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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
Available in tract form. Contact the editor.
The desire of any religious work should be only one thing - to propagate the truth as set forth by the Word of God:
trying "the spirits whether they are of God." I John 4:1
"Rightly dividing the word of truth." II Tim.2:15,
"For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus." I Cor. 3:11
As this is God's will, this work has no wish to centre on any person, but on the history and doctrines of a theological group called the Seventh-Day Adventists, to see how the light of the glorious Gospel is reflected from it.
The Seventh Day Adventists, or SDAs, sprang up from the "Great Second Advent awakening" (the soon appearing of Christ) which shook Europe and trickled over to America in the mid 1800's. William Miller (born Feb. 15, 1782, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts) started preaching in a Baptist Church at 34 years, teaching in confidence that "Christ would return in March 21, 1843, or in 1844." After these dates came and went, Miller no longer remained a part of the "advent" movement.
Miller never did become what we would now call a Seventh Day Adventist because of his refusal to accept the theology being propagated in three areas: 1) the sleep of the soul; 2) the seventh-day Sabbath; and 3) the utter annihilation of the wicked. He never embraced the "Sanctuary" (cleansing of the earth), the "Investigative Judgment", or any other of their doctrines.
William Miller said himself that:
"Were I to live my life over again, with the same evidence that I had to be honest with God and man, I should have to do as I have done. Although opposers said it would not come, they produced no weighty arguments. I confess my error, and acknowledge my disappointment; yet I still believe that the Day of the Lord is near; even at the door; and I exhort you brethren, to be watchful and not let that day come upon you unawares."
At 17 years of age, Ellen Gould Harmon (born 1827 to a Robert Harmon in Gorham, Maine) embraced the Adventist faith of the "Millerite/Baptists", just after her family was dis-fellowshipped from the Methodists in 1843 for their belief in pre-millennialism. On Aug. 30, 1846, she married James White, a prominent Adventist leader, and Sabbath-Keeper. The death of Mr. White in Oct,. 1881, left Mrs. Ellen White with four boys to continue the work.
During the years of 1844 to 1915, Mrs. White testified of having received approximately 2,000 visions and dreams, producing over 100,000 manuscript pages for 54 books. Yet in 1869, at a Sanatorium in Battle Creek, an SDA member, named Dr. William Russell, wrote that Mrs. White's visions resulted from a condition of the brain. Another member, named Dr. Fairfield, wrote in 1887 that her visions were simply hysterical trances. Rev. D. M. Canright said, "She often copies her subject-matter without credit or sign or quote from other authors." And a Pastors' Union in Healdsberg, California, investigated the matter of her many plagiarisms. With all the "scripts of prophecy", the false date settings, and other doctrines unique to them, we see the major guiding influences forming the modern SDAs. Yet with such facts in hand, SDAs today still believe Ellen White had been empowered by divine illumination!
Today's SDAs are a culmination of 3 major groups:
I. Headed by Hiram Edson, this sect of SDAs proclaim the doctrine of "Sanctuary" or "Investigative Judgment", where Christ entered the "Holy of Holies" of the heavenly sanctuary, for judgment of man, giving meaning to the phrase "The Hour of God's Judgment has come."
II. Headed by Joseph Bates, advocating the observance of the Sabbath day keeping according to the commandments of God.
III. A group in Maine, emphasizing the "Spirit of Prophecy" or "The Testimony of Jesus". Adventists consider themselves a special "Remnant People" resurrected and ordained by God to revive the truth.
The SDAs of today are plagued with the fact that they have no history to back up their doctrine, only Mrs. White's writings. A "remedy" was injected when, in 1957, SDAs released their first comprehensive explanation of their faith, a book called Questions of Doctrine. This book truthfully presents their theology and doctrine, which the leaders of SDA Church affirm. (You will find this book a reliable source to consult when seeking to understand Adventist Church doctrine.)
As of 1985, there were about 2.8 million members in 20,000 churches worldwide, and 3.6 million students enrolled in over 5,000 "Sabbath Schools". There are 50 publishing houses worldwide; 5 million people enrolled in Bible correspondence; the Adventist radio program, "Voice of Prophecy", is heard on 880 stations in some 75 languages; "Faith Today", their TV program, is heard on 183 stations; the mission magazines, "Signs of the Times", and "These Times", have a circulation together of 500,000 copies a month.
STATEMENTS AND BELIEFS
SDAs BELIEVE THAT WORKS HAVE A CO-REDEMPTIVE ROLE IN MAN'S SALVATION.
They profess to teach salvation by grace through faith, but they redefine this contrary to New Testament teaching. The SDA Church actually teaches salvation is by grace plus law; faith plus works. Grace is the power and forgiveness God gives to enable a sinner to keep the law and thereby build a holy character fit for heaven. He who fails to build the right character will never see heaven. Faith and works are the two oars by which the believer is propelled to glory. "Faith alone, nor grace alone," they contend, "will never bring a man to glory."
The SDA Church submits that the blood of Christ, pleaded on behalf of believers, secures their pardon and acceptance with the Father, yet their sins still remain on the books; so before Christ's work of redeeming man is completed, there is a work of atonement for the removal of sin by the "believer's" adherence to the Law, especially to all that is pertaining to the Sabbath. Mrs. White says the Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty.
Anything contrary to the 4th commandment will be a confession of allegiance to the power that is in opposition to God. The keeping of the Sabbath, in obedience to God's law, is an evidence of loyalty to the Creator. They quote: "I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, THY SINS RETURN UNTO ME, for I have redeemed thee." Isa.44.22; and "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord" Acts 3:19. Ergo, the doctrine of "Investigative Judgment".
THE SDA CHURCH DECLARES SATAN AS JOINT SIN-BEARER, AND THE VICARIOUS SUBSTITUTE OF THE SINNER
The Old Testament sin-offering pointed to Christ as the high priest and mediator; the scapegoat typified Satan as the author of sin, upon whom the sins of the repentant souls are finally placed. Jesus' blood removed the sin of His people from the heavenly sanctuary, thus at the end of His work, He will place them on Satan.
THE MOSAIC LAW
The SDAs teach that law works together with grace to justify the believer; they also teach that God, through Jesus, gives grace to the sinner to build a holy life after the model of the law. Salvation will depend upon how successful this life is built! Four errors the SDA Church teaches about law are:
1. Law and grace are not opposing systems, but work together for man's salvation. Law has a far greater place in salvation then to lead men to Christ.
2. Salvation is obtained by faith and grace working together to enable man to build character according to the law. The standard for entrance to heaven is a character built according to the commandments.
3. The law is the standard by which God shall judge believers.
4. The law is the believer’s way of life. The law was given as rule of life, as well as a revealer of sin. "Instead of being free to break the law, because he is saved by grace, he is now doubly obligated to keep it.”
Although there is a sprinkling of some truth in these statements, the SDA Church has distorted even what MAY have been right.
THE SCRIPTURES, THOUGH, ARE VERY EMPHATIC ON THESE MIS-STATEMENTS:
"O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth...Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" Gal. 3:1, 3
"Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But TO HIM THAT WORKETH NOT, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" Rom. 4:4-5
"AND IF BY GRACE, THEN IS IT NO MORE OF WORKS: OTHERWISE GRACE IS NO MORE GRACE But if it be of works, then it is no more grace…" Rom. 11:6
"…for BY THE LAW IS THE KNOWLEDGE OF SIN. But now the righteousness of God WITHOUT THE LAW is manifested...through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus...through FAITH IN HIS BLOOD" Rom. 3:20-25
As He "hath REDEEMED US FROM THE CURSE OF THE LAW, being made a curse for us." Gal. 3:13
"And being fully persuaded that, what he had PROMISED, he was able also to perform. Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice" Rom 4:21, 25-5:2
"To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, NOT IMPUTING THEIR TRESPASSES UNTO THEM." II Cor.5:19
"And be found in him, NOT HAVING MINE OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS, WHICH IS OF THE LAW, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH IS OF GOD BY FAITH." Phil. 3:9
"…and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” I John 1:7
Those who persist in placing themselves under the Mosaic Law, such as by the keeping of the Sabbath, in spite of clear New Testament teachings, are outside of true salvation. SDA leaders are of this number; they are Galatian legalizers. "CHRIST IS BECOME OF NO EFFECT UNTO YOU, WHOSOEVER OF YOU ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE LAW." Ga1.5:4
"For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in ALL things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith" Gal. 3:10-12a
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free" Gal.5:1
"Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days." Gal.2:16
“For if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." Gal. 2:21
THE SDA CHURCH TEACHES THAT JESUS INHERITED A SINFUL, FALLEN NATURE
The editor of the Oriental Watchman said in a letter in 1927, "That if Jesus did not take our fallen nature in his own person, by his incarnation of fallen humanity, humanity is left without a saviour. There is one kind of humanity that Jesus could have taken, defined in Romans chapter three, where Paul describes it as sinful and fallen, and beyond all hope if left to itself. For it was at birth that He inherited His human nature."
The Scriptures are quite contrary to this blasphemy:
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Phil. 2:5-8
"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is HOLY, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself." Heb.7:25-27
"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb WITHOUT BLEMISH AND WITHOUT SPOT." I Pet 1:18-21
"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us...WHO DID NO SIN, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who HIS OWN SELF bare our sins in his own body on the tree." I Pet 2:21-24
"FOR HE HATH MADE HIM TO BE SIN FOR US WHO KNEW NO SIN; THAT WE MIGHT BE MADE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM." II Cor.5:21
THE SDA CHURCH REJECTS THE DOCTRINE OF ETERNAL TORMENT
The same reasoning Jehovah's Witnesses use is inherent throughout:
1. Eternal torment would be everlasting and immortalize sin, suffering, and woe, and contradict divine revelation which foretells a time when these shall be no more.
2. It seems to provide a plague spot in the universe of God throughout eternity, and would seem
impossible for God not to abolish it.
3. The concept of wrath without end would detract from the attribute of love as seen in the character of God.
4. The atoning work of Christ is to put away sin from the individual, and the universe.
The Lord speaks quite differently though:
"The Lord ... is longsuffering to us;-ward, NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH, but that all should come to repentance." II Pet 3:9
"For the wages of sin is death; but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Rom. 6:23
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
"For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have ALL MEN TO BE SA VED, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. Who gave himself A RANSOM FOR ALL, to be testified in due time." I Tim. 2:3, 4, 6
"And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever...And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Rev. 20:10, 14-15
"Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, PREPARED FOR THE DEVIL and his angels" Matt. 25:41
"Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." Mark 9:47-48
"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might BE SAVED." John 3:17
THE INVESTIGATIVE JUDGMENT
Mrs. White taught that Christ entered the heavenly sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, to begin the final work of investigative judgment of the records (deeds, thoughts, attitudes, etc.) of those who profess salvation. This judgment determines the eternal destiny of every professing believer.
No one can be sure of eternal life until after this judgment is complete. God raised SDA Churches to proclaim the 'eternal gospel' to all the world. When judgment is finished, Christ is to return, resurrect the saved, (who have been sleeping in the grave), and place all the sins on Satan - the Old Testament scapegoat antitype. BUT "...we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all...after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever." Heb. 10:10-12
To which Christ says, "Ye must be born again." John 3:7
"FOR IT IS GOD which worketh IN you both to will and to do of His good pleasure." Phil. 2:13
THE DOCTRINE OF SOUL SLEEP
The SDAs are not unique in their attempt to do away with immediate accountability to their Creator. The Scriptures only emphasize the biblical doctrine of consciousness after death. The account of Luke 16:19-31 shows us the acts and thoughts of those who are dead. (Even if you think it's only a parable, what truths are being revealed?)
"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain ... having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:" Phil 1:21, 23
"Therefore ... knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present WITH the Lord." II Cor.5:6, 8
THE GOLDEN CARDS
Some ardent SDA members imply that Mrs. White never went beyond Scripture with her visions, but merely gave the "right" interpretation. Well, to accept Mrs. White's vision that all angels commissioned to visit earth possess “gold cards” is erroneous; nor has any SDA member ever supplied any Scriptural support for it.
THE REMNANT CHURCH
SDAs teach that they alone constitute the final, completed 'Remnant Church' mentioned in the book of Revelation, but seeing as the Adventists did not exist until the 1700's, this is not possible. The Word of God states that our Lord Himself built His church while earth bound, and that it would continue until the Tribulation began.
Christ said HE would build His church. Matt. 16:18
Christ chose and ordained His apostles. Luke 6:12-16; John 15:16, and verified that this was done at the
beginning of His church's formation. I Cor. 12:28
The church's size was noted BEFORE Pentecost, Acts 1:12-17, and 3,000 were ADDED TO the church DURING Pentecost. Acts 2:41-47
Any work that has its origin this side of Pentecost may look like, but IS NOT, the work Christ started!
THE DOCTRINES OF THE SDAs PROVE THAT THEY DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE TRINITY.
It is impossible to make any of the previous statements concerning Christ and His finished work if there was an honest belief in the Scriptures' revelation that CHRIST IS GOD, as the doctrine of the triune Godhead demands!
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1
"He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." John 1:10, 11, 14
"Who is the image of the invisible God...For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. " Col. 1:15-17
"For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily". Col. 2:9
"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." I John 5:7
"I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I AM HE, ye shall die in your sins." John 8:24
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God" I John 1:4
"Search the scriptures." John 5:39
"And receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls." James 1:21