Hundreds of leaders, of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, gathered in Bloemfontein, South Africa to affirm the position of the reformers: “Sola Scriptura.” The Biblical Foundations Conference organized by the Southern Africa Indian Ocean Division (SID) of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist, drew interest from all territories of the SID and beyond.
Dr Paul Ratsara, SID President, in his keynote address said: “… this conference is an occasion for deep spiritual revival and reformation.” He continued: “the world is ripe for a demonstration of excellence, and God’s people must shine more than ever, and the foundation of that excellence must the Jesus Christ and His Word.”
The conference began on July 26, 2012, and will continue until August 05, 2012. Dr Ellah Kamwendo, (SID Education Director), has condensed her excitement in outlining the purpose of the conference. She said: “ in hosting this meeting, we do not only celebrate the past but reset our spiritual and philosophical compass as we move into the future.” As Dr Lisa Beardsley-Hardy (Education Director of the General Conference) highlighted the importance and incredible uniqueness of SDA education, the participants were filled with a sense of mission and allegiance to Adventist Education.
Included with other presentations scheduled for the Conference are: [starlist]
- Biblical Principles for interpreting Scriptures
- The Authority of the Bible in the history of Theology
- Excellence of Adventist Education: a Biblical perspective
- Biblical foundations for Mission, Biblical foundation to Science
- Biblical foundations for the curriculum
- Redemptive discipline and student life
- Biblical understanding of Mathematics
- Biblical Worldview for Psychology and Mental health, et al.
With presenters and other guests from World divisions of the Seventh-day Adventist church, delegates gathered to: “… dig into the truths from the heart of God together.”
During her sermon on Sabbath, July 28, 2012, Dr Ellah Simons, General Vice President of the General Conference, outlined that all we do must be founded on and grounded in God’s Word as presented in Scripture and modelled in the life of Jesus. Speaking from Matthew chapter seven, she said: “… the Bible is God’s progressive revelation of Himself and anything built outside of Christ and His Word is meaningless and a futile attempt at building on shifting sand.” “Let’s return once more to the foundation of the building and build a house of character. We must begin with Jesus and the Scriptures which point to Him and is the definitive authority on his nature and life … a relationship built God will last forever,” Dr Simmons appealed.
While I sat listening to Dr Simmons I was prompted to reflect on the Bible. We affirm: “Sola Scriptura,” and celebrate the transforming power of God’s Word, the Bible which has penetrated continents of the world, evoking deep passion for what it has accomplished through the centuries and continues to accomplish today. Firstly, as it revolutionized different cultures, language groups, ethnic groups, political regimes and societies distinctly different from each other, it testifies of its power to transcend all barriers known to man. It also reminds us that while we are different, we can be united as one family moved by the same Spirit that moved holy men of God as they penned these holy words. The message of the Bible indeed rings true … one of unity in diversity. Through this Word, I learn that you are my brother, born of one Father destined for one consummation when our Big Brother Jesus comes to take us home.
In affirming Biblical foundations … we affirm the legacy of our forefathers who believed in sola scriptura and tremble at the responsibility it demands. The Bible is not just a book. This Book is the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding; its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveller’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s character. Here paradise is restored, heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. Follow its precepts and it will lead you to Calvary, to the empty tomb, to a resurrected life in Christ; yes, to glory itself, for eternity.
Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. Books are humanity in print. But the Bible is divine Blueprint for humanity bearing redemption’s story and anchoring our hope in the soon return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to take us to our celestial home.
Today, we are proud of our heritage as a result of the Bible, the Word of God, and at the same time humbled at the legacy we are called to leave behind after walking with the God of the Bible. May we all like David say: “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I may not sin against Thee…” and then later said: “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
Dr Paul Charles
SID Communication – We Connect…