Thursday, September 11, 2008

Spiritual Implications

Fear of Deception Is the Deception

The logical questions arise, “Who cares? I’ll find out when I get there. Do I really need to know now? There is so much we don’t know and can’t understand that I don’t see any point in putting effort into this subject.” Here are some things to ponder as we continue this study. We have seen powerful resistance to the baptism of the Holy Spirit in Adventism. I believe the doctrine of soul sleep lies at the very heart of the resistance. It forms the single most compelling reason why, by and large, Adventists have not embraced the Holy Spirit, His gifts, and His move on the Earth. If spirit is thought to be just breath, then how could there be communication from Spirit to spirit? How could one pray “in the spirit” if the only instruments we have to work with are the mind and emotions? Because of this, anything that does not seem to be fully rational or intellectual is passed off as emotionalism. If there are supernatural manifestations, they couldn’t be the Holy Spirit working thru our spirits. Ergo, they must be deceptions.

If you have not been a student of Ellen White’s writings you may not even be aware of the strong warnings and fear-based cautions attached to the doctrine of soul sleep. One of the walls used to keep people from venturing outside Adventism is the fear of deception. Rick Joyner, in his book The Harvest (p. 120) says it this way. “Some are so afraid of being 'taken in' that they cannot be taken out of their bondage. Those who are the most fearful of error are the most difficult to lead out into light and they usually spend their lives in a most dreary place. The fear of deception will not keep us from deception; it will lead to our deception. The only thing which will keep us from being deceived is a love for the Truth, himself.” In other words, the fear of deception IS the deception.

Ellen White's Appeal to Fear

Here is an excerpted quotation from a passage in Story of Redemption pp. 396-398, to illustrate. I have removed parts of the quotation only for the sake of brevity but have not changed the meaning in any way. You can read the whole passage at this URL on the official Ellen White Estate Website:$fn=default.htm$vid=default “But none need be deceived by the lying claims of Spiritualism. Moreover, the apostles, as personated by these lying spirits, are made to contradict what they wrote at the dictation of the Holy Spirit when on earth. Here is a channel wholly under his control; by this means he can make the world believe what he will. And as the Roman guard that watched the tomb of Jesus spread the lying report which the priests and elders put into their mouths to disprove His resurrection, so do the believers in spiritual manifestations try to make it appear that there is nothing miraculous in the circumstances of our Savior’s life. After thus seeking to put Jesus in the background, they call attention to their own miracles, declaring that these far exceed the works of Christ.

“Says the prophet Isaiah: ‘When they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God for the living to the dead?’ If men had been willing to receive the truth so plainly stated in the Scriptures, that the dead know not anything, they would see in the claims and manifestations of Spiritualism the working of Satan with power and signs and lying wonders. But rather than yield the liberty so agreeable to the carnal heart, and renounce the sins which they love, the multitudes close their eyes to the light, and walk straight on, regardless of warnings, while Satan weaves his snares about them, and they become his prey. ‘Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved,’ therefore "God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie." 2 Thess. 2:10, 11.

“Those who would stand in the time of peril must understand the testimony of the Scriptures concerning the nature of man and the state of the dead for in the near future many will be confronted by the spirits of devils personating beloved relatives or friends and declaring the most dangerous heresies. These visitants will appeal to our tenderest sympathies and will work miracles to sustain their pretensions. We must be prepared to withstand them with the Bible truth that the dead know not anything, and that they who thus appear are the spirits of devils.

“Long has Satan been preparing for his final effort to deceive the world. The foundation of his work was laid by the assurance given to Eve in Eden, ‘Ye shall not surely die: . . . in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.’ Gen. 3:4,5. Little by little he has prepared the way for his masterpiece of deception in the development of Spiritualism. He has not yet reached the full accomplishment of his designs; but it will be reached in the last remnant of time, and the world will be swept into the ranks of this delusion. They are fast being lulled into a fatal security, to be awakened only by the outpouring of the wrath of God.”

Instead of regaling you with pages and pages of similar quotations, I have chosen this fairly long (still abbreviated) passage to make the points that I would like to bring to your attention - specifically these:

1) She uses Bible texts to reinforce what she is saying but twists them to mean something different from their original intent.

2) She alleges that discarding a belief in soul sleep leads to spiritualism. There are no other explanations or possibilities given.

3) Therefore, churches that do not believe in soul sleep will have no defense against the lying wonders of Satan and his evil angels.

4) That would include every Christian church.

5) So, if other churches are moving in signs and miracles, they must be moving under the direct supervision of Satan.

6) Those who demonstrate supernatural gifts (spiritual manifestations) deny the resurrection of Christ and try to push aside Christ to take center stage themselves.

7) The only conclusion, if one accepts her logic, is that Christians who do not believe in soul sleep and are demonstrating gifts of healing, miracles, or other supernatural manifestations, must be demonstrating demonic activity.

8) It is only the belief that “the dead know not anything” that will keep people from receiving the strong delusions of Satan.

9) She advocates meeting spiritualism, miracles and the deceptions inherent in the teaching of the immortality of the soul with “It is written”, meaning scriptures that, as we will see, do not disprove that teaching.

10) Spirits of devils, impersonating their departed relatives, will confront those who do not believe in soul sleep in the end times.

11) Satan instigated the belief in the immortality of the soul in the Garden of Eden. It was the first great deception.

12) Finally, the final fear factor: God will pour out His wrath on those who do not believe in soul sleep (the entire Christian church).

Safeguards Against Deception For All Christians

Now, I want to discuss a number of elements in this quotation that are based on faulty premises. First, Christians who do not believe in soul sleep also do not believe in spiritualism or in contacting the dead. In fact, many are more aware of demonic activity than most Adventists, and therefore, not as easily deceived. It is not a belief in soul sleep that protects against lying spirits. It is the presence of the Holy Spirit Who gives the gift of discernment of spirits (whether they are from God or from the enemy) that alerts us to the schemes of the enemy. Those who have been taught according to the principles in the writings of EGW and the Adventist beliefs in soul sleep are diverted away from the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The substitutes for the Holy Spirt are faulty interpretations of Bible texts from an author who claims special revelation.

The bible offers many safeguards against being in league with demons. It is clearly not permissible for us to communicate with the dead or to engage in any occult practice. “…Do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who … practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD... The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so.” Deut 18:9-14 (NIV)

“’Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God’”. Lev 19:31 (NIV)

“Saul died because he was unfaithful to the LORD; he did not keep the word of the LORD and even consulted a medium for guidance, and did not inquire of the LORD.” 1 Chron 10:13-14 (NIV)

“When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.” Isaiah 8:19-20 (NIV)

These scriptures are not only known and believed by Adventists, they are known and believed by the Christians who do not accept soul sleep as a biblical doctrine. The words “If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn” are not the private property of Adventists. They are honored and upheld by the same Christians who do not believe in soul sleep. When those words are invoked in fear-inducing warnings, like the one above by Ellen White, it leaves the impression that only Adventists, who believe in soul sleep, speak according to the word of God and have the light. Those who do not embrace the distinctive Adventists teachings are written off as being in error. The problem is that the text is twisted to really mean that those who do not believe in the Sabbath, soul sleep and the Investigative Judgment (along with other distinctive teachings of Adventism) do not speak according to “this word” (Ellen White's writings) and therefore, have no light in them.

The substitute meaning becomes the new meaning in the minds of those who have been taught to believe them, and thus, the scriptures are twisted to the purposes of Ellen White and the “angel” who “revealed” them to her. Once again, a fear is instilled toward the rest of the Christian community because they do not embrace Advenitst doctrines. Thoseremnants of fear and suspicion persist to this day. Those who have broken down the barriers of communication with the body of Christ have not been taught that there are valid biblical supports for what others believe. There is still an attitude of forbearance - that we are being gracious to accept them as members of the body, even if they hold errors. These attitudes perpetuate the impression that Adventists remain “more blessed” and superior in beliefs.

“…We were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune telling. This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, ‘These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.’ She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "'n the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!' At that moment the spirit left her.” Acts 16:16-18 (NIV)

Here is the critical difference. When one is taught just to fear deception from the enemy, without instruction to embrace the gifts of the Holy Spirit - moving and active within us - all he or she will know to do is to run away from the evil spirits so as not to be tainted or ensnared by them. For those who have been taught that the cross has given us victory over demons, there will be the confidence that the Holy Spirit in us can, and will, deliver the ones caught in occult practices.They will boldly step into the situation and take authority over the demons - to cast them out. Do you start to see how these teachings have robbed us of our inheritance? As I have gone back and read the writings of Ellen White, the sophistication of the deception, the roots of fear and the twisting of scripture have amazed me.

The Holy Spirit Functions Thru Our Spirits

When we are not aware that we have spirit, we don’t understand that there is something in us that can be developed, used, surrendered and possessed by the Holy Spirit. That was a revolutionary discovery for me. I had always believed that we perceive, understand and relate to God primarily with our minds. It was my belief that the intellect (the mind) is the highest part of us. When the Bible spoke of “heart” I equated it with emotion, and considered it to be a second-class component of our nature. I was taught to distrust and distance from “emotional” religious experiences. I was told that emotive worship was deceptive and unreliable. I was taught to rely, instead, on an intellectual understanding of the scriptures (“the sure word of God”) for my relationship with God. A belief in soul sleep, where spirit is just breath or an animating spark of life, led me to total ignorance of my spirit, that is akin to the Spirit in God, and functions in a very different way from the mind, will, or emotions.

It also caused me to be suspicious of others I saw worshipping with what I interpreted as emotionalism. Because of my conditioning, I found it at least mildly, if not frankly, disgusting. I was proud of the fact that I did not rely on emotion in my relationship with God. I relied, instead, on rational interpretation of the principles in the Bible the way my church, with knowledge that went well beyond what the Bible had revealed, had taught me. We had a prophet who had been given revelation above that of the Bible. Even my pursuit of the Holy Spirit followed that pattern. My instinctive response toward finding Him was to read everything I could get my hands on. Thank God, He didn’t let go of me when I didn’t know my way to Him. He even led me to a woman who fit my conceptions of safety to pray for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, because I was so clueless.

The Baptism of The Holy Spirit Is Like

It was not until after I received the overflowing infilling of the Holy Spirit that I KNEW I too had a spirit. What a bombshell! It was like those stereograms that have a hidden picture in them that isn’t visible on the surface. Many never see or find it. You can only perceive the hidden picture in the picture by having “second sight.” Once you do see it, you can examine and look at it without straining. My spirit nature was right there in front of my face, but I couldn’t perceive it until He came and took me to a different dimension I didn’t know existed. I finally understood the scripture that says “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor 2:13-14 (NIV) I learned to love Joseph Garlington’s statement that “a person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument.” I had been taught just the opposite.

If we have not experienced “moving in the spirit,” then it is not easy to believe in a language of the spirit. If one believes that the mind is the highest part of a person and there is no 'Holy Spirit' by Duncan Longspirit, then, of course, speaking in tongues would be considered foolish and pointless if not demonic (which I was taught). I believe this is one of the blocks to an Adventist’s receiving the gift of tongues and why those who do speak in tongues are sometimes perceived as thinking they are better than others. There is no difference in the salvation status of one who is baptized in the Holy Spirit and one who is not. But there is a difference in the experience and the ways in which one can be used. Otherwise, why would Paul plead with us to “eagerly seek the gifts of the Spirit”? It is when we surrender our spirits to being possessed by the Holy Spirit that we know that “God is spirit (pneuma), and his worshipers must worship in spirit (pneuma) and in truth.” John 4:24 (NIV)

So coming from a perspective of knowing that we have a spirit and our spirit can be given expression, let’s look at how this works. “For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit (pneuma).” 1 Cor 14:2 (NIV)

If it were true that our spirit is just an animating force, then to speak in tongues would be spoken of something like this. “For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his animating spark of life.” (CPR) If that sounds a little sacrilegious, let’s try: "He utters mysteries with his breath." Nope, still doesn’t work. We are not uttering mysteries with our animating breath. We are communicating spirit to Spirit.

“For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit (pneuma) prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit (pneuma), but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit (pneuma), but I will also sing with my mind. If you are praising God with your spirit (pneuma), how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand say 'Amen' to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying?" 1 Cor 14:13-16 (NIV)

The spirit, whether it relates to God or to humanity, is not just breath or an animating life force. The Bible describes an aware, deep, conscious essence in us that parallels,shadows, or reflects the same essence in God. This is a part of us that can pray, search, and utter mysteries. It can cause us to choose freedom over slavery and bring order to spiritual expression. It can be without flesh and bones and can leave the body to be with the Lord. It would do violence to the meaning of the scripture above to suggest that what Paul is talking about is praying, singing or praising with either our breath or with the spark of life in us. It is just as clear that he is not referring to the mind or intellectual part of our beings since the Bible says that when we are praying or singing with our spirits, our minds are on vacation. So we pray to God, we praise God, we sing to God with our spirits.

We need the awareness that our spirits are more than breath because it is with our spirits that we exercise the gifts of the Spirit. Consider Jesus' experience: “Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit (pneuma) that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, "Why are you thinking these things?" Mark 2:8 (NIV) Where did He perceive what they were saying? In His spirit. What gift of the Spirit does this represent? The gift of knowledge. I have heard people comment, with something like pride in their humility, that they don’t move in the gifts of the Spirit; they have never been used to heal or pray in tongues or prophesy - believing that such is a statement of proper humility.

Remember when Jesus would say, “To what can I liken the kingdom of Heaven? It is like…” Maybe we could do the same with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. To what can I liken the baptism of the Holy Spirit? It is like going to a 3D movie and not putting on the 3D glasses. When they come out, the people who put on the 3 D glasses are of no intrinsically greater worth than those who didn’t, but they have certainly had a different experience. So why not put them on? In the same way, all who are born again are loved and saved completely by the Lord, whether or not they have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but there is certainly a difference of experience. There is something lost without the 3D spiritual glasses of the Holy Spirit. It isn’t a sign of great spirituality; it’s a sign of trust, submission and complete surrender.

The sad thing is that many don’t know that they don’t have to go on that way. In Jesus, there is no such thing as a second-class citizen. He is eager to pour His Spirit out on everyone who presents him or herself to be filled. I believe that people have not been taught that the gift of the Spirit is not exclusive - reserved only for a certain few. They are not taught to eagerly seek the gifts because they are wonderful! He is wonderful! There is no one who comes that will be refused. In many groups it is a given that everyone will be filled with the Spirit. Everyone is prayed for so that no one is left out. Then, how He manifests His Spirit in each person has limitless variation and expression. It’s not a competition to see how He uses us. It’s an expression of our individuality and very personal intimacy with God. No one else can take that place in His heart or His kingdom.

In looking at prophetic utterance, thru the gift of the Spirit, Paul says, “The spirits (pneuma) of prophets are subject to the control of prophets.” 1 Cor 14:32 (NIV) He also encourages us to seek to be used by God to prophesy above all of the other gifts. Why? Because it is another way we can expect God to express and reveal Himself to His church. Along these lines, there is a vertical speaking in tongues where we utter mysteries with our spirits to God. This is a prayer language that does not address others, but God. There is also a horizontal speaking in tongues - directed to people - that requires interpretation so that others can understand what is said. The message of this kind of horizontal tongues, comes from God. When coupled with the supernatural interpretation from the Holy Spirit it is equivalent to prophecy.

As you know, there are many other gifts of the Spirit, probably some we have not even heard of yet. God may choose to manifest an infinite variety of manifestations of His Spirit thru us, if we’ll let Him. Could anything be more fun? Fun? Yes, fun, along with many other things. Instead of being crippled with fear because of the warnings inherent in the teaching of soul sleep, we can boldly move into the belief that God is able to keep what we have committed to Him. We do not have to shield ourselves from the supernatural for fear of deception. We can choose to believe that He is stronger to deliver us than the devil is to deceive us. We can believe that when we ask for the Holy Spirit, He will not give us the serpent. We can fully embrace the gift of God in creating us in His image: with spirit akin to His.

Summary of Spiritual Implications

1) The doctrine of soul sleep has created crippling fear of deception by the devil.
2) The doctrine of soul sleep has created fear of the Holy Spirit and kept many from seeking the gifts of the Spirit.
3) The scriptures have inherent safeguards against deception for all Christians.
4) The Holy Spirit gives spiritual discernment that distinguishes between spirits.
5) Without His indwelling, we are vulnerable to allowing other spirits to have entrance to our inner beings.
6) The belief that spirit is just breath has robbed us of our spiritual heritage in God.
7) Understanding that we, too, have spirit (like the Father of our spirits) opens us up to the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
8) Embracing the realm of being filled with The Spirit turns “plain old” into extraordinary. Try it!! You’ll like it.

Quiz for Spiritual Implications

Choose the correct answers:

1. Ellen White’s warnings against rejecting the teaching of soul sleep will result in:
A. Fear of the genuine manifestations of the Holy Spirit
B. Fear of the supernatural
C. Fear of miracles, healing, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit
D. All of the above

2. The scriptures clearly forbid all of the following except:
A. Communicating with the dead
B. Witchcraft
C. Healing, miracles, prophesying, and moving in the gifts of the Spirit
D. Divination

3. Non-Adventist churches that do not believe in soul sleep are unaware of the prohibition of consulting the dead, and participate in that practice regularly.
A. True
B. False

4. If we believe that our spirits are just breath, or animating life force, we close off our primary means of communication with the Holy Spirit.
A. True
B. False

5. Because non-Adventist churches do not believe in soul sleep, their miracles are performed by the power of Satan.
A. True
B. False

6. Fear of deception in Adventism has led to widespread ignorance and fear of demons and a resultant powerlessness to cast them out.
A. True
B. False

7. Paul says that when we speak in tongues: (choose the incorrect answer)
A. Our minds are not engaged
B. No one understands what we are saying but God
C. To others, we need an interpreter, so they can understand
D. We are being prideful and deceived by the enemy.

8. Those who have not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit are:
A. Second-class Christians
B. Not saved
C. Missing a dimension with God that it is their privilege and right to experience.
D. Probably Catholic

9. How did Jesus know what the Pharisees were thinking?
A. He was God and had special powers we cannot possess.
B. One of his disciples had infiltrated and was a deep cover operative.
C. Thru the gift of knowledge we can all have
D. Judas had wired the Pharisees with listening devices.

10. Jesus wants all of His children to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and move in all of His gifts. The only requirement is to ask. then surrender to His Lordship in our lives.
A. True
B. True
C. True
D. All of the above

Answers: 1-D, 2-C, 3-B, 4-A, 5-B, 6-A, 7-D, 8-C, 9-C, 10- A, B, C, or D Very Good!

Spirit Table of Contents

The Next Chapter: The Intermediate State

Let's say that you have come to the decision that the spirit does, in fact, leave the body after death. What then? It took me years to work that out. I would accost any Christian who believed that to be away from the body was to be with the Lord, and grill them on this point. Finally, I realized that I would just have to go to the scriptures for myself, in prayer, and let God show me what came next. Here is what I found.


Dennis said...

Is there a listing of churches that are active in the Holy Spirit?

Gently Broken said...

Hi, Dennis. Here is a link to the Coalition of Spirit-filled Churches:

I certainly don't pretend to speak for the churches on this list but these churches acknowledge the person of the Holy Spirit in the ways that the early church used to function.

Often, some of the smaller non-denominational churches are Spirit-filled in that they move in the gifts of the Spirit.

As with any church or group it is important to continue to ask the Holy Spirit to give you discernment when you attend. Churches are filled with people and people are not the ones we are looking to for our sources of truth. The Bible as made alive to us by His Spirit is our guide to understanding in every aspect of our lives.

When you visit one of the churches on this list, give it some time because it may look very different from what you are used to. It may even be a little uncomfortable if it doesn't fit neatly into your sense of decorum or structure. But the Holy Spirit will go with you if you ask and will guide your understanding and spirit.

Happy hunting!

Gently Broken said...

Correction: that is a list of charismatic churches. The coalition of Spirit-filled churches is this:

Dennis said...

After looking at both lists I think I am more interested in the charismatic churches. (you knew that)

Thank you for these lists. I recently came in contact with a church that is charismatic and they use the new testament practices for healing and worship. The audience participates in the church service and the Holy Spirit heals about 80% of the sick presented.

You are very right it was a little uncomfortable at first. Once on board I was healed my family was healed and I am only interested in churches like these that are more Corinthian.

I would stick with that little church but they are far away from my home and they have no church network.

I would like to get really nosy and ask where do you attend?

Dennis said...

Is there a church that would qualify as a remnant? That might be something for your site. What would a remnant church look like without EGW.

Gently Broken said...

Dennis, I wish I didn't have a job so that I could respond to you as quickly as I would like. Give me some grace here and I will get back to all of your comments and questions. I am eager to discuss these things with you. Thank you for your thoughtfulness as you read. I'll start with your question about where I attend church.

To be truthful I tend to visit a number of churches though the one I count as my own is a non-denominational spirit-filled church. The reason I attend there is that I feel that they are doing the work of the kingdom of God about as well as I have ever seen it done.

A large percentage of its members were once gang members, drug addicts or dealers, felons, prostitutes and unbelievers. The pastor is a father to them and teaches them how to live in the kingdom of God. The church is kept spotlessly clean as a way of nurturing it members as parents would do. There are 17,000 members and each one is trained in a ministry. Each week anywhere from 60 to 150 people receive Christ for the first time. Each of those new believers is then paired with a believer who meets them before church to nurture and instruct them in the Word of God.

It's like nothing I've ever seen before and I think it is a testimony to what can be done when we obey Christ's command to go into the hiways and byways to seek and save the lost.

Gently Broken said...

Now, on to the "remnant church." My belief is that the entire body of Christ is His remnant. That includes all people who have embraced the true gospel of salvation by faith alone in Christ alone.

There is no organization or denomination that perfectly reflects this. It is really people who constitute this reality. It is those who have recognized their spiritual poverty and have cast it all down at Jesus' feet knowing that He has covered their inadequacy with His perfect sacrifice. These are His remnant. Do you think?

Dennis said...

I'm not going to take on a load of guilt now that I know I'm interfering with your day job. lol I will however mention how appreciative I am that you have shared all this work. It has cleared up so much for me. Thank You.

Your description of your primary church gives me chills. I am very serious about finding a group like that. Size is not important to me but practice is. I pray for guidance in this area. I have loner tendencies so it doesn't bother me, in fact I rather enjoy it, when my SDA family and friends ask me what church I belong to. I tell them I belong to the Body of Christ. We are the biggest church in the Universe and yes just possibly the remnant as we are composed of many left over souls that don't always find a fit with main stream religion.

Gently Broken said...

I've been invited by a psychiatrist friend of mine to attend his church plant this weekend. I intend to go. It is a Spirit-filled Anglican Church. I enjoy the organized beauty of liturgical churches. I find them very soothing and to have the added blessing of the Holy Spirit's being given full acceptance is always a joy.

Keep looking. I have prayed for you (since you said you needed it!) that you will find a group you can relate to. I believe there is value in connecting to a church body. I'm not sure that always means joining - but we have been encouraged to at least gather together in worship and communion. That can take on the form of a home group or the 17,000 member church that I attend. It has been my experience that Jesus can't resist showing up when we gather to praise His holy name.

Dennis said...

Thank you for your prayers on my behalf. I don't think there is anyway I can get enough of that.

I have been attending as many services as I am able to get to in a weekend. I have not yet found that one church and it has become less important. I am learning to recieve my worship blessing in any christian church. They all have the message that I need. If the spirit is there too it is just better. I am especially attracted to the larger worship group because I believe that when two or three are gathered together... so if two prayers are better than one. two hundered prayers must be earth shaking.

Thank you again. I have prayed for you as well because I believe this work you have chosen (or been assigned) is critical to many.

Gently Broken said...

Dennis, I believe you have hit on the core of the issue. In Adventism we were taught that there is one remnant church - not meaning the body of Christ, but rather, one "right" group. That is the error. There is not "that one church" in the sense that all churches who present the biblical gospel are Christ's body on Earth.

One of the greatest joys for me in leaving Adventism was that I could feel at home in any church I visited. From one church I receive one thing, from another something else. They are all puzzle pieces of the larger picture. No one group can encompass the whole. So we can rejoice that God has allowed for different emphases and be blessed by all of them.

Happy Lord's Day, Cherry

athb4hu said...

Thanks for posting these excellent studies.

Gently Broken said...

It is all worth it when I know that people are reading them and gleaning hope and courage from them. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Gently Broken said...

By the way, athb4hu, I read your profile and would love to know more about your work in Hungary. Sounds fascinating. Blessings and grace. Cherry

Anonymous said...

please explain the first lie satan told. or rather explain his deception. Didn't God tell adam not to eat of the tree of life and if he did he would die?

Gently Broken said...

To anon. I have to admit that your question seems a bit cryptic to me. Would you mind restating it into a statement of what you believe was going on in Satan's deception so that I can respond to what your real question is? I can think of a number of directions that discussion could go and don't want to launch into a treatise that misses the mark of what you actually want to discuss. I can make some educated guesses, but that isn't very productive since I'm not a mind-reader.

Anonymous said...

in your summary of immortality of the soul you state. "Adventists have been taught to believe that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul was the first lie Satan told the human race." Was Satan telling the truth or was he lying?

Gently Broken said...

Anon: Sorry for the delay in response. Much to do and too little time.

What must be addressed here is the meaning of the word "die." Yes, Satan lied. The choice to rebel against God by eating the fruit of the tree introduced death for humanity. No, he was not teaching the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. There is nothing in his allegation that would suggest that meaning unless you are preconditioned to think so.

If you will carefully read the rest of the studies you will see that this question is fully addressed and answered.

Throughout the scriptures it is clearly taught that the body dies and stays in the grave, but the spirit does not. It returns to God. So Satan was not the originator of the truth of the immortality of the soul. Please read the rest of the studies. If you would then like to discuss the content I will be happy to do so.

I know this is not an easy transition because of a lifetime of conditioning in another belief. Give it some careful thought and prayer. Blessings as you continue to seek.