In his first North New Zealand engagement, newly appointed field secretary for the South Pacific Division, Dr Darius Jankiewicz, was the main speaker for the Auckland Central and East regional on the first weekend in November. The regional Sabbath began on Friday evening followed by a full day Saturday. Regional cluster leader pastor Vitalii Shevchenko invited Dr Jankiewicz to speak on salvation and ordination and he addressed these two large topics throughout the weekend in an informative manner. Starting on Friday with perfectionism, Dr Jankiewicz emphasized the Biblical meaning of perfection which he described, “as maturity rather than sinlessness.”

On Saturday close to 700 people came together in worship and to learn more from Dr Jankiewicz, who through the use of the catchy phrase “Facing an angry God”, preached on different pictures of God – focusing on the image of God as a lover.

Statistically a “lack of Salvation assurance” is a significant concern amongst Seventh-day Adventists, and with this in mind Dr Jankiewicz delved into the history of salvation during his afternoon lectures. “I presented on a Catholic understanding of salvation, the Reformation and, finally, Adventism,” shared Dr Jankiewicz, “In other words, how we got to the Adventist understanding of salvation.”

“Your understanding of your Salvation” explained Dr Jankiewicz, “depends on your understanding of the problem of the original sin, an argument that dates back to early Church History.”

One of the attendees, Ms Amie West,  thoroughly enjoyed the meetings “it was informative and helped me to better form my understandings on sin and salvation” continued Ms West, “the speaker gave me a better picture of Jesus, not just as a friend, but most importantly as Saviour.”

Switching venue to Royal Oak Church on Saturday evening, saw Dr Jankiewicz present two lectures on the history of ordination and the authority of the Christian leader. During the first lecture, he showed that the way we practice ordination does not come from the Bible. “Ordination as such,” explained Dr Jankiewicz, “has its roots in the Roman Empire and 2nd century Christians merged ordination with the biblical laying on of hands. This, of course, created all kinds of trouble in the church which persists to now and is the cause of disunity in our church today.”

The last lecture of the day was a Bible study dealing with the authority of Christian leaders. The gospel in Mark chapter 10, was highlighted, where Jesus said: “Not so with you” which is a great contrast to common human understanding and practice. Dr Jankiewicz pointed out that “we, as Adventists, forget Jesus’ teaching that it ought to be “not so with you”.  This factor, according to him, is the source of our problems regarding ordination today.

One of many who enjoyed the informative lecture on ordination was Ms West, “I found it very relevant and informative regarding the biblical versus the church understanding of ordination” shared Ms West.

According to Pastor Shevchenko the organisers received a lot of positive feedback from Church members. One of the Church members summed it up: “We were fed with solid spiritual food and we loved it. Looking forward to hearing more messages of this kind.”

Pastor Kirsten Oster Lundqvist NNZC communications and media officer with Pr Vitalii Shevchenko and Dr Darius Jankiewicz