Skip to content

53 Comments

  1. William Noel
    14 January 2016 @ 6:52 am

    Nathan,

    Thank you for reminding us of the urgent need for us to become a true spiritual family, that we need to know each other more than just in passing on Sabbath and to learn to sympathize with and respect each other in our life struggles.

    You’ve touched my heart because in your words I saw the spiritual struggle of my son (also named Nathan) to find real faith in God and a church family after the judgmental attitudes and actions of traditionalists destroyed his faith as a teen. I praise God that his faith has been renewed by the love and power of God. I urge you to earnestly seek the renewal the Holy Spirit promises to deliver when you seek Him. Do not lose yourself in doctrines. Instead, immerse yourself in discovering the God who loves you beyond any measure and who expresses that love to us in the most intimate and immediate ways.

  2. jimbob
    14 January 2016 @ 8:20 am

    He (Nathan Nelson) grew up as an Adventist but is not sure how to classify himself these days, perhaps “a non-member, semi-reformed, not-quite-backslider.”

    Sure would be informative to get details as to this classification.

    His article would be good to use as an exercise, for students, in a college sociology class.
    I see several points to use for discussion and analysis.
    For now my input is..
    (1)”Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3
    (2) “What we have here, (in church) is a failure to communicate”

    • Bill Sorensen
      14 January 2016 @ 8:44 am

      “(2) “What we have here, (in church) is a failure to communicate”

      We don’t know what to communicate. Massive confusion. The bible is becoming a dead letter.

      • Ron Welch
        18 January 2016 @ 7:40 pm

        You watched that movie, Bill?

    • William Noel
      14 January 2016 @ 10:39 am

      jimbob,

      I think your Point #2 describes why the church is losing so many of the youth: we who are older have too often and for too long been too willing to talk to our youth, but unwilling to listen to them or try to understand them.

      • jimbob
        15 January 2016 @ 7:08 am

        The denomination, conferences, churches can initiate surveys to increase review/feedback.

        • William Noel
          15 January 2016 @ 8:05 am

          Surveys? Do you know how many surveys I’ve seen church leaders use over the years that resulted in nothing changing? Or a short-lived call for change that was overcome by the intransigence of the status-quo? I can’t point to any that have triggered much action. Can you? What we need is effective action because I’m tired of losing our youth.

      • Bugs/Larry Boshell
        19 January 2016 @ 6:10 am

        No, the young understand value, the church has none to offer.

    • Michael Wortman
      14 January 2016 @ 4:24 pm

      Hey, Jim Bob. Whether Mr. Nelson is “a non-member,semi-reformed, or not-quite-backslider” or whether two people walking together in his church “agree”, despite what Amos said, just doesn’t matter very much. Look at the people Jesus hung around with. It would be tough to squish Jesus’ friends into the “church lady” ideal of who should be allowed to participate in church. You might find it fun to go to church with people with whom you don’t agree. If Jesus was generous enough in spirit to gather around him and hang out with such a motley group and if Jesus was loving enough and wise enough to see the good in them and to accept them warts and all and if Jesus found them more interesting than the straight-laced doctrinally pure of his day, who are we to be so picky? Those thirty-somethings who are trying to herd their kids into church and get through the service without one of them causing major embarrassment might have needed the caffeine provided by his Starbucks barista on the way to church. Alertness in church is a state of being to be encouraged, especially for parents of young kids. A common church failure in my opinion is not so much a failure to communicate, but rather a lack of human kindness and sympathy and the willingness to deny ourselves the pleasure of enjoying each other’s company.

      • William Abbott
        15 January 2016 @ 1:32 am

        Michael Wortman,

        Jesus was ‘hanging’ with the doctors of the law at twelve. Astonishing them with his understanding. Asking them questions and answering theirs. Maybe He is an example for young Seventh-day Adventists today. Are our youth busy about their Father’s business?

        We don’t go to church to learn one another’s stories. That is not the point. We go to church to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes we love one another. But why do we love one another? Because He has commanded us to love one another, even as He has loved us.

        There is only one thing that can unite us: Faith in Christ Jesus. We have only one big Hero. Everybody else is a fellow servant.

        And another thing: We all are going to church to eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus Christ. Remembering Him, remembering that, maybe the latte can wait.

        • Michael Wortman
          15 January 2016 @ 6:13 am

          There is only one thing that can unite us:Faith in Christ Jesus. Not doctrine. Not agreement on the role of women. Not agreement on the role of Mrs. White. Not agreement on the timing or mechanism by which creation occurred. William, while we probably have different understandings of what that faith means or how it is expressed, your statement may be a basis for the start of a conversation.

        • William Noel
          15 January 2016 @ 6:15 am

          Brother Abbott,

          You make an outstanding point about the experience of the child Jesus in the Temple and how he confounded the teachers of the law. I think the generational difference in the church is because those who are older are confounded by the questions being asked by the youth, who are testing what they have been taught as they try to apply spiritual principles to the challenges they face. So we have a choice: respect the validity of their questions, seek to help them find answers and ourselves learn lessons from the experience; or risk losing them.

          • William Abbott
            15 January 2016 @ 10:11 am

            Brother Noel,

            They were not confounded, they were astonished. Jesus the youth was teaching them, the great doctors of the law, the law. His questions were Socratic. He was not a seeker.

            Think of it like this: Jesus knew His bible. They were astonished at His teaching.

          • William Noel
            15 January 2016 @ 10:37 am

            Brother Abbott,

            The Greek descriptions convey that the teachers were both astonished by how much he knew and confounded by the questions that he asked them. So we’re both right.

        • jimbob
          15 January 2016 @ 7:52 am

          “We go to church to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
          Using this as a springboard..

          Anyone here hear at church or know what the gospel is?
          Can you share it in 1-4 sentences?

          “There is only one thing that can unite us: Faith in Christ Jesus.”

          What does that mean?

          “We all are going to church to eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus Christ.” You ought to hear how catholics interpret & apply this verse.

          This is an obscure text which has more practical application when elaborated on in Jn 6:63

          • William Abbott
            15 January 2016 @ 9:59 am

            The Gospel is Good News. Jesus of Nazareth is Messiah the Anointed one. He is the King of Israel and the only begotten son. He is the Lamb of God. He has risen from the dead. He has forgiven our sins. He has saved the world.

            Faith in Christ Jesus is believing these things are true.

            Nothing obscure about, “eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Jesus Christ” It is front and center of our religion. The Passover, the manna, the ancient Noahide prohibitions against blood. The sacrifice must be eaten and the blood sprinkled. The sacrifice is our deliverance and our forgiveness. We must eat it – that is why we go to church – to eat the holy meal. That is why we preach Christ and Him crucified. To feed His sheep. The flesh of Jesus Christ profiteth the whole world.

          • William Noel
            15 January 2016 @ 10:42 am

            We “go to church to proclaim.” So, how can we be “proclaiming” when we’re just sitting there trying to stay awake and listening?

            We call it a “worship service.” Worship requires expression from us of our adoration and praise to God, but we’re supposed to sit there quietly listening to a sermon. How are we supposed to express our adoration and praise to God if we’re not allowed to do it?

            Resolve those dilemmas and I think you’ll be onto a solution for the problem of losing our youth.

          • Jackie
            18 January 2016 @ 11:56 am

            Going to church does not make us a Christian, just sitting in a garage does not make us a car…..we have to be Christians first then go to church, and it’s not a Sanctuary for saints, it’s a hospital for sinners, too many of us come to church to criticize people and feel we are holier than thou, and aren’t “one of us”. So who are we ? Saints or sinners, yet Christ died for,all….my son along with 38 others in my church were dissfelowshipped, no reason given. The pastor then said the Holy Spirit can’t dwell in a House where there are sinners, now 36 years later my so. Doesn’t not go to,church, he says he’s not good enough…daily I pray the Holy Spirit will speak to his heart….so I say all who come to the throne of God (in the church) are of one accord we all come to sit by Jesus feet and learn of Him…and not one no not one is truly worthy, so accept Him in your heart and He will save us.

      • jimbob
        15 January 2016 @ 7:11 am

        Jesus is our best example and puts to shame the lack of social skills of members.
        When a person is really enlightened by the Spirit, they get a sense on how perverted, depraved, vain and pathetic they are and that helps them to associate with those who they had contempt on previously.

  3. Sam Geli
    14 January 2016 @ 9:55 am

    Nathan Nelson, on January 12, 2016, said “Someone asked me the other day what my perspective was on the differences between the younger and older generations in our church….Imagine a church where we all did that. I know I’d show up every week”.
    Although the characteristics and needs of various generations have been examined, a concern for older people is inevitably a concern for all age groups. As a professor of social work and having worked with persons of all generations in therapy and educational settings, I agree with Nancy Henkin that “generations are interdependent, not distinct, discrete entities.” Henkin challenges us as Christians to look holistically at our communities and view each generation as an asset. “We need to develop creative strategies for meeting the needs and utilizing the talents of all age groups.”34 We need to promote interdependence in our churches. Intergenerational interaction will help churches face the challenges of the future.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RX__g8b5tQA This short skit performed by touring drama/sketch group Dramatic Pause, is fantastic, watch it!

    Remember, the only perfect church is the one you don’t attend.

    • William Noel
      14 January 2016 @ 10:41 am

      Sam,

      “Remember, the only perfect church is the one you don’t attend.”

      True. Unfortunately, I’ve met quite a few Adventists who think their church is perfect. Then they wonder why people quit attending and the church dies.

      • jimbob
        15 January 2016 @ 7:16 am

        I believe differently than most SDA, and think that the bible & SOP support that a human, through the grace of God & surrendering their will can stop sinning.
        Yet, I never claim to be perfect and just haven’t had an opportunity to talk with any of these “perfect” members or ones who go to perfect churches yet. Where are they located or where do they hide?

    • EM
      16 January 2016 @ 12:09 am

      Sam,
      You got it right. Some of us don’t feel we fit any of the stereotypes. In reality perhaps none do.

  4. William Abbott
    14 January 2016 @ 11:09 am

    Let’s agree. Nathan’s perspective is uniquely post-modern. The rest of the world isn’t quite ready to see themselves and the church through such a radically autonomous prism. His vision of ‘our church’ is pretty narrow.

    I’m not a hero. I’m my father’s son. I’m a member of a family. It’s not my story. It’s our story.

  5. earl calahan
    14 January 2016 @ 11:41 am

    The generational differences between the youth and older SDA membership, today.
    The difference is, as between day and night. The older membership is mostly “set” in their lifestyles, that have been honed by church tradition, and sameness of church social habits and duties. You older members know the routinesi speak of, comfort in other members associations, working hard during the week to earn a living, and anxiously anticipating sundown Friday; the joy of sabbath eve worship in the home; study the weekly quarterly lesson so as to be knowledgeable in Sabbath School participation; Rushing home to save the Sabbath meal from burning because you forgot to set the timer. Sharing potluck
    with your church social clique. Waiting for the Sabbath to end which is arduous in summertime. Celebrating the evening with a party of friends with pizza and a few games of Rook. Rarely having serious contact with people other than SDA’S, during the whole year.
    The youth of today are much “smarter” than the youth of yesterday. Mind you, i said smarter, not “wiser”. They are bombarded 24/7 by the music, celebrities, what’s “hot”; at the same time they are beginning to express their individual personalities, genetic urges, and social structures, and generally “exploring the world”, that has opened to them via education, opportunity, venturing far afield in foreign lands, sharing with people of all ethnic backgrounds. Realizing there is life other than SDA.

    • Bugs/Larry Boshell
      14 January 2016 @ 4:23 pm

      “Realizing there is life other than SDA.” Right on, Earl. But there is more.

      Adventism has lost the gritty sales point that handcuffed us oldsters with fear and trembling, or uncommonly, anticipation. That is, the soon return of Christ, determined on convincing interpretations of prophecies based on the novel idea of the Great Controversy and the fabled Heavenly Sanctuary. We were told there were a few days of “probation” left, but that lost its pizzazz when “soon” was applied as the unintended revelation of the scam. It has fizzled down to the residue of a Slurpee in a Dixie Cup (teen stuff). And the system of education, actually an indoctrination scheme to ensure the young were created as mini-me of their parents, has deteriorated along with the failure of the prophetical blueprint and the resulting nullification of the need for Adventist parental mimes.

      The church has lost its exclusiveness and it its retention power. The youth are not newly immune to brain washing, but the arena of swindle has moved, away from fear and trembling, it appears, to politics, ultimate concern for immediate benefits.

      The young may reinvent the church. It won’t be their dads “Oldsmobile!” They may even play lip service to its traditions, but it can’t be what you and I signed in to, Earl. We were conned. That farce is kaput. A new scheme is in the works.

    • EM
      16 January 2016 @ 12:12 am

      I totally disagree with you, Earl. We are not so different. I don’t buy into stereotypes nor do I fit nor ever have in any age group.

  6. Elaine Nelson
    14 January 2016 @ 2:19 pm

    As someone who has friends of my age, and also knows much about my children’s and grandchildren’s: hearing about their work and interests because I am now “on the sidelines” and love to know of their ideas of their world.

    What is often missing in the generational gap is acquaintances: young people visiting their grandparents or those of that age who they know. Some never know older people, a real tragedy. Our stories should be part of your knowledge of history because they lived it. Many today know nothing of the struggles for civil rights for blacks and women as they have never known anything but equality.

    I am very fortunate to have a 16-yr. old granddaughter who really looks forward to spending a week with me each summer. I’m flattered, as I cannot even take her shopping or some of the things she enjoys, but she enjoys sharing about books she’s reading, and I do the same. It’s a quiet, relaxing time with me, away from the studies and activities of a very involved and busy teen. She is very involved in church with youth activities and a camp counselor.

    My daughter also has been a chaperone on several overseas trips with a big group of teens and they all get along famously as she’s not a parent to any!

    If we see them as emerging adults, just as we once were, we will have patience and getting to know their struggles an concerns of future work and mate should give us an opportunity to share our own experiences at that age and love them more.

  7. jimbob
    15 January 2016 @ 7:35 am

    This article should be a catalyst for any concerned about how superficial, cliché loaded, education starved and communication handicapped the churches are. There are more diverse mindsets in individual age groups than are mentioned in the article stereotypes. This is quite evident by the diverse input on topic/thread posts. When one spends a little time with anyone of various age groups at churches..by saying more than “Happy Sabbath”, it doesn’t take long to find out the attitude, affections and condition of the heart of a person.

    There are wheat/sheep OR goat/tares in all age groups.

    There are trends very evident, in churches, by just noticing the age of congregations and worship styles.

    I also go to non denom mega churches where attenders wear shorts, sandals and drink coffee during the service.

  8. jimbob
    15 January 2016 @ 8:16 am

    Wouldn’t you think that all age groups eventually sense, at church, the relevance or lack of it in addressing??:

    Character, personality attitude adjustments, behavior modification, and education in social/relationship skills.
    Basic needs:affection, acceptance, appreciation, achievement.
    Coping with the past: shame, regret, guilt trips, haunting memories.

  9. jimbob
    15 January 2016 @ 9:05 am

    The trend in not being able to endure sound doctrine continues with the continual simplistic, ambiguous religious clichés, blanket statements and generalizations.

    I remember, more than a few years ago, hearing a cynic say that a pastor could have just as much influence/impact on their audience by telling them to just “be nice”.

    • Michael Wortman
      15 January 2016 @ 11:41 am

      “The trend in not being able to endure sound doctrine………” JimBob: Another way of seeing it is to acknowledge that what seems like sound doctrine to you may be perceived in just as negative a light as you perceive someone else’s doctrine to be. If, as Bugs points out: “………..concentrating on the Christ’s teachings and life as the core of its theology, Adventism could move to the forefront of all denominations as the one different church. It would be a new day for both the old and the young.” I don’t agree entirely with Bugs on the necessity of ridding the church of legalism. I think that boat has left the dock, but by finding a way that could allow the “indoctrinated legalists”(not my words 🙂 ) to live side by side with those who think it is essential to follow the core of Jesus’ teaching with a tolerance of accepting members with differing doctrinal positions, the church might be able to survive.

    • William Noel
      16 January 2016 @ 10:05 am

      Jimbob,

      I agree. It is when we connect with the Holy Spirit and receive the instruction He freely gives to all who seek Him that we throw-off the traditions and misunderstandings that have been allowed to grow in the church and we find the power of God.

  10. Bugs/Larry Boshell
    15 January 2016 @ 10:08 am

    How to end the Dark Ages of Adventism

    The Great Disappointment of 1844 is the continuing, unrelenting, Dark Ages of Adventism. It accounts for the split between the tenacious old and the unhampered young. The old are attached by nostalgia and the dream that the dark house of dubious Millerite dogma may somehow still be verified in the face of its total obliteration by reality.

    With the effectiveness of Tibetan prayer wheel oldsters rotate their 1844 shibboleth of “Jesus soon return” leaving the young yawning, worse, abandoning ship, because the theological structures supporting it are dead. The dogma was DOA in 1844, didn’t anyone notice? The young, teens, families with children, even wise oldsters (many of whom have taken flight with the young) find nothing worth the defunct (theologically) Adventist label to stay for.

    A new Great Awakening is possible for Adventism that would nourish the greatest hope it ever had, that is, to be exclusive in the religious world. The Millerites were wrong, not evil. They wanted to be special and conjured a system to realize that goal.

    Darkness is solved by light. The light of God as love is the cure and the vehicle the young are looking for. By archiving its legalistic system and concentrating on the Christ’s teachings and life as the core of its theology Adventism could move to the forefront of all denominations as the one different church. It would be a new day for both the old and the young.

    • jimbob
      15 January 2016 @ 11:19 am

      Larry wrote.. “The young, teens, families with children, even wise oldsters (many of whom have taken flight with the young) find nothing worth the defunct (theologically) Adventist label to stay for.”

      Maybe… but speculation is all over the map. How can anyone know what is going on in the SDA members mind without worldwide large sample size surveys?

  11. Sam Geli
    15 January 2016 @ 10:51 am

    Elaine Nelson on January 14, 2016 at 2:19 pm said:
    “If we see them as emerging adults, just as we once were, we will have patience and getting to know their struggles and about concerns of future work and mate should give us an opportunity to share our own experiences at that age and love them more.”

    Five star, 24 gold karat, WISDOM! Elaine hit a grand slam home run on this one!

    You don’t need a new study, commission, committee, or anything else to come up with the simple truth about our approach to working and understanding our youth.

  12. earl calahan
    15 January 2016 @ 11:19 am

    The Christian theme is imparted to man through the Holy Bible. There is no other
    book of instruction. i agree with Larry, the SDA Church could be a beacon on a promontory beaconning to all, the Light of the Love of Jesus Christ. Retain the Sabbath message of God’s creation, but jettison the 28 FB’s. Make the Church a worship place, but also a place of contemporary interest for youth, a place they love to gather and explore all areas of life, morals, geology, physics, anthropology, social awareness of the problems that snare people and destroy their earlier high potential for life and love. Take away the boogey man, and fears, that they must adopt in robotic fashion, the church mimes that puts a barrier between them from all other Christian demonination youth. Church should be a place where youth love to be, rather than a burdensome experience.

    • jimbob
      15 January 2016 @ 11:24 am

      “Retain the Sabbath message of God’s creation, but jettison the 28 FB’s.”

      Awww, why not? Elaine would be thrilled if the Sabbath got jettisoned as well. Want to jettison anything else? Luther wanted to jettison some books of the bible. Many SDA would like to jettison Great Controversy, etc.

      Like I kinda posted.above..why not jettison everything and tell church attenders to just be nice?

      • Elaine Nelson
        15 January 2016 @ 3:25 pm

        No, because it would no longer be the “Seventh-day Adventist” church but another among thousands of Christian churches who accept Jesus as Christ their Savior.
        I don’t observe any day so it is of no consequence to me but of great consequence to most Adventists. Those are the ones to be concerned about changes to the 28 FBs; but the seventh day as sacred would never be removed! Wasn’t it that great first missionary to the Gentiles who wrote: “One man believes one day is sacred; another believes a different day. Let every man be persuaded in his own mind.” He did say that a certain day should be sacred, did He? For Jews, the seventh will always be sacred; for Christians, no day has been given them by either Christ or the apostles to observe.

  13. jimbob
    15 January 2016 @ 1:36 pm

    Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!”
    He said, “Nobody loves me.”
    I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”
    He said, “Yes.”
    I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?”
    He said, “A Christian.”
    I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?”
    He said, “Protestant.”
    I said, “Me, too! What franchise?”
    He said, “Baptist.”
    I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?”
    He said, “Northern Baptist.”
    I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”
    He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.”
    I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?”
    He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.”
    I said, “Me, too!” Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?”
    He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.”
    I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.

    Emo Philips?

  14. Michael Wortman
    15 January 2016 @ 4:49 pm

    Like I kinda posted.above..why not jettison everything and tell church attenders to just be nice?

    But jimbob- Don’t make light of the importance of being “nice”. Remember the second part of Jesus’ pithy two part summary of the law. And as far as “jettisoning everything” is concerned, we needn’t worry. That is unlikely to happen.

  15. Bill Garber
    15 January 2016 @ 4:55 pm

    Thanks Nathan!

    Do any of us really have a clue here? It feels like we are all swamped by the confusion for which Babylon of Revelation 14 is named.

    There is no straightening us out.

    That is what makes us all the same.

    We are in whatever state we find ourselves, which by the declaration of the First Angel is the object of God’s creative love. No exceptions.

    The First Angel’s clarification (‘loud voice’) regarding the Creator puts an end to the clamor to get it right, which is another way of saying, “Here you go, God, let me help with my own future.” The Second Angel describes this self-reliance as spiritual fornication, which until the First Angel had powered the suddenly-fallen Babylon.

    The Third Angel is rounding up the stragglers clarifying for those still trying to muscle their way heavenward that the future is about acceptance, not accomplishment, patience, not persistence. Or as Sister White explains, “The Third Angel’s message is Justification by Faith in verity.”

    Thinking about the phrase, ‘There but for the Grace of God go I!’ leaves me thinking, perhaps it is better to say, ‘There by the Grace of God I am, too!’ Every other way of seeing any one is, what, fornication?

    There is power not in getting ourselves right but in accepting every self including myself as God’s creation, confirmed as saved by the birth, life, death and especially resurrection of Jesus, and to be redeemed by the returning Jesus!

  16. Nathaniel Moore
    15 January 2016 @ 6:44 pm

    I was born into an Adventist home more than eighty years ago, and I never left the church; but like Nathan(also my brother’s name), I do not know how to characterize myself in relation to the Adventist ” faithful”.
    The 7th Day Adventism of today is a far cry from what it was in the days of my youth. Very often I feel a stranger in my “own” church; so that I can agree with Jimbob when he observes that,”There are wheat/sheep or goat tares in all age groups”. The problem in our church is not simply a generational one. It is multi-dimensional, in terms of attitude, education,honesty, sincerity, devotion,etc.
    In my own experience as a child,I had full confidence in what my parents and elders taught me about understanding the Bible. I obeyed them and shared their hopes and fears about the Second Coming of Jesus,the time of trouble,the Investigative Judgement, and the obligation to keep the Law. When I grew older, and began to read the Bible, and understand it for myself, and asked older members certain questions which came to mind,they would give traditional replies which came from the pastors or from what they called The Spirit of Prophesy, meaning EG White. These older folks are very good at quoting and repeating Bible texts; but not at explaining. Once they quote you a text from the Bible or from Mrs White they expect you to be satisfied. If you are not, and your questions keep coming, you are regarded as too critical: or at least,, not a good Adventist,and the problem…

  17. Nathaniel Moore
    15 January 2016 @ 7:42 pm

    continued:
    The problem starts somewhere here. The word “obedience” is not understood the same way by older folks as by the younger ones, who also want to know why they must obey certain directives. If a reasonable explanation is not forthcoming, then there is no inclination to comply. Elaine Nelson suggests in her comment that she has not forgotten that she was once young, and so can understand some of the ways of the youth. I want to confess that I too try never to forget my childhood and youthful days; and this outlook often helps with my association and fellowship with the youth.

    My brethren must never forget that what we call the SDA church is an institution founded and operated by humans; and is subject to all the vicissitudes of human inventions. While we allow God to lead and guide, the institution will thrive and survive; but when selfish ambition and exploitation hold sway it will falter and may fail outright. Religion is based on belief, or faith, and as such can be very delicate; and if we will be fair to our observation has within it the seeds of its own division. Already our church has begun to divide physically, as well as ideologically.
    It is heartening to realise that God’s Church will stand the test of time and ideologies and will not fail. It is left to us as individuals to follow the example of Jesus and love the Lord God with all our heart…and our neighbour as ourselves.

    • jimbob
      15 January 2016 @ 8:11 pm

      Nathaniel posted…”These older folks are very good at quoting and repeating Bible texts; but not at explaining.”
      YES!!!!!!
      It is so bad that most can not even define what gospel, grace or salvation is, or what it means.

      If I posted here what the senior SDA pastor, where I attend, replied to what his concept/spin of the gospel was, almost all here would react……HUH????

      How many pastors can do the following…….??
      Nehemiah 8:8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

      What is getting worse is the substitution or parroting of religious clichés instead of quoting bible texts.

  18. Sam Geli
    15 January 2016 @ 11:09 pm

    jimbob, there is no “substitution or parroting of religious clichés instead of quoting bible texts” in this response to your post.

    These are my favorite verses in understanding the true Gospel of Jesus Christ:

     “He gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:14)

     “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7)

     “Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” (Heb. 9:28)

     “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed” (Peter 2:24)

     “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18)

     “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10)

    • jimbob
      17 January 2016 @ 8:26 am

      Thanks Sam,

      So we transition from clergy/religio speak to inspired scriptures.
      Have you ever heard a sermon on these verses? Why is it necessary? Are they not easy to understand? Evidently not.
      Look at Titus 3 section.
      Is a person saved by the blood of Jesus, the death of Jesus, the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Spirit, by grace, by receiving with meekness the engrafted word…by childbearing…?
      Look at Heb 9:28..bring salvation?? Why can’t he bring salvation to all on Earth?

      How is a person really saved? What does saved mean?

      Every time a bible verse is posted…think of this verse….

      Nehemiah 8:8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

      If more Christians understood what gospel, grace & salvation really meant, there would be less fanaticism.

  19. Dr. david
    16 January 2016 @ 5:07 am

    I can see why GOD will allow the shaking among HIS people in all denomination. He must clean His children from all unrighteousness, worldly pleasure, man’s tradition and ceremonial worship, superficial love before He brings those Who love Him, those who love to keep HIS words, those whose who love to walk in HIS word together. The final battle will be what it was in the beginning. GOD word is it true? did HE say that you could eat of the fruit of disobedience ? what day did He bless sanctify,rest and enjoy as HIS creative power? IN the end their will be 2 camp . those who are faithfull to Him and those who disregard HIS word. no neutrality ground. JESUS say “how can you call me Master , when you disregard my saying?” .Sorry but its the truth many want to change the religion of CHRIST to fit their lifestyle. THESE people worship me with their mouth but their hearts are far from me . guess who say those words?

  20. jimbob
    18 January 2016 @ 5:16 am

    “He must clean His children from all unrighteousness, worldly pleasure, man’s tradition and ceremonial worship, superficial love before He brings those Who love Him, those who love to keep HIS words, those whose who love to walk in HIS word together.”

    How will that happen? What are the processes?

  21. Bullond
    24 January 2016 @ 4:41 am

    I’m a generation older, but have far more in common with younger generations.

    The church’s preoccupation with what in the scheme of things are minutae compared to the big issues of our world, society and planet make it largely missing me and often irrelevant.

    It’s my community of original and have many friends but I don’t find it a safe place to speak openly and with authenticity about who I am, what I am going through, and how I feel and think. Unless my spirituality fits with teddy’s revival and reformation style it is not safe to share without being seen as renegade.

    I find my spiritual, social awareness and action, intellectual, and authenticity places far beyond Adventism.

    I have Adventism to thank for developing a hunger for spirituality, for learning, for living outside the dominant paradigms, and for living a life of compassion and integrity beyond my own circle and comfort zone. But the limits of the system and much of he manifestation of Adventism drive me to live beyond the bubble.

    Farewell Adventism. Hello those who have left the bubble and seek to transcend!

  22. AnthonyP
    30 January 2016 @ 1:49 am

    Quite a mixed bag of comments having read several! We definitely have a challenge in Adventism, though nothing is too hard for God. If you believe the Bible then God’s church(universal, including many/mostly ‘non-Adventists’)will triumph. That should relieve our anxieties about the future of the church. The younger generation of believers will be key in completing the gospel commission. But they must be properly mentored and nurtured. Unfortunately some of what passes for discipleship has been legalistic and exclusivist. We find ourselves to a large extent in the position of ancient Israel – in need of an infusion of grace and the power of the Holy Spirit. We too often major in minors and dwell on lesser lifestyle issues rather than foster that love for Christ and the truth that sanctifies. Young people, in an age of pluralism and relativism need to see the church impacting the society positively and answering the many tough issues with sound reasoning based on the truth and honesty. Pray and work with them patiently. Actively engage them in outreach and community service as they want to make a difference in a world that can be very daunting and discouraging. I appreciate the author’s call to learn other people’s stories. Speak the truth in love and reach out to believers of all faiths and those of no faith. Share common ground. This will open doors and you will be wiser about how God is working in many ways in every life. Only eternity will tell the full story.

  23. Nellie
    06 February 2016 @ 12:02 am

    I am the 30 something year old mother with two kids in tow. I have grown up in this church. I attended SDA school from 1st- 12th grade. I believe in the tenets of Adventism. But I don’t really like church. Currently I go to church because I want to set a good example for my children. I am still trying to decide if it is a problem with me, or them, or neither. When I am there I can’t wait to leave. I feel empty and lonely. The people in the church are friendly but most of them are much older than me. I have no friends there. Growing up in the youth group there was such a different feel to church. It was a time to sing contemporary songs, spend time with friends, and learn the bible by means of games, trivia, and multimedia. Once I reached “adulthood” I was expected to join the ranks of the adult Sabbath school and merge into that format seamlessly. I admit I really miss the energy that was found in the youth Sabbath school. The contemporary nondenominational churches have an appeal in that regard. While I don’t wholeheartedly agree with their methods, I enjoy the energy that is cultivated there. I am not suggesting that we turn into that I just wanted to share my thoughts as this is something that I am currently struggling with and this article really described me. I don’t really know how to fix my lack of enthusiasm because I don’t really know where the root of the problem lies. I just wish that I could find that spark again. I am afraid I am passing my apathy onto…

    • William Noel
      06 February 2016 @ 4:59 am

      Nellie,

      You are trying to set a good example for your children, but I think you need to consider that the most powerful thing you are teaching them is to be frustrated with church. You probably are not alone in feeling this. Please, do not keep your frustrations to yourself. You probably are not alone, so I hope you will ask God to lead you to others who feel the same way so that you can join together in the planting of a new congregation where you can be spiritually fulfilled.

      My wife and I did exactly as you describe and after many years we discovered a group of others who felt the same as we did and we established a new congregation that is fulfilling because of the differences we built into our corporate culture. Unfortunately, before that happened we had unwittingly laid the groundwork for our son to totally turn his back on God for a number of years. Today he is again a Christian, but not Adventist.