Topical Studies


Dumping the Bath Water


"Be careful not to dump the baby out with the bath water." That is probably the most over-used catch phrase that questioning Adventists hear. I used it myself when my children learned the truth about Ellen White and began to question the Adventist doctrines. Most of us understand what the phrase means; that even though there are problems, you need to avoid discarding the truth that the denomination has, the good things about it that you can't find in any other church. I still hear this phrase and am actually starting to get annoyed when someone says it to me. It implies that my decision to leave the Seventh-day Adventist Church was a rash and impulsive one. In actuality the decision was a very long, carefully studied out, difficult process. I'd like to share my thoughts with you about dumping the water.

When I first started dumping the water, I was so careful. The water that filled the tub had been there since 1844, and it was really murky; There was green algae floating on top. There were some pretty water lilies; they were carefully tended and helped distract from the putrid water. Everyone was so proud of the lilies. There were all sorts of varieties: Lillium Educational Institutions, L. Medical Institutions, L. Community Services, and L. Seven-day Stop Smoking Program, just to name a few. I was proud of the lilies, too.

As I poured, I was carefully watching for the baby. I strained the water, and the strainer got clogged. I threw out the E. G. White algae and continued carefully pouring. The next clog was really sloppy; there were altars and candlesticks, curtains, and priestly garments. On closer investigation my judgment was that this also needed to be thrown out. There was definitely not a baby in all that mess. The water was getting really shallow, and I still couldn't see a baby. The more I learned about grace, the larger the chunks in the water became, especially the one with the number "four". That one seemed to hold on the tightest. I was sure that the baby had to be in there, somewhere under those stone tablets that were becoming visible at the bottom of the tub.

I started thinking that maybe I didn't know what a baby looked like. It was time to consult the manual. In the whole of the Old and New Testaments none of these things that I was finding were the baby; they were only meant to describe him, to lead to him, were a shadow of him. What a shock!

The baby wasn't in the bath water at all! The baby never was! The baby, Jesus, came to this world to fulfill and finish the Old Covenant and set in place the New. Because the ones who filled the tub refused to accept that New Covenant, it was impossible for the baby to be placed in the tub.

There was no longer any reason to keep the tub filled. The rest of the doctrinal clogs easily poured out: the fear of death and of never coming close to perfection were gone. Dietary restrictions became only a matter of preference, not a qualification for acceptance. So many things came spilling out.

When the tub was upended, the most awesome symbol of all was under it. There, hidden from the view of anyone who was focused on the dirty water, was an empty cross!


Copyright 2002 Cora Holder. Used by permission.


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