95 Theses for Adventists
Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther’s 95 Theses helped spark revival and reformation across Europe. We’ve seen a number of 21st-century counterpart declarations. Here’s a sampling of my own list:
- Jesus Christ is not only our Savior but our Lord and our life.
- In Eden we died together with Adam in sin; at Calvary we died together with Christ to sin.
- Saving faith disowns our old humanity from Adam in exchange for our new humanity in Christ.
- Christ as the new Adam is the head of a new human race — His body the church, comprised of all true believer-disciples.
- We are born again into the resurrection life of Jesus through the Holy Spirit.
- Just as we receive forgiveness only through Christ’s historic death on Calvary, we receive the Spirit based only upon His historic resurrection and glorification.
- Through baptism we officially part ways with our old humanity as being dead and buried with Christ; we rise from the water to live out our new humanity in the risen Jesus.
- Salvation rescues us from death in trespasses and sins — guilt is the death of innocence, alienation is the death of relationship, selfishness is the death of love, sorrow is the death of joy, strife is the death of peace.
- Life in Christ is more than a heart that never stops beating; it is the restoration of innocence, relationality, love, joy, and peace through His indwelling Spirit.
- Christ does not dispense character qualities separately, doling out patience, purity, etc.; these are bundled together as the fruit of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
- We are saved to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives: fundamentally worship, fellowship, discipleship, serving and outreach.
- The foundation of Christian living is worship, without which everything we do is dysfunctional and inadequate. Worship (personal and corporate) adores God with all our hearts, minds and souls.
- Fellowship is life together in the Spirit in which we participate in each other’s joys, sorrows and struggles, sharing one another’s burdens and celebrations.
- Discipleship is a learning experience (Matt 11:29) in which we mentor and are mentored by others according to our various spiritual gifts, experience and calling.
- Everything we do for people is primarily and ultimately serving Jesus, our Lord and Savior.
- Outreach is more than a staged event; it is a continuous incarnational experience in the workplace, marketplace and classroom, always prepared to humbly testify to God’s grace and truth in Jesus.
- We cannot choose between doctrines and Jesus — genuine doctrines help us understand Jesus.
- Rather than a law-centered focus, we live in relationship with Jesus. We must lose the law for Christ’s sake to find it fulfilling in our lives.
- Heaven’s sanctuary is the human resource center of the universe, from which God’s Spirit has facilitated spiritual gifts for service since the day Jesus poured out His Spirit at Pentecost.
- We serve together as royal priests of heaven’s sanctuary, collaborating continually with our High Priest.
So that’s the beginning of my list of suggestions/declarations regarding the Adventist Church. Here’s a random sampling of others from my list of 95:
- We do not trust in our own faith but in the faithfulness of Christ’s performance, fulfilling God’s law for our salvation.
- Conviction of sin is not God questioning our salvation or shaming us; instead He is gently reminding us, “That’s not who you really are.”
- Salvation involves welcoming our identity in Jesus; we may scold ourselves all day, but ultimately we will live out our perceived identity in either the old or the new Adam.
- The joy of the Lord is our strength over sin; believing we’ve been forgiven and accepted in Christ facilitates genuine life change (see Neh. 8:10; Rom. 15:13).
- Emotion in worship (not to be confused with cheap emotionalism) is a spiritually liberating experience through loving the Lord with all our hearts.
- Victory over sin is not magical power received through franticly claiming prayer promises; it’s the outcome of emotional and spiritual healing through God’s gracious love in the Spirit.
- The final judgment executed at Christ’s coming will divide His sheep of compassion from the devil’s goats of selfish religiosity.
- The Bible is our only rule of faith, and all the gifts of the Spirit are tested by it — including the gift of prophecy.
- Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is empowering liberty — not coerced uniformity.
Well, that’s part of my dream and passion for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. If you are curious about the full list of my 95 theses for the last days, visit www.95Theses4SDA.com. And, what about your thoughts? What points would you add or subtract to those I have shared here? Share your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.