Deadly Doctrine

by Tim Challies I have asked Tim Challies about sharing his blog from February 2017. I have found it very profound and needed in today’s “touchy/feely” “say-whatever-you-want” society. His article is too long for one of our SR articles so I have done my best to condense it. For the full blog go to https://www.challies.com/articles/test-every-doctrine-test-every-teacher/ — Rob Appel T.D. Jakes says that God eternally exists in three manifestations, not three persons. Greg Boyd says God knows some aspects of the future, but that other future events are outside of His knowledge. Creflo Dollar says because we are created in the image of God, we are little gods. Mormonism says God revealed new scripture to Joseph Smith that supersedes the Bible. This world is a murky madness of true and false. For every doctrine we know to be true, there seems to be a hundred pretenders. No wonder, then, that John tells us to “test the spirits” and Paul says, “test everything” (1 John 4:1). It is our sacred responsibility to examine every doctrine to determine if it is true or false. But how can we distinguish sound doctrine from false? How can we distinguish teachers of truth from teachers of error? Here are some tests that are useful for testing any doctrine. Test 1: The Test of Origin Sound doctrine originates with God; false doctrine originates with someone or something created by God. Just as true doctrine is marked by its divine origin, false doctrine is marked by its worldly origin. Paul warned the Colossian church to avoid doctrine that is “according to human precepts and teachings” and told Timothy that some would “depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” (Colossians 2:22, 1 Timothy 4:1). The test: Does this doctrine originate with God or has it been fabricated by someone or something else? Test 2: The Test of Authority Sound doctrine grounds its authority within the Bible; false doctrine grounds its authority outside the Bible. The Bible is God’s inerrant, infallible, sufficient, complete, and authoritative revelation of himself to humanity. Doctrines that originate in the mind of God are recorded in the Word of God. There is...

Are You and Your Church In? Part Two

Rob Appel Executive Director Last month I wrote about the benefits of having a Conference of churches, the Seventh Day Baptist Conference of churches! The fact that we can reach further, and do more, when we have a larger pot of spiritual gifts, experiences, perspectives, and resources for Kingdom work, is a huge reason for the pooling of our resources. I stated that we had 32 member churches that had not supported the work of the Conference in 2017, and, although this was the fact, we continue to provide services to these churches. It brings me to this conclusion: we do not have 100% inclusion in the budgets of the churches of the Conference. Somewhere along the line we have been lost in the budget decisions of the local church. This could be due to the fact that there has been a treasurer change, a lack of seeing the benefits of the Conference, or simply just an oversight. I communicated last month some of the benefits that the Conference provides. I will not print that list again here. However, I must communicate that the work of the Conference from 2015-2018 has been more and better than I have seen it in the past 25 years! This speaks highly of the work that John Pethtel, Nick Kersten, Clint Brown, Ron Ochs, Jenni Wangsness and Jeremiah Owen are doing! Their collaboration in the Kingdom work has been inspiring to me. So how do I get you to see their efforts and get you on board with partnering with their labor? I also want you to know that the work of the General Council, the Coordinating Leadership Team, the Councils, the Missionary Society, the many sub-committees and the Standing Committees (Christian Social Action, and Faith and Order) are operating in a state of cooperation and teamwork. I have to state for the record, “In a way that I have never witnessed in the many years that I have watched our Conference operate.” So it is a bit confusing to me that while we are in a time in our long history that we have such cooperation, communication, and mutual trust, that we would be struggling to meet...

Are You and Your Church In? – Part One

by Rob Appel Executive Director   For over 300 years in North America, Seventh Day Baptists have been commissioned by Jesus Christ to use their gifts and resources to share His gospel. Today, we continue to advance His mission in a unique way. There are benefits of having a Conference of churches! We can reach further and do more when we have a larger pot of spiritual gifts, experiences, perspectives, and resources for Kingdom work and when we are part of a family larger than just our local congregation. Through this there are shared aspects of SDB life that all of our churches experience. Pooling our experience yields a broader array of choices and options when we’re looking to do something new or do something better. Our churches can connect, identify, and participate with the international community in the global mission through our shared channels of communication. There is a strong identity component — we are “part of something bigger” when we work together. Our Churches can learn more if we have the “iron” of the larger body to speak into our lives and sharpen our beliefs through contact with believers that hold the same fundamental tenants, but may have approached others from a different background or perspective. There’s a family/relational component in our churches —our churches, at least at their best, work and relate as a family. Those relationships can be deep and lasting, above and beyond “the work” we cooperate to do together. Several years ago we had a monthly mailer that went out called the “Leadline.” The name was changed to “Vision 2020” in 2005 and was dropped about ten years ago. In the Leadline/Vision 2020 there was a listing of the SDB churches and their contributions, year-to-date, to the work of the entire Conference of Churches. This was very enlightening to see where the support came from for the work of the whole. I state this history to inform you that as of this date we have 32 member churches that have not supported the work of the Conference in 2017. This does not mean that the Conference does not provide services to these churches who have not contributed. But...

Thankfulness Should Move Us To Action

    Rob Appel Executive Director In 2015 the General Council shared with us the SDB Vision Map. In this we had our MISSION, FOCUS, CORE VALUES, and KINGDOM CULTURE laid out for us. The FOCUS, or what we do, states this: “We must develop and support new and existing leaders who will work through healthy local churches. Leaders include pastors, as well as people who have served, are serving, or desire to serve in local churches.” In the KINGDOM CULTURE one of the areas detailed is Volunteer Focused. It states, “Volunteers are encouraged, empowered and mobilized to serve. Many ministries are successfully supported by passionate volunteers. (Through these opportunities, leaders are identified and developed.)” The reason I lead with these two areas of the SDB Vision Map is for this reason: God’s Purpose is for us to Be Productive! In Ephesians chapter two, verse 10 Paul says, “For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to DO GOOD WORKS which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Once we are in CHRIST we are compelled to do good works. Not that these good works do anything for us in the way of salvation, but rather because of what Christ has done for you personally, there will be a sense of thankfulness that moves you to action. You just want to do good works and to be a fruitful and productive Christ follower. God has work for us to do! And why does He have work for us to do? Well, in Ephesians 4:12 it says, “To prepare God’s people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up.” And in Colossians 1:10 it says, “And we pray this that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way bearing fruit in every good work growing in the knowledge of God.” There are opportunities for you to serve in a Seventh Day Baptist Ministry! We have sub-committees that work on various areas of ministry. These sub-committees are made up of volunteers. They work and collaborate on work that is given to them by one of the Directors. Then they report...

A Partnership in Ministry

by Rob Appel Executive Director     “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” — 1 Peter 4:10   When we think about the Great Commission, many of us feel overwhelmed. We might think to ourselves, “What can I do?” Do you ever feel like that — like giving up; like quitting before you even get started?   Maybe a better question than, “What can I do?” would be, “What can WE do?”   “We work together as partners who belong to God.” —1 Corinthians 3:9a God created each of us for a purpose. God gifted us with certain abilities, unique to us alone. And we can, and should, use these gifts for the building up of the Body of Christ. God is all sufficient and He doesn’t need us for His fulfillment— but God does want us to become His partner in ministry! God gives gifts to all Christ followers. God does not measure our success in life by our titles or positions or accomplishments, but by how well we use the gifts He has gifted us with. We need to give permission and encouragement to people so they use their God given gifts in ministry. Whatever your gift is, don’t bury it. Jesus told the parable of the talents to illustrate the importance of using what God has given you. In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus told about a Master giving three of his servants money to invest for him while he was gone on a trip. He gave one servant five talents, the second two talents, and the third one talent. The servant with five talents doubled the money, the servant with two talents doubled the money, but the third dug a hole in the ground and buried his talent. When the master returned he praised the five-talent and two-talent servants for being good and faithful. The one-talent servant who buried his talent was condemned as being lazy and gave his one talent to the servant who had doubled his five talents to ten. As Christ followers we each have a choice to make. We either choose to live a...

Things You Need To Know About the SDB Conference

by Rob Appel Executive Director   Retrospect – ret•ro•spect – noun – a survey or review of a past course of events or period of time. It is hard to believe, but I have had the honor of serving and representing Seventh Day Baptists for over thirteen years! Time flies when you are having a good time! This causes me to look back over the years to see what we have done together, and the first thing I came across was this: The Challenge. Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Back in November 2004, I wrote in the Sabbath Recorder about a challenge that we all needed to embrace. That challenge was to have a new vision about our churches. I wrote, “The challenge was made to all Seventh Day Baptists to look to a new vision to work together to establish twenty new churches and increase in another twenty of our established churches over the next fifteen years; Vision 2020!” So, how have we done in less than 13 years? We have added exactly fourteen churches. 2005 — SDB Church of Ft. Lauderdale — Ft. Lauderdale, FL 2007 — SDB Church of Southeast Atlanta — McDonough, GA 2007 — SDB Christian Church – Silver Spring, MD 2007 — All Nations Church — Grand Rapids, MI 2007 — Central Washington SDB Church — Yakima, WA 2009 — Agape SDB Church of Christ — St. Albans, NY 2009 — Faith SDB Church – Bronx, NY 2013 — Maranatha Community — Colton, CA 2014 — Bradenton (now Union Station at Dunedin) — Dunedin, FL 2014 — German SDB Church – New Enterprise, PA 2015 — Agape SDB of the South — Orlando, FL 2015 — SDB Church of West Palm Beach — West Palm Beach, FL 2015 — Full Gospel SDB Church — Cumberland, MD 2015 — Remembrance SDB Church – Fort Worth, TX And we have three joining this year! Redemption Evangelical Fellowship Church — Riverside, CA Edgewater SDB Church – Oak Hill, FL Agape Ministry Iglesia Bautista del Septimo Dia — San Sebastian, Puerto Rico That makes a total of...