Moving away from exclusivity (Part III)
Jesus is the foundation of all Christian tradition. Everything that Christian’s do and say is built on the Jesus event. Jesus is exclusive among all Christian groups and He is the criterion for new groups that make claims of Christianity. The doctrine of the Remnant is build on this understand of being the last group of people that still follow Jesus in spirit and truth. Jesus said to Thomas one of His disciples that he is “the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me”. (John 14:6) Jesus therefore is the vehicle for all Christians to be included into the family of God and as long as a person has Christ living inside of them, other Christians are not in position to exclude them from fellowship. “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear my voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd”. (John 10:16) Jesus in this verse states that other sheep He has that will hear His voice and become part of His fold. God is the judge of who is part of His flock, not people that call themselves the Remnant.
God is the one who chooses his exclusive people and not a self proclaimed Remnant. Ellen G. White says it like this:
Even though Israel rejected His Son, God did not reject them. Listen to Paul as he continues the argument: “I say then, Hath God cast away His people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew. do ye not what the Scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed Thy prophets, and digged down Thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” (The Acts of the Apostles pg. 375)
We choose God’s grace but He reserves for Himself a Remnant. This select is through the sacrifice of Jesus and all people that have faith through Him. This selection is not something that is exclusive to a denomination but those who are caught in the net of the Great Fisherman. In the Story of Elijah it is clear that the Remnant of his time are not boasting of God’s selection. Neither should the Remnant of our time be excluding others in the way they treat people outside of them. The Remnant are those that reflect God’s character in their life and will in the future will fully manifested His character and meeting God’s approval. E.G. White stated it like this:
I saw four angels who had a work to do on the earth, and were on their way to accomplish it. Jesus was clothed with priestly garments. He gazed in pity on the remnant, then raised His hands, and with a voice of deep pity cried, “My blood, Father, My blood, My blood, My blood!” Then I saw an exceeding bright light come from God, who sat upon the great white throne, and was shed all about Jesus. Then I saw an angel with a commission from Jesus, swiftly flying to the four angels who had a work to do on the earth, and waving something up and down in his hand, and crying with a loud voice, “Hold! Hold! Hold! Hold! until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads. (Early Writings pg. 38)
This scene Mrs. White is describing is speaking of the end of time and the last generation of believers who are separated out by God himself and only by Him. Exclusively God and no one else will do this sealing of the Remnant even if they call themselves the Remnant.
Exclusive behavior in the Adventist context is based on the doctrine of the Remnant. This misunderstanding of the Remnant in Adventism is not because of the Biblical view of the Remnant but of the selective application of the Remnant inside the Christian community and the world at large. Adventism, as a part of the community of Christian believers, has fundamental doctrines built on the foundation of Jesus Christ and His teachings. Adventist as Christians don’t hold the exclusive rights of the Remnant because God Himself is the final selector of the Remnant of Faithful believers. Lets us all move away from exclusivity so we can feed the hungry, freed the captives, and proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.