Mikhail Gorbachev, C. S. Lewis & Jesus

In the latest issue of TIME magazine, the leader of the former Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, writes an op-ed piece that begins: “The world today is overwhelmed with problems. Policy makers seem to be confused and at a loss. . . . It all looks as if the world is preparing for war” (TIME February 13, 2017, p 22).

In very similar language this observation was made over a century ago: “The present is a time of overwhelming interest to all living. Rulers and statesmen, men who occupy positions of trust and authority, thinking men and women of all classes, have their attention fixed upon the events taking place about us. . . . [T]he world is on the verge of a stupendous crisis.” (Education 179-180).

Could Ellen White and Mikhail Gorbachev both be right?

I’ve been reading Jacques Doukhan’s new commentary on Genesis this new year and am now immersed in the story of Noah. Commenting on Genesis 6:11—“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence” (NKJV)—Doukhan writes: “The word shakhat ‘corrupt’ refers to destruction and annihilation (Dan 9:26). This verb often occurs in the context of war (2 Sam 11:1; 1 Chron 20:1) and killing (Judg 20:21, 25, 35, 42; 1 Sam 26:9). . . . What makes the earth corrupt is the violence that predominates there. . . . . suggest[ing] not only the intensity of corruption, but also its totality; all aspects of corruption are implied” (Genesis 141).

Didn’t Jesus Himself predict, “As the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:37)?

Is the world “preparing for war?” Are we on “the verge of a stupendous crisis?” Are we facing unprecedented corruption and violence globally? Is Jesus soon to return to this earth?

What if the answer were Yes? Would it make a difference in the way we live today? Racially? Last June the Pew Research Center surveyed the nation and opened its report with these words:

Almost eight years after Barack Obama’s election as the nation’s first black president—an event that engendered a sense of optimism among many Americans about the future of race relations—a series of flashpoints around the U.S. has exposed deep racial divides and reignited a national conversation about race. A new Pew Research Center survey finds profound differences between black and white adults in their views on racial discrimination, barriers to black progress and the prospects for change. Blacks, far more than whites, say black people are treated unfairly across different realms of life, from dealing with the police to applying for a loan or mortgage. And, for many blacks, racial equality remains an elusive goal. (www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2016/06/ST_2016.06.27_Race-Inequality-Final.pdf)

And how is it in the church, the church of the Jesus who prayed: “. . . that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:21)?

“STORM: Finding Jesus in the Gathering Dark”—Pioneer’s new pulpit series segues with Black History Sabbath today, because the mounting evidence is inescapable. If we are saved by “the faith of Jesus,” then we will live by “the love of Jesus.” Why? Because in the end it will be the only way a secular, godless culture will recognize the divine—in a faith community where Blacks and Whites and Yellows and Browns are bound together by the radical, bold, self-sacrificing “love of Jesus” for one another. For as C. S. Lewis once observed about this faith community—“What you say about the VII Day Adventists interests me extremely. If they have so much charity there must be something very right about them” (Letters to an American Lady 109).

Really?

Comments

We, as Adventists are extremely rare people among this many divided fractions of Christianity but we seem to treat others outside of ourselves better than the one's among us. I have been an Adventist all my life but I always feel like a visitor when I am a member. I love God and believe in the Adventist faith but I do not trust Adventist even those in my family. Why? Because we do not truly love one another as we say we do. I must admit I am guilty of this as well.

Truly we ARE on the brink of a stupendous crisis. One only has to turn on the news to see that the past 21 days have brought tremendous turmoil to cities across our nation...add to that the crises in Syria, Libya, ISIS, and natural disasters...we can see the Mene, Mene, Tekel Upharsin written upon the walls of the world and our country. But then when we look at what is happening inside our very own church...it breaks my heart and must surely shatter the hearts of our Saviour, our Father, and the Holy Spirit. Where is the love and oneness when we have divided ourselves into segregated cultural houses of worship. In the community where I live there are not only huge predominantly white congregations, but also several black churches, and Chinese, Thai, Indonesian, Philippino, Japanese, and Korean congregations. Then you have a few very conservative congregations who hold seminars calling the denomination Babylon....Where is the oneness in all of that? Why can't we worship together? And on top of all that, you have world church leaders demanding "discipline" on those who choose to accept that the Holy Spirit can be poured out on both women and men to finish the work. The issue of ordination is a man-made issue, not a God thing. Look on the blogs of the various Adventist websites (Spectrum, Advindicate, Fulcrum 7, etc) and you see words that should belong to no Christian. The sentiments expressed in the comments on these sites harbor on cannibalism--not Charity. CS Lewis today might have a much different perspective on our faith community. Come on, Adventists, now, smile on each other...everybody get together and lets truly LOVE one another right NOW. Terrible times are ahead and we need to love and support one another. Let's be the answer to Jesus' prayer that we all might be one.

Pastor Dwight, I exited your sermon abruptly today...quite odd for me, because I relish my date time with God...I feel practically giddy that it's "our" time!!!! I started getting uneasy as I listened to the children's story....then you got up...black lives matter???? Black lives matter. Not Hispanic lives matter. Not Irish immigrants (who, by the way were slaves as well) matter. Not American Indians matter. But Black Lives Matter. The statement alone seems devisive in itself. Let me explain, unless, I am blasted as being too "prejudiced" and "bigoted" to have an opinion, which seems to be the case these days. Being West Coast and the same little church you came from, not one time had I looked at skin color. I didn't care if some one was purple, green, or turquoise. I didn't care what they did behind closed doors (I am referencing the gay lifestyle), because the Bible is VERY clear to me, LOVE the person...it's not up to me to judge, condemn, discipline, but to love that person like Jesus did. Am I perfect, goodness no...but I never had a racial bone in my body, nor did my parents. I can't remember growing up hearing anything of the kind. I recently moved to South Carolina. What a CULTURE shock. So, as someone who has worked their entire life, graduated from high school (picked strawberries to pay for the academy), graduated from college (I worked 3 jobs, took out loans and applied for scholarships and did NOT get help from my parents), got married, and when he walked out on me and our children, I worked nights to care for my family. I haven't had it easy. I also haven't blamed the "system" for what I did or didn't have. I went and GOT it. There are thousands of scholarships out there for African American children...but interestingly, not for my children. When my children's father left, not one time did I think about alternate career choices to provide for them. I WORKED. And you can bet when a cop stops me, I FOLLOW THEIR DIRECTIONS. There seems to be a common missing theme...there are consequences for your actions. Adam/Eve...Noah and the people that mocked him, who are no more.... Moses/hitting the stone.... So....back to living in South Carolina....I now work with several African American ladies. I learned a very hard lesson...you know what that lesson is? I'm white. And because I am white, I am the enemy, and I am to be hated and it DOES NOT matter how nice I am, it does not matter HOW Christian I am, it does not matter. It's very sad. This whole black lives matter movement is sad. It was based on false information to string up a falsely accused police officer. Dwight, Jesus loves all people, even the white ones, now, who for some reason, are supposed to be persecuted for the failings, of some people's choices. I'm sorry. No. I came from a dirt poor background. I worked my butt off and am still doing it. Nothing in life is handed to you, except Salvation from Jesus. Your sermon was offensive.

Well stated, Bella. Often wonder why we have all these "sidebar" issues? Distractions? Yes! Satan cares not how he "keeps" us (the church) in turmoil as long as we are NOT doing what we are supposed to do-spread the gospel! We must be like Paul & know only Jesus, creator, Savior, redeemer & Friend! Let us be about our Father's business!

Thought I'd print this in light of fact we are watching Pastor Dwight's video on "Healing the Fracture - Life in Post-election America" this afternoon at our church - Springfield SDA Church, Springfield, Oregon.

I am sure that you have a right to an opinion. Jesus loves all of us the same, but somehow sin has tainted the minds of people to think that color, race, power, influence etc. sets them apart from others. In every country, you find inborn hatred. Coming from India, we are plagued with the caste issue, gender is another galling yoke. Ethic fights happen in Africa, where brother kills brother because he is from another tribe. We cannot generalize or marginalize anyone into categories or give them labels. This is very wrong. It will all continue in the name of religion, and this is so sad. Mahatma Gandhi, who was an educated, influential, and also a man of "high caste" so to speak felt the pain, and brunt of ostracism, hate and bigotry all through his life, and finally was killed by a bullet in his own country by one of his kind. No one is immune to hatred whichever form it manifests itself in our life. You are right, we all have a hard life, no one has it handed to them on a silver platter. I'm talking about the majority of us. But wait, we can be comforted by one Person, and His name is Jesus, He left the glorious mansions above to become one of us, a sinful being, not a sinless being as was Adam before his fall. He was hated, despised, persecuted, and finally killed by the Jews not by the Gentile. We who are to follow only our Master, will we too, being His servants suffer the same fate as He did? Most certainly, we will. And if we are faithful to the very end, by forgiving others like He did, we will indeed make it to Heaven, where SIN will never raise it's ugly head again. Only if we overcome all the injustices here on Earth. May the Sweet Spirit of our Saviour be ours is my prayer for you my sister.

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