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Archives / 2018 / August

 

Book review: The King is in Residence

DeWitt S. Williams

 

The King Is in Residence is a small book packing a powerful message. Former North American Division president C. E. Bradford insists that the most urgent theological task today is to understand the role of God’s church in its local context. You will hear “Brad” preach again in these pages. He peppers his message with “Bradfordisms” (phrases/stories that are exclusively and uniquely his) and wonderful quotations from both twenty-first century theologians and Ellen G. White.

Bradford maintains that the health of the local church determines the vitality of the entire Seventh-day Adventist movement. The cover has a lovely, almost life-sized picture of Bradford, with his smile and penetrating eyes. Each chapter reveals Bradford’s passion for his God and his church.

Chapter 1—God’s Strategy. Bradford quotes Ellen White: “Those who study the history of the Israelites should also consider the history of the slaves in America, who have suffered.”* Bradford’s family history with Ellen G. White makes this quote both personal and foundational for his ministry. The Black church has something to share with the world church!

Chapter 2—The Man Who Made the Devil Quit. Earth was not left without warnings. There were always believers whose lifestyles were counter to the vast numbers of unbelievers. Bradford creatively unravels the problem of retributive judgment and shows how Job’s experience is a template for all who follow God.

Chapter 3—Unroll the Scroll! God Communicates His Plan. The Bible is God’s inspired playbook for His salvation plan. Bradford deftly explains how the prophets confront sin, uphold justice and righteousness, expand our vision, and make us participants in God’s plan by calling us to a covenant community.

Chapters 4 and 5—The Prophets and the People of God, Part One: From Promise to Exile; Part Two: The Postexilic Community. In these chapters, Bradford expertly discusses God taking the initiative and calling out a people to fulfill His original intention for the church. After the exile, Israel made a complete reversal toward isolationism, selfishly building walls of separation between themselves and their neighbors. Now the prophets preached a message of inclusion: the stranger and the foreigner were now part of the body of Christ.

Chapter 6—The Christ, the Cross, and the Church. The Cross made way for the church, states Bradford; now the church preserves the work of the Cross. The blood of the Cross certifies the new creature for membership in the body. But after the Cross came the resurrection and the ascension. The author skillfully explains how a work of rescue and renewal remained for the church to complete the plan of redemption.

Chapter 7—The Gift-Driven Church. The church is gifted and gift-driven. Bradford is unreservedly fervent in declaring that every gift is needed. Every member is gifted, and every gift will be operative in the remnant. The total gifted community is responsible for a ministry to and for the world.

Chapter 8—The Local Church: The Rainforest of Adventism. Bradford’scomparison of local fellowship, where two or three come together in His name, to the rainforest is refreshing. The local church is the living cell that reinvigorates, refreshes, and renews the body of Christ.

Chapter 9—The Secret of Unity. Here the twenty-first century believer is called to witness in a time of racial conflict, ideological struggles, worldwide violence, and social revolution; a time of fierce hatred, bitterness, and despair. But the church is, in every respect, a society of equals. Nothing should divide it—neither geography, language, culture, race, or any other man-made barriers. Bradford pastorally emphasizes that ministry is the business of all and should unite God’s people.

Chapter 10 —The Emerging Remnant. As we live between the two comings—Old Bethlehem and the New Jerusalem—there is much to do. The heart of Bradford’s appeal is for Christ’s people to reflect His character so that He might present His church without spot or wrinkle (Eph. 5:27).

Pick up a copy of Elder C. E. Bradford’s book to be invigorated spiritually and inspired to share Jesus’ love with the world. This is the time for us to spread the gospel message and be tools for God to add residents in the kingdom so that His house may be filled!

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