Commentary on "Evaluating Witnessing and Evangelism"
Day 6: Thursday, June 21, 2012 - Evaluating for Church Growth
Today’s lesson refers to Revelation 14:6, 7, asking the reader how they should understand these verses in relationship to their identity as Seventh-day Adventists. It also states that they believe that the Seventh-day Adventist church has been raised up at this particular time in earth’s history as part of God’s plan to take the gospel to the world. It goes on to say that any evaluation of what the church does should be an assessment of how evangelism and witnessing strategies are affecting church growth. It goes on to talk a bit about Jesus’ ministry and how He chastised the religious leaders for shutting up the kingdom of God and making it difficult for them to enter. It says, “In light of Matthew 12:30, are you ‘gathering or scattering’ for Christ?”
The first couple of statements and questions regarding Revelation 14:6, 7 say it all. There’s really no point in going any further on the topic of “Evaluating for Church Growth” when we’re not even talking about the same church or the same gospel. It’s obvious from this lesson that the goal for the Seventh-day Adventist church is all about increasing denominational membership, not the body of Christ. As I mentioned in Tuesday’s lesson (“What the Lord Asks”), that Revelation 14:6-12 is a notoriously twisted passage that the SDA church uses to support their erroneous doctrines. The fact that these verses are mentioned in conjunction with the question “How do we understand these verses in relationship to our identity as Seventh-day Adventists?” underscores their continuing support of Ellen G. White’s authority and unbiblical writings. “The hour of His judgment has come” (vs 7) means “The Investigative Judgment” to a Seventh-day Adventist, and the phrase “Worship the Maker of heaven and earth” is a call to observe Saturday as the Sabbath—both of which have absolutely no biblical basis. The above question is a call to remember their unique and cultish stance when bringing people “into the fold”—the Seventh-day Adventist fold. These are not the ideas of true biblically-based believers and are in direct contradiction to what the Bible teaches, thus being false doctrines. It would seem that the Seventh-day Adventists are in the group Matthew 23:15 warns against, as the religious leaders of that time (Pharisees and Scribes) were teaching something other than the true gospel, including works (Sabbath-keeping) and legalism as part of the requirement to be saved and enter heaven. The Seventh-day Sabbath is regarded as the “Seal of God” and Sunday observance is, or will become, the issue of why we will be taking “The Mark of the Beast”. Adventists capitalize on this fear. They make the end-time trouble and tribulation about a day of the week (when we are worshiping), not about Whom we are worshiping.
The apostolic church held doctrine in prominence and foundational to all other aspects of its life and prosperity. They looked for conversions and for transformed lives. It was all about Jesus—the Jesus who fulfilled the Old Testament scriptures, Jesus as the Perfect Man, Jesus the Divine Messiah, Jesus crucified, making atonement for sin; of Jesus risen; of Jesus exalted and reigning. Their engagement in world-evangelism brought them great joy, even though with joy there was affliction, too (1 Thess. 1:5, 6). The early church evangelists presented themselves as ambassadors of the King, not as entertainers. They were trained for this by elders who themselves were to set the example and preach nothing but the Word, whether it be popular or convenient (2 Tim. 4:2, 5).
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