Revival Sermons

Lifestyle & Contemporary Issues => Christian Standards => Topic started by: Richard OFfill on June 25, 2009, 11:31:07 AM

Title: A Long List
Post by: Richard OFfill on June 25, 2009, 11:31:07 AM
When I was a boy the list of Christian Standards in our church was long. What was it for in the beginning? Was it too long and was it necessary. As a minister I was not allowed to baptize a person who wore a wedding ring. Was there a good reason then? Is there a good reason now?
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: Larry Lyons on June 25, 2009, 12:55:05 PM
When I was a boy the list of Christian Standards in our church was long. What was it for in the beginning? Was it too long and was it necessary. As a minister I was not allowed to baptize a person who wore a wedding ring. Was there a good reason then? Is there a good reason now?
It seems as though there were clear scriptural reasons for our church's position on wedding rings in the past. I understand that at one time there were said to be impelling reasons for missionary wives to wear a gold wedding band in certain cultures. So to accomadate a specific culture in was decided to OK wedding rings in that setting. It is a great example of what happens when provision is made for compromising a principle. We now have abandonded a host of standards that were once considered necessary for Adventists to uphold. In addition to that, no one is allowed to speak about it without incurring disagreeable consequences. As one writer has said, we truly live in a "culture of silence."
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: Raven on June 25, 2009, 02:42:46 PM
The reasons for not wearing a wedding band are pretty clearly laid out in the SOP.  Sorry I don't have the reference handy.  She basically said that we shouldn't spend a nickel (or was it a penny) for a wedding band.  She made an allowance for those living in countries where it was obligatory--which it was when I lived in Europe 40 years ago. 

But we've gone beyond wedding bands.  The understanding of why we shouldn't wear any kind of jewelry has been lost for the most part.  The principles are clear, but few are willing to spell them out anymore for fear of offending someone.
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: Soli Deo Gloria on July 02, 2009, 01:36:03 AM
The only instance I can find where our Lord spoke of rings is in the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:

11And he said, A certain man had two sons:

 12And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.

 13And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

 14And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

 15And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

 16And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

 17And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

 18I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

 19And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

 20And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

 21And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

 22But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

 23And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

 24For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

 25Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.


 26And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.

 27And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.

 28And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.

 29And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:

 30But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

 31And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.

 32It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
-------------------------------------------------------------

Jesus spoke here of a great celebration when the lost son was restored, and a ring was placed upon his finger.

Jesus sanctioned marriage in his first miracle at Cana in John 2, where he turned the water into wine.

The ring ceremony at weddings is a symbol of one of the greatest relationships that God has established on this earth. Marriage represents the relationship that Christ has with his church, which is referred to as His bride.

Somehow, in the grand scheme of things, it is hard to believe that our Lord would find all the controversy surrounding wedding rings honoring to Him. I remember when some young couples were ostracized in the church just becaiuse they wore wedding rings. Some have been turned off entirely to Christianity over this issue.

Is making a big deal over this worth it?

Stan
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: Jim on July 02, 2009, 05:47:08 AM
Somehow, in the grand scheme of things, it is hard to believe that our Lord would find all the controversy surrounding wedding rings honoring to Him. I remember when some young couples were ostracized in the church just becaiuse they wore wedding rings. Some have been turned off entirely to Christianity over this issue. Stan

They were turned off from Christianity? I'm personally aware of several Christian denominations that don't have a problem with the wedding ring. And  just because Christ's parable retold what would normally happen in His current culture doesn't mean that He was giving license to it. If that is true then we'd have to assume also that righteous dead people actually went into the bosom of Abraham.
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: guibox on July 02, 2009, 06:42:26 AM
Gold, silver and other precious metals are not evil. There will be more of them in the New Jerusalem than we've ever seen at one time, I'm sure. Therefore, I fail to see how a piece of gold symbolizing a marriage committment falls in the category of rebellion like the Israelites being a part of Egypt. What did the jewelry represent and the motives for using it were why it was condemned for the Israelites.

Context, people.
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: Raven on July 02, 2009, 03:04:50 PM
Gold, silver and other precious metals are not evil. There will be more of them in the New Jerusalem than we've ever seen at one time, I'm sure. Therefore, I fail to see how a piece of gold symbolizing a marriage committment falls in the category of rebellion like the Israelites being a part of Egypt. What did the jewelry represent and the motives for using it were why it was condemned for the Israelites.

Context, people.

No, they are not evil, but why do we display them on our persons?  It is most often a pride issue.  The only purpose of jewelry is to draw attention to one's self.  I'm speaking to SDA's who should know that, not to those who are unaware of our stance on it, or the Biblical principles upon which we base that position.  I think the SOP statment that not a penny (nickel?) should be spent for a wedding band should be sufficient--unless, of course, one doesn't accept her testimonies as inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: guibox on July 02, 2009, 07:00:49 PM
No, they are not evil, but why do we display them on our persons?  It is most often a pride issue.  The only purpose of jewelry is to draw attention to one's self.

And how exactly is wearing a wedding ring 'pride'? And as for 'bringing attention to one's self', it SHOULD. It lets any lookers know that I am taken and this wedding band stands for my committment to my wife. Let me tell you that a few times when I was single, seeing that wedding band made all the difference in my approach with people. Also, there was a time when someone SHOULD have been wearing that wedding band but wasn't and it created a VERY awkward situation for me.

I think the SOP statment that not a penny (nickel?) should be spent for a wedding band should be sufficient--unless, of course, one doesn't accept her testimonies as inspired by the Holy Spirit.

In 1987, Roger Coon, former associate secretary of the EGW Estate of the GC wrote an article concerning the wedding band, EGW and the church. Even while stating that he sides with the policy of 'discouraging' the wearing of wedding bands, responds to traditional criticism of allowing people to be baptized while wearing wedding rings by appealing to EGW.

He said this:
 
Quote
a.
 Much of the argumentation of the opposition was based upon four assumptions, none of which is true:
      (1) That Ellen White, during her lifetime [1827-1915] consistently forbade the wearing of any wedding band at any time and in any place within the SDA Church, that she classed the simple non-jeweled wedding band in the category of ornamental jewelry, and that she wrote extensively and repeatedly against the practice of the wearing of the wedding band.
      (2) That the General Conference, from its earliest days, adopted an official policy against the wearing of any wedding band, and that this policy continued until the 1986 action in Washington which overturned more than a century of precedent to the contrary.
      (3) That the SDA Church Manual historically always reflected the GC policy against wearing wedding bands, until it was forced to reverse itself by the more recent liberalization policy.
      (4) That the wearing of a simple, non-jeweled wedding band in North America is now no longer to be discouraged by pastors in that Division of the world field.  

What are the demonstrable facts?
Ellen White:
      (1)Recognized that in her day the custom of wearing a wedding band was considered de rigueur throughout the British Empire, Europe, and in many other parts of the world
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: Raven on July 03, 2009, 01:30:12 PM
And how exactly is wearing a wedding ring 'pride'? And as for 'bringing attention to one's self', it SHOULD. It lets any lookers know that I am taken and this wedding band stands for my committment to my wife. Let me tell you that a few times when I was single, seeing that wedding band made all the difference in my approach with people. Also, there was a time when someone SHOULD have been wearing that wedding band but wasn't and it created a VERY awkward situation for me.

In 1987, Roger Coon, former associate secretary of the EGW Estate of the GC wrote an article concerning the wedding band, EGW and the church. Even while stating that he sides with the policy of 'discouraging' the wearing of wedding bands, responds to traditional criticism of allowing people to be baptized while wearing wedding rings by appealing to EGW.

He said this:
 
Different time, different culture, different norms, different focus. EGW is not the be all and end all of cultural reforms in the 21st century. The wedding band serves a purpose, it is not used for pride, it is not wasteful (a night at a restaurant for 4 costs more than the average ring). It doesn't fall under the typical reasons for not wearing jewelry.


Well, I guess I've lived a sheltered life.  I've been married for more than 25 years, and neither my wife or I have ever worn a wedding band.  Neither of has ever experienced an "awkward" situation.  It doesn't take long in the course of a conversation for someone to figure out that one is married--unless of course you're trying to hide the fact.  Awkward situations are easily avoided if one relates to the opposite sex as we are counseled to do.

Roger Coon is not an inspired writer.  He left out some pertinent quotations.  All of her statements that permit wearing the wedding band were directed to other countries, where it was "imperative," as it was when I was living in Europe.  North America is not like that, and I doubt that Europe is that way anymore.

"Culture" is always the refuge of last resort for those who don't appreciate our church standards.  By changing the policy in North America to allow the wearing of wedding bands, the GC opened the barn door.  Now jewelry of all types is almost as common as Christmas ornaments.  I'm not convinced that this would have occurred (or it would have taken longer) if the GC had stuck to the traditional policy.  I'm not sure how one can cry "culture" when assessing Ellen White's position on jewelry and the wedding band.  What has changed in the past century?  People have possibly become more vain, but the custom of wearing wedding bands has not changed.  If it was wrong in 1898, why is it acceptable in 2009?  Vanity is still vanity.
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: guibox on July 03, 2009, 02:19:51 PM
By changing the policy in North America to allow the wearing of wedding bands, the GC opened the barn door.  Now jewelry of all types is almost as common as Christmas ornaments.  I'm not convinced that this would have occurred (or it would have taken longer) if the GC had stuck to the traditional policy.

And in my opinion, I doubt this was a factor. Simply for the fact that the church's stance on jewelry has not changed, yet people still wear it. If the policies changed, then you could say, 'I think the barn door was opened for changed policies by allowing wedding rings and changing the policy on that'. To try and attribute people wearing jewelry to the acceptance of wedding rings by the church is a pretty big stretch.

I'm not sure how one can cry "culture" when assessing Ellen White's position on jewelry and the wedding band.  What has changed in the past century?  People have possibly become more vain, but the custom of wearing wedding bands has not changed.  If it was wrong in 1898, why is it acceptable in 2009?  Vanity is still vanity.

It's not just about 'vanity'. That is a shallow reason. EVERYTHING can be vain, even the simplest things. I always say, 'You might be an Adventist if you own a $40,000 sports car but wouldn't be caught dead wearing a pair of $20 earrings. Nobody needs to own anything expensive when you can own something cheaper. If you choose to buy something for $100 when you can get it for $30, then that is vanity...and waste. Church people do it all the time. I know a person who is trying hard to bring our school back into the 19th century and is adamantly opposed to jewelry and girls wearing pants. He is more vain than anyone I know who wears studs in their ears. You are right, vanity is still vanity. This applies much more to anything else then it does to jewelry.

If you want to preach against jewelry, you better find something better for an argument against it than 'vanity'. It doesn't hold water. Nobody is fooled or convinced by such an argument. It is archaic and hypocritical.

Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: Larry Lyons on July 03, 2009, 02:57:32 PM
Guibox. Name calling is not OK, even indirectly by implication. Lets maintain a Christian attitude in our discussions.
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: Raven on July 03, 2009, 03:43:18 PM

It's not just about 'vanity'. That is a shallow reason. EVERYTHING can be vain, even the simplest things. I always say, 'You might be an Adventist if you own a $40,000 sports car but wouldn't be caught dead wearing a pair of $20 earrings. Nobody needs to own anything expensive when you can own something cheaper. If you choose to buy something for $100 when you can get it for $30, then that is vanity...and waste. Church people do it all the time. I know a person who is trying hard to bring our school back into the 19th century and is adamantly opposed to jewelry and girls wearing pants. He is more vain than anyone I know who wears studs in their ears. You are right, vanity is still vanity. This applies much more to anything else then it does to jewelry.

If you want to preach against jewelry, you better find something better for an argument against it than 'vanity'. It doesn't hold water. Nobody is fooled or convinced by such an argument. It is archaic and hypocritical.



True, vanity manifests itself in many ways.  Whatever deliberately draws undue attention to oneself stems from pride and vanity, which Scripture condemns.  But the subject at hand is jewelry.  I'll grant you that just because a person wears a wedding ring, does not necessarily mean that they are vain.  Beyond that, I fail to see how one can justify any other type of jewelry.  The purpose of jewelry is to attract undue attention to oneself.  It says, "Look how well I am decorated."  It is not functional.  I would counter your statement and say that those who think jewelry has a legitimate purpose are fooling themselves.  Beyond that, we will have to agree to disagree, as I see that we are both entrenched in our positions.

But you failed to answer my question:  If it was wrong (to wear a wedding band--or other jewelry for that matter) in the 1800's, why is it acceptable in 2009?   What has changed to make it permissible now?
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: guibox on July 03, 2009, 05:02:08 PM
But you failed to answer my question:  If it was wrong (to wear a wedding band--or other jewelry for that matter) in the 1800's, why is it acceptable in 2009?   What has changed to make it permissible now?

Whether it is 'wrong' or merely a mindset of a conservative, simple agricultural society who tried to avoid the mere possiblity of distraction, pride and improper monetary stewardship is what's debatable. As I said before, pride and vanity are not good arguments for trying to make jewelry a spiritual and moral issue, even taking someone's salvation into consideration.  Putting on earrings for some people is no different than putting on a tie or a broach.
You gotta do better than that.
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: Raven on July 04, 2009, 04:06:49 AM
Whether it is 'wrong' or merely a mindset of a conservative, simple agricultural society who tried to avoid the mere possiblity of distraction, pride and improper monetary stewardship is what's debatable. As I said before, pride and vanity are not good arguments for trying to make jewelry a spiritual and moral issue, even taking someone's salvation into consideration.  Putting on earrings for some people is no different than putting on a tie or a broach.
You gotta do better than that.


I said it was wrong because the prophet said it was wrong.  Pride and vanity are not good arguments?  Pride was what caused Lucifer's downfall.  It is at the heart of most of our failings.  Our biggest battle is with self (i.e. pride).  That should weigh rather heavily whenever considering any course of action.  The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?  Jer. 17:9.  How carefully do we examine the motives behind our actions?
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: guibox on July 04, 2009, 07:02:40 AM
Pride and vanity are not good arguments?

As far as using that to single out jewelry over anything else, yes, it is a bad argument.
As I said before. Wearing a necklace for some women is no different than wearing a tie for men. They both are accessories and both are worn to complement ourselves and our outfits. There is nothing wrong with looking good. Looking good and feeling good about ourselves and our appearance is not vanity. We do it all the time regardless of wearing jewelry or not. Nobody has to wear a tie. A pleasant shirt should suffice. Nobody needs to wear an Armani suit when a cheaper one from Moores can be used in it's place. Women don't NEED to do up their hair to make themselves look good. If we want to avoid the appearance of vanity, there is nothing wrong with wearing it plain.

The loopholes and illogistics are endless, Raven.

Can it be extreme? Sure! That is why we must exercise temperance in all things. Yes, you CAN wear jewelry to say, 'Hey look at me!' This can apply in other things too. Such as driving down the road in a BMW convertible with the music blaring instead of a Ford Focus or a Toyota. Or wearing the highest priced silk tie instead of a $15 Sears sale tie that looks just as nice.
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: Jim on July 04, 2009, 01:34:42 PM
I know you're gonna say that I'm really not listening what you're saying..... but I don't think you're listening to us either. Pride is definitely a good argument against wearing jewelry .  

I agree that an Armini (sp?) suit could very well be more of a problem than someone wearing a wedding band. But in either case that is simply following Biblical counsel as found in Peter. He specifically mentions both.... jewelry and wearing of apparel. Are you really gonna reject the jewelry part of the counsel simply because we don't have price-tag police at the church doors on Sabbath morning?

Jewelry and expensive clothing is about pride and saying "look at me". Why wear it otherwise? And I agree that ties can be just as much about show and pride as jewelry. I think we'd all benefit if we'd follow counsel to wear simple clothing and nothing that would draw attention to ourselves.

 
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: Raven on July 04, 2009, 04:00:47 PM
As far as using that to single out jewelry over anything else, yes, it is a bad argument.
As I said before. Wearing a necklace for some women is no different than wearing a tie for men. They both are accessories and both are worn to complement ourselves and our outfits. There is nothing wrong with looking good. Looking good and feeling good about ourselves and our appearance is not vanity. We do it all the time regardless of wearing jewelry or not. Nobody has to wear a tie. A pleasant shirt should suffice. Nobody needs to wear an Armani suit when a cheaper one from Moores can be used in it's place. Women don't NEED to do up their hair to make themselves look good. If we want to avoid the appearance of vanity, there is nothing wrong with wearing it plain.

The loopholes and illogistics are endless, Raven.

Can it be extreme? Sure! That is why we must exercise temperance in all things. Yes, you CAN wear jewelry to say, 'Hey look at me!' This can apply in other things too. Such as driving down the road in a BMW convertible with the music blaring instead of a Ford Focus or a Toyota. Or wearing the highest priced silk tie instead of a $15 Sears sale tie that looks just as nice.

Basically, what I'm hearing from you is that the SOP counsel on jewelry is irrelevant to those of us living in the 21st. century.  Correct me if I'm wrong.  If that is the case, then one could make the same argument against certain Biblical standards that rub us the wrong way, or other SOP counsel that doesn't fit in with our contemporary lifestyle.

Just for the record, I detest neckties.  I only wear them in the winter (because it helps keep me warmer).  We're not terribly formal here in New England, so I don't catch any flack for not wearing them.

And by the way, spiritual counsel doesn't always appear logical to the carnal mind, and there will always be perceived loopholes, if we look for them.
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: CONCRETE on July 06, 2009, 05:32:05 AM
Spiritual counsel should always be able to be understood by us folks down here on earth. Otherwise, why would God bother? Is he trying to trick us?

I have heard a saying by a generation older than me about the generations older than them (they are usually the ones who considered themselves more adherent to scripture and the SOP). The saying goes:

If worn on the ear, it's a sin
If worn as a broach, it's a pin

I've seen many women who thought it was an absolute sin to wear jewelry and yet consistently wore jeweled (usually fake because it was not  wasteful or expensive) broaches and pins to church.

My wedding band is a piece of stainless steel (probably cut from a piece of pipe and polished). Yes, it does say LOOK AT ME, I'M PRODLY MARRIED. It also keeps many people accountable as it is a constant reminder to the covenant of marriage. In reality I dislike wearing anything constrictive, even watches, which brings me to another approach to engagement in the SDA Church...engagement watches. My younger sister was given an engagement watch which cost more than my wife's engagement ring and wedding band combined. The watch thing has been quite popular with those who wouldn't wear a ring, OK, fine...or is it? Other than being able to tell time, the watch was expensive, is inoperable if damaged, and doesn't even let others know that you are married. So what's the point? I guess we could go round and round on the subject, what's wrong, what's right etc., but to me it would be the motivation for wearing the accessory and certainly is a very personal thing.

Could someone share the EGW references on why it is wrong to wear wedding bands? Does it actually say "for the US only?" Could our culture have changed since the 50's?
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: Jim on July 06, 2009, 10:17:56 AM
Concrete, I would say to that.... don't throw the baby out with the bath water. Just because there are hypocrites in the church that abuse the jewelry standard don't throw out the Biblical standard on jewelry.

I've never understood why a person needs a wedding band to tell the world that they are married. If one can't tell that you're obviously married by your conversation and behavior then something is wrong in the first place. I also seriously doubt that a piece of stainless steel (your words not mine) will keep a marriage together that is on thin ice.
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: Larry Lyons on July 06, 2009, 10:29:42 AM
Jim, you are right about that.
Concrete, you find the egw statements on wedding rings  in the index to the writings of EGW. Look under "rings," "gold" and "jewelry." If you don't have the EGW resources, you can now get a CD rom from ABC that contains:
385 EGW titles
6 Vol. EGW biography
5,000 EGW periodical articles
4 Vol.. Comprehensive EGW Index
400,000 scripture links to EGW writings
King James Bible with full text search
8 storybooks on EGW for children
16 EGW reference books
110 EGW Estate topical papers
Noah Webster's 1828 American Dictionary

This can be purchased at Adventist Book Centers, or via the internet for $19.99.

I might buy the argument that wearing a ring is an important symbol of marriage, if it was permanently attached. But anyone can put one on whether they are marraid or not, and a marraid person can take them off whenever they want to. Wearing a ring does not prove marital status. It merely proves that you prefer to wear a ring.

The way we look, the way we dress, the accessories that are worn are all signals that give information about ourselves. These messages are read partly consciously and partly subliminally by other people. We are telling much more about ourselves than we imagine.

A wedding tattoo would make more sense than a wedding ring. How about a small unobtrusive but noticeable tattoo somewhere on the face where it couldn't be easily hidden? Each tattoo would contain the ID# of their spouse. It would make people consider very, very carefully whether they want to take that step.  :-D
 
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: George on July 06, 2009, 07:37:30 PM
Putting on the wedding ring might send a message, but so does taking it off.  In American culture, removing the (existing) wedding ring is looked upon as a prelude to adultery.  When some singer or movie star (who is married) appears in some public place and isn't wearing a wedding ring, this fact will be breathlessly noted by the entertainment writers (and documented by the paparazzi).  The implication is that the person in question apparently no longer feels obligated to observe his/her marriage vows.
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: guibox on July 06, 2009, 09:59:15 PM
Putting on the wedding ring might send a message, but so does taking it off.  In American culture, removing the (existing) wedding ring is looked upon as a prelude to adultery.  When some singer or movie star (who is married) appears in some public place and isn't wearing a wedding ring, this fact will be breathlessly noted by the entertainment writers (and documented by the paparazzi).  The implication is that the person in question apparently no longer feels obligated to observe his/her marriage vows.

Never mind singers or stars. If someone is looking for affection or relationship the FIRST thing they usually do is look for the ring. When they see the ring, they know that person is off limits. It IS a cultural thing and it is necessary here..more than any other time in our history, frankly. It avoids an awkward situation (I can attest to this fact). It avoids misconception. It avoids tireless explanations as to why a married person isn't wearing wedding ring.

The church has allowed it. This was not some arbitary ruling done by two or three people. I find it funny how so many here would defend the church's stance on other areas and say 'Until the church officially changes it, I will follow it!' but it doesn't seem to apply to this.

As far as I'm concerned, it is a mute point. It is officially in the church's policy and nobody has the right to judge anybody else for wearing one. They shouldn't have to explain themselves and they shouldn't feel pressured to not wear it or be made to feel guilty or that they aren't a good Adventist or have fallen out of God's good graces.
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: wondering on July 07, 2009, 05:20:22 AM
Never mind singers or stars. If someone is looking for affection or relationship the FIRST thing they usually do is look for the ring. When they see the ring, they know that person is off limits. It IS a cultural thing and it is necessary here..more than any other time in our history, frankly. It avoids an awkward situation (I can attest to this fact). It avoids misconception. It avoids tireless explanations as to why a married person isn't wearing wedding ring.

Interesting...In my experience the wedding ring can result in the opposite. Some men and women are looking for those who are married so they can get what they might want with no commitment. Since I stopped wearing a wedding ring...I've never been approached - and have never had to explain why I'm not wearing a ring (and people who know me say I'm friendly). It has much to do with how we carry ourselves and conduct ourselves in conversation. Too many people are too familiar with the opposite sex.

I don't think many people even think about it, but the casual (or not so casual) flirtation is not an acceptable form of conduct for a Christian. I'm not talking about simple kindness and courtesy - of course we should conduct ourselves that way. This familiar or flirtatious way of behaving starts before marriage in the way young people (and was one of them) interact. Call me 18th Century (which I know some of you will be thinking anyway), but it is wrong. Then, since we are comfortable with that type of interaction before marriage, we just continue on afterward. If we behaved the way we should behave, then the whole issue would be moot. People wouldn't feel the need to have a wedding band to "protect" themselves from unwanted advances. Maybe we should be looking at what behaviors we exhibit that invite advances instead of looking for a material thing to counteract our inappropriate behavior.

I've got my hardhat on - commence with the rock throwing :mrgreen:
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: Jim on July 07, 2009, 09:58:41 AM
It IS a cultural thing and it is necessary here..more than any other time in our history, frankly. It avoids an awkward situation (I can attest to this fact). It avoids misconception. It avoids tireless explanations as to why a married person isn't wearing wedding ring.

Why is it necessary? I have to agree with Brian. Again... if a person can't tell you're married by conversation and behavior something is seriously wrong. And instead of looking at these situations as "tireless explanations" why not use them as witnessing opportunities? For the record... I think the church was wrong when it allowed it.
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: Jim on July 07, 2009, 09:59:34 AM
Putting on the wedding ring might send a message, but so does taking it off.  In American culture, removing the (existing) wedding ring is looked upon as a prelude to adultery. 

What does it say when the person never had one on in the first place?
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: Soli Deo Gloria on July 08, 2009, 12:46:20 AM
Never mind singers or stars. If someone is looking for affection or relationship the FIRST thing they usually do is look for the ring. When they see the ring, they know that person is off limits. It IS a cultural thing and it is necessary here..more than any other time in our history, frankly. It avoids an awkward situation (I can attest to this fact). It avoids misconception. It avoids tireless explanations as to why a married person isn't wearing wedding ring.

The church has allowed it. This was not some arbitary ruling done by two or three people. I find it funny how so many here would defend the church's stance on other areas and say 'Until the church officially changes it, I will follow it!' but it doesn't seem to apply to this.

As far as I'm concerned, it is a mute point. It is officially in the church's policy and nobody has the right to judge anybody else for wearing one. They shouldn't have to explain themselves and they shouldn't feel pressured to not wear it or be made to feel guilty or that they aren't a good Adventist or have fallen out of God's good graces.

Well said Guibox.

I believe Romans 14 answers these types of questions quite well:

 1Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

 2For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.

 3Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

 4Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

These principles might apply not only to meat eating, but also to the wearing of wedding rings.

We would do well to avoid heated disputations over things that have no moral consequences.

Jesus is much more concerned about how we treat others and said in John 13:34,35:

34A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

 35By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another
-------------------------------------------------
It is not by whether we are wearing a wedding ring or not.

Can one imagine having a heated argument over whether we should love one another as Christ loved us?

Stan
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: Larry Lyons on July 08, 2009, 12:29:12 PM
Well said Guibox.

I believe Romans 14 answers these types of questions quite well:

 1Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

 2For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.

 3Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

 4Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

These principles might apply not only to meat eating, but also to the wearing of wedding rings.

We would do well to avoid heated disputations over things that have no moral consequences.

Jesus is much more concerned about how we treat others and said in John 13:34,35:

34A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

 35By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another
-------------------------------------------------
It is not by whether we are wearing a wedding ring or not.

Can one imagine having a heated argument over whether we should love one another as Christ loved us?

Stan
The real issue here is the camel's nose in the tent that the wedding band decision by the NAD represented. It is hard to deny that when we look at the neclaces, tattoos, dangling earrings, heavy makeup, bizarre hairdos by men and women that there has not been an escalation of a downward spiral in what was once considered as appropriate dress and adornment for Christians, consistent with biblical principles of simplicity and modesty.

 The fact that an issue like the wearing of a little gold band stirs up such strong feelings on both sides proves that there is an unspoken underying issue.
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: guibox on July 08, 2009, 01:57:02 PM
The fact that an issue like the wearing of a little gold band stirs up such strong feelings on both sides proves that there is an unspoken underying issue.

It stirs up strong feelings on our side because the conservative element seems to think that wearing a wedding band has opened the door for all sorts of apostasy and go strictly on the basis of 1 comment by EGW and her general stance on jewelry. That settles it. It's wrong because EGW said so. Do you think Sister White expected us to check our reason and logic at the door for a strict adherence to her counsel?

The strong feelings come up because many are tired of having their loyalty and salvation brought into question by conservatives on this issue and others because of standards and other mundane areas of non-salvational issues that would clearly fall under the 'straining a gnat' counsel of Christ and fall under Paul's counsel of Romans 14.

Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: newbie on July 08, 2009, 02:53:19 PM
The real issue here is the camel's nose in the tent

The issue is not really rings and things, it is much deeper than that.  The ring is only an example of a much bigger issue.  It is not cultural here either but in some countries it is a requirement.  Having said that, a simple cheap band is enough for those that require such.....
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: wondering on July 09, 2009, 05:17:54 AM
The strong feelings come up because many are tired of having their loyalty and salvation brought into question by conservatives on this issue and others because of standards and other mundane areas of non-salvational issues that would clearly fall under the 'straining a gnat' counsel of Christ and fall under Paul's counsel of Romans 14.

Funny, when Jesus said that we are his friends when we do whatever he commands, I thought He was talking about the "mundane" stuff and standards. I guess He didn't mean that we are to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. :uhoh:
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: newbie on July 09, 2009, 09:19:31 AM
Funny, when Jesus said that we are his friends when we do whatever he commands, I thought He was talking about the "mundane" stuff and standards. I guess He didn't mean that we are to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

I believe this too.
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: guibox on July 09, 2009, 11:36:44 AM
Funny, when Jesus said that we are his friends when we do whatever he commands, I thought He was talking about the "mundane" stuff and standards. I guess He didn't mean that we are to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. :uhoh:

Really? Please show me in the scriptures where Jesus says 'Thou shalt not wear wedding bands?' I fail to see how certain church standards seem to have the direct stamp and approval of scriptures in the minds of some traditionalists when much of what they deem as salvational, Christ would classify under the 'straining the gnat, swallowing the camel' scenario. The SDA church has their own set of rules and standards just like the Pharisees did...for some reason, many can't seem to see that. Yet (just like the Pharisees) their outward appearance and minding of the standards is NECESSARY to be a good Pharisee/SDA, and apparently has the stamp and approval of God, Himself.

Yet, we see both Jesus and Paul with strong words against them for their standard and law keeping and expecing everyone to keep the letter of the law while missing the big picture.

My how history repeats itself, and (again, just like the Pharisees) many 'good' SDAs can't seem to think that there is anything erroneous about what they've established for all to follow.
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: wondering on July 09, 2009, 11:57:48 AM
Really? Please show me in the scriptures where Jesus says 'Thou shalt not wear wedding bands?' I fail to see how certain church standards seem to have the direct stamp and approval of scriptures in the minds of some traditionalists when much of what they deem as salvational, Christ would classify under the 'straining the gnat, swallowing the camel' scenario. The SDA church has their own set of rules and standards just like the Pharisees did...for some reason, many can't seem to see that. Yet (just like the Pharisees) their outward appearance and minding of the standards is NECESSARY to be a good Pharisee/SDA, and apparently has the stamp and approval of God, Himself.

Yet, we see both Jesus and Paul with strong words against them for their standard and law keeping and expecing everyone to keep the letter of the law while missing the big picture.

My how history repeats itself, and (again, just like the Pharisees) many 'good' SDAs can't seem to think that there is anything erroneous about what they've established for all to follow.

I must admit you strike me as too intelligent to take this route. Whipping out the Pharisee argument is old, tired and does not apply. Lashing out only shows the lack of depth in your position.

I will not discuss this with you further because I know we don't agree on inspiration, etc. So we have no common basis from which to discuss it. Just because you do not see the principles that underlie some things doesn't mean that the principles do not exist - it just means you don't see it, sorry to say.

Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: guibox on July 09, 2009, 12:44:21 PM
I must admit you strike me as too intelligent to take this route. Whipping out the Pharisee argument is old, tired and does not apply. Lashing out only shows the lack of depth in your position.

When every other rational and logical argument falls on deaf ears...it usually means the Pharisee argument needs to be whipped out.

I will not discuss this with you further because I know we don't agree on inspiration, etc.

Then use your arguments from inspiration. When you try and 'seal' the argument by saying 'Jesus said' which is pretty much what you did, you better have a good support for it. I may play the Pharisee argument, but you are playing the 'God is on MY side with this' argument with nothing concrete to show for it.

 
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: Larry Lyons on July 09, 2009, 02:04:03 PM
"Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaitting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparal;" (1 Peter 3:3)

"In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparal, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing." (1Tim. 2:9 NKJ)

Those texts do not seem to be unclear of fuzzy at all.

"A person's character is judged by his style of dress. A refined taste,  a cultivated mind, will be revealed in the chioce of simple and appropriate attire." (EGW, Education, p 248.)

The question we should ask is are we trying to attract attention to ourselves by what we put on? Our outward appearance is the first line of our Christian witness. Before we even speak, a message, much of it subliminal has already been given. The world can see clearly if our object is to proudly display self, or if we are rebelling against social norms, or if we are saying "look at me, I am hip slick and cool just like the teenagers." (That person may be almost 50 years old and looks it no matter what he or she puts on or how he or she wears their hair) If we truly want to glorify God, we will make an effort to dress modestly and appropriately and not let our appearance get in the way of our witness.

On the other hand, pride can cause people to overdo it in the other direction. We can make a spectacle of ourselves by dressing in such a way that seems to say, "look at me, I am very modest and humble."
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: Deborah Risinger on July 09, 2009, 03:27:02 PM
Not wanting to really get into the crossfires here...and I admit upfront...I fall on the traditional side, conservative train of thought. 

However, it is true, we each must decide for ourselves concerning this and other issues........ what we think God is asking.

In saying this, I wonder if "how" we are coming to our conclusions is perhaps the criteria God will use to judge our decisions.

It seems the issues are many, but........ "how" we come to our conclusions may be the equation we need to evaluate.

Eve's problem was, she did not use God's Word as her criteria...she used other information that skewed her decision.

Perhaps each of us needs to ask ourselves "how" we come to our conclusions.

If you think I'm off base, thats' fine....


God's Blessings'
Deborah  :-)
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: Larry Lyons on July 09, 2009, 04:49:17 PM
Not wanting to really get into the crossfires here...and I admit upfront...I fall on the traditional side, conservative train of thought.  

However, it is true, we each must decide for ourselves concerning this and other issues........ what we think God is asking.

In saying this, I wonder if "how" we are coming to our conclusions is perhaps the criteria God will use to judge our decisions.

It seems the issues are many, but........ "how" we come to our conclusions may be the equation we need to evaluate.

Eve's problem was, she did not use God's Word as her criteria...she used other information that skewed her decision.

Perhaps each of us needs to ask ourselves "how" we come to our conclusions.

If you think I'm off base, thats' fine....


God's Blessings'
Deborah  :-)
Thank you Deborah! That is excellent.  Before we decide on the whats we ought to be clear on how to proceed to the place where we can even make an informed choice regarding the whats. That concept holds true  accross the board. We should ask the question how do we make decisions as to what is appropriate to offer God as part of our worship? What should determine our personal choices as to our lifestyle? Culture does play a part, but to what extent should we allow culture, or personal taste or preference to determine how we live and worship God? Obviously when it comes to worship and things pertaining to worship, it can't be done individually. It is a corporate decision, but the question is still relevent. How do we decide those things?

 This is how I look at individual choice: If we are simply driven by our personal taste or culture, or psychological factors or our emotional needs we are not actually choosing. According to the dictionary, choosing means to "freely select after consideration." In other words, after we consider all of the relevant factors, we set them to the side in our minds and then choose. "Becauses" are considerations, not choices. In other words, I might say I choose vanilla instead of chocolate because I like vanilla. Technically speaking that is not a choice. The selection is being driven by our taste preference.

In the issues of how to live a godly life we ought to have looked at all that we can glean from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy under the direction of the Holy Spirit (assuming we are willing to Go where He leads) and then we can choose. We will have been inwardly changed, and like Martin Luther, we can say "Here I stand so help me God!" (paraphrased) That is choosing.
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: guibox on July 09, 2009, 07:52:02 PM
"Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaitting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparal;" (1 Peter 3:3)


What's the context, Larry? If you look closely, you'll see that this is advice given to the proper deportment of submissive wives in the context of how to please God within the marriage covenant.

Quote
1Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3Your (***these submissive wives) beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. 5For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands,

Larry, this is not even close to clear biblical evidence or apostolic sanction against jewelry, never mind a wedding ring.

"In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparal, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing." (1Tim. 2:9 NKJ)

Those texts do not seem to be unclear of fuzzy at all.

Hmmm. Not fuzzy? Perhaps you missed the rest of this passage.

Quote
I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. 11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.


Are you willing to follow the rest too, Larry? Are you going to insist that women do not braid their hair or speak in church over a man? Are you going to insist that one of the rich patrons of your church wear a $200 suit instead of his $1000 one? Come one, Larry. You can't pick and choose here. Perhaps the context here is not as clear as you think. Perhaps the issue is more cultural. It sounds pretty fuzzy to me.

If we are going to slam other Christians for abusing and misusing Colossians 2, Hebrews 4 and Revelation 14:11, then we should be following the same considerations in exegesis of other passages instead of assuming they support what we want them to support. It's just as similar.
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: Larry Lyons on July 09, 2009, 09:46:46 PM
Guibox, you need to look at the historical context. just like today, pagan women tended to wear outlandish hairstyles to draw attention to themselves and they decorated themselves to display their gold and jewelry.  Paul was telling Christian women to avoid that. There are principles here. The principles apply to Christian women and men in all ages. The outward appearance should be decent, dignified, showing respect for God, ourselves, and others.

Some of the hair styles that I sometimes see on Adventist TV are elaborate and even bizarre, and would attract attention anywhere. They must spend hours creating it. Or having it done. Do you have any idea what hairstylists charge? One particular lady who is on regularly apparantly makes an effort to look lke she pays no attention at all to her hair. One is almost as bad as the other. The Bible principle is up to date.

Paul left little doubt as to what he meant. It applies to Christian women.
(9)"Women must dress in becoming manner, modestly and soberly, not with elaborate hair-styles, not adorned with gold or pearls or expensive clothes, (10) But with good deeds as befits women who claim to be religious." (1 Tim. 2:9,10, Revised English Bible)

The purpose of expensive or flashy clothing and jewelry is to attract attention to oneself and makes a person appear vain and self-centered.

Paul's statement about women talking in church that you bring in had also to do with  historical context. You probably have heard about it before.  Women sat on one side and men sat on the other side of the room. The women would talk across the Isle to thier husbands and it was disruptive. That has been in past SS Lesson Quarterlies, and I heard Doug Batchelor talk about that not long ago.  There is more about it in the SDA Commentary.

The role of Women in the church and Spiritual headship is not the topic that we are on. but there are excellent resources if you are interested.

Guibox, I really have no interest in controlling what others do. If you visited my church you would realize how funny your statement about people wearing $300 dollar or $1000 dollar suits sound. If you saw the group away from church you would never have the slightest notion they were dressed for church. To give you some idea, the nearest dry cleaners is almost 100 miles away, and only myself and the head elder ever wear anything that has to be dry cleaned. Except for the pastor who comes once a month. (Sometimes)

A couple of years ago a visitor was coming from some distance to our church. He was low on gasoline and had to stop in a town a few miles away to buy gas. He was dressed in a suit and tie. Someone asked him where he was going. "Orleans" he said. "Are you a Seventh-day Adventist?" the man asked, "Yes, how did you know?" "Nobody would be headed for Orleans on a Saturday morning dressed like that unless he was going to churcn" the man said. Obviously the man at the gas station had never been to our church. In terms of dressing up for church, compared with all the Adventist churches in North America, I think our church would fall into the bottom percentile.

But if you happen to be having car trouble along side highway 96 and one of our men comes by, he will stop, and you will get some competant assistance. That is unless you have the misfortune for it to be me. Mechanical stuff is not my gift. But if it happens to be you Guibox, I'll take out my banjo and you can get out your guitar and we'll play a few tunes while you wait for the tow truck, which could take awhile.  :-D


Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: CONCRETE on July 10, 2009, 07:09:47 AM
Larry,

Using the Amplified Bible in order to futher understand the Greek, 1 Peter reads:

Peter 3:2-5 (Amplified Bible)

2 When they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves, together with your [a] reverence [for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him--to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband].
3 Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes;
4 But let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God.
5 For it was thus that the pious women of old who hoped in God were [accustomed] to beautify themselves and were submissive to their husbands [adapting themselves to them as themselves secondary and dependent upon them].

This looks to me as though Peter is commenting on the greater value of inner beauty rather than outward adornments. No mandate here. Paul has recommended that people in ministry should stay single like him and not get married (good advice for those who want to stay more focused), but did not advise against it. Are we not to get married then?

What about 1 Timothy?

1 Timothy 2:8-10 (Amplified Bible)

8 I desire therefore that in every place men should pray, without anger or quarreling or resentment or doubt [in their minds], lifting up holy hands.
9 Also [I desire] that women should adorn themselves modestly and appropriately and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with [elaborate] hair arrangement or gold or pearls or expensive clothing,
10 But by doing good deeds (deeds in themselves good and for the good and advantage of those contacted by them), as befits women who profess reverential fear for and devotion to God.

Again this verse is not mandating the not wearing of jewelry but avoiding the elaborate. Larry, you are correct that some Christians can over do it with their hair and not wear any jewelry at all. The cotext of these verses is what is missing when people use them as examples of not wearing jewelry, much less a simple wedding band.

In regards to:

"A person's character is judged by his style of dress. A refined taste,  a cultivated mind, will be revealed in the choice of simple and appropriate attire." (EGW, Education, p 248.)

I have to disagree with Ellen on this one (note the word is). PEOPLE judge other people's characters by their dress. It is a total assumption on a person based solely on their attire. Yes their are those who may be ignorant about dress and show up to a bank job interview in dress causal. However, there are those who have shown up to a construction job interview in a suit (industry standards don't do this except for executive positions). Dress does not accurately portray one's character, as I know some devote seekers of God that may look like bikers to some, but in reality, are just good loving people. We CAN'T and SHOULD not judge others character solely by what they are wearing. I have also met and know refined, cultivated folks who don't dress like what is described above. In order to get a handle on a person's character is to know them for who they are.



Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: Larry Lyons on July 10, 2009, 09:55:09 AM
Concrete, the Amplified Bible is not something I would use to do serious Bible study any more than I would use the Clear Word. The "amplification" with words added like "merely" that alters the plain meaning of a verse reflects the thoughts of those who produced the Bible.

Thank you for your honesty in pointing out the fact that you disagree with the Spirit of Prophecy, but you apparantly missed the point she makes in the statement. She is stressing the fact that people do judge us by our appearance, like it or not. It is actually our first line of witnessing. Individuals and businesses pay big money for the services of image consultants. Hollywood and the entertainment world pay very meticulous attention to these things because so much money is at stake for them.

It is a well established by professionals and academics who have made a study of these things, that our outward appearance is sending unspoken messages to those around us. This is further amplified by the way we speak. Ellen White's counsel is the same as Paul's counsel. To dress expensively, extravagantly and/or immodestly interferes with our Christian witness.
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: Jim on July 10, 2009, 04:22:47 PM
Concrete, it sounds like I'm hearing from you that lifestyle is not an indication of character. Really? So your dress, music preferences, tv and movie watching habits, language, and behavior are not an indication of who a person is on the inside?

I bet almost all secular people would fight this idea tooth-n-nail. Most people will tell you that they dress a certain way or listen to certain types of music as an expression of themselves. The language and behavior is also a indicator whether one likes to admit it or not.

The Bible also tells us that lifestyle is an indication of who/what one is on the inside....

Mat 12:33  Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.
Mat 12:34  O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
Mat 12:35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure
bringeth forth evil things.

One more question if you don't mind. Instead of calling Mrs. White, Ellen White you called her Ellen as if you were on a first name basis with her. I wonder is this a sign of respect or disrespect? I very well could be wrong so correct if I am. But it has been my experience in interacting with people (in person) that when they use only her first name it's a way of indicating disrespect. But since I can't see your facial expressions or hear your tone of voice I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt. Which is why I'm asking directly.
Title: Re: A Long List
Post by: Larry Lyons on July 10, 2009, 06:37:48 PM
Concrete, it sounds like I'm hearing from you that lifestyle is not an indication of character. Really? So your dress, music preferences, tv and movie watching habits, language, and behavior are not an indication of who a person is on the inside?

I bet almost all secular people would fight this idea tooth-n-nail. Most people will tell you that they dress a certain way or listen to certain types of music as an expression of themselves. The language and behavior is also a indicator whether one likes to admit it or not.

The Bible also tells us that lifestyle is an indication of who/what one is on the inside....

Mat 12:33  Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.
Mat 12:34  O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
Mat 12:35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure
bringeth forth evil things.

One more question if you don't mind. Instead of calling Mrs. White, Ellen White you called her Ellen as if you were on a first name basis with her. I wonder is this a sign of respect or disrespect? I very well could be wrong so correct if I am. But it has been my experience in interacting with people (in person) that when they use only her first name it's a way of indicating disrespect. But since I can't see your facial expressions or hear your tone of voice I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt. Which is why I'm asking directly.

That is a good point Jim. When she was alive no one ever referred to her as "Ellen."  Even Sarah McEnterfer, her nurse and travelling companion for several years did not call her Ellen. She always called her "mother." Most people referred to her and adressed her as Mrs. White.