F A L L • 2 0 1 5
VOLUME 16, ISSUE 3
D E P A R T M E N T S
I remember the day vividly. It was early in 1998, and it was the seventh day—the day we were just beginning to call “Saturday”. We already knew that we were leaving the Adventist organization. We had been studying the New Testament and had been changed by the reality of the new covenant in Jesus’ blood. Nothing looked the same anymore, and we were hungrily devouring Scripture.
That Saturday we and our friend Rosalie sat together in our house and watched, for the first time, The Visual Bible’s dramatization of Matthew. The script was the entire book of Matthew in the New International Version, and I heard those words as I had never heard them before.
I have never gotten over the impact of hearing Jesus’ “Woe to you” judgments on the Pharisees recorded in Matthew 23 as I heard them that day. Never again could I think of Jesus as finally being pushed to the edge of anger and delivering verbal blows. Instead, I heard those words being ripped from the heart of a Man who loved those Pharisees, who grieved over their unbelief, who was angry at the darkness that marked their spiritual leadership. And then I heard verse 15:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.”
At that moment I realized those words described Adventist missions. Of course many Adventist missionaries are sincere and well-intentioned. They often have no idea that the doctrines they teach are not biblical—but the fact is, Adventist doctrines teach what Paul called “a different gospel; which is really not another” (Gal. 1:6b-7a). No matter how well-meaning, a different gospel—a false gospel—condemns people to destruction.
When I heard those words of Jesus, I felt truth pierce my heart.
Adventism teaches that Sabbath is an eternal sacred reality—a day which even God honors, a day to which humanity is subject. Yet only God is eternal. An eternal, holy day would require loyalty from creatures that rivals the creatures’ loyalty to God.
Adventism teaches that Ellen White was God’s prophetic messenger sent specifically to the Seventh-day Adventists for the purpose of providing prophetic insight and biblical counsel for all last day believers. Yet Ellen White twisted the words and meanings of Scripture so faithful Adventists would not be able to read the Bible using normal rules of context, grammar, and vocabulary to ascertain its meaning. Ellen White not only misused or ignored Scripture herself, but she also left her followers an example of morphing Scripture to fit their beliefs.
In this issue Dale Ratzlaff shows that the sabbatarian argument that Sabbath is a creation ordinance is not an accurate interpretation of Scripture’s words. William Hohmann, a former Worldwide Church of God member, has shared a companion piece explaining the faulty sabbatarian interpretation of 1 John 3:4.
We introduce Robin Brace, a former pastor in the Armstrong Worldwide Church of God who resides in the U.K. Robin shares an inside look at the warping effects of cultic legalism on the minds and souls of people indoctrinated into Millerite adventist movements. James Valentine shares his research into Ellen White’s little-known dream in which she consulted her dead husband James and considered his advice to her to be sent from God.
Martin Carey shows that, contrary to the way Adventists teach the story of Jonah, he was not a missionary. Instead, he was God’s sign and His servant. Kelsie Petersen tells her story of trusting Jesus, and we also introduce the launch of the dedicated website for the Spanish ¡Proclamacion! Spanish translator Joanie Yorba-Gray shares a devotional in addition to our usual columns by Rick Barker, Chris Lee, and Carolyn Macomber.
We pray that if you have not been born again, you will hear the gospel as you read. We pray that you will repent, as the Ninevites did, and know the grace of God “so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9). †
Copyright 2015 Life Assurance Ministries, Inc., Camp Verde, Arizona, USA. All rights reserved. Revised November 10, 2015. Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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