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14 Comments

  1. Winona W. Wendth
    16 June 2016 @ 2:30 pm

    This is a terrific essay / thought piece. I particularly appreciate the “Christian Seventhy-day Adventist” remark, so thank you for that, too: that’s a good thought-point, specifically. However: Jan Crouch ! ? ! ? Really? Really?!? In company with C.D. Brooks?

    • Juleun Johnson
      16 June 2016 @ 4:13 pm

      Winona..I appreciate your feedback, Jan Crouch was mentioned because she was interested in the TBN network. There are many people who respect the network and have helped other people to learn about God.

      • Winona W. Wendth
        16 June 2016 @ 8:04 pm

        Perhaps, but from what I understand, that was not (either) Crouch’s mission. She knew her constituency well and was a smart marketer and good business person; I will give her credit for being less a burden on the thinking Christian community than Tammy Faye (Bakker) Messner and for not pretending she was anyone than what who was, her purple cotton-candy hair, private jets, and multi-million-dollar homes part of what she was selling. The Gospel of Prosperity, however, is antithetical to what Adventists believe or stand for.

        • Loren Seibold
          17 June 2016 @ 7:31 am

          It’s hard to tease apart Christian success from human success. Were people ministered to by the Crouches? Probably a lot. But they were, in their personal lives, quite shameful. (The air-conditioned doghouse comes to mind, and Paul’s homosexual contacts.)

          But how do you sort out all of this? The older I get, the more I realize that there’s seldom a clear line between ambition for self and ambition for God. Some of us conceal our selfishness better than others. I’ve talked to so many pastors who said, “I’ve been called—God wouldn’t let me do anything else but be a pastor,” though you can plainly see that #1. They get a great deal of personal satisfaction from being the center of attention and exercising their spiritual gifts—no reluctant Jeremiahs, these, and #2. There are some issues/temptations in the life that they’re trying to counteract, that anyone with a soupçon of psychology can pick out readily (and that you fear are going to come back to haunt them, and sometimes do.)

          But on the other hand, do you want every servant of God to be reluctant and untalented?

          What bothers me the most is why a Christian leader’s followers don’t hold him or her accountable. I can’t quite figure that part out. Why don’t more Christians blow the whistle on corrupt Christian leaders, rather than letting the secular world despise them for their hypocrisy? Why this tolerance of people like Danny Shelton and Sam Pipim? A puzzle.

  2. William Noel
    16 June 2016 @ 3:54 pm

    Juleun,

    Amen!!! We have much to learn about ministering God’s love. Situations such as this tragedy push us outside of our spiritual comfort zone and give us great opportunity to both learn more about the immensity of God’s love and to experience His power working through us to deliver comfort and hope. I pray that the ministry of the Orlando-area churches will show God’s great compassion to many.

  3. Nathan Schilt
    17 June 2016 @ 9:13 am

    Thank you, Juleun, for bringing your insight and experience to AToday. En route to becoming a world wide church SDAs have developed a rich tradition of honoring, serving, and forming community with those who are different. I’m glad the Orlando SDA communities are carrying on that tradition.

    But the subtext of this message can be confusing. My truth – that I think LGBT values and behaviors are sinful – would in no way impact my inclination to reach out and assist such a person or their family in times or need and crisis like this.

    I also wholeheartedly endorse the conviction that compassionate love and service should not be offered judgmentally. But some Christians think we need to give up our “sin” boundaries in order demonstrate love. In other words, love the sinner-accept the sin.

    How often did Jesus say, after serving, “Go and sin no more.”? Hating sin does not cause Christian faith communities to advocate stoning of adulterers, execution of homosexuals, and death for apostasy. So let’s be careful to understand that naming and opposing sin (truth) doesn’t lead to barbarity toward the “sinner.” Orlando was the result of a religion which believes that it is a moral and religious duty to enforce its views of God’s will through barbaric punishments. Christian homophobia had nothing to do with Orlando, and if we seek to suggest otherwise, we are endangering ourselves and our children, and playing into the hands of those who seek a world wide caliphate.

  4. Michael Wortman
    19 June 2016 @ 6:53 pm

    “Christian homophobia had nothing to do with Orlando,…”

    I don’t dispute this, Nathan, but religious fundamentalism has much to do with it. This is a sensitive time for many Americans. As we struggle to understand the meaning of it all, a Georgia congressman, Rick Allen chose to read aloud a Bible verse stating those who participate in homosexual activity are deserving of death to a weekly meeting of the weekly Republican group in Washington. There are religions other than Islam, fundamentalist religions, who also use their religious texts to support their homophobic views. It is my view that now, in the wake of these ungodly murders, is an ideal teaching moment for us all, whether our religious homophobia is outrageous, whether it is more “civilized” and subtle, or whether it is absent.

  5. Michael Wortman
    19 June 2016 @ 6:56 pm

    Please editors. Let us edit after posting. 🙂 The 2nd “weekly should be omitted.

    • Nathan Schilt
      21 June 2016 @ 6:02 pm

      Please let us know, Michael, what fundamentalist religions besides Islam and Islamic states call for execution of homosexuals for their sexual behavior. Furthermore, please remember that non-religious cultures have historically found homosexual sexual activity unacceptable.

      It is absurd to equate moral opprobrium toward LGBT lifestyles with the barbaric with the barbarity sanctioned by Islamism to punish a variety of departures from Sharia law.

      Given the absence of any evidence that the Orlando attacker acted out of animus toward sexual deviancy, this issue is really a red herring. It would be a red herring even if that was his agenda, as the real issue is the fact that Islamism is a breeding ground for a barbaric holy war against other religions and against Weatern civilization. Why is the Left so intent on ignoring this reality? Why does the Left love to protect Islamism from the scorn and disdain it reserves for conservative Western religions?

  6. Roger Metzger
    21 June 2016 @ 3:45 pm

    When we moved to Milo, Maine in January, our new landlord told me one of our neighbors is drunk most of the time.

    I couldn’t think of any other appropriate response than to say, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

    I guess there really are some professed Christians who think they’re good but, in fact, anything we do that might be considered “good” is motivated by selfishness so it doesn’t impress the almighty creator of the heavens and the earth. I might be “better” in some ways than I would have been without the benefit of my SdA parents and an adventist education but if I were to think of myself as “better” than ANYONE else, I would be guilty of spiritual pride–one of the worst of sins.

    If a convicted pedophile were to be baptized while in prison, would I be likely to vote for him to be our Sabbath School superintendent the next year after he finishes serving his prison sentence?

    Not likely!! But that doesn’t mean that he is any less a believer than I am. Do I dare speak of him or treat him as if he isn’t a Christian?

    I would not be opposed to our denomination having behavior criteria for voting membership IF we could make it abundantly clear that those same things aren’t criteria for salvation. Perhaps that is the sense in which Brother Johnson thinks being a Christian is more important than denominational affiliation.

  7. Harlen Miller
    23 June 2016 @ 6:05 pm

    “I still believe the truth will set you free (John 8:32)” And Jesus defined truth as being Himself: “I am the way, THE TRUTH, the life.” I’ve lived an entire life as an Adventist, and it’s only in the later part of those years that I have come to realize that the essence of Christianity isn’t dogma and doctrine, but following Jesus’ life as a way of living. I am a different Christian now than I used to be, due to that shift in my thinking and believing. I don’t think there’s a line between truth and compassion, I think compassion IS the truth, and the thinking of it as one or the other, is a sad but true statement/commentary about my previous understanding of Christianity as practiced/preached by Seventh-day Adventism.

    • William Noel
      24 June 2016 @ 5:36 am

      Harlen,

      I am thankful to see that you have come to the same discovery about living your faith as many others are doing. That puts you in a position to take the next great spiritual growth step, which is recognizing the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives as God intended we should experience. The Holy Spirit is God living in us to bring us into an even closer relationship with Him and to empower and guide us to do His work of sharing His amazing, redeeming love so that others may know Him, too. It would be a great blessing to me at some point to meet and hear your testimony about God working through you.

  8. Roger Metzger
    24 June 2016 @ 5:02 am

    Maybe I completely understood the article but it seemed to me that the whole point was that we (Christians in general and adventists in particular) need to erase the line. We need to realize that being compassionate toward sinners is not necessarily a denial of any biblical doctrine.

    When Jesus ate with sinners, there were a class of people who denounced his compassion as a denial of the sinfulness of sin.

    When that same class of people refuse to do business with anyone who rests on the day the Lord rested, it will be because they think it is their Christian (or maybe Muslim?) duty to coerce us.

    In the mean time, do we want to set them a fine example of how to marginalize people who we consider to be sinners?

    • William Noel
      24 June 2016 @ 5:52 am

      Roger,

      Lately I have been observing a curious spiritual contrast: those who believe in doctrines often are quick to see and condemn the sins in others where those who have become believers in God because they have experienced His transforming love are not condemning the sins they see in others, but seeking to minister God’s redeeming love to those trapped in that sin. So the line between truth and compassion is not thin, but invisible, because the truth of God’s love compels us to be compassionate to those trapped in sin.