Adventism: A Thumbnail Sketch
• The "Great Awakening" of the early 1800's in Northeastern USA
• The Millerite Movement-William Miller set two dates (1843 and 1844) for the second coming of Jesus
• Most Millerites repented and returned to their churches of origin.
• William Miller later repented and admitted he had been wrong to set a date
• Small group led by James and Ellen White did not repent; they taught that Miller's second date was accurate but instead of signifying the second coming, it marked the beginning of the judgment. Ellen White claimed visions from God confirming this understanding. She also claimed a vision stating that God "held his hand" over the error of William Miller's original date so people would be motivated to "get ready" for Jesus' return. God, in other words, deceived people to get them to change.
• Ellen's continuing visions and dreams established all of Adventism's doctrines although the church claims they are based on the Bible alone.
• EGW suffered serious head trauma from a rock thrown at her face when she was nine years old. She was unconscious for two weeks and was never able to concentrate enough to continue going to school following her injury, although she was tutored at home.
• Most of EGW's books are proven to be plagiarized from other Christian writers. Independent studies by individual scholars as well as by a church-appointed investigator have confirmed that as much as 80% of her most famous books was plagiarized.
• Near the end of her life (she died in 1915), EGW prophesied that Satan's last deception would be to make her own works "of no account". Result: Adventists who begin to question EGW and to pull away from the church suffer great fear and guilt that they may be falling victim to Satan's last great deception.
Distinctive Adventist Beliefs
• Christ's atonement did not end at the cross. In 1844 Jesus finally moved into the Most Holy Place in heaven and began the "Investigative Judgment". Each person's name comes under divine judgment beginning with earth's first humans and ending with the living. When a person's name comes under review, his eternal fate is sealed. After that time he may not repent. Until that time he has no eternal security because God has not yet judged him to see if he has repented of all his sins and been forgiven.
• The seventh-day Sabbath is the Seal of God. (Some now say it's the "Sign of the Seal".) All who are alive at the time of Christ's return will be keeping the Sabbath if they are to be saved.
• "Sunday keeping" is the Mark of the Beast.
• The antichrist is the papacy
• Before Jesus returns there will be an international Sunday law. Those who refuse to "keep" Sunday but keep Sabbath instead are those who will be saved. Those who choose to "keep" Sunday will be lost. The last test of loyalty is the Sabbath--not Jesus.
• The Seventh-day Adventist church is God's remnant church. Adventists have replaced Israel as God's chosen people. The Jewish nation will not figure again in eschatology.
• Satan is the scapegoat which carried Israel's sin into the desert on the Day of Atonement.
• Jesus is Michael the Archangel, a belief shared with Jehovah's Witnesses. (Some try to explain this belief by saying Michael the Archangel is another name for Jesus, yet they maintain that the referneces to Michael in the Bible are referneces to Jesus.)
• People experience "soul sleep" when they die. They have no eternal spirit; rather, the spirit that returns to God is their literal breath. The body goes to the ground; the breath goes to God. They are nonexistent until the second coming. The resurrection is a sort-of re-creation of the person out of the memory of God.
• Because of their lack of understanding of the nature of man, Adventists do not have a policy against abortion. Their statement allows for women to choose whether or not to have one.
• Also because of their misunderstanding of the nature of the human soul, Adventists do not have a clear doctrine on the nature of Christ. They cannot agree about whether or not he was born with Mary's sinful genes, and they likewise cannot agree whether or not Jesus could have sinned. They teach that he came to be our example, and since he kept the law perfectly even with his human inheritance, so can we.
• Hell is not eternal. There will be a cleansing fire to burn up the old earth and the sinners before the new earth appears. All the wicked will be annihilated in the fire. The most wicked will burn longer than the least wicked. Satan will burn the longest.
• The New Covenant is not really different from the Old Covenant. Since God never changes, all the requirements of the old are eternal. The New Covenant is just another way of expressing the old. We still have to prove to God that we're loyal by keeping the commandments.
• The promise in Jeremiah 31:31-34 that God would write the law on people's hearts simply means that God would imprint the 10 Commandments on people's hearts. If they are saved, they will be keeping each one including the fourth.
• The Holy Spirit is something for which they pray, not Someone they know and experience. They believe that the New Birth is baptism, not something that happens when you trust in Jesus. The result is that most Adventists do not have a personal testimony.
• They do not believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God. They believe it has errors and contradictions in it which they have to interpret in the same way they have to edit and interpret Ellen White. Some say the Bible is inerrant because God wanted those mistakes and contradictions to be there.
• Adventists do not have the security of salvation. Ellen White teaches not to say that you're saved because such a belief can lead to pride and eventual apostasy.
The Church Today
• May, 2002: Seventh-day Adventist General Conference president Jan Paulson, in an internationally distributed speech, affirmed all the distinctive Adventist doctrines including the necessity of proselytizing other Christians into the full "truth" and confirming the notion that Adventists give up the possibility of being saved if they leave the church.
• "The church is changing," many say. Not so. Adventists have to affirm the 27 Fundamental Beliefs when they are baptized into the church. These Fundamentals include the statement that Ellen White is a "continuing and authoritative source of truth."
• Highly effective PR Machine: Publicly they hide their distinctive beliefs in order to be accepted by the Christian community. Some Adventist churches have separate"community" churches that meet on Sunday and slowly introduce Adventist distinctives with the goal of switching Sunday attenders over to the regular Seventh-day Adventist church. Other Adventist churches meet on Saturday, call themselves "community" churches, and never use the name Adventist in their names or advertising.
• Most Adventists under 35 do not really know the church doctrines well. They are strongly bound to the Sabbath but don't know why. They believe they have to keep the Sabbath as a sign that they love Jesus--not, they will say, in order to be saved. Many will say they do not believe Ellen White, but they do not know how she shaped all their doctrines including the Sabbath.
• A relationship with Jesus is something one must have if he will get to heaven, but to Adventists that relationship is based on keeping the law. They do not understand the indwelling Holy Spirit and the new birth. They must prove their relationship by keeping the law, especially the fourth commandment.
• Some SDAs say everyone is born saved (universalism) because Jesus' death saved the world, but by persistently refusing to keep the law they "choose another god" and thus are lost.
Some Bible Texts: Adventist Interpretations and Evangelical Understanding
Revelation 14:11: "And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name."
Adventist: The beast is the papacy, and the image of the beast is the coming international agreement to enforce Sunday worship. Those who accept Sunday worship, the mark of the beast, ("receive the mark of his name") will be burned and annihilated.
Evangelical: Those who align themselves with the spiritual and political power opposed to Jesus and receive its "mark" (specifics not yet known) will be lost and suffer in eternal hell.
Revelation 14:12: "This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus" (or "keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus" in the KJV).
Adventist: The saints are those who keep all ten of the commandments, especially the fourth. Those who will be saved are those who keep Sabbath and have "the faith of Jesus", which is defined in Revelation 19:10.
Evangelical: The saints must endure patiently. The saints are those who obey God's teachings and stay faithful to Jesus. (The Greek work for "commandments" signifies "teachings", not "law". John, the author of Revelation, defines God's commandments in 2 John 6: "And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love." See also John 15:12 & 17))
Revelation 19:10: "I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
Adventist: The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy, and the Spirit of Prophecy IS Ellen G. White. (The Adventists call her writings "The Spirit of Prophecy". Her dreams and visions, they say, fulfill the requirement that the saints will have the spirit of prophecy. The Adventists, therefore, are the saints, and consequently rejecting EGW is rejecting the spirit of prophecy and hence rejecting the possibility that one can be saved.)
Evangelical: The angel speaking to John identifies himself as a creature who shares Christ-followers' personal testimonies of Jesus' work in their lives. Testifying about Jesus--speaking the truth about Jesus--IS the spirit of prophecy. All who testify of Jesus prophesy, or speak for God.
Hebrews 8:8-9: "The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah." (quoting Jeremiah 31:31)
Adventist: The Adventist church has replaced Israel. All God's promises to Israel have been transferred to Adventists because the Jews gave up their right to be God's people by rejecting Jesus.
Evangelical: God promised to make a new covenant with Israel that would be different from the Mosaic covenant God made with them when he brought them out of Egypt.
Hebrews 8:10: "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts."
Adventist: God will imprint the 10 Commandments onto Christian's--specifically Adventists'--consciences. Once they accept Jesus, he will help them to keep the 10 Commandments. The focus here is that everyone who is God's person will keep the seventh-day Sabbath.
Evangelical: When a person accepts Jesus and is born again, the Holy Spirit indwells him. This "living law" holds a Christ-follower infinitely more responsible than an external written law could ever do. The Holy Spirit also convicts people of their need to change and provides the strength for change to happen.
Matthew 12:6, 8: "I tell you that one greater that the temple is here. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."
Adventist: The Sabbath is an eternal institution, and Jesus is Lord of it in much the same way the Queen is the "lord" of England.
Evangelical: The temple was the center of Israel. It housed the presence of God and the ark containing the law. Jesus proclaimed that he was greater than the temple; in other words, He himself housed the presence of God-He was the presence of God. Further, the law was IN him. When he proclaimed himself Lord of the Sabbath, he was saying He was greater than the Sabbath. He is the eternal one, and in him we find the Sabbath rather than finding Him in the Sabbath, as Adventists suggest.
Acts 10:9-16: Peter received a vision of a sheet dropped from heaven and filled with ceremonially unclean animals, reptiles, and birds. "Then a voice told him, 'Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.' 'Surely not, Lord!' Peter replied. 'I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.' The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.' This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
Adventist: This vision was to explain to Peter that Gentiles were no longer to be considered unclean. It had absolutely nothing to do with the Jewish food laws being no longer in force under the new covenant. It was just a symbol of not rejecting Gentiles. God doesn't change, so he wouldn't retract his food laws.
Evangelical: The vision made a multipurpose statement that the old Jewish ceremonial laws regarding clean and unclean meat and people no longer applied under the new covenant. In Christ, all the laws legislating exclusion were swallowed up in the reality that Jesus' death and resurrection opened the way for Jews and Gentiles to be one, no longer separated by ceremonial laws of clean and unclean or by dietary restrictions that required one to eat separately.
Luke 16:19-31: Jesus told a parable of a rich man who died and a beggar named Lazarus who died. The rich man went to hell, and Lazarus went to "Abraham's side", or heaven. The rich man begged Abraham to send Lazarus to him to cool his tongue with water. "But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.' "
Adventist: This story is "just a parable" and did not really happen. It says absolutely nothing about the state of man in death. It's just a popular story Jesus used to make a point about selfish rich people having a hard time getting to heaven because of their self-centered greed.
Evangelical: Jesus would not use a concept which was false to prove a point which was true. This story says something instructive about the condition of humans after death or Jesus would not have used it. He doesn't trick people into obedience by using untruth to teach truth.
Adventism teaches "another gospel" (see 2 Corinthians 11:4) requiring adherence to the law and discounting Jesus' finished work on the cross. It teaches unbiblical doctrines which obscure one's security of salvation and hold people in bondage to fear and works. Because it is founded on untruth, even its teachings about the nature and person of Christ are distorted and deceptive.
The foundational doctines of the Adventist church come not from God but from Satan. The church is a clever deception because it says the "right words" in public, but in reality it means something very different from what the Evangelical Christian community understands. Adventists on the whole do not have freedom in the Lord Jesus. Many are afraid, guilt-ridden, and not born again.
Because it was founded on deception, the Adventist church has a Satanic claim on it. All its doctrines are tainted. The Adventist church is a cult that is perhaps more dangerous than most because it is so subtle. It appears evangelical, but behind the facade is a body of belief that holds people in the myth that they are the only true church, yet they have no assurance of salvation.
God is calling his people to truth. Adventists need prayer that they will desire more than they have and will seek Jesus and his word for the answers.
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