February 1, 2021
A book, sermon, article, film, any form of good communication should be able to summarize its essence in one word or phrase. For instance, the Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy can be identified as Grace, Salvation, Law, Organization, and Inheritance.
What one word describes you at your very core?
Every worldview has its identifying value. It may be: conservativism, liberalism, libertarianism, nationalism, etc. Or it may be: fatalism, the temple, tradition, morality, reincarnation, inner harmony, and so on.
At the very heart of Christianity is the crucified, risen, and triumphant Christ. Without this core value, Christianity is a delusion (1 Cor 15). This identifies us with Christians around the world. However, each denomination within Christianity has another primary value that makes it unique.
While in Judaism it is “the temple,” for Adventists it is “the truth.”
Although as Adventists we share “the truth,” there are two conflicting emphasis. Is Christ one of 28 fundamental beliefs or is He the truth and the fundamentals are all about Him? It is an easy question to answer, for Jesus said that He is the way the truth and the life (John 14:6), and Scriptures testify of Him (John 5:39). Everything of value to Adventists has to do with truth and its relationship the Word.
This places a heavy burden upon us, for we cannot serve two masters (Matt 6:24). We cannot promote the kingdom of Christ while promoting worldviews that go contrary to Christ. “To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this it is because there is no light in them (Isa 8:19-20). While Christianity in general sees its primary purpose as extending morality, Christ claimed that His “kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36) and called upon us to pass no judgment on any person (Matt 7:1; Luke 6:37; James 5:9) but to leave all judgment to Him (John 5:22). To usurp His authority to judge is to personally participate in that which is anti-Christ (or in place of Christ).
This brings us to the question of authority. Where does it lie? Jesus said that “all authority is given unto me” (Matt 28:13). All authority lies in Christ, the Word made Flesh, who exercises graciousness (John 1:14). You and I dare not assume that we hold any authority. If in Christ, then it is found in the Word of God. Nowhere else.
This places another burden on us. If we look to what will come, we are cautioned that when “a prophet speaks in the name of Yahweh, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which Yahweh has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously” (Deut 18:22). If the source does not claim to speak for God it is untrustworthy and not worth our attention, for only God knows the future. I choose to trust God implicitly and ignore voices that whisper from the dark.
May Christ be with you,