Commentary on "Evaluating Witnessing and Evangelism"
Day 4: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - What the Lord Asks
Today’s lesson starts out with Deut. 10:12, 13 as the launching point. The reader is then asked to summarize the two verses and identify what New Testament text it reminds them of and how to understand this in the context of “faith alone”. At the end of these questions, the author asks, “What outward manifestations of these inward things do the verses talk about? How does the link here between the inward and outward fit in with our understanding of Rev. 14:6-12?” The last paragraph cites Matt. 23:15 and reiterates how Jesus gave the Scribes and Pharisees a stern evaluation of their “witnessing” and “evangelism” outreach toward the Gentiles. It admonishes the reader to “always keep the deep truths expressed in Deut. 10:12, 13 before us. After all, with all our outreach efforts, the last thing we want to do is create more ‘sons of hell!’ “
What first strikes me is the hidden messages put in this lesson, as is so typical of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. They allude to things and are not up front in mentioning their doctrinal essentials. They downplay their differences in theology from evangelical Christians. Instead of heralding all they deem critical in making them the “remnant church”, they attempt to blend in, confusing those seeking true biblical knowledge. Instead of saying that their evangelism and witnessing needs to encompass Deut. 10:12, 13 (i.e. “the law”, and specifically the 4th commandment), they beat around the bush. This passage is not a call for the New Testament Christian to law/Sabbath-keeping.
It seems ironic that Matt. 23:15 is mentioned with the writer reminding us to ”keep the truths of Deut. 10:12, 13 before us”. In the Matthew passage Jesus was warning the Scribes and Pharisees to not be hypocritical legalists (promoting “salvation by works”, and having hardened hearts), therefore making more ‘sons of hell’ such as themselves. The writer throws in the Deuteronomy passage with Matt. 23:15 subtly emphasizing that if one doesn’t keep the 4th commandment in focus, we would be making these new believers ‘sons of hell’! This is exactly what Jesus was warning against—the legalism of adding works (Sabbath/law-keeping) to grace alone!
The questions addressing Rev. 14:6-12 are an indirect way of going straight to their false/twisted interpretation of that passage. Their “take home message” is that if your heart is right with God, the outward manifestations will be the law-keeping of Deut. 10:12, 13, specifically Sabbath-keeping. This passage (Rev. 14:6-12) forms the core of the Seventh-day Adventist belief system, called “The 3 Angels Message”. According to their convoluted and erroneous interpretation, the following points are true:
The bottom line is that true evangelism is proclaiming the unadulterated gospel of Jesus Christ. Faith alone = Salvation. Gal. 2:16 says,
“Yet we know that no one is justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no human being will be justified.”
Gal. 3:23-25 adds,
“Before this faith came, we were confined under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith was revealed. The law, then, was our guardian until Christ, so that we could be justified by faith. But since that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for you are all sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ.”
Copyright 2012 BibleStudiesForAdventists.com. All rights reserved. Revised June 1, 2012. This website is published by Life Assurance Ministries, Camp Verde, Arizona, USA, the publisher of Proclamation! Magazine. Contact email: BibleStudiesForAdventists@gmail.com.
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