Seventh-Day Adventists/the law in the NT
I would be very thankfull if you could made me understand the following issue regarding the SDA doctrine. I have always felt drawn to the adventist message in general but I have one particular problem that I cannot resolve in the light of the New Testament grace: Sabbath keeping and the dietary rules. In the New Testament I understand from the writings of the Apostole Paul that the law of the Old Testament is completed by the last commandment that comprises all: love for God and the other. In many passages I read the way in which Paul speaks about how certain Christian communities tried to return to the Law for receiving the Grace. (Galatians) Or like in 1 Corinhians 10:25 or Romans 14. I understand that Paul says that we should not be concerned with what we eat or what days of the week we keep because this is not required from us anymore. Moreover I read that those that eat only vegetables are weack and that we should not condemn anyone for what he eats or feast celebrate because this is the shadow of the Law which has been fulfilled in Christ. Thank you very much for reading this and I hope that I can understand what is the truth.
Madeline, You have identified two areas in Adventism which are really problematic. Tithing is a third doctrine which is troublesome from a Biblical perspective.
Many Adventists try to explain away Romans 14 by saying that the "days" are ceremonial days and not the weakly Sabbath. There is no way to prove that. Considering that the conflicts in Rome had a lot to do with the co-mingling of Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians, it makes sense that the Sabbath was the issue. Paul's great emphasis was faith in Christ as the Messiah. He did not want other issues dividing the congregation. The Sabbath doctrine can not be proved from the New Testament, although many Adventists try.
The food laws of Judaism were abolished. The story in Acts 10 makes it clear that the purpose of the food laws was to make a distinction in the mind of the Jews regarding their difference from Gentiles. The food laws were about ritual uncleanness. Note especially verse 15. It says that whatever God cleanses is no longer unclean. He was talking about the Gentiles but was using the food laws to make his point.
Originally, man's diet was vegetarian. Here he says man may eat fruits and plants:
Gen 1:29 then god said, "behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;
Here it says man may eat plants:
Gen 3:17 then to Adam he said, "because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘you shall not eat from it’; cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.
18 "both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field;
After the flood, God gave permission for man to eat anything which moved:
Gen 9:3 "every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.
Paul repeats that here:
1Ti 4:4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
When God brought Israel out of Egypt, he fed them manna. They were essentially vegetarian. When they lusted after flesh, he sent birds for them to eat but many died:
Ps. 78:23 yet he commanded the clouds above and opened the doors of heaven;
24 he rained down manna upon them to eat and gave them food from heaven.
25 man did eat the bread of angels; he sent them food in abundance.
26 he caused the east wind to blow in the heavens and by his power he directed the south wind.
27 when he rained meat upon them like the dust, even winged fowl like the sand of the seas,
28 then he let them fall in the midst of their camp, round about their dwellings.
29 so they ate and were well filled, and their desire he gave to them.
30 before they had satisfied their desire, while their food was in their mouths,
31 the anger of god rose against them and killed some of their stoutest ones, and subdued the choice men of Israel.
32 in spite of all this they still sinned and did not believe in his wonderful works.
Hope this helps, Madeline. You can always be like Daniel and abstain from the king's food. No harm done (Daniel 1:16).