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A couple of weeks ago a friend sent to me a series of articles written by (Name Withheld) on the subject of the ‘emergent church.’ These articles were, shall I say, very concerned that we are pursuing the emergent (or emerging) church, the latest device of the evangelicals to promote church growth and plant churches. They warned, among other things, of the dangers of the emergent churches’ reason for being—placing intuition or instinct on a par with (or slightly above) the Holy Scriptures. The tone seemed perhaps assertive if not aggressive. (Name Withheld) really believed what he was saying and wanted to warn Adventists to stay away from this danger.

Then a little later another friend sent me a copy of what might be considered a response to the first articles by (Name Withheld). It was a gentle thing, logical, reasonable, well-organized, thoughtful, tolerant and it went down just a little easier than did the (Name Withheld)) articles. (Name Withheld) supported our close ties with the emergent church and buttressed his thesis generously with Ellen White quotes. No drop of gall appeared in the (Name Withheld) article. It is clear that (Name Withheld) takes his religion seriously.

But let me ask this: Does the emergent church place intuition and instinct on a level with or above Scripture? If it does, how can we associate so closely with it, when we believe in the Bible and the Bible only—the Sola Scriptura of the early Protestants? Sandra K. Workman in her (unpublished) Creation of the 144,000 said it well. “Prophecy tells us that Babylon will never recover from her apostasy, so, those who say they believe in the second angel’s message should be very alarmed when there is any narrowing in the gulf between them and the fallen churches. If this begins to happen it will never mean that the fallen churches are drawing nearer to God, but only that the Advent believers are falling [a]way from Him” (p. 15).

If it does place intuition and instinct above Scripture, must we not say a kindly, Thanks but no thanks to such closeness? Do we still believe in the Bible, that someday there’s going to be a national and international Sunday law? If we do, can we imagine coming up to the point where we have to go public against public opinion and decline the Sunday law? When we say, Where do you find that in Scripture, do we want to give our respected adversaries an opening to say, “We don’t need Scripture. We’ve got intuition and instinct telling us to venerate Sunday.” If we have been feeding from their plate through the years, won’t it be an easy matter then to go right along with them on the Sunday issue? Will we have the gumption to stand up and honor our wonderful Jesus by choosing His ways in the great controversy?

I am alarmed when I read how greatly Adventism is supporting the emergent church—the  new spirituality—with funding, attendance at functions, and other moral support.

It reminds me of the story of the golden calf and how Moses and Aaron dealt with it at that time. Aaron was a genial guy; he liked to be liked and couldn’t bring himself to disagree with the people. Moses, on the other hand, was livid! He behaved like a madman, powdering up the gold and making people drink it, while Aaron proceeded forth, halo intact. The people, observing the two men, thought highly of Aaron but thought Moses had lost his mind! What was Moses’ problem? He knew that God is of purer eyes than to behold evil and cannot look upon the wrong. He knew that anyplace the people happened to be it was a good plan to refrain from evil, but out here, in the wilderness they could not afford to be without the protection of God. He knew what the people were bringing on themselves by their sin, and he behaved accordingly. If God left, there goes the cloudy/fiery canopy; there goes their protection from serpents, their protection from the many warlike nations that surrounded them and who knows what else. Sinning was a bad idea anytime, but out here it was suicide.

Are we repeating the experience of Moses and Aaron today in depending upon the strategies of the emergent church to fill the pews?

We know what Jesus’ words will be when he welcomes His own to the eternal city. He will say, “You have washed your robes in my blood, stood stiffly for my truth; enter in.” In order to make ourselves agreeable to God, we may need at some point to make ourselves disagreeable to the world. What we are here dealing with may be the first salvo across the bow of the good ship Adventism, because it points up the frustration of the evangelicals among us at the reluctance of the “old guard” to go along. And the old guard is equally frustrated by the concessions of the “evangelicals” among us. Can we feel the fabric straining, pulling apart?

When I try to make friendly with the “emergent church’ and any similar evangelical movements, I no longer have the clarity in my faith that ties me to Scripture. Confusion, subtle mind manipulation, disorder envelopes me. I wonder if there are any absolutes anymore. (Is Babylon no longer fallen—or is it??)

God calls upon us to be separate. “God separates His children from the fallen churches so that He can bring them into a sacred nearness to Himself” (Ibid.) “’[C]ome out from their midst and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:17, 18, NAS). Our brethren in the past have separated. “[T]hey were ridiculed and oppressed, denied the privilege of speaking of their hope, or of attending preaching upon the Lord’s coming [and] many at last arose and cast off the yoke which had been imposed upon them” (4 SOP 237).

“Light and darkness cannot have fellowship together. It is not that they simply refuse to have fellowship with one another, it is impossible. This division is not an arbitrary act on the part of God or His people; it is simply [the] outworking of the truth—cause and effect. Throw a rock over a cliff and gravity will take it down. It is the same in the spiritual realm. When Christ comes into the heart the darkness has to go because there is only light in Him, no darkness!” (Workman, p. 16).

So, frankly, I cannot support the emergent church. I’ve seen the power of the simple gospel to gain the genuine in heart, and, while I value that wonderful intuition and instinct that lets me know my Savior is near, I can’t move from the position of finding my truth in the word of God alone.

 

The Bloggery
http://www.AdventistApocalypse.com

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(This is the the second and ending segment of this 1963 article by guest blogger, the late Arthur  L. Beitz.)

Was it any wonder that these two had to meet when Christ had said all of their religious organization, all of their twenty thousand priests ministering in the temple, all of their financial structure and their spiritual leadership were absolutely blind; and their organization—house—and institution had become desolate, for God was not in it? How brave of him, and what a terrible indictment!

For the Jews, the temple symbolized their entire religious heritage. It was very dear to the people, yet Jesus said it was forsaken of God. The temple house is needed, but there needs to be a loving family within it. The institution, the organization, is necessary but only as a means in helping to shepherd the people. If you have lost contact with the needs of the hearts of the people, your house is desolate.

This, also, is a terrible indictment. Finally, the high priest speaks to those who have gathered to make a decision about this man who claims to be the Son of God. He says, “You know nothing whatsoever. You do not use your judgment. The trouble with you is that you do not have good judgment. It is more to your interest that one man should die for the people than that the whole nation should be destroyed.” And thus the decision is made. But where would you have stood? The decision has to be made. It was religious institutionalism versus a personal human being, Christ our Saviour. It was an organizational religionism versus the gospel. It was organization versus a person. It was vested interest against Christ, for the earthen vessel had become more the object of devotion that the treasure within the vessel, and herein lies the universal tendency of human beings toward idolatry.

Man wishes to make himself secure within religious institutions, and, therefore, he hides himself from the presence of God. Laodicea thinks that she has everything, but Jesus Christ stands outside the door and knocks and knocks. The question is as alive today for you and for me as it was two thousand years ago because Caiaphas is very much alive in every one of us.

The issue is before us today, and you will have to make your own decision, if you have not already made it. Anti-organizationalism is of the rudest of follies because we need order and organization, but when the organization becomes the means as well as the end of our devotion, then we have crucified once again our Saviour, Jesus Christ. It can happen today, just as verily as it happened then.

What could have happened if Caiaphas, the high priest, had said: “Look, we are confronted with the Son of God. Let us accept Him.” What a help and inspiration for the repenting souls that would have been. If he could have only said, “Let us use this institution, this money, everything, in order to glorify God, and let it be God who is the center.” All institutionalism becomes corrupt with itself. It begins to build and build until we have forgotten the purpose of its building, and we seek security in everything except God himself.

When the Holy Spirit comes into our lives, let us remember that there will be a unity of our hearts, the binding of mind to mind, of heart to heart, and of spirit to spirit. Institutionalism can provide us with an outward uniformity, but only the baptism of the Holy Spirit can give us an interior union of our spirits.

Oh, that God would help us to understand that religious institutionalism can become the greatest tool of the devil. Dr. Henry P. VanDolson, who wrote in The United Church Herald, states: “The Holy Spirit has always been troublesome to officialdom and to institutionalism because He is unruly, unpredictable and radical. The call to the ministry is to be alert, to discover every moment of the living, confounding, uncontrollable Spirit of God in what someone has called His Sovereign Unpredictability. We want security but we do not want to be shaken out of our false securities. When our false securities are shattered and we stand helpless before a superior person who vitalizes our lives, suddenly we recognize ourselves to be under the guidance of the Spirit of God. When you are under the guidance of the Spirit, you cannot control it. And, of course, institutionalism is built on control. So there is an everlasting problem here.

Dr. John A. MacKay, formerly president of both Princeton Theological Seminary and the World Presbyterian Alliance, once told a Presbyterian convention:

“A crudely emotional approach to religion is preferable to religious formalism and institutionalism which is purely esthetic and orderly and lacking in dynamic power. One of our serious troubles in the church today is that it has become legitimate to be institutional, but deep feelings and enthusiasm no longer exist. The moment the church becomes completely programmed and depersonalized, it becomes a monument to God’s memory and not an instrument of divine power.”

You see, when men build institutions they become their ultimate end instead of just the means to an end. That is idolatry. Men build and build, and they forget the purpose of the building. Institutions become more important than people.

There are no shepherds in the institution any longer—only people trying to prevent the ship from rocking. Then it is that truth suffers and good men are crucified. Then it is that the Spirit departs. The glory of God has departed.

Dr. Ernest Wright, of Harvard, writes:

“God, through the work of the Spirit, has always been at war with human institutionalism because the institution becomes idolatrous, self-perpetuating, and self-worshipping because church membership becomes synonymous with the new birth.”

Caiaphas thought he must save the church; therefore, Christ must die. But Christ had come to save the church. Where would we have stood had we been there that day? The issue before Caiaphas is everlastingly present. We have to choose continually between tradition and scripture, between the institution and the individual, between what is popular and accepted and what is true.

There is no need to crucify Christ that the institution may be saved. Unless Christ lives, the institution is already dead!

This is what Caiaphas had to face. How can you attack an institution and still retain it? How can you shatter that which you love? I happen to be one who has been reared in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and all my tenderest emotions and feelings are tied into Adventism. This can also become my greatest curse and damnation because I begin to trust in it instead of the living God. If I begin to think that the structure is what makes me a Christian instead of a personal friendship with my God and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, my faith is resting on an institution instead of on the Lord.

I think I can say concerning institutions that I love none better than Adventism. I was nurtured in it. I was cradled in it. I loved it. But this can also be my damnation unless I know that all of this is but for one purpose  and that is to bow my head and my mind before the living Jesus and say that unless Christ lives within the institution it has beome only desolation and hostility, noting but an empty institution.

The issue that faced Caiaphas is everlastingly alive in your heart and mine. What could happen if our hearts were blended together under Jesus Christ!

Oh, that God would help us today to once again understand the issues clearly and to make right choices. The people two thousand years ago had to make a tremendous choice, and their choice was a devastating decision, affecting their eternal destiny. If you have never gone through such an experience, you do not know what I am talking about, but those of you who know what I am speaking about realize the gravity of such a situation. It has shaken you completely until you have experienced a kind of death. The very thing in which you have trusted has never been shattered before you, and you will never be the same again because the basis of your life now is Jesus Christ and only Jesus Christ. (E

Was it any wonder that these two had to meet when Christ had said all of their religious organization, all of their twenty thousand priests ministering in the temple, all of their financial structure and their spiritual leadership were absolutely blind; and their organization—house—and institution had become desolate, for God was not in it? How brave of him, and what a terrible indictment!

For the Jews, the temple symbolized their entire religious heritage. It was very clear to the people, yet Jesus said it was forsaken of God. The temple house is needed, but there needs to be a loving family within it. The institution, the organization, is necessary but only as a means in helping to shepherd the people. If you have lost contact with the needs of the hearts of the people, your house is desolate.

This, also, is a terrible indictment. Finally, the high priest speaks to those who have gathered to make a decision about this man who claims to be the Son of God. He says, “You know nothing whatsoever. You do not use your judgment. The trouble with you is that you do not have good judgment. It is more tot your interest that one man should die for the people than that the whole nation should be destroyed.” And thus the decision is made. But where would you have stood? The decision has to be made. It was religious institutionalism versus a personal human being, Christ our Saviour. It was an organizational religionism versus the gospel. It was organization versus a person. It was vested interest against Christ, for the earthen vessel had become more the object of devotion that the treasure within the vessel, and herein lies the universal tendency of human beings toward idolatry.

Man wishes to make himself secure within religious institutions, and, therefore, he hines himself from the presence of God. Laodicea thinks that she has everything, but Jesus Christ stands outside the door and knocks and knocks. The question is as alive today for you and for me as it was two thousand years ago because Caiaphas is very much alive in every one of us.

The issue is before us today, and you will have to make your own decision, if you have not already made it. Anti-organizationalism is of the rudest of follies because we need order and organization, but when the organization becomes the means as well as the end of our devotion, then we have crucified once again our Saviour, Jesus Christ. It can happen today, just as verily as it happened then.

What could have happened if Caiaphas, the high priest, had said: “Look, we are confronted with the Son of God. Let us accept Him.” What a help and inspiration for the repenting souls that would have been. If he could have only said, “Let us use this institution, this money, everything, in order to glorify God, and let it be God who is the center.” All institutionalism becomes corrupt with itself. It begins to build and build until we have forgotten the purpose of its building, and we seek security in everything except God himself.

When the Holy Spirit comes into our lives, let us remember that there will be a unity of our hearts, the binding of mind to mind, of heart to heart, and of spirit to spirit. Institutionalism can provide us with an outward uniformity, but only the baptism of the Holy Spirit can give us an interior union of our spirits.

Oh, that God would help us to understand that religious institutionalism can become the greatest tool of the devil. Dr. Henry P. VanDolson, who wrote in The United Church Herald, states: “The Holy Spirit has always been troublesome to officialdom and to institutionalism because He is unruly, unpredictable and radical. The call to the ministry is to be alert, to discover every moment of the living, confounding, uncontrollable Spirit of God in what someone has called His Sovereign Unpredictability. We want security but we do not want to be shaken out of our false securities. When our false securities are shattered and we stand helpless before a superior person who vitalizes our lives, suddenly e recognize ourselves to be under the guidance of the Spirit of God. When you are under the guidance of the Spirit, you cannot control it. And, of course, institutionalism is built on control. So there is an everlasting problem here.

Dr. John A. MacKay, formerly president of both Princeton Theological Seminary and the World Presbyterian Alliance, once told a Presbyterian convention:

“A crudely emotional approach to religion is preferable to religious formalism and institutionalism which is purely esthetic and orderly and lacking in dynamic power. One of our serious troubles in the church today is that it has become legitimate to be institutional, but deep feelings and enthusiasm no longer exist. The moment the church becomes completely programmed and depersonalized, it becomes a monument to God’s memory and not an instrument of divine power.”

You see, when men build institutions they become their ultimate end instead of just the means to an end. That is idolatry. Men build and build, and they forget the purpose of the building. Institutions become more important than people.

There are no shepherds in the institution any longer—only people trying to prevent the ship from rocking. Then it is that truth suffers and good men are crucified. Then it is that the Spirit departs. The glory of God has departed.

Dr. Ernest Wright, of Harvard, writes:

“God, through the work of the Spirit, has always been at war with human institutionalism because the institution becomes idolatrous, self-perpetuating, and self-worshipping because church membership becomes synonymous with the new birth.”

Caiaphas thought he must save the church; therefore, Christ must die. But Christ had come to save the church. Where would we have stood had we been there that day? The issue before Caiaphas is everlastingly present. We have to choose continually between tradition and scripture, between the institution and the individual, between what is popular and accepted and what is true.

There is no need to crucify Christ that the institution may be saved. Unless Christ lives, the institution is already dead!

This is what Caiaphas had to face. How can you attack an institution and still retain it? How can you shatter that which you love? I happen to be one who has been reared in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and all my tenderest emotions and feelings are tied into Adventism. This can also become my greatest curse and damnation because I begin to trust in it instead of the living God. If I begin to think that the structure is what makes me a Christian instead of a personal friendship with my God and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, my faith is resting on an institution instead of on the Lord.

I think I can say concerning institutions that I love none better than Adventism. I was nurtured in it. I was cradled in it. I loved it. But this can also be my damnation unless I know that all of this is but for one purpose  and that is to bow my head and my mind before the living Jesus and say that unless Christ lives within the institution it has beome only desolation and hostility, noting but an empty institution.

The issue that faced Caiaphas is everlastingly alive in your heart and mine. What could happen if our hearts were blended together under Jesus Christ!

Oh, that God would help us today to once again understand the issues clearly and to make right choices. The people two thousand years ago had to make a tremendous choice, and their choice was a devastating decision, affecting their eternal destiny. If you have never gone through such an experience, you do not know what I am talking about, but those of you who know what I am speaking about realize the gravity of such a situation. It has shaken you completely until you have experienced a kind of death. The very thing in which you have trusted has never been shattered before you, and you will never be the same again because the basis of your life now is Jesus Christ and only Jesus Christ. (Emphasis Supplied)

The Bloggery
http://www.AdventistApocalypse.com

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(Following is an edited sermon by today’s guest blogger, the late Arthur L. Bietz, in 1963. Where would you have stood?)

 I want you to be able to use your imagination to catch the meaning, the drama, the heart throb, the intensity of this situation; for these are days of crisis, days of tremendous meaning.

In some ways, Caiaphas is one of the most tragic figures of the New Testament, yet in another way he is a man of tremendous splendor, a man who was loved and probably, in some respects, greatly adored. The historical facts are that the people stood in awe before him, for he was indeed the symbol. . .  of the great heritage of Israel. He embodied everything that Israel had fought for, all that Israel had prayed for, and theirs was, indeed, a glorious heritage.

Caiaphas had been chosen by the children of Israel as a “custodian” of the great religious institution, but now something had happened.

Suddenly, the world that then was found itself polarized in two centers: On the one side stood Caiaphas, the high priest; on the other side stood Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The loyalties had congealed, and the crisis was on.

This was a tragedy with a degree of splendor in it, for Caiaphas was a very notable person with an impressive personality. Indeed, he was the most powerful man in Judaism at the time of Christ. He had not only ecclesiastical power, but he also held civil authority. . . .

Caiaphas . . .  leads a great religious institution with a marvelous religious heritage, while opposing him stands Jesus Christ. A schism threatens to split the church. One or the other must go. Who shall be crucified? Can you feel the drama in your own life and heart? Where would you have stood before these two opposing powers? Would you have cast your vote with the recognized religious institutional authority? Or would you have accepted Jesus Christ?

Caiaphas, . . . headed the religious parades in all the Jewish festivals and on the annual Day of Atonement, caused all Israel to tremble before his presence. This was the high priest, their representative before God. It was to him that God would speak and bring his message of forgiveness to the people. He stood as their representative between God and the people.

When Jesus spoke to Caiaphas, he did not speak with the respect or with the esteem that the people thought he should give a religious leader. This is why one of the very devout Jews struck the Lord in the face. That was a tense moment. This was a day of choice, a day of salvation. It was a day when human hearts and minds were hanging in eternal destiny. Where would you have cast your vote?

“And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?” John 18:22. Our Lord, the one whom we worship, is struck with a forceful blow. I can see our Lord weaving as the blow struck him. Then came the words, “You do not speak to our religious leader like that.” A tense moment, indeed.

Caiaphas had only one purpose and that was to save the religious institution that he represented. He said, “We must save the church.” Yet, on the other hand, stood the Son of God, who also came to save the church. Two forces are represented; both want to help save the church.

But Jesus had often spoken concerning the heartlessness of the religious leaders of his time. He did not mince words. Jesus had said, “They make up heavy yokes and packs and pile them on men’s shoulders.” In contrast to this indictment, Jesus had said, concerning himself: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Would you have liked it if someone had stigmatized your religious leader as heartless?

On the same occasion, Jesus said of Caiaphas’ institutional leadership: “You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces.” Can’t you just see the high priest stand up in disbelief and shout, “This is blasphemy! I am the high priest and I am the head of the religious organization that opens the kingdom of God to mankind, but this man, Jesus, comes and says that we shut the door in the face of the people!”

Christ had also said that Caiaphas and the religious leaders were more interested in power and prestige and status than in shepherding the flock. Although there were twenty thousand religious priests paid out of the temple taxes, Jesus said: “Look at the people. There is nobody interested in the people. All are serving the religious institution, but they have no shepherds. The temple servants are parasites, living off the institution.” That really stepped on some toes. Preachers do not like to hear that they are not doing their job correctly.

The people did not like it either. Even the mother of Jesus did not like it, for she told the brothers of Jesus to tell him not to speak thus against the religious authorities.

There is an old Negro spiritual that goes something like this: “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” Were you? Are you there today contemplating that great sacrifice and following in the steps of Christ? We have before us the destiny of our souls.

Jesus revealed the motives  of the Jewish leaders when he said, “Everything they do is done for show. Places of honor at the feasts and the chief seats at the synagogue are taken by your leaders, and they do it for show.” This was a fearful thing for him to say.

Jesus even dared to expose the corruption in the financial structure of their organization. He said, “You eat up the properties of the widows while you say long prayers for appearance’s sake, but you are going to receive a severe sentence.”

Jesus also had something to say about their mission program, and you do not speak against the mission program of the church. He said, “You travel over sea and land to win one convert and when you have won him, you make him twice as fit for hell as you are yourselves.” Is it any wonder that these two had to meet—Jesus and Caiaphas?

Such a situation could not go on any longer. This had to come to a showdown, and everyone knew it. All the people in Jerusalem and the surrounding territories recognized the moment of destiny had come. And so we will have to stand before the Almighty God and before religious institutions and give an answer.

Christ said, “You are not all ministers of spiritual insight or spiritual values. You are blind. You are blind guides of the blind. You are falling into the ditch, and the people are falling into the ditch with you. You swear by the sanctuary. You swear by the gold. You swear by the altar. You strain at a gnat, yet you gulp down a camel. The organization of the temple is more important to you than God. You are tombs covered with whitewash, full of dead men’s bones.”

(Continued Next Week)


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Because natural disasters are becoming more common as we approach the end of this order of things, I thought it might be helpful to publish this advice:

WHAT RESCUERS AND EXPERTS *DO NOT* RECOMMEND YOU DO DURING AN EARTHQUAKE
Based on years of research about how people are injured or killed during earthquakes, and the experiences of U.S. and international search and rescue teams, these three actions are not recommended to protect yourself during earthquakes:

DO NOT run outside or to other rooms during shaking: The area near the exterior walls of a building is the most dangerous place to be. Windows, facades and architectural details are often the first parts of the building to collapse. To stay away from this danger zone, stay inside if you are inside and outside if you are outside. Also, shaking can be so strong that you will not be able to move far without falling down, and objects may fall or be thrown at you that you do not expect. Injuries can be avoided if you drop to the ground before the earthquake drops you.

DO NOT stand in a doorway: An enduring earthquake image of California is a collapsed adobe home with the door frame as the only standing part. From this came our belief that a doorway is the safest place to be during an earthquake. True- if you live in an old, unreinforced adobe house or some older woodframe houses. In modern houses, doorways are no stronger than any other part of the house, and the doorway does not protect you from the most likely source of injury- falling or flying objects. You also may not be able to brace yourself in the door during strong shaking. You are safer under a table.

DO NOT get in the “triangle of life”: In recent years, an e-mail has been circulating which describes an alternative to the long-established “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” advice. The so-called “triangle of life” and some of the other actions recommended in the e-mail are potentially life threatening, and the credibility of the source of these recommendations has been broadly questioned.

The “triangle of life” advice (always get next to a table rather than underneath it) is based on several wrong assumptions:

  • buildings always collapse in earthquakes (wrong- especially in developed nations, and flat “pancake” collapse is rare anywhere);
  • when buildings collapse they always crush all furniture inside (wrong- people DO survive under furniture or other shelters);
  • people can always anticipate how their building might collapse and anticipate the location of survivable void spaces (wrong- the direction of shaking and unique structural aspects of the building make this nearly impossible) ; and
  • during strong shaking people can move to a desired location (wrong- strong shaking can make moving very difficult and dangerous).

Some other recommendations in the “triangle of life” e-mail are also based on wrong assumptions and very hazardous. For example, the recommendation to get out of your car during an earthquake and lay down next to it assumes that there is always an elevated freeway above you that will fall and crush your car. Of course there are very few elevated freeways, and laying next to your car is very dangerous because the car can move and crush you, and other drivers may not see you on the ground!

 

The Bloggery
http://www.AdventistApocalypse.com

 

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Some time back someone sent me a list of eight reasons why the Holy Spirit couldn’t be God, plus some editorial comments asserting the same thing. I felt I had adequately covered that topic so didn’t hasten to reply, but now I think I should, just to let her know that her comments aren’t unanswerable.

Mainly, she listed many ways in which the Holy Spirit does not act like the Father and the Son. He doesn’t sit on a throne, doesn’t express love for the human race, is said to be “breathed” into people (“Who ever heard of a person being breathed into another?”), all that would tend to make Him unlike the other two members of the Godhead.

We try to make the Deity like us. And we can’t. They are Deity, after all.

Let me use an illustration. In the field of physics they are finding that elements in the microcosm below the size of atoms behave in a way totally unlike anything they see in the macrocosm. Scientists who have had an opportunity to observe this behavior are baffled by it. Their behavior is totally mysterious, but this hasn’t prevented the world from benefiting from this new knowledge, even though they still don’t understand how it works. Scientists are now seeking a unified theory that will take in both these systems and explain everything about how they function. The point is, Just because the Holy Spirit is different from anything we have experienced thus far doesn’t mean He is not Deity.

He doesn’t share a throne with the Father and Son?  Please read Revelation 4:5, where the Holy Spirit is present in the throne room, in the seven golden lamp stands. Or Revelation 5:6, where the slain Lamb is described as having seven horns (power) and seven eyes (the Holy Spirit’s omniscience). The Holy Spirit is very much present, though not in the same way as the Father and the Son.

Jesus clearly spoke of the Holy Spirit as a person. “For if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He when He comes. . . .” (John 16:7, 8). Notice the three, second person pronouns, and there are many more. Clearly, Jesus wanted us to think of the Holy Spirit as a person.

In Acts we have many instances where the Holy Spirit communicated with the disciples. In 2:4 the Spirit helped them speak. In 10:19 “while Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, ‘Simon, three men are looking for you.’” In 11:12 “The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with him.” In Acts 16:6, 7 “Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, after they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithnia; but the Spirit suffered them not.” These are just a few examples where the Holy Ghost communicated with the disciples, suggesting that He is a real person. You may find many others, with a little looking.

She said Paul, in his greetings to the churches, never says a word about the Holy Ghost. Take, for example, his greeting to the church in Rome, Romans 1:7. “To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to the saints; grace (the Holy Spirit) and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” Most of his salutations include the gift of grace (the Holy Spirit), along with peace plus whatever else the apostle wanted to bestow. Clearly, the Holy Spirit was included with the apostles, the Father and the Son, plus whatever or whoever else the apostle wanted to include.

Finally, Bible writers make reference to the third person of the Godhead. “And there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” (1 John 5:8). This text is authentic. Although it is not found in early manuscripts, it was referenced by writers from the earliest days of the church. The logical conclusion reached is that some early, scissor-happy Arian excised this text from every manuscript he could get his hands on, and thus it has come down to our day. But how could the earliest writers have footnoted it, if it did not exist? The conclusion, then, is that it is a legitimate text. Now, I have heard some talk about excising Matthew 28:19, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” They say that text has to come out, too. Where will it end?

 

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[Note: This is from my “stash” of blogs, and I’m getting mighty low. I thought I would just keep it until an appropriate moment, but the blog I was planning for today cannot be used until next time, because there has been a delay at CreateSpace. So I’m substituting this instead.]

“Sin is degrading, and there is no place for it in heaven” (Ms. 92a, 1898). We will be judged by our deeds (Rev. 20:12), because our deeds are the outworking of what we are and who we are. No lofty claims can hide that reality.

In spite of those lofty claims; in spite of impressive processions with candles and huge choirs, in spite of Latin intoned in quiet cathedrals, the reality is that the Catholic church either is or has become, it seems, a sanctuary for pedophiles.

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, a priest is now in hot water for allegedly abusing 200 deaf boys. Read about it here:

http://freethoughtnation.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=319:does-the-catholic-church-foster-pedophilia&catid=38:christianity

Can anyone say “moral authority”?

But as bad as that is, I want to look at this from another angle.

Many centuries ago the Catholic church, flexing her authoritarian muscles, had the audacity to endeavor to change the Ten Commandments, and she boasts about this change:

“I have repeatedly offered $1,000 to anyone who can prove to me from the Bible alone that I am bound to keep Sunday holy. There is no such law in the Bible. It is a law of the holy Catholic Church alone. The bible says, ‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.’ And lo! The entire civilized world bows down in a reverent obedience to the command of the holy Catholic Church.” – T. Enright, C.S.S.R., in a lecture at Hartford, Kansas, Feb. 18, 1884.

“The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday.” – The Catholic Mirror, Sept. 23, 1893.

Now, do we want an institution that specializes in victimizing little boys to have such an exalted place in society as to change one of the Ten Commandments? Think about it.

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I thought it might be well for us to stop what we’re doing, and for a few moments remember the beautiful old story of how our Creator came to this earth as a babe in a manger to save us. Here is the story, as told by Dr. Luke. (mc)

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Angels and the Shepherds

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

“And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

“And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning the child.

“And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

“And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”


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