Perhaps the statement “Apathy is the real problem, but who …

Comment on 2013 Annual Council Votes to Change Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6 by Bill Sorensen.

Perhaps the statement “Apathy is the real problem, but who cares?” is in fact the oxymoron of truth that allows and even causes division in the church, or, in any other group organized for some purpose.

How can we not see a perfect reflection of the SDA church and its spiritual problems in the civil political debate in American politics? A lack of competance and qualification is destroying the American way of life by those who are abandoning the basis of that way of life, namely, our constitution and system of law.

In the context of the SDA church, we must ask, “When does the reality of false teaching and false doctrine allowed by individuals in the church, become the teaching of the church itself?”

Or, “When does apostacy in the church make the church an apostate church?” Somewhere, the line is crossed from saying there is apostacy in the church, to affirming that the church itself is apostate.

When evolution is not only allowed, but condoned and supported, at some point, this fact is not apostacy in the church, but it makes the church an apostate church. If the church refuses to take any demonstrateable action and only makes statement after statement about the false teaching, it becomes like the boy who cries “wolf” again and again until no one believes him on any level.

And this response is repeated again and again on every level of challenge to the historic Christian declarations of faith. All this simply affirms again and again that Pluralism is impotent to act with the final end being self destruction.

At some point, the church that allows and supports false doctrine, must eventually become an apostate church. There is no bible “gospel” that allows for the tolerance and indifference for false doctrine. And neither does the false application of “judge not” have any relevance in such a situation. At some point, there must be an “Elijah” movement that demands accountability of those who are responsible for false teaching and false doctrine. If not, apostacy in the church, soon makes it an apostate church.

Bill Sorensen Also Commented

2013 Annual Council Votes to Change Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6
An important part of the discussion concerning the evolution vs. creation scenario, is the issue of church authority and its limits to define and discipline those who oppose any objective given defined by “the church”.

No church can state all the requirements of God defined in the bible and then try to discipline the members if they fail to comply. The law is too complex and comprehensive to make such a statement. But a church can define some definitive doctrines as the lowest common denominator for church members to confess and agree to.

As SDA’s, we don’t set a standard that represents the highest level of spirituality possible for a Christian. We do set a minimal list of “rules” and doctrines and if these are denied, the individual should move on, or expect to be disciplined for failure to either comply and/or support the list. The basic list might include Sabbath keeping on the 7th day. The state of the dead. The thousand year period of time being in heaven and not on this earth. Also, some health practices such as not smoking, drinking and/or other drug abuse.

Certainly a 7 day creation week as a literal week of time is in harmony with the Sabbath issue. A few other things could be mentioned, but the list is not a comprehensive statment concerning the most mature spirituality any believer can attain. It is a minimual list. Neither does it claim nor assume that no one is, or can be a Christian who does not agree to the list. A person may be a Christian, but not a SDA Christian if they deny the list.

Neither does discipline and even disfellowshipment claim the church can determine who is saved and who is not. It can only determine who is qualifed to represent the SDA faith. Any spiritual community has the right and obligation to define its identity and defend it.

We need not apologize if and when a person is fired who attacks church defined doctrines. Nor does “religious freedom” include the right to be a part of a spiritual community and then attack any stated doctrine without discipline. Religious freedom means you can start your own church, and/or oppose any community you are not a part of without secular and civil authority to punish you for doing so.

The liberal agenda in Adventism denies the church’s right to define itself and discipline those within who attack and oppose it. How the final issue is resolved is yet to be determined. But we must accept the fact that any church has the right and authority to disfellowship anyone it decides is not worthy to bear the name of the fellowship. After this point is established, the church can move forward in the action necessary to keep harmony in the church. And on the other side of the coin, if the church does not represent you, you are free to leave.

2013 Annual Council Votes to Change Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6
After the Dr. Ford fiasco, he had so much sympathy in support of his false application of the gospel and so much protest for “how he was treated”, the church opted for Pluralism.

No more discipline for false doctrine. So the Moral Influence Theory with Maxwell was tolerated and a host of other false ideas were left “untouched” and made their way into Adventism.

So, how can “the church” discipline those who advocate some form of evolution when the church has not disciplined any other false doctrine for decades?

Now some people are becoming deeply concerned about apostacy in the church, and rightly so. But the liberal theology of Pluralism has negated any efforts to correct in any substancial way the error of past, present, and probably future.

Where this will finally go, no one knows for sure. But we can know for a fact that God will eventually create a community of believers who hold the bible as the final rule of faith and practice. Unless the church returns to this confession of faith and demands accountability by way of scripture, we have no hope for the church to be God’s final instrumentality to prepare people for the second coming.

There is now an “awakening” on some level to this reality, and so more and more independent ministries are calling for some genuine reform within the SDA church. The shaking will be a “terrible ordeal” EGW, and to try to avoid it is useless. It will come no matter how hard the political elements try to resolve the issues with a cry for unity at all cost. There will be no unity, but war and division. If we don’t prepare for it, we will be swept away in the flood of false doctrine that has spread all over Adventism.

The church is already split spiritually. There must be a physical split in harmony with the spiritual split. We better know the bible, and I don’t means some superfical understanding many have today. We need to be grounded in the word.

2013 Annual Council Votes to Change Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6
While it is true there are many who freely admit they do not hold to scripture as a final authority, even within the Christian community, there are far more who claim to hold scripture as the final authority who do not by the way they explain the how and way of it. And this is what we must examine with a critical eye by way of scripture itself.

Rome appeals to scripture to claim the scripture has abandon its own authority to the church. A pretty trickey way to claim you believe scripture while undermining its authority. So, “What ever is bound on earth is bound in heaven” means God has abandon His authority to the church and must necessarily abide by whatever the church decides.

The ongoing discussion on creation vs. evolution has various elements of affirmation of scripture, while also finding other focal points of authority on various levels as well. And this pretty well fits all the different discussions in the SDA church today.

As an example, Is Jesus subject to the scripture, or, are the scriptures subject to Christ? This is not a “catch 22” but has a clear and definitive answer. And the answer is, “Jesus is subject to scripture.”

He always affirmed His ministry by way of “Moses and the prophets.” The reason should be somewhat obvious. How could we know if “Jesus” was the Messiah unless we tested Him by way of Moses and the prophets? Our final authority is always scripture, and any “new” exhortation must necessarily be tested by Moses and the prophets.

One special tactic of Satan is to claim the bible is not sufficiently clear on many issues, and if this is true, we have no “final” authority, but a non-discernable standard that could and may mean many things because the revelation is obscure. This is the tactic he is useing in the SDA church today. Not just the creation discussion, but in almost every issue of division and contention.

So some will claim you can build a defense from the bible on many devisive issues. This is false. It simply means someone is useing the bible in a non-biblical format and context to support a false position. And only those who hold a false position will claim it is possible to defend various ideas and concepts. It suits their agenda to introduce false doctrine. It creates total confusion and devisiveness just as the devil wants it.

But we must discern the whole point of all the division and ambiguity is laying the ground work for an abandonment of the bible Sabbath with the argument that a defense of the Sabbath is not so clearly discernable in scripture, and more than one conclusion can be correct as it is impossible to know for sure one way or the other.

In which case, like the argument of Catholicism, the Holy Spirit will lead the church into a correct understanding over and above the scriptures. Now if you don’t see this in all the bickering and discussions and divisions in Adventism, you are not seeing the picture clearly, nor will you be able to defend your own faith in scriptural authority and affirm it.

Our final confession is this. The bible is a clear and definitive revelation of truth that is beyond obscurity so we can define and know exactly what it teaches and means.

The liberal agenda will never accept this testimony as it exposes all their false doctrines and pretensions and unites all true believers in a concise and definitive faith that will bind us together in the word of God.

Keep the faith.

Recent Comments by Bill Sorensen

The Sabbath and the Covenants (Old vs. New)
” That’s what I’ve been saying (and what Morris Venden and MacCarty have been saying)”

Well, I did not do a complete search on all the MacCarty says or believes. But in the case of Venden, I did do such a study and Venden had a doctrine of “sanctification by faith alone” that was totally outside the bible teaching.

“Faith alone” by definition means we play no part in it. If so, it is not “faith alone”. But Venden’s view of sanctification was definitely “faith alone” and we play no part in it but believe. At any rate, there is more confusion than bible definition in his definition of sanctification, and I think this applies to MacCarty as well. Like I said, I read his book a couple years ago and it was circular with no real definition of what he meant.

But basically, he equated the old covenant with legalism which is bogus. We agree a misapplication of the old covenant is not the same thing as a clear understanding of the old covenant and its purpose. So let’s not take a misapplication of the old covenant, and then claim this is the old covenant.

As you have defended the Sabbath against a misapplication of the new covenant and not called it the new covenant we must do the same with the old covenant. Our conclusion should be that a misapplication of any truth does not equate to the truth that is being misapplied. The confusion continues on many levels in the SDA community today.

Your defense of creation against the liberal agenda is a classic illustration of how the liberal agenda misapplies the new covenant on every level from false teaching to simply denying the bible outright. And all this from a misapplication of the new covenant that creates a false “spirit ethic” that takes the place of the bible and the ten commandments.

I appreciate the dialogue. Some may see the point eventually and some never will. Since we don’t know who’s who in this context, we leave it up to God to sort out the various issues and determine who “gets it” and who don’t.
Bill Sorensen

The Sabbath and the Covenants (Old vs. New)
“You honestly think that you can simply choose to do good through your own willpower.”

I never said any such thing or even suggested it. Did you even read what I wrote. If so, you decided to impute to me something I never said or suggested. Let’s at least try to be objective in our evaluation of what the other person said.

I said the Holy Spirit liberates the will and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can choose to believe, repent and obey. How then is this your false claim that I think “You honestly think that you can simply choose to do good through your own willpower.”

You rightly point out that without the Holy Spirit, we have no way to know God’s will, let alone do it. And yes, Jesus “puts enmity between sinful beings and the kingdom of Satan.”

But “putting the enmity by Christ” will save no one until and unless they choose to respond in the God ordained way He has stated in the bible. Each individual must choose to first accept the atonement, then repent, and then obey the law. Thus, the Holy Spirit empowers the will, but it is the sinner who must respond. And this is not “doing it on their own” as you seem to imply. Jesus said, “Without me, you can do nothing.” But as Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ which stengthenth me.”

Paul states what he can do by the power of God. And it is not God doing the believing, or repenting or obeying. It is Paul. EGW makes this very clear to refute the mystics who try to claim that Jesus or the Holy Spirit gets in them and does the willing and doing.

” While these youth were working out their own salvation, God was working in them to will and to do of his good pleasure. Here are revealed the conditions of success. To make God’s grace our own, we must act our part. The Lord does not propose to perform for us either the willing or the doing. His grace is given to work in us to will and to do, but never as a substitute for our effort. Our souls are to be aroused to co-operate. The Holy Spirit works in us, that we may work out our own salvation. This is the practical lesson the Holy Spirit is striving to teach us. “It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” THE YOUTH’S INSTRUCTOR
August 20, 1903
Lessons From the Life of Daniel—9
This concerning Daniel and his friends.

She refutes the modern day mysticism that would destroy the will of man and interpret “Christ in you, the hope of glory” totally outside the biblical context.

But “Christ in you, the hope of glory” is the same thing reflected in the words of Paul, “For me to live is Christ.” Meaning, I love Jesus so much my whole life is dedicated to His glory and will.

Our “own works” that she refers to, are those people do outside a biblical relationship with Christ. It does not refer to the works of a true believer who conforms his life to emulate the life of Christ. Where does Skip MacCarty point out this difference?

Much, if not most of modern spirituality in Adventism is pure mysticism that convolutes the identity of Christ and the believer to the point the believer has no identity. It was highly stimulated by Morris Venden who tried to show that “faith alone” applies equally to sanctification as it does to justification. It was and is totally bogus. But it has infiltrated the church by him and others to the point that mysticism is rapidly becoming the major spirituality of the church.

You may mean well, Sean. But like so many others, you don’t take the time to carefully consider the implications of what you say nor explain it is a clear definitive way so that it fits the bible context. If the true bible position on sanctification is clearly presented, then it is obvious we “save ourselves” by the way we respond to the word of God. In which case, the law is salvational, but only in the biblical context. Simply put, we are “saved” by doing what God says and this includes faith in the atonement.

Many are so “hell bent” to avoid what they think is legalism, they wrest the scriptures to their own destruction and not only deceive themselves, but others who do not carefully consider the implications of the conclusion of their false idea and theory.

But to claim that those who reject your view think they can “do it on their own” is a false representation that prejudices others who don’t carefully follow the conversation. Having said all this, I am more than willing for anyone to explain and qualify and re-qualify as many times as necessary to make it very clear what they mean by what they say.

So I agree, sanctification is by faith, but not by “faith alone” in the same context that justification is by faith alone. Without a clear explanation, all we have is ongoing confusion on sin and salvation and the divine factor vs. the human factor in a full and complete view of what the bible teaches about the issues.
Bill Sorensen

The Sabbath and the Covenants (Old vs. New)
“We “work out our own salvation” by simply opening to the door the Spirit of God. That’s our only “work” to do here. That’s the only “work” we can do. The rest is beyond human power.”

Your whole theory is pure mysticism as the rest of your explanation affirms. The purpose of sanctification on the part of God is to liberate the human will for self government. It is the believing sinner who chooses to have faith and repent, and obey the law of God.

Neither is it “automatic” but by careful evaluation of the will of God and the implications of the outcome if we chose not to accept the free offer. You undermine and in the end, destroy the human factor in salvation and the moral accountability of man.

So when we are confronted by the gospel, we must choose to believe, choose to repent and choose to obey. God will not do this for us. Neither will the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the “holy motive” as He inspires and empowers us to “save ourselves” by responding to the word of God exactly as it is stated in the bible.

Much of the SDA church has opted for some mystical non-biblical explanation of the plan of salvation that has no affinity to the true teaching of the bible.

So sanctification is not “just give yourself to Jesus and He will do the rest.”

Basically, you convolute the divine factor and human factor in such a way that you end up negating the human factor altogether.

I doubt anything I would share with you would challenge your thinking, since in the past you have rejected other clear biblical concepts on sin and salvation like the doctrine of original sin. At any rate, if you post my response, perhaps one of your readers will actually see the point and consider the implications of our dialogue.
Bill Sorensen

The Sabbath and the Covenants (Old vs. New)
Yes, as EGW and the bible affirm, we are justified by obedience to the moral law. Not in a legal sense, but in a moral sense. And this is what the Investigative judgment is all about. The word “justification” in the bible has a more comprehensive meaning than people perceive today. Like the word “atonement” and “salvation” the word “justification” has been limited to a non-biblical meaning and application that foreign to the bible and the full meaning the bible gives to these words.

And yes, we save ourselves by the way we respond to the word of God. No, we don’t save ourselves by meriting heaven and earning the favor of God. “If you will enter into life, keep the commandments.” Jesus

This is too plain to be misunderstood except by those who convolute the bible to support their false doctrine. No one is justified by “faith alone” except the special context used by the Reformation to oppose Rome when Rome taught legal merit in the believer’s response to the conditions for salvation.

“Faith alone” in this context was “Christ alone” who stands in the presence of God in our behalf as the meritorious cause of salvation and eternal life. This is not sanctification nor is sanctification “by faith alone” as some faulty teachers try to present and defend. Sanctification is always by faith and works on the part of the believer as we “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.”

And justification by faith in the bible, is the believer’s faith in Christ, not Christ’s faith in the believer. This subject is so confused and warped by SDA scholars it has no affinity to bible teaching and doctrine. So it is the believer’s faith in Christ that justifies. This is the whole theme of Paul and the new testament emphasis and message.
Bill Sorensen

The Sabbath and the Covenants (Old vs. New)
” “All that the Lord has said, we will do.” (Exodus 19:8).”

That’s right Sean. And the Lord said, “The people have well spoken there commitment.” But then added, “Oh that there was such an heart in them to do it.”

The issue was proper motivation based on a clear understanding of sin and all that this implies. God never chided them for their statement of faith but their lack of understanding the sinful human heart.

How is that any different than today in the new covenant era? How many are baptized making the same valid commitment and confession of faith only to find the difficulty of living out the Christian experience.

Neither will Jesus get into anybody and obey the law for them. The motivation will ratchet up as our understanding is increased and the love of God that motivates works in a more dynamic way with the increased knowledge.

But many assume the old covenant was a system of legalism and then contrast the new covenant as a true system of faith. This is bogus. True believers in the old covenant era trusted in Christ. These are the old covenant experience people and not Cain or anyone else in that era who either refused the offer God provided or convoluted it. So those who imply that the old covenant was in and of itself a system of legalism like MacCarty does, have a false idea of old and new covenant that is simply not biblical. And then they try to explain how in the new covenant God writes the law on our heart and not in stone.

God wrote His law on the heart of Abel, Noah, Abraham and every true believer in the old covenant era as Jesus “put enmity between Satan and man” by a revelation of the love of God in His willingness to make atonement for fallen man. The new covenant era simply means God will finish writing His law on the heart of every true believer and this is not some “new” covenant different than the old.

Only in the sense that the atonement promised in the past is now a reality in the present. And this ratchets up the motivation in harmony with the life of Jesus more fully revealed by way of the new covenant writers. It is false doctrine to present the idea that no one had the law “written on their heart” during the old covenant era. Did you ever read the words of David in the Psalms, “Create in me a new heart, and renew a right spirit within me.”?

This is not the new covenant in the old covenant era. There is no “new covenant believer” in the old covenant era. This is impossible. The new covenant is after the fact of the atonement and is based on the time element of the two covenants. The first covenant (old covenant) is based on a future event. The new covenant is based on a past event. This is the whole spirituality of Paul and repeated and affirmed in the book of Hebrews. What God had promised during the old covenant era, He has done.

There is certainly an affinity in both covenants as both are based on Jesus and His sacrifice. Everyone in heaven will have trusted in the atonement of the cross whether it was before Jesus made the atonement or after He made the atonement. Again, I say it is bogus to claim Cain represents an old covenant experience and Abel a new covenant experience. And it is equally false to claim anyone who is a legalist in the new covenant era is an old covenant experience. Namely this, the old covenant is not legalism and never was. Just because people corrupt the old covenant does not equate to claiming they were legalists by virtue of being in the old covenant era.

This is MacCarty’s error and he speaks for more than a few SDA scholars who are as confused as he is. God made no legal covenant with anyone with the exception of His Son. God’s covenant with all is based on the moral law and this is not legalism unless, like the Catholic church, you think you can merit heaven by keeping the moral law.

The moral law, like I said, is a family law and those who refuse to enter into this moral covenant to “obey and live” will never be in heaven. Children in a loving home don’t obey their parents to merit and earn the favor of their parents or earn a place in the family. None the less, they are in covenant relationship with their parents and if they rebel enough, can be disinherited, just like Adam and Eve who rebelled against the family law.

Adam and Eve in a state of sinlessness were not meriting the favor of God. Nor do the sinless angels merit the favor of God. Nor do the redeemed in heaven merit the favor of God. None the less, all are under obligation to obey the family law of God or forfeit eternal life like Adam and Eve in the garden. Love for God never releases anyone from the moral obligation to do God’s will and submit to His authority. This issue is so intense even in the SDA church that many now assume if you love God you have no obligation to obey and that you simply do God’s will because “you want to, not because you have to.” This is bogus and the lie of Satan that he advocated in heaven. We better get it straight and if not, “Spiritualism is at the door deluding the whole world.”
Bill Sorensen