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…