A Letter to Family and


November 18, 2002

Dear [family and others]:

Most of you know by now that Arthur and I have removed our membership from the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This has caused much pain for us as we have gone through the process. We are also aware of the disappointment and hurt it has caused you, our dear family. For this we are truly sorry and we hope that you will continue to pray for us. The official letter is attached at the end.

We need to explain why we came to this decision so that you will be assured that was not out of spite or that we have given up on the truth of Christ. As we studied the Bible, we felt a clear separation of paths was being set before us. One was to continue in the Adventist denomination, the other, to follow where Christ was and is continuing to lead us.

This juncture may never occur in your walk with Christ, nor do we feel it must. But since it has occurred in our lives, it is imperative that we follow Christ and Christ only, apart from the Adventist denomination.

Please bear through the following explanation. We hope that it will convince you that our decision is not based on emotion but on scripture. Again, please understand that we are not on a quest to change anyone's SDA affiliation, only explain why we have been compelled to change ours. These things however will not keep us from worshipping with you, so feel free to invite us to your church whenever you like.

In 1997, Arthur and I were growing seriously disillusioned with the Adventist system. So we decided to begin reading the Bible and the Bible only, asking the Holy Spirit to guide us and reveal truth. This is how we began finding additional discrepancies between Adventist theology and the Bible.

These are the reasons we left the Seventh-day Adventist Church in descending order of importance: (For your convenience, at the end of the letter there are some exhausting, yet by no means exhaustive, texts on which we base our theology.)

1. Some Adventist hospitals perform abortions-on-demand. At least one that I have personally investigated does partial-birth abortions. In 2000, I (Tesa) called the General Conference about the abortion issue. Jan Paulsen's office directed me to Dr. George Reid to get the official church policy. Reid stated that the church is pro-choice and that he was disappointed that the "Washington Adventist Hospital had become an abortion mill." Please note that I am quoting him. Arthur and I have been involved with the Adventists for Life since 1985. We have seen deception from our leaders and deliberate cover-ups attempting to appear neutral on this issue while SDA institutions are actively pro-choice. No more will be elaborated on this subject, as it is too lengthy to get into in this venue. However, the murder of innocent children cannot be swept under the rug of our consciences as a small sin. We will continue to educate the SDA membership about this problem but in a capacity that will not implicate us in this crime.

2. Adventism in theory believes in Righteousness by Faith. Yet in practice it teaches righteousness by keeping the Sabbath, eating clean meats, etc. It seems to always be reinforced by the attitude that salvation is attained by belief in Christ plus keeping the law. Ellen G. White writes in 2T 505.2 "To retain pure and undefiled religion it is necessary to be workers, persevering in effort. We must do something ourselves. None but ourselves can work out our salvation with fear and trembling. This is the very work which the Lord has left for us to do." This statement is unbiblical. The Bible teaches throughout the New Testament that faith or belief in Christ saves us--period, not plus anything. Paul tells us we can be confident in our Salvation, not because of what we do, but because of what He did. Recently in an Adventist church I was told that if I felt saved that shows how truly unsaved I was. Lest you think this an isolated incident, review what White in Christ Object Lessons records on page 155, "Those who accept the Saviour, however sincere their conversion, should never be taught to say or feel that they are saved." And in the next paragraph she writes," Those who accept Christ, and in their first confidence say, 'I am saved' are in danger of trusting to themselves." This is in direct opposition to the good news of the gospel. In complete contrast Hebrews 3: 14, "because we shall remain co-heirs with Christ only if we keep a grasp on our first confidence right to the end." Hebrews 13: 6, "God himself has said, 'I will not fail you or desert you', and so we can say with confidence: With the Lord to help me, I fear nothing; what can man do to me?" See I John 4-whole chapter; 5:1, 15. [Endnote 1 gives texts that show we can have confidence now that we are saved.]

3. A church that claims to be the sole remnant fosters pride and exclusivity. This has manifested attitudes of condemnation and arrogance toward other denominations. Christ called his disciples into unity. "They will know you are my disciples by your love one for another." We need not fear other Christians when we have confidence in the Holy Spirit in our lives. He will not allow us to be deceived by false teachings when we are in a relationship with Him. The saved of other denominations are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We will live together eternally. It is a shame that SDA's are so prejudice against them. This is against all God's principles of love. Adventist paranoia has led us to reject our fellow Christians of other denominations to the point that many churchgoers believe other non-Adventist Christians to be BABYLON. (See I John 2:11; 3:10-18, 4:20: Rom.15) [End note 2]

4. The words written by Ellen White have always left us confused. Some are so inspiring and others can leave you in despair, knowing you'll never live up to her expectations. The message is a bit schizophrenic. Some of her writings are diametric to the scriptures. So several months ago we began researching her writings. We have found many puzzling things and have come to the conclusion that we will not try to judge her sincerity as a Christian. Nevertheless, we can judge her words against Biblical principles based on the standards of judging a prophet. There is enough error in her writings that we reject her as a prophet and her authority of her writings. Many Adventist still remain in the church with our view. The problem is that believing in her writings is a test of faith for a church employee. (See Fundamental Beliefs number 17.) This is profoundly inappropriate. Many have been dismissed as pastors and teachers who have rejected her writings as authoritative. Ellen White herself wrote that her writings are not to be questioned.

{5T 682} "Those who are reproved by the Spirit of God should not rise up against the humble instrument. It is God, not an erring mortal who has spoken to save them from ruin." (Context: her Testimonies)

{5T 66} "If you seek to turn the counsel of God to suit yourselves, if you lesson the confidence of God's people in the testimonies (in the context of her writings) He has sent them, you are rebelling against God as certainly as were Korah, Dathan and Abiram.

{3SM 32} "The Bible must be your counselor. Study it and the testimonies God has given; for they never contradict His word. (Again this is talking about the Testimonies written by White.)

On the same page: "This (White's message) is now come before the people because it has been given to correct specious errors and to specify what is truth."

"If the Testimonies speak not according to this word of God, reject them. Christ and Belial cannot be united.

{3SM 30} The Holy Ghost is the Author of the Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy."

The next page Ellen speaks of how she received God's light. "The power of God would come upon me and I was enabled clearly to define what is truth and what is error." White claims her messages are from God and do not conflict with the Bible. Yet we found there are many things that she writes that are in direct contrast with God's word. What were we to think? The Bible says that the Holy Spirit will lead us to all truth. So we must choose to be led by Him and not Mrs. White.

5. The Clear Word Bible is promoted as a Bible paraphrase and used extensively throughout Adventist classes to replace a true translation. This is very disturbing considering that it deletes passages, adds passages and inserts Ellen White's words into the text without quotes, as if it is part of the original Bible. If the Bible is the word of God, it should not be tampered with thusly. This is a serious mistake.

"You shall not add to the Word which I have commanded you, nor take anything from it." Deu. 4:2

"Every word of God is pure. Do not add to His words, lest He reprove you" Prov.30: 5, 6
See also Rev. 22:18, 19; Rom. 1:25

6. The Investigative Judgment is Fundamental Belief 23 of the SDA church. This judgement is found nowhere in scriptures. Yet Ellen White says one must believe in it. In Manuscript 760 she says that the belief that Jesus entered the second compartment of the Sanctuary in 1844 (The Investigative Judgement) is a pillar of the church and foundational truth for God's people given by an angel. She also warns us not to listen or unite with anyone who disagrees. LeRoy Froom, an Adventist leader wrote that if the church didn't have the Investigative Judgement message that, "we would have no justifiable place in the religious world, no distinctive denominational mission and message, no excuse for functioning as a separate church entity today." Movement of Destiny, p. 542 Here are some more excerpts from Whites writings about the Investigative Judgement:

I saw that as the Jews crucified Jesus, so the nominal churches had crucified these messages and therefore they have no knowledge of the way into the most holy, and they cannot be benefited by the intercession of Jesus there. Like the Jews, who offered their useless sacrifices, they offer up their useless prayers to the apartment, which Jesus has left. {Early Writings p. 261}

Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of the sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle of evil. {Great Controversy p. 425}

Paul says that in his time the judgment began with the Jews. John 5:24 records, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgement, but has passed from death to life." I encourage you to read The Great Controversy p. 486-491. It is a bleak, tormenting time, according to White, in which the saved should search their souls for any unconfessed sin so they can stand before God blameless. God says of this time to his people, "Look up for your redemption draws nigh." We're not to fear the atonement or Christ's judgement. [Endnote 1]

There are many lesser problems we have found that on the surface seem unimportant. They become more serious when one realizes that they are a continual distraction from keeping ones eyes on Christ. Seventh-day Adventists make certain behaviors sins when they are not spoken as such in the Bible. Teaching traditions as equal to commandments was one of the problems with the Pharisees. The church usurps the authority of God. This is what we have been taught the anti-Christ does and accuse the Catholic church of doing.

7. Sabbath keeping is spoken of as THE sign of the last day remnant church. This too is unbiblical. Since the creation week and the establishment of Sabbath as a holy day, there is no Biblical evidence that this has been changed. The Sabbath's purpose was to be a symbol pointing to Christ and the rest we can now have in Him and His atoning sacrifice. Many SDA's keep it as a tribute to the law. The Sabbath can be kept rather as a celebration of faith--a rest from our work. (See Hebrews 4.) However, there is no Biblical mandate to assemble on Sabbath, nor keep the Old Testament regulations imposed on the Jews. The NT does however warn us not to judge those who do not keep the Sabbath. (Colossians 2:16, Romans 14:5) Those who keep the commandments and testimony of Christ are the remnant. There are many people and denominations that obey God's commandments and have a personal testimony of Christ. This can be debated ad infinitum but there is not enough evidence to support the Sabbath as the ONE commandment that surpasses all others to identify the remnant. The teaching of this as truth spawns elitism and keeps ones eyes off the truth that Christ and the Holy Spirit are the seal of the New Covenant. [Endnote 3]

8. Jewelry is not condemned in the Bible. See Ezekiel 16. The Israelites were asked to remove their jewelry after they had sinned as a punishment of shame. Paul says to leave off adornment in the context of a worship service. God loves ornamentation or he would have made the streets of heaven like cardboard instead of gold. Gaudy jewelry is distasteful not immoral.

9. The clean and unclean levitical statutes are a part of the Mosaic Law that Christ fulfilled. They are not a part of the New Covenant law. Perhaps they are good dietary practices but to teach that it is a sin to eat pork is without New Testament basis. Hebrews 13: 9, "Do not let yourself be led astray by all sorts of strange doctrines; it is better to rely on grace for inner strength than on dietary laws which have done no good to those who kept them." (See I Cor. 8:8; 10:31; Col. 2:16; I Tim. 4:1-5 Rom.14) There is also a belief, perhaps not written but in practice, that SDA's are superior to other Christians because they don't eat meat. I have heard repeatedly that EG White states that those ready for translation in the last days will be vegetarians. The high Priest, who symbolized Christ, ate red meat as a requirement of the law. Jesus we know at the very least ate the Passover lamb and fish. It is not reasonable that a church teach that eating meat is wrong when Christ himself ate it. [Endnote 4]

10. Drunkenness is clearly condemned in the Bible, but not drinking moderate amounts of wine. We have thoroughly read all of Bacchiocchi's publications on this subject but are not convinced. The New Testament states that Jesus drank wine and that his apostles did the same. In Deuteronomy 14: 26 the Lord is instructing Israel what it is to do with its tithes, "you may spend the money on whatever you like, oxen, sheep, wine, strong drink, anything your heart desires." Prov. 31:6,"Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts." Eccl. 9:7," Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works." This is the same "wine" that is used when the scriptures condemn drunkenness. You can't have it both ways. If it is fermented in one, it must be fermented in the other. If the scriptures had meant grape juice the whole time, instead of fermented grape juice, don't you think that God would have been a bit more exact in his holy word? I cannot imagine a topic as controversial as alcohol would have been skimmed over for people throughout the ages to accidentally misinterpret. Though we live in a day where we can truly say, "Don't get drunk, it is stupid and dangerous." We cannot legitimately say, "Don't drink, the Bible unquestionably forbids it." Again, that is the church making rules where God chose not to. Who are we to compensate for God? (I Tim. 3:8, 5:23; Titus 1:7)

11. The practice of OT tithe paying is part of the Jewish laws but does not transfer into the New Testament Christian. We are to give what the Lord convicts us to give--which I believe to be much more than 10%. We are to give wherever the Lord shows us the need is. Unfortunately for the church, the Lord doesn't always tell us to give there. It is unbiblical for any church to try and extort funds by guilt. There is often confusion about which commandments and laws of the Bible are applicable today. The word "commandment" is used hundreds of times in the Old Testament. The commandments in the OT (Old Covenant) are any request that proceed from the mouth of God from Genesis to the death of Christ. The New Covenant commandments are any requests that proceed from the mouth of God from the crucifixion onward--specifically "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your strength, all your soul and all your might." And "Love your neighbor as yourself." While Jesus was on earth He was the transition between the two covenants. His words overlap both Old and New Covenants. His words must be studied in that context. This is a simplistic answer--if you want to discuss this further of course we will be glad to. We need to keep in mind that God still commands us today. Those remnant who keep the commandments of God are not those who keep any part of the Mosaic Law but those who listen today for his commands and obey them. Jesus said his sheep will know Him because they listen for his voice.

12. In our study of prophecy, the timelines do not align like the Adventists claim. This subject is too lengthy to address here. However, it is often presented as a salvation based issue, which it is not.

13. Ellen White claims that the Sunday Sabbath and the state of the dead will be the two last deceptions of Satan. The state of the dead is a very interesting study with Biblical evidence on both sides of the issue. Since it is not clear, we cannot understand how God's people will be tested on this point to prove their loyalty to God. Read Job 14:22, Heb. 12:23; II Cor. 4-5, Phil 1:21-23, I Peter 3:19-20; Matt. 22:32, Luke 16:19-31; II Cor. 5:6-9; I Thess. 4:13, 14. (You will see that the subject can be quite confusing and unclear.) [Endnote 5]

14. There remain separate conferences for both black and white SDA Americans.

15. Dancing is across the board condemned. This is unbiblical. David and Miriam danced before the Lord. We will dance in heaven. (See Isaiah 30: 19-33)

16. According to reports at the last General Conference, 96% of all SDA evangelism is towards other Christian denominations. The Gospel was commission to be spread to the entire world, not the truth of Sabbath. If we were following the mission Christ gave us we would not be wasting our evangelism resources on the saved.

17. In practice, SDA believe that all prophetic utterances and commandments are finished in EGW. All manifestations of the Holy Spirit are not only suspect but also discarded. This is unbiblical.

18. SDA churches lack a sincere spirit of worship. While I know this is a personal judgement, it is one we have made based on experience in many Adventist churches. Traditionally they have shunned away from any physical display during worship. This is not necessarily Biblical (Ps. 63:4; 143:2, 150:4).

19. SDA's deny the Holy Spirit experience of speaking in tongues and healing.

20. The fruits of the Adventist Educational system speak volumes about this church. Being an ex SDA teacher, I (Tesa) can personally testify about the complete lack of discipline and insufficiency in the promotion of Christ-likeness.

21. The Baptismal requirements are unbiblical. We were baptized with Christ therefore it is not required for salvation though it is a wonderful statement of Christianity. SDA's teach that Christians require it. In the Adventist church you are baptized into SDAism, not into the body of Christ. They teach that only ordained Pastors should baptize. They say that only baptism by immersion is correct. These are not based in Biblical fact.

22. Ellen White wrote that the General Conference is the highest authority that God has on earth. When in conflict, "private independence and private judgement must not be maintained, but surrendered." This was again boldly reiterated at the General Conference of 2000. Arthur and I declare that our authority is the Bible and Christ. Both of these are on earth. Read I John 2:27; Rev. 1:6.

23. Many have told me that because this church is the remnant that we should stay in it because no church is perfect. We have heard the, "bloom where you are planted" adage. It is a strange and evil church that would require its members to go against their consciences (i. e. abortion issue). Loyalty to a faulty church holds no merit with Christ, only loyalty to Him.

24. The Seventh-day Adventist church came out of the Millerite movement of the early 1800's. William Miller preached that God was coming in 1844. This did not happen. It was a false prophecy. The Bible says that no man knows the hour of Christ's return. In turn, the early Adventists based their faith on a false prophecy. Which lead them to the unbiblical Investigative Judgement belief, which in turn led them to the "shut door" theory. For those of you who are not familiar with the shut door theory, it is when early Adventists, including the Whites, preached until 1851 that only those who believed in the Millerite movement would be saved and they no longer preached to anyone who had rejected the Investigative Judgement message. Take time to research this topic, it will open your eyes. False prophecy has fed false prophecy in Adventist history. Its foundation is like the house built upon sand.

So many of these small items such as dancing, wine drinking, jewelry, etc. are not in themselves so terrible to teach as wrong. The tendency for Adventists, however, is to focus on things of the Mosaic Law and church traditions to the exclusion of seeking a personal relationship with Christ. Adventism's goal seems to be morality. But Christ seeks much more than morality, He desires that His people be holy. There is a vast difference in the two. One is about self-control; one is about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and HIS control.

Often we are confronted with the accusation that if we believe the Old Law, the Mosaic Law, (including the Ten Commandments) was fulfilled in Christ that one is then free to sin. They think that those who believe themselves free of the law will gorge themselves in debauchery and wickedness. This is the pole opposite of what actually happens. When Christ lives in you, a miracle occurs! By faith in HIS fulfillment of the law and keeping our eyes on Him we are changed into his likeness. The freedom He gives us is great and His power is greater! Sin no longer rules us! We behave because Christ abides in us! We can walk in confidence that Christ has overcome sin in our lives even if the promise is not yet fully developed. To the Father we ARE perfect because he sees His Son living in us. I John 5:4.

Do you know Christ? Or do you know about Him? This is a crucial question we must ask ourselves. Evangelism is to teach about Christ but the process must not stop there. A victorious life of joy only comes when we pursue knowing Christ. The Adventist system never taught us to pursue a personal relationship with Him. They focused more on trying to please Him with our works. We found that life to be a practice in continual defeat, always examining and re-examining ourselves to see if we lived up to God's expectations. Now, we rest in Christ's righteousness, knowing that we are, "preordained to conform to the image of Christ." That is the GOOD NEWS!! That is what gives us peace, love and hope. That is what makes us praise the Lord continually. Read Romans 8:29.

As you can see, our differences are plentiful. We would also like to assure you that none of these ideas came about by reading any materials but the Bible. The Holy Spirit opened up the interpretation to us through prayer and diligent study. We subsequently have read New Covenant theology but it rather confirmed our beliefs. Our recent studies of EGW have taken us not only to her writings to corroborate what we have suspected, but we have been corresponding with the White Estate and Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi. The conclusions about her were made from examining both sides of the issue.

We are still very open to new truth and sincerely desire to know God's path for His people. If you feel that we are in Biblical error on any of these points we are eager to have a disquisition with you. As of now, we shall borrow from Martin Luther:" Here we stand, for we can do no other." We love you dearly and ask God's blessing upon you.

Arthur and Tesa Beem


Endnotes [Some end notes I have quoted in context so that you can get a running start]

1. I John 4:4-5:1 "Children, you have already overcome these false prophets, because you are from God and you have in you one who is greater than anyone in this world; as for them, they are of the world, and so they speak the language of the world and the world listens to them. But we are children of God, and those who know God listen to us; those who are not of God refuse to listen to us. This is how you we can tell the spirit of truth from the spirit of falsehood. My dear people, let us love one another since love comes from God and everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Anyone who fails to love can never have known God, because God is love. God's love for us was revealed when God sent into the world his only Son so that we could have life through him; this is the love I mean not our love for God, but God's love for us when he sent his Sons to be the sacrifice that takes our sin away. My dear people, since God has loved us so much we too should love one another. (This is the part we feel explains Righteousness by Faith and gives us confidence that it is God and not us keeping any law or needing another authority outside scripture i.e. EGW to help us understand salvation or God's will or commands. This is only one of many texts that we could use. All of Galatians, Romans, II Cor. 3 to name a few support this text.)

God will live in us and his love will be complete in us. We can know that we are living in him and he is living in us because he lets us share his Spirit. We ourselves saw and we testify that the Father sent his son as savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. We ourselves have known and put our faith in God's love towards ourselves. God is love and anyone who lives in love lives in God and God lives in him. Love will come to its perfection in us when we face the day of Judgement without fear; because even in this world we have become as he is. In love there can be no fear but fear is driven out by perfect love: because to fear is to expect punishment, and anyone who is afraid is still imperfect in love. We are to love then, because he loved us first. Anyone who says, " I love God, " and hates his brother is a liar since a man who does not love his brother that he can see cannot love God, who he has never seen. So this is the commandment that he has given us, that anyone who loves God must also love his brother. Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ has been begotten by God; and whoever loves the Father that begot him loves the child whom he begets. We can be sure that we love God's children if we love God himself and do what he has commanded us; this is what loving God is--keeping his commandments; and his commandment are no difficult because who had been begotten by God has already overcome he world; this is the victory over the world--our faith."

Eph. 2:10 "You are God's workmanship, created for good works which God prepared for you in advance."

John 17: 3: And eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent."

I Cor. 1: 8 "And he will keep you already and without blame until the last day of our Lord Jesus Christ because God by calling you has joined you to his son, Jesus Christ; and God is faithful.

I Cor. 15:58 "Never give in then, my brothers, never admit defeat: keep on working at the Lord's work always, knowing that, in the Lord, you cannot be laboring in vain.

II Cor. 12: 9-11, " My Grace is sufficient for you; my power is at its best in weakness.(Paul) For it is when I am weak that I am strong."

Gal. 2:15, "we acknowledge that what makes a man righteous is not obedience to the law, but faith in Jesus.

Gal. 2:21, "If the Law can justify is, there is not point in the death of Christ."

Gal. 5:16, "Let me put it like this: if you are guided by the Spirit you will be in no danger of yielding to self-indulgence"

Gal. 5: 19, "If you are led by the Spirit, no law can touch you."

Eph. 2: 8 "Because it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith; not by anything of your own, but a gift from God; not by anything that you have done, so that nobody can claim the credit. We are God's work of art, created in Christ Jesus to live the good life as form the beginning he had meant us to live it."

Eph. 3:13,"This is why we are bold enough to approach God in complete confidence, through our faith in him; so, I beg you never lose confidence just because of the trial that I go through on your account; they are your glory.

Col. 2:14, "He has overridden the Law, and canceled out every record of the debt that we had to pay, he has done away with it by nailing it to the cross;"

Heb. 12:24, 'You have come to God himself, the supreme Judge, and been placed with the spirits of the saints who have been made perfect."

James 2:12, "Talk and behave like people who are going to be judged by the law of freedom, because there will be judgment without mercy for those who have not been merciful themselves; but the merciful need have no fear of judgment."


2. I John 2:9-10, "Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the dark. But anyone who loves his brother is living in the light and need not be afraid of stumbling."

I John 3:11, "This is the message as you heard it from the beginning; that we are to love one another. See I John 4 in endnote 1.


3. Romans 14:5, 6, "If one man keeps certain days as holier than others, and another considers all days to be equally holy, each must be left free to hold his own opinion, the one who observes special day does so in honor of the Lord.

Col. 2:16, "So don't let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon days or Sabbaths. For these rules were only shadows of the real thing, Christ himself. "


4. Romans 14, "If a person's faith is not strong enough welcome him all the same without starting an argument. People range from those who believe they may eat any sort of meat to those whose faith is so weak they dare not eat anything except vegetables. Meat eaters must no despise the scrupulous; On the other hand, the scrupulous must not condemn those who feel free to eat anything they choose, since God has welcomed them. It is not for you to condemn someone else's servant; whether he stands or falls is his own master's business; he will stand you may be sure, because the Lord has power to make him stand. The one who eats meat also does so in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; the one who abstains does that too in honor of the Lord Now I am perfectly well aware, of course, and I speak for the Lord Jesus, that NO food is unclean in itself: however, if some thinks that a particular feed is unclean, then it is unclean for himOf course all food is clean, but it becomes evil if by eating it you make somebody else fall away.

I Cor. 8:8, "Food, of course, cannot bring us I touch with God; we lose nothing if we refuse, we gain nothing if we eat.

I Cor. 10:23+, "For me there are no forbidden things, but not everything is good Do not hesitate to eat anything that is sold in butcher's shops; there is no need to raise questions of conscience; for the earth and everything that is in it belong to the Lord. If an unbeliever invites you to his house, go if you want to, and eat whatever is put in front of you without asking questions just to satisfy conscience.. Whatever you eat, whatever you drink, whatever you do at all, do it for the glory of God.

Col. 2:16, " From now onward, never let anyone else decide what you should eat or drink.. v. 20, "IF you have really died with Christ to the principles of this world, why do you still let rules dictate to you, as though you were still living in the world? It is forbidden to pick up this, it is forbidden to taste that, it is forbidden to touch something else--all these prohibitions are only concerned with things that perish by their very use.

I Tim. 4:1+, "The Spirit has explicitly said that during the last times there will be some who will desert the faith and choose to listen to deceitful spirits and doctrines that come from the devils and the cause of this is the lies told by hypocrites whose consciences are branded as though with a red-hot iron. They will say marriage is forbidden and lay down rules about abstaining from food which God created to be accepted with thanksgiving by all who believe and who know the truth. Everything God has created is good and no food is to be rejected, provided grace is said for it. The word of the Lord makes it holy.


5. Job 14:22, "They (the dead) feel only the pain of their own bodies, and mourn only for themselves."

II Cor.5: 1-10, "For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down--when we die and leave these bodies--we will have a home in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long for the day when we will put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will not be spirits without bodies but we will put on new heavenly bodies. Our dying bodies make us groan and sigh but it's not that we want to die and have no bodies at all. We want to slip into our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by everlasting life. God himself had prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit. So we are always confident, even though we know as long as we live in these bodies we are not home with the Lord. That is why we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes we are fully confident and we would rather be away from these bodies for then we will be at home with the Lord. So our aim is to please him all ways, whether we are in this body or away from this body."

I Thess. 4:14, "For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus comes, God will bring back with Jesus all the Christians who have died."

Phil. 1:23, "I'm torn between two desires: sometimes I want to live, and sometimes I long to go to be with Christ. That would be better for me."

Matt. 22:32, "so He is the God of the living, not the dead."

Note: We are not saying that we believe you go straight to heaven when you die. Looking at all the texts, we don't really know for certain. This is still a Biblical mystery. However, it seems unbelievably unfair that the state of the dead would be one of the two great deceptions--according to White--that the last days remnant would be made to stand on when many passages in the Bible are confusing.


Official letter to remove our membership from the Seventh-day Adventist Church

February 7, 2001

Keene Seventh-day Adventist Church
114 South Fairview Street
Keene, Texas 76059

Attn: Ron Halverson, Jr.

Dear Pastor Ron;

Robert Frost once wrote, "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler. Long I stood and looked down one as long as I could" With a heavy heart, Arthur and I recognize we have come to that dreaded fork in the road. We have looked down the traditional path our ancestors have walked and have made the decision to turn to the other narrower road. It seems that our beloved church, the Seventh-day Adventist church, is diverging from Christ. This dividing of roads has put us in the agonizing position of having to decide to be loyal to our church or our God. It seems impossible to do both. We respectfully request to have our names taken off the membership of Seventh-day Adventists.

Before you toss this letter aside as just another "falling away" of disgruntled members, please let us tell you what has brought us to this point. It is a very personal decision and one we pray will not influence others to follow unless directed by the Lord. This is a crucial time in history and we must keep our eyes firmly on Jesus. Please remove our names as quietly as possible, so as not to divert any attention to the matter. (I am sending a copy of this to the General Conference office simply because I believe it ungracious to "quit" without an explanation.)

For many years, I have worried about my church. I am a fifth generation Adventist, Arthur a third. My great-grandmother began the first SDA Sabbath School in Oklahoma. My father is a pastor. My father-in-law is a pastor. I write for several Adventist publications and have taught in our schools. We were involved in children's Sabbath School and Children's Church for many years. Again, I write this only so you will know that this decision is one of calculated determination to follow Christ because my heart is breaking.

I recognize that all churches are filled with the wheat and tares and no church will ever be perfect. The Adventist church is replete with wonderful Christians and has the precious message of the Sabbath. We have been blessed by being born into her culture. However, through prayer and study of scripture we find that its beliefs are not consistently in line with the Bible.

The major issue that has compelled us to separate from Adventism is its lack of a stand against the murder of the unborn child. In its infancy, the SDA church was vehemently pro-life. James and Ellen White edited an article that stated that in the eyes of the Lord it was one of the most abominable things a woman can do. J. Harvey Kellogg was a leader in the turn-of-the-century movement against abortions. Yet by the late 1960's, our church had moved so far from its original stand that Neil Wilson, General Conference President at the time, was quoted in a major newspaper as saying that, "Although we [the SDA Church] ride the fence on this issue, we come down in favor of abortion because of the problem of overpopulation."

In 1985, I spent the year researching the subject and became increasingly horrified that our church waffled on this issue. Not only are we pro-choice in theory but some of our hospitals perform abortions-on-demand. Because of this, I began the first Adventist Pro-life organization. I was invited to speak at the General Conference Abortion Symposium in 1988 at Loma Linda University. Jack Provonsha, Gerald Winslow and Richard Fredricks were also among the speakers. Selected speeches were then put in book form and published under the title of, Abortion Ethical Issues & Options, which can still be purchased through the Adventist Book Center. My speech, in its entirety, is one of the chapters.

Later that year, I was invited to be among the voting members of a General Conference committee (chaired by Albert Whiting) that would recommend updated guidelines for the church on the subject of abortion. The guidelines that our committee revised became the 1992 official guidelines of the Adventist Church. David Newman (former editor of Ministry Magazine) and myself were the only two out of a committee of approximately twenty-five who wanted the church to stand against abortion. The meeting shattered my faith in our leaders for many reasons, but I will not elaborate on that. The guidelines, intentionally ambiguous, are at their root still pro-choice.

We have remained active in trying to change the stand of the church since that time. Knowing that most Adventist's are pro-life and unaware of the church's stand, we had hoped that it would be only a matter of educating them and they would protest. Yet, I soon learned that the ambiguity in the guidelines left most members confused, inciting little enthusiasm in this cause.

Several weeks ago, I called Jan Paulsen's office to see if there was any update on the church's position. Though President Paulsen was not there, his secretary assured me that the pro-choice position had not changed. She then advised me to get the "official" word from Dr. George Reid, head of the Biblical Research Institute. I was shocked at his admission that the church was indeed pro-choice. I told him that I was speaking at an ethics class, taught by Pastor Bill Kilgore at Southwestern Adventist University and needed a quote. He said "Adventist are pro-choice but under strict guidelines." He then went on to say that each Adventist hospital could choose to accept or reject the church's guidelines. Some Adventist hospital performed many abortions. He even said, "Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park has become an abortion mill."

That he would openly state this knowing that I was going to quote him, stunned me. Up until this point, the officials in the church had always denied being pro-choice. It dawned on me that even my conscience had been insulated by the ambiguity of the church. Now the church was openly admitting its support of abortions-on-demand directly and indirectly.

Ellen White says that we will be held accountable for the light we have been given. We are intimately aquatinted with the facts surrounding the SDA abortion guidelines therefore are obligated to act upon that light. Some have advised us to stay and fight for what is right. However, in the scriptures, Christ asks us to spread the gospel message not to reform an organization. If we are truly in the last days, our efforts are needed more urgently elsewhere.

Many Adventists excuse the stance claiming that the church should not take a position on political issues. Yet, prophecy predicts that the Sabbath will become a political issue. What will the church do then? When worshipping on the seventh day is legislated against, will we waffle on that "political issue? Are our church's beliefs becoming so diluted that uncomfortable truths are hid as not to make us look weak?

And again, I've heard people say, "Well, Tesa, no church is perfect." But would we accept that same excuse from a Baptist about the Sabbath or a Catholic about praying to Mary?

SDA's take a stand against caffeine, unclean meats, card playing, gambling, dancing, and jewelry--but not killing unborn children! Can this be possible? We claim to be commandment keeping people, we hold the Sabbath banner high, yet we are murdering children in our hospitals. There is little difference between this and the Israelites sacrificing their children to Molech. SDA's remind their Christian contemporaries of the fourth commandment but forget the sixth! To remain a member of a church that is pro-choice torments my conscience.

My dear brother Ron, We think only the very best of you. Know that we are praying for you and this church. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We thank you for your attention to this matter.

Yours in Christ,

Teresa (Tesa) and Arthur D. Beem


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