Post Number: 28
|Posted on Saturday, May 10, 2014 - 9:05 am: || |
In Adventist circles, or at least the ones that I was in (which sometimes overlapped with the 1888 study Commitee and some non-Trinitarian groups) the Christian article of substitutionary atonement often came under fire.
The voices of Graham Maxwell and many others within the organization utterly reject the idea of a God who would require satisfaction through the death of his own Son.
Liberal (and feminist) Christianity also recoils at the thought, labelling such an idea as "cosmic child abuse" (and in that statement they highlight their misunderstanding of the biblical and orthodox Christian teachings of atonement and the Godhead).
Humanistic Christianity, in rejecting the complete spiritual brokenness of the human race, the holiness of God, and the wrath of God against sinful humanity, has removed the need for the sacrifice of Christ, and the blood that he shed on the cross.
That sacrifice is the very basis for the grace of God. Humanism and liberalism has, through its denials of Biblical truth, effectively destroyed the need for grace, and the act of God that provided this grace.
Remove the blackness of God’s great wrath and the darkness of man’s utter sinfulness from the preaching of the gospel, and you are left with nothing that resembles the true gospel. Paradoxically, it is the realization of this truth and its remedy that has the capacity to make us truly free.
J. Gresham Machen explains this in a grand way, I think all Christian Evangelicals ought to read his book "Christianity and Liberalism". Here are quoted a few paragraphs from the book in which he answers some of the liberal arguments against the doctrine of substitutionary atonement.
(Message edited by LeifL on May 10, 2014)
(Message edited by LeifL on May 10, 2014)
Post Number: 3364
|Posted on Saturday, May 10, 2014 - 2:42 pm: || |
Oh, that's the same as if they're denying the Atonement entirely! They apparently don't realize that just as the animal sacrifices were a substitution for the human death/sins, Jesus death was also a substitution for our death/sins. Also they don't realize that Jesus laid down His life of His own free will, just like a soldier who flings himself down on a grenade to save his friends.
If Jesus hadn't died for us, we'd all have been doomed!
Post Number: 2118
|Posted on Sunday, May 11, 2014 - 6:02 am: || |
The SDA Fundamental Belief, and the book on the subject, discuss Jesus as our substitute, but they specifically leave out that Christ's death satisfied God's holy wrath towards sin. I pointed this out in the most recent Proclamation. What I didn't have room to discuss is the underlying doctrinal reason of why this is likely left out.
In SDA atonement, the atonement isn't complete with the slain goat. The atonement is completed when the scapegoat is led into the wilderness. A Christian understanding is that the two perfect goats both represent Christ-His death and His resurrection/ascension. The atonement symbolism of the OT is all completed in Christ and is all completed in events surrounding the cross.
In SDAism, the atonement symbolism includes Satan. God's wrath concerning sin is directed at Satan and the sinners. Therefore, Christ did not need to satisfy Gods wrath.
Certainly Maxwell's atonement is lacking, but the entire SDA doctrine has serious flaws. These serious flaws in the official doctrine are what allow even greater heresies to flourish so widely in SDAism.
Post Number: 29
|Posted on Sunday, May 11, 2014 - 10:42 pm: || |
I was at Loma Linda last year, and during Sabbath School it seemed to be open season on biblical Christianity. The fundamentals of the Christian faith (biblical authority) were up for debate, but items of conscience (Sabbath, etc.) or parts of Adventism that are unrelated to scripture (the inspiration of EGW) were sacrosanct.
I challenged the teacher, but eventually left in protest. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
A poll done in the class (of well educated lifelong SDAs I might add) showed a 2/3 vote in favour that mankind naturally tends toward evil.
At our Baptist church I was teaching the Sunday school (biblical anthropology) and asked the same question, out of curiosity. There were probably twice as many people in the Sunday school class, but not a single hand voted for man being naturally tending toward good, all voted for man's nature being naturally tending toward evil.
Without a biblical worldview of the nature of man (biblical anthropology) it is utterly impossible to know our great need, and God's provision in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Post Number: 325
|Posted on Monday, May 12, 2014 - 7:34 pm: || |
I think it is always open season on biblical Christianity in Adventism. That was my experience anyway. I have never seen such a deluded, prideful, and smug group in my life. I was deceived by Adventism when I was 24, but I didn't have the pride and smug attitude, that came with being raised and immersed in the culture from birth on.
Post Number: 14811
|Posted on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - 8:00 pm: || |
Leifl, you certainly have seen the problems with Maxwell's influence. And Rick is right; Adventism cannot have an atonement without the scapegoat being satan. It is horrifying to me that, hidden at the core of Adventist theology, Satan is lurking. He is the final sin bearer. He is the one who "cleanses heaven" by taking the sins on himself and bearing them into the lake of fire.
In Adventism, Satan is the tragic hero. It's truly horrifying. If a person really thinks about it, there's no escaping the conclusion that Adventism is not just "cultic" but "occultic". I know...that sounds sensational. But what, after all, IS the occult?
It honors satan as the deity to respect.
Adventism credits satan with doing the final payment for sin.
Post Number: 48
|Posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - 5:35 am: || |
I HATED coming to the same conclusion that you just expressed. I resisted it with all my might. But finally, what other explanation is there? It's simply the only one that is left standing.
Nobody asked me if I liked it. It doesn't matter how I feel about it.
It is what it is.
Post Number: 10134
|Posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - 9:21 am: || |
WOW Colleen, you are so right! I never looked at it that way.
Not only is sdaism cultic, but is occultic!
Thank you awesome God for taking me out of it.
Post Number: 51
|Posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - 10:26 am: || |
"In Adventism, Satan is the tragic hero. It's truly horrifying."
And Jesus in no way is his match. To Adventists, Jesus is a bumbling nice guy out of his depth in the Heavenly Courtroom, since almost nothing was accomplished on the Cross, and the Angels did all of the heavy lifting at the Resurrection. Satan is better looking, more skillful, smarter and more tenacious: A zealous prosecutor. The shaggy and listless Jesus came mainly to demonstrate that perfect Sabbath Keeping is possible and to show us that it can be done. He is our example, not our substitute. Adventism grudgingly concedes that Christ may have some superficially divine-appearing characteristics (but only when pressed on the issue in public), in order to get Walter Martin off their back. But when nobody is looking, they let the cat out of the bag and discuss Jesus's very-human propensity to sin.
Our perfect Sabbath Keeping, at best, gives him a paper-thin advantage over Satan, but Satan wins 99 percent of the time anyway. Only Satan knows, unlike us luckless humans, when our "number is up," so we can never exert superhuman willpower at the right time and place, for the "final push." The tiny number of times Jesus wins, it is probably just God throwing him a bone, to make him feel better after the Cross debacle.Anyway, he is such a nice guy, he takes his usual beating with grace and humility, and even after a devastating loss - for instance, a deserving Adventist that turned on the TV 2 minutes before Sundown on Saturday just one time - he continues to be a shining example of how to behave ourselves.
Post Number: 14815
|Posted on Thursday, May 15, 2014 - 12:11 am: || |
I love that summary statement, Resjudicata...."the angels did all the heavy lifting at the Resurrection." Ha! That is the picture EGW painted...angels called Jesus from the tomb.
Jesus is Lord!
Post Number: 55
|Posted on Thursday, May 15, 2014 - 7:05 am: || |
It is incredibly disturbing, this severe downgrading of Christ's divine abilities and his atonement. Against my will - and I have kicked and screamed and resisted the whole way - I nonetheless have logically reached a disturbing conclusion. And it is the only logical explanation for the extreme contradiction between the Christ of the Gospel and the Christ of Ellen White.
I am very strongly biased against explanations that are demonic in nature. Post-Adventism, I have been around "Deliverance Ministries" that absurdly find a demonic explanation virtually everywhere. In fact, they frequently find demons where only depression or other usual forms of mental illness exist. They have no credibility with me, and created an overwhelming bias where I was and am strongly opposed against their methods and conclusions. They do more harm than good. For a person with treatable mental illness, their methods can be fatal.
The medical explanations for Ellen White's "visions" that I have read completely lack credibility and would be rejected by modern medicine and would be inadmissible in a court of law:
The examinations done on her lacked any modern techniques and quite frankly, likely fell below the primitive medical standard of care prevalent at the time they were done. Ellen White would never fit within ANY of the modern DSM-5 diagnoses, and none of the "diagnoses" reached by the Doctors of her time are accepted now. I would be ashamed and embarrassed to attempt to get the junk "science" in the link introduced in Court. As a matter of fact, those medical opinions in the link discussing Ellen White’s condition would NEVER be admissible in a modern court of law. While the Brain injury might give a modern neurologist an obvious line of inquiry, it STILL could not rule out supernatural phenomena that were witnessed by many credible bystanders. Science just does not work that way. That was the deciding factor that led me to search for a more logical explanation for Ellen White's "visions." The medical ones – whether the ones at her time or modern ones - just do not cut it.
I am opposed to Catholicism in general and am predisposed to reject most if not all of their "unique doctrines." However, one of their credible areas of doctrine closely lines up with my own strong predisposition AGAINST finding demonic explanations. Here's Wikipedia:
"Solemn exorcisms, according to the Canon law of the Church, can be exercised only by an ordained priest (or higher prelate), with the express permission of the local bishop, and only after a careful medical examination to exclude the possibility of mental illness. The Catholic Encyclopedia (1908) enjoined: "Superstition ought not to be confounded with religion, however much their history may be interwoven, nor magic, however white it may be, with a legitimate religious rite." Things listed in the Roman Ritual as being indicators of possible demonic possession include: speaking foreign or ancient languages of which the possessed has no prior knowledge; supernatural abilities and strength; knowledge of hidden or remote things which the possessed has no way of knowing.....and profuse blasphemy and/or sacrilege."
Ellen White's "visions" had many credible witnesses. Their detailed descriptions of the phenomena they personally observed, ironically, WOULD be admissible in a court of law. They would also be found credible enough to the “gatekeeper” (the judge) under a Daubert v. Merrill-Dow analysis. And they are absolutely consistent from witness to witness. There were many eye-witnesses to Ellen White's "supernatural abilities and strength," particularly no breathing for long periods of time, and holding a heavy Bible at arm's length. None of these phenomena was analyzed as part of the medical examinations that were done on Ellen White. Those well-witnessed supernatural outward signs logically comport with some of her claimed visual experiences: being transported to heaven; and the young man that was her "guide." While the vast majority of her writings were indeed plagiarized, she still had the raw ability to formulate and comprehend exceedingly complex ideas that found well-written external support, albeit support that was stolen. That all of the preceding far exceeds the ability of ANYONE with a mere third grade education is a indisputable fact that would also be easy to introduce in a court of law. It comports with the Catholic criteria of "knowledge of hidden or remote things which the possessed has no way of knowing." Her third-grade education lends dramatic support for those particular criteria. Additionally, the Catholic requirement of ruling out medical or psychiatric explanations would be met, I believe after a “careful examination,” particularly one that took into account, or personally observed, the well-witnessed visionary incidents. More than adequate proof of this assertion is based on my experience with courtroom medical testimony.
I have read somewhere that the groundskeeper at Elmshaven would occasionally see Ellen White’s studio brightly lit up at night, and if memory serves correctly, he was found to be credible. He was predisposed to view this as a very positive proof of Ellen White’s divine inspiration. He was not inclined to view it in a negative way. Given his positive viewpoint on the light phenomena and the fact that he was incapable of understanding, and probably never had access to the medical diagnoses that were performed on her, his description of the event would also be admissible in a court of law. And her writings about a severely-circumscribed Jesus would fit the Catholic criteria of "profuse blasphemy and/or sacrilege."
When all of these factors are taken into account, and given the very high bar that the Catholic Church places before finding demonic explanations; it is clear that the mountain of admissible evidence would be enough to persuade even the most reluctant Catholic Bishop to grant the rarely-given permission to perform an exorcism.
I am sitting here absolutely stunned and devastated at reaching this conclusion that runs strongly against my better instincts, and it is a conclusion that I long fought HARD to avoid reaching. But objectively, it is clear that the Catholic authorities would be compelled to grant an exorcism, even in light of their obvious bias against doing so.
Post Number: 2119
|Posted on Thursday, May 15, 2014 - 4:02 pm: || |
The punishment for the sins of the saved is placed on Satan.
I was taught that quite clearly as an SDA. It didn't fully strike me at the time that this put Satan in Christ's place.
Exactly how is Christ our substitute in SDA theology? Who cares to explain what He is a substitute for within SDA theology?
I wish I could put my fingers on the source, but I recall atonement being presented as Satan demanding that sinners receive the punishment dictated by the law with Christ's death somehow ransoming believers from this claim.
The wrath of God towards sin is minimized.
I think this is one reason why even those leaving SDAism struggle so much with eternal punishment, we were never well grounded in a concept of the wrath of God, nor His justice. Instead we had a god who had to prove himself to his creation.
Post Number: 3366
|Posted on Thursday, May 15, 2014 - 4:33 pm: || |
An excorcism would not do any good unless the possessed is willing to give up the demons in him/her. If the demons were sent out, more demons would come in. Ellen White's income and popularity with the SDA church would dry up, so I doubt she would have been willing to lose those demons!
Post Number: 56
|Posted on Thursday, May 15, 2014 - 4:58 pm: || |
I wrote not so much to argue in favor of an exorcism, but to point out that there are indeed some objective standards for when demonic possession exists.
And those objective standards of demonic possession were met with Ellen White.
Post Number: 57
|Posted on Thursday, May 15, 2014 - 7:26 pm: || |
I found the White Estate's full workup on the scapegoat:
And this is what I found about Satan making his charges:
"Satan and his angels mark all the mean and covetous acts of these persons and present them to Jesus and His holy angels, saying reproachfully, "These are Christ's followers! They are preparing to be translated!" Satan compares their course with passages of Scripture in which it is plainly rebuked and then taunts the heavenly angels, saying, "These are following Christ and His Word! These are the fruit of Christ's sacrifice and redemption!" Angels turn in disgust from the scene.
It is solemn mockery; Satan exults over it and reproaches Jesus and His angels with such inconsistency, saying, with hellish triumph, "Such are Christ's followers!"
Post Number: 27
|Posted on Thursday, May 15, 2014 - 11:47 pm: || |
If Satan carries our sins, the more people he will lead out of Christianity, the less sin he has to carry. Because only people who believe in Christ as Saviour will be saved. So Satan will be rewarded by God for getting people out of Christianity..
Post Number: 3367
|Posted on Friday, May 16, 2014 - 12:44 pm: || |
What a convoluted mess Adventists believe!
Here's some verses on the scapegoat and Jesus:
" And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins. And he shall put them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness. The goat shall bear all their iniquities on itself to a remote area, and he shall let the goat go free in the wilderness." Leviticus 16:21-22
"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:6
Post Number: 14821
|Posted on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - 1:51 pm: || |
The scapegoat doctrine is the final straw, for me, that identifies EGW as receiving her visions and doctrines from demons. Even if one leaves aside all of EGWs quotes, if one just reads Leviticus 16, it's impossible to make the scapegoat Satan.
Leviticus 16 says the scapegoat bore the sins of Israel into the wilderness "for atonement". The father of lies cannot in any way participate in atonement. That doctrine can only come from the "pit of hell", to quote the principal under whom I last taught.
Here's a link to an article from a past Proclamation explaining the Adventist doctrine of the scapegoat, including many EGW quotes: http://www.lifeassuranceministries.org/proclamation/2010/2/scapegoat.html
Post Number: 63
|Posted on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - 4:03 pm: || |
"When I left Adventism in 1980, this scapegoat transaction was still the most embarrassing doctrine in modern Adventist teaching."
I found myself cringing in embarrassment just reading the article, and I have been away from Adventism for 33 years! My oh my! The terminal embarrassment of growing up as a "cradle Adventist." Some of the people that I went to grade school with have reunited and commiserate on growing up as "peculiar people" as it was generously depicted.
Actually, we were just plain "weirdos." Yuck.