Comment on Supreme Court Decision on Church Employment Case by Bill Sorensen.
” If conservative SDAs can’t agree on the details of something as vital as how a person obtains salvation, how can all members ever be expected to agree on the details of less important matters such as how and when the creation occurred?”
Eddie, there is no problem at all if people would simply read the bible with a desire to know it and do it.
I come to know the gospel by way of the “Brinsmead awakening”. And in a real sense, it was a “left-handed blessing” in that we were forced continually to carefully evaluate what we believed and if it was true or not.
Study the bible and EGW for 40 years with this intensity in mind, and by God’s grace, you will no doubt see more clearly all the issues of sin, the law, grace and the gospel in a pretty clear light.
When Brinsmead abandon the faith, it became even more challenging as to why he abandon everything he stood for in the past.
In a nut shell, he and Dr. Ford were casual friends from Australia, and Dr. Ford along with an evangelical, Geoffrey Paxton, persuaded Brinsmead there was no pre-advent IJ that began in 1844.
Brinsmead was a clear minded reasoner and always followed his conclusions to the final end. If Adventism isn’t right, neither is the bible. It only took him a few years to end up where he did.
Dr. Ford, on the otherhand, either deliberately, or through ignorance, hoped he could remain a bible believing SDA while attack EGW and the IJ.
Now go read Spectrum and you will see the majority in the far liberal camp think like Dr. Ford. And make no mistake, the Dr. Ford influence is strong and alive and well in the SDA church today.
Now we have incessant attacks on the bible. Some more subtle than others. And this creation/evolution discussion never would have occurred had our church leaders accepted their obligation to “man up” theologically and run apostates out by exposing clearly their false doctrine.
Now they teach and flaunt their outright rebellion against the bible in the name of their convoluted “gospel” that sets aside the bible and its teachings on salvation and the law.
It seems doubtful that the SDA denominational structure can be saved because the rebellion is at times subtle. None the less, as Paul says, “We can by all means same some” as individuals.
Both the bible and EGW are clear and plain enough for anyone who truly desires to know it and do it. For those who seek some “easy believeism” the bible has been convoluted and we have the fruit of it manifested in all the churches in some form or another.
You better know what you believe and conflict with the church you are a member of will help create a demand on every member to carefully evaluate what is being taught in their church and compare it with scripture.
I’m not usually here so much, but it rained today. I hope all who love the Lord will rejoice in the day He has set aside for us sinners to find grace and acceptance in His dear Son.
Keep the faith
Bill Sorensen Also Commented
Supreme Court Decision on Church Employment Case
I suppose any discussion can become tedious and non-productive after awhile.
If you are a Christian and been one for some time, things that are obvious and non-negotiable in the bible may still be to some extent obscure, either to an unbeliever, or even a new believer who has not affirmed some things by way of continual study and affirmation.
So, if the bible is true, some of the dialogue is useless after awhile. If a person denies the bible, you must first convince them of the validity of scripture and go from there.
I find it difficult to believe that anyone who really takes the bible seriously would even pretend to embrace evolution as an explanation of origins.
But, if and when you dialogue with a Sunday keeper, you may find the same degree of frustration after a period of time when they either refuse to see your point, or, simply do not actually see it.
We can’t always tell, but we can judge to some degree by the way they may respond.
This applies to so much of the bible as a Christian sees things “clearly” and can only wonder at the density of one who doesn’t. Or, is it rebellion?
For me personally, true witnessing is simply pointing the obvious of what the bible teaches. Even the issue of “justification by the law” is so obvious to me and EGW, if she were alive, she could wonder how any SDA would deny it.
Moses, Elijah, and all the prophets along with John the Baptist and Jesus would simply agree that the human perspective is so warped, the obvious may also be obscure.
Even Paul would wonder how in the world he was so misunderstood in his view of law and gospel. And Peter might say, “Well, Paul you have a way of stating things in a way that is a little difficult for a novice to see and comprehend.”
Much of Paul’s writings are based on the assumption that you already know a great deal about the law and salvation and he is simply showing that Jesus is the reality of the ceremonial law. Most of his writings are not directed to novices who know little or nothing about the bible.
As an example, in Rom. 7, he begins “I write to those who know the law.” And this is the format of all his letters in general. He writes mostly to Jewish Christians who have been converted to Christ with the Gentiles in mind who can benefit as well.
So, what may be “obvious” to a bible student of many years, is still in some cases “obscure” to a novice.
If people will fasten their belief system to the bible, we can be sure that in the end, we will have the unity God desires as the Holy Spirit affirms scripture and creates the Christian community.
Much of the bickering in the church is a refusal of the church to study the bible carefully and demand a conclusion based solely on the word. Now we have all kinds of factors such as culture and a host of other so called evidences to interpret the bible and its meaning and application.
The bible doesn’t need our help in explaining itself. It speaks for itself.
How the discussion on creation/evolution is finally concluded, we can be sure that anyone holding to scripture will also hold to a 7 day literal week. It is an objective given beyond negotiation. As are many other biblical concepts.
Supreme Court Decision on Church Employment Case
Hello David, Bill and Bob
I’ve been contemplating on your various positions regarding the importance of faith and works. Interesting, but very complicated stuff.
How does the treatment of the good Samaritan and the good thief on the cross factor into your theology on this topic?
Your agnostic friend
Ken, the bible is always an enigma to an unbeliever, and for the believer as well in some ways.
The main factor that seems to confuse people is the issue of time. The law and the continuing historic process of time is simply ignored by the gospel.
The gospel is about the sovereignty of God and since God knows everything, past, present, and future, time is not relevant to Him in this context.
So, immature believers have a tendency to use this reality to deny time and the process of law. But the gospel does not negate either the historical process, nor the law.
So, we are “saved by faith”, meaning, we believe we are saved, even when we are not. We claim the final judgment verdict before the judgment sets.
And, we act in harmony with this future decision, knowing it is based on two factors, 1. Jesus has paid our debt, and 2. We must repent and obey the law.
The point is this, just because we claim the final verdict before the fact, does not mean there is no need for a court session and judgment.
The final judgment remains a moral influence to warn against presumption of thinking you are actually saved, when you are not. You are saved “by faith”.
If and when a person understands the bible, it is not a “complicated” as many suppose. The sovereignty of God does not negate the sovereignty of man nor man’s obligation to keep the law to be saved.
While it is an enigma from one perspective, it is not beyond comprehension. Just don’t try to use the fact that God knows everything to negate the sovereignty of man and his obligation to the law in the context of time.
This issue has been a problem again and again through out the conflict of sin and creature accountability. It started in heaven and will be consumated before Jesus comes back.
Only the Holy Spirit can help us resolve this issue, for human reasoning can never “figure it out” by human logic.
Supreme Court Decision on Church Employment Case
I think you are working your way through these concepts, Bob, and I appreciate your comments. And I think most SDA’s have some idea of how it works. But if you hammer out year after year for 40 years how you are NOT justified by the law, and never explain how you ARE justified by the law, the end conclusion is there is no context in which we are justified by the law.
Rome’s view of justification and the law is this, Jesus came and showed us how we can merit and earn heaven by keeping the law, both moral and church ceremonies.
Luther first attack church ceremonies by denying anyone can merit heaven in doing these things.
Eventually, he also realized that even keeping the moral law could not merit heaven. Then he imposed the moral law on Galatians and used Galatians to show we can not keep the moral law and merit heaven.
Paul was not talking about the moral law in Galatians. It is solely and only the ceremonial law. Paul is talking about a law that was “added” and then explains how that law is now “subtracted”. Obviously, the ceremonial law.
While we can rightly see a moral law application in principle, it creates total confusion to claim in the historical context that Paul is talking about the moral law. It would mean the moral law has been “subtracted” and now has no application to the Christian community.
Historically, SDA’s have been very careful to explain the difference between the function of the ceremonial law and the moral law. But now we take the book of Galatians and explain it as if there is no difference.
Let me give you a reading assignment. Go read the chapter entitled “Apostacy in Galatia” in the book Acts of the Apostles.
You may be somewhat shocked that EGW never suggests or implies in any way that the law in Galatians is the moral law. That is because she knows it is not. But she also knows that we can impose a moral law application in principle, since no one can merit heaven by the moral law and fulfill the legal requirements of the law by way of the moral law.
In some ways, she created more confusion in the 1888 fiasco than she clarified. And today, because of some of the things she said, we now conclude that Galatians is about the moral law.
Apostate Protestantism is happy and willing for us to use Galatians as we do today. They know that in the end, if this interpretation is correct, Adventism will necessarily give up the Sabbath. All they have to do is wait. Neither is the devil going to cause trouble in a church that is coming over more and more to his side.
In this light, a word about the celebration movement. As SDA’s, we generally don’t have a clue of what the churches of the world are “celebrating”.
Simply this, “Jesus died and did away with the law.” And we think we are celebrating the same “gospel” they are. And, sad to say, in many ways we are.
We state it slightly different, but in the end, it means exactly the same thing. So we say, “You don’t have to keep the law to be saved.” Totally false. It would be accurate to say an unbeliever can not keep the law unless he comes to Jesus. And even then, he can not keep the law and merit heaven.
The bible never places the function of the moral law in the room of what the ceremonial law typifies as Rome does. But the bible clearly defines how we are justified and saved by keeping the moral law in a biblical relationship with Jesus.
In conclusion, it is OK and commendable to show how we are not justified by the law, as long as we continue the explanation and show how we are justified by the law. We don’t do this in the church anymore, and the members are becoming more and more biblically illiterate as they reflect what is being taught in their church today.
In the end, the Sabbath is at stake and confusion reigns from top to bottom.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”