Seventh-Day Adventists/How to help SDAs?
I have been reading answers here and it is clear that Ellen White was a false prophet, that the investigative judgment is unbiblical, and that the Sabbath was ceremonial. Sal's most recent answer to the question about the Sabbath "Sabbath for All" is devastating to the SDA belief that the Sabbath is a moral law for all. In his answer Sal proves again and again from the Bible why the Sabbath is a ceremonial law for the Jews only. My question to you is as a former SDA who understands the mindset of these people, how do they ignore the facts that are contrary to their belief system? How did you as an SDA not see the obvious facts that SDAism is clearly wrong on their prophet, the IJ, and the Sabbath? I know that you have seen the truth, but I want to understand how SDAs can be so blind so that I can help them out of the darkness into the light.
Please help me to help them.
Thank you so much for your comments, questions and concern for SDAs.
First, I will briefly address why I did not see the truth for decades.
My dad placed me in the SDA church at the young age of six. In addition, I was enrolled and matriculated through their educational system. I never felt the need to question my beliefs because Scripture was used as a basis for the belief. In addition, during my earlier years the King James Version was the only Bible being used and I found it very difficult to understand it. This dilemma led me to read more and more of Ellen White, who I believed was a spokesperson for God. Not realizing it, I was allowing myself to let her interpret the Bible for me. Also, I had no idea that Scripture was being taken out of context, added to and subtracted from. I believed I was special because God had shared His truth with me, or so I thought.
I never ever thought I would not be a Seventh-day Adventist and I would often tell my daughter that if I ever left the SDA church I just wouldn't go to any church because I knew the SDA church was the true church. Obviously God had other plans.
My journey out began in 2005 when I read an article that questioned whether or not Ellen White passed the test of a true prophet. The contents and Scriptures provided cracked my foundation and as I really began studying for myself with an open mind to the Holy Spirit, every wall came tumbling down. I actually fell in love with my Bible and some of what I discovered shocked me because it was so contrary to what I had been taught. There were things in the Bible that I had no idea was there that the church chose to selectively ignore. The beauty of truth overwhelmed me and it was like I had found something of extreme value that I wasn't aware I had lost. I had been spiritually starving and my soul was finally being fed. As I continued my studies and finally understood the difference between the Old and New Covenants, I could finally walk away without lingering and gnawing doubts about being lost for not keeping the Sabbath. It was amazing!
Regarding the members mindset:
In retrospect, I believe the reason SDAs are able to ignore what the Bible says is because of the way they are indoctrinated. For instance:
They pledged in their baptism vows before God and the church members to believe the Spirit of Prophecy aka Ellen White, their prophetess. This is unfortunate because as you are well aware she contradicted, added to and subtracted from Scripture. Along with the Bible, she is considered an authoritative source of truth and comfort. She has provided the church with volumes of extra-biblical information that she claims the Lord showed her. Because of their belief in her, they have been set up to be controlled and deceived by her and the leadership. In 1875 she wrote the following:
"I have been shown that no man's judgment should be surrendered to the judgment of any one man. But
when the judgment of the General Conference, which is the highest authority that God has upon the earth
, is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be maintained, but be surrendered."
3T p. 492.
She, their prophet, is telling them to ignore their conscience and judgment and to treat the decisions made by the church's highest authority as the voice of God. This practice is still practiced today even though in 1889, she said regarding the General Conference (GC)
"It has become habit to pass laws that do not always bear the signature of heaven." November 4, 1889, Ms. 6-1889
So in one statement she is saying that she was shown to listen to the GC as the voice of God and then twenty-four years later she says the GC's decisions do not always bear the signature of heaven. She contradicts herself and makes it appear as if God can't make up His mind throughout her volumes of books and articles and the members rise to defend her.
Secondly, I believe it's hard for SDAs to accept Bible truth because they rely on the church via Ellen White to interpret Scripture for them.
If the Bible says the Holy Spirit is the seal of God and Ellen White says that the Sabbath is the seal of God, they choose to believe Ellen White. Their reading materials and Sabbath School lessons are more inundated with Ellen White's writings than with words from the Bible.
If the Bible says the Sabbath was the sign of the covenant between God and Israel and Ellen White says the Sabbath has always been and is for all people, they choose to believe Ellen White. The list could go on and on. If they took their baptism vows seriously they will believe her no matter what because she has been placed on par with the Bible prophets.
Thirdly, because of church indoctrination (they have to take classes covering every doctrine before baptism) and the members trust in what they are taught. They honestly do not understand the Good News of the Gospel; They can't comprehend grace and they don't understand what was accomplished on the cross FOR THEM. The good news for them is that Jesus came to be an example to show them how to keep the law perfectly and to live a sinless life
. Grace is believed to be the power enabling them to keep the law. According to them, Jesus died on the cross and rose again but His atonement was incomplete - thus the Investigative Judgement. It's really sad because they ignore the Good News and continue to try so hard to do the impossible (living a sinless life); Many continue to be re-baptized so they can start all over again with a clean slate; They don't know that all of their past, present and future sins were forgiven on the cross IF they would only believe and accept the gift of grace freely given .
Fourthly, when someone tells them that the law was fulfilled by Jesus and that we are no longer under law but grace, they become very defensive. The Sabbath is included in the law so doing away with the law can't be right. Without the law, they believe non-SDAs are licensed to live a lawless life, so that can't be right either. They have to have the law in order to lift up the Sabbath and to show God they can keep it perfectly like Jesus. They will deny it but that is what they believe.
Believing that they are special because they are God's true remnant is yet another reason I believe they resist the truth. They believe they have REPLACED Israel because according to them, Israel no longer existed as a nation when Jesus died on the cross It is now up to them to obey the law perfectly where Israel failed. This is the height of arrogance!
Fifthly, they have the Clear Word Bible published by their publishing house. It is called a paraphrase and it is written to reinforce the teachings of Ellen G. White. Scripture has been omitted, changed and added to and the people like blind sheep accept it. They, along with the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses, have a prophet and their own Bible.
The last thing I will mention is that they have no understanding of the New Covenant. I never ever understood the New Covenant as an Adventist but I have discovered that understanding it is VITAL. They taught that it was just an extension of the Old. Since they believe they have replaced Israel, then all of Israel's laws are incumbent on them which makes them Old Covenant Christians IF there is such a thing. I think it's an oxymoron.
People are beginning to wake up and leaving. Many SDA pastors are now formers and they are aggressively spreading the Gospel. Some were fired for their beliefs while others resigned voluntarily because they wanted to preach the Bible Gospel. Currently the church seems to be in turmoil because of the GC's refusal this past July to allow women to be ordained. GC is also adamant about not allowing the various conferences to arrive at their own decisions regarding the same. Some of the conferences have chosen to ignore the vote. The GC's control is being challenged and that's a good thing in my opinion.
I am in awe that I am no longer a member of the SDA church. I never saw my departure coming but I am so happy in Jesus and eternally grateful. It was God and God alone and I give Him all the praise! One of the things, if not the single thing, that hurt me the most was discovering that the SDA church practices DELIBERATE DECEPTION! It was hard to accept but it has taught me to always check out what is being presented to me as truth.
I sincerely hope this gives you somewhat of a glimpse as to what I believe to be some of the reasons why the members resist truth even when it is plainly pointed out from the Bible. In essence, Ellen White interprets the Bible for them, they have been conditioned to surrender their will to mere men, and until they actually study for themselves they will continue to believe what they are taught to believe and try to defend it mightily.
My prayers go with you as you share the Gospel.