Shepherd’s Rod - Sifting Truth From Error
Shepherd’s Rod - Sifting Truth From Error
Questions to Ask
For this final write-up on Shepherd’s Rod I reference six test questions provided by George W. Reid, taken from an article he did for the Biblical Research Institute. Again, as noted in the previous two weeklies, the article by George is reprinted with minor adaptation from the Adventist Review.
Track of Truth Lies Close Behind the Track of Error
George Reid from research discovered that, “The experience of the Shepherd's Rods and similar groups illustrates the hazards, not in holding strong religious faith, but in distorting it.” Furthermore, in referencing a poignant statement of Ellen White, he pointed out, "the track of truth lies close beside the track of error" (Review and Herald; Oct. 22, 1903). As such George contends that there are “Several simple but important tests [that] should be applied by every believer who wants to build solid faith while hedging against error.”
Applying The Tests
When invited to Sabbath lunch and or a Bible Study one needs to be aware of the approach by Shepherd’s Rod. Seeing themselves as being called to reform the Seventh-day Adventist Church, they target new believers who most vulnerable. Also, they position themselves to teach the Sabbath school lesson especially in small churches where there is not a resident pastor and the leadership may be inadequate. Therefore, if you do not know a person or may be uncertain, call your pastor and or field leader. Additionally, take note of the following test questions.
1. Is there a heavy concentration on one or two main points?
2. Am I hearing a careful pursuit of understanding, or an urging toward quick conclusions?
3. Does the person or group distance themselves from the larger body of believers? Such separation robs us of the balance provided by hearing the whole church.
4. Does the promoter or group emphasize impending danger to the point of creating a feeling of desperation? A true walk with Christ builds hope and confidence, not terror.
5. Is undue attention given to the ideas of one person?
6. Am I urged to accept uncritically whatever is promoted, buttressed by the use of selected Bible texts and Spirit of Prophecy quotations as proofs?
Critical Thinking Is Needed
Says, Reid, “Ours is a perilous age for Christians, not only from unbelief, but a willingness to believe too much. The false lies beside the true. The drives of human needs and the hype of marketing, both in products and ideas, push us to make the most crucial of decisions on shallow evidence. Christ has a better way: careful searching of His Word and placing utter trust in Him alone.” How relevant is such a statement given that a wrong decision could lead to destruction now and in the future. We need the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit daily in our lives. In fact, it is our privilege to pray for it as God is most willing to impart this through His Holy Spirit. Additionally, I wish to call for a confidence in God’s established church notwithstanding some of its issues. The issues are not with God or His church per se but with people or individuals and that may include you and me. Accordingly, I conclude with a few relevant quotations on the church and its leaders taken Acts of the Apostles by Ellen White.
“God has made His church on the earth a channel of light, and through it He communicates His purposes and His will. He does not give to one of His servants an experience independent of and contrary to the experience of the church itself. Neither does He give one man a knowledge of His will for the entire church while the church—Christ’s body—is left in darkness . . ..”
“There have ever been in the church those who are constantly inclined toward individual independence. They seem unable to realize that independence of spirit is liable to lead the human agent to have too much confidence in himself and to trust in his own judgment rather than to respect the counsel and highly esteem the judgment of his brethren, especially of those in the offices that God has appointed for the leadership of His people. God has invested His church with special authority and power which no one can be justified in disregarding and despising, for he who does this despises the voice of God.”
“Those who are inclined to regard their individual judgment as supreme are in grave peril” (The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 163, 164).