Seventh-Day Adventists/SDA Objectivity
Sal recently answered a question from a nonSDA point of view. Don't get me wrong I think he does great work for God here on this site, but since you were an SDA perhaps you could give more light on this issue. Serge asked why bright SDAs are prevented from seeing the obvious truth that EGW was a false prophet and I would add why they can't see the obvious errors of the investigative judgement? From your SDA experience what can you add to Sal's answer?
Thanks in advance,
Thank you so much for your question.
As a former Seventh-day Adventist (SDA), the answer can be complex. It is true that SDAs are very education oriented and they have some very bright people sitting in the pews. What might seem obvious to an 'outsider" or non-SDA, isn't that obvious to committed SDAs.
I was brought into the church at the age of six. I matriculated through their church schools. What I was taught came from the Bible, so even as an adult I found no reason to question my beliefs. In addition, I became an employee of the denomination for decades. I always believed that I was special and proud of it because the Lord had brought me out of darkness into the light.
In retrospect, I was very trusting and believed I was being taught the truth. I had heard about their prophet, Ellen G. White, copying from other writers and claiming it as her work and words from God but I paid it no mind because the SDA church found ways to refute the accusations and most of them were from people that they described as angry or someone had wronged them and they were lashing out. I never actively sought what I now know to be the Gospel because I thought I had the truth already.
I am convinced that God impressed a friend of mine (ironically an SDA pastor who is still on the SDA payroll) to send me an email several times regarding whether or not Ellen White passed the test of a true prophet. I ignored them at first but eventually I was impressed to click on the link and read the content. Needless to say, and unknown to me, this was the beginning of the end of my world view as I knew it. I began studying without filtering things through the writings of Ellen White and I could not believe what I was learning and what the Bible plainly says.
Making a very long story short, I eventually left after I learned that as a Gentile I was never under the law and the Old Covenant, that the 7th day Sabbath was not applicable to me, that the Atonement on Calvary was complete and finished and that I am saved by grace through faith plus nothing else. I discovered that there is nothing that I can do to make God love me more and there is nothing I can do to make Him love me less. What Good News! I could finally rest and trust His finished work.
As a result of my experience in the SDA church, following are some of the reasons why I believe some of the bright SDAs cannot see what is so obvious to the outsider:
1. First and foremost, the veil is thick and they cannot see. 2 Corinthians 3:15 (KJV) But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.
Adventists are all about the law and trying to keep it in order to be perfect. They don't understand that they as Gentiles were never under the law.
2. Adventists believe that they are Israel's replacement and it is incumbent on them to succeed where Israel failed in keeping the law perfectly. They don't understand that Israel as a nation and the church (which includes believing Jews) are two separate entities.
3. Because they have vowed to believe their prophet is an authoritative source, they filter the teachings of the Bible through her writings instead of total reliance on the Holy Spirit. Her writings are placed above Scripture although they would never say it. Well, one SDA on Facebook that I was communicating with actually said that the Bible was wrong and EGW was right. ;-(
4. They believe they are the remnant church - not realizing that God's church consists of believers everywhere.
5. Like I did, they are trusting that they are being taught the truth instead of studying for themselves. Actually they do study and they study a lot but it is confined to SDA books and literature, so there is nothing to otherwise challenge them to think or believe differently. The SDA church discourages the reading of other authors and fiction, etc. Back in the day when Ellen White was writing, if the members had read other literature they may have discovered that she was copying.
6. They are convinced that the law and the Sabbath were given at Creation and that the Ten Commandment law was written on hearts from the beginning. This is one of the reasons why they fight for the Sabbath with a vengeance. They honestly believe it's a Creation ordinance when the Bible plainly says that "God rested" and not God, Adam and Eve.
7. They don't understand that even though the Bible was written TO all people (for our learning), but everything in the Bible is not written FOR all people (to observe, do, etc.). There were Jews and Gentiles. Jews were given the law (which is why Jesus came as a Jew) but Gentiles were never under the law. If something is written in the Bible, they assume it is for all people and they choose to ignore the group of people it is speaking to.
8. The SDA church practices deliberate deception. I believe this is what angered me the most. The brethren officially knew back in 1919 that Mrs. White was not who she claimed to be but they were afraid the truth would fracture the church and they would lose their power. So what did they do instead? They chose to hide the minutes of the meeting in a vault for fifty years and continued to lift her up. The people didn't know anything until the minutes were inadvertently discovered in the vault in the 1970s and the church hasn't been the same since.
Most, if not all, of their hand-outs, brochures, books, etc. do not identify who they are. When they have their Revelation Seminars, no mention is made of their prophet until before baptism when they agree to believe in The Spirit of Prophecy (Ellen White) but her name isn't mentioned. Many have left after making this discovery.
9. They don't teach that there is a difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. The New is just an extension of the Old. As an SDA, I was confused about the covenants, didn't understand them and did not have a clue of their significance. When I finally understood the difference, I was able to walk away from the church and the 7th day mandatory Saturday Sabbath with a clear conscious and unafraid of being lost because I discovered that I am under the New Covenant while SDAs live under the Old. They teach that the Sabbath is the seal of God and one has to keep it to be saved.
10. Like many other religions or denominations, SDAs teachings are proudly passed on from one generation to the next. Very few (I would imagine) really solidify themselves through Holy Spirit led study.
11. Since they are taught to believe that the General Conference (their highest body) is the voice of God when in session, they blindly follow.
12. SDAs even sound like evangelicals. They speak the language of evangelicals but their meaning is different. For instance, when they say that we are saved by grace through faith, what they really mean is we are saved by grace through faith PLUS Sabbath keeping (since Sabbath seals them for salvation). One has to be careful and diligent to ask what they mean when they say certain things because you can walk away after a discussion believing that you have communicated when you haven't. Specific questions need to be asked to make sure your definitions are the same.
13. SDAs proof text a lot. Scripture is taken out of context and pieced together to conform to their teaching. They believe the Ten Commandments is God's eternal moral law but the Sabbath (the 4th commandment) isn't a moral law - it is ceremonial in nature because it requires a certain day with rituals attached to it.
14. SDAs have their own Bible (The Clear Word) that is printed in their publishing houses and endorsed by them and some of their brightest. It salivates with the words and teachings of Ellen White as well as their Sabbath School lessons, etc. It twists Scripture to agree with Mrs. White. They even have a Clear Word for kids.
15. The Sabbath is talked about and lifted more than Jesus. Sabbath seems to be their idol and the way to heaven instead of Jesus.
16. There are consequences for independent outspoken convictions that do not agree with the teachings of the church. Pastors can lose their jobs for preaching against the prophets writings and not believing in her. Members can be forbidden to serve in certain offices, etc. if they don't return tithe.
17. They also believe that they will be hunted down and persecuted for keeping the Sabbath by first day worshipers and that during this Time of Trouble they will be on their own without an intercessor. According to God's Word, He promised to never leave nor forsake His own.
The above are just some of the reasons that I believe (from my experience) that are hindering them from understanding truth. It boils down to believing false teaching, deliberate deception by the church and not proactively studying outside the confines of SDA filters. They believe they already have the truth so no need to look elsewhere. In addition, the veil doesn't make them privy to the obvious. The church defines their world view and what they believe. Only God can release them and that's a fact. BTW, the Investigative Judgment (the foundation or pillar of their existence) cannot be supported or proven from the Bible by their best scholars. Committees have been appointed to study and prove it from the Bible but so far, no proof.
The SDA church was my family and it wasn't very easy for me to walk away because it is all I knew. Only God could rip the veil that I wasn't even aware I was wearing. My departure was definitely God ordained because He is the One who initiated my journey out, otherwise I would still be there, unhappy and trying without any success to keep a perfect law perfectly. Now, I can REALLY and truly thank Him for bringing me out of darkness into His light to experience His grace and rest in what was accomplished for me on Calvary.
Hopefully this has helped you to understand the whys somewhat better. Blessings!