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Dear Former Adventists and fellow Evangelicals,

As we ask questions of Adventists we quickly become aware that there is a huge communication problem. I know that we each have felt like we have a hand full of lizards when we try to ask, what to us, are very simple and obvious questions. There are certain questions that must be predicated on other questions in order to avoid dealing with a profundity of circular logic and obfuscation.

As former Adventists, we do not ask questions to waste time, but to address the issues in a scholarly way using sound principles of Biblical interpretation. We need to be able to address the very points of concern that led us out of Adventism in the first place.

The way in which most Adventists respond to our questions make a mockery out of the seriousness and mutual respect with which scholarly Bible study should be done. Adventism seems to come embedded with a patronizing attitude -- a cultic "remnant church" perspective where everyone else is suffering from lack of "present truth". This spirit is completely foreign to the mutual respect and open dialog that we now experience in the Christian world between "Protestants" of all faiths.

As a former Adventist of 54 years, I find it extremely disappointing to be led around in circles by overly confident Adventists with all kinds of evasive answers when I ask a question to them whose answer is obvious to my 12-year old son from a plain reading of God's Word. It makes a mockery out of the seriousness with which I pose my questions.

Since many questions are an exercise in futility, unless approached in the proper sequence, I have begun putting together this "Discussion Tree For Comparing The Teachings of Seventh-day Adventism With Christianity". This helps us to ask our questions in the right order. It also helps us to quickly identify true students of God's Word. It helps us to fill in the "gaps" in our own knowledge of the Bible. Everybody benefits.

Like building a house from the foundation up, it is absolutely critical that discussion with an Adventist proceed in the logical order outlined. The first two points alone will weed out a good 50% of Adventist cultic doctrine. If we experience failure of agreement in these first two points it is a total waste of time to continue in a dialog with an Adventist. The foundation for agreement is simply not there. Discussion of Ellen White's mental condition, dietary recommendations, obsession with masturbation, the Sabbath, the Universal Death Decree, 1844, God's intentional deception of the "little flock", etc are totally unproductive. A desire to jointly search out Biblical truth with an open mind is simply not there, regardless of what sort of gratuitous facade is presented.

Adventists also display a penchant for "majoring" in the "minors". This is reflected in the vast array of distorted and contradictory viewpoints expressed in Adventism's 28 Fundamental Beliefs. As an example, out of one side of their mouth they will claim in Fundamental Belief #1 (Holy Scriptures) that the Holy Scriptures are "the authoritative revealer of doctrines", but then in Fundamental Belief #18 (The Gift of Prophecy) they say "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. They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested."

Obviously Adventism cannot have two authoritative sources of truth, and in the end the views of Ellen White win out for the Adventist as the infallible interpreter of Scripture. This point was emphatically stated by G. A. Irwin, General Conference President. Such a shocking admission would be unthinkable to a Christian. This is why this point must be settled within the struction of our discussion tree, before any other subjects are discussed. Such a position demonstrates the true cultic nature of Adventism. It is impossible to have a profitable discussion if each party is using a different authority for their final "court of appeal".

"It is from the standpoint of the light that has come through the Spirit of Prophecy (Mrs. White’s writings) that the question will be considered, believing as we do that the Spirit of Prophecy is the only infallible interpreter of Bible principles, since it is that Christ, through this agency, giving real meaning of his own words." (from the tract The Mark of the Beast, p. 1, G. A. Irwin, General Conference President)

"The Bible is an infallible guide but it needs to be infallibly interpreted, to avoid confusion and division. When will the people of God cease trusting in their own wisdom? When will they come to the place where they will cease to measure, construe, and interpret by their own reason what God says to them through His appointed channel? When we come to the place where we place no trust in man or in the wisdom of man, but unquestionably accept and act upon what God says through this gift, then will the spirit of prophecy as set before us in the Bible and confirmed among us and become in fact a counselor, guide and final court of appeal among God's people." (Adventist Review, June 3. 1971, page 6, The Source of Final Appeal, By Roderick S. Owen)

The historic sanctuary message, based on Scripture and supported by the writings of Ellen White, continues to be held to unequivocally. And the inspired authorities on which these and other doctrines are based, namely the Bible supported by the writings of Ellen White, continue to be the hermeneutical foundation on which we as a church place all matters of faith and conduct. Let no one think that there has been a change of position in regard to this. (Jan Paulsen, "The Theological Landscape," 2002, http://www.adventistreview.org/2002-1524/story3.html)

"Seventh-day Adventists are uniquely fortunate in approaching the question of inspiration of the prophets. We are not left to find our way, drawing our conclusions from writings of two thousand years and more ago, that have come down to us through varied transcriptions and translations.

With us it is an almost contemporary matter, for we had a prophet in our midst. It is generally granted by the careful student of her works that the experience of Ellen G. White was no different from that of the prophets of old. What is more, rather that having in our possession only a few chapters of a handful of letters as is the case of the extant records of the Bible prophets, we have the full range of Ellen G. White's writings, penned through a period of 70 years. She wrote in the English language, so we are not confronted with the problems of translation". (The Ellen G. White Writings, page 15)

We are not to receive the words of those who come with a message that contradicts the special points of our faith. They gather together a mass of Scripture, and pile it as proof around their asserted theories. This has been done over and over again during the past fifty years. And while the Scriptures are God's word, and are to be respected, the application of them, if such application moves one pillar from the foundation that God has sustained these fifty years, is a great mistake. He who makes such an application knows not the wonderful demonstration of the Holy Spirit that gave power and force to the past messages that have come to the people of God. Letter 329, 1905 (Selected Messages, Vol 1, page 160-161).

For Christians, the Gospel is all about salvation through Jesus. Evangelicals will be shocked to learn that Adventism has a totally different gospel. For Adventists nothing takes the place of "Present Truth", code words for the teachings of Ellen White.

Prophecy – Where once it seemed important to have a modern day prophet to warn and instruct us as we prepare for the second coming of Jesus, it is now inconvenient to accept Ellen White’s pointed counsel about personal changes. My, the list is endless! So we look for reasons not to read her; some say she might have simply copied large portions of the material in her books; the church was so legalistic in the past, she probably just flowed with the times. Now our emphasis is on salvation through Jesus, full and complete. Total serious consideration of the prophetic messages from Ellen White = ZERO. (Tom Mostert, President, Pacific Union Conference, August 2007 Pacific Union Recorder, President’s Perspective, page 3)

The 7th-day Sabbath is another rallying point for Adventists. With their distorted lack of understanding about the Old and New Covenants, as well as the seal of God (which for Christians is the Holy Spirit, but for Adventists is the 7th-day Sabbath), it is vitally important that any discussion of the Sabbath be delayed until there is a common understanding of the Covenants. This will be especially difficult for Adventists because it requires a total overhaul of their Adventist indoctrination.

Even their Great Controversy theme is a myth. They put God the Son on probation, and state that God is waiting for a perfect people (eg. Adventists, of course) to vindicate Him to the universe and thereby guarantee of the eternal stability of divine government! In the process of salvation, paradoxically, God is at once redeemer and redeemed. Seventh-day Adventism's salvation lies in grasping this truth.

"Christ On Probation – For a period of time Christ was on probation. He took humanity on himself, to stand the test and trial which the first Adam failed to endure. Had he failed in His test and trial, He would have been disobedient to the voice of God, and the world would have been lost." (SDA Bible Commentary, Volume 5, p. 1082; Signs of the Times May 10, 1869)

To be sure, God does not need to investigate the records in order to learn or to determine who is eligible to be saved. It is for the benefit of all created beings that the facts with respect to each person's fate should be known, as an assurance to all that justice has been done and as a guarantee of the eternal stability of divine government. The Bible writers speak of "books" in which God keeps a record of character -- of good and evil deeds as measured by a person's knowledge of, and voluntary relationship to, divine grace and God's revealed will.
SDA Bible Commentary, Volume 10, page 669

Contrary to the assurances God gives us in His Holy Word, Adventism teaches that the Christian will never dare to say, "I am saved."

Those who accept the Saviour, however sincere their conversion, should never be taught to say or to feel that they are saved. This is misleading. (Christ Object Lessons, page 155)

As long as man is full of weakness–for of himself he cannot save his soul–he should never dare to say, "I am saved." (Selected Messages, vol 1, page 314)

Similar twisted logic is employed to reach a state of "sinlessness".

"Those only who through faith in Christ obey all of God's commandments will reach the condition of sinlessness in which Adam lived before his transgression" (Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1118)

""To be redeemed means to cease from sin" (Review & Herald, September 25, 1900)

Adventist cultic doctrine comes with a grossly underestimated amount of "baggage".

It will come as a shock to Evangelicals to learn that the heart of the Adventist "gospel" is the 7th-day Sabbath -- embedded in the third angel's message of Revelation.

The Sabbath is the great test question. It is the line of demarkation between the loyal and true and the disloyal and transgressor. This Sabbath God has enjoined, and those who claim to be commandment keepers, who believe that they are now under the proclamation of the third angel's message, will see the important part the Sabbath of the fourth commandment holds in that message. It is the seal of the living God. They will not lessen the claims of the Sabbath to suit their business of convenience. (Manuscript 34, 1897, Selected Messages, vol. 3, p. 423)

It means eternal salvation to keep the Sabbath holy unto the Lord. God says: "Them that honor Me I will honor." 1 Samuel 2:30. (Testimonies, Vol 6, page 356)

Addition pointers and special Adventist "language" will be covered on each page of our discussion outline. Seventh-day Adventism uses a number of terms that are subject to misunderstanding by "non-Adventists". As a result "non-Adventists" will think they are "hearing" one thing when Seventh-day Adventists actually mean something else. To assist in this discovery process I have created a comprehensive Glossary of Adventist terms at http://www.defendingthegospel.com/glossary/

We must always remember to start each discussion with private prayer that the Holy Spirit will open the heart of the Adventist that we are dialoging with. Only the Holy Spirit can break through all the deception and cultic doctrine that traps the Adventist. It is our prayer that we can be a trustworthy tool in the hand of our Savior to be used as He sees fit.

In Christ,

Gilbert Jorgensen

 
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Unless otherwise noted, all original material on this ExposingAdventism.com website is 2007-2008 by Gilbert Jorgensen. Careful effort has been made to give credit as clearly as possible to any specific material quoted or ideas extensively adapted from any one resource. Corrections and clarifications regarding citations for any source material are welcome, and will be promptly added to any sections which are found to be inadequately documented as to source.