Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Saturday, March 28, 2009

It's Okay Not to be a Seventh-day Adventist Part 5

This is the final segment in the review of It’s Okay not to be a Seventh-day Adventist. The book ends with much of the same antagonism and misinformation that it began with. It was set under the guise of Transitioning out of Adventism. Of course it would be irrational of me to think that something that began poorly was going to get better with more researched and honest information. But I do confess that I had some hope in that regard. As it stands I don’t think this book should be published or circulated regardless of the occasional good arguments used. The book should be revised but clearly the authors have no interest in doing that. They rather keep claiming that two dozen editors went though the book. Teresa wrote on Bill Cork’s blog :

We had almost two dozen copy editors and people who volunteered to help do “checks” on the book (many were SDA) who said the book was copiously documented–even when they disagreed with my conclusions.

You won’t find attributions to those people in the book, not even in the thanks section which makes me think that these were simply people who were asked to look over the manuscript. As some of you know if a friend asks you to do that you usually say nice things to them about how well they did, few people really spend much time critically analyzing such tasks. Before I get to the part of the book about Transitioning out I am going to cover a few more of those areas where a little research would have helped them and where even some of those copious notes are simply wrong. Yes I have done this before but these really demonstrate the writer’s attitude and sloppy methodology, and remember the authors claim that they aren’t sloppy or inaccurate that it is just over sensitive Adventists. The subject of transitioning out of Adventism is very important so I will deal with my thoughts on the subject in a forthcoming article. Before I move on I see Bill Cork had quite a dialog with Teresa on his blog. There we find that the authors transitioned into the Roman Catholic church.

On page 236-7 under the heading Theological Dissonance the authors write:

An example is the pro-life controversy. Many believe that speaking against abortion will lead to enacting laws to protect unborn humans. They fear that involvement in this political issue will break open the floodgates of morality legislation and lead to blue laws fulfilling the prophecy of their demise. Because this fear is so strong, all attempts at legislating morality are taken as a sign of the end and must be condemned. According to this thought pattern, all legislation that protects their beliefs (and them) is constitutional, but any attempt at laws to protect unborn children would be oppressive and conspiratorial.

So the General Conference has in the past been aligned with the pro-choice movement. 431 [footnote 431 states: George Reid, former head of the Biblical Research Institute, theological arm of the G.C. once told us that Adventists are pro-choice under certain guidelines. Some Adventist-run hospitals perform abortion-on demand.] They will agree that abortion is a terrible offense to God, but cannot agree that there should be laws against it in America. However if this line of reasoning is carried out thoughtfully, we shall reach a very ominous and confusing conclusion. Adventists believe that God would have us sacrifice the lives of unborn children in order to preserve their freedom to go to church on Saturday. It comes down to this – their lives or others’ lives. This is in direct opposition to scripture that says there is no greater love than this, that a man should give his life to save his brother.

Unless you have close connections to Adventism, this may be a difficult concept to grasp. Although there may be some legitimate arguments made against enacting legislation to regulate abortion, to Adventists the reasoning is purely self-centered. They place their potential suffering above all attempts at alleviating the suffering and wholesale slaughter of the unborn. This is but one of countless theological dichotomies Adventists find themselves in.

This is one of the clear examples where the authors inject their ideas into Adventism. The denomination has for many years published it official statement entitled Guidelines on Abortion you can read it here. What perhaps could George Reid have meant when he said Adventists are pro-choice under certain guidelines? If the authors had done their research they would have seen the following from the Guidelines on Abortion article:

4) The Church does not serve as conscience for individuals; however, it should provide moral guidance. Abortions for reasons of birth control, gender selection, or convenience are not condoned by the Church. Women, at times however, may face exceptional circumstances that present serious moral or medical dilemmas, such as significant threats to the pregnant woman's life, serious jeopardy to her health, severe congenital defects carefully diagnosed in the fetus, and pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. The final decision whether to terminate the pregnancy or not should be made by the pregnant woman after appropriate consultation. She should be aided in her decision by accurate information, biblical principles, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, these decisions are best made within the context of healthy family relationships.

Now I don’t care if the Beems agree or disagree with that statement the fact is abortion is not simply about some fear Adventists have of losing religious liberty. We have a whole statement on the subject yet the Beems offer us nothing, no statement to back up their assertion, nothing to corroborate their opinion. Note even a footnote to direct the reader to what the Adventist denomination actually says.

So is the above example just a chance mistake? Well let’s continue with the next paragraph and see if they become more accurate as they change subjects.

Page 237 under the heading Pride and Separatism:

Recently, SDA General Conference President Jan Paulsen used the idea of Adventism being the zenith of religious knowledge to encourage young people not to leave the church and equated it with abandoning Christ: “Just don’t walk away from it. For walking away, that is the worst possible thing you can do. Look, it’s Christ we are talking about. Don’t turn your back on Him. For if you do, all you are left with is Peter’s haunting question, ‘to whom can we then go?’”432

[Footnote 432 says: Newly re-elected Paulsen in his address to the assembly, General Conference 2005, St. Louis.]

First the footnote is wrong Paulsen was not the newly re-elected President, this is from the opening presentation given on the opening day. Second I can find nothing that indicates that Paulsen ever asserted that Adventism was the zenith of religious knowledge. Here is what the Adventist News Network reported on the speech (the words in red are those the Beem’s quoted):

But it was Pastor Paulsen's report that was the main feature of the evening. After paying tribute to his wife, Kari, for support during 50 years of marriage, the Paulsens presented stories of church members serving their communities in various parts of the globe. A question for church members, he said, was "is your city, your community, your country a better place because you [as an Adventist] are there?"

To the youth of the church - members between 15 and 30 - Paulsen said, "I want you to come in and to partner with the rest of us. I want to make room for you, for you have energies and ideas which no one can quite match. If you don't find the church interesting, you can make it interesting.
Just don't walk away. That would be the worst possible thing you can do: It is Christ we are talking about. Don't turn your back on him, for if you do, all you then all you are left with is Peter's haunting question: "To whom shall we then go?" (John 6:68)

Lay members, youth and women each and all need "to claim and accept a much greater share of ownership in our church," Paulsen said. "The church is not defined by election nor is it by who pays your salary. The church is defined by faith. Do you have faith? OK, you're the church."

The Edge Blog reports what follows the reference to John 6:

"They [young people] represent in large measure the future of this church," he says. "There must be a more intentional dialogue with young people, and a greater recognition of the contribution that they can and do make within the church. I recognize that many, many of our young people feel distanced from the church—they feel as if they don't have a voice, they don't feel that they have been heard, they don't feel that they have been understood," says Pastor Paulsen. "But I want them to know that the church cannot be defined and cannot survive without them."

What a difference between the context of the speech and how it is presented in the Beem’s book. If Paulsen had actually said that Adventism was the zenith of religious knowledge I would be right with the authors. But that can’t be found, I don’t think they were at the G.C. session and again they offered nothing to support their statement. The book is largely a self indulgent vent against Adventism. I admit Adventism has a lot of problems, there are a lot of insensitive people and a lot of trivia in place of gospel and a lot people who would lie to get their way. But that is the same thing I could say of the authors of this book. Over these past 5 articles I trust I have offered sufficient evidence as to why I can make that statement.

I had hoped the book would offer some salient information about transitioning from the Adventist church but what it offers is not to relevant to my perspective. One paragraph I thought was interesting. On page 249 under heading We Are Family:

Don’t expect too much from other Christian denominations. They may have healthier theology, but they are just people with more foibles than merits – like all of us. Mainstream churches can be cold and unfriendly too. Go in with the idea that you are going to love them and accept them. These are the new brothers and sisters in Christ that God has given you. You are going to spend eternity with them, so enjoy getting to know them now. If you don’t learn to accept other Christians, you will end up in lonely isolation. Find a church that spiritually uplifts you in both worship and doctrine. They can be hard to find but don’t give up.

Before we think of transitioning out maybe we should think about what is happening in Christianity that makes finding a church so hard. Why are practically all the denominations shrinking? Why is Christianity which is built upon love and acceptance of God to the human race so filled with lack of love and lack of acceptance? Why is it that if I think about transitioning out of Adventism I can’t think of any church or denomination to go to.

There was one noticeable area of Adventist theology that the book never mentioned, that is the idea of eternal torment in hell. If you don’t believe that doctrine you will find it very hard to transition out of the Adventist church. The book chapter 17, Conclusion on page 259 by saying:

Ellen was wrong. The great controversy between Christ and Satan was not how to rid the cosmos of sin. It was to reveal that Satan was a liar about God. God’s (sic) is not foremost a lawgiver. The mystery of iniquity, the mystery of redemption was to show that that (sic) God is love.

God is love but He is going to torment you in hell for all eternity, well at least that is what the Roman Catholic Church and most mainline denominations believe. So yes it is going to be hard to find a church where you can be uplifted in both worship and doctrines.

To transition or change that is the question that we will deal with in the next article and we will leave behind this book and once again try to use our God given intelligence for some useful task. Because frankly if it is hard to find a good Christian church something, is terribly wrong. Certainly God can save us in our numerous misunderstandings but maybe we could help God just a bit and be real ambassadors to help others rather than to be so concerned with losing or gaining our own salvation. I am with Jan Paulsen, you (we) are the church where ever you (we) are, so now what are you (we) going to do?

The following links will take you to the previous reviews.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Judged by the Ten Commandments connected to part 4

Part 4

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Some Free Music

Many of you are probably saying to yourself, sure Ron sometimes reviews music but he never gives us any links to free music. Well talk to yourselves no more today I am going to give you two free CD’s worth of good music.

The first is Ross King’s latest CD brought to you by Here you can find many artists who you can buy their music for whatever you want to pay or get free downloads for simply referring 5 email names.

I have liked Ross King for a while sort of a story teller singer with a voice similar to Chris Tomlin a nice album that I am sure many of you will like.

The second artist is a group called Ambright. They are a more rock and roll and aggressive sound than Ross King. But their music is very interesting and really quite good. You can hear samples on their myspace page at and you can download their latest CD for free at simply type or paste the code "flicker" (without the quote marks)

I have used both these sites and they do not really spam you and both have a lot of good independent artists. Of course I only mention the best, the ones I really like but there is quite a bit for other tastes also. Give these two a try and let me know what you think or if you find any others you like.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Review It's Okay Not to be a Seventh-day Adventist part 4

I am going to entitle this as Part 4 of my Review of It’s Okay Not To Be A Seventh-day Adventist. This post however is a continuation of sorts of the article inspired by the book though not really a part of the review. That article was Wednesday, February 18, 2009 Judged by the ten commandments? In that article the book rightly criticized the Adventist statement which indicated we are judged by the 10 commandments. The book however a little latter basically does the same thing by saying in Chapter 11 - Pillar III Part 3 - the Law under the heading Mainstream Christianity and the Ten page 172:

“So the Ten Commandment are useful in today’s world.

Hanging them on the Supreme Court walls is beneficial because it reminds lawbreakers that a Supreme God will ultimately judge the evildoers. It also shows the believer the incredible things He overcame for us. Having tried to keep a law in the past, we understand our weakness. We now understand the generous gift of Christ. It gives us a reason to say thanks and to worship Him.”

Of course the Ten Commandments say nothing about God judging evildoers so the author’s statement is pretty questionable. But it shows that this idea of being judged by the 10 commandments is still very much a part of contemporary Christianity, not simply some Adventist delusion. It is in fact a Christian delusion based upon the Penal Atonement theory which aside from asserting that Christ paid our penalty Christ kept the law perfectly and applies it to our account. Thus we have kept the law perfectly so that we can be judged by the 10 commandments and any other law. Christians are fictionally viewed as perfect because they have accepted the gift of Christ, fictionally because in reality we know that we are not perfect at all and that we don’t keep the Ten either. But we say God does not see reality he sees the legal fiction. The evildoers of course can still be judged by the Ten Commandments because they have not been imputed with the perfect law keeping of Christ. For more on the problems of this view see the article Justification By Faith…No hiding From God

I won’t spend much time on the mid section of the book which goes over various pillars of the Adventist church and the author’s objections to those views. There are some worthy arguments made but unfortunately since the first part of the book was written in such a biased fashion and included too many factual errors it is doubtful many Adventists will get to this section of the book. I am pretty sure it is the most important section of the book however. But the arguments are their interpretation versus the traditional Adventist interpretation. As such I won’t spend anytime on what preference my interpretation is over theirs or over traditional Adventists. I began this review by saying the book needed to be revised. From my correspondence with the one of the author’s I don’t get the sense that the book was really ever intended for Adventists as much as for ex-Adventists and those already sure that Adventism is wrong. The funny thing is, that is probably a bigger market then trying to reach the Adventist market. Though my view is you should write to reach both markets by being as factual and objective as possible.

The last chapter is entitled “Transitioning Out” which deserves its own article and will conclude the review.

The following links will take you to the previous reviews.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Review George Knight's Apocalyptic Vision and the Neutering of Adventism

George Knight’s new book The Apocalyptic Vision and the Neutering of Adventism;

derives from presentations that Knight gave before the “quinquennial ministerial council of the Pacific Union Conference in August 2007.” (page 106) The book begins with the proposition that Liberal Protestantism is neutering Christianity and Adventism. He notes that the mainline Protestant churches are in decline, those churches still growing are the churches with a strong and distinctive message. It is somewhat true as the following Review News article informs us:

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at 5.7 million U.S. members (1.56 percent increase) and the Church of God in Christ, with steady 5.5 million, round out the top five. Only the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Catholic Church, Southern Baptists, Mormons, the Assemblies of God (2.8 million) and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (1.4 million) reported increases; all others either posted declines or flat membership from 2005.”

See the 2004 report from the National Council of Churches

On page 17 Knight writes:

“The best example of religious neutering in the modern world is Protestant liberalism, which by the 1920s had divested itself of such "primitive" ideas as the virgin birth, Christ's resurrection, the substitutionary atonement, miracles, the Second Advent, creationism, and, of course, a divinely inspired Bible in the sense that it had information from beyond the human realm that could be obtained from no other source but divine revelation.”

The first thing I noticed here is that Knight is taking the position of Fundamentalism. Fundamentalism was a reaction to modernity and Biblical criticism AKA Higher Criticism. Although Knight does not go so far as the fundamentalists with inerrant and or infallible Bible concepts; he has listed the major beliefs of fundamentalism. Though as we look at the church growth rates it does appear that the more authoritarian denominations, the more certain a church is that they have it right the more likely they are to continue to grow in this time of overall Christian decreases across the Western World (AMEZC may be an exception). As we will see this is the Traditional Adventist viewpoint that Knight intends to present, traditional Adventist understanding of Daniel and Revelation is the cure to the neutering of Adventism and the main reason for the existence of the Adventist denomination.

At the beginning of Chapter 3 on page 53 Knight sums up his apocalyptic Adventism:

“This chapter will take a look at the big picture of the apocalyptic prophecies of Daniel and Revelation that have made Adventism a vibrant movement. The first chapter focused on the fact that the book of Revelation centers on Christ as the slain Lamb and the victorious Lion of the tribe of Judah. Put the two symbols together and you have the core of the gospel— that Christ died for our sins, resurrected and has the keys to the grave, and will eventually return to put an end to sin and suffering. Take away any aspect of that picture and you have neutered the Christian/Adventist message. As we noted, the Lamb without the Lion is a partial gospel.

The second chapter examined the rise of Adventism as it related to the apocalyptic vision. We discovered that the Seventh-day Adventist pioneers had seen the big picture and put together a theological package whose logical force has driven Adventism to every corner of the earth.

In this third chapter we want in part to stand back with both eyes open to see if early Adventism's apocalyptic understanding has validity and relevance for the twenty-first century. I must admit that I was daunted by the challenge of this chapter and how to say what needs to be said in such a short space. After all, during the past 30 years we have seen a dismantling of the apocalyptic vision by Adventist thinkers on one side and defensive reactions on the other. And then we witness a never-ending parade of apocalyptic cranks whose special burden is to prove something unique or at least strange from the words of Revelation. I felt challenged to say the least.”

While Knight has spent the last 50 pages trying to bolster his case we see that by his own analysis he has produced very little. The first chapter is based upon Revelation Christ died for our sins and was resurrected and eventually will put an end to sin and suffering. Other then the emphasis of deriving this from the book of Revelation he has essentially described every Christian denomination and most all independent Christian churches.

The Second chapter which mostly goes over how Adventists interpreted Revelation to see their peculiar doctrines in verses such as Revelation 14 (e.g. Adventists doctrines revealed in the three angels messages); he sums up Adventist have become a worldwide church because of their doctrines. Well so have the Mormons, the Jehovah’s Witnesses and all the mainline Protestant Denominations. The idea that just because you grow world wide that your beliefs are true is hardly reasonable. If it was than the Roman Catholic church which has the most adherents and is still growing as it is in the top five denominations in growth should be a major contender in the we have the truth category.

Based upon the unreasonable conclusion from chapter 2 Knight continues:

“And I still hold that conviction. To put it as frankly as possible, if Adventism's apocalyptic big picture isn't valid, the most sensible thing is to shut up shop, go home, and do something meaningful with our lives. If Adventism's big picture lacks meaning, I would like to suggest that the title for the next generation of Ph.D.s in Adventist studies be "Curators of Adventist Antiquities for Those Who Still Have Some Reason to Care."

Here then is the purpose of Knight’s latest book. We see that chapter one is true of universal Christianity. Chapter two is the peculiar Adventist interpretations which like other churches grew into a world wide movement. But instead of critically looking at those issues that the pioneers produced he has largely assumed that they are true because the SDA church grew world wide and since based upon that extremely faulty position if you question those Adventist traditions there is no point in continuing to be an Adventist. It is rather like someone saying to Martin Luther quit your belly aching about the Roman Catholic churches abuses and leave. He had no place to go. I am much like him in I can’t see any place to go either so why not try and reform the church I am in? Apparently reformation is heresy to some; it was to the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Luther’s day and apparently it is heresy to the Adventist hierarchy today, George Knight and Clifford Goldstein being the most recent Adventist Apocalyptic bulldogs.

On page 55 we see that Knight has so completely discounted the idea that anything could be wrong with our apocalyptic tradition that such an idea is how the devil would attack us:

“But if I were the devil I would tempt Adventists and their preachers to be just nice evangelicals and forget about such nasty stuff as apocalyptic. And if that didn't work I would tempt them to beastly preaching that focused on the details and the esoteric and extremes. I would get them arguing over 666 and the identity of the 144,000. And if that didn't succeed, I would get them to focus on excitement and apocalyptic fear-mongering. And of course I would sow doubts in their minds about the validity of Adventism's basic apocalyptic understandings.”

Do you hear the old Roman Catholic leadership of Martin Luther’s day in that paragraph? How dare you young whippersnappers doubt our tradition! It is this questioning of our apocalyptic that is the neutering of Adventism for George Knight. Though he does include others; “We have a pretty smart devil. He has driven Adventists and their preachers off a balanced view of apocalyptic in almost every direction.” (page 55); those off balanced must be any view other then the traditional view.

Knight then goes one to explain how he dealt with the troubling parts of the Adventist Apocalyptic and came out the other side firmly holding to traditional Adventism. The first is the Historicist position which he finds as the only possibility because Daniel 2 goes from the time of Daniel and tells of the 4 kingdoms which takes us to the second coming. He seems to think that Rome is mentioned in there also, I have no idea why. The second on his list is the year day principle which he believes is true because years are used for the seventy week (sevens) prophecy of Daniel 9. Though Knight seems to forget that people were interpreting the verses as weeks (sevens) of years, far before anyone came up with the day for a year idea. (Joachim of Fiore {d. 1202} first introduced the year day principle, several early church fathers used years on the seventy sevens of Dan. 9, but it is a stretch to say that was year day principle as they did not have a day component, it is not something they endorsed)

His third point is that the little book unsealed in Rev 10 is Daniel. Which apparently was the great disappointment as God anticipated that before the book was unsealed people would make erroneous interpretations and when their errors did not come to pass they would be disappointed. As if the prediction of 1843, 1844 etc were the only time people erroneously predicted the second coming. Knight goes through a bunch of stuff on the 1260 day/years as if it proves some point. It does not other then he has accepted something that general Christianity accepted for a couple hundred years and when the theory always failed they gave it up. Now of course it is an important part of the Adventist apocalyptic. That morphs to point 4 which is Daniel 8:14 and the Investigative Judgment. Again asserting that day for a year is used in the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 even though it is not; there is no mention of day at all in that context. On page 69 he does differ from traditionalism by saying:

“Thus the Adventist understanding of a pre-Advent judgment is not the problem. Rather, it is the wrong use of Daniel 8:14 to prove a point that comes out of chapter 7.”

So he still believes in a pre-advent judgment which by the way so does all Christianity otherwise they would never talk about being saved as a current position. But that part of the big picture is largely forgotten in Adventist circles. We forget that God already knows who are His; that He has known since before the foundation of the world. But apparently Knight does not deviate significantly from the traditional apocalyptic. After all he just wants to say the better evidence is found elsewhere. On page 70 he does note that Adventist traditional emphasis on the pre advent judgment has been wrong, saying:

“The tragedy of Adventism is that we made the pre-Advent judgment a fearful thing built upon a less-than-biblical understanding of sin, law, perfection, and even judgment itself. Spiritual insecurity and lack of biblical assurance was the result. "God is out to get you" was the message in the era of bony fingers.”

He then moves on to the old excuse that the Judgment is not for God but for the universe:

“The judgment and the books of judgment are not for God but for the rest of the universe. It has to do with the justification of God, which is foundational to His justification of those humans who have accepted Christ into their hearts and lives (Rom. 3:25, 26; 1 John 1:9).”

Of course he does not explain why God would start such a show a hundred years ago and why not save the evidence for humans, the only beings we really know of beside fallen angels that question God. He then moves into the subject of the heavenly Sanctuary. On page 75 Knight writes:

“Let me repeat my main points as I sum up. First, we create problems in sanctuary theology by placing undue emphasis on sanctuary geography. Second, we are heading in the wrong direction when we read Hebrews as if it were either propounding Adventist theology or arguing against it. Hebrews has its own agenda. Third, it is wrong-headed to project chronology into Hebrews 9. Most of Adventism's difficulty with its sanctuary theology center on those three areas.”

So apparently it is okay for Knight to suggest and try and repair some of the Adventist apocalyptic problems. But the rest of us who see even bigger problems…well we can’t reform the apocalyptic because it is too important to Adventism. In other words this entire book is an endeavor to shore up a shaky part of Adventism and yet those who try to do that are neutering Adventism (excluding Knight). It is acceptable to do it in dribs and drabs dealing with some problems as long as we don’t touch other problems. Adventism can slowly change but let’s not take any big steps in the change process because a big change means we have been wrong, clearly Knight thinks we have been wrong and I think most of us know that. So why do we keep pretending that we are not wrong? Why assume that acknowledging errors is neutering Adventism? (The last two on his list are the Great Controversy and the Remnant neither of which is worth noting and he spends little space on them.)

His next chapter (ch.4) is about how bad things can happen and they can happen fast. Apparently the Adventist apocalyptic spends much of its time thinking about what bad things can happen and if you don’t think about them happening then you are neutering Adventism. Though Adventism can do nothing at all if the bad thing happens apparently we should feed on that fear and remember our hope in the Second coming.

Knight then presents one of Ellen White Shut door visions as her most remarkable:

“Ellen White's Most Remarkable Vision

That brings me to what I consider to be Ellen White's most remarkable prophecy. She made few actual prophecies regarding the future in her long ministry, but we find one of them in her first vision of December 1844.”

"While I was praying at the family altar," she recalled, "the Holy Ghost fell upon me. ... I raised my eyes, and saw a straight and narrow path, cast up high above the world. On this path the Advent people were traveling to the city, which was at the farther end of the path. They had a bright light set up behind them at the beginning of the path, which an angel told me was the midnight cry [i.e., the prophetic understanding that led to a fulfillment of prophecy in October 1844]. This light shone all along the path and gave light for their feet so that they might not stumble. If they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus, who was just before them, leading them to the city, they were safe. But soon some grew weary, and said the city was a great way off. . . . Others rashly denied the light behind them and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out, leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and lost sight of the mark and of Jesus and fell off the path down into the dark and wicked world below." (Page 86)

The remarkable thing about this is that this was during Ellen White’s shut door period. If people did not accept Miller’s Midnight cry message of the return of Christ in 1844 the door was now shut on them. They are outside the possibility of salvation. In a couple years Ellen White outgrew that idea and that was the major emphasis for the spread of worldwide Adventism. The gospel message still had to be spread to the entire world and then the end could come.

What a lot of us see as important George Knight does not seem to understand. That is the need to see God as someone who is for us, someone who can be trusted and someone who loves us unfailingly. That is the gospel message of Jesus and the New Testament. That as the Protestant call says the plain things are the main things. That is very different from George Knight’s Adventist apocalyptic. Where peculiar understanding of Daniel and Revelation are are the main things; those two apocalyptic books which have found the least amount of agreement within Christianity through it entire history. I frankly don’t want to be part of a denomination which has taken the obscure things as their main things. If we want a distinctive then let us go with the love of God as revealed through Jesus Christ, not the kind of God who says obey me or I will kill you, not the kind of God who says someone has to die to pay your penalty but the kind of God who says come back to me and I will heal you. Let that be our Adventist Apocalyptic.