside of Adventism.

    The Sanctuary doctrine with the 2300-day prophecy.  Those who have been educated in  world and especially Christian history, can smell the twisted interpretations of a prophet, Daniel, who wrote AFTER the events–not a difficult manner, and yet called "prophecy.


    Clean/unclean meats.  This is straight from the Levitical code that even most Adventists reject, but have chosen to select this out of many while rejecting others–such as planting two crops in the same field, or wearing clothes of two different fabrics.

    These are simply a few.   To accept Adventism as it currently stands, one has to leave his rational thinking (God DID give us minds to think) and simply accept the SDA proposition. 

     

    Some of us who have been associated with Adventists long before you were born have seen the regression of doctrinal "purity" that is being fostered by essayists here.  They might have sold well 100 years ago, in a time of religion ferment in the New England region that gave birth to many new uniquely American religions, but since then, higher education is far more common, and with education, comes critical thinking and asking questions:  questions which are discouraged or met with sloppy answers or a quick Bible or EGW quote out of context. 

     

    That's a view that needs to be heard.  There are always two sides to every coin.

    • Kevin Riley
      24 August 2011 @ 12:49 pm

      Elaine

      I know a number of educated SDAs who have questioned the beliefs you list and still decided to remain SDA.  I think you underestimate the amount of thinking many of us have done.  Yes, there are inconsistencies and contradictions.  The way our doctrines are presented is too often overly simplistic and some of us find that frustrating.  But there is much about the SDA church and its beliefs and practices that is appealing.  It seems at times you have accepted a liberal view of Christian history with no more thought than many SDAs give to SDA doctrine.  There are other ways of viewing Christian history among scholars that are closer to SDA views. 

      What frustrates me most about this site is that it seems to have an overabundance of people for whom religion is primarily something to be argued.  I do not find oppositional religion attractive, whether it is your brand based on the left, or that of others based on the right.  Your beliefs do not offend me, but they don't tempt me to join you either.  The same is true of others here who push a conservative line.  You are fighting a brand of Adventism, and they are defending a brand of Adventism, that no longer exists in my world.  I attend a church where a range of views on many subjects are held, yet we exist as a community.  The issues you keep fighting just don't seem like they need to be fought over.  I believe Sabbath keeping and tithing are good spiritual disciples.  Others in my church believe they are divine laws that must be kept, while still others don't think they matter that much at all, they just enjoy worshipping with their SDA family.  When we get together on Sabbath to worship God, it doesn't make that much difference really. 

      I believe you will get a lot of agreement that we need to ask good questions and find good answers.  But that doesn't mean that good answers to good questions will automatically lead to us abandoning SDA doctrine in the way you seem to believe it will.

  58. David
    24 August 2011 @ 12:46 am

    Bill I’ll love to have a dinner with Elaine and you, I can assure that will be great one.  I’d pay for you guys  it will be fun.  Now let’s go to the business.  You wrote “Jesus could just as well have said, the Sabbath was made for me.  I wasn't made for the Sabbath” the fact is he did not… because he wanted to put in the right perspective. He could also say the Sabbath was made for the Israelites.. o for the Jews… on better for the Jew man. He did not,  He just said for man… simple “man” “man”  “man” because he was refereeing to the all humanity, take a look in the Greek. The key question is when was made the Sabbath and for who?  Look your Bible… on the week of the creation after the man was created. So I take what Jesus said “the Sabbath was made for the cause of man’ so my friend, Adam was a men like Enoch, like Abraham, like you and me. The Sabbath was made for all of us. Just enjoyed is good for the body and spirit. Remember is the only day which was blessed.
    I’m not a dog, an ape or tiger, I just I’m a man, therefore the Sabbath is for me. If was a dog, a cat a cute ape or descendent of one I’ll not care about it.
    I guarantee you in our diner we will have good time and  plenty of laughs .

  59. Elaine Nelson
    24 August 2011 @ 1:50 am

    One, even two days free from work is common in most civilized countries.  There is no need to specify one, and only one day, particularly when originally given at Sinai, the former slaves had never had a day free from work.

    That a specific day is mandated is impossible when we know today, what was unknown by Bible writers, that the world was round, that a sabbath in Judea was not sabbath on the other side of the world.  Thus, A seventh day is dependent on a particular calendar, and as there were no calendars in Israel, sabbath was determined by the moon, and it is well known that the new moon is seen every 28 days, making the seventh day, on the moon, as the Israelites did, fall on different days of the calendar week which is observed today.

    If Adventists claim to observe the same day in perpetuity and continuity, they have discarded the calculation of sabbath as was specified in the Bible:  2 Chron. 2:4; 2 Chron 24:31; 2 Chron. 8:13; Neh 10::33; Is. 1:13; 66:23; Ezek. 46:3; Amos 8:5; Col 2:16.  These texts all show that the week Sabbath days fall on the phases of the moon and NOT on a set day in man's humanly-devised calendar.

  60. Stephen Foster
    24 August 2011 @ 7:13 am

    Elaine,
     
    Speaking of critical thinking, do Jews recognize the wrong (weekly) Sabbath? If they do not, then how on earth could you imply, or claim, that Adventists do?

  61. Elaine Nelson
    24 August 2011 @ 4:05 pm

    There would be no sabbaths except for the Jews from whom Adventists got it.  We accepted not only Sabbath but many of their rules for proper observance:  no lighting fires, no work, but not the punishment of stoning for breaking such rules.  We also later chose their designation of the beginning and end of a sabbath day from sundown to sundown, not the calendar position from 12 am to 12 am.

    In ca. 360 A.D., Hillel II changed the Jewish calendar based on the new moon to a fixed day calendar demanded by the Romans.  "Until that time Jews observed sabbath according to the moon's phases.  The emergence of the moon from darkness to light is a picture of God's salvation for the Jewish people and our personal deliverance from darkness to light.  In Talmudic times, the day marking the New Moon was fixed by actual observation by at least two witnesses.  As soon as the new moon was visible as a waxing crescent, the Sanhedrin in Israel was informed (by the blowing of trumpets from muntain top to the next) and Rosh Chodesh was formally announced, only to be discarded by Hillel 11 in 360 A.D.)

     

    "The day after the new moon was sighted was a festival, heralded with sounding of the shofar and commemorated with convocations and sacrifices.  Knowing precisely when Rosh Chodseh began was critical to the order of the appointed times commanded by the Lord.  In fact, the entire Jewish calendar for the festivals and holidays would be lost.  Therefore, during times of persecution, the Jews were often forbidden to observe Rosh Chodesh as well as Shabbat, in order to keep them from obeying God."  (Hebrew for Christians http://www.hebrews4christians.com)

    This was the calculation from the first Sabbath given at Siani and during the time Jesus lived and 300 years later. 

  62. Ranald McLeish
    24 August 2011 @ 10:19 pm

    Is Elaine right for the wrong reasons? 

    As the official teaching of the SdA Church is currently, that Christ has been killed as a result of the Papal attack against the Heavenly sanctuary, that the Heavenly Host has been replaced by a Papal host, and that the Papacy reigns for 2,300 years:-

    1. Wouldn't the Sabbath pass away with the death of the Lord of the Sabbath?
    2. Those who question the above need to be aware that to challenge this teaching, has been, and continues to be considered a violation of the voted Fundamental Beliefs, an offence punishable with disfellowshipment.
    3.Presumably the reason why few wish to question the current teaching.
    4. The teaching has been questioned, the charge has ben laid and upheld, no right of appeal was granted.
    5. Such action would appear to confirm this is currently the Official Teaching of the SdA Church to day.  

  63. Trevor Hammond
    25 August 2011 @ 6:20 am

    Mrs. Nelson and other Sabbath detractors fail to acknowledge (in their predictable efforts to excuse and defend unbelief in the True Seventh-day Sabbath), that Jesus (the Creator)  rested at Creation, on the seventh day.  As Lawgiver and Covenant Maker (which was ratified by blood), He gave His immutable Law at Sinai.  Then,  as Saviour, He admirably upheld the requirements of His Holy Law (which INCLUDES the SABBATH) and honoured its requirements at the Cross as the Lamb of God ‘which was for sinners slain’.  He honoured the Sabbath in death and rested in the tomb during its sacred hours.  Jesus DID keep the Sabbath and unequivocally reveals himself to be the Lord of the Sabbath too.  I might add too, that Jesus, the Bible and the Sabbath among others, is not exclusively for Christians but for the whole world.  Even the Israelites (pre-Cross) were ‘supposed’ to have been ambassadors for Christ and witnesses of God’s plan of salvation as seen in the very significant Sanctuary Services.  God rested and gave us a '24' hour weekly time paradise which affords believers the opportunity for spending 'quality' time which their Saviour and Friend.  The Jews were called to 'remember' the Sabbath day but it most certainly didn't belong to them exclusively.  The Sabbath will be God's final test which will distinguish between those who obey God and those who CHOOSE to disobey.
    T

  64. Stephen Foster
    25 August 2011 @ 7:10 am

    Elaine,
     
    With all respect, it is unclear to me what you are talking about. You cited texts that refer to moons and sabbaths and then claimed, “These texts all show that the week Sabbath days fall on the phases of the moon and NOT on a set day in man's humanly-devised calendar.”
     
    Those texts do not refer exclusively to the weekly Sabbaths, if indeed at all to the weekly Sabbaths. If I understand you correctly you are implying that Jewish people now observe the seventh day of each week, but prior to approximately 360 A.D. they did not; because the calendar, if extant, was different.
     
    You then, “logically” also have to be saying that the Jews NEVER actually “remembered the Sabbath day” as God commanded in Exodus 20:8 because there wasn’t a seven day cycle of Sabbath observance prior to approximately 360 A.D., and that even if there was (a seven day cycle), they ignored it for purposes of weekly Sabbath observance and only looked to the moon for any observance of any Sabbath (and/or lost track of which day was which when the calendar was changed, or something to that effect). Respectfully of course, this all begs the question, are you serious?
     
    Perhaps the site http://www.jewfaq.org/calendar.htm would be helpful. The weekly cycle has not been changed.

  65. David
    25 August 2011 @ 12:41 pm

    It not surprise that Holly day of the Lord, the Sabbath, is been attacked from different fronts. There is enough  evidence to show that Sabbath from Eden is the same the one recorded in Exodus, the one that Jesus observed and one we have today.  The words wrote by EGW are been fulfilled in front of our eyes "The worst enemies of the people of God will be the ones at one time the new the true"

    • Elaine Nelson
      25 August 2011 @ 3:07 pm

      David, since you are offering this evidence, please furnish your references:

      "There is enough  evidence to show that Sabbath from Eden is the same the one recorded in Exodus, the one that Jesus observed and one we have today."  

  66. Elaine Nelson
    25 August 2011 @ 3:05 pm

    Stephen, from the link you gave me (which I have previously seen):

    "The lunar month on the Jewish calendar begins when the first sliver of moon becomes visible after the dark of the moon. In ancient times, the new months used to be determined by observation. When people observed the new moon, they would notify the Sanhedrin. When the Sanhedrin heard testimony from two independent, reliable eyewitnesses that the new moon occurred on a certain date, they would declare the rosh chodesh (first of the month) and send out messengers to tell people when the month began."

    There was no possible method for the Israelites to calculate time except by the moon, and God gave the lights (sun and moon) for seasons, and the entire Jewish economy centered around all their feasts and festivals solely by the moon.  Sabbath was the first of all these "solemn festivals" found in Lev. 23.  All revolved around the Sabbath as the pivot point.  And the first new moon signaled the count-down for the Sabbath. 

     

    This was in effect until 360 when the Jewish calendar (which did not coincide with the secular calendar then in use) was discarded in favor of the fixed calendar which has been in use to the present day.  Until that date, sabbath, as well as all the festivals, were computed by the moon as a constant.  Note how many times in the Bible the new moon and Sabbath are used together in a text.  Even at creation, God created these "lights" in the sky for signs, seasons, and for days, and years.

    No one has shown yet how the ancient peoples calculated time other than those "lights."  Nor is there a single text evidencing that either the sabbath was given for man at creation, or anyone prior to Sinai even recognized there was a sabbath.  For Adventists, who are always eager to quote texts, there is a very noticeable absence of any text giving man a sabbath to observe prior to Sinai.  Only assumptions.

    A Babylonian text "specifically indicates the seventh, fourteenth, twen-first, and twenty-eighth days as those of Sin, the moon-god (Cunieform Texts from Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum).

    Another relevant text, the Bablonian Epic (ca. 3000 B.C.), the gods created the world in almost the exact order as given in Genesis 1, including the gods rested on the seventh day!  The English word for "week" comes from the Teutonic word for change—indicating the change of the phases of the moon."  God's calendar was given to man in the heavens; man has adapted and changed with the modern calendar, but long before then, the sun and moon were the ancient's calendar.  Had the Jews counted every seven days between sabbaths, why is the "new moon" consistently connected with sabbath, even in the NT? 

  67. Stephen Foster
    25 August 2011 @ 4:40 pm

    Elaine,
     
    Your problem is not with Adventism, or Adventists, it is with Judaism and Jews. Again, you have to be saying that the Jews somehow lost track of the counting of days (as measured by sunrises and sunsets) when the monthly calendar was altered; something for which there is absolutely no evidence to be found anywhere.
     
    In desperately attempting to delegitimize the Sabbath your pattern is one of asking sabbatarians to prove a negative; while at the same time running (as in denial) from the negative assumptions that you make. For instance, your bases for delegitimizing the weekly “Sabbath of the Lord thy God” are that there is no Biblically recorded commandment to observe the sanctified seventh day of the weekly cycle prior to Sinai, and that you do not believe that there is any New Testament scripture commanding followers of Jesus to observe the Sabbath, “as His custom was.”
     
    Meanwhile you deny the multiple evidentiary references to the Sabbath and its significance, ownership, purpose, and proper observance in the New Testament; and the now incredibly claim that not even the Jews understand the Sabbath since they somehow can’t keep track of time by the sun’s daily rising and setting, according to…uhm, you.
     
    No pun intended here (well, then again, sure it is), but your statement that “there was no possible method for Israelites to calculate time except the moon…” is nothing short of ludicrous, partially because it is immediately followed by “…and God gave the lights (sun and moon) for seasons…”
     
    The sun is used to measure days, Elaine, of which the weekly Sabbath is one. The moon, of course, is used for keeping track of months and seasons.

    • Stephen Foster
      25 August 2011 @ 4:47 pm

      Edit- "…and you now incredibly claim that not even the Jews…"

  68. Elaine Nelson
    25 August 2011 @ 6:34 pm

    Stephen, you say the moon is used for keeping tracks of months and seasons, which God gave at Creation.  Did the Jews count on their fingers, or mark on a stick every seven days?  According to the Bible record, they began counting from each new moon, which is well known does not result in sabbath falling on the same day each month, but would be:  When the New Moon is visible, 7 days hence is Sabbath, and until the next New Moon is 28 days, etc.  If the Jewish system was used, Sabbath would eventually fall on every day of the week–Sunday to Saturday, not each Saturday.  I.E., The New Moon comes on Sunday, the 28th; the next new moon will be Tuesday, Sept. 27; the next new moon will be Wednesday, Oct. 26;  the New Moon for November will fall on Nov. 25, a Friday; amd the last new moon of the year will be Sat., Dec. 24.  This is the Jewish method of determining the Sabbath, as well as the other festivals:  Rosh Hashanah is on Sept. 29, Thursday; The  first day of Sukkot is Thurday, Oct. 13;and Wed, Dec. 21 is the First Day of Hanukkah.  These all were given for the Jews as festivals to be remembered at the same time Sabbath was listed in Lev. 23 as important festivals to be remembered in perpetuity. 

     

    Why have Adventists adopted only one of these special days while ignoring the others, and also ignoring the calculation given by God for determining when the Sabbath began?  The often quoted text in Isaiah also combines both:  "From one new moon to another and from one sabbath to another shall all flesh come to bow down before me."   Adventists claim sabbath will be observed in the new earth, but what about the New Moon?

    Stephen, you continue to claim Christians were commanded to observe the sabbath.  Please, one, only one text addressed to Christians, not Jews, that sabbath should be observed.

  69. David
    26 August 2011 @ 12:00 am

    Look the literary beauty of the 4th commandment is in a form of chiasm.
     

    1. “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
    2. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God.
    3. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns

         2. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.
         1. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
     
    The number ones ( 1) message is “the Sabbath is holy” 
    The number two (2) message is work six days but the seven is Sabbath (rest)
    The number three ( 3) message is not work.
    Now the first number one , two  and three is the human response to the example given by the Creator in the later one and two.
    Why I keep the Sabbath Holy?  (1) Because the Lord made it holy (1)
    Why should I work six days and the seventh kept as Sabbath (rest) 2.  Because the Lord made in six days the heavens, earth, the sea and all that is in them, but he rested  in the seventh day.
    Enjoyed the Sabbath  is good for body mind and the spirit  The Sabbath was, is, and will be always a holly and blessed day,  Never the humans or the demons will take away this characteristic of this special day.

  70. Stephen Foster
    26 August 2011 @ 12:04 am

    So…amazingly, you are saying—no, actually insisting—that the Jewish people could not keep track of the rising and setting of the sun!
     
    The moon was to keep track of months, seasons, and was used to delineate or designate the festival Sabbaths. Arguing this is practically tantamount to arguing whether the sun literally rises and sets.
     
    As to your New Testament challenge, I’m tempted to do a Reagan-to-Carter “there you go again;” but instead, let’s make a deal. When you produce the text that says that the Sabbath should no longer be recognized (much less remembered), or that it has been changed, or that Jesus only referred to the Jews in His “Sabbath was made for man” statement, or that “Lord of the Sabbath” actually refers to the “fact” that Jesus claimed to be Lord of some other day, or that “heaven and earth” has, in fact, passed away, or that in actuality a blessing was promised to men who teach the breaking of one of His commandments, or that…you catch my drift; then I will produce the likewise non-existent text that proves the negative proposition—that no mention of that which is had previously been expressly designated by God as a reminder (“remember”) that He is the Creator of “heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is” in any particular portion of the Bible changes that reality.
     
    Again, it is not for me to judge anyone regarding what day they observe; nor practically anything else, for that matter.
     

  71. David
    26 August 2011 @ 12:26 am

    There is a limit until how much one person can refuse… after that this passage will apply to them “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness”

  72. Elaine Nelson
    26 August 2011 @ 12:48 am

    That is NOT what I said.  I said that the MOON was their way to mark "months" and days.  The sun, as is well know, demarcates both days and years, but cannot mark "special" days and according to Lev. 23 these "special" days, including sabbath were counted from the new moons, not the sun. The moon is consistently mentioned in connection with these days, while the sun is rarely, if ever mentioned.  Read Lev. 23 to check how the "month" which was measured by the moon and sabbath:  Passover (day after sabbath); Feast of Weeks (calculated by Sabbath); The Day of Atonement, another day of sabbath rest;  The Feast of Tabernacles, also determined by month.  many of which were a specified number of days from the new moon or sabbath. 

     

    What method would an ancient culture use to measure time other than the sun and moon?  In an agrarian culture, all days were more or less alike, unless there was a superior way of marking them.  Today, workers 5 days a week, with a calendar, live a different life with certain things to be done on certain days. The moon, from which the word "month" is derived, was always computed by the New Moon until the modern calendar was instituted in the fourth century. 

     

    The Christians were using the modern calendar by the fourth century.  Until then, without a calendar, the moon was the significant marker, and as the Bible clearly shows, it was the most important marker for the Jewish special days.

    I first requested that you furnish a single NT text commanding CHRISTIANS to BEGIN observing sabbath.  You are requesting a negative (a statement they should no longer keep sabbath) while I am requesting a POSITIVE statement that sabbath should be observed by GENTILE CHRISTIANS, not Jewish-Christians. 

    Without a COMMAND to CHRISTIANS to observe the seventh day, it is without substantiation–unless you can disclose it.

    The OT is not the Christian's final source, but the NT; otherwise there would be no Christ, nor Christians.  Christians no longer command circumcision, offer sacrifices, observe all the feasts, nor adopt Jewish practices–except for Adventists who choose Sabbath and unclean meats while ignoring all the feasts COMMANDED by God.  How were such doctrinal choices made?  When did Jesus ever abrogate those practices above?  Who gave the apostles permission to abrogate them?  IOW, if there weren't any changes with Christianity, why not simply be Jewish?

  73. Kevin Riley
    26 August 2011 @ 1:06 am

    Elaine

    Would the use of 7 names for the days of the week before 360 AD not argue for people being able to keep track of a 7 day week?  I would have thought the simplest understanding of 'the seventh day' would be 'every 7 days', not 'every 7 days from the new moon'.  Will you also argue that other ancient people with 7 or 10 day cycles were not able to keep track of the days, or is it just the Jews and Christians who could not?

  74. Elaine Nelson
    26 August 2011 @ 1:20 am

    Except for the Sabbath day, the individual days of the week have no names, just numbers in Judaism.

    The name for days of the week have Teutonic or Roman origin, and are named after respective gods.
    The Mayans had a very early calendar, but their weeks were of different length. 

     

    Prior to the fourth century, the Jews merely had numbers for the days of the week.  If every day is the same, as would be for sheep and goat herders, unlike today when we have different duties, etc., on specific days.  The entire camp had a designated individual to trumpet the new moon and the Sanhedrin notifed the people.  This is the method when there was no calendars and no other form of communication to a large group of people.  Is there another reason that the almost continued use of New Moon and Sabbaths in the same sentence?

  75. Stephen Foster
    26 August 2011 @ 3:22 am

    Elaine,
     
    You did say that the Jews had “no possible method…to calculate time except by the moon…” and you did facetiously question whether the Jews “[counted] on their fingers, or [marked] on a stick every seven days.” So you shouldn’t deny (“That is NOT what I said.”) my summarization of your position: that you are saying that “Jewish people could not keep track of the rising and setting of the sun!”
     
    Despite the “positive” references to the Decalogue by Jesus in the New Testament, you have nonetheless always challenged the Sabbath’s continued validity by arguing that the supposed non-existence of an additional (reinforcing?) command text (in the New Testament)—to continue to do that which is specifically identified as something to “remember” in the very Decalogue—defines abolishment.
     
    This is the “negative” proposition to which I refer. This line of reasoning is often used in juvenile rationalization. “You didn’t say that I couldn’t take the car…” Is there a specific New Testament command to honor one’s parents, or not to use the Lord’s name in vain, or not to covet “anything,” or not to bow and worship graven images?
     
    I know you find this hard to accept, and that this is for you an inconvenient truth, but Jesus’ words about (and references to) the Sabbath were for followers of Him—otherwise/later known as Christians.
     
    That said it is not for me to judge anyone regarding a day of observance. As the late, great Freddy Prinze used to say, “That’s not my job!”

  76. Elaine Nelson
    26 August 2011 @ 3:57 am

    You are putting words in my mouth that Jewish people could NOT keep track of the rising and setting of the sun."

    Read back what I wrote which did not say that they could not count by the sun.  The moon was the method they used to calculate sabbath as the new moon would be the signal for a trumpet to be blown to indicate the new moon–which was the beginning of a new month.  Nothing about the sun to contribute to the sabbath.  Where is the Sun and Sabbath mentioned together in the Bible?  It is always "New moon and Sabbath," in more than half a dozen texts.

    I totally recognize Jesus' saying "The Sabbath was made for man."  Jesus was a Jew; he lived and died as a Jew and observed all their rituals (most of which Adventists reject today, excepting Sabbath), and he never addressed a single Gentile Christian.  Jews continued to observe the seventh day; circumcision, and all their sacrifices until the temple was destroyed.  After it was destroyed, there is no more evidence of Jewish Christians, only Gentile Christians which became the church from that time onward and they began celebrating the day of the Resurrection before the end of the first century.

    Where did Jesus ever abrogate circumcision, sacrifices, food offered to idols, or even address Christians, of whatever ethnicity?  Did the Holy Spirit instruct the apostles to do so?  Jesus never did. 

    Are you contending that there was absolutely no change in the Jewish system to Christianity?  What, if anything was changed?  Did the Gentiles immediately adopt all the Jewish law? 

     

    Since Jesus never personally converted a single Gentile, if we believe the Bible, Paul was given the mission to the Gentile Christians, and he, and the apostles were directed by the Holy Spirit not to impose on them "the very burden tht neither we nor our ancestors wer strong enough to support."  All the NT supports the change from Judaism to Christianity.  Either the Gentiles were to become Jewish before becoming Christian or they were "saved in the say way as they are:  through the grace of the Lord Jesus."

    In his letter to Galatians and the Colossians, Paul explained that the Law was until Christ came and you are now no longer under the Law (the Law included Sabbath, did it not?)  Please explain your exegesis of Paul, who  converted and built the Christian church, not the Jewish.

    All I'm asking:  give me  any text showing that the Gentile Christians were to begin observing sabbath if they were to be accepted as members of the Christian church.

  77. Alle
    26 August 2011 @ 5:29 am

    "Why have Adventists adopted only one of these special days while ignoring the others, and also ignoring the calculation given by God for determining when the Sabbath began?"

    Because it's convenient. 

  78. Alle
    26 August 2011 @ 5:42 am

    Back to topic: when a 4 year old can ask good questions….hmmm.

    I asked my pastor dad some pretty good questions too not that much older. His good ole SDA answers did not satisfy. I'm no longer SDA or anything else.  Makes an intelligent person wonder doesnt it???

    Use strange bait, catch strange fish.

  79. Stephen Foster
    26 August 2011 @ 10:05 am

    The question about what you implied in saying that Jews had “no possible method…to calculate time except the moon…” and your questioning whether the Jews “[counted] on their fingers, or [marked] on a stick every seven days,” is not an open one, Elaine. I will let your words stand.
     
    If I asked you on what authority was the weekly observance of the Sabbath abrogated, would that be the inverse of your question about a New Testament text commanding its continued observance? Is “church history” or tradition the rule of faith and practice for followers of Jesus; or is it the Bible?
     
    Genesis 2: 3 says that the seventh day was blessed and set apart for holy use. If I’m not mistaken, this occurred about 2,500 years before there were any Jews. Christians are followers of Jesus. You cannot limit what He said to the Jews, because He was sent that “whosoever believeth in Him” should be saved. Since there is no Biblical indication that the blessing of the seventh day has been removed, or that the God-ordained sanctification of the seventh day has been either done away with, or transferred to any other day, and since Jesus claimed to be Lord of the Sabbath, and clearly implied that it would have continuing relevance and significance after His death; the fact that He was a Jew, or that His contemporary listeners were Jews, is practically, if not absolutely, irrelevant.
     
    In answer to your question about what changed for followers of Jesus upon the incarnation, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is that that which pre-figured or typified His sacrifice became passé after His sacrifice; but of course, you already knew that.

  80. Stephen Foster
    26 August 2011 @ 10:11 am

    Oops! I almost forgot to add my Pauline disclaimer: it is not appropriate for me to judge anyone regarding what day they observe. Does this apply to everyone?

  81. Elaine Nelson
    26 August 2011 @ 3:39 pm

    Gen. 2:2-3:

    "And by the seventh day God completed His work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from His work which He had done.  Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created an made."

    Note:  there is not a single mention of humans, but only God who had worked, had completed His work, and rested from His work.  Making assumptions when there are no texts is so frequently done in Adventism that unless one carefully checks, they are simply not there.  No command for humans, who had done no work, that they should rest, as it was their FIRST day, only God's seventh working day.

    Genesis was not written when it occurred, but approximately one thousand years B.C., and is credited to the priests who both wrote about the sabbath both in the Torah and in their exhorations to return to sabbath as they believed it was the reason for their captivity.

    If Christians are "followers of Jesus" why do they disregard most of his examples:  circumcision, sacrificial offerings, observance of special feast days?  The Sabbath cannot be shown to orignate for mankind at Eden, else where is there a single record of its observance before Sinai? 

     

    That Christians were to observe the Sabbath once they became Christians, is no where mentioned in the NT.  So many unproved assumptions that these statements simply won't fly with Bible students. 

    BTW:  I am neither a Sunday-keeper, no advocating Sunday or any day as a worship day (the seventh day was originally given as a rest day–Israelites were to stay in their tents.

    Traditions are found in all religions, Adventism not excepted.  Adventists first adopted the calendar day beginning and ending at midnight for sabbath observance, then changed from sunset to sunset.  Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for their condemnation of his working on Sabbath, and Adventists have also become Pharisaical in their tortured attitude of work, defining certain work as important and necessary while others are forbidden.  This is Adventist tradition, not Jewish.

    Adventists also adopted the traditions of the Roman Church when adopting the idea of the virgin birth and the Trinity, as well as the human/divine nature of Christ which was settled in the fourth century by that church.  Adventists also adopted the system of governance used by the Roman church, unlike the early church.  To deny tradition, is to be ignorant of history.  No insitutition is free from tradition.

  82. Elaine Nelson
    26 August 2011 @ 4:37 pm

    We would know nothing of a day called sabbath were it not for Judaism.  Even the few times it is mentioned in the NT, it was related to Jewish practice of Sabbath.  Doesn't this indicate that Adventism drew entirely for Judaism for its Sabbath observance, how and when, and its importance?  Jesus only had this to say about Sabbath:  it was made for man, not man for Sabbath, and his audience were Jews who were scrupulous in its observance, and he was chiding them for their strict adherence to minute details.

    Where was the scrupulosity of Sabbath-keeping for Christians?  Where were Christians given the Jewish feasts to observe?  Where were Christians burdened by the Law?  Where were Christians given explicit rules and a covenant with God which they swore to uphold? 

    Judaism with its multitude of rules were largely adopted and brought into Adventism.  The first believers observed Sunday (it was called "Sabbath" in those days), and not until Rachel Oakes (?) and one of two other influential people convinced the few Adventists that Sabbath was in the OT, did they adopt Sabbath.  IOW, the SDA "movement" was moving along as it gradually added more strict rules for Sabbath keeping:  no baths, no buying or selling, no lighting fires for cooking–straight from the OT.   Unclean meats, tithing, and the IJ were not originally in their doctrines. Their tradition was like all other institutions, a gradually evolving force.  Even as late as a few years ago, the FBs were still be added and re-written and Adventists are expect to faithfully observe each and every addition. 

     

    Will the real Adventist stand up?  If some of its founders were here today would they even recognize Adventism today?

  83. Stephen Foster
    26 August 2011 @ 7:49 pm

    That Christians were to observe the Sabbath once they became Christians, is no where mentioned in the NT.  So many unproved assumptions that these statements simply won't fly with Bible students.
     
    This statement is perhaps key to our disagreement. Ideally, Christians are nothing more—or less—than followers of Jesus, who believe Him to be their Creator and Savior. (If you dispute this, then we are not even talking about the same subject.) Therefore such a statement should actually acknowledge the fact that nowhere in the NT were Christians instructed to “no longer” observe the Sabbath. Of course, when juxtaposed with the fact that Jesus DEFINITELY made specific reference to the weekly Sabbath, and therefore had opportunity to instruct regarding it whatever He pleased, things should become clear. Surely He has demonstrated that He was never fearful of incurring the wrath of the Jews, nor of being accused of blasphemy, after all.
     
    We would know nothing of a day called sabbath were it not for Judaism.  Even the few times it is mentioned in the NT, it was related to Jewish practice of Sabbath.  Doesn't this indicate that Adventism drew entirely for Judaism for its Sabbath observance, how and when, and its importance?
     
    Obviously the first sentence here is true; but Acts 13:42-44 certainly proves beyond doubt that both Jews and Gentiles gathered in the synagogue on the Sabbath—as does Acts 18:4 for that matter.
     
    Likewise, Jesus made mention of the Sabbath by saying more than it was “made for man, and not man for the Sabbath,” as you erroneously claim. He also claimed to be the owner of the Sabbath, and that it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath, and that His followers should pray that their flight—whether it be at the destruction of Jerusalem or at the end of time—not be on the Sabbath. Besides, since the Sabbath was made for man, and set apart for Holy use (i.e, “sanctified”) at the end of Creation work—as the Bible says—it would follow that it was set apart for Holy use by God for mankind. So the fact that there is no record of command prior to Sinai is logically rendered meaningless.
     
    You may have been traumatized by SDA tradition as others clearly have been. But get over it already, because throwing the baby out with the bathwater has never been advisable. 

  84. Elaine Nelson
    26 August 2011 @ 9:35 pm

    Stephen, you have presented the typical view that Adventists have always given, and that your were most likely taught. 

    Of course, nothing in the NT instructed the GENTILES that they were "no longer" to observe the Sabbath, because you have failed to show that the Gentiles, before becoming Christians had ever observed sabbath.  The Jews had no need to be taught anything about Sabbath as they were the ones to originally observe it.  What day do you propose that the Gentiles were observing priot to becoming Christians?  Is there any historical evidence that they regularly observed a day as did Jews?

    If not, then to assume that they simply began by observing a new day, for them, without any evidence, it is merely supposition.  That they met in synagogue on Sabbath to hear the Scripture read, or hear Paul speak does not indicate they accepted it as a holy day to be observed anymore than your attendance at a Catholic church for a wedding or funeral indicates that you are now a Catholic. member and accept their doctrines.

    If you cannot see the difference in these assumptions being made, I will simply drop it, as for someone who believes that assumptions and substantiations are the same, it is a waste of time.

    As for personal suggestions of "traumatization" my experience is based on many years of studying Christian history to satisfy requirements for an advanced degree, and Adventism was not  a requirement for that.

    • Stephen Foster
      27 August 2011 @ 2:23 am

      Elaine,
       
      Who knows, we may have gotten somewhere!? It is clear that your point is that instead of the Bible, you believe that I should look to the history of the tradition of certain Gentiles. The problem is that those Gentiles with whom you are concerned were observing a day other than the Sabbath—as pagans.
       
      The rationale that ran interference for the compromise that eventually occurred—and subsequently institutionalized—was, of course, the resurrection of Jesus. Without doubt the irony of all time is that while the death of Christ proves the immutability of God’s commandments, His resurrection is the very basis for rationalizing the institutional abrogation of the fourth commandment; certainly no mean feat.
       
      Depending on where you matriculated of course, this should not be news to you; since you have actually studied this history for academic credit.  

      • Elaine Nelson
        27 August 2011 @ 3:26 am

        Stephen, the NT canon closed ca. 100-125 A.D.  Much happened since then.  In fact most of the Gospels were not written until at least a generation or more after Jesus' death, and in that time, much occurred:  Paul was sent to the Gentiles of which Jesus could not have been aware. 

        You failed to tell me what day the pagans were observing.  Yes, they had gods and were obligated to give offerings, but I am not aware of any special day they were observing, so please enlighten me.  Yes, you must go outside the Bible to see how doctrines were established, as when the NT canon was closed many were not yet determined.  It was not until 300 years later that some were even agreed upon!  If Adventists relied solely on the Bible they would not have accepted the Trinity, the divine/human combination in Christ as that was never even mentioned in the Bible.  It was established some 300 years later.

        Tell me:  the death of Jesus is the central theme for Christians, as symbolized by the cross on top or in the churches.  But without his resurrection,, where would Christianity be?  Is celebrating Christ's death as something to be memorialized?  Adventists claim it is Creation, but this was the same reason given by and for Jews:  memorializing Creation.  The Jews did not recognize Christ, and for Christians to simply continue with the Jews of observing sabbath would be to ignore the Resurrection as having little importance.  Is this true?

        You may not remember, but I have been in Adventism for more than 80 years, and for most of that time both the Resurrection event and Easter was ignored as being a "Catholic" Holiday and Adventists should do nothing imitating Catholicism!   Do you remember celebrating Easter as an Adventist?  If so, it certainly wasn't so in the Bible Belt where I spent the first 20 years.  IOW, for Adventists it was merely incidental as their name indicated they observed Sabbath and to recognize Easter or the Resurrection carried a stigma.
         

        The Resurrection is the very central them of Christianity, that is, excepting Adventism for whom the Sabbath and the Second Advent is central.

        Yes, I got me graduate degree from a secular university and my undergraduate degree from a Jesuit University–no religion studied there at all.  I chose my electives in graduate school and decided to write my thesis on the history of early Christianity–first 400 years.  I wanted to know how, why, and what choices were made in establishing doctrines.  How many Adventists, other than theology
        graduate students, have studied the history of Christianity?  Most study the history of Adventism, but 1800 years before there was Adventism, there was a Christian church.  This is where the doctrines were formulated and it was most tumultuous–not even a pretty sight!  Most had nothing to do with religion but with political objectives in mind–not too different than today?

        • Stephen Foster
          27 August 2011 @ 8:04 am

          Ah, a little (educational) background sheds a lot of light; providing an interesting perspective.
           
          First off, let’s be clear, it should be noted that there is nothing “of which Jesus could not have been aware.”
           
          The observation of pagan custom to which I refer was, of course, the first day of the week, also known to some as the day of the sun. This is not to say that polytheists did not also “honor” other days of the week in a similar fashion (e.g., the moon day became Monday, etc.), but the established pagan veneration of the sun day catalyzed the political compromise from which the doctrine of tradition was institutionally birthed.
           
          As you know, mutual convenience is the stuff of political compromise, and the coinciding of the resurrection on the first day of the week with the established veneration of the sun day became tradition’s parents.
           
          The Jews obviously had made the Sabbath a burden by ridiculous restrictions which Jesus’ words and examples put in perspective. It however remained saddled with the stigma of restriction and therefore represented a political problem. Sunday presented no such problem, as it was recognized with festival without Judaism’s stigma.
           
          While celebrating Christ’s death is important, it is more important to do so in the manner in which He Himself instructed. The symbols associated with Easter Sunday are understandably, of course, of pagan origin; as they are the natural result of compromise.
           
          It is irrelevant whether doctrine was formed in 100 A.D. or 2011 A.D., or anywhere in between. All that matters is whether the doctrine is Biblical; or not. 

  85. LaffAL
    26 August 2011 @ 10:02 pm

    Elaine,

    So how are we to explain what Jesus instructed His disciples to do?

    Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20 ESV)

    What did Christ command them to observe and teach?  Christ kept the Sabbath, maybe not in the same way the Jewish leaders did, but He did keep the Sabbath.  And if you want the rest that He has given / is offering, the Sabbath is the day set aside for rest.  Hence it is made for man, not Jews.  The problem with the Jews,  and many Adventists, they thought the Sabbath made them a special people, and lost sight of the significance of the Sabbath. 

    Your position about what's not written in the NT does not fly.  If, as you've rightly acknowledged, the NT does not say anything about any change of Sabbath observance from Jew to Gentile, then you cannot backup your position from the Bible, and the Sabbath is a Bible concept, you ought to leave the subject alone.  All you have is supposition… what you think.  And that's not enough to convince me.   And as Stephen observered, Paul, Jewish believers, and the Gentile believers observed the Sabbath.

  86. Anonymous
    26 August 2011 @ 11:26 pm

    What a delightful Blog, Melissa –

    Not sure how I missed it. What would happen to my marriage if my attention was focused on finding fault with the perceived shortcomings of my wife? Why would I try to stay connected in any way with a person toward whom I felt resentment, anger and contempt? And why, once I left that marriage, would I follow my ex around with billboards telling all her friends and associates what an awful idiot she is? WOULD THAT BE SICK OR WHAT!! No finger pointing here, but if the shoe fits…

    While the line between faith and doubt may be hard to discern, the trajectory of love is more obvious. I may not always be able to define it; but I know it when I see it. Doubt harbored by those who love the church for all its faults, as you point out, Melissa, is a far different matter than doubt expressed by those who only profess love for the church as they wish it to be. If the church is Christ's bride, should we love it, as it is, any less than He does? 

    Unfortunately, too many Adventists can only love the Church as they think it should be or as they think it was in some mental snapshot of a halcyon period that never existed. And so the oxygen and Spirit are sucked out of the Church by those who play tug-of-war with the organism on which they feed.  If forced to choose between those who focus on building faith out of love for Christ, and those who encourage questions for the sake of truth, I will cast my lot with the former. Fortunately, the Church I love doesn't force me into such either-or false choices, and never has, except in the straw-man world of her detractors.  

  87. Ron Corson
    27 August 2011 @ 1:47 am

    Nathan wrote:
    "Doubt harbored by those who love the church for all its faults, as you point out, Melissa, is a far different matter than doubt expressed by those who only profess love for the church as they wish it to be. If the church is Christ's bride, should we love it, as it is, any less than He does?"

    Now how does this work, it seems to me we have a denomination (SDA via Ellen White) that has a paticular position which is to call many other churches apostate protestantism. So if we can do that to the churches that God loves how is it we can't say anything against preceived problems in our own denomination? Surely you are not using the church that God loves as only the SDA denomination, please explain.

    • Anonymous
      27 August 2011 @ 5:46 am

      Now where did I say we shouldn't point out perceived problems in our own denomination? It is all a matter of context. Do we love the church as it is? I can't answer that question for you, but that doesn't mean it isn't an important question. 

      I have to say that I don't really think of the SDA Church denominational umbrella as my church. It's far too big and impersonal. I don't see how on can really love a denomination. I can't love a faith community until it begins to have identifiable faces and personal relationships that I feel. My local church faith community is the church that I love. There are no doubt people in my local church that see other Christian denominations as Babylon. They don't bother me. I have no interest in seeking them out and inquisitorially stringing them up as official representatives of all that's wrong with the church.

      • Ron Corson
        27 August 2011 @ 6:32 pm

        Well isn't doubt in a churches answer a precieved problem? But it is OK, I did not expect you could really answer that as it was just to show that your previous statement really made no sense. And moving it to your local church does nothing at all nor the straw man of stringing them up as official representatives. It was a good deflection though, rather fitting with the article where the Christian wants to deflect from the childs statement instead of dealing with the statement properly.

  88. Trudy Morgan-Cole
    27 August 2011 @ 11:18 am

    This column is great, Melissa, and the responses to it encapsulate virtually everything I find frustrating about SDA websites and discussion boards.

    The column was about how the writer's four-year-old made a very perceptive and thoughtful statement about a Bible story, and that led the writer to think about the role of doubt in our spiritual journey and in our faith communities.

    Then a few people pounced like predators on the word "doubt" and sparked a debate about … the Sabbath, I think? I'm not sure because I skimmed a lot, looking for any comments that might relate in some way to the original post.

    There seem to me to be a lot of factions within and around the Adventist church — including bitter, angry ex-Adventists who can't move on — who love wrangling about theological issues that, to 99.9% of the world, are so arcane as to be laughable.

    The way I interpret the four-year-old's statement that "the boat sank" is that it sounds like an early recognition of something that troubles devout children and adults too — "You tell me that God calms the storm and solves all our problems, yet I still see and experience suffering and pain, and that's hard to square with your story of an all-powerful, all-loving God." A four-year-old can't articulate all that, but s/he can feel some of it, and it's wonderful if Christian parents and teachers can allow space where questions like these can be asked. It's also wonderful (and this is something I've struggled with learning for a lifetime) to be able to tell kids and adults that sometimes the answer is, "I don't know," that faith is not dependent on having all the right answers all the time.

    In the real world, a lot more people are asking, "Why does the boat sink?" than "When and why did the change from Saturday to Sunday worship occur?" That's not to say that doctrinal questions are unimportant — we need to allow space for our young people and ourselves to ask and explore those questions as well — but they are the mint, anise and cumin of the spiritual journey, and too often we focus on them and neglect the weightier matters that people both within and outside our tiny Adventist bubble are crying out to hear about.

    • William Noel
      27 August 2011 @ 12:56 pm

      Trudy!

      Amen!  Amen!  Amen!

      It is when we can answer the question "Why did my boat sink?" that we're making Christianity practical and able to win hearts and the Holy Spirit can use us.

      • Anonymous
        27 August 2011 @ 5:30 pm

        Yes and no…Melissa's son didn't ask why the boat sank. It is interesting that both Trudy and William read it that way. Rather, he made a declaration: "I think the boat sank," an assertion which defenders of Christ reflexively spring to refute.  Precisely what he was thinking and imagining when he made the statement is unknown because Melissa, like a good soldier of Christ, responded defensively, instead of trying to figure out what her son had heard and what he was thinking. Our adult minds may be erroneously projecting our own questions and doubts into the conclusion – "I think the boat sank."

        To the extent that the assertion could be reframed as "Why did the boat sink?" – a difficult question to answer if one doesn't accept the premise – I don't believe Christians serve the cause of Christ when they pretend to have abstract answers to questions about the harsh realities perceived and experienced in this earthly kingdom. Rather, I think we need to stick with the story. Once we truly hear and touch the heart of the questioner – and are we not at some times in our lives all the questioner –  then I think we are in a position to go back to the lake, and back to the empty tomb, to help the doubter see the Master walking on the water – to remind the faith-challenged of a risen Lord. And then we can tell them of the times in our lives when our ship was sinking, and we experienced Christ walking towards us, walking beside us, in the boat – but always with us on the stormy seas of our lives. Thus His story becomes our story, and our story His, and we can insanely and joyously proclaim with Job: "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him!" That, I submit, is the only way to make Christianity practical.

        • Trudy Morgan-Cole
          27 August 2011 @ 7:04 pm

          Actually, I did point out in my comment that the four-year-old made a statement, rather than a question. I do think the question is implicit in the statement, or at least that that statement will inevitably lead to that question, but you're right, it's important to hear what kids, as well as adults, are actually saying.

  89. David
    27 August 2011 @ 6:05 pm

    We will always have questions, but always have all the answers, nevertheless life continuous and or duty is to do the best of it.  I hope that the best of our lives is not just writing in this blog. When was the last time we assisted a needed person? Or visited in their jails or hospitals?  For sure our lives will have more meaning when we practice the basic principles of Christianity.

  90. Elaine Nelson
    27 August 2011 @ 8:06 pm

    This reminds me of the story of the little boy returning from Sunday School who was asked by his mother what he learned:  He said:  "the Israelites came to the Red Sea and the Army Corps of Engineers built a pontoon bridge and they all crossed over on dry land."

    The mother asked:  "Are you sure that is what you heard?"

    He said, "If I told you what she really said, you wouldn't believe me!"

  91. Trevor Hammond
    27 August 2011 @ 11:31 pm

    RE: Mrs. Howell’s concerns regarding the comments on this blog in her post above:

    Firstly, let me say (from what I have gathered), that Mrs. Howell is clearly a very committed and very caring mom and just the same exemplary caring person to her kids in class as an educator.  Championing the cause of youth to make the right decisions and to go the right way, is always admirable and noteworthy.  Been sympathetic to their experiences and challenges they face as well as robustly defending their need of certain questions and answers is noted too.

    My main concern in all of this though, is the risk of trying so desperately to save them that we go to the overzealous extent of offering them a diluted secular/worldly influenced sub-standard compromised Christianity package which upholds and glorifies all forms of secular evils.  To make matters worse we want to then also encouraging the trampling of the sacred teachings of scripture and the subtle disregard of SDA church standards and beliefs in an effort to win them over although we very well know that we just CAN'T save them no matter how much we may love them.  There is only one way advocated by God: the way of the Cross.  Traditional; historical; old fashioned; fundamental; relevant; the Cross is God’s way – even in the post modernized secular pluralistic abyss of a society filled with worldly living and sinfulness – the Cross is still the only answer to much of its questionings and murmurings.

    We can only take others to the 'water' of life but in the end they will have to drink themselves…
    T

    • Anonymous
      28 August 2011 @ 12:11 am

      Trevor – The fact that AToday is parsimonious with censorship does not support a conclusion that it is partial towards particular viewpoints, as your frequently disputed, but welcome, posts prove. 

      Many of your concerns, I think, arise out of the fact that you grow uncomfortable when theological views are not delivered in the old wineskins of traditional Adventist accents, phrases, and cliches. Many of us, who may share your respect for tradition, prefer more contemporary idioms of thought and expression.  I have no quarrel with the centrality of the cross. But beating "sinners" over the head with the cross, or hectoring those who see the cross through different windows than you do, is really a turn-off. 

      Get over yourself! There is no bias against you. The only bias is in favor of the Comment Guidelines which, by their nature, require some subjective judgment. If you have a problem, direct it to the Blog editor. Whining in the comments section is really quite pitiful. Where is your pride, man?

      • Trevor Hammond
        29 August 2011 @ 4:01 pm

        Mr. Schilt, the very fact that your not so nice remarks above are condoned yet my two responses to them were censored (deleted) clearly is evidence that I'm not barking up the wrong tree.  Imagine if Mrs. Howell told her son to quit whining and take his queries to God in prayer with a 'where's your pride' ending when he raised the boat sank concern with her.  (It just dawned on me what the 'golden rule' means: the one who has the gold, rules.)  You speak of me getting uncomfortable with 'accents, phrases and clichés yet I have been asked not to use them as it makes 'others' uncomfortable.  Methinks that there may very well be some wishful 'thinkers with blinkers' out there who don't like getting rubbed the wrong way and who are quick to pass judgement on those with specks of dust in their eyes whilst conveniently attacking others with the log in theirs.  Which brings me to my next point.  It shows too how fundamentalist so-called progressives really are with their thinking and yet claim to be open minded free-thinkers.  Seems to me it's just the illusion of free-thinking as certain schools of thought are given precedence over others even when they are rude or crude.

        T

        • Anonymous
          29 August 2011 @ 9:53 pm

          As you know, Trevor, if you read my comments and blogs, I frequently, if not usually, find myself in disagreement with what can loosely be referred to as the progressive wing of Adventism. But I think what I have in common with them is a zest for robust and free exchange of opinions in a marketplace for ideas, not a square for religious rallies. It matters not whether those ideas are conservative, liberal, progressive or fundamentalist. It is rare to find such a place in today's world. That is what I think Adventist Today strives for. So brandishing the cross to shut down the conversation, or block expression of viewpoints is pretty unwelcome, because it strikes at the heart of what Adventist Today wants to promote.

          Fusillades of religious cliches and ad hominem, seemingly incanted to ward off evil spirits rather than actually communicate coherent ideas, are quite appropriate to a religious praise and prayer service. It would be highly inappropriate for me, at such an event, to step forward and offer a dispassionate intellectual critique of pious expressions of faith. By the same token, on a website devoted to ideas and rational discussion of faith and religion, it is inappropriate to spew the emotional heat of faith and piety, like hot lava, out on those whose ideas offend you. Let those feelings cool in your mind and come out as well-formed and cogently expressed concepts. Rationalize your feelings rather than venting them. I know you are capable of it.

          We've all heard the phrase, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." More appropriate to this website, in my view, is the caveat:  "If you can't express your feelings and views rationally, don't express them at all." Just my opinion…

          • Trevor Hammond
            29 August 2011 @ 11:20 pm

            Sir, I respectfully disagree with you AND with all due respect, I must say your brandishing of intellectual strong arm bully tactics at the playground corner doesn’t faze me one bit. Your comments are anything but rational as they address nothing that I have raised in my comments above.  Please read my comments above before passing judgement too quickly.  Are they ‘venting’ and a ‘square for religious rallies’? I beg to differ. 

            I have expressed my opinion in my comments above and you brought up the irrational concept of bashing someone on the head with the Cross.  If you  view the cross differently then I respect that but please don’t put words in my mouth and misrepresent what I posted.  The Cross of Christ is very dear to me and it is absurd to ever view its immense power and grace as a ‘weapon of destruction’.  It can NEVER be used this way.  I just tried to humour you though by saying how I wouldn’t mind getting beat by it because of the very fact that it is always redemptive and never condemning for those who come into contact with its redeeming power. 

            Someone used vulgarity which I raised and questioned as an example of how some persons are allowed to do so when voicing opinions suiting a certain camp.  I will refrain from telling you how you should conduct yourself as I am not one to be rude even though you Sir, have unabashedly tried to insult me on a public platform.  I won’t say any more lest I cross the Dear Editor’s wires again for some reason and will bow out (or should I say was muscled out) of this strand for now lest my post be deleted again or I be banished.  Apologies to Mrs. Howell for this deliberation.
            T

  92. JIMS Seven
    30 August 2011 @ 5:11 am

    Some more addition to Mr. Hammonds' following comments (end part of the second last line):
    '……lest my post be deleted again or I be banished'

    Common Mr. Hammond I just checked the 'about us' section of AT and Honourable duo Nate Schilt and Erv Taylor are in Editorial team. You should have known that long ago (That simply means some people here have more space and more power though the AT likes to trumpet about the norms of true journalism etc. see the About us section). I actually made it a point to check it today morning given the way the magazine editors have been fomenting it's wires on you……i don't have time to do such thing but still i went through that pain primarily because of  this following observation of mine:

    All the folks here must be aware of AT's updating system called: 'Recent comments' where they put forth or the page is designed to atuomatically update the readers with the recent postings as to when someone comments on some topic, blog etc……it is show there ASAP…….Yesterday after expressing my disssatisfaction at the way the editors were playing judge kind of drama….i was continuously refreshing and checking the 'recent updates' and comments in that 'Foot washing' article……you know what?…..after my first comment Mr. Hammond did comment there with kind acknowledgement as to he is bowing out (Please see it for yourself)…….just  after his posting it was displayed there in the 'Recent comments updates', naturally i was sure to look at it even if someone else do write because by that time i had already engaged myself with my bad writing skills…….i followed the update and checked it then posted my second comment……..People, people you know what…..this TRANSPARENT, DEMOCRATIC and NEUTRAL dear people at AT know better what happend with that 'Recent comment updates' of Mr. Hammond…….by the time i came back after posting my second comment it was there no more (Though it is there in the article/blog section)….all other updates were being displayed in the 'Recent comment updates' section except for Mr. Hammonds'……. well editing team might either tell us there was technicle glitch or some other so-so reasons but by the time i posted this there was no such thing…….How wise of them to play judge and ask a genuine debater asking him to apologize while they do more strange (I wanted to put some other word instead of 'Strange' but was apprehensive of my post also being deleted and suffering from mr. Hammonds' fate at the hand of the Elite Editorial team hence opted for this light word 'strange') thing than that genuine debater……..

    By the way Mr.Hammond even if you don't mention such things the readers can just make it out what is going on here in the 'General conference' of AT hahaha……..Dear Editors i won't be surprised if i suffer Mr. Hammonds' fate but i did my part letting you know my dissatisfaction as a representative of many thousands of AT readers……stay blessed.

    PS: Explaination: Since yesterday when i strated to comment most of them are associated with the AT and mr. Hammonds. Friends here might get confused as to if i am related to mr. Hammonds. No I guess except for our engagement in this forum. As I said earlier i am from south asia and writing from the same region at this moment. i don't know about mr. Hammond much but my stand here is not just for him alone rather it is a voice against the very harsh and personal ill-treatment a genuine and regular blogger has been receiving…..Folks i don't get paid (lol) nor even receive a tap on my shoulder for this from Mr. Hammonds (no offense)……..this is just in case you all might have some confusion because here mostly i see people promoting their own agendas in what seem like an unofficial groupism/ campaign (Please don't tell me this is harmony of like-mindness etc……the idea i guess here is being true to yourself).

    Peace to all……

    • Trevor Hammond
      30 August 2011 @ 5:29 am

      Hey, JIMS Seven – Thanks kindly (Sir) for your comments. Much appreciated. God Bless.

      T

      • Ron Corson
        02 September 2011 @ 1:19 am

        JIMS I think you will find that the recent comments only lists the last comment of each thread, So when you comment last that appears on the recent comment list and Trevor's last comment disappears, I suppose the website manager could confirm this, but I just looked at the recent comments list and it had no topics with multiple enteries.

  93. Melissa Howell
    02 September 2011 @ 1:04 am

    Thank you to so many of you who are adding to this interesting discussion!

    So, what I'm wondering now, is this:  Could some of you help me wrestle with the issue of balance between faith and doubt, which I raised?  How do we protect what and whom we hold dear, while at the same time allowing space for questions?  I mean, what should this look like within the structure of the Adventist church and school system – both of which, I happen to love, very much.

    It is common to staunchly adhere to everything we've been taught with no question, and it is also common to question everything we've ever believed or been taught to the point of disbelief, but where is the middle?! How do we find it?  How do we create "the middle" in our schools and churches, and should it even exist?  What is the best, most productive, most faith-building way to approach questions and doubts in Adventism – that's what I want to know.  Can anyone offer some wisdom – what has worked, what hasn't, what does, what doesn't, etc?   

  94. Elaine Nelson
    02 September 2011 @ 2:57 am

    Faith can never be built without doubt as doubt is the beginning of faith and cannot be predicted.  Failure to allow questions destroys the credibility of an individual, a church, or an institution.  Questions not accepted as honest is even worse.  "You should already know."

    If they are answered in a flippant manner, that is even worse.  Direct the questioner to the Bible, not EGW or any other writer.  Each Bible reader should be able to discover for himself and only one who discovers his own truth is the truth that will exist for him. 

     

    Personally, I was taught all the "proper" texts for answering the doctrines but never bothered to investigate further.  But when I began reading Paul, the earliest NT writer, and the apostle to the Gentiles, my eyes were really opened for the first time.  Much of what I had been taught was not what I was reading, but only a pastiche of texts collected to emphasize the importance of the law, and particularly the sabbath.

    As for other SDA doctrines such as the IJ and six-day creation, a serious student should read and challenge the SDA interpretation–as that is what it is- an interpretation, particularly for the IJ with its contrived dates beginning at 1844 and working back to find one that fits the math.  Again, how many SDA students were allowed to question these basic doctrines?  Only by studying for one's self will his faith be "his" and not the church's.

    • Stephen Foster
      02 September 2011 @ 7:01 am

      Elaine,
       
      The “answers” to your questions on the weekly Sabbath from wherever you “found” them, do not hold water when measured against the actual scriptures from which the concept and doctrine of the weekly Sabbath is derived. You can always find “answers” that agree with preconceptions at any time. However the fact remains that the very same God who created the world (Genesis and John 1:1) and sanctified the seventh day of the week for the entirety of mankind is the same God who, in the New Testament, claimed to be owner of the same exact day of the week, and had opportunity to teach all who would later claim Him as Lord and Savior how to regard and observe the weekly Sabbath.
       
      That it may have been a burden of tradition to you in your upbringing or that you perceive it to be an organizational burden of tradition for SDA’s had been perhaps your preconceived motivation to “search” for the “answers” you “found.” Paul did not instruct gentiles to change the Lord’s Day, nor was it Paul who instructed gentiles to “no longer” observe the day which the Lord had previously claimed as His. Nor did Paul encourage the continuance of pagan tradition or pagan observance of any particular day. Paul simply instructed that Christians were not to judge each other—about anything.
       
      You cannot discover truth by yourself, nor discover your "own truth." Only the Holy Spirit can guide you into truth, and it can never be considered your own.  

  95. Kevin Seidel
    02 September 2011 @ 4:39 am

    Some thoughts.

    Recognize that we can't actually protect what and whom we hold dear and that it isn't our job to do so.

    Teach people that we don't have to answer every question right now.  It is okay to sit with questions and wait.

    Teach people how to ask good questions.  Give people the tools to find answers for themselve.  Things like Bible study, prayer, meditation, solitude, fellowship, time alone in nature, art. 

    Have faith that God is leading them.  Trust that God is leading them.

    Support each other in the struggle to grow and find answers, even when the answers aren't the ones we want to hear.

     

  96. Trevor Hammond
    02 September 2011 @ 6:23 am

    The middle has always been there.  Those who are considered the extreme religious right can’t move much more than they have already with regards to their conservatism (boiling point).  IT IS THE RELIGIOUS LEFT that has moved (and is moving) the goal posts further and further away and therefore the MIDDLE as well.  Heavily influenced by secular culture, peer pressure, ‘hollywood’ and rapid changes in the socio-political arena have forced many Christians to depart from the faith which can be seen in the ‘retrogressive’ behavior patterns in the lives of those to are swept away by the tide of worldliness.  I would term this ‘retrogressive progressiveness’: a paradox, an oxymoron – yeah; but when one moves in the direction of sin and worldliness which is most definitely influenced by the secular culture and laws of the land then it is Christian Retrogression that is alive and kicking.  The devious ‘progressiveness’ purported by many on these blogs seeks to brag an improved or advanced position; but on the contrary it is just but another term used to excuse a wayward and reckless belief system.  Devolution at its best.

    A story is told of an elderly couple who regularly travelled together in their pick-up truck which had aged with them.  The old man sat at the wheel as usual and his dear wife on the other side.  Then one day while they were travelling she said to him: “Remember how we used to sit close to each other and cuddle while driving?  I really miss those days.  What happened to us over the years?  Look how we have moved apart and lost the togetherness we once had.”  The husband said to his wife: “Well, well, my dear, haven’t you noticed? I’m still sitting in the same old driver’s seat?  It is you that has moved away”

    TRADITIONAL Adventism is still (at least in theory) close to the driver’s seat: cuddling up close to Jesus.  It’s the religious liberals that have moved (and are moving) far way thereby taking the pseudo-middle further way with them.

    †♥ü
    T

  97. JIMS Seven
    02 September 2011 @ 7:19 am

    Many thanks Mr. Corson for this. However I was prepared for this answer. But let me offer explaination:
    '…i followed the update and checked it' that should have been …'i followed the update and checked it again and again for a while with frequent refreshing and then went on to post my second comment'…as i am convinced of something else given the scenario that day and other observation that i had made (people don't need to agree to what I said as I made it clear that my purpose was to reach the editors with my message).If you and other friends understood something else i.e me not checking or being familiar with the style or manner of 'recent updates' and not knowing the fact that you pointed etc blame it on my bad writing skill (lol). Secondly, is it ok to think that a regular reader of AT might not even be knowing this simple fact as how the 'recent updates' get updated?….chances are there that there must have been unintentional technical glitch as other day one of my elder relative told me 'not to rely on e-mails they go to moon' (lol) but still as I said earlier it is difficult to get convinced of this fact when in my opinion the editors involved themselves one sidedingly (Spelling??) . At the risk of being labled as a 'STUBBORN and DIFFICULT reader' Case closed from my side on this issue with my initial stand being unchanged. Once again appreciated your gesture.

    Mellissa: Thanks for the practical concerns. I don't have 'Dos and Donts' to offer rather just sharing my experience here with you. As someone that lives in a society where Adventists are the minor of the minors in a nation where there are more than 75-80% people of non Christian faith reside,  where these little flocks go everyday through ' to be or not be' test….I just practise this method……Whenever A Hindu friend after hearing God's message approaches me to be a Christian I tell them 'Just because you attend one seminar or service doesnot mean you will be ready (though that can be the case as well) because the issues related to spiritual life is something that demands constant growth which comes only when we read Bible more often and pray to jesus more often. I would urge you to go to your home read the holy books that you have i.e Vedas, Geeta, Tripitak, Quran etc and throw the questions of life that you have there and see for yourselves if you have answer for yourself but remember to be humble and and sincere in this quest. Is this necessary? Yes why? the person at times might easily get into backsliding if one is not properly informed, trained and educated (exceptions are there). If you find the life's difficult answer to death, heaven, hell, sin, salvation, true savior etc. there in a convincing, logical and scientific manner then your religion is the right one….you don't need to switch on to another side but if they don't answer your queries then take this bible and read it through and then decide for yourself prayerfully'. Then what do i tell the non-Adventist brethrens: I tell them, go to the brethrens with anti-adventist beliefs, having QOD, EG White etc. even if possible do some web search for adventist controversies (there are many) and come back to me or to anybody you think is necessary then let me know of your doubts and we will sit together prayerfully then you decide wether this church that i attend is right for you or not'….to tell the truth so far God has not let anyone deviate away once He brings them to us be it pentecoastal, be it a Hindu brother or be it even an atheist…….These are tough things but then I always tell my friends ' being someone who has been attending the SDA Church for more than 20 years i have seen more unpleasant things than some of the things that people have been posting and trying to put it here as a reason TO COME OUT OF HER I use this method…..DON"T SEE PEOPLE, TRY TO SEE CHRIST AND THE TEACHINGTHAT HE HAS HANDED TO THIS CHURCH……this is from a layman please. Where you don't have problems. you have it everywhere. I have a problem here, you have a problem here and SDA church might have some problems in it's people (For some it might be EG White, personally I have been blessed to have read some of her writings), in it'sd education system etc but then please have a look at the purpose of this Church. That should be enough to keep us going. I have a problem with SDA Church i leave it and go to Baptist I will have a problem there tomorrow then I leave that and go to RC I will have a problem there day after tomorrow……we are in the world, rather than playing judge lets get in to discover our purpose in Christ.

    Mrs. Nelson: Regarding challenging IJ: Yes, we often ask our students and fellow believers to see if there be any flaw in this understanding but we find they themselves reaffirming and reminding us with the examples of school examination and Bank record system etc. Asking people to challenge doesnot have to be they dancing to my tunes but when the truth comes we got to accept it. Yes there are brethren within our Church who disagree with it but i said that has to be pointed through scripture otherwise it's like saying , 'Show me the word TRINITY in the Bible'. Would be great to have your take on these.

    PS: I am not a SDA theologian, SDA office staff, I am not Adventistically doctrinated (As some might think here) being, I didnot go to Adventist universities and seminaries but I am an Adventist that loves attending Adventist church and think the truth it received from Christ has special purpose for our times no matter how funny i look when i say sabbath is a seal, earth was created in six day, 10Cs are to be lived as a part of belief, IJ is fine with me etc…….yet acknowledging the fact that God has his people in other churches as well.

    Thanks

  98. Elaine Nelson
    02 September 2011 @ 3:26 pm

    "Those who do not know history are bound to repeat it."

     

    This is amply demonstrated in that the majority of Adventists have swallowed the "history" that has been given them either in their SDA education or in the Great Controversy.  Would you trust a Nazi to write the history of WW II?  Or an Iraqi to write his version of history of the last wars there?

     

    Adventists are a new religion on the scene, nearly 2,000 years after Christianity was born and yet they have attempted not only to rewrite its history but that only their version is correct.  Those who limit their knowledge of history of the early church which is taught by Adventism are like the Mormons who faithfully believe that America was settled by natives of Judah some nearly 2,000 years ago.  Do any other historians accept such a view?  Do any church historians accept the SDA version?

     

    If you want unbiased accounts of the early Christian church there are innumerable books available by esteemed Bible scholars:  Yaroslav Pelikan has written a multiple volume on the history of the Christian church; Rodney Sparks gives the sociological history; Will Durant's "Caesar and Christ" is a must; Karen Armstrong, one of the finest historical writers of religion:  "A History of God."  Those are only an introduction.

     

    It becomes a tired argument to continue to read that the Catholic church or the pope changed the sabbath to sunday.  Regardless of claims, it is erroneous.  Does one's claim to change Monday to Wednesday have any meaning?  Sabbath cannot be changed, ask any Jew.  It is ridiculous on its face.  There will always be a sabbath, as the Jews were those it was given to and its protectors.

  99. Stephen Foster
    02 September 2011 @ 8:02 pm

    Elaine,
     
    Since you and I are the only people going back and forth on this “questions" thread about the Sabbath, I assume that you are somehow alluding to something that I have written on this thread regarding the Sabbath and Sunday issue.
     
    Of course, since I did not mention the claims of the RCC (other than to identify their institutionalization of Sunday observance, which is not in dispute), nor the pope, or The Great Controversy (or even EGW for that matter) in my case for the Sabbath, it is not at all clear what “tired argument” you are referencing; but we won’t take it personally.
     
    Instead of challenging my case for the Sabbath on the basis that I am an Adventist, why don’t you just show me where what I have written about the Bible or the seventh day or Paul’s custom (Acts 13:42-44, Acts 17:2, and Acts 18:4) is incorrect; not to mention what Jesus said about the weekly Sabbath.

    • Stephen Foster
      02 September 2011 @ 8:14 pm

      Here’s a simple “question”: If the weekly Sabbath was given by God to the Jews, and Sunday was given to Christians, who gave Sunday to Christians; and where in the Bible would we find this?

  100. Elaine Nelson
    02 September 2011 @ 8:34 pm

    Reading back, Ronald MacLeish made the statement about the change of Sabbath, which is the reason for my comments.  The article beginning this thread was about "About a Time to Question."

    Are there questions that are off the table? 

    Not only will you not find Sunday mentioned in the Bible, neither will you find the "Trinity" or any discussion about the humanity/divinity of Christ or the meaning and importance of the Virgin Birth–all that are doctrines of all Christian churches, including SDA.

    The Christian church from its earliest, made changes from Judaism:  circumcision, foods, and days.  For Christians, no day was given them as special.  Sabbath was a Jewish gift and they jealously guarded it, making circumcision the initiating rite  before obeying even Passover. 

    You are asking "who gave Sunday to Christians" is a non sequitur.  How many times must it be said that no one "gave" Sunday to Christians:  they chose that day to celebrate the Resurrection, and not as a substitute for sabbath, as there is no record that the Gentile Christians observed sabbath. 

     

    I have answered your question that the Bible has nothing about Sunday being given Christians.  Now, if you will answer my question:  When were the Christians given the Sabbath?         

  101. Stephen Foster
    03 September 2011 @ 6:20 am

    Elaine,
     
    While you will not find the word “Trinity” in the Bible, you will certainly find mention of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the fact that Christ was born of a woman, conceived of the Holy Ghost, and (thus) the virgin birth—all in the Bible. In other words, there are specific, repeated scriptural references to each of these “doctrines.”
     
    Likewise Elaine, the other "changes" that you reference all have specific, repeated scriptural bases (Acts 15: 1-12, 1 Corinthians 7:19, Ephesians 2: 14-20, Colossians 2: 8-17, among others).
     
    What does not have any scriptural basis is the notion that the sanctification of the seventh day of the Creation week was ever done away with; or equally as important, that it was sanctified only for Jews (who did not yet exist), or that Jesus’ declaration that “the Sabbath was made for man” meant that only Jews count as mankind, or that Jesus did not anticipate the Sabbath to be relevant to His followers after His death.
     
    Since—as you acknowledge—no one gave Sunday to Christians, there is furthermore no scriptural implication that “they” had authority to “choose” any day to “celebrate” anything and simultaneously ignore the Lord’s weekly sanctified Sabbath. Besides, exactly who is this “they” anyway?
     
    The answer to your question is that Christians were given the Sabbath the same time that they were “given” the Lord of the Sabbath; in other words, when they accept Him. After all the Sabbath was made for mankind; which includes Christians. 

  102. Desre Nikolich
    14 October 2011 @ 7:24 am

    Thank you Melissa for sharing this little story about your family worship which in a sense can be seen as an analogy of our church.

    "Then at the end of the story, we talked about how Jesus still keeps us safe from storms and troubles in our lives today. But when the story finished, a marked quiet came over my oldest son – the sort of quiet which signals he is deep in thought. We waited. Finally, very softly, he whispered to me, “I think the boat sank, Mommy.” 
    "Shocked, I asked, “You mean you don’t think Jesus calmed the storm?”
    “No. Well, yes, maybe He did later, I guess. But the boat still sank. It did Mommy. It sank.” 

    Fear is what stops us from allowing questions to our theology. What I noticed here however is that there was a marked quiet 'which signals he is in deep thought.'

    Questions are not bad. In fact Jesus questioned many of the religious leaders of His day and showed them a deeper meaning. Questioning can be seen in a sense as engagement. This engagement should be encouraged. 

    Allowing questions, and reflecting on them, may not be wrong but a chance to see deeper meanings. Truth in it's entirety is absolute. What is not absolute is our understanding of truth. Now we see through  foggy, dark glasses, but in heaven we will see the Author of Truth!

    Sometimes our boats do sink, but God is still there with us. It is not about the boat – but about the relationship! Maybe we need to find out more about why this person is questioning, are they hurting, have they got situations that they don't know what to do and where God is for them? Being a friend – loving them – has far more weight than just saying – you are wrong! 

    Perfect love casts out all fear!