Volume 14, Number 1, September-October 2010

Church of God (Seventh Day) Shows the Way to Peace Among Brethren

by Norman Edwards

 

Church of God (Seventh Day) Resolution, October 2010

Whereas, the Church of God (Seventh Day) has historically declined to observe the annual festivals outlined in Leviticus 23:4-44, but has accepted into membership and ministry those who celebrate these festivals in a Christ centered manner, and,

Whereas, the Church of God (Seventh Day) has a heritage of embracing those whose variant beliefs and practices do not challenge the Church’s official doctrines,

Be It Resolved that the North American Ministerial Council:

1.     Affirm the Church’s historical declination to observe these annual festivals;

2.     Embrace those ministers and congregations who locally celebrate the annual festivals without insisting on their observance as a test of fellowship and who do not consider their observance as essential to salvation.

Be It Further Resolved that congregations who promote the annual festivals must include in all promotions a disclaimer stating that their celebration of these festivals does not reflect the historical position of the Church of God (Seventh Day).

 

For many decades, brethren of many “Church of God” denomination debated whether or not to observe the Biblical Feast days summarized in Leviticus 23:4-44 and found many other places in Scripture. At times, people on both sides of the argument have called each other “unbelievers” over this difference.

The Church of God (Seven Day), headquartered in Denver, Colo., officially took a stand to help heal this schism by issuing the Resolution at right. They essentially recognized an individual’s or a congregation’s right to obey the scriptures as they understand them as long as they did not make it a point of division themselves. What a wonderful approach!

When a person is convicted of a certain truth in Scripture, they should be diligent to do it themselves (Jms 4:17). Unfortunately, we humans have a tendency to want a church group to decide what all of the “true doctrines” are so we can point to their doctrinal statement and say, “I believe the truth”. In reality, we are each responsible for learning and doing the words of Scripture (2Tim 2:15; Rom 2:12-13; Jms 1:21-22).

Many church groups are divided over their doctrinal statements. Members often do not know the differences in these doctrines and can get along quite well with each other. But they do not work together because the leaders point to differences in their doctrinal statements which keep them apart.

We hope that many other congregations can follow the example of the Church of God (Seventh Day) in many areas: Let their members and ministers practice what they understand from the Bible as long as they don’t make it a “test of salvation” or represent it as the organization’s teaching. Not only will these church groups be able to act with conviction and accomplish more, to the outside world they will look more like real Christians, rather than spoiled children fighting over doctrine.

 

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