Or Emotional Worship?
Finding An Authentic Combination
21 May 2003
Morgan, Pastor of two Seventh-day Adventist Churches
in Goldsboro and Wilson, North Carolina.
Discussion: Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D.
Retired Professor of Theology, Andrews University
Dear Members of the Endtime Issues Newsletter:
This newsletter is equally divided into two parts. In the first part I discuss two issues. The first is the shift that is taking place in a number of our Adventist churches from traditional to contemporary worship. We shall see that a healthy worship experience entails a combination of the two. The second topic is the reactions to my last newsletter on the Biblical view of warfare. Some readers raised some pertinent questions that I felt needed to be addressed.
The second part of this newsletter features an article by Pastor Kevin Morgan, who currently serves two Adventist churches in North Carolina. The article was first published in MINISTRY on February 2003, under the title "Truth and Experience: Finding an Authentic Combination." It is reprinted with slight changes with permission by the author. I have changed the title to "Intellectual or Emotional Worship? Finding an Authentic Combination," in order to express more clearly the content of the article.
The article caught my attention because it addresses the conflict over worship styles faced by many Christian churches today, including an increasing number of Adventist congregations. The conflict is often described as traditional versus contemporary worship styles. What is at stake, however, is not merely two different styles of worship, but two different ways of apprehending God: one can be characterized as more intellectual and the other as more emotional or mystical.
A healthy worship experience entails a balanced combination of the two. It must engage both the mind and the heart, the intellect and the emotion, the thoughtful proclamation of the Word and the joyful celebration of divine love and grace. This balance is sometimes missing in the worship renewal efforts of some congregations. The charismatic trend is to experience the power of the Spirit through rhythmic music, hallelujah shouting, and orchestrated preaching that stir up feelings, emotions. The proclamation of the truths of God's Word plays a secondary role in charismatic worship.
CONTEMPORARY VERSUS TRADITIONAL WORSHIP
In recent years I have spoken in few churches where the praise service was quite wild. Few weeks ago I preached in a church where the song leader manipulated the singing and the instruments in a most skilful way in order to lead the congregation into an ecstatic experience. During the singing some members kept rising up from their seats and shouting "Hallelujah," "Yes Lord," and "Praise the Lord." At the end of the praise service which lasted 45 minutes, the song leader and those who had been shouting the most were sweating and exhausted. It was not long before they fell asleep when I started preaching.
After the service, the pastor, who by contrast is a most gentle and calm speaker, apologized to me for the bedlam of noise of the song service. He explained to me that some members come to church to experience a "spiritual" excitement during the praise song. If they were to be deprived of such an experience, they would not come to church. Smilingly, the pastor added: "I let them release their pent up emotions during the praise service, so that they can be calm and relaxed during my preaching." Most likely the physical stimulation of the praise service causes them to fall into a "spiritual" slumber during the divine service.
The challenge that many pastors face today is to revitalize the worship experience of their congregations, without encouraging the bedlam of noise just described. It is a difficult challenge, because in most congregations there are two major orientations. On the one hand, there are some members who categorically oppose any contemporary music, some of which can enhance the worship experience. They want to stick to the old hymn book. On the other hand, there are those who believe the hymn book is outdated. They want to sing only contemporary songs, with a marked beat that makes them feel like swinging and dancing.
A Needed Clarification
A word of clarification is in order. As explained in our symposium The Christian and Rock Music, not all contemporary music should be dismissed as "Christian rock" inappropriate for worship. There are many contemporary songs with music and words suitable for divine worship.
During the past ten years I have preached in many Adventist churches where small groups lead out in the "Praise Service," using hymns and contemporary songs, which are usually projected on a screen. Some of the songs are trivial and shallow in both tunes and words, but the same is true of some hymns. I can bear a few trivial choruses that repeat the same word ad nauseam, as long as they are not the only repertoire of the church service.
Some of the contemporary songs, however, breathe genuine devotion such as "As the deer pants after the water, so my soul longs for Thee." Both the tune and the words of this song fittingly express the spiritual longing of a sincere soul. So, it would be unfair to label all contemporary songs as "rock" music inappropriate for worship. Incidentally, my youngest son, Gianluca, reminded me that the song "Welcome Home Children," which we used for a special video-recording entitled "Sabbath in Songs," is a contemporary song. This goes to show that I have used contemporary songs in my ministry without even realizing it.
The criterion is not whether a song is traditional or contemporary but whether its music, words, and manner of singing, conform to the biblical principle of worship music. Contrary to prevailing misconceptions, the Bible clearly differentiates between the music used for social entertainment and the music worthy of the worship of God. This vital distinction is explained in Chapter 7 of the Christian and Rock Music.
It was surprising for me to discover that in Bible times, the music and instruments associated with social entertainment were not allowed in the worship service of the Temple, synagogue, and early church. There is no question that God's people in Bible times clearly distinguished between sacred music used for divine worship and secular music employed for social entertainment. Those who deny this fact need to do some homework.
Some contemporary songs conform to the biblical principle of worship music. For example, the song mentioned earlier, "Welcome Home Children," has both a tune and words that speak to my heart when sung reverentially. Listen to the words:
A great day is coming
heaven's gates will open wide,
and all who love the Lord will enter in.
Joined with our loved ones
who in Jesus Christ have died
our eternal life together we'll begin.
It is hard not to be moved by the music and message of this contemporary song. The point of these personal experiences and comments is that the issue is not whether the music or the preaching, are contemporary or traditional, but whether they elevate the people spiritually, or stimulate them physically.
From Intellectual to Emotional Worship
During this past century there has been a gradual shift from worshipping God through the proclamation of His Word to worshipping God through personal feelings and experiences. This shift from an intellectual to an emotional worship style, reflects the historical evolution in the understanding of God. I have traced this development in chapter 2 of The Christian and Rock Music. During the course of Christian history there has been a gradual shift from the transcendental understanding of "God beyond us" that prevailed during the medieval period, to the immanental conception of "God for us" that was emphasized during the sixteenth century Reformation, to "God within us" perception that has been popularized from the seventeenth-century to our times.
The historical evolution of worship during he course of Christian history from intellectual to emotional, teaches us the importance of maintaining a correct understanding of God and His revelation. In Scripture, God has revealed Himself as being both transcendent and immanent, beyond us and within us. These two dimensions of God's self-revelation must be kept in proper balance to ensure a healthy religious experience, especially in the context of church worship. In Chapters 6 and 7 of The Christian and Rock Music, I examine at great lengths how our theology must inform our religious experience, especially our church worship. The way we worship God is reflective of our understanding of God. The charismatic, emotional worship style reflects a ship from a "God beyond us" to a "God within us" conception. The outcome of this shift is that God is brought down to the human level so that people can interact with Him more readily.
If you wish to read our analysis of this development in The Christian and Rock Music, feel free to call us at (269) 471-2915. We will be glad to mail you a copy immediately. The price is only $20.00, postage paid. We offer the book by the case of 28 copies for only $6.90 per copy, postage paid. Many churches have ordered this timely book by the case for the benefit of their worship leaders. The book is written by an international team of 7 scholars, six of whom are professional musicians with degrees in musical arts.
The shift from the intellectual to the emotional worship of God, is recognized even by producers of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM). In his book At the Crossroad: An Insider's Look at the Past, Present, and Future of Contemporary Christian Music, Charlie Peacock, an awarding-winning artist, songwriter, and producer of CCM, acknowledges the shift from God to self that has occurred in CCM, partly due to charismatic influence. He writes: "By emphasizing the work and gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially spontaneous revelational prophesying and speaking in tongues, the focus has shifted from knowing God through His Word to knowing God through experience. This in turn shifted the focus from thinking to feeling, wherein for many believers their experience became as much the measure of truth as the sure Word of Truth. . . . For some Christians, the desire for charismatic experiences gradually eclipsed their desire to learn of God through the Bible" (p. 44).
Pentecostal "God Within Us" Experience
The present search for a charismatic worship experience, especially through music, can be traced to the early Pentecostal music of the nineteenth century, which usually took up to two-thirds of the worship service. (Larry T. Duncan, "Music Among Early Pentecostals," The Hymn 38 (January 1987), p. 14.) The music was characterized by hand clapping, foot stomping, and dancing in the spirit.
"The intense singing was commonly accompanied by the strum of guitars, the rhythmic beat of tambourines and drums, and the blare of brass as new converts brought their instruments from now-forsaken dance bands into the house of worship" (Ibid. p. 14). Repetitious choruses with tunes of secular origin, together with drama and mime, were all used to generate emotional excitement rather than intellectual comprehension of biblical truths.
Indiana Adventist Campmeeting
The use of loud, rhythmic music, to cause an immediate emotional "high" experience of God, was not foreign to early Adventism, as Ronald Graybill has documented. (See Ronald Graybill, Singing and Society: The Hymns of the Saturday-keeping Adventists, 1849-1863, Berrien Springs, MI, n. d., p. 25). An unusual manifestation of such an experience occurred at a campmeeting, held in Muncie, Indiana, on September 13-23, 1900. Stephen Haskell, an Adventist church leader and author, describes what he saw in a letter he wrote to Ellen White, on September 25, 1900: "It is beyond description. . . . There is a great power that goes with the movement that is on foot there . . . because of the music that is brought to play in the ceremony. They have an organ, one bass viol, three fiddles, two flutes, three tambourines, three horns, and a big bass drum, and perhaps other instruments which I have not mentioned . . . . When they get on a high key, you cannot hear a word from the congregation in their singing, nor hear anything, unless it be shrieks by those who are half insane. I do not think I overdraw it at all. I never saw such a confusion in my life. I have been through scenes of fanaticism, but I never saw anything like this" (Stephen N. Haskell, Letter to Ellen White, September 25, 1900. Ellen G. White Research Center).
Ellen White took a strong stand against such charismatic style of worship promoted by music. She wrote: "The Holy Spirit never reveals itself in such methods, in such a bedlam of noise. This is an invention of Satan to cover up his ingenious methods for making of none effect the pure, sincere, elevating, ennobling, sanctifying truth for this time. Better never have the worship of God blended with music than to use musical instruments to do the work which last January was represented to me would be brought into our campmeetings. . . . A bedlam of noise shocks the senses and perverts that which if conducted aright might be a blessing. . . . Those things which have been in the past will be in the future. Satan will make music a snare by the way it is conducted." (Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, Washington, DC, 1958, vol. 2, pp. 36-37, emphasis supplied).
Ellen White's warning had its intended effect. Loud and rhythmic instrumental music was discontinued in Adventist churches. It is only in recent times that loud, syncopated, rocky music has begun making its appearance again at some Adventist youth rallies and in an increasing number of churches. This development is not surprising, since with prophetic insight Ellen White predicted at the turn of the century that "Those things which have been in the past will be in the future. Satan will make music a snare by the way it is conducted."
False Worship and the Endtime Deception
Seventh-day Adventists believe that we live today in the final countdown to the great controversy between true and false worship, as described in book of Revelation through the imagery of a beast that promotes the false worship of Babylon. This apocalyptic prophecy envisions the antitypical Babylon leading all the nations into the false worship of God (Rev 13:16; 14:8; 18:3).
It is important to remember that the apocalyptic imagery of the false worship promoted by Babylon in Revelation derives from the historical chapter of Daniel 3, which describes an event of prophetic endtime significance. On the Plain of Dura, all the inhabitants of the Babylonian empire were called to worship the golden image of king Nebuchadnezzar. A fiery furnace was prepared for those who refused to do homage to the golden image. Daniel informs us that "every kind of music" (Dan 3:7, 10) was used to cause all classes of people from all the provinces of the empire to corporately worship the golden image (Dan 3:10).
Twice in Daniel 3 there is a long list of the different musical instruments used to produce "every kind of music" (Dan 3:7,10). This eclectic music was played to induce people to worship the golden image. Could it be that, as in ancient Babylon, Satan is using today "every kind of music" to lead the world into the endtime false worship of the "beast and its image" (Rev 14:9)? Could it be that a Satanic stroke of genius will write Gospel songs that will have the marking of every taste of music: folk music, jazz, rock, disco, country-western, rap, calypso? Could it be that many Christians will come to love this kind of Gospel songs because they sound very much like the music of Babylon?
Historically, Adventists have identified Babylon with the power of the papacy that will lead the world into perverted forms of worship. While acknowledging the prophetic role that the papacy has played in leading many people into false worship through the intercessory role of Mary and the saints, one wonders if the charismatic worship inspired by beat music also will play a vital role in promoting the end-time false worship!
This would not be the first time in Scripture that music is connected to false worship. At the foot of Mount Sinai music and dancing were involved in the worship of the golden calf (Ex 32:19). In the plains of Moab, on the borders to the Promised Land, the Israelites were "beguiled with music and dancing" into a terrible apostasy (Num 25:1-2. (Ellen G. White, The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets, Mountain View, CA, 1958, p. 454. Italics added). They were lured through music to participate in heathen worship - something which they may have resisted under other circumstances.
The summon of the Three Angels Messages to come out of spiritual Babylon by rejecting its false worship could well include also the rejection of the artificial charismatic worship of Babylon. Soon the whole world will be gathered for the final showdown in the antitypical, apocalyptic Plain of Dura and "every kind of music" will be played to lead the inhabitants of the earth to "worship the beast and its image" (Rev 14:9). It is noteworthy that in Revelation the outcome of the showdown involves the silencing of the music of Babylon: "So shall Babylon the great city be thrown with violence, and shall be found no more; and the sound of harpers and minstrels, of flute players and trumpeters, shall be heard in thee no more" (Rev 18:21-22).
Those who reason that there is nothing wrong with charismatic church worship inspired by beat music, may be conditioning themselves to accept the false worship promoted by Babylon. Satan has his own music to promote the endtime false worship. Could it be that by adopting the music of Babylon, some will miss the chance to sing the New Song of Moses and of the Lamb? May this question resonate in our consciousness and challenge us to stand for truth like the three Hebrew worthies.
REACTIONS TO THE BIBLICAL VIEW OF WARFARE
The last ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER No. 98 "Was the Iraqi War Biblically Justified?" generated an unusual volume of responses, ranging from wholehearted commendations to hostile condemnations. Frankly, I welcome both the positive and negative reactions. They challenge me to reexamine the methodology and conclusions of my biblical research. Frankly, I benefit more from sensible pointed criticism than from generic praise.
What troubles me is not the criticism itself, but the accusative tone of some criticism. It is a hallmark of Christian maturity to be able to express disagreement, without becoming disagreeable. Let us all learn to avoid the use of offensive language when expressing our disagreements.
To illustrate what I consider offensive criticism, I will quote one example. The intent is not to judge the motives of the writer, which I am sure were sincere, but to exemplify the improper use of words. The opening paragraphs reads as follows: "I must confess I'm F-U-R-I-O-U-S and UTTERLY DISAPPOINTED in you, dear brother! I cannot believe my ears! What a disappointment that YOU, above all people, would fall prey to the lunacy of Butcher Bush's doctrine and rhetoric!!!
"How can you be so naive, so gullible, so . . . 'sold' to this assassin clothed in sheep's clothing??? I'm absolutely disgusted beyond measure. A scholar of your caliber publishing this trash is unworthy of the reputation you've built, sir! I'm sorry, I don't want to sound judgmental, dear Pastor.
"You've always been an inspiration to me, but today you've shocked me beyond measure! I feel like I lost confidence in you as a bastion of sound doctrine. From now on I'll have to seriously reconsider whether or not I should trust your judgment and methodology, especially in light of what I consider to be so many serious flaws in how you conducted this... 'biblical' (SIC) study!...
"There are so many flaws in your rationale, that I don't even know where to start! But start I must, hoping that you will *wake up* and shake the spell that this idiot named Bush casted on you."
These opening paragraphs of a very lengthy response suffice to illustrate what I consider "offensive language." To call president Bush a "butcher, assassin, and idiot," is not only offensive, but also biblically wrong. The Bible summons us to respect "governing authorities" (Rom 13:1-5), especially those who labor to maintain law, order, and freedom in this troubled world. One may not agree with Bush's reasons for bringing down Saddam Hussein, but there is no reason to insult him as a "butcher, assassin, and idiot."
Truth is the First Casualty of War
Contrary to my critic's allegation, I am not a gullible person, brainwashed by American propaganda. The fact is that I do not support some aspects of the Bush political agenda, especially his economic policies which have proven to be a disaster. Though I have lived in the USA for the past 29 years, I have not given up my Italian citizenship or cultural perspective. I still evaluate the American media from my own European outlook. The latter is facilitated by the fact that I travel extensively around the world. During the past 12 months I have lectured in a dozen countries, including England, Germany, and Italy. This has afforded me the opportunity to learn how the Iraqi war is reported in different parts of the world.
Listening to and reading the reports of the Iraqi war in different countries, has made me aware of the fact that the first casualty of war is the truth. The media of those countries opposed to the war, focused their reporting on the civilian casualties caused by the bombing. By contrast, the media of the coalition countries reported primarily the successful dismantling of Saddam's ruthless regime and the Iraqis celebration of their liberation. It is evident that the reporting is manipulated by political agendas.
Civilian casualties should not be ignored, but they should not be blown out of proportion either. Comparing to past wars, the civilian casualties of the Iraqi war were relatively few - approximately 2000 according to Time (April 21, 2003, p. 49). The reason is that most of the bombs were precisely guided by the global positioning system to hit specific logistic targets.
What critics ignore is the indiscriminate destruction of human lives and property caused by past wars. Over 55 million people lost their lives as a result of WW II. I shall never forget that early morning in the Spring of 1945 when Nazi soldiers busted the door of the home where our family was staying in the country with our relatives. At gunpoint, they forced out of the house while still in our pajamas, without giving us the chance to gather any belonging. As we were fleeing we saw many houses, including the one of our relatives, being blown up and suspected Italian killed by the Nazis while they were retreating because of the advancing American army.
What a jubilation when we saw the arrival of the American soldiers! I was only seven years old at that time, but I vividly remember going to the American military camp to beg for food. We were not afraid of them because they were our liberators. They had come to free us, not to kill us. They always gave us children dry army bread and nuts, which we brought to our parents.
A Biblical View of Warfare
The primary objective of my last newsletter was to examine whether or not there is a biblical justification for Christian nations to engaged in a war of liberation against a ruthless dictator, like Saddam Hussein, who has slaughtered countless number of innocent people. Can Christians legitimately ignore the cry of innocent people being tortured and murdered by tyrants?
Our investigation suggests that the Bible summons believers to be peace-loving, not desiring conflict. Yet there are situation when resisting evildoers becomes a moral necessity. Hebrews 11 praises the great warriors of the OT as great men of faith because they risked their lives in armed conflicts to defeat evil powers and to advance the cause of justice. We read that by faith "Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David and Samuel and the prophets . . . conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, put foreign armies to flight" (Heb 11:32-34). The faith of these great warriors was manifested, not in passive acceptance of oppression, but in active armed intervention against evil powers.
Christ Himself fought with His angels in heaven to terminate the rebellion of the devil and his angels (Rev 12:7). He counseled His disciples to buy a sword to defend themselves (Luke 22:35, 36). When His disciples told Him: "Look, Lord, here are two swords" (Luke 22:38), Jesus replied "It is enough" (Luke 22:38). The implication appears to be that Christ did not want his followers to go out to evangelize the world armed to the teeth like soldiers. A major of protection against potential aggressors was enough. Contrary to the teachings of Mohammed, the Kingdom of God is to be advanced by oral proclamation, not through armed aggression. But, Christ expected His disciples to have some weapons to be able to fend off aggressors. He never rebuked the disciples for carrying swords. He praised the Roman Centurion as a man of faith (Matt 8:10). Apparently for Jesus being a soldier was not incompatible with being a man of faith.
War is seen in the Bible as an unavoidable evil, reflective of our fallen, rebellious human nature, which affects international as well as interpersonal relationships. When the wickedness of a nation or an empire reaches the limits of God's mercy (Gen 15:16), an armed intervention by another nation becomes a moral necessary to bring such evil regime to an end. In the Bible the rise and fall of nations is the outcome , not of natural causes, but of God's intervention to bring to an end wicked and ruthless governments (Ps 75:6-7; Gen 15:16; Acts 17:26-27; Prov 14:34).
Christians are called to be peacemakers, but peace is not always possible in this sinful world. Peace at any price is not peace, but appeasement. Our God is not only a God of peace; He is also a God of justice. Proverbs 21:15 says: "When justice is done it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers." Christians should be interested not only in peace, but also in justice. There are situations when justice can only be done through armed conflicts designed to ward off aggressors.
Personal Aversion to Weapons
My comments are inspired by a study of the Biblical view of warfare - not by a predilection for guns. The truth is that I have never owned or even touched a gun. I am passionately opposed to the easy access to guns in the USA, which is largely responsible for the highest murder rate in the world. During my recent trip to Tokyo, Japan, I learned that guns are totally banned in Japan. The result is that murders are extremely rare, less than half-a-dozen a year in a megapolis of over 20 million people. I wish that the same were true in America.
The only weapon I have ever handled in my life was a discarded antitank 2" wide bullet which I mistook for a plumb-line. I found the bullet in a box of bolts and nuts at the workshop of our Ethiopian Adventist College. I assumed that it was an old plumb-line without the screw to attach the string. To remedy the problem I decided to weld a hook on it. The penetration of the heat during the welding process caused the inner charge of the bullet to explode. The shells perforated the ceiling of the workshop and wounded me in several places, cutting off my index finger. Truly I can thank God for sparing my life. I shared this experience simply to show my ignorance of and aversion to weapons. My thoughts are inspired by a passion for Biblical truth - not by a predilection for guns.
The OT and NT view of Warfare
Several respondents argue that there is a difference between the warfare policies of the OT and the pacifist attitude of the NT. A pastor, whom I highly respect, wrote: "God was working differently with His people in the OT as opposed to the NT. God was using His people not only as a spiritual kingdom but also as a political one and related to the nations around Israel in that manner. They were under the direct rule of God, a theocracy, and they related to the surrounding nations from that perspective. . . . In the NT God is working with His Church, not as a political entity, but as a spiritual operation among and within nations. The Church is not an earthly nation like Israel. We don't have national territory to defend."
It is true that there is a difference between the political nature of Israel and the spiritual nature of the Church. However, a major problem with this argument is the assumption that while Christians are called to advance God's Kingdom through the oral proclamation of the Gospel, Israel was summoned by God to establish a political-territorial kingdom through warfare. This argument ignores that the spiritual mission of Israel, was similar to that of the Church.
The reason God placed the Israelites in Palestine - the crossroad of the ancient world - was for them to become a spiritual light to the surrounding nations that would crisscross their territory. The goal was not for the Israelites to become a spiritual nation that would enlighten the nations, not a powerful kingdom that would dominate the world. Isaiah reminds the Jews of their mission saying: "Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the people; but the Lord will rise upon you and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising" (Is 60:1-3). Indeed, Jerusalem was to become "a house of prayer for all peoples" (Is 56:7). The Great Commission to evangelize the world that was first given to Israel, was later renewed to the Church.
A second point is that God often used pagan nations - not only the Israelites - to bring to an end the wickedness of powerful kingdoms. He called upon Cyrus, the Mede, "to subdue nations before him and to ungird the loins of kings" (Is 45:1). The fact that God used pagan nations to bring to an end wicked kingdoms and empires that had reached the limit of His mercy, shows that warfare in the OT was not determined exclusively by the theocratic form of the Jewish government. In other words, God used not only the Israelites to punish the various evil tribes inhabiting the land of Canaan, but also pagan nations to execute His judgments upon those empires that had reached the limits of His mercy. According to the prophetic vision of Daniel 7, God would bring to an end the dissolute Roman Empire, long after the theocratic form of the OT government had passed. In this instance, He used barbarian tribes who were not governed by a theocratic form of government.
Spiritual Mission Versus Political Responsibility
A third point that is often overlooked in this discussion of the Christian attitude toward warfare, is the distinction between the spiritual mission and the political responsibility of Christians. Simply stated, Christians are called to advance the spiritual Kingdom of God through the proclamation of the Gospel, not through warfare as often happened during the course of Christian history. But Christians have also a moral responsibility to resist the political aggression of ruthless regimes that slaughter innocent people. Christians are not to fight to promote their faith, but they have a moral obligation to stop the slaughter of innocent people by ruthless regimes. There is a difference between the Christian willingness to suffer for the faith and the Christian responsibility "to loose the chains of injustice, an untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke" (Is 58:6).
The argument presented by several readers that the early Christians did not resist the persecution of Roman authorities, choosing instead to die as martyrs, ignores three points. First, the Christians had no choice. Most of them were poor and disenfranchised. The few lucky ones like Paul, who were Roman citizens, used all the legal resources available to them and sought the protection of the Roman police against mob attacks. Paul was not a passive pacifist. He fought for his legal rights to the bitter end.
In the second century Christian lawyers, known as Apologists, arose to defend the Christian people from the senseless popular accusations and persecution by a few Roman Emperors and local governors. As soon as Christians became a political power in the fourth century, not only they defended themselves from pagan persecution, but they also initiated a most ruthless persecution of the pagans. Historians acknowledge that eventually pagans suffered at the hand of Christians, more severely than the Christians had suffered at the hands of pagans.
Second, Christian were persecuted because of their refusal to worship the Emperor and his image. John the Revelator was exiled to Patmos "on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus" (Rev 1:9). The Apostle refused to worship the Emperor Domitian as "Dominus et Deus," that is, "Lord and God." As Christians we are called to be willing to suffer for our witness to Jesus Christ, but we are not called to be passive before the injustice suffered by innocent people at the hand of ruthless dictators. Warriors like Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah are praised in the NT as great men of faith who "conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, . . . escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight" (Heb 11:32-34).
Lastly, while in the main the early Church opposed serving in the military service, because of the pagan practices of the Roman army, which required pagan rites and oaths, there are indications of Christians serving in the army. These Christian soldiers were responsible for evangelizing remote parts of the Roman empire. For example, it is generally believed that Christianity was brought to the British Isles during the first century by Christian soldiers stationed there.
Summing up, armed resistance is not proper in resolving spiritual issues such as when we are persecuted for our faith (Rom 12:14). But "peace" and passive resistance cannot be the Christian response to ruthless dictators who slaughter innocent people. Is it really a manifestation of goodness to let evil go unopposed? Can a morally responsible surgeon refuse to cut away cancerous tissue from a patient, allowing him instead to suffer until he dies? Can we praise a police force that offers no resistance to criminals who prey on our society? Could God be called "good" if He forbade His people to protect their family members from the evil intent of robbers, rapists, arsonists, or any other criminals?
No nation could retain its freedom and protect the lives of its citizens without some sort of an army for its defense. It is incumbent upon the goodness of God to grant to His own people the right of self-defense against the horrible cruelty perpetrated by violent dictators and bloody criminals.
Responses from Adventists in the Armed Forces
The most encouraging responses to the last newsletter came from Adventists who have served or are currently serving in the Armed Forces. For the sake of our overseas readers, we need to mention that an increasing number of Adventists are serving in the US Armed Forces. James North, a former military chaplain who currently serves as Professor of Christian Ministry at our Andrews University SDA Theological Seminary and as General Conference Field Representative for the National Servicemen Organization, informed me that several thousand Adventists are serving in the military. The exact number is unknown because Adventists who join the army do not notify to the General Conference. Several seminary students are planning to enter the military service. Adventist servicemen are stationed in military bases in different parts of the world. I met a group of them in Seoul, Korea, at the International Servicemen Center, where I stayed for several days during my recent visit there.
Prof. North informed me that only a distinct minority of American Adventists are serving in the military as non-combatant. The reason is simple. The military service in America is voluntary. Men and women not willing to bear arms do not have to join the army. They can stay out of it. The noncombatant position was developed in the early days of our church, when conscription in the army was obligatory. Today the situation is different, because there is no draft. The voluntary nature of the military service demands that those who join it must be prepared to bear arms.
There are no indications that our Adventist church today disapproves serving in the army in whatever capacity. Prof. North told me that this issue has become a "mute question" for our church. In a large Adventist church where I recently preached, Adventist soldiers who recently returned from the Gulf War were scheduled to conduct a special Sabbath evening worship service.
The present state of uncertainty on the Adventist position regarding serving in the army, is reflected in the struggle Adventist soldiers are facing in trying to reconcile their faith with their profession. Several of them took time to express their appreciation for the last newsletter, because it addresses some of the concerns that have been troubling them.
A retired LtCol. from the USAF wrote: "Your last newsletter was rather "shocking," but nevertheless full of Biblical truth. Being a retired military officer and a SDA church member for 15 years, I thoroughly enjoyed your latest study on this rather sensitive subject. . . . It was an eye-opener for me."
An Adventist couple who served together in the Canadian Armed Forces for 22 cumulative years, and who are currently teaching in an Adventist Academy, wrote a most perceptive response to the last newsletter. I was inclined to post it in its entirety, but the sake of brevity I will share only few paragraphs. After commending my courage for tackling "tough questions in the church that need to be addressed," our brother wrote: "After receiving the Advent message, I spent a great deal of time pondering this issue of war because I had been so indoctrinated by military and secular thinking. It seemed to me that Christ was calling us to be pacifist in principle, but whenever I tried to imagine myself in scenarios that tested the principle, my military mind would accuse me of being a coward. I asked myself what I would do if the evil horde rolled through our area intent on killing, raping, and pillaging - a very realistic modern scenario to cite Bosnia as just one example!
"Somehow, turning the other cheek just made my stomach turn. How would I be able to watch this happen to my wife and children and not intervene? At first I reasoned that I could interfere with as little force as necessary to stop the act without going so far as to actually kill or maim. Of course this would be an almost insurmountable task without a weapon and all this could hope to achieve was a slight delay of the inevitable. . . .
"How can we, in good conscience, support others in doing our killing for us and at the same time claim that war is wrong or not worthy of our active involvement i.e. actually pulling the trigger ourselves? How can we ask others to sacrifice their young lives on the battlefield in our behalf while we seek humanitarian solutions to the problem? It seems to me that we are trying to have our cake and eat it too - you kill the bad guys for us and we'll try to keep you alive. This sort of vicarious warfare reminds me of the Pharisees sending Christ back to Pilate for sentencing because they didn't want an innocent man's blood on their hands. Yes, volunteering for medical service saves lives but only to throw many soldiers back into the fray. . . . Dr. Bacchiocchi, I would be eternally grateful if you could shed more light on these questions."
We need to seek more light on these questions. The intent of my newsletter on the Biblical view of warfare, was not to settle the issue, but to encourage some fresh investigation of Scripture. Judging from the responses received, it is evident that many sense the need to reexamine the biblical witness on this sensitive subject. May the Holy Spirit enlighten us more fully on how we promote peace and defend justice at the same time.
SABBATH CONFERENCE IN HOLLAND
The "Sabbath Society," an organization representing several Sabbathkeeping groups in the Netherlands, has invited me to speak in several locations from June 6 to 9, 2003. Several subscribers living in Germany and Belgium, have asked me to provide the information about the time and the place of the meetings. Here is the schedule:
FRIDAY June 6, 7:30 p. m. - Adventist Church located in Minstreelstraat 9, Rotterdam-North.
SABBATH June 7, 10.00 a. m and 1:30 p. m. - Magnalia Dei Church, located in Albardastraat 67, Schiedam-North
SUNDAY MORNING June 8, 9:30 a. m. - Amersfoort Messianic Fellowship, meeting in Evangelische Hogeschool (EH), located in Drentsestraat 1, 3812 EH Amersfoort.
SUNDAY AFTERNOON June 8, 2:00 p.m. - Ontmoetingscentrum Wegwijs, located in Hofstraat 28, Groningen.
MONDAY June 9, 10.00 a. m. and 1:30 p. m. Adventkerk located in Mercuriuslaan 35, Apeldoorn.
For more detailed information, feel free to call Niko Koffeman at 0577 411727, (cell) 06 53533132: or Mrs Ria Westein at 0577 411020 (business) or 0577 411211 (private)
I am looking forward with great anticipation to meet with different Sabbatarian groups in the Netherlands. What makes this trip unique, is the incredible effort made by these believers to translate and publish my doctoral dissertation From Sabbath To Sunday. They reassured me that printer is committed to have the book out by June 5, that is, the day of my arrival in Amsterdam.
The story behind this translation is heartwarming. Mrs Ruth van Wijk, the translator, shared with me her experience in a message I just received yesterday. Ruth is still a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, though she attends on Saturday a Sabbatarian group. She is a busy lady, looking after her husband and five lovely children, ranging in age from 7 to 15 years. She also teaches Dutch three days a week.
About four years ago she received a copy of From Sabbath to Sunday, which caused her to reexamine her religious convictions. I will let her tell the rest of the story in her own words: " I enjoyed the thoroughness of your investigation and argumentation. . . . I wanted to study more closely the book for myself so I started translating it into Dutch. I felt the Lord asked me to translate the book so that others might read it too. In September 1999 I started the translation, writing it by hand in 8 notebooks because I hated working with computers. It is not my job. A year later, summer 2000, I finished the translation and handed it over to Anton en Clara de Ruiter. He tried to enter the text in the computer but it was a too big job. One and a half year later, in February 2002, he gave me back the manuscript, asking me to enter it in the computer myself. My daughter, 13 years old, is very handy and helped me for a big part. A year later, February 25, 2003, I finished the job and I hand it over to the editor for the final corrections.
This is in short the story of my contribution to the Dutch translation and publication of your dissertation. I am very thankful to the Lord that we have come so far. Now, I hope and pray that the Lord will bless this publication and give insights to many people in Holland about the value of the Lord's Shabbat and the pagan background of Sunday worship."
I am deeply moved by this story. How could a mother of five children with a part-time teaching job, be willing and able to dedicate over two years of her precious time to translate my dissertation, with an extensive footnotes apparatus? More amzing still is that she did it all as a labor of love, without any financial compensation. I am moved to tears by Ruth's commitment to help her Dutch people understand and experience the blessings of the Sabbath. I look forward to give her a hug in few days when I will met her.
I wish to express my wholehearted appreciation to the many people in Holland who have been working hard to plan for the forthcoming SABBATH CONFERENCES in different locations. I am told that about 100 believers will come by bus from Belgium, and others by car from Germany. I am looking forward to a blessed time of worship and fellowship together. I my next newsletter I will give a brief report of how things went.
ANNOUNCEMENTS AT THE END OF THIS NEWSLETTER
At the end of this newsletter you will find the following important announcements:
A THANK YOU NOTE
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INTELLECTUAL OR EMOTIONAL WORSHIP? FINDING AN AUTHENTIC COMBINATION
Kevin Morgan, Pastor of two Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Goldsboro and Wilson, North Carolina.
Americans are expressing renewed interest in spiritual things. As Modernism has proved cold and unsatisfying, the present generation has begun looking for spiritual sustenance or emotional meaning elsewhere, though not necessarily through the channels of previous generations.
In a 1996 broadcast, Peter Jennings of America's ABC News articulated some ways Americans are conducting their spiritual search. His special report began by saying, "While 88 percent of Americans count themselves as Christian, membership in mainline or traditional Protestant churches has been declining since the 1960s. The Catholic Church is also struggling. And yet, here we are in the mid 1990s with Americans hungering for spiritual meaning. . . ."1
Americans are looking for something beyond mere formalism. They are seeking a religious experience that they can actually feel. They are longing for an encounter with God that is personally and emotionally satisfying. Now more than ever, American Jews, Protestants, Catholics, and non-Christians are shifting away from formalism to what I would term "public and private mysticism."
What does this mean for the church? What challenges does this new, more mystical approach to spirituality present? How can we ourselves avoid falling into the pitfalls inherent in this kind of worldview?
Experiencing Pagan Mysticism
Consistent with this burgeoning mysticism is the growing curiosity of Americans and others in Zen Buddhisma religion that has become popular with some among the American entertainment elite. Popular entertainers such as Tina Turner and Herbie Hancock chant Buddhist mantras. Terms such as Nirvana and koan are in common usage in Western cultures that were formerly foreign to such language.
"Then there are celebrities whose exact commitment to the faith is a guessing game. Oliver Stone publicly conscripts Tibetan 'wrathful deities' to fend off his detractors; Courtney Love is said to be a practitioner, while Harrison Ford simply supports Tibetan freedom (his former wife, Melissa Mathison, wrote Kundun's script). And in one of the more peculiar occurrences along the Hollywood-Lhasa axis, action-film star and all-around surly guy Steven Seagal was recognized by the head of the venerable Nyingma Tibetan lineage as the reincarnation of a fifteenth-century lama."2
What draws people to Zen Buddhism is that its "meditation strikes some as a daily, direct experience of the sacred absent from Sundays-only religion."3 In other words, the "magnet" of Zen is its sense of "immediacy," or supposed personal contact with God. For this reason, New Age phenomena are also thriving. They emphasize immersion in experience and suspension of reason, such as is seen in "channeling."
"What I offer people," said channeler Thomas Jacobson, "is the chance to temporarily suspend the debate over whether channeling is real and just immerse themselves in the experience"4 (emphasis supplied). Among Jews there's a growing interest in a popular form of the Kabbalah, a "received" mysticism based on the Zohar, the thirteenth-century mystical book set down in ancient Aramaic by the Spanish-Jewish writer Moses de Lean. "Kabbalism . . . prescribes prayers, meditative practices and, depending on whom you ask, magical practices and numerology."5
All these forms of mysticism have one thing in common: they emphasize experience and the bypassing of reason. In fact, this is Webster's very definition of mysticism: "The doctrine or belief that direct spiritual apprehension of truth or union with God may be obtained through contemplation or insight in ways inaccessible to the senses or reason."6
The Christian Connection
Some Christian writers echo this broader definition of mysticism and suggest that such a direct and mystical connection with God might be a good thing. "There is no need to blanch at the word mysticism. It's a perfectly sound word that merely describes a way of knowing beyond your physical senses; thus it accurately describes the life of anyone who believes in God and a world of the unseen. It is not a belief system or a set of doctrines. When we talk or think about love, prayer, meditation, revelation, inspiration, perception, intuition, or imagination, we are working in the realm of the mystical."7
Many Christians are, indeed, looking for meaning in mystical experiences. They don't want to just know God, they want to experience Him. One of the new forms of Evangelical Christianity that Jennings highlighted was the Vineyard Fellowship, started by John Wimber, former musical arranger for the 1960s singing group The Righteous Brothers. Wimber started the fellowship, Jennings reported, because he hungered for the supernatural in Christianity.8 "I love Jesus. I love the stuff He did. I love the multiplying of the food and the healing of the sick, giving sight to the blind, spitting in people's eyes. I love that stuff!"9 At the Vineyard, the publicly mystical is not only tolerated but encouraged. "There is no doubt that emotional therapy is central to the ministry."10
Another phenomenon among Christians that could fall into the category of the mystical because it claims to be a direct connection with God is the experience of ecstatic utterance, or "speaking in tongues."
The Pentecostal movement, with its phenomenal outburst of tongues, has swept over the Christian world.11 Called the "third force" in Christendom,12 it constitutes "a revolution comparable in importance" with the Protestant Reformation and the launching of the Apostolic church.13 Never has a movement taken over the churches to such a degree.14 But are there aspects to this mystical experience that are related to the practice of sacrificing objective reality for subjective experience? The ready reception that modern tongues has received could well arise from the now common desire for "immediacy" with God. It too tends to bypass the intellect to gain a direct experience, an encounter with something mystical.
Concerns About Seeking after the Mystical
Those looking for such a mystical/emotional experience tend to accept a wide range of supernatural experiences as being of God (unless, of course, those experiences are clearly demonic). People in Christian meetings bark like dogs, or laugh until they fall on the ground.
After his prison term, Jim Bakker came to stark realizations about the type of religion he had been promoting. "One of the things I need to warn people [about is] that, if we fall in love with miracles - if we fall in love with signs and wonders we are being prepared for the antichrist instead of Jesus Christ."
He then connected his statement with the prediction of false prophets working deceptive signs and wonders (Mark 13:22) and the prediction of the spirits of devils working miracles to deceive the whole world (Rev. 16:14). Bakker concluded by saying that instead of teaching people to seek after the miraculous, "We must lead people to love Jesus Christ."15
Jim Bakker is right. God would not have given us the scriptural warning if it were not possible for "even the elect" to be deceived (Mark 13:22). We must teach Christians to rely on Jesus Christ and His Word, not merely on their own experience.
Should Christians Seek for a Mystical Experience with God?
However intriguing these new forms of religion may seem, the honest seeker after truth must ask the question, "Should the Christian see mysticism as God's open door into a deeper experience with Him?" And with the concerns about eschatological deception, "Does modern mysticism answer to the unique experience that God's Word foretells as coming to His people just before He comes?"
The prophet Joel does describe a refreshing of the Spirit that will come before the end of all things: "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit" (Joel 2:28, 29).
God clearly wants a deeper experience for those who love Him, and dry formality without the power of the Spirit is useless and worse. "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away" (2 Tim. 3:1, 2, 5, emphasis supplied).
The opposite of this "form of godliness" is highlighted by Ellen White when she describes the revival of primitive godliness that is to be seen before the return of our Lord: "Notwithstanding the widespread declension of faith and piety, there are true followers of Christ in these churches. Before the final visitation of God's judgments upon the earth there will be among the people of the Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children"16 (emphasis supplied).
Will this spiritual revival lead people outside the Adventist message to be counted with those who value truth above all else? Or will a different revival sweep Adventist believers in line with those of other Christian faiths? "Many, both of ministers and people, will gladly accept those great truths which God has caused to be proclaimed at this time to prepare a people for the Lord's second coming. The enemy of souls desires to hinder this work; and before the time for such a movement shall come, he will endeavor to prevent it by introducing a counterfeit. In those churches which he can bring under his deceptive power he will make it appear that God's special blessing is poured out; there will be manifest what is thought to be great religious interest. Multitudes will exult that God is working marvelously for them, when the work is that of another spirit. Under a religious guise, Satan will seek to extend his influence over the Christian world"17 (emphasis supplied).
God is anticipating a people who have an intimate relationship with Him, but we are not to seek to know Him merely through our own subjective feelings. There is jeopardy in pursuing a relationship with God that depends primarily on experience without the objective guidelines and safeguards of Scripture applied to our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
Does the bypassing of reason for immediacy with God have a more sinister side to it? "Popular revivals are too often carried by appeals to the imagination, by exciting the emotions, by gratifying the love for what is new and startling. Converts thus gained have little desire to listen to Bible truth, little interest in the testimony of prophets and apostles. Unless a religious service has something of a sensational character, it has no attractions for them. A message which appeals to unimpassioned reason awakens no response. The plain warnings of God's word, relating directly to their eternal interests, are unheeded."18
Two Practical Safeguards
What about a Christian's own private devotions? How is he or she to pursue an intimate relationship with God without being confused by an over emphasis on subjective feelings and impressions?
It is important first to anchor all meditation in the revealed Word of God. The Bible says, "O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day" (Ps. 119:97, emphasis supplied). Here is a primary purpose for the Word of God. God knows that our human tendency is to gravitate toward things that will destroy us. He wants us to hide His Word in our hearts (Ps. 119:11) as the foundation of all Christian meditation.
What place does the imagination play, if any, in Christian meditation? Sanctified imagination is ours to apply in an unambiguous way, one described in profoundly practical terms: "It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit. If we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross."19
We need to hold our experience accountable to the Bible: "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5).20 Our own feelings and imaginations can at times lead us to bizarre conclusions. Our times of devotion - either private or public - must begin with the Word and then must be held accountable to the Word throughout.
I will never forget what I experienced, on one occasion, as I was taking part in a group "guided" meditation into the heavenly sanctuary. In my mind's eye, as I approached the presence of God in the Most Holy Place, I happened to glance over at the red, blue, purple and white of the walls of the heavenly sanctuary. To my surprise, there I saw a child's picture pinned to the sanctuary wall in much the same way as we might pin our child or grandchild's artwork on our refrigerator. My first reaction was, "Oh how much like a loving earthly parent for God to let one of his children pin up his or her childish works of art on the sanctuary wall!" Suddenly I came to myself and realized that my "great insight" was merely the product of a fertile imagination. There is no biblical evidence that any such artwork has ever lined the walls of the heavenly sanctuary. My insight was not anchored in any revelation of truth in God's Word. I needed something more solid than my own experience to teach me truth.
Today some are seeking relevance in the worship service through various means that are not anchored in the Bible. There are many things that may appeal to our "feeling" self that do not stand up to the biblical standard of that which "builds up" the church.
God wants far more for us than we, at times, want for ourselves. He wants us to both understand and experience His truth. We must ask ourselves, are we searching for truth or are we looking for experience? If experience is all we want, then experience is all that we shall have. But if our desire is to know and experience the truth, then God will give us more than an emotional high. He will lead us to worship Him "in spirit and in truth" and will transform us by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1, 2).
PASTOR MORGAN'S BOOK SABBATH REST
Pastor Morgan, the author of the article you have just read, has authored a handy 101-pages book entitled SABBATH REST. In a simple and compelling way, SABBATH REST, presents the Sabbath from historical, biblical, and practical perspectives. You will find this book ideal for sharing the Sabbath message. The book is available individually for $7.95 (and in cases of 50 for $2.95 each) through the Carolina Adventist Christian Book Center at 1-800-366-1844 or www.books4christians.com
UPCOMING WEEKEND SEMINARS
As a service to our subscribers, I am listing the date and the location of the upcoming seminars for the month of May and June 2003. Every Sabbath it is a great pleasure for me to meet our subscribers who travel considerable distances to attend the seminars.
MAY 2-3: NEW YORK
CITY: EPHESUS SDA CHURCH
Location: 101 West 123rd Street, New York, NY 10027
For information call Pastor Philip Wesley II at (516) 538-1317 or (212) 662-5536
MAY 9-10: LOS ANGELES:
INDONESIAN-AMERICAN SDA CHURCH
Location: 803 West First Street, Azusa, CA 91702
For information call Pastor Dumas Tambunan at (909) 799-9105
MAY 16-17: LOS
ANGELES: COMPTON COMMUNITY SDA CHURCH
Location: 1226 West Compton Boulevard, Compton, CA 90220
For information call Pastor John McCoy at (909) 268 4847 or (909) 629-4899
MAY 30-31: NEW
YORK CITY: SHILO SDA CHURCH
Location: 449 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11218
For information call Pastor Winston Stephenson at (718) 771-4103 or (718) 978-4717
JUNE 6-9: NETHERLAND SABBATH CONFERENCES
FRIDAY June 6, 7:30 p. m. - Adventist Church located in Minstreelstraat 9, Rotterdam-North.
SABBATH June 7, 10.00 a. m and 1:30 p. m. - Magnalia Dei Church, located in Albardastraat 67, Schiedam-North
SUNDAY MORNING June 8, 9:30 a. m. - Amersfoort Messianic Fellowship, meeting in Evangelische Hogeschool (EH), located in Drentsestraat 1, 3812 EH Amersfoort.
SUNDAY AFTERNOON June 8, 2:00 p.m. - Ontmoetingscentrum Wegwijs, located in Hofstraat 28, Groningen.
MONDAY June 9, 10.00 a. m. and 1:30 p. m. Adventkerk located in Mercuriuslaan 35, Apeldoorn.
For more detailed information, feel free to call Niko Koffeman at 0577 411727, (cell) 06 53533132: or Mrs Ria Westein at 0577 411020 (business) or 0577 411211 (private).
JUNE 13-14: LOS
ANGELES: SANTA CLARITA SDA CHURCH
Location: 24436 Valley Street, Santa Clarita, CA 91321
For information call Pastor Richard Roethler at (661) 255-2310 or (661) 259-5420
JUNE 20-21: NEAR
BOSTON: PHILADELPHIE SDA CHURCH
Location: 575 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148
For information call Pastor Yrvain Jean-Philippe at (978) 534-2075
SPECIAL OFFER FOR LCD VIDEO PROJECTORS!!!
If your church is looking for a state-of-the-art LCD video projectors, you will be please to receive this exciting news. The HITACHI corporation of North America agreed to offer their state-of-the-art video projectors to our Adventist churches and institutions at over 60% discount, through one of the major distribution center in New York.
Let me explain briefly what happened. During the past two years I have bought five different video projectors to present my popular PowerPoint SABBATH and ADVENT SEMINARS. I was looking for the best video projector on the market for my itinerant ministry around the world. After trying over a dozen of video projectors, including SONY, IN-FOCUS, PROXIMA, PANASONIC, EPSON, SANYO, I found that the HITACHI CP-S370W 2200 LUMENS VIDEO PROJECTOR, outperforms any video projectors in its class. It is light and bright, surpassing in performance all the other projectors of the same lumens that I have tried.
Many of the churches where I have presented my PowerPoint seminars were so impressed by the outstanding performance of the HITACHI CP-S370W video projector, that they asked me how to get one at a reasonable price. Until now I channeled all the inquiries to an Adventist brother in Texas who is able to buy HITACHI projectors at a discounted price through a local dealer.
I decided to contact the HITACHI corporation of North America to explore the possibility of offering the HITACHI PROJECTORS to our Adventist churches and institutions directly without having to go through a local dealer. I told HITACHI that I can be their best field representative, since I use their projector every weekend. Adventist churches and institutions can see first hand the marvelous performance of the projector.
HITACHI saw the light and they decided to authorize me to offer their projectors to our Adventist institutions directly through one of their major North America Distribution Center. The special price is over 60% discount on the factory suggested retail price. You can read below the list of their projectors together with the special price. This means that your church can purchase any of the dozen models of HITACHI projectors ranging from 1200 to 4500 lumens at an incredible low price.
For example, if your churches wants to purchase the HITACHI CP-S370W 2200 LUMENS VIDEO PROJECTOR which I am using every weekend with great satisfaction, the special price is only $2200.00, shipping expenses included. This is a bargain price for such a marvelous projector, considering that the factory suggested retail price is $6995.00
The procedure is very simple. Once I receive your order, I will pass it on directly to the major HITACHI distributor in New York. He will ship the projector directly to your address. It is as simple as that. I do not handle or store any projectors. I only pass on the orders to their major North America HITACHI distributor center who takes care of everything.
Your personal effort to inform other pastors and churches of this unique opportunity, is greatly appreciated. I have reasons to believe that the outstanding performance of the HITACHI projectors will thrill you.
During the past two years I have tried more than a dozen of different makes of video projectors in the various churches where I presented my seminars. None of them perform as well as the HITACHI CP-S370W 2200 LUMENS VIDEO PROJECTOR that I carry with me every weekend in my catalogue briefcase together with the TITANIUM Apple lap-top computer. I am talking from experience, not from hearsay. The projector is small, light (only 7 pounds) and exceptionally bright.
In one Protestant church which was rented for my weekend seminar in Battle Ground, WA, they had a SANYO PROJECTOR with 4000 lumens. When we compared its image with that of my HITACHI, we decided to use mine because the image was sharper and brighter. The same has been true in other Adventist churches. After trying their projectors, I ended up using my portable HITACHI because it has a brighter and sharper picture.
It is an exciting experience for me to travel every weekend across America and overseas with my HITACHI projector and lap-top computer, both of them fitting nicely in a catalogue brief case. I have used this HITACHI CP-S370W VIDEO 2200 LUMENS PROJECTOR even in large auditoriums with 2000 people with very good results.
If your church is interested in a smaller or larger model, below is a partial the list of the HITACHI PROJECTORS that are available. They are listed with both the suggested Manufactured Suggested Retail Price and the special discount that HITACHI offers to our churches. You can see that the discount is over 60%. For example, the price of the HITACHI CP-S370W 2200 LUMENS VIDEO PROJECTOR is only $2200.00, instead of the suggested price of $6,995.00
|CP-X275W||XGA||1200 Lumens||5 lbs||$5,495||$1900.00|
|CP-S225W||SVGA||1400 Lumens||5 lbs||$4,495||$1400.00|
|CP-S317W||SVGA||1700 Lumens||6 lbs||$5,995||$1800.00|
|CP-X327W||XGA||1800 Lumens||6 lbs||$6,795||$2000.00|
|CP-S370W||SVGA||2200 Lumens||7 lbs||$6,995||$2200.00|
|CP-X385W||XGA||2200 Lumens||7 lbs||$7,995||$2800.00|
|CP-X430W||XGA||2500 Lumens||9.9 lbs||$8,995||$3300.00|
|CP-X880W||XGA||3000 Lumens||12.6 lbs||$10,995||$4000.00|
|CP-X885W||XGA||3500 Lumens||12.6 lbs||$12,995||$4700.00|
|CP-X995W||XGA||4500 Lumens||14.3 lbs||$12,995||$4900.00|
If your church is interested in one of these projectors, I would be glad to mail you a copy of the catalogue with all the technical specifications. Feel free to call me at home at (269) 471-2915 anytime from Monday to Thursday. On Friday I fly out to my weekend seminar destination. You can reach me on weekends at my cellular phone: (269) 208-1942.
I look forward to help your church purchase a state of the art video projector at a bargain price.
Retired Professor of Theology, Andrews University
SPECIAL OFFER ON THE NEWLY RECORDED SABBATH SEMINAR
To make it possible for Adventist churches in different parts of the world to benefits from my popular SABBATH ENRICHMENT SEMINAR, few months ago the TEXAS MEDIA CENTER made a fresh recording of the seminar I presented at the First Fort Worth SDA Church in Texas. We spent several days preparing this new recording where I use about 100 PowerPoint slides for each presentation. The response has been very gratifying. Church leaders in different parts of the world are expressing appreciation for the blessings of these timely Sabbath messages. Your personal effort to share them with your congregation is much appreciated.
The new SABBATH SEMINAR consists of a total of 8 one-hour lectures covering the following topics: the gripping story of my search for the Sabbath at a Vatican University in Rome; the discoveries I made in Vatican libraries on how the change came about from Sabbath to Sunday in early Christianity; practical principles on how to keep the Sabbath to experience Christ's rest and peace in our lives; an update report on the most recent Sabbath/Sunday developments; and a sacred concert with two outstanding tenors entitled THE SABBATH IN SONGS. The concert was recorded in a television studio in South Bend, Indiana.
This new SABBATH ENRICHMENT SEMINAR is now available in THREE FORMATS:
Each of them come in a nice plastic album with an artistically designed jacket. Your SPECIAL OFFER is as follows:
1) SABBATH SEMINAR IN 8 AUDIO CASSETTES at the special offer of only $30.00, postage paid, instead of the regular price of $60.00. The 8 audio cassettes come in a nice album with an artistically designed color jacket.
2) SABBATH SEMINAR IN 4 VIDEO TAPES at the special offer of only $60.00, postage paid, instead of the regular price of $120.00. The 4 video tapes come in a nice album with an artistically designed color jacket.
3) SABBATH SEMINAR IN DVD DISKS at the special offer of only $70.00, postage paid, instead of the regular price of $140.00. The DVD disks are compatible with all TV systems overseas. No conversion is necessary. The 3 DVD disks come in a nice triple Jewel case with an artistically designed color jacket.
The easiest way to order the new AUDIO cassettes, VIDEO tapes, or DVD disks, is with your credit card. You can order by calling us at (269) 471-2915 or by emailing us your credit card number, expiration date, and your address. If you prefer to pay by check, mail your check to: BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990 Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 4990, USA. We guarantee to process your order immediately.
Retired Professor of Theology and Church History
4990 Appian Way, Berrien Springs, MI 49103
Phone (269) 471-2915 Fax (269) 471-4013
Web site: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com