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1. 2  “But Jesus-following and God-pleasing--not people- pleasing--can sometimes lead me up a hill, often carrying a cross. It can mean being silent.

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Presentation on theme: "1. 2  “But Jesus-following and God-pleasing--not people- pleasing--can sometimes lead me up a hill, often carrying a cross. It can mean being silent."— Presentation transcript:

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3  “But Jesus-following and God-pleasing--not people- pleasing--can sometimes lead me up a hill, often carrying a cross. It can mean being silent when accused, even refusing to defend myself or push back when my faith or character is unjustly attacked by brothers and sisters in the faith. …”  “I take my commitment to those whom I may influence by my ministry very seriously. And it is for this reason that I pause now to address some issues of faith that are dear to my heart and important to the many followers of Jesus who look to me for guidance, hope and inspiration as we journey together in the path of Christ. …”  “[L]et me now take the opportunity to address some of these accusations----to correct where misunderstandings have occurred, to concur if called for, and to adamantly restate when gross inaccuracies have altered the meaning of my writings and evangelism.” 3

4  “Let me say first of all that for me, New Age rhymes with sewage. I have such a low threshold for Gaia worship that in the middle of the movie ‘Avatar’ I had to take a break, so severe was my attack of Gaiarrhea. …”  “‘The Secret’ of the universe is not that you can have life your way. ‘The Secret’ is that Jesus is The Way (Colossians 3). Jesus did not come to make us divine. Jesus came to show us how to be authentically what God made us to be--human.” 4

5  “I wrote a book 20 years ago called Quantum Spirituality,... Back when ‘New Age’ was a movement, I was inspired by the brilliance of the Apostle Paul in evangelizing pagans, to show how even New Agers, like atheists or other non-Christian groups, could be evangelized for orthodox Christianity if only we learn how to speak to them. For example, the recovery movement language of ‘higher power’ or ‘higher consciousness’ can be turned into ‘Christ consciousness.’ Instead of ‘New Age,’ we might adopt and adapt the ‘New Light’ language of Charles G. Finney….”  “Would I write the same book today? No. Would I say some things differently? Yes. … But this was the first book to examine the challenges confronting Christianity as it entered into the uncharted waters of a new post-Gutenberg, post-Christian, postmodern culture, and I quoted and referenced New Age thinkers who seemed to ‘get’ this cultural transition better than the church did while I outlined avenues of approach to their minds and hearts.” 5

6  “By quoting and referencing people outside the faith, I am doing nothing more than Peter, Paul and Jesus himself did. … speaking their language to get their hearing, yet not compromising the gospel at the same time. Because I quote someone does not mean I agree with everything that person ever wrote. Paul quoted pagan philosophers in the Book of Acts. … The key consideration to whether I quoted someone was not ‘Do I agree with them?’ but ‘Does this quote energize the conversation?’ ‘Guilt by association’ is intellectually disreputable and injurious to the whole body of Christ.”  “It is doubly ironic that I am under attack for being Emergent or a leader in the ‘emerging church’ movement when I am known in emerging church circles as one of its severest critics.” 6

7  “The ‘emerging church’ is a young movement grown old very quickly because: 1. It is prone to cause political ruckus when it should be rocking the world for Christ; 2. It is missing a hunger and longing for the salvation of others, a passion for others to fall in love with Jesus and the sense that there are things at stake here that have both earthly and eternal consequences It appears more and more to be a new evangelical form of the old 70s liberation theology 4. It makes the mistake of separating the Person of Jesus from His teachings 5. It deconstructs everything, including the historic creeds of the church and the divine inspiration of the entire biblical canon 6. It revels in spreading doubt more than faith.” (http://www.leonardsweet.com/response.php) 7

8  “So his theology hasn’t changed despite what he said in his rather patronizing ‘ A Response to Recent Misunderstandings ’ filled with postmodern Humpty Dumpty language; the truth is, … nothing [Sandy Simpson] quotes Sweet as saying … has been retracted.”  “So his theology hasn’t changed despite what he said in his rather patronizing ‘ A Response to Recent Misunderstandings ’ filled with postmodern Humpty Dumpty language; the truth is, … nothing [Sandy Simpson] quotes Sweet as saying … has been retracted.” (http://apprising.org/2010/09/13/giving-leonard-sweet-a-nudge/)

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12  “Evangelism is about reaching out to others. Really? You think? Brace yourself. In Nudge, author Leonard Sweet sets out to revolutionize our understanding of evangelism. He defines evangelism as ‘nudge’ – awakening each other to the God who is already there. Sweet’s revolution promises to affect your encounters with others, as well as shaking the very roots of your own faith. So brace yourself.”  (http://www.amazon.com/Nudge-Awakening-Other-Already- There/dp/B004HB1BLU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid= &sr=1-1&keywords=nudge+leonard+sweet) 12

13  “In his newest book … Leonard Sweet makes the case that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way Christians conduct evangelism in today's society. His central assertion is that, like a door-to-door pots and pans salesman, we view our mission to convey the message of the gospel as using fear tactics to convince people of a problem they previously didn't know they had for which we just ‘happen’ to have the solution. The author's vision of what post-modern evangelism should look like is quite different. He spells this out in his concept of nudging people toward Jesus.”  “However, it is in the explanation of what Nudge is that we see the first subtle touches of Sweet's panentheistic worldview and the waters of the River of Life begin to get muddied. In his own words, Sweet writes, ‘Evangelism is NOT bringing God to people or taking Jesus to the unsaved.’ His core assertion is that, ‘Nudge is NOT bringing people to Jesus or introducing someone they don't know but should. Nudge is introducing people to the ‘Jesus in them’, to the God they already know, but don't know it.’” cont. 13

14  “To the casual reader, these may seem like innocuous phrases; but to any believer with a fundamental understanding of the supernatural transformation worked inside of us at the moment of salvation [conversion] as outlined in the New Testament - the very core of the Gospel message - these quotes reveal the crevasse-like fractures in the foundation of Sweet's worldview, and as a result his concept of evangelism.”  “Let me be clear, however. Sweet is NOT incorrect in his premise that the church's traditional means of evangelizing is flawed. By and large, the ubiquitous ‘salvation message’ … is a watered- down version of the scriptural too-good-to-be-true news Jesus and the apostles preached. … This easily packaged gospel is so prevalent in our western culture that the vast majority of Americans have come across it at least once in their lives. As a result it does serve as a vaccine against the reality altering, miracle working power of God unto salvation that Jesus came to perform in our lives. In other words, people have a ‘been there, done that, bought the T-shirt, played the Burger King scratch off game’ view of Christianity.“ (http://www.amazon.com/Nudge-Awakening-Other-Already-There/product-reviews /B004HB1BLU/ref=cm_cr_dp_qt_hist_one?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addOneStar&showViewpoints=0 ) 14

15  “There is but one power that can break the hold of evil from the hearts of men, and that is the power of God in Jesus Christ. Only through the blood of the Crucified One is there cleansing from sin. His grace alone can enable us to resist and subdue the tendencies of our fallen nature. This power the spiritualistic theories concerning God make of no effect. If God is an essence pervading all nature, then He dwells in all men; and in order to attain holiness, man has only to develop the power that is within him.”   “These theories, followed to their logical conclusion, sweep away the whole Christian economy. They do away with the necessity for the atonement and make man his own savior. These theories regarding God make His word of no effect, and those who accept them are in great danger of being led finally to look upon the whole Bible as a fiction. They may regard virtue as better than vice; but God being removed from His position of sovereignty, they place their dependence upon human power, which, without God, is worthless. …”  “Those who continue to hold these spiritualistic theories will surely spoil their Christian experience, sever their connection with God, and lose eternal life. The sophistries regarding God and nature that are flooding the world with skepticism are the inspiration of the fallen foe, who is himself a Bible student, who knows the truth that it is essential for the people to receive, and whose study it is to divert minds from the great truths given to prepare them for what is coming upon the world. I have seen the results of these fanciful views of God, in apostasy, spiritualism, and free-lovism.” (Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 8, pp ) 15

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17  “Immersed in a society that worships success, we have succumbed to a trendy fixation with leadership. In I Am a Follower, author Leonard Sweet explains how Christians in a twenty-first-century corporate-obsessed culture have shifted away from a Jesus art of following toward a popularized form of leading.”  “Through a colorful mélange of practical applications, imaginative metaphors, and probing biblical exposition based in gospel truth, Sweet reveals that the summons of Jesus and the message of the New Testament point clearly to an emphasis not on imitation but on incarnation, not on leading but on following.”  “Join Sweet on an exciting and intentional journey from leadership cult to followership culture.” (http://www.amazon.com/Am- Follower-Truth-Following-Jesus/product-reviews/ /ref=cm_cr_dp_qt_hist_ one?ie=UTF8& filterBy=addOneStar&showViewpoints=0  “Join Sweet on an exciting and intentional journey from leadership cult to followership culture.” (http://www.amazon.com/Am- Follower-Truth-Following-Jesus/product-reviews/ /ref=cm_cr_dp_qt_hist_ one?ie=UTF8& filterBy=addOneStar&showViewpoints=0) 17

18  Sufi poet Kabir: “‘Tell me, What is God? God is the breath inside the breath.’”  “True followers of the way of Jesus are always aware of their breathing. They are not only in touch with the external ways of the world but also in tune with the internal sounds of life breathing around them and inside them. They are tuning forks for others to follow their respirations. All of creation is made alive with the holy breath of the Creator.”  “Breathing Yahweh breath is breathing the holy breath of life. Yahweh. … our breathing and heartbeat are in tune with the name. Breathe in ‘Yah’ and breathe out ‘weh’ … I guarantee you will relax. The fact that we breathe the breath of God means our identity is also in him.”  “In the Hebrew texts, the name Yahweh … is expressed as the tetragrammaton, the four letters yud hey vav heh, or YHWH. And while the name itself is without gender, the letters vav and heh represent the male and female forces of Providence. [4] ” 18

19  “A Spirit-filled church is a praying church. It is a church with big Upper Rooms where followers pray without ceasing, attentive to the movements of the Spirit. It is not a church filled with program and agenda rooms but an Upper Room church in touch with both its roots and its wings. In prayer, followers are aware of breathing. When we are breathing Yahweh breath, the air between me and you is sprayed with prayer....”  “Life in the Spirit involves not only breathing but also moving, seeing, and listening. The Spirit breathes within us, moves among us, reveals to us. As God moves us through life and his(story), we sail as pneumanauts on the edges of the wind....” 19

20  “Our lives need to be moving with Jesus and gyrating in the winds of his gospel. Only by untaming our minds can we hope to see and hear the truth within the world....”  “Life in the Spirit is a lectio dvina life. These words refer to a traditional Catholic practice usually translated at “holy reading.” It is often defined as “praying the Scriptures,” but the discipline is actually more tied to careful listening for the voice of God. When we listen and look for the animations, ruminations, and illuminations of the Spirit, we engage in a prayer that tells God we are ready to receive the divine revelation.”  “Lection divina is one example of spiritual discipline that allow us to tune in to the reverberations and waves of the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of love and life. There is nothing more immodest than lectio divina, for it leaves the participant exposed, standing naked before God. The process is traditionally practiced in four phases. …The Irish- Belgian monk Dom Columba Marmion ( ) gave these four phases their classic expression.”  “Lection divina is one example of spiritual discipline that allow us to tune in to the reverberations and waves of the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of love and life. There is nothing more immodest than lectio divina, for it leaves the participant exposed, standing naked before God. The process is traditionally practiced in four phases. …The Irish- Belgian monk Dom Columba Marmion ( ) gave these four phases their classic expression.” ( I Am A Follower, pp ). 20

21  “The longer I read, the more the author seemed to distrust or disapprove of church leadership in general, and I’m not sure if much of his philosophy in the topic is entirely biblical. Much of the discussion seems to ignore or gloss over examples of Church leadership in Acts, or descriptions of leaders in New Testament epistles.” (Alexis Wisniewski)  “In the midst of these ramblings, Sweet rails against clergy, suggesting that ‘we have come to believe that most Christians cannot follow Christ on their own’ (180), yet he not only quotes several members of the clergy throughout the book, he himself by virtue of the written word is functioning effectively as a member of the clergy and making the very same assumption that his readers cannot follow Christ on their own.” (cont.) 21

22  “It's difficult to miss the irony of someone who’s authored nearly 50 books attacking clergy for having ‘come to believe that most Christians cannot follow Christ on their own.’ Moreover, the meat of Sweet's meditations, seems to be lost in the pendulum-like swings between overly casual language (e.g. calling the Holy Spirit ‘Coach Ghost’ and excessive use of the term ‘first follower’) and technical jargon (e.g. ‘semiotics’ and ‘solipsistic’).”  “Sweet shares extensive meditations on the three metaphors of Jesus in his well-known saying recorded in John 14:6, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.’ Unfortunately, these meditations read more like stream-of-consciousness ramblings than carefully thought-out ruminations on these metaphors. It is not uncommon for Sweet to make startling assertions for which he provides little if any warrant,…” (Keith Clark) (http://www.amazon.com/Am-Follower-Truth- Following-Jesus/product-reviews/ /ref=cm_cr_pr_hist_2?ie= UTF8&showView points=0&filterBy=addTwoStar) 22

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25 25  “The Voice™ is a faithful dynamic equivalent translation that reads like a story with all the truth and wisdom of God's Word. Through compelling narratives, poetry, and teaching, The Voice invites readers to enter into the whole story of God with their heart, soul, and mind, enabling them to hear God speaking and to experience His presence in their lives. Through a collaboration of nearly 120 biblical scholars, pastors, writers, musicians, poets, and artists, The Voice recaptures the passion, grit, humor, and beauty that is often lost in the translation process. The result is a retelling of the story of the Bible in a form as fluid as modern literary works yet painstakingly true to the original manuscripts.”  (http://www.amazon.com/The-Voice-Bible-Story-Scripture/dp/ / ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid= &sr=8-1&keywords=the+voice+bible)

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27 27  “The essence of Methodism’s genius resides in two famous Wesleyan mantras: “heart strangely warmed” (inward experiences with a fire in the heart) and “the world is our parish” (outward experiences with waterfalls of cutting- edge intelligence). For Wesley, internal combustion, the former, led to external combustion, the latter. “  “In the 18th century, Methodists in general (and in their younger years, the Wesley brothers themselves) were accused of being too ‘sexy.’ What else could all those ‘love feasts’ and ‘strangely warmed hearts’ be about? Why else were all those women in positions of leadership? With this book the author hopes to bring back to life some of Methodism’s sexiness so that our current reproduction crisis can be reversed.” (http://www.amazon.com/Greatest-Story-Never-Told- Revive/dp/ )

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29 29  “Biographies of Jesus generally have been written by those trying to investigate the historical Jesus with little attention given to the grand narrative of Scripture. On the flip side, those interested in tracing the theology of Scripture are typically disinterested in historical Jesus studies. These two approaches have yet to converge...until now.” (Book Description)  “I also really appreciated the appendix on Post- Apostolic Witness, including pronouncements by Aquinas, Wesley, Bonhoeffer, and Wright among many others.” (Book Review) (http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-A-Theography-Leonard-Sweet/dp/ /ref=sr_1_ 1?ie= UTF8&qid = &sr=8-1&keywords=jesus a+theography)

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31 31  “George Fox was a leader in a 17th-century Christian awakening from which came the Quaker movement (now known as the Society of Friends or the Friends Church). During civil strife between royalist and parliamentary forces, the movement spread rapidly across England and in American colonies, … Many early adherents were drawn from Seeker communities of Northern England. These Christians, disillusioned with monopolistic state religion, whether Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, or Independent, had been meeting informally for Bible study and prayer. George Fox forcefully articulated their criticism of the institutional church for its secondhand faith, sin-excusing doctrine, hireling ministry, and compromise with political powers.” (http://www.georgefox.edu/about/history/namesake.html)  “Fox lived in a time of great social upheaval and war. He rebelled against the religious and political authorities by proposing an unusual and uncompromising approach to the Christian faith. He travelled throughout Britain as a dissenting preacher, for which he was often persecuted by the authorities who disapproved of his beliefs.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Fox)  “[Quaker’s] founder was George Fox who at that time suffered severe spiritual depression from the spectacle of human suffering and from the doctrine of predestination he heard preached from Puritan pulpits.” (Howard Peth, The Dangers of Contemplative Prayer, p. 50)

32 32  “ Friends believe that there exists element of God's spirit in every human soul. The Patheos website states: ‘Friends don't teach that human nature is inherently sinful. On the contrary, the heart of Quakerism is the belief in an Inner Light, a part of God's spirit that dwells in every human soul.’ … There is a strong mystical component to Quaker belief.” (http://www.religioustolerance.org/quaker2.htm )  “Quakers believe that there is something of God in everybody and that each human being is of unique worth. … The light of God is in every single person… Fox got into political trouble because of his idea that there was something ‘of God in every person’”. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion /religions/christianity/subdivisions/quakers_1.shtml)

33 33  “Though Fox used the Bible to support his views, Fox reasoned that, because God was within the faithful, believers could follow their own inner guide rather than rely on a strict reading of Scripture or the word of clerics. ” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Fox)  “Many do not regard the Bible as the only source of belief and conduct. They rely upon their Inner Light to resolve what they perceive as the Bible's many contradictions. They also feel free to take advantage of scientific and philosophical findings from other sources. … Their religion does not consist of accepting specific beliefs or of engaging in certain practices; it involves each person's direct experience of God.” (http://www.religioustolerance.org/quaker2.htm )  “Quakers seek religious truth in inner experience, and place great reliance on conscience as the basis of morality.… Most Quakers regard the Bible as a very great inspirational book but they don't see it as the only one, and so they read other books that can guide their lives. … Reasons for disliking theology include: Theology distracts people from looking for the ‘inner light’ and responding to it.” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions /christianity/subdivisions/quakers_1.shtml)

34 34  “Fox also made no clear distinction between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. ” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Fox)  “They believe that God grows and changes with his creation and believe that God continues to tell human beings what they should do.”  “Worship: Quaker communal worship consists of silent waiting, with participants contributing as the spirit moves them.  Are Quakers Christian? Although outsiders usually regard the movement as a Christian denomination, not all Quakers see themselves as Christians; some regard themselves as members of a universal religion that (for historical reasons) has many Christian elements. Tolerance is part of the Quaker approach to life, so Quakers are willing to learn from all other faiths and churches. …  Quakers welcome diversity: A written list of beliefs is considered inappropriate. Quakers feel people should follow their ‘inner light’ rather than external rules.” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/ christianity/subdivisions/quakers_1.shtml)

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36 36  Book Description: “Perhaps no other religious philosophy is as simple and inclusive as pantheism. What is, right now, is divine; there is no god apart from the universe itself. In Standing in the Light, Russell explores the history of this tradition from the Stoic philosophers to the Transcendentalists while reflecting on her own life. … With a humane heart, an inquisitive mind, and luminescent prose, Sharman Apt Russell invites skeptics, scientists, and seekers everywhere to join her in her exploration of the soul of pantheism.”  Editorial Review: “As she tracks the profound influence pantheism has had on diverse religions, deep ecology, the romantic poets, and the transcendentalists, Russell recounts her decision to become a Quaker and her realization that she is, at heart, a scientific pantheist. Ultimately, Russell’s probing and illuminating inquiry into pantheism renews our appreciation for the complexity and wonder of life.”

37 37  Customer Review: “As a Quaker seminarian and fellow New Mexican, I'm more than a little partisan to Russell's latest book, but I'd recommend her beautiful lively writing to all who sense something delightful and disturbing in their experience of nature and spirit. [The book] is a walking meditation, faithful in its survey of pantheistic thought. … ‘Standing in the Light’ is a Quaker phrase that captures both the immediacy of religious experience and the difficulty of its explication.” (http://www.amazon.com/ Standing-Light-My-Life-Pantheist/dp/ )  “The book follows several different but interrelated threads: On a personal level, she describes her experiences as an on and off and on again Quaker. … Sharman traces the history of pantheism from pre-Socratic Greeks … to Epicurus and the Stoics. … The next hero of Pantheism was Baruch Spinoza in the 17 th Century. He was excommunicated by the Jewish establishment as well as rejected by both Protestants and Catholics. Spinoza attended Quaker meetings, … and his writings had some influence on Quakerism.” (http://ecouke.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/quaker-pantheism/)

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39 39  “Through a combination of academic seminars and field trips, students interact in-person with scholars from the host location and leaders from churches and faith-based nonprofit organizations engaged in significant ministry, humanitarian, community development, social justice, missional, and church planting efforts. Additionally, students meet with their advisors and research course instructors to discuss the progress in their research.”  “Through a series of real-world experiences in a variety of global venues students engage with Christian leaders from around the world, who are making a difference. They join a network of like- minded leaders who are transforming lives, empowering communities, or engaging in social entrepreneurship as a witness to the love of Christ. They explore ministry leadership at the global and local intersections of church, world and culture with Dr. Clark in a flexible, online learning environment.“ (http://www.georgefox.edu/seminary/programs/dmin-lgp/index.html)

40 40  “[This] program operates out of the conviction that leadership in the kingdom of God only occurs through lives that are rightly related to Jesus Christ. The program features an approach to academics that focuses on enriching both your leadership skills and spiritual life. As such, it fosters a learning atmosphere that encourages personal transformation in order to become an effective spiritual leader. …”  “Students meet face to face for a retreat of 10 days in each module. This contact time is intended to allow sufficient space for spiritually formative experiences, not just academics. While students meet for class with each of their instructors, they also follow a daily rhythm of prayer with their cohorts under the direction of the Spiritual Director, fellowship around meals, and time away for reflection.”  (http://www.georgefox.edu/seminary/programs/dmin-lsf/index.html#program_overview )

41 41  “ Anticipate change. Proactive leadership in Google Culture with Len Sweet.”  “The Leadership in Emerging Culture Doctor of Ministry (DMin) tracks explore the character and shape of effective Christian leadership in the emerging culture. The … program with Dr. Leonard (Len) Sweet prepares an advance guard of Jesus semioticians, leaders adept at seeing signs of Jesus' work in the world. These followers of Jesus are not afraid of the future but are excited about its possibilities and promises, while aware of its perils and pitfalls.”  “The approach is an ancient-future one of MRI (Missional, Relational, Incarnational) discipleship, using an EPIC (Experiential, Participatory, Image-Rich, Connective) interface. Students explore how to transition the church from its current default of APC (Attractional, Propositional, Colonial) to MRI, and play with a variety of EPIC interfaces.”

42 42 Advances Advances  “Students participate in three face-to-face 'advance' experiences in Portland, OR, Oxford, UK, and Orcas Island, WA. They meet for a research course, visit in-person with their advisor, and join Leonard Sweet for a number of learning sessions. Learn more....” Online and Hybrid Online and Hybrid  “The delivery system for the track utilizes a hybrid delivery model. Students participate in several conferences, receive personal mentoring from Dr. Sweet and select faculty advisors, engage in ongoing online interactivity with cohort members and professors, and engage in reading, reflection, research, and writing. Students meet weekly with Len Sweet for synchronous chats in SpotOn3D at an island online learning community called ‘Mag Mell’.” (http://www.georgefox.edu/seminary/programs/dmin-sfs/index.html)

43  John 15:18-20 “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”  1 John 2:15-17 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”  1John 3:1 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” 43

44  2 Timothy 3:10-13 “But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”  2 Timothy 4:2-5 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” 44

45  “Little by little, at first in stealth and silence, and then more openly as it increased in strength and gained control of the minds of men, "the mystery of iniquity" carried forward its deceptive and blasphemous work. Almost imperceptibly the customs of heathenism found their way into the Christian church. The spirit of compromise and conformity was restrained for a time by the fierce persecutions which the church endured under paganism. But as persecution ceased, and Christianity entered the courts and palaces of kings, she laid aside the humble simplicity of Christ and His apostles for the pomp and pride of pagan priests and rulers; and in place of the requirements of God, she substituted human theories and traditions.”  “The nominal conversion of Constantine, in the early part of the fourth century, caused great rejoicing; and the world, cloaked with a form of righteousness, walked into the church. Now the work of corruption rapidly progressed. Paganism, while appearing to be vanquished, became the conqueror. Her spirit controlled the church. Her doctrines, ceremonies, and superstitions were incorporated into the faith and worship of the professed followers of Christ.” (cont.) 45

46  “This compromise between paganism and Christianity resulted in the development of ‘the man of sin’ foretold in prophecy as opposing and exalting himself above God. That gigantic system of false religion is a masterpiece of Satan's power--a monument of his efforts to seat himself upon the throne to rule the earth according to his will.”  “Satan once endeavored to form a compromise with Christ [temptations in the wilderness]…. But Satan meets with greater success in presenting the same temptations to man. To secure worldly gains and honors, the church was led to seek the favor and support of the great men of earth; and having thus rejected Christ, she was induced to yield allegiance to the representative of Satan--the bishop of Rome.” ( Great Controversy, pp ) 46

47  “There is but one power that can break the hold of evil from the hearts of men, and that is the power of God in Jesus Christ. …His grace alone can enable us to resist and subdue the tendencies of our fallen nature. This power the spiritualistic theories concerning God make of no effect. If God is an essence pervading all nature, then He dwells in all men; and in order to attain holiness, man has only to develop the power that is within him.”  “These theories, followed to their logical conclusion, sweep away the whole Christian economy. They do away with the necessity for the atonement and make man his own savior. These theories regarding God make His word of no effect, and those who accept them are in great danger of being led finally to look upon the whole Bible as a fiction. They may regard virtue as better than vice ; but God being removed from His position of sovereignty, they place their dependence upon human power, which, without God, is worthless. …”  “Those who continue to hold these spiritualistic theories will surely spoil their Christian experience, sever their connection with God, and lose eternal life. The sophistries regarding God and nature that are flooding the world with skepticism are the inspiration of the fallen foe, who is himself a Bible student, who knows the truth that it is essential for the people to receive, and whose study it is to divert minds from the great truths given to prepare them for what is coming upon the world. I have seen the results of these fanciful views of God, in apostasy, spiritualism, and free-lovism.” (Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 8, pp ) 47

48  “The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced.  The founders of this system would go into the cities, and do a wonderful work. The Sabbath, of course would be lightly regarded, as also the God who created it. Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement. The leaders would teach that virtue is better than vice, but God being removed they would place their dependence on human power, which, without God, is worthless. Their foundation would be built on the sand, and storm and tempest would sweep away the structure. “ (Battle Creek Letters, pp ) 48

49  “As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third angel's message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, abandon their position, and join the ranks of the opposition. By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit, they have come to view matters in nearly the same light; and when the test is brought, they are prepared to choose the easy, popular side. Men of talent and pleasing address, who once rejoiced in the truth, employ their powers to deceive and mislead souls. They become the most bitter enemies of their former brethren.” ( Great Controversy, p. 608) 49


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