Wilson Issues Call to Evangelism, Faithfulness at ASI Meeting
Great Controversy Project,’ Urban Evangelism, Medical Missionary work stressed
BY MARK A. KELLNER
, News Editor
rothers and sisters, we are living in a most incredible time in earth’s history. We have been called to proclaim God’s incredible message of salvation through Christ and His righteousness and we need to know who we are if we are to deliver that message with Holy Spirit power.”
With those words, Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson, president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, issued a call to global evangelism August 6 in a Sabbath sermon delivered to attendees at the 2011 Adventist-laymen’s Services & Industries Convention in Sacramento, California.
“There are millions of people … all over this world waiting for Seventh-day Adventists to stand up, speak out, and share the precious Biblical message of Revelation 14. The giving of those three angels’ messages is the reason God raised up the Seventh-day Adventist movement,” Wilson said, later adding, “God wants His church to finish strong and has prophesied that it will!”
In order to “finish strong” – words that were the theme of the ASI event – Wilson said Adventists need to know “who we are,” and identify the movement’s special role.
“The Bible in Revelation 12:17 identifies God’s remnant church or people at the end of time,” Wilson said. “That marvelous text tells us who we are! It reads, ‘And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.’ Verse 9 tells us that the dragon is Satan. Verses 1 and 2 identify the woman as God’s church. Verse 4 tells us of the war against God’s church and Jesus Christ who is then caught up to God and His throne.”
‘FINISH STRONG’ -- In order to “finish strong” – words that were the theme of the ASI event – General Conference president Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson said Seventh-day Adventists need to know “who we are,” and identify the movement’s special role. He made his comments August 6 during the 2011 ASI Convention in Sacramento, California. [Photo: James Bokovoy]
He added, “But who are the remnant? The remnant of her seed, God’s last day church, will consist of people with two characteristics: those who keep the commandments of God and secondly, they have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
Keeping the commandments, Wilson said, means keeping all of them, including the Sabbath command. Sabbath-keeping is a testimony of faith in God and in creation versus evolution, he added.
The other characteristic, a church that has “the testimony of Jesus Christ,” is reflected in God’s gift of the Spirit of Prophecy writings by the movement’s co-founder, Ellen G. White, to the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Wilson said, “Revelation 19:10 tells us plainly that ‘the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’ Here we have a clear indication from the Bible that the remnant church will have a special voice that God will provide which is the Spirit of Prophecy. … I believe that God spoke through Ellen G White as a fulfillment of Revelation 12:17 to provide God’s instructions to His last-day, remnant church.”
Part of sharing the Spirit of Prophecy writings, Wilson said, is “The Great Controversy Project,” in which Adventists are asked to share full and abridged editions of the book by Mrs. White, which details the history of the Christian church from the fall of Jerusalem to the return of Christ.
“It has been exciting to see the world divisions and the church membership around the world become so excited about this special project,” Wilson told the ASI congregation. “We had set a goal of 50 million copies to be distributed worldwide. Most of these books worldwide will be given personally to friends, relatives, neighbors, and others. I personally had a prayer goal of 100 million. However, the latest estimated total of classic and abridged versions, reported from the divisions, and it will undoubtedly go higher, is now approximately 127 million and counting -- and that does not include any Internet-generated downloads.”
Wilson said he plans to be part of a cohort of Seventh-day Adventists in São Paulo, Brazil on March 24, 2012 expected to distribute 3 million copies of The Great Controversy
in that city.
Along with the literature distribution plan, Wilson said the General Conference would increase its emphasis on evangelism in the world’s urban areas.
“This October at Annual Council we will be unveiling, by God’s grace, the most comprehensive urban evangelism initiative in the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is to be an ongoing, sustained program until the Lord returns,” he said.
“The church needs to develop comprehensive and sustainable programs for evangelizing the cities of the world,” Wilson added. “We must not have one big program once in a while and then forget the people of the cities. We must work in a united and sustained effort to accomplish God’s plan for the cities as outlined in the Spirit of Prophecy.”
Wilson also said the world church will unveil details of a new medical evangelism program at the 2012 Annual Council, following the work of a committee to be chaired by evangelist Mark Finley.
While grateful for the support of ASI members and the church’s laity worldwide, Wilson also sounded a cautionary note during his sermon: Adventists need to guard against those forces that would divert us from our mission, he said.
“God has promised that as we follow His counsel and His ways that His work will prosper and we will finish strong. However, the devil does everything he can to deter God’s people from following Biblical counsel,” Wilson explained. The adversary, he added “brings in every possible aberration and confusing idea that will throw God’s people off-track from finishing strong.”
Wilson said, “I have felt convicted in the past weeks to speak out in a stronger way about certain subjects that, in my opinion, are removing us from God’s mission for His remnant church -- things that will take us out of the position to which God has called us.”
The General Conference president called on Adventists to: guard against “mystical beliefs and practices” that could remove practitioners from sound doctrine; avoid “mystical forms of prayer” that could lead to occult practices; be careful in the selection of worship music and styles; and “avoid” having non-Adventists as “major spiritual speakers” in churches and/or large meetings, instead seeking “humble, Bible-centered Seventh-day Adventist speakers.”
Before inviting the congregation to join him in a period of prayer and dedication to mission, Wilson reminded his hearers of the present-day climate in the world.
“The signs of Christ’s return are all around us: ever-increasing natural disasters, political challenges that elude answers, economic misery based on greed, social and moral decay, and ecumenical advances that will deny us religious freedom,” he said, adding an imprecation, “Let us focus on Christ and His soon return.”
Adventist pastor Ramiro Cano, president of the Central California Conference, said Wilson’s sermon was “inspiring.” Cano has been president since November 2010, and this was his first ASI convention. He agreed with Wilson’s recommendation of not inviting preachers to their pulpits unless they are Seventh-day Adventists: “It is nice to see our leader taking us back to the basics, and I look forward to seeing how I can also take that message to our local conference.”
Adina Myles, a physical therapist who lives in Elk Grove, the city at Sacramento’s southern border, also appreciated Wilson’s remarks: ““It’s been a blessing. It’s been very inspiring. I’m glad to see we have leadership that wants to see us connected to the Lord our God through the Spirit of Prophecy.”
Myles attended the Sabbath service with her two children, Jadon-Lee, a 9-year-old boy, and Valencia, a 7-year-old girl.
-- With additional reporting by Edwin Manuel García, in Sacramento.
-- Readers can find the complete text of Pastor Wilson’s sermon online here, while audio and video recordings of the message will be made available by ASI at this Web address: http://bit.ly/pHbCud.