As a pastor, I make my fair share of hospital visits, and while these can be hard visits at times, these are often a special time for me to get in some one-on-one talking and praying with my church members. Since being here in the Racine-Kenosha area, I've gotten to know many of my members a little better in a hospital room. One of the most fascinating things I've come across during these visits, however, is that many times I am not the primary missionary in the story--visiting and encouraging the saints as they are hospitalized. Neither are the medical staff, despite all their hard work to comfort my members and make them well again. It is, at times, the church members themselves who take up the role of missionary themselves--broken as they may be at the time--in order to reach the nurses, doctors, and various members of the local medical team, for Jesus.
One of the common themes that we circled around last month in our vespers talks and sermons on the Trinity is that there is no "greatest" in the Godhead. The idea of a Trinitarian hierarchy is an oxymoron. Jesus promoted servant leadership, and rejected ideas about "who will be the greatest in the kingdom" (Matthew 18:1-5). And when we see Him teaching servant leadership to His disciples--and saying things like "the last will be first and the first will be last" (Matthew 20:16)--this was simply an overflow of the servant leadership within the Trinity as each member of the Triune God takes turns in leadership, support, and submission when it comes to the plan of salvation, and all is done in love.
Think about it: When we see a white robe, we think purity, salvation, and heaven. When we see a cross, we think of Christ’s sacrifice, his life, and what it means to follow him. God stamps his name upon the heads of the 144,000 in the book of Revelation, to show others that they are of his brand. Branding is all over in the Bible, from God giving Cain a mark that let others know to back off, to Jesus comparing the Kingdom of Heaven to a mustard seed. Even titles like “Christian” and “Adventist” carry specific brand imagery to onlookers.
In 2011, I worked as a counselor at Camp Wakonda in Wisconsin for the first time. All week long, I watched as a group of girls laughed, learned and grew spiritually. Halfway through the week, I learned that Vanessa [actual name withheld], one of the young ladies in my cabin, had a rocky relationship with her father, and I was asked to give her words of encouragement.
We find, throughout scripture, that God gives us earthly institutions as projections of heavenly realities. The tabernacle and temple were given in the Old Testament as a projection of the heavenly sanctuary. The Ten Commandments are given as a projection of God's character. The Ark of the Covenant is an earthly projection of God's heavenly throne. In the same way, marriage is given as a projection of God's Trinitarian unity. And if this is the case, then the earthly institution of marriage is supposed to paint a picture of God, and it must be guarded. Unhealthy and unbiblical marriage means a distortion of God's image in marriage and a misrepresentation of Him.
Recently, I went on a mission trip to Guatemala. It involved forty eight people and was a medical-based mission group. On Sunday, February 10, we travelled to Guatemala City by school bus to the camp where we would set up. We arrived at the camp on Monday and set up our stations that evening. For the next two days, we stayed there and saw many patients.
The following video is from David Hamstra's vespers talk at the Racine SDA Church on Friday, January 26, 2018. It covers the concept of "Trajectory Hermeneutics," a branch of biblical typological studies.
David Hamstra is a native of Minneapolis with a heart for Jesus. He, his wife Heidi, and their four kids are currently at the Andrews University Theological Seminary as he pursues his doctorate in Theological and Historical Studies.
[This is an abridged version of the vespers study/discussion held by Pastor Zachary Payne on Friday, February 2, 2018]
Seventh-day Adventist Anti-Trinitarianism has become an increasingly prevalent phenomenon in the last decade or two. This is the case around the world, in the NAD, and even here in Wisconsin. In this post I want to address three traditional complaints held by those who take issue with the Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Belief of the Godhead or Trinity.
[Before you read: Start by committing to leave your pre-suppositions and biases behind. Those may come in useful later in the interpretive process, to fill in the gaps, but at first take scripture alone as your guide.]
The Text: Genesis 3:22-24 (ESV)
Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.