We've been known as a church that worships on a different day and that doesn't eat certain kinds of food. But we at Toledo First are creating a new normal Adventist church—one known primarily for making the cross and Lord of the Sabbath who died on it central in our teaching and in our lives as illustrated in the pictures below. The first one, commissioned in 1876 by James White [one of the founders of the Adventist Church] emphasized the law and was entitled "The Way of Life, From Paradise Lost To Paradise Restored."
It is a picture of the plan of salvation and mission of the church from Eden to Eden. You see Adam and Eve exiting the Garden of Eden. There is Cain and Able, the sacrificial service. Over on the right of the picture is the baptism of Jesus, the Lord’s Supper, and the New Jerusalem. But in the middle is a huge tree with ten branches, one for each of the Ten Commandments. Jesus is on the cross. But it is the law that is the dominant motif in this picture.
But James White died in 1881. And after he did, his wife [and co-founder of our church] Ellen White commissioned a new picture to illustrate the plan of salvation and mission of the Adventist Church. This new picture was completed in 1883 and was entitled "Christ—The Way of Life." The same elements are there but note the big change: The law has been moved to the foothills of Mt. Sinai behind the cross pointing people forward toward it. What were the ramifications of this paradigm shift? Have they been realized today? Which picture do you like more? Join the conversation as we discuss the implications of these pictures at our upcoming fall business meetings.
Click the top pic to download the latest draft of our Toledo First Assimilation Manual as a PDF or the bottom for the same file in Microsoft Word. No logins or passwords are required. Big thanks and WTG to Pastors J.David Newman, Kumar Dixit, and Ann Roda at the New Hope Adventist Church in Fulton, MD for giving us permission to use much of their content. Which picture do you think we will take?