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I had come to church seeking to draw closer to God. Instead, I got a recommendation to draw closer to someone whose character and behavior I knew would lead me much farther from God than I ever wanted to be. Instead of being uplifted toward God, I was revolted by the suggestion. Being so conscious of my emotions at the time made me able to freely express myself with Christian meekness, gentleness and grace to the recommender. Ever since, to my delight, no further thoughtless suggestions have come forth.
I do not know how men survive but it sure helps to have a sisterhood of friends who hold me accountable. Not just on tangible elements such as career, academics and finances, but even on nontangible, non-descript things like feelings and emotions. I can be vulnerable around them with no sense of shame or fear or criticism. In fact, choosing to be vulnerable opens my world to them, enough for them to be of some help even if it means a listening ear only.
Even better, I can be open enough with Jesus and tell Him of my deepest joys, pains, fears and ambitions. I rise from my prayer closet much more relieved and encouraged.
You cannot be careless around the opposite sex and hope to stay sexually pure. Set boundaries! These boundaries need to be established by also guarding your own emotions. Realize that one person, no matter how much they love you, cannot meet your emotional need. Even a future spouse. We also need friends, satisfying work, healthy solitude, play and other life experiences to fulfil our needs. The more secure we feel within ourselves, the more able we are to grant our future partner (and ourselves) the room they need to include other loving relationships and recreational activities in their life.
Appreciate the fact that if you cannot be happy without a partner, you will not be with one, either. When your happiness is dependent on another person, it’s not love; it’s co-dependency. Seek your individual happiness, sense of worth, and security in the Lord instead of from friendships or a future spouse. When two happy partners interact this way, greater joy can be experienced.
I know that as I learn to be emotionally content in this season of singleness, I shall be emotionally satisfied when married.
In spite of the fact that several countries around the world have a divorce rate higher than 50%, people still find many benefits to marriage. They do so for a number of reasons, including wanting a sense of security, wanting to work towards mutual goals with a partner, and feeling content that they have reached the ideal of a lifelong, satisfying, loving relationship.
Marriage’s mental health benefits also include reduced prevalence of mental disorders, and higher levels of emotional and psychological well-being than those who are single, divorced, or cohabiting. Marriage protects against feelings of loneliness and married mothers tend to enjoy greater psychological well-being and greater intimacy than cohabiting or single mothers.
Marriage also has a wide range of benefits for physical health, including less chances of suffering from a heart attack or stroke, and a higher chance of recovering from major surgery, among several others.
While there are mental and physical health benefits to marriage, what do we know about its benefits for our spiritual health? Firstly, Marriage was God’s design. Genesis 1:27-28 makes it clear that marriage is meant for one male and one female, and in the next chapter, we learn that God Himself decreed that man’s solitude is not good (Genesis 2:18). God designed marriage in part as a remedy to that solitude when He fashioned out of Adam’s rib a helper perfectly suitable for him. He then took the role as the first Father to give away the bride and performed the very first wedding ceremony recorded in earth’s history. This remedy is so important that God admonishes us that “let no one separate” the marriage bond (Mark 10:9).
Secondly, the Bible talks about a “oneness” that exists between the Father and Son (John 10:30; John 17:20-23). Similarly, there is a “oneness” that is applied to the marital relationship (Genesis 2:24). With God’s divine math, one plus one equals one. However, becoming one does not mean that you lose your own identity. On the contrary, it means completing and complementing one another to such an extent that you can both be better together than you could have been as singles. It is a blending of two lives on every level that reaches way beyond just physical and psycho-emotional (mental health) levels, but to your spiritual health as well. Even though marriage provides for this special oneness, it is important to realize that oneness does not happen automatically simply because a couple starts living together. The benefit of oneness requires a determined effort and considerable time spent with each other and with God. Oneness requires intentional effort both to know one another on deeper levels and to mature in Christ.
Thirdly, marriage benefits each spouse as an earthly picture of the relationship between Christ and His bride, the church. He uses it as a ministry to shape our character and help get us spiritually
healthy by giving to each spouse a picture of His faithful love for us. Paul describes this beautifully when he writes
“… husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of His body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.(Ephesians 5:25-33)”
The world also benefits spiritually through Christian marriages because God uses it as an example to show what his love is like by the way in which husbands and wives relate to each other. This is why faith in Christ can be such an advantage in marriage. This is the very reason as to why Satan attacks Christian marriages. When Christian marriages break up, it sends a false message to the world that Christ does not love His bride with enduring love. When we forgive and love each other in spite
INTERVIEW WITH DR. ARCHER
Q: You are very intentional about how you invest in your marriage. Why is that
A: Because I know that this is the marriage that God has intended for me to be in, I need to strive to offer the best version of me that I can. Everyone is 100% responsible for their own attitudes and behaviors, so I can’t control my spouse, but I can and should do all that I can to make the environment of our marriage supportive of happiness and bliss.
Q: What attitudes are helpful to bring to a
A: Forgiveness and Grace. If there is unforgiveness or holding back in a marriage, that could be the death of it. That comes from our awareness of having been forgiven by Christ. We have to make the decision to forgive, even when our feelings don’t match. My husband is very good at that and it makes me want to be more like him and more like Christ.
Q: So, is forgiveness and grace your definition
A: The Spirit of Prophecy says that love is a principle of action. It’s a decision. We always tend to focus on feelings. There is some of that, but it’s a decision. Christ makes the decision every day to love His enemies. If we’re married, we’ve made the decision to love our spouse forever. It’s easy sometimes, but not always. When one person makes the decision to be forgiving and merciful no matter who is right or wrong, that’s the only way to be successful.
Q: How do you get to that place of forgiveness
and mercy when you’re feeling angry?
A: This is how I know that Jesus is real, because humans by themselves don’t have that ability. It has to come from Jesus. It’s the Holy Spirit, when He reminds me of a verse or something. I think of what Christ does to forgive me, and also I think of the example my husband sets.
Q: How important is a relationship with God
in a marriage?
A: Absolutely important! If your relationship is fractured with God, then your ability to relate to other people is fractured. If I’m not consuming the Word of God, then it won’t be there to help me in the difficult moments. The hard things in marriage have driven me to the Word. A connection with Christ is sometimes all you have.
A story is told of two oxen who for many years worked in the fields of a poor old farmer. The farmer was very kind to them, especially when the work was particularly hard. Even so, one of the oxen decided that he wanted to go to a larger, nicer farm further down the road, saying “I’m tired of working in these small fields and only enjoying these small, small bits of grass! Today, I’m leaving this small farm and going to the large one where oxen like me can be properly appreciated!” So, the foolish ox left his partner and went to the large farm, where he hoped to be invited to a nice barn with lots of juicy grass to eat. Unfortunately the workers on the large farm already had more than enough oxen to plow their fields and decided that the best way to appreciate this fine ox was to serve him up for dinner!
Just like the foolish ox, we create trouble for ourselves when we try to operate based on what we think we deserve rather than on the basis of what we have been given. In Genesis chapter 3 we see that God had given Adam and Eve an entire world to enjoy. They had important work to do for Him, all of the food they could eat and a beautiful garden as their home. They enjoyed the companionship of a perfect spouse who was perfectly designed to compliment them.
It would have been easy for mankind to begin to believe that they had a right to own all that was in the world. The very fact that God had the power to forbid them from touching the tree in the center of the garden was a constant reminder that it was not them, but God who owned the world. Stealing from the tree by eating the fruit was a denial of God’s ownership. It was a bold declaration that the couple believed that they had a right even to this tree even though they had no real need of anything more.
In marriage, many make the mistake of believing that they deserve more than they truly have a right to. Even though we have been given so much, we allow ourselves to be like the ox who rejects what he has been given because of what he thinks he can take.
Marriage gives us the opportunity to appreciate God and His gifts. When we do this, we show our respect for the sovereignty of God in His choice of blessings that He has provided to us. When we allow ourselves to complain and grumble, we become blind and foolish and are unable to truly enjoy the gifts that God has given us to bring delight to our hearts.
In marriage, it is well to focus on the blessings that we receive through it instead of always comparing and complaining. I have witnessed too many times how people have destroyed the purposes that God had intended for them by abandoning God’s gifts because they were hoping to steal something else for themselves that God had not given to them. Unlimited joy belongs to us if we will only decide to trust God and delight in His goodness to us!
Of course, there will be problems in our lives and in our marriages. At times there are sacrifices that must be made and burdens that we must carry. But just like the one forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden, these things simply serve to remind us that we are not in control of everything. These trials remind us that our lives and our world actually belong to God, and that we must trust Him for everything that we need.
When we do this, then we will be able to enjoy our lives and our marriages completely the way God designed for us to enjoy them. When we are tempted to think that God owes us something more, let’s remember the lesson of the ox that stayed on the small farm. That ox would tell you the same thing that Christ told us so long ago: “It is much more blessed to give than it is to receive.”
The beginning of the year is often very exciting for Christians. It is a time when many are still filled with joy because of the celebrations remembering the Gift God has given us through Jesus Christ. It is also a time when everyone is eagerly looking forward to what blessings God will share with us in the new year. Important lessons about how to live for God in the new year are provided to us from the account of the Mary’s visit with Elizabeth in Luke chapter 2.
Imagine the joy that these women felt as they considered the miracles God performed by placing within them these children of promise. I pray that you have discovered the special purpose that God has given you. If you have, then you know the joy that these ladies must have felt. If you have not yet recognized it, remain faithful and keep praying for it, because God Himself wants you to have it even more than you may desire it for yourself.
All of us have been given some special work to do for God. As we think about new beginnings, it is important for us to count every day as precious opportunities to fulfill those purposes of God. It may not be easy. God’s purpose for you in this moment might call for great effort and sacrifice on your part. But it is a gift from God designed just for you. Never allow yourself to be cheated out of God’s because you were unwilling to try.
This reminds me of a lesson that I learned many years ago when took my wife to the hospital for a routine appointment. After she went in for her visit, I took my seat to patiently wait for her in the waiting room. That’s when the screaming began. This visit had gone from routine to alarming as I heard different women in distress in various areas of the building. “Kinachotokea hapa?” I can only laugh now as I imagine what look must have been on my face as I asked what was happening here!
Thankfully, the nurse reassured me that there was nothing to worry about. She explained that in this part of the hospital there was a maternity ward, and that the screams that I was hearing, were simply announcements that a new gift from God had arrived in the world.
Sometimes we have to endure a struggle to bring forth the gifts that God has given to us in this life. Don’t be cheated out of these things by running away from the difficulties that are part of the process that He is using to bring them to you. Hard work and sacrifice are often necessary in order to overcome the enemy and claim the blessings that God has for you. Never underestimate the power that comes from praying faithfully. Then make the effort to trust God enough to work faithfully to accomplish the calling that He has given you.
The Bible tells us that at the sound of Mary’s voice when she entered Elizabeth’s home, Elizabeth’s baby leaped in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. God often has people that He places in our lives to support and encourage what He is doing in our lives, just as Mary did for Elizabeth. We should pray for and fellowship with the people who will make the “baby” God has given us “leap” within us.
There are others that the enemy seeks to place in our lives who seek to destroy what God is doing. There are those who could have told Elizabeth that she was too old to have a child. Or that she was crazy for thinking that she had really heard from God. It is important to prayerfully discern which people are wisely counseling biblical caution and those who do not have the faith to believe what God has told you. Once you know that God has truly shown you the way, never waste one minute entertaining those who seek to interfere with that purpose.
As you begin this year, take time to pray and think carefully about God’s purpose for you. Pray, seek godly counsel and then work toward the vision without doubting God. Look for people who will pray with you in support of that vision, and do not pay attention to those who are tearing down what God is building in you. If you can trust Him and ask for His help, you will indeed find that you can do all things, through Christ who will give you the strength! (Philippians 4:13)
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. Revelation 3:18. OHC 350.1
The great Redeemer represents Himself as a heavenly merchantman, laden with riches, calling from house to house, presenting His priceless goods. OHC 350.2
We must have the buyers and the sellers cleared out of the soul temple, that Jesus may take up His abode within us. Now He stands at the door of the heart as a heavenly merchantman; He says, ... “Open unto me; buy of me the heavenly wares; buy of me the gold tried in the fire.” Buy faith and love, the precious, beautiful attributes of our Redeemer.... He invites us to buy the white raiment, which is His glorious righteousness; and the eyesalve, that we may discern spiritual things. Oh, shall we not open the heart's door to this heavenly visitor?
We cannot provide a robe of righteousness for ourselves, for the prophet says, “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” Isaiah 64:6. There is nothing in us from which we can clothe the soul so that its nakedness shall not appear. We are to receive the robe of righteousness woven in the loom of heaven, even the spotless robe of Christ's righteousness. OHC 350.4
The eye is the sensitive conscience, the inner light, of the mind. Upon its correct view of things the spiritual healthfulness of the whole soul and being depends. The “eyesalve,” the Word of God, makes the conscience smart under its application, for it convicts of sin. But the smarting is necessary that the healing may follow, and the eye be single to the glory of God.... Says Christ, By renouncing your own self-sufficiency, giving up all things, however dear to you, you may buy the gold, the raiment, and the eyesalve that you may see. OHC 350.5
The Saviour comes with jewels of truth of the richest value in distinction from all counterfeits, all that is spurious. He comes to every house, to every door; He is knocking, presenting His priceless treasure, urging, “Buy of me.”
I am the Lord your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgements, and do them; and hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God . Eze. 20: 19, 20.
The Sabbath was given to all mankind to commemorate the work of Creation. The great Jehovah, when He had laid the foundations of the earth, when he had dressed the whole world in its garb of beauty, and created all the wonders of the land and the sea, instituted the Sabbath day and made it holy. When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy, the Sabbath was set apart as God's memorial. God sanctified and blessed the day in which he had rested from all His wondrous work. . . .
As the tree of knowledge was placed in the midst of the Garden of Eden, so the Sabbath command is placed in the midst of the Decalogue. In regard to the fruit of the tree of knowledge, the restriction was made, "Ye shall not eat of it, . . . lest ye die." Gen. 3:3. Of the Sabbath God said, Ye shall not defile it, but keep it holy. "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." Ex. 20:8. As the tree of knowledge was the test of Adam's obedience, so the fourth command is the test that God has given to prove the loyalty of all His people.
The Sabbath is a token between God and His people. It is a holy day, given by the Creator to man as a day upon which to rest, and reflect upon sacred things. God designed it to be observed through every age as a perpetual covenant. It was to be regarded as a peculiar treasure, a trust to be carefully cherished.
As we observe the Sabbath let us remember that it is the sign which heaven has given to man that he is accepted in the Beloved; that if he is obedient, he may enter the city of God, and partake of the fruit of the tree of life. As we refrain from labor on the seventh day, we testify to the world that we are on God's side, and are striving to live in perfect conformity to His commandments. Thus we recognize as our sovereign the God who made the world in six days and rested on the seventh.
The Sabbath is the clasp which unites God and His people.
Siku ya Jumapili Oktoba 14, 2018, Kamati ya Utendaji ya Konferensi Kuu ilipitisha waraka uitwao, “Kuheshimu na Kutekeleza Maamuzi ya Sesheni ya Konferensi Kuu na Kamati ya Utendaji ya Konferensi Kuu,” kwa idadi ya kura 185 kwa 124. Uamuzi huo ulikuwa ni mwendelezo wa kura iliyopigwa na Kamati ya Utendaji katika mkutano wa Oktoba 2017
Kusudi la waraka huu uliopigiwa kura ni kuyahifadhi mamlaka yenye msingi wa Kibiblia, yaliyotolewa na Munguya mfumo wa kanisa na kuweka mchakato wa kiukombozi wa kuviwezesha vyombo vya kanisa kuwa katika mwafaka na kanisa la ulimwengu na maamuzi yake yanayofanyika katika ngazi za juu kabisa za kiuwakilishi, yaani Sesheni ya Konferensi Kuu na Kamati yake ya Utendaji. (Soma makala ya maswali na majibu)
Oktoba 14, 2018, zaidi ya wajumbe 300 wa Kamati ya Utendaji kutoka katika ulimwengu wote pamoja na mamia ya waalikwa na watazamaji, wakiwa katika Ukumbi wa Kellog Arena, walielezwa juu ya mazingira ya waraka huo, yakihusishwa majibu kwa maswali yaliyoulizwa kuhusu kusudi na mchakato wa uliopendekezwa.
Kwa muhtasari ilikuwa imeoneshwa kwamba:
Msingi wa waraka huo ni mawazo yaliyotoka kwa mamia ya viongozi katika ulimwengu wote.Karibu robo tatu ya viongozi wa Kanisa waliarifu kuwa zinatakiwa zichukuliwe hatua kwa vyombo ambavyo haviwi katika mwafaka na maamuzi ya kanisa la ulimwengu Waraka ulikuwa na upatanifu kamili na Katiba ya kanisa la ulimwengu, Kanuni na Sera ya Konferensi Kuu. Waraka unatoa njia yenye kiini katika Kristo ya kushughulikia masuala yanayohusu kutofuatwa kwa sera kwa kuhimiza chombo kilichokaribu zaidi na suala kulishughulikia tatizo Waraka unajumuisha hatua za tahadhari zilizowekwa kwa ustadi ili kujilinda na “Mamlaka ya Kifalme,” kuhodhi mamlaka na mfumo wa kanisa wa utawala msonge.
Mwenyekiti wa Kanisa la Waadventista wa Sabato, aliwaambia wajumbe wa Kamati kuwa “Mianzo ya waraka huu inatoka kwenu; ni waraka wenu, Suala ni je, taasisi zipo tayari kufuata kanuni ambazo wameziweka wenyewe?”
Tunu za Kamati ya Kusimamia Umoja
Michael Ryan, mwenyekiti wa kamati hiyo alitoa dondoo za tunu za uendeshaji na taratibu za Kamati:
Uwazi—Kutoa taarifa zote hadharani na kwa wakati.Kushirikisha watu wengi—Kukusanya mawazo kutoka kwa viongozi wa kanisa wanaowaongoza washiriki..Ufupi—Kufupisha waraka na kuufanya uwe rahisi. Mwafaka—kulinda upatanifu wa waraka na Katiba ya Konferensi Kuu, Kanuni na Sera.Ukubalifu—Kuyakubali maamuzi ya Sesheni ya Konferensi Kuu kama zenye mamlaka
Waraka ulijengwa kwa takwimu zilizokusanywa kwa mbinu zinazozingatia ubora na kiasi kinachotosha (qualitative and quantitative data) katika mikutano kumi na mine – mmoja kutoka katika kila Divisheni, na kutoka Unioni ya Mashariki ya Kati (MEU), ambayo ilikuwa na wenyeviti 137 wa unioni na viongozi 683 wa kanisa ulimwenguni. Pia dodoso lililoandaliwa kitaalamu lilitolewa na Ofisi ya Kanisa ya Hifadhi ya Nyaraka, Takwimu na Utafiti (ASTR) kwa wenyeviti 137 wa unioni ulimwenguni. Madodoso yalisambazwa yakiwa katika lugha mbali mbali na matokeo yalionesha asilimia 100 walishiriki.
Matokeo ya Utafiti
Matokeo ya utafiti yalidhihirisha kuwa karibu asilimia 75 ya wenyeviti wa unioni waliitikia kuwa inafaa zichukuliwe hatua kwa vyombo vya kanisa ambavyo havikuwa katika mwafaka na maamuzi ya kanisa la ulimwengu, aliripoti, David Trim, Mkurugenzi wa ASTR.
Katika hitimisho, Trim alionesha kwamba wakati waraka unaopendekezwa hautaweza kukidhi matakwa ya kila mmoja, hapakuwa na “kukubaliana katika jambo la muhimu: kwamba kutofuata sera hakuwezi kuvumiliwa na hatua inatakiwa zichukuliwe, kulingana na namna Kanisa letu linavyofanya kazi kama taasisi.”
Waraka ni Halali
Kufuatia ripoti ya Trim, Karnik Doukmetzian, mshauri mkuu wa Konferensi Kuu na Divisheni ya Kaskazini mwa Amerika ya kanisa la Waadventista wa Sabato, alithibitisha kuwa waraka ulikuwa katika mwafaka na Katiba na Kanuni za Kanisa.
“Iwapo ukubalifu wa sera hautafikiwa [baada ya kufuata mchakato uliodondolewa kwenye waraka] . . . taasisi au kiongozi anaweza kuwa kwenye mwelekeo wa moja kati ya hatua tatu za marudi,” alisema Doukmetzian alipokuwa akitoa muhtasari wa waraka. Alithibitisha kuwa, “Maonyo kwa taasisi, kemeo la hadhara kwa kiongozi aliyechaguliwa na taasisi, au matumizi ya sera iliyopo sasa au nyaraka zinazoongoza utekelezaji wa Kuondolewa kwa Sababu, hakuna uchaguzi uliokiukwa miongoni mwa hizi aina tatu, mchakato uliodondolewa, na dhamira ya Katiba au Kanuni za Konferensi Kuu, ambazo wote tumekubaliana kuzifuata na kuzitumia, ”
Mwenendo wa Muda Mrefu kwa Viongozi
Katika mada yake, Hensley Moorooven, katibu wa Kamati na katibu msaidizi wa kanisa la ulimwengu, alielekeza kwamba, “kukubaliana na sera ni kiwango cha siku nyingi cha mwenendo wa viongozi Waadventista wa Sabato.”
Akiwageukia wajumbe wa Kamati ya Utendaji, aliuliza, “Ni kitu gani kinacholishikilia kanisa pamoja?” Kujisalimisha kwetu kwa Roho Mtakatifu. Ukubali wetu wa kuendelea kustawi kwa ajili ya umoja. Kujitoa kwetu kwa ajili ya utume kwa ulimwengu mzima. Kwa hiyo, sera ni matokeo ya Umoja,haisababishi umoja.
Moorooven alisema, “Hebu nitoe hoja kwenu, kwamba hatua ya kwanza kuelekea katika kuligawanya kanisa inachukuliwa kiongozi anapoamua kwenda kinyume na yale ambayo tayari tumekubaliana – sio unaoligawa kanisa!”
Moorooven aliongeza kuwa “Sera haiko kimya kuhusu matarajio ya maofisa kutenda kazi katika mwafaka na kile kilichomo ndani ya kitabu cha sera.”
Baada ya hapo alinukuu kutoka katika sera:
B 15 10 Kufuata Sera Kunatakiwa—1. Sera ya Konferensi Kuu inafuatwa na taasisi kwa umakini katika maeneo yote ya ulimwengu. Kazi katika kila taasisi itasimamiwa kwa mwafaka kamili na sera za Konferensi Kuu na za divisheni.
B 15 15 Maofisa/Watawala Kufanya kazi kwa upatanifu na sera—Maofisa na Watawala wanatarajiwa kutenda kazi katika mwafaka na Sera ya konferensi Kuu. Wale wanaoonesha kushindwa au kutokuwa tayari kusimamia kazi yao katika mwafaka na sera, hawatatakiwa kuendelea kuwekwa katika uongozi mkuu na maeneo yao na bodi/Kamati za uongozi.
Moorooven aliendelea kuelekeza kuwa sera hizi zimekuwepo kwa miongo mingi
Alihitimisha kuwa,“Kufuata Sera ni, na imekuwa kwa muda mrefu, ndio kiwango cha mwenendo wa viongozi wa kanisa la Waadventista, na waraka unaopendekezwa umekazwa kwenye kanuni hii.”
Alipokuwa akiuwasilisha waraka kwa ajili ya kuangaliwa na Kamati ya Utendaji, Michael Ryan alisema:
“Jambo linalopendekezwa ni mchakato uliotafakariwa kwa uangalifu kwa ajili ya kushughulikia aina mbali mbali za ukiukaji wa sera, mchakato unaoweka chujio na kuweka ulinzi dhidi ya matumizi holela ya mamlaka na ukaidi wa maksudi juu ya mambo yaliyokubaliwa na wote. Unapotafakari pendekezo hili, ninakuomba uzingatie akilini kwamba zaidi ya theluthi mbili ya viongozi wanaowakilisha ngazi za Kanisa la ulimwengu wanaamini kuwa zinatakiwa ziwepo hatua za kitaasisi za kuchukuliwa dhidi ya misheni, konferensi, na unioni zinazokataa kufuata kile ambacho wawakilishi wa kanisa la ulimwengu, wakitenda kwa umoja, wamejadili na kukubaliana.”
Mfumo wa kanisa ni kiini cha umoja miongoni mwa waumini wa Agano Jipya. Pasipo mfumo wa Kanisa na kufuata makubaliano ya pamoja yanayofanyika kwenye Sesheni za Konferensi Kuu, kanisa lipo kwenye hatari ya kuvunjika vipande, vipande, na kwenye mkondo wa kuelekea kwa kila kanisa mahalia kujitegemea.
Ni ombi la viongozi wa Konferensi Kuu kwamba waraka uliopo sasa utasaidia kutunza mfumo wa kanisa la ulimwengu kutimiza agizo la Yesu la kupeleka injili kwa kila taifa, kabila, lugha, na jamaa.
Hata hivyo, kusudi hasa la mfumo wa kanisa letu ni kufanikisha lengo lenye kiini katika Kristo, na msingi katika Biblia, yaani utume unaowezeshwa na Roho.
Ili kupata taarifa juu ya mjadala wa vipengele na uamuzi, angalia kwenye taarifa iliyotolewa na Adventist News Network na Adventist Reviewyenye kichwa cha habari “Wajumbe wa Mkutano wa Mwisho wa Mwaka wapiga Kura kuukubali waraka wa Ukubalifu wa sera” (http:news.adventist.org/en/all-news/news/go/2018-10-14/annual-council-delegates-vote-to-adopt-compliance-document/)
Kufuatia kura iliyopigwa Jumapili kuhusu,“Kuheshimu na Kutekeleza Maamuzi ya Sesheni ya Konferensi na Kamati ya Utendaji ya Konferensi Kuu,” maswali mwengi yamekuwa takiulizwa kuhusu maana ya kura na athari yake kwa uongozi wa kanisa. Katika makala ifuatayo, tunajaribu kujibu baadhi ya maswali haya.
Waraka huu unahusu nini ?
“Kuheshimu na Kutekeleza Maamuzi ya Sesheni ya Konferensi Kuu na Kamati ya Utendaji ya Konferensi Kuu,” ni jaribio la kujibu swali ambalo linauliza, “Ni nini kitatokea endapo taasisi ya Kiadventista inatenda kinyume na maamuzi yaliyofanywa na chombo kizima cha waumini kwenye Sesheni ya Konferensi Kuu na ya Kamati ya Utendaji ya Konferensi Kuu”
Sera ni nini na kwa nini ni ya muhimu?
Kundi la watu au taasisi inapoamua kuungana katika aina yo yote ya mfumo wanakubaliana kanuni na taratibu kadhaa ambazo kila upande unahiari kuzifuata. Uimara ya taasisi unapatikana katika kujitoa kwa kila upande unaounda taasisi kufuata kile kilichoamliwa na wengi. Kikundi hakiwezi kutimiza makusudi yake endapo wengi wao wanajikita katika mapambano ya muda mrefu dhidi ya kanuni zilizokubaliwa.
Ni kwa namna gani sera inayotumika sasa inavyoshughulikia suala ukiukwaji wa taratibu?
Kwa mujibu wa sera inayotumika sasa, chombo cho chote cha taasisi kinaoonesha kushindwa au kutotaka kusimamia kazi yao kwa upatanifu na sera ya kanisa la ulimwengu kitakuwa katika uelekeo wa: 1) chombo hicho kushushwa hadi na kupewa hadhi ya misheni; 2) kiongozi wa chombo hicho kuondolewa kutoka kwenye Kamati ya Utendaji ya Konferensi Kuu “kwa sababu”; 3) Chombo kinavunjwa na kuundwa upya.
Kitatokea nini sasa wakati Waraka huu umekwisha kupitishwa?
Endapo suala la ukiukaji wa taratibu likitambulika, taasisi iliyokaribu na chombo kinachokiuka taratibu itawajibika katika kulishughulikia. Ni pale tu ambapo taasisi mahalia itakaposhindwa kukifanya chombo husika kifuate taratibu, ndipo Kamati ya Utawala ya Konferensi Kuu (ADCOM) itakapofikiria kuiingiza kazini kamati ya usimamizi wa ukubalifu wa sera.
Kamati za kusimamia ukubalifu wa sera ni nini na zinafanyaje kazi?
Kamati za kusimamia ukubalifu wa sera ni Kamati ndogo za Kamati ya Utawala ya Konferensi Kuu (GC ADCOM) na kwa asili ni Kamati za ushauri. Kama ilivyoelezewa hapo juu Kamati hizi zinafanya kazi endapo tu ngazi za chini za uongozi mahalia (yaani Konferensi, Unioni na/au divisheni) zilizokaribu na chombo kisichofuata sera zimeshindwa kusaidia katika kukirudisha chombo husika katika kuheshimu sera.
Kamati za Kusimamia Ukubalifu wa sera zinayo mamlaka gani?
Kamati hizi hazina mamlaka. Ni Kamati za ushauri kwa asili na huwa zinatoa taarifa za yale waliyoyabaini kwenye Kamati ya Utawala ya Konferensi Kuu (GC ADCOM). Hatua yo yote inayochukuliwa inatakiwa ithibitishwe na Kamati ya Utawala ya Konferensi Kuu (GC ADCOM), Kamati ya Maofisa wa Konferensi Kuu na wa Divisheni (GCDO), na Hatimaye Kamati ya Utendaji ya Konferensi Kuu.
Je, Divisheni ni chombo kilichojitenga na Konferensi Kuu ya Kanisa?
Hapana. Katika Kanisa la Waadventista wa sabato, Unioni, ambazo zinaundwa na Konferensi (au, kwa mazingira fulani huundwa na makanisa) ndizo zinazounda Konferensi Kuu. Divisheni sio taasisi inayojitegemea bali yenyewe ni sehemu ya Konferensi Kuu na hivyo haiwezi kujitenga na Konferensi Kuu.
Je, Waraka huu ni mchakato wa kimabavu wa ushurutishaji kutoka ngazi ya juu ya kanisa kwenda chini?
Hapana. Kama ilivyo katika utawala wote wa Kanisa la Waadventista, Waraka huu unatambua kuwa kila ngazi ya kanisa ina mamlaka yaliyokasimiwa na unahimiza kuwa masuala ya ukiukwaji wa sera yashughulikiwe katika ngazi iliyokaribu na chombo husika kadiri iwezekanavyo. Hata hivyo, Waraka pia, unatambua wajimbu wa ngazi za juu za mfumo wa kanisa wa kushughulikia jambo hili ikiwa vhombo vingine vya kanisa haviwezi kuchukua hatua.
Je, Waraka huu unabadili mfumo na namna kanisa letu linavyofanya kazi?
Hapana.Sera za Kanisa ni makubaliano ambayo kwayo viongozi katika ngazi zote wamekubali kuyafuata tunapoendelea kufanya kazi kwa pamoja katika kutimisa utume wetu. Pote katika historia yetu, zimekuw a zikiinuka changamoto za kiteolojia na za kimfumo zikielekezwa kwa mamlaka ua Kanisa. Na kila mara Mungu ameliwezesha Kanisa Lake kushinda changamoto hizi na kuendelea kusitawi na kukua.
Ninalihofia kanisa langu, nitafanya nini?
Tunapendekeza usome huu Waraka wewe mwenyewe. Unaweza pia kuliombea kanisa lako na uongozi wake. Na unaweza kutumaini kuwa Mungu atamlinda kila mmoja wetu. Kila mmoja anakubali kwamba tunachohitaji ni kusonga mbela kama kanisa lililoungana katika kuutangaza upendo wa Yesu na ujio wake uliokaribu. Hakuna hata mmoja, hayupo miongoni mwa viongozi wako au watawala, wasiokubaliana na hilo. Tunapambana tu kuona tunavyoweza kulifana sasa kwa namna iliyo bora zaidi. Tunamwomba kila mshiriki wetu kuendelea kutuweka kwenye maombi yenu tunapoendeleza utume wetu wa uliounganika wa kumfikia kila mtu kwa ajili ya Kristo, “na kujitahidi kuuhifadhi umoja wa Roho katika kifungo cha amani” (Waefeso. 4:3).
Ni wapi tunapoweza kujifunza ziadi kuhusu Waraka huu na namna ulivyoandaliwa?
Unaweza kujifunza zaidi kuhusu mazingira yaliyopelekea kuandaliwa kwa Waraka huu na maana yake kwa kosoma makala ya “Katika Mwafaka na Kanisa la Ulimwengu: Mazingira ya Waraka Uliopigiwa Kura”
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 2 Cor. 13:5.
"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith." Many . . . may immediately respond, "Why, yes; I am in the faith, I believe every point of the truth." But do you practice what you believe? Are you at peace with God and with your brethren? Can you pray with sincerity, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors"? ... Is there no bitterness in your hearts, no envying, no jealousy, no evil surmising? ... Is there no emulation, no desire for special favor and honors, no wish to have the supremacy? . . .
We do well to examine ourselves to see what manner of spirit we are cherishing. Let us learn to speak gently, quietly, even under circumstances the most trying. Let us control not only our words, but our thoughts and imaginations. Let us be kind, be courteous.
Many are sensible of their great deficiency, and they read, and pray, and resolve, and yet make no progress. They seem to be powerless to resist temptation. The reason is, they do not go deep enough. They do not seek for a thorough conversion of the soul, that the streams which issue from it may be pure, and the deportment may testify that Christ reigns within. All defects of character originate in the heart. Pride, vanity, evil temper, and covetousness proceed from the carnal heart unrenewed by the grace of Christ. If the heart is refined, softened, and ennobled, the words and actions will testify to the fact. When the soul has been entirely surrendered to God, there will be a firm reliance upon His promises, and earnest prayer and determined effort to control the words and actions.
We profess a great and holy faith; and our characters must be in accordance with that faith, and with God's great moral standard. . . .
Let us examine our hearts in the light of the great principles of the law of God as defined by Christ: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself." Luke 10:27.