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The Great Controversy: Theory or Reality?


Does our church really believe in the Great Controversy? That we are, in a very real sense, engaged in open warfare? I’m not so sure.

I used to think, growing up in the Adventist Church, that we were the vanguard in the fight against Satan and his minions. And, especially looking toward the End Times, that we would be the ones holding firm to biblical principles and beliefs as others struggled. But I recently began thinking that this war we are in the midst of, this Great Controversy, has lost any meaningful sense of reality in our lives. As a denomination, we can nod and say, “Amen,” but it no longer sinks into our hearts.

The reality of war has become theory, an intellectual exercise.

I look at the issues we are discussing in the church and the ones we’re fighting over, and I see a group of people that don’t realize who the enemy is. We don’t even notice, in any practical, day-to-day, way-of-life sense, that the enemy is very real and wants nothing more than to hurt and kill as many people as possible. I see a church that is going through the motions of protecting what we believe and what we have. But are we focused on what we should be for the times we live in? We engage in battles, but our “enemies” are our brothers and sisters. We are dying pointlessly on hills we have created while the true enemy ravages the world God loves.

Where is the church militant? Not the church that militantly destroys itself, but the church that is militant in the sense that its single-minded focus is fighting Satan and his lies. Do we wake up every morning and realize that the battle is constant and that each of us is a soldier? Does it even cross our minds? Or are we simply playing church because the war seems distant, irrelevant to our lives? Is the Great Controversy nothing more than the “same old story”? It seems to be. We’ve heard about it from the founding of the Adventist Church and now it is gathering dust.

We’ve grown too comfortable. Where is our fighting spirit? Where is our passion for those held under the kingdom of darkness? When did the fine print of doctrinal theory replace our interest for breaking the chains of the enemy?

Ever since Jesus died on the cross, Satan has known that he lost the war, that his time is short. Right now, he is fighting, not to win, but to take as many with him as he possibly can. His desire is to inflict as much pain on God as he possibly can. And, as the end comes, he is being given more free reign. Yet in this most critical time in the war we have fallen asleep. We’ve become lukewarm, allowing ourselves to be blinded by our hubris, replacing true connection to God with doctrine and saying it is enough.

Instead of fighting with God against the enemy, empowered by the Spirit and filled with the love of Christ, we allow ourselves to fight each other while Satan laughs. We allow ourselves to talk about everything and anything but what we should be focusing on. What would happen if we truly focused on our mission? Imagine how the things we thought were the fight, or the issue, or the focal point would come into proper perspective, with many simply falling away.

As members of the Adventist Church, are we even talking about what we should be talking about?


Mike Smith is a graduate of the Adventist school systems. He is an author and musician, currently employed in an independent ministry to the Adventist Church.

Photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash


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