Adventists and Pollution

Pollution is an interesting issue among Adventists. I have heard preachers downplay the importance of taking care of the environment for, they argue, “God is going to clean up everything at the Second Advent anyway.” This attitude seems to be to promote disobedience to God who gave us care over this world. Just as we would not eat anything and destroy our bodies for “God is going to clean up everything at the Second Advent” neither should we cavalierly ignore the cry for a better environment.

Interestingly enough, a youtube channel entitled “Adventists About Life” have discussed this very topic. Here is the video. Dr. Allen Handysides argues “Do We Care? I care, for this is God’s world and it wasn’t meant to be polluted by plastics.”

Doctrines and Preaching

Now we know that we must only preach the Gospel. This provides a problem for those of us who feel the need to preach such doctrines as the Sabbath, State of the Dead, and Sanctuary. Some of us might give in to the temptation of sometimes preaching Gospel and other times preaching these doctrines. Such a temptation is understandable in light of the belief that we need these doctrines, but it is problematic in that it places some doctrines above Gospel.

Some preachers get around this by only preaching doctrine “sometimes” and emphasizing the Gospel above these said doctrines. they preach “doctrine” because they Adventist, but preach “Gospel” primarily because they are Christians. I wholeheartedly understand this decision in light of the fact that we must major in Gospel preaching, but I do not think that is our only choice.

Other preachers see the deterioration of our understanding of doctrines in modern day Adventism. In light of that, they emphasize the doctrines. You can hear their sermons as these few “true believers” preach discourses on the law and its importance. They preach the sabbath as the seventh day and meticulously calculate 2300 to come out to 1844. I understand this decision as well in light of the fact that we do have a message or a perspective that God has given to us to give to the world. But that is not our only choice either.

E. J. Waggoner wrote in Bible Studies on the Book of Romans:

Nothing can be added to the preaching of the righteousness of God by faith of Jesus Christ. What about these doctrines, as the Sabbath, immortality, etc?-Since the “kingdom of God and His righteousness” is the one thing needful…all of these doctrines are simply divisions, lines depending upon the one thing,-all summed up in the doctrine of the righteousness by faith. We can preach nothing else…

Waggoner is noting that you do not choose between Gospel and doctrines. No! You preach gospel totally. If you want to preach the Sabbath, then please show us how it is connected to Gospel. Show us how it is connected to the Good News. Please connect it to the larger framework of what God is “up to” in this world. Don’t just get up and preach the Sabbath as the seventh day and sit down. We must turn the page and move towards a so-what that tells us how these doctrines are connected. And dare I say, if you can’t connect the doctrines to Gospel, then PREACH ON SOMETHING ELSE UNTIL YOU CAN!

As preachers, let us take seriously our call to bring good tidings of great joy. Whether you are preaching Revelation, Sanctuary, Sabbath, or even State of the Dead. If you do that, then our preaching of this message will align with and join in with the messages that Ellen White identified as the beginning of the Loud Cry…

The Cross and Preaching

Christ Centered Adventist preaching must uplift Christ in its core. Ellen White wrote on page 156 of Gospel Workers:

Of all professing Christians, Seventh-day Adventists should be foremost in uplifting Christ before the world. . . . The great center of attraction, Christ Jesus, must not be left out. It is at the cross of Christ that mercy and truth meet together, and righteousness and peace kiss each other.

The key here is that the cross of Christ must be at the center of any great Adventist preaching, according to Ellen White. The cross provides the place where mercy and truth will unite. If you want to make sure that you are providing the balance between mercy and truth, then you must have the cross of Christ at the center of all of your expositions.

In the 1888 era, Ellen White again argued for the centrality of Jesus in great Adventist exposition. She noted in her celebration of the preaching of A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner on pages 91-92 of Testimonies to Ministers, that their message

“was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God…This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel’s message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure.

What we see here is that the cross and the power and pardon that we receive from there is at the center of our presentation. She even calls it the third angel’s message that is to be proclaimed. Again it is only at the cross where justice and peace meet.

No we do not preach the cross sometimes and some conception of “Adventism” at other times. If Sister White is right here, then we must only preach the cross and uplift the savior. This point is key to any Adventist preaching methodology.