These are the opening words of a March 1 North American Division news article on the NAD Website:
"The Seventh-day Adventist Church has officially published many encouraging statements, from Church Manual to Fundamental Beliefs, welcoming all people.
In practice, however, Adventist churches at times have been exclusive and repellent. We have closed doors to people who didn’t behave like us or think like us or look like us. We have cared more about being right than about being kind. We have confused acceptance with agreement. We have been too motivated by fear. We have turned away thirsty seekers of the free water of life.
Now is the time to be more intentional concerning the openness and warmth of our local church climates. We are pleased to share the new Adventist Church Welcoming Statements website. As important as a mission or vision, a welcoming statement gives the church a face.
Church leaders and members are encouraged to visit this new site to find biblical inspiration for creating a welcoming statement, a list of actual welcoming statements, and tips for creating a welcoming statement for each church.
In this time of authentic revival and reformation, when the fresh wind of the Holy Spirit blows where it will, any movement by Seventh-day Adventist congregations toward hospitality is something to celebrate!"
So the North American Division is calling for Churches to create an inclusive "Welcoming Statement." They offer a few select statements from the SOP, the Church Manual, and a Fundamental Belief. They throw in Revelation 22:17 for good measure. Sounds good, eh? But...and it's a big but....they let the cat out of the bag with this quote:
Do your church leaders agree that in the eyes of God your LGBT+ friends are equal in value to straight, cisgender people? Ask an LGBT+ person, “Are we a welcoming church?” (Adventist church Welcoming Statements website).
The NAD Welcoming Statement, appears to be motivated by the North American Division Statement on Human Sexuality. On the surface it appears generous, but it is aimed at transforming the Seventh-day Adventist Church into a veggie-link caricature of Babylon. Friends, if we go down this road of sentimental moral license, we will lose all inclination to call sin, sin.
We will undermine the Seventh-day Adventist missive, because ours is a moral message calling a defiant world back to the imperative virtue of God's Law--the ultimate Moral Code. As the left moves further left, SDA Religious liberty gives way to licentious liberty warring against the righteousness of God from within the Church. We cease to have a reason to exist.
What is needed? Resist and reach out. Resist the temptation to capitulate to cultural moral deconstruction of the ways of God. Reach out to those who are struggling with homosexuality and pray with and for them. Lead them to the Word of God to find repentance, and then repenting, joy & freedom. This is God's will for each of us.
Another paragraph from this 'Statement':
"...in today’s world where there are divergent perspectives regarding human sexuality, God uses His church to work out His divine purpose of bringing salvation to all people" (NAD Statement on Human Sexuality, page 1).
Are all people candidates for salvation, or are all people saved?
It is true that our Lord was accepting of people who came to Him. But it's only a half-truth. Those who came to Him with the purpose of converting Him to their way of thinking were laid bare by the Sword of Truth. Those who came with the intention of entrapping Him stumbled into their own snare (Psalm 69:22; Luke 20:40).
The Welcoming Statements website goes on to list a number of churches as models of Welcoming Statements. Here are some of the SDA Churches commended as models of inclusion for their 'Welcoming Statements':
- Hollywood 'SDA' Church (sponsored by Adventist Peace Fellowship)
- Green Lakes Church in Seattle (pastor John McLarty)
- Long Beach CA Church (pastored by a woman)
- North Creek Christian Fellowship (very contemporary)
- Tierrasanta SDA Church (ultra hipster)
- Toledo First SDA (progressive)
- Glendale City Church (openly supports homosexuals as members)
- And others . . .
It is interesting to note that of the 23 SDA churches listed, 4 are also listed on the Global Resource Collective--churches aligned with the One Project permutation.
It is also fascinating to consider that the leader of the NAD, Daniel Jackson, recently said:
"All of the women, children, and men in this world, regardless of whether they worship, live, or love like us, are children of God."
Love like us. This is a common term used by those who see homosexuality as genetically fixed, or as an acceptable alternative to biblical sexuality (gay theology). It is likely (giving the context of the Florida Gay nightclub shooting) that Dan Jackson was referring to the LGBT consortium and the unnatural “love” that defines them (Romans 1:26-29; Jude 7). If he is identifying these deviant lifestyle individuals as children of God, tremendous disservice is done to the cause of Christ and to the work of the Advent Message. An even greater disservice is done to captive homosexuals desperate for truth to be spoken in love.
We may call it many things but we cannot in good conscience call it love. Deviant “love” is not love at all, but a deconstructed substitute. Moral deviancy wounds people at their inner core—their heart. Thus damaged, their spirits can only choose between two roads. The road of repentance & freedom, or the road of axiological rebellion & destruction. Do we love them enough to help them find restoration beside us in the Great Controversy? Adventist Christians will either be a bulwark against political correctness or we will adopt it as our own, banishing truth to the darkened dungeon of capitulation—replacing it with a note that reads “I’m Sorry Our Bible Said Such Mean Things.”
Yes, we should be accepting of people, remembering that we were sinners saved by grace. Amen.
And we should remember that the standards of the church are constructed on Bible truths, establishing a bedrock of biblical conduct to which you as a member are committed by the Holy Spirit. If you belong to a community of believers, it is not just a belief in Christ but a certain harmonic expression of that belief that you are committed to. We do people no service if we extend 'acceptance' without truth. In fact, we set them up for destruction.
Truth without love, harms people. Love without truth, lies to them.