Seventh-day Adventism Revisited

Posted on March 15, 2013

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Hidden LightAuthor: Andrew Kerbs

There once was a group of people who possessed a great truth. Instead of sharing this truth, allowing it to transform their lives and the lives of their non-believing neighbors, they shored up their defenses and sat on it. They hid their light under a bushel, to use the biblical analogy, thinking they were protecting it when it reality they made it stagnate and lose all relevance.

What do we know about these people?

For one, they believed in the coming of the Messiah—or so they claimed.

They also believed that it did indeed matter to God which day of the week they worshipped on—that would be Saturday, the Sabbath and the seventh day of the week.

They also had a health message.

They had the gift of prophecy as written down in their many books.

They also had an intimate knowledge of the sanctuary and this was integral to their religion.

They also believed that the above five points saved them. They were wrong.

Do you know who I am talking about yet? The Jews of Christ’s day. If you’re a Seventh-day Adventist and that list hit a little close to home, good. It was meant to. Like the Jews, we as Seventh-day Adventists possess many of the same truths. However, when we degenerate from mission-mindedness to maintenance-mindedness, we inevitably miss the mark.

What do I mean by that?

All of those points that the Jews believed were theologically sound. But they were so self-absorbed and self-deceived that they managed to miss the very One that this whole system of religion pointed to—Christ Jesus.

Christ was the antitype of all the types of the sanctuary system. Everything pointed to Him! Yet somehow the Jews missed it. I say this with a genuine concern because if the children of Abraham were capable of doing it, surely we are just as capable of repeating the same mistake today. There is an old adage that I learned as a history major: “Each time history repeats itself, the price goes up.”

Making the mistake of the Jews at the closing moments of Earth’s history is eternally fatal. So how do we avoid it?

We must realize that Christ Jesus is the fulcrum of the Scriptures and the entire plan of salvation. The state of the dead, the Sabbath, the sanctuary, for example, are all fine doctrines (and I believe them to be biblically solid!) but we must evaluate each one in light of the cross and Christ’s work in the heavenly sanctuary. For example, I might keep Saturday as the Sabbath. I have enough proof texts to silence any Sunday-keeper foolish enough to challenge me, but at the end of the day, if I don’t understand and incorporate into my life the One to whom it points, I’ve missed out.

I’m not advocating downplaying any of our unique points of Adventism. In fact, I want us to rekindle the flames of biblical fervor that ignited this movement 160 years ago and take these points to a fallen world with a renewed energy and Christ-centered compassion.

The reason the message of our church is dwindling in appeal is not because the message was wrong—the messenger has ceased to give it in undiluted entirety. We have either eliminated Christ from the equation, or we have eliminated his Truth. Cheap grace is one ditch, while the other is stifling legalism. Either ditch is still the ditch.

Let us recall that the Lion of the tribe of Judah is simultaneously the Lamb that was slain. Let’s keep the true balance of the everlasting gospel in these troubling times when every wind of doctrine seems to be creeping in everywhere.

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Posted in: End Times, Leadership