Letter to an Adventist Pastor and His Wife
Dear Pastor and Mrs. Ch,
I thought of another way to put what is wrong with Robert Schuller's message. God is not a Skinner Box. B.F. Skinner designed a box. A mouse is placed inside. When the mouse presses the lever in the box, he gets a pellet of food. God is sovereign. He is omniscient. He knows what is good for us, and if we ask for some material blessing that will not help us grow spiritually, sometimes He says No. We must recognize His sovereignty. Schuller teaches people to ignore it.
What I am about to tell you is my opinion. However, a number of other people have confirmed what I am about to say with their own assessment.
Your comments about G and N gave me the necessary piece to the puzzle. You said they are private and soft. That's true of N, at least in public. But you are not seeing the real G (remember I told you he has changed and I don't like what I see). G is exuberant. He is totally at peace with Jesus, and passionately in love with music. I have a videotape that will illustrate the change in him, in that regard, which I will be happy to show you. There is no way the real G could turn his back on music, any more than he could give up breathing for Lent. This is what drew N to G in the first place. She is looking for joy.
I will tell you what I saw happen.
G was drawn to N by her high moral principles and her steady hand. She is a thinker and an evaluator. She has wisdom. She is loving and kind. She is also very Chinese. G sensed that she was a good balance for his impulsiveness, which tends to get him into trouble. He attributed N's spirit to the Adventist church, and when he went to church with her, he got love-bombed. By the time I knew N was an Adventist, he had already decided to join her church. Basically, she handed him an ultimatim: join my church, or I won't marry you. G put her first ahead of God. (He has admitted this.) That was his first mistake. He has spent the year since that time trying to justify his decision.
I realize that some of what we are seeing is a reaction to how I reacted to his joining the church. But it is by no means all. I will tell you what I saw that I clearly had nothing to do with.
The first thing I noticed is that he had shut me out. In the past, I could go to him and tell him what I was thinking, and he would respond by altering his course. He didn't always do what I asked, but he would see the wisdom of what I said and it would affect his decision. Lately, he doesn't even tell me about a decision until it has been made, and even though N has apologized for this, he continues to do it.
G had gotten involved in a spiritually abusive Bible study group in Florida. These were baby Christians who knew very little about the mature Christian life. It wasn't long before they began to attack his faith. He wasn't really a Christian because he wouldn't confess sins like using drugs or engaging in sex. G said, What am I supposed to do: go out and commit these sins so I can confess them? He came unglued, and called me on the phone. We talked for hours. I would give him a Bible verse and a short explanation. His comprehension was instantaneous. When we finished, I told him he needed to get out of the group. He did.
The following fall, G lived through Hurricane Andrew, when it hit Florida. After that, he lived through two months of no income, living off the generosity of people. He lived through seeing the hopelessness in the black ghetto. At the time, he attended a black charismatic congregation. After attending twice, he was ready to join. This was a group that did speaking in tongues wholesale and being slain in the Spirit. They were arrogant like the charismatics you are familiar with. I told G that they were using the heavy beat of "Christian rock" to manipulate the people emotionally. I said there was no spiritual content to what they were doing. He turned his back on them immediately.
As you can see, G has a history of jumping into a church or Christian group without figuring out what they are all about.
When G decided to join the Adventist church, he turned his spiritual discernment off. Instantaneously. I could tell him a Bible verse that spoke clearly to me, and he would miss the message completely. My explanations didn't help. All of this happened while I was still investigating Adventism and still knew very little. I gave him some tapes. I told him maybe he would have to bring N out of Adventism.
The next time I talked to him, we talked about the Sabbath. He impressed on me the importance Adventists attach to it. I had come to the conclusion that he needed more information and he was not going to go get it himself. So I asked him to wait to join the church. He indicated he would refuse. I then reminded him that another commandment says you should honor your parents. He got very quiet. Clearly he was upset. He then said he would wait. I knew he felt I was forcing him to choose between me and N. I then gave him a lot of information, but he read virtually none of it. I wrote him a lot of letters that I never gave him, looking for the way to get through to him. I only gave him a couple of my letters. The rest I still have.
The next thing I noticed is that G no longer had a sense of humor. His siblings came to me with the same observation.
Not long after that, I noticed a change in G's physical appearance. He had been muscular and well-built. Suddenly, he looked like a cadaver. His face looked gaunt. His cheeks were sunken. He lost about thirty pounds. His older sister commented on it. His grandmother was beside herself: he was living with her at the time. N was not raised on Ellen White's diet. But she also showed distinct signs of malnutrition. At that point, they both began to keep Ellen White's diet strictly, as far as I can determine. After watching this for several weeks, I spoke to him. I had read a lot of Ellen White's writings on diet in the meantime. I have a background in natural healing and nutrition. I went to G and I said, if you do not get a complete protein, your body will eat your muscle mass. I also told him that there is no Vitamin B12 in plant life, and that without B12, a person will develop neurological disorders. I have some information that there is an unusually high incidence of neurological disorders in Adventists, but I don't have the necessary documentation yet so I won't elaborate. I taught G how to combine foods to get complete protein. I reminded him that God commanded Noah to eat meat. I explained why from a nutritional and scientific creationist standpoint. I explained it also from a spiritual standpoint. G abhors killing animals. He had to watch one of our goats being slaughtered once, and it freaked him out. His desire to be a vegetarian is an emotional response to the thought that an animal must die if he eats meat. I actually found a rich vegetable source of B12: Spirulina! G and N modified their diets, and both are doing much better. But they still have a lot to learn. I have written a lengthy paper on Ellen White's health message from a scientific and medical standpoint. I will give you a copy if you like.
About this time, G wanted me to come to M's house for a Bible study. M is a member of Sharon congregation. My husband and I went. G and N were there, and M. To make a long story short, the most significant thing that happened was that we talked about Walter Rea's book. I kind of launched into Ellen White wholesale for the plagiarism. My husband makes his living from the sale of what is now called intellectual property. It is what paid for G's needs when he was growing up. The productions of the mind are no different from the vegetables a farmer grows. The ability to produce is a gift from God, given to allow us to sustain our families. To steal what someone else has produced is a violation of the commandment regardless of whether it is someone's cows or someone's book. When someone is entitled to the profits from the sale of a book he has written, it is theft to sell the same words and keep the money. Walter Rea's case would convict Ellen White in a court of law. I know: I have an extensive background in law. But Walter Rea is very cynical, and it comes through clearly in his book. Like I said, I think he is apostate. He is very bitter. Neither M nor G would have anything to do with THE WHITE LIE because of the cynicism. They both judge that this gives evidence of a bad spirit, and such cannot be trusted, even if he is telling the truth.
Not long after we met at M's, I had a dream. In the dream, M, G, and I were in a car. M was driving. N was nowhere in sight. M was trying to find my home, to drop me off, and she couldn't find it. She was driving along the river. Then she stopped. I got out of the car, but the other two didn't. M again started driving, and she drove right off the end of the pier and into the muddy water. The car sank to the bottom. I was beside myself. I could do nothing to help them. Then a strong man came along. He lifted the car out of the river with his bare hands. M was not inside the car. Later, I saw G sitting on the park bench near the river. He was all wet. He said, I have a lot to think about. Then I woke up. After that, I began to feel spiritual oppression frequently. One day, my younger daughter came to me and told me that she had been getting feelings of deep depression, and she had been having dreams. She told me a couple of her dreams, but I do not remember them. They were somewhat like mine. She then told me that she had been talking to two of her brothers, and they had been having the same problems! I called both of them in and talked to them. Evidently, none of them knew that any of the others was having that problem until she talked to them. I immediately prayed for all of them, and the dreams and feelings of depression stopped. They have not come back. I have had one further dream since then, which contained the same symbolism.
Not long after that, I got an emergency call from N. She told me that G was having a fight between God and satan. She wanted me to come over immediately. When I got there, G was outside in the cold, refusing to come in. He looked and acted like death warmed over. I asked him to come into the house, and he did. He said that of N and myself, only one of us was right. He was tired of sitting on the fence. He asked us both questions. He came to the conclusion that we were both Christians.
Not long after that, he decided to go ahead and join the church. I again asked him to wait. He refused. He said he saw no reason to wait. The fact that I asked him to was not a reason. He was rebaptized. He invited us, but we did not go. We did attend the wedding, and I believe that I was pretty much responsible for her parents being willing to accept G as a husband for N.
Since that time, G has been almost impossible to talk to. I won't go into the details of that, because I think that it is not clear to me how much of it is his fault, and how much of it is my lack of knowledge of how to handle the situation. But one thing that is going on that I have nothing to do with is that from time to time he gets hyper-critical of his siblings. It has really turned them off.
None of the things I am describing to you are like G. I hope that this description will show you why I am so worried for him. Perhaps it will show you why I do not see a deepening relationship with God as a result of his involvement in the Adventist church.
Background graciously provided by: