I’ve heard it all. The church is going to split. The next thing to happen will be gay marriage in the church. After that, the Sabbath will not matter. Conferences will leave the fold. Tithe might be garnished to stay within a conference if women’s ordination doesn’t pass.
Add to those much-gossiped fears a few varieties of creative theology, and you have a snippet of what is being forwarded via e-mail, posted on Facebook and Twitter, published in magazines and books, and produced in movie format.
With a sense of foreboding and fear, many people have approached me wondering if the women’s ordination vote this summer at the General Conference session is going to split our church right down the middle like a hot knife through soy butter. Some of the conversations have been so dismal that the idea of any united church surviving San Antonio seems doubtful.
But, fellow Seventh-day Adventists, let me remind you whose church this is. If you have ever heard Elder C.D. Brooks preach his sermon “Does God Have a Church?” you have heard him quote Matthew 16. Jesus is talking to Peter and says, “Upon this rock I will build MY CHURCH” (Matt. 16:18, NASB).
Which church is that? The one that keeps the commandments of God and has the testimony of Jesus! Do you know which church that is? That’s our church, friends!
If you are a Seventh-day Adventist with any interest in the topic to be discussed at the General Conference, you know this to be absolutely true. We are God’s remnant church tasked with spreading the gospel of Jesus throughout the entire world. God has one church, not a split church. After San Antonio, God will still have one church.
Those who are spreading fear about the future of God’s church lack faith that God can lead His people. Listen to what Ellen White says in regard to this:
There is no need to doubt, to be fearful that the work will not succeed. God is at the head of the work, and He will set everything in order. If matters need adjusting at the head of the work God will attend to that, and work to right every wrong. Let us have faith that God is going to carry the noble ship which bears the people of God safely into port. (Selected Messages 2:390 )
So what happens if God leads our church in a direction that is different from what I have concluded on this topic in my studies? I have read the books, articles, and blogs. I have come to a conclusion of what I think should be voted based on my study of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, just like everyone else.
But sometimes God doesn’t listen to my advice, and for good reason. He’s wiser than I am. He sees a bigger picture than I do. He’s all-knowing; I know very little in comparison. That’s why I trust Him. My Bible says to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6, NASB).
I may not understand what God is up to, but I trust Him to lead His church no matter what happens. I will continue to tell as many people as I can about the hope I have in Him. I will continue to be a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I will continue to return my tithe to God’s church. I won’t trash church leadership based on the results of this decision. I won’t accuse anyone of conspiracy. I will continue to be a faithful Seventh-day Adventist—no matter what. Why? Because I believe this is God’s church, and there is no doubt in my mind that He is leading it.
So until our world church congregates in the hot Texas summer, don’t waste your time lobbying people for a vote. Instead, earnestly pray for our delegates—not that they vote in accordance with what you think about the subject, but that God moves on their hearts and minds as to the direction God’s church needs to go. Because whatever direction that is, that’s where I want our church to be. Let our prayers be, “Yet not my will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42, NASB).
This article was originally published at http://franktown.netadvent.org/pastors-page.
[Photo: San Antonio, Texas, will host this year’s General Conference session.]