Are We Willing? Revival of godliness is the most urgent need
By Ted N. C. Wilson
One of the greatest questions facing the Seventh-day Adventist Church today is: Are we willing to climb out of our comfort zones to let God do what is necessary to prepare each of us for a true revival personally and corporately, for a change or reformation in our lives as we become more and more like Jesus, and for the reception of the Latter Rain?
All of this is only through the power of the Holy Spirit. The answer to this question is your choice and my choice. As we all know, God will not force us to comply with His will. He invites, encourages, and, yes, pleads with us to respond to His counsel and wishes. Over the last several months the call to revival and reformation has gone out to the world church through our church leaders. What has been your reaction?
Over 100 years ago, Ellen White, the servant of the Lord, said, "A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs. To seek this should be our first work" (RH, March 22, 1887).
It is still the greatest of our needs, and is still to be our first work, for Jesus has not returned. How, then, are we to approach our first work and realize our greatest need? The model of the apostolic church as it prepared for Pentecost is a help to us today.
Before Jesus ascended, He told His disciples that they were to receive power to accomplish the mission He had given to them. In Luke 24:49 He said, "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you, but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high."
These words are reinforced in Acts 1:5, 8, "John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
Jesus told the disciples to go back to Jerusalem and wait for the power that was to come upon them from the Father. The period of waiting was about 10 days, but they did not put their feet up on the desk and wait in idleness. It was, rather, a time of intense preparation. Luke gives us a quick glimpse into what was done: "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers" (Acts 1:14). He makes this further observation, "When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place" (Acts 2:1).
Ellen White further explains this whole experience: "It was by the confession and forsaking of sin, by earnest prayer and consecration of themselves to God, that the early disciples prepared for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The same work, only in greater degree, must be done now" (TM, p. 507).
We have our orders. God is waiting to pour out His Spirit upon His remnant people Who will empower them to complete the work of preaching the Three Angels' Messages. The work done by the disciples must be done by us, only in a greater degree. We cannot receive this power unless we are willing to move out of our comfort zones and allow the Spirit to do the work within us that will place us in a position to receive the power. What is the work we are to do? Confession, we are told, forsaking sin, earnest prayer, and consecrating ourselves to God.
The question remains to be answered, are we willing to climb out of our comfort zones and confess and forsake our sins, to pray earnestly by ourselves and with our brothers and sisters for the promised power, and to consecrate ourselves to God and to God alone? Only you and I can answer this question for ourselves. In future messages we will press further into the experience of the disciples as they prepared for the Day of Pentecost. Luke tells us they gathered together to pray, but what else did they do? It is a key for what God wants us to do as we plead with the Lord for revival, reformation, and the Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit in anticipation of Christ's soon coming.
Ted N. C. Wilson is the president of the Seventh-day Adventist world church
International Bible Conference Opens In Israel Adventist Theologians, Scholars, Leaders gather for discussion and study.
BY MARK A. KELLNER, News Editor, reporting from Nof Ginosar, Tiberias, Israel
A Artur Stele, a general vice president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and director of the movement's Biblical Research Institute, addresses delegates to the Third International Bible Conference, Nof Ginosar, Israel, as night fell on June 11, 2012.total of 304 Seventh-day Adventist theologians, scholars, and church leaders gathered June 11 in a kibbutz on the shores of the Sea of Galilee to begin a 10-day conference on theological issues. The third International Bible Conference, sponsored by the world church's Biblical Research Institute (BRI), began at the site of ancient Gennesaret, and will conclude in Jerusalem on June 21.
"The hope we have is what makes this conference so special," said Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson, General Conference president, in brief remarks during an outdoor plenary session on the shores of the Galilee, known in Hebrew as the Kinneret. Cooled by a soft evening breeze, delegates listened thoughtfully as organizers sketched the plans for the coming days of study tours and meetings.
Noting a "resurgence of spiritualism" in today's world BRI associate director Kwabena Donkor said the "doctrine of humans," a subject also known as Biblical Anthropology, is "a very important issue" for the Adventist movement. "The issue of epistemology hinges on this topic," he said.
BRI director Artur Stele, also a general vice president of the world church, opened the conference with a plenary address. "Exploring the nature of anthropological dualism should be our work," Stele asserted, adding that a proper understanding of the nature of humans "touches on the relationship between a man and a woman" and on "the relationship of humans to modern technology."
Stele added, "we need to explore the significance of Biblical Anthropology and how it impacts all of our doctrines." Adventists are called to address the "challenge of world religions that are basically dualistic" in their view of man, he reminded the delegates.
Barry Oliver, president of the South Pacific Division, addresses delegates to the Third International Bible Conference in Nof Ginosar, Israel, on May 13, 2012. [PHOTOS: Mark A. Kellner/Adventist Review]"We have a treasure," Stele said of the Adventist viewpoint, "why don't we share it more actively? It demonstrates the beauty of the character of God."
The delegates, coming from all 13 of the church's world divisions, were also welcomed by Mrs. Josephine Zinder, president of Tailor Made Travel, herself a Messianic Jewish believer in Jesus. "Something is happening, the whole world is rushing here" to Israel, she observed, expressing her delight in the major conference sponsored by the Adventist Church
The first three days of the event, while including plenary lectures and daily devotionals, largely focused on showing delegates much of the land where Jesus of Nazareth walked, taught and healed. Visitors saw -- and sailed on -- the Kinneret, and visited the traditional "Mount of Blessing" where thousands once heard Jesus proclaim the eight beatitudes. Delegates also visited archaeological sites such as Bethsaida and Chorazin, traditional sites for the feeding of the 5000 and the miraculous catch of fish, and viewed the headwaters of the Jordan River in the the Rift Valley which extends from this region through Egypt and south into East Africa.
Morning devotionals beside the lake were also featured in the Galilee portion of the event. Euro-Asia Division president Guillermo Biaggi and South Pacific Division president Barry Oliver called delegates to personal connection with the Lord who once walked the shores of Galilee. Oliver reminded delegates that God, in the person of Jesus, "has been one with us and [has been] one of us. Experiencing His presence is dependent on seeking His Person, and that can only be done through the Lord Jesus Christ."
Some call them “divine appointments”—these seemingly random intersections of our lives with others heaven intends for us to know. In the midst of our haste and busyness, Jesus so orders lives that two of His disciples meet, discover each other’s faith, and thus increase the gladness of the kingdom.
Such moments are impossible to plan, nor often to explain, even with years of hindsight. No coincidence of calendar or strategic calculation could ever yield in what these godly friendships bring us. We marvel in amazement at all the joy and richness we might have missed if we hadn’t allowed these unplanned graces to occur. What if, we ask in holy fear, we hadn’t paused by that staircase to tie a shoelace or ask a question? What if we hadn’t yielded to the Spirit’s promptings and approached that stranger after church?
Five years ago I didn’t know that John* existed—or how much his prayers and counsel would enrich my life. His journey with Jesus has been so well matched to the needs of my own that I have frequently poured out my gratitude to God for the friendship only He could have appointed.
Five months ago I stopped before entering an elevator, caught in the Spirit’s grip for an extra 15 seconds or so—just long enough to meet David* at a ministry convention. Within the hour I learned to my amazement that he had been praying that we might be given a chance to talk, to share, to pray together as brothers in Christ. Today, across many miles, we do that via Skype or phone at least every other week.
As you read this month’s cover story, “VIDA: That’s Life,” you too will marvel at the divine appointments that brought salvation to so many. And like me, you may also bow your head and praise the hand that still guides us toward that rich, abundant life He promised to all who follow Him.
The world of Adventism is bigger than we imagine . . .
In nearly 200 nations, in hundreds of languages and dialects, in huge metropolises and tiny rural communities, Seventh-day Adventists live out the faith of Jesus as they wait for His return.
Adventist World features unique and important voices from that great diversity—believers who are rolling up their sleeves to help a hurting world; planning for witness and evangelism; opening Scripture with each other; and building stronger Adventist families.
Each week of the month, a new column will appear on this website that helps you understand the power and the impact of Adventist faith around the globe. Come to this site often: share these special articles with friends and neighbors.
Battle Against Spiritualism Far From Over, Adventist Theologian Says Gayoba tells Bible Conference of pervasive influences in most of world
BY MARK A. KELLNER, news editor, reporting from Jerusalem, Israel
Traditional cultures” of Africa, Asia and South America aren’t the only places where spiritualism can be found, Francisco Gayoba, president of the Adventist University of the Philippines, told delegates at the Third International Bible Conference on June 19, 2012. Spiritualist beliefs also surface in the most sophisticated realms, where “New Age” practitioners, knowingly or not, fall into similar practices.
In either case, the challenge for Seventh-day Adventist pastors and evangelists is to reach those coming from animist and spiritualist backgrounds not only in the context of their beliefs, but also discipling new believers away from mixing old practices with their new Christian faith.
Gayoba’s one-hour talk, which was very warmly received by the conference audience, noted the prevalence of spiritualist beliefs in many quarters.
“For those of us serving in traditional cultures, there has always been spiritualism,” he explained. “Spirits are the means of salvation for those in animism.”
EVERLASTING GOSPEL: “We need go have more adequate responses to animism and folk religions where spiritualism is deeply entrenched, so that we can proclaim the everlasting gospel to most of the people of the world today," Francisco Gayoba, president of the Adventist University of the Philippines, told delegates at the Third International Bible Conference on June 19, 2012 in Jerusalem, Israel. [Mark A. Kellner/Adventist Review]But, he added, the “framework of spiritualism continues in Roman Catholic theology, where the ‘soul’ unites with a body before birth and even continues on after death.” He said such thinking pervades much of Protestantism as well.
Hinduism and Buddhism share similar thoughts about souls living on after death and even reincarnating in other bodies, he explained, while some strains of Islam separate thought between the soul and the body. Chinese and African folk traditions share a concept that if the spirits of one’s ancestors are well respected, these spirits will offer blessing, with curses following for disrespect. African folk traditions spread to the new world via the African diaspora and show up in folk religions in the Caribbean, Haiti and Brazil, among other places.
Spiritualism and elements of animism will show up even in the halls of the educated, as Gayoba related from a conversation he had with a professor at the University of the Philippines, a public institution known for its atheistic bent: “I don’t believe in ghosts, but I’m afraid of them.”
In Western cultures such as the United States, the journey into strange practices can be found among those who call themselves “spiritual but not religious,” Gayoba said, citing scholar Robert Fuller, who defined such people as “’eclectic seeker[s]’ ... choosing avenues of greatest comfort and effect apart from the structures of organized religion.”
How to resolve this? “We need to adapt our missionary methods,” said Gayoba, who noted that he had been taught mainly U.S.-style evangelism and had American-produced materials earlier in his ministry. “Adventists who take the Bible not only as the source of truth, but also of missionary methods, have models for such outreach,” he said, quoting an December 11, 1890 article in The Atlantic Canvasser by Ellen G. White: Paul “varied his manner of labor, always shaping his message to the circumstances under which he was placed.”
Outlining various approaches to those whose outlook is “high” or “science-based,” as well as those at the “folk religion” level, Gayoba said a three-pronged attack of addressing behaviors and rituals, then beliefs, results in a proper worldview, which he said is at the core of faith. However, more study needs to be done
“We study the Bible and theology, but we do not study cultures and context, especially those outside their own,” he said. For example, “evangelical[-styled] apologetics are likely to have little impact on those who have embraced the New Age.”
Gayoba concluded, “We need go have more adequate responses to animism and folk religions where spiritualism is deeply entrenched, so that we can proclaim the everlasting gospel to most of the people of the world today.”
Paul Ratsara, president of the church’s Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division, whose early life in Madagascar exposed him to the animistic practices of his neighbors, said, “I think what Dr. Gayoba says is right on target. We need to study more the application of this topic. If we don’t address this, our witness will be weaker and our converts will be less loyal.”
Ratsara added his own conviction that having pastors and believers filled with the power of God, as outlined in Acts 1:8, is essential in establishing converts in the truth.
Wilson Meets Ayalon, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Adventist leader promises prayer for peace of nation, all neighbors
BY MARK A. KELLNER, news editor, reporting from Jerusalem, Israel
Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson, representing the world’s 17 million Seventh-day Adventists, met June 18, 2012, with Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, the Hon. Danny Ayalon. The session included an appreciation for the more than 300 Adventist theologians, scholars and administrators visiting Israel since June 11 for the church’s Third International Bible Conference.
“We have known about the Seventh-day Adventists for a long time, and there is no doubt, I think, by anyone, that we share a common heritage and belief, and also a common destiny,” Ayalon, who served for four and one-half years as Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, said.
MINISTRY MEETING: The Hon. Danny Ayalon, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, left, presents a protocol gift to Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson, president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Nancy Wilson, who joined her husband on their first visit to Israel, looks on, at right. [Mark A. Kellner/Adventist Review]He added, “Certainly when we see the tumult in the world, and specifically in the Middle East, and specifically in the persecution of minorities, whether they are Kurds, whether they are Jews or whether they are Christians, this is something all of us have to fight for and defend, for human dignity and for all interests.”
Wilson and his wife, Nancy, are on their first-ever visit to Israel. Ayalon noted this and said, “It is a great pleasure and an honor to have you here. I hope there will be many more [visits] to come, because there is a lot to see here, and a lot to feel here.”
In response, Wilson said, “One of the very specific things about Seventh-day Adventists is that we are apolitical; we work with whatever setting we find to build up society, to introduce them to the beauty of God’s plan for the human race, physically, socially, mentally and spiritually. So we are very much involved with many educational (and) health oriented aspects, and of course with spiritual things, because in the end that is what really matters.”
Wilson said the Adventists who have been here will go home and “be good representatives for the kind of hospitality we have received” in Israel. He added, “The best thing we can do is pray for peace, that God will … touch the lives of people.”
Wilson continued, “We have been very well received in the country. To be in the [Israel] museum, to see that incredible stone that was uncovered … that mentions the House of David. Things like this … help our understanding of Biblical history. The Bible is our best tour guide, not only for the country, but also for life itself.”
Ayalon and Wilson exchanged protocol gifts, with the Adventist leader presenting a Hebrew translation of Patriarchs and Prophets, which tells the story of humanity from pre-Creation through the beginnings of the Old Testament.
Along with the Wilsons and Ayalon, Ambassador Bahij Mansour, the Foreign Ministry’s religious affairs department director; Biblical Research Institute director Artur Stele; Clinton Wahlen, BRI associate director and conference coordinator; and Tailor Made Tours president Josephine Zinder attended the meeting.
Biblical Anthropology Matter of Life, Death, Issues, Mueller says Bible Conference session focuses on New Testament approaches
The subject of Biblical Anthropology, even in a work as diverse and panoramic as the New Testament, may seem a bit dry, even dusty. But, according to Ekkehardt Mueller of the Biblical Research Institute, the issues debated and decided here are as relevant as today’s headlines – and tomorrow’s.
How we view life, he explained, “has multiple implications for everyday life.” Addressing scholars and administrators at the Third International Bible Conference in Jerusalem, Israel, he said biblical anthropology touches on “ethical issues such as abortion, religious practices as seen in various churches and world religions, [and] involvement or non-involvement in spiritualistic practices, etc.”
Mueller added, “According to Revelation, a crisis with regard to occultism and spiritualism is ahead of us.”
IMPORTANT SUBJECT: Ekkehard Mueller of the Biblical Research Institute asserted that a proper understanding of biblical anthropology is essential to dealing with issues of life and death. He spoke during the Third International Bible Conference in Jerusalem, Israel. [Mark A. Kellner/Adventist Review]In that context, then, how should Christians should view the nature of man – as one single being which perishes, or sleeps, at death, or as a dualistic being, where the spirit or soul continues to function after the death of the body?
Dualism, Mueller noted, traces its roots back into Hellenistic philosophy and even beyond. Monism, on the other hand, is rooted in the Scriptures. Müeller quoted Adventist theologian, and Andrews University president, Niels-Erik Andreasen as saying the “biblical formula of life and death rejects all possibilities that anything except the survivor’s memory of a person survives death.”
In his hour-long talk, Mueller noted four Greek words – from the New Testament’s chief manuscript language – that are challenging to scholars on both sides of the issue: sōma, or “body,” used 142 times in the New Testament; psyche, “soul” or “mind,” found 103 times; pneuma, literally “breath” but also used as “spirit” or “soul,” and found 379 times in the N.T., with 70 of those instances in Acts. The last word is sarx, literally “flesh” or “body,” but also “the nature of a man.” This word appears 147 times in the New Testament.
Each word presents issues of usage, Mueller admitted. “We have noted that most of [these] terms have broad meanings and we must be careful to choose a translation that does justice to [the] text and [the] context. Sometimes, these meanings are overlapping.”
However, despite the different words being used, the many arguments for and against monism and dualism, and even with some Bible verses seeming ambiguous , “we need to stand on solid ground,” he asserted.
“We need to maintain our position on the non-immortality of the soul and the resurrection at the Second Coming,” Mueller added. “We need to share it, and I guess we need to get involved in more research to clarify how disputed texts are not opposed to the overall teaching of Scripture, but fit into it and even enhance it.”
Andy Lampkin, a professor of religion and ethics at Loma Linda University, liked Mueller’s emphasis “on the importance of biblical anthropology for practical questions facing the church as a whole and [also] church members.”
He said questions of “abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research” all flow from this topic, and that Adventists need to “reflect very carefully” on these questions “as they relate to healthcare.”
-- Mark A. Kellner, News Editor, reporting from Jerusalem
Israel’s Adventists Receive Wilson Warmly G.C. President visits special Sabbath worship at Jerusalem’s YMCA
BY MARK A. KELLNER, news editor, Adventist Review, reporting from Jerusalem, Israel
W APPOINTMENT IN JERUSALEM:Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson, left, speaks during Sabbath, June 16, 2012 worship for the Seventh-day Adventist Church's Israel Field, in a combined service held at the Jerusalem International YMCA. Standing, right, is translator Pastor Oleg Elkine.ith a festive air familiar to Israeli celebrations, Seventh-day Adventists in this nation – a tiny group in a small land – gathered to welcome Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson, General Conference president, and his wife, Nancy, to Sabbath worship on June 16, 2012.
“It is a privilege to be here in this wonderful city,” Wilson said to hundreds of Adventists who came from all over Israel to the worship service. The congregation featured Israelis, Ethiopians, Russians, Moldovans, Filipinos and others, a veritable United Nations-class gathering of believers.
“What a privilege it is to walk where Jesus walked,” he added, reflecting on five days of study tours to Nazareth, Galilee, Qumran and the Dead Sea. “But we have the privilege each day of walking with Jesus!”
Fresh from addressing theologians and scholars on the need for a Bible-based “revolution” in Adventist education, Wilson assured the congregation that while he was here to attend the conference, “I wanted to meet you, too.”
He added, “I am convinced this city–and every city–needs the precious message of Jesus and His salvation. In this city, the message should be pronounced. We need to be united … especially in the Adventist Church in Israel, with so many nationalities in this place.”
BELIEVERS GATHER: Hundreds of Seventh-day Adventists, from Israel, Russia, Ethiopia, Moldova and other lands, crowd the Jerusalem International YMCA to hear Pastor Ted Wilson, General Conference president, on Sabbath, June 16, 2012. [PHOTOS: Mark A. Kellner/Adventist Review]The Sabbath morning worship followed the pattern of many Adventist services around the world, with the added flavor of songs in Hebrew and announcements and preaching translated into Russian, spoken by many in the congregation. Both Wilson and Pastor Julio Mendez, secretary-treasurer of the Israel Field, relied on Pastor Oleg Elkine to render their English into Russian, although Wilson – who spent two years as president of the Euro-Asia Division, offered more than a few sentences in Russian as well.
In his message, Wilson commented on what happened here some 2,000 years ago, and its relevance for today.
“In this very special place in the world, Jesus told Nicodemus that unless one is born again, one cannot see the kingdom of God,” he explained. “This is what we need and what every person in Israel needs.”
Following the service, a steady stream of church members pressed close to greet Wilson or stage a quick picture. Mobile phones and sophisticated cameras jostled for space as, one after another, the requests were made and smilingly granted.
Wilson is due to meet with Israeli officials on June 18; his visit will conclude on June 21.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Following is the text, as prepared for delivery, of the sermon preached by General Conference president Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson at the Third International Bible Conference in Jerusalem, Israel, on Sabbath, June 16, 2012.
It is a distinct privilege to speak to such a group of dedicated, committed spiritual educators and leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church worldwide. This Third International Bible Conference has been meticulously planned and presented. It has been, and will continue to be for the next few days, a wonderful blessing to each of us focusing on Biblical anthropology in its various settings.
What will you take from this Bible conference when you return? What inspiration and motivation will animate your teaching and your preaching? How will you encourage your students to understand the times in which we are living? How will the presentations and the fascinating on-site visits motivate you to challenge young people to be part of the greatest mission outreach this earth has ever known? How will the presentations focus your attention on the soon second coming of Jesus Christ? What spiritual insights from this Bible conference will convict you to unreservedly proclaim the beauty of Christ and His righteousness and show the magnificent portrayal of that with a renewed zeal and interest in the sanctuary service which demonstrates what Christ has and is doing for us right now? What heavenly convictions will grip your soul in helping young people and all others in your circle of influence to wholeheartedly return to the Seventh-day Adventist roots of strong, convicting Bible study under the guidance of the Holy Spirit?
God has called you as spiritual leaders on Seventh-day Adventist college and university campuses for a special purpose at this time in earth’s history. He calls you to stand firm for God, Biblical authority, the Seventh-day Adventist Biblical message of a coming judgment and the wonderful provision of Christ and His righteousness. He calls you to turn people back to the true worship of God at a time when permissiveness and political correctness have become sad substitutes for the Word of God. This is really what the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 are all about and he calls you to proclaim those messages with great clarity and heavenly love. You have been endowed by God Himself with bright intellects. He calls for you to prepare students for the final cry that will go out to this world just before that climactic day of Christ’s soon coming!
Because of this, I call on you as spiritual leaders to lead a positive revolution on your campuses--a revolution back to the Bible with an historicist position and with an historical-biblical approach. Lead your students and campuses back to the Bible with a convicting “Thus saith the Lord” not only in the classroom but on a personal Bible study level. Lead your students to humble themselves before God and pray for revival and reformation which is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. Lead your students back to the Bible through all appropriate methods including the program, “Revived by His Word,” recently initiated at the 2012 Spring Meeting of the General Conference Executive Committee where world leaders committed themselves to personally study the Scriptures more intently and encourage all our church members to read at least one chapter of the Bible a day until the next General Conference session essentially reading the entire Bible through. Lead students to a Christ-centered, Biblical approach of understanding who we are as a unique people chosen by God to proclaim a last message of hope and salvation in Christ through Mission to the Cities as well as to the rural areas since judgment is near.
The judgment is coming and coming fast. The world around us is crumbling. World leaders are no longer able to control political events. The economies of this world are on a razor-edge precipice of ever-present, impending disaster. Natural disasters are increasing in frequency and ferocity. Social and moral decay are everywhere including the fast advancing societal pressure of unbiblical advocacy of same sex marriages and homosexuality. Love the sinner and hate the sin. Stand firm for the Biblical position on this subject. Ecumenical efforts towards ultimate compromise and reduction of religious liberty and freedom of conscience are increasing. Be leaders in defending religious liberty but avoiding any compromising ecumenical activity. You have been called to lift up Christ, His righteousness and salvation, His Holy Word, His three angels’ messages, His sanctuary service, His judgment and His soon coming. This is the time to plead with the Holy Spirit for the latter rain and the power to fulfill Romans 12:2 as God-fearing theology and religion professors who rely completely on God and His Word and to instill that in your students. That marvelous text the Phillips translation puts this way, “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its mold…..” You have been called to proclaim on your campuses and elsewhere the message of hope and Holy Spirit power all centered in Christ and His plan of salvation, righteousness, judgment and heavenly deliverance.
The judgment is not something to fear if you know and completely rely on your Advocate and your Judge----Jesus Christ. In taking your students back to the Bible, let them see the magnificent plan of salvation interwoven throughout Scripture and most notably portrayed in the sanctuary service.
What must it have been like to be part of God’s people centuries ago in this very part of the world on the Day of Atonement? Actually, we don’t have to wonder. Today, we are part of God’s people and we are in the Day of Atonement. I invite you to look at the marvelous passage of Hebrews 4:14-16 which says, “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
The plan of salvation is so simple that a child can understand it and so profound we will be studying it throughout eternity. Christ, the ruler of the universe, came to this earth as a humble human, lived a perfect life in spite of all the temptations faced, bore our sins, died for us on the cruel cross that we may live, gave us His robe of righteousness, rose to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father, intercedes for us as our High Priest in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, and will soon return to take us home.
One of the most graphic explanations of this eternal life-giving plan is the sanctuary service. Recently, I have grown under the conviction that we need to preach and explain much more about the sanctuary and its services. I hope you, as trained Biblical experts, will do so in the classroom. The Seventh-day Adventist Church has a unique and full perspective of the sanctuary which is crucial to our theology and understanding of our uniqueness as a people. It is bound up with our relationship to Christ, our Righteousness and Redeemer. The Great Controversy, page 488, emphasizes the importance of understanding this precious atoning work indicating, “Satan invents unnumbered schemes to occupy our minds, that they may not dwell upon the very work with which we ought to be best acquainted. The archdeceiver hates the great truths that bring to view an atoning sacrifice and an all-powerful mediator. He knows that with him everything depends on his diverting minds from Jesus and His truth.” It is so important to understand why God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, used the sanctuary to graphically portray His soul-saving work. We believe in the Trinity--Christ has always existed and always will exist as part of the Godhead. Arianism or anti-Trinitarianism is one of the attacks of the devil to discredit Jesus and take away His authority for creating this earth and re-creating a new heart thereby nullifying the incredible impact of the sanctuary service.
When the Israelites were in the Sinai Desert, not far from here, God said in Exodus 25:8-9, “Let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it.” It has always been His plan to dwell among us. By giving us a “pattern” of what exists in heaven He accomplished two things: 1) He explained in the simplest form the plan of salvation; and 2) He provided a visual sign of His presence with His creation.
When Christ ascended to heaven He was not only the “Slain Lamb” but became also our “High Priest” and “Mediator.” He was uniquely qualified to do this after having offered Himself to die for us so we might have eternal life through His blood and grace. II Corinthians 5:21 beautifully explains this by saying, “For He (the Father) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin (Christ was perfect) to be sin for us (taking our place for our sins), that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (Christ’s justifying power to make us righteous through His sacrifice).”
Christ is actively participating in the literal heavenly sanctuary that is in the center of heaven as a vital part of the plan of salvation. Hebrews 8:1-2 affirms that, “We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.” Hebrews 8:6 indicates, “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.” Hebrews 6:19-20 affirms the heavenly ministry of Christ in the sanctuary showing that, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 9:24 underscores Christ’s marvelous work for us saying, “For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us….”
Our focus should not simply be with the objects and mechanical features of the sanctuary and its services but should be on how the sanctuary impacts us personally as we face Christ’s coming. The sanctuary points to Christ’s righteousness and His plan to save us. It shows to the universe God’s incredible redemptive rescue plan for a world hijacked by the devil.
The sanctuary message holds the ultimate spiritual answer to the two extreme positions on either side of the Gospel road -- “cheap grace” on one far side and ”legalism” on the other far side. Seventh-day Adventists have been accused of being legalists—promoting righteousness by works. Nothing could be further from the truth! As we understand our need for revival and reformation in these last days, let us realize that the foundation of revival and reformation is nothing less than a full and correct acceptance of Christ and His all-encompassing righteousness based completely on the truths of the Bible. The voices of Seventh-day Adventists should be the strongest in proclaiming that salvation is through Christ and Christ alone! The two great provisions of salvation—justification and sanctification—cannot be separated for they constitute the fullness of Christ, Our Righteousness. Steps to Christ, chapters 7 and 8, explain this relationship so dynamically.
At times, there seems to be confusion about justification and sanctification and how they relate to each other and our salvation. Some promote justification to the exclusion of sanctification and arrive at what has been termed “cheap grace.” Others focus almost exclusively on sanctification and arrive at what has been termed as “perfectionism” or legalistic salvation by works. But God’s all-encompassing righteousness as beautifully portrayed in the sanctuary service involves the completeness of both justification and sanctification. It is His plan, not ours. I appeal to each of you as spiritual leaders to stay in the center of God’s will and truth. Do not be tempted by the devil to drift into either the right-side or the left-side of the ditch. As the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy advocate, keep your eyes focused on Christ and Him alone.
We need to feature the sanctuary and its meaning in a powerful way. Every child, every student and every adult should fully understand the powerful message God is sharing through the sanctuary message. The Great Controversy, page 488, says, “The sanctuary in heaven is the very center of Christ’s work in behalf of men. It concerns every soul living upon the earth. It opens to view the plan of redemption, bringing us down to the very close of time and revealing the triumphant issue of the contest between righteousness and sin. It is of the utmost importance that all should thoroughly investigate these subjects and be able to give an answer……”
Events now taking place, point to the fulfillment of the prophecies in Daniel, Matthew, and Revelation and Christ’s soon second coming.
What a time to be spiritual leaders in the classroom, on the campus, and in the church and to be part of God’s remnant church proclaiming His three angels’ messages of Revelation 14:6-12 which portray Christ’s righteousness and an appeal to turn back to the true worship of God and to identify ourselves with His Biblical truth as explained in the sanctuary service!
We are coming to the close of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. I urge you to use in your classrooms the incredible, heavenly-inspired book, “The Great Controversy.” I believe fully in the message of that book which is based on Biblical prophecy. This year and next, by God’s grace, Seventh-day Adventist members around the world will distribute approximately 175 million copies in various versions including my favorite, the classic version. Websites and addresses listed in these books will point to further Biblical truth, Bible studies, contacts for Seventh-day Adventist media outlets, the full version of the book, and many more truth-filled resources. God will use this project to increase the circulation of many more Spirit of Prophecy and other truth-filled books. Ellen White said that The Great Controversy was the one book she wished circulated more than any other book she had written. The Great Controversy has much to say about the sanctuary and its services and how they apply to us as God’s remnant church. I plead with you to reread that book, have your students read it, and then encourage them to distribute it with loving care.
This is not the time for half-hearted faith: it is time to plead with the Lord for genuine revival and reformation which can only be produced by the Holy Spirit. This is not some legalistic initiative but is centered in Christ and Him alone. The sanctuary service and Christ’s ministry as portrayed in the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 call us to humbly accept Christ’s righteousness as we face His judgment and soon coming. This message has been entrusted to Seventh-day Adventists as His last-day remnant church. It is a heaven-born call of Holy Spirit power portrayed in passages such as Joel 2, Acts 2, and Hosea 6 that will empower the proclamation of salvation by faith in Christ. The sanctuary service shows us in detail this marvelous plan of justification and sanctification.
The three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 point us to the sanctuary understanding of Christ’s relationship to His people. The first angel’s message proclaiming the everlasting gospel and that the hour of God’s judgment has come is a special announcement turning people back to the true worship of God----the Creator who made everything and is worthy of our worship. We worship Him today on the seventh day, the Sabbath, because He asked us to and because it is a memorial of His creatorship. As a human being, He kept the Sabbath in this very place. His precious message of creation in six literal, consecutive, days of recent origin is the basis of our worship on this Sabbath. This precious Biblical truth of a recent literal creation has come under fierce attack by unbelieving secularists and humanists and is even being dismissed by some who claim to be Seventh-day Adventists. In essence, evolution is not a science; it is a false form of religion and a part of spiritualism. A definition of spiritualism is found in The Great Controversy,page 554: “Spiritualism teaches ‘that man is the creature of progression; that it is his destiny from his birth to progress, even to eternity, toward the Godhead.” As spiritual leaders on the campuses of Seventh-day Adventist colleges and universities around the world, through God’s power, hold firmly to a literal recent creation and reject theistic evolution and general evolution theories. I call on you to be champions of creation based on the Biblical account, reinforced so explicitly by the Spirit of Prophecy and as voted by the world Seventh-day Adventist Church at the 2010 General Conference Session. The position of a theistic evolutionary or pure evolutionary religion, theology or Bible teacher in a Seventh-day Adventist university, college or academy is an oxymoron. It can’t really exist and shouldn’t. This is not only the case for religion teachers; it is the case for any teacher of any subject in our Seventh-day Adventist system. Be loyal to God’s Biblical truth, not just because you are employed by the church, but because you believe it with all your heart. It is that important to God’s ultimate mission.
God created us in a literal sense and this is closely tied to God’s salvation demonstrated in the sanctuary service showing His power to re-create in us a new heart through His righteousness and ministry of justification and sanctification.
Our church has long held to the Historical-Biblical method of interpreting scripture allowing the Bible to interpret itself--line upon line, precept upon precept. However, one of the greatest attacks against the Bible, creation, prophetic understanding, the sanctuary message and many other Seventh-day Adventist Biblical beliefs is from the Historical-Critical method of explaining the Bible which is influenced by the unbiblical approach of “higher criticism” which is a deadly enemy of our theology and mission. This approach puts an individual above the plain approach of the Scriptures and gives inappropriate license to decide what he or she perceives as truth based on the resources and education of the critic. Reject this approach which is self-centered and inspired by the devil……this approach does not lead people to trust God and His Word but will destroy your own understanding as a Seventh-day Adventist theologian or religion teacher regarding correct Biblical theology and the precious mission of the Advent movement. Without a literal understanding of God’s creative and saving power, our understanding of the sanctuary service makes no sense.
The primary emphasis of the first angel’s message is about the judgment of all who have ever lived and are living. This judgment in heaven is taking place right now and is part of the entire plan of salvation based upon Christ’s work for us on this earth and in the heavenly sanctuary.
God gave Moses the vision for the earthly sanctuary. It would remind the world of Christ’s death on the cross for our sins, the ultimate transference of sin to Satan, and how Christ would handle the sin problem through His righteousness and judgment.
Hebrews 8:1-2 says about Jesus that, “We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” The descriptions of the sanctuary furniture and structure in Exodus 25-28 and in Patriarchs and Prophets, Chapter 30, are fascinating.
Everything about the sanctuary reminds us of Christ, His ministry and His perfection: golden walls, silver sockets, court of fine linen, brazen altar representing Christ’s shed blood, laver of Christ’cleansing power, showbread as the Bread of life, seven-branched candlestick as the Light of the world, and altar of incense showing God’s presence with a fire that He kindled and the prayers ascending to Him for forgiveness. Its horns were touched with blood from the sin offering and also sprinkled before the veil showing the transference of guilt from the person to the sanctuary's.
The curtain between the Holy and Most Holy Places did not reach the ceiling so the incense drifted into the Most Holy Place over the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant where the symbolic service of atonement and intercession took place connecting heaven and earth.
The Most Holy Place had the Ark of the Covenant containing the Ten Commandments, a golden pot of manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded showing God’s constant interest in our lives and His care for our needs. The Ark’s Mercy Seat was protected by two golden cherubim angels with a wing stretched out while the other was folded in reverence and humility. This represented the reverence with which heaven regards the law of God and great interest in the plan of redemption. This is what the judgment is all about--our deliverance through the blood of Jesus--our humble submission and confession to Him recognizing our need of forgiveness and the deliverance that He offers at the judgment. Above the mercy seat the Shekinah glory gave the physical manifestation of God’s presence.
The holiness of the sanctuary and of God’s presence and power is profound. Just as He was in the earthly sanctuary He is now in the heavenly sanctuary and also here with us today through the Holy Spirit. That is why reverence in His presence is so important.
As Patriarchs and Prophets, page 349 says, “Thus in the work of Christ for our redemption, symbolized by the sanctuary service, ‘mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.’ Ps 85:10.”
The sanctuary service demonstrated God’s plan of redemption through the blood of Christ. A sinner at the door of the tabernacle placed his hand on an animal’s head, confessing his sin symbolically transferring that sin to the innocent sacrifice, and then he would kill the sacrifice. Normally, the blood was then sprinkled by the priest before the veil in the Holy Place showing the transference of the sin to the sanctuary on a daily basis. Once a year, the Day of Atonement service removed the accumulated sins during which the high priest entered the Most Holy Place to cleanse the sanctuary of sin.
Two goats brought to the door of the tabernacle--one slain as a sin offering for the people with the blood being brought into the Most Holy Place and sprinkled on the mercy seat representing Christ’s blood shed for us--the other goat, the scapegoat representing Satan, would have the high priest place his hands on the head of the scapegoat confessing the accumulated sins of Israel thus transferring the sins from the sanctuary to the scapegoat. It was led into the wilderness to die showing that Satan will ultimately bear the final penalty of sin through death putting an end forever to sin.
At Christ’s death on the cross on that momentous Friday afternoon, the priest at the temple in Jerusalem was about to kill the evening sacrificial lamb. When Christ died, the curtain separating the Holy Place and Most Holy Place was, as Matthew 27:51 records, “rent in twain from top to the bottom.” The sacrificial lamb escaped from the priest’s hands. In Desire of Ages, p 769, we read, “The great sacrifice has been made . . . . A new and living way is prepared for all. No longer need sinful, sorrowing humanity await the coming of the high priest. Henceforth the Saviour was to officiate as priest and advocate in the heaven of heavens.”
After His resurrection, Christ rose to heaven and began interceding as our High Priest resulting in what we read earlier in Hebrews 4:16 which says, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” This was the life-saving result of the cross and the nails.
Hebrews 6:19 tells us that He entered “into that within the veil” in the Holy Place in the heavenly sanctuary doing His work of mediation for eighteen centuries and then, according to the prophecy of Daniel 8:14 which states, “unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,” He entered the Most Holy Place to begin His final work of judgment and ministry on our behalf. According to the time prophecy of the 2300 days and using the day/year principle of the Bible, this great work in the literal Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary began in 1844.
The Great Controversy, page 486, explains that, “At the time appointed for the judgment--the close of the 2300 days, in 1844---began the work of investigation and blotting out of sins. All who have ever taken upon themselves the name of Christ must pass its searching scrutiny.”
This is a vitally crucial belief that has been attacked. Those who do not understand or believe in the 2300-year prophecy ending in 1844 do not understand the true basis for the sanctuary service nor understand one of our fundamental Biblical beliefs that make us who we are. This belief has been wonderfully substantiated by faithful Seventh-day Adventist Biblical scholars and has been plainly confirmed by the Spirit of Prophecy. If individuals do not accept this tremendous Biblical belief then they also destroy their confidence and belief in the Spirit of Prophecy. Our beliefs are grounded upon the Bible using the historicist approach and the Historical-Biblical methods of understanding Scripture and substantiated by the Spirit of Prophecy. I believe and I hope you do, too, that the Spirit of Prophecy is one of God’s greatest gifts to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is a direct fulfillment of Revelation 12:17.
We are now living during Christ’s final work of sanctuary cleansing--the Day of Atonement and the judgment. The sanctuary doctrine and the judgment are important theological reasons why Seventh-day Adventists are engaged in the Gospel commission and a worldwide mission to proclaim the three angels’ messages.
Soon Christ will return and ultimately place the final penalty on Satan. The blood of Jesus Christ, our Sacrifice, on the cross and the ministry of our High Priest, Jesus Christ, in the heavenly sanctuary, have but one purpose: that you and I and all who submit to Him, including the thousands of students for whom you are responsible, have the wonderful privilege to confess our sins and accept Him as our Saviour, thus being made right with God and then grow to become more and more like Christ Who provides eternal life--all through Christ’s ministry on the cross and in the heavenly sanctuary.
The Great Controversy, page 489, speaks to us today declaring that, “The intercession of Christ in man’s behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross . . . . We are now living in the great day of atonement.” Since we are in the Day of Atonement, we should be leaning on Christ even more than ever allowing Him to prepare our hearts for revival and reformation. Continuing on we read how, “There must be deep, faithful searching of heart. The light frivolous spirit indulged by so many professed Christians must be put away. There is earnest warfare before all who would subdue the evil tendencies that strive for the mastery. The work of preparation is an individual work . . . . Solemn are the scenes connected with the closing work of the atonement . . . . The judgment is now passing in the sanctuary above.”
Given the judgment that is taking place in the heavenly sanctuary and that we are in the Day of Atonement, what a comfort it is to have the righteousness of Christ to work in us and through us! What an encouragement to know that we have a High Priest who knows our needs and carries our sorrows and has made a way of escape. That is why we can identify so closely with Paul’s marvelous and victorious declaration in Hebrews 10:19-23 which says, “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an even conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful!”
What a message of hope for Seventh-day Adventist theologians and religion teachers to carry to the classroom, to the campus, and to the world! It is a revolutionary message based upon the great Word of God! Professors, theologians, teachers--lead this positive Biblical revolution on your campuses showing that Christ is interceding for each of us and is faithful to bring us into a right relationship with Him for eternity if we will humbly submit to His righteousness and grace.
Today, will you take a deep interest in what Christ is doing for you and your students in the Most Holy Place as we prepare ourselves and the world, through the Holy Spirit’s power, for Christ’s soon coming in the clouds of dynamic glory? Will you renew your acceptance and your proclamation of our Creator, Sacrificial Lamb, Redeemer, High Priest, and coming King to face the judgment through His blood, merits, mercy and grace? Will you lead this spiritual revolution on campus back to the Bible? If so, would you join me in quietly standing to your feet just now in commitment to Him and His Holy Word as we pray?
Adventist Educators, Scholars Join in Commitment to Biblical ‘Revolution’ Response to Wilson’s Jerusalem Sermon is Strong and Supportive
BY ADVENTIST REVIEW staff
Speaking to a June 16, 2012, congregation of more than 300 Seventh-day Adventist educators, theologians, and administrators, Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson, General Conference president, called on educators to “to lead a positive revolution on your campuses -- a revolution back to the Bible with an historicist position and with an historical-biblical approach.”
His message (see sermon text) also stressed the importance of the Adventist understanding of the sanctuary service, which, he said, holds the ultimate answer to the two distortions of Christian belief, legalism or “cheap grace.”
A CALL TO REVOLUTION: General Conference president Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson addresses more than 300 educators, theologians and administrators at the Third International Bible Conference in Jerusalem, Israel, on June 12, 2012. In his sermon, Wilson called on educators to “to lead a positive revolution on your campuses -- a revolution back to the Bible with an historicist position and with a historical-biblical approach.” [PHOTO: Mark A. Kellner/Adventist Review]Delegates to the 10-day conference strongly affirmed the president’s challenge.
“I believe that his call is timely,” said Leslie Pollard, president of Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama. “On campuses everywhere we have an opportunity to make an impact on young lives. Oakwood University accepts this challenge.”
Said Frank Hasel, theology department dean at Schloss Bogenhofen Seminary in Austria, “Ted Wilson’s message was not aiming at political correctness but had the heartbeat of a person who deeply cares for the spiritual health of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church. As a theologian, teacher, and dean I was encouraged to be a person who . . . will foster a deeper love for the Bible, igniting a positive spiritual revolution that receives its power from the living Word of God.”
Hasel continued, “There’s a need to strengthen trust in God’s Word, rather than to undermine its authority or to question distinctive Adventist teachings through historical-critical methods.”
According to Ellen G. White Estate associate director Cindy Tutsch, Wilson’s sermon struck a responsive chord: “I appreciated Ted Wilson’s challenge to look to the Scriptures to find authoritative answers to questions of cosmology,” she said. “His emphasis on the sanctuary as the key to unlocking a deeper understanding of Jesus, including the relationship of the sanctuary to other Christ-centered doctrines, needs wider proclamation!”
Gilbert Wari, West-Central Africa division president and board chairman of Babcock University, pointed to the historical continuity of Wilson’s message with classic Adventist statements: “This sermon, based on the teaching of the Sanctuary, has reminded me and repositioned the Seventh-day Adventist Church and its mission to the world as understood and preached by the Adventist pioneers.
Others put Wilson’s remarks in the context of the entire Third International Bible Conference, which brought the leaders to Jerusalem. With its theme of the “doctrine of human,” speakers have zeroed in on the Bible’s view of humankind being as made in God’s image.
“So many of our institutions have pursued ‘academics’ and financial strength at the expense of spirituality,” said Gordon Christo, education secretary of the Southern Asia Division, based in Tamil Nadu, India. “Even if all other objectives of the conference aren’t realized, if the administrators and theology teachers retain their dedication to this cause, we will have achieved a lot. This conference is leading us all back to the Bible.”
Josef Szilvasi, a professor at the Hungarian Adventist Theological College, saw the challenge in personal terms: “As a believer, pastor and theologian, I’ve taken a message that encourages me to seek and teach the truth in a time of relativism,” he said. “I dedicated myself to uplift Jesus and trust Him as my justification and sanctification.”
Adventist Review columnist Hyveth Williams, a professor of homiletics at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, Michigan, also underlined the very personal manner in which many listeners responded to the 50-minute message: “[Pastor] Wilson’s sermon inspired me to recommit to teaching and preaching our Biblical truths to empower future pastors to be great—not just good—preachers.”
Adventist leaders from many different parts of the world assessed the importance of Wilson’s call to action: “The times we are living in demand our faithfulness to God’s Word,” said Ricardo Gonzáles, president of the Universidad Adventista de Chile. “In order to make a difference in the life of people we, as Seventh-day Adventists teachers, are to be the first ones to proclaim salvation in Christ. The Lord has called us to stand firm in the truth of His ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. As an educator, I want to accept the challenge to tell my students and colleagues that Jesus is right now undertaking an important element of the plan of salvation in heaven. And as a leader, I want to nurture this biblical ‘revolution’ on my campus.”
Added Francisco Gayoba, president of Adventist University of the Philippines, Silang, Philippines, “The challenge is how to not only explain to our students the biblical foundation of key Adventist doctrines, but also to make it relevant, so that they can see that the key doctrines are interconnected as a whole. Our task is to show not simply that the teachings are biblical but “present truth”, God-ordained truth that needs to be proclaimed at this crucial time in history.
One of the handful of local church pastors attending the conference saw the connection between the president’s call and his own preaching: “I really appreciated [Pastor] Wilson’s sermon this morning as he talked about affirming the place that the Word of God has in our lives as leaders and as members and followers of Christ,” said Mike Troxel, pastor of the University Parkway Seventh-day Adventist Church in Pensacola, Florida. “It was very heartening to hear him speak about the biblical truths we hold dear as Seventh-day Adventists--part of our identity and mission. To have him articulate that so strongly from the pulpit today at this conference of scholars was so encouraging from the top leader of our church. I felt very affirmed in the things I’m preaching and teaching as a pastor in my local church. This was powerful for me.”
To Gerald Klingbeil, an associate editor of Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines, Wilson’s “call to a Scripture-based hermeneutics that understands the importance of the sanctuary message and places it within the context of a literal recent six-day creation, narrated in the first chapters of Genesis, is not only sorely needed—it reminds us of the power and passion of the Creator God who is waiting to take His people home. I want to go home!”
Lael Caesar, also an associate editor, said Wilson, “has called on Seventh-day Adventist theologians and biblical scholars to lead a back-to-the-Bible revolution framed by a global evangelistic consciousness, grounded on sound biblical interpretation and doctrine. Because the Holy Spirit is our leader in this work on both Adventist and secular campuses, I believe God will grant Pastor Wilson’s desire and give glorious success in that revolution.”
Continuing with four more days of study tours and, principally, seminars and breakout sessions on the main theme of the doctrine of humanity, the Bible Conference will conclude on the evening of June 20.
-- Reported by Bill Knott, Ed Zinke, Lael Caesar and Gerald Klingbeil; written by Mark A. Kellner