Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Plug for the Three Angel's Messages

In the past few months, I have received in my mailbox at church a flier for an upcoming Conference. It has graced my mailbox a couple of times, and I have inspected it with moderate interest each time. It is being sponsored by the Seventh-day Adventist church, and the flier claims that the annual event "has become the premier gathering within Adventism" for anyone who is serious about mission in the 21st century.

The back of the flier shows the four main guest speakers who will be presenting, and from my limited perspective, it would appear that 3 out of the 4 speakers are not Seventh-day Adventists. Now, don't get me wrong. I believe we can, and have, learned a great deal from our non-Adventist brothers and sisters. I regularly read non-Adventist authors on varying subjects. But for the life of me, I cannot figure out how non-Adventist presenters can teach us how to better proclaim the Three Angel's Messages - which we have been called to do at this time in earth's history.

It is one thing to read an author in the quietness of my own personal time - where I can freely "interact" intellectually with a person's ideas on paper - or even to attend a Conference at Willow Creek or Saddleback (though I would prefer to shy away from that as well), but to stick these individuals up on our platforms and proclaim that this is the "premier gathering within Adventism," where attendees may or may not realize the presenters are not Seventh-day Adventist, seems to be a little more dangerous.

And if such an event has become the "premier gathering" within Adventism, I fear we will forget what our true mission is.

I do not write this to be critical. I have colleagues who will be attending the Conference. And, as I said, I am sure there will be things that can be learned and implemented. But shouldn't Adventists be the ones leading the pack in teaching others how to be missional, rather than us, sitting at their feet, neglecting the Gospel that we have been called to proclaim?


Michael Arcand said...

Thank you for telling it like it is! I just came across your blog tonight and it looks like it will be refreshing. You are now on my regular reading list! ;-)

Shawn Brace said...

Hi Michael,

Glad you could stop by and check out my blog. I hope that you will return often and be blessed.


Blake Jones said...

I think I (a pastor) also received the same flier in my mailbox some time ago. What struck me more was the fact that "PhD" was behind each name. Not to say that a PhD disqualifies one to know and understand mission but I have to admit that I've been put off in the past listening to people who have spent most of their lives in academia sharing their "theories" on how to accomplish our mission. Let's get some successful front line pastors who are actually growing God's kingdom in their communities to these conferences and I'll be more likely to attend. To offense to anyone (I like education too) but just some thoughts for the blog.

Shawn Brace said...


Thanks for your thoughts. I figured that most other pastors received the same flier.

I understand what you're saying about the Ph.D's. I probably don't take as much exception to it that you might, but I still do get a little uncomfortable when people have to go around, announcing their lot in life. There is too much pride involved!

Your thoughts are good.


Joelle said...

Not sure which conference you're referring to, but I agree with you that we should be the head and not the tail in proclaiming the gospel. We have lots of information from our own church's individuals who have been successful in proclaiming the three angel's messages, and we can learn from them. But most of all we should be sitting at the feet of Jesus, because "Christ's method alone will give true success in reaching the people."

Shawn Brace said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Joelle. Glad to know there are others out there who share my burden.

By the way: I understand that you met a few friends of mine when you and your husband were in Topsham, Maine. Don't know if you remember them, but Norman and Kristin McGuire are really good friends of ours (they named one of their sons after me, and he was a bible boy in our wedding), and they said that they were really blessed by your husband's presentations. They couldn't say enough good things about it.

Joelle said...

Oh yes, we did meet them, and I'm pretty sure Norman remembers them too, because they sent him a thank you note (besides, his name was Norman, too). We enjoyed the weekend at that church, are thankful that they were blessed.