Gregory Matthews

SDAS & Catholics, Common Problems?

We are human and as such are more alike than different. Change is one of the biggest obstacles to growth and improvement in the business environment and is a reflection of our personal lives. We get comfortable where we are and no longer see the need for changes. Learning is not a stagnant idea. Our understanding as a child continues to expand and change as we experience more of life. The same process works out in the spiritual life of the individual and church organizations as well. Yes, there are basics that never get changed but are built upon, such as speaking. Adults no longer speak 'baby talk' but continue to improve in the skills of speaking and understanding of those words. Growth in all areas is a part of human life. 

It is usually the 'employee' that is resistant to change.... not the 'employer'! 

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The Catholic Church rightly understood that organisational unity cannot be maintained without authority. Protestantism with its "no authority but the bible", encouraging dissent against the Catholic church, sowed the seeds of its own fragmentation. The SdA church (along with many other protestant organisations) have tried to put the genie back in the bottle by instituting an organisation, developing a creed, and working to suppress dissent and encourage adherence to the organisation. We've tried to become Catholic in organisation, because the organisation actually works - the long life and existence of the papacy is evidence for this. Within the SdA movement, the landmark events of 1888, the Questions on Doctrine controversy and the Desmond Ford/Glacier View disputation or trial, is evidence for the stability of the organised church - in each case, the organisation prevailed.

Catholicism teaches that "ex cathedra" pronouncements (of which there have been precious few) are "infallible". This makes it very difficult to backtrack on such statements. Catholic tradition also holds that decisions of a council of bishops are binding - and the anathemas pronounced at Trent are a continuing source of embarrassment to the Roman Church.

However, the Roman Church, while drawing heavily on the teachings of the Church fathers, (Jerome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Iraneaus, Augustine, etc.), none of these men is held to be infallible. Their writings can be criticised, reviewed, and rethought.

SdAs are less reticent about reversing GC conference decisions than Catholics are about council and papal decisions, but we are far more shackled to our church pioneers than the Catholics are to Augustine, Lutherans are to Luther, Calvinists are to Calvin, etc.

In the pew, little of this matters. Few Catholics are troubled by the Augustine vs Pelagius controversy and few SdAs worry themselves about 1844, the incomplete atonement, or so-called "last generation theology".

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 Ervin Taylor?  Is he still a SDA?

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Ervin Taylor has fought hard to remain a member of the SDA denomination.   I have no reason to believe that anything has changed.

 

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i grasp some of the significance of the issues Christians have in formal organization, church authority, human leadership, higher Christian education, intellectual and scientific challenges to biblical beliefs.  It can so messy, people are messy... nothing is as seamless as it hopes to be as it is held up to be when it is an religious institution.

I appreciate more and more the statement by Paul, "I am determined to  know nothing among you but Christ and Him crucified".  Why didn't Paul say, we need a finer balance between faith and science and philosophy, or we need to get everybody onto the same intellectual page, in order to make Christ known to the world, or we need to place the very gifted and most intelligent among us in the ruling positions?  Because that was not what was needed, that would not be adequate.

When Jesus is lifted up higher and even higher by the power of the Holy Spirit being in control of our hearts... Lord be lifted up!!!   The Holy Spirit will make every lesser consideration  become dust before the glory of God revealed in Christ, his humility, his life, sacrifice, and resurrection and His glory on High, and His arm, His mighty arm to lift us up to live with him now,  every moment,  in heavenly places.

Ervin Taylor concludes in this article 

"On the surface, Roman Catholic and Adventist clerical administrative authorities may appear to have few problems in common. On the contrary, many of their core problems are very similar. An example: How to keep an educated membership in an open society from increasing their influence and raising so many questions about the validity of traditional theology and polity that the ability of the institutional church to influence opinions and continue to receive income from members will be severely damaged. This is probably relatively simple to deal with in most Third World environments. In the First World, the strains created by this process can be easily seen and can only get worse. It appears that today, Adventists living in the First World are indeed “Living in Interesting Times.” "

yes times when the hunger and need for Christ is stronger and getting more apparent every moment....

 

Gerry Cabalo likes this

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