January 9, 2006

The Gospel or Adventism? Which will you Choose?

Often we hear preacher’s place what is termed the Gospel above Adventist distictive beliefs. They say that the Gospel is more important than any of the other doctrines and teachings of Adventism or any group. When we take that as an assumption, and I simply do it for the sake of argument, we are given the choice between Adventism and the Gospel. Not surprisingly many of us chose the Gospel. However such a choice makes our Adventism at best irrelevant and at worst an impediment to the Gospel. Thus the Sabbath, Sanctuary, State of the Dead, and all of these doctrines must step aside while the Gospel stands front and center.

If we take this assumption and our Adventist beleifs are a sidelight that is at best only tangentially related to the Gospel then we must ask the question “Why preach Adventist distinctives at all?” Such a mindset causes the doctrines to be trotted out every so often while the more important “Gospel” is preached. Because many follow such a road there is a backlash among those with more conservative proclivities. Some of these would say that the Gospel is Adventism. At the very least the gospel of the last days is such that we must hold on to Adventism and its deistinctive beleifs. A more softened version of this would say that Adventism is just as importnat as the Gospel and thus should be preached just as often. According to all of these views there is a beleif that Advnetist beliefs should take a stronger role and perhaps stand near the Gospel in presentation.

I wish to propose another road. Instead of saying that Adventism is less important than the Gospel or that Adventism and the Gospel must be balanced, or that the Gospel is Adventism, I would suggest another course. I would suggest that we see and understand the Gsopel through our Adventism. Our Adventism provides stories, pictures, and themes to help us illuminate the Gospel in ways that others would not be able to see. Just as the Methodists with their strong view of holiness brought a light on the Gospel of God to the reformation understanding, we have a role to help illuminate the Gospel.

There are elements that we see that others cannot see due to our doctrines. We are those who see the Gospel through the Sabbath. The one who calls us to rest. The importance of Creation and recreation. We see the Gospel through the Sanctuary. The importance of God with us. The importance of cleansing and ultimate cleansing. We see the gospel through the State of the Dead. There is only life through Christ.

Instead of only preaching Adventism sometimes and the Gospel other times I would suggest that an Adventist preacher must preach both at the same time. If it ain’t the Gospel it shouldn’t be preached, if it ain’t Adventism then why has God chosen you to preach it?

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shermancox

Vanderbilt Trained Minister (MDiv), Univ. of Alabama Trained Software Developer (MS), Author, Blogger (http://soulpreaching.com ), Husband, Son, Brother, Father.

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