Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Who defines what an Adventist is?

I walked out of the sermon today. It was a special youth rally sponsored by our conference. The music was good the lighting was dramatic and then the sermon began. The speaker for the rally was an Academy student probably from Auburn Academy. He recapped some of his sermon from the previous Friday night meeting. He began by saying that Jesus came up with a plan to come and die to save man. He brought the plan to God who twice rejected it because He did not want Jesus to die. I left.

Of course this child of our educational system did not arrive at the above atrocity on his own. He is parroting what the confused Arians and Tri-theists of Adventism think. He is repeating the errors of our own so called prophet; Ellen White says in a number of places usually under the title The Plan of Salvation. Here are some excerpts so you can see the source of this Arian idea:

Sorrow filled heaven, as it was realized that man was lost, and that world which God had created was to be filled with mortals doomed to misery, sickness, and death, and there was no way of escape for the offender. The whole family of Adam must die. I saw the lovely Jesus and beheld an expression of sympathy and sorrow upon His countenance. Soon I saw Him approach the exceeding bright light which enshrouded the Father. Said my accompanying angel, He is in close converse with His Father. The anxiety of the angels seemed to be intense while Jesus was communing with His Father. Three times He was shut in by the glorious light about the Father, and the third time He came from the Father, His person could be seen. His countenance was calm, free from all perplexity and doubt, and shone with benevolence and loveliness, such as words cannot express. He then made known to the angelic host that a way of escape had been made for lost man. He told them that He had been pleading with His Father, and had offered to give His life a ransom, to take the sentence of death upon Himself, that through Him man might find pardon; that through the merits of His blood, and obedience to the law of God, they could have the favor of God, and be brought into the beautiful garden, and eat of the fruit of the tree of life.

…that He would die the cruelest of deaths, hung up between the heavens and the earth as a guilty sinner; that He would suffer dreadful hours of agony, which even angels could not look upon, but would veil their faces from the sight. Not merely agony of body would He suffer, but mental agony, that with which bodily suffering could in no wise be compared. The weight of the sins of the whole world would be upon Him. He told them He would die and rise again the third day, and would ascend to His Father to intercede for wayward, guilty man.

The angels prostrated themselves before Him. They offered their lives. Jesus said to them that He would by His death save many, that the life of an angel could not pay the debt. His life alone could be accepted of His Father as a ransom for man.

... Satan and sinners would be destroyed, nevermore to disturb heaven or the purified new earth. Jesus bade the heavenly host be reconciled to the plan that His Father had accepted and rejoice that through His death fallen man could again be exalted to obtain favor with God and enjoy heaven. (Early Writings of Ellen G. White, page 149 1882; Spirit of Prophecy Vol. 1 page-45 1870 ; Spiritual Gifts, Volume 1, page 23 1858;)

I bring this incident up in light of the past two posts where some in the Adventist church are demanding that scientifically accepted evolutionary theory not be taught in Adventist Colleges. If you read the arguments they make their primary reason is that the SDA church teaches a literal 6 day (assumed 24 hour) time period in the recent past, most again assuming that recent means 6-10,000 year period of time. If you are a Seventh-day Adventist this has to be your belief or you simply are not a Seventh-day Adventist. Here is a quote from the Adventist Theological Journal article from a few years back:

But Scripture does not only indicate that the miracle of creation was performed in a short period of time. Through its genealogical listings and its naming of generations traced back to Adam, the first human being, it strongly indicates that the creation occurred not long ago, as compared to the claims of evolution.And so, we Adventists accept the account of a recent creation on the basis of the credibility of God’s supreme revelation, Scripture. And we believe also on the basis of the credibility of God’s recent revelation through the visions and writings of Ellen G. White,10 which likewise emphasize that creation took place approximately six thousand years ago. (What Is an Adventist? Someone Who Upholds Creation Journal of the Adventist Theological Society, 7/2 (Autumn 1996): 142-167. Article copyright © 1996 by Marco T. Terreros.)

One has to wonder then if we must believe that God and His Son are not in fact One That one of them had to convince the other about a plan to save humanity. That Jesus was pleading with the Father to give His life a ransom. Because that is the way Ellen White saw it in a vision and we are Adventists and we have a fundamental belief about Ellen White whereby we say she is an authoritative source of truth. Likewise if Ellen White says that creation was six literal days approximately six thousand years ago we all must accept it to be SDA’s.

Today I saw at least in part the power of our schools indoctrination, not even indoctrination in the Bible or Christianity but in a very faulty Adventist tradition that we can easily trace to Ellen White. To be a true Adventist then is to be fully indoctrinated into whatever beliefs the denominational hierarchy or some self appointed traditional Adventist chooses to assert as our beliefs. Accept it and people like the Adventist Theological Society will accept you. Reject some of their beliefs and you are simply not a Seventh-day Adventist. Teach our students current scientific theory in a Biology class and those teachers should be released or restricted, they are violating Adventism.

The problem is that most Adventists don’t really pay all that much attention to what the church leadership says. We don’t feel that they are defining our positions, some of them perhaps but not all of our positions. We feel it is appropriate to live up to the light we see from God, science, history and even tradition. We don’t need the official denomination to define for us what an Adventist is. Then there is the other side which says we will cleanse the church. These are the Churches beliefs accept them or don’t but if you don’t you should not teach, you should not be in any kind of leadership role and you should not call yourself an Adventist.

It is pretty plain why so many of us don’t ever call ourselves Adventists but use terms like Progressive Adventists. We want to indicate that we are not of those who are trying to restrict the freedom of belief that is found in Christianity. To be a Christian we don’t have to hold to what somebody in some position of supposed authority calls “orthodox Christianity” and we don’t have to violate our conscience to believe in traditional Adventist views either. May our tribe increase! But to do that we have to fight the traditional Adventists attempts to cleanse thinking Christians from the Seventh-day Adventist church. Because make no mistake about it they are after you.


Anonymous said...

"To be a true Adventist then is to be fully indoctrinated into whatever beliefs the denominational hierarchy or some self appointed traditional Adventist chooses to assert as our beliefs."
Says who? The community of SDA are constantly modifying the body beliefs. The range spans wild to wonderful, but you decide which is right and which is an allusion.

Pickle said...

Praise God that Jesus three times communed with His Father before the Father would consent to His Son dying for our sins.

Why do I say that? Because otherwise "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" would be meaningless.

If the Father had merely said the first time around, "Sure. I could care less if you die," John 3:16 wouldn't be true.

The greater the struggle for the Father to give His only begotten Son, the greater the revelation of God's deep and boundless love for sinful man.

Do you have any kids? If so, would it be a struggle for you to ratify a previous agreement to the death of your child in order to save a miserable, depraved wretch? Or would it be nothing at all for you to do?

Ron, I've found that the criticisms of anti-Adventists and Ellen White haters to be kind of like this one. There are answers to those criticisms if we try to find them. And sometimes we uncover truths or insights in the process that we wouldn't have noticed otherwise.

Try it sometime. Try looking for an answer with an attitude of faith rather than of doubt, and you'll be amazed.

Ron Corson said...

No Pickle praise God that God loved us so much that He created the plan of salvation. That He was incarnated as a man. That God does not have to be pleaded with to love mankind.

Praise God that there are still thinking people who don't simply accept some of the nonsense that Ellen White produced. Because frankly Pickle you are accepting EGW's version and rejecting the Bible.

You have no answer, you gave no answer you just accept that what the Bible no where even hints at is the way God is, you reject Hear oh Israel our God is One. You create a God divided against Himself having to be persuaded to love. It is a terrible view of God.

Pickle said...


Try to be reasonable.

"That God does not have to be pleaded with to love mankind."

That's not the issue, and never has been.

"Because frankly Pickle you are accepting EGW's version and rejecting the Bible."

Where did I ever reject what the Bible says?

And since when do you care what the Bible says? Don't you put your own human reasonings above what the Bible says?

"... you gave no answer you just accept that what the Bible no where even hints at is the way God is ...."

But what does the Bible say?

Heb 12:21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)

Nowhere in the Pentateuch does it say that. Thus, according to the Bible, a later inspired writer can add non-contradictory details to a previous inspired account.

And that's what Ellen White did when she described what led up to the Godhead implementing the plan of salvation.

"It is a terrible view of God."

I suggest that you did not exhibit the character of God when you displayed such intolerance that you walked out of a sermon being given by an academy student simply because that student cited an idea testified by Jesus Himself by His Spirit through a prophet.

Is it no wonder that sometimes our young people are tempted to leave the church when adults show such intolerance and lack of acceptance?

Ron Corson said...

The issue is that EGW's view which you think is Jesus view because EGW said it, destroys the unity of God, on one side Jesus pleads with God to incorporate a plan of salvation. God in that view is hesitant and rejects the plan twice. But on the third time agrees.

Clearly what you think is the issue is hardly the reality of the situation. The issue to you is that we must as Adventist accept EGW no matter what offensive tripe she puts forward.

I will admit I don't have the character of God. If He was at that meeting I would think He would have got up right then and corrected the young man and explained how terrible the implications were for what he was saying. I only walked out and wrote about it.

Lee said...

Ron, what is your purpose in even remaining a Seventh-day Adventist? You would probably find it much more agreeable to join the many other denominations whose beliefs are very similar to yours. What is your agenda in remaining in a church that you seem to have no affinity towards? The Seventh-day Adventist church has been raised up by God to give the last warning to the world, living in the hour of God's judgment. It is a church that keeps the commandments of God and has the Spirit of prophecy (which the church believes to be Ellen White). If you do not agree with this and the other beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist church, then why remain in a church whose sole reason for existance is the proclaimation of the three angel's message? You could then spend your time differently then in attempting to show why the church you are a member of (I am assuming you are, otherwise, disregard this post) was wrong from the beginning. Please consider why you are a Seventh-day Adventist, and if the reason is enough that you would be willing to die for it. Grace be with you.

Pickle said...

Well said, Lee.

Ron, the Bible pictures Jesus interceding with the Father for us. Does that picture destroy the unity of God? Do you find that offensive?

The issue is not really Ellen White. The issue is that you have decided to put your fallible human reasoning above what God has revealed, even if it be in the Bible.

Elaine Nelson said...

Is the term "thinking Adventist" an oxymoron.