Seventh-Day Adventism Orthodox or Cult?

April 21, 2010 at 10:59 AM 36 comments

 This particular post is taken in its entirety from Biblical Discernment Ministries:
(http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Cults/sda/adventi.htm)
It is long, but well worth the read.  As can be seen, it is well documented and because of it, impossible for SDAs to disprove.

Why am I taking the time to print anything about Seventh-day Adventism?  For one reason, and one reason only:  I would like those who are involved in this group to see it for what it is and having seen it for what it is, come out from them in order to gain authentic salvation.

Seventh-day Adventism is simply another religious group that believes that salvation is obtained AND maintained by works, something that Paul took the time in his letter to the Galatians to condemn.  Salvation is a free gift of God.  It cannot be earned with works, nor can it be maintained by the same. 

I pray that any Seventh-day Adventists who read this will read it with an open mind, praying for discernment, and come to see that authentic salvation via Seventh-day Adventism is non-existent.  It is no different than Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Mormons who – while denying that they must work to earn salvation – are taught that very thing!  In their hearts, they BELIEVE that if they stop “working,” salvation is lost.  If Seventh-day Adventists stop worshiping on their Sabbath (Saturday), they will lose their salvation.  Yet, the bulk of Scripture maintains that salvation cannot be lost once truly received.  It is eternal, because we are baptized into the Body of Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells us as a deposit, guaranteeing our inheritance, and because Jesus Himself is the Author and Finisher of our faith. 

I pray that eyes will be opened to this truth.
 

Seventh-Day Adventism (SDA) arose from the aftermath of the Adventist movement of the mid-1800s. “Seventh-day” refers to the focus on sabbath, or Saturday worship. “Adventist” refers to the SDA belief that they are the fulfillment of prophecies pertaining to the latter days remnant and the coming of Christ. The world was predicted to end in 1844 with the Second Coming of Christ, by William Miller, a New England Baptist itinerant preacher. Miller’s followers condemned all the churches of the day as apostate and “Babylon,” and warned Christians to come out of them. A great many did, and the “adventist” movement was born and grew rapidly (Melton, J. Gordon, Encyclopedia of American Religions, Vol. 2, pp. 21–22). 

Christ did not appear in 1844. After this “Great Disappointment,” one “little flock” still insisted the date of their original predictions had been correct. They decided the event marked by 1844 was not the Second Coming, but the entrance of Christ into the Holy of Holies in the Heavenly Sanctuary. There, they said, He began the “Investigative Judgment.” (See #6 below.) This doctrine was received and endorsed by Ellen G. White (Ibid., p. 680). 

From 1844 to 1851, the group taught the “shut door” doctrine, based on Jesus’ parable of the ten virgins. Anyone who had not accepted the Adventist message by the time Jesus entered the Holy of Holies was to be shut out permanently, as were the five foolish virgins. Cut off from the Bridegroom, they could not join the Adventists or have any hope of eternal life. Ellen White not only approved and taught this doctrine, but her first vision experience (she claimed over 2,000 visions) was largely responsible for its being received by the Adventist group (Brinsmead, Robert, D., Judged by the Gospel: A Review of Adventism, pp. 130–133). 

By 1846, the group had adopted the Seventh-Day Baptists’ view that the Saturday Sabbath must be observed by Christians. A highly elevated form of this doctrine, together with the doctrine of the Investigative Judgment, became the hallmarks of Seventh-Day Adventism. In 1850, James and Ellen White began publishing a magazine, The Review & Herald, to disseminate Adventist and Sabbatarian doctrines. This helped many of the remaining “Millerites” to coalesce into a distinctive body, which adopted the name of Seventh-Day Adventist Church in 1860, and formally incorporated in 1863, with approximately 3,500 members in 125 congregations (Encyclopedia of American Religion, Vol. 2, p. 681). 

Ellen G. White (1827-1915) never held official title as the head of the SDA church, but was one of its founders and acknowledged spiritual leader. She rather disingenuously declined to claim the title of “prophet,” calling herself a “messenger” instead (P.G. Damsteegt, et al., Seventh-day Adventists Believe … A Biblical Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines, 1988, p. 224). But she claimed to have the “spirit of prophecy,” and that her messages were direct from God for the guidance and instruction of the church. With her knowledge and consent, others called her a prophet and an inspired commentator of Scripture1, and even “the Spirit of Prophecy” (Maurice Barnett, Ellen G. White & Inspiration, pp. 5–17). Having only a third grade education, Ellen White said for years she was unable to read, bolstering the claim that her beautiful prose was inspired by God. However, it has been discovered that she not only read, but plagiarized other Christian authors throughout virtually all her writings. The sad facts of this matter have been thoroughly and indisputably established in several books. (e.g., see Walter Rea, The White Lie; and Judged by the Gospel, pp. 361–383). 

As of year-end 1999, the SDA church claimed more than 10.9 million members worldwide in 46,700 churches; there are more than 900,000 Adventists in the U.S. and Canada (making the SDA one of the fastest growing “churches” in the world — membership up over 10% in 1999). While headquartered in Washington, D.C., SDA employment worldwide totals nearly 166,000, not including 13,815 ordained ministers. (Contributions in 1999 totaled $1.6 billion.) SDAs claim to be working in 725 languages and over 1,000 dialects. They have a large investment in publishing and education — they operate 56 publishing houses and support 549 medical units (696 including 117 nursing homes and retirement centers and 30 orphanages); and 5,846 primary and secondary schools, colleges, and universities (with total enrollment of over a million students). They also broadcast over Adventist World Radio more than 1,000 hours per week of programming in more than 40 languages from 18 transmitters in seven international locations, and have almost 13  million students enrolled in its more than 110,000 “Sabbath Schools” (11/2001, SDA Internet web site). (The SDA church also publishes two of their own Bible “translations”: The Study Bible and The Clear Word Bible.) 

SDA is organized as a representative democracy. Lower echelons elect representatives to higher units; determination and administration of policy and enforcement of doctrinal orthodoxy is imposed from the top down. President and Executive Committee of General Conference are standing chief administrative offices. Lower administrative units are the General Conference, Divisions (over continents), Union Conferences, local Conferences, and congregations. 

In the late 1950s, cult expert Walter Martin, founder of the Christian Research Institute, in collaboration with neo-evangelical Donald Barnhouse, made an extensive investigation of the teachings (doctrines) of Seventh-Day Adventism. Their purpose was to determine whether to classify SDA as part of the evangelical community, or to go along with the majority of evangelicals and treat SDAs as cult members (thereby requiring evangelicals to exercise Biblical separation). (In the 1955 edition of The Kingdom of the Cults, Martin originally did classify SDA as cultic.) Martin and Barnhouse concluded that SDA was within the bounds of Christian orthodoxy. Walter Martin, in his article in the 12/19/60 Christianity Today, said: “That Adventists should be recognized as Christians and that fellowship should be extended to them we do not deny” (p. 15). 

Among those adamantly opposing that conclusion was Biblical scholar Dr. John Whitcomb, Jr., then of Grace Theological Seminary. Detailed below is Whitcomb’s reasoning for his classification of SDA as a [anti-assurance, Sabbath-keeping, Law-enslaving] cult:2 

1. Source of Authority. Ellen G. White claimed to be, “a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.” The official SDA Questions on Doctrine (Q.D.) states that, “the Holy Spirit opened to her mind important events and called her to give certain instructions for these last days, and inasmuch as these instructions, in our understanding, are in harmony with the Word of God, which Word alone is able to make us wise unto salvation, we as a denomination accept them as inspired counsels from the Lord” (Q.D., p. 93). (Emphasis added.) Mrs. White claimed to have received more than 3,000 “inspired counsels from the Lord” (i.e., visions) between 1844 and 1868. (From these “visions,” she produced over 100,000 handwritten manuscript pages from which were published 54 books!) Therefore, SDAs have a new source of authority in their lives — according to SDA’s dogma, if an SDA does not accept Mrs. White as infallible, they have no salvation! 

2. Mankind. Seventh-Day Adventists do not believe that the whole man or any part of him is inherently “immortal” (Q.D., p. 518). SDAs believe in “soul sleep” for the saved (i.e., no conscious existence from the time of death until the resurrection), and annihilation for the wicked (i.e., the body and soul are destroyed at death rather than experiencing everlasting torment). How, then, can one get to heaven?: SDAs believe that one can have immortality only on the condition that he comes to Christ through Ellen G. White; i.e., a works program, following salvation by grace with light of revelation through Ellen G. White as the infallible guide to Holy Scripture, apart from which one cannot have immortality.3 Then, at resurrection day, the body will be re-created (necessary because of soul sleep) for all those who believe in White’s guidance and teachings (while non-SDAs will remain in “soul sleep” forever; i.e., will cease to exist [annihilated] and will not suffer everlasting torment).

3. Christ.
Mrs. White: “Christ took upon His sinless nature our sinful nature … Christ took human nature and bore the infirmities and degeneracy of the race. He took our nature and its deteriorating condition” (Q.D., pp. 654-656) (cf. Jn. 14:30). According to SDA, then, Christ acquired a sinful nature! Of course, if this could have been so, there could have been no sinless sacrifice, no hope for sinners, and no Savior. 

4. Atonement. “Now, while our great High Priest is making the atonement for us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ” (E.G. White, The Great Controversy [TGC], 1911, p. 623; TGC has since been retitled and published as America in Prophecy, 1988). SDA teaches that, though saved by grace, we are kept by the Law (i.e., “partial atonement”). Therefore, one must keep Old Testament dietary and ceremonial laws, paying particular attention to keep the Saturday Sabbath and the Ten Commandments, and most importantly, making sure to faithfully pay the tithe. 

Even when speaking of being saved by the righteousness of Christ, Adventist writers refer to imparted righteousness, seldom to the Biblical concept of imputed righteousness. Calling it “Christ’s righteousness,” while insisting on the believer’s perfection of character as a prerequisite to salvation, is at worst a thinly veiled works salvation, or at best an attempt to mix grace and works, something the Bible says is impossible to do (Rom. 11:6). Mrs. White’s words are crystal clear — one will not be forgiven until all sins are eradicated from one’s life and one’s character is perfected. Precisely the same heresy is found (besides many others) in Mormonism. It is not the salvation by grace alone through faith alone offered in the Bible. 

5. Baptism. “… Christ made it clear that He required baptism of those who wished to become part of His church, His spiritual kingdom”; “In baptism believers enter into the passion experience of our Lord”; “… [B]aptism also marks [a] person’s entrance into Christ’s spiritual kingdom. … it unites the new believer to Christ.… Through baptism the Lord adds the new disciples to the body of believers — His body, the church.… Then they are members of God’s family” (SDAs Believe …, pp. 182, 184, 187). 

6. The Investigative Judgment. According to SDA theology, beginning on October 22, 1844, Christ entered upon the “judgment phase” of His ministry, whereby He blots out sin: [The SDA doctrine of the "Investigative Judgment" rests on Ellen G. White's claimed revelation that Christ entered the heavenly Holy of Holies, not at His ascension, but in 1844, wherein He then began to investigate the records of human works (TGC, pp. 362-373) (cf. Heb. 9).] “When Christ, by virtue of His own blood, removes the sins of His people from the heavenly sanctuary at the close of His ministration, He will place them upon Satan, who, in the execution of the judgment, must bear the final penalty” (TGC, p. 422). Satan, thereby, becomes the scapegoat of Leviticus 16. This lack of clear distinction between the forgiveness of sins and the blotting out of sins, makes it impossible for anyone to know, even in the hour of his death, whether he is saved or not. (SDAs are not “allowed” to experience assurance of salvation, because then there would be no pressure on them to keep the Old Testament law, as interpreted by Ellen G. White, and especially no pressure to pay the tithe.) Moreover, the concept that the sins of all men are to be laid on Satan, assigns to Satan an indispensable role in the blotting out of sin, thus nullifying the all-sufficiency of the finished work of Christ. [When Jesus said on the cross, "It is finished," i.e. completed, paid in full, it cannot be that there is yet another salvation event more than 1,800 years later, just as essential to salvation as Christ's death on the cross, in which one must believe in order to be saved. This is clearly "another gospel" (Gal. 1:6–9).]4 

The “Investigative Judgment” and the “Scapegoat Theory of the Atonement” are, by themselves, so non-Biblical as to contradict Galatians 1:8-9. It is “another gospel,” about which the Apostle Paul wrote, “let such be anathema” (i.e., cursed/condemned). Yet according to Ellen White, one must believe this doctrine to be saved: 

Those who would share the benefits of the Savior’s mediation should permit nothing to interfere with their duty to perfect holiness in the fear of God … The subject of the sanctuary and the Investigative Judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position [in the Holy of Holies] and work [Investigative Judgment] of their great High Priest. Otherwise it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time or to occupy the position which God designs for them to fill. Every individual has a soul to save or to lose. Each has a case pending at the bar of God … All who have received the light on these subjects are to bear testimony of the great truths which God has committed to them. The sanctuary in heaven is the very center of Christ’s work in behalf of men … It is of the utmost importance that all should thoroughly investigate these subjects … The intercession of Christ in man’s behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon a cross. By His death He began that work which after his resurrection He ascended to complete in Heaven” (TGC, pp. 488–89; emphasis added). 

7. The Sabbath. “In the last days, the Sabbath test will be made plain. When this time comes, anyone who does not keep the Sabbath will receive the mark of the beast and will be kept from heaven” (TGC, p. 449); “… [T]he divine institution of the Sabbath is to be restored … The delivering of this message will precipitate a conflict that will involve the whole world. The central issue will be obedience to God’s law and the observance of the Sabbath. … Those who reject it will eventually receive the mark of the beast” (TGC, pp. 262–63). In one of her most revered works, Ellen White wrote that Sabbath observance would be the “line of distinction” in the “final test” that will separate God’s end-time people who “receive the seal of God” and are saved, from those who “receive the mark of the beast” (The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan, p. 605). Describing a supposed vision direct from God, Ellen White wrote, “I saw that the Holy Sabbath is, and will be, the separating wall between the true Israel of God and unbelievers” (Early Writings, p. 33; emphasis added). She also wrote of some Adventists failing to understand that “Sabbath … observance was of sufficient importance to draw a line between the people of God and unbelievers” (Ibid., p. 85). 

SDAs have, thereby, made Sabbath-keeping a criterion for a personal relationship with the Lord — even to the extent of one’s salvation! Why? Because, according to SDAs, we are all to be under strict adherence to Old Testament Law, including the Ten Commandments, of which the fourth one says, “keep the Sabbath.” (This Sabbath-keeping requirement was supposedly confirmed in a vision received by Ellen G. White, rather than by study of the Bible.) SDAs believe that “Sunday-keeping” will be the mark of the beast in the future. 

8. Ellen G. White, the Prophet. Many rank-and-file SDA members deny that their organization any longer decrees Ellen G. White a God-inspired prophet. Yet in SDA official publications, the SDA church continues to defend Ellen White legends, and maintain there was no difference in the degree of inspiration she received from that received by Bible writers (Review & Herald, 4 October 1928, p. 11; “Source of Final Appeal,” Adventist Review, 3 June 1971, pp. 4–6; G. A. Irwin, Mark of the Beast, p. 1; “The Inspiration and Authority of the Ellen G. White Writings,” Adventist Review, 15 July 1982, p. 3; Ministry, October 1981, p. 8 (5); see also, Judged by the Gospel, pp. 125–130). And in the SDA June 2000, General Conference, the church voted to more aggressively affirm and support the “Spirit of Prophecy through the ministry of Ellen White” (Adventist Today, [online: July 2000]). 


* Besides relying heavily on the work of Dr. Whitcomb (1988  Syllabus notes), some of the material in this report has also been excerpted and or adapted from: “Seventh-day Adventist Church Profile,” Timothy Oliver (Watchman Fellowship Profile, 1996). 


Endnotes

1 The Bible lists six identifying marks of false prophets, any one of which is sufficient for identification: (1) through signs and wonders they lead astray after false gods (Dt. 13:1-4); (2) their prophecies don’t come to pass (Dt. 18:20-22); (3) they contradict God’s Word (Isa. 8:20); (4) they bear bad fruit (Mt. 7:18-20); (5) men speak well of them (Lk. 6:26); and (6) they deny that Jesus, the one and only Christ, has come once and for all in the flesh (1 Jn. 4:3), thereby denying His sufficiency in all matters of life and godliness (2 Pe. 1:3). Most cults are founded upon false prophecies, which, if pointed out, offer an effective way to open blind eyes and rescue cultists. SDA originated with similar false prophesies about Christ’s coming. It began with William Miller’s prediction that Christ would return in 1843 (revised to October 22, 1844). Miller admitted his error. However, SDA prophetess Ellen G. White (EGW), who had repeatedly endorsed Miller’s prophecy, insisted that Christ had indeed come, but not to earth. Instead, He had entered “the holy of holies” in heaven “to make an atonement for all who are shown to be entitled to its benefits” (The Great Controversy, p. 480). 

Number 17 of the “Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-Day Adventists” states: “The Gift of Prophecy: One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen G. White. As the Lord’s messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction.” Yet EGW made numerous false prophecies: that “Old Jerusalem never would be built up” (Early Writings, p. 75), that she would be alive at the Rapture (Early Writings, pp. 15-16), that Christ would return before slavery was abolished (Early Writings, pp. 35, 276), that Adventists living in 1856 would be alive at the Rapture (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3, pp. 131-132), and many more. Nevertheless, SDAs revere this false prophet’s writings as if they were Scripture. 

2 Nevertheless, SDAs are continuing their efforts to be identified as “evangelical Christians.” As an illustration of this effort, SDAs were very prominent at the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) held in San Francisco, November 19-21, 1992. They presented themselves in the printed program as the Adventist Theological Society (ATS). During the meetings, they conducted at least eight workshops/seminars open to all the members of the ETS, as well as a general meeting of their own ATS on Saturday morning, November 21st. Likewise, at the 1/97 National Religious Broadcasters Convention, the SDA’s “Voice of Prophecy” booth provided books and tapes of their programs, but there was no indication that this was an SDA organization. Christians need to be aware that cult groups like SDA often use the same Christian-sounding terminology, but the meanings of the words have been redefined. 

3 Many quotes could be given to prove that EGW taught salvation by works. Here are a few: 

(a) “Our acts, our words, even our most secret motives, all have their weight in deciding our destiny … though … forgotten by us, they [our works] will bear their testimony to justify or condemn” (TGC, pp. 486-490). 

(b) “When any have sins remaining upon the books of record, unrepented of and unforgiven, their names will be blotted out of the book of life …” (TGC, p. 483). 

(c) “Each one of you needs to … [be] working with your might to redeem the failures of your past life. God has placed you in a world of suffering to prove you, to see if you will be found worthy of the gift of eternal life” (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3, p. 530).
 

4 This teaching of the “Investigative Judgment” is the foundational doctrine and major heresy of Seventh-Day Adventism: that the atonement was not complete on the cross, but was begun in heaven in 1844 and depends upon our works. According to Ellen G. White (EGW), the blood of Christ, instead of making “an atonement for the soul” (Lv. 17:11) and “cleans[ing] us from all sin” (l Jn. 1:7), brought sin into heaven: “[O]ur sins are, in fact, transferred to the heavenly sanctuary by the blood of Christ” (Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 4, p. 266). Thus, Christ had to begin the work of cleansing the heavenly sanctuary (of sins His blood had brought there!) through the “Investigative Judgment.” EGW declared that “Ministers who would not accept this saving message” were hindering God’s work and “The blood of souls is upon them” (Early Writings, p. 234). Millerites who adopted this delusion became Seventh-Day Adventists. The whole concept of the Investigative Judgment is antithetical to the Gospel. Jesus did not wait until 1844 to enter the Holy of Holies in heaven (Heb. 1:3; 6:19–20; 8:1; 9:6–12, 24; 12:2). Neither is He still making an atonement in heaven (Heb. 9:25–26; 10:11–14). The Investigative Judgment proposes to “vindicate the justice of God in saving those who believe in Jesus,” by showing they were “loyal,” “penitent,” and “faithful” commandment keepers. This is an outrage. God’s justice in saving sinners is vindicated by Christ’s death on the cross, period (Rom. 3:24–26).
 

5 The SDA Church made this statement in their Ministry magazine of October 1981, and have never retracted it — “We believe the revelation and inspiration of both the Bible and Ellen White’s writings to be of equal quality. The superintendence of the Holy Spirit was just as careful and thorough in one case as in the other” (June 1997, The Baptist Challenge). (Bold added.) This sounds like SDAs also believe that Mrs. White is inerrant.

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, dispensationalism, emergent church, Life in America, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Ex-Christians: Are They Really EX? Grave Influence

36 Comments

  • 1. Simon  |  April 20, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    I should just add you have admittedly been very fair in allowing me to respond. I apologies if I suggested otherwise earlier. I also apologies if I wasn’t clear about certain things, such as the SDA position on baptism, although I was trying the find out why it was one of the eight ‘proofs’ we are a cult (still not entirely clear on that?)

    I am, however, still curious what the point of this blog is? You seem to suggest that non-Adventists like you and Adventists like me are never going to agree or convince each other? You also seem to suggest it is just about you sharing your opinion and not proselytising Adventists. But isn’t the whole purpose of your blog to try and convince Adventists like me, who are involved in this group and should see what it really is and leave our denomination?

    “Why am I taking the time to print anything about Seventh-day Adventism? For one reason, and one reason only: I would like those who are involved in this group to see it for what it is and having seen it for what it is, come out from them in order to gain authentic salvation.”

    Sorry I will stop commenting and let anyone else interested in commenting.

    • 2. modres  |  April 20, 2011 at 10:02 PM

      The purpose of my blog is like anyone else’s blog. First and foremost, it is designed to offer my opinion about Scripture and areas RELATED to Scripture. I view it like a sermon of sorts. While people have a right to disagree with me, I doubt that you would go up to the pastor and engage him in a debate immediately after the service.

      By the way, as I stated in the original article (though you may have not noticed it) was that it was a complete REPRINT from another source. This is why it APPEARS as though I was saying those words, but in reality, simply reprinting what someone else penned. The original article was prefaced with my comments clearly stating that it was a reprint.

      I wrote a book not long ago called “Apologetics Never Saved Anyone.” I meant it. Normally, people present their viewpoints and they are rarely open to other viewpoints. I will admit that for myself as well. It is too difficult to be completely objective when you have studied something for some time after which you have arrived at specific conclusions. I know of no one who can be completely objective after they have arrived at an opinion. A person who is that objective has not really formed any conclusive opinions at all.

      This has taught me that while it is fine to share opinions, it is absurd to believe that arguing or debating it will change minds. My calling – if you will – is to tell people about Jesus Christ, whether they listen or not (cf Ezekiel throughout). Of course, it is my hope that they do, but the reality is that it is my responsibility to TELL people about salvation. I cannot open people’s eyes because that is God’s job, not mine.

      Because I present my opinion about anything on this BLOG, it does not mean that I am inviting debate. People who read what I say should rationally understand that I have arrived at my opinions (like you) because of STUDY. Because of that, the idea that entering into a prolonged or protracted debate about my views (or yours) will somehow eventually change one of our viewpoints is a bit naive.

      God is the one who opens people’s eyes (mine included). If you read your rebuttals to me, they are very denigrating. You will win no one over with that and I can say that because I have done the same thing with others. It has helped me understand where my role and responsibility ends and God’s begins.

      As I say, I will be posting other information about Ellen G. White (though that is HARDLY the only topic I discuss here; take the time to peruse my entire BLOG and you will see for yourself) and you are welcome to comment BRIEFLY. Entering into any lengthy dialogue simply means that you believe that YOU can convince me (or anyone) of the position YOU hold, which is really a form of arrogance, in my view. If you read Scripture, Jesus RARELY discussed things with people. He simply PRESENTED information and left them to do what they would do with it.

  • 3. Simon  |  April 20, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    Modres I am not going to argue with you further, and this will be my last comment, because as you rightly say it is largely pointless.

    Huh. This is odd. You were going gung-ho before with up to five to ten posts at once. Now all of a sudden, you actually AGREE with me?

    You accused me of copping out and simply presenting propaganda, but now I am RIGHT?

    I do want to answer your request though if possible:

    “There is really something very odd here, Simon. You are way too polished to simply be a casual debater. In fact, the way this stuff rolls off your keyboard makes me believe that this may in fact be one of your main positions.

    Please tell me your first and last name, your full affiliations and connections with the SDA (besides simply being a member and attendee of an SDA group).”

    I do want to clarify I am not some professional SDA PR person nor employed by any Adventist Church or any affiliate organization as you suggest, nor do I have any professional theological training. I am just an ordinary lay person who has taken the time to research the various issues properly – although I am flattered that you thought my answers were too ‘polished’ for just a casual debater.

    I like to think I am the product of Adventist education, which as you may or may not know is the world’s second largest private education system (RCs are #1, although we are the #1 Protestant group).

    My actual occupation is a policy officer for a government department within WA. You should already have my personal email address – I have to give it every time I make a comment – if you don’t I can send it.

    Ha! That’s too funny! Who would have thought?

    If you email me your own personal details, including your own full name and personal email address, and own Church affiliation and position, then I can email back my full name and affiliations – obviously I am not going to publish it publicly on this post for reason of identify fraud etc. I can even then send a reply from my work email if you require, which gives my proper name, title and position as a public servant, and demonstrates I am in fact just a casual debater.

    First of all, I am unaware of how anyone can steal your identity by simply knowing your name, since it is likely on the Internet already, someplace. In fact, it takes only a few dollars and a few minutes to do a background check on anyone. I have e-mailed you privately before, but you have never responded. I’ll try it again though in case you did not receive my first one.

    If I DO hear from you, I will simply say that I did here on this blog. The same applies if I do NOT hear from you. I will not provide any personal information here; just a “yes” I heard from you, or “no” I didn’t.

    My personal e-mail address is not a secret at all: It’s fred_deruvo@hotmail.com, which is what this blog is associated with and is my personal e-mail.

    As for my church, we attend a local church that is part of the International Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. My only affiliation with them is that my wife and I are members and I teach adult Bible classes from time to time.

    Beyond that, I have my own ministry that is completely separate from our local church.

    P.S. SDAs don’t believe baptism is essential for salvation as you wrongly suggest, “For instance, your reference to baptism above makes it sound as if without water baptism, there is really no salvation.” We 100% agree with your statement that, “A person becomes a Christian solely based on faith. The thief on the cross (Luke 21) because a believer obviously, yet was never baptized.”

    As a practical example, there are many 20-30 year old in my local Church who have not been baptized yet, and no one would suggest they are dammed to hell until they take the plunge. Ironically, it is the ‘mainstream’ Protestant Churches and the RC who are more inclined to believe that without baptism there is no salvation – or at best limbo – that is why they practice infant baptism.

    I disagree with your reference that the “mainline” protestant churches are more inclined to believe that without water baptism there is no salvation. With the Roman Catholic Church, yes, but not the mainline protestant denominations…but there you go again, trying very hard to show that OTHER denominations are incorrect and it has been the SDA group that has been right all along.

    If I misunderstood you, it was because of it appears you misstated what you meant. If you go back and read your own comments, I’m sure you’ll be able to readily see how I understood you to be implying that salvation was necessary for salvation.

    Simon, I have a difficult time believing that you are a “casual debater” as you say, but maybe your definition of it is far different than mine. Your entire blog is dedicated to attempting to prove that SDAs are not part of a cult and that SDA theology is more correct or at least AS correct as others.

    I’m sorry, but it simply appears as though you are trying to present yourself as something you are not. In fact, you protest way too much, in my opinion.

    As I have stated to you before, I realize there are people who consider me to be heretical because of my belief in the PreTrib Rapture. I could care less. You on the other hand seem to have this burr under your saddle that causes you to think that you need to hammer people into admitting that they are wrong and you are right.

    You are NEVER going to stop people from thinking that SDA is a cult, no more than I will be able to stop some from believing that I am a heretic because of my PreTrib Rapture position. Yet, you persist.

    I do not see the need to personally e-mail you with the same information I have provided in this post. Simply copy and paste my e-mail address into your mail program and send me your information. I’ll look forward to hearing from you, Simon.

    Oh, and I WILL be presenting my OPINION on aspects of Ellen G. White’s theology, starting with her Investigative Judgment. You are welcome to comment…as long as you can find a way to be BRIEF.

    • 4. Simon  |  April 20, 2011 at 9:12 PM

      I have replied to you. I am happy to keep discussing issues with you if you want – it is up to you.

      God Bless

      • 5. modres  |  April 20, 2011 at 9:44 PM

        Yes, you have replied. Thank you.

        I welcome BRIEF comments, Simon. I am not interested in debating at all. I provide an opinion. If you feel the need, offer a counter…and then let it go. If you are unable to do that, then it would probably be best not to comment.

        By the way, noting where you are in the world, I would think you would have a greater desire to root out the radical Muslim element that seems to be overtaking areas of your world, as opposed to using your time trying to convince people that SDA is not a cult. Obviously, that’s up to you.

  • 6. modres  |  April 19, 2011 at 11:35 PM

    Simon, since you said I was “copping out” by not wanting to debate you, I’d like to point out that I have allowed SIXTEEN of your comments and have responded to many of them.

    I am NOT opposed to discussion. I am OPPOSED to worthless debate. Take it somewhere else. Have I been clear enough for you, Simon?

  • 7. Simon  |  April 19, 2011 at 11:05 PM

    Brother, I already have my own blog and am happy to take the discussion there: http://adventistcultmisconceptions.blogspot.com

    You say, “Debate has never been of interest to me at all.” I am sorry brother but that is a cop-out. You can’t create a blog called “Seventh-Day Adventism Orthodox or Cult?” and then offer eight ‘proofs’ that the SDA Church is a cult and then complain when someone takes the time to respond to each of those ‘proofs’. This is especially the case when you made the statement, with respect rather arrogantly, that these ‘proofs’ are “impossible for SDAs to disprove.”
    You also say, “I’m not interested in giving you space here to continually post YOUR comments. That’s not the purpose of MY blog. It is an area for me to make comments, statements, and deal with issues I feel are important.” So what you are in effect saying is, “I have created a blog claiming the SDA Church is not ‘orthodox’ but a ‘cult’, and here are eight proofs in support. These proofs are so watertight that they are impossible for SDAs to disprove. However, given this is my blog, no one is allowed to make any sort of considered, articulated response to them.” There is a word for that my friend – propaganda.
    My concern with this blog is not my own insecurities of belief – as you can see I have formulated a well-thought out response to each of your eight ‘proofs’. It is you, not me, who appears reluctant actually to debate the eight ‘proofs’ you claim are impossible for SDA to disprove.
    My primary concern is that a person interested in Adventism, or someone new to the faith, will search the internet, find the information contained in this blog, and get the wrong impression about the SDA Church based on your factually incorrect information. That is my concern and it is wholly legitimate.

    • 8. modres  |  April 19, 2011 at 11:20 PM

      I can absolutely create my own blog and STILL say that debate is not interesting, or that it is pointless. You call it a cop-out, but that’s too bad. I completely disagree with your opinion and using the name-calling tactic to supposedly shame me into allowing you free reign on this blog will not work.

      “So what you are in effect saying is, “I have created a blog claiming the SDA Church is not ‘orthodox’ but a ‘cult’, and here are eight proofs in support. These proofs are so watertight that they are impossible for SDAs to disprove. However, given this is my blog, no one is allowed to make any sort of considered, articulated response to them.” There is a word for that my friend – propaganda.”

      Simon, I have NEVER stated or implied that my opinions as to SDA are watertight. I have also NEVER implied or refused to allow any differing opinions. Dude, WAKE UP. I have allowed MANY of your comments and if you would take the time to peruse my blog, you will CLEARLY see that I have done so for others as well. I have repeatedly stated that DEBATE is pointless and it is!

      Jesus NEVER debated. He simply stated.

      There is a point when discussion becomes counter-productive and ridiculous. This so-called conversation is quickly coming to that point if it is not already there…

      “My primary concern is that a person interested in Adventism, or someone new to the faith, will search the internet, find the information contained in this blog, and get the wrong impression about the SDA Church based on your factually incorrect information. That is my concern and it is wholly legitimate.”

      Then you have absolutely NO faith in God. Whether your concern is legitimate or not is not the issue. You apparently believe that anytime anyone says anything that you do not agree with, they MUST allow you ample time and opportunity to provide your opposing position on THEIR blog. That my friend, is nothing less than demagoguery.

  • 9. Simon  |  April 19, 2011 at 6:09 AM

    You said in the intro, “As can be seen, it is well documented and because of it, impossible for SDAs to disprove.” I think I have done quite well in showing it is in fact quite possible, easy in fact, to disprove your supposedly unassailable point.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if you just deleted my comments, rather than actually attempt to address them intellectually. I offer my apologies in advance if you don’t delete my comments. If you do delete them, although no one else but you and I will ever see this, we will always both know at the bottom of our hearts that this blog was nothing but unsubstantiated propaganda.

    I know that I am saved by the blood of Jesus Christ through faith alone, and not by works, and don’t need someone like you suggesting otherwise. With respect, I suggest you look at the plank in your own eye before worrying about anyone else’s soul.

    P.S. It would help if each of your various points were a different web page. Also, to be fair you should really state what your own Christian beliefs are before making accusations against other people’s.

    • 10. modres  |  April 19, 2011 at 6:19 AM

      Simon, my suggestion is that you start your own blog. I’ve grown tired of responding to your posts. Debate has never been of interest to me at all. This does NOT mean that I arrogantly believe that I am right all the time or that I am not interested in honest discussion.

      The point for me is simple: there is PLENTY of information on SDA on the Web, and in books. What I have tried to do – and will continue to do over time – is point out what I believe are the weaknesses of Ellen G. White’s theology, which is the foundation for Seventh-day Adventism. Of course, you will continue to disagree with my points. Does that mean I have to post every one of your comments and take the time to discuss or even argue each point? Hardly.

      If you are so concerned that my understanding of SDA is wrong, then my suggestion would be for you to start your own blog. I’m not interested in giving you space here to continually post YOUR comments. That’s not the purpose of MY blog. It is an area for me to make comments, statements, and deal with issues I feel are important.

      I don’t mind when people disagree with me. I simply have no time for a running dialogue with you. It is too time consuming and therefore, counter productive. Short replies from you or anyone else is fine. You are treating this though as if this is your board and your posts as lengthy as they are should be allowed. If I were to take the time to respond to every point you raise, I would have little time for anything else.

      I’m sorry that you and I disagree. I’m sorry that you believe I am attacking your beliefs. I’m also sorry that you think I am going about this the wrong way. I could provide a statement of faith as you suggest, which would mean nothing to some. When Mormons come to my door or Jehovah’s Witnesses, they use the exact same terminology that I use. However, they also use a completely different meaning. Words alone are not enough sometimes. It would take a good deal of time to adequately explain what I mean by certain terms and phrases and in the end, we would simply wind up arguing over that.

      Your insecurities about what I think of SDA is telling. Work on that. Get to the point where if someone calls you a heretic, it doesn’t bother you. I’ve gotten to that point over my views of Eschatology and the fact that many disagree with me, sometimes vehemently. I have no need to prove myself to them.

      I’m sure you understand.

      • 11. Simon  |  April 19, 2011 at 11:03 PM

        Brother, I already have my own blog and am happy to take the discussion there: http://adventistcultmisconceptions.blogspot.com
        However, I can’t take the discussion there as long as you continue to have a blog stating factually incorrect information as to why the SDA Church is supposedly not ‘orthodox’ but rather a ‘cult’.

        You say, “Debate has never been of interest to me at all.” I am sorry brother but that is a cop-out. You can’t create a blog called “Seventh-Day Adventism Orthodox or Cult?” and then offer eight ‘proofs’ that the SDA Church is a cult and then complain when someone takes the time to respond to each of those ‘proofs’. This is especially the case when you made the statement, with respect rather arrogantly, that these ‘proofs’ are “impossible for SDAs to disprove.” Did you seriously think no one would challenge you?

        You also say, “I’m not interested in giving you space here to continually post YOUR comments. That’s not the purpose of MY blog. It is an area for me to make comments, statements, and deal with issues I feel are important.” So what you are in effect saying is, “I have created a blog claiming the SDA Church is not ‘orthodox’ but a ‘cult’, and here are eight proofs in support. These proofs are so watertight that they are impossible for SDAs to disprove. However, given this is my blog, no one is allowed to make any sort of considered, articulated response to them.”

        There is a word for that my friend – propaganda. Is your blog one-sided propaganda? Are you afraid to actually back up what you say and by scripture? If not, perhaps you should reconsider having this blog at all?

        My concern with this blog is not my own insecurities of belief – as you can see I have formulated a well-thought out response to each of your eight ‘proofs’. It is you, not me, who appears reluctant actually to debate the eight ‘proofs’ you claim are impossible for SDA to disprove.

        My primary concern is that a person interested in Adventism, or someone new to our faith, will search the internet, find the information contained in this blog, and get the wrong impression about the SDA Church based on your factually incorrect information. That is my concern and it is wholly legitimate.

  • 12. modres  |  April 19, 2011 at 6:03 AM

    Sorry, I will not allow a link that goes to a biased source. If people want to rebut my arguments, they are free to search the Internet or any other source on their own.

  • 13. Simon  |  April 19, 2011 at 5:57 AM

    Re #7, are you saying the Ten Commandments no longer apply – if so, that would appear to make you the cult, as the ‘orthodox’ creeds of Christendom uphold the enduring applicability of them – including the 4th.

    What do you say the Mark of the Beast is then – I would be interested to know?

    • 14. modres  |  April 19, 2011 at 6:06 AM

      No, I did not really say the Ten Commandments no longer apply. They no longer apply for SALVATION because Jesus fulfilled all aspects of the law in our place. This does not exempt us from keeping the Ten Commandments. In fact, being an authentic Christian ALLOWS us to obey the Ten Commandments. Failing to keep them does not cause us to lose salvation, or be thrown in hell.

      The Mark of the Beast will be an actual mark – as noted in Revelation – in which people will have to have it tattooed on their foreheads or hands in order to buy or sell. There is absolutely no reason to allegorize Scripture here as SDAs have done. It appears to be a literal mark that people must adopt, by order of the False Prophet.

      • 15. Simon  |  April 19, 2011 at 10:46 PM

        Good, then we basically agree. Adventists also agree that salvation is by faith alone through grace – justification. However, as an expression of our love for God, and His good work in us, but not by our efforts that we should boast, grace allows us to obey the Ten Commandments – sanctification. Yes you are correct, failing to keep the Moral Law does not result in going to hell, because otherwise we would all be doomed wouldn’t we, given ‘All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’ (Rom 2:23).

        Again, on that I am pretty sure my views are the same as yours, and on that basis not sure how this point is ‘proof’ I am anything but ‘orthodox’ and instead belong to a ‘cult’.

        Furthermore, in terms of your comment, “being an authentic Christian ALLOWS us to obey the Ten Commandments”, do really mean what you say? If so – what do you do when you get to the fourth commandment in Ex 20:8-11 – just gloss over it?

        You said we need to read the Bible literally – ok – it literally says, “the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your Gody” (v10). Note it doesn’t say to keep one day in seven holy but “the” seventh-day. Or are you picking and choosing what things should be read literally and what things should be read figuratively? I am pretty sure all the commandments here are literal – thou shall not steal, thou shall not murder etc.

        Moreover, do you believe the fourth commandment is merely a ceremonial law for Jews, in which case what you really mean to say is, “being an authentic Christian ALLOWS us to obey nine of the Ten Commandments”? In fact, what about the third commandment, because it is not mentioned in the New Testament at all – was it also then a ceremonial law and are Christians free to take the Lord’s name in vain?

        I find it hard to believe personally that Christians are demanding the Ten Commandments appear in our courthouses and public buildings, and at the same time, these same Christians are calling Adventists a cult because they suggest Christians should honor ALL of those same Ten Commandments. If I said Christians should not worship false gods, make idols, say the Lord’s name in vain, murder, steal or commit adultery, (Jam 2:8-12) but made it clear such works did not in itself earn salvation, I don’t think you would call me a member of a ‘cult’. And yet, as soon as I say the fourth commandment still applies, because it too is about worship of God as creator who made the earth in six days and rested on the seventh, Christians like you say, ‘Legalist, legalist, legalist’! That really isn’t fair.

        Talking about Bible quotes, I would be very interested to know how you interpret:

        – Gen 2:2-3, which shows the Sabbath was instituted at creation (and note before sin even existed, so it wasn’t just part of the Jewish sacrificial system);

        – Is 66:22, which shows people will worship God on the Sabbath in heaven and on the new earth (which again shows it has nothing to do with ceremonial shadows of Judaism and applies to all mankind); and

        – Mar 2:27, which shows Jesus’ affirmed the Sabbath belonged to all mankind, not just for Jews.

        For the avoidance of doubt, the belief that the Sabbath will be the Seal of God does not mean that we believe Sabbath-keeping is some way of obtaining salvation other than by grace. For example, you say the Mark of the Beast is a literal mark. Thus, I take it then that those who ‘do’ the good ‘work’ of rejecting that mark of the False Prophet will be saved and not be sent to hell? In turn, I take it that doing the ‘work’ of rejecting the mark does not ‘earn’ such a person salvation, but rather rejecting the literal mark will be an outside sign that a person has accepted Jesus Christ’s free gift of salvation?

        In conclusion, the argument between faith and works is as old as Christianity itself (keeping in mind James chapter 2). I would particularly be interested to know what view you prescribe to: Prevenient Grace, Irresistible Grace or Actual Grace – to name just a few? Thus, the Adventist position is no different from the multitude of views held within the wide spectrum of ‘orthodox’ and ‘mainstream’ Christianity, and your ‘proof’ does not demonstrate the SDA Church is a cult.

      • 16. modres  |  April 19, 2011 at 11:32 PM

        Simon, I do not think you are genuinely interested in my opinion at all. I think you are simply using baiting tactics to draw me into debate.

        From my own personal study of SDA, I do not believe that you and I agree on MEANING though we may use the same words.

        Again, I am stymied why you believe it is that important for you to continually debate.

        As I’m looking over some of your comments, it is patently clear that you simply love to debate. You absolutely love it. Why? Because it props YOU up and makes YOU feel as though you have gained something over another person.

        Frankly Simon, I believe you to be extremely disingenuous.

        I could enter into a discussion with you about Gen 2, Is 66 and Mark 2. Again, for WHAT purpose? I disagree with your conclusions, but that is not enough for you. You want to debate VERBIAGE. You want to debate the debate! You are no more interested in my actual opinion on these or other matters than anything else. You are here to simply slam-dunk your own opinions and beliefs about SDAs and the beliefs that are known and interpret Scripture in that vein hoping that I will be silenced by your grandiose ability to argue. It is nothing more than pride on a stick here, Simon.

        You have your own blog, but you SAY that you are concerned about people seeing what you consider to be erroneous beliefs about SDA which may cause them to doubt the alleged veracity of SDA. This is asinine! Do you actually believe you can get around to all the Web sites that propose the types of things against SDA that currently exists on the Web? Do you believe you can do that with all the books and articles that have been written? Do you believe that God is not able to draw those individuals to Himself in spite of what you consider to be ERROR on my own blog?

        All you are really doing Simon is arguing WORDS. That’s it. You deftly recategorize and manipulate my words about the Mark of the Beast to insinuate that we essentially mean the same thing, yet my original comment was that THERE ARE SDAs OUT THERE WHO FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT THE MARK OF THE BEAST HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH WORSHIPPING ON THE SABBATH! Both Doug Batchelor and Steve Wohlberg believe it. There are SDAs who FIRMLY believe that the SDA church is the ONLY true Church of Jesus Christ.

        Now, you can try to go round and round with me on that, by stating things like “they are in the minority” etc., but the truth is that these people exist.

        Maybe your time would be better spent in attempting to CORRECT the erroneous beliefs of those who call themselves SDAs and according to you – are putting a large BLIGHT on the SDA name, instead of trying to correct what you consider to be my wrong thinking.

  • 17. Simon  |  April 19, 2011 at 5:48 AM

    Re #5, not sure what your point is here? Adventists practice full baptism by immersion using the Trinitarian formular – or are you advocating the baptism of infants through sprinkling? Either way, about half of ‘orthodox’ Christianity does the same as the SDA Church.

    Could you please clarify the allegation?

    Thanks

    • 18. modres  |  April 19, 2011 at 6:08 AM

      It amazes me how absolutely NONE of your replies have had ANY Scripture references in them at all. You rebut my comments with this theologian or that one; this Presbytery or that one; this Catholic belief or that one.

      I think your words speak for themselves as they are devoid of Biblical foundation.

      • 19. Simon  |  April 19, 2011 at 9:20 PM

        Brother, you hardly use a single Bible verse either. For example, show me where there is a Bible verse in relation to this topic of Baptism:

        5. Baptism. “… Christ made it clear that He required baptism of those who wished to become part of His church, His spiritual kingdom”; “In baptism believers enter into the passion experience of our Lord”; “… [B]aptism also marks [a] person’s entrance into Christ’s spiritual kingdom. … it unites the new believer to Christ.… Through baptism the Lord adds the new disciples to the body of believers — His body, the church.… Then they are members of God’s family” (SDAs Believe …, pp. 182, 184, 187).

        I can hardly see a Bible verse in your whole piece. One could thus argue that your words are clearly devoid of Biblical foundation.

        You are also arguably worse, because you say the SDA Church believes things that it doesn’t actually believe. That is just shows either deception or ill research.

        People in glass houses…

        The point of quoting non-Adventist sources is not to convince you of the correctness of my position, but merely to illustrate that you can’t go around calling the SDA Church a ‘cult’ when our views are shared by a number of other ‘orthodox’ and ‘mainstream’ Christian groups and scholars.

        You still haven’t answered my question either – what exactly about the Adventist position on baptism, being of adults by full immersion in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is ‘proof’ that we are not ‘orthodox’ but in fact a ‘cult’?

      • 20. modres  |  April 19, 2011 at 10:58 PM

        Actually Simon, what I’m getting from you is that you love to argue. In fact, it appears that you have a very argumentative spirit.

        The main concern I have is that you have this need to prove that you are not involved in a cult. If you truly believe that, it should not matter to you what I think. The other thing I’m getting from you is that you remind me of a number of Mormons I have talked with. They quote this or that, refer to this history or that one and are well read (as you are), but this in and of itself does not really matter at the root of things.

        For instance, your reference to baptism above makes it sound as if without water baptism, there is really no salvation. The baptism that Jesus speaks of (that brings people into His Body) is the baptism of the Holy Spirit which John the Baptismt refers to in Luke 3 when He says that one is coming whose sandals he is not worthy to untie and He will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with power.

        A person becomes a Christian solely based on faith. The thief on the cross (Luke 21) because a believer obviously, yet was never baptized.

        We do not enter into the passion experience of our Lord through baptism. It is completely symbolic of dying and being raised again. For the Jew during the time of Jesus, water baptism marked a public declaration that they were breaking with Judaism to follow Jesus. This in itself was something that caused them to be disowned by their family for leaving Judaism.

        It is NOT that the SDA position on water baptism is not orthodox in its form. The SDA position (as you have explained it above) is heretical (in my view) because it essentially states that without water baptism, there is NO salvation. This is a WORK. Of course you will disagree with that and then we could go round and round. Again, I’m not interested in going round and round, but apparently you have more time than I do.

        No, I think for the time being, I will focus on Ellen G. White herself and go from there.

  • 21. Simon  |  April 19, 2011 at 5:46 AM

    Re #4, you say “SDA teaches that, though saved by grace, we are kept by the Law (i.e., “partial atonement”).” Sorry this is just plain wrong again – we don’t believe that. You have just taken one Ellen White quote completely out of context. Adventists also don’t keep ceremonial laws – the Sabbath is part of the Moral Law, and dietry laws fall within sundry laws.

    You need to check out the Presbyterian (Calvinist) Westminster Confession of Faith (1643) or perhaps Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologica, I-II, q. 100 – if you don’t understand the difference between the moral (10 commandments), ceremonial and sundry (civil) aspects of the Mosaic Law.

    Or are you advocating Antinomianism, which is considered heresy by most ‘mainstream’ and ‘orthodox’ Christian groups. And who then is ‘orthodox’ and who is a ‘cult’?

    • 22. Simon  |  April 19, 2011 at 9:12 PM

      I see you have not responded to my points here. Again, you say in your introduction that the SDA that the whole premise of calling Adventism a ‘cult’ is because supposedly, “Seventh-day Adventism is simply another religious group that believes that salvation is obtained AND maintained by works…” Just in case you didn’t understand before, as noted in SDA publication Questions on Doctrine, ADVENTISTS DO NOT BELIEVE WE OBTAIN SALVATION BY WORKS:

      “There has been regrettable misunderstanding as to our teaching on grace, law, and works, and their inter-relationships. According to Seventh-day Adventist belief, there is, and can be, no salvation through the law, or by human works of the law, but only through the saving grace of God. This principle, to us, is basic. This transcendent provision of the grace of God is emphasized both in the Old and the New Testament, although the truth of God’s wondrous grace reaches its fullest unfolding, and most complete manifestation, in the New Testament times and record….

      Salvation is not now, and never has been, by law or works; salvation is only by the grace of Christ. Moreover, there never was a time in the plan of God when salvation was by human works or effort. Nothing men can do, or have done, can in any way merit salvation. While works are not a means of salvation, good works are the inevitable result of salvation. However, these good works are possible only for the child of God whose life is inwrought by the Spirit of God. It is to such believers that John writes when he bids them keep the commandments of God (1 John 3:22-24; 5:2, 3). This relationship and sequence is imperative, but is often misunderstood or reversed.”

      I am sure you will counter by saying – but Ellen White taught you are saved by works and not by grace – no she didn’t! Not that we rely on Ellen White for our doctrinal authority anyway, as you wrongly suggest, but she said:

      “He who is trying to become holy by his own works in keeping the law, is attempting an impossibility. All that man can do without Christ is polluted with selfishness and sin. It is the grace of Christ alone, through faith, that can make us holy” — Steps to Christ (1892), pp. 64, 65

      “Grace is an attribute of God exercised toward undeserving human beings. We did not seek for it, but it was sent in search of us. God rejoices to bestow His grace upon us, not because we are worthy, but because we are so utterly unworthy. Our only claim to His mercy is our great need.” —The Ministry of Healing, p 161.”

      “We owe everything to grace, free grace, sovereign grace. Grace in the covenant ordained our adoption. Grace in the Saviour effected our redemption, our regeneration, and our adoption to heirship with Christ.” —Testimonies for the Church (1882), vol. 6, 268.

      “He who is trying to become holy by his own works in keeping the law, is attempting an impossibility. All that man can do without Christ is polluted with selfishness and sin. It is the grace of Christ alone, through faith, that can make us holy.” —Steps to Christ (1892), pp. 64, 65.

      Thus, this is not a ‘proof’ that Adventists are a cult, because we actually believe the same as most Christians, including you!

      • 23. modres  |  April 19, 2011 at 11:01 PM

        Actually, you use verbiage that makes you sound as if you believe exactly as I do. The Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses do the same. On one hand you say that it is all grace, grace, grace, yet without water baptism, the individual does not truly enter into the Body of Christ. So which is it – grace, grace, grace, or grace, plus one work?

      • 24. modres  |  April 19, 2011 at 11:01 PM

        Actually, you use verbiage that makes you sound as if you believe exactly as I do. The Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses do the same. On one hand you say that it is all grace, grace, grace, yet without water baptism, the individual does not truly enter into the Body of Christ. So which is it – grace, grace, grace, or grace, plus one work?

  • 25. Simon  |  April 19, 2011 at 5:40 AM

    Re issue #3, Christology, yes it is true that some Adventists have this view, but it is not the official position nor even the majority position within Adventism. In fact, the SDA Church’s official position is actually to stay out of the debate:

    “However, the church has wisely not elucidated in a doctrinal statement the specific nature of Jesus’ human nature.”

    Even those historic Adventists who have this view, it isn’t really that heretical, because it is more consistent with the Eastern Orthodox view and shared by many other notable Christian scholars, including: Edward Irving, Thomas Erskine, Herman Kohlbrugge, Eduard Bohl, Karl Barth, T. F. Torrance, Nels Ferre, C. E. B. Cranfield, Harold Roberts, Lesslie Newbigin, E. Stauffer, Anders Nygren, C. K. Barrett, and Eric Baker.

    The view isn’t that Jesus actually sinned, as you wrongly suggest, but merely He inherited the same weaknesses as the rest of fallen mankind. You may not be able to recognise the nuanced difference, but prominent Lutheran theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg in Jesus—God and Man (1964) tried to explain it this way:

    “The conception that at the Incarnation God did not assume human nature in its corrupt sinful state but only joined Himself with a humanity absolutely purified from all sin contradicts not only the anthropological radicality of sin, but also the testimony of the New Testament and of early Christian theology that the Son of God assumed sinful flesh and in sinful flesh itself overcame sin.” (emphasis added)

    • 26. modres  |  April 19, 2011 at 5:55 AM

      I note you provided three separate statements, and I can honestly say that – in my opinion – you are wrong on many counts. First, you look to other people and a growing number of people who supposedly adhere to or have adopted outright, the numerous beliefs of SDA. That proves absolutely nothing.

      The only proof that should be seen is that from God’s Word alone.

      But let me address your one key point regarding the sin nature and Jesus alleged weaknesses. First, Paul clearly states that there was absolutely no sin in Him. It is also clear from Scripture (many parts) that Jesus did NOT have a sin nature. This makes all the difference in the world!

      To have human weaknesses such as becoming ill, or growing fatigued and hungry or thirsty has nothing directly to do with a sin nature or not. Jesus was tempted in every way that the average person is tempted however, He remained sinless. That is due to the fact that He was/is God and had NO sin nature. In other words, all of the temptation that came upon Jesus attacked Him from outside. There was nothing within Him that temptation could unite to bring Him down.

      You are quoting human beings and pointing to them as if by itself, this argument proves your point. It proves nothing. For instance, I do not take Karl Barth (as merely one example) as the bastion of truth. He was far from it in my opinion. Your Lutheran theologian – Wolfart Pannenberg – is wrong, in my view. Jesus came in the LIKENESS of sinful flesh. In other words, He appeared every bit human because He was/is HUMAN. That’s as far as it went. To suggest that Jesus’ body, mind, emotions, or anything else was somehow affected by the sin nature, though He Himself was without sin, is wrong, in my view.

      You believe Ellen G. White to have been a prophet. That’s absolute garbage in my opinion and I’m sorry if that offends you. Her associations with people like Charles Taze Russell (Jehovah’s Witnesses) and others clearly casts a long shadow on her as a prophet. Her own brand of theology precludes her from this honor as well.

      While the SDA Church’s “official position is actually to stay out of the debate,” that does not solve the problem or avoid the issue. If SDA is unwilling to enter the debate about the nature of Jesus, they do so because they are either unable to rectify certain problems in White’s theology, or because they themselves cannot adequately explain the nature of Jesus as the God-Man.

      It’s sad that you have to go to Lutheran or Catholic scholars instead of being able to support your own views from the theology of someone you consider to be a prophet – Ellen G. White. When doing so, it becomes apparent that either White did not choose the best words to describe what she believed (allowing people to think that she believed Jesus sinned or had a sin nature), or the powers that be within the SDA do not really know what the truth is all about.

      • 27. Simon  |  April 19, 2011 at 9:02 PM

        Modres, I think you fail to understand that I 100% agree with your theological position on the nature of Christ. I likewise believe in original sin and believe that Jesus had the nature of Adam before the fall. I agree that Jesus remained totally sinless. That is the point you are missing – the majority of SDAs today share your view – I am not against you but for you!

        My other point is that the view you consider ‘heretical’, that Jesus Christ had the nature of sinful Adam after the fall, is only shared by a minority of Adventists on the conservative wing of the SDA Church.

        My other point is that whilst I agree with you and disagree with them, I wouldn’t say what conservative Adventists believe is ‘cultish’, because their view is shared by a huge portion of Christianity, including famous Christian scholars. Thus, they have just as much right to be called ‘orthodox’ as we do – arguably they have more right, because our view was formulated later by St Augustine as part of his notion of original sin.

        Furthermore, you criticise the SDA Church for having no ‘official position’ on the topic and not using Ellen White – I don’t really understand the argument? Are you criticising the SDA Church for being too tolerant and open minded about this issue, and not being authoritarian enough in forcing Adventists to chose a position? Or are you complaining that I or the SDA Church relies on the Bible other than Ellen White for a doctrinal position – I thought you were criticising us for doing the reverse?

        Do you know the SDA Church has no ‘creed’, and acknowledges that it may have to change its positions from time-to-time as new biblical light is given. As a result, we are in fact extremely theologically tolerant of different views. This topic is a case in point – you are trying to represent the views of a faction of the SDA Church as applying to the whole Church – it isn’t! Is your Church so open minded? Does such tolerance to different and dissentign views seems to be the conduct of a cult?

        You also say it is “sad that you have to go to Lutheran or Catholic scholars instead of being able to support your own views from the theology of someone you consider to be a prophet – Ellen G. White.” I didn’t quote Ellen White further because she didn’t actually have a firm stance one way or the other re this topic of Christology – your one quote has been selectively taken out of context. In fact, there are prominent Adventist scholars who say Ellen White supported your position (and mine) re Christ’s sinless nature: see Norman R. Gulley, “Behold the Man,” Adventist Review, June 30, 1983.

        Despite what you think, Adventists actually believe doctrines of the Church have to be proven from the Bible, not just Ellen White. As the Bible is obviously unclear (as proven by the huge amount of Christians who have different views of the subject), so the Adventist position is still largely undecided. The official SDA Church can’t have an official position, because the two different wings of the Church claim their view is the correct one (and remember one of those wings support your view and mine), and try to use quote Ellen White to boot in support!

        Also, despite what you think, Ellen White was not the founder of the SDA Church nor was she the author of out distinct doctrines – they were all formulated by other people, including: Rachel Oaks Preston (Sabbath), Hiram Edson and Owen Crosier (Heavenly Sanctuary), Uriah Smith (Soul Sleep), John Litch (Investigative Judgment), J. N. Andrews (eschatology). It may also surprise you that Ellen White’s main role was actually to attack the more heretical views of some early pioneers, and drive the Church towards ‘orthodoxy’ of ‘mainstream’ Christianity, including opposing: Arianism and Pantheism (and supporting the Trinity), and Legalism (and supporting justification by faith alone through grace). Thus, we don’t believe Ellen White is infallible, or that her counsel is equal to the Bible, but she had a clear role in ‘edifying’ the early movement in accordance with the hallmarks of the spiritual gift of prophesy (1 Cor 14:1-4).

        Finally, for outsiders like yourself, who reject Ellen White’s spiritual gift, she must seem one of the most bizarre false prophets in all history – because without her the SDA Church would be even more ‘cult-like’. Perhaps it is for this reason that non-Adventist scholars, including Walter Martin and Kenneth Samples from the Christian Research Institute, whilst rejecting Ellen White’s characterisation as a ‘prophet’, have nevertheless called her ‘a genuine Christian believer’.

        In conclusion, this is no ‘proof’ that the SDA Church is a cult because the majority of Seventh-day Adventists, including myself, again have the exact same belief as you do on the subject of Christ’s sinless nature!

      • 28. modres  |  April 19, 2011 at 11:11 PM

        I am aware that Walter Martin did not classify SDA as a cult. Would you like me to quote some noted scholars who DO classify SDA as a cult?

        Again, the point really rests entirely upon your continued desire to establish that SDA is NOT a cult. The fact that my view matters to you is strange indeed. In fact, you remind me of a PR person for SDA. It seems to be your job to run around trying to find people who call SDA a cult and head them off at the pass. There is something extremely weird about this. Most people offer an opinion or two and leave it at that. Not you. You want to drill it into the ground.

        I really don’t like some of your comments either. “As the Bible is obviously unclear (as proven by the huge amount of Christians who have different veiws on the subject)…” On one hand, you prove my point that there are factions within the SDA group that oppose one another, but the more important point is that you claim the Bible to be unclear. Just because people cannot agree on what Scripture says is NOT the fault of Scripture at all, yet this is your implication.

        There is really something very odd here, Simon. You are way too polished to simply be a casual debater. In fact, the way this stuff rolls off your keyboard makes me believe that this may in fact be one of your main positions.

        Please tell me your first and last name, your full affiliations and connections with the SDA (besides simply being a member and attendee of an SDA group).

        Thanks.

  • 29. Simon  |  April 19, 2011 at 4:37 AM

    If SDAs are a cult for believing in conditional immortality (soul sleep), what do people think of a number of modern Christian and Jewish scholars who are increasingly sharing this view? For example, notable scholars who have challenged the idea of a separate immortal soul include: German Protestant theologian in Jurgen Moltmann in Spirit of Life (1992), Roman Catholic theologian John F. Haught in ‘Christianity and Science’ (2007), citing with approval the views of famous Catholic theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, or famous Jewish theologian Abraham Heschel in The Prophets (1962)?

    • 30. modres  |  April 19, 2011 at 5:58 AM

      Once again, it does not matter what theologians SAY or BELIEVE about soul sleep or anything else. The only thing that matters is what the Bible teaches on the subject. Who cares about this German theologian, or that one? Who especially cares about Roman Catholic theology when in point of fact, the Reformation sought to separate the error of the RCC with other areas.

      It is tragic that within the RCC, not much has changed. They still believe in indulgences (though they are not called that) and they continue in many of the same errors that existed during Calvin’s day. Yet, you refer to them as if they are bastions of truth?

      • 31. Simon  |  April 19, 2011 at 8:25 PM

        Modres, again I think you are missing the point. The premise of your blog is that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is not ‘orthodox’ but in fact a ‘cult’. You cite belief in soul sleep, under the heading ‘mankind’ as one of eight ‘proofs’ that we are a cult.

        My aim is not to convince you that soul sleep in necessarily biblically true, as you rightly say we are going to disagree on that. My point is you can’t go around calling the SDA Church a cult for believing in conditional immortality, when it is a view shared by many other ‘orthodox’ and ‘mainstream’ Christian groups and theologians.

        Or do you define a cult to mean any person or group of people who does not believe everything exactly as you think it is as taught in the Bible? If that is the case, you must consider every other Christian group, other than your own, as belonging to a cult, because obviously there are a view spectrum of views on a range of matters found within Christianity.

        I also could not agree with you more in that what really matters is what the Bible teaches on any issue, not what some fancy theologian says. For this reason, long before it was a popular theological position (although it is now obtaining increased popularity amongst theologians), Adventists have long claimed that immortality is for God alone (Ex 33:20, 1 Tim 6:16). Thus, we argue the Bible does not teach a belief in a separate immortal soul outside of the physical body (Eze 8:4, Eccl. 9:5,6; Ps. 146:3,4) and only recognised an afterlife within the context of a physical resurrection (1 Kin 17:17-24, 1 Thess. 4:13-17; John 5:28, 29; Rev. 20:1-10).

        We have long believed before it was popular, and many other non-Adventist scholars are starting to believe, that belief in an ‘immortal soul’ is not from the Bible but from the influence of pagan philosophy, notably Gnosticism and Greek Platonic Dualsim. We believe this is a re-hash of that ancient lie by Satan given to Eve, that ‘surely you will not die’.

        Again, yes you and I are likely to disagree about the interpretation of those bible texts, but my primary complaint stands – does my view mean I belong to a cult as you claim?

        Finally, you say the Reformation came to separate the error of the RCC – I couldn’t agree more. Are you aware that Martin Luther himself believed in soul sleep; thus, it is a distinctively historic protestant position?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul_sleep#Modern_scholarship

      • 32. modres  |  April 19, 2011 at 10:51 PM

        “Are you aware that Martin Luther himself believed in soul sleep; thus, it is a distinctively historic protestant position?”

        He was also EXTREMELY anti-Semitic and the ONLY thing he really got right in my opinion was that salvation is by faith alone. I could care less if he believed in soul sleep. It makes no difference to me. The fact that he believed it does NOT legitimize the position.

        “Immortality is for God alone…” Really? This is the type of thing we could go back and forth over, but again, to WHAT purpose? You are thoroughly convinced in your viewpoint and I in mine.

  • 33. Simon  |  April 19, 2011 at 4:30 AM

    I have a feeling I had replied to this earlier but it was deleted?

    I have been an Adventist for over 30 years and in relation to your first point, the following statement is just plain wrong:

    “Therefore, SDAs have a new source of authority in their lives — according to SDA’s dogma, if an SDA does not accept Mrs. White as infallible, they have no salvation! ”

    The quote from Questions and Doctrines says Ellen White had inspired counsel, but where does it say if people don’t accept Ellen White as infallible there is no salvation – it doesn’t!

    Is your problem that Adventists argue there is a contemporary gift of prophecy (because even the AOG US officially believes this), or that Ellen White was a false prophet? It isn’t clear from your piece?

    • 34. modres  |  April 19, 2011 at 6:00 AM

      My problem with SDA is the clear and present error that I see in their theology. Ellen G. White was no prophet, yet you would beg to differ. The entire history of the SDA is clear and filled with error.

      Those within Mormonism say the same thing – that Joseph Smith has nothing to do with salvation. In truth, their theology is actually far different than what they are willing to admit to people who are not Mormons.

      We could go back and forth over the issue of SDAs and their theology, but to what point? You and I will still disagree and in the end, it is a matter of definitions, context, and understanding.

      • 35. Simon  |  April 19, 2011 at 8:09 PM

        Modres, you say, “We could go back and forth over the issue of SDAs and their theology, but to what point? You and I will still disagree and in the end, it is a matter of definitions, context, and understanding.” If you are not willing to engage the issue intellectually and with some honesty, then why create a blog called, “Seventh-Day Adventism Orthodox or Cult?” With respect, did you really think such a site would go unchallenged?

        Please informe the audience, using the Bible, of what the “clear and present error” in Adventist theology is – and make sure you properly understand what Adventists actually believe, not what you think they believe but actually don’t? A few out of context quotes does not constitute ‘Adventist theology’.

        Re the issue of Ellen White, and I note you now mention Joseph Smith, you still have not addressed my primary question, which whether you deny the possibility of prophesy in modern times? The New Testament unequivocally lists prophecy as a spiritual gift (Eph 4:11), for the edification of the Church, and in preference to other gifts such as Tongues (1 Cor 14:1-4). It should be remembered that the Early Church was full of prophets and prophetesses of different roles, shapes and sizes.

        What matters is whether the prophetic claimant passes the test of a prophet (Deut 18:14-21), with the prophetic utterances being carefully weighed against the precedence of scripture (1 Cor 14:29). Many ‘mainstream’ and ‘orthodox’ Christian denominations acknowledge the possibility of contemporary prophetic ministry.

        The official position of the Assemblies of God USA (the largest Evangelic-Pentecostal denomination), acknowledges modern-day prophetic ministry:

        “The Assemblies of God believes wholeheartedly in the contemporary prophetic ministry. We have some reservations, however, about current emphases that seem to go beyond the biblical description and guidelines for prophets and prophecies… The Assemblies of God believes the four gifts (apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors/teachers) were given to the Church, and that none of the gifts has been eliminated… Prophecy is a continuing gift of the Holy Spirit that is broadly distributed as the Spirit wills throughout Pentecostal churches.” (emphasis added)

        Within this context, the Adventist claim of a contemporary prophetic ministry is not new or unusual. If anything, the scriptures make it clear that the gift of prophecy would be bestowed in the last days (Joel 2:28-32).

      • 36. modres  |  April 19, 2011 at 11:13 PM

        “What matters is whether the prophetic claimant passes the test of a prophet (Deut 18:14-21), with the prophetic utterances being carefully weighed against the precedence of scripture (1 Cor 14:29). Many ‘mainstream’ and ‘orthodox’ Christian denominations acknowledge the possibility of contemporary prophetic ministry.”

        That does NOT matter (your last comment about “mainstream” and “orthodox” Christian denominations) at all! It plays NO part in determining the truth of Scripture.

        Regarding the veracity of Ellen G. White, I agree, what she claimed determines the validity of any ministry or gift she professed to have. I will take some time to list some of the things that Ellen G. White is known for and I think I’ll start with the “Investigative Judgment” scenario.


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