I did not know exactly what to expect. I had seen the trailer and suspected I would see a film that was confrontational, even hostile, to the traditional Adventist Church. I drove two hours each way to see it. I wasn’t sure if I would know anyone there. I almost didn’t go, but I am profoundly glad I did. There were so many times I found my eyes tearing up and I am just now beginning to understand why.
As Seventh-day Adventists, we believe that we have the Truth. We see ourselves as experts on all things Scriptural. We believe that our understanding of truth, in just about any aspect of theology, is both well developed and correct. This means that if another person or church has a different understanding, they are simply wrong. At its best, and to the extent that we are right about a given issue or practice, it is a marvelous opportunity because it gives us something to share with the rest of the world that will improve their lives and relationship with God.
I have experienced real revival and reformation. I have experienced fake revival and reformation. I, like most other Christians, live longing to experience revival and reformation in my life. Both kinds of Revival and Reformation generate intense emotional responses, but one is primarily inwardly focused and the other is primarily outward focused. One is constructive. The other is destructive.
On Sunday my wife and I returned home from dinner at the home of friends and turned on the TV. We discovered that, a few hours earlier, Osama bin Laden had been killed by US special forces and we were glad. No, glad is not a strong enough description. We were delighted, even ecstatic. I was glad to know that he was gone. It made me think about the song of joy the people of Israel sang at the death of the Egyptians after they crossed the Red Sea. It is not just me, but everyone I know is rejoicing. On Facebook, friend after friend celebrated his death.
I recently finished reading a book titled It by Craig Groeschel. That’s it, just It. The book is about churches that have “It” and those that don’t have "It". If you are interested in how your church can be more effective, It is a great read. One chapter really got under my skin, particularly as I look at our denominational leadership's theme of "revival and reformation".
The grand climax is almost upon them and they have not even a clue. It is Thursday evening, Jesus and his 12 disciples are in the upper room partaking of the mysteries of the Passover meal. It has been an unusual day in an extraordinary week. Jesus, in a small miracle that had almost become commonplace, makes arrangements for them to eat this meal in a new, private place. No one wants to lower themselves to wash the feet of their fellow disciples or even Jesus, so Jesus takes up the towel and basin. Peter refuses to have his feet washed until Jesus challenges his humility.
A few weeks ago I submitted an article, “No Recourse for the Laity," which was inspired by a post-Thanksgiving Dinner conversation with friends. In that same conversation I was asked what I would say to Ted Wilson if I had the chance to meet with him. I have spent considerable time pondering this question. The question really needed to be extended to, “What would I ask him and what would I say to him?” Here are my thoughts.
First, the questions: