Do we need a revolution in Adventism?

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Do we need a revolution in Adventism?

Noey
This post was updated on .
The article below gives some startling statistics on youth in Adventism today, we do you think? do we need a major revolution?

http://www.adventistreview.org/issue.php?issue=2011-1505&page=14

Noey
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Re: Do we need a revolution in Adventism?

calderman
 Before anyone jumped into the baptismal tank, Peter had one last thing to say: “Get out while you can; get out of this sick and stupid culture!” (Acts 2:40, Message).6
 

And I think that one of the problems is stated here;
Too often we baptise for the sake of baptism, meaning that the candidates are not ready to make such vows to God. The process of baptimal classes is too rigid and therefore need the flexablity to cater for each
individual because not everyone is at the same level of understanding, and not because you have a series of lessons you still needs a complete conviction that all is understood.
New members and even old members fail to really be convicted of the gospel, hence a falling away from truth and the whole church body suffers as a direct result.
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Re: Do we need a revolution in Adventism?

Noey
So the question to ask is, should we baptize once someone accepts Christ's free gift or should be baptize once an individual is totally immersed in the 28 fundamentals?
Noey
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Re: Do we need a revolution in Adventism?

calderman
I think the answer to that question is the combination of both, yes we accept Christ free gift of grace, but
we still need to know what is required by us, and when we accept that a positive change is required then we are duty bound to it.
As baptise members, we have all pledge to live within the 28 fundamentals set out by the HS and within the SDA church, therefore before the public declaration of Baptism, we need to know what exactly what we are vowing to
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Re: Do we need a revolution in Adventism?

Joann
I was baptised when I was 13, and it was cool because all of my cousins were there getting baptised too. But it wasn't till I got in the water it hit me that I was doing something extraordinary.  

I don't think anyone in the church has a right to judge whether a person is ready for baptism.  The holy spirit convicts a person, not the church. it is simply a person making an outward commitment that they desire to follow God.

If they are unable to break their bad habits before baptism, at least they will make some attempts if they are really sincere about their decision. But if we are to wait for a person to be perfect/near perfect then none of us would be ready :)
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Re: Do we need a revolution in Adventism?

Noey
Totally agree Joann, being non-judgmental is the first pillar in revolutionizing the church, we need to realize that we are all traveling a path and no two people are necessarily at the same point. To suggest that someone is not ready based on our preconceptions is totally unwise and not biblical.
Noey
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Re: Do we need a revolution in Adventism?

Vincy
Should Parent Force their children into Baptism, if they think they are ready?
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Re: Do we need a revolution in Adventism?

Noey
Most definitely not, baptism is THE most individually based decision one can make.
Noey
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Re: Do we need a revolution in Adventism?

happyladybird2000
Baptism is a personal choice just like choosing a life partner
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Re: Do we need a revolution in Adventism?

Noey
So back to the original question, do we need a revolution in our church? or are we happy maintaining the status quo?
Noey
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Re: Do we need a revolution in Adventism?

Noey
There's an interesting article on BBC news today that feeds into our question on revolution in Adventism, have a read by clicking on the link below and then come back and provide some feedback for our own circumstances.

How religions change their minds:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22250412

How has Adventism changed over the last 150 years and do we need anymore changes to be relevant to society?
Noey
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Re: Do we need a revolution in Adventism?

Noey
The BUC website post posted an interested article by Pastor Neal entitled Balanced but Passionate Adventism. I've reproduced it here as I think it's got some great discussion points that we can pick up on. Have a read and lets discuss:




Off-balance and lack of passion is nothing new to the Christian church. Ever since the time of the risen Christ, the story has been challenged, distorted, manipulated and misunderstood. It took the collective focus of NT writers to set the record straight and keep the church 'on-message', a challenge that remains with us to this day including our own faith community. Like Christians through the centuries we have vigorous discussion about doctrine and its application. Not that such conversations need be negative, for they often signal a healthy and thinking climate, particularly for a faith community in search of truth. In such conversations when Christians see things differently, Augustine comes up with a simple formula to help keep the church together.  "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity."

However, it's one matter to search together for a greater understanding of truth, it's another to become fossilised in traditions grounded on fears and threats. It's a problem Bill Knott (Adventist Review Editor) recognises in some on the 'misguided fringes of this movement', who have a tendency to encourage habits resembling the behaviour of a cult. Specifically they…
Ÿ Subtly distort the truth and beauty of scripture making it a complete and utter burden for others.
Ÿ Create a restrictive thinking climate, and serve on heresy watch 24/7.
Ÿ Gossip conspiracy theories, creating a climate of fear and mistrust, inside and outside the church.
Ÿ Lead others on false 'guilt trips', over particular 'health trips'.

All of the above are nothing short of anathema to the Gospel of Christ. Such behaviours have been around for a long time, but in recent times seem to be on the increase again. Some even peddle such habits in the name of 'Revival and Reformation'. What can we do but pray ‒ 'Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways. Reclothe us in our rightful mind'. I feel it's a very necessary prayer at this time, particularly as we're trying to connect with people through the Cities of Hope project. How can we ever expect to reach majority population people in Ireland / Northern Ireland / UK for Christ, if there are behaviours and practices that Christ knows not? What is it about our faith community DNA that at times hides the beauty of the Gospel we preach? Surely this is not how things should be. We can and must do better.
It is no message of hope burdening down people with false guilt.
It is no message of hope, creating unnecessary fear and mistrust towards others in their lives.
It is no message of hope, restricting how people should think and act.
It is no message of hope to offer a wishy-washy pick and mix Adventism.

The burden on my heart is that what we share will be a confident, joyful Christ-centred hope with absolute confidence and integrity, thereby turning the 'grey' of people's lives into 'gold'. Is it possible that we may experience greater success in reaching people if we share more of the 'who' we know about Jesus, rather than the 'what' we know? Wouldn't it be a truly Pentecost again experience, if we were able to contagiously attract people to the message of Jesus because of us?

That's the change I long to see in me and us all. I long for my Church to mature and grow. I long to see a balance and passion for Christ that is second to none. We're not there yet, as we have some challenges, the same you'll easily find among Adventists in Auckland, San Paulo, Johannesburg or Oslo. You may suggest that I should ignore these problems, just focus on the positive and everything will be OK. I'm not so sure it's as simple as that, particularly when you listen to the stories of those 'inside' our Church who often express how 'oppressive' the Church climate can be at times. Like the author of each article suggests, on these four matters I share below, we've got some relearning to do.

1. Non-Adventist authors – should they really be out, out, out?

"The tortured shape of this editorial is a grim illustration of the fact that a tiny minority of Adventists is now wielding unwarranted influence on the Church's educational, pastoral, and publishing ministries by stoutly insisting that no reputable thought leader should read, own, or cite from a book by a non-Adventist author. They have invaded pastors' offices, disrupted worship services, and left a trail of litter across a smattering of websites…"(Bill Knott, Adventist Review ‒ 14 March 2013)

2. Adventists and conspiracy theories

"I have never yet seen an Adventist conspiracy theory presentation that didn't dramatically move the focus away from Jesus Christ and onto the wildest speculation. Jesus becomes a minor supporting act. Front and centre are always the phantom conspirators and of course the heroic conspiracy theorist himself. Conspiracy theory parasitically lives off its improper attachment to Christianity. And, inevitably, the parasite always ends up killing its host…" (Anthony MacPherson, South Pacific Record ‒ 14 June 2013)

3. The Health Message ‒ a disabled right arm?

"Jesus never intended for healthful living to be a false guilt trip or for His people to be troubled over every little nuance of information. Instead, He wants our journey of healthful living to be happy and satisfying. His desire is for us to glow with healthy attitudes and bodies. A difference exists between the conviction of the Holy Spirit and cajoling or inappropriate social pressure… So enjoy life by following the principles of healthful living. Feel guilty only if you have not surrendered to the vital principle of taking care of your health. But do not feel guilty if your application doesn't land perfectly every time. Happily try again. Soon you will develop effective health habits that will bless your life… Let us avoid extreme statements and rigid positions. May people always feel our love, our acceptance, our grace, and our commitment to freedom and to the principles of healthful living…" (Jay Gallimore, Adventist Review – 18 June 2009)

It wasn't difficult to include the 'health story' in raising the balance flag. But what really stirred me to include it in our four challenges was a feature article in the June edition of Christianity Today. The article by Leslie Leyland Fields 'The Fitness-Driven Church', gives a panoramic view of how US Evangelical churches past and present take health and fitness seriously. Not least, is the flagging up of Rick Warren's high profile 'The Daniel Diet', due to be launched in 2014 as a major book and multimedia health programme. Looking forward to a paragraph, a sentence, a passing mention even, that Seventh-day Adventists practise faith-based wellness, it was not to be. Disappointed that the author suffers from amnesia about the 'holistic message' Adventists have consistently taught and lived, I clicked on the comments section ready to help the author and others recover from this regrettable memory loss. Instead, I seized up ‒ reading the very first comment in the Christianity Today chat room…

"Having grown up in the SDA tradition I can tell you that doing certain things or abstaining from certain foods in the name of God quickly turns into legalism and judgementalism. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being healthy and fit but to attach in any way that it is a requirement of God or church is wrong and possibly idolatrous. Yes, God wants us to be fit, for our sakes, not the gospel's. And the sad fact that much of the obesity and illness we see is disease related will possibly drive these people away from God if we send the message that to be in God's good will you must be fit and healthy. After all Jesus said He came to call the sick not the well!" (Bernie Kopfer)

I don't know who Bernie Kopfer is, but I felt almost haunted by his statement. "No, no, no," I wanted to shout, "you're from a different tradition, that's not us!" But right now I could draw your attention to at least ten articles in the mainstream Adventist media, written within the last twelve months, highlighting the reality that the right arm of the health message requires more than a flavouring of grace. Don't miss Jay Gallimore's article and the points he makes. This is not about whether we hold a liberal or conservative world view, but rather about how we understand the grace and compassion of Christ. I know the uphill challenge every Adventist health lecturer faces to be taken seriously within the Church. For those 'grown up in the SDA tradition', because of historic and legalistic judgementalism, we've closed our eyes and ears to the health story. Forgive the pun, but this is not a healthy position to be in.

4. Balance without passion – nonsense!

Without doubt we need 'Revival and Reformation' inward from the heart, based on a new and fresh understanding of the Gospel, grounded in scripture. Andy Nash reminds us of a fourth challenge we face ‒ that we are on a road to nowhere if we have balance without passion…

"But if the dry winds of legalism have now mostly blown through, what has replaced them? A healthy life of faith that combines true joy in Christ with careful choices about what we allow into our minds and homes? Or something else? In my view our Church's biggest threat is no longer legalism (though it still exists). It's secularism, materialism, the world. This is the thief that now comes to 'steal and kill and destroy' the abundant life in Christ… We should be careful not to replace a culture that majored in minors with one that minors in majors: the transforming grace of Christ, our distinctive Adventist message, the abundant life. Our standards should be higher than those of any legalists because we understand that our behaviour doesn't determine our salvation anyway." (Andy Nash, ANN ‒ 19 February 2013)

The Apostle Paul says that we should… "Run away from infantile indulgence. Run after mature righteousness—faith, love, peace—joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God. Refuse to get involved in inane discussions; they always end up in fights. God's servant must not be argumentative, but a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey. You never know how or when God might sober them up with a change of heart and a turning to the truth, enabling them to escape the Devil's trap, where they are caught and held captive, forced to run his errands." (2 Timothy2:22-26, The Message)

We have much work to do.


[A thought piece by Irish Mission President, David Neal]
- See more at: http://adventist.org.uk/news/2013/2013-ir/balanced-but-passionate-adventism#sthash.8DsbsfGn.dpuf
Noey