Oakwood University Pastoral and Leadership Conference

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SDA Oakwood University held a Pastoral Evangelism and Leadership Conference, Dec. 4-6, 2011.  Speakers at that conference included U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black and Grammy Award winning musician, and Oakwood graduate and Seventh-day Adventist Pastor Wintley Phipps. These two gentlemen  opened the conference. Below are YouTube videos of their opening discussion.

As the title of the conference implies, the objective was to discover ways and means by which to best minister the gospel to all the world. There are many good points on the presentation by Wintley Phipps and Barry Black. For example, the following points deserve serious meditative prayer, daily study, and willingness to supplicate and invite the Holy Spirit to instill these principles in our hearts and lives:

·       It is of greatest importance that we resemble, reflect and reveal the character of God or all our efforts will be in vain.

·       We need greater sensitivity in first meeting the needs of people we witness to per Matthew 25, such as feeding the hungry, providing water to those who thirst, clothing the naked and ministering to the sick, the incarcerated and strangers.

·       We need to divest ourselves of self-congratulatory arrogance as regards what the church has accomplished in light of all that it has not accomplished!

·       We should not consider ourselves the only people through whom God is working.

·       We must cast off notions of being the chosen insofar as such concepts translate into ostracism, aloofness and know-it-all-ness. The Jews failed miserably because they exhibited these same attributes and Adventists have followed exactly in their footsteps says Ellen White.

·       We tend to think that Sabbath-keeping is our only duty and lose focus on many other principles of the law—even the duty to personally minister to all whom we come in contact with after befriending them and meeting their needs where possible. Jesus met people’s needs FIRST! Jesus tried to make friends FIRST! Jesus did not begin with Sabbath-keeping! Jesus did not begin with laying down the law. Jesus began with a demonstration of being keenly interested in the welfare of those He encountered and how He might best benefit their welfare.

·       The power of relationships was demonstrated before doctrine is emphasized.

·       We are not better because we are better off! Better off does not equal better than!

·       The SDA church in North America averages only four new members per church per year! That small number is an abomination!

What I Disagree With

I surely don’t question the sincerity of Phipps and Black. But I do question some of their philosophy as to how to best evangelize the world. Not one person has ever been converted to Adventism via the SDA membership in the various ecumenical Associations, Councils and/or Confederacies. However, the first SDA representative to the ecumenical movement, Dr. Earle Hilgert, from Andrews University, left the church to become a Presbyterian Minister. That does not speak well for fraternal relations with that body which also accepts non-Christian religions into its membership. http://www.xpatloop.com/news/69590

Ellen White relates how Solomon, at first, thought he would convert his pagan wives to the truth. But they changed him. He built pagan temples for them to worship in. God’s Word strictly forbids Association, Council and Confederacy with His enemies, Isaiah 8:9-12. We are to come close to them and try to impress them with the truth, but that does not include joining their associations, for when we do that, they feel they are okay if we are joined to them. Jesus did not join sinners in their sin in order to win them. Fifty-two years involvement in the Ecumenical Movement has proven that disobedience to God’s Word in Isaiah 8:9-12, does not bring converts into the truth. Such a course causes all who violate that instruction to be “broken in pieces.” They are destroyed for no other option is cited.

I disagree with Phipps and Black on the practice of pulpit swapping. The pioneers of Seventh-day Adventism did not do this. For example, the SDA General Conference World Session has invited high ranking Catholics to speak at what is supposed to be the voice of God to His people. Ellen White told a pastor Baker that it is impossible to give our message, the three angel’s messages in the other churches. That is an empirical truth when you consider the fact that the second angel’s message is a call out of the fallen churches! So one cannot stand in their pulpits to call them out!

When an SDA minister speaks to another congregation, without telling them the Everlasting Gospel, the acquiesced notion is (to them) that they are just another belief system ladder to heaven. It is a bit difficult to call folk out of Babylon when that message has been implicitly conveyed.

Wintley Phipps relates the story of how he broke the news to Elder E. E. Cleveland that he had sung on Soul Train, a T. V. program. He played a video for Cleveland, who then remarked: “Now that’s evangelism!” I wonder how many converts Phipps made to Adventism by his performances on Soul Train. I have included the video below. You decide if this is true evangelism. You decide if his presence gives sanction to what is taking place on that program. You decide if an SDA Minister’s presence at a Babylonian church, without giving the truth, is giving sanction to that church as being just another ladder to the kingdom.

"We should never give sanction to sin by our words, our deeds, our silence or our presence." Desire of Ages, 152.

If the SDA church has the gift of prophecy which instructs in proper Evangelism, do we need to receive instruction from Babylon? Did the Celebration Movement work, or has some of its highest leaders admitted that it just didn’t work? Filling churches with people because entertainment was employed as a drawing card, is not proper Evangelism! Sending SDA students to a Mosque to bow down to Allah, is not proper Evangelism. Sending SDA students to a Catholic church to receive the Eucharist, is not proper Evangelism. Joining Satan’s Synagogue, the World Council of Churches, which admits into membership even non-Christian religions of the world, along with its more localized subsidiary associations and councils, is not proper Evangelism. An Andrews University professor teaching that SDA’s worship the same god as the Muslims, is not proper Evangelism.

The Truth About Why the SDA Church is not Growing Like it Should

Seventh-day Adventists were supposed to be the head and not involved with the tail. If they had obeyed God, His Holy Spirit could teach them more about proper evangelism methods than all the men in the world, including J. D. Jakes, Wintley Phipps, and Barry C. Black! Not only that, the Holy Spirit would convert folk to the truth! But will God give talent to evangelize and proselytize people into a church that makes them twice the child of hell because of its abominations?

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” Matthew 23:15.

If SDA leaders obeyed God, would they need to go to Babylon’s entertainment lords like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels to learn how to grow churches? Should we consult Satan’s henchmen for anything? Is that like Saul going to the witch of Endor? Who could deny that if we followed God’s council we could be the head without consulting the tail?! Pastors Phipps and Black don’t have a clue as to why the SDA church is not blessed with more members and a faster growth rate. The prime reason is because of all the abominations committed by the church for which we are to sigh and cry. Phipps and Black seem enthused with the notion that we can learn more from other churchmen than we can from God. I did not hear them praying to God for instruction, rather than consulting other men and lauding what we could learn from them! I did not hear them mention Ellen White’s book on Evangelism ONCE! Did Ellen White teach pulpit swapping! Nay! Did God pass her by on that issue! Nay! They would rather rely on the philosophy of man than God’s counsel through the Spirit of Prophecy!

 

“Mark this point with care; those who receive the pure mark of truth, wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost, represented by the man in linen, are those "that sigh and cry for all the abominations that are done" in the church. Their love for purity and the honor and glory of God is such, and they have so clear a view of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, that they are represented as being in an agony, even sighing and crying.” {RH, June 8, 1886 par. 2}

Wintley Phipps says that the SDA church is the fastest growing church in the world with a 2% growth rate. He must get his statistics from the SDA church because that is not what I find. The Mormons and the Jehovah Witnesses have a faster growth rate. If the largest church was a sign of the truth, the Catholic church would be the only true church! But the truth is not popular.

There is an article that says back to basics Adventists are the fastest growing denomination.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2011-03-18-Adventists_17_ST_N.htm

Another source says it is the Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons that are the fastest growing churches in the U.S.A.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/jehovah-s-witnesses-mormons-fastest-growing-churches-in-u-s-31266/

Top 10 Largest U.S. Churches http://www.christianpost.com/news/top-100-largest-fastest-growing-churches-29559/

1. Lakewood Church, Houston Texas – Joel Osteen (47,000)
2.
Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, Ill. – Bill Hybels (23,500)
3.
Second Baptist Church, Houston – Ed Young Sr. (23,198)
4.
Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, Calif. – Rick Warren (22,000)
5.
LifeChurch.tv, Edmond, Okla. – Craig Groeschel (19,907)
6.
Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, Ky. – Dave Stone (18,013)
7.
North Point Church, Alpharetta, Ga. – Andy Stanley (17,700)
8.
Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, Va. – Jonathan Falwell (17.445)
9.
Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – Bob Coy (17,000)
10.
The Potter's House, Dallas – T.D. Jakes (17,000)

Top 10 Fastest-Growing U.S. Churches

1. Iglesia Cristiana Segadores de Vida, Hollywood, Fla. – Ruddy and Maria Gracia (grew by 3,050;   109 percent)
2. Community of Faith, Cypress, Texas - Mark Shock (grew by 2,200; 163 percent)
3. Valley Bible Fellowship, Bakersfield, Calif. – Ron Vietti (grew by 3,600; 52 percent)
4. Community Christian Church, Naperville, Ill. – Dave Ferguson (grew by 2,230; 81 percent)
5. The ROC (Richmond Outreach Center), Richmond, Va. – Geronimo Aguilar (grew by 2,100; 100 percent)
6. New Life Church, Conway, Ark. – Rick Bezet (grew by 2,000; 108 percent)
7. Living Hope Church, Vancouver, Wash. – John Bishop (grew by 2,223; 75 percent)
8. Elevation Church, Charlotte, N.C., Steven Furtick (grew by 1,965; 444 percent)
9. Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, Va. – Jonathan Falwell (grew by 4,750; 37 percent)
10. Flamingo Road Church, Cooper City, Fla. – Troy Gramling (grew by 2,040; 51 percent)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuJ2sWxLjF0

 

http://www.kewego.com/video/iLyROoafY3UP.html

 

Wintley Phipps appearance on Soul Train http://www.kewego.com/video/iLyROoafY3UP.html

 

Barry C. Black, Biography http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Black

 

http://www.mrm.org/fastest-growing-church

 

—rwb