Online Magazine: Edition 14
December 2006 / January 2007
Welcome to the Fourteenth Edition of the Online Magazine of the Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church
- Pastor's Piece - The Trials and Suffering of Life
- The Mother's Heart
- The Former Rain Of The Holy Spirit
- A History of the Christian Church - Part Ten
A God of Love
by Norman Tew
Recently I came across a terrible web site. I was directed to it by a news item that said that a Seventh-day Adventist church in Alabama was to be picketed on 25 November.
One of the pages of this web site is headed in big letters - "God loves everyone - The greatest lie ever told - 701 bible passages proving god's hate & wrath for most of mankind"
I tried to look at the site on a system while away from home and I was blocked as the site was listed as
a HATE site! Yet this site is sponsored by The Westboro Baptist Church, in the United States Now I am absolutely certain that not all Baptist churches are hate fostering as this one is. Their whole site oozed venom.
Another page of the site says, "On September 11, 2001, God Almighty struck the United States of America with the worst terrorist attack in her history. " They draw the parallel that just as God used evil Babylon to punish Israel for her sins in the time of Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel so God is using terrorists to punish America today.
They claim that because homosexuality is tolerated in the United States therefore God hates America, and anything that goes wrong, such as Hurricane Katrina, or the death of school children in a school bus crash, is proof that God hates America and is punishing her.
But let us turn back to what the Bible really teaches.
A little later I looked at another web site, "Adventist Today". While I do not agree with everything on this site there was a very interesting article which started with the following paragraph.
"God is love. This is the most essential Adventist conviction, not the authority of the Bible, not the sanctuary, not the Sabbath, not our distinctive interpretations of the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation. While it is true that historically these other elements have been formative in Adventist evangelism and self-understanding, I regard them as scaffolding God has used to bring a clearer understanding of His love. These other beliefs are not ends in themselves. 'God is love' is both the foundation and the goal of Adventist theology. This conviction is the first and most crucial tool of grace."
It was a good article; I think it summed up the beliefs of the majority of members in the Seventh-day church. We believe that God is Love; that the world is currently in the control of an enemy. The stories in the book of Job show that not everything that happens is initiated by a loving God, though this loving God sometimes permits evil to be done. We believe that currently there is a battle going on in this world between the forces of evil and the forces of good, but that the battle was decided when Christ died on Calvary to provide a way for all ("who so ever will" is the way Jesus put it) to accept the benefit of Christ's death in place of the one that is rightly that of all sinners.
Paul says, "the wages of sin is death" Rom 6:23. He also says that, "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" Rom 3:23. Thus we are all due to die for our sins. But Paul also says "the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Rom 6:23 (second part)
You can find statements in the Bible that God will punish those who do evil, but a loving God would rather save than punish as Peter stated, "The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance." 2 Pet 3:9
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