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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Why bother?

Many people have wondered why I do this. I've been told (this is a paraphrase), "If you want to believe this, that's fine, but keep it to yourself - don't tell me about it." Interestingly, these very same people have no problem sharing their religious convictions with others. I do this for several reasons.

#1 - I feel morally obligated to speak out against error. Paul had no problem speaking out against "another gospel", so as a Christian I believe we are called to defend the Gospel. Clearly we each see things differently and no one can force another person to change their views (would we even want to???), but using apologetics we can defend our position - not with feelings but with facts. If we hold the Bible to be true, then we can test our beliefs against it. People have multitudes of different interpretations for passages, but it's up to us to decide which is supported best by context. I believe Adventists teach a "different gospel".

#2 - I don't want anyone to be deceived. I want the evidence to be laid out so we can examine it (with the leading of the Holy Spirit) and determine which view is the most Biblical. Truth shouldn't have to hide from facts. In the end, if people want to intelligently choose to remain in the Adventist Church, that is their right and I will respect that. However, I am infinitely greatful for the people who weren't afraid to question or speak up because they helped me see that Adventist truth is not the same as Biblical truth.

#3 - If I'm wrong and/or I've missed something, I want to know about it so I can change. I've been wrong before and I'm sure I'll be wrong again. By engaging in these discussions it helps me go over the evidence again (on both sides) and determine if I've missed something. I do pay attention to the responses I get, but I have yet to be swayed back to the SDA beliefs by anything I've heard in my discussions. I've discussed this with friends, relatives, and even SDA pastors without getting answers to my questions. However, I'm still open to the idea that I could be wrong (are you?).

#4 - Writing my thoughts out helps solidify my beliefs. When I take the time/effort to read the Bible and write out a study it shows me again how strong the evidence is (and how weak it is on the other side).

I've told this analogy before, but I'll bring it up again since it's always easier for us to see the obvious in other people but not ourselves... Imagine there was a Mormon woman. All of her friends and family were Mormon. She was raised in Mormon churches and schools and neighborhoods. She was taught that Mormons have the truth. Since she had only ever read Mormon Bible studies she believed that Mormon beliefs were supported Biblically and that the things Joseph Smith taught were supported Biblically. She had no reason to think differently. After all, there were many intelligent people around her in the Mormon faith, and how could so many people be wrong? One day she starts studying the Bible with a non-Mormon friend in hopes of showing him "the truth". Instead he shows her that Mormons have it wrong and if you read the Bible passages in context they don't support those conclusions at all - in fact they teach something very different. Long story short, she leaves Mormonism for true Christianity. At this point, is it more Christian for her to try to reach her friends/relatives (who are all still Mormon) or is it more kind to leave them alone and let them believe whatever they want to?

That's me, except change everything from Mormonism to Adventism.

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