http://traffic.libsyn.com/sabbathpulpit/eMastered_sabbathmorefullypod.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadWhat does it mean to preach the Sabbath more fully? How can we do this? is this important? Brother Sherman Cox discusses this question in this episode.
I think that the Black Conferences, regional conferences, or whatever you want to call them are on borrowed time. However, I do not like the rhetoric of those who are seeking to do away with these conferences. I think it demonstrates why they were created in the first place. So I decided to do a post on how the Black Conferences should end when they do.
1)The church should acknoweldge the debt they have to the Black confenreces.
Many churches split over race issues. The Seventh-day Adventist church did not. These separate conferences kept the church together. Don’t come and tell me we are the only church with separate conferences. Other churches have separate deonominations. Look at the methodists. They ahve Black methodists and the premominately white United Methodists. The Baptists have a plethora of Black denominations largest being the NAtional Baptists and the predominately white Southern Baptists.
The Black conferences have played a part in keepign the denomination together, so we should thank them instead of vilifying them.
2) Growth of the Black Work
WE also should thank the confernces for the phenominal growth of the Black work. We can thank great evangelists and pastors of the past as well as the presesent. There has been an explosion of growth since the Black conferneces. It is true that the growth has slowed some, but this has been a success.
3) Black folks wanted to be treated with respect before they wanted black conferneces.
Black confernces were created because of whtie racism plain and simple. It was becuase Black folks would not be treated with respect in the dominant conferndces. Now I have been accused of racism for stating that simple fact, but call me what you will, truth is truth.
So the dominant church should apologize for why the thesse conferences had to be created. Just as Isreal repented of sins created earlier, the dominant church needs to apologize for its treatment in the past. They need to repent of its not allowing black people to worship in thier churches. Yes they called cops on Black people who wanted to worship in their churches. Yes it happened. And yes if we are to give the confernces a proper burial we need to acknowledge it.
4) They need to disolve all of the conferences and unify again under right principles.
It is simply not valid to disolve black confernces and keep the other confrences in the same area. IF you are going to disolve the confrence, you must disolve them both. And then unify. That is the only fair thing. Unless the Black conferences existence is illegitimate.
5)We cannot sidestep our responsibility by eliminating the confernce level.
Union of chruches or whatever you come up with, the church still must give the Black Conferences a proper burial or the ghosts of why they were even created will congtinue to haunt us.
6)Stop using the offensive and incorrect comparison to Apartheid
It is offensive to me as a Black man when you compare Black conferences (where white people can attend and have no repurcussions) to apartheid (where black people were legally placed in second class citizenship.) It is an incorrect comparison in that contrary to the 60s when the dominant churches kept black people out, today black people can attend the other churches and members of the other churches can attend black churches…
And the real issue is that the elmination of Black conferneces ain’t gonna eliminate the Black churches anyway.
If we do away with the Black Conferences, let us please give it a proper burrial by acknowledging the debt that the church has to them. Let us asknoweldge the sin of white racism that made the creation of these confernces a necessity. Once this has happened, then
That is an interesting question that came to my box a little while ago. The preacher had visited my Soul Preaching website where I seek to teach the fundamentals of the Black Preaching Tradition. The questioner was an Adventist local elder who wanted to improve his sermons, but wondered where can he plug the “Adventism” into them. The questioner rightly noted that the Soul Preaching website is an interdenominational resource that does not teach the doctrines of any body.
But the question remained. It was an interesting one for me who has studied homiletics. I immediately began asking some interesting questions and interacted with some assumptions that many have. First, how many Adventists have you heard condeming thsoe who are not of that faith for preaching sermons that “don’t say anything.”
What is it to preach something? Some people think that a lecture on religious themes is a sermon. How many of you have listened to a preacher of that school. You end up with a long 60 minute distilling of a doctrine that is meant to enlighten the mind. Yet the heart is unstirred. Often these lectures have very little practical value. At the end of the day, tell me how this doctrine you are preaching makes a difference in my daily life. That is your job preacher.
Another issue that might be going on is that the questioner might be thinking that the worship sermon is the only time to teach doctrines. So we must do it then. It is very problematic to try to have the preaching moment to be your whole training. What about Sabbath School? Do you use that as a traning opportunity or simply a preaching opportunity for your local elders? What about Wednesday Night Prayer meeting. I like how our Baptist sisters and brothers normally call this Wednesday Bible study. Do you have prayer? Do you have study?
I am actually hearing about churches around doing training of their members. Here in Nashville Riverside SDA Church under Furman Fordham seems to have a training program to get people on the right track. The point that I am making is that it is unreasonable to expect the one hour worship sermon to bear the brunt of the theological training in a church.
But more than that, should it even be. I would argue that the sermon should foster an encounter between the people, God, and scripture. It should not be simply to learn facts for the mind. It should be an encounter that is informed by theology and the other things that we have learned, but no it is more than that. It is a time for the intellect and the emotions to celebrate the good news of God’s reign on this Sabbath day.
So know and understand your theological understandings which includes Biblical wholeness (State of the Dead). Yes, go head on and get a deeper understanding of the theology of Sabbath and its great need at this time. Yes understand your theology, but don’t just preach it. Yes preach it, but then always take the time to Celebrate it. Turn the page. Be the Cheif celebrator of the implications of the truth you have presented in the sermons.
AT the end of the day. You are not preaching an “Adventist sermon” merely when you give the facts of the Sabbath as being the Seventh Day. You are preaching an “Adventist sermon” when you use the principle of Sabbath rest to inform how you treat people on this day and the rest of the week. you are preaching an Adventist sermon when you use the princple of Sabbath rest as a theological tool to interpret what it means to live a faithful life in a world that is trying to remove all our rest.
Yes, I am calling for you to tell your people what these doctrines mean. Don’t just tell them to me and tell me I better beleive them and sit down as if you have done something. No work to foster an experience with the Lord whom we understand better because of something about the Sabbath.
So step one…stop thinking that an Adventist sermon is a Bible study that gives proof texts for a doctrine….
So I would argue that the whole idea of a sermon as merely a lecture is preoblematic. But then we have the other side where doctrine plays no part in the
OK…I gotta admit that I don’t have any inside information on how profitable they are. But it really seems like they have some hard times. Let me tell you what I mean…
Used to be back in the day the Adventist staple (vegetarian meat substitutes) were only obtained from the Adventist Book Center (ABC). But if you want to get some Vege-meat, guess what, head on over to Kroger or Wal-Mart Supercenter and purchase all kinds of meat substitutes. Even if you hooked on the Adventist brands you can find them there as well. And often for cheaper prices in that the big supermarkets can purchase many more than your local small ABC. And lets not forget that you can even go to Burger King and get a Vegetarian burger (see picture). Even if you want the “Adventist brands” you can get those at your local supermarket for a cheaper price than our ABCs can give.
Well what about buying some books. Surprise..Surprise…Head into your average ABC and it looks like a regular Christian bookstore…They have Max Lucado, T.D. Jakes, and John McArthur. While it is true that you can also get Clifford Goldstein and Herbert Douglass and of course there is a large section of Ellen Gould White (EGW) books, my point is that a good amount of the books that are in that store are available elsewhere.
At the end of the day, I wonder how many “Adventist” books they are selling? I wonder how many books they sell besides EGW. Really I wonder how many of her books they sell. I mean how many times can you buy Acts of the Apostles. No wonder they keep changing the cover of EGW books and creating paraphrases and the like of her books. But to be honest, this is a problem for all book sellers. But it has got to hit small specialty publishers like our Adventist publishers hard. I mean, how many books on such subjects as the Sanctuary, EGW apologetics, and state of the dead can you sell when the only people purchasing are a small segment of the church? And then they have to compete with many smaller publishers who have sprung up in the last few years. I understand why in many cases the book that they are pushing at this year’s camp-meeting for 20 dollars will 20 dollars will be in the closeout bin for 3 dollars in a couple of years.
Of course there is the whole Sabbath School lesson game where they sell the lessons through the ABCs. That probably makes some money, but I do wonder if they can stay afloat with that alone. Especially in light of the fact that a growing number of sabbath schools at least in the US are using different materials.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate on ABCs. I loved them, but I gotta admit, I only go in them every once in a while now. And often just to pick up a case of that Veggie Meat. I can’t help but think that this Adventist social activity of going to an ABC will soon be a thing of the past. I’ll probably miss it, but I will just get my reading materials online and my vege meat at the Grocery Store…