If you want to generate a lively conversation at a church fellowship meal, bring up the subject of church standards. A discussion of such topics as jewelry, dress, amusements, movies, and diet is sure to create a wide difference of opinion, sometimes even hostility. Some feel that one of the reasons people leave the Seventh-day Adventist Church, especially teens and young adults, is that the church still teaches antiquated standards that define Christianity too narrowly. In their view the church majors in minors and neglects “weightier” matters, such as justice and mercy, honesty, integrity, and concern for the poor and the environment.

In a sense they are right. It is possible to equate external standards with godliness. It is unfortunate that some of the most vocal supporters of church standards are at times the least tolerant and most judgmental. The essence of Christianity is ... »
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