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Challenging Questions For a Challenger of Our Faith

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  • #16
    [Conclusion of previous frame]
    .
    EGW’s Role in the Development of the SDA Church
    .
    Now, undoubtedly, Ellen White had a very important role and authority in the development of the SDA Church. As the author of More than a Prophet, Prof. Graeme Bradford, a book that I would highly recommend to our opponents, comments:
    .
    “There can be no doubt that she earned tremendous respect from her contemporaries in Adventism as they found her able to give advice and counsel that was so often correct and timely. When a person is in close contact with God over so long a period of time, as she was, their abilities in the area of wisdom and discernment can be sharpened. She herself was conscious of this when she wrote to her critics:
    .
    ‘For the last forty-five years the Lord has been revealing to me the needs of His cause and the cases of individuals in every phase of experience, showing where and how they have failed to perfect Christian character. The history of hundreds of cases has been presented to me, and that which God approves, and that which He condemns, has been plainly set before me. . . .With the light communicated through the study of His word, with the special knowledge given of individual cases among His people under all circumstances and in every phase of experience, can I now be in the same ignorance, the same mental uncertainty and spiritual blindness, as at the beginning of this experience? Will my brethren say that Sister White has been so dull a scholar that her judgment in this direction is no better than before she entered Christ’s school, to be trained and disciplined for a special work? Am I no more intelligent in regard to the duties and perils of God’s people than are those before whom these things have never been presented? I would not dishonor my Maker by admitting that all this light, all the display of His mighty power in my work and experience, has been valueless, that it has not educated my judgment or better fitted me for His work.’
    .
    “She earned the respect of her contemporaries and, in turn, they gave her authority. She was established, in their minds, with prophetic authority because of her wise counsel. However, umpires in sport can have authority even when they make a wrong decision. Today we can see that, in hindsight, she did at times make some wrong calls. But that does not rob her of her prophetic authority anymore than Nathan lost his when he gave the wrong advice to David regarding the building of the temple. Or when John the Baptist got it wrong regarding the nature of the kingdom that Christ was setting up”.[12]
    .
    Ellen White didn’t claim infallibility, on the contrary, she asserts that she never claimed that, for “God only is infallible. His word is the truth, and in Him there is “no variableness, neither shadow of turning”.13

    And Bradford adds, “Accepting her prophetic authority does not involve laying aside our mind or personal judgment. It means that we will listen carefully to what she has to say and, guided by the same Spirit who gave her a prophetic ministry, we will make valued judgments as to the wisdom of the counsel as Paul admonishes in 1 Corinthians 14: 29 and 1 Thessalonians 5: 21”.[14]

    Well, let’s see what these texts say: “Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge”; “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good”.
    .
    Briefly on the Plagiarism Accusation
    .
    One of the accusations from critics of Ellen White is about her borrowing material from other authors, but in his book, Bradford shows that borrowing from other sources was a common practice in the nineteenth century, which was demonstrated through wide documentation by an independent consultant, Vincent Ramik, a copyright-law specialist. He researched the legal aspects of her use of other writers and came to the conclusion in his report that there would have been no legal case against her in her day, and that he, particularly, had his life changed forever by reading her books.
    .
    As Bacchiocchi clarifies additionally, “She used historical sources, not to approve or correct them, but to teach the way of salvation. She never claimed to be an authority on history or theology. In fact, she asked for help both in gathering the information and in correcting any inaccuracies”.
    .
    And he says further: “. . . she makes no attempt to exegete the text [of Col. 2:14, that he discusses giving a different interpretation from Ellen White’s]. The reason is simple. As Prof. Bradford’s chapter explains, she never claimed to be an exegete. She uses Bible texts homiletically to proclaim religious truths, not exegetically to explain their meaning.
    .
    “The recognition of this fact has led to a gradual acceptance of new historical and biblical interpretations. For example, today, I do not know of any scholar who uses Colossians 2:14 to teach the termination of the ceremonial law at the Cross. The reason is simple. They recognize that this is not what the text is talking about. There are plenty of other texts that can be used to support such teaching.
    .
    “This positive development gives me the courage to continue my ministry of Biblical research. It is my conviction that Adventists are committed to search for truth. To use Ellen White to stifle any new investigation of Bible teachings run contrary to her clear teachings, as Prof. Bradford shows. It is this commitment that ultimately allows our church to grow in the understanding and experience of Bible truths”.[15]
    .

    Notes
    .
    1. Proclamation, May/June issue, pp. 11, 12.
    2. Ellen G. White, “Testimony 17 (1869),” in Testimonies for the Church, 9 vols. (1855-1909; reprint Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press, 1948), 2:200; cf. “The Son of God was in the form of God, and he thought it not robbery to be equal with God” (E. G. White, Spirit of Prophecy [1877], 2:10).
    3.”To assert that the sayings of the Son and his apostles are the commandments of the Father, is as wide from the truth as the old Trinitarian absurdity that Jesus Christ is the very and eternal God” (James White, “The Faith of Jesus,” Review and Herald, Aug 5, 1852, p. 52).
    4. James White, “The Two Bodies,” RH Oct. 12, 1876, 116; cf. Froom, Movement of Destiny, 178.
    5. James White, “Christ Equal with God,” Review and Herald, Nov. 29, 1877, p. 72.
    6. Ellen G. White, “The First Advent of Christ,” Review and Herald, Dec. 17, 1872, par. 4; later published in Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2 (Battle Creek, MI: SDA Publishing Association, 1877), 9-10; cf. E. G. White, “Bible Study,” Review and Herald, Jan 11, 1881, par. 3.
    7. Uriah Smith, Thoughts on the Revelation (Battle Creek, MI: SDA Publishing Association, 1865), 59, calls Christ the first created being; a view repudiated in Looking Unto Jesus (Battle Creek, MI: Review and Herald, 1898), 17, 12.
    8. Counsels for Writers and Editors, p. 37.
    9. Evangelism, p. 256.
    10. “The Inspiration and Authority of the Ellen G. White Writings,” Adventist Review 159, December 23, 1982, p. 9.
    11. Fundamental Beliefs, No. 1.
    12. Quoted in Elder Samuele Bacchiocchi’s, “Endtime Issue Newsletter”, # 151 (electronic e-mail messages).
    13. Selected Messages, Liv I, p. 37.
    14. See note 12.
    15. In Samuele Bacchiocchi’s Editorial Comment on the discussion “Ellen White and the Bible”, Endtime Issues Newsletter, # 150.
    Last edited by Azenilto Brito; 11-Mar-2017, 08:04 PM.

    Comentario


    • #17
      Answer to the unresponded challenging question:

      Well, as our question that really puts things into perspective on the question of Old/New Alliance was not answered, and it becomes more and more evident that the equation

      .
      NEW COVENANT = NEW LAW

      cannot be demonstrated, let's offer the CORRECT ANSWER in three basic stages. In the face of them the objector has only two options: a) to accept them as CORRECT; b) to refute them with really convincing arguments. To ignore them is to admit that nothing is left to be said regarding the question, thus it being admitted as CORRECT.
      .
      First, let's see again the question that was submitted to Mrs. Tinker, a 10-day deadline set for her to answer (which was extended for another 10 days) and we never got any answers. Thus, as promised, we post below the CORRECT ANSWER for said question, that really puts all this question of OLD COVENANT/NEW COVENANT into due perspective, as far as the Sabbath-Sunday-Nodayism/Anydayism/Everydayism is concerned:
      .
      Where is it written that in the change from the Old to the New Covenant, when God writes what is called “My laws” in the hearts and minds of those who accept the terms of the New Covenant [New Testament] (Heb. 8:6-10), transferring the contents of the cold tables of stone to the hearts warmed by the divine grace (2 Cor. 3:2-7), He
      .
      a – leaves out the 4th commandment of the moral law;
      .
      b – includes the 4th commandment, but changing the sanctity of the 7th to the 1st day of the week?
      .
      OR
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      c – includes the 4th commandment, but leaving it as a vague, voluntary and non-obligatory principle that can be reinterpreted as any day or time which is most convenient to the believer (or his employer)?
      .
      Basic texts: Hebrews 8:6-10; Jeremiah 31:31-33; Ezekiel 11:19, 20 and 36:26, 27.
      .

      Correct answer to the question on the passage from the Old to the New Covenant:
      .
      * It is not written anywhere in the Bible that in the passage of the Old to the New Alliance, when God promises to write His laws in the hearts and minds of those who accept the terms of this New Covenant [New Testament] (which is called “My laws” in Hebrews 8:6-10, in a repetition of the promise already made to Israel before, in Jer. 31:31-33) He would leave out the Sabbath commandment; would keep the principle but transferring the sanctity of the seventh-day Sabbath to the first day of the week, or would maintain the principle, but turning it into “an optional rule”, vague, volunteer and variable, with flexibility to adjust to the interests of the believer (or of his/her employer).
      .
      Let us see in details each one of these three aspects:
      .
      a) Why would God abolish the principle of the day of rest?
      .
      Even the atheists and materialists recognize the necessity of a regular rest day for good health. If somebody doubts this, just work non-stop every day of the week, for some months, only stopping at night to rest, and see how his/her nervous system will be negatively affected. God wisely joined this principle of regular physical and mental rest with a special time that served to memorialize His work as Creator “of heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water” (as highlighted by one of the three symbolic angels proclaiming a final warning message to the world--Rev. 14:7), a specific moment in which man has time to worship Him without being encumbered by secular activities (see Isa. 58:13, 14).
      .
      This aspect of God having His special day of worship is not a norm created by the Jews or the Adventists, but is recognized as necessary, biblically stipulated, being the Sabbath principle derived from the Creation of the world FOR CENTURIES in confessional documents and instructional works of Baptists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Methodists, Anglicans, Lutherans and other Christians.
      .
      Some allege that the Sabbath religious day of rest is no more necessary because Jesus is their “rest”, with the salvation by grace excusing them from such rule. This is a totally perverted reasoning, for all the great acts of God and of His servants have been marked by memorial landmarks. The creation of the world was signaled with the “landmark” of the Sabbath--the memorial of the creation; man's challenge to God in the construction of the Babel tower was signaled by the divine intervention with the resulting confusion of their languages; the rainbow signals the divine promise that the Earth would not be destroyed by a flood again; the exodus from Egypt is signaled by the Passover; the passage through the dried Jordan was signaled by a stone monument, servants of God had always marked crisis moments of their lives with the building of altars, the sacrifice of Christ is celebrated regularly by the Communion Supper, and so forth.
      .
      Now, we can see the inconsistency of inconsistencies: we have the greatest of the events at individual and collective level, that is salvation in Christ, and this is signaled by NOT CELEBRATING ANY DAY to God! In other words, the believer is released from dedicating to God a day of rest and worship so that he/she demonstrate salvation obtained in Christ! That doesn't make any sense, does it?! Besides, it has no Bible backing. So much so that the holy women, so dedicated to the Lord, who had certainly known this “salvation rest”, found no excuses to not keeping the Sabbath “according to the commandment” after the death of Christ (Luke 23:56). This text is very interesting as it demonstrates that they: a) knew nothing about whoever accepts salvation in Christ will be excused of keeping one of the Decalogue's commandments as a symbol of that; b) had not learned with Christ Himself about any reduction of the importance of Sabbath keeping, let alone that salvation was an excuse to not keep the 4th commandment of God's law.
      .
      Moreover, if Israel had not failed in reaching the spiritual rest, as discussed in Hebrews 3 and 4, the nation would not, because of that, get rid of the Sabbath, as can be seen in the “hall of fame” of the many heroes of the faith”, in Hebrews 11. They certainly had found this “rest” of salvation individually, in the face of the national failure, but that was no excuse for their neglecting the Sabbath keeping. David said, “I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psa. 40:8). That should be the experience of the entire nation.
      .
      Actually it makes no sense or there is no reason, nor Biblical basis, that God annulled the commandment that Jesus declared to have been established “for man”. And the text doesn't say “the Jewish man”, as the second part of the text of Mar. 2:27 makes clear. Thus, to be consistent with the reasoning of some, He should have said, “The Sabbath was made for the Jewish man, not the Jewish man for the Sabbath”. That cannot be, because God created “man”. The fact that later on he became Jew, Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek, American, Brazilian is due to very different circumstances. Besides, the original word for “man” in Mar. 2:27 is anthropós, the same that is used in the commentary of Christ about the man-anthropós who leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife (Mat. 19:5, 6). And is marriage, by any chance, something only for Jews?
      .
      [To be concluded in the next frame]
      Last edited by Azenilto Brito; 11-Mar-2017, 08:07 PM.

      Comentario


      • #18
        [Conclusion of previous frame]

        b) Was there a transfer of the sanctity of the seventh to the first day of the week?

        This hypothesis has been more and more abandoned by Protestant Christianity, although in the past it was an argument often used. It seems that more and more Christians have been convinced that there is no Biblical basis for the hypothesis that the apostles decided, from the Resurrection event, to change the day of observance from the seventh to the first day of the week. The texts that used to be quoted for “proving” that are not even employed any more, like Acts 20:7 and 1 Cor. 16:2. On the contrary, they are an embarrassment for those who still stick to such interpretative tradition, for they show, rather, that the New Testament authors considered the “first day of the week” as just a common weekday, according to the Jewish counting of time, with no indication that Sunday had the least special character for them. In the Greek original, we find mia twn sabbatwn, for “first day of the week”, which literally is “the first from the Sabbath”.

        If Jesus wished the day of His resurrection to become a memorial day of rest and worship, He would have capitalized on the day of His resurrection to establish such a memorial. It is important to note that divine institutions like the Sabbath, baptism, Lord's Supper, all trace their origin to a divine act that established them. But on the day of His resurrection Christ performed no act to institute a memorial of His resurrection.

        If we think it through, both Christ’s death and resurrection are equally important events, foundational to the Christian faith. Both could deserve a special day for their celebration. If the Resurrection was supposed to be celebrated regularly on a special day, given its importance, why not the Savior’s death? So, we have two exceptional historical landmarks for a Christian—the death and the resurrection of Christ. Which would deserve a memorial day? Possibly both, but the Scriptures don’t establish that. Nothing is implied that any change occurred in the text of the divine law because of any of these events.

        If Jesus intended to memorialize the day of His Resurrection, most likely He would have told the women and the disciples when He arose: “Come apart and celebrate My Resurrection!” Instead He told them, “Go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee” (Matt 28:10), and to the disciples, “Go . . . make disciples . . . baptizing them” (Matt 28:19). None of the utterances of the risen Savior reveal any intention to memorialize His Resurrection by making Sunday the new day of rest and worship.

        The reason is that our Savior wanted His followers to view His Resurrection as an existential reality to be experienced daily by living victoriously by the power of His Resurrection, rather than a liturgical/religious event to be celebrated on Sunday. Paul expressed the hope to “know him and the power of his resurrection” (Phil 3:10), but he never mentions his desire to celebrate Christ's Resurrection on Sunday or Easter-Sunday.

        c) Was there a transformation of the principle of the day of rest into a vague, volunteer, variable day that can adjust to the interests of the believer (or his/her employer)?

        The Bible says that God is a God of order, not of confusion. It does not make any sense that the “day of the Lord” be adjusted to human interests, whatever they are. If the Church ends up accepting what society determines in this point, it will be opening the floodgates for the invasion of many other things on this line, and is not that exactly what we have been witnessing along the time?

        More and more the Church is deprived of the characteristic of “light of the world” and “salt of the Earth”, disdaining clear precepts of the Word of God. Thus, it keeps adapting itself to that in which the world believes as being its norm. From that we have the acceptance of evolution as a valid explanation for the creation of the world, the unisex marriages, with the new theological language of “inclusion”, by which homosexuals must be fully accepted in the life of the Church, even occupying leadership positions, as has been already defined by the American Anglicans with the nomination of a gay bishop, and certain Churches having in their ranks officials openly declaring to be homosexuals and lesbians.

        Since Jesus said that “the Sabbath was made for man”--for its physical, mental and spiritual benefit--and the present man continues having the same necessities in these three areas, there is no justification for anyone to be excused from a principle that only aims at his well being. More than ever, we need the benefits that God propitiates with the Sabbath observance, one day that God said that we must see as “delightful” (Isa. 58:13, 14), not as a “burden”.

        Here is how Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi concludes his series of Sabbath Enrichment Seminars:

        Do you know something? The predominant reason presented in the earliest Christian documents for the observance of Sunday, from the first five centuries, is this, as Jerome declares: “We observe the day of the Sun because the light was created in the first day of the Creation”. Can you see the connection between the Sun, generator of life, and the creation of the light in the first day of the week? Thus you can see how the Christians adopted the day of the Sun as a new day of worship. They were scratching their heads to find some Biblical reason, and thus, found this reason in the history of the Creation, that in the first day the light was created, and this would be a good reason to explain why to observe Sunday. Now, obviously this reason was abandoned a long time ago.

        To summarize everything, dear Christian friends, let me tell you that the conclusion that emerged from years of dedicated research, in the excellent library of the Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome, is this: that the historical change of the Sabbath to Sunday did not occur by authority of Christ, nor the authority of the apostles, nor because of a desire to honor the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in the first day of the week. The process all started approximately a century after the death of Jesus. As I said earlier, it was during the reign of Emperor Hadrian, approximately in 135 AD, and it appeared as a result of an interaction of social, political, religious and heathen factors, which also gave origin to the celebration of Christmas on December 25.

        The conclusion that emerged from my entire research is that when this change took place, it was not about a mere change of names, Sabbath to Sunday, nor a change of numbers, of the seventh to the first day, but a change of meaning, a change of authority and a change of experience.

        Yes, it was the change of a 24-hour day that God granted us to express commitment to Him, concern towards our fellow beings, into one day that was chosen to demonstrate disdain for the Jews, not a commitment towards God. Yes, actually, it was a change of one day that God granted us to help us experience His presence and peace in our lives into a day that became occasion for many people to look for pleasure and profit.

        To wrap up everything, it was a change from a “holy day” to a “holiday”. And this change has greatly affected the quality of the Christian life of millions of people along the centuries, people that have been deprived from the physical, moral and spiritual renewal that the Sabbath has the objective of proclaiming.

        Dear friends and brethren, this research experience convinced me fully that if there was ever a time when we need the renewal, relief and realignment of the Sabbath, this time is today! We live at a time when people are suffering all the types of crisis--marital crisis, identity crisis, racial crisis, crises generated by tension, inquietude, competition.

        In this Seminary of the Lord's Day we considered together how the Sabbath helps us, through the Savior, to find again a divine remedy for some of these crises.
        Last edited by Azenilto Brito; 11-Mar-2017, 08:08 PM.

        Comentario


        • #19
          Some feedback comments on my posts (none from those to whom important and decisive questions were addressed):

          From a moderator of one of the 5 Adventist Forums where the material is being posted (presently, 5 in English, 2 in Spanish, with texts also publicized among readers who master the Portuguese language, who normally can read Spanish easily):

          Some of Adventists worst enemies are ex-Adventists. We have had our share of them here. Since this became a subscription-based site, we have had a lot less of them.

          Sadly, this folks feel it their burden in life to expose something they believe to be false. Even if the Adventist church’s teachings are false, the supposedly false teachings would not cause anyone to lose out on salvation.

          * If the Ten Commandments are no longer binding, no one is going to lose out on salvation for keeping them.

          * If Sabbath observance is not required, no one will lose their salvation for keeping it.

          * If avoiding meat, specifically unclean meats, isn’t required, no one will be damned for doing so.

          * If the creation story isn’t true, those that believe in it will discover their error inside of heaven’s gates

          One will not miss out on eternity because they refused to go to the theater, dance hall or pierce their ears

          Yet many ex-Adventists act as if their work of exposing the Adventist church as being false is somehow saving souls. The opposite is true. If they do anything, they shake the faith of some of the weak brothers and sisters and instead of following a different religious belief, they drop out and follow none at all.


          Feedback from a participant in the same Forum:

          Excellent points, S. [names withheld throughout]. However I’ve found very few if any souls who are striving to avoid God’s requirements, persuaded by the best of “proofs” in favor of His requirements. Could it be that those who wish to disprove the clear Word are listening to the same sophistry to which Adam and Eve listened, to the detriment of all those that follow after them.

          Those who claim salvation by grace without seeing the necessity for fulfilling the necessary requirements of a perfect creation, are legalists in the highest sense of the word, because they feel they must do all the Law requires for salvation. Their solution is to destroy the Law rather than asking the God of the universe, of Whom there is nothing too hard for Him, to fashion within them all the requirements necessary for eternal life, which would include writing the Law on the fleshy tables of their heart.

          Their solution in theory removes the need for a new creation and allows the most depraved continuum to have confidence in a faith based on ropes of sand. But then only a believer in the God Who can do anything, can believe in that type of reasoning.

          “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14 KJV

          That seems one good reason to sow the seeds of Truth and let God take care of the growth. Maybe it’s possible sometimes in an arena of debate, but I find it highly unlikely since each person debating is far more interested in their own teaching than they are in their own learning, or so it seems to me.

          “...Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.” Romans 14:5 NASB

          Blessings!!


          Another Forum participant’s reaction:

          I observed a long time ago that many people’s security of salvation is based upon the number of people who do NOT do as they do. Make sense? The more people who do differently then I do--the more saved I therefore am. Because, after all, I am right.

          This is a hybrid martyr complex/setting salvation on a negative platform. Amazing, and it grows stronger as time endures.


          J. has also something to say:

          S., a long time ago I remember reading that former Adventists, and even
          former SDA pastors or Bible teachers, would become our worst enemies. Ellen White said the same thing. And once, as a kid, I saw a play based on Mary Kay’s little book about the end-times. I could hardly imagine such a thing happening-- I mean being ridiculed and questioned harshly by former SDA. But now I can understand it completely, sad to say. I “see” so many who talk as if they hate the Sabbath and virtually everything Adventists represent. And almost all of these used to be one of us, at least in name.

          See GC 608-- “When Sabbathkeepers are brought before the courts to answer for their faith, these [former Sabbath-keeping] apostates are the most efficient agents of Satan to misrepresent and accuse them, and by false reports and insinuations to stir up the rulers against them.”

          Imagine your shock when you see a famous SDA pastor or maybe your Bible teacher coming to interrogate you and telling you how wrong you are about the Sabbath, etc.


          On his part, O. G. comments:

          A common denominator I have observed among disgruntled Adventists who attack the “church” is unresolved bitterness towards individuals. This can lead a person to begin reacting to the “church.”

          The Lord God warns us in Hebrews 12:15 that unresolved bitterness will begin to defile those around us.

          Question: How many angry people does it take to get anger flowing through a church fellowship? Just one, friend. Just one.


          Someone quoting from one of my posts “...Then we have that little question that I addressed to Mr. Ratzlaff, among others, and so far got no answer: (The “blue question” about the passage from the old to the new covenant, based on Heb. 8:6-10)”.

          You’ve got some excellent questions there. I will be very surprised if you hear much more from Mr. Ratzlaff. My experience has been that when you ask these kinds of questions that are difficult for them to answer, they simply stop corresponding with you.

          I have a friend, Bradley Williams, who recently published a book you can get at the ABC. It’s entitled, The Silencing of Satan: The Gospel In the Investigative Judgment. It does a better job than any other book I know of in giving the Bible evidence for the Pre-Advent Judgment. He’s tried to dialogue seriously with both Desmond Ford and with Ratzlaff about the Investigative Judgment but to no avail. Here’s the website for those interested in taking part in the discussion on the IJ and related issues: http://www.forthegospel.org/forum/ge..._book#comment/


          My own comment at a certain point:

          Well, among the things Bro. S. listed, that are not “salvation decisive”, I would add believing in the investigative judgment, because the subject of God’s judgment has so many different interpretations in the Christian field. So, who has the final word on how exactly God will proceed judging every one of us and all the world? Nobody will lose his/her salvation for believing that the judgment will be this way or that way.

          Actually there is a false propaganda regarding SDA’s living wringing their hands in anxiety for not knowing if their names have been scrutinized in the Heavenly Sanctuary. . . Do any of you guys live under that stressing sentiment? The truth is that in 41 years of SDA Church affiliation I never met one single brother or sister who harbors these terrible feelings. . .

          About Ellen White, yes, there are some hard things to understand in her writings, but if we examine the material of ex-Evangelical pastor Dan Barker who became an atheist, and the way he disputes the Bible, exploring its supposed “contradictions”, then we will understand how far we are from understanding how inspiration really works. The problems and contradictions these anti-Christian folks point in the Bible are about the same these critics of Ellen White present regarding her writings.

          Now, I think that one reason many people leave the church to enter these “new alliance” movements is because they read that text of Jesus telling those who want to follow Him that there is a cross to bear. But Jesus doesn’t specify what material this cross is made of--wood, iron, gold, silver, plumb? Then they reason: “Well, since Jesus didn’t tell what material the cross should be made of, who knows one made of Styrofoam wouldn’t do? After all, if we paint it as a genuine one, who will tell the difference?”

          And the number of people carrying Styrofoam crosses around is legion. . .

          Have a nice week.

          God bless you all.

          [To be concluded in the next frame]

          Comentario


          • #20
            [Conclusion from previous frame]

            One more feedback:

            Monsieur Brito,

            I read with interest your question about the new covenant/new law. That issue is one which I, too, have faced. But here is my question in response:

            How may one establish which ‘laws’ PAUL is referring to in Heb. 8 and 10? Paul, like other Bible writers, at times does quote OT passages out of context. The mere fact that Paul quotes from Jeremiah would not seem, in and of itself, sufficient to prove that he refers to the Ten Commandments. He may be applying a principle, with a different application for believers under the New Covenant.
            D.

            My answer:

            Thanks for your feedback. It’s good to have this kind of participation, looking for clarification of important points of the Bible teaching.

            I would remind you that Paul recommends normally, as of knowing nothing of any abolition of the Ten Commandments, the 5th., 8th, 9th and 10th precepts of the Decalogue to both the Ephesians and the Romans (see Eph. 6:1-3; 4:25-31; Rom. 13:8-10). He also says that he, with his mind, serves God’s law, and in the context he not only recognizes this law as holy, just, good, pleasurable, spiritual, as he mentions specifically the commandment “ye shall not covet” (Rom. 7, vs. 25, cf. vs. 7 and 8, plus 12, 14, 22...), which shows he didn’t think of that precept as belonging to an old, surpassed law.

            So, those who teach the end of the Ten Commandments have no basis for their allegations, for Paul simply ignored any such abolition. James, on the other hand, clearly refers to the 10 Commandments as the rule to be followed (James 2:8-12). So, here we have another New Testament writer who ignored any such abolition of the 10 Commandments.

            By the way, traditionally the Protestant-evangelical confessional documents stress the 10 Commandments as still the norm of Christian behavior. Didn’t you hear about this new campaign highlighting the importance of these 10 Commandments for Americans today? How about checking the “10 Commandments Commission” and its international campaign about that?

            Now, the bottom line is the Sabbath commandment, which would have been abolished IF it really had any ceremonial role, something the anti-Sabbatarian struggle to prove but can’t. See that Paul discusses in Hebrews in detail all the meaning of the many ceremonies and rites in the law, in chapters 7 through 10. Now, since the Sabbath was such an important principle for Israel, if it had any such ceremonial, prefigurative role, being abolished in the cross, he no doubt would have discussed in detail such a role for the Sabbath. However, we find no hints of any idea of abolition of the Sabbath in these chapters for its supposed prefigurative role. That would be the right place where such a discussion would occur.

            Instead of disqualifying the Sabbath commandment, Paul refers to it in a positive, rather than negative, manner in chaps. 3 and 4 of Hebrews.

            To say that the Sabbath just pointed to salvation in Christ and was abolished as the “shadow” met the “reality” makes no sense. The women who served Jesus so closely and who, certainly had experienced the “salvation rest” didn’t, because of that, neglect keeping the Sabbath “according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56). [Additionally, they show they hadn’t learned from Jesus anything of disqualifying the Sabbath commandment].

            Those in Israel who found the spiritual “rest” highlighted in Hebrews chaps. 3 and 4, and who are listed in the “hall of fame” of the heroes of Israel, in chap. 11, didn’t neglect their keeping of the Sabbath because of that.

            How about reproducing the “Ten Commandments Day Proclamation” as can be found in the website of the “Ten Commandments Commission”, an interfaith grass-roots movement that is growing fast across the USA, and is already getting support from religious leaders of other countries? See below in navy what we copied from said website:

            We, the members of the Ten Commandments Commission and supporting people of faith, proclaim The Ten Commandments Day on the first Sunday in the month of May, commencing on Sunday, May Sixth of 2007.
            Furthermore, we proclaim the Ten Commandments Day to be a day dedicated for the display, awareness, commemoration and celebration of the Decalogue which we know to be the divine foundation of the Judeo-Christian faith.

            We, the members of the commission, serve as a cohesive group of spiritual leaders representing millions of followers who affirm the beauty and the uniqueness of our differences. We believe that rooted in the Ten Commandments is a Divine plan that transcends color and diversity in cultural expression, sanctions brotherhood of man and respects expressions in all of God’s children.

            We, who serve as a council of leaders, are committed to utilizing our united passion to provide purpose and direction for reversing the enormous tide of immorality continuing to be released throughout the United States of America, and on all continents of the world. This unified voice will culminate annually on the Ten Commandments Day and provide for a united, global, spiritual platform based on the Ten Commandments. This platform will respond to the call echoed throughout creation for a true expression love, harmony and reconciliation among all nations, ethnic diversities and genders through education and rededication to the moral standard as given by our Loving Creator.

            Therefore, we are calling on all community and spiritual leaders; churches, synagogues, fellowships, ministries, organizations and all who care about moral values, to celebrate the annual Ten Commandments Day by hosting local events in support of the Ten Commandments and what they represent.

            Finally, we proclaim the need to heal the wounds of history through strategic and practical objectives, proactive love and obedience to the commands of God.

            By signing this document, I hereby give my commitment of support to the ideals brought forth by the Ten Commandments Commission in the establishment of the annual Ten Commandments Day, and to the moral standard we acknowledge and seek to uphold by the grace of Almighty God. -- The bold in some phrases are as in the original.

            The number of signatures obtained has surpassed 331.000. And explaining “Who we are” we read:

            The Ten Commandments Commission was formed in the spring of 2005. The main purpose behind the organization is to create of [sic] a global think tank with the world’s leaders who have already recognized the power behind the TCC. We are a grass root movement joined by some of the nation’s largest ministries.

            Very significant, indeed.

            For checking this information better, see the link below:

            http://www.tencommandmentsday.com/index.php


            Another participant, J., after quoting from one of my posts: “. . . [Ellen White] makes no attempt to exegete the text (of Col. 2:14, that [Samuele Bacchiocchi] discusses giving a different interpretation from Ellen White’s). The reason is simple. As Prof. Bradford’s chapter explains, she never claimed to be an exegete. She uses Bible texts homiletically to proclaim religious truths, not exegetically to explain their meaning”.

            Prophets rarely get their information from exegeting Bible texts. God gives them dreams and visions. Daniel was also not an exegete and neither was Paul an exegete by modern standards. Even by following the most careful techniques of exegesis, one would never get the insights into the meaning of the texts that Paul saw by the Holy Spirit and through the visions God gave him. So we ought not to be surprised that Ellen White was not an exegete.

            How many “great scholars” come up with the wrong meaning of the a text through their exegesis? Thousands. For instance, look at the books written by scholars who believe in the doctrine of the immortality of the wicked or in the secret rapture. They often support their false interpretations on the basis of what they call exegesis. (It’s irrelevant that usually these false ideas are the result of eisegesis rather than true exegesis. The point I am making is simply that people often arrive at, or support, their false ideas by the use of exegesis.)

            While true exegesis can be helpful and is certainly needed, the most important things in studying the Bible are allowing our minds to be illuminated by the Holy Spirit and having a teachable attitude. Indeed, there is more truth to be learned by prayerfully studying the writings of one genuine prophet of God than there is in the reading of 10,000 books by uninspired exegetes.
            Last edited by Azenilto Brito; 05-Sep-2010, 04:28 PM.

            Comentario


            • #21
              CD Recorded Lecture:
              .
              Ratzlaff’s “Simple Gospel” Message—An Exercise in Bible Twisting
              .
              During the “Former Adventist Weekend”, in Redlands, Cal., on Feb. 17, 2007, Mr. Ratzlaff presented the key lecture on the “Astonishing Revelations” of the Gospel, or all the things that a Christian should find in the Bible in order to obtain salvation. According to his view of the “simple gospel”, that would exclude those “inconvenient” commandments that supposedly cause barrier, or are a “separation wall”, to someone to come to the truth. In that sense he quotes Ephesians 2:14, 15: “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances, for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace”.

              Now, it’s really amazing how a man, who is a pastor and even claims to be well knowledgeable of the Greek language, forgets that the “law of commandments” mentioned by Paul isn’t limited to the Sabbath and the dietary laws! In his interpretation of the quoted verse he clearly is thinking of the Ten Commandments and the dietary rules (or other rituals and ceremonies of Israel), but overlooks the fact that in his interpretation the mentioned “law of commandments” would deal also with such precepts as “ye shall not kill”, “ye shall not commit adultery”, “honor thy father and thy mother”. . . Why doesn’t he consider these contents of the “law of commandments” as also causing barrier to impede someone to accept the gospel? So, we can see how discriminatory is his theology.

              At a certain point he says in rather triumphalistic tones: “Woe to those who stand in the way of the simple gospel”. But his “simple gospel” is a tremendous distortion of the Bible message, as we have already seen in many ways, and will see some more evidence of that in this article.

              Now, speaking of “woe to. . .” I think he should pay attention to what Peter says also in 2a. Pet. 3:15-17, which deals with woe to those who distort the Bible message:

              “. . . our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in t all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people. Distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you many not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position”. – NIV.

              His lecture is divided into eight segments, each with a supposed “astonishing revelation” for those who examine carefully their Bibles. His key-text is Acts 10 that reports the vision Peter had of the sheet coming from heaven and bringing all sorts of animals and creeping creature, with the order coming from heaven to kill and eat. Commenting briefly on Peter’s resistance to eat unclean foods, Mr. Ratzlaff argues that he acted like that because of his attachment to the Torah. That is funny, because he forgets a simple detail: PETER WAS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT CHRISTIAN LEADERS AT THE TIME. What attachment to the Torah was that?! Other day someone else said in a discussion group that Peter was Christian, but still hadn’t learned all the truth regarding the end of these laws.

              Well, that happened almost 20 years after the death of Christ, and learning the end of the supposedly ceremonial dietary laws, something that dealt with food, which is used in the day-to-day of anyone’s life, wouldn’t take more than five minutes, if that was the case. Any Christian instructor simply would have explained to him that those laws ended because it fulfilled their antitypical features, which were this, this, this and that. Was Peter such a slow learner?! I don’t think so. . .

              Now, Mr. Ratzlaff recognizes that the vision had to do with a change of attitude on the part of the Apostle—to stop discriminating against the gentiles and go preach to them. That is all that there is in the vision, but he tries to stretch it to also include the “amazing revelation” that God really abolished the dietary rules. They would be part of these “commandments” that had to give way to a new mentality, since they would be detrimental to the attraction of gentiles to the gospel.

              At the end of his conference he illustrates his point remembering an episode of his early time as a young pastor, when a man had lost his wife and he contacted him for making arrangements for the funeral. As he was invited by this man to eat in a restaurant, he told that his host ate lobster, drank wine in his company, while he just ate vegetable and drank soda. Now he thinks that his attitude was not a good one, for after the funeral ceremony he invited this man to attend church, but he didn’t comply. So, according to him, his attitude of not eating the same food as the man, or not drinking the same beverage as he did, was a “stumbling block”, detrimental to attract the man to the church!

              Gee, according to this tortuous reasoning, if the man offered him a cigarette to smoke, he should accept it promptly! And how about if the man invited him to accompany him to visit the red-light district in town?! Should he, diplomatically, in order to later have him accepting his invitation to attend church, follow this man’s suggestions?

              Well, what he should have done was to take advantage of the situation and give the man some good and tactful lessons on what God has to offer us in terms of advantage in following the regimen He set for man, whose good fruits we can see publicized by the press, with so many mentions to Seventh-day Adventists as having healthier, longer lives. This has been featured in such publications as Time and Prevention and the National Geographic magazines, even TV stories, as health researchers have confirmed the “Adventist Advantage” on their philosophy of life, including vegetarianism. By the way, there are Evangelical vegetarians, like the “Christian Vegetarian Association” (http://www.all-creatures.org/cva/) or the “Early Christian Vegetarians” (http://animalliberationfront.com/Philosophy/Religion/Early%20Christian%20Vegetarians.htm) who highlight mostly the humanitarian aspect of this attitude—mercy towards animals.

              Additionally to the health aspects of eating just vegetables, doesn’t it seem so selfish to sacrifice these creatures of God just to satisfy man’s appetite, when there are so many options in the green plants field for us to be well and nutritiously fed? After all, as God just created one wife for man at the beginning, so excluding the “polygamy advantage”, He also gave no meat and killing of animals for man in the ideal regime of Eden. Made sense then, why it doesn’t make sense now, especially as in the New Earth there will be no meat eating?

              Well, we have our special studies about these points, but since Mr. Ratzlaff insists in quoting texts totally out of their context, like Genesis 9:3, which he understands as God contradictorily authorizing the eating of all types of meat, even after recently defining to Noah that there were clean and unclean ones to enter the ark, let’s examine this matter more carefully.

              In our main study, we present four “difficulties” for every one of the classical arguments of the adherents of the “eat-it-all” philosophy. That is an attempt to lead them to see that we don’t acquire Bible knowledge merely quoting texts, without any commitment with historical and literary context, as well as neglecting to check the general tenor of the Bible teaching on the subject. So, additionally, let’s ask 10 questions to Mr. Ratzlaff regarding the specific text of Genesis 9:3, even though he never gave us any answer to any of the questions that we submitted to him before:

              [To be concluded in the next frame]
              Last edited by Azenilto Brito; 11-Mar-2017, 08:10 PM.

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              • #22
                [Conclusion of previous frame]
                .
                The Question of Clean/Unclean Animals During the Flood and its Aftermath
                .
                Genesis 9:3: One Difficulty Resolved, 10 Still To Be

                Genesis 9:1-3: “Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything’”. – NIV.

                The big problem of some false interpretations is always the undue segmentation of God’s Word, taking in isolation verses, clauses or even independent words to fit one’s presuppositions and prejudices, thus twisting the whole thought of the sacred author.

                For example, the text says that all the beasts of the Earth would fear man. However, should we understand that in absolute terms? How about bears, leopards, lions, hippopotamus, crocodiles, sharks, animals man flees from, and with good reasons? It is certainly a serious risk to face such animals in their natural state.

                Will be food for you. God permitted man to eat meat due to the total destruction of the vegetation during the Flood. In the face of the emergency, man had permission to kill animals to eat, but there were restrictions. The phrase “all that moves upon the Earth” clearly excludes eating cadavers of animals found dead by other beasts, later specifically recorded in the mosaic law (Exo. 22: 31; Lev. 22: 8). Although the distinction of clean and unclean animals is not shown here, it doesn’t mean that the rule was unknown by Noah, as Gen. 7:2 and 8:20 show.

                Now, “everything . . . that moves” would include man himself! If the “everything” is to be taken too literally, would that allow cannibalism among men then?

                Green plants. God gave man all green plants to eat, but that is also limited to those non-poisonous ones. How about someone taking this order in absolute terms to eat “wild vine”? That would be a deadly attitude (see 2 Kings 4:39, 40). So, man had also to discriminate between healthy and unhealthy food in the fields. . .

                Meet that has its lifeblood. This prohibition is an interesting counterpoint to the previous order. Now, the “eat-it-all” adherents understand that God changed His mind regarding discriminating what to eat and not to eat (now liberating everything for man’s consumption after having referred to the distinction of clean and unclean animals to Noah, later on reversing the order to set discriminatory rules on that again to Moses—a rather voluble God that doesn’t seem to fit the Bible picture of a God that “doesn’t change”. . .).

                Among other things, this prohibition was a safeguard against cruelty towards animals and a reminder of the sacrifice of animals (and always clean ones), in which the blood, as life bearer, was considered sacred. Due to certain attachments to blood as a religious item in heathenism, besides other reasons not made clear (probably the fact that part of the blood itself is ‘unclean’, carrying bad toxins—before being oxygenated by the lungs), it was irrevocably prohibited to eat meat with blood. The apostles considered this prohibition still in force in the Christian age, as seen in the decision of what to recommend to the gentile Christians as things to abstain from (Acts 15: 20, 29). [Adapted from the SDA Bible Commentary, in Spanish].

                And a final consideration: Moses didn’t write in a diary journal type, reporting the events came to pass. He wrote on the scrolls at one time, and all was transmitted to the people jointly.

                The specialists consider 1,450 BC as date to the Pentateuch writings, thus the people heard the reports all together and connected the narrated facts of ancient times with the divine instructions to them, which were consistent with the previous instructions. Besides, if the clean animals were taken sevenfold to the ark, in comparison to the unclean ones, and that was just because of serving to sacrifice, the fact is that we don’t see so many sacrifices to justify that much higher number of clean animals. It shows that they were supposed to be used for food, thus being intensely used and having to count with greater numbers for the supply not to become too scarce, in contrast to the animals that were not supposed to be eaten and that could multiply freely in the wild, since they were not supposed to be killed by man for food.

                Well, since the Gen. 9:3 difficulty was resolved, how about our objecting friends to resolve these 10 below?

                1 – Why did God classify the animals as clean and unclean as early as in the Flood episode (Gen. 7:2)? Did He simply decide arbitrarily that certain types of animals should be shunned by His people, with no logical and practical reason for that?

                2 – If said division aimed at sacrifices, why did God sent to the ark seven times more clean animals than unclean ones, when nothing indicates that the number of sacrifices were so frequent and so numerous?

                3 – Why did God only accept clean animals for sacrifice? [A tip: See 1 Cor. 9:13].

                4 – Being a divine principle that we should glorify God with what we eat or drink (1 Cor. 10:31), how could unclean meats—that would be excluded from the sacrifices (since they certainly were not fit for that purpose)—serve to glorify God soon after the Flood?

                5 – Why were the restrictions regarding the consumption of blood instituted when God authorized the consumption of meat (Gen. 9:4, 5)? Shouldn’t full freedom prevail for man to eat whatever he wanted?

                6 – How can it be proven that the order to eat “everything . . . that moves” included the unclean animals, since Noah had been notified of the division of clean and unclean animals (Gen. 7:2, 3), and even the manner as the text is written gives the clear impression that such division wasn't something new to the patriarch?

                7 – How do you prove that the supposed order for man to eat “everything . . . that moves” included unclean animals, since later on the same author of Genesis, Moses, explains in Exo. 22:31 the meaning of such order, as being prohibited to eat meat that have been “torn by wild beasts” in Exo. 22:31, i.e., they should eat only animals that were alive, not those found dead?

                8 – What was the advantage for humanity for God to allow men to feed freely from all kinds of animals, such as rats, raven, cobras and lizards, since today it is known that the consumption of some of them, as in the case of Africans, bring terrible diseases, such as AIDS, ebola fever and the bubonic plague, transmitted by rats, which caused the death of millions of people in Europe during the Middle Ages?

                9 – Even though the divine permission for Noah to feed on animals is contrasted with the previous order for man to feed on plants (Gen. 1:29), where is it said that as God spoke of “green plants” allowed for man’s consumption (Gen. 9:3), that excluded those that are poisonous for the human being?

                10 – How would Moses explain himself to the people of Israel, as they heard the reading of his Genesis text, being also aware that the animals found dead were not to be eaten? Wouldn’t they see the contradiction of this rule with Genesis 9:3, if they understood that God allowed Noah to eat “everything . . . that moves”? Wouldn’t they think that God was somewhat voluble, for He treats with Noah on clean and unclean animals, including what regards to worship to Him (sacrifices only with clean animals), then gives orders to ignore that classification, especially when the collection of books with instructions to Israel was gathered in just one time (specialists attribute it to 1.450 BC)?
                Last edited by Azenilto Brito; 11-Mar-2017, 08:12 PM.

                Comentario


                • #23
                  Mr. Ratzlaff’s Disappointing Assessment of “THE LAW WRITTEN ON THE HEART” Theme
                  .
                  1st Part: More Harmony Than One Could Expect
                  .
                  In the July/August edition of the Proclamation! Magazine, the main feature is the subject THE LAW WRITTEN ON THE HEART, by Mr. Ratzlaff. He starts his article with some good questions:
                  .
                  * Who is to be included in the new covenant? Is the new covenant only for the “house of Israel” and the “house of Judah”? Is this promise also for the Gentiles who accept Christ?
                  * To what do “mind” and “heart” refer?
                  * What exactly is the “law” that will be written on the minds and hearts of the people included in the new covenant?
                  * Does the law written on the heart of the new covenant Christians differ from the law that was written on stone? If so, in what way is it different?
                  * How does the law written on the heart relate to the “natural law” that is written on the heart of everyone, including those who are unbelievers and are “without law”?
                  * Under the arrangement of the new covenant, how is the new covenant Christian to use and apply the letter of the old covenant law?
                  * How are we to understand that there will be no need to teach a brother to “know the Lord”?
                  * Last, and probably most important for the readers of Proclamation! Does the law written on the heart include the keeping of the Sabbath? If so, what Sabbath law applies to the new covenant Christian? How is one to demonstrate the he is keeping the Sabbath, if indeed the Sabbath is included in the law written on the heart?
                  .
                  We have no problem in understanding that the New Covenant was not limited to the “house of Israel” and the “house of Judah”. God promised a new heart to Israel and to write His laws in their hearts and minds, which is reiterated to the “expanded Israel”—those who are the seed of Abraham by faith. To see that just compare Ezekiel 36:26, 27; Jeremiah 31:31-33; Hebrews 8:6-10 and 10:16.

                  This is certainly better than some I have met who insisted that Hebrews 8:6-10 refers to the literal Israelites, a view held by those who subscribe to the interpretation of a Israel-centered eschatology, involving secret rapture, Jewish Antichrist, Temple reconstruction, etc.

                  So, we have no objection to his statement highlighted at the top of the article, “Paul never grounds the inclusion of the Gentiles into the new covenant promise by their obedience to any of the laws of Sinai. Rather, he always grounds the incorporation of the Gentiles into the gospel by way of the faith of Abraham”.

                  It is a strange theology the one that gives the impression that God established His old covenant expecting the people of Israel to have their obedience based on their own power. God’s intent in both old and new covenants was that His people could say, as David expressed: “I delight to do Thy will, o my God: yea, thy law in within my heart” (Psa. 40:8)?

                  The SDA Bible Commentary explains very appropriately the matter and I don’t see where Mr. Ratzlaff could find fault in its exposition of the question, which is basically in harmony with what he says throughout his article:

                  31.
                  New covenant

                  The Israelites had not fulfilled the divine requirement because they had attempted to be just through their own useless efforts. The Lord knows this inherent human tendency, and promised them a “new covenant”, and through this means man is able to be holy by faith in the Redeemer and Sanctifier (Gal. 3; Heb. 8: 8-10; see com. Eze. 16-60). God wished that the repatriated experienced with all their hearts and soul the reality of the new covenant. But the nation failed in reaching this ideal. . . .

                  33.
                  I will write on their hearts

                  God’s law was not to be just an external norm of justice: it was supposed to be the determining tool that would guide and rule human conduct (see Rom. 8: 1-4; 2 Cor. 3: 3-6).

                  34.
                  they shall not teach every man

                  The failure of God’s servants, which in large measure didn’t transmit to the people the true knowledge of the Most High, due to the imperfect fulfillment of the rites and ceremonies of the old covenant, would be corrected through an intimate knowledge and the communication that the believers would enjoy with their Lord through faith, which the new covenant would provide them (John 6: 45-46; 1 Cor. 2: 6-16; Col. 1: 27-28). -- (Translated back into English from the Spanish edition).
                  So, what is wrong in this commentary? It corresponds to Mr. Ratzlaff’s development of the subject throughout his article. I see no difference between both his ideas and the SDABC's text.

                  Later on he discusses Romans 2, where Paul dedicates some space to speak about the situation before God of “those who followed this natural revelation with a clear conscience”, followed by a brief discussion on the “natural law”, commenting: “we can say that natural law exists, should be followed, and when followed will point a person in the direction of God. All societies and cultures have an innate understanding of right and wrong”.

                  Yes, that is exactly what we believe, and the SDA Bible Commentary, again, says nothing contrary to that. If he has access to that wonderful collection I would urge him to check it there. He could be surprised to see in how many points the contents of this collection of scholarly commentary of the Bible is in agreement, not conflict, with what he advocates in many points of this subject and others.

                  He then engages in a discussion about the “difference” of the law in the old and new covenants, highlighting the famous commentaries of Jesus in Matt. 5:21ff—“ye have heard that it was said by them of old time. . . But I say unto you. . .”

                  He refers additionally to the “golden rule” of the love motive in regard to the neighbor, but errs in implying that to be a sort of “new” law that Jesus came to establish, replacing the old principles taught by Moses.

                  Well, since we already commented on that in previous of our studies regarding the Ratzlaff challenge, let’s briefly point out some few items that must be better understood on this question:

                  A – Jesus has no intention to establish any new and revolutionary law with new precepts, as some imply. He is simply showing that His hearers, due to the bad religious teachers of their time, had lost sight of the most profound, ethical and spiritual meaning of the law.

                  For some who insist in this theory of the “revolutionary” new “law of Christ”, with different precepts that make it a different rule of conduct to the “new alliance” Christians, I like to remember the episode in which Jesus addresses the Pharisees regarding their tithing habits (Matt. 23:23). They were so concerned with the technicalities of it, duly dividing the “mint, anise and cumin”, that missed the most important in the tithe law: “judgment, mercy and faith”. Now, I ask: Was Jesus adding these three things to the law of tithing at that exact moment, or were they there all the time, but not perceived by those religious leaders?

                  Let’s remember that looking at a woman with impure intentions was already mentioned by the patriarch Job as something he wouldn’t practice (Job 31:1). And to hate a neighbor was always wrong (Lev. 19:17). So, Jesus was not creating new rules and principles at that point, but showing features of the law that had been overlooked by His contemporaries. That is why He emphasized (after clarifying that He had not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it): “For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20).

                  .
                  [To be completed in the next frame]
                  Last edited by Azenilto Brito; 11-Mar-2017, 08:15 PM.

                  Comentario


                  • #24

                    [Conclusion of the previous frame]

                    B - Oh, but how about the clear language of “new commandment”? Doesn’t Mr. Ratzlaff remember that this “new” was not so new, after all? Yes, because when Jesus uttered the famous “golden rule”, He was just repeating what Moses had already said! Just compare Matthew 22:36-40 with Deut. 6:5 and Levt. 19:18. Exactly the same words! So, how could these commandments be “new”?

                    Now, how come this is called a “new” commandment? Well, there are two different words in Greek for new: neos and kainos. The first is many times applied to things that are totally new, of a different substance, like the new wineskins that replaced entirely the old ones. On the other hand, the second applies to such things as “new creature” and “new heavens and new earth”, which refer to the same basic substance that undergoes a complete renewal.

                    So, they are “new”(kainos) commandments because the old law acquires a new meaning within the gospel message, things that had been lost sight of, not because the law was defective, but because of the people’s rebellion and spiritual blindness. That was the real cause of a new covenant being made necessary: “For if the first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith: Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah” (Heb. 8:7, 8).

                    C - But it is the same law, because God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and the ethics of His kingdom didn’t change. After all, the promise of the new covenant is that He would write what is called “My laws”, not “My new, different laws”, on the hearts and the minds of those who accept His new covenant [New Testament]. Now, that is something that prompted the question that I expected being resolved by Mr. Ratzlaff and someone in his staff, and never was. Even in this article he had an opportunity to do so, as the question in blue was presented to him [see page 2, 2nd and 5th frames].

                    There was also the equation to be resolved, and was not so far:
                    .
                    NEW COVENANT = NEW LAW
                    .
                    Mr. Ratzlaff emphasizes correctly, with our total agreement, that “the law is not the focus of the new covenant”. Then he quotes some few Bible texts, which don’t contradict absolutely our position: Gal. 3:10, 11, 14, 17-22. And that we can prove easily just by quoting the SDA confessional official document, the “28 Beliefs. . .”, item 10:
                    .
                    10. The Experience of Salvation:
                    .
                    In infinite love and mercy God made Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Him we might be made the righteousness of God. Led by the Holy Spirit we sense our need, acknowledge our sinfulness, repent of our transgressions, and exercise faith in Jesus as Lord and Christ, as Substitute and Example. This faith which receives salvation comes through the divine power of the Word and is the gift of God’s grace. Through Christ we are justified, adopted as God’s sons and daughters, and delivered from the lordship of sin. Through the Spirit we are born again and sanctified; the Spirit renews our minds, writes God’s law of love in our hearts, and we are given the power to live a holy life. Abiding in Him we become partakers of the divine nature and have the assurance of salvation now and in the judgment. (2 Cor. 5:17-21; John 3:16; Gal. 1:4; 4:4-7; Titus 3:3-7; John 16:8; Gal. 3:13, 14; 1 Peter 2:21, 22; Rom. 10:17; Luke 17:5; Mark 9:23, 24; Eph. 2:5-10; Rom. 3:21-26; Col. 1:13, 14; Rom. 8:14-17; Gal. 3:26; John 3:3-8; 1 Peter 1:23; Rom. 12:2; Heb. 8:7-12; Eze. 36:25-27; 2 Peter 1:3, 4; Rom. 8:1-4; 5:6-10.)
                    .
                    Doesn’t the statement—“Through the Spirit we are born again and sanctified; the Spirit renews our minds, writes God’s law of love in our hearts, and we are given the power to live a holy life”—correspond perfectly to what Mr. Ratzlaff preaches, regarding the character of that law that is written by God in our hearts? Isn’t the “law of God” the “law of love”, the same that is called “My laws” in Heb. 8:6-10?

                    Then he quotes 2a. Cor. 3:6-13, which is indeed a text that backfires on those who attempt to use it to prove anything that implies a “new law” for the “new covenant” Christian, which will be the subject of our next study. At this point I only would reproduce a very interesting clause he has in his article: “Paul makes it very clear that of the one who has sin in his life (and that is all of us) the letter of the law (old covenant law) works for death”. In this context he quotes Rom. 7:5, 6.

                    I already mentioned how Luther, the great champion of the righteousness by faith message, interprets Roman 6 and the meaning of the so much misunderstood phrase, “to be under the law”. Now, let’s see how Luther interprets the other often misunderstood phrase “delivered from the law”, based on the image of the death of the woman’s husband, which sets her free to marry another man. Again I quote from Luther’s classic work, “Preface to the Epistle of Paul to the Romans”:
                    .
                    Chapter 7 — Dead for the law and the conflict within the believer
                    .
                    In the seventh chapter, Paul confirms the previous through a comparison with the marital life: When a husband dies, the wife is unimpeded and one is separated and free from the other. Not that the woman couldn’t or shouldn’t take another man. She is apt to take another one, which she couldn’t previously do for not being freed from the first. In the same way, also our conscience under the law is attached to the old sinful man; but as he is dead by the Spirit, the conscience is free, and one is unencumbered from the other; not that the conscience could do nothing; but rather so that now it can be linked so much more to Christ, the new man, and produce fruits for life.
                    .
                    One can see that Mr. Ratzlaff’s interpretation of this Pauline picture is out of step with what Luther says. The article says at a certain point: “Now, in Christ we are released from the law in that the law can only condemn to death once. Once the law has carried out its execution, it no longer has jurisdiction over us!”

                    In saying that the law has no longer any jurisdiction over us he forgets that this applies to the law that condemns whoever is a sinner, a non-converted person, the who is “married” to the “old man”. But those who legitimately accept Jesus as Savior, have to accept Him also as Lord. And He said to them: “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Of course Christ’s commandments are the same as His Father’s, for He said: “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).

                    Besides, since Mr. Ratzlaff speaks of sinner and sin, let’s remember what is the Bible’s definition of sin: “Sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). What law is that? It can only be that law that Paul honored with his mind, and considered holy, just, good, spiritual, and has the precept, “ye shall not covet” (see Rom. 7: 12, 14, 22, 25, acd. vs. 7 and 8). After all, the prophecy regarding the Messiah was that He would save His people FROM their sins, not WITH their sins (Matt. 1:21).
                    Last edited by Azenilto Brito; 11-Mar-2017, 08:17 PM.

                    Comentario


                    • #25
                      2nd Part – The Disappointing Lack of Detailing the Bottom Line Issue
                      .
                      Since Ratzlaff himself stressed among his introductory remarks the idea—“Last, and probably most important for the readers of Proclamation!, Does the law written on the heart include the keeping of the Sabbath? If so, what Sabbath law applies to the new covenant Christian? How is one to demonstrate the he is keeping the Sabbath, if indeed the Sabbath is included in the law written on the heart?”—it turns out very disappointing that he doesn’t elaborate on that. The Sabbath being applicable to “new covenant” Christians or not is virtually absent from his long exposition, while admitting to be the most necessary issue to be discussed!
                      .
                      After all things considered of what he discussed, is the Sabbath commandment included in the law written on the heart or not?
                      .
                      He didn’t answer objectively this question. He just alleged that the Sabbath commandment is never repeated by Paul or any other New Testament writers. Well, if every one of God’s moral laws and requirements had to be validated for the Christian by its reference in the New Testament, than the Spiritists have a good point when they allege that the law against contacting the deceased ones belonged only to the Old Testament Era since it is not repeated anywhere in the New Testament (Deut. 18:9-12; Isa. 8:19, 20).
                      .
                      And there is no clear, ipsis literis repetition of the precept against speaking God’s name in vain. Nor even any clear reference to not manufacturing sculpted images and use them as an auxiliary for devotion. In the New Testament there are only indirect references to that, for the mention to principles against idolatry is just limited to “idols”, which have to do with statues of pagan divinities, not the Church’s saints. So, the Roman Catholics have a good point about that too, to take seriously this kind of “argument of silence”, a very weak tool to either advocate or combat any cause. And it is the only that Mr. Ratzlaff uses in order to “prove” that the Sabbath is not included in the New Covenant.
                      .
                      We have already seen that the promise for the New Covenant is that God writes on the hearts and minds of His children what is called “My laws”. The text of Hebrews 8:8-10 is purely a reproduction of Jer. 31:31-33. So, the logical conclusion is that all those universal principles that were part of the law known by Jeremiah (and Ezekiel) are confirmed as also being among these “My laws” that God writes on the hearts and minds of whoever accepts the terms of this New Covenant [New Testament].
                      .
                      Now, how about all the ceremonies and rites that also belonged to the law at the time of Jeremiah and Ezekiel? In Matt. 27:51 we read about the Temple’s veil that was rented from top to bottom. In due time the Christian community understood that to represent the end of all typological aspects of the Mosaic law. But the Sabbath is not ceremonial, as we have proven in the article that was never refuted point by point, “10 Reasons Why the Sabbath Is Not a Ceremonial Law”, that can be found in the following Internet address:
                      . .
                      In his article Mr. Ratzlaff reminded us of the existing “natural law”. Isn’t the requirement of resting regularly a “natural law”, in a sense? Somebody sent me a CD lecture by a medical doctor and Evangelical pastor, called Dr. Michael Cesar, who even mentions how Hitler had his workers dedicating every day of the week to build his planned arsenal, before Second World War. They would only pause at night, but would carry on their job from Sunday to Sunday. The outcome was not good at all. Production fell, the workers got sick, had nervous breakdowns, and finally Hitler decided to restore the six weekdays labor practices. To work seven days a week non-stop proved totally unnatural.
                      .
                      So, God so lovingly created this weekly pause for man at the creation of the world, for He knew well man’s physical and mental structure, how that would be a blessing to him, and associated this special time to a holy day. If later on men turned it into a holiday, a time for looking for pleasure and material gain, that was never God’s intention for His “Lord’s day”.
                      .
                      What Mr. Ratzlaff & Co. seem to ignore is that as he teaches that the Sabbath is not a commandment of God derived from the Creation of the world, he is not at odds only with the “Adventist tradition”, but against what Baptist, Presbyterian and other Christians have been teaching along the centuries in their confessional documents. The fact that they reapply the commandment to the first day of the week doesn’t reduce the truth that “the Sabbath was made for man”, as Jesus said, thus confirming its moral and universal character.
                      .
                      And, interestingly, both Baptists and Presbyterians say in their respective Confessions of Faith, that the first four commandments deal with man’s responsibility vis-à-vis God, and the last six, the same vis-à-vis his neighbor. So, how could the Sabbath not being part of the New Covenant?
                      .
                      By the way, even now the most representative Evangelical-Protestant leadership in the US is dedicated to promote the 10 Commandments as a necessity for our society to adopt as rule of conduct, and even a campaign to establish the “10 Commandments’ Day” is under way, with its signature collection having already reached over 331,000. This proposed day is the first Sunday of May. Isn’t that very significant? See the following links to check the information:
                      . .
                      Finally, Mr. Ratzlaff proposes some answers to his initial questions, which I don’t see any reason to not accept one by one, as a Seventh-day Adventist. Let’s check one by one, and later see the “Proposal of Consensus” that I have been submitting to Evangelical Christians in general, with mixed reactions:
                      .
                      * The promise of the new covenant with its associated blessing of the law written on the heart applies to all Christians. {Check}
                      * Gentiles, who do not have the written law, nevertheless have some knowledge of God through natural law and often know right from wrong. {Check}
                      * Members of the old covenant community had the letter of the written law, some of which may have been moved to the heart through meditation and memorization. However, the thrust of both Jeremiah and Hebrews is on the contrast between the letter of old covenant law and that written on the heart by the Spirit in the new covenant Christian. {Check}
                      * The law written on the heart is the law of love, and it is the fulfillment of the whole law and is said to be a “new commandment”. {Check}
                      * Now our focus is not on the external letter of old covenant law and ritual. Rather it is the indwelling “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” that fully meets “the requirement of the law”--love, which is the law’s fulfillment. This moves the focus of our attention from “here is a list of things we must do”, to “here is a list of things Christ has done for us”. {Check}
                      .
                      [To be complete in the next frame]
                      Last edited by Azenilto Brito; 11-Mar-2017, 08:20 PM.

                      Comentario


                      • #26
                        [Continued from the previous frame]
                        .
                        Bible Texts That “Backfire”
                        .
                        Some Bible texts used to prove certain opinions often mean exactly the opposite of what is taught using them
                        .
                        * 2 Corinthians 3:3, 7, 8: You show that you are a letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. . . the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. . . . Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?
                        .
                        Since Paul in 2 Corinthians 3:3ff refers to the Ten Commandment as the law “written on stones” as a “ministry of death”, and in another text he shows that the law became “weakened by the sinful nature” (Rom. 8:3), some imagine that he is discarding the Decalogue, to replace it for another set of rules for the Christian community.
                        .
                        But what Paul is really doing is contrasting the ministry of the old covenant with the new covenant. As he applies the qualification of “ministry of death” by mentioning the “tables of stones”, some Bible interpreters mistake his language to mean that the contents of these tables of stones represented a “ministry of death”. Then, we have something very strange—God, who presented Himself to Israel as “longsuffering, merciful, good, forgiving” actually prepared a terrible trap to that people at Sinai: He offered them there a legal code that would result inescapably in death! He reserved the “law of love and grace” only to the New Testament folks! Is that the God Who is no respecter of people?
                        .
                        Going back to the scenery of where God’s law was solemnly proclaimed to the people we can read in Exodus 19:10ff God’s order that Israel purified and even abstained from sexual activity (vs. 15) for an integral dedication to Him in preparation to the utterance of the law. Limits were set around the mount so that not even animals should roam across the area. Finally the Ten Commandments were audibly pronounced before being recorded on the tables of stones. Now, all this preparation, expectation and remarkable solemnity for the deliverance of a . . . “law of death”! That’s incredible! Any one would feel cheated!
                        .
                        Notwithstanding, that is the bottom line of the exegesis that can be read in the writings of certain interpreters of a semi-antinomian orientation, who are unable to realize that “the law of the Lord is perfect and restores the soul” (Psalm 19:7). Truly, David has in mind the entire law (Torah), but that means the inclusion, not the exclusion, of the Decalogue.
                        .
                        Anyway, something went wrong in that agreement, turning its ministry into a death-producing factor. Why? Where was the problem? Was the law of such a tenor—generator of death? Then it couldn’t be “perfect”.
                        .
                        What some people can’t understand is that the problem was not with the law, but with the people who, even before knowing fully what would be proclaimed, precipitously declared regarding the Sinai proclamation: “we will do everything the Lord had said” (Exo. 19:8). But that was a stiff-necked people, so often condemned for their stumbling. Thus, it’s easier to understand: the problem was not in the law, but in the people. That is made very clear in the promise of the New Covenant at Ezekiel’s time—“I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Eze. 36:26).
                        .
                        The ones who had the wrong heart were the people, then the necessity of this people to change their attitude allowing God to perform a serious change—their stony heart removed and replaced by one of flesh.
                        .
                        And the important detail is that as Paul utilizes the “tables of stone/tables of flesh” metaphor it is implied that he intends to include ALL the commandments belonging to the “tables of stone”, as now transferred to the “flesh stones”. Otherwise, the use of the comparison wouldn’t make sense and he would have to employ a different and more appropriate language in vs. 3:3, something like “being manifested as letter of Christ, ministered for us, and written, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not in tables of stone, but in tables of flesh of the heart, i.e., only nine commandments of the tables of stones, excluded that of the Sabbath day. . .” But that was not Paul’s language. Consequently, the Sabbath commandment SHOULD BE INCLUDED on the tables of flesh.
                        .
                        Conclusion: In 2 Corinthians 3 Paul doesn’t say that the law is of death, but the ministry of the old covenant came to be like that. The Pauline illustration of “tables of stone/tables of flesh” deals with the old divine promise to Israel in Ezekiel 36:26, 27 that by the action of the Spirit the stony heart would be removed from them so that a more malleable fleshy heart were granted. On the heart of flesh the complete God’s moral law would be written, as promised in the New Covenant (Heb. 8:6-10).
                        .
                        As Paul employs the “tables of stone/tables of flesh” allegory, which is about the same used by Ezekiel (see 11:19, 20 and 36:26, 27), he certainly wouldn’t think of excluding any part of the “tables of stone”, as Ezekiel wouldn’t either. Otherwise the Apostle would have to explain that the Christian would be a letter written, not in tables of stones, but in tables of flesh, excluding the Sabbath commandment, or something on this line.
                        .
                        Paul’s intention is to show that for the Christians renewed by the Spirit, the terms of the divine moral law leave the cold tables of stone to be recorded on their hearts warmed by God’s grace (see Rom. 8: 3, 4). That makes the semi-antinomian interpretation of 2 Corinthians 3:3ff another interpretative “shot” that backfires.
                        .
                        Last edited by Azenilto Brito; 11-Mar-2017, 08:22 PM.

                        Comentario


                        • #27
                          Stories of FAITH or CONFUSION?
                          .
                          Well, finally I got the last issue of the Proclamation! magazine by regular mail. I wonder whether that was because of my mention that we had probably been removed from the mailing list, for we got it (July/August) in the first week of September, after our articles (which are sent to Mr. Ratzlaff and his staff) commenting on his article on the “law written on the heart”.
                          .
                          Anyway, since we already commented on the key article analyzing the poor articulation of the author, Mr. Dale Ratzlaff, of “The Law Written on the Heart” theme, I add that the emphasis of the remainder of this edition is the same superficial “Jesus sloganeering”, with little variation. The name of Jesus Christ is associated with “freedom”, but if one reads carefully the “fine print”, that “freedom” is simply the well-known and suspicious get-rid-of-the-Sabbath-and-dietary-rules theology. Yes, for the different authors don’t show any preoccupation with any of the other nine commandments of the Decalogue.
                          .
                          The first article presents one of the supposed “Stories of Faith”, or “testimonies” of ex-SDA’s, where former Adventist pastor Jess Dixon says that what was instrumental for him to leave the SDA Church was the Holy Spirit leading him to purchase a copy of Martin Luther’s commentary on Romans. That is funny, for I even quoted a couple of selections of, precisely, Luther’s commentary on Romans regarding two expressions which are so much twisted by these “new covenant” Christians: “to be under the law” and “to be free from the law”. Martin Luther doesn’t absolutely agree with their usual interpretation of these verses, in the sense of a Christian getting rid of the Ten Commandments as a rule of life. On the contrary, he says that the law was not abolished. I wonder how Mr. Dixon missed this point, but I would recommend that he rereads how Luther’s comments Romans chaps. 6 and 7!
                          .
                          Geoffrey Drew, on a different “story of faith”, says at one point: “There is only one reason to leave [which he means the Seventh-day Adventist Church]: Jesus”. The bottom line paragraph of his discourse is:
                          .
                          “The best and most profound reason to leave Adventism is Jesus Christ. The reason any of us should leave the Adventist Church is to run towards Jesus. Everything inside Adventism confounds and confuses our walk with Christ. This statement is not merely and arguments; it is a fact. It was the task of the apostle Paul to the churches of Galatia, Philippi, Colossae, Ephesus, and everywhere in between to lead believers to Jesus and away from the old covenant Judaistic things. Like it or not, the Sabbath and food restrictions belonged to the old covenant and were coming to an end”.
                          .
                          Oh, what a stupid reasoning! Of course the Sabbath and food restrictions belonged to the old covenant, and who is denying that? What this gentleman forgets is that “ye shall not commit adultery”, “ye shall not kill”, “ye shall not take the name of God in vain”, “honor thy father and thy mother” ALSO BELONGED TO THE OLD COVENANT! Are these “Judaistic” things? Why such a clear discrimination against the “inconvenient” commandments of keeping a Sabbath day and following the dietary rules as “Judaistic” rules, but not all the others that belonged to the same law?
                          .
                          We have already discussed all that in previous studies, and again and again that same get-rid-of-the-Sabbath-and-dietary-rules theology springs up in article after article, with one of them (Chris Badenhorst) even speaking about “argument of silence” as something wrong to use, but being exactly what he does throughout his article titled “What are new covenant ethics? Are they in the Ten Commandments?”
                          .
                          He, of course, concludes that the answer is “no, it is not”. As we already know well, with this theory of his he goes against not only what the SDA’s teach, but against what has been the historical, classical, official position of the most representative Creeds, Confessions of Faith and Doctrinal Statements of the Protestant Christendom. So much so that right now we see the 10 Commandments Commission, made up of the most representative Evangelical-Protestant leadership in the US, working hard to have the 10 Commandments promoted as the basis of the American and world ethics!
                          .
                          Mr. Badenhorst pontificates at a certain point:
                          .
                          “To insist on observing the old covenant sign of the Sabbath would be tantamount to a denial of what God offers us in the New Testament Gospel. New covenant believers should come to terms with the fact that the old covenant Sabbath is NOT adequate to celebrate the new eschatological age of the Gospel and the Spirit that came with the new covenant. The old wineskins of the old covenant are not adequate to contain the new wine of the new covenant”.
                          .
                          Well, how about Hebrews 8:6-10, the most important text in the Bible to explain the passage of the old to the new covenant, which just says that God writes what is called “My laws” on the hearts of those who accept it? It doesn’t say “My NEW laws”, not even mentions “the law of Christ”, or “the law of faith”, or “the law of the Spirit”, or “the law of love”, but MY LAWS! Of course God’s laws are the same as the law of Christ, of faith, of the Spirit, of love.
                          .
                          [To be completed in the next frame]
                          Last edited by Azenilto Brito; 11-Mar-2017, 08:24 PM.

                          Comentario


                          • #28
                            .
                            [Conclusion of the previous frame]
                            .
                            Besides, we have stressed how the Adventist beliefs are caricatured by these folks, since we know very well the real meaning of Jesus Christ and the salvation only in Him, as topics, 9, 10 and 18 clearly define that for us. I have to say at this point that I don’t want to be under the skin of those who so dishonestly distort our teachings and sentiments with these strawmen of their fabrication on that day of reckoning (Matt. 12:36, 37)! Maybe the reason for that attitude is that the commandment that says, “ye shall not give false witness against thy neighbor” is also taught as “Judaistic”, or “abolished” by these masters of deceit.
                            .
                            They even quote Eph. 2:15 to give this impression—since it speaks of “law of commandments”. Bingo, that must refer to the 10 Commandments! But, then, contradictorily they come up with the “Christian ethics” theory, which includes NINE of the supposedly totally abolished “law of commandments”! Then they come up with that foolish argument that only nine commandment of the Decalogue are repeated in the New Testament, excluding the one that deals with the Sabbath. Well, that is exactly an “argument of silence”!
                            .
                            There is a false reasoning that a kind of “revalidation” of each one of them occurs, when Paul, John, James refer to any of the commandments, which belonged to the “tables of stones”.
                            .
                            I discussed that in an article entitled “10 Dilemmas of Those Who Deny That the 10 Commandments Are the Christian Rule of Conduct”, which I will put into English (the original is in my native Portuguese), but let’s see now just the 5th dilemma, that reads like this:
                            .
                            The fifth dilemma of those who hold the theory of abolition of the divine Decalogue is their evident contradiction and illogical reasoning about the “restoration of the commandments in the New Testament”.
                            .
                            If all the commandments were abolished on the cross, being later restored in the New Testament (but for the 4th), let’s imagine an incredible situation that would emerge from this: The 5th commandment was discharged along with all the other moral and ceremonial rules when Jesus uttered the “It is finished”. Then, in the next minute, any child of a follower of Christ could kick his leg, insult and disobey freely him, since the 5th commandment was only “restored” when Paul remembered to refer it as he wrote to the Ephesians, and that by the year 58 BC (see Eph. 6:1-3)! And, even worst, the terms of the commandment “ye shall not kill”, was only reiterated by Paul in Romans 13:9, by the year 56 or 58 BC (as well as “ye shall not steal”, “ye shall not commit adultery”,“ye shall not covet. . .”).
                            .
                            In other words, for almost 30 years the children of the Christians did not have to respect their parents, for the 5th commandment is only restored after some three decades, and that only to the Ephesians. Many decades more passed by until reaching the entire Christian community so that all became aware of the necessity of the children to obey and respect their parents! Besides the Christians being allowed to kill one another, etc., during this period “without the law”. . . Does that make any sense?
                            .
                            Through that reasoning we can see the tremendous confusion these people who go against the “Thus saith the Lord” of the Scriptures delve into headlong.
                            .
                            Last edited by Azenilto Brito; 11-Mar-2017, 08:25 PM.

                            Comentario


                            • #29
                              CORRESPONDENCE WITH ANOTHER EX-ADVENTIST WHO SENT US A RECORDED COMPACT DISK:

                              Dear Y. [Name witheld throughout]

                              Greetings

                              Thank you for the Compact Disk you sent us, with the lecture by Dr. Michael Cesar [who is both a medical doctor and an Evangelical pastor]. It shows a positive attitude on your part to share with others what you deem to be important teachings for us who belong to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which, as I understand, you belonged to for a time.

                              By coincidence it arrived on the Sabbath afternoon, when Clelia and I, were enjoying the physical and mental rest granted by the Sabbath commandment, that Dr. Cesar recognizes being so important to our health. I heard it carefully and even enjoyed learning about Hitler’s labor practices when building the Nazi arsenal having people working non-stop seven days a week, and how that didn’t work. Very good! That was one more argument IN FAVOR of the Sabbath commandment. Thank Dr. Cesar for that input for me, please, if you meet him. . .

                              Now, as I did my part in hearing carefully your Compact Disk I hope you also read carefully my assessment of this discussion to the end and, if possible, answer the questions that I address you as are added to my commentaries (the 10 “surprises”), sending them to me afterwards. If you don’t feel like doing it, at least have them as some points to ponder in your examination of this important religious matter.

                              May God bless you richly and guide you in His truth, especially as we see the signs of the soon coming of Christ, with so many things happening that confirm what the SDA Church has been announcing for over 150 years.

                              Best regards

                              Azenilto G. Brito
                              Sola Scriptura Ministry
                              Bessemer, AL


                              10 Surprises for Y. Regarding Dr. Michael Cesar’s Anti-Sabbatarian Compact Disk

                              1st. Surprise: Dr. Michael Cesar doesn’t rightly divide the Word of Truth.

                              At a certain point of his conference Dr. Michael Cesar quotes 2 Tim. 2:15, about rightly dividing the Word of Truth (the Bible), and he even criticizes many Christians, including pastors, who don’t do it as should. Well, your first surprise, Y., is to learn that Dr. Cesar is one of those who don’t divide God’s Word correctly. In the name of Jesus I will demonstrate why I state that.

                              For example, he begins his lecture on the 10 Commandments saying that they don’t apply to the Christian anymore. That is funny as he later on says that NINE out of the TEN are reiterated in the NT. So, is he dividing correctly God’s Word when he denies something completely but later on comes back to salvage 90% of that thing that doesn’t apply to the Christian community? Confusing, isn’t it? Besides, he adds that the 10 Commandments only serve to show that we are sinners! Then what?! Aren’t we really sinners?!

                              Now, dividing correctly the word of truth we find John saying: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 Jo. 1:8).

                              Dr. Cesar should check Calvin’s Institutes to learn the illustration of the mirror. He compares the law with a mirror that shows the stain in our face, but has no power to erase it. Then, the sinner, thus informed of his failures, will look for solution, which is found in Christ. Isn’t that exactly what Paul says in Roman 7:7, 8? “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet”.

                              We are sinners, indeed, and the law points to us our flaws so that we can count on the magnificent promise we find in the next verse of what I quoted from John: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jo. 1:9).

                              * Now, I have a question for Y. (and for Dr. Cesar in case she can reach him): What is the Bible definition of “sin”? (I will even give a hint—read 1 John 3:4).


                              2nd. Surprise: Dr. Michael Cesar is not only anti-Seventh-day Adventist, but anti-Protestant/Evangelical in his approach to the 10 Commandments.

                              That could sound shocking to you, but this man shows he is not a well-informed Evangelical teacher. His notions on the Ten Commandments not applying to the Christians anymore under the New Covenant goes against what Baptists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Methodists, Anglicans and even Lutherans FOR CENTURIES established as Bible truth in their historical Confessions of Faith and instructional material by great men in their milieu. Just check what the Westminster Confession of Faith, or the Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689, or the 39 Articles of Religion of the Church of England say about the role of these 10 Commandments and you will see how this gentleman is contradicting what the Protestant/Evangelical community has been teaching regarding that matter along the times. Or else, read what Luther, Calvin, Wesley taught on the importance of abiding faithfully to this rule of Christian conduct as they considered being the Decalogue, and you will see the discrepancy between Mr. Cesar’s teachings and theirs.

                              * Now, I have a question for Y. (and for Dr. Cesar in case she can reach him): Have you ever read what Martin Luther says in his document “Against the Antinomians”, protesting their implying that he taught the abolition of the 10 Commandments, which he says he even memorized one by one, as a child would do?


                              3rd. Surprise: Dr. Michael Cesar is tremendously contradictory in many points.

                              He quotes Matt. 22:35-40, about Jesus’ answering the question of the Jewish leader regarding what is the greatest commandment in the law. Correctly dividing the word of truth he says that the first 4 commandments apply to our relationship with God, and the last 6, to our relationship with our neighbors. That is correct, and in harmony with what both the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 explain.

                              Now, since he tries to discard the Sabbath from these TEN Commandments, leaving it just with NINE as applicable to the Christian community how come he stresses the FOUR “spiritual” ones, when one of them was abolished, being just a shadow of the rest of salvation in Christ? And that after his recognition of the importance of the physical and mental rest that this commandment grants the believer. Very much confusing, indeed. . .

                              * Now, I have a question for Y. (and for Dr. Cesar in case she can reach him): why did the scribe, who clearly wanted to trap Jesus in a question that would cause Him to contradict Israel’s traditions, end up complimenting the Master’s answer, instead of finding fault in it (see Mar. 12:28-34)?


                              4th. Surprise: Dr. Michael Cesar confuses the question of the “sign” of God regarding the Sabbath.

                              He confuses the matter of the “sign” between God and His people established through the Sabbath commandment as he stresses insistently that it was set JUST between God and the Israelites. Now, he never mentions a text that destroys this argument of his, which is Isa. 56:2-7. What we read there is that God calls the FOREIGNERS to accept His covenant with Israel within His ideal expressed in vs. 7: “Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people”. Thus, the Sabbath was not limited to Israel, but to all who believed from all nations since immemorial times. . ..

                              [To be continued in the next thread]

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                              • #30
                                [Continued from previous thread]

                                The problem is that Dr. Cesar, as many other Christians who don’t divide rightly the Word of Truth, has a very diminutive conception of God’s plan to Israel and the world. He ignores that God chose Israel to be “My witnesses”, as He says in Isa. 43:9, 10, the “light of the nations” (Isa. 60). Israel was placed in the crossroads of three continents to be a showcase nation, so that foreign travelers were influenced by that nation that would point to them the true God, His law and His plan of salvation. That is a “macro” view of God that those who just have a “micro” understanding of His plans to Israel and the world cannot comprehend.

                                Israel failed miserably in fulfilling that ideal, but that doesn’t annul God’s plan that now is transferred to the “expanded Israel” of the New Covenant, encompassing both Jews and Gentiles (Gal. 3:7-9, 29). How regrettable that so many students of the Bible are unable to rightly divide the Word of Truth at that point, which leads them to confuse the importance of this “sign” between God and His people, potentially from all the world.

                                Maybe it could represent an additional surprise to Y. that the Baptists, of the main Brazilian Baptist Convention, in its “Doctrinal Statement”, brings the text of Exo. 31:14-18 as footnote to their Bible backing of the topic “The Christian Sabbath”. Although they apply it to Sunday (in which they are wrong), it makes much sense, because atheists, materialists and lax Christians won’t have any disposition to dedicate regularly a whole day to the Lord. Thus, the Sabbath is observed as a “sign” of true Christians dedicated to honor their God.

                                * Now, I have a question for Y. (and for Dr. Cesar in case she can reach him): why did God set the Sabbath as a sign with Israel, not with the Egyptians, nor Babylonians, nor Philistines, nor Syrians . . .


                                5th. Surprise: Dr. Cesar Utilizes the Poor “Argument of Silence” Which Doesn’t Prove Anything.

                                People who are not only good at rightly dividing the Word of Truth, but also at Apologetics know that resorting to these “arguments of silence” is a poor tool to demonstrate whatsoever. To prove a certain point based on the absence of certain statement is a two-edged sword, because if the Bible, for example, doesn’t say that Adam kept the Sabbath, it also doesn’t say that Adam DID NOT keep it!

                                Thus, we have a tie there, don’t we? But, let’s go to a tiebreak: the Bible says that God did three things regarding the Sabbath: He rested on the seventh day (leaving an example to His human creatures, as Calvin states), He blessed the seventh day and He sanctified (separated) the seventh day. As God is fully holy He didn’t have to sanctify anything to Himself, thus if He did it, that was for man. And Jesus confirmed it, as we will see in our next point.

                                Now, did Abraham, Isaac, Jacob keep the Sabbath? The Bible doesn’t say they did. But did Abraham, Isaac and Jacob worship idols? The Bible doesn’t say they did or that they DIDN’T! However we read in Genesis 26:5: “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charges, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws”. Now, does this statement mean these charges, commandments, statutes and laws encompassed principles not to lie, not to covet other man’s wives, not to take God’s name in vain, not to worship idols, but EXCLUDED the principle of dedicating one day to God? How that can be proven?

                                And an extra surprise is that Christian leaders have often referred to the Sabbath as a principle respected since Adam, in many instructional books, in what they are in harmony with such Christian confessional documents as the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 and other later similar documents. Calvin, Luther and Wesley (see “A Word to a Sabbath-breaker”, in Works, Vol. 11, pp. 164-166) confirm that the Sabbath comes from Eden, thus being a moral and universal principle.

                                * Now, I have a question for Y. (and for Dr. Cesar in case she can reach him): can you prove to me that Adam, who had the occupation of a gardener in Eden (Gen. 2:15), worked all seven days of the week, just stopping to rest at night, as the Germans under Hitler?


                                6th. Surprise: Dr. Cesar in his discussion on the Sabbath suspiciously skips certain key-texts.

                                We’ve already seen that when he skipped Isa. 56:2-7 trying to prove that the Sabbath laws applied only to the nation of Israel, and again that happens when he quotes Mark 2:28, “The Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath”. Well, he skipped the previous verse that says: “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath”.

                                Now, it seems strange the way he both recognizes the spiritual character of the first four commandments and the importance of physical and mental rest for everyone, but then tries to convince us that the Sabbath is worth nothing to the Christian. What a confusing rationale is there in this exposition?!

                                See that the text he missed doesn’t say “the Jewish man”, as the second part of Mar. 2:27 makes clear. Thus, to be consistent with the reasoning of some, Jesus should have said, “The Sabbath was made for the Jewish man, not the Jewish man for the Sabbath”. That cannot be, because God created “man”. The fact that later on he became Jew, Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek, American, Brazilian is due to very different circumstances. Besides, the original word for “man” in Mar. 2:27 is anthropós, the same that is used in the commentary of Christ about the man-anthropós who leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife (Mat. 19:5, 6). And is marriage, by any chance, something only for Jews?

                                * Now, I have a question for Y. (and for Dr. Cesar in case she can reach him): can you prove to me that Jesus excluded the Sabbath commandment when he recommended to His followers, “Whosoever, therefore, shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so [of the law he said He had not come to abolish, but to fulfill], he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:19)?


                                7th. Surprise: Dr. Cesar misses the reiteration of the Sabbath in the New Testament and allows the practice of communication with the dead!

                                He says repeatedly that the Sabbath is the only of the Ten Commandments that is not reiterated in the New Testament. Now, is it necessary that God’s commands be fully and literally repeated in the New Testament so that they become valid for the Christians? Well, if that is so, then we have some serious problems to face.

                                Besides the weakness of, again, this type of “argument of silence”, Dr. Cesar forgets that to follow his tortuous reasoning allows the Spiritists to justify biblically their practice of communicating with the dead! Yes, for they often actually employ this exact argument of not being repeated in the New Testament the law “only for Israel” prohibiting that, as in Deu. 18:9-11 and Isa. 8:19, 20! Where does the New Testament reiterate the order to not have this kind of communication with those who departed from us?

                                And how about manufacturing sculpted images? The New Testament just mentions “idols”, basically applicable to pagan deities, which wouldn’t apply to the saints, or to Mary or even to the Incarnate Jesus. In the New Testament there is no ipsis verbis repetition of the second commandment. Not even of the third one, “ye shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain”, in a direct way. There are only indirect references to that commandment.

                                Besides, how about the tithe principle? Where is it found in the New Testament any direct, objective, specific command for the Christians to adopt it? However, many churches and pastors wouldn’t do without it, even when they contradictorily allege that the Sabbath belongs to the old covenant, as it is not directly required in the New Testament! Speak of inconsistency!

                                Now, the surprising fact to Y. et al is that the Sabbath is reiterated in the New Testament indeed. Let’s see how that can be proven: Besides what we have already covered regarding Christ’s statement that “the Sabbath was made for man”, confirming its Edenic origin and universal character, He recommended to His disciples and “to the multitudes”: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works. For they say and do not” (Matt. 23:1-3).

                                Now, one of the things they said was that they should keep the Sabbath faithfully (see Luke 13:14). Thus, Jesus is reiterating ALL that their religious leaders taught, which was in accordance to the commandments that He said He didn’t come to abolish, but to fulfill, and that they should obey plainly in their least aspects (Matt. 5:17-19).

                                [To be concluded in the next thread]
                                Last edited by Azenilto Brito; 10-Nov-2007, 11:50 PM.

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