Many of you around at the time will remember the “Bo Knows” ad campaign from the late 1980’s with baseball/football player Bo Jackson. The ads “envisioned Jackson attempting to take up a litany of other sports, including tennis, golf, luge, auto racing, and even playing blues music with Bo Diddley, who scolded Jackson by telling him, ‘You don’t know diddley!'”1 The term later caught on, and people would say, you don’t know diddley to let you know you didn’t know what you were talking about.
Apparently the meaning of the term found its way in, and Seventh-day Adventists “…don’t know diddley,” especially when it comes to knowing who Christ is.
At least, that’s the accusation being portrayed by some.
While reading an article this morning by Clifford Goldstein, I followed a link in his post to a group of former Adventists who want to save those poor souls trapped in the legalistic world of Seventh-day Adventism. The picture painted by the various articles almost make it seem that Adventists are incapable of thinking on their own; they are only parroting their beliefs and values because of legalism and/or deception, not because of love or conviction.
In reading the article, I noticed a parallel between these former Adventists, and those who oppose the doctrine of a triune God. The writers from both groups pen such phases as:
- once I left the adventist (sic) Church, it was then that I really grasped who Christ really is
- no longer trapped by the trinity doctrine, I found Fellowship with the Father and His true Son
- blessings upon you all my brothers and sisters in the true Son
Although these statements in and of themselves are not bad, their implications are.
These former Adventists insinuate that current Seventh-day Adventists do not truly or really understand what Christ accomplished. The charge from their tone is that current Adventist’s don’t accept Christ’s atonement and the only Christ Adventists know is a legalistic one.
Similarly, the anti-trinitarian groups claim that trinitarians insert another mediator (Holy Spirit) in place of Christ, and because of the third person trinitarians really do not know the true Son or His Father. They assert and question why Adventists “…give the privilege to someone else after they [God and Jesus] had developed such a close relationship with us while Jesus was on this earth?”
The constant barrage of you don’t really know Jesus bothers me.
I’m saddened that so many go through life without having a personal relationship with Jesus. But then, what seems to be happening here is some of these hurting souls finally find Christ for themselves. They stop seeing Him through other people’s eyes, and instead see Him for themselves, which is the correct way to view Christ. Yet when some do reach that point, they can’t help but look at Him through a prism of where they once were. Not realizing that they are still on a spiritual journey to fully see Christ, they dive in, and set up a base which they view as immoveable, and inerrant. This leaves no room for growth or change of understanding. If they viewed God the Father as a dictator, many times, though not always, they over-compensate and then see Him as always accepting. The doctrine of once saved, always saved may have developed because of such a view. Someone longing for an accepting and loving God came up with the concept that He, no matter what, once you accept Him, would never again reject you. If that’s the case, what about King Saul, Israel’s first king? Shouldn’t he have been covered under the once saved, always saved umbrella? Was he not a chosen of God?
And what about Judas? Didn’t he drop everything and follow Christ? Shouldn’t he have been covered under the, “once you accept Christ, no matter what, even if you stumble and fall, you will be saved,” principle? What about Ananias and Saphira (Acts 5)? What about Cain (Genesis 4)? Or Esau? Or children of the Exodus who didn’t look up at the symbol (Numbers 21:4-8)?
I read a story where an individual saw God as a strict God and wondered whether mankind could be saved from Him. The individual envisioned Jesus pleading our hopeless case before the Father, and only after he cried “my blood, my blood,” would God relent and soften His heart.
We all arrive at Christ’s feet at different times and from different circumstances. Knowing and understanding that, we then need to be careful of projecting our past misconceptions onto everyone else. Just because your picture of God might have been a stern dictator-like personage doesn’t mean that everyone else pictured or pictures Him that way. Or just because some individual taught you in church school — who themselves held a warped image of God — doesn’t mean the whole Seventh-day Adventist institution is behind the flawed teaching of one individual.
In a scenario like that, when someone (person A) teaches another (person B) something, person B must then go and investigate for themselves, to see if what was presented to them is true to the Bible. Leaning on others will at some point fail.
In their zeal to profess their new-found understanding of Christ, these individuals (person B) take on the same persona as those who falsely taught them (person A), and they (person B) then become the ones miss-leading others.
Most current Seventh-day Adventist love God and love Christ, and many of us are here because of heart-felt convictions. I personally know many committed Seventh-day Adventists who remain Adventists because they believe it to be Christ’s church; not because they’re deceived and not because they fear God. Perhaps like those two groups above who didn’t fully understand or love Christ while Adventists, there may be others out there. In time, Christ will reveal Himself to them, and hopefully when He does, they will grow their own personal relationships with Him and grow in their Adventist faith.
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bo_Jackson, accessed 2012-03-23