I did it again. I recommended a book to someone looking to learn more about scripture. It is a book that I haven’t read in some time and one that I remember fondly as making a big difference in my understanding of Revelation. When my friend said “oh that sounds great” I had to do a mental inventory of the book before responding. I had to think: Wait, was that a book about the Bible or about Ellen White’s interpretation of the Bible? I had to think: will this person appreciate the message if it’s made up of more EGW quotes than scripture? I had to think it over before responding because I want to represent God’s Kingdom and sometimes (not always but, sometimes) how we present the Message can be confusing to onlookers and listeners.
Now more than ever we have to be mindful of the message we share. Now that we’re all missionaries in the digital realm, we are on display in a new, different way.
So who is directing you?
A primary doctrine that has followed since the Protestant Reformation is sola scriptura which is the belief that scripture is the sole infallible source of authority for the Christian Church–God’s church. Under this belief, everyone should read the Bible for themselves, taking no one’s word but the Living Word, and seeking understanding through prayer and study. This was a belief that set protestants apart from the Catholic Church and still to this day sets Christians apart from their denominational church family and beliefs. To whom should we listen? What direction should we go? What do you do when you’re in a great place spiritually, and someone from the church points out something that you’re doing wrong? Do you seek the Truth in scripture? Do you wear guilt like a shawl and retreat behind closed doors to pray the sinner’s prayer? When we are critiquing ourselves and others, who’s directives are we using?
A Rock and a Hard Place
There’s an old saying that comes to mind sometimes. Its origins reach back to the early 1900s when miners were fighting for better work conditions. The mining companies refused to budge, so the laborers had to choose to either work in poor and dangerous conditions (the rock) or go jobless, hungry, and put their families at risk (a hard place). Caught between a rock and a hard place is no place any of us want to be. We may feel like we’re there now when faced with quarantine. We feel we must get outside, but going out will put us and our family, possibly our whole country at risk. I know I feel it a lot as a Christian woman, where many things that make me feel whole and connected with God and others may be judged and frowned upon by others. I’ve recently seen a friend post on Facebook a list of things that she feels she has to hide from other Christians because… she simply feels pressured to hide it. The Church may say “well we don’t pressure anyone to/not to…fill in the blank” but if we’ve learned anything in the last decade it’s this: our intentions are not always what is. If we live in a world where there’s nothing but hard places to be found (and, let’s face it. We do), let’s look to the Lord of All, the Rock.
The Rock in a Hard Place
Listen, the world seems dark. Right now life is so different than what it should be, what it was just a month ago. In a week it will be even more so. More businesses will close doors. More county and city authorities will issue stay-at-home orders. Non-essential travel will be illegal, or at the very least frowned upon.
In these uncertain times, where will you find your Truth? What will you tell those who ask? We are in a peculiar position as Christians to live our most authentic online life. I urge you to share Jesus with the masses. Use your platform to shine a light on God’s Word. Focus more on a person’s friendship than their failures. Communicate instead of critique. When you’re in the hard place, look to the Rock. Climb onto the Rock. Seek shelter there. Build upon Him. Help others to find Him. Draw near.