Matt Postiff's Blog

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Posted by Matt Postiff February 27, 2019 under Theology  Cults, Etc. 

Part 4.

The fifth and final reason, for now at least, that I do not subscribe to SDA teachings, is that the writings of Ellen G. White are not equal to Scripture.

Ellen G. White (1827–1915) was a key figure in the formation of the Seventh-day Adventist church. Her writings hold enormous influence in the church, approaching the influence of Scripture, if not equal to it. The attention given to a single human author is typical of a cult or cult-like religious institution and should cause immediate skepticism among those who are evaluating the movement.

Furthermore, her writings were based on many hundreds of dreams and visions that she claimed were from God. For instance: “I am instructed that I am the Lord's messenger; that He called me in my youth to be His messenger, to receive His word, and to give a clear and decided message in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Although she says she never laid claim to be a prophet, this is the meaning of what she believed about herself and what she told others.

White wrote that "old Jerusalem never would be built up." This was understood, among other things, to mean that there would be no rebuilt Jerusalem in the millennial period of history. This is clearly a false teaching, as we know from Ezekiel and other prophecies that Jerusalem will be a focal point of the future kingdom of Christ on earth.

It is impossible for those who hold to the cessation of prophetic and other revelatory gifts to agree with her on the matter of her revelations. According to 1 Corinthians 13:8 revelatory gifts were soon to cease around the time of the Apostle Paul. The gifts have not reappeared, and will not do so until around the time of the return of Christ. In other words, whatever Mrs. White received was not from God above. It was from her own imagination, or from below. It certainly is not be a valid addition to Scripture, for anything more added to Scripture brings the curse of Revelation 22:18. And if the material of her writing is in complete agreement with Scripture, then it is superfluous and not in fact new revelation at all.

In conclusion, I agree that the principle of resting one day in seven is important. But Christians are not bound by law to keep a Saturday Sabbath.

Commemorating the resurrection of Christ is also important. But neither day is a matter of judgment or condemnation among God’s people.


Posted by Matt Postiff February 26, 2019 under Theology  Cults, Etc. 

Part 3.

A fourth reason that I am not an SDA is that historic Christian practice has been to worship on the first day of the week.

Traditionally, the church has always worshipped on Sunday, following the New Testament example. This was always a clear point of distinction between the Christians and the Jews.

Sunday worship can be demonstrated as the practice of the first, second, and third centuries A.D. Clearly, as we have shown in the earlier posts, there was Sunday worship in the middle of the first century. This easily predates the claim that Sunday worship started in Rome in the third century.

Early on, some Christian groups began to interpret Sunday as the “Christian Sabbath” that replaced the Jewish Saturday Sabbath. We do not agree with this approach, as it invalidly mixes two categories—Law and Church—that should be kept separate. Some churches observed the Saturday Sabbath, though this practice has waned. But in practice, this Saturday and Sunday sabbath carries over in the "weekend" of western cultures. We treat both Saturday and Sunday as special days...the normal work-week is from Monday through Friday, and Saturday and Sunday are off days so that Jews and Christians can worship unfettered by the normal weekly schedule. Secularists simply take them as days off to do what they want, which is a form of rest from their normal work pattern.

On March 3, 321 AD, Roman Emperor Constantine I decreed that Sunday would be the day of rest. For Bible Christians, however, this is irrelevant. We take our direction from Scripture, not from secular sources.

Some Christians in history worshipped on Saturday night, following the Jewish pattern that the day opens with the evening prior.

Part 5.


Posted by Matt Postiff February 25, 2019 under Theology  Cults, Etc. 

Part 2.

The third reason that I am not an SDA is that the Bible's teaching is that the Mosaic Law has been fulfilled.

The Law was given through Moses to the people of Israel. It was not given to Gentiles. Still, the Law is an expression of the holiness of God. But when Christ came, He came to fulfill the Law (Matthew 5:17). And that He did, so that those who are in Christ also fulfill the Law by virtue of being in Him (Gal. 6:2).

As a result, the Christian is not under the Law of Moses. All Christians know this intuitively because we do not keep kosher, or offer sacrifices at the (non-existent) Jerusalem temple. Christ set aside the food laws (Mark 7:19) and became the one final sacrifice for sins for all time (Hebrews 10:10). We do not travel to Jerusalem three times annually to worship God (John 4:21). The “perpetual statutes” of the offerings, priesthood, and showbread are not operational today, showing that they were not meant forever, but only for as long as God is working with the nation of Israel (Exodus 29:9; Lev. 3:17, 24:9; Numbers 19:21). Presently, the nation is under divine chastisement and will be until the millennial kingdom, when some of these rituals will be reinstituted, although in modified form.

This includes the Sabbath law. It is no longer in force and is not a matter over which one Christian is allowed to judge another. Three texts justify this conclusion. The first is Colossians 1:16 which says, “So let no one judge you…regarding…sabbaths.” I am not permitted to view myself as condemned by someone who disagrees about the proper practice of the Sabbath. In fact, I take the text to indicate that I can push back against such a judgment. The second text is Romans 14:4-5. There, the apostle teaches us that we are not to judge other servants of God. They will stand or fall before their own master, not before us. A Seventh-Day Adventist is stepping out of bounds to adjudicate a non-Sabbatarian believer to be a sinner because he does not worship on Saturday. Some people regard one day more sacred than another, and others every day alike. Each has to be fully convinced in his own mind. The third text is Galatians 5:18, which explicitly says that we are not under the law, but instead are guided by the Holy Spirit. The present age, which some call the church age or the age of the Spirit, is characterized by a new regime of the Holy Spirit, instead of a regime of a written and burdensome code that no one successfully kept or could keep, except for Jesus.

As circumcision was a sign of the Abrahamic Covenant, so the Sabbath was a sign of the Mosaic covenant. We are not under that covenant now (1 Cor. 9:20; Romans 6:14-15) and therefore keeping the sign is not necessary for us.

Finally, to put yourself or others under the Law is to transgress the principle of Galatians 3:10. If you wish to keep the law in one point, you must keep the entire law, lest you bring upon yourself the curse mentioned in that verse. Relying upon the works of the law is a losing proposition, for by the deeds of the law no flesh can be justified (Rom. 3:20).

Part 4.


Posted by Matt Postiff February 25, 2019 under Theology  Cults, Etc. 

Part 1.

The second reason that I do not adhere to the SDA interpretation of the faith is the centrality of the resurrection of Jesus to the Christian faith.

The apostles led the early church to worship on the first day of the week because the resurrection of Jesus Christ occurred on that day. As shown above, that one-time event happened on the first day of the week after the Passover holy days. This great event is the lynch-pin of the Christian faith. Without it, there is no Christianity (1 Corinthians 15:12-19). It is entirely fitting, therefore, to worship Christ on that day each week, and thus to give Christ the first part of our week.

The original creation took six days and God rested on the seventh. The new creation began on the eighth day, so to speak, that is, the first day of the following week. Christians faithfully commemorate “Easter” each and every week they worship on the first day.

Part 3.


Posted by Matt Postiff February 25, 2019 under Theology  Cults, Etc. 

I read a tract some time ago as to why a Seventh Day Adventist worships on Saturday. My first response to this is the Apostolic example of worshipping on the first day of the week.

1. The resurrection of Christ occurred on the first day of the week. All of the gospels are careful to note this timing: Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1, John 20:1, 19.

2. The disciples’ practice was to come together to break bread on the first day of the week. This was in the city of Troas in approximately 56 A.D. This was nearly a quarter century (25 years) after Jesus died and rose. Church practice had some time to settle by this point, and they were worshipping on the first day. Note that breaking bread together likely refers to the Lord’s Table service, which is worship. In any case, they met in the evening to hear preaching of the Word.

3. Around the same year, the church in Corinth evidently met on the first day of the week. This was when the apostle Paul instructed them to set aside money so that there would be money saved up for Paul’s arrival (1 Corinthians 16:2).

4. This first day of the week was also known as the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10). This was as late as 95 A.D., or more than 60 years (two generations) after the resurrection of Christ. The apostle John noted this day by the name of the Lord.

Part 2.


Posted by Matt Postiff February 12, 2019 under Bible Texts 

There is a fascinating little passage in Acts 16:6-10 that mentions the Spirit of God prohibiting Paul and his team from ministering the gospel in certain areas. Prior to this, Paul and Silas had been visiting churches planted during their first missionary tour though southern Asia Minor. They were joined by Timothy as they ministered in Derbe, Lystra, and surrounding cities. The team then wished to head west toward what was known as Asia (the region where Ephesus is), but the text says the Holy Spirit forbade them from going there. Then they turned their sights northeast toward Bithynia, but the Spirit also prevented them from going there.

So the question posted to me was this: why not minister in those locations? The people there needed Christ just as much as the others, right? The prohibition/lack of permission doesn't seem in accord with the Great Commission, which directs believers to preach the gospel to every nation.

The fact is that the text does does not tell us. So, was it:

  • not the right time?
  • too dangerous?
  • like the Lord's command to the 12 not to minister in Samaria or in Gentile places, but only to Israelites (Matthew 10:5)?
  • less urgent than something else?

Since the text doesn't tell us explicitly, we need not speculate further. But the text does tell us that there was an urgent need in another place. That was made known via special revelation (a dream/vision). The team concluded that the Lord was using the vision to guide them to cross over into Europe and preach the gospel there. We know from later in the chapter that a business-woman and a corrections official needed to hear the gospel and be saved. A church had to be started in that place, the city of Philippi. A slave girl who was being trafficked because of her demon possession had to be rescued from her oppressors. The Lord was readying the people there and was about to open their hearts to the message of Christ.

As I read the passage again this morning, I pondered the notion that in ministry, timing is important. This doesn't mean we are in a rush, but sometimes the "iron is hot" and work needs to be done about it. Sometimes there are people who are in a needy state "right now" and need our attention. For those needs, the time is now.

It also illustrates a point that life and ministry is not something that is always going to present open doors. This should not discourage us. We must keep on going, and pressing into new areas and new directions, and we must stay keen about the circumstances and facts of what is going on around us. Since we don't have special revelation today, we must rely on godly wisdom gained from Scripture, and godly counsel from others who have gained such wisdom, so that we can ascertain which direction to move.

There is another entire question, and that is how did the Spirit communicate this prohibition to Paul and the missionary team? It seems to be special revelation, but did it have a providential component as well? We will leave that for another post sometime.

Listen to the sermon where I covered this passage.


Posted by Matt Postiff February 7, 2019 under Theology  Music 

A couple of weeks back, I asked the congregation if anyone would like to search our hymnal to find as many "Triune" hymns as they could find. That is, hymns that refer to all three members of the Trinity. This was timely because we have been going through a series on Sunday evenings on the Christian teaching of the Trinity. One of our members came up with this list (page number in Rejoice Hymns):

  • I will Praise Him (5)
  • Father, I Adore You (repetitive, 6)
  • Come Thou, Almighty King (9)
  • Doxology (14)
  • Glorify Thy Name (repetitive, 16)
  • Holy God, we Praise Thy Name (37)
  • Be Thou Exalted (57)
  • Praise Ye the Triune God (66)
  • God is Holy (83)
  • Holy, Holy, Holy (85)
  • Holy is the Lord (89)
  • Saved by the Blood (375)
  • Eternal Father, Strong to Save (518)
  • Glory Be to the Father (572, 573)
  • The Church's One Foundation (575)

Enjoy these hymns as you praise our great God!


Posted by Matt Postiff January 24, 2019 under Society 

You may have read in history how various cultures have handled "unwanted" babies. One common technique was to use exposure in the elements to kill a baby. Cold, dehydration, or hunger were used to kill the baby, probably out of sight and the sound of the cries of the little one. How cruel and barbaric such murder was.

Human society has not progressed at all over the centuries. I woke up this morning to learn that the New York State Senate passed the so-called reproductive health act that provides for abortion up to the last minute of a pregnancy, abortion by lethal injection, abortion by non-physicians, adding abortion to the NY constitution, and repeal of protection for babies who survive abortions. Murderers cannot be punished by lethal injection in New York, but babies can be?!

The representatives in the senate were clapping after passage of the bill in celebration. Governor Cuomo had the World Trade Center spire lit in pink color to celebrate this abomination. Wasn't that building built after the previous version was destroyed and thousands died on 9/11/2001? So now it is used as a monument to celebrate more death? My fellow Christians, the heart of man is desperately wicked. We knew that, of course, but it is not encouraging to see how brazen they are in their evil.

Once the left started glorifying abortion as a sacred right there was only one place this could end up. Now everyone can see how dark hearted and twisted their thinking is. People who hold back in condemning this to avoid conflict or discomfort are copping out. There’s no excuse. —David Limbaugh, January 23, 2019 Tweet

Yes, Christians condemn infanticide. We condemn abortion. If that condemnation brings conflict, so be it.

In better news, new Ohio governor Mike DeWine said that he would sign the heartbeat bill, which will prohibit abortions from about 6 weeks after conception. That's still not perfect, but much better.


Posted by Matt Postiff January 6, 2019 under Theology 

Occasionally I see folks searching for a chart of the dispensations and Google refers them to an old document that was on our site. Here is that document:

Dispensation Chart PDF

Dispensation Chart Word document

A more helpful document that is the fruit of more of my study on the topic is also available:

Dispensation Chart PDF

Dispensation Chart Libre Office format

This one does not focus on the seven dispensations or the relationship to the covenants, but rather gives attention to the essential elements or sine qua non of the dispensational approach to Scripture.


Posted by Matt Postiff December 31, 2018 under Theology 

I am reading James C. Petty's book Step by Step, a book about divine guidance. Years ago, I read a similar book by Garry Friesen and J. Robin Maxson entitled Decision Making and the Will of God. How do the teachings espoused by these two authors compare?

The big picture that both authors describe involves three views of God's will, which I will boil down to two. The first is the traditional and charismatic view, which says that there is the sovereign will of God, which is not revealed. Then there is the moral will of God, which is revealed in Scripture in God's commands, wisdom, prohibitions, etc. And thirdly, there is the specific or individual will of God, which relates to God's plan for each individual. It is not revealed in the Bible, but can be accessed by some other means, whether circumstances, impressions, direct communication from heaven, etc.

The second is the wisdom view of God's will. This view agrees with the first two types of God's will above, but does not agree with the third "individual will of God." In the third view, there is no such thing as an 'individual will' of God that is distinct from the moral and sovereign wills of God.

It is my understanding that Petty and Friesen are in basic agreement with one another, because both teach the wisdom view of God's will. Both books are very valuable in guiding someone through what can be a deeply concerning issue for those who are in the midst of making major life decisions.

Let's see if my understanding agrees with direct quotations from the two books I mentioned above. Petty writes:

Garry Friesen has done an excellent study on whether there is such a thing as a personal will of God. He has also provided a definition of this popular notion (Friesen, 1980, 35): 'God's Individual will is that ideal, detailed life-plan which God has uniquely designed for each believer.' This plan is not contained in Scripture either explicitly or implicitly.

Friesen rightly points out that this view underlies the 'Bull's eye' theory of the will of God. He uses the picture of a target to show how the moral will relates to the individual will of God. God's moral will is seen as a circular target. Our decisions are like arrows we shot at the target, seeking to hit God's will. Inside hte circle are all the lawful choices. Outside the target are all options that are always sinful. If you miss the target, your decision is sin against God and contradicts the moral law.

The individual will of God is seen as the bull's eye on the target. That is the 'will' we seek to discover (hit) for guidance. If we miss the bull's eye but hit within the target area, we are not in sin--but we are missing God's best for us....We are then said to be outside the individual will of God, but still within his moral will (Petty, p. 97).
Friesen has made an enormous contribution in exposing the unbiblical concept of the 'individual will of God' (Petty, p. 105).

From this, we can see that Petty agrees with Friesen's critique of the individual will of God view. Petty definitely takes the wisdom view:

The concept of an individual will separate from God's moral will is thus not scriptural. Despite its popularity, this concept should be rejected. What is often called the 'individual will of God' should be seen simply as the application of God's commands and character to the specifics of our lives. It is not a separate and distinct (nonmoral) sense of God's will.

To sum up, God has a secret, sovereign plan for each of us that orders each detail of our lives. God also has a revealed, moral will for us that is summarized in the Great Commandment and has implications, preferences, and directions for extensive areas in each life. The wisdom we seek in divine guidance is God's moral will applied to the believer's life. Guidance is discerning God's moral and spiritual preferences as they apply to our life situations. It is not a detailed plan to be discovered or communicated by God in extra-scriptural communications (Petty, p. 101).

And now to Friesen:

The expression will of God is used in the Bible in two ways. God's sovereign will is His secret plan that determines everything that happens in the universe. God's moral will consists of the revealed commands in the Bible that teach how people out to believe and live.

To these biblical usages (moral and sovereign wills), the traditional view has added a third. It is commonly taught that for each person, God has an individual will—an ideal, detailed life-plan for each person. In this traditional view, the key to decision making is to discover God's individual will, and then do it...

By contrast, the emphasis of Scripture is on God's moral will. In fact, the Bible reveals nothing of an 'individual will' governing each decision.(Friesen, p. 115).

Both Friesen and Petty believe that Scripture describes the will of God under two headings—the sovereign will and the moral will. Both criticize the traditional/charismatic view of the individual "bull's eye" view of God's will. Both say that Scripture does not teach this individual will.


Posted by Matt Postiff December 28, 2018 under Theology 

The well-known statement in the model prayer reads like this:

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (Matthew 6:13, Luke 11:4).

It has lately been the subject of some controversy. One person asked me this: "How can the Catholic church rewrite the Lord's prayer?"

First of all, let us reaffirm that we can pray that portion of the prayer verbatim if we so desire, from the text of our English version. God knows what He meant when He inspired the text, and the genuine believer intuitively knows what the text means.

After all, God is able to deliver His godly ones from temptation (2 Peter 2:9).

Even more importantly, the Bible makes it clear that God never God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. (James 1:13). What does this mean? It means that God does not solicit anyone to an evil thought or deed. Such is impossible because of God's nature. That truth must be held together with a complementary truth, that God does allow situations to arise in which our faithfulness to Him is tested. But it is our own flesh, the world, and the devil that allure us to do evil when a test arises.

When we do face temptation, God promises to make a way for us to "escape" the temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). That could be through changing or removing the circumstances or helping us remain faithful in the circumstances.

As for the Catholic Pope "changing the Lord's prayer," the following quote from the Salt Lake Tribune is instructive:

The words in the Lord’s Prayer that ask, "Lead us not into temptation," can cause confusion, Francis said. To make it clear that God would not lead anybody toward sin, the pope suggested a better translation of the Greek prayer from the New Testament would be something along the lines of, "Do not let us fall into temptation." (www.sltrib.com)

I appreciate that the Pope is trying to help people not make the mistake of assuming God could tempt us to sin. So let us give credit where it is due. His solution, however, is not great. The Greek verb does not at all mean to "fall" into temptation. It means to cause someone to enter a certain condition. And even if the verb did mean to fall, that doesn't really solve the problem because then we might surmise that God does cause us to fall into sin, or culpably permit us to do the same. While God does permit all that occurs in the world, He does not actively cause sin. The mystery of that may be beyond our ability to comprehend, but it is an accurate statement of Biblical teaching on the subject.

Any way you try to say this can be misinterpreted. So just remember: in this prayer, you are asking the Lord to help you not to sin, in whatever way He knows how.

The bottom line is this: a true believer does not want to sin. He doesn't want to get close to the edge or be in places where he may be overwhelmed and fall into sin. Following the model prayer, he can and should pray that the Lord will deliver him from tempting situations, and deliver him from himself. The prayer in no way suggests that it is God who tries to get us to sin. The prayer is asking God to keep us AWAY from such situations! Indeed, God can providentially orchestrate our days to restrain sin in our lives, and to help us to avoid tempting situations. May He do that, and may we do our diligent part as well.


Posted by Matt Postiff December 10, 2018 under Theology 

Here is the annual set of Bible reading schedules that you have become accustomed to seeing here. The dates are adjusted on these to match the beginning of the weeks for 2019. Some of the schedules encourage you to start on 12/30 or 12/31 depending on if the schedule starts on a Sunday or a Monday.

Spiritual growth is correlated to Bible input. So, put more Bible into your mind!

Some other reading plans might catch your interest from prior years, easily adaptable to the coming year:

If you would like another schedule that takes you through the entire Bible in the year, and with some chronological ordering in it, check out this schedule from bibleclassmaterial.com. This is from 2017, but it will work for this coming year just about as well.

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