Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Thursday, August 17, 2006

To be the Remnant or to be part of the Remnant?

The Bible is filled with remnant principles from Noah to Elijah, from Judah to Ezekiel there is always someone who holds to the principles of God, who does not cave into the world around them. The remnant however is not exclusive the opportunity is open, some will chose God many will never, the remnant are those who as Joshua says, “choose life”. As Chip Brogden said: “ Anyone can, everyone won’t (in fact, a large majority will not) but SOMEBODY will. That group of “sombody’s” who will is the Remnant.”

To be the Remnant is to be special and since people like to feel special they also like to define themselves as the Remnant. Just to be a sincere follower of Christ is not enough for many who define themselves as the Remnant. Often they must define their particular beliefs as Remnant beliefs and the beliefs or actions of others must be apostate. Today those who claim to be the Remnant define themselves as those who hold to the truth against the apostate churches. A few examples:

1. Gwen Shamblin, the well-known dietician who created the "Weigh Down Diet" formed Remnant Fellowship having come to the conclusion that "institutional church can be defined as the counterfeit church the Apostle John warned about in Revelation - 'The Mother of Prostitutes' (Rev. 17) .. a place that says it is Christ's church and yet .. has insidiously allowed its members to rebel against Christ" (2). Viewing the small groups of people who hearkened to her message as being a true remnant of true believers, Shamblin's Remnant Fellowship now openly urges all like-minded people to abandon Christian churches and affiliate with her band.

2. A National Catholic Newspaper is titled the Remnant with the following given as it purpose: “The Remnant's position is a simple one, as it strives essentially to adhere to Catholic teaching in every aspect of its journalism. There has been great upheaval and revolution within the Catholic Church over the past five decades -- not unlike the one encountered in the fourth century by St. Athanasius, called the Arian Heresy -- and Catholics are called to oppose that which in any way contradicts the infallible teachings and immutable traditions of the Catholic Church.”

3. The Portland International Church of Christ split, calling for the remnant to come out from their former church. “However, as of this Jubilee the Portland leadership believes it is time for a progressive “calling-out of the remnant of disciples” from dying, former ICOC Churches.”

The International Churches of Christ (Boston Movement), also known as the ICC, founded in 1979 by Kip McKean, is an organization which portrays itself to the public as “...a family of Christian churches whose members are committed to living their lives in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ as found in the Bible.” (Who Are We?, ICC Home page, By this statement they appear to be just another family of Christian churches. Is this an honest portrayal? In an article entitled Revolution through Restoration II (a sequel), written by Kip McKean (lead Evangelist and founder of the ICC), Kip states that perhaps the most often asked question of the ICC is “Are the people in the International Churches of Christ the only ones who are saved?” Kip avoids answering this question out right, but comments that the Bible’s answer comes from understanding the nature of God’s movements.

“To initiate his movement, God, in his grace, always works through a man. He puts his message on this man’s heart. As God’s man preaches God’s message, God moves in other men’s hearts to collectively come together to follow God through the leadership of his man.” (Kip McKean, Revolution Through Restoration II, 1994)

A few sentences later Kip states: “I believe with all my heart that the Boston Movement is God’s modern-day movement.” (ibid) This statement infers two things. First, that if the Boston Movement is God’s modern-day movement, then it’s leader, Kip McKean must be “God’s man” who is preaching God’s message. According to the above quote, this means that all persons who are moved upon by God to follow Him will do so through the leadership of “his man” Kip McKean.

Second, if the Boston Movement is God’s one and only modern-day movement, with Kip McKean as it’s leader (God’s man), then any person or group of persons not following Kip McKean by membership in the Boston Movement are not following God. So back to the question, “Are the people in the International Churches of Christ the only ones who are saved?”

4. Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. From its restoration in 1830 thru the Reorganization of 1860 and Renewal in 2000 The Remnant Church has remained the true successor of Christ’s New Testament Church.

5. The Remnant Church of God

6. Association Remnant Church of Creation 7th Day Adventists

7. Remnant and Its Mission: (Seventh-day Adventists Fundamental Belief 13)
The universal church is composed of all who truly believe in Christ, but in the last days, a time of widespread apostasy, a remnant has been called out to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This remnant announces the arrival of the judgment hour, proclaims salvation through Christ, and heralds the approach of His second advent. This proclamation is symbolized by the three angels of Revelation 14; it coincides with the work of judgment in heaven and results in a work of repentance and reform on earth. Every believer is called to have a personal part in this worldwide witness. (Rev. 12:17; 14:6-12; 18:1-4; 2 Cor. 5:10; Jude 3, 14; 1 Peter 1:16-19; 2 Peter 3:10-14; Rev. 21:1-14.)

One thing is certain from the many churches who claim to be the remnant, they can not all be right. Yet to be part of each particular church remnant theology they must accept that their view of the remnant is true. Of all the views expressed in the brief examples above, which only represent some of the groups who view themselves as the remnant I don’t agree that any of them represent the remnant of the followers of God. Neither would the different groups agree with that any the other groups definition of the remnant is true.

The Remnant principle is more God oriented then religious institution oriented. That is God identifies the remnant as those that are His. It is not up to the religious institution to name themselves the remnant. When they do, they are not acting with the view of how God thinks but they operate with the view of a self exalted organization or person. They choose to raise themselves as obedient and lower others as disobedient. Choosing to judge others on things which they can have no way of knowing or simply because of a different interpretation of some Bible passages. It is selfishness.

To be the Remnant or to be part of the Remnant are two very different things. To be the Remnant is exclusive and certain of its exclusive unique position. To be part of the Remnant means you are willing to accept God’s definition of the Remnant with fellow followers of God. God may use a far different definition then man, because remnants can come from all sorts of things.


Johnny said...

It is interesting, sociologically speaking, how quickly remnant movements move from cults to sects to Churches. It feels like just the other day we bade farewell to those three angels and got ourselves a new seal!

About two years ago when it came out I listened to Under the Banner of Heaven as I drove to Colorado. Scary stuff!

Ron Corson said...

Under the Banner of Heaven, about an LDS murderer is probably a bit more extreme then the general type of people who consider themselves the Remnant. This post came about because of a question some asked in one of the Sabbath School classes I attend. It was pretty evenly divided as to those who saw the SDA church as the remnant and those who did not.

I think it is more then just sociological as it gets to the psychology of our desire to be right. Which is understandable however if we have to be right on beliefs from obscure and intentionally vague and symbolic writing such as Daniel and Revelation then we have really chosen the wrong territory to hold with certainty. But if you claim to be the last day remnant you are stuck with drawing your conclusion from the apocalyptic books.