Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Russell Kelly Rebuts Batchelor of Amazing Facts

Russell Kelly Rebuts Doug Batchelor of Amazing Facts concerning the Sabbath

From: "Bible Questions"
Date: Sun, Oct 23, 2016 8:05 PM

Amazing Facts: We don't generally find it fruitful to get into contentious debate or arguments over what we believe and teach.  Our main emphasis is to present the good news and the principles of truth with boldness, and let individuals choose to accept or reject what they hear.

Russell Kelly: One-way communications are not conversations at all. They are bully pulpits. If you really wanted the “truth” heard, you would eagerly engage in public dialog for all to hear both sides.

Batchelor: Interestingly, Dale Ratzlaff makes the point that “As long as Adventism teaches that the Sabbath is a salvation issue there will be a great similarity between those who were preaching ‘another gospel’ Galatia and Adventism.” 

Kelly: Try as you may, you cannot deny what Ellen G White very clearly states in The Great Controversy that those who are not keeping the Sabbath when Jesus returns will not be saved. I call that a salvation issue.

Batchelor: His article is built upon a myth that is not true.  Seventh-day Adventists do not believe that we are saved by Sabbath-keeping any more or less than other Christians believe that they are saved by keeping the other nine commandments. 

Kelly: You teach that only Sabbath-keepers will be saved when Jesus returns. Have you not read The Great Controversy’s final chapters? You teach that only Sabbath-keepers receive the seal of God. You teach that non-Sabbath-keepers will receive the mark of the beast. That means you lie.

Batchelor: There are very few Baptists, Presbyterians, charismatics, or Lutherans who believe that after conversion we can continue knowingly to steal, commit adultery, or kill and still be saved. 

Kelly: You are loose with the facts. Presbyterians believe in predestination which means God forces them to obey because they have no free will. Isn’t it strange that the Holy Spirit does not force them to keep the Sabbath? Baptists teach that believers cannot fall from grace because they have already been adopted, already sit with Christ in heavenly places and have already received the verdict of the final judgment. Sins committed after justification by faith are punished and cause a loss of fellowship, not relationship. Adventists, like Methodists and most charismatics teach that one can fall from grace.  

Batchelor: Adventists simply believe in consistency, that the 4th commandment, beginning with the word “remember” should get the same respect and attention as the other nine. The inconsistency is really with the other Christians.  

Kelly: No. You totally refuse to believe Exodus 31:13-17 where God commanded Old Covenant Israel to keep the Sabbath as a “sign” of His covenant with Him. God never commanded Gentiles or the Church to observe the Sabbath. The Sabbath cannot at the same time be a unique sign only for Israel and also be expected from everybody else. God killed Hebrews for breaking the Sabbath; He never killed Gentiles for doing the same thing. Do you want society to kill non-Sabbath-keepers? Do you want to kill fellow Adventists who break the Sabbath? Hypocrite.

Batchelor: Does keeping the Sabbath make us legalists? 

Kelly: It does if you teach that it is necessary in order to be saved.

Batchelor: On the contrary, from my perspective, the Sabbath is a day of rest from our own works, a weekly reminder that we are to worship and honor the One Who created us. We rest not only from physical labor, but also recognize that on a spiritual level, our salvation is based on God’s grace and not our own works.

Kelly: The Sabbath commandment commands Hebrews to rest. IT ALSO COMMANDS THEM NOT TO CAUSE OTHERWS TO WORK. YOU BREAK THIS PART OF IT EVERY SABBATH. In their zeal Adventists work more on the Sabbath and thus break it more than on other days of the week. When you drive long distances, use water, electricity, natural gas and sewage systems they cause others to work in direct violation of the Sabbath commandment. By traveling you cause policemen and safety officials to work; you cause maintenance personnel to work to control traffic lights. You ignore the explicit specific wording of the Sabbath commandment.

Batchelor: We believe that God was not arbitrary in giving us His commandments.  As our Creator, He knows what is best for us, and He expresses His will for us through His commands. 

Kelly: Adventists greatly ignore the fact that God gave Israel much more than the Ten Commandments; He gave those over 600 commands from Genesis to Malachi. Neither Jesus nor Paul limited the word “law” to the Ten Commandments and it is wrong to do so. Yet Adventists ignore the great majority of God’s Law for Israel and refer to themselves as Sabbath-keepers and Law-keepers in direct violation of Galatians 3:10.

Batchelor: Although the ceremonial laws were fulfilled at the Cross, and no longer need to be kept, the Ten Commandments are an expression of God’s character and will always stand. They explain the details of what “walking in love” means. 

Kelly: Hebrews (Jews) did not sub-divide God’s Law like that. It was either all or none per Galatians 3:10 and Deuteronomy 27:26. Scores of times God’s Word repeats that the Commandments, Judgments and Ordinances were an in-divisible package – all or none. Jesus explained Matthew 5:17-18 in 5:19-48 by quoting from all three parts of the indivisible Law: Commandments, Judgments and Ordinances.

Batchelor: Romans 6:14 says that we are not under the law, but under grace.  The next verse clarifies that statement, saying: “What then?  Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace?  God forbid.” Being under grace means merely that we are no longer under the condemnation of the law, because Jesus paid the penalty for us.  

Kelly: Notice what you are doing now? You are now using the word “law” to ONLY mean “Ten Commandments” because you just said “the ceremonial laws were fulfilled at the cross.” Yet “law” to a Hebrew meant the whole revealed will of God from Genesis to Malachi. Are Adventist still “under the condemnation” of the judgments? Why don’t you kill your own Sabbath-breakers as the non-ceremonial law required?

Batchelor: The biggest difference between the old and new covenants is that when one is “born again” and becomes a “new creature”, the law is now written on the heart. 

Kelly: I am still confused. Are you using the word “law” to ONLY mean “Ten Commandments” or something else? Romans 7:4 says that one who is in Christ is DEAD to the Law –the whole Law – good and bad –Ten Commandments and everything else in it. Romans 8:1-3 teaches that we are now under the new “law of the spirit of life in Jesus Christ.” Only that part of the Old Covenant which has been repeated after Calvary by the Holy Spirit in terms of grace and faith applies to the Church.  And the Sabbath was the only one of the Ten Commandments which was never commanded to the Church.

Batchelor: Paul quotes the Prophet Jeremiah when he describes the new covenant, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” Hebrews 8:10. [quoting Jer 31:33]

Kelly: I urge the sincere Bible student to stop right here and read all of both Jeremiah 31:31-36 and Hebrews 8:8-13. (1) Both the Old and New Covenant are addressed to the two houses of Israel. (Jer 31:32; Heb 8:8) (2) Whereas the Old Covenant never applied to any non-Hebrew, (3) the “new” is “not according” to the “old” in every aspect (Jer 31:32; Heb 8:9). (4) The “new” covenant will include Gentiles (Mt 28:19-20; Rom 1:16). (5) The “new” will be imbedded in the heart of every believer (Jer 31:33-34; Heb 8:10-11). Thus, unlike tablets of stone and books of the law, truth will be in the heart through nature, conscience and the Holy Spirit (Rom 2:14-16; 8:1-3). (4) Again, only the Sabbath is not written in the heart and conscience by nature and the Holy Spirit. (5) Also, while it is clear that Jeremiah 31 refers to the entire Law, Adventists entangle themselves by attempting to limit “law” to the Ten Commandments. Also, Adventists completely ignore Jeremiah 31:37-38 which speaks of national Israel -- not the Church, and not SDAs.

Batchelor: When this happens, keeping the law springs from the heart and becomes a delight.  

Kelly: Keeping what part of the law? – only the Ten Commandments? The whole law? Only the commandments and judgments? Or the revealed will of God after Calvary? SDAs dig a hole by refusing to consistently define “law.”

Batchelor: I believe some of the confusion in the minds of some people like Dale Ratzlaff originates with a faulty view of salvation where justification and sanctification are not seen as a part of the whole picture of grace. 

Kelly: I urge the sincere Bible student to read several articles by Dale Ratzlaff. He has a very clear concept of salvation.

Batchelor: We usually use the terms justification and sanctification in defining two important aspects of the Gospel of Christ, imputed and imparted righteousness. 

Kelly: Wrong. Justification refers to imputed righteousness and is the result of accepting the gospel of Jesus Christ in His humanity and deity. Sanctification follows justification as the fruit of the gospel; it is not part of the righteousness of Christ except as a fruit.

Batchelor: The word “impute” basically means to give credit where credit is not due.  When we repent and ask forgiveness of our sins, Christ's righteousness is placed on our account, though we are totally undeserving. It is the righteousness of Christ that makes the penitent sinner acceptable to God and works his justification. However sinful has been his life, if he believes in Jesus as his personal Savior, he stands before God in the spotless robes of Christ's imputed righteousness.  {Ellen G. White, Faith and Works, p. 106.}

Kelly: Such an important statement as this requires an EGW verification rather than a biblical one. Wow! Bathelor’s final stateaments also come from EGW – in practice, their final word of truth.

The remainder of Batchelor’s remarks have no relevance to why Sabbath-keeping is important for salvation. They are more EGW material and are questionable.
Batchelor: [[I believe that the good news of the gospel offers far more than just forgiveness from sin, and our sinful account being covered by Christ's blood.  It also includes the power to have victory over the sin that makes our lives so miserable.  Is it really good news to the drunkard in the street if we tell him, "Christ forgives your sin", but then add, "Oh sorry, there isn't any hope for your alcoholism, you'll always be a drunkard"?  We do not teach that a person must become perfect in order to be saved, but we do teach that Christ offers us the wonderful gift of strength to overcome in addition to the grace that assures us of sins forgiven. Sanctification takes place when the grace of Christ is actually imparted to us to draw us to Christ and transform our lives. Without the grace of Christ, the sinner is in a hopeless condition; nothing can be done for him; but through divine grace, supernatural power is imparted to the man and works in mind and heart and character. It is through the impartation of the grace of Christ that sin is discerned in its hateful nature and finally driven from the soul temple.  {Ibid, p. 100}

We have a tendency to look at things in a linear way and sometimes this causes confusion.  People speak of justification happening first, and then sanctification following.

In reality the process of sanctification is beginning at the moment that a sinner begins to recognize the sinfulness of his sin.  It is Christ's imparted grace that is at work on his mind and heart to bring him to the point where he desires to repent and receive the imputed righteousness of Christ.  Then that imparted grace continues to work to help the believer to overcome sinful habits and have the victory over temptation.  Every moment of every day we are in need of both the imputed and imparted grace of Christ!

We have nothing to recommend us to God; but the plea that we may urge now and ever is our utterly helpless condition that makes His redeeming power a necessity. Renouncing all self-dependence, we may look to the cross of Calvary and say,-- "In my hand no price I bring; Simply to Thy cross I cling."  {Desire of Ages, p. 317.}

May the Lord bless you, James, as you seek to share His love and truth!

Warm Christian regards,
Doug Batchelor

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

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