April May June 2011
VOLUME 12, ISSUE 2
D E P A R T M E N T S
Ask the PASTOR
Evangelical, heterodox, or cult? Most don’t know
We just returned from a three-day Conference for Evangelical Free Church pastors in San Diego. Both LAM Publications and Life Assurance Ministries had booths there. We found the comments from many pastors to be insightful in that their evaluations of Adventism ranged from believing it was evangelical to being a dangerous cult. A few said, “Why are you speaking out against the Adventists? They’re evangelical; haven’t you read Walter Martin?”
Others noted that “Adventists have many cultic teachings,” but they knew little about them. Still others recognized the danger of Adventism. Several told us that they were currently losing members to the Adventist church and needed help.
I am sure there are many readers of Proclamation! who know Adventist individuals representing both ends of the spectrum. So just how should one respond if asked, “Are Adventists evangelical or a cult?”
The answer should not be based on individual members but upon the teachings of the church. When Adventists say, “We don’t believe or teach that anymore” in response to being asked about a specific historical belief of Adventism, one needs to know the members do not represent the church’s teachings. The best way to determine if the church still believes or teaches a cultic doctrine is to determine if the church (not an individual member) has openly rejected that teaching. For example, do you know of any official renunciation of any of the following documented teachings of Ellen White and Adventism?
The shut-door. Ellen White’s clearly stated that the door of mercy or salvation was closed for all those who did not accept Adventism’s reinterpretation of Millers failed prophecies. Many Adventist writers have denied she ever taught this, but the record is clear.(1) But has the church ever stated, “Yes, Ellen White taught the shut door of mercy in one of her ‘I saw’ statements, but it is error and we reject her statement as error”?
The Daniel 8:14, October 22, 1844 start of the investigative judgment. Some time ago one of our readers offered $100,000 to anyone who could prove this doctrine from Scripture using sound methods of interpretation. There were no takers. Many Adventist pastors and church leaders will privately admit that this is an unbiblical doctrine, but has the church ever renounced it as error? Not to our knowledge. In fact, we have a recording of the statement by Angel Rodriquez, chair of the Adventist Biblical Research Committee, that if Adventist’s 1844 Sanctuary teachings is error, the Adventist church has no reason to exist.
The seventh-day Sabbath as the seal of God and Sunday keeping as the mark of the beast. We receive letters and emails confirming that Adventists are still using this argument in many evangelistic meetings around the world. Yet it is completely without any biblical foundation. How can Adventists be considered “evangelical” when evangelicals usually worship on Sunday and Adventists teach that Sunday keepers will receive the mark of the beast—and also hunt and kill Sabbath-keepers? Why doesn’t the Adventist church openly renounce both of these teachings as error and stop using these scare-tactics in Adventist evangelism?
If a church actually believes and teaches the above doctrines, it should be considered a dangerous cult. However, if they don’t believe these things, they should openly renounce them as error. †
Copyright 2011 Life Assurance Ministries, Inc., Casa Grande, Arizona, USA. All rights reserved. Revised July 27, 2011. Contact email: email@example.com
Dale and Carolyn Ratzlaff have authored five books concerning Adventism: Sabbath in Christ—a volume that explains new covenant Sabbath rest, Cultic Doctrine of Seventh-day Adventism—explores the unique doctrine of a pre-advent judgment that decides eternal destinies, Truth About Adventist "Truth"—a little book that's perfect to give to Christians that need to understand Adventism, Truth Led Me Out—in which Dale Ratzlaff tells his own story of following Jesus, no matter the cost, and My Cup Overflows—Carolyn's autobiography. Each of these books is available at www.LifeAssuranceMinistries.com or by phoning 800-355-7073.
Dale Ratzlaff, the founder of Life Assurance Ministries and Proclamation! magazine, has a new blog at LifeAssuranceMinistries.blogspot.com.
Dale and Carolyn Ratzlaff, Woody and Cheryl Granger, and Colleen and Richard Tinker spoke to pastors and handed out Proclamation! and books at the Evangelical Free Church Leadership Conference in San Diego in June.