The Seeming Danger of Not Getting it Just Right

I recently read a humorous story, which, while I hope it is not at all true, does illustrate an important lesson. It goes like this.

“Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, ‘Don’t do it!’

He said, ‘Nobody loves me.’

I said, ‘God loves you. Do you believe in God?’

He said, ‘Yes.’

I said, ‘Are you a Christian or a Jew?’

He said, ‘ I am a Christian.’

I said, ‘Me too!  Protestant or Catholic?’

He said, ‘Protestant.’

I said, ‘Me too! What franchise?’

He said, ‘Baptist.’

I said, ‘Me too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?’

He said, ‘Northern Baptist.’

I said, ‘Me too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?’

He said, ‘Northern Conservative Baptist.’

I said, ‘Me too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?’

He said, ‘Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.’

I said, ‘Me too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879 or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?’

He said, ‘Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.’

I said, ‘Die, heretic!’ And I pushed him over.

It seems that some in the Seventh-day Adventist Church lately have gotten so polarized, that a gracious spirit and an attitude of compassion and understanding can even be missing from among those of us who are looking forward to the soon return of Jesus and seeking to live a life devoted to the glory of God.  There are those who are fixated on just which edition of the book, The Great Controversy is the only true edition (1858, 1884, 1888, or 1911 edition).  Others have a particular view of the interpretation of the 7 trumpets in the book of Revelation.  Still others will threaten to read out of the church those who may have certain positions on the nature of Christ (pre-fall or post-fall), righteousness by faith, the 1888 message, spiritual formation, and the correct way to pray (or not to pray as the case may be!).

While correct doctrine and steadfast belief in the Scriptures is always paramount, there is a calling to live a life of grace and understanding with the brethren. Grace reveals that Christ has transformed the heart, not merely informed the mind.  A life of Grace shows that a person is being transformed and prepared for living in heaven, not just able to identify those who don’t qualify for entrance to heaven.

Let us in our daily lives and in our inmost souls, cherish the attitude and atmosphere of Grace.  As the Grace of Christ settles over us and permeates our life, the appeal of Christ can then be given through us to a dying world.  A world standing at the brink, about to fall off and end it all. May we be the agents to rescue souls through God’s grace and not push them off if they don’t hold to the exact viewpoint we have in every detail.

(“Truths connected with the second coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven will be talked of, written upon, more than now. There is to be closed every door that will lead to points of difference and debate among brethren. If the old man was purged from every heart, then there would be greater safety in discussion, but now the people need something of a different character. There is altogether too little of the love of Christ in the hearts of those who claim to believe the truth. While all their hopes are centered in Jesus Christ, while His Spirit pervades the soul, then there will be unity, although every idea may not be exactly the same on all points.” Counsels to Writers and Editors, page 82)

           

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Barbara Bolton on February 2, 2013 at 1:55 am

    This is SO good! I’ve heard that story before as well as one like it. It’s where St. Peter is taking someone on a tour of Heaven and he stops to introduce the person to the Baptists in one part of Heaven and then in another, he introduces the Presbyterians and in still another, he introduces the Muslims. Then, he turns to the visitor and says, “Now, we must be very quiet. We are passing by the Seventh Day Adventists and they think they’re the only ones here.” I pray that God spares me from being like the Jews in the time of the birth of Christ. They were so certain that they knew exactly how the Son of God would arrive, they totally rejected Him. I want to allow God to do things His way and just be ready to meet Him! Praying for you!

    Reply

  2. Ray, this is exactly what I needed to read today, and it is definitely worth sharing. Thank you for the reminder that love demonstrated in humility and true affection was the role our Savior played in his interactions with us here on Earth.

    Reply

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