The fastest-growing denomination

That would be the Seventh-Day Adventists:

Rest on the Sabbath. Heed Old Testament dietary codes. And be ready for Jesus to return at any moment.

If these practices sound quaint or antiquated, think again. They’re hallmarks of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the fastest-growing Christian denomination in North America.

Newly released data show Seventh-day Adventism growing by 2.5% in North America, a rapid clip for this part of the world, where Southern Baptists and mainline denominations, as well as other church groups are declining. Adventists are even growing 75% faster than Mormons (1.4 percent), who prioritize numeric growth.

For observers outside the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the growth rate in North America is perplexing.

“You’ve got a denomination that is basically going back to basics … saying, ‘What did God mean by all these rules and regulations and how can we fit in to be what God wants us to be?’,” said Daniel Shaw, an expert on Christian missionary outreach at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. “That’s just totally contrary to anything that’s happening in American culture. So I’m saying, ‘Whoa! That’s very interesting.’ And I can’t answer it.”

via Adventists’ back-to-basics faith is fastest growing U.S. church – USATODAY.com.

Apparently the secret of church growth is NOT to conform to the culture.  But what people appreciate is law, law, law, as opposed to gospel.  Why do you think that is?

HT:Joe Carter

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    Well, as Dr Luther said many centuries ago, it’s the ‘opinio legis’, the opinion of the natural man that salvation depends on keeping the Law.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    Well, as Dr Luther said many centuries ago, it’s the ‘opinio legis’, the opinion of the natural man that salvation depends on keeping the Law.

  • http://puttingoutthefire.blogspot.com/ Frank Gillespie

    Growing up in a very pietistic Lutheran church I was always told that we “had to do something” by the pastor. So, as I tend to gravitate towards the Law anyways, I did my best to live up to everything that Law required without ever understanding what the Gospel was. This way of thinking was the reason I was an atheist before I left high school.

    To add to Pr. Henderson’s comment; by thinking we are keeping the Law we get to take credit for a portion (or even the entirety) of our salvation which fits perfectly into our just do better and you’ll be rewarded culture. We want the credit.

  • http://puttingoutthefire.blogspot.com/ Frank Gillespie

    Growing up in a very pietistic Lutheran church I was always told that we “had to do something” by the pastor. So, as I tend to gravitate towards the Law anyways, I did my best to live up to everything that Law required without ever understanding what the Gospel was. This way of thinking was the reason I was an atheist before I left high school.

    To add to Pr. Henderson’s comment; by thinking we are keeping the Law we get to take credit for a portion (or even the entirety) of our salvation which fits perfectly into our just do better and you’ll be rewarded culture. We want the credit.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    It’s because the Law is written on our hearts and the Gospel is not. When popular ethics depart further and further from the natural law, many people will naturally look for something that will organize and clarify what they feel in their conscience.

    There’s nothing wrong with that in itself, but it has the unfortunate side effect of making the ridiculous appear plausible: the false idea that we can make ourselves righteous by the law. After all, it’s not that hard to rise above bankrupt ethics like “do whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt anyone” or “take advantage of whomever you want as long as you have consent.” When one does rise above them, he gets the idea that A) he’s made himself better and B) he’s good while everyone else is bad. In short, it provides experiences that are easily misinterpreted. This leads right to what Pr. Henderson points out: the appearance of self-achieved salvation

    It’s not all bad, though. The Law can’t help but accuse, even when it is misused. Even this provides an opportunity for the Gospel to be preached to the new accused.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    It’s because the Law is written on our hearts and the Gospel is not. When popular ethics depart further and further from the natural law, many people will naturally look for something that will organize and clarify what they feel in their conscience.

    There’s nothing wrong with that in itself, but it has the unfortunate side effect of making the ridiculous appear plausible: the false idea that we can make ourselves righteous by the law. After all, it’s not that hard to rise above bankrupt ethics like “do whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt anyone” or “take advantage of whomever you want as long as you have consent.” When one does rise above them, he gets the idea that A) he’s made himself better and B) he’s good while everyone else is bad. In short, it provides experiences that are easily misinterpreted. This leads right to what Pr. Henderson points out: the appearance of self-achieved salvation

    It’s not all bad, though. The Law can’t help but accuse, even when it is misused. Even this provides an opportunity for the Gospel to be preached to the new accused.

  • Michael Z.

    When faced with a culture that says there are no absolutes, it is easy to react and favor the polar opposite. The same thing happens in politics.

  • Michael Z.

    When faced with a culture that says there are no absolutes, it is easy to react and favor the polar opposite. The same thing happens in politics.

  • fws

    Pastor Henderson and Matt C

    Matt C: I have a question for ya: The confessions seem to suggest that the Law of God , which agrees with the Decalog is written in the minds of mankind, which is Reason. So the Confessions therefore always mean Reason by that term “natural law”.

    And I am thinking that they are saying that that same Law can only be written in a heart that first has the restored Adamic Image of God and Righteousness of God that is faith alone in Christ alone.

    This , I suggest, is the entire sum or objective of art II. It is to say that Original Sin is about faith. Original sin is about 1) a lack of faith in Christ alone that was the Adamic Image of God and Righeousness + 2) a faith-run-amok that fills that void and is called by the synonyms (!) “concupiscence”, “lust” or “coveting”.

    Here is the articulation of this idea, I am suggesting that spans Apology art II which I just mentioned , then III and IV then finally XVIII

    First III [bracketed insertions are mine]
    http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_5_love.php

    1b] …we must first declare what we believe concerning love and the fulfilling of the Law. 2] It is written in the prophet, Jer. 31:33: I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts. we speak not of ceremonies [or outward works] , but of that Law which gives commandment concerning the movements of the heart, namely, the Decalog.[We speak of that part of the Law that demands faith alone in Christ alone] 4] Because, indeed, faith brings the Holy Ghost, and produces in hearts a new life, it is necessary that it should produce spiritual movements in hearts.

    And the prophet Jeremiah shows what these “movements of the heart” are when he says this: Jer. 31:33 I will put My Law into their inward parts, and write it in their hearts.

    This is to say that when we have been justified by faith and regenerated, we begin to fear and love God, to pray to Him, to expect from Him aid, to give thanks and praise Him, and to obey Him in afflictions. We begin also to love our neighbors, because our hearts have spiritual and holy movements there is now, through the Spirit of Christ a new heart, mind, and spirit within. [So the first table of the Decalog peculiarly demands and requires faith alone in Christ alone and can only be kept with that faith therefore].

    Then they go on to describe what Pastor Henderson says about the Opinion of Reason that he ascribes to Luther. It is in our confessions here in art III:

    And Paul teaches 2 Cor. 3:15 sq., the veil that covered the face of Moses cannot be removed except by faith in Christ, by which the Holy Ghost is received. For he speaks thus:

    But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

    13] Paul understands by the veil the human opinion concerning the entire Law, the Decalog and the ceremonies, namely, that hypocrites think that external and civil works satisfy the Law of God, and that sacrifices and observances justify before God ex opere operato. ['ex opere operato" means to "go-through-the-motions", or to satisfy God completely just by completing the outward act to the letter of the Law. Remember "outward" here can also mean right thinking, or faith that the facts and doctrines of the bible are all true, or to have love for others in our hearts].

    14] But then this veil is removed from us, i.e., we are freed from this error when God shows to our hearts our uncleanness and the heinousness of sin.

    Then, for the first time , we see that we are far from fulfilling the Law. Then we learn to know how flesh, in security and indifference, does not fear God, and is not fully certain that we are regarded by God, but imagines that men are born and die by chance. Then we experience that we do not believe that God forgives and hears us. [ In other places , the confessions say what this means is that, for the first time, the law terrifies us! We really, really realize that even though outwardly we appear and are righeous, in our hearts we are so very not!].

    But when, on hearing the Gospel and the remission of sins, we are consoled by faith, we receive the Holy Ghost so that now we are able to think aright concerning God, and to fear and believe God, etc. From these facts it is apparent that the Law cannot be kept without Christ and the Holy Ghost.

    Now Apology Art IV picks up the same thread of thought on that Law that deals with “movements of the heart that art II and III dealt with:

    7] Of these two parts the adversaries select the Law, because human reason naturally understands, in some way, the Lawfor it has the same judgment divinely written in the mind [Reason]; that is to say, the natural law agrees with the law of Moses, or the Ten Commandments and by the Law they seek the remission of sins and justification.

    I would suggest that that “in some way” means exactly that Reason is a Law that “extorts” (fC VI) Goodness out of man as “outward” acts which include right thinking and love. But this Reason-as-Law wars with the hearts of Old Adam fallen men who´s hearts are filled with “concupiscence”, which the Apology art II re-defines to mean a faith-run-amok that will buckle up to anything But Christ, since the Image of God, which is faith alone in Christ alone is absent in fallen man. Now they will talk about the Law of God that is veiled to Reason as they discussed in Apology Art III. This Law is “peculiarly ” found in the Decalog, as the First Table of the Law which “peculiarly” deals with “movements of the heart”:

    8] Now, the Decalog requires not only outward civil works, which reason can in some way produce, but it also requires other things placed far above reason, namely, truly to fear God, truly to love God, truly to call upon God, truly to be convinced that God hears us, and to expect the aid of God in death and in all afflictions; finally, it requires obedience to God, in death and all afflictions, so that we may not flee from these or refuse them when God imposes them.

    And finally, if there is any doubt as to what the Confessors mean by that expressions “movements of the heart” , one will understand what they mean by the contrast between Reason and “New Movements of the Heart ” in Art XVIII of the Apology:

    70] Nor, indeed, do we deny liberty to the human will. The human will has liberty in the choice of works and things which reason comprehends by itself. It can to a certain extent render civil righteousness or the righteousness of works; it can speak of God, offer to God a certain service by an outward work, obey magistrates, parents; in the choice of an outward work it can restrain the hands from murder, from adultery, from theft.

    Since there is left in human nature reason and judgment concerning objects subjected to the senses, choice between these things, and the liberty and power to render civil righteousness, are also left. For Scripture calls this the righteousness of the flesh which the carnal nature, i.e., reason, renders by itself, 71] without the Holy Ghost.

    Now here is the part Matt Cochran talks about, where men don´t follow their Reason and why:

    Although the power of concupiscence [which is to put one´s faith that is in anything BUT Christ] is such that men more frequently obey evil dispositions than sound judgment. And the devil, who is efficacious in the godless, as Paul says, Eph. 2:2, does not cease to incite this feeble nature to various offenses. These are the reasons why even civil righteousness is rare among men, as we see that not even the philosophers themselves, who seem 72] to have aspired after this righteousness, attained it.

    Now here is again where they make the distinction between the Law of God in Reason and the Law found “peculiarly” in the First Table of the Decalog that demands faith alone in Christ alone to be kept:

    73] Therefore, we concede to free will the liberty and power to perform the outward works of the Law.

    At the same time we do not ascribe to free will these spiritual matters, namely, truly to fear God, truly to believe God, truly to be confident and hold that God regards us, hears us, forgives us, etc. These are the true works of the First Table, which the heart cannot render without the Holy Ghost, as Paul says, 1 Cor. 2:14: The natural man, i.e., man using only natural strength, receiveth not the things 74] of the Spirit of God.

    What this means is that a person who is not enlightened by the Spirit of God does not, by his natural reason, receive anything of God’s will and divine matters.

    And this can be decided if men consider what their hearts believe concerning God’s will, whether they are truly confident that they are regarded and heard by God. Even for saints to retain this faith and, as Peter says (1 Pet. 1:8), to risk and commit himself entirely to God, whom he does not see, to love Christ, and esteem Him highly, whom he does not see is difficult, so far is it from existing in the godless.

    But it is conceived, as we have said above, when terrified hearts hear the Gospel and receive consolation when we are born anew of the Holy Ghost.

    And here is their point in all of this. It is the distinction between what the Lutherans mean by “natural law”, by which they always mean man´s Reason, versus what? What the Law demand “peculiarly ” in the First Table of the Decalog: faith alone in Christ alone. And this Law cannot be done by us without first having “New Movments of the Heart”, ie that faith that cannot be done by our own “reason or strength” (Small Catechism 2nd article):

    75] Therefore such a distribution is of advantage in which civil righteousness is ascribed to the free will …
    and spiritual righteousness to the governing of the Holy Ghost in the regenerate.

    For thus the outward discipline is retained, because all men ought to know equally, both that God requires this civil righteousness . God will not tolerate indecent, wild, reckless conduct, and that, in a measure, we can do this kind of Divine Righteousness.

    And yet a distinction is shown between human and spiritual righteousness, between philosophical doctrine and the doctrine of the Holy Ghost, [between natural law and that law that demands faith in Christ alone], and it can be understood for what there is need of the Holy Ghost.

    76] Nor has this distribution been invented by us, but Scripture most clearly teaches it.

    68] … what difference is there between the Pelagians and our adversaries, since both hold that without the Holy Ghost men can love God and perform God’s commandments with respect to the substance of the acts, and can merit grace and justification by works which reason performs by itself, without the Holy Ghost?

  • fws

    Pastor Henderson and Matt C

    Matt C: I have a question for ya: The confessions seem to suggest that the Law of God , which agrees with the Decalog is written in the minds of mankind, which is Reason. So the Confessions therefore always mean Reason by that term “natural law”.

    And I am thinking that they are saying that that same Law can only be written in a heart that first has the restored Adamic Image of God and Righteousness of God that is faith alone in Christ alone.

    This , I suggest, is the entire sum or objective of art II. It is to say that Original Sin is about faith. Original sin is about 1) a lack of faith in Christ alone that was the Adamic Image of God and Righeousness + 2) a faith-run-amok that fills that void and is called by the synonyms (!) “concupiscence”, “lust” or “coveting”.

    Here is the articulation of this idea, I am suggesting that spans Apology art II which I just mentioned , then III and IV then finally XVIII

    First III [bracketed insertions are mine]
    http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_5_love.php

    1b] …we must first declare what we believe concerning love and the fulfilling of the Law. 2] It is written in the prophet, Jer. 31:33: I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts. we speak not of ceremonies [or outward works] , but of that Law which gives commandment concerning the movements of the heart, namely, the Decalog.[We speak of that part of the Law that demands faith alone in Christ alone] 4] Because, indeed, faith brings the Holy Ghost, and produces in hearts a new life, it is necessary that it should produce spiritual movements in hearts.

    And the prophet Jeremiah shows what these “movements of the heart” are when he says this: Jer. 31:33 I will put My Law into their inward parts, and write it in their hearts.

    This is to say that when we have been justified by faith and regenerated, we begin to fear and love God, to pray to Him, to expect from Him aid, to give thanks and praise Him, and to obey Him in afflictions. We begin also to love our neighbors, because our hearts have spiritual and holy movements there is now, through the Spirit of Christ a new heart, mind, and spirit within. [So the first table of the Decalog peculiarly demands and requires faith alone in Christ alone and can only be kept with that faith therefore].

    Then they go on to describe what Pastor Henderson says about the Opinion of Reason that he ascribes to Luther. It is in our confessions here in art III:

    And Paul teaches 2 Cor. 3:15 sq., the veil that covered the face of Moses cannot be removed except by faith in Christ, by which the Holy Ghost is received. For he speaks thus:

    But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

    13] Paul understands by the veil the human opinion concerning the entire Law, the Decalog and the ceremonies, namely, that hypocrites think that external and civil works satisfy the Law of God, and that sacrifices and observances justify before God ex opere operato. ['ex opere operato" means to "go-through-the-motions", or to satisfy God completely just by completing the outward act to the letter of the Law. Remember "outward" here can also mean right thinking, or faith that the facts and doctrines of the bible are all true, or to have love for others in our hearts].

    14] But then this veil is removed from us, i.e., we are freed from this error when God shows to our hearts our uncleanness and the heinousness of sin.

    Then, for the first time , we see that we are far from fulfilling the Law. Then we learn to know how flesh, in security and indifference, does not fear God, and is not fully certain that we are regarded by God, but imagines that men are born and die by chance. Then we experience that we do not believe that God forgives and hears us. [ In other places , the confessions say what this means is that, for the first time, the law terrifies us! We really, really realize that even though outwardly we appear and are righeous, in our hearts we are so very not!].

    But when, on hearing the Gospel and the remission of sins, we are consoled by faith, we receive the Holy Ghost so that now we are able to think aright concerning God, and to fear and believe God, etc. From these facts it is apparent that the Law cannot be kept without Christ and the Holy Ghost.

    Now Apology Art IV picks up the same thread of thought on that Law that deals with “movements of the heart that art II and III dealt with:

    7] Of these two parts the adversaries select the Law, because human reason naturally understands, in some way, the Lawfor it has the same judgment divinely written in the mind [Reason]; that is to say, the natural law agrees with the law of Moses, or the Ten Commandments and by the Law they seek the remission of sins and justification.

    I would suggest that that “in some way” means exactly that Reason is a Law that “extorts” (fC VI) Goodness out of man as “outward” acts which include right thinking and love. But this Reason-as-Law wars with the hearts of Old Adam fallen men who´s hearts are filled with “concupiscence”, which the Apology art II re-defines to mean a faith-run-amok that will buckle up to anything But Christ, since the Image of God, which is faith alone in Christ alone is absent in fallen man. Now they will talk about the Law of God that is veiled to Reason as they discussed in Apology Art III. This Law is “peculiarly ” found in the Decalog, as the First Table of the Law which “peculiarly” deals with “movements of the heart”:

    8] Now, the Decalog requires not only outward civil works, which reason can in some way produce, but it also requires other things placed far above reason, namely, truly to fear God, truly to love God, truly to call upon God, truly to be convinced that God hears us, and to expect the aid of God in death and in all afflictions; finally, it requires obedience to God, in death and all afflictions, so that we may not flee from these or refuse them when God imposes them.

    And finally, if there is any doubt as to what the Confessors mean by that expressions “movements of the heart” , one will understand what they mean by the contrast between Reason and “New Movements of the Heart ” in Art XVIII of the Apology:

    70] Nor, indeed, do we deny liberty to the human will. The human will has liberty in the choice of works and things which reason comprehends by itself. It can to a certain extent render civil righteousness or the righteousness of works; it can speak of God, offer to God a certain service by an outward work, obey magistrates, parents; in the choice of an outward work it can restrain the hands from murder, from adultery, from theft.

    Since there is left in human nature reason and judgment concerning objects subjected to the senses, choice between these things, and the liberty and power to render civil righteousness, are also left. For Scripture calls this the righteousness of the flesh which the carnal nature, i.e., reason, renders by itself, 71] without the Holy Ghost.

    Now here is the part Matt Cochran talks about, where men don´t follow their Reason and why:

    Although the power of concupiscence [which is to put one´s faith that is in anything BUT Christ] is such that men more frequently obey evil dispositions than sound judgment. And the devil, who is efficacious in the godless, as Paul says, Eph. 2:2, does not cease to incite this feeble nature to various offenses. These are the reasons why even civil righteousness is rare among men, as we see that not even the philosophers themselves, who seem 72] to have aspired after this righteousness, attained it.

    Now here is again where they make the distinction between the Law of God in Reason and the Law found “peculiarly” in the First Table of the Decalog that demands faith alone in Christ alone to be kept:

    73] Therefore, we concede to free will the liberty and power to perform the outward works of the Law.

    At the same time we do not ascribe to free will these spiritual matters, namely, truly to fear God, truly to believe God, truly to be confident and hold that God regards us, hears us, forgives us, etc. These are the true works of the First Table, which the heart cannot render without the Holy Ghost, as Paul says, 1 Cor. 2:14: The natural man, i.e., man using only natural strength, receiveth not the things 74] of the Spirit of God.

    What this means is that a person who is not enlightened by the Spirit of God does not, by his natural reason, receive anything of God’s will and divine matters.

    And this can be decided if men consider what their hearts believe concerning God’s will, whether they are truly confident that they are regarded and heard by God. Even for saints to retain this faith and, as Peter says (1 Pet. 1:8), to risk and commit himself entirely to God, whom he does not see, to love Christ, and esteem Him highly, whom he does not see is difficult, so far is it from existing in the godless.

    But it is conceived, as we have said above, when terrified hearts hear the Gospel and receive consolation when we are born anew of the Holy Ghost.

    And here is their point in all of this. It is the distinction between what the Lutherans mean by “natural law”, by which they always mean man´s Reason, versus what? What the Law demand “peculiarly ” in the First Table of the Decalog: faith alone in Christ alone. And this Law cannot be done by us without first having “New Movments of the Heart”, ie that faith that cannot be done by our own “reason or strength” (Small Catechism 2nd article):

    75] Therefore such a distribution is of advantage in which civil righteousness is ascribed to the free will …
    and spiritual righteousness to the governing of the Holy Ghost in the regenerate.

    For thus the outward discipline is retained, because all men ought to know equally, both that God requires this civil righteousness . God will not tolerate indecent, wild, reckless conduct, and that, in a measure, we can do this kind of Divine Righteousness.

    And yet a distinction is shown between human and spiritual righteousness, between philosophical doctrine and the doctrine of the Holy Ghost, [between natural law and that law that demands faith in Christ alone], and it can be understood for what there is need of the Holy Ghost.

    76] Nor has this distribution been invented by us, but Scripture most clearly teaches it.

    68] … what difference is there between the Pelagians and our adversaries, since both hold that without the Holy Ghost men can love God and perform God’s commandments with respect to the substance of the acts, and can merit grace and justification by works which reason performs by itself, without the Holy Ghost?

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I would propose a little different emphasis for the Church:

    Baptismal Catechesis and Absolution. Heed the New Testament Supper. And be ready for Jesus to return at any moment.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I would propose a little different emphasis for the Church:

    Baptismal Catechesis and Absolution. Heed the New Testament Supper. And be ready for Jesus to return at any moment.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Seems to me it is just easier to get people to abandon reason and rationality when it comes to religion, than get them to use it. The Seventh Day Adventists are quacks, who ignore scripture, more than they follow it.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Seems to me it is just easier to get people to abandon reason and rationality when it comes to religion, than get them to use it. The Seventh Day Adventists are quacks, who ignore scripture, more than they follow it.

  • Bill Cork

    Seventh-day Adventists do not believe in salvation by the law. From the Seventh-day Adventist Statement of Fundamental beliefs:

    “10. Experience of Salvation. In infinite love and mercy God made Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Him we might be made the righteousness of God. Led by the Holy Spirit we sense our need, acknowledge our sinfulness, repent of our transgressions, and exercise faith in Jesus as Lord and Christ, as Substitute and Example. This faith which receives salvation comes through the divine power of the Word and is the gift of God’s grace. Through Christ we are justified, adopted as God’s sons and daughters, and delivered from the lordship of sin. Through the Spirit we are born again and sanctified; the Spirit renews our minds, writes God’s law of love in our hearts, and we are given the power to live a holy life. Abiding in Him we become partakers of the divine nature and have the assurance of salvation now and in the judgment. ”

    “19. The Law of God. The great principles of God’s law are embodied in the Ten Commandments and exemplified in the life of Christ. They express God’s love, will, and purposes concerning human conduct and relationships and are binding upon all people in every age. These precepts are the basis of God’s covenant with His people and the standard in God’s judgment. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit they point out sin and awaken a sense of need for a Saviour. Salvation is all of grace and not of works, but its fruitage is obedience to the Commandments. This obedience develops Christian character and results in a sense of well-being. It is an evidence of our love for the Lord and our concern for our fellow men. The obedience of faith demonstrates the power of Christ to transform lives, and therefore strengthens Christian witness.”

    For the rest, check here (http://www.adventist.org/beliefs/fundamental/index.html) and decide how many of these are the beliefs of “quacks, who ignore scripture, more than they follow it.”

    But why might people appreciate the law these days, and basics of Scripture? Maybe because the mainline churches, as a whole, have embraced the most extreme antinomianism. Folks know in their gut that that’s wrong, I guess. Seems Paul was right in Romans 1, after all.

  • Bill Cork

    Seventh-day Adventists do not believe in salvation by the law. From the Seventh-day Adventist Statement of Fundamental beliefs:

    “10. Experience of Salvation. In infinite love and mercy God made Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Him we might be made the righteousness of God. Led by the Holy Spirit we sense our need, acknowledge our sinfulness, repent of our transgressions, and exercise faith in Jesus as Lord and Christ, as Substitute and Example. This faith which receives salvation comes through the divine power of the Word and is the gift of God’s grace. Through Christ we are justified, adopted as God’s sons and daughters, and delivered from the lordship of sin. Through the Spirit we are born again and sanctified; the Spirit renews our minds, writes God’s law of love in our hearts, and we are given the power to live a holy life. Abiding in Him we become partakers of the divine nature and have the assurance of salvation now and in the judgment. ”

    “19. The Law of God. The great principles of God’s law are embodied in the Ten Commandments and exemplified in the life of Christ. They express God’s love, will, and purposes concerning human conduct and relationships and are binding upon all people in every age. These precepts are the basis of God’s covenant with His people and the standard in God’s judgment. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit they point out sin and awaken a sense of need for a Saviour. Salvation is all of grace and not of works, but its fruitage is obedience to the Commandments. This obedience develops Christian character and results in a sense of well-being. It is an evidence of our love for the Lord and our concern for our fellow men. The obedience of faith demonstrates the power of Christ to transform lives, and therefore strengthens Christian witness.”

    For the rest, check here (http://www.adventist.org/beliefs/fundamental/index.html) and decide how many of these are the beliefs of “quacks, who ignore scripture, more than they follow it.”

    But why might people appreciate the law these days, and basics of Scripture? Maybe because the mainline churches, as a whole, have embraced the most extreme antinomianism. Folks know in their gut that that’s wrong, I guess. Seems Paul was right in Romans 1, after all.

  • larry

    It’s funny you mention this because I was just thinking about it on the way in, church growth and law. One side of my wife’s family was deeply entrenched in SDA. It was decades after coming out before many of those individuals would even think of eating pork.

    Two observations:
    (1) “You’ve got a denomination that is basically going back to basics … saying, ‘What did God mean by all these rules and regulations and how can we fit in to be what God wants us to be?’,”
    In terms of reading scripture ‘more literally’, when it comes to Law a lot of folks do this. But when it comes to Gospel that tends to fly out the wind (e.g. this is My body/blood, this baptism saves you). When it’s the later people tend to go with “sign, symbol” language. Reason, I think, if you can make the Gospel in any form (i.e. the incarnation, baptism, the body/blood of Christ, etc…) then you can instantly turn those gifts (Gospel Word/Sacraments) into a form of law that needs to be done, either directly or indirectly. Thus, we want to read the Law quite literally, but we want to read the Gospel symbolically. In reality this is the basis of all Gnosticism.
    (2) “Apparently the secret of church growth is NOT to conform to the culture. But what people appreciate is law, law, law, as opposed to gospel. Why do you think that is?”
    Because Law sells, Gospel doesn’t. Whether its Oprah, Mormonism, Evangelicalism (in all its denominational forms), self help gurus, Islam, Buddhism, JW, SDA, etc…Law sells.

    Why?
    First, it comes from a simple “product” point of view, to use our modern American commerce terminology. Law, in whatever form, sells a product to solve a sensible reason driven problem; “My life/life is (insert bad things) and this religious group/guru/etc…says IF I DO X, THEN I’ll get the Y fix to the situation”. The problem in life could be anything from marriage issues, money issues, a feeling of insignificance, even sin! And the Law religions and heterodoxies promise “IF…THEN” to fix it, even sin!

    However, from a marketing point of view “doing nothing it’s all done for you” (i.e. the Gospel), can’t be sold. It doesn’t offer and “if/then”, it says “because/therefore”. All law products sell “doing something”, how do you ‘sell’, “we are telling you it’s done already, nothing left to do”. “You mean your product won’t even ‘fix my sins’, challenge me to work a better righteousness to at least feel good about myself?” “No, sins are forgiven, you are Christ sin as He is your righteousness, nothing to do”. “You mean just the pastor absolving me, water, little pieces of hard wafers, and a mere sip of wine, that’s all you got. Don’t you have a thing or program I can do?” “Nope.” That’s the “market” side of things.

    Second, when times get hard relative to the society immediately around in which one experiences these things (i.e. like economics today in America), world events are in turmoil, wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes in diverse place…when this is MORE active and frequent than normal times of relative peace and tranquility, when a population is aging and though maybe your not dying today, your older and know you WILL die eventually, its more in your face, when troubles like these abound more and hit more folks to the man/woman, then we begin to consider at least the idea of God again. Law is written on the hearts of men, they have an inkling that God is holy and pure and powerful – and God thus scares them to death. So, naturally “Law fixes” abound. “I need to do better, get better, be better, improve my life, show better fruits that I’m a believer…etc…”. Thus, when God is only a judge, He is terrifying, at whatever level of knowledge that is, and thus Law is the natural fallen man’s default to “get doing” so he/she can “if/then” get to heaven. In that since every fallen son and daughter of Adam is a very NATURAL spiritual workaholic.

    But God who has done it for you, forgiven your sin, given you His righteousness – OH, such passive suffering passion reception is IMPOSSIBLE to the old man. In fact it terrifies him so very much that he can NEVER believe it, and says, “Oh, there must be something I must do.” And back to Law he goes.
    Religion, in whatever form, that basically says, “faith is ‘I believe’”, is the a marketable law if/then product. But a religion that’s pure passive suffering that says, “faith is God cannot lie…faith is the righteousness of God – NOTHING to do”, that simply doesn’t sell.

    A workaholic hates more than anything to be told “nothing to do”. He/she will jump out of their seat and start INVENTING things to do…which is the sum basis of all theologies of glory.

  • larry

    It’s funny you mention this because I was just thinking about it on the way in, church growth and law. One side of my wife’s family was deeply entrenched in SDA. It was decades after coming out before many of those individuals would even think of eating pork.

    Two observations:
    (1) “You’ve got a denomination that is basically going back to basics … saying, ‘What did God mean by all these rules and regulations and how can we fit in to be what God wants us to be?’,”
    In terms of reading scripture ‘more literally’, when it comes to Law a lot of folks do this. But when it comes to Gospel that tends to fly out the wind (e.g. this is My body/blood, this baptism saves you). When it’s the later people tend to go with “sign, symbol” language. Reason, I think, if you can make the Gospel in any form (i.e. the incarnation, baptism, the body/blood of Christ, etc…) then you can instantly turn those gifts (Gospel Word/Sacraments) into a form of law that needs to be done, either directly or indirectly. Thus, we want to read the Law quite literally, but we want to read the Gospel symbolically. In reality this is the basis of all Gnosticism.
    (2) “Apparently the secret of church growth is NOT to conform to the culture. But what people appreciate is law, law, law, as opposed to gospel. Why do you think that is?”
    Because Law sells, Gospel doesn’t. Whether its Oprah, Mormonism, Evangelicalism (in all its denominational forms), self help gurus, Islam, Buddhism, JW, SDA, etc…Law sells.

    Why?
    First, it comes from a simple “product” point of view, to use our modern American commerce terminology. Law, in whatever form, sells a product to solve a sensible reason driven problem; “My life/life is (insert bad things) and this religious group/guru/etc…says IF I DO X, THEN I’ll get the Y fix to the situation”. The problem in life could be anything from marriage issues, money issues, a feeling of insignificance, even sin! And the Law religions and heterodoxies promise “IF…THEN” to fix it, even sin!

    However, from a marketing point of view “doing nothing it’s all done for you” (i.e. the Gospel), can’t be sold. It doesn’t offer and “if/then”, it says “because/therefore”. All law products sell “doing something”, how do you ‘sell’, “we are telling you it’s done already, nothing left to do”. “You mean your product won’t even ‘fix my sins’, challenge me to work a better righteousness to at least feel good about myself?” “No, sins are forgiven, you are Christ sin as He is your righteousness, nothing to do”. “You mean just the pastor absolving me, water, little pieces of hard wafers, and a mere sip of wine, that’s all you got. Don’t you have a thing or program I can do?” “Nope.” That’s the “market” side of things.

    Second, when times get hard relative to the society immediately around in which one experiences these things (i.e. like economics today in America), world events are in turmoil, wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes in diverse place…when this is MORE active and frequent than normal times of relative peace and tranquility, when a population is aging and though maybe your not dying today, your older and know you WILL die eventually, its more in your face, when troubles like these abound more and hit more folks to the man/woman, then we begin to consider at least the idea of God again. Law is written on the hearts of men, they have an inkling that God is holy and pure and powerful – and God thus scares them to death. So, naturally “Law fixes” abound. “I need to do better, get better, be better, improve my life, show better fruits that I’m a believer…etc…”. Thus, when God is only a judge, He is terrifying, at whatever level of knowledge that is, and thus Law is the natural fallen man’s default to “get doing” so he/she can “if/then” get to heaven. In that since every fallen son and daughter of Adam is a very NATURAL spiritual workaholic.

    But God who has done it for you, forgiven your sin, given you His righteousness – OH, such passive suffering passion reception is IMPOSSIBLE to the old man. In fact it terrifies him so very much that he can NEVER believe it, and says, “Oh, there must be something I must do.” And back to Law he goes.
    Religion, in whatever form, that basically says, “faith is ‘I believe’”, is the a marketable law if/then product. But a religion that’s pure passive suffering that says, “faith is God cannot lie…faith is the righteousness of God – NOTHING to do”, that simply doesn’t sell.

    A workaholic hates more than anything to be told “nothing to do”. He/she will jump out of their seat and start INVENTING things to do…which is the sum basis of all theologies of glory.

  • Dennis Peskey

    So where do you want to build your retirement home – Sinai or Calvary? After ya’ll get done with your sunday school answer of “Jesus”, I would remind you that no one seeks God; we prefer to play hide and seek against Him.

    The Law – oh ya, nothing like a dose of we, we, do, do. Just reach down, grab hold of your bootstraps and yank yourself up to heaven. After all, didn’t Jesus show us the way to go home? He did it – why can’t we!

    The Gospel is real annoying. God expects us to stand there with our hands raised as beggars and just receive. Come on, none of us really likes that “for you” stuff – it’s so unprotestant, so unamerican. And all the praise and glory goes to His Son (ok, He does give us a most generous benefit package – but isn’t it kinda like welfare).

    “Where have all the pietists gone – long time praying.” It’s good to know there still is a place in this world for pharisees to assemble. I hope these people realize God didn’t quite give the entire list at Sinai – a few more got added since then (613 at last count). But hey, if you really try, you could do at least three (ok, maybe five in Lent). It’s what is in your heart that counts (I wouldn’t suggest at this point grabbing your concordance and checking out the heart references – not helpful for your self-esteem).

    And for those Adventist’s, they really should avoid James’ letter in the Bible – at least stop before they get to chapter two, verse ten. Up until then, we’re doing alright. Suddenly, James reaches out and slaps the proverbial flusher and all our we,we, do, do cascades down upon us leaving us standing in the middle of the cesspool without any bootstaps to yank. See if this phrase can grow on you: “Kyrie Eleison”. As for me and my household, I choose not to retire at the bottom of the outhouse. There’s a room in a home not far away and I here it’s pretty good. No – really, no, very good. Jesus calls it home; so will I.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    So where do you want to build your retirement home – Sinai or Calvary? After ya’ll get done with your sunday school answer of “Jesus”, I would remind you that no one seeks God; we prefer to play hide and seek against Him.

    The Law – oh ya, nothing like a dose of we, we, do, do. Just reach down, grab hold of your bootstraps and yank yourself up to heaven. After all, didn’t Jesus show us the way to go home? He did it – why can’t we!

    The Gospel is real annoying. God expects us to stand there with our hands raised as beggars and just receive. Come on, none of us really likes that “for you” stuff – it’s so unprotestant, so unamerican. And all the praise and glory goes to His Son (ok, He does give us a most generous benefit package – but isn’t it kinda like welfare).

    “Where have all the pietists gone – long time praying.” It’s good to know there still is a place in this world for pharisees to assemble. I hope these people realize God didn’t quite give the entire list at Sinai – a few more got added since then (613 at last count). But hey, if you really try, you could do at least three (ok, maybe five in Lent). It’s what is in your heart that counts (I wouldn’t suggest at this point grabbing your concordance and checking out the heart references – not helpful for your self-esteem).

    And for those Adventist’s, they really should avoid James’ letter in the Bible – at least stop before they get to chapter two, verse ten. Up until then, we’re doing alright. Suddenly, James reaches out and slaps the proverbial flusher and all our we,we, do, do cascades down upon us leaving us standing in the middle of the cesspool without any bootstaps to yank. See if this phrase can grow on you: “Kyrie Eleison”. As for me and my household, I choose not to retire at the bottom of the outhouse. There’s a room in a home not far away and I here it’s pretty good. No – really, no, very good. Jesus calls it home; so will I.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Now I can understand how we presume Adventists to be legalistic, but isn’t it a bit hasty to suggest that they don’t preach the Gospel? I just visited their website, as well as non-Adventist descriptions, and it does appear that they are pretty much orthodox in their teaching.

    I’m not an Adventist myself, and I concede that there are some embarassing things in their history–predictions of Christ’s return, female leadership, etc.. That said, I would hope that the rest of us–ahem, every church has some embarassing things in its history–would be a little bit gracious when appraising other churches.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Now I can understand how we presume Adventists to be legalistic, but isn’t it a bit hasty to suggest that they don’t preach the Gospel? I just visited their website, as well as non-Adventist descriptions, and it does appear that they are pretty much orthodox in their teaching.

    I’m not an Adventist myself, and I concede that there are some embarassing things in their history–predictions of Christ’s return, female leadership, etc.. That said, I would hope that the rest of us–ahem, every church has some embarassing things in its history–would be a little bit gracious when appraising other churches.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Bill,
    I just went over to the site you reference, because it had dawned on me after my last post, that though I had talked to many an Adventist that came off as a complete nut, and very willing to ignore the clear words of scripture for their own pet interpretations, I had never read the official position.
    I suspected from my conversations with a couple concerning the Trinity that they did not believe in it. But it seems you do. For that I am relieved, though I found it peculiar that as you went through the works of the 3 persons there 2 were name, Son, and Holy Spirit, the third, which is a rather peculiar order btw, was simply just God, and was not said to be the Father.
    There are though many read flags as I see it in those beliefs. Your interpretation of the Millenium is by far the strangest I’ve seen.
    But more so is this that you quote; “Led by the Holy Spirit we sense our need, acknowledge our sinfulness, repent of our transgressions, and exercise faith in Jesus as Lord and Christ, as Substitute and Example. ” See, it is so often that this thing faith takes on such a different meaning than the scriptural concept. Not that I see any problem here I don’t see in Calvary Chapel, or Southern Baptist, btw, do SDA baptize infants? It is so often that faith is identified by doing certain works. Usually this is what is meant by exercising faith near as I can tell. If faith is something I do, than it is no longer a gift. This is just a slippery argument to say we are saved by faith, and still make it by works of the law.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Bill,
    I just went over to the site you reference, because it had dawned on me after my last post, that though I had talked to many an Adventist that came off as a complete nut, and very willing to ignore the clear words of scripture for their own pet interpretations, I had never read the official position.
    I suspected from my conversations with a couple concerning the Trinity that they did not believe in it. But it seems you do. For that I am relieved, though I found it peculiar that as you went through the works of the 3 persons there 2 were name, Son, and Holy Spirit, the third, which is a rather peculiar order btw, was simply just God, and was not said to be the Father.
    There are though many read flags as I see it in those beliefs. Your interpretation of the Millenium is by far the strangest I’ve seen.
    But more so is this that you quote; “Led by the Holy Spirit we sense our need, acknowledge our sinfulness, repent of our transgressions, and exercise faith in Jesus as Lord and Christ, as Substitute and Example. ” See, it is so often that this thing faith takes on such a different meaning than the scriptural concept. Not that I see any problem here I don’t see in Calvary Chapel, or Southern Baptist, btw, do SDA baptize infants? It is so often that faith is identified by doing certain works. Usually this is what is meant by exercising faith near as I can tell. If faith is something I do, than it is no longer a gift. This is just a slippery argument to say we are saved by faith, and still make it by works of the law.

  • fws

    Bike @ 11

    Lutherans believe that Adventists are Christians for the exact same reason we believe Roman Catholics are christian. They have been baptized into the Name of the Blessed and most Holy Trinity.

    But we Lutherans also believe that the Adventists hold to the same view on the Law that Roman Catholics hold to.

    Read my post 5 (yes I know it is long) and tell me that Adventists think any differently than Rome does as to their opinions on the Law.

  • fws

    Bike @ 11

    Lutherans believe that Adventists are Christians for the exact same reason we believe Roman Catholics are christian. They have been baptized into the Name of the Blessed and most Holy Trinity.

    But we Lutherans also believe that the Adventists hold to the same view on the Law that Roman Catholics hold to.

    Read my post 5 (yes I know it is long) and tell me that Adventists think any differently than Rome does as to their opinions on the Law.

  • http://journeytoluther.blogspot.com/ moallen

    I have noticed that Adventists are really “mainstreaming” or participating in activities with other Christian groups. I asked an Adventist co-worker a few years back about Ellen G. White (the “prophetess” who was instrumental in the founding of Adventism) and he brushed her aside as unimportant. They still do hold to a lot of dietary restrictions and strict adherence to the Saturday Sabbath, but even those things they claim are not mandatory for salvation. They do hold to an orthodox understanding of salvation by grace through faith in Christ, but their doctrine of hell is annihilationist.

    I think their connection of the Old Testament and New Testament really appeals to people in that they are attempting to focus on Scripture rather than numbers programs or entertainment and people are looking for something real in this marketing and focus group oriented world.

    I have tried to put myself in their shoes with the focus on law, and how would I not see this as contributing to my salvation? Knowing my sinful heart, I am sure I would be thinking I am saving myself in some way – plus I would be walking around under a burden of legalism that would be soul crushing (in my opinion).

  • http://journeytoluther.blogspot.com/ moallen

    I have noticed that Adventists are really “mainstreaming” or participating in activities with other Christian groups. I asked an Adventist co-worker a few years back about Ellen G. White (the “prophetess” who was instrumental in the founding of Adventism) and he brushed her aside as unimportant. They still do hold to a lot of dietary restrictions and strict adherence to the Saturday Sabbath, but even those things they claim are not mandatory for salvation. They do hold to an orthodox understanding of salvation by grace through faith in Christ, but their doctrine of hell is annihilationist.

    I think their connection of the Old Testament and New Testament really appeals to people in that they are attempting to focus on Scripture rather than numbers programs or entertainment and people are looking for something real in this marketing and focus group oriented world.

    I have tried to put myself in their shoes with the focus on law, and how would I not see this as contributing to my salvation? Knowing my sinful heart, I am sure I would be thinking I am saving myself in some way – plus I would be walking around under a burden of legalism that would be soul crushing (in my opinion).

  • Dennis Peskey

    If you desire to hear a “testimony” from a former Seventh Day Adventist who departed for the LC-MS, follow this link:
    http://steadfastlutherans.org/mp3/BJS_Conference_Spot.mp3

    I’ve only one other experience with Adventists; I attended a funeral this past winter of my in-laws grandmother who had died. I knew this Lutheran was in trouble when the Pastor began the service with, “We are here to celebrate the life of grandma …”. My first impulse was to loudly announce to the assembled – “She’s dead!”

    He never did get around to mentioning the “dead” fact nor did he explain why grandma wasn’t with us anymore. All I heard for ninety minutes was all the wonderful things grandma did which left me wondering – why is she dead? The truly sad part was at no time during this ordeal did he speak to the resurrection and the promise Jesus gave to grandma in her baptism – she would live again with that body, justified, sanctified and clothed in Christ. If they’re not willing to preach Good Friday and Easter morning at a member’s funeral, how do they cling to all that Christ has taught? I’ll see grandma again, so will many in attendance at her funeral; it would have been meet, right and salutary if the Pastor would have preached this truth at her funeral to all assembled. We need to hear this truth to make sense of Genesis 3:19.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    If you desire to hear a “testimony” from a former Seventh Day Adventist who departed for the LC-MS, follow this link:
    http://steadfastlutherans.org/mp3/BJS_Conference_Spot.mp3

    I’ve only one other experience with Adventists; I attended a funeral this past winter of my in-laws grandmother who had died. I knew this Lutheran was in trouble when the Pastor began the service with, “We are here to celebrate the life of grandma …”. My first impulse was to loudly announce to the assembled – “She’s dead!”

    He never did get around to mentioning the “dead” fact nor did he explain why grandma wasn’t with us anymore. All I heard for ninety minutes was all the wonderful things grandma did which left me wondering – why is she dead? The truly sad part was at no time during this ordeal did he speak to the resurrection and the promise Jesus gave to grandma in her baptism – she would live again with that body, justified, sanctified and clothed in Christ. If they’re not willing to preach Good Friday and Easter morning at a member’s funeral, how do they cling to all that Christ has taught? I’ll see grandma again, so will many in attendance at her funeral; it would have been meet, right and salutary if the Pastor would have preached this truth at her funeral to all assembled. We need to hear this truth to make sense of Genesis 3:19.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • steve

    It’s true that Adventists are very legalistic but, in my experience, not more so than many other denominations–especially the harismatics. I don’t think that’s necessarily the biggest draw but for many it would be a big detraction. There are many reasons people would be attracted to Adventism. For one, they are very family-focused. Spending time with family and the community on the Sabbath is a very big deal and a very large attraction for the larger culture in a day and age when so little attention is paid to such things.

    Adventists are also very health-conscious. In fact, a predominantly SDA town here in Southern California was recently featured on Oprah as having the longest average lifespan in the United States. This is also an attraction for the larger culture which has been so health-obsessed. These things are deeply entrenched in Adventism to the point that many lapsed SDAs I know, who rarely go to church, will still not eat pork or shellfish, or often any meat, and keep the Sabbath reserved for family time.

    As I said, community is extremely important for SDAs and I suspect its partly sue to the sort of “persecution identity” I see with many SDAs stemming of their particular eschatology and their Saturday worship. These things that separate them from the larger culture keep them together as a community. For this reason, I suspect that if they were to grow to the size of, say, Southern Baptists, this sense of community would be diluted.

    There are many reasons to admire the SDA denomination and I would certainly consider it myself if I wasn’t theologically opposed to some of their doctrines. For the large number of people who don’t have any real historically Christian theological foundation, I can certainly see the draw.

  • steve

    It’s true that Adventists are very legalistic but, in my experience, not more so than many other denominations–especially the harismatics. I don’t think that’s necessarily the biggest draw but for many it would be a big detraction. There are many reasons people would be attracted to Adventism. For one, they are very family-focused. Spending time with family and the community on the Sabbath is a very big deal and a very large attraction for the larger culture in a day and age when so little attention is paid to such things.

    Adventists are also very health-conscious. In fact, a predominantly SDA town here in Southern California was recently featured on Oprah as having the longest average lifespan in the United States. This is also an attraction for the larger culture which has been so health-obsessed. These things are deeply entrenched in Adventism to the point that many lapsed SDAs I know, who rarely go to church, will still not eat pork or shellfish, or often any meat, and keep the Sabbath reserved for family time.

    As I said, community is extremely important for SDAs and I suspect its partly sue to the sort of “persecution identity” I see with many SDAs stemming of their particular eschatology and their Saturday worship. These things that separate them from the larger culture keep them together as a community. For this reason, I suspect that if they were to grow to the size of, say, Southern Baptists, this sense of community would be diluted.

    There are many reasons to admire the SDA denomination and I would certainly consider it myself if I wasn’t theologically opposed to some of their doctrines. For the large number of people who don’t have any real historically Christian theological foundation, I can certainly see the draw.

  • larry

    “pretty much orthodox in their teaching”

    The statement “pretty much orthodox in their teaching” begs the question in the first place, there’s no such thing as “pretty much orthodox”. “Pretty much orthodox” is “in fact and precisely heterodox and false”. That’s not being harsh at all but accurate and truthfull. Paul’s entire point in Galatians is about this issue, another gospel doesn’t say, “Hey I’m another Gospel”, it says, “Gospel…BUT….”.

    In general giving with the right hand (Gospel) then taking away with the left hand (via Law) is no Gospel at all but another gospel altogether, in sum totality.

    Taking away with left hand what the right hand gives can happen in many forms but its always just that.

    E.g. “The children of believers are to be CONSIDERED the recipients of efficacious grace…when dying before attaining the years of discretion, they can only be REGARDED as saved…” (A. Kuyper)

    Compare this with “having been baptized they HAVE RECEIVED forgiveness of sins, put on Christ, been washed and regenerated, is saved, was buried and risen with Christ”. (Orthodox confessions)

    Notice the difference in these two opposing and different gospels. Considered, regarded, maybe, possibly, perhaps, we suppose, we guess, etc…”Hedging Gospel” is in summary no gospel at all. Another gospel need not say, “you must work your way to heaven”. Another gospel may only need to say “considered” or “regarded” = theologies of glory and other gospels which are no Gospel at all.

  • larry

    “pretty much orthodox in their teaching”

    The statement “pretty much orthodox in their teaching” begs the question in the first place, there’s no such thing as “pretty much orthodox”. “Pretty much orthodox” is “in fact and precisely heterodox and false”. That’s not being harsh at all but accurate and truthfull. Paul’s entire point in Galatians is about this issue, another gospel doesn’t say, “Hey I’m another Gospel”, it says, “Gospel…BUT….”.

    In general giving with the right hand (Gospel) then taking away with the left hand (via Law) is no Gospel at all but another gospel altogether, in sum totality.

    Taking away with left hand what the right hand gives can happen in many forms but its always just that.

    E.g. “The children of believers are to be CONSIDERED the recipients of efficacious grace…when dying before attaining the years of discretion, they can only be REGARDED as saved…” (A. Kuyper)

    Compare this with “having been baptized they HAVE RECEIVED forgiveness of sins, put on Christ, been washed and regenerated, is saved, was buried and risen with Christ”. (Orthodox confessions)

    Notice the difference in these two opposing and different gospels. Considered, regarded, maybe, possibly, perhaps, we suppose, we guess, etc…”Hedging Gospel” is in summary no gospel at all. Another gospel need not say, “you must work your way to heaven”. Another gospel may only need to say “considered” or “regarded” = theologies of glory and other gospels which are no Gospel at all.

  • steve

    Above should have read “charismatics”.

  • steve

    Above should have read “charismatics”.

  • Louis

    I’m still iffy about posting here, after Carl’s latest insanities, but I thought I’d at least mentioned that it is well documented that Ellen White is also the mother of modern “scientific” Young Earth Creationism, something Ken Ham & co try to brush aside. She had seen ‘visions’:

    “I was then carried back to the creation and was shown that the first week, in which God performed the work of creation in six days and rested on the seventh day, was just like every other week.”

    and followed that up with:

    “[humans, animals, and trees] were buried, and thus preserved as an evidence to later generations that the antediluvians perished by a flood. God designed that the discovery of these things should establish faith in inspired history; but…the things which God gave them [i.e., to us humans] as a benefit, they turn into a curse by making a wrong use of them [scientists].”

    She had a massive influence over one George McReady Price, who took her visions as guide to create a form of “flood geology”. He was the leading influence over Henry Morris, sometimes called the Father of modern creationism. (Complete reference: http://www.searchingfortruthwithabrokenflashlight.com/Henry_Morris__Deception.html).

    Henry Morris was a Rice-educated (Hey Todd!) civil engineer with some hydrology expertise. He, together with his son, created the Creation Research Society, the Institute of Creation Research and others. Ken Ham’s AIG (Answers in Genesis) spun off ICR in 1994.

  • Louis

    I’m still iffy about posting here, after Carl’s latest insanities, but I thought I’d at least mentioned that it is well documented that Ellen White is also the mother of modern “scientific” Young Earth Creationism, something Ken Ham & co try to brush aside. She had seen ‘visions’:

    “I was then carried back to the creation and was shown that the first week, in which God performed the work of creation in six days and rested on the seventh day, was just like every other week.”

    and followed that up with:

    “[humans, animals, and trees] were buried, and thus preserved as an evidence to later generations that the antediluvians perished by a flood. God designed that the discovery of these things should establish faith in inspired history; but…the things which God gave them [i.e., to us humans] as a benefit, they turn into a curse by making a wrong use of them [scientists].”

    She had a massive influence over one George McReady Price, who took her visions as guide to create a form of “flood geology”. He was the leading influence over Henry Morris, sometimes called the Father of modern creationism. (Complete reference: http://www.searchingfortruthwithabrokenflashlight.com/Henry_Morris__Deception.html).

    Henry Morris was a Rice-educated (Hey Todd!) civil engineer with some hydrology expertise. He, together with his son, created the Creation Research Society, the Institute of Creation Research and others. Ken Ham’s AIG (Answers in Genesis) spun off ICR in 1994.

  • Kyralessa

    Maybe the problem isn’t whether a group adheres to Law or to the Gospel. Maybe the problem is other groups that believe that Christianity can be divided into Law-oriented Christianity and Gospel (or Grace)-oriented Christianity. Maybe the Seventh-Day Adventists have found a balance between grace and good works that the Lutherans are unable to find because they’ve pushed all good works into the category of Law, as though the word Law in the New Testament always refers to “natural law” or some such instead of almost always referring specifically to Torah.

  • Kyralessa

    Maybe the problem isn’t whether a group adheres to Law or to the Gospel. Maybe the problem is other groups that believe that Christianity can be divided into Law-oriented Christianity and Gospel (or Grace)-oriented Christianity. Maybe the Seventh-Day Adventists have found a balance between grace and good works that the Lutherans are unable to find because they’ve pushed all good works into the category of Law, as though the word Law in the New Testament always refers to “natural law” or some such instead of almost always referring specifically to Torah.

  • Grace

    I doubt SDA is the fastestest growing denomination – this sounds like hype,…….. ?

    Has anyone researched the false prophecies of Ellen G. White ? – I would suggest doing so.

    SDA believes that Michael the Archangel is Jesus – or that Michael the Archangel is another name for Jesus – Jesus is not an angel, nor was HE ever an angel.

    SDA’s don’t like to be compared with Jehovah’s Witnesses, however, – - JW’s believe that Michael the Archangel is Jesus. JW’s have a long list of failed prophecies.

  • Grace

    I doubt SDA is the fastestest growing denomination – this sounds like hype,…….. ?

    Has anyone researched the false prophecies of Ellen G. White ? – I would suggest doing so.

    SDA believes that Michael the Archangel is Jesus – or that Michael the Archangel is another name for Jesus – Jesus is not an angel, nor was HE ever an angel.

    SDA’s don’t like to be compared with Jehovah’s Witnesses, however, – - JW’s believe that Michael the Archangel is Jesus. JW’s have a long list of failed prophecies.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    The SDA might just as well become Jews.

    Just a dash of poison in the pot spoils the whole thing.

    To be quite fair, they are not alone in the use of that ingredient.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    The SDA might just as well become Jews.

    Just a dash of poison in the pot spoils the whole thing.

    To be quite fair, they are not alone in the use of that ingredient.

  • steve

    Steve #22,

    I know plenty of SDAs and I think at least a sizable number of them, if not the majority, would claim to be saved by the work of Jesus Christ. I honestly don’t know the number but I would venture to say that the number of Jews who claimed to be saved by the work of Jesus Christ is exceedingly small.

    In a fallen world, nobody’s theology is perfect. There are some basic tenets that one would hope would be preached from every pulpit that claims to be Christian but, sadly, that’s not the case. That doesn’t mean, however, that the people who fill the pews (or stadium seats) of those churches are not Christian or that they would be better off going to an explicitly non-Christian house of worship.

  • steve

    Steve #22,

    I know plenty of SDAs and I think at least a sizable number of them, if not the majority, would claim to be saved by the work of Jesus Christ. I honestly don’t know the number but I would venture to say that the number of Jews who claimed to be saved by the work of Jesus Christ is exceedingly small.

    In a fallen world, nobody’s theology is perfect. There are some basic tenets that one would hope would be preached from every pulpit that claims to be Christian but, sadly, that’s not the case. That doesn’t mean, however, that the people who fill the pews (or stadium seats) of those churches are not Christian or that they would be better off going to an explicitly non-Christian house of worship.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Kyralessa #20 – Lutherans are often accused of under-emphasizing the Christian’s life of sanctification (excluding it altogether). I think this is a valid criticism until said Lutherans recapture the teaching of “Vocation” which is this particular blog’s strong point and why I particularly enjoy it. I would encourage you to join us in rediscovering those many places and relationships where we as Christians pour out our thanks to God for all that He has given and forgiven us in Christ, which is in the work of humble service for the neighbor. This is precisely what Christians are to busy ourselves with as we wait with eager expectation of Christ’s return.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Kyralessa #20 – Lutherans are often accused of under-emphasizing the Christian’s life of sanctification (excluding it altogether). I think this is a valid criticism until said Lutherans recapture the teaching of “Vocation” which is this particular blog’s strong point and why I particularly enjoy it. I would encourage you to join us in rediscovering those many places and relationships where we as Christians pour out our thanks to God for all that He has given and forgiven us in Christ, which is in the work of humble service for the neighbor. This is precisely what Christians are to busy ourselves with as we wait with eager expectation of Christ’s return.

  • fws

    Kyralessa @ 20

    Your response about the natural law vs the Torah I find to be very sophisticated as a Lutheran . Thanks for posting here.

    For the Record: Lutherans believe that:

    1) “natural law” = the law written in fallen man´s mind/Reason.
    2) The natural Law agrees with the 2nd table of the Torah/Decalog
    3) Only in the Torah or Decalog, in the 1st Table of that Decalog, can one find a Law that is not found in Reason/natural law.
    4) That Law that is “peculiar” to the Decalog is that first table Law that demands faith in Christ alone, apart from works.
    5) That Torah Law cannot be kept by man until first there are “new movements in the heart” that can be created alone by the Holy Spirit . Our own reason and strength cannot create these new heart movements that can alone keep the first commandment which is to fear, love and trust in God above all things. Why?
    6) Reason can only know a Law that always accuses us. It tells us that the Law is fulfilled by an outward keeping of right thinking and love. It always accuses .
    7) therefore a God that is constantly threatening and accusing us and punishing us cannot be an Object of Love. We obey him to appease him. We cannot obey him from our heart.
    8) http://www.geneveith.com/2011/04/08/the-fastest-growing-denomination/#comment-112831

  • fws

    Kyralessa @ 20

    Your response about the natural law vs the Torah I find to be very sophisticated as a Lutheran . Thanks for posting here.

    For the Record: Lutherans believe that:

    1) “natural law” = the law written in fallen man´s mind/Reason.
    2) The natural Law agrees with the 2nd table of the Torah/Decalog
    3) Only in the Torah or Decalog, in the 1st Table of that Decalog, can one find a Law that is not found in Reason/natural law.
    4) That Law that is “peculiar” to the Decalog is that first table Law that demands faith in Christ alone, apart from works.
    5) That Torah Law cannot be kept by man until first there are “new movements in the heart” that can be created alone by the Holy Spirit . Our own reason and strength cannot create these new heart movements that can alone keep the first commandment which is to fear, love and trust in God above all things. Why?
    6) Reason can only know a Law that always accuses us. It tells us that the Law is fulfilled by an outward keeping of right thinking and love. It always accuses .
    7) therefore a God that is constantly threatening and accusing us and punishing us cannot be an Object of Love. We obey him to appease him. We cannot obey him from our heart.
    8) http://www.geneveith.com/2011/04/08/the-fastest-growing-denomination/#comment-112831

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    steve, (#23)

    You might be right.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    steve, (#23)

    You might be right.

  • Larry

    Of course the claim that “no bodies theology is perfect” is straw man and sheer foolishness, because Christ prayed in John’s Gospel in his high priestly prayer, “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so THAT THEY MAY BE ONE as we are one…Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” Such a claim hides behind the fact that the Word as far as articles of faith are certain there is no confusion whatsoever and it is very plain, but that the confusion lies in those who deny the truth, then hide under a cloak of “oh well no theology is pure” as if God lied. No, in fact men REJECT the articles of faith point blank BECAUSE it is EXCEEDINGLY CLEAR what is being said.

    If Paul had posted his letter to the Galatians on a blog saying, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! …You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.”

    The replies back would be:

    “Paul, too harsh, the Galatians might get this or that wrong but there real and true Christians in Galatia PAUL!” “PAUUUUL, nobodies theology is perfect PAUUUL!”

    It’s as Sasse comments that the proto-gnostics of John’s period surely said, “Christ alone…”, then added to that in their doctrine.

    Far be it that we are not suppose to judge doctrine, the Scriptures are replete with the very opposite!

    Luther writes:

    Human teaching, not Scripture, strips from the Christian the right and obligation to judge doctrine. Human words and teaching instituted and decreed that only bishops, scholars, and councils should be allowed to judge doctrine. Whatever they decided should be regarded as correct and as articles of faith by the whole world, as is sufficiently proven by their daily boasting about the pope’s spiritual law. One hears almost nothing from them but such boasting that they have the power and right to judge what is Christian or what is heretical. The ordinary Christian is supposed to await their judgment and obey it. Do you see how shamelessly and foolishly this boasting, with which they intimidated the whole world and which is their highest stronghold and defense, rages against God’s law and word?

    Christ institutes the very opposite. He takes both the right and the power to judge teaching from the bishops, scholars, and councils and gives them to everyone and to all Christians equally when he says, John 10[:4], “My sheep know my voice.” Again, “My sheep do not follow strangers, but flee from them, for they do not know the voice of strangers” [John 10:5]. Again, “No matter how many of them have come, they are thieves and murderers. But the sheep did not listen to them” [John 10:8].

    Here you see clearly who has the right to judge doctrine: bishops, popes, scholars, and everyone else have the power to teach, but it is the sheep who are to judge whether they teach the voice [i.e., the words] of Christ or the voice of strangers. My dear, what can these water bubbles say against it, with their feet scraping, “Councils, councils! One must listen to the scholars, the bishops, the crowd; one must look at the old usage and custom”? Do you think the word of God should yield to your old usage, custom, and bishops? Never! That is why we let bishops and councils decide and institute whatever they please; when God’s word is on our side we – and not they – shall judge what is right or wrong and they will have to yield to us and obey our word.

    Here I think you can indeed see clearly enough how much trust should be placed in those who deal with souls by means of human words. Who cannot see that all bishops, religious foundations, monasteries, universities, and everything belonging to them rage against this clear word of Christ? They shamelessly take away the judgment of teaching from the sheep and annex it to themselves through their own law and blasphemy. That is why they should certainly be regarded as murderers and thieves, as wolves and apostate Christians, for they are openly convicted here not only of denying God’s word but also of opposing and acting against it. Such action was quite appropriate for the Antichrist and his kingdom, according to the prophecy of St. Paul, II Thessalonians 2[:3-4].

    Individual Christians bear the command to “beware of false prophets” – not “bishops”
    Christ says again, Matthew 7[:15], “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but are inwardly ravenous wolves.” You see, here Christ does not give the judgment to prophets and teachers but to pupils or sheep. For how could one beware of false prophets if one did not consider and judge their teaching?

    Thus there cannot be a false prophet among the listeners, only among the teachers. That is why all teachers and their teaching should and must be subject to the judgment of the listeners.

    Again, the third passage is from St. Paul, I Thessalonians 5[:21], “Test everything but hold fast to that which is good.” You see, here he does not want to have any teaching or decree obeyed unless it is examined and recognized as good by the congregation hearing it. Indeed, this examination is not the concern of the teachers; rather, the teachers must first state what is to be examined. Thus here too the judgment is taken from the teachers and given to the Christian pupils. There is a radical difference between Christians and the world: in the world the rulers command whatever they please and their subjects accept it. “But among you,” says Christ, “it should not be so.” Instead, among Christians each person is the judge of the other person; on the other hand, he is also subject to the other person. However, the spiritual tyrants have made a worldly power out of Christendom.

    The fourth passage is again from Christ, Matthew 24[:4-5], “Take heed that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.” To sum up, do we really need to quote any more sayings? All of St. Paul’s warnings, Romans 16[:17-18], I Corinthians 10[:14], Galatians 3, 4, and 5, Colossians 2[:8], and elsewhere, and all the sayings of the prophets in which they teach us to avoid human teaching, do nothing but take the right and power to judge all doctrine away from the teachers and with a stern decree impose it on the listeners instead, on pain of losing their soul. Accordingly, they not only have the power and the right to judge everything that is preached, they also have the duty to judge, on pain of [incurring] the disfavor of Divine Majesty. Thus we see in what an un-Christian way the tyrants treated us when they took this right and obligation from us and made it their own. For this alone they richly deserve to be driven out of Christendom and to be chased away as wolves, thieves, and murderers who rule over us and teach us things contrary to God’s word and will.

    Thus we conclude that wherever there is a Christian congregation in possession of the gospel, it not only has the right and power but also the duty – on pain of losing the salvation of its souls and in accordance with the promise made to Christ in baptism – to avoid, to flee, to depose, and to withdraw from the authority that our bishops, abbots, monasteries, religious foundations, and the like are now exercising. For it is clearly evident that they teach and rule contrary to God and his word. This first point is established certainly and firmly enough, and one should depend upon it, that it is a divine right and a necessity for the salvation of souls to depose or to avoid such bishops, abbots, monasteries, and whatever is of their government…

    It cannot be concluded anywhere from Scripture, OT or NT, that the believer is to not judge doctrine, in fact just the opposite is written ubiquitously and in no uncertain terms. And it is to judge the not just the outer confession of words, “Jesus alone”, but the very CONTENT and PRINCIPLES of the doctrine.

  • Larry

    Of course the claim that “no bodies theology is perfect” is straw man and sheer foolishness, because Christ prayed in John’s Gospel in his high priestly prayer, “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so THAT THEY MAY BE ONE as we are one…Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” Such a claim hides behind the fact that the Word as far as articles of faith are certain there is no confusion whatsoever and it is very plain, but that the confusion lies in those who deny the truth, then hide under a cloak of “oh well no theology is pure” as if God lied. No, in fact men REJECT the articles of faith point blank BECAUSE it is EXCEEDINGLY CLEAR what is being said.

    If Paul had posted his letter to the Galatians on a blog saying, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! …You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.”

    The replies back would be:

    “Paul, too harsh, the Galatians might get this or that wrong but there real and true Christians in Galatia PAUL!” “PAUUUUL, nobodies theology is perfect PAUUUL!”

    It’s as Sasse comments that the proto-gnostics of John’s period surely said, “Christ alone…”, then added to that in their doctrine.

    Far be it that we are not suppose to judge doctrine, the Scriptures are replete with the very opposite!

    Luther writes:

    Human teaching, not Scripture, strips from the Christian the right and obligation to judge doctrine. Human words and teaching instituted and decreed that only bishops, scholars, and councils should be allowed to judge doctrine. Whatever they decided should be regarded as correct and as articles of faith by the whole world, as is sufficiently proven by their daily boasting about the pope’s spiritual law. One hears almost nothing from them but such boasting that they have the power and right to judge what is Christian or what is heretical. The ordinary Christian is supposed to await their judgment and obey it. Do you see how shamelessly and foolishly this boasting, with which they intimidated the whole world and which is their highest stronghold and defense, rages against God’s law and word?

    Christ institutes the very opposite. He takes both the right and the power to judge teaching from the bishops, scholars, and councils and gives them to everyone and to all Christians equally when he says, John 10[:4], “My sheep know my voice.” Again, “My sheep do not follow strangers, but flee from them, for they do not know the voice of strangers” [John 10:5]. Again, “No matter how many of them have come, they are thieves and murderers. But the sheep did not listen to them” [John 10:8].

    Here you see clearly who has the right to judge doctrine: bishops, popes, scholars, and everyone else have the power to teach, but it is the sheep who are to judge whether they teach the voice [i.e., the words] of Christ or the voice of strangers. My dear, what can these water bubbles say against it, with their feet scraping, “Councils, councils! One must listen to the scholars, the bishops, the crowd; one must look at the old usage and custom”? Do you think the word of God should yield to your old usage, custom, and bishops? Never! That is why we let bishops and councils decide and institute whatever they please; when God’s word is on our side we – and not they – shall judge what is right or wrong and they will have to yield to us and obey our word.

    Here I think you can indeed see clearly enough how much trust should be placed in those who deal with souls by means of human words. Who cannot see that all bishops, religious foundations, monasteries, universities, and everything belonging to them rage against this clear word of Christ? They shamelessly take away the judgment of teaching from the sheep and annex it to themselves through their own law and blasphemy. That is why they should certainly be regarded as murderers and thieves, as wolves and apostate Christians, for they are openly convicted here not only of denying God’s word but also of opposing and acting against it. Such action was quite appropriate for the Antichrist and his kingdom, according to the prophecy of St. Paul, II Thessalonians 2[:3-4].

    Individual Christians bear the command to “beware of false prophets” – not “bishops”
    Christ says again, Matthew 7[:15], “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but are inwardly ravenous wolves.” You see, here Christ does not give the judgment to prophets and teachers but to pupils or sheep. For how could one beware of false prophets if one did not consider and judge their teaching?

    Thus there cannot be a false prophet among the listeners, only among the teachers. That is why all teachers and their teaching should and must be subject to the judgment of the listeners.

    Again, the third passage is from St. Paul, I Thessalonians 5[:21], “Test everything but hold fast to that which is good.” You see, here he does not want to have any teaching or decree obeyed unless it is examined and recognized as good by the congregation hearing it. Indeed, this examination is not the concern of the teachers; rather, the teachers must first state what is to be examined. Thus here too the judgment is taken from the teachers and given to the Christian pupils. There is a radical difference between Christians and the world: in the world the rulers command whatever they please and their subjects accept it. “But among you,” says Christ, “it should not be so.” Instead, among Christians each person is the judge of the other person; on the other hand, he is also subject to the other person. However, the spiritual tyrants have made a worldly power out of Christendom.

    The fourth passage is again from Christ, Matthew 24[:4-5], “Take heed that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.” To sum up, do we really need to quote any more sayings? All of St. Paul’s warnings, Romans 16[:17-18], I Corinthians 10[:14], Galatians 3, 4, and 5, Colossians 2[:8], and elsewhere, and all the sayings of the prophets in which they teach us to avoid human teaching, do nothing but take the right and power to judge all doctrine away from the teachers and with a stern decree impose it on the listeners instead, on pain of losing their soul. Accordingly, they not only have the power and the right to judge everything that is preached, they also have the duty to judge, on pain of [incurring] the disfavor of Divine Majesty. Thus we see in what an un-Christian way the tyrants treated us when they took this right and obligation from us and made it their own. For this alone they richly deserve to be driven out of Christendom and to be chased away as wolves, thieves, and murderers who rule over us and teach us things contrary to God’s word and will.

    Thus we conclude that wherever there is a Christian congregation in possession of the gospel, it not only has the right and power but also the duty – on pain of losing the salvation of its souls and in accordance with the promise made to Christ in baptism – to avoid, to flee, to depose, and to withdraw from the authority that our bishops, abbots, monasteries, religious foundations, and the like are now exercising. For it is clearly evident that they teach and rule contrary to God and his word. This first point is established certainly and firmly enough, and one should depend upon it, that it is a divine right and a necessity for the salvation of souls to depose or to avoid such bishops, abbots, monasteries, and whatever is of their government…

    It cannot be concluded anywhere from Scripture, OT or NT, that the believer is to not judge doctrine, in fact just the opposite is written ubiquitously and in no uncertain terms. And it is to judge the not just the outer confession of words, “Jesus alone”, but the very CONTENT and PRINCIPLES of the doctrine.

  • http://journeytoluther.blogspot.com/ moallen

    Dennis Peskey #15 – There is something wrong with your link – it just goes to a commercial.

  • http://journeytoluther.blogspot.com/ moallen

    Dennis Peskey #15 – There is something wrong with your link – it just goes to a commercial.

  • steve

    Larry, what’s the strawman in saying “nobody’s theology is perfect”? Also, note the context within which I was writing. I was not trying to discount the need for accurate doctrine. But while Paul was referring to the Gospel, I was referring to theology in general. With regard the Gospel, let us look at what the SDA belief is in this regard:

    From the Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church put forth by the General Conference:

    “4. The Son: God the eternal Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ. Through Him all things were created, the character of God is revealed, the salvation of humanity is accomplished, and the world is judged. Forever truly God, He became also truly man, Jesus the Christ. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived and experienced temptation as a human being, but perfectly exemplified the righteousness and love of God. By His miracles He manifested God’s power and was attested as God’s promised Messiah. He suffered and died voluntarily on the cross for our sins and in our place, was raised from the dead, and ascended to minister in the heavenly sanctuary in our behalf. He will come again in glory for the final deliverance of His people and the restoration of all things.”

    Does the structure and outline of this sound familiar to anyone? Again:

    “9. The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ: In Christ’s life of perfect obedience to God’s will, His suffering, death, and resurrection, God provided the only means of atonement for human sin, so that those who by faith accept this atonement may have eternal life, and the whole creation may better understand the infinite and holy love of the Creator. This perfect atonement vindicates the righteousness of God’s law and the graciousness of His character; for it both condemns our sin and provides for our forgiveness. The death of Christ is substitutionary and expiatory, reconciling and transforming. The resurrection of Christ proclaims God’s triumph over the forces of evil, and for those who accept the atonement assures their final victory over sin and death. It declares the Lordship of Jesus Christ, before whom every knee in heaven and on earth will bow.”

    10. The Experience of Salvation: In infinite love and mercy God made Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Him we might be made the righteousness of God. Led by the Holy Spirit we sense our need, acknowledge our sinfulness, repent of our transgressions, and exercise faith in Jesus as Lord and Christ, as Substitute and Example. This faith which receives salvation comes through the divine power of the Word and is the gift of God’s grace. Through Christ we are justified, adopted as God’s sons and daughters, and delivered from the lordship of sin. Through the Spirit we are born again and sanctified; the Spirit renews our minds, writes God’s law of love in our hearts, and we are given the power to live a holy life. Abiding in Him we become partakers of the divine nature and have the assurance of salvation now and in the judgment.”

    To be sure, SDA theology is Arminian. It carries with it all of the weaknesses and propensities of Arminianism. But whatever one is to say about SDA soteriology, and the salvation of Adventists in general, they must also be willing to say of the vast majority of evangelicals. I personally would hope that the answer the question of whether we should commune with them is very different than the answer to whether we believe they are Christian (I say that as one who is, himself, unable to commune with many of the commenters here).

  • steve

    Larry, what’s the strawman in saying “nobody’s theology is perfect”? Also, note the context within which I was writing. I was not trying to discount the need for accurate doctrine. But while Paul was referring to the Gospel, I was referring to theology in general. With regard the Gospel, let us look at what the SDA belief is in this regard:

    From the Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church put forth by the General Conference:

    “4. The Son: God the eternal Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ. Through Him all things were created, the character of God is revealed, the salvation of humanity is accomplished, and the world is judged. Forever truly God, He became also truly man, Jesus the Christ. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived and experienced temptation as a human being, but perfectly exemplified the righteousness and love of God. By His miracles He manifested God’s power and was attested as God’s promised Messiah. He suffered and died voluntarily on the cross for our sins and in our place, was raised from the dead, and ascended to minister in the heavenly sanctuary in our behalf. He will come again in glory for the final deliverance of His people and the restoration of all things.”

    Does the structure and outline of this sound familiar to anyone? Again:

    “9. The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ: In Christ’s life of perfect obedience to God’s will, His suffering, death, and resurrection, God provided the only means of atonement for human sin, so that those who by faith accept this atonement may have eternal life, and the whole creation may better understand the infinite and holy love of the Creator. This perfect atonement vindicates the righteousness of God’s law and the graciousness of His character; for it both condemns our sin and provides for our forgiveness. The death of Christ is substitutionary and expiatory, reconciling and transforming. The resurrection of Christ proclaims God’s triumph over the forces of evil, and for those who accept the atonement assures their final victory over sin and death. It declares the Lordship of Jesus Christ, before whom every knee in heaven and on earth will bow.”

    10. The Experience of Salvation: In infinite love and mercy God made Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Him we might be made the righteousness of God. Led by the Holy Spirit we sense our need, acknowledge our sinfulness, repent of our transgressions, and exercise faith in Jesus as Lord and Christ, as Substitute and Example. This faith which receives salvation comes through the divine power of the Word and is the gift of God’s grace. Through Christ we are justified, adopted as God’s sons and daughters, and delivered from the lordship of sin. Through the Spirit we are born again and sanctified; the Spirit renews our minds, writes God’s law of love in our hearts, and we are given the power to live a holy life. Abiding in Him we become partakers of the divine nature and have the assurance of salvation now and in the judgment.”

    To be sure, SDA theology is Arminian. It carries with it all of the weaknesses and propensities of Arminianism. But whatever one is to say about SDA soteriology, and the salvation of Adventists in general, they must also be willing to say of the vast majority of evangelicals. I personally would hope that the answer the question of whether we should commune with them is very different than the answer to whether we believe they are Christian (I say that as one who is, himself, unable to commune with many of the commenters here).

  • F.Scottie

    I have a friend who is part of a SDA church, and I have also interacted with people from his church as well. Nice people. Their bible studies are no different from your typical evangelical ones(i.e. “what does this passage mean to you?” How can you apply it to your life?”) Like most evangelical churches, they don’t start people off with their “distinctives”(saturday sabbath, dietary laws, ellen g. white, anniliationism). But the ones that are regular attendees, more or less, hold to these practices and beliefs.

    SDA people that I have met tend not to be very “theological.” I say this because MAYBE the growing popularity of SDA has more to do with lifestyle than theology. That is, SDA practices are in line with the modern obsession with health and wholeness.

  • F.Scottie

    I have a friend who is part of a SDA church, and I have also interacted with people from his church as well. Nice people. Their bible studies are no different from your typical evangelical ones(i.e. “what does this passage mean to you?” How can you apply it to your life?”) Like most evangelical churches, they don’t start people off with their “distinctives”(saturday sabbath, dietary laws, ellen g. white, anniliationism). But the ones that are regular attendees, more or less, hold to these practices and beliefs.

    SDA people that I have met tend not to be very “theological.” I say this because MAYBE the growing popularity of SDA has more to do with lifestyle than theology. That is, SDA practices are in line with the modern obsession with health and wholeness.

  • Bill Cork

    In reference to the question asked above by “Bror Erickson” about baptism, Adventist practice believer’s baptism by immersion.

    The founders of Adventism came from a variety of churches: Methodist (Ellen White), Baptist (William Miller), and the “Christian Connection” (a Restorationist group that became part of the Disciples of Christ–Joseph Bates and James White). Significantly, I think none came from Lutheranism. They were from New England, where there were few Lutherans in the mid-19th century. They came together on a few distinctive teachings (Sabbath, annihilationism, health reform, etc.) and assumed an Evangelical and Arminian approach to salvation and the Bible. The Adventist way of keeping the Sabbath comes from the Puritan way of keeping the Sabbath in New England. Adventists at times in our history have been guilty of over-emphasizing the law and underplaying the gospel. This led to a crisis in 1888, sparked by a couple of young pastors who had rediscovered Luther’s writings on justification by faith. This ushered in a much stronger, clearer, gospel emphasis, which sought to see the other teachings of the church as centered on Jesus, and the good news of the Gospel.

    Adventists, like most evangelicals, aren’t very familiar with Luther and Lutheranism. Pastors may be familiar with the lectures on Romans and Galatians, but few are familiar with the catechisms, the Augustana, or his sacramental works. I think Adventists, like most evangelicals, read Luther through a Calvinistic filter.

    Are there still legalistic Adventists today? Yep. Are there Adventist pastors who try to lift up the cross before them? Yep. Are there misguided Lutherans? Yep. Do their pastors struggle to preach the Gospel to them? Yep.

    Yes, people in today’s health conscious world are in tune with Adventist health teachings … but Adventists have been speaking consistently of health for 150 years, and opening hospitals, and helping people develop good health habits.

    On the matter of Adventists identifying Michael the archangel with Jesus … It isn’t as the Jehovah’s Witnesses do–they believe Jesus was nothing more than an angel, a created being. Adventists fully affirm the deity and eternity of Jesus. Understanding angel as a title, messenger, and archangel as chief of the angels, Adventists have seen Michael as a representation of the pre-incarnate Son of God (“Who is like God”). Michael is the captain of the hosts, the one who defeated Satan and cast him from heaven. The identification with Jesus, rather than lowering Jesus to the status of an angel, instead makes “Michael” merely a title for Jesus. But you won’t find this in our official beliefs, and it isn’t a major emphasis. I think Ellen White alludes to it a couple of times.

    On Ellen White’s role … Adventists don’t see her as adding new teachings. Her writings are not on a par with Scripture. She insisted that “the Bible and the Bible only” is our creed, and that Adventists should go to it for questions of doctrine, and not to her writings. Some have misused and abused her, however.

    I’d suggest that just as Lutherans would want to be judged on the basis of the Book of Concord, and not by what happens in some congregations, Adventists would ask to be judged by their official teachings. Disagree with them where you will (and you will)–but at least try to understand what Adventists understand them to say.

  • Bill Cork

    In reference to the question asked above by “Bror Erickson” about baptism, Adventist practice believer’s baptism by immersion.

    The founders of Adventism came from a variety of churches: Methodist (Ellen White), Baptist (William Miller), and the “Christian Connection” (a Restorationist group that became part of the Disciples of Christ–Joseph Bates and James White). Significantly, I think none came from Lutheranism. They were from New England, where there were few Lutherans in the mid-19th century. They came together on a few distinctive teachings (Sabbath, annihilationism, health reform, etc.) and assumed an Evangelical and Arminian approach to salvation and the Bible. The Adventist way of keeping the Sabbath comes from the Puritan way of keeping the Sabbath in New England. Adventists at times in our history have been guilty of over-emphasizing the law and underplaying the gospel. This led to a crisis in 1888, sparked by a couple of young pastors who had rediscovered Luther’s writings on justification by faith. This ushered in a much stronger, clearer, gospel emphasis, which sought to see the other teachings of the church as centered on Jesus, and the good news of the Gospel.

    Adventists, like most evangelicals, aren’t very familiar with Luther and Lutheranism. Pastors may be familiar with the lectures on Romans and Galatians, but few are familiar with the catechisms, the Augustana, or his sacramental works. I think Adventists, like most evangelicals, read Luther through a Calvinistic filter.

    Are there still legalistic Adventists today? Yep. Are there Adventist pastors who try to lift up the cross before them? Yep. Are there misguided Lutherans? Yep. Do their pastors struggle to preach the Gospel to them? Yep.

    Yes, people in today’s health conscious world are in tune with Adventist health teachings … but Adventists have been speaking consistently of health for 150 years, and opening hospitals, and helping people develop good health habits.

    On the matter of Adventists identifying Michael the archangel with Jesus … It isn’t as the Jehovah’s Witnesses do–they believe Jesus was nothing more than an angel, a created being. Adventists fully affirm the deity and eternity of Jesus. Understanding angel as a title, messenger, and archangel as chief of the angels, Adventists have seen Michael as a representation of the pre-incarnate Son of God (“Who is like God”). Michael is the captain of the hosts, the one who defeated Satan and cast him from heaven. The identification with Jesus, rather than lowering Jesus to the status of an angel, instead makes “Michael” merely a title for Jesus. But you won’t find this in our official beliefs, and it isn’t a major emphasis. I think Ellen White alludes to it a couple of times.

    On Ellen White’s role … Adventists don’t see her as adding new teachings. Her writings are not on a par with Scripture. She insisted that “the Bible and the Bible only” is our creed, and that Adventists should go to it for questions of doctrine, and not to her writings. Some have misused and abused her, however.

    I’d suggest that just as Lutherans would want to be judged on the basis of the Book of Concord, and not by what happens in some congregations, Adventists would ask to be judged by their official teachings. Disagree with them where you will (and you will)–but at least try to understand what Adventists understand them to say.

  • http://blog.captainthin.net/ Captain Thin

    It surprises me how quick Lutherans are to disparage the Law. We seem to forget that the Law is, in itself good, and not evil. And while we must be clear that it plays no part in our salvation (other than showing us our sin and driving us to the mercy of Christ), it doesn’t for that reason cease to be part of the Christian’s life after justification.

    Seriously, does anyone ever bother to read Article 6 in the Solid Declaration – you know, the article on “the third use of God’s Law”? It’s true to say that Christians are made free from the curse of the Law; but the regenerate never the less are called to live according to the Law. “When a person is born anew by God’s Spirit, liberated from the Law (i.e., freed from this driver), and led by Christ’s Spirit, he lives according to God’s unchangeable will revealed in the Law” (SD 6: 17) – not “because they are commanded” (6:16) but instead because “he is born anew” and thus “does everything from a free, cheerful spirit” (6:16). This is what the “fruits of the Spirit”, says the Solid Declaration: the Law cheerfully and willingly observed by those who have been justified. “They live and walk in the Law of the Lord, and yet do nothing in the Law because of force” (SD 6:18). Not that we can succeed in living out God’s will perfectly (we can’t in this life since we’re still sinners), but justification nevertheless makes it possible for us to begin living in this way.

    Now, obviously I’m not defending the Seventh Day Adventist’s legalism; frankly, I don’t think its tenable to argue for Saturday-only worship, etc, etc. But that they suggest that the Law continues to play a role in the Christian’s life even after conversion is not itself wrong – we would, as Lutherans, have to agree based on our Confessions. It’s hard to see how the underlying theology identified in Bill Cork’s post @ 8 truly differs from that of Lutheranism: we are saved by grace through faith; faith itself is a gift; after justification, the Holy Spirit begins the process of transforming believers (sanctification); regenerate (justified) Christians live “in the Law” (but not under it), demonstrating the “fruits” of the Spirit. The major difference seems to be (based on these two articles alone) that the SDA doesn’t make a proper distinction between God’s unchanging moral Law and His temporal cultic laws.

  • http://blog.captainthin.net/ Captain Thin

    It surprises me how quick Lutherans are to disparage the Law. We seem to forget that the Law is, in itself good, and not evil. And while we must be clear that it plays no part in our salvation (other than showing us our sin and driving us to the mercy of Christ), it doesn’t for that reason cease to be part of the Christian’s life after justification.

    Seriously, does anyone ever bother to read Article 6 in the Solid Declaration – you know, the article on “the third use of God’s Law”? It’s true to say that Christians are made free from the curse of the Law; but the regenerate never the less are called to live according to the Law. “When a person is born anew by God’s Spirit, liberated from the Law (i.e., freed from this driver), and led by Christ’s Spirit, he lives according to God’s unchangeable will revealed in the Law” (SD 6: 17) – not “because they are commanded” (6:16) but instead because “he is born anew” and thus “does everything from a free, cheerful spirit” (6:16). This is what the “fruits of the Spirit”, says the Solid Declaration: the Law cheerfully and willingly observed by those who have been justified. “They live and walk in the Law of the Lord, and yet do nothing in the Law because of force” (SD 6:18). Not that we can succeed in living out God’s will perfectly (we can’t in this life since we’re still sinners), but justification nevertheless makes it possible for us to begin living in this way.

    Now, obviously I’m not defending the Seventh Day Adventist’s legalism; frankly, I don’t think its tenable to argue for Saturday-only worship, etc, etc. But that they suggest that the Law continues to play a role in the Christian’s life even after conversion is not itself wrong – we would, as Lutherans, have to agree based on our Confessions. It’s hard to see how the underlying theology identified in Bill Cork’s post @ 8 truly differs from that of Lutheranism: we are saved by grace through faith; faith itself is a gift; after justification, the Holy Spirit begins the process of transforming believers (sanctification); regenerate (justified) Christians live “in the Law” (but not under it), demonstrating the “fruits” of the Spirit. The major difference seems to be (based on these two articles alone) that the SDA doesn’t make a proper distinction between God’s unchanging moral Law and His temporal cultic laws.

  • http://ebaznica.lv Roberto

    I just wonder if adventist sare so much in love with sabbath why don’t they practice circumcision?

  • http://ebaznica.lv Roberto

    I just wonder if adventist sare so much in love with sabbath why don’t they practice circumcision?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Captain Thin @ 32

    Yes Captain Thin. Some Lutherans LOVE what the Formula of Concord has to say about the Law.

    This article frees us from that Law as New Man , and it binds us to it as Old Adam, but only so that we can then do loving service to our neighbor, not for any religious reason at all.

    I would encourage you to re-read it if you cannot see a difference between the Lutheran Third Use and that proposed by the Adventists and the Reformed of all stripes.

    The Lutheran Third Use described there is to inform us of this?

    1) There is no special use of the Law that is a christian morality or use of the Law. Proof: Name one thing a christian could or would do that an unbeliever would never do. Just. One.

    2) The a) same Law applies b) in the same way, c) to the same “the Law accuses and kills!” effect, d) to produce the same , absolutely identical fruit in both believers and unbelievers alike.

    3) This Law applies alone to the Old Adam in believers. The New Man does not need the Law for sanctification.

    4) Sanctification is alone faith alone in Christ alone apart from the works of the Law.

    5) A fruit of Sanctification is for the New Man to now use this same killing and accusing Law to kill his Old Adam. This last work can be called “sanctification ” in the broader meaning of that term but not in the narrow or ‘proper’ meaning of “sanctification”.

    So the Law exists for Believers alone on account of the Old Adam that still clings to them like a parasite after their Baptismal regeneration.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Captain Thin @ 32

    Yes Captain Thin. Some Lutherans LOVE what the Formula of Concord has to say about the Law.

    This article frees us from that Law as New Man , and it binds us to it as Old Adam, but only so that we can then do loving service to our neighbor, not for any religious reason at all.

    I would encourage you to re-read it if you cannot see a difference between the Lutheran Third Use and that proposed by the Adventists and the Reformed of all stripes.

    The Lutheran Third Use described there is to inform us of this?

    1) There is no special use of the Law that is a christian morality or use of the Law. Proof: Name one thing a christian could or would do that an unbeliever would never do. Just. One.

    2) The a) same Law applies b) in the same way, c) to the same “the Law accuses and kills!” effect, d) to produce the same , absolutely identical fruit in both believers and unbelievers alike.

    3) This Law applies alone to the Old Adam in believers. The New Man does not need the Law for sanctification.

    4) Sanctification is alone faith alone in Christ alone apart from the works of the Law.

    5) A fruit of Sanctification is for the New Man to now use this same killing and accusing Law to kill his Old Adam. This last work can be called “sanctification ” in the broader meaning of that term but not in the narrow or ‘proper’ meaning of “sanctification”.

    So the Law exists for Believers alone on account of the Old Adam that still clings to them like a parasite after their Baptismal regeneration.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Larry @ 27

    I would call your attention to the Apology of the Lutheran Confessions.

    The first article listed as article I is the article on the Most Holy and Blessed Trinity. They comment that this article was not in dispute between the First Evangelicals, or Lutherans, and the Roman Catholics.

    So why list it as Art I then? Might I suggest that it is that Art that demands that we recognize other christian sects as truly christian? It is that Most Holy Name, splashed onto us all in Holy Baptism that we see in love is what makes the Church.

    I say “see in love”, meaning that we can see this work called Baptism and know in faith that among the Baptized are those whom the Lord has called, gathered, and enlightened with His Gifts of faith and the Holy Spirit.

    We can only know this in faith because the manifest sins of all believers, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, the Reformed, Evangelicals, Adventists , all would make us conclude, from sighted reason, that no one could possibly enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

    The greatest sin is that which exactly attacks that Baptismal Faith which is to have a “new movement of the heart” that is nothing we can do by our own reason or strength, but which is alone planted by the hearing of the Word of God.

    So it is quite right for brother Larry to condemn as heinous sins the error in doctrine of the Adventists. It is an assault on Christ Himself.

    But in love we need to talk to Adventists as brother Christians assuming, by virtue of their Holy Baptism, that they are full coheirs with us in the household of faith.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Larry @ 27

    I would call your attention to the Apology of the Lutheran Confessions.

    The first article listed as article I is the article on the Most Holy and Blessed Trinity. They comment that this article was not in dispute between the First Evangelicals, or Lutherans, and the Roman Catholics.

    So why list it as Art I then? Might I suggest that it is that Art that demands that we recognize other christian sects as truly christian? It is that Most Holy Name, splashed onto us all in Holy Baptism that we see in love is what makes the Church.

    I say “see in love”, meaning that we can see this work called Baptism and know in faith that among the Baptized are those whom the Lord has called, gathered, and enlightened with His Gifts of faith and the Holy Spirit.

    We can only know this in faith because the manifest sins of all believers, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, the Reformed, Evangelicals, Adventists , all would make us conclude, from sighted reason, that no one could possibly enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

    The greatest sin is that which exactly attacks that Baptismal Faith which is to have a “new movement of the heart” that is nothing we can do by our own reason or strength, but which is alone planted by the hearing of the Word of God.

    So it is quite right for brother Larry to condemn as heinous sins the error in doctrine of the Adventists. It is an assault on Christ Himself.

    But in love we need to talk to Adventists as brother Christians assuming, by virtue of their Holy Baptism, that they are full coheirs with us in the household of faith.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Bill Cork @ 31

    Thank you for your wonderful and charitable post.

    It is good to hear directly here from brothers of other faiths so that we can rejoice where we agree in Christ and learn to disagree only reluctantly and when and where there is true disagreement.

    Welcome here! Please come back!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Bill Cork @ 31

    Thank you for your wonderful and charitable post.

    It is good to hear directly here from brothers of other faiths so that we can rejoice where we agree in Christ and learn to disagree only reluctantly and when and where there is true disagreement.

    Welcome here! Please come back!

  • Larry

    Of COURSE we recognize those PEOPLE in sects as Christians, THAT’S NEVER IN DEBATE. They are baptized. We are not Baptist trying to peer into hearts or fruit sniffers.

    I know SDA very close; one half of my wife’s entire family were raised in it, including her father, now a Baptist minister, who could give you an ear full of what it is really like to be a SDA. And he would tell you it is in FACT 100% works righteous according to its doctrine as practiced. And he would do so in no uncertain terms, from a lifetime experience in it, and without any reservations.

    The doctrine is the ISSUE. The old straw man or maybe red herring is better is EVERY time doctrine is brought up the cry is “well there are real Christians within X”. The implication is clear: Don’t dare address doctrine or defend the faith or indicate to anyone the danger they are in because “there are real Christians in false sects”.

    If Paul were alive today and charged Timothy with guarding the doctrine as he does plenteously, Timothy would reply (if he were a modern American), “BUT Paul, there are real Christians among the Gnostics.”

    In such answers, “but there are real Christians within”, we minimize, by CLEAR implication, the spiritual danger people are in. It’s like telling a child approaching a cobra, “well its mouth is closed right now”.

    NO WHERE in Scripture, it cannot be pointed to, are we entreated to accept mingled doctrine. NOT ONE WORD OF IT. We are not entreated to imply it is OK with a trite “well there are real Christians within”.

    Pieper writes, “It is, therefore, not a matter of indifference which church group a Christian joins; but he has God’s earnest command strictly to distinguish between orthodox and heterodox churches, and, avoiding all church fellowship with the heterodox, to adhere only to the orthodox Church.”

    “God also expressly requires that of Christians (I.e. CHRISTIANS – larry). “Beloved,” we read in I John 4:1, “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits; whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” And the Lord Jesus exhorts all Christians (Matt. 7:15): “Beware of false prophets.” So, those Christians who do not want to distinguish between true and false prophets, and, consequently, also not between orthodox and heterodox churches, are disobedient to an express command of God.”

    Gerhard writes: “As the Church differs from secular associations which are outside the Church through the preaching of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments, so it also differs from heretical communions which are in the Church through the pure preaching of the Word and the correct administration of the Sacraments.” (L. de ecclesia par. 131.)
    Thus, without a doubt we regard the baptized as true Christians, something not afforded by sects to infants baptized, by virtue of their holy baptism. Yet, if we truly believe they are our family we will help call them out of false and dangerous churches that are dangerous and deadly to their very souls (which we DO confess as true). What moderns tend to forget is that by the false doctrines of the false churches, men’s and women’s souls are in fact murdered and many fall away from the faith due to this. That ACTUALLY happens, yet we pretend it doesn’t, or at least ignore it. Men and women in such ACTUALLY despair of Christ on one hand and ACTUALLY begin a regime of works righteousness on the other hand. Yet, we pretend it does not happen at all.

    I’ll give you a concrete PERSONAL example: A family member lost their new born child 8 days old, suddenly and unexpected due to a heart problem unknown. A tragedy nobody should have to suffer. The child was not baptized, believers baptism. You should have been at the funeral, most Baptist arminian, some Calvinistic Baptist. NO HOPE AT ALL PREACHED. The Arminian pastor could give no comfort just wishful thinking. You could see it in the tears in their eyes. The Calvinist Baptist later talking were MUCH WORSE, “well God does elect some to salvation and some to damnation, we just cannot know.” Where their Christians in that room? Yes there were, these were all family, but that does not excuse such damnable doctrine at all.

    We like to pretend these things don’t really mean much or effect much and assuage ourselves with trite “well there are Christians among them”, mean while the false doctrines go on killing. I could multiply these stories both first hand and well known second hand some many time to write pages regarding the EFFECTS of false doctrines, and not just the overt Mormon false doctrines either.

    Pieper, “Fellowship with heterodox churches militates against God’s honor, and is a constant danger for the soul.”, and, “Furthermore, also this is a difference between the orthodox and the heterodox Church, that only in the orthodox Church are souls rightly cared for, while fellowship with the heterodox churches is a constant danger for souls. No doctrine in Holy Scripture is given us by God without a purpose, but with each doctrine God has our salvation in mind, namely, that we should come to faith in Christ, be kept in faith, and thus by the power of God through faith be preserved unto salvation. Thus we read in John 20:31, at the end of John’s Gospel — and what applies to this Gospel applies to all of Scripture —: “These (things) are written, that ye might believe,” etc. Whoever, therefore, cuts off a part of Bible doctrine, cuts off a part of that which should bring him to faith and keep him in it. We read, furthermore, in 2 Tim. 3:16: “All Scripture is given by inspiration or God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” And in Romans 15:4: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime (namely all Scriptures of the Old Testament) were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Thus, all doctrines revealed in Scripture relate to our salvation. They serve this purpose, that they correctly reveal God’s will regarding us human beings, so that we might in faith know God as a gracious God, that in temptation we might have rich comfort, that patience might remain with us in affliction, and that we might firmly cling to the hope of eternal life. Whoever, now, detracts from the doctrines revealed in the Scriptures or falsifies them, takes away from the saving doctrine, detracts from the comfort so necessary for us poor sinners and intended for us by God.”

    So it’s NEVER a question about “is so and so a Christian” but rather “is X a false doctrine”. In fact false doctrines DO JUDGE that X person is or is not a Christian, while simultaneously caring less about judging doctrine. Orthodoxy doesn’t judge is X person a Christian or not based on his/her inner being or even struggles with sin, but it strongly judges the doctrine. Heterodoxy (false) inverts this and judges people based on their inner faith or not, and tends to glaze over mixed doctrines.

  • Larry

    Of COURSE we recognize those PEOPLE in sects as Christians, THAT’S NEVER IN DEBATE. They are baptized. We are not Baptist trying to peer into hearts or fruit sniffers.

    I know SDA very close; one half of my wife’s entire family were raised in it, including her father, now a Baptist minister, who could give you an ear full of what it is really like to be a SDA. And he would tell you it is in FACT 100% works righteous according to its doctrine as practiced. And he would do so in no uncertain terms, from a lifetime experience in it, and without any reservations.

    The doctrine is the ISSUE. The old straw man or maybe red herring is better is EVERY time doctrine is brought up the cry is “well there are real Christians within X”. The implication is clear: Don’t dare address doctrine or defend the faith or indicate to anyone the danger they are in because “there are real Christians in false sects”.

    If Paul were alive today and charged Timothy with guarding the doctrine as he does plenteously, Timothy would reply (if he were a modern American), “BUT Paul, there are real Christians among the Gnostics.”

    In such answers, “but there are real Christians within”, we minimize, by CLEAR implication, the spiritual danger people are in. It’s like telling a child approaching a cobra, “well its mouth is closed right now”.

    NO WHERE in Scripture, it cannot be pointed to, are we entreated to accept mingled doctrine. NOT ONE WORD OF IT. We are not entreated to imply it is OK with a trite “well there are real Christians within”.

    Pieper writes, “It is, therefore, not a matter of indifference which church group a Christian joins; but he has God’s earnest command strictly to distinguish between orthodox and heterodox churches, and, avoiding all church fellowship with the heterodox, to adhere only to the orthodox Church.”

    “God also expressly requires that of Christians (I.e. CHRISTIANS – larry). “Beloved,” we read in I John 4:1, “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits; whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” And the Lord Jesus exhorts all Christians (Matt. 7:15): “Beware of false prophets.” So, those Christians who do not want to distinguish between true and false prophets, and, consequently, also not between orthodox and heterodox churches, are disobedient to an express command of God.”

    Gerhard writes: “As the Church differs from secular associations which are outside the Church through the preaching of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments, so it also differs from heretical communions which are in the Church through the pure preaching of the Word and the correct administration of the Sacraments.” (L. de ecclesia par. 131.)
    Thus, without a doubt we regard the baptized as true Christians, something not afforded by sects to infants baptized, by virtue of their holy baptism. Yet, if we truly believe they are our family we will help call them out of false and dangerous churches that are dangerous and deadly to their very souls (which we DO confess as true). What moderns tend to forget is that by the false doctrines of the false churches, men’s and women’s souls are in fact murdered and many fall away from the faith due to this. That ACTUALLY happens, yet we pretend it doesn’t, or at least ignore it. Men and women in such ACTUALLY despair of Christ on one hand and ACTUALLY begin a regime of works righteousness on the other hand. Yet, we pretend it does not happen at all.

    I’ll give you a concrete PERSONAL example: A family member lost their new born child 8 days old, suddenly and unexpected due to a heart problem unknown. A tragedy nobody should have to suffer. The child was not baptized, believers baptism. You should have been at the funeral, most Baptist arminian, some Calvinistic Baptist. NO HOPE AT ALL PREACHED. The Arminian pastor could give no comfort just wishful thinking. You could see it in the tears in their eyes. The Calvinist Baptist later talking were MUCH WORSE, “well God does elect some to salvation and some to damnation, we just cannot know.” Where their Christians in that room? Yes there were, these were all family, but that does not excuse such damnable doctrine at all.

    We like to pretend these things don’t really mean much or effect much and assuage ourselves with trite “well there are Christians among them”, mean while the false doctrines go on killing. I could multiply these stories both first hand and well known second hand some many time to write pages regarding the EFFECTS of false doctrines, and not just the overt Mormon false doctrines either.

    Pieper, “Fellowship with heterodox churches militates against God’s honor, and is a constant danger for the soul.”, and, “Furthermore, also this is a difference between the orthodox and the heterodox Church, that only in the orthodox Church are souls rightly cared for, while fellowship with the heterodox churches is a constant danger for souls. No doctrine in Holy Scripture is given us by God without a purpose, but with each doctrine God has our salvation in mind, namely, that we should come to faith in Christ, be kept in faith, and thus by the power of God through faith be preserved unto salvation. Thus we read in John 20:31, at the end of John’s Gospel — and what applies to this Gospel applies to all of Scripture —: “These (things) are written, that ye might believe,” etc. Whoever, therefore, cuts off a part of Bible doctrine, cuts off a part of that which should bring him to faith and keep him in it. We read, furthermore, in 2 Tim. 3:16: “All Scripture is given by inspiration or God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” And in Romans 15:4: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime (namely all Scriptures of the Old Testament) were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Thus, all doctrines revealed in Scripture relate to our salvation. They serve this purpose, that they correctly reveal God’s will regarding us human beings, so that we might in faith know God as a gracious God, that in temptation we might have rich comfort, that patience might remain with us in affliction, and that we might firmly cling to the hope of eternal life. Whoever, now, detracts from the doctrines revealed in the Scriptures or falsifies them, takes away from the saving doctrine, detracts from the comfort so necessary for us poor sinners and intended for us by God.”

    So it’s NEVER a question about “is so and so a Christian” but rather “is X a false doctrine”. In fact false doctrines DO JUDGE that X person is or is not a Christian, while simultaneously caring less about judging doctrine. Orthodoxy doesn’t judge is X person a Christian or not based on his/her inner being or even struggles with sin, but it strongly judges the doctrine. Heterodoxy (false) inverts this and judges people based on their inner faith or not, and tends to glaze over mixed doctrines.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Larry @ 37

    “So it’s NEVER a question about “is so and so a Christian” but rather “is X a false doctrine”. In fact false doctrines DO JUDGE that X person is or is not a Christian, while simultaneously caring less about judging doctrine. ”

    Ain´t that the pure truth? Think about that.

    The difference between the Lutheran idea of Good Works and that of the Adventists can be summed up this way:

    “For breakfast, the chicken contributes, the pork commits.”

    Lutherans believe that before one can truly keep the Law of God, one must literally and morally die.

    Adventists believe that it is possible to keep the Law of God without dying. In fact they seek Life exactly in the acts of conforming to the Law of God.

    The Law means our death. It always accuses. So life is death.

    But that does not mean that death is Life.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Larry @ 37

    “So it’s NEVER a question about “is so and so a Christian” but rather “is X a false doctrine”. In fact false doctrines DO JUDGE that X person is or is not a Christian, while simultaneously caring less about judging doctrine. ”

    Ain´t that the pure truth? Think about that.

    The difference between the Lutheran idea of Good Works and that of the Adventists can be summed up this way:

    “For breakfast, the chicken contributes, the pork commits.”

    Lutherans believe that before one can truly keep the Law of God, one must literally and morally die.

    Adventists believe that it is possible to keep the Law of God without dying. In fact they seek Life exactly in the acts of conforming to the Law of God.

    The Law means our death. It always accuses. So life is death.

    But that does not mean that death is Life.

  • Larry

    Frank,

    That’s exactly right. I have tons of family in various heterodoxies, both sides. We (my wife’s and my families) are the only Lutherans, today, and as far as I know in our mutual family trees no Lutheran background at all (mostly Baptist varieties on her side, and mixture of Baptist and Methodist on mine). We have many, as do a LOT Christians today, who have long since passed, some living. I also have TONS of friends like this, left “the church” (a heterodoxy of some kind) either in despair or mostly anger.

    These are those who have at length due to the corruption of God’s Word because they’ve hidden Christ from them (for them) under so many law or moralisms, some ridiculous and some more subtle that it is more than likely they’ve been SO BURNED on the heterodoxies that they simply will not even give an ear to a “one more time”. Christ has been so violently ripped from them in these doctrines, they’ll never give it a hearing again. They are like as Dr. Rosenbladt describes the late comedian Sam Kineson whose brother said in an interview, “Sam was not angry with Jesus, he loved Jesus, Sam will be in heaven, he was angry at the church”. Of course here it is the heterodoxies prancing around pretending to be the church that he understood as “the church” and not the truth of Scripture that forms the orthodox church.

    So there are many family members already dead and buried we wonder about, and many we rightly assess, ‘they may never rejoin a church” because of above. Yet, they once came to faith and were baptized. I’ve more than once heard the despair of people in heterodoxies who wonder about “so and so” Christian who apparently left the church, per above, and they are trying to find some glimmer of something in their lives that said, “he/she was a Christian” and they never can. I can tell hundreds of these stories, some first hand and some second hand but directly given me. They search and search for some glimmer of “life change” or ‘morality’ that said, “Christian everythings OK”. And EVEN if they found some moral great thing, some ‘changed life’, who could know, there’s no Word of God attached to that! The pagans wonder this way. A friend of mine, Muslim, lost his brother a couple of years ago in India to some illness, you see the wonder on his face as he said to me, “Who knows!” Searching for that “goodness” in his dead brother now.

    But the real ONLY hope is that they were baptized! God CANNOT LIE! They are Christians, not just “considered to be Christians or should be regarded as” (as the Reformed say of baptism), but SAVED because they were baptized. Not due to our part in baptizing, but the Worded Named Water put on them.

    Heterodoxy, because it has no Orthodoxy toward Baptism, cannot say such things, it always judges MEN, and not doctrine. Orthodoxy judges doctrine!

    Everyone says “Christ alone” but when the NECESSARY ‘how do I know it is for me/you/them comes about heterodoxy ultimately points one to seek the “for me” of Christ and the ensuing comfort and assurance in works directly and/or as “fruits of faith” or even faith itself, as opposed to the SURE and CERTAIN comfort and ASSURANCE of “I/you/they are baptized”.

  • Larry

    Frank,

    That’s exactly right. I have tons of family in various heterodoxies, both sides. We (my wife’s and my families) are the only Lutherans, today, and as far as I know in our mutual family trees no Lutheran background at all (mostly Baptist varieties on her side, and mixture of Baptist and Methodist on mine). We have many, as do a LOT Christians today, who have long since passed, some living. I also have TONS of friends like this, left “the church” (a heterodoxy of some kind) either in despair or mostly anger.

    These are those who have at length due to the corruption of God’s Word because they’ve hidden Christ from them (for them) under so many law or moralisms, some ridiculous and some more subtle that it is more than likely they’ve been SO BURNED on the heterodoxies that they simply will not even give an ear to a “one more time”. Christ has been so violently ripped from them in these doctrines, they’ll never give it a hearing again. They are like as Dr. Rosenbladt describes the late comedian Sam Kineson whose brother said in an interview, “Sam was not angry with Jesus, he loved Jesus, Sam will be in heaven, he was angry at the church”. Of course here it is the heterodoxies prancing around pretending to be the church that he understood as “the church” and not the truth of Scripture that forms the orthodox church.

    So there are many family members already dead and buried we wonder about, and many we rightly assess, ‘they may never rejoin a church” because of above. Yet, they once came to faith and were baptized. I’ve more than once heard the despair of people in heterodoxies who wonder about “so and so” Christian who apparently left the church, per above, and they are trying to find some glimmer of something in their lives that said, “he/she was a Christian” and they never can. I can tell hundreds of these stories, some first hand and some second hand but directly given me. They search and search for some glimmer of “life change” or ‘morality’ that said, “Christian everythings OK”. And EVEN if they found some moral great thing, some ‘changed life’, who could know, there’s no Word of God attached to that! The pagans wonder this way. A friend of mine, Muslim, lost his brother a couple of years ago in India to some illness, you see the wonder on his face as he said to me, “Who knows!” Searching for that “goodness” in his dead brother now.

    But the real ONLY hope is that they were baptized! God CANNOT LIE! They are Christians, not just “considered to be Christians or should be regarded as” (as the Reformed say of baptism), but SAVED because they were baptized. Not due to our part in baptizing, but the Worded Named Water put on them.

    Heterodoxy, because it has no Orthodoxy toward Baptism, cannot say such things, it always judges MEN, and not doctrine. Orthodoxy judges doctrine!

    Everyone says “Christ alone” but when the NECESSARY ‘how do I know it is for me/you/them comes about heterodoxy ultimately points one to seek the “for me” of Christ and the ensuing comfort and assurance in works directly and/or as “fruits of faith” or even faith itself, as opposed to the SURE and CERTAIN comfort and ASSURANCE of “I/you/they are baptized”.

  • steve

    So maybe we can address my point, is it better that SDAs are hearing an Arminian Gospel or would it be better for them to leave the church and go to a synagogue where they hear no Gospel?

  • steve

    So maybe we can address my point, is it better that SDAs are hearing an Arminian Gospel or would it be better for them to leave the church and go to a synagogue where they hear no Gospel?

  • Stephen

    Larry -

    That is to say, we find assurance in the the Word alone which is Christ alone.

    John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

  • Stephen

    Larry -

    That is to say, we find assurance in the the Word alone which is Christ alone.

    John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

  • George A. Marquart

    I would like to return to the original question: “But what people appreciate is law, law, law, as opposed to gospel. Why do you think that is?”

    Our Lord, who is the Truth, the Way, and the Life, said: (John 15: 18,19) 18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” The Gospel is part of the truth, the way and the life, which our Lord proclaimed. Therefore, the world hates the Gospel. Inasmuch as we are not perfect in our regeneration (simul justus et peccator) the old Adam in us is also at enmity with the Gospel, but through the work of the Holy Spirit, Who lives in every child of God we are able to love the Gospel and keep our opposition to the Gospel in check.

    But to deny that even the regenerate oppose the Gospel is to deny a simple axiom, which is not found anywhere in Scripture, but to which Scripture testifies from beginning to end (my defense for this presumption is the same as Luther’s when he wrote “by faith ‘alone’”): “Nothing that comes in touch with people remains perfect.” The Formula of Concord, where it speaks of “the Third Use” testifies to this principle.

    One could try to figure out which particular human quality it is that opposes the Gospel; whether it is pride, selfishness, false humility, or any other, but the fact remains that opposition to the Gospel is part of human nature.

    This question is complicated by the fact that among Lutherans the “quia” confessors maintain that our confessional writings contain no doctrinal errors. Take the matter of “the law written in our hearts”, which has been brought up by other contributors. The word which is translated as “law” is “Torah.” Now “Torah” in the Old Testament NEVER means the Decalogue. In its fullest meaning it is the complete will of God, and therefore very much contains the Gospel. Why would God write what Paul calls “the proclamation of death” in our hearts? But we must affirm that the confessional writings cannot err, and therefore we do damage to the Gospel.

    Another example is the fact that Luther’s Large and Small Catechisms only contain 9 Commandments. Do the words of our Lord (Matthew 5:17-20) not apply to Lutherans also, “17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”?

    But the “quia” confession forces us to maintain that both of these errors are in accord with Scripture, thereby denying the Gospel in favor of the Law and the Confessions.

    I could give other examples, but I am afraid that the tsunami of righteous rage over these assertions will be sufficient for the day.

    Peace and Joy in the Gospel!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    I would like to return to the original question: “But what people appreciate is law, law, law, as opposed to gospel. Why do you think that is?”

    Our Lord, who is the Truth, the Way, and the Life, said: (John 15: 18,19) 18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” The Gospel is part of the truth, the way and the life, which our Lord proclaimed. Therefore, the world hates the Gospel. Inasmuch as we are not perfect in our regeneration (simul justus et peccator) the old Adam in us is also at enmity with the Gospel, but through the work of the Holy Spirit, Who lives in every child of God we are able to love the Gospel and keep our opposition to the Gospel in check.

    But to deny that even the regenerate oppose the Gospel is to deny a simple axiom, which is not found anywhere in Scripture, but to which Scripture testifies from beginning to end (my defense for this presumption is the same as Luther’s when he wrote “by faith ‘alone’”): “Nothing that comes in touch with people remains perfect.” The Formula of Concord, where it speaks of “the Third Use” testifies to this principle.

    One could try to figure out which particular human quality it is that opposes the Gospel; whether it is pride, selfishness, false humility, or any other, but the fact remains that opposition to the Gospel is part of human nature.

    This question is complicated by the fact that among Lutherans the “quia” confessors maintain that our confessional writings contain no doctrinal errors. Take the matter of “the law written in our hearts”, which has been brought up by other contributors. The word which is translated as “law” is “Torah.” Now “Torah” in the Old Testament NEVER means the Decalogue. In its fullest meaning it is the complete will of God, and therefore very much contains the Gospel. Why would God write what Paul calls “the proclamation of death” in our hearts? But we must affirm that the confessional writings cannot err, and therefore we do damage to the Gospel.

    Another example is the fact that Luther’s Large and Small Catechisms only contain 9 Commandments. Do the words of our Lord (Matthew 5:17-20) not apply to Lutherans also, “17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”?

    But the “quia” confession forces us to maintain that both of these errors are in accord with Scripture, thereby denying the Gospel in favor of the Law and the Confessions.

    I could give other examples, but I am afraid that the tsunami of righteous rage over these assertions will be sufficient for the day.

    Peace and Joy in the Gospel!
    George A. Marquart

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    George A. Marquart @ 42

    “One could try to figure out which particular human quality it is that opposes the Gospel”

    George, that would be found in the Apology Art II. There we read that Original Sin is the loss of the Image of God that is the Original Righeousness that was Adamic faith in Christ + the “vicious” faith in anything BUT Christ that fills that void that the confessions call by the synonyms “concupiscence”, “Lust” and “coveteousness”. So it is faith in the righteousness of works that is at the heart of this in Old Adam.

    Which of us, when we are tormented by our conscience, can not resist casting about for something to do, or to make a list of things to do our that we should do. The lifelong and most difficult task of any christian is to surrender to faith in Christ alone. This alone is the task that makes one a Christian.

    “Take the matter of “the law written in our hearts”, which has been brought up by other contributors.

    The confessions George , in Apology art IV tell us that this Law is written in the mind/Reason of fallen man. It cannot be written in the heart until the heart has been restored to the Image of God in regeneration.

    “The word which is translated as “law” is “Torah.” Now “Torah” in the Old Testament NEVER means the Decalogue. In its fullest meaning it is the complete will of God, and therefore very much contains the Gospel. ”

    The confessions, again in art III and IV of the apology say that it is uniquely in the Decalog, in the First Table, that God demands in his Law that faith that is “movements of the heart” that is alone faith in Christ that man cannot do without Baptismal Regeneration.

    ” Why would God write what Paul calls “the proclamation of death” in our hearts?”

    The confessions say that the Law is written in our Hearts as a fruit of being restored to the Original Righeousness and Image of God that is faith alone in Christ alone George.

    “But we must affirm that the confessional writings cannot err, and therefore we do damage to the Gospel.”

    Are you perhaps in error as to your understanding of what our Confessions say dear brother?

    “Another example is the fact that Luther’s Large and Small Catechisms only contain 9 Commandments. ”

    Interesting George. Where do the scriptures say there need to be 10? What is the 10th commandment George?

    “But the “quia” confession forces us to maintain that both of these errors are in accord with Scripture, thereby denying the Gospel in favor of the Law and the Confessions.”

    Huh? You lost me.

    “I could give other examples, but I am afraid that the tsunami of righteous rage over these assertions will be sufficient for the day.”

    Just a simple clarification in light of what I have pointed you to in our Confessions will be really helpful dear George! :)

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    George A. Marquart @ 42

    “One could try to figure out which particular human quality it is that opposes the Gospel”

    George, that would be found in the Apology Art II. There we read that Original Sin is the loss of the Image of God that is the Original Righeousness that was Adamic faith in Christ + the “vicious” faith in anything BUT Christ that fills that void that the confessions call by the synonyms “concupiscence”, “Lust” and “coveteousness”. So it is faith in the righteousness of works that is at the heart of this in Old Adam.

    Which of us, when we are tormented by our conscience, can not resist casting about for something to do, or to make a list of things to do our that we should do. The lifelong and most difficult task of any christian is to surrender to faith in Christ alone. This alone is the task that makes one a Christian.

    “Take the matter of “the law written in our hearts”, which has been brought up by other contributors.

    The confessions George , in Apology art IV tell us that this Law is written in the mind/Reason of fallen man. It cannot be written in the heart until the heart has been restored to the Image of God in regeneration.

    “The word which is translated as “law” is “Torah.” Now “Torah” in the Old Testament NEVER means the Decalogue. In its fullest meaning it is the complete will of God, and therefore very much contains the Gospel. ”

    The confessions, again in art III and IV of the apology say that it is uniquely in the Decalog, in the First Table, that God demands in his Law that faith that is “movements of the heart” that is alone faith in Christ that man cannot do without Baptismal Regeneration.

    ” Why would God write what Paul calls “the proclamation of death” in our hearts?”

    The confessions say that the Law is written in our Hearts as a fruit of being restored to the Original Righeousness and Image of God that is faith alone in Christ alone George.

    “But we must affirm that the confessional writings cannot err, and therefore we do damage to the Gospel.”

    Are you perhaps in error as to your understanding of what our Confessions say dear brother?

    “Another example is the fact that Luther’s Large and Small Catechisms only contain 9 Commandments. ”

    Interesting George. Where do the scriptures say there need to be 10? What is the 10th commandment George?

    “But the “quia” confession forces us to maintain that both of these errors are in accord with Scripture, thereby denying the Gospel in favor of the Law and the Confessions.”

    Huh? You lost me.

    “I could give other examples, but I am afraid that the tsunami of righteous rage over these assertions will be sufficient for the day.”

    Just a simple clarification in light of what I have pointed you to in our Confessions will be really helpful dear George! :)

  • George A. Marquart

    fws @43 I am not going to respond to all of your comments, but I will just single out one: “Interesting George. Where do the scriptures say there need to be 10? What is the 10th commandment George?” The Hebrew words that are used to describe the Decalogue (which means “10 sayings”) is “the words” or “the ten words.” The commandment that is not included in Luther’s Ten (you may want to research the history of why in Luther’s day the 10th Commandment was split into two, and the Second Commandment was eliminated, so that you would still come up with a total of 10) is in Exodus 20:4ff: You shall not make for yourself an idol (graven image in the King James), whether in the form of anything ….”
    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    fws @43 I am not going to respond to all of your comments, but I will just single out one: “Interesting George. Where do the scriptures say there need to be 10? What is the 10th commandment George?” The Hebrew words that are used to describe the Decalogue (which means “10 sayings”) is “the words” or “the ten words.” The commandment that is not included in Luther’s Ten (you may want to research the history of why in Luther’s day the 10th Commandment was split into two, and the Second Commandment was eliminated, so that you would still come up with a total of 10) is in Exodus 20:4ff: You shall not make for yourself an idol (graven image in the King James), whether in the form of anything ….”
    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    George @ 44

    Well George… not exactly….

    The Jews and the entire church numbered the Decalog just as the Lutherans do. They treated the “graven images” part as being part of the 1st commandment. And they split up the last two about coveting.

    It was only in the 17th century that the Reformed split up the first commandment and so made the “graven images” into the second commandment, and then combined the last two so things would add up to 10.

    Feel free to correct me on this if i am wrong as to those facts dear brother! :)

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    George @ 44

    Well George… not exactly….

    The Jews and the entire church numbered the Decalog just as the Lutherans do. They treated the “graven images” part as being part of the 1st commandment. And they split up the last two about coveting.

    It was only in the 17th century that the Reformed split up the first commandment and so made the “graven images” into the second commandment, and then combined the last two so things would add up to 10.

    Feel free to correct me on this if i am wrong as to those facts dear brother! :)

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    george @ 44. I am aware thet “decalog” means 10 sayings. but I am not aware that that greek word appears in the bible anywhere or that the bible actually refers to the list of Laws that we count as 10 as being “10 laws”. Let me know if you know something I do not.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    george @ 44. I am aware thet “decalog” means 10 sayings. but I am not aware that that greek word appears in the bible anywhere or that the bible actually refers to the list of Laws that we count as 10 as being “10 laws”. Let me know if you know something I do not.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    george @ 44

    here is the best article I found with a quick search of google on the numbering of the 10 commandments George. I stand corrected…. But you too I think are maybe making an issue out of something where there really is no issue. Agree?

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/NUMBERNG.HTM

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    george @ 44

    here is the best article I found with a quick search of google on the numbering of the 10 commandments George. I stand corrected…. But you too I think are maybe making an issue out of something where there really is no issue. Agree?

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/NUMBERNG.HTM

  • Stephen

    Steve @ 40

    I suspect that the choice you present is a false one. That is to say that if someone were to leave a heterodox church earnestly seeking Christ, or, let us say, because the Holy Spirit yanked them out of there (I prefer that thought) the opposite is not to become Jewish or Buddhist on some necessary level. I think, as a matter of fact, it might be a very good thing if many of these churches were drained of members before they completely drive people away altogether to atheism as Larry has described – so that they are so inoculated against hearing truth that they won’t give pure doctrine a chance. If SDA is false, and I think it is, how can it be that good for people?

    Lots of people leave churches and roam around. It is very American to do that. If we truly believe and trust in the promise that God makes to us, then it really is in baptism that we must look for assurance for the “evidence” that one is “aligned” with the one, true faith. The name of God is there upon us each.

    It seems like underneath your question is a need to separate wheat and tares while still letting well enough alone. What Larry is suggesting is rather than do that selecting process which isn’t ours to do, what matters is the Word itself, the comfort it gives, that the Word alone is what makes us Christians, and that we do no one any service by pretending that its preaching is a secondary matter to how people feel or think about it or behave in regards to it, all of which will pass. It may be well-meaning to think the best of others, but do we really do them service by letting them stew in false teaching and saying “Oh, it’s fine as long as you say you are a Christian?” What would be the tipping point?

    Maybe what I just said is a tough hair to split, but it all turns upon where our emphasis is laid – is it upon Christ and his word, things that have to do with God and what he has done for us, or upon our doing and believing about that word, things that have to do human beings and their works? The first situates the truth where it actually is – in God himself, in his word, his promises to us, his name spoken over us which saves us with the water, his body and blood forgiving us. The second forever looks for what humans do or do not do (or say or think) to affirm eternal truth and make it become true. Even though old Adams cling to this kind of religion and it is very popular, it is endlessly strenuous and often disappointing. Just as well people abandon it for their own good I say. God will find them. This is our faith.

  • Stephen

    Steve @ 40

    I suspect that the choice you present is a false one. That is to say that if someone were to leave a heterodox church earnestly seeking Christ, or, let us say, because the Holy Spirit yanked them out of there (I prefer that thought) the opposite is not to become Jewish or Buddhist on some necessary level. I think, as a matter of fact, it might be a very good thing if many of these churches were drained of members before they completely drive people away altogether to atheism as Larry has described – so that they are so inoculated against hearing truth that they won’t give pure doctrine a chance. If SDA is false, and I think it is, how can it be that good for people?

    Lots of people leave churches and roam around. It is very American to do that. If we truly believe and trust in the promise that God makes to us, then it really is in baptism that we must look for assurance for the “evidence” that one is “aligned” with the one, true faith. The name of God is there upon us each.

    It seems like underneath your question is a need to separate wheat and tares while still letting well enough alone. What Larry is suggesting is rather than do that selecting process which isn’t ours to do, what matters is the Word itself, the comfort it gives, that the Word alone is what makes us Christians, and that we do no one any service by pretending that its preaching is a secondary matter to how people feel or think about it or behave in regards to it, all of which will pass. It may be well-meaning to think the best of others, but do we really do them service by letting them stew in false teaching and saying “Oh, it’s fine as long as you say you are a Christian?” What would be the tipping point?

    Maybe what I just said is a tough hair to split, but it all turns upon where our emphasis is laid – is it upon Christ and his word, things that have to do with God and what he has done for us, or upon our doing and believing about that word, things that have to do human beings and their works? The first situates the truth where it actually is – in God himself, in his word, his promises to us, his name spoken over us which saves us with the water, his body and blood forgiving us. The second forever looks for what humans do or do not do (or say or think) to affirm eternal truth and make it become true. Even though old Adams cling to this kind of religion and it is very popular, it is endlessly strenuous and often disappointing. Just as well people abandon it for their own good I say. God will find them. This is our faith.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Stephen @ 48

    What he says there is excellent!

    Here in Brasil, the largest church on paper is the Roman Catholic Church. But in a generation that will change. The RC Church lacks priests and so is not keeping track of their members and so is not caring for those souls.

    When I meet such an unteathered RC what is it I do? I return them to their Holy Baptism. I address them as a fellow believer. I remind them of their baptismal faith in Christ. Usually you can see a glow on their face that tells you that what you said hits them profoundly.

    I would suggest that the first question for a Lutheran, when talking to someone one does not know at a starbucks or at work or… is to ask them whether or not they were baptized.

    It is only from that point that one could know how to proceed in a conversation. To a Lutheran knowing this matters decisively in how we talk to that other someone.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Stephen @ 48

    What he says there is excellent!

    Here in Brasil, the largest church on paper is the Roman Catholic Church. But in a generation that will change. The RC Church lacks priests and so is not keeping track of their members and so is not caring for those souls.

    When I meet such an unteathered RC what is it I do? I return them to their Holy Baptism. I address them as a fellow believer. I remind them of their baptismal faith in Christ. Usually you can see a glow on their face that tells you that what you said hits them profoundly.

    I would suggest that the first question for a Lutheran, when talking to someone one does not know at a starbucks or at work or… is to ask them whether or not they were baptized.

    It is only from that point that one could know how to proceed in a conversation. To a Lutheran knowing this matters decisively in how we talk to that other someone.

  • Larry

    Case closed, based on numerous postings here, Dr. Vieth’s original question as to why so many are drawn to “law” is proven. Christ BUT… (law = hidden works righteousness) is no different, in the end, than rank works righteousness and fallen man is drawn to that. All the better if he can decorate it with pretend Gospel. For even Paul called Peter out for denying Christ, in Galatians, simply by his implying the requirement to adhere to Jewish dietary rules as a part of salvation.

    This is why the doctrine at length must be brought out even polemically. Because some say, “Christ alone”, but upon further examination that is not at all what they mean. They add Christ alone to their works righteousness religion as if by the mere statement of it “I affirm Christ alone” that their works righteousness doctrines may be valid.

    They are wholly false and PRECISELY what Paul was cursing as cursed and doctrines of demons.

  • Larry

    Case closed, based on numerous postings here, Dr. Vieth’s original question as to why so many are drawn to “law” is proven. Christ BUT… (law = hidden works righteousness) is no different, in the end, than rank works righteousness and fallen man is drawn to that. All the better if he can decorate it with pretend Gospel. For even Paul called Peter out for denying Christ, in Galatians, simply by his implying the requirement to adhere to Jewish dietary rules as a part of salvation.

    This is why the doctrine at length must be brought out even polemically. Because some say, “Christ alone”, but upon further examination that is not at all what they mean. They add Christ alone to their works righteousness religion as if by the mere statement of it “I affirm Christ alone” that their works righteousness doctrines may be valid.

    They are wholly false and PRECISELY what Paul was cursing as cursed and doctrines of demons.

  • Larry

    And that Word ALONE means and says:

    “Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you” (1 Peter 3)

    “The promise is to you and your children and to all who are far off” (Acts 2)

    “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6)

    “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” (Romans 6)

    “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Gal. 3)

    “having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.” (Col. 2)

    “Take and eat; this is my body.” “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

    Those that cannot say these clear exact Words of God do not have the Word ALONE but the words and vain thoughts of men alone. These Words always have, still do and always will stand – the vain words of men will have not, do not and never will.

    The problem with heterodoxy is that it does not recognize that Christ is baptist and is the Lord’s Supper – this is how they hold Christ from men. Thus, when they say ‘you cannot trust baptism’ or ‘baptism doesn’t do anything’, they are really saying “you cannot trust Christ” or “Christ doesn’t do anything”.

    Similarly, what is put into their mouths according to THEIR (man) words, just bread and just wine/grape juice, just as they say – not as Christ actually said (above). Why do they go to the Lord’s Supper, to receive the forgiveness of their sins, not at all, nor do they intend to. And so they don’t receive it which is their intent. The believer must ask himself and forget about their doctrinal moorings and ask ONE’s SELF, “why in fact do I go to the Lord’s Supper?”

    It is not to receive the forgiveness of their sin and it is not to receive the body and blood of the Son of God.

    In this way Christ is kept utterly aloof from the believer, and a theorhetical Christ awaiting works/fruits to prove faith (Arminian or Calvinistic).

    This is why all the caveat language withholding Christ:

    “The children of believers are to be considered the recipients of efficacious grace in whom the work of efficacious grace has already begun and that when dying before attaining the years of discretion, they can only be regarded as saved. Of course the Calvinist never declared that these things are necessarily so, as they never permitted themselves to pronounce official judgment on an adult, but left the judgment to God. So they have never usurped the right to pronounce on the presence or absence of spiritual life in infants.”

    As compared to Lutheran doctrine, confession and preaching which states what Scripture actually states, for baptism for example:
    They HAVE forgiveness of sins
    They HAVE put on Christ
    They HAVE been washed & regenerated
    This Baptism saves you (1 Peter 3)
    In Baptism we were buried and risen with Christ (Romans 6)

    This makes all the difference in the world in a true Gospel and another gospel mimicking the gospel. For the battle for faith is in the conscience of men, and at the dying and suffering and hour of trial such caveats as “to be considered”, “only be regarded”, “never declared that these things are necessarily so” will do no good, in fact murder faith and the soul with it in eternity. According to such words of men, not Scripture Alone, Luther was right, God would have wasted His time sending us His son and giving us the sacraments so that we WOULD know we are saved.

    For these Words, ALONE, stand ALONE: “Take and eat; this is my body.” “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

    Only men say “Take and eat; this is NOT my body.” “Drink from it, all of you. This is my NOT blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for WHICH YOU ARE NOT RIGHT NOW RECEIVING the forgiveness of sins.”

    The Word ALONE says, “Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you”.

    But men ALONE say, “baptism does NOT save you”.

    The Word ALONE says, ““We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

    But men ALONE say, “baptism does nothing.”

    These things are so obvious a complete fool can pick them out and they only show that the issue is NOT intellect but the hardness of unbelief. For the Words:

    “Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you”, “Take and eat; this is my body.” “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

    Are rejected of men NOT due to a lacking of intellectual clarity, but rejected PRECISELY BECAUSE of what they say point blank.

    Scripture REALLY does defend itself against the words of men. Men say, “hath God really said these things?” Answer: Yes, God’s Word has in fact said precisely and not one word other, “Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you”, “Take and eat; this is my body.” “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

    These Words ALONE still stand.

  • Larry

    And that Word ALONE means and says:

    “Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you” (1 Peter 3)

    “The promise is to you and your children and to all who are far off” (Acts 2)

    “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6)

    “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” (Romans 6)

    “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Gal. 3)

    “having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.” (Col. 2)

    “Take and eat; this is my body.” “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

    Those that cannot say these clear exact Words of God do not have the Word ALONE but the words and vain thoughts of men alone. These Words always have, still do and always will stand – the vain words of men will have not, do not and never will.

    The problem with heterodoxy is that it does not recognize that Christ is baptist and is the Lord’s Supper – this is how they hold Christ from men. Thus, when they say ‘you cannot trust baptism’ or ‘baptism doesn’t do anything’, they are really saying “you cannot trust Christ” or “Christ doesn’t do anything”.

    Similarly, what is put into their mouths according to THEIR (man) words, just bread and just wine/grape juice, just as they say – not as Christ actually said (above). Why do they go to the Lord’s Supper, to receive the forgiveness of their sins, not at all, nor do they intend to. And so they don’t receive it which is their intent. The believer must ask himself and forget about their doctrinal moorings and ask ONE’s SELF, “why in fact do I go to the Lord’s Supper?”

    It is not to receive the forgiveness of their sin and it is not to receive the body and blood of the Son of God.

    In this way Christ is kept utterly aloof from the believer, and a theorhetical Christ awaiting works/fruits to prove faith (Arminian or Calvinistic).

    This is why all the caveat language withholding Christ:

    “The children of believers are to be considered the recipients of efficacious grace in whom the work of efficacious grace has already begun and that when dying before attaining the years of discretion, they can only be regarded as saved. Of course the Calvinist never declared that these things are necessarily so, as they never permitted themselves to pronounce official judgment on an adult, but left the judgment to God. So they have never usurped the right to pronounce on the presence or absence of spiritual life in infants.”

    As compared to Lutheran doctrine, confession and preaching which states what Scripture actually states, for baptism for example:
    They HAVE forgiveness of sins
    They HAVE put on Christ
    They HAVE been washed & regenerated
    This Baptism saves you (1 Peter 3)
    In Baptism we were buried and risen with Christ (Romans 6)

    This makes all the difference in the world in a true Gospel and another gospel mimicking the gospel. For the battle for faith is in the conscience of men, and at the dying and suffering and hour of trial such caveats as “to be considered”, “only be regarded”, “never declared that these things are necessarily so” will do no good, in fact murder faith and the soul with it in eternity. According to such words of men, not Scripture Alone, Luther was right, God would have wasted His time sending us His son and giving us the sacraments so that we WOULD know we are saved.

    For these Words, ALONE, stand ALONE: “Take and eat; this is my body.” “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

    Only men say “Take and eat; this is NOT my body.” “Drink from it, all of you. This is my NOT blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for WHICH YOU ARE NOT RIGHT NOW RECEIVING the forgiveness of sins.”

    The Word ALONE says, “Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you”.

    But men ALONE say, “baptism does NOT save you”.

    The Word ALONE says, ““We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

    But men ALONE say, “baptism does nothing.”

    These things are so obvious a complete fool can pick them out and they only show that the issue is NOT intellect but the hardness of unbelief. For the Words:

    “Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you”, “Take and eat; this is my body.” “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

    Are rejected of men NOT due to a lacking of intellectual clarity, but rejected PRECISELY BECAUSE of what they say point blank.

    Scripture REALLY does defend itself against the words of men. Men say, “hath God really said these things?” Answer: Yes, God’s Word has in fact said precisely and not one word other, “Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you”, “Take and eat; this is my body.” “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

    These Words ALONE still stand.

  • Booklover
  • Booklover
  • steve

    Stephen @48:

    First, thank you for the reasoned response. Yes, you are correct that it would be a false choice if it was presented as an independent proposition. However, I was responding to the comment that Adventists “might just as well become Jews”. Given those choices, I do maintain that it would be better for a person to remain in a church where the Gospel is at least nominally affirmed but that has some heterodox beliefs (that description in itself may or may not be fair to all SDA churches but I state it as fact for the sake of argument).

    My statement was not meant to be taken as a charge to “let well enough alone” or to stop talking to our SDA friends and family about the importance of a correct understanding of Law and Gospel. However, as you rightly point out, we are not in charge of separating wheat and tares. For that reason, I do believe they are better served if we approach them as brothers and sisters than as unbelievers.

    Further, I still maintain that nobody’s theology, or rather, understanding of theology, is perfect, not even mine. If I forget this fact I forget a big part of the reason I still need to receive the Word and Sacraments.

  • steve

    Stephen @48:

    First, thank you for the reasoned response. Yes, you are correct that it would be a false choice if it was presented as an independent proposition. However, I was responding to the comment that Adventists “might just as well become Jews”. Given those choices, I do maintain that it would be better for a person to remain in a church where the Gospel is at least nominally affirmed but that has some heterodox beliefs (that description in itself may or may not be fair to all SDA churches but I state it as fact for the sake of argument).

    My statement was not meant to be taken as a charge to “let well enough alone” or to stop talking to our SDA friends and family about the importance of a correct understanding of Law and Gospel. However, as you rightly point out, we are not in charge of separating wheat and tares. For that reason, I do believe they are better served if we approach them as brothers and sisters than as unbelievers.

    Further, I still maintain that nobody’s theology, or rather, understanding of theology, is perfect, not even mine. If I forget this fact I forget a big part of the reason I still need to receive the Word and Sacraments.

  • Dennis Peskey

    to moallen (post#28) – please forgive me for the incorrect link; I was hasty and did not properly verify the connection. Here is the link I originally intended: http://hw.libsyn.com/p/2/6/2/262bd4a9301fb159/BJS_Conference_Keynote_-_Chris_Rosebrough.mp3?sid=7cb61e154899a260c33a20ac9c76c764&l_sid=20942&l_eid=&l_mid=1957770
    This was the openning presentation to the Brothers of John the Steadfast conference. The presenter was Chris Rosebrough who operates Pirate Christian Radio (flagship for Issues.Etc) and blogs at Fighting for the Faith.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    to moallen (post#28) – please forgive me for the incorrect link; I was hasty and did not properly verify the connection. Here is the link I originally intended: http://hw.libsyn.com/p/2/6/2/262bd4a9301fb159/BJS_Conference_Keynote_-_Chris_Rosebrough.mp3?sid=7cb61e154899a260c33a20ac9c76c764&l_sid=20942&l_eid=&l_mid=1957770
    This was the openning presentation to the Brothers of John the Steadfast conference. The presenter was Chris Rosebrough who operates Pirate Christian Radio (flagship for Issues.Etc) and blogs at Fighting for the Faith.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Richard
  • Richard
  • Bob Helm

    Analysis of Seventh-day Adventism often does not not reckon with the fact that this denomination is far from monolithic. There are Seventh-day Adventists who believe that they have to achieve sinless perfection before they can find acceptance with God. But there are other Seventh-day Adventists who ardently reject legalism and perfectionism and who affirm forensic justification and sola gratia, sola fide, and solo Christo as firmly as historic Lutheranism. And there is also a muddled middle between these two positions, as well as a small liberal faction within the Seventh-day Adventist Church. These facts should be considered before determining whether or not Seventh-day Adventists are legalists. The SDA fundamental beliefs say nothing about perfectionism, and they seem clear that salvation is by grace alone and that even faith itself is a gift of God’s grace. This sounds like historic Lutheranism, but unfortunately, the factions within Seventh-day Adventism put different spins on these statements.

    Also it should be noted that the SDA fundamental beliefs affirm the full Deity of Christ and the Holy Trinity, and they say nothing about the identity of Michael, although individual Seventh-day Adventists frequently assume that this is a title for Christ. However, they do not use it to deny His Deity, as do Jehovah’s Witnesses. It is of interest that Appendix 10 in the back of the “God’s Word To The Nations” New Testament, published in 1988 as a revision of LCMS scholar Dr. William Beck’s translation admits to the possibility that “Michael” is a title for Christ and concludes that this issue “should not bind consciences.”

  • Bob Helm

    Analysis of Seventh-day Adventism often does not not reckon with the fact that this denomination is far from monolithic. There are Seventh-day Adventists who believe that they have to achieve sinless perfection before they can find acceptance with God. But there are other Seventh-day Adventists who ardently reject legalism and perfectionism and who affirm forensic justification and sola gratia, sola fide, and solo Christo as firmly as historic Lutheranism. And there is also a muddled middle between these two positions, as well as a small liberal faction within the Seventh-day Adventist Church. These facts should be considered before determining whether or not Seventh-day Adventists are legalists. The SDA fundamental beliefs say nothing about perfectionism, and they seem clear that salvation is by grace alone and that even faith itself is a gift of God’s grace. This sounds like historic Lutheranism, but unfortunately, the factions within Seventh-day Adventism put different spins on these statements.

    Also it should be noted that the SDA fundamental beliefs affirm the full Deity of Christ and the Holy Trinity, and they say nothing about the identity of Michael, although individual Seventh-day Adventists frequently assume that this is a title for Christ. However, they do not use it to deny His Deity, as do Jehovah’s Witnesses. It is of interest that Appendix 10 in the back of the “God’s Word To The Nations” New Testament, published in 1988 as a revision of LCMS scholar Dr. William Beck’s translation admits to the possibility that “Michael” is a title for Christ and concludes that this issue “should not bind consciences.”

  • DC

    It is growing because people are looking for truth these days in this world filled with the disgusting prosperity gospel of the tv evangelists.

    Also, the “Law” and “Grace” are not at odds….this cheap grace preached by many today (like Joseph Prince) is something we warned about in Jude 4. If one is saved by Grace-of course you will keep His commandments-including the 4th about the Sabbath…o suggest otherwise is simply to argue with scripture and be dishonest about it.

  • DC

    It is growing because people are looking for truth these days in this world filled with the disgusting prosperity gospel of the tv evangelists.

    Also, the “Law” and “Grace” are not at odds….this cheap grace preached by many today (like Joseph Prince) is something we warned about in Jude 4. If one is saved by Grace-of course you will keep His commandments-including the 4th about the Sabbath…o suggest otherwise is simply to argue with scripture and be dishonest about it.

  • Grace

    DC

    Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
    Colossians 2:16

    This passage is overlooked by Seventh-Day Adventists and Sacred Name Movement groups.

  • Grace

    DC

    Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
    Colossians 2:16

    This passage is overlooked by Seventh-Day Adventists and Sacred Name Movement groups.

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