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Gary Patterson

Happy Sabbath

It is unfortunate that we have largely lost the original meaning of the word Sabbath. While it is true that we understand it actually means rest, yet both in ancient Israel and for us as well, it becomes the name of a day, rather than a description of one’s behavior. Perhaps if we translated the 4th commandment to read, “Remember the rest day and set it apart from the other six days in which you do your usual things” we would break free from all the excess baggage we carry with the word Sabbath.


It would seem to be an obvious answer. If we are asked how the 10 Commandments begin we quote the first line as “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”1 And having done so, and thought so for many years, we fail to realize that this answer starts us down the wrong road. That is not how the 10 begin.

Light in the Darkness

It seems clear at the outset, that the Gospel of John sets about to establish a theme of Light vs. Darkness as he introduces the reader to his best friend—who just happens to be the God of the universe. Yes, yes, I know. We all are trained to say that Jesus is our best friend. This idea is celebrated even in our songs, such as the line in the old hymn, “He will hear you when you call,/He will help you when you fall./O, the best friend to have is Jesus.”

A Policy to Allow Discrimination

Equality is firmly established as part of the Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The Judicial Dilemma: How the Church Works – And How It Gets Worked

At the outset of a study of church structure it is good to recall some facts as to what the church is and where it comes from. It is God who calls the church into being. It is made up of those who respond to His call, who then become the church. We neither create nor form the church. Rather we become the church. Thus, the structures we may form around the functions in which the church engages, are not the church. Rather, they are structures and institutions which assist the church in doing what God has called it to do, and as such are human institutions.

Perspective: Does the General Conference Have Authority?

The obvious answer to the question is yes. But unfortunately this answer does not address the real issues generally being raised when the question is asked. What is at stake in the context of this question is in reality, “What authority does the General Conference rightly and properly possess?”

General Conference Policy on Discrimination and Women's Ordination - Part 2

General Conference policy opposes discrimination based on gender (as well as race and color), but then goes on to contradict itself. Dr.

The Limits of the GC's Authority, and Women's Ordination - Part 1

Last Sabbath afternoon, retired GC field secretary Dr. Gary Patterson spoke to the Michiana Adventist Forum about General Conference policy on the ordination of women. The meeting was held at Andrews University.

China and Pentecost: Parallel Stories

The Pentecost experience of the disciples was a singularly defining moment for the founding of the Christian church. “That the disciples of Christ might be prepared for the great work which they were to do, Jesus had instructed them to tarry in Jerusalem until they should be endowed with power from on high. On the day of Pentecost, as they were assembled together, and with one accord were seeking for the fulfillment of his promise, the Spirit of God descended, and the hearts of those who believed were filled with the Holy Ghost.

General Conference in Violation of Its Own Policy

In a document released by the General Conference on August 9, 2012 responding to the July 29, 2012 action of the Columbia Union it is stated that “It is not accurate to say that policy follows practice.” While this is recognized as true, unfortunately for the point of the August 9 document, this statement undermines its attempt to indicate that the Columbia Union action is against General Conference policy because of the fact that there is no such policy regarding ministerial ordination requiring that only males may be ordained or that females are forbidden from being ordained.

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