Monday, June 24, 2019

The Third World Next Door

There's a wonderful new program that trains students for missions by visiting refugee/immigrant communities in Houston, Texas where half the population speaks a language other than English.
It's a great program, don't get me wrong, It's a lovely idea. I just think they can go farther with this idea.

During my heyday, I worked with folks in what the Texas government calls "colonias". Now the term colonias has a very narrow, politician-defined meaning. It must, for instance consist of a settlement with poorly constructed houses, often with little or no insulation, no electricity except what could be stolen from nearby businesses or directly from light poles. There are lots of people killed trying to wire their shacks, especially during freezing weather. Running water is rare. Sewer service and trash pickup are often non-existent. Transportation is dependent on employers offering semi-slave jobs. AND they have to be within something like 150 miles of the border to be a colonia and receive federal and state dollars. It's not accidental that communities within 150 miles of the border tend to be the stronghold of one particular party that has encouraged the establishment and filling of these tar-paper communities for decades.

The trouble is there are a couple of dozen colonia type settlements in deep rural East Texas, a lot farther from the border. So these settlements legally defined as colonias and don't get political attention much. The Texas legislature is trying to do something about it, but they aren't getting a whole lot of cooperation from the "loyal" opposition party - especially not the ones that aren't Demoocrat strongholds. These illegal immigrant camps are a whole lot like the worker camps the railroads and mining towns used to build back in the 1800s that Tennessee Ernie Ford sang about in the song "Sixteen Tons".

Like our War on Poverty welfare programs, colonias are designed to punish anyone who tries to escape this particularly oppressive form of indentured servitude. Except with indentured servitude you had a time limit. Life in colonias is a sentence without a visible end. Try to escape and the boss man calls a friend in ICE and gets your fuzzy hindquarters sent back to Mexico. With legal refugees and immigrants, there may be a period of hard work and sacrifice, but the future in America holds promise and opportunity for them and a path to citizenship. For illlegal immigrants, especially those from Mexico, there is only a slightly better form of poverty and endless, often brutal work.

That's why we must close the border and create a legal path for guest and migrant workers to enter the USA. It will take both actions to solve the problem. Guest workers could then come in to the US under the protection of the state and federal Departments of Labor and OSHA. Of course, then the big campaign donors and corporations that exploit illegals would lose there wildly underpaid servants. 

There is a mission field out there calling out to our church, often hidden nearby in poverty-stricken towns you didn't even know were there. I worked with one nonprofit program where we quietly developed transportation to town for the mothers in those colonias to buy groceries and supplies. We used church buses. When we started, coyotes with pickups would drive the ladies to town piled in the bed of the truck. The women would buy saleable commodities with food stamps and trade them for a ride home. The going rate was $85 worth of food stamp purchases for the ride home. That way they got around the law against transferring food stamp dollars to the guy who was driving them. Typically they would shove 5-10 women in the bed of the truck, and get up to $800 or so in goods in exchange. This was being encouraged and coordinated by big flower nursery owners, chicken ranchers and processors, dairy farmers and big commercial farms.

Looking for a mission field? The colonias needs more than religious tracts in their own language. And these guys aren't just facing language barriers or cultural barriers or racial prejudice. These guys are being oppressed right here in the United States. It's an enlightening visit to a third world right next door that you probably don't know about. 

Want to help oppressed third world peoples? Take your church van to a colonia (or for that matter your own van) and offer the ladies a lift to town. Raise some money to provide heaters in winter. Perhaps pay for a light pole and breaker box to be dropped in the neighborhood. Find a spot and dig a well or deliver cases of bottled water. Set up food bank days for those living in colonias. You'll get in trouble for your kindness with the people hiding these places as their own personal slave camps, but in the process you can shine a light on the enslavement of people simply looking for a safe place to raise their kids. There are still honest people in the media and in elected office. Appeal to the good guys. They love it when you do and you'll quickly discover who the good guys aren't.

Of course, you'll probably anger the oppressors in the process and you may want to travel in pairs, go armed and check under the van for funny wires before you drive out there to the colonias.

Anybody supporting "illegal" immigration and who do not want to enforce the border must share the responsibility for the continuation of this deep level of oppression of a desperate people. Immigration must be regulated, not to keep out undesirables as the leftist media try to characterize it. Controlling the border is about making sure that what happened to my Irish ancestors or your Italian, Greek, Chinese and Japanese ancestors back in the days of the "company store" and unsafe coal mines, dangerous railroad building work and migrant abuse doesn't happen in the 21st century when we're supposed to have grown to be better as a society than that. We're supposed to be compassionate, yet we tolerate a system that pours willing slaves into the gristmills of cheap labor dependent industries. Sorry for getting on my high horse again, but my trips to the colonias were deeply disturbing and seeing the good citizens who abused these people parade their wealth in local social circles and donate millions to put their names on buildings on the backs of illegals was sickening.

We need to cut off the flood at the border and funnel it through legal channels. Want to see exploiters of illegals wither up and die on the vine? that's how you do it. If you just look away you're abetting this evil system. If we create a legal path to work for guest workers, then they can appeal for help to government regulators the same as citizen workers can, if employers underpay them or force them to work in dangerous conditions.

A controlled border is about cutting off the flow of desperate human beings into the maw of thecruel third world of undocumented slave labor camps. Want to do mission work? Visit the colonias. Get your hands dirty. Don't just throw a bag of burgers out for the homeless alongside the road and rest on your unearned moral superiority. Get up on your horse and visit your representatives in government. Talk to the media. There are still honest reporters. Shine a light on the exploitation. Say something out loud about it. Organize your church. Build a food bank in an empty room and keep it stocked. Drive out to the colonias with a load of food and distribute it to the mamacitas and the children. Do something to directly help them, but don't stop there.

Vote for people who will stop this self-imposed slavery. There's a better way to get these folks jobs with dignity in jobs "Americans don't want." It's an American tradition to provide immigrants with jobs for unskilled workers. What is not a product of our uniquely American idealism, is the evil (yes evil) setting of caps on people to prevent them from rising in the world to escape their poverty. Wouldn't it be nice if rose growers, farmers, dairymen, chicken processors and such had to provide clean places to live for migrant workers and access to food and training in how to speak English and manage money. We did all that in migrant communities in East Texas when I was there. Good church people taught ESL classes. Banks sponsored classes in money management.

There's so much more we could do for the Third World next door if we'd open our eyes to it. But as Joy Behar once said, it's unpleasant to see and "deal with" and it's so much easier to shove (my word) the responsibility off on the government and tell yourself "I care about those poor people."

It's time more people like the couple who helped start the Houston program get up and go out among, not just legal immigrants and people who are okay but just foreign and unconverted. It's time we make a hard push in and among the truly oppressed. We Adventists have a history of doing that and building communities, digging wells, and teaching children. Ellen White's son shocked some of his brethren by going among Southern black communities after the civil war and preaching, teaching and helping emancipated former slaves become truly free.

It's time our church got back into that business in a big way, especially in Texas where I come from. If we were to put a stop to the exploitation of illegals and get control of the problem, Texas is the perfect place to work that change. We are a blended society. Hispanic Texans fought alongside American immigrants at the Alamo and San Jacinto. There's hardly a third generation Texan that doesn't have a Garcia or Rodriguez up their family tree. We even have a special language - Tex Mex that blends English and Spanish. Our favorite foods in Texas are blended cultural dishes.

So why aren't we out there in those dark colonias, modern-day slave labor camps, doing some good. Well, for one thing, it's hard work, but there's no reason the local churches and border conferences shouldn't be sending warriors into the slave camps to bring relief and the word of God to a people who truly need it. For another thing, your community leaders aren't going to give you permission. They'll likely discourage you, but since when do Adventists do the easy thing or ask for permission to do God's work.

Okay, getting down off my podium now. Think about it though. I challenge you all to look beyond the "Wall" and the "Open Borders" easy ideology and think about how we can solve the actual problem. We can get our crops picked without abusing the pickers. And yes, some day the pickers will want to get an education, learn some skills and rise from the fields to become more than they ever thought they could be, with homes, cars, children in college and plenty of food on the table.

Don't worry my liberal Adventist friends. There will always be a steady supply of entry level workers waiting at the border to come to del Norte where opportunity awaits even the poorest of the poor so long as they are legal. And by the way, these people have a work ethic that puts the Puritans in the shade. That's the value they bring to America if we can just keep the bosses from crushing that spirit. And helping lift people up is a huge witness for Christ by the way.

Okay, now I'm done preaching.

© 2019 by Tom King

Friday, May 31, 2019

Do Not Underestimate an Adventist Woman

Bet You Didn't Know This:
By Source, Fair use,

Never underestimate an Adventist woman on a mission. That's why we love them so much. They are a precious resource it is our duty to protect. In 1944, A twenty-seven year old Seventh-Day Adventist black woman, Irene Morgan, made the gutsy decision to refuse to leave the "white" section of an Interstate bus and was arrested in Virginia under state segregation laws eleven years before Rosa Parks' famous refusal to give up her seat on an Alabama local bus. She was a little more spirited than Rosa however. She kicked the Sheriff in the groin when he tried to arrest her!

She landed two highly skilled lawyers on her defense team, one of whom was no less than future Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. Irene won her case before the Supreme Court. In 1946 in a landmark decision, the Court ruled that the Virginia law was unconstitutional, as the Commerce clause protected interstate traffic. 

Irene's stubborn singular defense of her rights strengthened the WWII era U.S. anti-discrimination law prohibiting segregation on all interstate transportation and influenced public opinion against Southern racist segregation laws. Unlike Rosa, whose protest was part of a planned challenge of the segregation laws, Irene simply stood up for herself all on her own. With Irene, the NAACP was running along behind her shouting, "Wait for me I'm your leader!"

  2. "Morgan v. Virginia (1946)". Retrieved 2015-11-04.
  3. Lamb, Yvonne S. "Irene M. Kirkaldy; Case Spurred Freedom Rides," The Washington Post, 13 Aug. 2007: n. pag. Print. 
  4. "Morgan v. Commonwealth (June 6, 1945)". Retrieved 2015-11-04.
 © 2017 by Tom King

Sunday, December 16, 2018

You're Wrong - Marxist Socialism Is Not a Viable Model for Church Governance.

A recent piece in Adventist Today
by Stephen Ferguson | 16 December 2018 posits that
Marxism's governance model has a lot to offer the church.
Ferguson admits that "
...the world is fundamentally corrupt and human nature is a long way from ideal, which is why Marxism has consistently failed from Russia, to North Korea to Venezuela." Yet throughout, he flirts with the idea that maybe the church should embrace a little Marxism, as though the church is immune from the problems of a fundamentally corrupt human nature somehow. It is not.

A link to this article was posted on Facebook and Adventist Today seems invested in defending its premise. No matter what anyone says, in the comments section, if they disagree with the author of this piece on Facebook, they are going to get Adventist Today saying "Please read the article before commenting."

I did read it and once again they pull some nonsense out about how Karl Marx's philosophy is like Jesus'. This guy's final point is that Jesus owned no property in this life. Balderdash! He owned the entire planet and he knew it and he went down fighting for a planet full of real estate and billions of people who were destined to become His. No one owning property was one of Marx's brilliant ideas and all it's every led to is starving millions.

As to Marxism being some kind of preferred style of governance for the church, I don't see it. Marx and Engels wanted to do away with religion altogether and create a human driven Utopia. There is no such thing. Man is corrupt. There is one system that will work eternally and one only. Good people harvested from the hellish challenges we face here on Earth (or spiritual bootcamp as I like to think of it),
serving their God who is Himself, incorruptible. No hierarchy of authority. Just God and his people - one layer of authority. That's it..

The church on Earth will inevitably go the way of the genocidal socialist nations of the 20th century if it adopts a communist collectivist model of governance. We can see it happening in the recent shift of power to the GC administration. At Marxism's core is that somehow if we create a centrally planned and controlled collective, men through their own efforts can create some kind of Earthly utopia.

The truth is it won't. Human beings can't do that. We can be washed clean and transplanted to a place where the only ruler we need is God and where we are free indeed as God promised. There, we won't need to worry about the rich for we will all be rich. Nobody will have to send out jackbooted troops to force us to do right. We will do right because it is right.

Capitalism has a lot wrong with it, but it's one of the only systems on Earth where a good man can make himself successful and even wealthy by providing his fellow humans with something they need or want. He doesn't have to steal it from someone else as Karl Marx claims. He merely works hard and provides something other people want.  There have been communal, collectivist Christian societies, but if you notice something about groups like The Shakers, and other communistic religious societies, they tend to die out. Those who work hard wind up carrying others who have no interest in hard work. In the early American colonies there were groups that experimented with commune living. They disappeared, scattered or died off. Even early Christians did something similar. But that wasn't a permanent thing. It was designed to meet a crisis. Once the Christians scattered away from their persecuters, they went free market capitalist at once.

Are there corrupt capitalists? You bet, but even those guys produce things like affordable goods, four dollar medications, convenient services and jobs to high school dropouts working on their GED's. There are far more corrupt Marxists too and they do far more damage these days. Marxist socialist models always put power in the hands of a few self-proclaimed smart people and therin lies the problem.

No, I don't believe absolute power corrupts absolutely. What power does is attract the corruptible who inevitably seize the reins of control over men and women so that instead of a free society of people doing good things because they want to, it all soon devolves into something like the Stanford Experiment where pretend guards became nearly as brutal as Nazi concentration camp guards. Collectivism in all its form will not work upon the Earth. We are not in any condition to make it work and as Ronald Reagan put it, "Socialism only works in heaven where they don't need it and in hell where they've already got it."

Free Market capitalism with all its flaws in both church and state is still the most effective governance strategy in nations packed to their borders with sinners. I would be very afraid to enlist Marxism as a model for church governance. If it ain't broke, should we really be fixing it. The SDA church is growing faster than anybody. Yes we are losing members, but that's always happening in any church. The point is, we're out there busily spreading the gospel to every kindred, tongue and people and some of us are trying to round up all the sheep and pen them up in some imaginary Christian worker's paradise. Then like the Roman Church, The Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, Venezuela, Cambodia too many others to list here, the leaders of "paradise on Earth" discover they are not gods and not capable of managing the vast proletariat from Washington DC (or Silver Springs for that matter). When it all goes South, then leaders inevitably start purging anyone with the temerity to point out that the system ain't workin'.

Marxisizing the church won't do anything but inhibit the church from doing the work we've been told to do. Marx has nothing good to say for the church. His theories depend on people who do not exist and a severely flawed theory that you can make people good through external force. You can't make people be good through governance systems. The best you can do in this nasty old world is protect the sheep from wolves, protect their rights and freedoms and let them take care of themselves as best they can. Plenty of them will do the decent thing if one of their number gets in trouble. It's what good sheep do and it makes them better sheep because they do it of their own free will and not because some system dictates it.

But Marxism is such a neat idea that our intellectual betters always drift back to it, fancying themselves as just the sort of "dear leaders" to lead the children of God to the promised land. They forget that not even Moses could manage that task. It was left to God to do it His own way.

Tom King - 
© 2018

Friday, July 6, 2018

Jesus and The New Golden Rule

Many, who would minimize the impact of Christianity upon the world, claim that the so-called "Golden Rule", which requires one to treat others as one would wish for them to treat oneself, had its origins long before the time of Christ. While it is true that variants of the Biblical Golden Rule show up in Confucianism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and other religions and philosophies, it is not exactly true that these prior "golden rules" were the same as the one Christ articulated. Christ articulated a new version of the golden rule.

Prior to Christ, a careful reading of ancient texts reveals a uniformly negative construct of the idea. In other words, these prior versions were more about not provoking others. These versions more closely read "Do not do to others what you wouldn't want them to do to you." There is no instruction to do good things to others for unselfish reasons. Before Jesus it was about not poking the bear. After Jesus it became about doing acts of kindness, even towards the bear.

Jesus' teaching, however, goes beyond the negative instruction to avoid doing what one would not like done to oneself. Christ's version was a positive formula that directs His hearers to actively do good to another that, if the situations were reversed, one would desire that the other would do for them. This formulation, as indicated in the parable of the Good Samaritan, emphasizes the needs for unselfish positive action that brings benefit to another, not simply restraining oneself from negative activities that hurt another person. 

The instruction by Jesus to initiate kind treatment of others rather than to simply avoid being unkind emphasized a doing version of love for one's fellow man rather than a mere feeling kind of love. We are to be proactive in loving our neighbors rather than reactive. This idea of actively doing good first to others is unique to Christ's message.

That message of proactive goodness is the thing that undergirds all Christianity. It's why Christianity outstrips virtually every other religion on the planet in doing good. It's why we have missions. It's why we build hospitals, send doctors, nurses and teachers to every corner of the planet teaching proactive kindness. Jesus told us to and in obedience, we do acts of kindness. Because we have a relationship with Christ we cannot help doing good to our we would have them do unto us.

© 2018 by Tom King

Friday, June 29, 2018

Who is Trying to Create a "Religious" State

It's coming and we're looking the wrong way!

An SDA pastor friend of mine who is clearly a card-carrying Democrat justifies his defense of DNC talking points by raising the old Adventist fear of the oppressive religious state and Sunday Laws.
His arguments seem really thin to me - at least Biblically. I don't see it. President Trump and V.P. Pence, if they are creating an oppressive religious state, seem to be doing a really lousy job of it. Trump has been reducing federal power at every turn over the past year and has given Americans permission to believe in God without being jumped on with the full approval of government by an anti-religious or at least anti-Christian establishment. 

There is way more potential for an oppressive government to create a quasi-religious state under progressive principles than under constitutional conservatism. Conservatives, for one thing don't believe in abolishing amendments. Progressive Democrats advocate this all the time - the second amendment repeal would simply establish the clean-up-the-Constitution-by-eliminating-the-Bill-of-Rights principle. This is necessary to prepare government to rule over all during the events of the last days.

 The religion that will dominate, of course, will be an unchallenged twisted cocktail of atheism, spiritualism, Marxism, apostate Protestantism and Catholicism with support from international corporate powers and trade unions. Of course, left-leaning SDA friends say that can never happen with modern progressivism in charge.  That's been demonstrated clearly as progressives chip away at the Constitution and give more and more intrusive power to the federal government.

 Houston's hard left Democrat mayor has already shown open hostility toward conservative Christianity, even going so far as to demand copies of pastors' sermon notes. The justification?  Mayor Anise Parker, the city's first openly lesbian Democrat mayor wanted to see if they were speaking out against her bathroom ordinance that forced all public facilities including churches to allow trans-gender men to use women's bathrooms. This was an illegal "fishing expedition" that even leftist judges wouldn't sign off on. The intent was to use the IRS to end conservative churches' nonprofit status. 

The lid was clearly off the not well progressive hidden agenda in Houston. The left tolerates high-church liberal churches (the ones that have already signed memorandums of understanding with the Roman Catholic Church). Dude, I am not afraid of conservative Christians. In the religious liberty realm, the folk who support Trump by and large have been pro-religious liberty all along. Evangelicals - the prosperity gospel, televangelist crowd - don't really count as conservative fundamentalist churches. They've been picking and choosing Bible passages for years with all the dexterity of a South London pickpocket. Evangelicals of that ilk have already sold out and begun signing on with the new and improved global church movement and have banded with high-church (read "apostate") Protestant churches to reunite with the Roman church which is led by a very very progressive socialist papacy.

Throughout our history most presidents have been open about their religious beliefs. Because Trump has received support from Christian groups doesn't mean he's going to establish a theocracy. Democrats have been trying to lay the charge of authoritarianism at Trump's door since before he took the oath of office, but it doesn't seem to stick. Trump's been busily deregulating and freeing up business. He's allowed religious institutions to freely practice their beliefs. It was the Obama administration that tried to force religious institutions and religious people to violate their own beliefs. Dems even tried to make the Catholics pay for abortion insurance for their nuns and teaching staff at schools. They tried to force Christian bakers to use their art to support practices that run counter to their religious beliefs.

At every turn, Trump is reducing the power and limiting interference by government in the lives of Americans. That's kind of the opposite of the sort of religious authoritarianism leftists have accused conservatives and Trump of being in favor of. I know of no real conservative who favors forcing anyone to go to church on Sunday. I have seen European socialist governments cooperating with high church Protestant denominations and the Catholic Church and trade unions and corporations to pass Sunday Laws. In Germany you can be fined or arrested for washing your car or mowing your lawn on Sunday. Europeans, as Democrats will tell you, are so much more advanced than we are.

If you ask me, they are advancing directly toward hell and American progressives are marching along behind them wondering after the Beast. Let us be careful, then, what mast we nail our flag to.


Friday, June 22, 2018

Has the NAD Joined the Democrat Party?

The NAD just posted a message to all Adventists to basically send up prayers based on Democratic National Convention talking points. The message asserts - (1) that innocent children are being cruelly snatched from their immigrant parents, and (2) the Bible is being used to justify cruelty by a Trump administration official.This is a bit worrisome to me. I think the devil has us looking right when he's going left.
Sadly, the first talking point is based on a distortion of the facts.This is not a new problem. This procedure was instated by the Obama administration. The left excuses this because they say the former president never intended to enforce these rules. One has to ask why then make the rule other than to deceive voters that he actually cared about illegal immigration. Democrats are ultimately responsible for the current immigration enforcement policies that see immigrant families split up after crossing the border illegally. Trump laid out a number of provisions that must be included in any proposed immigration legislation that would be acceptable to him. The ball is in the Democrats' court....
It should be noted that the kids are separated from the adults largely so they won't be running around the detention facility where there are drug mules, sex traffickers, smugglers, drug cartel enforcers and terrorists and in some cases their actual parents but not always. Also remember these are not legal immigrants. Once they make sure the kids are with their actual parents and not some sex trafficker, they will be repatriated to Mexico where they may start immigration applications to come back legally. 
Separating the kids is done for their own safety. The pictures of crying children in cages largely come from pictures taken in 2014 during the Obama administration.
#2 - Jeff Sessions was being castigated by hostile reporters and asked how he could tolerate this horrible situation as a good Christian person. Sessions quoted the Bible with regard to obedience to the law. It's not like he proposed establishing a theocracy. Truthfully, if you check out what Sister White said you will find a much different sort of threat on the horizon.
  • "The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience. .."  - EG White
We Adventist must stick together,
unified in our diversity!
She was talking about "apostate" Protestantism. When I was a kid growing up in the church, I was taught to fear Baptists and the Church of Christ - those nasty conservative Christian churches.  But, if you take a look at who is taking the lead on hooking up with the Pope, it's been Anglicans (Episcopalians), Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists and other black-robed "high" churches. These guys have signed agreements with Rome already and have begun inviting Charismatic and TV based Evangelical churches to also join with Rome.

Also, the other member of the alliance are spiritualists including Mother Earth worshipers, radical environmentalists and progressive socialists who also favor creating a powerful global government. The papacy has already released two major encyclicals proposing a global world government (with teeth as Pope Benedict suggested) and even suggested it be organized by trade organizations, Labor Unions and international political parties (and there's really only one of those - the Communist Party).

Anybody else creeped out by that?
Yet, our church leaders seem to be bound and determined to support leftist talking points at every turn. I've seen talk from the top about supporting environmental initiatives that turn ever more power and authority over to central governments. I'm concerned that the upper echelons of our church are drifting into the arms of that threefold alliance.

This is why I'm really concerned by moves from the administrative levels of the church toward centralizing authority once again in Silver Springs.
It makes it a whole lot easier for government authorities to decapitate and cripple the church than it would be if we were diversified in authority and decision-making. The devil is subtle and devious. We have been told what to watch out for in the end times. It mystifies me that our church leadership seems to be missing the real danger that progressivism poses to the church. Progressivism operates as much like a religion as anything. It's especially obvious if you deviate from the progressive "faith". Progressives immediately want to end free speech, freedom of the press and even to gag ministers in the pulpit. Attempts have already been made in places like Houston, Texas where the Democrat mayor demanded that Houston pastors hand over their sermon notes to investigators to see if they spoke against her open bathrooms law. Not only is such "fishing" illegal and a violation of free speech, but judges won't even allow cops to search a car or home if they don't have evidence of probable cause. 

We need to look for the signs of Christ's soon coming.
Jesus said we'd see them. We just need to not be like the leaders of the Sanhedrin in Jesus' day and convince ourselves to expect to see something rather different from what the prophets have told us to expect.

I love my church and I will never leave it. I will, however, speak up when I think there's a problem. That's just being a responsible "member". The church is a fellowship, not a dictatorship. We work together. We obey Christ, not man.

Tom King

Friday, June 8, 2018

Violating the Third Commandment

Once in a while someone pops up to take a shot at the kind of Christian witnesses who proclaim the message that we are "...saved by faith in Christ, not by works lest any should boast." Why this message makes some brethren angry, I will never understand, but it does.

We keep rejecting the message of righteousness by faith. 1888 was the first time and there has been resistance every time since to it's proclamation.
I saw it int the 60s and 70s. Righteousness by faith was always a little too loosey-goosey for some of the brethren, preferring the stick to the carrot a little too fondly I think. The authoritarian wing of the church has never quite trusted God to keep the troops in line simply through the power of a deep relationship with him. Like the Roman church, they think we need to insert some "leadership" between ourselves and the Almighty.

They need centralized power and strict rules with strict enforcement or they fear all sorts of rule-breaking horror will break out. They measure hemlines. They tell us how deep could be the water we could wade in on Sabbath. Any deeper than the knees and we'd be considered swimming which would be a sin, I was told. They had big discussions about whether it was moral or not to roller skate to music.They didn't just give a hard time to champions of righteousness by faint like Morris Venden. They tried to run Ron Halvorsen Sr. out of my little town. The same sort of folks even criticized HMS Richards Sr. for being too excited about righteousness by faith and felt he should spend more time preaching on the law. Even poor Del Delker was attacked for singing with young men with guitars and banjos. They went after anyone who placed any emphasis on righteousness by faith or who questioned church authority or encouraged young people, thereby endangering their authority.

Ron Halvorsen Sr.
What a group of Keenites from the church I grew up in did to Morris Venden was Satanic and these people believed they were doing it all for Jesus. As though Jesus needed them to act as some kind of security force. For the same "crime" of not emphasizing the law, they also went after Ron Halvorsen Sr.. Both those men filled the church to the rafters. I never left a sermon by either of them that I didn't feel that I was going home to heaven one day. This group of "saints" hated both men. Why? I believe it was because both men appealed directly to the members without deference to that good old boys network of power brokers. I fear that what one dear saint said to me once is true, "What we need in this church is a visit from the Grim Reaper." 

James and Ellen White
We have a serious problem in the church and it isn't with the likes of Morris Venden. After the manipulation by Elder Butler at 1888 GC meeting to suppress the message of righteousness by faith, James and Ellen White wrote that they no longer had confidence that the GC administration spoke with authority for God to the church. Shortly after James died the GC wrangled an invitation to Ellen to go to Australia. She did, but when she came back, she was no less the warrior for Christ. God had already burned down the GC's power base in Battle Creek and forced it to move to Silver Springs. On her return, Sr. White led a minor revolt at the 1903 GC and the members of the church created the union conferences to divest the central administration of much of its power. Ellen said angels walked the aisles at that conference. With this new "unity in diversity" model the church spread around the world like wildfire until our tiny church had the second largest parochial education system in the world, a huge medical work, a massive publishing work and the largest mission work in the Protestant world.

HMS Richards Sr.
Since then, the authoritarians keep trying to recover their power. They use manipulation, bullying, "working policies" and subterfuge to try and accomplish what they think God wants. And the membership keeps resisting. Why? Because they know Christ and they recognize the enemy when he is among them. We may love our children

I believe it's a clear violation of the second commandment that is happening here at the end of time. There's a reason God put that command early on the list. The second commandent is not about cussing. It's about thinking to speak for God when He has given you no such authorization to speak for Him. To invoke his name in vain just to justify your own ambition and lust for power, is a mighty sin. It's the very sin that brought down Lucifer.

Jesus' followers are the meek, the kind and the unassuming. That doesn't mean they won't get up on their hind legs and fight you when you seek to rule God's church or to turn it into an image of the authoritarianism of the Beast. We imitate Christ. He is our master. When you ask yourself, "What would Jesus do?", remember. That might involve flipping over the money-changers' tables and cracking a few whips. And our role model in that was NOT a member of the Sanhedrin at the time.

God bless us all. Unity in diversity is the way forward! We follow Christ, not jumped up middle managers. No one must place themselves between us and Him. I would not want to answer for that before the judgment throne of God.

Yours in Christ,

Tom King