There is a saying called, “Perfect is the enemy of good.” A truly wise and intelligent statement that one can write volumes explaining and expressing how perfectionism in itself can be an evil. That truly powerful statement ever ring so unmistakably true in the world of restrictive religious movements. One article in the online version of Spectrum magazine which promote a wide spectum of various “progressive Adventist” views touches upon perfectionistic religions like Traditional Historic Adventism. Frankly, the Armstrongist splinters are by no means exempt because they are a product of Adventism (despite some extreme splinters claim that their own church came from heaven—but that’s another topic). The precise title of the article Getting Rid of Self and Revival Religion starts with,
I have been a member of the Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church in Berrien Springs since it was organized in 1973. I have attended worship services in other churches in the area only on rare occasions. A few weeks ago, however, I could not attend my church because I was sick. On such occasions, I listen to the worship service at Pioneer Memorial Church, which the Andrews University radio station broadcasts by radio. Since I did not have the church bulletin and the radio made no announcements, I did not find out who was the guest preacher. It certainly was not Dwight Nelson, whose style is inimitable.It pains me to confess that I was unable to listen to the full sermon. I was so upset by what I heard that I turned the radio off sometime before the end. The sermon I was listening to was in no way original; I have heard dozens of different versions of this sermon. The sermon impresses on everyone the necessity to get rid of self in order to become a Christian. Thus, it turns out to be a masochistic exercise whose purpose is to make the listeners feel spiritually sick and bad about themselves. This, it is hoped, will motivate them to raise their hands, stand up, or pass to the front of the church in order to declare their intention to live the Christian life with God. It is necessary to cast self aside in order for Christ to come in. The sentence that stayed with me that Sabbath morning is: “If you don’t get rid of self, you cannot love God.” This way of looking at the Christian life is in direct opposition to the message of Jesus. According to him, it is absolutely necessary to be in full possession of self and be able to use all its faculties to love God “with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” The standard by which we should evaluate our love of our neighbors is the measure of our love for ourselves. In other words, what Jesus taught is exactly the opposite of what this preacher told his listeners that Sabbath. Only he who loves self can love God and neighbor.
The author of this article Harold Weiss—GETS IT! Many Christian churches whatever stripe NEED to read this article that is in itself tranformational and revolutionary in every sense of the word. Read the rest of the splendid article here and enjoy it!