What is "the Church"? What is "a church"?

Questions and conversation about religious beliefs, Scripture, the Spirit of Prophecy, and Creation 7th Day Adventism
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Re: What is "the Church"? What is "a church"?

Postby Lucan » December 1st, 2013, 11:26 am

Pastor Chick wrote:You do not wish to read OUR articles for enlightenment, while you consistently promote your own works as potentially beneficial reading.

JamesPrest wrote:And Mr. Chick, I have specifically stated that I do not want to read the fundamental beliefs of another church, just so you know. Yes, you gathered that point right. Also, of course I don't see the CSDA as constituting the remnant. If I did, I would join her as soon as possible. The reason that I'm talking to you is because I'm trying to figure things out, things such as, is the CSDA church God's remnant.

This is what I've gathered of your words from reading your posts so far, James:

"I'm trying to find out if you are the church. But I don't believe you are the church. Otherwise I would be trying to join - nevermind that I've requested to. Also, I'm trying to figure things out, but not by actually reading what you've written about the topic - I'm not interested in that. While I'm at it, here, read some of my materials - I'm sure that you reading my writings, but not the other way around, will definitely help me understand your beliefs.

By the way, what I'm trying to find out about is love, not beliefs, even though every single question I've asked on this board has been about beliefs. If you answer them, I'll accuse you of being focused on fundamentals. I believe that love is about treating others how you want to be treated. So let me ask again, read some of my materials while I ignore yours, and ask you questions I don't actually want to read the answers to. I don't really care about your beliefs - I'm just wasting your time by asking about them, the way that Christ often did.

I'm not interested in a non-denominational church, they don't teach the things I believe. I want to join your church, but only if I don't have to believe what you believe. I want a church to believe like me, but not for me to believe like them. I see that you think this is arrogance and self-involved. Here, I wrote a post on Facebook about myself in the third person that shows how non arrogant and self-involved I am. You sure are slow to listen - could you answer the same question for me a third time, please? Oh, and of course I want to promote my own beliefs - but if you do it, even when I explicitly ask you to, well then you're just being dogmatic because beliefs don't matter.

Unless they're mine."
- Lucan Chartier

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Re: What is "the Church"? What is "a church"?

Postby JamesPrest » December 1st, 2013, 12:05 pm

I really don't care for such discussion as this. Blessings to you all and have a nice life.

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Re: What is "the Church"? What is "a church"?

Postby Pastor Chick » December 1st, 2013, 3:59 pm

I really don't care for such discussion as this. Blessings to you all and have a nice life.

The words of rebuke and warning, the plain “Thus saith the Lord,” will come from God’s appointed agencies; for the words do not originate with the human instrument; they are from God, who appointed them their work. (2SM 153; emphases suppled)

But Noah stood like a rock amid the tempest. Surrounded by popular contempt and ridicule, he distinguished himself by his holy integrity and unwavering faithfulness. A power attended his words, for it was the voice of God to man through His servant. (PP 96; emphasis supplied)

The mighty angel of Revelation 18 has cried aloud and continues to do so, and those who will not hear and obey shall be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary and found wanting. So be it.

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Re: What is "the Church"? What is "a church"?

Postby JamesPrest » December 3rd, 2013, 5:19 pm

Here are my thoughts concerning salvational issue in response to you Mr. Chick.

The Person of Jesus is Not a Salvational Issue.

Yes, that is correct. Will not many be saved who have never even heard the name of Jesus? We read from Scripture,

“And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” Zechariah 13:6.

In the new earth, while Christians may ask Jesus what the wounds are in His hands, it only stands to reason that a Christian would not need to ask such question, but rather one who was not acquainted with the circumstances of His death, resurrection, and life afterwards.

“‘I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.’ Revelation 21:1. The fire that consumes the wicked purifies the earth. Every trace of the curse is swept away. No eternally burning hell will keep before the ransomed the fearful consequences of sin.

“One reminder alone remains: Our Redeemer will ever bear the marks of His crucifixion. Upon His wounded head, upon His side, His hands and feet, are the only traces of the cruel work that sin has wrought. Says the prophet, beholding Christ in His glory: ‘He had bright beams coming out of His side: and there was the hiding of His power.’ Habakkuk 3:4, margin. That pierced side whence flowed the crimson stream that reconciled man to God–there is the Saviour’s glory, there ‘the hiding of His power.’ ‘Mighty to save,’ through the sacrifice of redemption, He was therefore strong to execute justice upon them that despised God’s mercy. And the tokens of His humiliation are His highest honor; through the eternal ages the wounds of Calvary will show forth His praise and declare His power. {The Great Controversy, 674.1, 2}

Thus, if someone can be saved that is oh so ignorant concerning the death of Jesus, as though he had never even heard of Him, and this when “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved,” (Acts 4:12), how then, can man, arbitrarily decide that the intellectual assent to the proper understanding of how many persons make up the Godhead is a salvational issue?

While it is true that, “Error is never harmless…. It is always dangerous,” (Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, 292.2) shall we then make a salvational issue over a spoon? Shall we say that unless someone accepts that a spoon is a spoon and not a fork or a knife, that they will be lost and exempted from the kingdom of God? Such conclusion, as we would say, is far out.

We are aware that no one that we know of, as yet, has sought to make a salvational issue out of a spoon, however, the point remains the same. The person of Jesus, to all reasonable deduction, is not inherently a salvational issue. How then, can anyone make such bold claims as to say that those who do not believe in the Sanctuary message, 2520, 3rd person of the Godhead… etc., cannot be saved at last in the kingdom of God?

So then, if even the person of Jesus is not a salvational issue (much less the proper understanding of any and/or all portions of Daniel and Revelation, and even the whole Bible itself for that matter), what then, is a salvational issue for me, and what is a salvational issue for you? Here we attempt to clarify. If you find anything Scripturally wrong with our deductions, please feel free to correct them by commenting below.

The Salvational Issues

While we hold that there is only one salvational issue, we will break it down into two parts for sake of clarification.

Part #1 (a):

The only inherently salvational issue is how man chooses to respond to the workings of the Holy Spirit upon his heart. The problem that arises, is when man attempts to dictate to us what the Holy Spirit is moving upon us to do or believe. If the Holy Spirit is pleading with me or you to forsake some sin, and we reject the Spirit’s pleading, this is a salvational issue because holding onto sin unfits us for heaven. We would not desire to be there.

“In his sinless state, man held joyful communion with Him ‘in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.’ Colossians 2:3. But after his sin, he could no longer find joy in holiness, and he sought to hide from the presence of God. Such is still the condition of the unrenewed heart. It is not in harmony with God, and finds no joy in communion with Him. The sinner could not be happy in God’s presence; he would shrink from the companionship of holy beings. Could he be permitted to enter heaven, it would have no joy for him. The spirit of unselfish love that reigns there –every heart responding to the heart of Infinite Love –would touch no answering chord in his soul. His thoughts, his interests, his motives, would be alien to those that actuate the sinless dwellers there. He would be a discordant note in the melody of heaven. Heaven would be to him a place of torture; he would long to be hidden from Him who is its light, and the center of its joy. It is no arbitrary decree on the part of God that excludes the wicked from heaven; they are shut out by their own unfitness for its companionship. The glory of God would be to them a consuming fire. They would welcome destruction, that they might be hidden from the face of Him who died to redeem them.” {Steps to Christ, 17.2}

Another problem that arises, is when man attempts to dictate for another man what the Holy Spirit is impressing upon that other man’s heart is sin. One brother once told us that it was a sin to eat a lollipop, and they made it a salvational issue and a sufficient reason for church discipline and disfellowshipment. This is all out of harmony with the word God. While that which is defined by Scripture as “sin” (transgression, abomination…etc) is to be a sufficient reason for church discipline, when matters of principle is involved (a lollipop isn’t necessarily good for the health of God’s temple [See 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20; 10:31; Romans 12:1]), every man is to be fully persuaded in his own mind.

In matters of conscience the soul must be left untrammeled. No one is to control another’s mind, to judge for another, or to prescribe his duty. God gives to every soul freedom to think, and to follow his own convictions. ‘Every one of us shall give account of himself to God.’ No one has a right to merge his own individuality in that of another. In all matters where principle is involved, ‘let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.’ Romans 14:12, 5.” {Desire of Ages, 550.6}

And the seemingly last problem that arises, is when man attempts to dictate for us what the Holy Spirit is impressing upon us is truth. No man, nor group of men, have the right to dictate to others what is and is not truth.

“Many claim that a position of trust in the church gives them authority to dictate what other men shall believe and what they shall do. This claim God does not sanction. The Saviour declares, ‘All ye are brethren.’ All are exposed to temptation, and are liable to error. Upon no finite being can we depend for guidance.” {Desire of Ages, 414.3}

In the history of Adventism, we read from Ellen White:

“I saw the people of God joyful in expectation, looking for their Lord. But God designed to prove them. His hand covered a mistake in the reckoning of the prophetic periods. Those who were looking for their Lord did not discover this mistake, and the most learned men who opposed the time also failed to see it. God designed that His people should meet with a disappointment. The time passed, and those who had looked with joyful expectation for their Saviour were sad and disheartened, while those who had not loved the appearing of Jesus, but embraced the message through fear, were pleased that He did not come at the time of expectation. Their profession had not affected the heart and purified the life. The passing of the time was well calculated to reveal such hearts. They were the first to turn and ridicule the sorrowful, disappointed ones who really loved the appearing of their Saviour. I saw the wisdom of God in proving His people and giving them a searching test to discover those who would shrink and turn back in the hour of trial. {Early Writings, 235.3}

Now, we as Adventists believe that God was behind that movement in which, God Himself, intentionally placed His hand over a mistake in the reckoning of the prophetic periods. He did this on purpose to test His people. That movement, and message as a whole, was led by God, and God used error, yea, God specifically hid the truth, and thus had a detail of error remain in a message that He had others proclaim to the world under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the express purpose of carrying out the Divine will.

The lesson to be learned is this. If God will intentionally hide the truth, and let error be proclaimed in a message that He Himself had others proclaim throughout all the world, who then, will dare to say that He will not do it again? Even if their message, as a whole, is sanctioned by the Lord of all heaven, and He has given it to them proclaim to all the world, it does not, it cannot stand as evidence that no part of that message is erroneous and that it is all perfectly true.

There is no excuse for any one in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair.” {Review and Herald, December 20, 1892 par. 1}

Thus, no man can dictate to another what is and is not truth, and that, even if God inspires the proclamation of the message that contains the issue over which the controversy lies.

We would however, like to clarify that something so small as a lollipop could be a salvational issue for someone as an individual. If the Holy Spirit is working on your heart, impressing you to take care of your body (temple of the Holy Spirit), and you reject His impressions, then you have chosen the service of sin (disobedience to the will of God) and cannot be saved in such condition. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” James 4:17.

But while eating a lollipop may be a salvational issue for me, I have no place to seek to make it a salvational issue for you. The Holy Spirit may have convinced me on the matter eating cheese, but He may not have ever impressed this matter upon your heart. He may be instead seeking to get you to stop smoking, to stop lying to your wife, to spend more time with you children, to stop cherishing that secret sin… etc. He may be impressing you upon entirely different issues than He has and is impressing upon me, and I have no place to try to play the role of Holy Spirit and seek to be your conscience.

Part #1 (b)

To the idea that a certain doctrine is a salvational issue, we respond thus:

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14.

“Christ was not exclusive, and He had given special offense to the Pharisees by departing in this respect from their rigid rules. He found the domain of religion fenced in by high walls of seclusion, as too sacred a matter for everyday life. These walls of partition He overthrew. In His contact with men He did not ask, What is your creed? To what church do you belong? He exercised His helping power in behalf of all who needed help.” {Desire of Ages, 86.3}

The ONLY question asked in the judgment will be, “Have they been obedient to My commandments?” Petty strife and contention over questions of no importance has no part in God’s great plan. Those who teach the truth should be men of solid minds, who will not lead their hearers into a field of thistles, as it were, and leave them there. {Gospel Workers 315.1}

In the judgment, the lovely Jesus who is the same, “yesterday, and to day, and for ever,” will not be found asking, “What did they believe? To what church did they belong?” The only question considered in the great judgment is, “Have they been obedient to My commandments?”

But again, the acceptance of a certain doctrine could be a salvational issue, but it is all wholly dependent upon what the Holy Spirit is impressing upon the individual’s heart.

Part #2:

The condition of eternal life is now just what it always has been,–just what it was in Paradise before the fall of our first parents,–perfect obedience to the law of God, perfect righteousness. If eternal life were granted on any condition short of this, then the happiness of the whole universe would be imperiled. The way would be open for sin, with all its train of woe and misery, to be immortalized. ” {Steps to Christ, 62.1}

Thus, the acceptance of the character of Christ (principles of the law of God in action) in the heart and life is the only salvational issue. This goes hand in hand with how we respond to the workings of the Holy Spirit upon our hearts, for the Holy Spirit is always seeking to draw out our souls to accept in our hearts and lives the principles of righteousness. Let us imagine a case.

A man grows up an atheist, with atheist parents, in a atheist community, and it is so deeply engrained in their head that God doesn’t exist and that Christ was nothing more than a lying impostor, that it is virtually impossible for them to even consider otherwise, much less accept it. However, this atheist is awed at the magnificent beauty of righteousness. He determines to accept into his heart and life these principles of righteousness, and live up to all the light that he has, and in the end, actually does so his whole life. Will such a man be lost? We decidedly answer, no. Why not? Because even though he rejected the thought of God and the person of Jesus, he accepted into his heart and life the character of Jesus, and the principles of God’s government. He loved those principles, and lived by them even in the face of death, and thus, their reward will be the same as the Christian who meets this same standard.

We would here like to warn against man determining for another what the character of Christ (the acceptance or rejection of which is a salvational issue) is. Remember, no man can decide for another what is and what is not true.

Summary Conclusion

The only salvational issue is how we respond to the workings of the Holy Spirit upon our hearts. The Holy Spirit works upon us as individuals, and how we respond to His workings upon our hearts as individuals, is what we will be held accountable for in the day of judgment. We will not be held accountable to man and what man has sought to urge upon us, but for what Christ has sought to woo our hearts into accepting into our minds and lives, through the means of the Holy Spirit. Thus, no one has a right to make a salvational issue of anything, not even if it is the person of Jesus Christ.

“In matters of conscience the soul must be left untrammeled. No one is to control another’s mind, to judge for another, or to prescribe his duty. God gives to every soul freedom to think, and to follow his own convictions. ‘Every one of us shall give account of himself to God.’ No one has a right to merge his own individuality in that of another. [b]In all matters where principle is involved, ‘let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.[/b]’ Romans 14:12, 5.” {Desire of Ages, 550.6}

So brother Chick, why exactly do you judge that I will be found wanting? What sin have I committed?

David Aguilar
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Re: What is "the Church"? What is "a church"?

Postby David Aguilar » December 3rd, 2013, 7:13 pm

Your question was well answered in the previous two posts by the brethren. If you cannot see it, this is only because you WILL not see it. You will reject any light from Heaven if it should dare to come through a human agency. You willingly ignore any and all Bible verses that demonstrate the flaws in your thinking with regard to the difference between tolerance, acceptance and unity, or anything that discusses the importance of doctrine in forming the character of believers. (Acts 2:42, 1Tim 4:13, 16, etc., etc.) But even in these things, plainly stated in the Scriptures, you will refuse to be corrected. Even with this post you will find fault, so why shall we debate this further? You are terrified of being misled by human beings, even those devoted to the Father Himself. You are one of the most fearful people I have ever spoken with, as I said to you from the beginning, and your perfect fear has cast out love and killed any hope you may have of finding true rest among Yah's people. (Rev 21:8) I am sorrowful, but you will not allow yourself to be healed.

All questions you have asked have been answered already. There is really no need for you to "investigate" the Church further. You seem to have formed a solid opinion of us, and you know already our thoughts concerning you, although you seem to have comforted yourself by suggesting I may be judgmental for merely pointing out the obvious.

"A man that is [a divisive person] after the first and second admonition reject." (Titus 3:10)

We have our answer in that verse, for it is clear you will not accept our admonitions on any matter whatsoever, and it has been more than once and twice. Thus says the Lord, through His judgment and infinite wisdom. This must therefore end my input here.

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Re: What is "the Church"? What is "a church"?

Postby JamesPrest » December 3rd, 2013, 8:41 pm

I don't mind if truth comes through a human agency. Often, and mostly, that is who the Lord works through. But I don't think that it is being honest with myself, or with others, to believe something that I cannot honestly see is written in the word of God. "True religion is honest, else it wouldn't be true." That isn't a quote from Ellen White, its just a quote, but think about it. I am responsible before God to be honest with my own soul. You all may be right, and I may be wrong, or vica versa, but to just choose to believe something without being intellectually honest with myself is not part of true religion. "Truth can afford to be fair." That is a quote from Ellen White. I used to believe things because it seemed to be right or seemed to be written. I have since learned the danger of doing so. Now, I just request a plain statement. Yes, some things are not as plain as others, yet still true. But I don't see this as sufficient reason to believe something unless I can personally see it in the word of God. Suppose you are right, and I don't believe as you on the grounds that I don't see it yet. Would you rather me believe without being intellectually convinced that it is the truth? Is that being fair with myself? I think not. Anyways... you are free to conclude whatever you will. I'm telling you my thoughts. Blessings to you and hope to see you soon brother.

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Re: What is "the Church"? What is "a church"?

Postby JamesPrest » January 6th, 2014, 8:39 am

I just wanted to say that I've been studying a lot recently. I think that you may very well be correct in your understanding of the SDA Church being Babylon. I'm working on some articles and whatnot, making things clear. If the CSDA church drops their creed, they might be alright.

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Re: What is "the Church"? What is "a church"?

Postby Adriel » January 11th, 2014, 3:03 pm

Hello James, I'm glad to hear that you have been studying. But I'm not aware that we have any creed. What do you consider our creed to be?

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