Hold on Tom and Corey...I want to go on vacation!
Corey McLaughlin and Tom Loghry have levied some heavy charges over the last couple of weeks. They have indicated that it is our responsibility as Advent Christians to hasten the Second Coming of Christ. I want these good and well meaning servants of Christ to know this…I’m not ready for that. I certainly want Christ to return, but can’t he wait until I’ve gone on vacation first?
Jesus speaks of his return in the way that God speaks of so many promises in the Old Testament, i.e. as conditional promises that require the people of God to do something, to respond, to act, in order to bring them about. The longer they delay, the longer the promise takes to come to fulfillment. - Corey McLaughlin, AC in the 21st Century (2)
When I read the New Testament, I absolutely see that the coming Kingdom of Heaven is preached by Christ and His Apostles. This message of the Kingdom of Heaven instilled a fervent faith within the early disciples, a fervency that drove many to sell everything they had for the purpose of expanding the Kingdom. Christ promises He will come again, but Corey, can’t He wait until I’ve taken my kids to Disney World? I’m still waiting for Tom Brady to win another Super Bowl or two. I’ve also been pluggin away on my Masters degree and I would really like to finish.
It must be studied further, but if it can be said with all its force that the Church not only can but should hasten Christ’s return, then nothing should prevent us from regaining our sense of passionate mission in relation to Christ’s return.
- Tom Loghry, The Dawn of Neo-Adventism?
Now here comes Tom “The Neo-Adventist” Loghry, challenging us to regain our “sense of passionate mission.” Tom, I’m all about missions as long as I don’t have to go. I’ll give money for folks to go to Haiti, but I have plans that week and can’t make it. I think my dog has a vet appointment. Also, my daughter has already missed too many gymnastics classes, so we aren’t going to miss another to go to Haiti, but here’s twenty bucks. Have fun!
Everything I just wrote is satirical in nature, but for many Christians, Advent or otherwise, these are rational excuses. My greatest concern for our churches is that we’ve lost a fervency to reach the lost and take part in the mission that we signed up for. We often don’t tell folks when they decide to join our church or when they are sensing the pull of God in their salvation that this life will cost us everything.
The fifth commandment informs us that we should “honor our father and mother,” yet Jesus says, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matt. 10:37) Jesus isn’t superseding the Ten Commandments, but he is showing that in relation to Him, all of our relationships pale in comparison. The early Adventists had this level of dedication to our Lord; they were fueled by the soon return of Christ. They sold businesses and homes, giving all of their finances over for… MISSIONS! This is reminiscent of the early church in Acts 4 when the early followers of The Way held all their property in common and distributed to the church and community in need.
Corey writes, “Christ will not return until the Gospel light is shone to all people groups, tribes and tongues in all the world then joining His mission and accomplishing the task is the only thing that will make His return possible and tangible, real and visible.” It is high time that we put the mission first, which is putting Christ first. He is deserving of all of our affections. It is in Him that we find supreme joy. It is in Him that we find salvation and redemption. He has rescued us from sin in this life and its consequences in the next.
For this reason I am excited about the new ACGC strategic plan being introduced that will focus on planting new churches, revitalizing churches, and reaching every tribe and every tongue both nationally and globally. Since coming to the faith, I’ve never understood why so many Christians go to nations that have already heard the Gospel. Though it is nice and good that we provide clinics, food, and soccer cleats to these nations, if there are churches there, let’s help them where we can. But our main focus should be the mission of God, to proclaim the Gospel where it is not present and herald imminent return of Christ. Let Adventism not have the negative connotation of date-setting, let it be synonymous with a zeal for Christ and the mission that He has called us too.