In his latest article in Adventist World, Nathan Brown shares a personal conversation between him and his father, a retired pastor–Practicing Doctrine. Brown points out the generational differences between the two, noting how each has emphasized themes consistent with others in their generation. The father focused on expounding beliefs; the son looks more at practicing those beliefs.
“I was taught that it was all about our doctrines,” he explained, almost with a note of regret. “Ministry was about teaching people to believe the right things, and had little practical to it. But what you have written draws from our doctrines to make a practical difference. I think I would have done some things differently in ministry if I had been exposed to this approach earlier.”
You can read the entire article here.
A few comments from Ellen White that I read recently in Acts of the Apostles are also consistent with the importance of action and intent, not just mental ascent to certain doctrines.
[Paul] realized that if he did not carry out in his life the principles he believed and preached, his labors in behalf of others would avail him nothing. (p. 314)
A mere profession of faith in Christ, a boastful knowledge of the truth, does not make a man a Christian. (p. 317)
No matter how high the profession, he whose heart is not filled with love for God and his fellow men is not a true disciple of Christ. Though he should possess great faith and have power even to work miracles, yet without love his faith would be worthless. He might display great liberality; but should he, from some other motive than genuine love, bestow all his goods to feed the poor, the act would not commend him to the favor of God. In his zeal he might even meet a martyr’s death, yet if not actuated by love, he would be regarded by God as a deluded enthusiast or an ambitious hypocrite. (pp. 318-319)
Let us search for truth, and let us practice truth. Let us pray for the Spirit to grow love in our hearts, and let us not be lazy in searching for ways to let this love do good to others.