Sunday, November 27, 2016

                                                                                                            Nov. 27th, 2016

It is with mixed emotions of great joy, anxiety, sadness, and thankfulness that I make the announcement that coming January, the Bowling family will be moving back to the place we call home, East Tennessee. 

Joy due to the fact that I will be able to help and assist my aging mother in her declining health, which is the main purpose of our move.  Joy also that we will be closer to family and loved ones on both sides, spiritual family and earthly kin.

Anxiety due to the many unknowns as it pertains to housing, my children and the effect that another move will have on them, and an ongoing effort to trust in God and His promises to see our family through the transition.

Sadness due to the leaving of a loving congregation that has treated us very well, and loves us very much.  As a good preacher friend of mine once said, I’ve birthed them, buried them, and married them, and in our fourth year here at Caverns Road our relationships are deep, and the brethren will be dearly missed.  Leaving is one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made.

Thankfulness due to the Lord blessing us once again with another opportunity to labor in His Kingdom with the Lawnville Road congregation in Kingston, TN as their pulpit minister .  Lawnvillle Road is a faithful and sound congregation of the Lord’s church, and we Bowling’s look forward to laboring and growing with them and adding their love to our long list of church family and friends.

Friends and Brethren, Summer and I have prayed diligently about this for many months.  The Lord has shown us in very clear ways that the decision we have made is His Will. Please continue to pray for our efforts in His Kingdom.  And please, pray for my sons, Tyler and Bradley by name.  Being in High School with girlfriends has made this no easy decision on them.  They will pick my nursing home one day, and I fear that right now.

No one promised me that laboring for the Lord’s church would be an easy task.  I was promised that it would be an absolute blessing, and that has worked out to be absolutely True.    

In His Love and Good Service,

Tom and Summer Bowling, Bradley and Tyler too


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

As We Prepare for VBS….

And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, ‘Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.’ And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.” (Mark 10:13-16).

 I like these passages because of what they teach. It occurred to me that these passages fit right in to what we will be doing later this month, and what many congregations do every summer with the kids. Whether young or old, this is an encouraging passage for all involved in any sort of Children's ministry, whether it be Bible camp, Bible classes, or VBS. This passage tells us that we need to be accepting of several things.

We need to accept child-likeness.

 Jesus told them they need to accept the kingdom like a child. The kingdom of heaven belongs to child-like people. This means doing away with any self-centered ego. We are not to be worried about our greatness, or be puffed up with knowledge. We are to be humble, as a child is humble. It means even though we are all different, we are just glad to be in the family of God. They way into Heaven is very low to the ground. The only way to get in is to be like Jesus, on our knees, praying for others.

We need to accept the children.

 The disciples did not have time for children. The text says that Jesus was “indignant” with them. Can you imagine the stern look and firm voice he gave them as he lowered his voice and told them in no uncertain terms to let the children come? Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. He tells us and gives us an example of opening our arms to the children.

An application

 That is why we do things such as Bible camp, Sunday school and VBS. We do not do this for us, for our egos, or any other reason that focuses on ourselves. We do this for the children. We minister to them, mentor them, and help them to grow in the Lord. We get down on their level, sing with them, and yes, even shamelessly get goofy. Besides, all of life is not worship (that's another article for another day).
We are happy to be together. We are joyful as God's children to be in his family! So, let’s loosen up, and let’s not be afraid to show our joy, sing and be happy, splat the foolish man’s house, and tell that old devil to sit on a tack!  Love to

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Are you "Spirit-Filled"?

The "Spirit-Filled" Christian
Ephesians 5:18 

"And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit." 

            There is a scriptural way of determining whether or not a person is "filled with the Spirit" and it is not by observing how much emotions are openly displayed. Being "filled with the Spirit" is not a "high" that one reaches that puts him above others who are not so emotional. Nor is it an 'event' or a 'show', or something uncontrollable.
             The result of being "filled with the Spirit" is related in Ephesians 5:17-21. Paul describes the person "filled with the Spirit" as one who "understands what the will of the Lord is," (vs. 17). He is not drunk with wine, (vs. 18); he sings and makes melody in his heart, (vs. 19); he gives thanks always to God, (vs. 20); and he submits to others, (vs. 21).
            The parallel epistle, Colossians, expresses the command to be filled with the Spirit as "Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly," (3:16). How much one is filled with the Spirit is directly proportional to how richly God's Word dwells in him - the Word is the means by which the Holy Spirit reaches, directs and fills our hearts (Jn. 17:17; 1 Jn. 5:6; 2 Jn. 1-2).
            There is also a direct correlation between "being filled with the Spirit" and having the "fruit of the Spirit". By looking at the Christian who bears the fruit of the Spirit, one can observe to what degree the Spirit dwells in him, (Gal. 5:22-25):

 (1) How much does he love? God-like love always actively seeks the well-being of others; (2) How happy is he?; (3) How much peace with himself and others is evidenced in his manner of life?; (4) Does he suffer long with his brethren?; (5) Is he willing to hold his temper and restrain his tongue In the face of provocation?; (6) Is he a gentle, kind person?; (7) Is he characterized by things that are good?; (8) Is there in him a strong, unyielding trust in God?; (9) Is he the kind of person who is submissive, or is he rebellious?; (10) And is he a person who is in control of himself?
            To the degree that a Christian bears the "fruit of the Spirit" (Gal. 5:22), he is "filled with the Spirit". And if he will "Walk in the Spirit," he will "not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (vs. 16). (Note vs's 17-21 in context).
            The admonition by Paul is, "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit," (vs. 25). As a Christian allows the word of Christ to dwell in and control him, he is letting the Spirit dwell in him and is walking in the Spirit. There are those who claim to be filled with the Spirit and to have experienced Holy Spirit baptism, who walk after the flesh. Though they offer as proof of a Spirit-filled life their uncontrolled emotional high, the scriptural evidence of Spirit controlled behavior is lacking. The Bible teaches that true spirituality is evidenced in a person's life, walk, actions, and behavior, not whether or not one can ‘get excited’ or whether or not God ‘showed up, and showed out’.

Said in

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

'Possum's, 'Coon's and Sin

     My mom lives in the country in East Tennessee.  She has a garden, chickens, etc. and occasionally has a visitor or two.  She uses a trap to catch opossums and raccoons that steal her veggies and eggs, but she don't kill them, she takes them a few miles away and releases them safely. Once they go into the trap and the door closes, they are stuck. Their only hope is for someone to free them. We usually take them across the river away from town and free them there. Mom always wants to make sure it was at a place where they can live comfortably.  Sometimes when the trap door opens, the critter races away. Yet, I have always found it interesting that sometimes when you open the door of the trap, the critter doesn't leave, it just stays put out of fear.        This is how it is with sin. Once we sin, there is no way humanly possible to escape it. It is like a trap. Once it has you, you are trapped. Notice what Jesus said: "Jesus answered them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin' " (Jn 8:34). Sin is like a trap. Once it has you, you become a sinner and there is nothing you can do about it. You cannot "un-sin." You become tainted, trapped, enslaved. It simply is not humanly possible to free yourself from slavery to sin. However, it is divinely possible for you to be freed from sin. Notice what Jesus also says: "So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed" (Jn 8:36). The only way to be free indeed, or truly free, is for Jesus himself to free you. Jesus died on the cross for your sins offering forgiveness (Eph 1:7). In dying on the cross, he opened the door so that you can escape and be free from sin. How do you go through the open door to be free? Keeping in mind that Jesus is the door (Jn 10:9), here is what we do. We accept and confess our faith in Jesus as our risen Lord (Rom 10:9), and we repent and are baptized for forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). When we are baptized into the water, we are baptized into the death of Christ and have been raised with him to walk in newness of life (Rom 6:3-5). The Bible says that when this happens, "our old self was crucified with Him in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin" (Rom 6:6). So, when we submit ourselves to Christ as our Lord and master, we go through the door he opened for us at the cross. We become free from sin and now belong to him. Don't be like the timid, scared opossum or raccoon that never leaves the trap.  Go through the door that Jesus is, and has opened for you to freedom!   "But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life" (Rom 6:22).  


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Seventh Day Adventism: Defined and Defeated

The following is a paper that I wrote while in school.  It contains zero opinion, and is Scripturally referenced.

Thomas Bowling/Seventh Day Adventism Defined and Defeated

Cults Class/Bill Bryant-Instructor

ETSPM/Winter 2011

Origin and History

            The Seventh-day Adventist Church had its roots in the Millerite movement of the 1830s and 1840s, during the period of the Second Great Awakening, and was officially founded in 1863. Prominent figures in the early church included Hiram Edson, James Springer White and his wife Ellen G. White, Joseph Bates, and J. N. Andrews. Over the ensuing decades the church expanded from its original base in New England to become an international organization. Significant developments in the 20th century led to its recognition as a Christian denomination. The Seventh-day Adventist Church formed out of the movement known today as the Millerites. In 1831, a Baptist convert, William Miller (until then a Deist), was asked by a Baptist to preach in their church and began to preach that the Second Advent of Jesus would occur somewhere between March of 1843 and March of 1844, based on his interpretation of Daniel 8:14. A following gathered around Miller that included many from the Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and Christian Connection churches. In the summer of 1844, some of Miller's followers promoted the date of October 22. They linked the cleansing of the sanctuary of Daniel 8:14 with the Jewish Day of Atonement, believed to be October 22 that year. By 1844, over 100,000 people were anticipating what Miller had called the "Blessed Hope". On October 22 many of the believers were up late into the night watching, waiting for Christ to return and found themselves bitterly disappointed when both sunset and midnight passed with their expectations unfulfilled. This event later became known as the Great Disappointment.


Pretribulation Premillennialism

            Beginning with William Miller's teachings, Adventists have played a key role in introducing the Bible doctrine of premillennialism in the United States. In the appendix to his book Kingdom of the Cults where Walter Martin explains why Seventh-day Adventists are accepted as Orthodox Christians (see pg. 423) Martin also summarizes the key role that Adventists played in the advancement of premillennialism in the 19th century.

"From the beginning, the Adventists were regarded with grave suspicion by the great majority of evangelical Christians, principally because Seventh-day Adventists were premillennial in their teaching. That is they believed that Christ would come before the millennium...Certain authors of the time considered premillennarians to be peculiar... and dubbed as 'Adventist' all who held that view of eschatology"1

            However the unique contribution of Seventh-day Adventists to this doctrine does not stop there. Seventh-day Adventists are pre-tribulation pre-millennialists who accept the Bible teaching on a literal 1000 years in Revelation 20 that immediately follows the literal second coming of Christ described in Revelation 19. In contrast to almost all pre-millennialist groups they do not believe in a 1000 year kingdom on earth during the millennium. In Adventist eschatology Christ's promise to take the saints to His Father's house in John 14:1-3 is fulfilled at the 2nd coming where both the living and the dead saints are taken up in the air to meet the Lord (see 1Thess 4:13-18 ). John, the author of Revelation, calls this moment the "first resurrection" in Revelation 20:5-6. Instead of a Millennial Kingdom on earth, Adventists teach that there is only a desolated earth for 1000 years and during that time the saints are in heaven with Christ (See Jeremiah 4:23-29).


Adventist publishing work begins with The Present Truth

            On November 18, 1848, Ellen White supposedly had a vision in which God told her that her husband should start a paper. In 1849, James, determined to publish this paper, went to find work as a farm-hand to raise sufficient funds.  They sent the publication, which was on the topic of Sabbath, to friends and colleagues they believe would find it of interest. Eleven issues were published in 1849 and 1850.

Choosing a Name and a Constitution

            In 1860, the fledgling movement finally settled on the name, Seventh-day Adventist, representative of the church's distinguishing beliefs. Three years later, on May 21, 1863, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists was formed and the movement became an official organization.

Annual Regional Ramp Meetings

            The first annual regional camp meeting took place September, 1868. Since then, the annual regional camp meeting has become a pattern among Seventh-day Adventists and is still practiced today.

The Influence of Ellen G. White

            Ellen G. White (1827–1915), while holding no official role, was a dominant personality. She, along with her husband, James White, and Joseph Bates, moved the denomination to a concentration on missionary and medical work. Mission and medical work continues to play a central role in the 21st century. Under White's guidance the denomination in the 1870s turned to missionary work and revivals, tripling its membership to 16,000 by 1880; rapid growth continued with 75,000 members in 1901. By this time operated two colleges, a medical school, a dozen academies, 27 hospitals, and 13 publishing houses. By 1945, the church reported 226,000 members in the US and Canada, and 380,000 elsewhere; the budget was $29 million and enrollment in church schools was 40,000.  In 1960 there were 1,245,125 members worldwide with an annual budget of over $99,900,000. Enrollment in church schools from elementary to college was 290,000 students.  As of the year 2000 there were 11,687,229 members worldwide. The global budget was $28,610,881,313. And the enrollment in schools was 1, 065,092 students.    In 2008 the global membership was 15,921,408 with a budget of $45,789,067,340. The number of students in SDA ran universities, secondary and primary schools was 1,538,607.2

            "Seventh-day" means the observance of the original Sabbath, Saturday, and to SDA’s is still a sacred obligation. Adventists argued that just as the rest of the Ten Commandments had not been revised, so also the injunction to "remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy" remained in full force. This theological point is defeated by verses such as Colossians 2:14: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross”-KJV.  Adventists opposed Sunday laws on every side. Many were arrested for working on Sunday. In fighting against the real threat of a legally established National Day of worship, these Sabbatarians had to fight for their liberty on a daily basis. Soon, they were fighting for religious liberty on a broader, less parochial basis.

1888 General Conference

            In 1888, a General Conference Session occurred in Minneapolis. This session involved a discussion between the then General Conference president, G. I. Butler; editor of the review, Uriah Smith; and a group led by E. J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones about the meaning of "Righteousness by Faith" and the meaning of the law in Romans and Galatians. Ellen G. White also addressed the conference.


Organizational Developments

            From the early 1860s the church had three levels of government: the local church, the conference, and the General Conference. As ideas developed, organizations came into existence to move forward the ideas; i.e. Sabbath Schools, health reform and medical work, printing, distribution of literature, religious liberty, missions, etc. All moved forward under the societies formed to do so.  As the work progressed, the managing of all these societies became quite cumbersome.

            As conferences developed in far off lands, it became obvious that the General Conference could not oversee the day to day needs of the conferences. This led to the development of Union conferences in Australia and Europe in the late 1890s and to the development of districts in the United States. The 1901 and 1903 General Conference sessions reorganized the church's structure to include union conferences which managed a group of local conferences in their domain. By the end of 1904, the various society interests became incorporated as departments in each conference's structure.4 

Fundamentalism and Progress

            The early 20th-century brought with it new challenges to Adventist faith and practice. The death of Adventist prophetess Ellen G. White in 1915 brought new questions about how the church would continue without a living prophet. Adventist leaders participated in a variety of Fundamentalist prophetic conferences during and soon after World War I. The 1919 Bible Conference was a pivotal theological event that looked at how Adventists interpreted Bible prophecy and the legacy of Ellen White's writings for the church. The 1919 Bible Conference also had a polarizing influence on Adventist theology with progressives such as A. G. Daniells and W. W. Prescott pitted against traditionalists like Benjamin G. Wilkinson, J. S. Washburn, and Claude Holmes.  Fundamentalism was dominant in the church in the early 20th century.  The edited transcripts of the 1952 Bible Conference were published as Our Firm Foundation.


            Shared Protestant doctrines which Seventh-day Adventists have are the central doctrines of Protestant Christianity: the Trinity, the incarnation, the virgin birth, the substitutionary atonement, justification by faith, creation, the second coming, the resurrection of the dead, and last judgment.

            In Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine (1957), four authors outlined the core doctrines that they share with Protestant Christianity;  

            "In Common With Conservative Christians and the Historic Protestant Creeds, We Believe— 1. That God is the Sovereign Creator, upholder, and ruler of the universe, and that He is eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. 2. That the Godhead, the Trinity, comprises God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 3. That the Scriptures are the inspired revelation of God to men; and that the Bible is the sole rule of faith and practice. 4. That Jesus Christ is very God, and that He has existed with the Father from all eternity. 5. That the Holy Spirit is a personal being, sharing the attributes of deity with the Father and the Son. 6. That Christ, the Word of God, became incarnate through the miraculous conception and the virgin birth; and that He lived an absolutely sinless life here on earth. 7. That the vicarious, atoning death of Jesus Christ, once for all, is all-sufficient for the redemption of a lost race. 8. That Jesus Christ arose literally and bodily from the grave. 9. That He ascended literally and bodily into heaven. 10. That He now serves as our advocate in priestly ministry and mediation before the Father. 11. That He will return in a premillennial, personal, imminent second advent. 12. That man was created sinless, but by his subsequent fall entered a state of alienation and depravity. 13. That salvation through Christ is by grace alone, through faith in His blood. 14. That entrance upon the new life in Christ is by regeneration, or the new birth. 15. That man is justified by faith. 16. That man is sanctified by the indwelling Christ through the Holy Spirit. 17. That man will be glorified at the resurrection or translation of the saints, when the Lord returns. 18. That there will be a judgment of all men. 19. That the gospel is to be preached as a witness to all the world.2  

            All of these doctrines, with the exception of item 11 (regarding the premillennial return of Christ), are widely held amongst conservative or evangelical Protestants. (Different Protestant groups hold varying views on the millennium.)   



A. Was the Sabbath instituted at Creation?

            Not only the Seventh-Day Adventists and the Armstrong cultists, but also some Evangelical Christians answer “yes,” because of Genesis 2:3, “...God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because of it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” According to this interpretation, the Sabbath is therefore an eternal moral law of God which has always been in effect for all men, and not merely part of the Old Covenant made with Israel. But Nehemiah said that the Sabbath was revealed by God to Israel after the Exodus from Egypt. “You came down on Mount Sinai... You made known to them your holy Sabbath and gave them commands... through your servant Moses” (Nehemiah 9:13, 14). 

            If God made the Sabbath known to them at that time, then obviously it had not been binding on them before. Thus we conclude it had not been instituted as a law previously. 

Then why is the seventh day given special mention in Genesis 2? No doubt in anticipation. That is, when Moses wrote about the creation he explained the reason (God’s rest) why the seventh day was selected afterwards to be Israel’s day of rest. In the same way of anticipation or looking ahead, Eve was called “the mother of all living” before she had any children (Gen.3:20), and Judas was mentioned as Christ betrayer long before the betrayal (Mark 3:19)-because the readers already knew about those events. Similarly, Moses’ readers already knew about the institution of the Sabbath. Thus the mention of the seventh day in Genesis does not show the Sabbath was instituted then, but merely shows why it was instituted later. The first command in the Bible to keep the Sabbath is in Exodus 16:22-26, given to Israel at Mt. Sinai and repeated shortly afterwards in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8ff). 


B. Christians must obey the Ten Commandments, mustn’t we?

            We should do all that God commands us, of course. But the Ten Commandments are part of the Old Covenant made between God and Israel. Notice the introduction to them:

“And God spoke all these words: ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt...’” (Exodus 20:1, 2). “Moses summoned all Israel and said: Hear, O Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today” (Deuteronomy 5:1). (The Ten Commandments begin at verse 6). 

It is misleading to quote the Ten Commandments but leave off the introduction which tells for whom they were intended.  When they are read in their context (Exodus 19-24), the Ten Commandments are seen to inseparably connected with the Old Covenant, while we are now under the New Covenant of Grace. On the other hand, we must recognize that the Ten Commandments and the Old Testament do contain many principles of behavior pleasing or not pleasing to God. These unchanging standards are repeated in the New Testament. Examples of these “moral laws” are found in Matthew 5, where Jesus quotes from the Ten Commandments, and then applies them to Christian behavior. Such laws are always in effect. But the Old Covenant itself, as a code or agreement, has passed away (Hebrews 8:13).  

C. But the Sabbath is called “perpetual” (KJV, RSV) and said to last “forever,” why?

            God said, “God said, the Israelites are to observe the Sabbath... for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever...” (Exodus 31:16-17).  Therefore, how could it ever cease? It could cease in the same way that several other practices related to Old Covenant worship ceased though they were called perpetual and said to be forever: e.g. the burnt offerings (Exodus 29:42); incense (20:8); ceremonial washings (30:21); and the Passover feast (12:14). These verses seem to mean that the practices were to be observed forever as long as the covenant endured, for they were part of the covenant. But now, the entire covenant has been replaced by something better, as the book of Hebrews makes plain. 

D. But Christ Himself kept the Sabbath as His regular custom (Lk. 4:16).

             Shouldn’t we follow His example? He was born and lived “under the law,” the Old Covenant (Galatians 4:4). The Old Covenant did not end until His death and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. So during His life it was still in effect, and he observed all its requirements, not just the Sabbath. 

E. But why did Paul regularly go to the synagogue on the Sabbath, after the New Covenant began?

             He went there in order to preach to the Jews who gathered there every Sabbath. That was a natural opportunity to have an audience to evangelize. Also, in the early decades of the church either Saturday or Sunday (or both) were observed as times of worship. That was because there was a period of overlapping of the two covenants, since it took time for the earliest Christians, most of whom were Jews, to realize the significance of God’s plan. Thus the Jerusalem church continued provided they did not trust in circumcision and law observance for salvation (Galatians 5:2-4). There were many Jews in Jerusalem who had received Jesus as Messiah but still were “zealous for the law” and Jewish customs (Acts 21:17-25). Years after the church began, the writer to the Hebrews said that the Old Covenant was “obsolete and aging” and would “soon disappear” (8:13). So, although the New Covenant began with the events at Calvary and Pentecost, God allowed the ceremonial practices of the Law to continue for a period on a voluntary basis (Romans 14:1-3, 13). The disciples were warned, however, not to rely on them for eternal life (Acts 15:10, 11 and many other passages). Paul himself not only kept the Sabbath often, but also made a Jewish vow, sought to arrive at Jerusalem in time for the feast of Pentecost, and also ceremonially purified himself and assisted some men who were under a vow (Acts 18:18; 20-26; 21:23-26). Why did he observe these Mosaic ordinances? He explains reason in I Corinthians 9:20-22: “To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law, I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law... I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” Thus his keeping the Sabbath is not necessarily an example or precedent for us. In fact, he wrote in Colossians 2:14, 16, 17 that Christ,  “canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us...; he took it away, nailing it to the cross... Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath Day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come...” Paul clearly states here that because the Old Covenant with its legal demands has ended (at the cross), we are not obligated to keep the Sabbath. The seventh day cults insist that “Sabbath” in this passage does not mean weekly Sabbath but only the monthly and annual feasts which were also rest-days or Sabbaths. But it is obvious that “festival” refers to the yearly feasts, “new moon” to monthly observances, and “Sabbath” to the weekly rest day. Compare Numbers 28, which mentions various offerings: daily, weekly, monthly and annual. There is not one bit of evidence to indicate that “Sabbath” in Colossians 2:16 means anything different from what it means everywhere else in the New Testament: the rest day, kept on the seventh day. And Paul says here that it has been set aside as a legal obligation.  

F. But didn’t Emperor Constantine or a pope begin the practice?

            No. Sometimes Seventh-Day Adventists say a pope changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday.  Which pope? When? Why? There is no evidence. It is true that Constantine in AD 321 passed laws restricting work on Sundays. But his official proclamations were merely recognition of the practice of the church up to that time. His “Sunday laws” do not prove that till then Sunday had not been observed, any more than the Council of Nicea’s declaring the deity of Christ (AD 325) proves that till then the church did not believe that doctrine! Constantine did not originate Sunday keeping, but merely acknowledge the fact that Sunday was the day Christians had observed all along.

G. Why do Christians observe the Lord’s Day?

            The SDA ask us, “Please give chapter and verse where the Christian Church is commanded to keep the first day of the week, or the Lord’s Day.” We quickly answer, “there is none.” In turn we ask them, “Please cite chapter and verse where the Christian church is commanded to observe the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath.” In honesty they must acknowledge, “There is none.” We further ask, “Where in the New Testament is the Christian church associated with the Sabbath?” The simple answer is, “Nowhere.” And finally, “Where in the New Testament is the Christian Church associated with the first day, or the Lord’s Day? In many places as follows: The main distinction of the first day is that on this day the Lord Jesus rose from the dead (Matthew 28:1). The word Sabbath implies a “cessation of.” God ceased His work of creation and rested on the Sabbath. Christ finished His work of redemption (“It is finished”) and rested on the Sabbath. Christ truly perfected the law in His perfect sacrifice, His finished work of redemption, and His Sabbath rest. For the Christian, Saturday or the Sabbath is the day of the dead Christ resting in the tomb; Sunday is the day of the living Christ, alive forever more. The Sabbath commemorates the end of the old creation; the Lord’s Day, the beginning of the new creation.

1. It was the day when Jesus first appeared to His disciples with a commission to evangelize (John 20:19-23).

2. On Sunday the first gospel sermon was preached about Christ’s death and resurrection (Acts 2:1; Pentecost was always on Sunday)

3. On that day the first converts were baptized and gathered into a Christian church (Acts 2:41).

4. On Sunday the disciples at Troas gathered together to break bread (take the Lord’s Supper), and Paul preached to them (Acts 20:7).

5. On the first day of the week the Corinthian believers were to lay aside their gifts for the Lord’s work (I Cor. 16:2).

For SDA’s to claim that Sunday is a pagan day because pagan worshiped the sun on that day is as illogical as for us to claim that Saturday is a pagan day because pagans worshiped Saturn on that day!


            One of the duties of a Christian is to test the prophets. It is commanded in the Bible, and failure to do so is disobedience to God's Word:  “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). The reason given that we are to test the prophets is because there are "many" false ones out there. Jesus recognized this problem would face His people in the future. "Beware of false prophets", he warned, "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many." (Matt. 7:15, 24:11) He went on to warn that even good Christians, intelligent people--"the very elect"--could be deceived:  “For there shall arise...false prophets...insomuch that if were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matt. 24:24). These warnings by Jesus should be enough to emphasize the importance of validating the claims put forth by a prophet or by the followers of a prophet. Jesus would not have bothered to make such strong statements unless He believed His followers would face a significant threat from "false prophets" in the future.  With so many prophets out there in the world today, how can we determine which ones are true and which ones are false prophets? Have you ever asked someone why they believe a prophet? 

                                    TEST #1: Prophecies must be fulfilled

            “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously; thou shalt not be afraid of him” (Deut. 18:22).  A prophet does not have to make predictions in order to be a prophet. A prophet is defined as "somebody who interprets or passes on the will of a deity." (Encarta Dictionary) Typically, however, Biblical prophets do make predictions about future events. These predictions help to establish the claims and validity of a prophet because knowledge of future events surpasses human ability and resides in the domain of omnipotent power. Jeremiah writes that…”when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the LORD hath truly sent him” (Jer. 28:9).

When a prophet first arises, he may not be believed by the people at first, but when his predictions start coming to pass, then people begin to have faith and confidence in that prophet. However, any "prophet" can get lucky and make a guess about the future which, by chance, comes to pass. Therefore, the Bible places a much more stringent test upon the prophet. Moses told the people to keep a score card. If the prophet's predictions come to pass, then keep on eye on him. If the prophet ever fails, even once, then ignore him. He is not a true prophet. Why? Because anyone can make a lucky guess, but only God can get the future right every single time. This is what differentiates God's prophets from all the other false prophets in the world. This is what sets them apart. This is how we can identify a true prophet of God. God's prophets are correct about the future 100 percent of the time. It is that simple.

            Now, let us examine some of the predictions made by Ellen White. As soon as you begin analyzing Mrs. White's predictions, something becomes immediately evident. Most of Mrs. White's specific predictions were made early in her career, and virtually every single one of them failed to come to pass. The further she progressed in life, the less predictions she made.  If she did make a prediction, it was usually something vague and ambiguous, such as "crime will worsen", "cities will be more polluted", or "the earth will become more and more corrupt." It appears that Mrs. White learned from her early failures, and was more careful in later predictions to make them obscure and ambiguous enough so that she could not be accused by her detractors of making false predictions. With that in mind, let us now examine some of the predictions she made. Remember to keep score because a true prophet of God will never make a false prediction, not even one. 

Prediction #1: Jesus will return in June, 1845 

Pass or Fail? FAILURE.  Ellen Harmon said "God revealed to her" that Jesus would come in June of 1845. This is a failed prophecy.

Prediction #2: Jesus will return in September, 1845  

Pass or Fail? FAILURE. Did Christ return in September of 1845?  Obviously not.

Prediction #3: Whites to be thrown in Prison in 1846  

Pass or Fail? FAILURE.  It is obvious that the very people she told her vision to thought she was describing an imminent imprisonment that would occur on their trip to the east. This failed prophecy was enough to convince the people in the Maine churches she was a false prophet, and it should be enough to convince us today!

 We could stop right here and know that, according to Deut. 18:22, we have nothing to fear from this prophet. She has proven to be wrong, thus indicating she does not speak for God. But let us be careful. The Bible warns us not to accept anything on the voice of just one eyewitness.

Prediction #4: The Great Pestilence that Never Came 

In 1849, Mrs. White penned these memorable words: "What we have seen and heard of the pestilence [of 1849], is but the beginning of what we shall see and hear. Soon the dead and dying will be all around us." (Present Truth, Sept. 1849).

Pass or Fail? FAILURE.  The "pestilence" she was describing turned out to be a local phenomenon, not a sign of the imminent end of the world. Another prophetic failure.

Prediction #5: Jesus to come in "months"  

Pass or Fail? FAILURE. The context of this statement is undeniable. New converts will have to learn the doctrines in a "few months" because "now time is almost finished." The reduction in learning time is not because new converts are smarter than the older ones, nor is it because the Adventists developed an accelerated learning course. No, the context clearly states the reason they will have to learn quickly: "time is almost finished." Well, as of the end of 2011 it has been about one thousand eight hundred and seventy-two months since Mrs. White said only a "few months" remained! She was certainly saying there were not "years" or "decades" left, because she said that what earlier converts had learned in "years", recent converts would have to learn in "months."  How can this failure be explained?

Prediction #6: Some at 1856 Conference to see Jesus return.

Finally, Mrs. White concluded a 10-year string of failures predicting the return of Christ with a notorious statement that, unlike the previous failures, got widespread attention. She made this statement at a church conference in 1856 and it received notoriety because it was published in her "Testimonies to the Church" and many church members read it. Mrs. White describes her "vision": "I was shown the company present at the Conference. Said the angel: 'Some food for worms, some subjects of the seven last plagues, some will be alive and remain upon the earth to be translated at the coming of Jesus.'" Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 131.

Pass or Fail? FAILURE.

Everyone at this conference passed away generations ago. Not a single one was "alive" and "upon the earth to be translated at the coming of Jesus." After this prophecy utterly failed the church was in quandary as to what to do with this statement.

 #7: Earth to be depopulated soon.

Pass or Fail? FAILURE.  Again we find the word "soon". In 1864 she said the earth would "soon" be depopulated. Did that happen soon after 1864? Well, by 1900 the earth's population had soared to 1.6 billion people. Today there are over 6 billion. By 2050 there may be 25 billion people on the planet. Because of better nutrition, advances in medicine, and improved living conditions, each generation is living longer, healthier, stronger, and taller. Diseases which once ravaged mankind have been eliminated or rendered harmless by powerful medications. Sadly, all that Mrs. White could foresee in the future was darkness, disease, and death. Had she truly had divine foresight she would never have made this statement.

Prediction #8: Slavery to Revive in the South

Here is another infamous prediction made by Mrs. White: "Slavery will again be revived in the Southern States; for the spirit of slavery still lives. Therefore it will not do for those who labor among the colored people to preach the truth as boldly and openly as they would be free to do in other places. Even Christ clothed His lessons in figures and parables to avoid the opposition of the Pharisees." (Spalding & Magan Collection, page 21 and 2 MR #153, page 300)

Pass or Fail? FAILURE.  Was slavery ever revived "in the Southern United States"? Of course not! Since the Civil War ended it has been a federal crime to engage in slavery. Since the end of the Civil War there have been a few criminal operations that engaged in slave-labor, but when they are discovered by authorities, they are shut down and the owners are jailed. Slavery was permanently abolished and it will never be revived again in the United States. Any person can choose to live and work any place they want to.

Prediction #9: Slave Masters to Suffer Seven Last Plagues 

Here Mrs. White predicts that slave masters will experience the seven last plagues described in the book of Revelation: "I saw that the slave master will have to answer for the soul of his slave whom he has kept in ignorance...the master must endure the seven last plagues and then come up in the second resurrection and suffer the second, most awful death." (Early Writings, p. 276)

Pass or Fail? FAILURE.

This "prophecy" was given in the context of the slavery then existing in the United States. We have calculated that the oldest slave masters in the United States died in the early 1900s, nearly 100 years ago!

Prediction #10: Sick man to recover. 

In 1873, the editor of the Swedish edition of Advent Herald, Mr. C. Carlstedt, had become seriously ill with Typhoid fever. Mrs. White and others were called to his bedside to pray for Carlstedt. On their way home from the prayer meeting, Mrs. White remarked that the Lord was...

"present with his restoring power, to raise Carlstedt, whose sickness was not unto death, but to the glory of the Son of God." (Charles Lee, Three Important Questions for Seventh-Day Adventists to Consider)

Pass or Fail? FAILURE.

Charles Lee, who at that time was a Seventh-day Adventist minister, was at the prayer meeting and was a witness to Mrs. White's prediction. Sadly, Mrs. White was dead wrong. Carlstedt was dead within one week of her statement. A horrific failed prediction.

                                                You Decide: Pass or Fail?

            We have cited several instances when her predictions failed. Remember, it only takes one failure to disqualify a prophet. Even if we were generous and gave Mrs. White credit for predicting the San Francisco earthquake--although she never specifically said it would be an "earthquake" and the warning was only penned in a manuscript and not published until after the event--she still would have only made one out of twelve predictions correct. That is less than 10%. That would put her about equal with the psychics of today, who happen to get lucky about so often. However, she is far from matching the Biblical prophets, who were correct 100% of the time. In Bible times, you had to be correct 100% of the time, or else you risked losing your life. Given that, it is unlikely Mrs. White would have dared to proclaim herself the "spirit of prophecy" back in Bible times.

            Seventh Day Adventism (SDA) is a very deceitful false religion.  SDAs, more than any other false religion, APPEAR as born again Christians.  From looking at their website, you'd never know they were unsaved.  They believe in Christ's deity, the Virgin Birth, the Godhead, etc.  They teach on their webpage that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ, just as the Word of God teaches.  But don't be fooled.  This deception has led MANY people, even Christians, to accept SDAs as "Christian."  What they're NOT telling you about is their HIDDEN heresies which they would never put forth to the public.  False doctrine.



Works Cited

1Martin, Walter., Ravi K. Zacharias. The Kingdom of the Cults, Minneapolis, MN: Bethany           House, 2003, 419-20 (Print) The Official Site of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church. Web., 12 Jan.       2012. <>.

3Seventh-Day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine; an Explanation of Certain Major           Aspects of Seventh-Day Adventist Belief,. Washington: Review and Herald Pub.        Association, 1957. Print.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"Have You Been Deleted"?

Rejected.  Deleted.  Erased.  Shut down.  Shut out.  Turned away from.  Forsaken.  Ignored.  Thrown out.  Burned.  So, my guess is that you are wondering why I feel this way?  Well, this may surprise you,  but I am not talking about my feelings.  The feelings that I mentioned belong to God.   Let me expound..
Recently I viewed a post on social media.  It caught my attention for two reasons.  First, it had my family name (Bowling) on it.  Secondly, a good preacher-friend of mine had commented on it using only a passage of Scripture.  After a quick view of the video, I became aware that it was that of a lady preaching in a denominational assembly.  Her rhetoric was familiar.  Having attended Pentecostal assemblies at a young age, I recognized the dynamic.  This essay is less about the content of her message than it is about my feeble attempt to share Truth.  A Truth that was rejected.  Deleted.  Erased.
You see, instead of offering my opinion on the matter, I simply posted God's opinion.  My preacher friend had done the same thing.  In an attempt to help others understand the role of women as it pertains to worship, we posted 1 Cor. 14:34 and 1 Tim. 2:11-12.  The response was that the comments (God's Word) were deleted.  Rejected.  Erased.
I was reminded of the story found in Jer. 36.  The Lord told Jeremiah to write down His Word in a scroll (v. 2).  The purpose was so that they would know the Truth of impending judgment and "so that everyone may turn from his evil way, and that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin" (v.3).   When the Word of God was eventually read to Jehoiakim king of Judah, he was not pleased with the content.  So, as is told in verse 23-26, he proceeded to cut it out, and throw it in the fire, even when cautioned by his advisors.  Jehoiakim, and even his offspirng, were punished for what he had done.  He rejected God's Word.  Deleted it. Erased it. Burned it.   Jeremiah eventually re-wrote the scroll (vs. 32), and God's Word prevailed.

Friends,  please do not be like Jehoiakim.  When someone shares the Truth of God's Inspired Word with you in love, take caution to learn from the mistakes of those in the past who have ignored it. John tells us in 1 John 2:4-5: "Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him."  
 Jehoiakim was not rejecting Jeremiah's 'opinion'.  Neither was Jeremiah 'passing judgment' on Jehoiakim. Jeremiah was simply the messenger. A messenger whose comment was from God, and it was deleted.  Rejected.  Erased.  Shut down.  Turned away from.  Forsaken.  Ignored.  Thrown out.  Burned. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Here's Your Sign....?

Here’s Your Sign?
Thamsanqa Jantjie did not describe his qualifications for being a sign language interpreter to those that hired him.   A South African deputy cabinet minister said "a mistake happened" when Jantjie was hired for the event.  Ingrid Parkin, principal of the St. Vincent School for the Deaf in Johannesburg, said:  “Bogus sign language interpreters are a problem in South Africa, because people who know a few signs try to pass themselves off as interpreters.  And those hiring them usually don't sign, so they have no idea that the people they are hiring cannot do the job.” (Emphasis TLB)
Sound familiar? If it doesn’t, it should.  Friends, the same thing is happening in churches throughout the world.  Preachers of all sorts stand before masses of vulnerable listeners and proclaim false doctrine to those that will hear.  For instance, “you do not have to be baptized to be saved” (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-6; 1 Pet. 3:21; Gal. 3:26-27; Mk. 16:15-16). Or, “once you are saved, you can never be lost” (Acts 8:9-24; 1 Cor. 10:12; 2 Pet. 3:17).  And because “they have no idea”, church goers nod their heads in approval.  I mean, the preacher is trained, right? He knows what he is talking about, right?
Jantjie told the Associated Press that he received one year of sign language interpretation at a school in Cape Town. He said he has previously interpreted at many events without anyone complaining, and insisted he was doing proper sign-language.  But, according to Delphin Hlungwane, an official South African sign language interpreter, "He didn't follow any of the grammatical rules and structure of the language. He just invented his signs as he went along".  (Emphasis TLB)
Paul warned Timothy (and therefore, us) of this (1 Tim. 4).  Peter also gave warnings not to heed those who gave false information (2 Peter 2:1).  To say that it does not exist is to call the apostles liars, and to lie to yourself as well.  So, what are we to do?
Consider the Christians at Berea, who “received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11 KJV).  We learn also in the following verse that this searching produced belief, and therefore salvation!  It is simple.  Compare what is being taught by your preacher to what the Bible really says...or as Ronald Reagan once said, "trust, but verify".
Friends, let us never be guilty of “inventing as we go along”.  The Gospel Message is too important not to teach truthfully.  -