2

This attitude is carried over against the members and causes discontent. There is a thin veneer of democratic processes but the reality is that the ministry is an Autocracy. This has been recently manifested in controversy over camp food. The people no longer wish to have un-healthful stodge imposed upon them, yet their wishes are disregarded and they are bullied and cajoled by you into accepting the status quo, even though it causes them considerable unhappiness.

 

Salvation is of The Jews

 

The Ethiopian Eunuch of Acts 26:40 was counted worthy of baptism by faith. Upon asking Philip what hindered him from baptism he was told `If thou dost believe out of all the heart, it is lawful;' to which the eunuch affirmed `I believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God;'

 

This was the only condition placed upon the eunuch (genuine belief), and upon affirmation he was immediately baptized.

I have discussed this with you in relationship to my own case. You have expressed to me your opinion regarding this matter. Your view is that the eunuch was a Jew, and therefore versed in Jewish culture which according to you is an essential prerequisite   to baptism; therefore he had merely to confess Christ and was ready. The same went for the thousands baptized by the apostles Acts2:41, that they were all Jews so they were ‘advanced in the message’.

 

It is evident that the Ethiopian was following Judaism as he was returning from Jerusalem where he had been worshiping Acts8:27. However it is not clear how that came to be, whether he was a born Jew or a proselyte isn’t given for us to know. Either way no advancement in righteousness was afforded him by Christ, rather the exact opposite.

 

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. Matthew 23:15

 

Ethiopia was a heathen nation, regardless of whether Judaism had a foothold there or not, and that at that time the acceptance of Christ, not Judaism, was what delineated between a heathen nation and a nation justified by God.

 

In this instance we have an illustration of the care of God for his children. He called Philip from his successful ministry in Samaria, to cross the desert and go to Gaza to labour for a single inquiring soul. The promptness with which the eunuch accepted the gospel and acted upon its belief should be a lesson to us. God designs that we should be prompt in accepting and confessing Christ, prompt in obeying him, and in answering the call of duty. The eunuch was a man of good repute, and occupied a high and responsible position. Through his conversion the gospel was carried to Ethiopia and many there accepted Christ, and came out from the darkness of heathenism into the clear light of Christianity.  {3SP 305.1} 

 

Saul of Tarsus was a man well versed in Judaism, according to your view this accounts for his immediate baptism upon conversion, even though he was a persecutor of the Church his Jewish righteousness got him over the line? What did he say about his Jewish heritage?

 

Philippians 3:5-9

5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;

6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

8 Yea doubtless and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

 

 

 

Galatians 5

5 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.

3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?

8 This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.

9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

10 I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.

 

John, you then carry this dogma forward and apply it to Matthew 28:19, Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: and give the text the meaning of ‘go teach all nations the ways of the Jews then baptize them’, rather than the implied meaning of ‘teaching the Gospel’. This the judaizers who came among the Galatians did, and of whom Paul spoke out against it in the strongest terms.

 

I reject this perversion of the scripture

 

 

The Minutiae

 

GOD gave tithing as a means to bless his children, by obedience in a small thing; God was justified in blessing his people tenfold proverbs3:10. God doesn’t need money, or grain, or sheep, or turtle doves, or flour. The reward was by faith not by deed.

 

The Pharisees took hold of the tithing system and twisted it to their own ends. Spiritual pride caused them to want to go a step further than their neighbour. They had no concept of being accounted righteous by faith; they believed that they WERE righteous in the fulfilment of the deeds in which they had been commanded. They saw that if they stretched and extended the law to the nth degree, that they would be afforded more righteousness and would have superiority over their neighbours who weren’t as ‘advanced’. It was thus God’s blessing became a curse to the people, a legal minefield that was painful and perilous to negotiate, that set neighbour against neighbour in a spirit of criticism and judgmentalism, setting their minds far from God and his tenderness toward them.

 

"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone." In these words Christ again condemns the abuse of sacred obligation. The obligation itself He does not set aside. The tithing system was ordained by God, and it had been observed from the earliest times. Abraham, the father of the faithful, paid tithes of all that he possessed. The Jewish rulers recognized the obligation of tithing, and this was right; but they did not leave the people to carry out their own convictions of duty. Arbitrary rules were laid down for every case. The requirements had become so complicated that it was impossible for them to be fulfilled. None knew when their obligations were met. As God gave it, the system was just and reasonable; but the priests and rabbis had made it a wearisome burden.  {DA 616.3} 

    

 

All that God commands is of consequence. Christ recognized the payment of tithes as a duty; but He showed that this could not excuse the neglect of other duties. The Pharisees were very exact in tithing garden herbs, such as mint, anise, and rue; this cost them little, and it gave them a reputation for exactness and sanctity. At the same time their useless restrictions oppressed the people and destroyed respect for the sacred system of God's own appointing. They occupied men's minds with trifling distinctions, and turned their attention from essential truths. The weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy, and truth, were neglected. "These," Christ said, "ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone."  {DA 617.1} 

 

 

Other laws had been perverted by the rabbis in like manner. In the directions given through Moses it was forbidden to eat any unclean thing. The use of swine's flesh, and the flesh of certain other animals, was prohibited, as likely to fill the blood with impurities, and to shorten life. But the Pharisees did not leave these restrictions as God had given them. They went to unwarranted extremes. Among other things the people were required to strain all the water used, lest it should contain the smallest insect, which might be classed with the unclean animals. Jesus, contrasting these trivial exactions with the magnitude of their actual sins, said to the Pharisees, "Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel."  {DA 617.2} 

 

 

"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith; these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone." According to the requirements of God the tithing system was obligatory upon the Jews. But the priests did not leave the people to carry out their convictions of duty in giving to the Lord One-tenth of all the increase of the marketable products of the land. They carried the requirements of the tithing system to extremes, making them embrace such trifling things as anise, mint and other small herbs which were cultivated to a limited extent. This caused the tithing plan to be attended with such care and perplexity that it was a wearisome burden. While they were so exact in things which God had never required of them, and were confusing their judgment and lessening the dignity of the divine system of benevolence by their narrow views, they were making clean the outside of the platter while the inside was corrupt. Exact in matters of little consequence, Jesus accuses them of having "omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith." No outward service, even in that which is required by God, can be a substitute for an obedient life. The Creator desires heart service of his creatures.  {3SP 63.1} 

 

 

The Israelites placed their own mould and superscription upon the truths entrusted to them. Their minds were quickened into activity by selfish ambition. Inspiring them with a power from beneath, Satan infused their minds with subtle sentiments derogatory to God's character. He invented theories by which he ensnared the minds of all classes. Gradually the law of God was lost sight of, the minutiae of formalism taking its place. The Jewish religion became a religion of rites and ceremonies. The religious leaders, laying great stress on their own opinions, and teaching for doctrine the commandments of men, filled the minds of the people with theories and doctrines that were contrary to the law of God.  {ST, May 7, 1902 par. 5}

 

 

 

This spirit of clothing oneself in righteousness by extending the law to the ‘minutiae’ didn’t stop at tithing and diet; it was extended to Sabbath keeping too. So much so that the Pharisees saw that the messiah had broken the Sabbath according to their man made precepts (Matthew 12:10; Mark 3:2, John 9:14–16).Jesus died without sin, so therefore the ‘standards’ of the Pharisees were proved to be over and above that of the author of the Law.

 

The Pharisees expected on the Messiahs coming a commendation and Earthly glory, but they were so spiritually blind, so focused on their man made religion of self-exaltation, that they failed to recognize the Messiah when he was in their midst. This was because their messiah was of their own invention. They did not recognize from the scriptures their own unworthiness, they were puffed up in their adherence to the ‘minutiae’ of the Law, and they had no need of a saviour.

 

Like ripples on a pond history repeats. The experience of Seventh Day Adventism is shown in the foreshadow of Judaism. To glory in the ‘minutiae ‘of the law surely cannot bear a different fruit than that of the Pharisees.

 

There are people in the Eastern Church who say that ‘They have higher standards than those in the West’. There is nothing new under the sun.

 

 

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana

 

 

The minutiae and detail of how they are to work is not to be laid down by human minds. When we decide that Jesus Christ will not do as He has said He will do, "Lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world," when we decide that God has not power or has not time to notice His workmen, then it might be more consistent to plan out every detail of the work. But we would encourage faith in those who give themselves to the work of God. We would inspire them to believe that God is not unmindful of their labours and trials. He values His human agents and appoints divine agencies to work with them. "Ye are labourers together with God."  {9MR 179.1} 

 

 

It is necessary to carefully consider many things that have been left without due thought. It is necessary to drop out other things that have occupied much time, when but little time should be devoted to them. God has not laid upon any living man the burden of jealously guarding the movements of his fellow men, for this would restrict their intelligent freedom.  {9MR 179.2} 

 

 

In following a course of this kind, men are pursuing a similar course to that of the Roman Catholics who centres in the pope every power of the church, and ascribe to him authority to act as God, so that those below him in station lay every plan at his feet that he may prescribe the rules for men and women in every minutiae of life. In following a course of this kind, there is danger that no chance will be left for God to answer the prayers of His delegated servants according to His promise in giving them wisdom in pursuing their work.  {9MR 179.3} 

 

 

Dwell upon questions that concern our eternal welfare. Anything that the enemy can devise to divert the mind from God's Word, anything new and strange that he can originate to create a diversity of sentiment, he will introduce as something wonderfully important. . . .  {1MR 58.2} 

 

 

The enemy will strive to cause believers to search out matters of minor importance, and to dwell at length upon these matters in committee meetings and council meetings. But by turning their attention to questions of so little consequence, the brethren hinder the work instead of advancing it.  {1MR 58.3} 

 

 

We are to proclaim the third angel's message to a perishing world, and we are not to permit our minds to become diverted by minutiae that practically amount to nothing. If our brethren would consider the important matters pertaining to eternal life and eternal death, many of the smaller matters that they desire so much to adjust, would adjust themselves. Letter 16, 1903, pp. 5-7. (To Elder and Mrs. S. N. Haskell, January 1, 1903.)  {1MR 58.4} 

 

 

God chose Israel as the depositary of priceless treasure of truth for all nations, and He gave them His law as the standard of the character they were to develop before the world, before angels, and before the unfallen worlds. . . . Through disobedience and disloyalty God's chosen nation developed a character exactly opposite to the character God designed them to develop by obeying His law. They placed their own mould and superscription upon the truth, removing from it the superscription of God. . . . The law of God was being buried beneath the minutiae of outward forms,--such as the frequent washing of the hands before eating, and the washing of pots and cups. Tithes were exacted on simple garden herbs. To those who made so much of these minor things, Christ said, ". . .these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone." . . .  {SD 55.2} 

 

 

Amid all this confusing din of voices there was need of a teacher direct from the heavenly universe to speak from inspired lips to human hearts, and to proclaim the testing truths so important to everyone. . . .  {SD 55.3} 

 

 

 As a Teacher sent from God, Christ's work was to explain the true significance of the laws of God's government. . . . Resetting truth in the framework of God's own law, He caused it to shine in its original, heavenly lustre. . . . He enthroned the divine precepts in companionship with the royalty of eternal, uncorrupted truth bearing the sanction of God, the Source of all truth. . . .  {SD 55.4} 

    

 

Christ came not only to vindicate the law before the inhabitants of this world, but by His life to settle forever the immutability of God's law. . . . He [God] never lets go one who commits the keeping of the soul to His care. Having loved them because of their love of Jesus, He loves them to the end.   56 {SD 55.5}

 

 

"Tell the people in clear, hopeful language how they may escape the heritage of shame which is our deserved portion. But for Christ’s sake do not present before them ideas that will discourage them, that will make the way to heaven seem very difficult. Keep all these overstrained ideas to yourself"