Lay people from across the conference were encouraged, and were able to get to know each other better. The meeting theme was Forward -- with Yesterday in View.
In the first part of the event, seven speakers spoke on a variety of subjects. The first three presenters addressed our rich heritage--Where We Came From.
Joel Haywood, who preaches regularly at area churches, led the way. His topic was How we've been led. He showed how the Dark Ages and the Great Disappointment were foretold in the Bible, and how God led His remnant people through it all. Attendees were encouraged to be that remnant and remain faithful to God.
Elder Dan Knapp, a retired pastor spoke next. His topic was Protestant biblical interpretation. He asked, How authoritative is the Bible? Protestants protested because church tradition had been made more authoritative than Scripture. Seventh-day Adventists are some of the last Protestants still protesting. Attendees were encouraged to avoid the use of new forms of biblical interpretation which subject the Bible to human wisdom. We were encouraged to continue in the spirit of the Protestant Reformation: Sola scriptura, and to continue in the historical grammatical method of interpretation.
Dr. Sally Sartin, a Kettle Falls church member, concluded the "yesterday" portion looking at Ellen White: Messenger to the Remnant. She walked us through the definition of a prophet and showed how Ellen White satisfies all the requirements. She encouraged us, as did Sister White, to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus so that we may be led safely into the holy city.
The last four speakers spoke on issues the Church is facing today and on the way forward through them. Don Eckenroth, a retired pastor from the Hayden Lake church, carried on with Dangers at the door. Within the Godhead each person has His role to follow: The Father leads, the Son submits to Him and the Holy Spirit submits to them both. Each person on earth has their own God-given role to fulfill. Elder Eckenroth also pointed out how denominations that accept woman's ordination move on to accept homosexuals as members and clergy. If this is not the direction we want the church to take, we need to be involved. We need to take action.
Dr. Sorin Ispirescu, from Sandpoint, ID, spoke on Truths We Must Share. Adventists are called to be a peculiar people. Many beliefs set us apart from some denominations, but the sanctuary is the only doctrine we share with no other church. This makes us truly unique. Ispirescu encouraged us to give the "last warning for a perishing world," sharing with people the first, second, and third angel's messages.
The topic that seemed to stand out most in the minds of attendees I spoke with, was Non-unity to Unity: How? Randy Bierwagen of the Newport, WA church, addressed this question. He told us that we, as church members, are responsible for the state of the church. He reminded us of Daniel's prayer of confession for the sins of Israel. He showed how Christ has "one wife, one body, one church" and that it will continue on until the end.
Satan will work to destroy it and the church may appear to fall, but anyone who separates from the church is on the side of sinners. We shouldn't leave the church because we are discouraged. Rather, we need to stay and be part of the solution! Many mentioned this in our group discussion during phase two in the fellowship hall. They were encouraged and reminded that God's church will go through until the end. We don't need to leave it.
Rhonda Backman from Sandpoint, ID tied it all together In Affirmation of the World Church. She reminded us we need to encourage and build up those around us in our Church. This was another point that attendees took to heart. We need to be ministering to those around us. Backman encouraged us that the faithful will become the church triumphant!
Phase two was in the fellowship hall where supper was provided and members were encouraged to mingle and get to know each other. The 10 principles of the World Church Affirmation Sabbath, which can be found at http://affirmationsabbath.org, were shared with lots of discussion and wide approval. During phase one, response forms had been handed out and many were returned. They were overwhelmingly positive.
Many want to be involved in future planning. Generous donations were given in support the ministry effort and earmarked for future events. Attendees were glad for the opportunity to come together and work towards unification with the world church.
There will be more meetings, conference wide, on September 16! Additional information, as well as the link to sign up for the WCAS Newsletter, can be found at the website listed above.
Sign up for WCAS Newsletter here !!
Michelle lives in Chewelah Washington, with her husband Kevin, and two children.