All posts by Gospel Adventist Ministries

Genuine Christianity

What does it mean to follow Jesus?

Being a follower of Jesus means accepting Him as God, believing He died for your sins, and accepting the gift of His righteousness in place of your own in the final judgement.

He also calls you to love others in the same way that He has loved you. Christians keep the 10 commandments only after they have the assurance of salvation by simple faith in the blood that was shed on the cross. No one is perfect in this lifetime, but we set aside our differences to lift up Jesus.

Every verse in scripture is there to support this simple proclamation–Jesus died for you. Will you accept Him as Lord and Savior of your life?

Stephen Beagles

The Endurance of the Saints

After 35 years of Bible study, prayer, and reflection, I am more convinced than ever that the message of Justification by faith needs to be taken more seriously. Many pastors and teachers give it lip service, but their hearts are geared towards teaching morality and Christian living. They forget the Holy Spirit is only given to those who have assurance of salvation.

Justification by faith is not “once salved always saved” or “cheap grace.” It is possible to lose salvation by walking away from Christ, by taking ones eyes off Jesus, or by perverting the gospel of grace by placing conditions other than simple faith. Salvation is a free gift and is only cheapened when one believes salvation can be earned by keeping a set of rules.

Many Christians believe they are saved by grace, but act like they are saved or lost based on behavior. They tend to be critical of other Christians who don’t “measure up” to their expectations of Christian living. They lack the joy and peace of knowing Christ, because there is always another habit to overcome or level of holiness to attain.

The saints who are alive when Jesus returns will keep the commandments of God and  have the faith of Jesus (Revelation 14:12). However, the saints will keep the commandments, because they have the assurance of being declared perfect “in-Christ” and have the verdict of the final judgment. The saints endure because they refuse to question the promise of salvation freely given to all who trust in the merits of Christ alone.

Stephen Beagles,

What is legalism?


Being obedient to Christ is not legalism. Keeping Commandments is not legalism. Focusing on the rules over relationships is not legalism.

PLACING CONDITIONS ON ETERNAL LIFE OTHER THAN SIMPLE FAITH AND TRUST IN CHRIST IS LEGALISM.

Legalism is a curse upon professed followers of Christ who are more concerned with their own righteousness than with admitting their sins and pleading the grace of God.

The devil is deceptive and knows how to slip in the back door of the church. Few legalists will ever tell you that you have to keep the law in order to be saved. Instead, they are quite adamant that one cannot be saved without keeping the law. This type of double talk is present in every Christian denomination. We need to recover the genuine teachings of the Apostles that state we are saved apart from keeping the law (Romans 3:28).

Christians do not keep the law in order to be saved but strive to keep the law because they are saved. Their motivation is not fear of damnation but love for the sacrifice Christ made on the cross to grant assurance of eternal life.

Stephen Beagles

The Once for All Covenant

The relationship between the old and new covenants of the Holy Scriptures have perplexed many theologians over the last 2000 years. Some bible scholars believe the old and new covenants represent two separate plans of salvation. Others have a difficult time separating the mosaic laws from the original covenant God made with Adam and Eve. In reality, there is only one major difference between the original covenant and the covenant given to us by Christ after the cross.

Here are some points to ponder concerning the simple and yet profound relationship between the old and new covenants:

1. There is only one plan of salvation provided to human beings.
2. The original covenant began with Adam and Eve and looked forward to what Christ would accomplish, while the new covenant looks back on what Christ has accomplished.
3. All human beings are saved because of the blood that Christ shed on the cross. If Christ had not been the once for all sacrifice for sin then every human being would be doomed to eternal destruction.
4. The laws given to Moses for the nation of Israel were only binding on those living within the borders of Israel and did not add or subtract from the original covenant. The Moral Law of God, the 10 Commandments, was written by the finger of God and summarizes the eternal law for the human race that was violated in the Garden of Eden and for which Christ died.

These four points are evidence that every human being who is saved will be saved by grace alone through the atoning blood of Jesus. The same blood that was shed for us who live under the new covenant saves those who lived before Christ under the original covenant.

The major difference between the covenants is the original covenant promised a future messiah who would save His people from sin, while the new covenant fulfills that promise and identifies Jesus as the divine son of God who shed His blood as the once for all sacrifice for all people, for all time, and for all sin (Hebrews 10:1-18).

The notion that those who lived before the cross were saved by law and that New Testaments Christians are saved by grace is false. There is only one plan of salvation for all humanity—the blood of Christ that was shed once for all.

Stephen Beagles (2019)
Founder of Gospel Adventist Ministries

Fundamental Teachings vs Test of Fellowship

QUESTION:

Do I have to believe in all of the 28 Fundamental beliefs to become a Seventh-day Adventist Christian?

ANSWER:

It is important to make the distinction between the official teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist church as recognized by the General Conference and test of fellowship that is required by new believers when they are baptized into the church. By becoming a member, a person is stating that they understand the 28 fundamental beliefs and are willing to live and worship in harmony with Seventh-day Adventists who hold to these beliefs.

The only real test of fellowship is that the member acknowledges the fundamental beliefs in principle and refuses to be in open opposition against those who hold to the basic teachings of the church.

The church recognizes a member’s personal choice on how to apply certain fundamentals of doctrine to lifestyle and practice. For example, the wearing of jewelry is discouraged, but there is a wide spectrum of members who hold differing views on how strictly the church should enforce this teaching. In practice, a member can wear jewelry to church as long as they are able to worship in harmony with the other members who decide not to wear jewelry.

The Adventist teaching against unclean meats is clear enough, but I have yet to see anyone thrown out of church for eating bacon with their eggs. Members who are not “strict” on diet and health do not discourage others from following the churches teachings on health reform. The less strict respect the liberty of more conservative members and refuse to allow the issues to become a matter of personal conflict.

It is hard for me to imagine that a person would become a member of the Adventist church who did not agree in principle with the major doctrinal teachings on the sabbath, the non-immortality of the soul, and the second coming of Jesus. I would discourage any minister from allowing people who do not hold these beliefs into membership. It would be hard for these people to support the Adventist church. However, a person can believe that the Sabbath is the Seventh-day and yet have different views on what it means to keep the Sabbath day holy.

While there is a wide spectrum of Adventists who interpret the fundamental beliefs differently, most Adventists would allow for church discipline against those who blatantly live or teach against the fundamental norms of the church. A member would not last long in fellowship if he or she decided to openly espouse a doctrine that was directly in conflict with a fundamental position.

Historically, there has always been a wide gap between the accepted beliefs of the General Conference and the practice of the individual member’s in the church. Adventists allow for differences of opinion on matters of lifestyle as long as the members acknowledge the church’s teachings and refuse to allow their personal choices to interfere with their ability to live in peace and harmony with other church members.

Then there is the distinction between a lay member of the church and an active leader within the denomination. Those who take leadership positions should hold themselves to the highest standard in regards to the fundamentals. The leaders need to allow for the differences of opinion among the lay people while encouraging spiritual growth that is in harmony with the official teachings of the church as an organization.

To answer the question more directly: Yes. A person needs to acknowledge all 28 Fundamental Beliefs in principle before they are accepted into membership. However, keep in mind that it is up to the individual member how to put these beliefs into practice. All members must allow for differences of opinion while living and worshiping in harmony with other Adventists.

Stephen Beagles (2018)