天主教还是安息日会:一场关于权威的持久战 + 9.5条论纲
作者：乔治 奈特 牧师 丨 来源：本站原创 丨 发布时间：2017-06-26
一场关于权威的持久战 + 9.5条论纲
乔治 奈特 牧师
奥贝曼（Heiko Oberman）写道：“路德思想之新在于他强调了对圣经的绝对顺从超过了顺从其它一切权威，无论这权威是教皇还是历届公会。”（注2）这一思想是路德在沃姆斯议会（Diet of Worms）上所见证的：“除非藉着《圣经》的明证，或清晰的推理使我信服——因为我不能单单相信教皇或历届公会。. . . . . . 我认为我自己是被圣经的见证所折服，这是我的出发点；我的良心是上帝话语的奴仆。因此，我不能也不会反悔，因为违背个人的良心既不安全也不理智。愿神帮助我。阿们。”（注3）
怀爱伦在《善恶之争》中对路德的评论很有见地。路德“坚定地宣告除了那些建立在圣经权威之基础上的教义之外，基督徒不接受任何教义。这些话动摇了教皇至高无上之地位的根基。它们道出了宗教改革的核心原则。”（注4）她接着说，罗马天主教会“企图维护他们的权威，却不是通过圣经的明证，而是采用威胁的手段。”（注5）最后，我们读到她说，“现今的时代已经远远离弃了圣经真道，我们需要回归宗教改革的伟大原则——圣经，并且只有圣经，是信仰与本分的标准。. . . . . . 当初彰显在宗教改革危机中的对上帝话语的坚定持守是今天之改革的唯一希望。”（注6）
或许在十九世纪的北美大地上，最能代表再洗礼宗精神的宗教团体莫过于恢复主义者运动（Restorationist）了，这一运动不承认任何信条，只认圣经。他们回归圣经的努力为安息日会的产生奠定了基石。贝约瑟和怀雅各都是从基督徒联合会（Christian Connextion）转为安息日会信徒的。基督徒联合会是恢复主义运动的分支之一。对怀雅各来说，“每位基督徒都. . . . . .有义务受圣经的约束，并认圣经为信仰与本分的完全的标准。”（注7）
还有一些针对使徒行传15章的几点问题需要说明。首先，保罗后来选择了不遵循徒15:20, 29关于吃祭偶像之物的决议。林前10:23-30对此说得很明白（注10）。在林前10:25, 27中，保罗声称如果不伤及别人的良心，基督徒可以吃祭偶像之物，这一说法与徒15的决议中所禁止的直接相抵触。所以，我们发现保罗在考虑到文化风俗背景之后对该决议作出了例外并附加了额外的条件。保罗原本可以直接宣布第一次全球总会代表大会的决议是普世性的准则，并且出示那次决议的书面条文来证明其有效性。如果他这样做的话，会很干脆地就把问题给解决了，还省去了他浪费诸多笔墨。但事实上，虽然使徒行传15章的耶路撒冷会议的决议肯定会帮助他解决问题，但我们却没有看到保罗在他的书信中提到此事。
Catholic or Adventist: The Ongoing Struggle
Over Authority + 9.5 Theses
George R. Knight
Unity 2017 Conference
June 12, 2017
On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This year the Protestant world is celebrating the 500th anniversary of that event. On May 8 General Conference president Ted Wilson, addressing the faculty of Middle East University, cited Ellen White who predicted that Seventh-day Adventists would carry that Reformation on until the end of time. Beyond that, he quoted 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”1 With that good advice in mind, we will begin our study of the history of authority in Adventism with Luther and his struggle with the Roman Church.
Given my topic, many people would expect me to deal with the theme of the development of ecclesiastical authority in Adventism. But the authority of the church in the denomination is contexted within Adventism’s understanding of the authority of the Bible and that of Ellen White. As a result, I have divided my presentation into three parts: Adventism’s approach to biblical authority, Ellen White’s thoughts on authority, and the development of authoritative structures in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Adventism’s Historical Approach to Biblical Authority
Adventism has historically viewed itself as a child of the Protestant Reformation. As a result, it is crucial that we recognize that the Reformation was not primarily about indulgences or even justification by faith. At its heart the Reformation was about the issue of authority.
“What is new in Luther,” Heiko Oberman writes, “is the notion of absolute obedience to the Scriptures against any authorities; be they popes or councils.”2 That thought is evident in his testimony before the Diet of Worms: “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason--for I can believe neither pope nor councils alone. . . . I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor sound. God help me. Amen.”3
Ellen White’s comments on Luther in The Great Controversy are helpful. Luther “firmly declared that Christians should receive no other doctrines than those which rest on the authority of the Sacred Scriptures. These words struck at the very foundation of papal supremacy. They contained the vital principle of the Reformation.”4 Again she penned, the Romanists “sought to maintain their power, not by appealing to the Scriptures, but by a resort to threats.”5 Finally, we read that “in our time there is a wide departure from their [the Scriptures’] doctrines and precepts,
and there is need of a return to the great Protestant principle--the Bible, and the Bible only, as the rule of faith and duty. . . . The same unswerving adherence to the word of God manifested at that crisis of the Reformation is the only hope of reform today.”6
At this point it is important to realize that Adventism’s primary Reformation heritage is not Lutheranism or Calvinism but Anabaptism or the Radical Reformation, which in essence held that the magisterial reformers had not been consistent in their Bible-only approach. For the Anabaptists it was wrong to stop where Luther, Calvin, or Zwingli did theologically. As a result, they moved beyond such teachings as infant baptism and state support of the church and toward the ideals of the New Testament church.
Perhaps the best representative religious body in the spirit of Anabaptism in nineteenth century America was the Restorationist movement, for which there was no creed but the Bible itself. Their drive to get back to the Bible set the stage for Adventism. Both Joseph Bates and James White came to Adventism from the Christian Connexion, a branch of Restorationism. For White, “every Christian is . . . in duty bound to take the Bible as a perfect rule of faith and duty.”7
In summary, Adventism at its best in 2017 stands on a firm platform of the Bible only as the rule of faith and practice. One of the unfortunate features of Roman Catholicism and many other Christian movements in history is that when they could not establish their claims from the Bible they were tempted to use threats and force backed up by ecclesiastical authority.
At this point in our discussion of biblical authority we need to briefly examine two passages: the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15 and the binding and loosening function of the church in Matthew 18:18. Those passages have become important due to their use in recent documents produced by the General Conference. In those documents a favorite passage is Acts 15. A September 2016 document notes that “what is often called the ‘Jerusalem Council’ is significant almost as much for its process as for the theological decision that resulted.” The decision of the Council “was regarded as binding on churches everywhere.” And, we read, “in sum, the lesson of the Jerusalem Council is that, in the Church, diversity of practice can be allowed but only after a representative body has agreed to allow some variation.”8
As we will see, those are very interesting conclusions when viewed from the perspective of what has actually taken place in recent Adventist history. But before doing that it will be helpful to examine Ellen White’s remarks on the Council. In Acts of the Apostles she notes that “it was the voice of the highest authority upon the earth,” a descriptor she would later apply to General Conference sessions. Those words are also found in The Story of Redemption, where the section on the Council has the editorial title of “The First General Conference.” The section notes that the Council was called because the Jews did not believe that God would authorize a change from traditional practices. But, she concludes, that “God Himself had decided this question by favoring the Gentiles with the Holy Ghost” to demonstrate the need for change. In short, God had given the Spirit to the Gentiles in the same manner that he had to the Jews.9 Thus unity in diversity was approved.
The point about the Spirit settling the matter is an interesting one since at the
2015 General Conference session there was no testimony from female pastors regarding how the Holy Spirit had blessed their ministries in the same way as that of males, the very type of testimony that had led to breaking the deadlock over accepting Gentiles in Acts 15 (see vv. 8, 9) and had reinforced many members of the General Conference appointed Theology of Ordination Study Committee to approve by a strong majority the concept of allowing those divisions that desired to ordain females to move forward. In that sense the decision-making process of Acts 15 was not followed.
A further point to note is that in Acts 15 all of the decisions had a clear biblical base. The same cannot be said of the 2015 General Conference session vote, as we will see in our treatment of Adventism’s ecclesiological authority.
Several other points should be made in relation to Acts 15. First, Paul later opted not to follow the Council’s decision of Acts 15:20, 29 in regard to abstaining from food sacrificed to idols. That is evident from 1 Corinthians 10:23-30,10 where in verses 25 and 27 he claims that it is permissible to eat meat offered to idols if it does not offend anyone, a ruling that goes directly against Acts 15 with its categorical prohibition. So we find Paul adding conditions and making exceptions based on cultural context. What Paul could have done was to announce that the first General Conference in session had passed a universal rule and that he had a copy of the letter to prove it. That would have solved the problem and saved Paul a lot of ink and explanation. In actuality, we do not find Paul in any of his letters referring to the Acts 15 Council, even though it could have been helpful to him.
A second point that should be noted is that the Seventh-day Adventist Church does not follow the “universal” rulings of Acts 15:29, 20 in that it does not prohibit the eating of blood by requiring flesh eaters in its midst to eat only kosher meat that has been killed in the proper way so that the blood is drained completely from it. So we find the Adventists being similar to Paul in interpreting and discarding aspects of the ruling largely based on cultural considerations.
With those facts in mind, it can be argued that the real lesson to be gained from Acts 15 is one of unity in diversity, with Jewish and Gentile Christians having freedom to follow differing paths because the Holy Spirit fell in the same way on both groups. （to be continued）