Trying to get back on track this week with the Searching Sabbath videos, I realized I had inadvertently skipped Adventist Fundamental Belief #11 — the extra one that got added a few years ago. In content it is entirely uncontroversial as far as I can see — the only debate I’ve ever heard around it has been over whether it actually needed to be included in our statements of beliefs, which some people consider far too long and detailed already.
By His death on the cross Jesus triumphed over the forces of evil. He who subjugated the demonic spirits during His earthly ministry has broken their power and made certain their ultimate doom. Jesus’ victory gives us victory over the evil forces that still seek to control us, as we walk with Him in peace, joy, and assurance of His love. Now the Holy Spirit dwells within us and empowers us. Continually committed to Jesus as our Saviour and Lord, we are set free from the burden of our past deeds. No longer do we live in the darkness, fear of evil powers, ignorance, and meaninglessness of our former way of life. In this new freedom in Jesus, we are called to grow into the likeness of His character, communing with Him daily in prayer, feeding on His Word, meditating on it and on His providence, singing His praises, gathering together for worship, and participating in the mission of the Church. As we give ourselves in loving service to those around us and in witnessing to His salvation, His constant presence with us through the Spirit transforms every moment and every task into a spiritual experience.
As I said, I have no problem with any of this. In spite of that, my video above veers off into a rant because I’m disturbed by what I see in this teaching — a healthy understanding of the principles of spiritual growth and the place of spiritual disciplines in that process — and some of the pronouncements that have come down from our current General Conference president and other voices of authority in the church, regarding the “dangers” of certain spiritual practices. I hate fear-based approaches to religion and I hate exclusivist approaches — the kind of thinking that rejects a valuable spiritual practice — or even the terminology attached to it — just because it might be associated with another religious group. In fact, this attitude distresses me a lot — as you can kind of see from the video.
Comments, as always, welcome and encouraged.