An Overview of Issues in the Seventh-day Adventist Church
This was originally written in response to a lament by an Adventist that Adventism is moving away from the Adventist message.)
You are right that Adventist evangelicals are moving away from Seventh-day Adventism as it has been known in the past, yet, they still cling to Ellen G. White.
But the real message of the Gospel is Jesus' death for our sins, and God's forgiveness. Salvation is a result of the unmerited love of God, not of something we do. In fact, when Jesus died on the cross, He said, "It is finished." He was talking about our salvation. To suggest that we have to do anything at all to complete our salvation, including keeping Saturday as the Sabbath (in preference to another day) at the very least is calling Jesus a liar, and at the very worst, blasphemy. SDA's are taught to live in the Old Testament law, which condemns. Salvation is by grace, which is the unmerited favor of God (in other words, you cannot earn it); it is not a product of works, and not even partly a product of works. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." Titus 3:5-7. "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." Romans 3:24-28. And when anybody teaches that there is something a person must do to be saved, then one is making what I call the Catholic mistake. Folks, the requirement to keep the Sabbath and refrain from eating meat is the same tactic the Roman Catholic church uses!
Having studied Ellen G. White extensively (having read a number of her books), I have concluded that she contradicts the Bible on the fundamentals of the Christian faith.
White's health message is guaranteed to result in serious malnutrition for anybody who follows it. I know: I have extensively studied nutrition, and I am familiar with state-of-the-art information, including the knowledge that there are at least a dozen essential nutrients you can get only from meat or animal products (which includes Vitamin B12, L-carnitine, and Omega 3 fatty acids, and you cannot get these in absorbable form from any vegetarian source, period!) And in my experience, Adventists do not supplement with any of them! The bottom line on this is that God commanded Noah and his descendants to eat meat. It's not an option. It is a requirement. "And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth [upon] the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall [emphasis added] be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. Genesis 9:1-3. And I studied that passage in the original Hebrew. The form of the verb "shall" used is the qal, which is the same form used in the phrase "let there be" in Genesis 1. Recall that the instant God said, "Let there be," something was called into existence out of nothing. In other words, eating meat is inevitable, and if you don't eat it, then you die! Perhaps slowly and painfully, but die nonetheless. Why did God want us to eat meat? It's real simple, folks! We needed to understand that death is the penalty for sin. Our bodies were changed so that we require the deaths of animals to stay healthy. The symbolism of this requirement is that Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God, had to die for our sins, so that we would not die eternally. The Bible specifically condemns anyone that forbids eating meat: "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth." I Timothy 4:1-3 (this passage condemns both Adventism and Roman Catholicism). See also Deuteronomy 14.
The Bible also condemns the requirement that a Christian observe particular days: "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ." Colossians 2:16-17. Jesus nailed all those ordinances to the Tree: "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with [him] through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Colossians 2:10-17. Read the whole chapter. The Sabbath is a sign of the genetic Jews: "Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day." Deuteronomy 5:12-15 (note that it is directed toward the people God brought out of Egypt: when was the last time you were in Egypt? I have never been there). If you are not a genetic Jew, then you are a gentile, and the Apostles clearly taught that gentile Christians are not required to keep the Mosaic covenant: "And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they." Acts 15:1-11. Remember, Peter is the one to whom God showed the vision of unclean animals on a cloth, and told him to eat, and Peter objected, and God said, what I call clean you shall not call unclean. "On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven." Acts 10:9-16. See also Hebrews 8:6-13: "But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away." Note carefully that God never said He would send a latter-day prophet to bludgeon people with her writings!
Keep in mind that the penalty for breaking the Sabbath is death by stoning: "Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people." Exodus 31:14. "And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp." Numbers 15:32-35. When was the last time Seventh-day Adventists stoned someone for not keeping the Sabbath? Isn't this failure hypocrisy?
And while we are on that subject, please note that Ellen G. White contradicted herself.
Sometimes she claimed that Jesus was without sin, and sometimes she claimed He had a sin nature. And Adventism has adopted the wrong answer to that question: "Christ took upon His sinless nature our sinful nature. Christ took our nature and it's deteriorating condition." (Q.D. p.654-656) (supplied by Seventh Day Adventism
Folks, Jesus is GOD! Jesus is the Lamb without spot. To claim that God has, or even took on, a sin nature, is blasphemy!!!!!!
Furthermore, Ellen G. White was guilty of massive plagiarism in her writings, claiming that her writings came directly from God. I personally checked 75% of the research of Walter Rea (The White Lie, M&R Publications, Turlock, CA, 1982), and found it to be totally accurate. I acquired copies of White's books and of the books she copied from and compared the passages he quotes from her books with the passages in the originals from which she copied. It's real simple, folks! Ellen G. White harped on the necessity of keeping the Commandments while she systematically lived a lifestyle of disobedience to three of them: she lied, she coveted, and she stole. She knew good and well what plagiarism was*, and she engaged in it wholesale, and told the world she got those words directly from God. So she lied. She wanted passages from other people's writings. So she coveted. She then acted on that covetousness by stealing those passages. Not only did she falsely claim the passages came directly from God to her, but she robbed those people of the income that was rightfully theirs, which God intended for the support of their families. They had put in the effort into their writings, and their writings were protected by copyright. You have a false prophet who lived a lifestyle of rebellion against three commandments, and you choose to follow her? Why?
Praise God that 100,000 Adventists left the denomination when they found out their "spirit of prophecy" was a covetous liar and a thief!
You have the prerogative of believing whatever you want, but it is simple fraud to call the Adventist message Christian in any way.
Yes, you have to choose. I choose the Bible. Ellen G. White fails the test of a prophet, and no amount of hedging by calling her the "spirit of prophecy" will change that fact. If a prophet gives ONE false prophecy, then he is not of the Lord. Period. End of argument. Ellen G. White gave a number of prophecies that were totally false. See Deuteronomy 18:20-22: "But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him." According to the Bible, then, Ellen G. White should have been killed for her false prophecy, not followed and revered.
Here is just one example, and that is sufficient:
Adding to the Bible is strictly forbidden, and the penalties are harsh: Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32, Proverbs 30:5-6, Revelation 22:18-19. This includes adding the writings of anybody, and THIS includes adding the writings of Ellen G. White.
One of the distinguishing doctrines of Adventism is the Investigative Judgment, and I have just one question to ask about that: if Jesus is God, why would He have to investigate anything? Doesn't God already KNOW everything? Think about this: why would God conceal such an essential doctrine from Christians until White came along? If you have to believe in the Investigative Judgment to be saved, then all those people who lived before her time are condemned. Does this fit with God's mercy? What about White's claim that we will stand before God without a mediator?
Do you have a prayer of being forgiven and accepted into God's presence if Jesus isn't there to plead His blood on your behalf? Isn't it Jesus' blood that covers our sins? Adventists may not have a mediator, but praise God, I do! And my Mediator is none other than Christ Jesus, our Lord! "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;" 1 Timothy 2:5. "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;" 1 John 2:1.
Following Ellen G. White is the one issue that keeps the SDA squarely in the category of a false church. Until the evangelicals reject her, they are not really and truly departing from the SDA message at all.
For the record, one of our sons joined the SDA church. After awhile, he and his wife (a lifelong member, whose father is a retired pastor) went to live in a lifestyle center. The damage to their physical health as a result of the White diet (veganism, essentially) almost killed both of them. I also saw his generous, compassionate personality almost completely destroyed during this time. He was actually engaging in violence. His biggest quarrel with the lifestyle center was that they were not strictly following White. They considered him rebellious for saying so. After three and a half months, he renounced Adventism. Praise God! But except for a brief period of lucidity, he has been in total rebellion against God ever since. His marriage was destroyed. He can no longer read the Bible. And his compassionate personality has been completely buried under a layer of hardness and coldness toward his loved ones.
Is this what you want? I will have no part of it!
Yes, PRAY for divine enlightenment, but be prepared to LISTEN to God's response. Will you examine your faith analytically; will you study the Bible? If you cannot study the Bible without filtering it through White's ideas, you are already lost. Study the Bible alone. If White is in accord with the Bible, you will learn it from the pure study of the Bible. If not, then you must be open to learn this. Use a different translation from the one you are accustomed to so that you can think about the actual words and not merely parrot an idea. The NIV is probably a good one to use.
I pray that God will open your eyes and lead you to the truth.
*Plagiarism. This is a word that is used to signify "literary theft", or taking the productions of another and passing them off as one's own. In the "World's Crisis" of Aug 23, 1864, we find a piece of poetry duly headed, "For the World's Crisis," and signed "Luthera B. Weaver". What was our surprise, therefore to find in this piece our familiar hymn, "Long upon the mountain weary have the scattered flock been torn." This piece was written by Annie R. Smith, and was first published in the Review, vol ii, no. 8, Dec 9, 1851 and has been in our hymn book ever since the first edition thereafter issued.... We are perfectly willing that pieces from the Review, or any of our books should be published to any extent, and all we ask is, that simple justice be done us, by due credit being given. - "Review" 24 (6 September 1864): 120 Return