Of course, even if one were to accept the idea of a remnant church, and that the Seventh-day Adventist church fits that description, many have a dislike, and understandably so, for organised religion.
What, though, would they prefer? Disorganised religion? The western world today is characterised by individuality. This individuality is seen in many ways, but notably in a fear of commitment. But avoiding commitment, like the quest for freedom, is elusive. That issue is at the heart of the epic struggle.
Remember, it started with Lucifer – I will be like the Most High. He wanted to be free from God’s restraint – but to be so, he was committed to his own agenda. It’s the same issue today. In God’s world where true freedom reigns, there is deep commitment to God, to what He says and what He does.
The fact remains that the concept of a church – a community of believers bound together by a mutual sense of love for each other and by a common goal and mission – is profoundly biblical. One could even argue that organised religion is just another term for the biblical concept of community, the fellowship of the called out ones – the Greek meaning of the word church – a concept that is central to biblical faith.
The church was called out by God to represent Him, to be a community that serves – serves Him by obediently following Him and serving others. This is what the Seventh-day Adventist church strives to be – imperfectly, as with all churches – and to do. A global network of schools, hospitals and humanitarian agencies is the result.
In the great controversy, we all take big hits. Who among us can make it alone? Who of us has in and of himself or herself all that he or she needs? We all come with strong points, we all come with weak points, and we all come with gifts in some areas and deficiencies in others.
And God knows that. And He knows that we often need each other. Our lives are often full of turmoil. Problems arise, needs arise, crises happen that we in and of ourselves can’t always handle. And sometimes we just don’t know where to turn to, or where to get help.
But if you are part of a community, a caring community of fellow-believers, you can find help. And not only that, if you are part of a community of believers – a church – you can be in a position to help others. The church isn’t just a place you go to get.
On the contrary, the church is a place where you go to give. And so often, as anyone who has ever experienced the results of selfless giving knows – the more you give of yourself the more you get back in return.
That’s what the New Testament concept of a church is all about. The apostle Paul uses the analogy of the body for the church, the idea being that the different parts of the body cannot function properly without the others parts. That is, we not only need others, others need us.
That’s what the Christian church, ideally, is to be about: