How Do We Know If We’re Right?
Eric V. Snow, Sermonette, June 9, 2006, UCG-Ann Arbor
How do we know if we’re right? Could the vast great majority who reject our doctrines be wrong? If you were raised in this faith, do you take its truth for granted? Could we be deceived? Could you have been tricked by a certain high school dropout and business failure turned preacher born in Iowa over a century ago? If the whole world is deceived, could we be deceived like them also? What are the signs and doctrines of the true church?
After all the world’s population is over 6.5 billion. We’re a teeny, tiny group of perhaps 30,000 members, if we add up all the Church of God groups that came out of our parent organization altogether.
S.P.S. We in the Church of God believe certain crucial doctrines that make us different and more right than most people in the world.
This isn’t about whether God exists, Bible is true, evolution false, etc. But what teachings make us more right on matters of salvation than the world’s churches? Four crucial doctrines make us more correct than most traditional Christians.
1. The Saturday Sabbath
Most in world refuse to take this literally. They either say it’s abolished or transferred to another day. But we take God at His word. Where does Jesus or the apostles teach the day clearly was transferred or abolished? We use the whole Bible for doctrine, not just the New Testament. Most arguments against the Saturday Sabbath also would abolish the commandments against murder and adultery also. Most churches don’t keep this day.
2. The Holy Days and their outline for God’s master plan for humanity
This “difficult text” makes a crucial point in v. 17: The holy days predict the future. Key point: Other churches have scattered truths, but the COG has an integrated tapestry of doctrines that interlock with each other, that are mutually consistent. Why our parent organization found that as dumped one doctrine, had to dump another. Holy Day plan shows no hell fire, no immortal soul, people can be saved after death if not called before, etc. Reduces problem of evil problem: Ignorant people of other religions will eventually be saved after their resurrection. Even more churches won’t keep the Holy Days than the Saturday Sabbath.
3. Refusal to engage in war and personal self-defense.
Matt. 5:38, 43-45
This doctrine is sometimes unpopular even in the COG today. Can’t convincingly say can kill enemies yet love them. Golden Rule: Can’t say may kill enemies who want to live if you want to live. Strangers in national capitals can’t legalize killing strangers thousand of miles away from our homes lawfully in God’s sight. Takes faith to believe and practice, such as against the fear of burglars and murderers attacking us at home. Most people, most churches, deem this too impractical to practice, with a few exceptions, like the Quakers, Amish, Mennonites, etc. We again take God literally.
4. God Family doctrine
We affirm Jesus is God while denying the Trinity, which is a rare combination in the theological world. If deny Jesus’ Deity, has serious consequences for doctrine of atonement: How important was Jesus’ sacrifice if he were only a man or an angel. Promise of people becoming God solves problem of evil: Prize offered by God greater than any pain or misery ever suffered by human race, like Holocaust or gulags. More literal view than Orthodox church, not polytheistic like Mormons.
Conclusion: Four signs that the Church of God has the ultimate truth are the doctrines concerning the Sabbath, the Holy Days, pacifism, and the God Family. These doctrines are crucial to salvation. They are not just nice-to-know Biblical facts or spiritual truths. We in the Church of God are a small and weak flock, but are strong and powerful in doctrinal truth. We’ve been willing to sacrifice material pleasures and be rejected by friends and relatives for believing and practicing these truths. Most in world wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice so much when their beliefs would be tested these ways. So we shouldn’t doubt that we are right, even when over 6.5 billion people think we’re wrong.