Post Number: 271
|Posted on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 8:42 pm: || |
I don't know how many of you receive the Adventist Review in the mail but there was an article in last week's addition by Cliff Goldstein that some of you may find interesting. The title of the piece is "New Covenant Rest".
His main point seems to be that keeping the Sabbath can't be legalism because Sabbath is a rest really, and the notion that rest can be a work is simply ludicrous. But this looks like a strawman at least to me. What former SDA has ever claimed that resting is a work? He misses the point that it becomes a work when you make "keeping" that rest a requirement for salvation and the endtime test of loyalty that separates the chaff from the wheat.
Then there's the issue of mis-using Hebrews 4...
Here's the text:
ìSo then, a Sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; for those who enter Godís rest also cease from their labors as God did from his. Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through such disobedience as theirsî (Heb. 4:9-11, NRSV).*
Over the past few years some folks have questioned the seventh-day Sabbath. Their argument (as I understand it) goes like this: our true rest is found in Jesus Christ and in His completed work of salvation for us. Because our rest has been fulfilled in Christ, the seventh-day Sabbath, a symbol from the old covenant, has been superseded and, thus, abolished. It is now a legalistic work that robs us of the rest Christ offers us in the new covenant doctrine of grace.
Besides the obvious questions that this move, by default, raisesósuch as the seventh-day rest existing prior to the old covenant (Gen. 2:1-3), and the need to chisel out the fourth commandment from the Decalogue (while leaving the other nine firmly in stone)óthereís another one. How is it that the one commandment devoted to rest, the one commandment that specifically expresses rest, the one commandment that gives us a special opportunity
to rest, has been turned into the universal ìnew covenantî symbol of works? The only commandment that, by its nature, is all about rest has become the iconic metaphor for salvation by works?
Whatís wrong with this picture?
Far from being a symbol of works, the Sabbath is the Bibleís archetypical symbol of the rest that Godís people have always had in Him. From the pre-Fall world of Adam and Eveís Eden, to the new covenant rest that Godís followers have in Christís work of redemption for them (ìSo then, a Sabbath rest still remains for the people of Godî [Heb. 4:9]), the Sabbath is a real-time manifestation of the rest that Christ offers to all (Matt. 11:28).
Anyone can say they are resting in Christ; anyone can say they are saved by grace. But the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath is a visible expression of that rest, a living parable of what it means to be covered by His grace. Our weekly rest from our secular, worldly works stands as a symbol of our rest in the completed work of Jesus for us. ìFor those who enter Godís rest also cease from their labors as God did from his.î Our obedience to this commandment is a way of saying: ìHey, weíre so sure of our salvation in Jesus, weíre so firm and secure in what Christ has done for us, we canóin a special wayórest from any of our works because we know what Christ has accomplished for humanity through His death and resurrection.î
It would seem that by firmly adhering to the commandments against adultery, or against stealing, or covetousness, or idolatry, we could be accused, at least a little more logically and reasonably, of legalism, of salvation by works (that is, if one could be accused of legalism for obeying any of the commandments). But we are legalists because we rest (rest!) on the seventh-day Sabbath?
The irony of it all: by resting we are accused of trying to work our way to heavenóan argument that makes about as much sense as a parricide pleading for mercy because heís an orphan.
Somehow, Seventh-day Adventists have lost control of the dialogue and have found ourselves defending this weekly rest we have in Christ from the opprobrium of being antithetical to grace, of being an attempt at salvation by works. Yet by resting from our works according to the commandment we reveal just how real that grace is in our lives. We just donít say we have that rest; we live it. The burden of proof, then, should be on those whoóthough claiming to rest in Christís graceóare missing out on the New Testamentís most obvious and practical expression of that grace, the seventh-day Sabbath.
Post Number: 43
|Posted on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 8:55 pm: || |
The logic is, to say the least, creative. It's twisted really. I'll have to read it deeper after I stop laughing.
Thanks for illuminating this.
Post Number: 357
|Posted on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 9:16 pm: || |
Quote "The irony of it all: by resting we are accused of trying to work our way to heavenóan argument that makes about as much sense as a parricide pleading for mercy because heís an orphan. "
What happens a person stops resting on the Sabbath? I think the answer to that makes it clear that the resting is a work.
Post Number: 48
|Posted on Friday, December 01, 2006 - 5:11 am: || |
"The burden of proof, then, should be on those whoóthough claiming to rest in Christís graceóare missing out on the New Testamentís most obvious and practical expression of that grace, the seventh-day Sabbath."
Is he saying that the most obvious and practical expression of Christ's covering of our sins before the Father is keeping a 24 hour period free of our own works?
Having been and observed Adventist for 40 years, I do not believe that is what is being conveyed to the rest of the world about Adventist. I on the other hand believe the rest of the world looks at an SDA and see a "works" with their Sabbath keeping.
I would submit that a more subtle expression is how we love one another. This subtleness is more transforming than being known for what a person or denomination does or does not do. At least thats how I know I want to be known for and how I can express to others my expression of grace.
Post Number: 654
|Posted on Friday, December 01, 2006 - 5:17 am: || |
Great point, Alan on "a more subtle expression is how we love one another" and it being more transforming! That fits exactly with John 13:35: " By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." Funny how it doesn't say those who belong to Jesus will be known for their Sabbath-keeping. It's amazing how common a theme "love one another" is in most of the NT books.
Post Number: 49
|Posted on Friday, December 01, 2006 - 8:28 am: || |
The reason I used the word "subtle" is presently I am reading "The Jesus I never Knew" by P. Yancey. I realize more than ever the humbling experiance and way Jesus entered this world and set up His kingdom.
Post Number: 656
|Posted on Friday, December 01, 2006 - 9:27 am: || |
Thanks for the clarification, Alan. I did wonder about the use of that word. I can see "subtle" is a great word because it denotes something that is personal, relational, and heart-connected, rather than something external that can be pointed to like Sabbath-keeping.
Post Number: 224
|Posted on Friday, December 01, 2006 - 6:53 pm: || |
Hey, Alan...I'm sure you are enjoying that book! I loved it, as I do all Phil Yancey's books. I read it aloud to my best friend as we were on a cross country trip together. It's an awesome book about Jesus!
Post Number: 16
|Posted on Saturday, December 02, 2006 - 3:18 pm: || |
Claiming that saturday church attendance and more severely, that claiming to "keep" the Sabbath while sneering with pride and quaranteeing oneself from the sunday church attenders is clearly a fruit not of the Spirit. I can almost hear Jesus sigh when hearing a claim of superior "keeping". Then I hear Him say "and your point, loved one?"
An interesting thing to me is that, when I was in sda schools, I was always taught that those terrible apostate sunday-attenders were making an informed, deliberate decision to follow the Catholic Church. The two primary religions that make a legal big issue of which day is to be kept are the Catholics and Adventists. I have asked hundreds of protestant, non sda aquaintances about what the sabbath is to them, they go to Hebrews, Romans, Galatians, etc. I have yet to hear defense of saturday vs. sunday arguments. They don't care about it, even thinking it oddly funny, because it isn't in their Bible. It isn't as if adventism hasn't tried through their evangelism. The problem is, their position is based on something outside the Bible cause "it ain't in there Mr. Goldstein!" Of course, if referencing the "book of Ellen", a discriminatory, cross-busting sabbath can be found. Unfortunately for me and others, our Bibles do not have a book of Ellen.
A fourth-generation sda, now free to rest in Christ,
Post Number: 94
|Posted on Monday, December 04, 2006 - 9:51 am: || |
SDAs don't limit their discussion of the sabbath to the concept of "rest." The entire reason that SDAs claim that sabbath is the seal of God relates to WORSHIP, not to REST. Worship is clearly a work.
Post Number: 5053
|Posted on Monday, December 04, 2006 - 2:14 pm: || |
Good point, Tdf! You're right.
Post Number: 32
|Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 - 1:54 pm: || |
Clifford assumes SDA's are seen as legalists because they 'try' to 'keep' the Sabbath ("But we are legalists because we rest (rest!) on the seventh-day Sabbath?"). But that is NOT why Christian's see SDA's a legalists.
It's the importance that is placed on the Sabbath by SDA's. It is the 'ultimate final test' of loyalty to God. It's the 'Seal of God'. It is the 'dividing wall' or 'separating wall' between the lost and the saved. If SDA's just wanted to 'rest' on the seventh day, most Christians would be accepting of that. But the SDA gospel doesn't allow for other Christians to worship on any other day (ESPECIALLY SUNDAY) because they (SDA's) associate it with the Mark of the Beast.
I believe that is why Sabbatarian groups get the label of 'legalistic'. They insist that their way is the only way acceptable to God. Just my two cents.
Post Number: 5097
|Posted on Thursday, December 14, 2006 - 9:38 am: || |
So true. The Sabbath has a meaning to Adventists that is different from what it means to anyone else. It is completely intertwined in their salvation and eschatology. No matter how they dance around this reality, it is true. No matter how they demur that Sabbath has nothing to do with salvation, none of them would think of leaving it.
It's been a real education receiving the calls and letters after this large mailing of Proclamation. If there was ever any doubt about the true nature of Adventism, these widely geographically scattered responses ALL have the same tone and message. The anger at our new covenant position which says Sabbath is fulfilled in Christ is almost unbelievable. The perceived insult at having Adventism questioned is overwhelming.
No, Sabbath is not a mere anomaly within Adventism. It is a powerful symbol of "specialness" and "rightness"óit is not merely a point of disagreement. It is a point of division, and deviants are "doing the work of [their] father the devil" and have lost their salvation. The fact that there are many nice, sweet people within Adventism means nothing about the religion. The church itself is founded on deception, and the fact that there are people inside who are coming to know Jesus is entirely the miraculous result of the Holy Spirit's calling people to Himself. It it not because the religion itself teaches the gospel
I do pray that God will expose and break the spirit of Adventism and set free all those who are bound in dishonesty and/or deception.
Post Number: 132
|Posted on Thursday, December 14, 2006 - 10:50 am: || |
Just curious. Have you gotten any positive phone calls from those who found Proclamation to be confirming what they were learning in other ways?
I know this is seed planting, but it's still got to be difficult to field negative after negative phone call. Praying for you to be lifted up with a special grace upon you, your words and answers to those who call.
Post Number: 373
|Posted on Thursday, December 14, 2006 - 10:51 am: || |
I recently heard an Adventist respond to the New Covenant saying it was a misunderstanding of justification by faith. The person said that we were justified by the faith of Jesus and Jesus's faith was demonstrated in His life. He then went on to say that it was impossible to keep any other day than the 7th day because that day was made holy as the sign of faith. He said that he Sabbath was a sign of God's perfect work and that to reject the Sabbath is to reject His righteousness.
Does that make sense to anyone?
Post Number: 410
|Posted on Thursday, December 14, 2006 - 11:04 am: || |
Aliza, I would really like to know that as well.
U2bsda, no. Sounds like more story telling.
Colleen, your posts are always so enlightening.
Post Number: 392
|Posted on Thursday, December 14, 2006 - 1:08 pm: || |
I read a wonderful booklet written by Robert Brinsmead, called "Are the Gospel& Theology compatible?", which is available online on Mark Martin's site. Brinsmead said
We need to understand that the pioneers of adventism, in developing their 1844 theology, proceeded on the assumption that Christ's atonement was not completed on the cross. Consequently the Seventh-day Adventist gospel has generally been preached as a promise of what God will do for us if we fulfill certain conditions. For example, He will forgive us if we repent, exercise faith and promise to keep his Law. He will help us overcome every defect of character so that we can receive the seal of God and the latter rain. He will blot out our sins if we pass the scrutinity of the investigative judgment. It is no exxageration to say that Adventism has lived more as an Oldt Testament community with a gospel of promise than a New Testament community with a gospel of something already finished.
faith in the apostolic gospel gives us all that God and the future can give us. Traditional Adventism says, No, in order to be ready for Christ's coming, there must not only be a further work of Christ in heaven, but there must be a further work of grace in the heart - an eschatological gift of the Holy Spirit (the latter rain) and an eschatological sealing of the saints which is something different than the saints have always enjoyed in the gospel. Thus traditional Adventism waits for the final atonement, waits for the investigative judgment, waits for the latter rain and waits for the special sealing be placed on a community of perfect Adventists. Great futurists!
They are also waiting for the real sabbath rest, Jesus' rest. He came caling people to Himself to give them rest, but clinging to the shadow, adventists are proclaiming that they are waiting to enjoy the complete and final rest of God. They have not entered in God's rest already provided, but their sabbath-keeping reveal that they are waiting for something already accomplished.
This is the problem with adventism: they are believing the gospel, but not the gospel as preached by the apostles, but the gospel of the shadows which is a negation of the reality. And this is a problem.
The Old Testament sacrifices and rituals were repetitive in nature, in contrast to the one sacrifice of Jesus. In the Old Covenant, we have many priests, in the New Covenant we have only One High Priest. Many sacrifices, one efficient sacrifice. The problem was that these many were replaced by one, as Hebrews 10:8-10
When he said above, "You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings" (these are offered according to the law), then he added, "Behold, I have come to do your will." He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
There is a contrast in Hebrews between plural and singular. The Old Covenant is build in plural actions, but the New Covenant is build in a singular action, Jesus' death on the cross.
This singular very important aspect of salvation accomplished in the New Covenant is negated by a repetitive ritual: keeping the weekly sabbath again, and again and again. This repetitiveness is in antithesis with the fact that Jesus is our singular and final Sabbath rest.
Post Number: 5100
|Posted on Thursday, December 14, 2006 - 7:33 pm: || |
Jackob, that is a very insightful and helpful post. You are so right. Brinsmead absolutely summarizesd the truth about Adventists and the gospel. Even "modern" evangelical Adventists do NOT understand or teach the true Biblical gospel. You are absolutely right that Adventists keep the Sabbath to proclaim their coming rest at the second coming. They do not believe the new covenant is fulfilled now. No matter how they arrange their words to appear to say orthodox doctrines, they do not MEAN what the Biblical words mean.
Yes, Alizaówe've had a few phone calls from people who said they were dumbounded to receive our magazine, that they thought they were all alone in studying themselves out of Adventist beliefs. Those calls are so wonderful.
Certainly the negatives outweighed the positives, but most of the people didn't respond at all. (That's normal!) We know that there are many people who likely have read the magazine and now find themselves thinking about what they've read. We're praying for God to water the seeds...
Post Number: 675
|Posted on Friday, December 15, 2006 - 3:02 pm: || |
U2BSDA, the general problem in SDA teaching of justification by faith is that justification is not enough for salvation. A person must also, by some undefined and inScriptural process, exercise their faith in such a manner that they truly become "fit for heaven." Adding to justification by faith effectively denies that very doctrine. Justification becomes meaningless, because it alone will not save anyone. Christ's death in our place is made meaningless. This is the "big but" in SDAism. We are saved by faith, but... Anyone who understands human behavior knows that you can usually ignore what comes before the "but" in such a statement. SDA theology is found after the but. Kinda of the tail wagging the dog.
Post Number: 5105
|Posted on Friday, December 15, 2006 - 3:47 pm: || |
Rick, you've totally identified the problem. I love the "tail wagging the dog" imageóit works!
Post Number: 3169
|Posted on Friday, December 15, 2006 - 4:07 pm: || |
I like the way you describe things and use words.
I, too, like the "tail wagging the dog" image. That is what I see also.
Post Number: 33
|Posted on Friday, December 15, 2006 - 8:05 pm: || |
Ric_b, LOL, the 'big but' in Adventism! LOL So true though. Every time you think you're making progress with SDA's understanding of salvation (by grace alone, through faith alone) the 'big but' of SDAism gets in the way.
I like how you said 'SDA theology is found after the but'. I agree. Well said. May we all find the truth BEFORE our but gets in the way.
(Thanks for the emails BTW, I've read and sent them on already to others.)