I’m sure that many, if not most, of you are aware that I was not raised in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but rather my spiritual beginnings were deeply rooted in the Baptist tradition. As I have shared from the pulpit many times, not only were my parents deeply entrenched in the leadership of the First Free-Will Baptist Church, the church our family attended, three of my uncles were also Baptist ministers. Growing up in the Baptist Church was an extremely positive experience for me. It was in this environment that I was to learn that Christianity is all about Jesus. From the time I was a child to the present, it has been my goal to live my life in such a way that it puts a smile on the face of Jesus!
At the age of sixteen, something took place that would change the trajectory of my life forever. I left the church of my youth, the church of my family, the only church I had known all my life and became a Seventh-day Adventist. If I am to be completely honest with you, it was the easiest decision to make but at the same time, it was one of the most gut wrenching choices I have ever had to make. It was easy, because my decision was based on the truth I had learned regarding the Bible Sabbath, but extremely difficult because it meant walking away from a community that I had known all of my life. You see, in those days, the phenomenon of church “hopping” that is prevalent in today’s culture was pretty much nonexistent.
But as difficult as the decision was to leave my Baptist roots and begin the journey of “Adventism,” I made it because it was based on Truth. And when it comes to making a decision based on truth versus tradition, for Christians, truth should always trump tradition. The challenge I find myself being faced with today is that it appears that many within my own Church, and yes, the Adventist Church… it is mine now, are making decisions where they are choosing tradition over truth. Although I have chosen not to share specific instances in this forum, let me be clear on the matter. When we as members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, a church which has always prided itself on being a beacon of truth, are willing to continue to hold onto to certain beliefs, positions and practices simply because they are issues of tradition and not of truth, then are we not being somewhat hypocritical? If we are going to be people of the truth, shouldn’t it mean that we should be willing to take our stand for truth, even if the challenge comes from within our own ranks?
Well, it’s been forty-two years since I became a Seventh-day Adventist Christian. And if you detect a sense of pride in my words, you are absolutely right. I am proud to be a Seventh-day Adventist Christian and a pastor for nearly forty years as well. But even more than that, I am proud to be a seeker of truth. And I pray to the God of heaven, I always will!