Sunday, February 17, 2008


Leaving My Building

(Click on pictures to see larger view)

By Ramone - February 17, 2008

I grew up Seventh-day Adventist, being taught their belief called "soul sleep". Even after leaving Adventism, for several years I continued to hold onto the soul-sleep belief because it seemed to make more sense. There were a few Scriptures that didn't quite fit into the belief, but I found ways to round them out or explain them away (or just ignore them) in order to make the Scriptures fit the belief. And also, I just shelved the issue for later.

Finally, however, God raised the issue of "soul sleep" with me and I began to realize I was afraid. Not only had I been holding onto that belief because it seemed to make sense, but I realized I was afraid of letting it go. I was afraid of being deceived and lost if I believed in the regular Christian belief. It was part of a system that I'd been raised in, and ever since I was little I was unknowingly led to put my faith in that system. And those Scriptures that didn't agree with the belief, well, I was afraid of letting them mean what they said. If I did that, then I feared I would be deceived. It was too dangerous to let the Word mean what it said.

As soon as I realized that I was held by fear from taking the Word at its word, I knew that God was putting a step of faith in front of me. I could stay inside my old belief and think I was safe here, but really I would remain captive to fear. Or, I could let Him take me by my hand and lead me out. Yeah, it could be dangerous "out there", but I would risk it and trust in His hand instead. In other words, instead of trusting my own belief or system of beliefs, I would trust in His power to keep me from being deceived, led astray or lost.

The first picture above is how I saw it. I saw my old "building" (belief/s) behind me, and as a child I was being led by Him (the Holy Spirit) away, trusting in Him. Then I looked back and saw the second picture, that my "building" which I had formerly thought was "safe", was now on fire, burning from the inside. It was ironic especially because the "soul sleep" belief in SDA is attached to "annihilationism" (the belief that "eternal fire" isn't eternal). When I gave up "soul sleep" and rested Him instead, I also gave up the belief in "annihilationism"... and left God's fire in God's hands, trusting that He meant what He said and it's not up to me to question His justice, but trust that He knows best and that He loves everyone (even the lost) more than I do or can imagine.

Inside the building are written the words:
Doctored Doctrines Fears Afraid Knowledge Information
Protection Reasonings Systematic Theology Formulas Prooftexts
The building is the system of beliefs/theology that we consider to be our "safe house". We bend, re-interpret or plain ignore Scriptures that don't fit into our system. I should mention that this is not only true of Adventists, but it is true of many "systematic" theologies which trust heavily in their systematic-ness instead of leaning on Him and trusting His hand.

We think that our systems/theologies are our places of safety, but in reality holding onto Him is our only safety. And He is not a list of beliefs. He is not defined by our beliefs. What we believe about Him doesn't change His reality. We need to stop putting our faith in our beliefs and put it in Him instead. Because the truth is that our systematic/theological 'fortresses' are not safe at all. They are houses of cards and are going to fall. Theology is not a safe place; Christ is! We can hide in our systems, afraid of letting His Spirit in (He's wild, you know, not like a tame, static theological point), but if we do that we are open to all sorts of things that can "burn" us. Fears, attacks of the enemy, denial, secret shame, pride, haughtiness and more.

Holding onto Him, trusting Him, seems risky. It doesn't seem as 'anchored' as an air-tight belief system. But really, no system is air-tight. And if a system says it's air-tight, then it is probably rounding-out, re-interpreting or ignoring some important things in Scripture. And it is also probably very afraid of the Holy Spirit Himself, because 'information' seems more safe. A real, living Being seems more risky. But the opposite is true: God is the only safe place! The only safety from falling, being deceived or lost, is Him Himself. You can trust Him! He won't lead you astray. Lean on Him!


My story of leaving "soul sleep": "A Spirit of Life"

sometimes i think "Thous protesteth too much". Know the Holy Spirit will help you work your way through your thoughtful questions...
Hey! Who art thou? Leave your name so I know who you are! I don't understand your comment. I didn't even get a chance to explain the pictures yet! (^_^)

Nonetheless, God is GOOD! If you see this, please leave another comment so that I can let you know when I get a chance to put up the story behind these, and so that you can rejoice with me in God's goodness.
it always bring me a lot of joy and comfort as I visit art-for-jesus.

I guess in this, you were saying that you were leaving the SDA teaching behind, and decided to follow wherever the Spirit leads you, and you know that you are exactly safe as He holds your hand.

And the fire was set on it, because of the truth of the Holy Spirit that had burnt it. The picture suggested to me that "there is no turning back". It reminded me about Elisha, as Elijah covered him with his cloak when he was plowing. Elisha set a fire of the wood from the plow, then he followed Elijah since.

Can you please tell me, did your choice had also meant that you had to give up the friendship and brotherhood that you had with the community?
Wow, Rosaline... I hadn't thought of that way of looking at it. Just recently I finished this picture, "The Joy of Burning Bridges", too!

About leaving SDA, I should probably write about things encountered while leaving. I can't say I lost too much brotherhood and friendship. If they were based on common doctrine, then it was lost. With friends, most close friendships I've had aren't based on doctrine. Moreover, most close friends whom I still have in SDA do not believe in the SDA doctrines much (sometimes not at all).

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