Dear Adventist friend, Why do members of your group attempt to add to the complete gospel presented at Harvest Crusades?
Last night, my husband and I, along with two former Adventist friends, attended the last night of the Harvest Crusade at Edison Field in Anaheim. It was a remarkable experience. God's love and grace was made apparent, as always, through Pastor Greg Laurie, who is gifted at giving a clear presentation of the gospel in a relaxed, informal setting. Thousands responded to the altar call to "Come Just As You Are" and repented of their sins, trusting in Christ to save them, and giving them eternal hope of heaven everlasting.
It was an interesting night all around. When we first got there, the gates weren't yet open, so there was a line pretty much around the entire stadium. One of our friends decided to wear his www.formeradventist.com t-shirt. So, as soon as we got to the end of the very long line, two young women came up to us and asked what the shirt meant. The reason they were so interested was because both of them had been raised in the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) church. The long line ended up being a gift from God, because it allowed us the opportunity to hold a mini Bible study and to give brief personal testimonials as to why we were no longer affiliated with the SDA church, and why we are now affiliated with the Former Adventist Fellowship group in Redlands.
These young women explained to us many things they were taught in the SDA church. First, they said they thought that the Sabbath was the seal of God. They thought that the SDA church was the only true church because of the fact that she is being faithful to all of the commandments of God, including the Sabbath. They thought that those who worship on Sunday will someday be asked to take the mark of the beast. We showed them scriptures, including Hebrews 4, Colossians 2-3, Galatians 1, 4, and Acts 15:1. They were astounded and a bit overwhelmed by all of the information they received in such a short time, but were indeed thankful for the information. We gave them the former Adventist website address and I explained my affiliation with Calvary Chapel Redlands and the fact that they could rent the video "Seventh-day Adventism, the Spirit Behind the Church" at Calvary Chapel. They got our friends' phone number as well. We said our farewells and told them we would be praying for them.
We were so excited because this was obviously God working on these young women. We knew that Greg Laurie and the other leaders would speak and would reinforce what we had just spoken of to them. And that is just what happened.
While we were talking with the young women, we discussed Acts 15 and Galatians 2 and how these Bible sections dealt with the Jerusalem council as well as Paul's acceptance as an apostle. We explained that these verses deal with the fact that we are saved by grace, and not because of the Law, and that we are now living in the new covenant, where Jesus is our true Sabbath rest. We also emphasized that Christians are saved by faith alone and are set apart because of their love for one another as opposed to what day they are going to church. We explained to them that the reason we can have true rest in Christ TODAY (see Hebrews 4:7) is because when we turn from our sins and repent, the Holy Spirit indwells us, makes us new creatures, seals us and guarantees our inheritance as sons of God and life everlasting (II Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Ephesians 4:30). We pointed out that, in effect, the SDA doctrines undermine the teaching of salvation by faith alone, because, although they claim to believe that salvation is by grace alone, they teach that the final test of God's true people is that they will be keeping the weekly seventh day Sabbath on Saturday instead of Sunday. In fact, we pointed out, the SDA doctrines are, in many ways, parallel with what Paul and the other disciples dealt with in the early days of the Christian church.
In summary, Acts 15 discusses that certain men had been teaching that one must be circumcised and follow the other Jewish laws as taught by Moses in order to be Christians. This was the reason for the meeting of the Jerusalem council. Paul, In Acts 15:10-11, states clearly, "Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved just as they are." In Acts 15:19-20, Paul states "It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead, we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood." And again in vv. 28-29, "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things."
When Greg preached last night, he focused on John 14:1-6. This section is Jesus talking to his disciples about the fact that they did not have a reason to be afraid if they believed in God and also believed in Him. Greg's focus was on fear. He stated that the believer in Jesus had three reasons not to fear: 1) They believe in Jesus as their Savior 2) They know they are saved and 3) They know that when they die they will go to heaven. In contrast, Greg told the audience that if they did not know Jesus, they "should be shaking in their boots, because they DO have reason to fear." As always, Greg invited those who believed and were willing to turn from their sin, to come "as they are" and give their hearts and lives to Jesus. He encouraged them that if they did this, they would have hope because then they could know that if they die they will go to heaven. The songs that were sung during the altar call discussed "coming just as you are (and let God change you, answer your questions, etc.). They also pointed out that "TODAY is the day of salvation." After talking with those young women earlier, I had a new insight on Hebrews 4:7 where it says, "Therefore, God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later, he spoke through David, as was said before: 'TODAY, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." This became even more meaningful to me when Greg reminded the audience of the danger of hearing the gospel message and rejecting it over and over again. He stated that it would result in our hearts becoming more hard or calloused!
We were so excited, because we all knew even MORE SO that we had been used by God to talk to those young ladies before the Crusade, and that it was certainly NOT a coincidence that we had seen them and had the opportunity to talk with them.
Part of our excitement was slightly abated after we left the stadium and were walking through the parking lot to our car, because we discovered that there were some people passing out literature to anyone willing to take it. One person took the literature and dropped it on the ground. Of course, my curiosity got the best of me, and I couldn't help but pick up the two booklets to find out which group was behind them. To all of our surprise, the booklets were Adventist literature! One booklet was titled Behold He Cometh and the other Health and the Nations. I brought both booklets home for closer study. To my dismay, both were filled with propaganda, and both emphasized the importance of observing the so-called biblical seventh day sabbath.
One of these booklets explains that "through spiritualism and false doctrines the people will be deceived into believing a lie, that God has changed the sabbath from Saturday, the seventh day of the week, to Sunday, the first day of the week. The crisis of the ages is fast approaching, and like a midnight thief, it will take the world by surprise. The whole world will be divided into just TWO CLASSES--Sabbathkeepers and Sundaykeepers. Dear reader, this little booklet is presented to help you make the right decisions in this life, so you will be prepared for the eternal life to come ushered in by the soon appearing of the Second Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ."
The booklet "Health of the Nations" states "By remembering the Sabbath we are brought into a special and restful communion with Him who has given us life. By keeping the Sabbath we acknowledge Him as both the Lifegiver and the only true LawgiverIn keeping these commandments by the grace of God, we progressively become more like our Maker in both thoughts and feelings. When God sanctified the Sabbath (see Genesis 2:1-3), He established it as a sign that He can sanctify us. God promises to sanctify all who choose to honor Him in keeping the Sabbath holy."
Note that only once in this article, titled "God's Divine Rest Day" is Jesus' name even mentioned. At the end we are told that "Jesus has given us such a wonderful example of keeping the Sabbath by attending the divine service and healing all manner of sickness of the people who came to Him. See Luke 4:16." Of course, this totally ignores the fact that in John 5:18 it states that Jesus broke the Sabbath.
In the book Behold He Cometh there is an SDA version of a prophetic chart, supposedly based on Daniel 8:14. On this chart, shown on page 14, there is shown a date of 1844. At this point of the SDA Prophetic Chart, it is stated that, "The Hour of Judgment has Come," and "We have a Great High Priest--Jesus the Son of God" (Hebrews 4:14). Following this event on the SDA chart is the Second Coming of Christ. Note that on the SDA Prophetic Chart, the date of 1844 has great historical significance. In 1844, it was predicted by a small group, known as the Millerites, that Christ would return. When he failed to return on the predicted day, Ellen G. White, one of SDA's founders and their prophetess, had a vision. In her vision, she was told by "an angel of God" that Christ, instead of returning to earth, had entered "the heavenly sanctuary and had begun the hour of judgment." This came to be later known as the SDA doctrine of the Investigative Judgment. This doctrine, in essence, teaches that Christ is currently judging every alleged believer, to make sure he/she has been forgiven of every sin committed. The way that a person is forgiven is by repenting of every sin as it is committed. So, most good SDAs do their best to remember every single sin they have committed every single day in an effort to maintain a good standing with God. This is because if even one sin is committed and not repented of, a person is in danger of losing their salvation. (For more details on this doctrine, see the video "Seventh-day Adventism, The Spirit Behind the Church, or the book "The Cultic Doctrine of SDAs, by Dale Ratzlaff). Also, let it be known, that in addition to the Investigative Judgment doctrine, SDAs do not believe in the secret Rapture of the Christian church.
In addition to these and other articles emphasizing SDA's very strict dietary practices, these two booklets also provide opportunities to purchase books by various authors including Ellen G. White, and they even provide an offer for a free book written by "a humble Christian writer named E.G. White," titled World Crisis Foretold.
When Harvest holds a crusade, regardless of where it is, they always give a Bible to every person who comes forward at the crusade. In addition, they do follow-up counseling, get phone numbers, and encourage the new converts to follow the four basic guidelines 1) Pray 2) Read the Bible Daily 3) Find a Bible believing church 4) Witness/share your testimony to others. Thus, my question is: Why do SDAs feel the need to add to Harvest's already complete gospel message?
I don't want to speak too much on my own lest I stand in judgment; thus I prefer to use the Word of God with the Holy Spirit's lead in answering the aforementioned question.
"Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want to do is alienate you from us, so that you may be zealous for them."
"That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you."
"The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be."
II Corinthians 11:3-5, 12-15:
"But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those "super-apostles" "And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve."
I Corinthians 15:1-5:
"Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve."
Colossians 2:8-17, 20-23:
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ, He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ" "Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 'Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!' These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence."
II Corinthians 3:17:
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast."
II Corinthians 10:3-5:
"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."
"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
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