W I N T E R • 2 0 1 5
VOLUME 16, ISSUE 4
D E P A R T M E N T S
LETTERS to the Editor
Want the magazine
I have received my first copy of your magazine Proclamation!. It is very interesting, informative, and educational. Please keep my on your mailing list to receive it regularly. I would appreciate this very much. I’m looking forward to receiving the next copy of Proclamation! Keep up your good work telling it like it is!
Gospel will not be wasted
It was a pleasure speaking with you this afternoon, Mr. Ratzlaff. I do believe that being introduced to your magazine was divinely orchestrated and am looking forward to receiving the books that you recommended. Thank you in advance for sharing your knowledge of the gospel and Jesus Christ. It will not be wasted.
Dear Chris Lee
I grew up in the Mennonite Church; my parents left the Mennonites in my early teens over baptism by immersion (Mennonites sprinkle). We joined the Church of Christ but left there when I was 15 over the Sabbath. As Mennonites we had kept a Sunday Sabbath, so the transition to Adventism was not hard except for having to deal with the 1200 head of hogs we had on our farm…
I have found that in every place there are people that know it all. These people will not stand for someone who does not think their way because “it’s all so clear”. But inside these groups there are also those who know that there is a lot we don’t know, and what we do know will probably need some adjustment eventually…
Our former pastor used to tell us, “God is bigger than bad theology.”
A while back I heard a person say in church that we “have the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”. Really?! Duh.
Why, I would bet that there are people at Proclamation! that think they have it all figured out, too. We are humans; that pretty much says it all.
My point: just because humans act like humans, say dumb things and take dumb positions, does not change the message.
You had a good article (Back Page, Fall, 2015), but Proclamation! has wandered into the opposite ditch from the legalists. The Adventist church has a good message, but some of its people are in a ditch—and unfortunately I can point to several times that I, too, had to climb out of one or other of the ditches.
The challenge is to find the middle ground, and above all to believe that God is bigger than all my bad theology.
Chris’s response: Thanks for the nice note. In the article I cite the quote, sometimes attributed to Augustine, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity”. In my article I was trying to say that for all those things that fall into that secondary, non-essential category, we should be tentative and understand that it’s okay to have varying opinions. However, we must have unity in the essentials of the faith. In fact, there is no true unity without the essentials.
Orthodox Christian doctrines such as the nature of God, the person of Jesus, the work of Jesus, the way of salvation, the authentic gospel, the authority of Scripture alone, the universal Church, and so forth cannot be compromised. Since these are essential to the Christian faith, when these are compromised, then that compromised belief system is something other than orthodox Christianity. The New Testament is pretty strong on this point, and it is also pretty concerned with our obligation to oppose those teachers and teachings that stray from the authentic Gospel.
I would go a step further and say that if God has put any one of us in a position to be able to help people who have been sucked into another gospel, that is no gospel at all, then failure to help, failure to use the life experiences and knowledge God has given us is nothing short of sin. If I fail to use my experience to help people know the gospel, I fail to be on mission. I pray that I will always be on mission.
Ten years in Christ
On my day off I revisited your web site. It’s been a while since I visited it. Once again, the testimonies you have are inspiring. I’m a former fourth generation Seventh-day Adventist. My journey to being saved took many years, but it’s been ten years now since I accepted Jesus.
Thanks for all you do.
Come to your senses
I am an Adventist who has been in the “Way” for a long time. I do not know why or from whom I receive these quarterly issues of Proclamation! magazine, but I do read them from stem to stern. I am amazed how one can know Truth and then depart from it! I have some random comments about the Fall, 2015, issue.
In the Editor’s Comment by Sister Tinker, she recalls how in 1998 she and others began to call the Sabbath Day, Saturday. That seems so secular instead of spiritual. Why do you even worship on Sunday? To your “Ask the Pastor” column about legalism, I respond, it is not legalism to obey God’s commands. Rather, it seems to me to be rebellion to disobey His commands intentionally, and worse yet, to teach and broadcast such a false and counterfeit belief and response to His sacred instruction.
You denigrate Ellen White. No other church or communion on the face of this earth has such a prophetic gift as does the Seventh-day Adventist church in our Gift of Prophecy who wrote in The Acts of the Apostles, p. 475, “The only safe and sure rule is to do what God says.” It is not works to obey God and His commands; rather it is His desired obedience for His chosen people for their own good.…I believe that Jesus summed up the entire Bible in Matthew 4:4.
It seems to me that the message of Proclamation! is so limited, directed to so few . . . and wrong. I am pleased that God’s message through His chosen remnant church is a worldwide message. I hope that before you and your followers expire or the Lord returns, that you will come to your senses and return to the Word and the Way.…
We all will continue to learn in heaven where you (along with me) will again “from one Sabbath [not Saturday] to another will come and bow down and worship Him.” (Is. 66:22-24—read it all).
Editor’s response: First, Isaiah 66:23 not only designates bowing before the Lord “from sabbath to sabbath” but also “from new moon to new moon”. These two sabbaths, the weekly and the monthly, were always connected in the Old Testament. Keeping the Sabbath holy also required observance of the holy new moon days. Colossians 2:16-17, however, says, “Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day—things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.”
Second, Jesus did deliver an eternal statement of truth when He quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 to Satan, an event recorded in Matthew 4:4: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”
The “word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” includes all the writings of the New Testament as well as of the Old Testament. In fact, Jesus identified the obedience that is required of each person in order to please God. When the Jews asked Him what they should do in order to do the works of God, Jesus replied, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
Abraham is the father of all who believe (Rom. 4:11-12). Genesis 15:6 states the way he and all the faithful are saved: “Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.”
The work God requires of everyone who is saved is the work of believing in the Lord Jesus and His finished work on the cross and in the resurrection. Working backwards from belief and requiring a holy day which God’s own word declares a shadow is to teach “a different gospel; which is really not another,” and “even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” (Gal. 1:6-8).
Repentance and liberation
I would like to share something with you. I read John 8:11 many times, and in the NIV it says, “Go and leave your life of sin.” I saw there must be an act of repentance first before anyone can go and sin no more. I mean, without repentance, the Holy Spirit cannot possibly enter our hearts to make us to will and to do, and who will be able to remain sinless?
To tell you the truth, I experienced repentance myself only one month ago, after 83 years, mind you. I repented and asked for the help of the Holy Spirit, and I did it—no, not me—He did it. I am justified! Now I know the feeling of being a born again person. All these years I have been a nominal Christian, but now I am really liberated from bondage. This is my testimony; you may share it with others.
Dale Ratzlaff’s response to criticism of Sabbath article
I have received several letters taking issue with my article on Mark 2:27 which reads in the NASB, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath”. My introductory paragraph stated:
There are two things drawn from this verse used to support the conclusion that the Sabbath is a creation ordinance. The first is the Greek word “made” (ἐγένετο). It is said that within the context it refers to the “making” of the Sabbath which should lead one back to Genesis 2 where God blessed and sanctified the seventh day. The second support comes from the fact that in Greek “man” has the definite article and really says the Sabbath was made for “the man” (τὸν ἄνθρωπον). This usage may be translated as “mankind”. These two constituent parts of Mark 2:27 form the strongest argument for sabbatarians.
Some took issue that I said the Greek word “made” could mean, “be established”. As mentioned in my article, this possibility was based upon the Greek helps in Bible Works 8 which suggested that ἐγένετο, as used in Mark 2:27, should be “be established”.
The second main argument against this article was that I did not develop more fully the idea that the Sabbath was made for mankind and Jesus was Lord of the Sabbath. In my interpretation of these concepts I followed D.A. Carson who, in my opinion, is one of the best New Testament scholars today.
I encourage you to re-read the article and note that my main point was this: while Mark 2:27 could be interpreted as the Sabbath was made for mankind in Geneses 2, the preponderance of evidence does not support this conclusion. The Sabbath was given only to the Jews. There is no biblical evidence that the Sabbath was ever given to the gentiles, either before Moses, during the time of the law (unless a gentile lived with a Jew), or after the cross. It is a sign between God and the “sons of Israel.”
These corrections apply to the endnotes in the article “Ellen White consults with her dead husband” by James Valentine in the Fall, 2015, issue of Proclamation!:
1. EGW, “Ancient and Modern Spiritualism”, Patriarchs and Prophets, condensed version [Beginning of the End], c. 2007, p. 34-346.
2. p. 684-685.
8. Review and Herald, vol. 46, no. 18, Nov. 4, 1875 (See also Signs of the Times, Nov. 11, 1875, quoted in Counsels on Health, p.465.) Quoted from Sydney Cleveland, Whitewashed, p. 129, 2nd rev. 2011.
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To proclaim the good news of the new covenant gospel of grace in Christ and to combat the errors of legalism and false religion.
Truth needs no other foundation than honest investigation under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and a willingness to follow truth when it is revealed.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God; not of works, that no one should boast." Ephesians 2:8,9