Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Family Guy, Adventist & The Sabbath

By now it's made it's way through the social media sites, blogs, emails, and word of mouth. What I'm talking about is the video below from the television show 'Family Guy' I first saw it on A Sabbath Blog check out the blog to get some background and how some Adventist reacted.

One of the issues brought up from the video is the fact that the Sabbath the only difference between Adventist and Methodist (and evangelicals as a whole). A colleague of mine Pastor Shawn Brace wrote a good blog post (click HERE to read it) pointing out and expanding on the issue. He makes some great points.

Allow me to expand on the question:
Is the Sabbath the only difference between Adventist and Evangelicals?

Let me start by affirming much of what Pastor Brace stated in his blog. We as Adventist along with Evangelicals believe that we are saved by grace alone through faith in Jesus. With that said we have various other beliefs (as he stated only some were mentioned) that differ from evangelicals.

I've been a minister for nearly 10 years. Except for two of those years in Seminary I have spent them all pastoring in the bible belt. Meeting some incredible people many of them faithful Christians (of different denominations) and also some great folks who are not Christians.

I obviously love theology but the reality is that most Christians (again speaking in general) really aren't living their lives focused on the theological issues/differences. Many Adventist can't really explain the investigative judgement, the nature of God, and the nature of man (though Adventist are clear about not have an immortal soul) and how that applies to the death of Christ. Be clear these are some of the differences, they're important, and should be taught.

I get asked often what is the difference between Adventist and Evangelicals. Honestly most of the time what ends up being the main 'issue' or point of discussion is...you guessed it the 'Sabbath.'

Though some speak of 'our Adventist' gospel being 'deeper', 'wider in scope', 'complete' and many other words that are used. I've met some incredible Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterians, and other Christians that have been transformed an incredible ways. The gospel of Jesus that He came, died for our sins, and resurrected so that we now have an incredible hope, joy, and power to overcome in Him I've seen change lives of people from these different Christian denominations though they may not know all the deep theological issues! Praise the Lord! The gospel is simple though not simplistic.

Surely as an Adventist we'll talk about the issue of what happens when you die which is a big one where I live (and for many) everlasting hell (which we've covered in the blog before and do not believe hell last forever) along with the others mentioned above. BUT the Sabbath at the end of the day is to some degree the most practical one (along with being deep theologically).

So although we may have 'other' differences than the Sabbath with Evangelicals. I would venture to say that without neglecting the others, the Sabbath holds a very special place and it should.

You see though I've already gone longer than I'd like allow me to briefly explain why the Sabbath is perhaps (I know this can be debatable) the greatest difference we have. At the very least one of the greatest. For sure I would say the greatest difference in praxis.

1. Adventist for the most part keep the Sabbath as sacred. Therefore we keep it more than just a day we go to church for a few hours, as many Christians keep Sunday. We keep it from sundown Friday until sundown Saturday and devote that time to our God, the family God has given us and the goodness and love that God has bestowed upon us.

2. We believe the Sabbath will play a key role before Jesus comes in all of His glory.

3. The Seventh-day Sabbath reminds us that Jesus Himself created us and then rested after creation (don't think Exodus commandments yet, think Genesis 2:2) on the 7th day. Hence it leads us to know that we are created beings, awaiting our Creator who has recreated our hearts and will recreate all things by making them new (our bodies and the world we'll live in!).

So when people ask me: What's the difference between Seventh-day Adventist and "___" yes one of the very first things I say is "we worship on Sabbath..."

And no I've yet to get a response like the Methodist in the Family Guy clip :-)

What do you think, is the Sabbath one of the greatest differences?


Monday, January 23, 2012

Fudge & The Doctrine of Hell

Would an all loving God torment people in hell forever? It's a question that many sincere, bible believing Christians have asked, wondered and pondered about.

Recently I had the privilege to hear and meet Mr. Edward Fudge. Mr. Fudge is known for writing a book that would essentially change his life and that of many that have truly wanted to seek and find truth regarding the topic of hell. The book is entitled: The Fire That Consumes (Click HERE to buy the digital book) and was first published in 1982 after he was contacted to search what the bible truly says about hell. It is one of the most profound books on the topic of hell.

Author of The Fire That Consumes Edward Fudge and Me.

Obviously the book has been out for some time and is now in its third printing. Yet it caused a stir in the evangelical world when it first came out (and to some extent still does) because most evangelical Christians believed and still believe that hell was/is a place of eternal torment where God puts people that oppose him after they die or when Jesus comes again and makes all things new, they would stay in hell burning eternally.

When Rob Bell's book Love Wins came out, I did a series of posts', in one of them I stated in short what I, we believe as Seventh-day Adventist Christians. You can click HERE to read the post.

Essentially though I believe as Mr. Fudge that there will not be an eternal, never ending hell that God puts people in. Some may find surprising that there are several scholars, some well known that also believe the same that are not Seventh-day Adventist. Below is a recent lecture given by Mr. Fudge on the topic. If you have time it will be worth your while to check it out!

Also you'll be interested to know that there is a movie coming sometime this year regarding the struggles that emerged as he became submerged in the study of hell. Check out the movie trailer:

I praise God for his leading in the research by Mr. Fudge. This doctrine of eternal hell gives a dark, malice picture of God. God is love, He does want all to be saved (sadly many will choose not too be saved), all to come and know His great love for you!

Let me know what you think...


Monday, January 16, 2012

In Honor of: M.L. King Jr.

To a great degree he changed history and/or some have said he made history. This weekend the life of Martin Luther King jr. is celebrated. In reality his dream is celebrated. The dream that all men are created equal and therefore all should be treated the same. Below are some incredible quotes from Mr. King taken from this website.

"Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: - 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'"

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

"Segregation is the adultery of an illicit intercourse between injustice and immorality."

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

Below is a clip of one of my favorite speeches, which was given shortly before he was assassinated. 

What are your thoughts about the life and works of Martin Luther King Jr. has his dream been realized?


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Ever feel like quitting? (Video)

The first week of 2012 is in the history books. Do you already feel like quitting on some of your resolutions?

Forget about resolutions, at some juncture during 2012 you will most likely feel the need to quit. I hope this video gives you a little inspiration. Always give it all you got until you honestly can say I got no more.

Watch the short video below and let me hear from you...



Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year-2012!

Wishing everyone a great 2012!

My new years resolution: 

nothing more~nothing less

Will you  join me?


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