Commentary on "A Perpetual Ministry"
Day 1: Sabbath Afternoon, June 23, 2012 - Introduction
Memory text for the week
“What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches” (Luke 13:18-19, NKJV).
In Sabbath afternoon’s lesson, the author contends that everyone in the church, young and experienced alike, should take their role as a witness for Jesus very seriously.
Judging from the information presented in the previous weeks in this quarter and from Adventist teachings in general, it is clear that by the term 'witnessing’, the author intends to convey the concept of persuading individuals to join the Adventist denomination. A practicing Adventist approaches 'witnessing’ very differently than a non-Adventist Christian would.
In the Adventist realm, it is not sufficient to simply share the Gospel as delineated in 1 Cor. 15: 1-6 (ESV):
“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.”
Sharing the details laid out in 1 Cor. 15 is only the first step in the process of Adventist evangelism because Adventists believe they have access to additional, essential doctrines that are not mentioned in the verses above (e.g., Sabbath, Investigative Judgment, etc). In other words, if an individual wants to join the Adventist denomination and believes all the ideas stated in 1 Cor. 15, they would not be allowed to join until they agree to the Sabbath, Ellen White, tithing, state-of-the-dead, and all the other unique doctrines (see the Adventist baptismal vows here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adventist_Baptismal_Vow)
So, we can safely assume that by the term 'witnessing’, the author does not mean the Gospel proper, as delineated in Scripture above—but rather the Adventist brand of the 'gospel’, which involves several distinctive rules/details that are unique to their denomination. Personally, being raised as an Adventist preachers kid (PK), I knew much better how to 'witness’ to Christians (by telling them why they need to keep the Sabbath) than I knew how to give evidence to non-Christians for the One Who died, was buried, and raised for their salvation. When I was Adventist, I did not know that Jesus kept the law on my behalf, and imputed His righteousness to me as if I had done it. I did not know that God has graciously given us so much evidence of Jesus’ identity, so that we could know that He truly is the One He claimed to be. As an Adventist, I could articulate the evidence of the validity of the Shadow (the Sabbath—see Colossians 2:17-18) but not for the Substance.
Copyright 2012 BibleStudiesForAdventists.com. All rights reserved. Revised May 23, 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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