Why the Seventh-day Adventist Church Changed

Thanks! Walter Martin visited the campus where I work a couple of times and he was exactly as you’ve written. I think it perplexed and frustrated him that a number of us didn’t care what he thought of us We were more concerned about what .

Long ago, in a college class on “Bible as literature”, the question was raised about the literal meaning of the “sermon on the mount”. Not many were convinced that we should actually cut off hands and gouge out eyes, as I recall. Neither was it the consensus that we should give up the farm to anyone who came to rob us. If Jesus didn’t mean for us to go to these extremes than what was the point of His sermon… The conclusion was that these “requirements” of the law were given to point out the fact that no one is capable of keeping the law to the degree that is required to be able to say, “we keep the law” - something the Jews were proud of.

The Sermon on the Mount is a stark vision of what it means to keep God’s law; and that none of us is capable of doing it. It’s also an indictment of the Hebrew life of appeasement - of a whitewashed exterior, and a life where ritual has taken the place of deep convictions. This can only lead to a diminution of the holy. If all we have to do is follow the rules, we place God in the position of owing us salvation; and how many of us are relying on our identity of being “the remnant”?

If anything, the OT shows us how not to relate to God. All their rituals were abhorant to God, as He declared that sacrifices mean nothing to Him, as they were a substitute for a heart religion. The entire history of the Hebrew people came to exactly nothing when the “Messiah” finally came. We are in the same position with our time-lines and prophetic expectations - strident in our exegesis, frozen in a time, long past.

Jesus came to us as a living God, correcting past mistakes and opening up the future under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Growth means change - you can’t have it without change; and change is the one thing people are most afraid of. You can’t put “new wine into old wine skins”.


Awesome! Well said…

Kevin let us just turn it loose. seriously doubt there are very many listeners. Tom Z

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Sirje, despite your claims, one cannot read either the whole of Scripture or the teachings of Christ and come away with the impression that even through God’s imparted strength, perfect obedience to His law remains impossible. Jesus in fact made quite clear just the opposite, when the young ruler walked away after being told the conditions of salvation. The disciples asked, “Who then can be saved?” (Matt. 19:25). Jesus answered, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (verse 26).

I know I’m not likely to convince you, but perhaps some honest listeners—and I suspect there are some, despite what Tom claims—will go to their Bibles and look up such verses as Psalm 119:1-3,11; Zeph. 3:13; Rom. 8:4,13; I Cor. 15:34; II Cor. 7:1; 10:4-5; Eph. 5:27; I Thess. 5:23; I Peter 2:21-22; 4:1; II Peter 3:10-14; I John 1:7,9; 3:2-3,7; Jude 24; Rev. 3:21; 14:5.

I could cite other verses as well. The Bible is as clear as it can be. Without conversion and a renewed heart, it is impossible to obey the divine law. But when conversion and sanctification take place, the impossible becomes possible.

WOW! Kevin, it’s the first time I see you making an argument using Sola Scriptura… Was this senior moment or are you finally recognizing that the Bible is actually self sufficient?
I can’t believe you even said, "The Bible is as clear as it can be."
It shows that what appeared

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I think you make a good point, Sirje. These attitudes of a gospel SDAism I describe here don’t include all Seventh-day Adventists, and you’re correct that the church has never officially repudiated some of these abusive notions, QOD not withstanding. But compared to the church when I was a child, there is a radical improvement. Even in my little conservative rural congregations, concepts of righteousness by faith and grace and Jesus’ love spring to lips all the time in Sabbath School classes. I have not heard perfectionism mentioned. Even 20 years ago that would not have been true in places like that. The old Adventism is on the defensive, which is why we’re seeing such intense conflicts in leadership circles right now. Whenever things change, we fight about the most obvious changes, while the real changes go on under the surface.


[quote=“kevindpaulson, post:26, topic:6649”]
I know I’m not likely to convince you, but perhaps some honest listeners—and I suspect there are some,

I recognize you’re questioning my honesty simply because I disagree with your view of the Bible - to be expected. I understand that most SDAs regard the OT on equal terms with the NT; and even go beyond that to make the OT interpret the NT. There obviously is a connection as the NT invites us to examine the OT for verification of the NT teachings. Keep in m ind. however, most of the NT Christians were Jews and needed to connect their long held beliefs with Jesus’ new teachings.

I assume you regard the Sermon on the Mount as symbolic, which is interesting in itself since symbolism is a touchy subject with most SDAs who regard the Bible as literal in its meaning - unless you think Jesus was advocating self-mutilation. The only lesson in this regard is that keeping the law goes far beyond the 9 “thou shalt nots” plus the fourth - which is dealt with in Hebrews 4.

So I must say likewise, “I know I’m not likely to convince you, but perhaps some honest listeners—and I suspect there are some, will go to their Bibles and look up such verses as Rom.3:20, 24; 5:10; ICor. 1:22, 23; 2Cor. 3:2, 3; the entire book of Galatians; the entire book of Hebrews. I could cite other verses as well. The Bible is clear as it can be. Without conversion and a renewed heart, it is impossible” - to gain salvation; But in Christ, all things are possible.


I have said before, and say again: show me the perfect person. Just one. Find someone who has overcome all sin, and is utterly perfect, without any sin, without any shortcoming—as the old confession says, in “what we have done, and what we have left undone.”

Scripture says that all have sinned, and all fall short of God’s glory. Even if I could stop doing identified sins, I would still be unable to attain God’s glory.


Sirje, I hope people look up the verses you cite, and those I have cited also. And when they do, they will see that the Biblical consensus is very clear about obedience. No one can obey without God’s power, but all can obey with His power. None of the passages you cite teach in any way that even conversion and sanctification are inadequate to meet the demands of God’s law in the life of the Christian.

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This is very true. The old Adventism is alive only at the higher levels of the denomination’s hierarchy. The higher we go the older we find it.

This is why I am not much concerned with the Adventist future, since the lower we go (members) the more we see the transformation. The new generation cares much less (if at all) about what happens at the “higher levels” of the church. Who actually cares about what happens at the AC, or even the GC Session? It all affects the corporation, but doesn’t have to affect the individuals. Whatever they vote, whatever political maneuver they accomplish successfully, doesn’t affect me or you or any one member that can thing by themselves.

This is also why many people get aggravated with our Universities, because the youth are taught to think more independently, and on a long run this can become a problem for the “faithful pillars of the church.”

But change is happening no matter what.

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And Loren, this is where we differ, on the basis of God’s Word. You cannot find any Bible verse that says that even through God’s power, attaining God’s glorious character remains impossible.

The passage that says all sin and fall short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23) is not stated in the context of conversion and sanctification, but rather, in the context of Paul making it plain that everyone in the world—Jews and Gentiles alike—are in need of Christ’s forgiving and transforming righteousness. Later on in the same epistle, speaking of what conversion and sanctification can do, we read that “sin shall not have dominion over you” (Rom. 6:14), and that “the righteousness of the law may be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:4).

Like I’ve said so many times before, my friend, only God can show you those who have attained perfect holiness, as He alone knows the heart (I Kings 8:39). Only He can declare, “Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12). None of us dare make such a claim, simply because we don’t know our own hearts either (see Job 9:20-21; I John 1:8). In the case of Job, even though he refused to call himself perfect, God in fact did so (Job 1:1,8,22; 2:10).

What is encouraging, thank the Lord, is to observe the many I know who are in visibly gaining victory over problem areas in their lives. We can certainly know if we’ve made such progress. If we used to nurture racial hatred and don’t any more, if we used to treat underlings or associates with disrespect and don’t any more, if we used to smoke and don’t any more, if we used to lose our patience and don’t any more, if we used to watch porno movies and don’t any more, we can know that by God’s grace, we have made progress on the upward path. But only God knows when the work is complete. Our confidence in His power and wisdom to guide and direct us keeps our hope alive as we engage in the struggle for everlasting life.

One more point, Loren. What you call the “old Adventism” is not on the defensive, not in the least. We are on a counteroffensive to reclaim our church for Scripture and for the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy. The years ahead, I am fully confident, will reveal the hand of the Lord in direct guidance of our future and in the recovery of our Bible-based faith.


I have challenged Kevin with this question tens of times. So far he has not been able to introduce us to one single “fruit” of his LGT labor. If he is right, that Jesus will be able to come back only after LGT completes their mission of preparing a “perfect” generation, we are all screwed up for good, because they are failing 24/7 in their “perfect attempt”!

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George, the big problem is, I’m not sure you’d recognize a perfect person if you ever did meet one. I don’t know that I would either! People claimed Jesus was possessed of demons because they hated His message, despite the perfect holiness of His character. Only God knows the hearts that are convicted by the example of Christ duplicated in the lives of His followers (I Peter 2:21-22; Rev. 14:5). Our task is to pray for the discernment that will enable us both to recognize the godly examples set by the truly converted, and most of all, to be found among them through God’s grace.

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Well, if Kevin had provided the following verses, then he probably would have made a better case and convinced you that he is right. Sometimes truth is hidden, and some people can’t see it. Check these:
Romans 1:36-42
Acts 20:42-46
Galatians 7:1-10
It seems that Kevin has is kind of right.


Has Kevin @kevindpaulson remained quiet? You know the other part of “Shallow waters run noisy?” “Still waters run deep.”

I’m sure once more secrets are unsealed, he will come out with “deep” and “perfect” answers for your questions. No doubt about that!

I still don’t understand how could he @kevindpaulson miss the “unsealed secrets” referred to in those verses I provided above. Those could be his best arguments favoring his cause. I am glad I could help him to “perfect” his argumentation.

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i just don’t get the gloom and doom type of adventism that loren seems to have grown up in…it’s so different from what i knew as a child…


You must be younger than 30 and grew up in some privileged progressive environment.
But I bet that what actually happened to you is that as a youth you didn’t fully connect to the church’s practices. As result, your “impression” of that church does not reflect the “reality” about it.

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You have, in your head, a foregone conclusion about what I mean when I reply to you. You are not reading my posts - you’re interpreting them. Let me be very clear - God can change the focus of our lives. With the help of the HS we can grow to be more like Jesus. This is called sanctification. (Do you have that?)

Jesus changed the way we read the Law of God as given in the 10 commandments. He made each of those commandments deeper. In doing so, it becomes clear that we can’t ever comply totally - because we still have a sinful nature; and living a Godly life is a struggle - at which we sometimes fail. The Christian life is a process - a journey which comes to a close before any kind of perfection can be attained (sooner for some than others). The Christian life is journey, ever closer to its source. I, for one, will never be able to be perfect enough to merit heaven; but I have confidence that if I keep going in the right direction, “fighting the good fight of faith,” it’s all going to be OK. That “good fight of faith” is not an exercise of pulling myself up by my bootstraps, but a fight to keep the faith alive among all the nay-sayers, and faulty contrary evidence that, that faith is worth perusing.

By making the Christian life a matter of keeping commandments minimizes them. It’s about changing the person, which changes our desires and our lives. Keeping the commandments is evidence of a changed person. How I change, and what I do or don’t do as a result, may not be the same as yours since I understand the gospel differently than you do; but I can only follow my personal understanding of it, because you are not going to stand before God for me - I’m there alone with Christ as my life’s companion.