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?


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