Post Number: 42
|Posted on Monday, January 09, 2006 - 10:32 pm: || |
It's interesting how there is so much to agree with Biblically in points #1-6 of SDA Fundamental Belief #12, but then they juxtapose points #7-13 and give me whiplash. First it sounds like they are talking about the entire "community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour." They even go so far as to appear to renounce an earthly heirarchy by stating "The church is the body of Christ, a community of faith of which Christ Himself is the Head". Very good. Very Evangelical. For extra measure they even state "Its members live on the basis of the new covenant." One assumes they are referring to the same "new covenant" that the rest of the Christian world, and the Pauline epistles, refer to. So far this all sounds most admirable. There is plenty to agree with here.
Then the tense all of a sudden changes to "we". Since the "we" is embedded in this paragraph about "the church" one might presume that there is somehow a connection. Since we know that "we" is authored by the Seventh-day Adventist Church we wonder for a moment if we are reading one of Richard Brautigan's books where the reader thinks he understands what he has just read, and then all of a sudden the writer switches the context. Especially unusual are statements such as "We join together for worship" and "We join together for fellowship". Since the SDA Church maintains a visible distance from the rest of the "community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour" (otherwise known as Apostate Protestantism) one has to wonder if they have read this right. "Join together for worship"? With whom? Certainly not any "Mark of the Beast" Sunday-keeping church. I don't remember ever joining together with the local Jewish synogogue either for Saturday worship. Talk about "double-speak"!
12. The Church:
The church is the community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. In continuity with the people of God in Old Testament times, we are called out from the world; and we join together for worship, for fellowship, for instruction in the Word, for the celebration of the Lord's Supper, for service to all mankind, and for the worldwide proclamation of the gospel. The church derives its authority from Christ, who is the incarnate Word, and from the Scriptures, which are the written Word. The church is God's family; adopted by Him as children, its members live on the basis of the new covenant. The church is the body of Christ, a community of faith of which Christ Himself is the Head. The church is the bride for whom Christ died that He might sanctify and cleanse her. At His return in triumph, He will present her to Himself a glorious church, the faithful of all the ages, the purchase of His blood, not having spot or wrinkle, but holy and without blemish. (Gen. 12:3; Acts 7:38; Eph. 4:11-15; 3:8-11; Matt. 28:19, 20; 16:13-20; 18:18; Eph. 2:19-22; 1:22, 23; 5:23-27; Col. 1:17, 18.)
This is a most interestingly worded belief. It states:
1. The church is the community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
2. The church derives its authority from Christ, who is the incarnate Word, and from the Scriptures, which are the written Word.
3. The church is God's family; adopted by Him as children
4. Its members live on the basis of the new covenant
5. The church is the body of Christ, a community of faith of which Christ Himself is the Head
6. At His return in triumph, He will present her to Himself a glorious church, the faithful of all the ages, the purchase of His blood, not having spot or wrinkle, but holy and without blemish
and includes the following obfuscation:
7. In continuity with the people of God in Old Testament times, we are called out from the world
8. We join together for worship
9. We join together for fellowship
10. We join together for instruction in the Word
11. We join together for the celebration of the Lord's Supper
12. We join together for service to all mankind
13. We join together for the worldwide proclamation of the gospel.
Post Number: 43
|Posted on Monday, January 09, 2006 - 10:47 pm: || |
As I tried to take in the full import of this "Fundamental Belief" (not to be confused with official beliefs that are not "fundamental"), I noticed also the following statement:
"In continuity with the people of God in Old Testament times, we are called out from the world;"
One can't help but wonder if the authors are unable to find any support for this from the New Testament. This is an especially disconcerting statement since "Its members live on the basis of the new covenant". One has to wonder how the SDA Church can fulfill the gospel commission to "go into all the world" while at the same time they "are called out from the world".
Post Number: 3182
|Posted on Monday, January 09, 2006 - 11:49 pm: || |
Gilbert, really good observations. You're right; the subtle contradictions are enough to give one whiplash!
These beliefs are such masterpieces of verbiage and obfuscation. As Patria (who sometimes posts here) has written, it took her years to figure out how Adventist teachings were really different from evangelical Christian teachings because the lingo is the same. Adventists today use "grace" and "on fire for Jesus" and "salvation" quite freely (even glibly). Few, however, really understand the truth of what Jesus did that actually defines those words. The words sound like they "get it", but in reality those words mean something different to most Adventists than they mean to a born-again Christ-follower.
Post Number: 410
|Posted on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 - 7:42 am: || |
I had started addressing some of the SDA Fundamental Beliefs on CARM and intent to link Gilbert's post.
Here was my take on belief #1 (I have posted part of this here before)
1. The Holy Scriptures:
The Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are the written Word of God, given by divine inspiration through holy men of God who spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In this Word, God has committed to man the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the authoritative revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God's acts in history. (2 Peter 1:20, 21; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; Ps. 119:105; Prov. 30:5, 6; Isa. 8:20; John 17:17; 1 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 4:12.)
Based on a quick reading of this belief, most would consider it very orthodox and move on. However, a closer look at what SDAs actually mean in the words being said (based on their other beliefs and additional commentary on the doctrine), we find that the carefully crafted belief statement obscures true SDA belief.
The phrase "given by divine inspiration through holy men of God who spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" would suggest to most readers that SDAs believe writing and speaking (the words) of these holy men of God was Divinely influenced. But that is not the case.
Divine revelation was given by inspiration of God to 'holy men of God' who were 'moved by the Holy Spirit' (2 Peter 1:21). These revelations were embodied in human language with all its limitations and imperfections, yet they remained God's testimony. God inspired menónot words.
The description of SDA fundamental beliefs goes on to provide multiple EGW quotes (but the section is devoid of Scripture) to define what inspiration is
The Bible 'is not God's mode of thought and expression. Men will often say such an expression is not like God. But God has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rhetoric, on trial in the Bible. The writers of the Bible were God's penmen, not His pen.' 'Inspiration acts not on the man's words or his expressions but on the man himself, who, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts. But the words receive the impress of the individual mind. The divine mind is diffused. The divine mind and will is combined with the human mind and will; thus the utterances of the man are the word of God.' (These EGW quotes are from SM1, 21.1)
The next phrase that obscures SDA true teaching is the statement that Scripture is the "infallible revelation of His will." Again the casual reader would assume that SDAs believe that Scripture is inerrant. But a close scrutiny reveals that this infallibility is limited only to the revelation of God's will. In fact, SDAism teaches that God's Word does contain errors. For instance this little article on the Dynamics of Inspiration from the EGW estate:
God gives the prophet freedom to select the kind of language he or she wants to use. That accounts for the different styles of the Biblical writers and explains why Ellen White describes the language used by inspired writers as "imperfect" and "human."
Because "everything that is human is imperfect,"(14) we must accept the idea of imperfections and mistakes in both the Bible and Ellen White's writings. This means at least two things: 1. The prophet uses his or her common, everyday language learned from childhood and improved through study, reading, and travel; there is nothing supernatural or divine in the language used.
--footnote 14 is Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 20, 21
The statement "nothing...divine in the language" of Scripture can not be reconciled with teaching that Scripture is God-breathed.
The other element that is notably absent from this fundamental belief is the idea that Scripture is the only authoritative source for doctrine. In their fundamental beliefs, SDAism acknowledges Scripture as a source, but not the only source.
I believe that this SDA fundamental belief is careful crafted to give the impression of a belief that is almost completely opposite of what the church truly teaches.
Post Number: 411
|Posted on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 - 7:51 am: || |
I figured I would repost both of these, rather than just the links, since so many people tell me they have problems navigating on CARM (and CARM has periodically changed the location/names of the boards so links don't last very long).
And my take on Fundamental Belief #8
8. The Great Controversy:
All humanity is now involved in a great controversy between Christ and Satan regarding the character of God, His law, and His sovereignty over the universe. This conflict originated in heaven when a created being, endowed with freedom of choice, in self-exaltation became Satan, God's adversary, and led into rebellion a portion of the angels. He introduced the spirit of rebellion into this world when he led Adam and Eve into sin. This human sin resulted in the distortion of the image of God in humanity, the disordering of the created world, and its eventual devastation at the time of the worldwide flood. Observed by the whole creation, this world became the arena of the universal conflict, out of which the God of love will ultimately be vindicated. To assist His people in this controversy, Christ sends the Holy Spirit and the loyal angels to guide, protect, and sustain them in the way of salvation. (Rev. 12:4-9; Isa. 14:12-14; Eze. 28:12-18; Gen. 3; Rom. 1:19-32; 5:12-21; 8:19-22; Gen. 6-8; 2 Peter 3:6; 1 Cor. ; Heb. 1:14.)
From the start this fundamental belief is an extra-Biblical belief. There is no Biblical basis for concluding that any controversy has ever existed regarding the character of God, His law or His sovereignty over the universe. The book Seventh-day Adventists Believe makes no attempt to provide Biblical foundations for these ideas, and instead simply states them as facts, even though the book is quick to add references wherever they exist. What we know about Satanís fall is found in Isa 14, Eze 28, and Rev 12. The only indication that we have from these verses is that Satanís fall was based on his pride. The content of this controversy is a fabrication of EGWís without any basis in Scripture. But this fabrication taints nearly every SDA doctrine. If an SDA ever tells you that their beliefs are totally from Scripture alone, simply point to the one sentence and you will quickly debunk this assertion.
The next flaw, is that there is no Biblical evidence that God has to be vindicated from any charges made by Satan this is simply another addition made by the SDA prophet. But even if we assume that this vindication is reasonable, you will also notice from this teaching that Godís love is not yet vindicated according to SDAs. The cross was not enough to vindicate Godís love. This belief states that the vindication of Godís love is something that is yet to come, ìthe God of love will ultimately be vindicated.î Interestingly the book on the fundamental beliefs did not try to defend this position, instead it focuses on the îCosmic Significance of the Crossî stating that Christ accomplished the vindication of God in His life and death. It would be interesting to understand this disconnect in more detail. The most likely cause is that the wording of the actual beliefs must be approved by the Churchís General Conference Session, whereas the wording of the book doesnít require such stringent approval. The beliefs as they are stated in the Fundamental Beliefs are based on the highest authority of the SDA church and take precedence.
This idea of God needing a further and future vindication beyond the life and death of Jesus harkens one back to the writings of M. L. Andreasen
In the last generation God gives the final demonstration that men can keep the law of God and that they can live without sinning. God leaves nothing undone to make the demonstration complete. The only limitation He puts on Satan is that he may not kill the saints of God. He may tempt them, he may harass and threaten them; and he does his best. But he fails. He cannot make them sin. They stand the test, and God puts His seal on them. Through the last generation of saints God stands fully vindicated." . The Sanctuary Service, Review and Herald, 1969 printing, pp 318-19.
Ultimately within SDAism, it isnít God who saves man, but man who saves God from Satanís charges.
This is why God isnít even fully vindicated by Christís death. According to SDA teaching, man must achieve perfect obedience to Godís law in order to save Godís government and keep Satanís rebellion from being effective. This is, in my mind, the most blasphemous teaching within SDAism.
Post Number: 3184
|Posted on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 - 10:08 am: || |
Rick, I totally agree with you, and I am so glad you shared these posts with us. I have a deep recoil reaction to these two statements and to the slick way the church tries to present them to the world. Richard and I have often discussed the fact that we think the Great Controversy idea is the most sinister of SDA teachings because it gives Satan so much credence, power, and sympathy. It puts Satan on a nearly equal footing with Jesus, struggling for humanity's loyalty and struggling for the right to determine creations' eternal reaction to God Himself.
Further, the idea that humanity is involved in ultimately "vindicating" God is blasphemous, as you said. The Bible says that Jesus demonstrated God's justice on the cross. The issue that needed resolving was not God's fairness but God's justice. Because he left the sins of those preceding the cross unpunished, Jesus on the cross forever dispelled any possible thought that Jesus was unjust in forgiving sinners.
The Great Controversy says that God has to be proven "fair" in destroying evil and in requiring obedience. The Bible says that His justice and "right" to command loyalty was a given. It was His forgiveness and mercy that the cross revealed.
Adventism, I believe, has done the slickest job of all false gospels in sounding evangelical and in deceiving thousands of Christians. They DO NOT really mean or believe what they so carefully word in their public statements. They are completely deceptive.
Post Number: 190
|Posted on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 - 10:40 am: || |
Today, most people, including Christians, are too busy to read all of the Adventist fundamentals. How many people have time to sit and read it all? Most likely, they won't!
Imagine someone being directed to their website and going to the fundamentals. It isn't that they aren't interested in what Adventists believe, they just aren't THAT INTERESTED, that they are going to read THAT MUCH. So, they read the first 3 or 4 fundamentals and say, sounds fine to me. Asks an Adventist a few questions, sounds fine to me.
The leadership of this church knows what they are doing. They know this to be true. Overwhelm everyone with scripture. Make it a puzzle as they did with Walter Martin. In their arrogance they call the other Christians simple behind their backs. Deception works, and most of the SDA leadership know it.
Special note on what they say about their church name on their website:
Spelling: Seventh-day Adventist, including the hyphen and a lower-case ìdî for ìdayî.
The pronunciation: Seventh-day Adí-ven-tist with the accent on the first syllable.
The abbreviation: Adventist. Not ìSDAî. As with most longer names, abbreviations grow out of their common use and often reflect an air of ìthose in the knowî, much like contemporary slang is used. This is the manner in which ìSDAî has come to be used in place of ìSeventh-day Adventistî. However this usage runs counter to the purposes of a church, which is to reach out and be inclusive to all. The term ìSDAî, out of context and without prior knowledge, can represent any number of organizations around the world, many with functions and purposes very different from the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This is why the initials ìSDAî should never be used in any official or public way to represent the Adventist Church. The Churchís identity should always be clear and accessible.
Post Number: 45
|Posted on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 - 7:36 pm: || |
Rick, that is some amazing material! Thank you so much for your thoughtful insight and contribution.
It would be a pleasure to see your evaluation of each of the remaining "Fundamental Beliefs". It would also be interesting to find out what "Beliefs" the Seventh-day Adventist Church subscribes to that are not "Fundamental", and what impact, according to doctrine, they have on a person's salvation. I am suprised they don't have a "Fundamental Belief" on the ordination of women (excluding Ellen White's ordination). Perhaps that falls in the category of "Non-Fundamental Beliefs".
Post Number: 413
|Posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2006 - 7:33 am: || |
I am slowly working my way through the beliefs, in no particular order. I'll keep this thread in mind as I develop more.