Read 15%20growing%20in%20christ.pdf text version

1

15. Growing in Christ

I. Summaries of Adventist theology have been presented at various times. 1. James White 1853 in correspondence with the Seventh-day Baptist Central Association stated on behalf of the Seventh-day Advent people: "We want no human creed; the Bible is sufficient. The divine order of the New Testament is sufficient to organise the church of Christ. If more were needed, it would have been given by inspiration."

2.

August 1854 - list of five ,,Leading Doctrines Taught by the Review, was introduced under James White as editor: a. The Bible, and the Bible alone, the rule of faith and duty. b. The Law of God, as taught in the Old and New Testaments, unchangeable. c. The Personal Advent of Christ and the Resurrection of the Just, before the Millennium. d. The Earth restored to its Eden perfection and glory, the final Inheritance of the Saints. e. Immortality alone through Christ, to be given to the Saints of the Resurrection. Adventists have historically been reluctant to formalize a creed. J. N. Loughborough made the historic statement in the October 8, 1861 Review and Herald article: "The first step of apostasy is to get up a creed, telling us what we shall believe. The second is, to make that creed a test of fellowship. The third is to try members by that creed. The fourth to denounce as heretics those who do not believe that creed. And fifth, to commence persecution against such." In 1872 a pamphlet was produced by Uriah Smith presenting twenty-five Fundamental Principles not to "secure uniformity" but "to meet inquiries" and "to correct false statements" with a preamble "Adventists have no creed but the Bible, but they hold to certain well-defined points of faith, for which they feel prepared to give a reason."

By 1889 this was revised and expanded to 28 sections and published in the denominational Yearbook. Then disappeared for fifteen years, until a reprint in the Yearbook in 1905. In 1894 the Battle Creek Church, the most prominent Adventist congregation at the time, published a church directory which included a statement entitled ,,Some Things Seventh-day Adventists Believe. It contained 30 items, with a statement "these are some of the points of our faith upon which there is quite general agreement."

3.

4.

5.

6.

7. 8.

In 1912 a 29th section was added on religious liberty In 1931 by a request of the general Conference a 4 person group: initial draft by a 34 year old associate editor of the Review F.D.Nichol, revised and edited by F. M. Wilcox, the

chief editor of the Review and Herald, formatted for publication by Edson Rogers, the General Conference statistician, and finally endorsed by C. H. Watson, president of the General Conference, a list of 22 Fundamental Beliefs was published in the Adventist Yearbook,

and subsequently in the 1932 Adventist Church Manual.

2

9.

In 1946 the General Conference session in Washington, D.C. voted that the Church Manual could be revised only at a General Conference session ­ that is, not by the Executive Committee.

10.

In 1949 Pennsylvania conference president, T. E. Unruh, sent Ellen White's book, Steps to Christ to an evangelical Bible teacher and the founder/editor of a conservative Christian magazine Eternity (1931-1980), Donald Grey Barnhouse. In 1955 the magazine commissioned Walter Martin to write a book about Seventh-day Adventists. Series of dialogues began in March 1955 with Adventist representatives Le Roy Edwin Froom, W. E. Read and Roy Allan Anderson. With suspicion both sides worked through a list of 40 questions. Main allegations were on 4 points of Adventist beliefs: a. the atonement was not completed at the cross; b. salvation is the result of grace plus the works of the law; c. Jesus was a created being, not from all eternity; d. Jesus partook of man's sinful, fallen nature at the incarnation. The most problematic topic was the Adventist understanding of the human nature of Christ. Earlier William H. Branson, Adventist General Conference President, had written that Christ "took upon Himself sinful flesh." Most Adventists prior to 1950 agreed with this statement. By the summer of 1956 the small group of evangelicals became convinced that Seventhday Adventists were sufficiently orthodox to be considered Christian. Barnhouse published his conclusions in the September 1956 issue of Eternity magazine in the article, "Are Seventh-day Adventists Christians?" In it, they concluded, "Seventh-day Adventists are a truly Christian group, rather than an anti-Christian cult." This article surprised its readers, and 6,000 cancelled their subscriptions in protest. Following this, Adventists were gradually invited to participate in Billy Graham's crusades. 1957 Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine published with 150,000 in circulation. Caused controversy ­ not reprinted until 1963. In 1986 Walter Martin said "If the Seventh-day Adventist [Church] will not back up its answers with actions and put Questions on Doctrine back in print then they're in real trouble that I can't help them out of; and nobody else can either" The book was not reprinted until 2003 by Andrews University. George Knight, the editor of annotated version said: "The publication of

Questions on Doctrine did more than any other single event in Adventist history to create what appear to be permanently warring factions within the denomination."

11.

12.

13.

In 1980, the 27 Fundamentals were instituted by the denomination's General Conference. They are expanded upon in the book Seventh-day Adventists Believe: A Biblical Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines. This elaboration does not constitute the "official" position of the church. In 2005 another belief was inserted, fundamental belief number 11 "Growing in Christ", in response to the requests of Adventists in developing nations for a statement on spiritual warfare. It was voted in at the 2005 Adventist General Conference Session held in St. Louis, Missouri, yielding the current total of 28.

14.

3

II.

Statement of the New Belief. By His death on the cross Jesus triumphed over the forces of evil. He who subjugated the demonic spirits during His earthly ministry has broken their power and made certain their ultimate doom. Jesus' victory gives us victory over the evil forces that still seek to control us, as we walk with Him in peace, joy, and assurance of His love. Now the Holy Spirit dwells within us and empowers us. Continually committed to Jesus as our Saviour and Lord, we are set free from the burden of our past deeds. No longer do we live in the darkness, fear of evil powers, ignorance, and meaninglessness of our former way of life. In this new freedom in Jesus, we are called to grow into the likeness of His character, communing with Him daily in prayer, feeding on His Word, meditating on it and on His providence, singing His praises, gathering together for worship, and participating in the mission of the Church. As we give ourselves in loving service to those around us and in witnessing to His salvation, His constant presence with us through the Spirit transforms every moment and every task into a spiritual experience.

Devil is defeated! Have no fear in your daily life. Be empowered! Grow into perfect stature! III. Attitudes toward this new introduction. a. Many Western observers say it's "a wink in the direction of other countries where they see more demon possession and other dark forces in countries where ancestors are worshiped, ghosts must be appeased, and evil spirits must be "fooled" by building designs." However, it is relevant here, in the North American context too, among Latinos who believe in various Santeria gods, or Orishas. Among Europeans where the New Age movement deal in spirit entities, as well as neo-paganism, such as the Wicca movement. b. Twofold reason for this belief 1) to specifically teach what many missionaries and Christians have been teaching individually, that Jesus, through his death, has triumphed over evil; 2) to remind western Christians of the reality of the spirit-world that we have a tendency to shrug our shoulders over. c. Scriptures used to support the new affirmation: Psalms 1:1, 2; 23:4; 77:11, 12; Colossians 1:13, 14; 2:6, 14, 15; Gospel of Luke 10:17-20; Ephesians 5:19, 20; 6:12-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18,23; 2 Peter 2:9; 3:18; 2 Corinthians 3:17, 18; Philippians 3:7-14; Gospel of Matthew 20:25-28; Gospel of John 20:21; Galatians 5:22-25; Romans 8:38, 39; 1 epistle of John 4:4; Hebrews 10:25.

4

IV. Sanctification as an ongoing process of deliverance from demonic and growth. a. in its verb form, to "sanctify" literally means to set apart for special use or purpose, that is to make holy or sacred (compare Latin sanctus holy). Therefore sanctification refers to the state or process of being set apart. b. Can a "saved" person be tormented or possessed by demons? c. The classic position of the Christian Church is that Satan and other fallen beings now known as demons, are spiritual entities that exist and sometimes manifest their presence in the world. These entities have as their primary focus the spiritual deception of humanity. Their primary mission is to thwart God's purposes on earth, specifically to prevent non-believers from placing faith in Christ and to prevent Christians from being effective disciples of Jesus. Satan is referred to as "the father of lies" (John 8:44) and as "the accuser of our brothers" (Revelation 12:10). d. The Christian Church from its beginning positively confessed and proclaimed the supremacy and victory of Christ in his resurrection from the dead over all things including the Devil, demons or fallen angels. e. In the early church the rite of exorcism took various forms including prayer, laying on of hands, fasting and sprinkling holy water. Church Fathers such as Justin Martyr and Tertullian attest to the importance of invoking the name of Christ against a demon. Other early rites involved demon-repelling prior to a candidate undergoing baptism. The candidate would participate in various rituals intended to cleanse demonic influences (Clementine Recognitions). During the rite of baptism the candidate would publicly renounce Satan, while the water was consecrated. The sign of the cross developed as a demon-repelling device. f. In the Roman Catholic tradition the rite of exorcism was placed under strict guidelines by Pope Paul V in the Roman Ritual (1614). Further definition came in the early Twentieth century from Pope Pius XI (in 1929). g. Reformation. Johannes Bugenhagen Pomeranus, the pastor of the Wittenberg town church who officiated at Martin Luther's wedding, in a letter addressed to Luther and Melanchthon dated November 1530, recounted his experience of dealing with a young girl who showed signs of demon possession. Pomeranus' method involved counselling the girl concerning her previous baptismal vows, he invoked the name of Christ and prayed with her. h. The Anglican-Puritan writer William Gurnall wrote a lengthy three-volume work The Christian in Complete Armour that was published between 1662 and 1665. In this work Gurnall stressed the place of reading Scripture, prayer and the name of Christ. i. Protestant Evangelicals. In the American revival tradition among evangelicals, prominent preachers such as D. L. Moody, Billy Sunday, R. A. Torrey and Billy Graham have all affirmed their belief in the existence of the demonic and had occasions to recount some of their own spiritual warfare encounters. During the late twentieth century, evangelical writers such as Mark Bubeck and Merrill Unger presented their theological and pastoral response to demonic phenomena. The problem of demon possession and spiritual warfare became the subject of a Christian Medical Association symposium that was held in 1975. One of the very significant German writers is the Lutheran Kurt Koch whose work has influenced much of both evangelical and charismatic thought in the late twentieth century. j. Pentecostal and charismatic perspectives on the Spiritual warfare. From Jessie Penn-Lewis's book War on the Saints arising from the Welsh Revival in the early twentieth century to the third-wave Charismatic movement of today - notably C. Peter Wagner and Cindi Jacobs this concept has been developed as the Christian's spiritual growth in holiness, technically called sanctification. A preacher may discern that parishioners are experiencing obstacles in their faith, prayer life and general spiritual well-being. That process of discernment may yield an awareness of spiritual oppression caused by a combination of personal sin and demonic

5

k.

l.

m.

n. o.

influence. The obstacles are then removed through prayer, delivering a parishioner from demonic possession, and breaking down false beliefs about God. Dr. Ed Murphy is the author of a modern 600-page tome on the subject from the point of view of deliverance ministry entitled The Handbook of Spiritual Warfare. Pentecostals and charismatics have also applied the concept in the task of evangelism and worldwide missions. Former missionaries such as Charles Kraft and C. Peter Wagner have emphasized the problem of demonology on the world mission fields and the need to drive demons out. These view had been exaggerated by writers such as Frank Peretti, metamorphosing into "spiritual combat" techniques where Christians seek power over demons. Controversy and Assessments. Robert Guelich of Fuller Theological Seminary points out that Paul's writings in the Epistle to the Ephesians is focused on proclaiming the peace of God and nowhere specifies any techniques for battling demons. Missions specialists such A. Scott Moreau and Paul Hiebert point out traces of animist thought encroaching on both evangelical and charismatic discourses about the demonic and spiritual warfare. Hiebert indicates that a dualist cosmology now appears in some spiritual warfare texts and it is based on the Greco-Roman mystery religions and Zoroastrian myths. However, Hiebert also chastises other evangelicals who have absorbed the modern secular outlook and have tended to downplay or even ignore the demonic. Hiebert speaks of the flaw of the excluded middle in the thinking of some evangelicals who have a cosmology of God in heaven and humans on earth, but have ignored the "middle" realm of the angelic and demonic. In 2000 an international collaborative attempt was made by evangelicals and charismatics in the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization to reach some common agreement about spiritual warfare. The conference gathered in Nairobi, Kenya, and yielded a consultation document as well as many technical papers published as the book Deliver Us from Evil. Other perspectives that move in a therapeutic line include Christian author William Bandlwin, PhD in his popular book Spirit Releasement Therapy, and healer and author Ken Page uses a similar approach. There is also M. Scott Peck's acceptance of the reality of demons with remedial help framed in a healing psychotherapeutic framework in his book People of the Lie. www.ficm.org web site of Freedom in Christ Ministries, by Dr. Neil T. Anderson. Analysis of worldviews:

Personal Divine middle Human Trinity Worship, prayer, faith Society, community, relationships, history Medieval Impersonal Force Rituals, sacrifice, rites Math, engineering, rules, science, laws and rules Magical Gnostic Christian Theism

Atheist/Agnostic

Deist

6

V. Growing in Freedom. a. July 4, 2005 GC bulletin: "For a movement that is drawing new members from societies where beliefs in "evil spirits" continue to play a part, the Seventh-day Adventist Church's 58th General Conference Session adopted a new fundamental belief statement declaring God's power to help believers live a sanctified life....it links Jesus' victory over demonic spirits with the struggles Christians face today." b. As high as 89% of newly baptized Adventists in Africa, Asia and South America go to seek services of traditional beliefs of a diviner, soothsayer, or magician. Converts do not live in "Mission Villages" and as they go back into the world they mingle their new faith with old traditions. c. Addictions in the European and North American context, where people are needlessly give power over their time, money, and relationships to substances is demonic possession. VI. Biblical Teaching. a. Luke 4:18-19. The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lords favor. b. Acts 16:16-19 woman had psychic ability because of an evil spirit. Any spirits accessed outside of Christ are evil, it is their very nature to deceive and harm their victims. Yet, this girl is giving supernatural affirmation that the apostles were from the Most High God and were proclaiming the way of salvation. By this she was giving the deceptive impression that she, too, knew the true God and promoted his ways, when she was actually under the influence of a demonic spirit, which, of course, is opposed to Christ. c. 2 Corinthians 11:14. Demonic forces pretend to appear as angel of light. d. Acts 19:13-16 exorcists got assaulted and beaten by the evil spirits. Idea is to compel someone to do something by invoking a supernatural power ("to exorcise"). This word is used to describe actions of the high priest attempted to do to Christ (Matt. 26:63). Greek word VExorki,zw means "to put someone under oath," "to adjure". IN their worldview exorcism has to do with rituals, religious formulas, spells. Jesus did it differently ­ he "cast out" (evkba,llw) demons rather than "exorcise." He simply "kicked them out" by the power of His word, without the performance of any rituals or the use of traditional formulas (Matt. 8:16). He ordered them to leave and they obeyed (Luke 9:49, 50; 10:17). There were no long, time-consuming exercises, no shouting, no physical involvement of Jesus with the possessed person. In fact, He never touched a demoniac, and only once did He enter into a dialogue with one (Mark 5:7-10). Jesus simply had authority over evil powers, and they could not resist Him. Jesus shared with His disciples that same authority (Matt. 10:8; Mark 3:15; Luke 9:1). The way they probably cast out demons is illustrated: "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out..." (Acts 16:18). It was Christ who freed the person; the apostle called upon

7

Him to intervene. There was no protracted struggle with the demon or dialogue with it. Christ's power was effective through the word of the disciples. e. In the Scriptures demonic possession is a reality taken very seriously. Possessed individuals are characterized variously by aggressive behavior (Matt. 8:28); attempts at self-destruction (Matt. 17:15); the inability to speak (Matt. 9:32), to hear (Mark 9:25), or to see (Matt. 12:22). In general, demonic possession is distinguished from diseases (Matt. 4:24; Mark 1:32). One of the most controversial aspects of demon possession is that in almost all cases it is difficult to distinguish it from epilepsy, other physical diseases, or a mental illness. This implies that demonic possession has an impact on the mind and body similar to mental health conditions. But it is usually accompanied by elements of clairvoyance, supernatural phenomena, even levitation of objects. Demons manifest themselves, to make sure they are recognized. Since in many cases it would be difficult to distinguish it from a natural disease, whenever possible we should seek advice from physicians and other qualified people. f. In the New Testament exorcism is not listed among the spiritual gifts. No one was called by Jesus to establish a ministry of exorcism. He gave His disciples power and authority over demons, but not once did He suggest that would be their primary role. Their responsibility was the proclamation of the kingdom of God, the good news of salvation. He explicitly said: "As you go, preach this message: `The kingdom of heaven is near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, ... drive out demons" (Matt. 10:7, 8, Mark 6:12; Luke 9:2). Kingdom of God drives out demons. When the Kingdom of God is present as the Lordship of Christ, the demons flee. The proclamation of the kingdom of God is the mission of each believer. When in the fulfillment of that mission we confront demoniacs, we have been empowered by Christ to face them. But our primary call is to proclaim the gospel of redemption through Christ. g. 1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. h. James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. i. j. 2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty/freedom 1 Peter 2:16 As free, and not using your liberty for a clock of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

k. Galatians 5:1,13 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage... For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. l. Philippians 4:8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

8

VII.

Ellen G.White on liberty of Growing in Christ. a. Adventist Home, p.178: Let those composing the family circle pray that God will sanctify their tongues, their ears, their eyes, and every member of their body. When brought into contact with evil, it is not necessary to be overcome of evil. Christ has made it possible for the character to be fragrant with good....Are we growing into His divine nature? b. Adventist Home, pp.437-438: Fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, do not educate yourselves in the line of vulgarity of action, word, or thought. Coarse sayings, low jests, lack of politeness and true courtesy in the home life, will become as second nature to you and will unfit you for the society of those who are becoming sanctified through the truth. The home is too sacred a place to be polluted by vulgarity, sensuality, recrimination, and scandal. Silence the evil word; put away the unholy thought, for the True Witness weighs every word, sets a value on every action, and declares, "I know thy works." Low, cheap, common talk should find no place in the family. When the heart is pure, rich treasures of wisdom will flow forth. Indulge in no foolish talking in your house. Even very young children will be benefited by "the form of sound words." But idle and foolish words exchanged between father and mother will lead to the same kind of words among the children; while right, candid, truthful, and serious words will lead to the same in all the household and will lead to right actions also. c. Child Guidance, p.455: Yield yourself to Christ without delay; He alone, by the power of His grace, can redeem you from ruin. He alone can bring your moral and mental powers into a state of health. Your heart may be warm with the love of God; your understanding, clear and mature; your conscience, illuminated, quick, and pure; your will, upright and sanctified, subject to the control of the Spirit of God. You can make yourself what you choose..... Parents are asleep and know not that Satan has planted his hellish banner right in their households. .... d. Councels to Parents, teachers and Students. P.257: We are living in an atmosphere of satanic witchery. The enemy will weave a spell of licentiousness around every soul that is not barricaded by the grace of Christ. Temptations will come; but if we watch against the enemy, and maintain the balance of self-control and purity, the seducing spirits will have no influence over us. Those who do nothing to encourage temptation will have strength to withstand it when it comes; but those who keep themselves in an atmosphere of evil will have only themselves to blame if they are overcome and fall from their steadfastness. In the future, good reasons will be seen for the warnings given regarding seducing spirits. Then will be seen the force of Christ's words, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:48. We are to be guided by true theology and common sense. Our souls are to be surrounded by the atmosphere of heaven. Men and women are to watch themselves; they are to be constantly on guard, allowing no word or act that would cause their good to be evil spoken of. He who professes to be a follower of Christ is to watch himself, keeping himself pure and undefiled in thought, word, and deed. His influence upon others is to be uplifting.

9

e. ....some thoughts from the Spirit of Prophecy on the use of the term:

i. If the law of God is obeyed, the demon of strife will be kept out of the family ii. The demon of intemperance is not easily conquered. But Christ ...give us help to conquer even this terrible demon of intemperance. iii. If he would open his heart to Christ, divine grace would banish the demon of selfishness iv. demon of greed v. people are deceived and deluded by the demon of ambition. vi. unpleasant spirit displayed is sure to arouse the demon of passion vii. demon of jealousy viii. Some who profess to be servants of Christ have so long cherished the demon of unkindness that they seem to love the unhallowed element and to take pleasure in speaking words that displease and irritate. These men must be converted before Christ will acknowledge them as His children. ix. intoxicating liquor makes man act the fool, and turns him to a demon of evil and cruelty. x. demon of hysterics and satanic imaginings. xi. demon of heresy xii. demon of appetite has robbed thousands of their reason xiii. demon of rebellion f. Testimonies to churches. Vol.8. p.293. ... they held that those once sanctified could not sin, and this they were presenting as gospel food. Their false theories ...were working great harm to themselves and to others. They were gaining a spiritualistic power over those who could not see the evil of these beautifully clothed theories. Great evils had already resulted. The doctrine that all were holy had led to the belief that the affections of the sanctified were never in danger of leading astray. The result of this belief was the fulfillment of the evil desires of hearts which, though professedly sanctified, were far from purity of thought and practice.

g. Signs of the Times. May 19, 1890 "Obedience is the sign of Sanctification" Many have

taken the position that they cannot sin because they are sanctified, but this is a delusive snare of the evil one. There is constant danger of falling into sin, for Christ has warned us to watch and pray lest we enter into temptation. If we are conscious of the weakness of self, we shall not be self-confident and reckless of danger; but we shall feel the necessity of seeking to the Source of our strength, Jesus our righteousness. John 14:21 sign of true disciple.

h. Gospel Workers, 1892. We are living amid the perils of the last days, and we should guard every avenue by which Satan can approach us with his temptations. A fatal delusion seizes those who have had great light and precious opportunities, but who have not walked in the light nor improved the opportunities which God has given them. Darkness comes upon them; and they fail to make Christ their strength, and fall an easy prey to the snares of the deceiver. A mere assent to the truth will never save a soul from death. We must be sanctified through the truth; every defect of character must be overcome, or it will overcome us and become a controlling power for evil.

Information

9 pages

Find more like this

Report File (DMCA)

Our content is added by our users. We aim to remove reported files within 1 working day. Please use this link to notify us:

Report this file as copyright or inappropriate

123304


You might also be interested in

BETA
Microsoft Word - egw-tithe.rtf
The Literature Evangelist
Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual
Microsoft Word - English Readings.doc
Microsoft Word - _2009 NAD Offertory Readings.doc