Appendix explanation Twelve ThesesThesis 1 -- The specific message of the Seventh Day Adventist Church is one full of hope and grace, and is utterly relevant for every man in this end time
This policy document presents to us a languishing Church. A Seventh Day Adventist Church that is losing its significance for the majority of her members and for the world around us. If that is true, than it is a sad thing indeed, because we have so much that speaks on our behalf. We have the m o s t positive message of hope and mercy for the world. How can that be irrelevant?
If we believe that we have a God given commission to proclaim the last message of mercy to the world and all God’s children in the other churches, how credible are we when we go to them for advice and instruction on how to do church successfully. We do not fall short on divine guidance in reaching people with His message, don’t we? Is it not that our proclamation will gain the more power when we take a firm stand for what we believe, without compromising it?
Ellen White speaks to this point: “There is to be no compromise with those who make void the law of God. It is not safe to rely upon them as counsellors. Our testimony is not to be less decided now than formerly; our real position is not to be cloaked in order to please the world’s great men. They may desire us to unite with them and accept their plans, and may make propositions in regard to our course of action which may give the enemy an advantage over us. While we should not seek for controversy and should not needlessly offend, we must present the truth clearly and decidedly, and stand firm to what God has taught us in His Word. You are not to look to the world in order to learn what you shall write or publish or what you shall speak.” (Selected Messages, vol 2, p. 371).
Thesis 2 -- As Seventh Day Adventists we don’t want to merge into the contemporary culture, but want to make a positive difference instead
The message of Ted Wilson on the Sabbath of the GC Annual Council in October 2010 has emphasized again the importance of the name Seventh Day Adventist. Although there is no salvation in a name, our name stands for something and it is a message in itself for us and for others. In fact our name in itself indicates that we cannot be a church with others but a church with a life message for others.
But it seems that somewhere during the past 8-10 years our Church in the Netherlands has lost its understanding of the true purpose of the Advent Church in the world, and the sense of duty and urgency. As a consequence all kinds of strange believes from pseudo Christian sources have crept in to redefine Church. We’ve seen the same trend after the so-called conversion of Constantine the Great. He too wanted to redefine church and to give Christianity more relevance in a strong anti-God society. That resulted in a cohabitation of church and culture that proved to be the beginning of the great apostasy in the Church.
If we are the prophetic people of the Bible, and foremost the people with the three angel’s message and proclaiming the urgent message of the fourth angel (Rev 14:6-12; 18:1), then we cannot be a church with others, but a church with an urgent life message for others..
Thesis 3 -- The Seventh Day Adventist Church is the church of Jesus Christ, and she will remain steadfast until His second coming
Actually we have forgotten why we are Seventh Day Adventists and not for instance Baptists or Evangelicals, and why we are so privileged to be called by His name (2Chron 7:14) and to uplift His authority over our lives and over the world. That’s more than keeping Sabbaths and refusing pork; more than giving and receiving of tithes. It is altogether clear that our Church in the Netherlands has a very bad case of identity crisis. Are we the people of Revelation 12:17 or are we not? If we are then we have to follow another course than set forth in this document.
God’s Church will truly grow and be blessed when we take a firm stand on our God given principles and instruction, and humbly and faithfully claim His wonderful promises.
Thesis 4 It is not logic that elements outside our church define the Seventh Day Adventist Church and state a need for change to us
Exploring the proposed problem in this document, it becomes readily clear that we are dealing with a redefining church with the concepts of the Emerging Church , and reforming church with the concepts that has their origins in all Papal Encyclicals from Rerum Novarum (1891), via the proclamation of the ecumenical goal at Vaticanum II (1962-1965) to Caritas in Veritate (2009), and the Jesuit’s contra-reformation teachings of social justice, social Christianity, liberation theology and spiritual formationwhich is no less than a subtle form of spiritualism. This is a path we most certainly must not tread.
The solutions that this document proposes to us, are solely based on a worldly analyses of a non-problem -- we are a vanishing church, unless we change to a church with others, and we will cease to be church unless we cooperate with others. The writer says, “on basis of the analyses, some problem area’s [within the Church] - are identified and some answers are given.” (p1). This declaration suggests the worst possible scenario -- the basis of this vision is not neutral and surely not Biblical!
Thesis 5 -- The Bible, with the prophetic counsels, is our only guide line and foundation of our faith, and the only source we want to draw from
This policy document presents new strategies, while the Lord has provided us all along with His proven strategy for the war of wars between heavenly powers. Because it is not a earthly war, our earthly strategies will not suffice, no matter how elaborate we phrase them.
This policy vision is for our Church alone. What do we care about how the world thinks about the world? We have the Bible and the prophetic testimonies as our guide to tell us how God thinks about us. Isn’t that enough? If those inspired words still have any worth, how could we then regard the Advent Church impoverished and vanishing and say that God’s principles are somehow insufficient and out dated? Is there really any need then to learn elsewhere methods and strategies that cannot secure success? cannot secure success?
Thesis 6 -- Every method used in God’s work, must be firmly founded on God’s Word. We will denounce all that differs from that standard
We may develop new methods, but divine principles never change. Violation of those principles is the greatest danger that could befall us. Then, we will vanish indeed and God will call up street cobbles to proclaim His message, for that message will be brought before Jesus returns.
Seventh Day Adventist have always had an open mind to new insights, new mission methods -- we are not a rigged and bigoted movement. Open mindedness is the substance of what we call Present Truth, but the emphasis lies on “Truth”-- that is verified, tested and tried to the only standard of truth – the Bible.
“God’s Word is authoritative for the church and it’s proclamation to the world. But more important, it is authoritative for our life... It becomes the final authority on all matters of belief and lifestyle. We cannot let scientific and sociocultural forces dictate what the Bible can mean... The Bible is superior to all human wisdom and literature. It is the norm by which all other ideas or methods must be tested... We Seventh Day Adventists accept the Bible as the foundation for all our beliefs, and see in its pages our unique prophetic identity and mission. We must resist the subtle, and not-so-subtle, ways in which the devil seeks to distance us from the Bible and a plain understanding of what God has said is true” (Ted NC Wilson, Adventist Review, Feb 2011).
Thus when we are looking for new opportunities, let’s go through that old treasure chest prayerfully. God has given His end time people many precious prophetic admonishments, but we often brush them aside. Let us make the decision to listen to those oracles for this once, keep the Lord ever before us (Leviticus 19) and heed to the words of Jesus who said: “Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure” ” (Matt 13:52).
Thesis 7 -- God calls His people to ask Him for counsel and advise (Job 5:8,9). Compared to His insights the wisdom of this world is but foolishness (1Cor3:19)
There is nothing wrong with giving a description and analysis of the society -- when we describe the world --, but to take the conclusions of atheists and extrapolate them to the Church of Christ, brings great dishonour to the almighty power of the Lord of the Church. Job 5:9 asks the question: Why don’t we ask God? “Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvelous things without number” for them who put their trust in Him..
The success of God’s Church should not be attributed to the influence of man-made methods. It is true that there are technical innovations we may not have brought fully into the work yet, but God has given us clear principles, and every new method explored must be tested to those principles. And as we do, the glory goes to Him, who guards His Church with jealous care.
We are encouraged with this wonderful promise and assurance of success in church growth in width and in depth: “Nothing else in this world is so dear to God as His Church. He will work with mighty power through humble, faithful men. Christ is saying to you today: ‘I am with you, co-operating with your faithful, trusting efforts, and giving you precious victories. I will strengthen you as you sanctify yourselves to My service. I will give you success in your efforts to arouse souls, dead in trespasses and sins’” (Testimonies Vol7, p. 242, 243).
Doesn’t this precious promise stand for something? Is there any indication that the Lord came back on His promises? Is it not better to be counseled by Ellen White than by atheists and mega church businessmen? Don’t we see that their businesses fail? The grandest mega church of America, The Crystal Cathedral of Robert Schuller, filed for bankruptcy in October 2010. What does that tells us about success?
Let us indeed reconsider our vision on discipleship, but not with the visions of unbelieving sociologists and philosophers, but with the visions of holy men and women who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2Peter 1:21).
Thesis 8 -- The Seventh Day Adventist Church in the Netherlands needs a revival by the in-living Holy Spirit, to answer God’s love and grace with obedience and virtue
We need personal revival. That we are undeniably assured of overwhelming power -- assured of divine co-operation in gaining victories over ourselves and for Jesus -- assured of success in arousing dead souls to life. We don’t have to go to other Churches for instruction on how to be successful in church growth. But maybe we ourselves are in need of revival, when we fail to claim the power others say they have.
What we need foremost is not a redefinition of Church, but a REVIVAL from the drowsiness that has befall our people and a TOTAL REFORMATION of our personal lifestyles.
What we need foremost is not a redefinition of Church, but a REVIVAL from the drowsiness that has befall our people and a TOTAL REFORMATION of our personal lifestyles.
What we need in our Seventhe Day Adventist Church is not a new vision (true visions come from the Lord and never contrary to the Word! 1Sam3:1), no debate or dialogue between opposite sides, no compromising so that everyone can be his own standard, but a renewed devotion and consecration, that come from a life that’s driven by the in-living Spirit, Who will enable us to live a sanctified life, of all things that pertains unto life and godliness: love, compassion, obedience and all that’s becoming. But it is as Ted Wilson said in his inauguration sermon: we need to be revived and reformed, but we will not if we do not acknowledge our need first.
Of that great need for revival and reformation among our people, and the need for humble, faithful men, the inspired pen of Ellen White wrote: “I was alarmed for ministers and people. There seemed to be a paralysis upon the cause of present truth. The work of God seemed stayed. Ministers and people are unprepared for the time in which they live, and nearly all who profess to believe present truth are unprepared to understand the work of preparation for this time. In their present state of worldly ambition, with their lack of consecration to God, their devotion to self, they are wholly unfitted to receive the latter rain and, having done all, to stand against the wrath of Satan, who by his inventions would cause them to make shipwreck of faith, fastening upon them some pleasing self-deception. They think they are all right, when they are all wrong.” 1Testimonies 466.1
Thesis 9 -- Dutch Seventh Day Adventists want to give themselves by the inspiration of the Spirit for the building up of God’s Church, His bride, and by that fulfill the call of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in the world
The Church needs her members. Members need to take up their responsibility and have a more prominent voice in the course the Church in Holland takes. They must become more active, attend the business meetings of their churches. They must realize that if 3 persons attend the business meetings those 3 persons decide for the whole church. Business meetings don’t work with quorum – one may decide to a quorum, but it’s not compulsory. Too long we have left the business affairs of the Church to a small elect group; too long a small elect group had decided for the entire church. God is not a respecter of social status and education level. He himself wants to enable devoted persons in His service. And that means every one of us; young, old, men, women, old people, children.
The Seventh Day Adventist Church is a democratic church. But many members do not know how the church structures function and most church boards do not actively instruct the members.
If we truly want to help the Church and her members to become more involved, let us stimulate them first to get acquainted with the distinctive characteristics, believes and the structures of Adventism, to know why we do certain things the way we do, and that they may become proud again to be a Seventh Day Adventist.
We are assured that if we pray to God as a people with all our hearts, He will hear our stammering and see our stumbling, and sustain us with the power of His Spirit, that the way of Jesus will bear much fruit. But the fact is that we as Church as a whole have been too inconsistent in our prayer lives… we ask too little of what we need the most, and therefore we have so little ..(Luke 11:13; James 4:2). That’s why it looks like others are receiving much more than we, but the promises are for us too..
Thesis 10 -- Dutch Seventh Day Adventists want to take up the responsibility for their personal spiritual growth, that God’s love in Christ can be seen in what they do and what they don’t
We need Christ. Let’s encourage each other to be more godly in every aspect of our daily lives that we may become aware of the great mercies of God for every human being and that there is a world around us that needs us. And then, out of thàt awareness, let’s be involved in outreach programs with our own principles.
Let us therefore pray for a better understanding of the sacrifice of Jesus, and meditate upon it, that we may understand how great God’s love is in Christ.
Let we do this first to gain insights in what the Lord is asking from us personally. That we may know that God’s work will never bear fruit for heaven on earthly branches. And while we do that, the Lord will lead us to find our way back to reach out in practical Christian living on basis of the principles of a sanctified life, outlined to us in ?Leviticus 19 and Mathew 5-7.
Thesis 11 -- Dutch Seventh Day Adventists want to give themselves for those who don’t know Jesus yet and they want to share God’s love and the unaltered truth in Christ with them
The world need Seventh Day Adventists. God had His prophet penned down the right way to true involvement 3500 years ago in Leviticus 19. And some 2000 years ago our Lord explained to us in Matthew 5-7 how it works out in everyday life. Some 150 years ago that same strategy is phrased in beautiful and highly understandable words in three magnificent thin booklets: Steps to Christ, Christian Service and Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings. Those sanctified sources present the blue print for a true socially involved church, consisting of consecrated people with a living prospect of the soon Second Coming of their Master burning in their hearts. It is a great shortcoming that those rich sources are omitted in this document.
If we know ourselves to be guided by the Lord, and consecrate all to Him in the first place, we will become more involved people.
Let us therefore start a project to start reading those chapters and books corporately and on basis of what is presented to us thereof, looking for ways to practice what we have learned, and bring the lost sheep of God’s flock Home.
Thesis 12 -- The Dutch Seventh Day Adventists don’t want to be divided and to dissociate themselves, but loyally, with all the other Seventh Day Adventists in the world, want to give heed to the call for revival from the leadership of the World Church
We don’t want to be an defective field within the World Church of Seventh Day Adventists. That’s why we are in grief that, while in July 2010 the World delegates have voted for a clear change of course with the landmarks, we do not see the signs of the change of course here in the Netherlands.
Furthermore, all attended presidents prayed for guidance of the Spirit in October 2010 and approved to issue the call to Revival and Personal and Church Reformation. Would the Dutch Seventh Day Adventists Church show her loyalty to give heed to that call to supplication and repentance? (2 Chron 7:14).
Too long are we wandering the bro?ad way of trying to be “church with others,” to be “as all other people” (1Sam 8:5,19,20). We don’t have much time left!
Let us all show our loyalty to our God. He Himself will show us the way to a Church after His heart, in every aspect.