“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Jesus and the Testimonies for the Church

Many of the people in her day called her “Mother White.” I want to do that too, but I think I would be misunderstood. When the Lord brought me back, He led me directly to the Bible again. Then He led me to the Spirit of Prophecy books, which I found delightfully refreshing and convicting.

No other writer pressed us so close to the letter and the spirit of the scriptures. No other worked so hard to exalt the Bible and bring it out of fable and fairy tale status. No other has worked so hard to bring it into practical life and speech, and to lead others to follow the same example. Certainly it was “even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2Cor. 3:18).

But I have found some of her books very hard to read. Steps to Christ is the hardest for me. I think that is because there is so much high standard there without Jesus to accompany the principles. That probably sounds real strange, but I am finding that Jesus has to baby-sit me as I read the “high standard” which is the modern form of the law. Otherwise, I can’t handle the truth. My neck stiffens and my will shuts down.

Contrariwise, her book, Desire of Ages is easy to read because Jesus is in it through and through. Do you see the difference? I don’t think I’m an exception in this, either. This was the issue Paul was bringing to the world. I think that books like Steps to Christ and the Testimonies for the Church are essential reading, but the reader better be armed with grace before going there, and lots of it. I’ve seen too many hyper-legalists following the Testimonies to the “T.” They give the evidence that they have never known a gentle, loving Jesus.

I’ve heard people ask, “Why does it seem that Adventism generates such high strung extremists?” I point the SOP. But, I also blame the church’s lack of preaching Jesus and His love and grace. What can we expect from people if they never know the love of God, but have access to the law in the clearest form ever given to mankind?

We say we have the truth. But, is the law the whole truth? No, it is only part of the truth. The grace of God is the other part, and the bigger part. (Shh, don’t let anyone know I said that.)

Paul called the present truth of the gospel, “the truth.” “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” (Gal. 3:1).

“Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” (Ps. 85:10). Yet how many sermons on Jesus and His grace have you heard lately? Its been a long time since I heard one. In fact, the last time I heard a really convincing sermon on Jesus and the love of God was by Morris Venden. And that was many moons ago. I wonder if our pastors even know how to preach Jesus and God’s love for man.

It makes me think we deserve every bit being called a cult. We should take the branding as a hint from Providence, and reform. We need preaching reform. I’ve been to campmeetings advertised as Christ centered, and never heard about Jesus. All we heard was the law. We need Christ-centered righteousness by faith if we are ever to fulfill the great commission and the 3rd angel’s message.

I point to the SOP for so many Adventist extremists and legalists. Paul would have done the same thing. Not that Moses created the Pharisees and a nation of legalists, but Paul laid some weight against a law that lacked a Person. This is what Paul introduced. Jesus needs to be brought into the Testimonies and church doctrines today. Otherwise, the Testimonies are dry as the hills of Gilboa and dangerous.

When we finally know Jesus and the Testimonies, then there will be faith and obedience, where today there is pervasive insubordination and unbelief.


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