April May June 2011
VOLUME 12, ISSUE 2
D E P A R T M E N T S
The life EXAMINED
with Carolyn Macomber
Filtered by my worldview
Sovereignty. I kept hearing that word. Everyone in the “Sunday church” I was attending seemed to understand what sovereignty meant—but I didn’t have a clue. The definition, I thought, must be important or I wouldn’t keep hearing that word over and over and over again.
Slowly I began to piece together the biblical meaning of sovereignty, and what I found completely blew apart my Adventist “great controversy worldview”.
As I read Scripture, passages began to jump out at me: Daniel 2:21, Job 38-41, Psalms 139:16, Psalms 139, Acts 17:26, Revelation 1:8, 18, and more. Sovereignty meant having supreme authority and power. A “sovereign” was not subject to anyone or anything.
In my previous Adventist worldview, God was not sovereign but was subject to many things: watching universes, man’s freedom of choice, and men’s ability to keep God’s law so that God could be vindicated. Satan and God were in a wrestling match, and I felt the outcome depended on me.
Every part of my life was filtered through the “great controversy worldview”. I lived in perpetual angst and anxiousness—God’s law and character were counting on me!
My worldview changes
As my worldview began to change, I wrestled with whether I would submit my understanding to Scripture. God wasn’t subject to anyone! I began to wonder: did that make me a chess piece in a cruel game of war? Finally, I had to submit my mind to what Scripture said. God is sovereign and Satan and his powers were subject to our creator God (Col. 1). I couldn’t answer all the questions created by God’s sovereignty, but I could trust Him.
In spite of the whirling “great controversy milieu” in my head, I was beginning to view God as bigger and more powerful than I had ever imagined. No wonder men in the Bible fell to the ground as if dead when they came in contact with Him (Rev. 1:17, Gen. 17:3, Num. 16:22, Ez. 1:28, Acts 9:24)!
What really blew me away, though, was this: a sovereign God stepped into time and space and paid for my life. This God who was subject to no one and nothing loved me to the point of entering His creation and redeeming me (Phil. 2:5-11). God’s sovereignty began to give me a peace and rest in my spirit that I had never known before. Nothing that happened in my life would be a surprise to God (Ps. 139:16, Acts 17: 24-31).
I recently browsed through my old junior high reading books to see how my worldview had been shaped. In the Seventh-day Adventist Advanced Reading Program, Book IV, among classic stories and poems, are excerpts from Ellen G. White’s writings. Here is one from pp. 229–230:
“There is a satanic force propelling the Sunday movement, but it is concealed … Satan has caused the change of the Sabbath in the hope of carrying out his purpose for the defeat of God’s plans … The man of sin (Satan), … will cause laws to be made enforcing the observance of the first day of the week. But God’s people are to stand firm for Him. And the Lord will work in their behalf, showing plainly that He is the God of gods” (excerpted from The SDA Bible Commentary, Ellen G. White comments on Rev. 13:11-17, p. 975).
The next two articles in this reader are by Ellen White. Notice how the thought processes are strung together from this excerpt on p. 233:
Referring to the last days when voices are heard saying, “here is truth”, "…the burden of many is to unsettle the foundation of our faith which has led us from the churches and from the world to stand as a peculiar people in the world, … the Holy Ghost has accompanied the presentation of the truth.” To deny this Sabbath/Sunday “truth” is to “place us in that company who have departed from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits” (Selected Messages, book 2, pp. 387, 388.)
This fear of worshiping on Sunday is part of that “great controversy worldview”. For an Adventist, the battle of good vs. evil includes his standing up for worshiping on Saturday rather than Sunday.
The Adventist worldview is many-tentacled and deep. In brief, however, it separates a person from other Christians. It misuses Scripture; it makes God’s reputation subject to people’s ability to keep the law, and it identifies Saturday worship as the sign of the seal of God.
I am thankful that God is sovereign. The Holy Spirit is His seal on me. Jesus is sovereign over evil and Satan, and he fully paid my debt of sin.
I CAN trust God’s goodness, and I praise Him for my new, biblical worldview. He reigns! †
Copyright 2011 Life Assurance Ministries, Inc., Casa Grande, Arizona, USA. All rights reserved. Revised July 27, 2011. Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Carolyn Macomber was a doctoral student at Andrews University when she discovered inconsistencies between Adventism and the Bible. She withdrew her membership from the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 2009. She is a member of The Chapel Evangelical Free Church in St. Joseph, Michigan, where she is the leader of a Former Adventist Fellowship. She teaches at an inner city private school in Benton Harbor, Michigan, and this next year she will be a small group leader for Bible Study Fellowship in Granger, Indiana. She will share her discoveries in this column, and you can read her experiences of processing out of Adventism into the Christian community at her blog or watch her testimony HERE.