Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Devil's Labelmaker

I struggled with the subject for this week's blog. This week Annual Council was busily debating whether or not to make Adventist church officers sign a loyalty oath promising to obey the 790 page General Conference Working Policy. The documentation was not provided until the actual meeting to hold a vote on the issue began. No one had a chance to look at the documents in advance before the meeting. Fortunately, the delegates put off the decision, sending it back to committee for another year.

In reading about the ongoing church debate, I've heard all kind of labels for various factions that supposedly are at war over this issue. I've discovered that I don't fit into any one of these discreet groups. I have beliefs I share with some persons and some beliefs that I don't share with the exact same persons. I'm still an Adventist church member. Labels can be divisive. Labels are also a great way to sow disunity.

I've discovered that some ministers and other church figures I respect are considered part of groups with which I have differences of opinion. I'm not sure I wanted to know that. Some of the articles bunched people like HMS Richards Sr. in with people like Robert Brimsmead and Desmond Ford. Adventist historians seem to have taken a real beating in terms of being dismissed from their positions over the year. That's a technique that political movements use to forward their movement - deleting or obscuring history that conflicts with the political narrative. George Orwell talked about it in his book "1984". For some reason whenever those in authority feel challenged, they want to make sure that the historians who document it are on their side.

It's not an accident that Adventist historian George Knight is in the spotlight right now. As I watch the debates, read the stories and academic papers and watch the videos, I see moving in the background something very sinister. I've always been good at stepping back and seeing the flaws in the background against which the action in the foreground takes place.

There's something sinister in the background that's been there a long time. It's a snake in a tree. It's whispering, "Just a little more power and you can make things perfect."  It's the basic theme of "You can be like gods."  It's happening in politics. It's happening in our church. It's everywhere - the flip side of the Great Controversy.  The opposite of His Grace will save you and set you free. We have the snake selling the opposite message - Your knowledge will allow you to make the world what you want it to be. It's the old narrative.

With church people it's the idea that you have to believe just the right thing. If you can just get your theology, your behavior right, or have some special knowledge or practice that you perform and you can make sure that God has to let you into heaven, then there's no need to rely on God's mercy and Grace.

In the political realm it's if you just have the right political system, then you can create heaven on Earth - no need for God. All you have to do is get the laws right and get the right human leaders in place, you can create a human God-free utopia.

When Satan starts using these kinds of techniques, watch for a concentration of power. Power is what Satan craves. It always goes back to power and the need to have it. That's what the Great Controversy was all about in the first place. Lucifer had a better system than God. 

It's important that we reject the labels the Prince of Darkness sees to tag us with.

© 2017 by Tom King

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