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Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Strangeness on the 7th Day

Not long ago I wrote a post on the easiest way to identify a cult (Hint: they make up their own bibleGlenn Chatfield pointed out that I missed one, the Seventh Day Adventists. Ooops.

The Seventh Day Adventists trace their roots back to the Burned Over District of Western (not upstate!!!) New York. The burned-over district refers to Western New York in the early 19th century where religious revivals and the formation of new religions took place.

The term was coined by Charles Finney (yes, THAT Charles Finney), who referred to a "burnt district" to indicate central and western New York State during the Second Great Awakening. He said that the area had been so heavily evangelized as to have no "fuel" (unconverted population) left over to "burn" (convert). A lot of strangeness came out of this area. Keep in mind that in the early 19th century, Western New York was the "wild west", think backwoods Kentucky with a Chicago accent. Folks were hard working and self taught and clergy were rare. Evangelists  that ventured into the hinterlands of WNY achieved many converts to Protestant denominations, such as Congregationalists, Baptists, and Methodists. However due to the lack of clergy the people of the remote regions were easy prey for religious charlatans, heretics, and spiritual con-men. Ever hear of Palmyra NY? That's where God and Jesus appeared together on earth and told Joseph Smith some awesome stories... at least that's what Joseph Smith and his followers claim.

Yes, Western New York is the birth place of Mormonism, it's also the birth place of all kinds of strange, including the downfall of the Presbyterian Church, the United Church of Christ, and the Episcopal Church thanks to the "Social Gospel" that came out of the Burned Over District in the early 20th century. However in the early 19th century, besides the Mormons and their Golden Tumbaga Plates, we were given the Shakers, the Oneida Community (where Joseph Smith probably got his inspiration for plural marriage while Hitler and Margaret Sanger probably got their inspiration for √úbermenschen), and we were also "blessed" with the Millerites.

In Western New York a Millerite these days is a fan of Van Miller, the voice of the Buffalo Bills, however in the 19th century the Millerites were a doomsday cult founded by William Miller. Miller taught a witches brew of Annihilationism, Historicism, and conditional immortality. He also believed that Christ would return on October 22, 1844... which didn't happen. Seriously, I checked Wikipedia, it didn't happen. If it did happen it would have been in all the papers, right? What did happen was the Millerites packed up and went home. Millers teachings lived on, however, in the Seventh Day Adventists.

The Seventh Day Adventists were founded by Ellen G. White who believed that if you don't believe what she tells you to believe you are praying  to Satan. They believe that Jesus DID come on October 22, 1844, but in a different way. They preach that Christ moved from the Holy Place to the Most Holy Place in the heavenly sanctuary on October 22, 1844, and began a new phase of ministry. And you believe that then the other stuff they preach may not seem strange at all Unless you've actually read the bible, then it becomes very strange:
The blood of Jesus shed on the cross transferred the sins of professing Christians up into heaven, where they are "stored" and defile the heavenly sanctuary.
Jesus' atonement wasn't completed on the cross; it continues until he finishes investigating the heavenly "books of record," maintained by a "recording angel," that shows the thoughts and deeds of all professing Christians.
One day Jesus will place unconfessed sins back onto the people who committed them, and they will be punished.
But Jesus will place Christians' confessed sins onto the head of Satan, the scapecoat, and he will be punished for them in the lake of fire.
Thus Jesus will pardon every confessed sin of professing Christians, and the heavenly sanctuary will be "cleansed."
When Jesus finishes his investigation, Christians who attain perfect obedience must withstand the "Time of Trouble" without Jesus as their intercessor.
Sabbath-keepers will thus refute Satan's accusations against God and vindicate the fairness of his law. (Source)
The Seventh Day Adventists believe in salvation through baptism... sort of. Not so much salvation by baptism, you just can't be saved until after you've been baptized:
“…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” (SDA’s Believe…, pp. 182, 184, 187).
The Seventh Day Adventists believe in salvation through observance of the Sabbath... sort of. You don't actually get saved by observance of the Sabbath, it's just that if you don't observe the Sabbath you go to hell:
“…[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” (Ibid., 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). 
The Seventh Day Adventists believe in something they call "Investigative Judgement" which is a very interesting way to say "salvation by works":
As during the typical Day of Atonement the cleansing of the earthly sanctuary removed the sins accumulated there, so the heavenly sanctuary is cleansed by the final removal of the record of sins in the heavenly books. But before the records are finally cleared, they will be examined to determine who through repentance and faith in Christ is entitled to enter His eternal kingdom. The cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary, therefore involves a work of investigation or judgment that reflects the nature of the Day of Atonement as a day of judgment. This judgment, which ratifies the decision as to who will be saved and who will be lost. (Seventh-day Adventists Believe, p. 320)
The Bible never teaches an Investigative Judgment, it does describe a pre-advent judgment. The first angel of Revelation 14 announces that the time for God's judgment has come (Rev. 14:6). In heaven a court sits and the books are opened (Dan. 7:10) and a judgment takes place. The bible is very clear about why this judgement is to take place to show that the wicked have filled up the cup of God's wrath and God is justified in bringing punishment upon them, taking away their dominion and giving it to the saints (Dan. 7:27). There is absolutely nothing in this passage about a judgment of the righteous. The one being judged is the little horn power, a political power that ruled the earth.  The whole purpose of the pre-advent judgment is for God to show the Universe that the wicked power ruling the earth has "filled up its cup" and reached the point where God can no longer permit it to rule the earth. The heavenly court finds that the wicked are unfit to rule the earth, they have passed the limits of God's forebearance, and their kingdom is taken away from them and given to the saints.(Source)

The Seventh Day Adventists are staunchly vegetarian, mostly because Ellen G. White was vegetarian and demanded that everyone else be vegetarian. Since their formation the Seventh Day Adventist have been looking for justification for their diet. Instead of saying "Hey, we like veggies." or "We do it because Ellen G. White told us to do it" or "God said numerous times in the bible that it's OK to eat meat, but we think He's lying." they instead make all kinds of claims. Let's compare
“Let the diet reform be progressive. Let the people be taught how to prepare foods without the use of milk or butter. Tell them that the time will soon come when there will be no safety using eggs, milk, cream, or butter, because disease in animals is increasing in proportion to the increase of wickedness among men. The time is near when, because of the iniquity of the fallen race, the whole animal creation will groan under the diseases that curse the earth.” (Testimonies to the Church, Vol. 7, p. 135)
with
18 And He said to them, "Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?" (Thus He declared all foods clean.) (Mark 7:18-19)
So when they went to justify these beliefs (and more) the Seventh Day Adventists found that they had one stumbling block to general acceptance - the Word of God. Over 20 years ago Jack Blanco, the former dean of the School of Religion at Southern Adventist University, sat down to write a very loose paraphrase of the Bible, creating which which he claims to be an additional study tool and devotional alongside the Bible. Isn't it interesting that when Jack Blanco wrote his very very loose paraphrase of the bible, Eugene Peterson wrote his own very very loose paraphrase of the bible titled The Message.

The Seventh Day Adventists claim that the Clear Word Bible isn't their bible, but it is distributed by the Pacific Press Publishing Association which is owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, so if it wasn't their bible, why was it written by one of their higher educators and why are they selling it?  Keep in mind that the Clear Word is not a translation, it's a paraphrase, which most accurately means that one guy re-wrote it injecting his own beliefs regardless of what the original manuscripts say and without even looking at the original manuscripts. Injecting personal beliefs to replace the word of God with the word of Ellen G. White is what the Clear Word is all about.

Let's look at a few examples of what John Blanco did to the word of God.
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” (John 8:58)
The Clear Word rewrote this to read:
Jesus answered, “Because I existed before Abraham was born.”
The original Greek said ego eimi which clearly says "I am". The Jews wanted to kill Jesus for blasphemy for saying these words because that's how God identified himself in Exodus 3:14 as "I am" (See John 10:30-33). Here's another:
I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)
The Clear Word rewrote this to read:
You see, my Father and I are so close, we’re one.
This is a horrible rewriting because Jesus' oneness with God is not based on His feelings but on His divine nature. He is both human and divine, which is called the Hypostatic Union. Again, John Blanco denied the divine nature of Christ Jesus with his rewording what was divinely inspired. Here's another:
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. (1 Thessalonians 4:16)
The Clear Word rewrote this to read:
When Christ descends from heaven as the Archangel, He will give a shout like a trumpet, which is God’s call to the dead, and those who died in Christ will rise first.
Wait, what? "When Christ descends from heaven as the Archangel..."? Did the Seventh Day Adventists demote Christ Jesus from God to mere created being? Yes they did. Let's look at another perversion of God's word:
But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 9)
The Clear Word rewrote this to read:
In contrast to these ungodly men is the Lord Jesus, also called Michael the Archangel, for He is over the entire angelic host. When He was challenged by Satan about His intentions to resurrect Moses, He didn’t come at Satan with a blistering attack, nor did He condemn him with mockery. He simply said, “God rebuke you for claiming Moses’ body.”
As anyone who's ever actually read the bible knows, Jesus is not Michael the Archangel. In the old testament Jesus was called The Angel Of The Lord, but He was never, ever called Michael the archangel. They are separate, and this combining of them is an intentional error. And again, even more obvious:
And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, (Revelation 12:7)
The Clear Word rewrote this to read:
This controversy between God and the dragon began years ago in heaven. God’s Son Michael and the loyal angels fought against the dragon and his angels.
Again, the Seventh Day Adventists mistaken belief that Jesus is just an angel named Michael has been injected into the bible via creative editing. But what about their other beliefs? Did God's word get corrupted to support their other beliefs? You betcha! Their belief of Annihilation for example twists the very words of Christ Jesus:
Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; (Matthew 25:41)
Has been twisted to read
Then He will say to those on His left, ‘You can’t be given a home in my Father’s kingdom, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. Leave my presence. You will perish in the same fire which will destroy the devil and his angels.
Rather than eternal punishment the Seventh Day Adventists re-wrote Jesus' words to reflect their belief that the evil are not punished, they're eliminated. Again we see this editing:
These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:46)
Has been twisted to read:
 I have no choice but to end your lives, because in my kingdom everyone cares about everyone else.
This was twisted into something so weird it takes a true disciple of people like Rob Bell to appreciate it. But wait, it get's "better". They even have sympathy for the devil:
And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:10)
Has been twisted to read:
And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and consumed together with the sea beast, the land animal, and all the wicked. Their destruction will be forever and ever.
This just scratches the surface of what the Seventh Day Adventists did with the word of God, their attack on God's word goes on and on, and it's all done to prop up the false teachings of a failed doomsday cult from the Burned Over District. For more information first check out CARM, and then look at the Former Adventist Fellowship.

2 comments:

  1. Excellent article, well done synopsis!

    Another excellent source for information by ex-SDAs is Life Assurance Ministries. They have some great publications exposing the false teachings of E.G. White and the SDA.
    http://www.www.lifeassuranceministries.org/index.html

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    1. Thank you! Your opinion is very valuable to me. This one was pretty hard to write, because there's just so much to cover, and it's fairly well hidden. I hope it goes better when I start looking at the Christadelphians

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