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Jessie-Jess

Do you know the difference between Seventh-day Adventists and Seventh Day Adventists? Are you a member of the Adventist Reform Movement? If so, may I ask you a few questions? If not, what do you know about the reform movement? I've found their site and sent an e-mail with some questions and am still waiting for an answer (it was only yesterday), but I am looking for more answers.

Why? Because another Seventh-day Adventist told me I belong with the Reform Movement instead. Yet, I noticed that they are a separate and distinct denomination, and feel wary about that. If they were within the church, I might be more willing, but why the separation and what are the differences in doctrine and attitudes? They're not like the Branch Davidians or Shepherd's Rod, are they? 

Edited by Jessie-Jess
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Gregory Matthews

Seventh-day Adventists  vs. Seventh Day Adventists:  Both are covered by the General Conference Copyright registration and Trademark.  They are the same denomination. 

As to the Reform group:  There are presently in the United States two (2) groups that claim to have begun in the same historical background.  So, my question to you is:  Which group do you reference.

In any case, the Reform groups are a separate and distinct group.  They do not attend the main-line SDA group.  So, if you attend main-line SDA services you are not a member of a Reform group.

 

As an interesting comment: The Denver Metro area has the regional headquarters for both the main-line SDA denomination and one of the two Reform groups.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Gregory Matthews

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JoeMo

I was involved with the reform movement and smoe of the more legalistic independent ministries several years ago. It first I thought it to be a "purified" church; but learned over time that most people in those movements were bitter and judgemental; and harder on each other than they were on outsiders. While claimimg to show love, many of them showed much judgement and condemnation of those who did not believe exactly as they did. I got drummed out when I showed concern that some were calling mainstream SDA's "Babylon". I think EGW once said something like "if one is to err on the side of justice or the side of mercy, it is better to err on the side of mercy." That statement was either inspired, or it's just plain good advice. I didn't find much mercy in reformed Adventism or the "independent" ministries. I can't speak for everyone, but, as a recovering legalist, I find that hanging around with people who understand that they are as broken as I am rather than those who claim to be so much better is healthier from both an emotional and a spiritual aspext. I understand that some people like strct rules and a comprehenive list of do's and don'ts. That's okay; it just didn't work for me. It made me feel so unworthy all of the time.

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Gregory Matthews

I will give you a brief statement about the Reform Movement:

 

1) They claim their beginnings in events in Europe (primarily Germany) during WWI and WWII.  NOTE my comments will be related more to the WWII Era as it is more recent.

2) They allege wrong doing on the part of certain SDA leaders.  There was wrongdoing on the part of those leaders.  The Reform Movement is correct in their basic statement that there was wrongdoing.  The actual truth of the matter is little known by either the SDA Church or by the Reform leaders.  In the past 10 to 20 years some historians have begun to discover the extent of the wrongdoing.  But, in my thinking, the actual extent is little known by both sides.

3) The actual reality is that some leaders of the Reform group also committed wrongdoing against the SDA  denomination.  Their wrongdoing was clearly involved in the response made by the SDA leadership, which was wrong.  IOW, the truth of the matter is that no one's hands were clean.  There was major wrongdoing on both sides.

4) Following the end of WW II, the General Conference attempted to resolve the issues and bring the two groups back into a common fellowship.  That effort failed.

5) Within the past 12 months another effort has been made to bring that two groups together in Germany. That effort has achieved  some success.   Wrongdoing has been admitted on some levels.  Forgiveness has been asked.  An agreement has been reached which has resulted some of  the Reform members returning to a common fellowship with the SDA denomination.

 

As to the doctrinal beliefs of the Reform group:

Generally they are much more conservative than most SDAs.  Take your pick on the subject, they are likely to be more conservative--dress, Sabbath keeping, diet, military service.

 

 

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Jessie-Jess

I am a Seventh-day Adventist, not a member of the reform movement, but am asking about it. What I'm looking for is facts, please. You get judgemental and legalistic people even in the Seventh-day Adventist church and other churches, too, both judgmental of those without and those within. That's not a good reason to leave the church. 

Edited by Jessie-Jess

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Jessie-Jess

Generally they are much more conservative than most SDAs.  Take your pick on the subject, they are likely to be more conservative--dress, Sabbath keeping, diet, military service.

 

 

Thank you for explaining.

So, then the doctrine seems to be the same, but they are more conservative. Why can't Seventh-day Adventists just follow the counsel that God has given us? Then maybe we wouldn't have a need for the reform movement, and we could all be united. Couldn't we? Or do they go above and beyond the counsel and guidelines set by God?

Edited by Jessie-Jess

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B/W Photodude

The oldest Seventh Day Adventist reform group would be:

Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement 

And this is their website:

http://www.sdarm.org

Snippets from Wikipedia:

Beliefs

The Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement (SDARM General Conference) identifies itself with a conservative Seventh-day Adventist theological and eschatological heritage. While it holds to the basic tenets of the Seventh-day Adventist faith, commonly referred to as the pillars or landmarks of the faith for these landmark teachings), there is a divergence in degree on some post-1914 doctrinal positions taken by L. R. Conradi and some of the European church leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in both interpretation and application.

The Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement's official position as conscientious objectors in relation to war and military service reflects the pacifist position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church during the 1861-1865 American Civil War. This is in direct response to what L. R. Conradi and others presented to the members and distinct from the official Seventh-day Adventist Church position which is one of non-combatancy, though in practice Seventh-day Adventist members have served in combatant roles in the military services.

Aside from the divergences, an examination of the SDA Reform Movement's published beliefs, indicate many similarities in theology with the traditional Seventh-day Adventist beliefs and also the more conservative Historic Adventism and Last Generation Theology wings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seventh_Day_Adventist_Reform_Movement

You can read that they were European in origin but after the war, re-organized in the US, since they were forced out of existence by the Gestapo before the war. While they may have had some good points about warfare and participation in it, some SDAs have disputed their claims. Of course the official SDA church did not have a stellar record during the NAZI years in Germany either. I do know that some the the reform groups concerns grew out of the first world war and not the second.

The following is an extensive review of the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement 

http://www.sdadefend.com/MINDEX-A/SDA-Reform-edit.pdf

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Gregory Matthews

1) They tend to go beyond what were absolutes.

2) They are  more strict in their membership requirements.  I will give you an example.  I served 20 years in the U.S. Army--18 of those years were as a SDA Chaplain.   During all 20 of those years I was a conscientious objector and at no time was I armed.  Due to my service in the U.S. Army, I would not be allowed to become one of their members. 

3) In the SDA Church, we allow considerable diversity in belief and life style.  They do not.  Take jewelry, for example:  As a male I would have been required to keep my tie in place by a safety-pin hidden behind the tie.  I would not have been allowed to wear any kind of such a device that could be seen. 

4) You ask:  "Why can't Seventh-day Adventists just follow the counsel that God has given us?"  What you are really saying is:  Why can't you just follow my understanding of the council that God has given you?

5) You bring up a fundamental issue as to unity.  What is it.  Is it total agreement on every point of belief and lifestyle.  Not according to EGW as she tells us that God has allowed some of these issues to divide us in an attempt to force us to greater individual Bible study.  So, we are likely to never totally agree on every point of belief and life style.

6) My understanding of unity is that it is a common mission/goal.

7) Let me illustrate from my background:  When we go to war, the one supreme commander may be from the Army, may be from the Air Force and may be from the Navy.   NOTE:   The supreme commander of the military forces that invaded Grenada was a Naval Admiral.  He was in charge of the Army, Air Force and Marines as well as the Navy.

8) In the military the person in charge on the ground has ultimate authority to conduct the military operations in whatever manner desired.  The Commander of the invasion of Iraq chose to use the ground forces in a manner that was in violation of accepted Army doctrine at that time.  He was in charge.  He had been given a goal/ mission.  It was up to him as to how he accomplished that goal/mission.

9)  Perhaps we should worry more about whether or not someone (group) is accomplishing their mission than how they are doing it.  NOTE:  Yes there are boundaries.

 

NOTE:  Much of my information about them comes from several years of following them and from personal contact with their leadership at that time.

 

 

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Gregory Matthews

Photodude's reference to the 37page document about the Reform movement is of great value.  It supports much of what I know, with one exception.  It says little or nothing about the issues related to WW II, which is where I am most informed.  Those issues are quite important and not addressed  in this document.

 

 

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LifeHiscost

 It made me feel so unworthy all of the time.

The truth is we are all unworthy, all the time. The only claim to fame any of us have is the free continuous cleansing of the blood of Jesus, in which sorrow for sin comes supernaturally when one realizes our normal behavior is responsible for putting Jesus on the cross.

My oversight in ensuring that all passengers were buckled up for safety and as the law requires, could have very easily led to the death or a lifetime of disability of a passenger riding with me. Instead God's grace was afforded to me and 2 1/2 years after the accident they not only show no residual physical disability but are healthier than they were for the previous 33 years of their life, primarily a result of the promises trusted in, resting over our lives, given by the Lord of Glory namely Jesus.

If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].....1 Corinthians 13 parenthesis, brackets theirs'  LHC

God is Love!  Jesus saves!   :D

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Aliensanctuary

All religions and denominations were created by and are populated by sin-plagued, erring humans. As I see it, all of these competing groups are more like clubs, just take your pick of which club that you like their rules, then join it.

My experience with Separatists has not been pleasant. After joining a separatist group, my wife and children and I went through some horrible, traumatic experiences. Perhaps not every separatist group one might join will result in the same experience, but one thing for sure, the separatist's main message seems to be separation. That message definitely resulted in a separation between me and the LORD for many years.

I believe the word for Pharisee in Greek means "separate". The Pharisees thought themselves too "holy" to mingle with the unenlightened masses so they avoided the "impure" for fear of "contamination". Contrast that with the ministry of Jesus Christ who ate with sinners and mingled with outcasts, much to the horror of the religious elite. Our main mission on Earth is to do our best to love and obey our Creator, then next, to encourage others to do the same, not by bullying or ostracism, but by a kind and sympathetic spirit.

We can do this with or without denominations and churches.

I might not be welcome in a Reformed SDA Church because I don't eat or drink they way they do or wear the clothes that they do or talk the way that they do or read the right books, the red ones, or the right Bible, the KJV. Those restrictions can happen with any church or denomination, too, because it's human nature to decide who the bad guys are and make ourselves out to be, of course, the good guys. Fortunately, the LORD knows our thoughts and sympathizes with us, and understands all the problems we have to deal with, and will reward the honest seekers of truth. If we look at the path others are taking and the mistakes they are making, we may stumble off of our own path and find ourselves on the rocks or in the ditch.

We should serve the LORD as Christ did, to be a blessing to all mankind and brighten the lives of others, rather than create walls of separation by our particular lists of rules. Jesus Christ had his list of rules, but they were for himself, to internalize, not to use as weapons against others. If we can't get along in this life because of the rules we wish to impose on others, we may not be very happy in the next.

Ultimately, though, when Self is gone, we will all be as one with our Creator, and his rules will all be programmed into our minds.

 

 

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Jessie-Jess

How do you prove in Scripture that Jesus only had rules for Himself, when He taught people and told them to keep His commandments if they love Him? He also expounded on the commandments, going deeper, saying that if we even lust after someone in our hearts, we have committed adultery. To say that Jesus only had a list of rules for himself is not biblical. 

I'm not ignoring what else was said. Just thought that needed commentary.

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LifeHiscost

How do you prove in Scripture that Jesus only had rules for Himself, when He taught people and told them to keep His commandments if they love Him?

As a fact, the exact opposite seems to be true.

21For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;…1 Peter 2  emphasis theirs' LHC

God is Love!  Jesus saves!  :D

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JoeMo

How do you prove in Scripture that Jesus only had rules for Himself, when He taught people and told them to keep His commandments if they love Him? He also expounded on the commandments, going deeper, saying that if we even lust after someone in our hearts, we have committed adultery. To say that Jesus only had a list of rules for himself is not biblical. 

I'm not ignoring what else was said. Just thought that needed commentary.

Amen, Jess.

Here's where things get sticky.  In my opinion after trying to live that law for 25 years with "historical" or "reformed" SDA's- including the sins of the mind and heart that Jesus talks about, I found it impossible to meet that standard.  No matter how well I submitted, I never felt like it was enough.  I always needed to be "more perfect" if that is even logical.  I became frustrated and bitter on one side; and self-righteous on the other thinking "at least I'm better than that guy".  So I gave up trying.  I just said "Jesus, I can't do this or I will end up resenting you.  If you are who you say You are and did what You say You did, then I trust that You have my back." It was so freeing!  Plus, it's like I fell in love with Him all over again; and I think about Him and His Father so much I don't think about "me" as much any more; and some real burdens are just seeming to melt away.

I'm not perfect (or even "good") by any stretch of the imagination; but I have a Big Brother and Father who are watching out for me; because I am reconciled to God by the blood of Jesus.  It is by His loving kindness to me that I am drawn to Him and "want" to honor Him (rather than "have" to honor Him) - not by fear of retribution.

We have 2 choices - either believing that Jesus did a good enough job on the cross to save us, or believe that He didn't; and we must "help" Him fulfill our salvation by keeping all aspects of His law; hoping we become sinless before His Coming.  If I have to become sinless before Jesus comes (which will be soon, hopefully); I'm DOOMED!

Think twice about allying yourself with any movement that demands efforts for external perfection and discounts the power of grace.  It's like having to wear a "mask" every week; because if you're not as perfect as they are; you WILL be judged.  Stick with a place that welcomes both saints and sinners who are seeking salvation.

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Aliensanctuary

Jesus Christ had his list of rules, but they were for himself, to internalize, not to use as weapons against others.

How do you prove in Scripture that Jesus only had rules for Himself, when He taught people and told them to keep His commandments if they love Him? 

Each of us has our own set of "rules" that we "consult" in our daily lives. These "rules" are based upon our life experiences and shaped by our understanding of scripture. We might call these "rules" our conscience.

Now, Jesus Christ learned his "rules" telepathically from his Father and the Messengers, not to mention some input from his parents. He taught by example wherever he was rather than creating a new denomination that catered to his "rules" and excluded those with different rule books. Of course, his "rules" were based upon the requirement of "holiness" before the LORD. Without that purity, anyone standing before the LORD would perish.

If Christ had tried to enforce the rules of holiness upon everyone he met, he may have been unable to complete his mission to explain the Kingdom of YHVH to mankind. He did keep the rules of holiness himself, but he also gave his listeners clues about the requirements of holiness, that is, the state of being free of evil in thought and deed.

After the wash-up in the River of Life purges our minds of evil and selfishness, we can then stand before YHVH without fear and with the greatest love. If, today, we seek to be holy in this life, the Spirit will help us grow closer to the LORD by revealing to us the changes we need to make. Due to our life experiences we will likely all have different "lists" of acceptable behaviors, which are all, unfortunately, somewhat different from the true list of Jesus Christ. Those who seek to grow closer to the LORD daily will be different from those who lay down, roll over, and say, "Let God Do It" or, "Christ did it all for us on the Cross". Jesus sweat drops of blood while resisting temptation. Maybe we could sweat one, tiny, microscopic droplet of normal sweat as we resist the temptations that come to us as a result of our in-born selfishness.

I think that it is after the 2nd Resurrection that we will be given the opportunity to join the real Kingdom of YHVH by consenting to the wash-up in the River of Life and the resulting memory wipe. Those who join the Kingdom will then receive the Mark on their foreheads that indicates that the bearers are now servants, servants owned by the LORD.

The reformed SDA denomination may be a good fit for some, providing associations of like-minded individuals, but it's not the cure. The members of those churches are no closer to the Kingdom than the rest of us.

Edited by Aliensanctuary

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Jessie-Jess

So because you failed to achieve sinlessness, you gave up and declare it impossible and a lack of faith to try? Maybe I am misunderstanding/misinterpreting what you write, but it seems that way. But, in doing so you deny that Christ can purify you of your sins. We aren't asked to do it on our own, but we are told that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13) and that with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26) and that we should not serve sin any longer (Romans 6: 1, 2), because Christ came to turn us from our iniquities (Acts 3:26) and to set us free from sin. If you return to your sins, embracing/accepting the fact that you are sinful and expecting Christ to save you while you are still deliberately living in sin for the pure and simple fact that you honestly believe that you can't be perfect, that is a denial of faith. We're not asked to do it ourselves, but Christ can do it through us, and just because it hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean that it won't happen. And if it's really difficult, then there's a problem with our hearts. At any rate, I'm not in support of the legalistic views of the reform movement. Judging by their literature/study material that I've seen on their site, they seem to be at an extreme, but it's also an extreme on the wrong end to give in to sin simply because you think you can't overcome it, when Christ has made plenty of provision to help you overcome (2 Corinthians 12:9).

And I know it's true. I'm not sinless yet, and we cannot say that we are sinless (1 John 1:8), but that's no excuse to give in to sin. For 25 years (or at least 22-23, for as long as I could remember) I was bound by an embarrassing sin. This sin was something that I turned to even deliberately, knowing it was a sin, and am amazed at God's love, mercy, and patience, for He never gave up on me. But because I was bound by this sin for so many years, did it mean I could not be set free?  No, for I have been set free from that sin. 

Temptation is not a sin. There's a difference between tempting thoughts and lustfully dwelling on the thoughts. I know this because of the nature of my sin. It's one thing for the enemy of souls to present the sins and temptations, and even the discouraging thoughts that we cannot be free from the sin, or that we have gone too far. It's one thing to see something that tempts us, and to think about committing the act. It's another, and it is temptation, to dwell on those thoughts, to be pleased by those thoughts, and to be entertained by them. And those thoughts, left unchecked, will all too often lead to the actual outward committing of those sins.

The devil will be allowed to tempt us until the Lord returns (or maybe until very close to the Lord's return. I'm not 100% sure), but temptation is not sin. Desiring to sin is a sin, though (which I believe is what Christ was talking about when he spoke of looking on a woman lustfully being adultery), because you've already sinned in your heart.

We need Christ to create a clean heart within us (Psalms 51:10). Did David have an excuse to commit the sin that he did with Bathsheba and the murdering of her husband, Uriah? Could he excuse his sin with the idea that true perfection could not be attained, and that he already had good standing with God? Did God excuse his sin? No.

So we can't excuse our sins, and I honestly believe it is an expression of a lack of faith to say that we cannot be made perfect. This perfection can't be attained on our own, but God can give it to us, and it takes time. 

You suggest that you believe you will still be sinning when the Lord comes again. Talk to the Lord about that, and express those concerns to Him. Ask Him to show you why this is. Do you love your sin too much to let it go? Or are you honestly a slave to it? God can set you free. He can even give you love for Him that is greater than the sin. Ask Him to allow the consequences of your sins, and if He does, they may become less appealing and easier to let go of.

For example: I have suffered consequences of my sins, and am finding it easier and less stressful to simply obey God and my conscience. Yet, I'm not claiming to be perfect. My conscience is still often stricken by one thing or another, but I look back on the work that the Lord has done in my life, and how far I've come, and I know that it is possible to reach perfection, through Christ, though only God (and maybe others in the unfallen universe) will know when I have reached that perfection. It will not be known to me, obviously. I do know that I'm not perfect yet, but I'm telling you that it is possible. To say it is not is to deny what God has stated in Scripture. 

Here are many verses on perfection.

Just because there is presently no perfect man on earth (according to Scripture), does not mean that there won't be. 

I'm not writing this in support of the reform movement, but just to make it clear that we are not to continue knowingly and willfully living in sin just because we know/believe that nobody on earth is perfect nor because we might be tempted to think, or honestly believe that nobody can be perfect. 

"Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression."

~Psalms 19:13, KJV (italics theirs)

I also believe that if we try to become sinless in our own power, even if we do give up the sins and habits, we are lost, because it must be done out of love to God. (See 1st Corinthians 13) And if we think we have become sinless, then as I mentioned in reference to another verse in this post, we're liars/deceived. But I honestly believe that my God is able to purify me and all who allow Him to work in our lives. Would anyone here honestly deny that? It's our own wills that get in the way.

Edited by Jessie-Jess
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JoeMo

Hi Jess,

What a thoughtful response!  Thanks you for being so kind.  You truly reflect the Spirit of your Savior - all encouragement; no condemnation.  I can tell by the way you write that God's Spirit is all over you.  I agree with almost everything you said below:

So because you failed to achieve sinlessness, you gave up and declare it impossible and a lack of faith to try? Maybe I am misunderstanding/misinterpreting what you write, but it seems that way. But, in doing so you deny that Christ can purify you of your sins. We aren't asked to do it on our own, but we are told that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13) and that with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26) and that we should not serve sin any longer (Romans 6: 1, 2), because Christ came to turn us from our iniquities (Acts 3:26) and to set us free from sin. If you return to your sins, embracing/accepting the fact that you are sinful and expecting Christ to save you while you are still deliberately living in sin for the pure and simple fact that you honestly believe that you can't be perfect, that is a denial of faith. We're not asked to do it ourselves, but Christ can do it through us, and just because it hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean that it won't happen. And if it's really difficult, then there's a problem with our hearts. At any rate, I'm not in support of the legalistic views of the reform movement. Judging by their literature/study material that I've seen on their site, they seem to be at an extreme, but it's also an extreme on the wrong end to give in to sin simply because you think you can't overcome it, when Christ has made plenty of provision to help you overcome (2 Corinthians 12:9).

.

I guess I wasnt too clear about what I wrote in my last post.  I have not given up on sinlessness; I've just quit being so hard on myself when I realize I'm not there.  God has the ability and my permission to do whatever He wants in my life.  Sometimes, He just doesn't do it in my time frame.  It used to be that when I sinned, I would beat myself up; and would hesitate going to God for forgiveness and strength to overcome until God "cooled off" a little bit.  While God was "cooling off", I'd stay away and be more prone to fall into another sin - it was a death spiral.  Not only in my own conscience but in the judgement and condemnation I recieved from those who were "saintlier" than me.  It was a death spiral.

Having left the independent ministry and RSDA culture, I have learned that God loves me unconditionally in spite of my fall; and I turn to Him immediately for forgiveness and grace.  Sometimes i feel (or imagine that I feel) His cleansing blood washing over me and though me; and it amkes my feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I am not"embracing my sinfulness, but I embrace Phil. 4:13 in that it is the work of Christ and His Spirit that I can overcome; not by my own feeble efforts.

I have more victory and have overcome more of my issues since "giving up" than I ever had as a legalist.  Am I sinless? Absolutley not!  Do I embrace my sinfulness? Absolutely not.  Do I believe that Jesus can make me sinless before He comes? Yes.  Do I believe He MUST make me sinless before He comes? No; as far as I'm concerned, I'm already covered by His righteousness because of what He did on the cross.  Would I like to be sinless?  OOHH wouldn't that be great? ... but it ain't happened yet.

My own 7 kids aren't anywhere near perfect; but they love me and I love them; and I don't think I could ever turn them out because they didn't meet 100% of my standards.  God is my Father,  I'm not perfect; but I love Him and He loves me unconditionally; and He won't turn me out just because I'm not 100% perfect.  When this corrupibly body puts on incorruptability - when I am changed in the twinkling of an eye - I will be perfect.  In the mean time, when my Father looks at me, He still sees a favorite son covered in the righteousness of His oldest and only-begotten Son.

You suggest that you believe you will still be sinning when the Lord comes again. Talk to the Lord about that, and express those concerns to Him. Ask Him to show you why this is. Do you love your sin too much to let it go?  No, I loathe the sins I used to love - that's what repentance is all about.  Or are you honestly a slave to it?  Good question; I believe I am no longer a slave to sin; but sometimes my actions don't seem to show that.  God can set you free. He can even give you love for Him that is greater than the sin. Ask Him to allow the consequences of your sins, and if He does, they may become less appealing and easier to let go of.

AMEN!  I'm not trying to debate with you here, Jess; I'm just being honest about my experience.  I'm not saying I am right; and I'm not making excuses.  I am a broken person.  It took me 65 years to get this broken; so I don't expect Jesus to perfect me in an instant - although He could (and I wish He would).

Bless you, Jess; and keep blessing us with your sweet spirit and encouragement.

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Gail

Great comments, everyone! I am enjoying this discussion a lot  :)

JoeMo can correct me if I am wrong, but I think what he is describing feeling is a spirit of condemnation. Romans 8:1 says that in Christ there is therefore now NO condemnation for Christ's children.

I did hang around with some very conservative folk for a short time but there condemnation of others made me wonder what they were noticing and saying about me when I was not in their presence. I don't know what I felt when around them, shame or fear, but it wasn't the love of God that leads to repentance.

there is a book I recommended in the "We Offer" section written by James Rafferty, called A Ministry of Reconciliation. In it he has collected Scripture and SOP passages on how church members can show the love of Jesus in their dealings with their erring brethren and with secular people. You might be surprised how tolerant EGW was and how strongly she spoke about how God's people can do damage to the truth if they have a spirit that drives the hearer away from God rather than restoring them. It is serious stuff.

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debbym

when we live for God in the strength of our flesh, we are going about seeking to establish our own righteousness, and we are not merciful, gracious, kind gentle, nor do we have self control.  we can be very clear on doctrinal correctness, and use precise texts, proof texting everything we believe, but we fall short of the glory of God.

When Christ alone is our righteousness, we know every moment that of ourselves we truly can do nothing, and all our failures serve to remind us that we depend on a  Savior who is made our righteousness, and our wisdom, and our victory.   when we live in His strength we do not fail, but we also do not glory in our victory because we know like Peter that when we look away from Jesus and look at ourselves we immediately start sinking. Until heaven we have flesh that is deceitful above all things, and no one can know the depth of their own iniquity.  We can know that assurance of Christ's love for every human being including ourselves, and have the assurance of a living hope of heaven, an that great blessed hope that one day we will be delivered from the power of sin when Jesus comes.

1 John 3:3 He that hath this hope in Him purifies himself even as he is pure... 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

 

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Aliensanctuary

Well, here we are, walking down that Road to Life with hazards and traps on either side. We have a two-fold mission, one is to avoid transgressing the Laws of YHVH, balanced with acts of self-sacrifice that benefits others. I don't think that we can do one without the other and stay on the path.. As we direct our thoughts and actions towards our Creator, our gratitude for the life that he has given us will infect us and spill over to the point where we are compelled to seek others out to help them by displaying a keen interest in their lives, finding out what their needs or problems are, and attempting to help.

If we seek purity only, we become lopsided, and veer off the pathway to the Kingdom. In the struggle to gain "perfection" we lose sight of our mission, creating for ourselves a joyless, lonely existence. In the next life, devoid of Self, we will live only to serve others and our Master.

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Sojourner

Several years ago I happened to come across a stall at a local market being run by the SDARM to promote their denomination. I was not a part of the SDA then and was involved with the Salvation Army, yet had a strong interest in theology and was happy to chat with them. I was a little surprised to learn that they were critical of the doctrine of the Trinity I am not sure if they rejected it or simply tried to put it another way. it was implied to me that Ellen White had introduced the doctrine of the Trinity into the church because of pressure from others, which I don't believe is the case.

My understanding is that the SDARM are now split into two groups and possibly a third and that none of them are willing to 'reform' anything with the SDA denomination. They have been approached several times over and aside from what I read above in this thread its generally gone nowhere. As I gather the initial argument started over Pacifism in Germany with the rise of Hitler and how people were not disfellowshipped from the SDA over the issue. I also have some information on the historical relationship between some of those people who founded the SDARM and the Socialist leftist groups that supported Hitler in the belief that he was going to win WW2. Whilst I will choose not to go into that here, I would say there is a real issue in terms of pulling the plank from your own eye in respect to trying to remove the spec from someone else's.

The other understanding that I have is that they are opposed to celebrations of Christmas, Birthdays, Easter and follow a similar pattern of theology in that area to groups like the Philadelphia Church of God and the other COG splinters. Again when you ask them why it is that a part of their 'reforms' is to bring the SDA back to the various teachings of Ellen White, yet Ellen White celebrated Christmas, Birthdays and Easter, all you will get is an answer that she was somehow misguided and perhaps influenced by others to do this.

In Australia and many other places their membership is struggling and going backwards, I read on their website that they are working hard to move their focus from SDA people to the unsaved in order to spread the Gospel. I would wish them well with that, Yet if you are a member of any of the SDA groups on Facebook, you notice a familiar pattern of people coming on with some of the nastiest criticism of the SDA who come from the SDARM and I can tell straight away that going to a denomination where that attitude was prevalent would put me off as well very quickly. I have been along to groups in the past that believe that they alone have the truth and it becomes very obvious that they have all the same problems that every other denomination has and are actually no different at all irrespective of what they think of themselves and their standing in the community.

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