The Pillars of the CSDA Faith (1/4): Introduction

Questions and conversation about religious beliefs, Scripture, the Spirit of Prophecy, and Creation 7th Day Adventism
David Aguilar
Posts: 63
Joined: May 28th, 2012, 4:28 pm

The Pillars of the CSDA Faith (1/4): Introduction

Postby David Aguilar » June 23rd, 2012, 12:04 pm

The process of learning and teaching the Bible has changed dramatically over the past 2000 years. There are several reasons for this, but one of the most important is that of the changing spiritual environment in the world. At the advent of the Christian faith, there were Jews and Gentiles – two clear categories into which nearly everyone could be fit. The Jews were the followers of Yahweh, and the Gentiles were followers of one of the many pagan gods to arise from mythology and tradition.

If one would claim, in those days, to be a follower of “the Christ,” that meant only one thing. It meant (from an onlooker’s perspective) that this individual followed the traditions and teachings of the Jews, but rejected some of the rituals, while at the same time believing that a certain Rabbi named “Yahshua” was the long-awaited Messiah, and that He had given Himself as a sacrifice for mankind.

In those days, this was the “Good News.” There were, of course, other details, but it was on the strength of the testimony of this – that mankind had fallen out of favor with God, and that He had sent His Son as a Witness and a Sacrifice to restore us – that hearts were touched and souls were won. The Gospel had a simplicity to it in those days, because there was one “orthodoxy,” one right-way to understand the teachings of Christ.

In those days, the many and detailed “rules” of the Sanhedrin had been cast off, and the believers returned to the commandments of the Lord, which they combined with the faith of the Son and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Yes, in those days, even before men codified the paradigm of the “Trinity,” the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were working mightily through faithful witnesses to restore the hearts of fallen man back to the Almighty.

As Creation Seventh Day Adventists, we seek to return to those simpler times, in terms of Biblical teachings. We acknowledge – in fact, we eagerly accept – that there has been much light shed upon the believers over the past several centuries. We believe that our Father in Heaven adds, with every generation, powerful new truths in order to prepare a people to stand before him in joy and innocence. We believe that perfection of character – becoming like Christ – is the goal of salvation, and that everlasting life and a Heavenly inheritance are the results, not merely the reward, of belonging to the family of the Redeemed.

We believe that the Bible – only – is the foundation of our faith. We look critically at doctrines that do not depend primarily on “It is written,” and this may come as a surprise to many Christians who are used to long-accepted traditions, and words and phrases whose definitions are taken for granted. But we believe that every word that proceeded out of the Father’s mouth is food for our spirits, and that it is our responsibility to live according to those words of spirit and of life.

In the next few posts, we will be looking at what it is that makes the Creation Seventh Day Adventist Church unique among the world’s religions. We will be seeing how it differs, in some very dramatic ways, from other forms of “Christianity,” and the reasons why that is so.

Our approach to Biblical interpretation is a simple one: We always go with the most clear and obvious reading of the Scriptures, and we ensure that our understanding is true to the entire passages from which those readings are taken. This is the “fundamentalist” approach. We read for doctrine, and we read for principle, and we can show, for any foundational belief that we hold, at least two or three passages that support our understanding with a decided lack of personal or private interpretations. What the words say, we believe they mean, and we are diligent to ensure that our understanding is according to three factors:

1) The face-value meaning of the language involved in the passage

2) The author’s intended meaning as revealed through the stated intent of the book or chapter

3) The meaning that the audience received from the doctrine, as reflected in how they responded to the author’s words

In addition to being fundamentalist in its approach to Biblical teachings, Creation Seventh Day Adventists (CSDAs) are also an eschatological group. This means that a significant portion of our theology deals with the “end of days.” This is evident in our very name, for an “Adventist” is one who awaits the return of Christ (His second “advent”) at the end of natural human history.

Ironically, but not coincidentally, those religious groups most maligned in the popular media of the day are those that identify themselves – or are identified – as being fundamentalist and eschatological. The stereotypical “doomsday sect” is a stock organization in the modern consciousness, and we believe that our Father’s spiritual enemies have seen to it that this is so.

We believe in Yahweh, in the God of Heaven, and we also believe that a large number of His created servants, the angels, fell from grace, and have been actively working at cross-purposes to the Redeemer and His spiritual army. Many of the Bible’s teachings, and therefore many of our teachings, can only be understood in the context of the conflict between Christ and Satan, which Adventists typically refer to as “The Great Controversy.”

We believe that the Book of Revelation, despite being filled with imagery and symbolism that can be difficult for many people to unravel, nevertheless presents a clear picture of a people saved from sin. Despite all the destruction and warfare that Revelation describes (however various groups may interpret those events) it is written plainly that there will be a people who withstand these dark and terrible times, and are received by Heaven’s Courts as the purified and genuine followers of Yahshua the Messiah, called Jesus Christ and the Lamb of God.

Revelation describes the Everlasting Gospel, the message that those believers follow, in three parts, each borne by a separate messenger. These angels, and their messages, are read in Revelation’s 14th Chapter as follows, immediately after the introduction of the faithful saints:

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come; and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”

“And there followed another angel, saying, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’

“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’” (Revelation 14:6-12)

The Gospel is “Good News.” Even though that passage contains much that seems dire, particularly the third angel’s message, the truth is that each of those is a wonderful and positive thing. How can this be? That is something that I hope to share during the course of this short series. Consider, for example, the subject of “judgment” that the first angel mentions. For many people, judgment is something to be feared, and avoided – but the angel says, “Fear God, yes, but also give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come.”

The Christian mindset, the one transformed by the Gospel, is one that gives glory to the Father because of His judgment. The Christian mindset is one that leads us to willingly stand in the light of judgment, so that all that remains of darkness in us may be exposed and deliberately put away. The CSDA Church is a Church of judgment – not of individuals judging others, but of individuals learning to love God’s judgment, and this is one of the things that identifies us as the people who compose the final generation of saints. I invite all who read this to continue through this series, and to share – in the spirit of Christ – questions and comments about its content.

David Aguilar
Posts: 63
Joined: May 28th, 2012, 4:28 pm

Re: The Pillars of the CSDA Faith (1/4): Introduction

Postby David Aguilar » June 23rd, 2012, 12:10 pm

Please direct your questions and comments to the discussion thread for this post: Discussion thread for "The Pillars" series.

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