There are at this time many voices in the Seventh-day Adventist Church clamoring to be heard and ultimately to control the direction and destiny of the Advent Movement. There are fearful voices calling for more power to be exercised by the General Conference over the Unions concerning the enforcement of certain church policies. There are voices of reform calling for the break up of the entire General Conference as we know it to form a new government that is regionally based and less regulated. There are concerned voices accusing church leaders of introducing and promoting non-biblical spirituality, and still other cynical voices complaining that the church has become irrelevant and is out of touch with the post-modern society it is trying to reach.
The church is more fragmented today than at any other time in its history. Rapid growth and change to the demographics of our church concurring simultaneously with the rapid change in the philosophy and technology of the society around us are finally bringing us to the point where competing agenda’s in the church are not just detrimental but unsustainable. It is now clear, as the 2015 General Conference Session demonstrated, that niche agendas, if allowed to dominate the churches collective consciousness, will completely neuter the effectiveness and ultimate purpose of the Advent Movement itself. We spent over three years commissioning the best and brightest our collective minds to publish papers, articles, and books along with countless millions of dollars all for one vote that didn’t change a thing.
If the Advent Movement is to succeed, it must collectively repent of its tendency to internally major in the minors. We can no longer afford to allow all the voices of self-interest to have equal representation in the governance of our church. We simply need to get back to the basics. One voice, and one voice alone, should be our battle cry as a people. It is the voice that God Himself has given us.
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”” (Isaiah 40:3–5 NKJV)
If you could reduce the advent movement to its lowest common denominator it would be what is contained in these three verses of scripture, that not only point to John the Baptist, but ultimately to us. The only reason for our churches existence is to fulfill this prophecy – to be this voice. Simply put, we have been called to prepare a people to stand in God’s presence when He returns to this earth.
“In this age, just prior to the second coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven, such a work as that of John is to be done. God calls for men (the Advent Movement) who will prepare a people to stand in the great day of the Lord. The message preceding the public ministry of Christ was… “repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand…” Our message must be as direct as was the message of John… In order to give a message as John gave, we must have a spiritual experience like his. The same work must be wrought in us. We must behold God, and in beholding Him, lose sight of self.” (Gospel Workers, 55)
This being the case, we must clarify what the core mission of the Seventh-day Adventist church is.
- Doctrinal purity?
- Healthy churches?
- Evangelistic Meetings?
- Baptizing new members?
- A fair working policy?
- Community based ministries?
- Inspiring worship?
Are the activities on that list important? Of course! But none of them entail the core mission that God has given to the Advent Movement. They are a means to an end, but by no means can they be allowed to be an end in themselves. The end goal of this movement must be to prepare a people to be translated without seeing death before a righteous and holy God.
How that mission is accomplished will be the subject of many future posts here on Adentology.
One thing is for sure, until the voice of many in our church becomes “the voice of one,” we will continue to be a movement that is double-minded and unstable in all of its ways.