Series Code: RQRA
Program Code: RQRA000022A
00:01 I don't understand,
00:04 why did this have to happen to me?
00:08 I feel like I just can't make sense of things.
00:12 I need answers.
00:15 Where is God?
00:20 Hello and welcome to Raw Questions,
00:23 Relevant Answers.
00:25 In this program, we take the questions
00:27 that you have sent in
00:28 and we try to look at these answers
00:30 from a biblical perspective.
00:32 My name is Michelle Doucoumes,
00:33 and I'm joined by my co-host Dee Casper and Mark Paden.
00:37 Today, we have some pretty heavy questions
00:41 but they are real questions.
00:42 This is the thing...
00:43 These are the things you have asked,
00:45 and sent in to us, and it's specifically
00:47 about church issues today and how does the church
00:51 deal with some of the major things
00:53 that are going on and major issues.
00:55 This first one comes from
00:58 someone from the state of Illinois,
01:00 a 26-year-old female is asking a big question,
01:03 "How should the church handle involvement by homosexuals
01:07 and LGBTQI+?"
01:11 I think that the first thing that we acknowledge
01:14 as a Seventh-day Adventist Church
01:15 that God's love for humanity
01:17 is indeed that His love for all of humanity.
01:20 It is not dependent upon what one does or doesn't do,
01:23 that His love is unending, He's pursuing every soul
01:26 and places a high value on every soul.
01:27 So I just want to make sure
01:29 that's affirmed first and foremost.
01:30 I think the main question here is the one about involvement.
01:35 In a way that we would deal
01:37 with any other form of leadership, right,
01:39 their expectations of leadership
01:40 in the Seventh-day Adventist Church
01:42 or as there is with any church that their lifestyle should be
01:44 in harmony with what we believe are biblical teachings.
01:47 That can go for alcoholism, that can go for spouse abuse,
01:50 that can go for any other situation.
01:54 This lifestyle is no different in that sense
01:56 that we have taken the position as a church
01:59 that for to serve in leadership roles,
02:02 again, it's no different.
02:04 We can't really in good conscience
02:05 have that take place.
02:07 But that does not exclude someone
02:09 from attending a Seventh-day Adventist Church,
02:11 from having fellowship with Seventh-day Adventists.
02:14 That's not an issue,
02:15 and never has been in that sense and shouldn't be.
02:18 You know, to the other thing that I would say to that is,
02:21 you know, as a people, we have made the Bible
02:25 the rule of faith in practice, you know,
02:27 that's why we worship on the seventh day
02:30 because the Bible says that.
02:32 That's why we live in accordance
02:34 with all the other principles of the Bible.
02:36 And so, especially, in leadership
02:40 to fulfill those leadership positions,
02:43 we have selected people
02:44 who exemplify biblical principles
02:46 in all aspects of life.
02:48 In the New Testament,
02:49 there are lists of characteristic traits
02:52 that leaders need to have.
02:54 They need to not be sleeping around
02:56 with a bunch of other women.
02:58 They need to, you know,
03:00 have good family, good families,
03:03 and just all these other characteristics
03:05 that make them good people who obey the Word of God.
03:09 And so because of that, it just, you know,
03:12 it puts certain limitations on who can serve
03:15 in leadership roles.
03:17 And I think the difference that we talked about before
03:20 backstage was that someone
03:22 who is actively practicing a lifestyle
03:24 and someone who wrestles
03:26 with different forms of attraction internally,
03:29 those are two different scenarios,
03:30 those are two different situations.
03:31 In the same way that maybe someone was
03:33 a former alcoholic
03:34 and they're still tempted to want alcohol
03:36 but they don't partake of alcohol.
03:38 That's a whole another scenario altogether.
03:40 I just want to make sure that's clear as well that
03:42 we're talking about actively practicing individuals
03:45 in a particular lifestyle.
03:46 Big, big difference.
03:47 Yeah. Yeah.
03:49 You know, these are things that
03:51 people need to individually study out.
03:54 As far...
03:55 There's a lot going on in our world today
03:57 regarding this topic
03:59 and in the church with the biblical perspective,
04:03 we have to grapple with these things too
04:05 and we're not always going to do it correctly.
04:07 Right. And that's the sad part.
04:08 And sometimes we as a church have made people feel less than
04:13 or like this lifestyle separated them
04:16 from being as good as other people,
04:18 and that's not the intent, and if you've been there,
04:21 you have friends that have been there,
04:23 then my prayer is that you'll accept an apology
04:28 for how we as a church
04:29 sometimes have not treated things
04:30 the way that we should have.
04:33 I have a friend once who was, at that time,
04:35 practicing homosexual, and told the pastor, and said,
04:37 "Hey, I just want you to know this about me."
04:40 And the pastor said, "You know what,
04:41 just go have a seat with the other sinners."
04:44 And there's something to that I feel,
04:46 the fact that we are all sinners, in need of grace,
04:49 no matter what we're dealing with,
04:50 no matter what our views are on different things,
04:53 we all need Jesus.
04:55 And while the church has to deal with leadership
04:57 and think about that, that we should be a place
05:01 that is safe for anyone
05:02 to be able to come and feel welcome.
05:04 One hundred percent. Absolutely.
05:06 We have another question, another big one.
05:10 This is from a 25-year-old female
05:11 here in the United States,
05:13 and it says, "There seems to be too much separation,
05:15 both racially and spiritually in church leadership,
05:20 and not much cooperation.
05:21 Why does there have to be so much separation,
05:24 when we're supposed to be working together
05:27 to spread the word?
05:29 And just to preface this, she is right.
05:32 There have been separations in our church.
05:35 We as humans tend to separate into different camps over
05:39 who knows what issues.
05:40 And even racially, going way back to the Civil War era,
05:45 the church had to struggle with how to deal with a country
05:48 that was very separated and segregated.
05:51 And some of those things come down
05:53 and have their effects even to today.
05:57 So how do we deal with this?
05:58 Well, I think that the first thing is
06:00 we as a Seventh-day Adventist Church
06:01 have always had a drive and ambition for mission
06:03 and regardless of what situation
06:05 one may find themselves
06:06 in regarding the layout corporately of the church
06:08 in a general region,
06:10 mission is still our responsibility
06:12 and we don't have to stop that while working
06:14 with the other situation to find a reasonable solution.
06:17 So I don't think that that's a non issue
06:19 in that sense in my eyes, in the sense that yes,
06:21 we should focus on mission, of course,
06:23 we affirm that and we are working
06:26 on focusing on mission.
06:27 But while we work through other difficult issues,
06:30 that can still be going on.
06:31 I just wanted to start with that, but go ahead.
06:34 You know, here's another thing too.
06:36 As human beings,
06:39 we have problems with differences.
06:41 And we make differences sometimes on dumb things
06:43 and sometimes on important things.
06:46 And if you even look
06:48 at the disciples all through the gospels,
06:49 I mean they're constantly bickering back and forth
06:51 who's the greatest, "I'm better than you,
06:53 you're better than me," all this stuff, right?
06:55 They were from different classes,
06:57 different political ideologies within their times.
07:02 And so they had those differences.
07:03 But, you know, the beautiful thing
07:06 of the gospels is the Book of Acts 1,
07:09 you know, where all of these disciples,
07:11 they came together and they prayed.
07:15 I don't want to miss the significance of that,
07:17 they came together and they prayed.
07:20 Confessed their differences and resolved their differences.
07:22 Yes. Yes.
07:24 They didn't just get together
07:26 and bicker with one another about their differences,
07:30 they prayed and sought the Holy Spirit to help them.
07:33 And I want to submit that
07:35 until we come together to do that,
07:39 we're going to be dealing with these differences.
07:42 And it's only going to take a supernatural occurrence
07:45 and divine wisdom to know
07:47 how to work through this situation
07:49 that's regionally unique to the North American division
07:51 as far as two different conferences
07:54 on how do we make these conferences merge
07:56 while at the same time
07:57 being a globally diverse movement.
07:59 It's this unique situation to know
08:01 how to kind of work through in that sense.
08:02 It is not that we have...
08:05 We are very diverse movement and we have diverse leadership
08:09 even in our global world church,
08:11 but we also have an elephant in the room
08:12 that we're working on what do we do,
08:15 and I think that we need to be praying for leadership
08:17 in the Seventh-day Adventist Church
08:19 because it's not an easy situation.
08:22 There is no easy,
08:23 flip this switch and it's fixed,
08:24 it's not like that at all,
08:26 and we need divine wisdom from heaven
08:28 to know how to go forward about that and it's true.
08:31 I like how you guys bring that out,
08:33 it's not as much just one issue or the other issue,
08:37 it's that we have a lot in human natures
08:39 that get in the way without the Holy Spirit subduing us.
08:43 And there nasty racism happens in the church,
08:48 it shouldn't happen.
08:51 Nasty hypocrisy and backbiting happen in the church
08:54 and it shouldn't happen.
08:56 But what do we do about it?
08:58 And I want to...
08:59 This is another question, it's related to the same thing,
09:01 a female, age 28 in Washington is asking,
09:04 "How do we seek unity in our diversity?"
09:07 And maybe that's a huge thing to talk about some more,
09:11 knowing that we have some problems, what do we do?
09:14 I think that is the issue.
09:16 In these two first questions
09:18 is this principle of unity in diversity,
09:19 do you want to go to that first?
09:21 Yeah, I just wanted to mention one thing
09:24 to define our terms first.
09:26 You know, there's two kinds of diversity.
09:29 There's diversity in which, you know...
09:33 There's diversity on little things that,
09:35 you know, I can like the color green,
09:37 you might like the color blue, right?
09:40 Neither one is better than the other, it's just diverse.
09:43 There's other things where it's, you know,
09:44 biblical truth.
09:46 When biblical truth is involved,
09:48 then diversity takes on a different meaning.
09:50 But when we're talking about race relations
09:52 or different things like this,
09:54 diversity is something very beautiful.
09:57 So in this thing that we're talking about now,
10:00 unity in diversity, how can we find unity
10:03 within our diversity in that sense.
10:05 I think one of the things that has fueled this problem
10:08 in both of the first two questions more than anything
10:10 is the media narrative that we're absorbing
10:13 as Christians and it's unfortunate.
10:15 Because many of us are absorbing a narrative
10:17 from the world,
10:19 not coming from a Seventh-day Adventist worldview
10:20 or just a Christian worldview,
10:22 and we're consuming far too much media
10:25 from the left or the right,
10:26 and that is causing us to adopt positions emotionally,
10:30 that there is a form of dissonance many times
10:33 because neither one of these camps politically
10:35 are fully endorsing a biblical position
10:37 in all the ways that they ought.
10:39 And so we end up finding ourselves bickering back
10:41 and forth based upon a news narrative,
10:43 or something we're reading on social media,
10:44 or the current hot topics.
10:46 Not based upon what the Word of God says
10:48 and it's certainly not being done
10:49 in the Spirit of the Word of God.
10:51 And this is a thing that's discouraging
10:52 to a lot of our young people is they see this vitriol
10:56 from people in the same movement
10:57 who are claiming to be on the same team,
10:59 who feel that, I can't talk to them,
11:01 we don't agree with them, we don't read their articles,
11:04 and we've missed a blessing because we are all Christians,
11:07 we're seeking to advance the mission,
11:09 as our second question asked,
11:11 and if that's actually the case,
11:12 we should be finding as many ways
11:13 to work together as possible,
11:15 not to marginalize and separate as possible,
11:18 and it's causing hardship,
11:19 and it's causing young people to want nothing
11:21 to do with our movement
11:22 because they see this petty, childish spirit
11:25 from people who are claiming to be Christian.
11:28 And so I think we need to make sure that our spirit
11:31 and our beliefs come from something that would be
11:33 adequately reflecting Jesus.
11:36 And, you know, Mark, what you said was, yeah,
11:39 there are things where it's biblical principles
11:42 that we may not be able to just say,
11:44 "Oh, it doesn't matter, let's all just come together."
11:47 But in those cases, even then,
11:49 do we do it in the right spirit?
11:51 Do we do it in the spirit of really loving and caring,
11:53 and trying to seeing someone else's point of view?
11:57 And then in the things that there are a lot of things
11:59 maybe we don't need to die on that hill, so to speak,
12:02 and we should come together for a purpose.
12:05 Something that's impacted me
12:06 interestingly on this topic of unity
12:08 is the story of the Tower of Babel, like what is that.
12:12 Well, here's a people that came together
12:15 unfortunately for a wicked purpose,
12:17 they were trying to defy God
12:19 and build this tower up to heaven.
12:21 But the Lord says in verse 6 of Genesis 11,
12:23 "Indeed the people are one, they have one language,
12:26 this is what they begin to do,
12:27 now nothing that they proposed to do
12:30 will be withheld from them."
12:32 They were so unified that if you know the story,
12:35 God had to come down and actually split them up,
12:38 confuse their languages, otherwise He said,
12:41 "Nothing would be withheld from them."
12:42 And I long for that day when our church comes together
12:45 in the way for a good cause that nothing would be withheld
12:50 because we care about God's cause
12:52 and are so dedicated to that that other things
12:54 don't matter as much anymore.
12:56 I think it's a phenomenal point
12:57 because unity is not the goal per se,
13:01 let me explain myself,
13:02 just because people are unified in idea
13:04 does not mean they are unified with the Word of God
13:06 and its principles.
13:08 So our burden is to be unified within the Word of God.
13:11 They were of one accord in the Book of Acts,
13:13 they were of one accord in the Tower of Babel
13:14 but there's...
13:16 And this is a crazy thing, in Acts 7, the people...
13:20 The religious leadership were in one accord
13:22 when they stoned Stephen, the Man of God.
13:25 So there's two one accords even in the Book of Acts
13:26 but is it led by the Spirit of God,
13:28 and is it uplift the loveliness of Jesus,
13:31 and how it's carried forward, and if it doesn't,
13:33 then just because you have one accord
13:34 or you are unified
13:36 does not mean that you're on God's side.
13:39 And so we need to be searching our own hearts
13:40 just because we may have some sense of agreement
13:42 with other people
13:43 is that what God wants in harmony with His Word.
13:45 Yeah. Yeah.
13:47 Well, thank you all for watching today,
13:50 and these are big topics.
13:52 They are topics with not easy answers,
13:54 but our prayer is that we can come together,
13:57 that you would go to your church leadership,
14:00 pray for them, labor with them,
14:02 and that God would use us together
14:04 for His purposes in the world.
14:06 Thank you for watching.
14:07 Send your questions in, RQRA3ABN on Facebook.