Friday: Further Thought – Social Relationships

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Read Ellen G. White, “The Impending Conflict,” pp. 582-592, “The Scriptures a Safeguard,” pp. 593-602 and “The Time of Trouble” pp. 613-634 in The Great Controversy. Ellen G. White advocated that Seventh-day Adventists be good citizens and obey the law of the land.

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She even told people not to openly and flagrantly disobey local Sunday laws; that is, though they must keep the seventh-day Sabbath holy, as God has commanded, they don’t need to deliberately violate laws that forbid Sunday labor. In one case in particular, however, she was clear that Adventists should not obey the law. If a slave had escaped his or her master, the law required that the slave be returned to that master. She railed against that law and told Adventists not to obey, despite the consequences: “When the laws of men conflict with the word and law of God, we are to obey the latter, whatever the consequences may be. The law of our land requiring us to deliver a slave to his master, we are not to obey, and we must abide the consequences of violating this law. The slave is not the property of any man. God is his rightful master, and man has no right to take God’s workmanship into his hands, and claim him as his own.” – Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 201, 202

Discussion Questions:

  1. In class, discuss your answer to the question at the end of Monday’s study about this issue: Should Christians never stand up for their rights? As you do, consider this one question, as well: Just what are our rights?
  2. What are examples in which the impact of Christians on society has been a powerful force in changing that society for good? What lessons can we take from these accounts?
  3. What are examples in which Christians, instead of helping change the ills of society, acquiesced to those ills and even helped justify them? What lessons can we take from those stories, as well?
  4. 1 Peter 2:17, says, “Honor the emperor” (NIV). The emperor at that time was probably Nero, one of the more vile and corrupt of what had already been a corrupt and vile line of men. What message does this have for us today? How might what Peter wrote at the beginning of that text, “Honor all people,” (NKJV) help us better understand what he was saying?
  5. Read 1 Peter 2:21-25 in class. How is the gospel message encapsulated in these verses? What hope do they offer us? What do they call us to do? How well do we follow what we have been told to do here?
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