This week in the Adult Bible Study Guide is the second of three weeks which focus on Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Belief no. 11, “Growing in Christ”. This is the most recent addition to what were, for 25 years “the 27 Fundamental Beliefs”; it was only added by the 2005 General Conference Session (resulting in the “28 Fundamentals”).
This week’s lesson emphasises the need to report about witnessing and to keep accurate statistics. This is not the most exciting topic. I taught history and religion at Newbold College for ten years but in one course, on economic history, I regularly taught what I called “quantitative data methodologies for historians”—i.e., statistics. Every year, as the students, realised that, though they were taking a history course, they were going to have to grapple with statistics, I could see certain looks on their faces—first tedium, then often, fear and finally something like betrayal.
This week’s Adult Bible Study Guide quotes Ellen White: “The law of God, spoken in awful grandeur from Sinai, is the utterance of condemnation to the sinner. It is the province of the law to condemn, but there is in it no power to pardon or to redeem.” (SDA Bible Commentary, VI, 1094). God’s power “to pardon and to forget” is, as the influential Adventist theologian G. D.
This week’s lesson’s title is “Happy are you, O Israel!”; its theme is the centrality of worship in the experience of the ancient Children of Israel; and its chief point seems to be that worship ought to be God-focused, not self-focused. This last is a view that I wholeheartedly share, as readers of the print edition of Spectrum may remember.