Commentary on "God the Lawgiver"
Day 1: Sabbath Afternoon, February 4, 2012 - Introduction
The introduction begins with two errors that the lesson will build upon throughout the week. The first is the memory (proof-)text, taken out of context, and misapplied to this concept of Gentile Christians being bound by the law.
The second is an assumption that is accepted as truth within the SDA Church: “the law is a transcript of God’s character.” It is a deeply rooted belief within Adventism and is assumed to be true, even though there is no Scriptural support. It is a concept that is the cornerstone of the Great Controversy worldview.
The author attempts to connect the dots so that the reader will wholeheartedly embrace the concept of law of God being the method by which we express our love to God. These are not the dots that we connect when we read the Bible without Ellen White’s interpretation. Furthermore, it is built on faulty logic.
Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “transcript” as: a written, printed, or typed copy; especially : a usually typed copy of dictated or recorded material b : an official or legal and often published copy <a court reporter’s transcript>; especially : an official copy of a student’s educational record.
The thinking goes like this:
This would mean that the law given at Sinai applies to everyone, regardless of the fact that it was given to Israel alone. And if you love God, then you willingly adhere to the law. Further in the week, we will explore how this logic breaks down at every turn.
“The law” in Adventism is defined as the 10 commandments. Though the 10 commandments are commonly (but erroneously) thought of as the moral law, the fact is, there are moral laws contained in the other 600+ laws and there is a ceremonial law contained in the 10 commandments (the Sabbath, see Leviticus 23).
If the law is a transcript of God’s character, then that would mean that the surest way to understand Him would be by studying the Ten Commandments. And the fool-proof way to be more like Him, is to be committed to following the law (especially the Sabbath). This is the foundation of the thickly-veiled, salvation-by-works theology of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The ending statement from today’s introduction, is telling: “This week we’ll take a look at the law and, by default, the Lawgiver.” The Law and God are not one in the same. By doing a tunnel-vision examination of the law, it is very easy to attribute characteristics to God that are not His. By lifting the 10 commandments out of their context (time, place, purpose and status as the terms of the Covenant made with Israel) we rob ourselves of the full Gospel message and complete storyline of redemption told in the Whole Counsel of God.
Questions to consider: If, in fact, the law is a transcript of God’s character, why are only the 10 commandments a transcript of His character, and not the rest of the law that the Lawgiver gave?
As part of His mission to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17), did Jesus keep the whole law or only the 10 commandments?
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