Disclaimer: Contents of these lessons are not intended to be financial advice but is general commentary based on biblical principles. The reader is encouraged to seek competent professional advice which will suit their particular personal situation. With this caveat at the bottom of the first page of the new Adult Bible Study Guide, a 90-day focus on stewardship begins. Happy 2023!
In addition to reading this week’s lesson, I looked ahead. Next week introduces tithing and the following study is wholly devoted to the concept of giving 10 percent. From there the quarterly touches on offerings and then runs through some classic financial help topics like debt and managing in tough times.
The title for this quarterly is Managing for the Master Til He Comes. The primary contributor is G. Edward Reid, the former stewardship director of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. In the 1990s, I remember him speaking at a camp meeting or two and maybe at my academy, where his brother worked. His 1993 book, It’s Your Money, Isn’t It?: Practical Money Management for Christians was assigned for my sophomore course on personal finance. My temporary wife for the class was a mature senior who was catching up on some classes in the US after growing up on a mission compound in Tanzania. She was extremely practical, and we balanced our budget assignment in part because we agreed to cut our furniture costs by eating on the floor. Combining money and marriage is easy!
But Reid did not limit himself to financial matters. He caught a bad case of millennial fever. In 1994, he published Even At the Door, the next year came Sunday’s Coming!: Eye-opening evidence that these are THE VERY LAST DAYS, and then Are You…Ready or Not, Here He Comes in 1997. I remember him preaching a sermon somewhere, and I got the impression he really, really believed that the end was nigh. Jesus was coming before the year 2000.
In his publishing and public speaking, Reid promoted the “Great Week of Time” theory. It’s an apocalyptic-numerical idea that overlays the structure of the week onto the debunked 17th-century Ussher chronology. Basically, just like a week has six days of labor and one day of rest, so the earth will have 6,000 years of human history. The 7th millennium will be a heavenly Sabbath. Jesus will come after 6,000 years to make that happen. Instead of the day equals year Daniel 8:14 application, this one draws on 2 Peter 3:8 (ESV): “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” Reid is right in that it echoes the Biblical Research Institute preferred historical-grammatical day-year allegorical proof-text Adventist hermeneutic. But he clearly ignores the context of the Second Epistle of Peter chapter 3, which assures waiting early Christians that God is timeless, not time-bound. That’s so obvious that Adventist Today and Fulcrum 7 and the Ellen G. White Estate have all debunked it.
Reid seems to be still at it. He spoke for the Georgia-Cumberland Conference’s South Georgia camp meeting in 2015 and on 3ABN a few years later. Both videos show him continuing to run through his classic signs of the end presentation. He combines mind-boggling numbers about his own research with a mesmerizingly confident and fast speaking style. In a video, recorded sometime during the Obama administration, Reid tells the audience that there are 1,895 references to the Sunday law in the writings of Ellen White, and in his research of them, he printed them all off. It took four reams of paper! He sorted them and they organized into 10 stages that lead step-by-step to national legislation compelling every American to attend church on the first day of every week. He cites the former president’s designation of a Gay Pride Month as evidence that the US had already passed stage two, moral corruption.
In an article for the Adventist Review, Reid continued to update the evidence for his 10 proofs that “the great prophetic timeline has literally run out.”
On June 26, 2015 the United States Supreme Court in the Obergefell vs. Hodges case ruled that the US Constitution guarantees the right to same sex marriage. This ruling is directly contrary to the motto on our coins, pledge of allegiance, and etched in marble in the House of Representatives—“In God We Trust”. In addition, there is the explosion of pornography, rotten material on television and in the movies, and a great lack of will on the part of government leaders to show any concern.
The growing influence of the Roman Catholic Church in society and the political arena in the United States and around the world should awaken the senses of those who understand Revelation 13.
However, this quarter’s lesson is not on end-time events. With the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist’s blessing, Reid will lead the church into a study of financial stewardship. Here is Reid talking about unbiblical 30-year mortgages versus God’s plan: the 7-year home loan. Caveat emptor indeed.
Alexander Carpenter is executive editor of Spectrum
Photo illustration by Spectrum. Source image: screenshot from Georgia-Cumberland Conference / YouTube
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