The heart of it all

Most Seventh-day Adventists are aware there are many issues facing our church. Such problems range from women’s ordination to homosexuality in the church, the nature of Christ to the 2520 prophecy, the type of music in church to the emerging church, creation versus evolution to gospel entertainment, and many others. It may seem like our church is falling apart but Ellen G. White assures us, “The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out--the chaff separated from the precious wheat” (Maranatha 32). The Seventh-day Adventist church is God’s remnant church and He makes Himself responsible for its preservation.

However, as confusion and lethargy creep into our ranks, many of the faithful are wondering, is there really any hope? What can be done to bring about true revival and reformation? I believe there is hope, and it is based in Christ. The reason that theological issues are so prevalent is because we are disunited, and we are disunited because the church has lost its focus. Rather than fixating on all these issues, our eyes should be on Jesus and the true mission of the church. Ellen G. White points out a similar state of the early Christian church, “As these false doctrines were urged, differences sprang up, and the eyes of many were turned from beholding Jesus as the Author and Finisher of their faith. The discussion of unimportant points of doctrine, and the contemplation of pleasing fables of man's invention, occupied time that should have been spent in proclaiming the gospel. The masses that might have been convicted and converted by a faithful presentation of the truth were left unwarned. Piety was rapidly waning, and Satan seemed about to gain the ascendancy over those who claimed to be followers of Christ” (Acts of the Apostles 580)

As a theology student, I have noticed we too often overlook our own relationship with Christ. Instead of our focus being on the necessity of our own personal connection with Jesus and together sustaining the church’s forward movement, we have become too absorbed in relatively minor issues that are effectively breaking us apart and derailing us from God’s original plan. While we are busy discussing and fixing this issue or that issue, we are losing sight of the big picture. Again, how is it that we can move forward as a church? Each one of us must focus more on our individual walk with “Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

We need revival and reformation in our lives. The truth of the matter is Jesus is coming again! The relationship of others with God will not be enough to pour out and fill our own hearts, we need a real saving relationship with the one they call “Immanuel, God with us” (Matthew 1:23) The salvation of souls should be our first priority, not women’s ordination or homosexuality in the church. “Every truly converted soul will be intensely desirous to bring others from the darkness of error into the marvelous light of the righteousness of Jesus Christ” (ML 59.2) We must allow ourselves to be drawn closer to Jesus. For example, one of the largest statistical studies done by the General Conference Office of Archives and Statistics has shown that “only about one in three families conduct family worship.”  The study was conducted world wide, which included “4,260 pastors; nearly 26,000 church members; 1,200 college students and recent graduates; and 900 former Adventists.” We as Seventh-day Adventists need to get back to the grass roots of Adventism. Jesus is coming again!

I really appreciated what one of the speakers at a youth conference said, "Instead of saying 'I’m in the liberal box' or 'I’m in the conservative box,' say 'I’m in the Jesus box.'" To be a Seventh-day Adventist means to be a disciple of Christ. “If those who profess to have been truly converted, do not let their light shine forth to others, they are neglecting the doing of the words of Christ" (CS 289)  We are in the investigative judgement, it’s time to get serious about our relationship with Christ for the time is coming, and the close of probation is drawing nigh.  Lives are either won or lost in this critical time. Let us not focus on the minor issues facing our church, rather God’s church. He is in control! Let us draw close to Him while we can because Jesus is coming again! I implore you brothers and sisters this church is a movement, let’s move it with the saving power of the gospel. We cannot win souls to Christ if we ourselves are not won to Him, and if we are looking at the issues of the church. I leave you with this quote from Sister White: “Those who are truly converted will press together in Christian unity. Let there be no division in the church of God, no unwise authority exercised over those who accept the truth. The meekness of Christ is to appear in all that is said and done” (GW 485).

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