Commentary on "Sequential Evangelism and Witnessing"
Day 3: Monday, April 30, 2012 - Milk and Solid Food
This lesson begins with a flawed Bible study technique that is frequently employed by Seventh-day Adventists.
What do you think Paul and Peter were specifically referring to when they spoke of milk and solid food and the need to grow? In your mind, what is theological milk as opposed to solid food?
Speculation and intellectualizing on a topic are not Bible study. Every one merely confirms what they have already been taught to think. And since the whole class agrees, it must be correct, and therefore the SDA teaching must be correct. The Bible is our source of truth and doctrine. So if your answers to this question cannot be found in Scripture, you are adding to the Word of God when you speculate and call it Biblical fact.
It is worth studying that Paul and Peter are making very different points in using the analogy of milk. Paul is using the contrast between milk and solid food to illustrate the difference between the basic elements of the Christian faith and more involved teachings. Peter, on the other hand, isn't contrasting milk to something else. He is encouraging us to hunger for the Word of God in the same way that a baby hungers for milk. Grouping these together and asking people to provide their opinions about what theological milk is completely misses the point of the passages, particular Peter's.
It may be worth defining the word evangelistic, so that we can understand the rather bizarre statement that Paul's teachings to the Corinthians was "evangelistic rather than edifying."
"Ordinarily, 'preaching the gospel' is understood to mean the proclamation of the good news of salvation in Christ in order to bring about the conversion of unbelievers. That this is the overwhelming usage of EVAGGELIZO is easily confirmed by a simple concordance search. For example, all fifteen examples of the verb in Acts refer to initial proclamation of the good news to unbelievers." William Combs, Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal, 7 (Fall 2002), 26.
According to the lesson, Paul is preaching the Gospel to convert (evangelize) the people in the church at Corinth. On what basis should it be concluded that church in Corinth was unconverted? How did this church have the gifts of the Holy Spirit if they didn't have the Holy Spirit through conversion? And why would the preaching of the Gospel not be edifying to converted believers?
This is one example that helps explain why the Gospel isn't proclaimed regularly in the SDA church. It isn't considered important or edifying for believers. We must also look at the content of what the SDA church calls the Gospel, because there is little, if any, Good News, in the SDA version of the Gospel. Instead of proclaiming that you are saved, the church proclaims that you cannot know or claim salvation. The Investigative Judgment teaches that you confessed sins will only be permanently forgiven if you prove yourself holy enough to deserve the forgiveness. There is no good news in that gospel!
The lesson asks us to look at John 16:12 and identify what important point we find here. I hope that the important point you found was that the Holy Spirit brings truth to believers. Jesus wasn't teaching about a "sequential strategy", He was teaching about the power and role of the Spirit.
Could it be that a sequential strategy of evangelism is being pursued because the church is lacking the presence and power of the Holy Spirit?
Copyright 2012 BibleStudiesForAdventists.com. All rights reserved. Revised April 25, 2012. This website is published by Life Assurance Ministries, Camp Verde, Arizona, USA, the publisher of Proclamation! Magazine. Contact email: BibleStudiesForAdventists@gmail.com.
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