By Tom Mostert,
The following article is most interesting
and important. Elder Tom Mostert is retiring this year and he is beginning to
sound the alarm. Ron
+ 0 + 0 + 0 = 0
Tom Mostert, President
Dear Pacific Union Member:
As some of you who regularly read my letters know, I tend to focus on issues
impacting the personal or collective faith and mission of our members and the
Church in general. Matters we recognize are there, yet
for various reasons are not discussed. Here is my latest hot button issue!
The Zero Sum Equation
More and more Adventist members and some pastors are
modifying their faith according to what is or is not convenient to believe
and practice. Most do not admit this is the reason, but I have noticed most
modifications are in the area of sanctification; the process of progressive
development of a God-like mind and lifestyle. Few tamper with the basic free
gift of salvation. Let me illustrate how it works...
A person is raised with the guilt trip of legalism hanging around their neck
in the name of sanctification. It robbed them of peace of mind and made
religion an intolerable burden to bear. But they are more
enlightened now, and have simply accepted the free gift of salvation provided
through the death and resurrection of Jesus. In general, they hope to become
more like Him in thought and lifestyle, but any worry about specifics simply
destroys their peace of mind. So if it is important, God will bring it to
mind — otherwise, they practice sanctification only in general terms.
Total acceptance of the traditional Adventist understanding of sanctification
Someone decides they will believe in general
healthful living, but not worry about the details. Since various studies show
the benefits of red wine, and they like the taste and relaxation qualities of
it anyway, it is incorporated into their diet — in moderation, of
course! Likewise with coffee. After all, what is a
modern lifestyle without a caffeine kick?
When the list is finished, the incorporation of the traditional Adventist
health message in their lifestyle is ZERO.
Church leaders have attempted to get people involved in various witnessing
activities. But they don't like the pressure to participate, and strangers
always scare them. So they say to themselves, "Why go through the pain
and discomfort of activities which bring limited
results? I'll settle for saying something positive for God when someone asks
me a direct religious question. That leaves it to God to bring me the person,
and spares me the time and energy necessary for an unpleasant activity.
Anyway, I am so busy with job and family it is
impossible to find the time."
Intentional sharing of the Adventist faith with others?
Where once it seemed important to have a modern day prophet to warn and instruct
us as we prepare for the second coming of Jesus, it is now inconvenient to
accept Ellen White's pointed counsel about personal
changes. My, the list is endless! So we look for reasons not to read her:
some say she might have simply copied large portions of the material in her
books; the church was so legalistic in the past, she probably just flowed
with the times. Now our emphasis is on salvation
through Jesus, full and complete.
Total serious consideration of the prophetic messages from Ellen White = ZERO.
What Do You Have Left?
These are but a few examples of a long list of thought patterns developing in
members' lives. You could add belief in absolutes, the unique mission of the
Adventist Church , and
faithfulness in tithing. In the end each area equals ZERO.
A church whose distinctive truths have been zeroed out is left with nothing
different from the community church down the street. The unique Seventh-day
Adventist message and mission is reduced to ZERO.
Sincerely your friend,
Tom Mostert, President
Pacific Union Conference
Editorial, Pacific Union Recorder, August, 2007
Ron’s Commentary: You could add that because
all of the above is true, the presence of God in the church is reduced to
I have noticed the
lack of “absolutes” in the theology of many SDA’s
who claim enlightenment.