That’s a good point and I totally agree with you regarding there being errors in all churches.
What would you say are the biggest errors in SDA theology? I’m not asking to open a debate at all, I am disillusioned as well with the SDA movement, but I am curious about what you have found to be so off the mark.
Carol, I hope you are not arguing with yourself because that is not my contention. Besides, does it really matter how much off the mark one is?
Yes, it does. (20 characters),
In all examinations I have taken, I have never been given “less than an error” score. It was either “correct” or “wrong” no matter how much “ off the mark” my answer was. So tell me in what way does being off the mark matter in a spiritual journey?
I was going to ask you what your issues are as well.
My Issues are:
I don’t believe EGW to be a prophet. For many reasons.
The Sabbath. I don’t believe that Christians are required to “keep the Sabbath”. It was given to Israel as a sign of the Covenant God made with them. This is stated many times in the Old Testament.
I don’t believe that the SDA church is the Remnant
I don’t believe the 3 angels message as the SDA church believes.
I don’t believe that the Mark of the Beast is attending church on Sunday or ever will be.
I don’t believe that we have to follow food laws (clean and unclean)…what one eats or drinks is their own decision.
I don’t think that the SDA church teaches all that much about Jesus as He relates to the Gospel and the New Covenant. It’s main focus is on the Sabbath and lifestyle issues. When I was in the SDA church (joined at 24, left at about 50), thankfulness for Christ’s life, death and resurrection, was rarely really dwelt upon. Thankfulness for the Sabbath was always the main thing.
I hope I haven’t offended you or anyone else! I love the SDA people, but I think it is off base in some very important ways.
Those are my biggest issues.
Thanks for asking. What are the issues that have troubled you?
Originally you said “churches”. So that is what I’m referring to. Some churches doctrines are harmful and very off biblically.
As to one’s spiritual journey, I could never speak to an individuals journey. But as to what a church states as their doctrines and being able to see how these doctrines have been harmful to people, we can see this, and compare doctrines with Scripture. I’m not saying that any specific church has everything perfectly correct. Plus I don’t know what perfectly correct looks like!
First, let me say that I ‘missed’ it myself growing up in the SDA church. My baptism Sabbath at age 11 was one of the worst days of my life. I still cringe when I hear the song I Surrender All . I thought that I had to straighten my life up, myself, and surrender all of my bad habits. I knew I couldn’t do that and felt such a heavy load of guilt and hypocrisy that I was terrified of the Father and Jesus, Who said, “Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” So, I made no plans for what I would be when I grew up, and I had no hope of seeing ‘Heaven’ . . . I still struggle with that, and that is why I constantly refer to the ‘1888-era’ of SDA history, that I still cling to for relief and hope.
That era was the time right after James White had given up and died before he and Ellen could retire from church busy-ness, sit down and write about Jesus and His righteousness – not our own. Just a little earlier James and Ellen had both recognized that the SDA preoccupation with God’s ‘Law’ alone – a preoccupation which they had been involved with – had caused the SDA church, especially, to become ‘Laodicea’. . . .
So, one of the first and most important things that struggling pathetic SDAs like myself ‘missed’ was the fact that Ellen, herself was learning as she grew older, and what she was learning was changing her own approach to understanding and teaching Biblical truth. The ‘Law’ of God never disappeared for Ellen, it simply got swallowed up in Christ and became more beautiful. Too many SDAs still miss the ‘improved Ellen’ transition, and use her merely as a ‘legal’ weapon, which she would hate to be.
Before I give you a word-picture to better illustrate this Law=Gospel idea, I have to mention that the older pioneers who had grown up in the Advent Movement with Ellen, thought she had gone soft and rotten by ‘1888’. (If James had chosen to pray for healing instead of death, ‘1888 message’ enthusiasts, like myself, might now be quoting ‘James White’ instead of ‘Jones and Waggoner’.) Ellen lived in the Victorian Age, and as a widow she got even less respect from the ‘self-made men’ of that era of American history.
And, still, far too many SDAs tend to read and to abuse Ellen White’s writings and quotes in a harsh, legal manner, without any respect for the context in which she wrote them, or to whom, or whether or not they were written before or after she and James realized that the SDA Gospel Message was too focused on ‘Law’ alone, and therefore was incomplete and needed to grow.
But, when Ellen first heard Waggoner and Jones present at the 1888 GC session what she thought she and her husband, alone, were learning, she was over-joyed and thankful that God had answered her prayers for help after James had died. Along with James, she had lost much of her protection against the ‘stronger’, more respected, SDA male leadership figures. . . who disagreed with ‘young’ ‘Jones and Waggoner’ where they might have listened to the older James White.
Now the word-picture:
The ‘10 commandments’ are described as being ‘a transcript of God’s (the Father’s) character’, or his mental-emotional – not ‘physical’ – ‘image’, what motivates Him, etc. (such as ‘Love’).
Jesus said to Philip, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” but he had no earthly father where His ‘flesh’ was concerned, so all of His physical characteristics had to have come from his mother’s – Mary’s – DNA-programming. Putting these 2 ideas together, in answering Philip’s request to ‘see’ the Father, Jesus had to be referring to the same mental-emotional characteristics of His Father, that He had absorbed by ‘sight’, by always ‘beholding’ the Father in His imagination. Those same mental-emotional characteristics of which the ‘Law’ was but a brief ‘transcript’.
So, the Plan of Salvation described in the Bible required 2 separate ‘births’:
The first involved DNA protein programming of the Christ’s flesh, according to the ‘post-fall’ DNA of Mary, so that fallen humans could simply endure His physical ‘nature’ presence, and not be undone like those prophets who saw merely ‘angels’ and fainted as though dead.
The second ‘birth’ was the ‘birth’ of the mental-emotional character by the ‘nurture’ of beholding God’s character in action – beholding Jesus – as children do in watching their parents. Nature AND Nurture. Flesh AND Spirit.
Now, imagine that you have been given a recipe card for a cake you have never tasted. That card has a written list of ingredients, like ‘flour’, ‘sugar’, ‘vanilla’, ‘salt’, ‘shortening’ . . . . So, you go to the store, buy the ingredients, take them to your kitchen and taste each one. How much shortening could you swallow ? . . . flour ? . . . sugar ? . . . before you gagged or died of indigestion ? That’s the ‘Law’, alone. It is hard to swallow, and can be fatal if you don’t know what to do with how much of each ingredient, when, and in what order.
But, if you could know how to combine all of the ingredients in the right proportions, how long to bake it, at what temperature, and what the finished product should look like . . . that cake might be deliciously ‘Good News’, and that is the Jesus who was just like ‘Our Father which art in Heaven’ – NOT according to the flesh, but in spite of His adopted ‘post-fall’ DNA. (The SDA church was blessed with a scientific perspective unlike any other church, yet we base our theology and doctrines on ‘scripture alone’, while claiming to observe the ‘Creation Sabbath’ . . . no wonder the heads of wakeful SDAs spin ! )
Simply by beholding the Father, in His admiring ‘mind’s eye’, Jesus developed and reproduced that same mental-emotional character of the Father, in spite of the condition of His ‘flesh’. So, when we simply behold Jesus in our admiring mind’s eye our own mental-emotional character reflects that of Jesus reflecting the Father, without the misery of the ‘Law’, alone, condemning us . . . “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.”
With those words echoing in her amazed heart, Mary of Magdala went on to become just like her Heavenly Father, without one word of the ‘Law’ being spoken by that delicious Jesus to which she surrendered ‘all’ of her admiration.
The-‘Law’-AND-the-‘Gospel’ are still the same thing, in the same Christ, just as Mary of Magdala learned ( Or did Jesus lie to her ?) but too many SDAs still miss that fact, in heart. They let the scary ‘Law’ taint Jesus, instead of letting Jesus ‘tint’ the ‘Law’ with friendly beauty. That choice to miss out is theirs, not God’s.
In 2004, my wife and I were at a special home get-together for SDA ‘backsliders’. We were supposed to be ‘studying’ a book published from a manuscript written by a dead SDA pastor on the West Coast. In that book the pastor said that ‘we know God does not hear our prayers without the righteousness of Christ’, etc.
This grated on my nerves tremendously. If Christ’s parables of the prodigal son and the lost sheep were true, then something about what the dead SDA pastor was implying was terribly wrong. So, I spoke up and told the ‘real’ SDAs that the gospel just might be better than they realized and quoted Jesus in John’s Gospel account, saying, “There is no need for me to pray (or to ‘intercede with’) the Father for you, for the Father loves you, Himself.” (“For GOD so loved the world that HE GAVE . . . .”, Right ?, I don’t have to beg or rob God of that gift.)
Well, the beautiful, stylish, well-educated, and former local SDA church elder and pastor’s wife and published author of a book on the ‘nature of Christ’ . . . lady sitting right next to me bellowed, “What are YOU SAYING ? ! That’s ‘Moral Influence Theory’ !”
And there I thought I was quoting Jesus from the ‘Gospel’ of John . . . ? !
My wife and I didn’t have a clue what moral influence theory was, right then. And the local head elder across the table from me, sheepishly supported my formerly-Catholic accuser by agreeing, ‘Prayer and intercession are different things.’ . . . I wished later that I had had the presence of mind to tell him, “Try telling the SDA prophet, ‘Sister White’ that. She used them interchangeably, a lot.” Nope. I am just a stupid, ugly, backslid construction-worker.
So, because of greater-than-‘peer pressure’, the whole group of SDAs at that table still ‘missed out’ on that Gospel which makes the ‘Law’ digestible, and delicious, ‘in Christ’. Later, I was scolded by the female host of the meeting for disagreeing with my betters, especially the ‘published author’ lady.
That’s a beginning. Hear this story before I put you to sleep:
I was visiting Will Pergerson at the ‘1888 Message Study Committee’ office in Berrien Springs near Andrews in fall 2014, a year before he died in a plane crash. He had been interested in new neuroscience discoveries that I had stumbled across that strongly support what Jones taught at the 1893, 1895 and 1897 SDA GC sessions, and had asked me to make a PowerPoint which I was showing to ‘very-busy’ him. Then a van pulled up outside and a very old white-haired gentleman, just back from the ‘mission field’ with a visitor to the U.S. came into the office. He told us of his family’s long history in Berrien Springs, and how he had so often driven by the ‘1888 Message Study Committee’ office sign out front and wondered what in the world that was, and how now he was finally there to find out. . . (126 years late.)
That is a very long, sad ‘miss’, and, sorry to say, the SDA seminary that taught a former local SDA pastor near us, never taught him from that beautiful bit of SDA history which he nevertheless condemned me, my wife and 2 of his own congregation for learning, without even knowing what he was condemning ? ! ? I even read and recorded those 50-some 1893-97 Jones GC sermons onto CDs for him to listen to in his car while driving, and all he could say is, “You ought to get a job reading.” But why, when no one will listen ?
So, I would recommend that you read or listen to those ‘arguments of the Holy Spirit’s framing’ as Ellen described and recommended those 50-some Jones sermons to Jones, himself, as he was leaving her and the SDA church behind. The Congressional record sermons in the beginning may seem a bit discouraging, but the rest is worth the wait, and very appropriate to current events in the GC ! . . . or, you can go for the grade in the seminary, trust their opinions, alone, and miss out on what the Holy Spirit still has to offer to you, for free, if you will surrender all of your own efforts to please a Father who longs to please you, not condemn you.
Was I too long ? I can erase.
Thank you for sharing that and I am certainly not offended. I am not very well versed in all SDA doctrine but I don’t believe that the mark of the beast is attending church on Sunday either, nor that we are to follow Mosaic Law, food laws. I think they are healthier though. I don’t believe that tithing is for the New Covenant but rather giving. I have trouble asserting that Michael is Jesus even though I can see where that could be the case. I don’t believe that the 3 angels messages are something that the SDA movement is singled out to proclaim because the Bible clearly states what Christians are supposed to be doing and it’s not something that is only for a select group. I view the observance of the Sabbath as a moral law and currently do believe that it should be kept.
Perhaps we overlook the role of God’s Adversary in divisiveness. Maybe that being has decided to use whatever means he can to create disunity and disharmony. If this be so, then another step might be to consider that great ideas planted in human brains have sprouted - not into edible wheat but into bitter useless tares.
Jesus said “whoever is for us cannot be against us”; also " there will be wolves in sheep’s clothing".
As William Shakespeare penned “all that glisters is not gold”.
Please prayerfully offer yourselves to God’s inspection - after all, He knows the human heart is evil continually, needs to be changed.
I can’t thank you enough for relaying what you have. It speaks directly to my confusion, one that I feel but couldn’t quite put my finger on. I have kept feeling like I’m missing something and it gnaws at me. I see truth in so much of what I have learned as an SDA but then there’s this gap. Now I understand what the “gap” is a little better. In my heart I keep seeing the SDA movement holding up the Law and trying to see Jesus through it if that makes sense. I see the Laodicea connection. It absolutely does make my head spin and the feeling of not knowing what I don’t know is equally as frustrating! Lol My understanding is limited and the more I learn in seminary the more I want to take a year off and go sit with my Bible somewhere and just study what it says rather than what I’m being told it says. I have learned a lot about theology but not very much about what I wanted to learn in school. I also had no idea that the opinion back then of Ellen White had changed so much over time nor that she went through a transition with her understanding. It makes perfect sense and I’m not sure why anyone would reject the idea that she would grow and learn as she went along just like any other Christian. I will read what you have written several times so that I can get the fullness of what you have relayed and again, thank you!
Leaving the Fellowship of Believers is a Bad Decision.
Perhaps you need MORE THAN ONE Fellowship of Believers to receive Spiritual
Food and Conversation with.
Keep Meditating on the Gospels. Keep Meditating on the Letters of Paul, James,
Peter, John. Don’t read them too fast to miss the nuances of what they bring to the Soul.
Paul talks about the Spirit, Soul, Body.
The Holy Spirit talks to our Spirit.
Our Spirit talks to our Soul – the ability to think, to want, to feel which makes up the
personality, and the ability to discern the best way to carry out the directives we
receive in our spirit from the Spirit of God.
Body – is the servant. It is to work as an employee carrying out the command of the
Soul Manager, doing what the Employer [the spirit] instructs that it receives from the
IN Community, one is there to worship the Trinity collectively.
In Community one is NOT WORSHIPING Rules, Regulations, Teachings, Doctrines.
God, and God alone, ONLY.
Christ lived, died, arose, ascended to the right hand of the Father, will come again.
These are teachings.
All the other teachings are to promote and cause the Transformation we need to be God-like.
So we can see Him when He comes, because we will be like Him.
[NOT Last Generation Perfection many are promoting!]
I will heed your advice and can see the need for expanding my Fellowship of Believers. I am studying the Epistles of Paul in one of my classes and have been rushing through it as it is an accelerated class. I do need to slow down and study. The truth I need is there and the Holy Spirit keeps reminding me of that fact. I get caught up in keeping my GPA up and the endless tasks every day brings. I think the adversary knows well how to keep me distracted. The perfecting of the last generation has been another thorn for me so thank you for mentioning it!
God has always tried to move His people forward in their thinking of Him. If Luther had refused, what then ? . . . Paul, what then ?
The SDA church was another of God’s forward projects, but too many leaders stopped in self-satisfaction. Essential pieces of forward thought and understanding were ignored, denied, and are still smugly discarded by some as the ravings of the ‘defective characters’ of mere messengers, not arguments of the Holy Spirit’s framing.
So, yes, the SDA church as it now stands is very confused and confusing because its ‘builders’, like the ancient Temple builders, have refused to see and accept the perfect missing Stone for the right job, just as He is.
SDAs are mocked for keeping the ‘Jewish Sabbath’. I have been. Yet Jones, himself an SDA, tried to point out to SDAs the fact that too many SDAs, even of 130 years ago, were ‘Saturday-keepers’, not ‘Sabbath-keepers’, because they did not take delight in God’s rest from His own completed work, but delighted in their own rest from their own work. This is just like the ancient Jews who rejected Christ on the cross and went home in time for their ‘Sabbath’ celebration, without Him. So, instead of the Sabbath of the Lord of the Sabbath, we SDAs mostly still keep the ‘Sabbath of the 4th Commandment’. Surely the other Christian churches would listen to our own confession of our Sabbath failings, and then be more willing to learn with us that Christ essentially is the Sabbath, as the Holy Spirit taught through Isaiah (58) and Jones.
And, the Holy Spirit, through Jones also tried to show SDAs over a century ago how we as a church have also changed the Law of God, ourselves – just like the papacy – by dropping the beginning of all of the words spoken from Sinai, specifically these:
“And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” ~ Exodus 20:1-2
That’s the God before Whom we are to ‘have no other god’.
The One who sets us free, not who merely overlooks our chains.
To deliver from ‘Egypt’ is to deliver from ‘self’, from the bondage of ‘sin’, argued the Holy Spirit through Jones. . . yet we SDAs still expect ‘baptismal vows’ from confused people who are trying to ‘die to self’, and are told that baptism symbolizes complete – not a ‘sprinkling’ of – death to ‘self’, and resurrection ‘in Christ’ ! ? !
We need to let the resurrected Christ make any vows in our behalf, or we will surely need to die again the moment we turn away from Christ to promise our own efforts to lead in healing ourselves !
Is this what David prayed ?:
" I will create in me a clean heart, O God, and I will renew a right spirit within me, then . . . well, what do I need You for . . .‘God’ ?" ?
We need to let God do something for sinners for a change !
We need to let Christ be our righteousness, and ‘self’ be our embarrassment, not brag about all of the good things SDAs are doing for God !
We need to pay attention to Jesus when He asks us,
‘What do you want me to do for you ?’, not
‘What do I want you to do for me ?’
God has tried and tried for at least 130 years to move the SDA church forward in thought, but first it has to go back and pick up what it still refuses to acknowledge as worthwhile – God has not, and will not change His Gospel simply to keep SDAs from the embarrassment of having rejected it by looking to the right, and looking to the left, while never looking directly to the cross where Jesus waits, and begging Him to His face, ‘Will you be my King ?’ . . . and the longer we wait to do so, the more embarrassed we can expect to finally be, before the other Christian churches.
The SDA church as a whole was once blessed enough to be leading the other Christian churches it now tries to emulate, and sometimes even to catch up with . . . and that embarrasses Christ. That leading edge still waits where it was abandoned, and some SDAs are returning to the forefront with Christ. Let’s hope it is contagious.
Hello, Ella! Welcome…and I am glad that you are commenting.
I see that there are many other good comments in regards to yourself and your situation. They have given you much good advice and encouragement. From my standpoint, perhaps you should wait until your feelings are more concrete (less teeter-totery) before you make a potentially significant life change. If the “bad” starts to over take the “good”…then maybe it is time to depart.
I do understand how you feel about the “errors” in the church doctrines. At my stage of life, there is a acceptance of the fact that I don’t see any church without doctrinal flaws. I don’t know if it is enough of a factor to make you leave…only you can answer that one. I have left the church over realizing that it was not the best fit for me, but I still cherish the good I received from it.
I congratulate you upon your honesty and self-reflection. God can work with those who can be led…I know that He will be with you.
Thank you for the excellent advice. I will not be too hasty in leaving and from the info shared here I see already that there is a lot I need to learn. I suppose it does look like the bad is overcoming the good due to the consolidation of power that is looming this month. I will just continue to be an observer and keep learning until I can solidify my position. Your suggestion is very much appreciated.
It is my pleasure, Ella.
Yep…that’s another problem area, IMO.
Agree to disagree…
Thanks for your response.
That is an interesting assertion about God’s attempt to move His people forward and equally as thought provoking the thought that Luther would have refrained from pointing out the apostacy he saw in the Roman Catholic church. Paul’s struggle to keep the early churches he planted grounded in what he taught, what Jesus taught, never ended and so what the SDA movement has experienced is nothing new. We are a relatively new movement in comparison to other denominations and as you illustrated in your previous post, even Ellen White continued to grow and hone her understanding. I have heard others say that Jesus is the Sabbath but I don’t fully understand that yet. I see the Sabbath connected with the 7th day rest in Genesis and for that reason have a hard time connecting it to being Jesus. I agree so much with what you wrote about being “Saturday-keepers” as the focus tends to be on our own rest from work. I don’t feel that the Sabbath is restful at all, too much to do to maintain the normal routine of the church, but as you inferred, it’s not supposed to be about our literal rest anyway. To your topic of being delivered from Egypt and who does the delivering, it took me a long time to figure out that God is the one changing me not me trying to change myself. I picked up somehow in church that I needed to be the one preparing myself and I was always so frustrated knowing I couldn’t fix the things in me that I didn’t even know needed changing. I appreciate your recognition of that flawed thinking and for giving me a broader view of the SDA issues.
@EllaTY, I’ve yet to weigh in, but first let me just say welcome to the Spectrum Conversation
The best guide you have at your disposal is your prayerful relationship with God as you understand him to be. No one else has the authority to define that for you, but often there is strength in a fellowship of believers and in seeking wise counsel from those whom you trust. Just remember that Job also received “wise counsel!”
An honest, seeking heart is a blessing, not only to yourself but to everyone. Jesus ministered to the spiritual and physical needs of others no matter who, where or what. We are called to that same ministry.