Drop the Mic: Reincarnating the Adventist Faith Part 1


I have found this site to be intensely Christ-centered, to the point of criticism from those who think Spectrum is “too” Christ focused when it covers The One Project.

There is much support at this site for a Christ-focused life.

EDIT for @SFreed[quote=“SFreed, post:28, topic:13506”]
I rather am concerned that this website often downplays doctrines, even considering truth as relative and the inspiration of the Bible variable, as an overreaction to the lack of upholding Christ by conservatives.


Are you referring to the Sabbath School commentaries, articles, or the public commenters who express their opinions? I’m thinking the latter because the editorial board of this publication is very Christ-centered. Could you give some specifics?


I am in great agreement that the ADVENTIST church in NAD is only adding new members from the immigrant population.

The Adventist church in Europe is a great portent and projection of what will happen in NAD,

I am currently in my home in France, near Nice-- the Adventist church in downtown Nice has very few white, native French members and is multicultural, with a mainly immigrant demographic- the French Carribean, Martinique and Guadalupe and the African French colonies – Ivory Coast and Senegal.

When I owned a home in Paris, the local Paris church was of similar demographic.

When I visit my daughter in London, England, there are over one hundred SDA churches with a Carribean or Nigerian membership. Native British members --English, Scottish, Welsh are few relative to their population in the United Kingdom.

When last I visited the Union Conference church, way out of London in Stanborough Park, they had three pastors – a South African, a Swedish, and a Slovakian pastor! Apparently no British pastor was available.

A sad commentary on Adventism’s outreach to Europeans!
And a fateful forecast for NAD churches!


Brethren , A wizard is a male witch . Why would we use this analogy to compare our view of the bible and our doctrine ? It makes no sense. That is our problem, " We are not using the bible enough . Additionally , reading some of your post reveals how wrong many of you are. QUESTION TO EVERY READER and SPECTRUM’s EDITOR, " For which sins did Jesus die for, Those committed under the OLD or NEW covenant ? If He was offered from the foundation of the world, it would mean that the sins under the Old covenant put Jesus on the cross . So what is the meaning of the New covenant ? God proved that He can keep His word . The blood of animals secured the Faith of those under the Old covenant . And based upon the word of God, they were saved . How much more is the salvation of those secured under the New covenant , that is secured by the blood of Christ. Please read Romans 3:21, 22, THEY ARE BOTH THE SAME/ NO DIFFERENCE . Whether we have the 10 commandments written on our heart or have Christ’s love in our heart, there is no difference. " If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me ." We are not lifting up Christ. That is our problem . Preachers are telling stories , selling books and t-shirts. Everything but preaching the gospel. I ask Spectrum to challenge our ministers to lift up Jesus. The power is not in us. It is in the Holy Spirit .John 16 :8 , Who else can convict the world of sin , judgment and righteousness ? The Holy Spirit. And He uses the 10 commandments to do that . This is righteousness by faith. Christ in the heart = the righteousness of the LAW . This is the gospel. And to the writer who said SDA are wrong about the atonement . A careful study of the sanctuary and it’s services would show that the CROSS only provided the blood . It then had to be offered inside the sanctuary. This is why SDA teach the Investigative Judgment . Praise God for the TRUTH. I am willing to travel the world to any of our churches to preach this truth . Just call me :1441 7378648 .


i think we’re living in a discouraging time and place…aside from personal victories that only we as individuals can know about, we don’t really see the holy spirit working in unmistakable power around us, like he did in bible times…some of the more spectacular spiritual gifts, like prophecy, tongues, miracles, etc., are dormant, and have been so for years, if not centuries…it must be especially difficult to be a pastor, and see firsthand how little impact we’re having on people around us…


A few comments that may (or may not) help clarify what I was trying to say with this first article:

  • Regarding the authority of scripture: I believe that the scriptures are an authoritative guide for a follower of Jesus. My critique is directed towards the traditional Adventist evangelism paradigm that depends upon either: a person already believing in the authority of scripture; or the notion that Adventists will be effective in their first contact with an agnostic or person of another faith by trying to prove that the Judeo-Christian scriptures are 100% true. Operating with these assumptions now is undermining our ability to connect with 21st century North American-enculturated populations.

  • Regarding the teachings/doctrines of the church: it is not this article’s intention to question the veracity of Adventist doctrine. It is the article’s intention to confront the conscious or subconscious belief in our faith tradition that communicating our propositionally-taught, scripturally-based doctrines changes lives and ushers people into a transformational experience with God. I believe doctrine is inadequate to change lives whether someone is teaching the Desmond Ford view of Christ’s atoning ministry or Neal Wilson’s view. I am even pushing back on phrases like “centering every doctrine in Jesus” or “looking at doctrine through the lens of Christ.” We as Adventists seem stuck in the rut of trying to improve our communication of propositional truth, yes, even propositional truth in Jesus, because we believe eternal life is found there.

  • Can a person who joins the Adventist church find a mystical union with Christ, a sanctifying and transformative experience through the Holy Spirit’s power and a Spirit-driven call to minister? Absolutely. I believe I am experiencing that work in my own life and see it in many of my Adventist friends and colleagues. But my knowledge of Adventist doctrine and of Jesus, I am convinced, play only supporting roles in my growth, not primary ones.

  • Is God still working in the Adventist denomination? Of course. Can we Adventists get in the way of that work or stay oblivious to how God works? Of course. How many times have I heard during my lifetime as an Adventist that our denomination embodies the spirit of the Laodicaean church?


Hi Todd,. Some time back Dan Jackson had a chat with Adventist college students and invited them to discuss their thoughts. I was surprised that they expressed only the common church concerns such as women’s ordination, etc. I would think that the most compelling question would be 'what difference does it make if I’m an Adventist? In my opinion that’s the pressing question that should be asked and discussed without the platitudes and trite and ready answers perhaps.

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Just a question. But how does one “live the life of Jesus Christ as fully as possible…” Without abiding by the law of God?


I do not like the Wizard of Oz metaphor and find it offensive to any one’s belief system including my own. The author is right (if that is what he is saying) that Adventism has been an arrogant exclusive group putting itself above all other Christians. It is really Laodicean like many others. Christ has not always been first as He was for many Christians and SDA pioneers and especially in EGW devotional writing. Truth is never complete but grows and does not stop as the majority of Adventists caused it to. There is no better example than the Sabbath doctrine which is meant to represent Christ and His rest–His righteousness so that we don’t work our way to heaven. But the Sabbath has become an end in itself. One dripping with pride every time someone writes about it. As for the so-called IJ, I have never seen it’s value one way or the other. Maybe it’s true and maybe not. It is arrogant to claim either way as the truth. This “righteousness of thought” has caused much division as has our interpretation of inspiration. Of course, there is little faith on earth as was predicted, and we shouldn’t be surprised Christians are hated. Sometimes they are to blame because many have taught perfection. And, most of all, Jesus and His resurrection are a stumbling block to the secular society.


I grew up within Adventist culture and I identify with it less and less as I grow older. I initially left Adventism and eventually Christianity all together as a matter of integrity. This section of the Wizard of Oz story really illustrates to me that religion does this very thing when it uses fear to try and not have us pay attention to the man behind the curtain. I could find no evidence what-so-ever that the god of the bible was there to guide my life. The only voice within me is my own. The mistake many Christians make is they assume anyone who doesn’t have god in their life is miserable. I have found quite the opposite. I am more at peace and find great joy in life once I stopped worrying about if I was pleasing god or not. You would think if Christianity was so wonderful, churches wouldn’t have to employ so many measures to convince people how great it is. You would have people rushing to join. It became clear to me when I looked at the Christian god’s final solution of violence that Christianity is a religion based in fear, more than love. And while there are many claims that god’s love is un-conditional, there are actually a whole slew of conditions. All god’s are made in the image of man, and that is why religion keeps telling us to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.


Thank you for the article Elder Leonard.
The wizard of oz is not my favorite story but lately psychologists and social workers use this story for analogy a lot. In fact, a lot of psychological terms come from this story. Upon reading a few different analogies on the Wizard of Oz, it has helped me understand personality disorders and typical problems found in all communities. It has helped with my own personal healing and for not falling into bs and has also sharpened my “crap detector”…
Thus, I appreciated you using this analogy to our church’s current situation.
I am thus very interested in reading part 2, as I haven’t yet read an analogy on the wizard of oz himself and am curious as to what you will say :slight_smile:

As for me, I’m a 5th generation Adventist and I’m still hanging on… though I feel it’s getting harder and harder for me. One thing I know, if it wasn’t for my grandparent’s great love and prayers for me and my husband, all those prayers before they died… all those prayers we would hear them praying for us in our behalf… I don’t know if we’d be where we are.
Having migrated here to the USA myself, I do feel the youth have better programs in 3rd world countries that help them take hold of God better. I worry about our children here…
I am in my late 30’s, our children are younger than 10, and don’t know what the future of our church will bring…
Lately we moved to a different State and went church shopping to the approx. 12 different SDA churches in the valley. We were appalled that we would rarely find people our age in church. Mostly there were older adults bringing their grandkids they were babysitting.
Where is my generation?
We found several at “come as you are” style churches. In one of such was where we decided to stay, mostly because our own children chose it, and at this point, we’re letting them choose.
But we still wonder…
For the past year we have come to church out of habit, but not because of fire or passion and that breaks our heart. It didn’t use to be like that in our lives. Most of that has been due to the last disastrous GC at San Antonio. Back then we were in the ministry ourselves. I was in contact with delegates of several countries in other continents. Some of them wrote to me in private telling me their stories and how they had been threatened to vote a certain way or else. I was told how the re-election of Wilson had no other choice, that it was all pre planned.
I observed thirst for power and control of other consciences, I did not see Jesus.
In our own Conference we suffered several different issues. We left the ministry and my husband left his dear church he was pastoring heart broken, and is now a hospital chaplain.
Since SA it’s all been a facade for us, and we’ve just been going through the motions…
We feel relieved we don’t feel prisoners of a “system” anymore, but still grieve how it used to be, probably when we were naive of several things, of things that you can see when you get closer to some of those in power, that use power over others…
The lack of Jesus was clear for us.
Don’t know which way God will lead us… Right now we are just focusing on using all the love we can from God, the one my grandparents taught us, that hopefully our children will be able to grasp and take the torch from there, whether in the SDA church or wherever they decide… I won’t blame them.
I’ll have them study all I can. I myself hope to finish reading my Bible cover to cover for my 4th time, wait, or is that 5th? I’ve read almost all of EGW’s books… just need to finish a few of the Testimonies, though I get frustrated with all the out of context quotes therein that so many members use to bunk others on the head and condemn them. I appreciate George Knight’s insights on all that matter.
If it’s for all the info and sound doctrine, I believe it… in our church… but the Spirit within… I see it has been lacking for some time. It’s big in 3rd world countries where lack of money and material possessions help members to hold onto God stronger… but even overseas… the closer you get to those in power… the more disillusioned you get as well…

The church has been stuck for decades. Yes it has even so had grace with growth in some areas more than others, my own husband baptized a few dozens when he pastored by God’s grace…

I lost the point I was trying to get to… I believe a few thousands in 1st world countries lost respect for our church at SA, saw many members go off the tangent on out of context EGW writings and Bible texts, and go off on conspiracy theories more than what the Bible says. Seems to most members what keeps them loyal and fervent is their scare tactics of the end and all the catastrophes that will happen… and those that do, saying Jesus is at the door!!!, then go home and beat on their wives and children… if not physically then mentally… and go off the tangent on that too. We saw it so many times… then their descendants want nothing to do with such “ridiculous and toxic” families that believe this way thanks to their church… They won’t find love and acceptance in church… and sadly many atheists and agnostics will be more accepting of human rights and equality among genders and derivatives, races, nationalities, and beliefs, than most Christians are even capable of… even, or I should say, especially our church, sadly, that tends to show off superiority and condemn the rest… very pharisaic… very narcissistic… And that is exactly what the Wizard of Oz paints: Narcissism’s portrait… to those that hear, may them hear; and to those that see, may them see…


Hearing a different version of the truth hurts.

It saddened me to read how the evangelistic efforts have worked or not been effective in delivering on what is promised. some people may have noticed a recent piece contrasting pressing and blessing as attempts at evangelism. (of taking the church, the Bible, the gospel to the masses) http://atoday.org/evangelism-press-or-bless/

It reminds me of the saying sometimes heard “getting people in with fear, have to keep them in with fear” it won’t be of much help with finding peace, health and happiness, or lead on to resting in perfect love will cast out all fear.

i will have a good time reading what happens in the subsequent articles.


I can so relate to what you are saying! I was a member of the Adventist church for 12 years–the first few years seemed great, then reality set in. After being a treasurer/board member for several years, I saw how things really worked. I became so unhappy that I looked for reasons not to attend church. If being an Adventist was so wonderful, why did I feel that way? So I left the church and still kept reading my bible but after awhile even that wasn’t appealing to me. This was my one and only experience with religion–thankfully I’m done with that nonsense. Life is normal again. If only I could get a refund of the money I gave to that cult!


Was Israel chosen because it had the greatest numbers? Does not the Bible says that the chaff will be blown away? Quality beats quantity everyday. Keep your eyes on Christ and God, not noses.

“Unbelief, having once been cherished, continued to control … In order to prove that their first resistance was right, they continued ever after to cavil at the words of Christ. … Truth was unpopular in Christ’s day. It is unpopular in our day. It has been unpopular ever since Satan first gave man a disrelish for it by presenting fables that lead to self-exaltation. Do we not today meet theories and doctrines that have no foundation in the word of God?” DA, 242.

Currently I’m reading the 14th chapter of DA, it seems quite apropo for this time. Which kind of King/kingdom are you looking for, if you are busy counting noses?

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About immigrant populations and Adventism.- Minister Leonard’s analysis on the point is correct. You can see it first hand in the U.S. largest metropolitan area-NYC. There are very few Caucasian SDA churches and some that were have since transformed into most immigrant congregations of color. (I will not get into the issue of race at this time ALTHOUGH it plays a major role in how the SDA church does evangelism.) I have been watching this trend for some time but of course it is just ignored and leadership locally and otherwise continue with these outdated mechanisms for engaging the so called un-churched. A another side issue to this trend is the lack of appeal of Adventism to the African American communities in the NYC area as opposed to that of the African and Caribbean communities. NONE of this is being dealt with or even spoken of but it is all key to why Adventism has lost its grip across wide sectors of the U.S. Until all of this plus more is confronted and faced there is no hope for the SDA institution.

Last thing, the Wizard of Oz analogy is okay but I think it trivializes to some extent the points being made. But I have always liked the film and some of the broad lessons it brings out.


It seems to me that at least your later example illustrates the point pastor Leonard is making. The secular student was not converted through being convinced that adventisms understanding of scripture is superior to the competition but through experiencing the power of God. I do not yet know if that is the direction of this blog series, but I hope that it is.