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Furthering The Fundamentals

Fixing, Furthering and “Finishing” the Fundamentals (Matt 5:20)

[Fundamental Belief titles below links to full online expositions (1st Edition, 27 {1980})] - Full PDF Download [(2nd Edition, 28 {2005+})]

            Without fault, at every General Conference Session, a significant part of the Church’s “Official Business” is spent in bringing about corrections to official Church statements as made in the Church’s Manual and in the Fundamental Beliefs. At times much of these corrections are of a tedious, syntactical nature, and not of a purely substantive one. However, as more in depth Bible study shows, the substance of what is presented in particularly here, the Church’s Fundamental Beliefs is in need, where applicable, of a significant Theological revision and expansion, and thus a substantive Fixing, Furthering and “Finishing” of these Fundamentals.
            While the general premise of all of the current Fundamental Beliefs (FB) are indeed acceptably Biblically based,[1] many of the particular stipulations in them, or involved in setting them forth, need to better reflect actual Biblical teaching.
            Furthermore, “Fundamental Beliefs” should not be a mere expression of formal statements, but should also, Biblically/Spiritually, anticipatively stipulate how they are expected to be “Be-lived” in the lives of those who ascribe to them, as naturally resulting practical applications. (See DA 309.1-310.2ff).

Here are some issues with the current SDA Fundamental Beliefs that are in need of such work  (by FB numbers). These issues/ideas have also variously been discussed in further detail in other blog posts:

1. The Word of God - SDA’s in particular could do a much better scholarly job of arriving at/ascertaining what exactly is the be considered “the word of God”, i.e., in terms of establishing original readings, from a copious amount of variant textual readings and also translational, syntactical options and presenting this in transparent and readily accessible forms. That will involve much more exhaustive work in the fields of manuscripts and textual criticism. This also involves proper translations from original languages into modern languages, which is a work that in turn should equally, thoroughly, be done for all applied modern languages, i.e., not just the current: ‘for, predominantly/exclusively, the English Language only.’
            Closely related to this is the obligation of making all works that help one to understand the word of God (e.g., commentaries, dictionaries, scholarly dissertational works, etc.,) also equally widely available and accessible to all language groups, and again not just predominantly in English.

2. The Godhead - The (sub-)issue of the foreknowledge of God as set out by the Fundamental Belief is provedly not in agreement with what the Bible actually teaches. (see e.g., this post) The related, but distinct, issue of God’s Sovereignty also is falsely treated in the current FB in an odd, defensive way in which God is portray as never meaning what He clearly says!?! Perhaps if the Church would understand the Biblical view of "foreknowledge" which shows that God is whole-heartedly, emotionally involved, has a lot invested and at great risk in this ongoing Great Controversy between good and evil, and that all in real-time, and that He thus does genuinely become deeply grieved, and also righteously indignant, when people rebel against Him (e.g., Gen 6; Exo 32; Num 14; 1 Sam 15; 1 Chr 21:15), and His perfect will, then a productive fear, love and devotion for, God would be developed. Yet even God won’t “force” you to fear Him, or accept that you love Him out of base, frightful fear.

4. God The Son - The most convincing proof available to corroborate that Jesus Christ was indeed the Prophetic fulfillment that He claimed to be, and all that this entails, in the Prophecy of the 70 Weeks needs to be more conclusively and concretely set forth in its supplied interpretational proves as seen in this post.

6. Creation - There is convincing Biblical reason to believe that the Bible teaches that this planet, at least, was created long before God actually organized it into an habitable place for created human life. (Briefly alluded to in the notes in this post). It is this sub-sequent Creation that is ca. 6000 years old, however, by necessary maturing aging for an instant full development, certain aspects of this Creation may now indicate a much higher age than this chronology.

8. The Great Controversy - The topic of the Great Controversy between good and evil is made much more Theologically significant and involved when a correct understanding of the Biblical view of God’s Foreknowledge, i.e, His “Foreplanning” is rightly factored in here. Many Biblical, Prophetical, Historical and Eschatological episodes and issues then come to make perfect, logical and sequitur sense.

9. The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ - As expounded on in this post, the physical wounding and mental anguish/suffering endured by Christ in His death also had a theological, atoning and concrete, anti-typical, significance for what was necessary in the full redemption of fallen humans.

11. Growing In Christ - An indicative test of whether or not one is indeed Spiritually Growing in the faith is if they are following all of the principles and example of Christ which emphatically culminated in deliberate and significant benevolent works. Christian and indeed to ‘grow into the full stature of Christ’ (Eph 4:13). Therefore this Biblical stipulation should be included in this also testing Fundamental Belief.
12. The Church - As the Spirit-led, and Divinely approved, model of the Apostolic Church showed the Church is to affect much more than a weekly congregating of fellow believers, but is also to effectuate a tangible support of fellow members in everyday life wherever the need may be. However today, the Church and its Institutions all just seem to be geared for meeting the (economic) demands of the world, and not in explicitly endeavoring to fulfilling the specific, exhaustive and comprehensive stipulations in the wide-reaching Commission of Jesus Christ. (See more on this here).

13. The Remnant and its Mission - (a) The “Remnant” is effectively really whomever is reflecting the True Apostolic Church and continually adhering to the actual “faith of Jesus,” among other such defining characteristics. Also, as shown here in this blog, following the dictates of Capitalism causes one to actually violate all of God’s Ten Commandments. (b) The “Mission” of this Remnant is not merely to preach a (presumed) soon Second Coming of Christ but to also fully engage in significant, global benevolent and humanitarian works. Indeed a true/sincere/actual belief in a soon Coming of Christ can, and will only lead one to an all-out effort to seek to accomplish all of what Jesus has said He wants, and expects, to be done before He returns. Actions do speak much louder than mere professions.

14. Unity in the Body of Christ - This FB is a perfect example of the Church just merely stating such beliefs, and actually not extending them into practical application. As presented in this post, Racial Division in the SDA Church currently, reveredly reigns supreme, as some sort of God-ordained practice!?! Practical, Theological, Doctrinal and Interpretational organic unity is also grossly lacking in the Church to the detriment of a coherent sounding message. There is also a great need for more unified collaboration in various works, made equally available/accessible in languages, which would be of great benefit to the Worldwide Church and its global mission

17. Spiritual Gifts and Ministries - The Church would be better served by a concrete, “due-process”, use of a Bible-based corporate “test all things” approach to discerning, evaluating, ascertaining, encouraging and supporting manifested spiritual gifts and resulting ministries rather than the current, almost default, subjective/opinionated ‘well if God is really “gifting” you and leading you to this ministry then first prove it on your own.’ (cf. in this blog post). This all results in 'the trumpet here definitely not giving a certain sound', but a quite confusing cacophony. Through this method, much of what is considered to be acceptable is perfunctorily, surfacedly, determined by ‘whether anything is spoken against the Church and/or its leaders. Well with such prideful/false parameters, all Bible prophets would have been rejected by the Church, including Jesus Christ Himself, (cf. Matt 23:29-35), and by extensions means that means that the Church believes that God Himself can never rebuke them in any thing, and that by whatever Biblical resort He chooses to use.           
             Such a concrete/transparent process here would predominantly involve being able to conclusively ascertain what teaching are in full agreement with the Bible.

18. The Gift of Prophecy - It is sanctimoniously easy to “disclaim” that ‘it is believed that the gift of prophecy did not end with the ministry of EGW,’ however what the Church expects as an acceptable, possible future fulfillment is for someone to similarly manifest outward signs of the prophetic gift, all the while not paying much more needed attention to the message actually being conveyed. Such a shallow approach will, on one hand, fool the Church into accepting false messages, and on the other hand, dismissing actual Biblical messages.
            While God has shown in e.g., the ministry of EGW that He will use outward signs to corroborate a prophetic message/messenger, these signs are only strictly inceptive, and temporary, and in the end, the validity of a prophetic message solely depends on whether or not it harmonizes with what the Bible actually teaches, for prophetic messages are repeatedly given to bring God’s people to what has already been explicitly or implicitly stated by God in His word. (e.g., this Bible-based, allegorical parable – though not a “prophecy” per se). One simply has to look back at the accounts of the life and ministry of Ellen White in relation to the Church to see that such outward manifestations can still be treated as inconsequential as, despite being recognized as a prophet of God, most of her messages of rebuke and redress were still patently, repeatedly ignored by Church leaders and certain members to their detriment. Therefore, as stated above in No. 17, the focus really is indeed to be on the substance message being conveyed and an accompanying test as to whether it is Biblical or not (cf. 1 Thess 5:20, 21; Acts 17:11).

20. The Sabbath - As underlyingly expounded on here, the observance of God’s Sabbath involves much more than observing the correct day, in the correct way, or even professing to recognize God’s creative authority with this day. As variously set out in the Bible, true observance of God’s Sabbath involves meeting the temporal needs of anyone who is in physical, temporal need. In other words, it affects more than a day, but also one’s socio-economic way of everyday life. (See e.g., 5MR 33.3)

21. Stewardship - True stewardship of God’s various gifts is to be also seen in the tangible whole use of these gift to accomplishing the Commission of Christ in the world. Of course this goes beyond simply returning 10% of one’s income. (Cf. the Bible basis for this pertinent post). This also corporately includes to what specific end Church Institutions are actually used.                     

22. Christian Behavior - Based upon the incontrovertible stipulation in Christ’s pervasive “Golden Rule”, and also as inherently modelled in His Ministry of Healing, healthful living is rightly to extend to also doing all that is possible to seek to help others similarly achieve such a healthful lifestyle, who honestly, currently cannot do so on their own, due mainly to economic reasons, and are thus literally suffering from socio-economic-borne diseases.

24. Christ’s Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary - What is, based on the Bible, actually involved in the anti-typical Day of Atonement is not fully, nor rightly, understood by the Church. It is believed that this process has taken now over 165 years solely because that is the time that is needed to go through all of the cases on God’s docket. But that is not what the Bible actually teaches. This belief is also better comprehended in the proper light of God’s actual foreknowledge.

25. The Second Coming of Christ - Succinctly said here, the often, mantra-like statement that: “Time is short”, “Jesus is coming soon” and/or “Christ is on His way” as if, effectively, He has already left Heaven and somehow has been retarded in His actual journey to earth, is completely misapplied here. The Bible teaches that Jesus will certainly come, and that “quickly/swiftly/in time” (Rev 22:20),[2] but not until the truly “witness” work that He, by Great Controversy implications, is depending on believers in Him to do on earth is actually completely and thoroughly done. And if this work was to be (actuatively) done by angels as it is now defensively claimed, surely it would have been done already. Angels will only do what a Global Church cannot physically do on its own, and not effectively, compensate for corporate indolence and indifference.
            In the light of the way the Church is currently not acting, despite a professed belief in a ‘temporally soon coming of Christ’, its comprising members should instead be praying that God’s delays His return so that they can get their spiritual, corporate act together. Unless of course, a (Capitalistic) individualistic belief is really reigning supreme here where, ‘one prays for, and professes a belief in Christ’s soon coming because they themselves are ready, and who care about other fellow believers... and also 6+ billion people. Again here, no binding practical application to inherent aspects of this Fundamental Belief.

27. The Millennium and the End of Sin - Related to this GC issue is an understanding of Bible end-time Prophecy. However, as applicable Bible prophecies have shown, they, especially the Book of Revelation, was not to only have an Historical application, but also an Eschatological application. (Cf. this prophetic exposition and this one; (cf. this related post)). However in order to fully/truly understand this, the Church will first need to enter into a deeper experiential knowledge of what it is to actually do all of God’s will, and that as He expects it to be done.
            Interestingly enough, although the Church may not come to understand such Eschatological fulfillments, it is (automatically) thus still a major counterpart contributor to these eschatological fulfillments; all as presciently envisioned by God.

            Secondly, the “full price” that Jesus had to pay on the Cross (see above in #9) in regards to the “most extreme” extent to which rebellion against God was taken to then, reveals what will be necessary in the end in order to rid the universe of sin, which then will need to be transferred from God’s own throne room to each individual sinner, and thus is revealed the actual necessity and purpose of Hell’s torment.

[1] This series of sermons by Jeffrey Rosario which presents many of these fundamental teachings from a philosophical perspective is quite interesting and helpful at having deeper roots for these key Bible beliefs. However the here presented “fixes, furtherances and finishings.” are detrimentally also lacking there.

[2] As a pertinent side note here, I believe, based on Rev 8:1,* and also several related SOP statements (e.g., EW 16.2), that it will take about (=up to) half a day for the Heavenly procession of “Christ and all of the Angels” to make the trip from heaven to earth, (lest a faster-paced journey by this Heavenly throng would cause some sort of chaotic cosmic/galactic disruption!).
            Moreover, this understanding may be corroborated by the return of Elijah and Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt 17:1ff|Mar 9:2ff|Luke 9:28ff), in that the reason why this event does (Spiritually) fulfill Christ’s Kingdom statement in (Matt 16:28|Mar 9:1|Luke 9:27) is because God was able to effectuate a microcosmic representation of, actually the Second Coming (see DA 421.4), instead of the established Temporal Kingdom, as rightly anticipated originally by Jesus (Mark 1:14-15, Matt 10:23 -expounded here), and even despite by then more prominently revealing that He would first (sacrificially) suffer execution, but a short-lasting death (Matt 16:21). This transpiring event on the Mount was not only done to help Christ’s disciples have faith, but manifestly also get Jesus fully up to speed with the changes of plans by the Heavenly Intelligence in regards to now establishing that Triumphing Zionistic Kingdom, as that generation of Jewish believer had failed to victoriously seize this window of opportunity. (cf. Matt 23:37-39ff).
            But the pertinent detail here from this Transfiguration event/meeting is that ‘6 (Matt 17:1|Mark 9:2) to “about” 8 (Luke 9:28) days’** elapsed from the time Jesus had made His Kingdom statement to the crowd to when this miniature Second Coming event was effectuated...And that may all, physically, be because, it required ca. 7 days of travel for Moses and Elijah, -(being in flesh & bone human forms, vs. (probably photon) spirit-angels (= ‘wind & fire/light’ of Heb 1:7; cf. John 3:8 & Acts 2:2-4)) to (survivably) make that, evidently transportation-assisted (cf. 2 Kgs 2:1, 11; Acts 1:9; Ezek 1:4-5, 13) trip from, here, Heaven to Earth.
            So from the time Jesus made His Kingdom statement, God then organized this special visitation trip to Earth by Moses and Elijah to meet with Jesus, which started its journey the next day, and was only completed by them 7 days later.
            The opposing point to such an understanding, i.e. ‘that it (necessarily) takes humans 7 days to (survivably) make the trip between Earth and Heaven’, would be the fact that Jesus, who the Bible and SOP show/state has remained in His human form following His resurrection (Luke 24:36-43 & DA 25.3; [see theologically more on this in here]), clearly made a trip to heaven, and then also back to earth, within one day (within a ca. 10 hour (i.e. ca. 6AM-4PM) time span), on the day of His Resurrection. (John 20:17; Luke 24:13-15, 28-29). The resolving/harmonizing answer manifestly is in perceiving/seeing that Jesus may, also specially (cf. Phil 2:6-8), have been outfitted, post-resurrection, with a special dual-form of both a “flesh & bone” Human, as well as, for special ministering purposes, a ‘wind & fire/light’ Angel (=Rev 8:2-5; cf. Rev 1:15a||Dan 10:6 -perhaps related to His prior form as Michael the Archangel). This dual-form actually seems to be the default form(s) of the Four Living Creatures (Ezek 1:5-7; Isa 6:4|Rev 4:8) who do have joint, Heavenly and Temporal, ministries based in Heaven (Rev 4:6-9) and on Earth (Ezek 1, 10). In fact certain angels can actually also manifest themselves in identical, flesh & bone, human form. (Probably only “angels which excel in strength”).
            And it is actually the post-resurrection appearance of Jesus in Luke 24:36-43 which concretizes that manifest post-resurrection dual-form of Jesus, as the SOP account of this appearance further reveals in DA 801.2 that Jesus had actually entered into the room, unseen by the disciples, when they themselves had opened the upper room’s door to go in. So Jesus did not actually ‘go through the room’s wall’ as many assume, and that is manifestly because, though, due to His angelic form/feature, He is able to visually appear and disappear, His human form is indeed still composed of flesh and bones (Luke 24:39) and thus cannot go through walls.
            And, -as seen with the Space Shuttle, (see e.g. in here), as well as space debris (=meteors; -see e.g. here), during their atmospheric (re-)entries, as the impedance to high speed travel of matter through (esp. atmosphered) space is that they become inflamed, it may be by using His “fire” angelic form to, essentially, fight/resist/repel fire with fire, that Jesus is capable of travelling at “light”-speeds through space while keeping his flesh and bone form safe...Indeed just like the Space Shuttle does become exteriorily a fireball during reentry but it, as well as its human cargo inside, remains in perfect condition (shielded from this fire by the shuttle’s ceramic nose and undercarriage skin.

* Contrary to what is claimed here [34:44-39:10] by Stephen Bohr, the “awful silence” that is mentioned by EGW from her vision in EW 15.2|GC 641.1 is not at all the same as this ‘about half hour silence “in heaven”’, as it indeed is one that occurs: (a) on Earth; (b) subsequently to the one which had begun “in heaven”; and (c) amongst the group of expecting/awaiting believers.
            A thematic/symbolistic commonality that is seen in both “silences” however is that, as clearly seen from the one on Earth, it occurs as an injunctive pondering is being made in regards to deciding what to do in the light of an already engaged course. Pointedly here, the actual persisting unreadiness & unworthiness of those expecting believers as Christ was literally already “on His way” made it a possibility that Christ would (mercifully) halt that Second Coming approach. But in that (ultimate scenario depiction) vision, He is shown that He mercifully chose not to; having instead chosen to, quasi-honorarily, salvage a redeemable Remnant in righteousness (cf. Rom 9:24-26, 27-29 (NKJV); Matt 25:31-40ff; LDE 218.4). A similar “injunctive deliberation” silence occurred in Heaven e.g., upon the angels hearing (from most likely an Earth-returning Jesus) of the news that Adam and Eve had fallen (PP 63.1 cf. EW 149.2).

            Indicatively enough, the silence in Heaven in Rev 8:1 comes at a similar pivotal point and manifestly then, and in perfect harmony with the linear layout of Revelation, it was then decided not to continue the Second Coming at that 7th Seal point. And so the Seven Trumpets judgment (Eschatologically =here|here) comes into full focus&transpiration next. (Cf. Rev 8:2-5ff).

** It has greatly baffled Bible Students as to why there is a blatant discrepancy between Matt 17:1|Mark 9:2 : “6 days” and Luke 9:28: “about 8 days”, but the answer actually is found through deeper exegesis in the Greek Syntax.
            First of all, it is lexically significant to point out the distinction that the Greek verb in Matthew 17:1 and Mark 9:2 translated as “took with Him” is the composite term: paralambano (Strongs #3880 =50X in NT) and not the simple term lambano (Strongs #2983 =239X in NT). This latter term, lambano, actually simply means “to take” or “take in” (=“receive”), while the prior term paralambano describes a more figurative type of “taking or taking in”. (Sort of as the substantive or effective difference between a military force (e.g. U.S. Army) and a paramilitary force (e.g. CIA Agents). So the “taking with” action stated by Matthew and Mark could figuratively also involve the leading up processes ending in this eventually concrete taking up (=mountain climbing journey), and therefore may include a period of time before the actual travel and mountain climbing when Jesus selected and gathered Peter, James and John and even prepared for this “high mountain” climbing journey, which may have taken a couple of days, and would explain Peter’s ready volunteering to ‘set up three tents for Jesus, Moses and Elijah’ (Matt 17:4) as he would have packed such temporary sleeping gear with him for this trip.
            Secondly unlike Luke who uses an (undefined) aorist tenses when saying that:

                        ‘Jesus took along 3 disciples... and went up the mountain...’,
            both Mark, and Matthew, -(who manifestly was basically basing his gospel account from Mark (=Peter’s) prior account and work), used, oddly, but pregnantly/significantly enough, present tenses when almost verbatim both saying that:

            ‘Jesus took with Him 3 disciples... and led/brought them up on a high mountain...’

            This odd usage of present tense verbs can be identified in Greek Syntax, (see Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, 535-537), as a “Futuristic Present” which is used to “describe a future event...adding the connotations of immediacy and certainty”....And also applicably here, an “Ingressive-Futuristic”, which is used to “describe an event begun in the present time, but completed in the future. Therefore though it manifestly would take a couple of more days for Jesus and the 3 disciples to be up on the high mountain and witnessing the Transfiguration event, Matthew and Mark were trying to show that the ‘gathering up’ the 3 disciples and manifestly substantively preparing for that trip a couple of days before it was completed was ‘immediately’ and with ‘certainty’ indeed all tied/linked together. So the whole trip to get to the mountain would have involved a total of 3 days, including pre-travelling preparations, thus inclusive between the 6th and 8th days after Jesus had made His initial “Kingdom” statement.
            So Matthew and Mark were focusing more broadly on all of the circumstances leading up to, and related to the travel, while Luke narrowly only focused on the actual travelling day, which was the 8th day.


  1. I really liked the bit you had on the Sabbath it isnt just a day its a way of life. Just like "Jerusalem" Isn't just a city/capital its the dwelling of God. (Obviously now in the believer as we are the temple of the Holy Spirit but you get the point)

  2. Unfortunately today, many (SDA) Sabbath observers are making the same mistake as the Jewish nation of the 1st century A.D. and (still) not viewing the Sabbath in its full Biblical light, which God clearly states (Isa 58) and Jesus deliberately exemplified throughout his ministry, involves thorough works of benevolence towards all those who are in physical need. For a Global Church as the SDA Church has come to be by God’s guidance, that then dictates a global humanitarian ministry using all of its available, pertinently God-given-towards-this-end, resources.


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