Comment on Summary of 60th General Conference Session (2015) by Ken Christman.
Yes, a careful reading of Paul clearly shows that Jesus replaced the Old Covenant (Mosaic Law). Galatians 2:16 says: “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
The Royal Law “has always existed”? “Is not something ‘new’ created after the cross”?
Jesus, however, described it in John 13:34 as a new commandment–“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” This is confirmed by Jesus’ message on the Mount of Blessings in Matthew 5, better known as the Beatitudes. He repeatedly said, “You have previously heard thus, but I am now telling you this.” “Moses said such and such, but now I am telling you this.” As the Son of God, He had authority to change the Mosaic Law.
While I would very much like to believe that my atheist friend will be “saved” as per your comment, “If he honestly lives according to the Royal Law, he will not die without a Savior”, this assurance does not reconcile with the words of Jesus:
John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
John 3:36 “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he taht believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
So, if evolutionists “atheists” are assured of salvation and will not “die without a Savior”, are you not wasting your time in trying to convince people to teach Creationism? Did not my parents waste their whole life as missionaries and church officials in trying to convert people to a belief in Jesus? Why, if all those atheists and evolutionists are going to be saved anyway, why waste your time with futile efforts. Why then, did Jesus command His disciples in Matthew 28 to carry the gospel to the whole world, if indeed everybody was going to be saved anyway?
Why then, did Jesus have to die such a cruel death on the cross if there was another pathway to heaven? If everybody could be saved anyway, why did He have to come to this wicked world to be tortured and killed in a very agonizing way? Did not He pray in the Garden prior to His death, that if it be possible, this agony be spared Him?
If indeed there was another pathway to salvation, God the Father must have been extremely cruel to have His only begotten Son be tortured and killed in such an inhuman way. So, according to this theory of Universalism, God becomes a fool and also cruel to force His Son to go through this pain unnecessarily. It also creates a liar out of Jesus, who clearly taught that only through Him and His atonement is eternal life possible.
While your teaching of eternal life for evolutionists is incongruent with the words of Jesus, it likewise cannot be reconciled with the teachings of Ellen White, who taught that even the saints cannot be assured of salvation.
Spiritual Gifts, vol. 1, page 198. “The saints, in that fearful time, after the close of Jesus’ mediation, were living in the sight of a holy God, without an intercessor.”
Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, pp. 314, 315. “Every soul that has named the name of Jesus Christ has a case pending in the heavenly tribunal. It is court week with us, and the decision passed upon each case will be final.”
In Matthew 22, Jesus taught the parable of the King who prepared a marriage feast for His Son, and the invited guests were invited to come, as the feast was ready. They refused, however, and even killed the King’s servants. The message then went forth to anybody BOTH GOOD AND BAD on the highways and byways to come to the feast. All they had to do was wear the wedding garment. However, one chap got in wearing his own garment and was speechless when asked why he wasn’t wearing his wedding garment. He was then bound and cast out into utter darkness, where there was “weeping and gnashing of teeth”.
For me, the interpretation is self-evident. The invited guests were the Jews, the Children of the Promise, They rejected the feast (eternal life through Jesus). Then, the invitation was extended to everybody else, BOTH GOOD AND BAD. All they had to do was wear a wedding garment to cover their own filthy garment. The wedding garment was free, and available only from the King and His Son. However, those who pretended to merit attending the feast without the wedding garment and on the basis of their own “good works” were cast out into utter darkness. Those evolutionists who disdained the King obviously did not even want a wedding garment and got nowhere near the feast, as they did not want nor accept the wedding garment.
I will pray that you will see the the words of Jesus as being free to all, yet exclusive to only those who accept the invitation and their wedding garments.
Ken Christman Also Commented
Summary of 60th General Conference Session (2015)
Created beings have been questioning the character of their Creator from the very beginning. The Reptile successfully convinced Adam and Eve that God had not been fair with them and that they could achieve godhood and additional wisdom by partaking of prohibited fruit. That bold lie cost them eternal life. Had they only trusted their Creator, they would still be enjoying immortality and a perfect world.
From the moment they sunk their teeth into that forbidden fruit, they were destined to die. There was nothing they could do to prevent death. If they had lived perfect lives from that point onward, they could not have regained their paradise lost. It was completely outside their control. Likewise, we and all their descendants, are infected with the deadly virus of sin and there is NOTHING we can do of our own merit to extricate ourselves from this condition. The matter is completely outside our sphere of influence. However, God did provide for not only Adam and Eve’s redemption, but all their followers as well. It required the sacrifice of the sinless One. By paying that ransom, Adam, Eve, and all the rest of us, could be restored to an eternal life in paradise. It is a free gift, one that is completely outside anything any of us could accomplish by our own merits. We cannot just be good, or just be good enough. We would have to be perfect, and Paul assures us that none of us are perfect. I instinctively know that I am not perfect. Even if I could be perfect from this moment on, I am not going to be acceptable to God on my own merits, my own good works, etc. So, the sacrifice of Jesus is a free gift, and Jesus Himself outlined that any would only need to accept this free gift. That’s all. Paul confirmed this.
I believe Adam and Eve accepted this free gift. I suspect they urged their offspring to accept it as well. After all, they had firsthand knowledge of what they lost, and certainly must have longed for the promised restoration and for their offspring to be part of it. While Abel obeyed God’s instructions, Cain disobeyed and decided he would offer whatever sacrifice he wanted. Sadly, much of God’s creation has followed Cain’s obstinacy. God’s required sacrifice pointed forward to the sacrifice of Jesus, through Whom eternal life would be restored.
Initially, all that God required was faith and obedience. Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and others fall into this category. Then, God chose a special people to whom the promised Seed would come. He delivered them from Egyptian slavery just like He will deliver us from the slavery of sin. To those chosen people, He instituted a Law that was impossible to keep (As per Paul). It was a covenant between God and His chosen people, the Israelites. It involved very detailed commands that included sacrifices of all types, especially where there were infractions of the law. All those sacrifices pointed forward to the sacrifice of the sinless One, and when that sacrifice was complete, Jesus conquered the grave, made a complete atonement for the sin problem, and completed the requirements of the Law of Moses (Sinaitic Law, Torah). As we have seen, Jesus then forgave all sins of all people once and for all, from the beginning of the world until the end of the world, of any who should come to Him, believe in Him, and accept His free gift.
Jesus replaced the Old Covenant Mosaic Law with the Royal Law, also known as the Law of Liberty. You have referred to the Royal Law multiple times, and I’m sure you see that James and I Peter refers to the Royal Law and the Law of Liberty as being the same, but in complete distinction from the “whole law” or the Sinaitic Law. This Royal Law is what Revelation 12:17 refers to–“those which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus”.
Well, what is the Royal Law? There are only two parts, possibly three. 1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart. 2. Love your neighbor as yourself. Arguably, the third part might be Matthew 28, which is to take parts 1 and 2 to the whole world. For me, this is wonderful being description. The idea of exchanging that Old Covenant and all those messy sacrifices for believing and trusting in Jesus is indeed a beautiful gift. That is all I need to do to come into conformity with God? Nothing else? This is a promise that is almost too good to be true. Yet, it is true, as it is based upon the words of the One who made intercession for this sin problem.
Back to the Royal Law. Remember, it had two parts. The first part was to love the Lord your God with all your heart. James and Peter were writing to believers. Christian believers. They would have already understood loving God through Jesus, which is an essential ingredient of that Royal Law. Furthermore, they were trying to draw a distinction between the Royal Law and the Sinaitic Law which was repealed at the cross, as Jesus had kept it for them. What a beautiful deliverance from a law which Paul declared could not be kept.
So, what about pagans who keep part 2 of the Royal Law but do not keep part 1? Well, Jesus clearly says that those who do not believe in Him are condemned already. How sad. Why not accept a free gift? Why did Cain not believe and follow? I cannot explain it.
The sad part of all this is that the old Reptile has succeeded beautifully ever since the cross in convincing people that either there is no God or that they can work out their own salvation on their own terms. All they have to do is to be good enough, keep the law to the best of their ability, etc. He is a liar. Don’t trust him.
There is a prominent Adventist physician who today seeks the highest office in the land. He was recently asked to weigh in on the topic of torture of certain Middle East people. As a Christian, he had a beautiful opportunity to strongly oppose torture on the basis of the Royal Law of Jesus. As a physician, he had another opportunity of expressing his disgust at physicians inflicting torture on anybody. Is not their calling to heal, rather than to maim and torture? However, he completely passed up the opportunity to speak out against this evil practice. Was he consistent with part 2 of the Royal Law of Jesus?
I have a good friend who is a devout Atheist, yet he speaks out strongly against torture and killing at every opportunity. He is an Atheist Jew who feels so strongly about Evolution that he does not think certain people are fit to be President of this country because they hold to Creationism! He tolerates me because we have so many common interests. As a matter of fact, whenever we see each other, he gives me a huge hug and we talk for lengthy periods. We talk about the arts, music, history, politics and many other subjects. Believe it or not, as a young man he studied Adventism. Whenever I try to circle around to God and the Bible, however, he resists. He will not study his own Jewish prophets, will not consider anything in the realm of the supernatural, and is convinced that when he dies, that’s it. He is now over 80, and time is running out.
However, this friend of mine adheres to the second part of the Royal Law better than just about anybody else I know. As a young man, he lived next to the police station in a country undergoing civil unrest. He heard the shrieks of those being tortured and killed. He deplores the evils of humanity and does everything he can to alleviate suffering of any and all kinds. He donates generously. He thinks of himself as a good person, and so do I. As a matter of fact, one Sunday afternoon we attended a musical program at a church. It happened to be an SDA church, but the program had nothing whatsoever to do with religion of any kind and was not a function of the church in any way. However, even though it was a free event, he insisted on leaving a donation. He took an offering envelope, stuffed some cash into it, but then couldn’t decide where to leave it. He finally slipped it under the church office door!
You know, I feel awful about my friend. He is such an intelligent, smart, and generous man. However, in spite of my best efforts, it appears that he will die without a Savior, even though in my opinion he keeps part 2 of the Royal Law better than just about anybody else I know.
Pellagius was a contemporary of Augustine, and argued that Jesus did not come to die a substitutionary death, but rather, to show us how to live a perfect life. Augustine opposed this teaching, which has subsequently been labeled the Pellagian Heresy. Sadly, you and I were taught a heretical salvation doctrine which was based on the writings of Ellen White, who taught that we could never be certain of our salvation, and that even those living at the end of time will be uncertain of their eternal destiny, as they would have to live sinless lives for a period when their Intercessor was unavailable to them. If you will ask Adventists today whether or not they are saved, most will answer, “I hope so”, or “I am trying to be”. Occasionally, a bad Adventist will state unreservedly that he/she will indeed be saved because Jesus paid the price in full. How sad. We have already demonstrated that fallen humans cannot save themselves. It is a very simple matter: just accept the free gift.
In closing, I submit that salvation is not a process, as you and I were taught, but rather, a simple acceptance of a free gift which represents the Royal Law. Part I is acceptance of Jesus as Savior and love for God. Part II is to love my neighbor as myself. If we indeed do love our neighbor as ourselves, we will add Part III, which is to share that free gift with them.
For me, I will not question the character of God. I am sorely distressed by my many friends who are either atheists or who are trying to work out their own salvation, but I recognize that their decisions cannot be made for them. I am simply eternally grateful for a God who loved me enough to come and die in my place. What unbelievable love.
Summary of 60th General Conference Session (2015)
Please note that I did not say that “I have no idea what God will do with those who are long dead and gone who never heard the name of Jesus or understood the true nature of God”. Rather, I said that I prefer to not engage in speculation as to what God will do about long departed atheists/evolutionists. I will never understand why this is such a source of concern with so many people.
Contrary to your assertion about Paul, he did indeed conform to the words of Jesus as far as obtaining salvation. In Romans 10:9, he says that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. Jesus likewise said that those who accept Him as the Son of God will not be judged, but those who do not are judged already.
Ellen White, on the other hand, taught in the 1890 Review and Herald that no sanctified tongue will ever say, “I am saved”, prior to the 2nd coming of Christ. She also taught that no man can say, “I am saved,” until he has endured test and trial, until he has shown that he can overcome tempation.” The Kress Collection, p. 120.
Back to Paul, when the Philippian jailer asked what he should do to be saved, the response was ?Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” That was the full sum of the matter.
You, on the other hand, are making room for atheists/evolutionists in heaven. This is a very confusing picture. Ellen White’s method of salvation differs from Jesus and Paul, and your process differs from all three.
If you truly believe evolutionists will make it to heaven one way or another, why do you spend so much time opposing their false doctrines?
As for Ellen White and her occult practices, please be aware that Ellen White spoke out AGAINST phrenology PRIOR to taking her children for their phrenological examinations by Dr. James Caleb Jackson in Danville, New York. If she knew it was wrong, why did she do it anyway, and even go so far as to pronounce his diagnosis to be good?
Anyone speaking in the name of God must indeed be held to a very high standard. He/she must conform to the teachings of Jesus, especially in regard to salvation. He/she must indeed use only God’s power in personal life and NOT partake or allow the introduction of any occult activities. Of particular concern is her tendency to blame God for errors. Please see the Review and Herald, 1950, where she says regarding William Miller’s failed prophecy of October 22, 1843-1844, “The Lord showed me that the 1843 chart was directed by his hand, and that no part of it should be altered; that the figures were as he wanted them. That his hand was over and hid a mistake in some of the figures, so that none could see it, until his hand was removed.”
Do you really believe that God showed Ellen White that He was deceiving people into error by hiding mistakes with His own hand? I would suggest that we have all the light we need in Jesus, who we agree is the TRUE LIGHT. We come to an understanding of Him via the Scriptures and the Scriptures alone. I would urge you to read and consider what happened to a man of God in the time of Jeroboam. He departed from God’s clear instruction in spite of his good intentions. Yet, he was torn apart by a lion. This is a very sad story to be found in I Kings chapter 13.
In closing, my sincere prayer for you is that you will continue to preach Creationism. The term “Intelligent Design” is not adequate, as it opens the possibility of an entity other than God as creator of this world. Above, stay faithful to the Bible, and the Bible alone. Do not be swayed by anybody’s teaching, regardless of claimed credentials.
Summary of 60th General Conference Session (2015)
Allow me to clear up your confusion. I am not willing to “allow for at least some heathen who have never heard the story of Jesus to be saved.” Rather, I prefer to not engage in speculation as to what God will do about long-departed atheists/evolutionists. Based upon the words of Jesus, I do not anticipate bumping into evolutionists stumbling around the streets of the New Jerusalem. There are too many heathen, evolutionists, atheists, and even Christians that we need to worry about who are still living. That is why you are providing a valuable service in leading people to an understanding of Biblical Creationism. I simply do not possess the knowledge, influence, or audacity to speculate on what God is going to do and what He is not going to do.
You said that “In short, there will only be one question asked in the judgement: Did you love your neighbor or not? Did you strive to follow the Royal Law that was written on your heart?”
While this may be the teaching of EGW or other contemporary theologians, it does not synchronize well with the words of Jesus, who maintained that there will be two classes of people–those who believe in Him and those who do NOT.
John 3:18 “He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
John 3:16 . . . whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation: but is passed from death unto life.”
Your assertion that people’s eternal destiny hangs on how they treated others regardless of whether they knew the story of Jesus is impossible for me to reconcile with the above words of Jesus,
Thank you for quoting John 1:9, which simply states that Jesus is the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. However, every person is not given a “measure of light”, but rather the opportunity to follow the TRUE LIGHT or to reject it. If Jesus is indeed THE TRUE LIGHT, there is no need to follow a lesser light.
Yes, I have heard all the accusations that Biblical prophets made mistakes, as did Paul, and even Jesus. Thus, Ellen White made a lot of errors, was inconsistent, spoke against the Bible, plagiarized, participated in occultic activities, and that all this is excusable!
Well, is it logical for her to take her own children to a phrenologist while simultaneously speaking against it? While no Biblical prophet was perfect and all lived imperfect lives and were in need of a Savior, do you know of any who participated in occult activities? There was Moses, who smote the rock more than he should have. There was Jonah, who ran away from his duty. Yes, there were many disobedient prophets, and they generally paid for their disobedience. There was King Saul, however, who did actively seek out the witch of Endor, participating in an activity that was prohibited by God. His fate was a sad one. Yet, is it somehow O.K. with God for Ellen White to direct a man to come dig a well using such a wizard water stick? Would God not have revealed to her the awful act that was about to be committed? Do you think God would warn a prophet against palm-reading? Divination of any other kind? Phrenology? Do you think God does not care if His followers use occult powers?
You excuse the practice of using water witching because Ellen White was involved in it and because you have seen it used by “Godly men”. I actually know ministers and missionaries who have used it, but that does not mean that God condones it. Before I go any further, please be aware that I am not perfect either. I have done things in my ignorance that I had no idea were in the occultic realm. I have repented, will never do them again, and know that God forgives me just as He will forgive any other sinner who ceases to use Satanic powers.
Please be aware that there are many, many words for water witching: divining, pendulum dowsing, radiesthesia, rhabdomancy, or map dowsing. Yes, people even place pendulums over maps to divine the location of water, oil, treasures, gold, etc. The Mormon prophet Joseph Smith used it extensively.
I have spoken to many people over the years. Two independent practitioners informed me that it will not work for everybody. But, they said, if it doesn’t work for somebody, all that they had to do was to touch the other person’s hands and it would then work for them as well! This takes this matter completely out of the realm of science. There is a power behind it, and if it is God’s power, why do they call it the wizard stick or water witching? Why is the practice listed as an occult science? I would strongly urge you to investigate further. Ben Hester wrote a book entitled DOWSING–An expose of hidden occult forces. Find it and read it. Then ask yourself if God gives messages to prophets who use occult forces? Why would He not warn them against using such forces?
We have THE TRUE LIGHT. We have the Bible (The greater light). We don’t need any more lights. We have truth. By all means continue your fine work of defending Creation Truth.
Recent Comments by Ken Christman
Most Species the “Same Age” with No “In-Between” Species
Decay is perfectly natural in a sinful world. There was NO decay prior to the Fall. Non-decay does not require active maintenance on the part of God. His creation was perfect and did not require maintenance like human creations require. Model T’s require active maintenance as they are human creations. The human body God created would have lasted an eternity if sin (disobedience) had not interrupted such perfection. That is when decay started. That is when the genomic code started to deteriorate. It ultimately led to disease and death. God cannot be compared to a mechanic in heaven, as His perfect creation does not require repairs. While the price of sin (disobedience) has been fully paid for, the restoration to perfection has not happened yet. Once it occurs (which I believe will be soon), there will be a complete restoration that will not require a “mechanic” for active maintenance, as decay, degeneration, decay, death (all those ugly D’s) will no longer exist.
As for assuming that genetic mutations have occurred at a constant rate since the fall of Adam and Eve, we should consider the fallacies of assuming constant degradation of Carbon-14 and the problems such assumptions have created. As Creationists, we should exercise caution in making assertions we cannot prove.
As for God being bound by His own laws, let us consider Jesus bringing perfect peace and tranquility just by commanding the elements to be still during a raging storm. We cannot understand such divine power over EVERYTHING, including the power to breath life into a lump of clay which was instantly transformed into a perfectly fine human body with over 5 billion base pairs (the human genome) and able to perfectly replicate without decay or deterioration of the system. Satan also has supernatural power, but God’s power is infinitely greater. Whenever there is supernatural activity, it can come from only of two sources. We do know for a fact that postdiluvian human life spans rapidly contracted from ca. 900 years to circa 70 years in just a few generations. I’m sure most Creationists would agree that God had a hand in this, and that this was not “natural”. Whether He did this by altering the mutation rate, we have no way of knowing, as mutation rates were not measured at that time and there is no way for us to reconstruct those past mutation rates.
As for Einstein, Newton, and others, I would exercise restraint in following any of their religious or theological assumptions.
Most Species the “Same Age” with No “In-Between” Species
We may have observed mutation rates in the recent past, but how do we know what mutation rates were 100 years ago, 1,000 years ago, or 6,000 years ago? Prior to roughly 6,000 years ago, we can safely say mutation rates were ZERO, as God’s creation was perfect, and there was no sin, death, or deterioration in the genomic code!
Most Species the “Same Age” with No “In-Between” Species
While data suggesting the hand of the Creator God in the creation of all living things is always welcome, one should exercise great caution in assuming the constancy of mutation rates. After all, God shortened human lifespans from ca. 900 years to ca. 70 years in only a few generations. Do you suppose He might have done that by altering mutation rates? Do you suppose that a powerful God who breathed life into a lump of clay could easily tinker with mutation rates? Furthermore, mutation rates would have highly variable effects on life forms in different species based upon average lifespans. Let us hope and pray that more scientists will be troubled by uncovering data that will lead them to trust the Genesis creation account as the only scientifically logical explanation of how we got here.
The Sabbath and the Covenants (Old vs. New)
Your concern about mysticism within Adventism is well founded. Pastor Bill Loveless identified Ellen White in the pages of the Adventist Review as a “true mystic.” “Mysticism” is defined in the dictionary as a euphemism for the occult. Look it up.
The Sabbath and the Covenants (Old vs. New)
You are right. I am totally confused as to what distinguishes “Historical Old Covenant” from “Old Covenant Thinking”. You and Chris White maintain that Sabbath observance is not necessary for salvation. Ellen White clearly states that it is necessary. Chris and Ellen CANNOT both be correct.