S P R I N G • 2 0 1 6
VOLUME 17, ISSUE 1
D E P A R T M E N T S
LETTERS to the Editor
Wow, Proclamation! The last issue was power packed. I started at the back cover and wrote an email to Mr. Lee. As I am reading the other articles, I realize how you all have worked to make this information very clear.
Thank you, Colleen and the artist [Richard] who developed the worldview columns on page 15. It got me to understand the words that are similar but different, and I need to SEE it like this. Excellent magazine for those who really want to understand. I must say, though, it irritates those I know who are Adventist. Thank you for being so willing to work for the truth of the Word.
My questions were answered
The first time I attended an Adventist worship service, I was already attracted to them. They are very nice, friendly people. I read two books by Ellen G. White, and I was about to join them when I came across Dale Ratzlaff and your magazine.
My questions about the investigative judgement, 1844, and more were all answered by your publications.
May God continue to use you to lead them to the real Savior, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ!
Somehow my grandfather ended up on your mailing list. Since he is dead and has been for years I have no idea how this transpired, but I’m still receiving your magazine. I would appreciate it if you would remove him from your mailing list as I am tired of receiving your tripe of a magazine, which I promptly throw it in the trash where it belongs every time it shows up. I find it highly offensive and would be very thankful if I never had to lay eyes upon it again.
With disdain and great antipathy,
Great controversy absurd
I just finished reading your reprint of the great controversy worldview article in the latest edition of Proclamation! It is so well written, as is everything in each magazine. I know I read it the first time around, and yet again I was impressed by the methodical uncovering of deception. Each time I am faced with this type of article it becomes more clear how pervasive Adventist false doctrine is, and it must still be dealt with on a personal level. It isn’t that I believe these lies, but it’s how I still find myself at times needing to stop, look at a passage of Scripture, and say, “Wait a minute, let me get this straight!” It blows my mind how I could have been so very blind, deceived, and enslaved for so long (I have only myself to blame). Seriously, praise God for his mercy!
Something that really gave me pause about this great controversy false doctrine is the elevation of Satan and the law. As a former Adventist, I know the law is always put on a pedestal, but today I was reminded how the devil is also elevated in importance while Jesus is just a promoted being. No wonder the salvation message is so messed up!
I am currently participating in a Bible study on the armor of God, and this week’s lecture noted that Satan is not God’s peer or counterpart; only God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, and miracle-working. Moreover, we’re talking about the triune God, not God and His promoted-to-deity Son and a Holy Spirit who doesn’t make the cut as my guarantee or seal of God for salvation because He got aced out by the Sabbath! I’m not trying to be sarcastic, but this is an example of how absurd great controversy theology really is when compared to the truth of the gospel. Galatians 1:6-9 spells out in no uncertain terms what kind of gospel this is, or better yet, what it isn’t. It is not the Good News; it is not the gospel at all!
Without an accurate understanding of who God is and how my sin problem is to be dealt with by Jesus, and how I’m to live as a result of my salvation, well, as Paul said in Ephesians 2:12, I’m without God and without hope in the world. I praise God everyday that He took me out of the darkness and brought me into His marvelous light (1 Pet. 2:9), that I have peace with God through the blood of Christ (Col. 1:20), and that He works in me and gives me the desire and power to do the things that please Him (Eph. 2:13).
I pray for all who are in darkness, that they will submit to the truth of the gospel and be saved, be made right with the true God, a sovereign God—not a manmade god who must prove himself to his creatures and to Satan in order to be vindicated and keep his crown. Christ has already won the victory, and we are seated with Him in heavenly places (Eph 2:6), so no vote of vindication needed!
Thank you and your staff for delivering well-thought-out articles for our edification. Each writer always encourages personal study and investigation, which I appreciate. May God continue to bless His work through your team.
Crescent Mills, CA
What would Jesus do?
Jesus spent his life in this world sharing the Truth that would set men free; not looking to tear down others. I think we would do well to follow His example, don’t you?
Eight years out
I thank our Lord Jesus I have been out of the Adventist church for almost eight years now, thanks to your Proclamation! magazines and books published, which I keep reading, learning more each time, even when it’s regarding something I’ve read before. Most educational.
I pray for Life Assurance Ministries and all of you and thank you for spreading the good news of the true Bible gospel. May you all receive abundant blessings of health, guidance, and protection.
Aguadilla, Puerto Rico
Painful to lose fiancé
Thank you for the great magazine you sent me. There were so many insightful truths, and I was so blessed by reading all the information.
Please continue to pray for my former fiancé; he did not take kindly to what I had to say to him, especially the articles I gave him which I had downloaded from your website. He basically told me that we had no future together if I did not change my thinking about the Adventists and did not accept their teachings. This I completely refused to do, so as you can imagine, it has been very painful and difficult to bear, but my Lord Jesus is my life and my everything. I will not give Him up.
My former fiancé is convinced that you and all the former Adventists are anti-Adventists; that is how he and many other practicing Adventists refer to you.
Thank you again for your wonderful work and support.
Jesus bless you always in His love, mercy, grace, and favor.
Divisiveness is evil
It is a sad day when Christians cannot agree to disagree. Just because we differ or do not believe as others believe does not make one a better person than the other. It is extremely clear that no church has the ticket to heaven. Of all the denominations out there, it is very curious that the Adventists and former Adventists are the most adamant about their so called “revelations”.
It seems that any group of people that feels obligated to promote their positions to cause division are questionably of God’s direction or on His mission. God is love. What better use of our time and energy could there be than to indulge, pursue, and pray for the love that 1 Corinthians 13 defines? We need to promote the love of God and not any doctrine or dogma that is divisive. Divisiveness is evil. We are one body in Christ, and we should be obsessed about the love of God that binds rather than about belittling anyone that differs from our own experience or understanding. By attempting to get others to believe as we do by coercion or intimidation, we give the message that we are right and the other person/people are wrong. Have we now become judges of others? God is the only Judge who knows the real intent and motive of the heart. We should be praying for one another and embracing each other’s differences with love. “Let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God” (1 Jn. 4:7).
Editor’s note: First, we are not criticizing individuals; as the writer above said, only God can judge another’s heart. We are attempting to show that the system of Adventist theology is counter to the gospel of the Lord Jesus.
Second, Jesus said that He came not to bring peace but a sword that would divide mothers and fathers from their own children (Mt. 10:34-39). He further said if people persecuted Him, they would persecute His followers, too (Jn. 15:20). “Unity” at the cost of exposing false teaching and submerging the biblical gospel is not true unity. Unity is “in the Spirit” and “of the faith” (Eph. 4:4, 13), not setting aside convictions to avoid revealing false doctrines.
Third, not all groups professing to be churches teach that Jesus is the only way to the Father. It is true that no denomination provides “the ticket to heaven”, but the Bible reveals only one way we can be saved: to believe in the Lord Jesus and His finished work. To add anything to the gospel of Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection is to create “another gospel” (Gal. 1:6-10), and no other “gospel” brings spiritual life.
Fourth, the love to which we are called in the New Testament is the love Jesus commanded: “Love one another, even as I have loved you, that you may also love one another” (Jn. 13:34). Jesus’ love was sacrificial, a willingness to die for the salvation of another. Jesus did not preach “tolerance” that insists on ignoring truth for the sake of getting along. He exposed unbelief and called people to repentance.
God’s love is characterized by grace, mercy, truth, and judgment. He asks His followers to teach the truth about Him and His cross so those who are in error may be brought to repentance and life, credited with Jesus’ personal righteousness, and presented faultless to the Father. Because Jesus took God’s judgment on the cross, those who place their faith in Him will not come into judgment (Jn. 5:24).
Undermining our church
I see you print just anything that comes along. Try this on your presses. It is not my intention to be crass or to castigate, so here is the query. The Adventists I know believe in a Designer, Creator, Redeemer, and Savior. This higher power has provided some unswerving rules to attend to if a human wants his blessings—the Ten Commandments, the constitution or credo. A small segment of society, 24,000,000 persons, has banded together to embrace the biblical teachings and dogma they represent as a religion. This particular group has set up a small set of rules to identify their organization and members, the bylaws or canons of their constitution. These form the basis of the belief which this church promulgates: the 28 Fundamental Beliefs.
The credo does not change. With the passing of time the canons change, however. After all, this is a voluntary organization, and one does not have to take unto oneself the depth of understanding which all these points cover. Most certainly an individual can, but not easily, study his way around any one of these beliefs. If one does study around one, the question is: does one want to opt in or leave?
For most, membership in the Adventist organization is a serious, simple, and direct way to gather together with a common goal: to be ready for the hereafter. In the assembly of others of like mind, there is solace to be found, avoiding or minimizing confusion about minor points that do not contribute to an in-depth relationship with God and his Son…and the Holy Spirit.
What are you at Proclamation! doing that will contribute to a vertical relationship with our maker? Look and search deeply within your souls and hearts to see what you are working, thinking, or doing to avoid or to escape responsibility as you attempt to put together a meaningful, concise, undiluted answer. Why is your publication focused on undermining or creating unrest only for our church in particular?
Perhaps a thorough study of Daniel and Revelation would be a good activity for you. It may help you avoid straying far from the gospel.
Editor’s note: Thank you for your advice that we thoroughly study Daniel and Revelation. Please go to our YouTube channel (youtube.com/formeradventist) and click on “Playlists” and choose “2016 Former Adventist Fellowship Conference” for studies on Daniel, and choose “Loma Linda Word Search” for studies on Revelation.
Overly Calvinistic tone
Thank you for sending your magazine. I have learned much about Adventism, and I appreciate your articles that define their beliefs and contrast them with the Bible, the only source and final authority on truth.
I have become increasingly concerned, however, with the unabashed Calvinism in the various articles I have been reading. There are multitudes of Bible-believing and born-again Christians who uphold the Arminian view on free will. I am not including Adventists, obviously.
I shouldn’t wonder at your positions, given the religious system you came from. I can see where swinging to the polar opposite position on grace and sovereignty may have made sense to you. But there are true Christians who would definitely disagree with you on the fundamentals of the will.
I’m just sorry that I can’t recommend your magazine to others due to its overly Calvinistic tone. I guess this is a “great controversy” between us. I do enjoy learning about Adventism and how different it is from biblical Christianity. Your materials would be great to pass along if they took a more neutral position on matters that divide evangelicals.
Editor’s response: Thank you for expressing your concerns about this issue. Interestingly, we receive criticism from both ends of the spectrum; some say we are too Calvinistic, and some say we are too Arminian. In fact, we at Proclamation! do not identify ourselves as either Calvinists or Arminians. Our commitment is to teach what the Bible states and to resist the natural tendency to make a formula that eliminates the tension of apparent contradiction in Scripture.
For example, Scripture states that we are born dead, by nature objects of wrath (Eph. 2:1-3). It further states that not even one person is righteous; none understands or seeks God; all are naturally useless; none does good, and all are full of cursing and bitterness with no fear of God (Rom. 3:10-18). In fact, we must be rescued from the domain of darkness and transferred out of it into the kingdom of the beloved Son (Col. 1:13). We were all condemned and dead in Adam; only in receiving “the abundance of grace” and “the gift of righteousness” are we brought to life (Rom. 5:17-18).
Moreover, Jesus was clear that our wills are not able to seek and find Him without outside intervention. He said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (Jn. 6:44), and “No one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father” (Jn. 6:65).
These are propositional statements we must accept as facts if we believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God. Scripture does not allow us room to argue that we are born with a spark of “life” or “light” that can decide to seek God.
At the same time, Scripture is clear that we make decisions that have eternal consequences, and we are commanded to believe. Hebrews 4:7-11 quotes David saying, “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts,” and then says, “Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.”
Paul tells us that “the living God” is “the Savior of all men, especially of believers” (1 Tim. 4:10). Peter says that the Lord “is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).
Because we are finite, we have a tendency to understand God from our perspective instead of allowing God to reveal Himself as He is—whether or not we can explain it. For example, Romans 8:29-30 clearly states that God foreknew His own, and He predestined, called, justified, and glorified (already past tense) them. Ephesians 1:3-12 addresses those who are “in Christ”, and Paul says God “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world.” He predestined us to adoption for the glory of His grace, and in Him we have redemption and forgiveness. This passage echoes John’s statements in Revelation 13:8 and 17:8 about those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life before the foundation of the world.
What are we to do with these apparently conflicting passages? Jesus stated our one proper response: “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (Jn. 6:29).
There is a tension in Scripture that God does not explain to our satisfaction. He is sovereign with absolute foreknowledge. Our inability to understand how He can be utterly sovereign over every detail of creation and human life only confirms that we are creatures. Moreover, God knows how to draw us out of our natural darkness and death and make the gospel known. His foreknowledge does not negate His command that we believe, nor does it remove His command that believers are to preach the gospel and make disciples.
If we remove the tension between God’s sovereignty and our human will, we lose the cross. God sent His Son to bear and to die for sins He did not commit so rebellious creatures could be reconciled to Him. Furthermore, Jesus cried to the Father to save Him from death, and although He was a Son, he had to learn obedience through what He suffered (Heb. 5:7-8). He had never had a disagreement with His Father before, but He obeyed Him even when His humanity screamed for relief.
Because Adventism makes libertarian free will the center of its plan of salvation, the discovery that God is utterly sovereign completely changes one’s view of reality. It is necessary for those who have been Adventist to understand that God and His glory, not they as His creatures, are the ultimate “value” in the universe. We are here for God’s glory; He is not there for ours.
We do not hold to any “ism” to explain how God saves us; we hold the tension of Scripture gratefully knowing that God is utterly unlike us and is beyond our comprehension, yet He loves us and gave Himself in the person of His Son so we can be reconciled with Him when we place our trust and faith in the finished work of His Son.
Thanks much for your website and ministry!
I am currently in a difficult situation with my wife who has recently chosen to become re-baptized into the Adventist church here in Illinois. We were both non-denominational when we were married, and faith was a key part of our bond; now it is causing only fighting between us as my wife is seeking to have our two daughters, nine and 13, become Adventist. She has them going to an Adventist school against my wishes and now is having my oldest daughter study Adventist beliefs with another girl.
Our marriage is on the rocks, and I feel that many in the local Adventist church feel that their faith is more important than our marriage. I have pretty much given up on my wife changing her views and am trying to pray for her, but I still feel that having my children pressured into this church is very troubling…I do like the serious consideration of faith in this school, but I am troubled that Adventist principles are being taught as the undisputed truth. I feel that I need to be proactive about giving another opinion without trying to divide my wife and the children. It is a pretty difficult situation…prayers would be appreciated!
Blind and dumb
This last issue about the great controversy—you amaze me. You've got to be as blind as a bat and dumb as a fence post to not know it is a reality. Your religion is very little more than a religion of criticism—what Jesus would refer to as "White Washed Sepulchers".
It is sad that because of your unfortunate experience in Adventism you feel that you have to drag others into your abyss. I would just hope and pray that before it is too late you and your followers will truly have your eyes opened to truth.
Can a believer fall away?
Thank you again for sending me the excellent publication, Proclamation! The article by Pastor Ratzlaff on “Can A Believer Fall Away?” (Winter, 2015), was to the point and cleared up many questions for me. I know the age-old question has been, “Can a believer fall away?” The doctrine of once saved, always saved conflicts with the question of whether one can fall into complete apostasy. I understand that "saving faith is a real thing that changes the life.” Amen and praise the Lord. I have never heard the parable of the sower used to teach this principle before.
An inmate in a state prison
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Life Assurance Ministries
To proclaim the good news of the new covenant gospel of grace in Christ and to combat the errors of legalism and false religion.
Truth needs no other foundation than honest investigation under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and a willingness to follow truth when it is revealed.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God; not of works, that no one should boast." Ephesians 2:8,9