By Phillip E. Harris
Copyright 2007 Life Assurance Ministries, Inc., Glendale, Arizona, USA. All rights reserved. Revised May 8, 2007. Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The basic doctrinal format of this article is derived from Walter Martin's book; The Truth About Seventh-day Adventism. For historical and biographical information, use has been made of Rene Noorbergen's book; Ellen G. White, Prophet of Destiny. Additionally, Adventist doctrine has been researched directly back to their publications. In quoting scripture, there is always a danger of being out of context. To avoid this problem, each verse used has been reviewed to verify its true meaning and application.
I grew up in the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church in a family that was nominally Adventist. Although my father did not go to church, both he and my mother were raised as Adventist. My grandparents and great-grandparents on both sides of the family were also Adventist. I first remember dad's parents living at the St. Helena Sanitarium, near Ellen G. White's home of Elmshaven. Later they moved up the hill to Angwin, the community that surrounds the Pacific Union College, another Adventist institution. As a matter of fact, I lived at Angwin for over two years myself. My first, third, eighth and ninth grades were in Adventist schools. This article is based as much on personal knowledge and experience as it is upon research and documentation. I was sixteen when I rebelled against the church and religion in general. It was many years before I learned that what the Adventist teach is not the same as the message of Jesus Christ.
Doctrine, of course, is the true heart of any church or religious system, with the nature and work of Jesus Christ being the cornerstone of the Christian faith. In order to give the reader an opportunity to understand how Adventist doctrines developed, a historical section is included before looking at their beliefs. In the doctrinal section, direct quotes are used to present the Adventist position. This is followed by scripture, notes, and commentary. At the end, there are presented some ideas of what it means to live a daily life based on truth or to struggle along on a structure of non-functional ideas.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church developed from the Millerite Movement. William Miller taught, starting in 1818, that the Lord would return to cleanse the Earth in about twenty-five years. After several changes, the final date was set for Oct. 22, 1844. He based this on his study of the books of Daniel and Revelation.
Dan. 8:9,11,14: And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
Using Ussher's chronology and reckoning the 2300 days as years, he counted from the desolation of the temple in Jerusalem to a date of Oct. 22, 1843. Later, he changed the year to 1844 as the date when Christ would return and cleanse the sanctuary, the Earth. When Christ failed to return on this last date, it became known as the Great Disappointment.
CONSIDER: Scripture states that no man can know the time of Christ's second coming.
Matt. 24:36: But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
It is of interest that many biblical historians believe Daniel's prophecy to have been literally fulfilled already. The time period that the sacrifice stopped because of Antiochus Epiphanes to the recapture and cleansing of the temple being exactly 2300 literal twenty-four hour days.
Following the disbandment of the Millerite Movement, there emerged a number of groups. However, we are concerned only with those factions which merged into what became known as the Seventh-day Adventist Church. William Miller had no further connection with these events.
THE RISE OF THE SDA CHURCH
First, there was Hiram Edson in western New York state. He invented the root idea of what later became known as the doctrine of the heavenly sanctuary and investigative judgment. In order to avoid the mocking of his neighbors, regarding his involvement in the Millerite Movement, he was walking home through a cornfield when he had a "revelation". "Suddenly there burst upon his mind the thought that there were two phases to Christ's ministry in the Heaven of Heavens, just as in the earthly sanctuary of old….He for the first time (1844) entered on that day the second apartment of that sanctuary, and that he had a work to perform in the most holy before coming to this earth". (The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol. IV, p. 881)
Heb. 9:12: Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
In regards to the Great Disappointment, what he was saying was that Christ, on Oct. 22, 1844, moved into the Holy of Holies to cleanse it, instead of returning to earth. This heavenly cleansing being an investigation of our works to determine if we are worthy to enter God's kingdom. As this unique Adventist doctrine developed it became known as; INVESTGATIVE JUDGMENT.
Another faction was led by Joseph Bates, a retired sea captain, who lived in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. He wrote a pamphlet entitled "The Seventh-day Sabbath a Perpetual Sign", in 1846. Later, when he was able to convince Ellen G. White, it became a cornerstone of SDA theology. Their doctrine of THE SABBATH was developed around the idea that the Roman Catholic pope was responsible for changing the Sabbath and that true Christians should and would return to Sabbath worship.
The most important faction was located in Portland, Maine and became known as "THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY" group. It was led by a young woman by the name of Ellen Gould Harmon. Later, she became Mrs. Ellen G. White. This group accepted her visions and interpretations as being direct inspired messages from God. As such, she became the counsel to the Seventh Day Adventist Church as it emerged.
Ellen Gould Harmon was born on Nov. 26, 1827 in Gorham, Maine, to the parents of Robert and Eunice Harmon, Gould being her mother's maiden name. Her family was deeply religious and were members of the local Methodist church until forced to leave because of their involvement in the Millerite Movement.
Life was uneventful until her ninth year. Walking home from school in Portland, Maine, she was hit on the head by a large rock thrown by another girl. For three weeks she wavered between life and death. When she recovered, she had a disfigured face and the after effects of a serious head injury. She was unable to continue her formal education beyond the third grade.
She first related having dreams, that seemed to have more than ordinary significance, at age fourteen. A local preacher by the name of Elder Stockmen advised her that the Lord must be preparing her for a special work. Several years later, shortly after the Great Disappointment, she had what she refers to as her first vision. In addition to the visions, her otherwise very poor health improved greatly. All of these events were taken as a sign the Lord was working in a special way in her life. A core group of ex-Millerite followers believed her visions as being messages from God, with James White being one of the main leaders. His leadership, speaking, and organizational abilities were as important as Ellen's visions in the formation of the SDA church. They were married on Aug. 30, 1846.
In 1855, they moved to Battle Creek, Michigan. In 1860, the SDA church was formally established. Sister White, as she is often referred to, had by this time, adopted the concepts of Investigative Judgment and the Seventh-Day Sabbath as a special sign of latter day events. Of course, all was confirmed by special visions. In 1865, she received ‘inspiration’ guiding her to push for establishment of a health institute which latter became known as the Battle Creek Sanitarium.
An interesting side-light concerns Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. Starting as a twelve year old type setter for one of their publishing ventures, he was sponsored through medical school by the White's and in 1876, became the superintendent of the Battle Creek Sanitarium. Seeing a need for a healthier breakfast diet, in 1894, he invented flaked cereals. Kellogg Corn Flakes was the result. He is also credited with inventing the term, “Sanitarium”. Late in life, he was removed from the SDA Church on a false charge of pantheism.
At the turn of the last century, after having spent almost nine years in Australia, Ellen settled in a home, called Elmshaven, near the St. Helena Sanitarium, located in the upper Napa Valley, California. My father's parents met and were latter married while taking nursing training there. Grandmother related to me that Ellen White was a very caring and loving person whose character was never faulted, not even by her many critics. She even remembered to provide a wedding gift before sending them to the mission field in China, in 1911. Ellen G. White passed away, while at her study in Elmshaven, on July 16, 1915.
In this section on doctrine, each quote followed only by a page number refers to the book; Questions On Doctrine, which is an official SDA publication. All quotes from their publications are shown in red text.
ORTHODOX SDA VIEWS
Concerning the bible:
"the Holy Scriptures...were given by inspiration of God" (p.ll)
"the Bible...is the Word of God" (p.27)
"all theological beliefs must be measured by the Living Word... and whatsoever is unable to pass this...is to be rejected" (p.28)
Concerning the Godhead:
"the Godhead, or Trinity, consists of the Eternal Father, a personal, spiritual Being, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, infinite in wisdom and love; the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, through whom all things were created and through whom the salvation of the redeemed hosts will be accomplished; the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, the great regenerating power in the work of redemption" (p.ll)
Concerning the nature of Jesus Christ:
"That Jesus...is very God...same nature and essence as the Eternal Father. While retaining His divine nature He took upon Himself the nature of the human family...died for our sins... was raised from the dead" (p.ll)
"That every person in order to obtain salvation must experience the new birth... by the recreative power of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ" (p.12)
Note: When I was 12 years old, I let it be known that I wanted to become a Christian, not understanding that when I turned my life over to Jesus at age six, I had already been saved. I was told that I had to give up certain bad habits, if I had any, before I could be baptized and join the Adventist Church. Only then could I call myself a Christian and even then I had no assurance of salvation.
Much to their credit, Adventist emphasize the second coming (advent) of Christ and teach a strong creationist doctrine.
THEIR DISTINCTIVE VIEWS
SPIRIT OF PROPHECY (Ellen G. White)
Adventist believe that Rev. 19:10 refers to Ellen G. White. To them, she is “The Spirit Of Prophecy”.
Rev. 19:10: And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
"...regard her writings as containing inspired counsel and instruction" (p.92)
"We base our teachings on the Scripture, the only foundation of all Christian doctrine" (p.93)
" 'a lesser light' leading sincere men and women to 'the greater light' " (p.96
Adding to or taking away from scripture
Rev. 22:18,19: For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
Pro. 30:5,6: Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
Deut. 4:2: Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
Their publication, The Clear Word Bible, is an extreme example of how they violate these scriptures.
Was she a plagiarist?
In Walter Martin's book, The Truth About Seventh-Day Adventism, he documents the fact that she borrowed sections from a prior book by Conybeare and Howson, in her work titled; Sketches From The Life of Paul. She did the same thing with her book; The Great Controversy, by lifting out a whole section from a book by J. A. Wylie. In both cases, she did not give credit or admit she had done so until confronted by the fact. Remember, these books of hers are considered as inspired writings by the SDA church. Inspiration comes only from God, not the uninspired writings or others. There are now hundreds, if not thousands, of documented instances where she did this.
Her internal contradictions
Walter Martin goes on to mention an instance where she had a vision to build an additional wing on the Battle Creek Sanitarium. Later, she had another vision telling not to do so and to tear down what was already built. Was God contradicting himself or was Ellen wrong. On another occasion, she had a vision saying that tithing could on1y be done by giving it directly to the church. Later, she had a vision saying it was ok to send her own tithe where she felt it was most needed. Who was in error, God or Ellen? Remember, these visions were said to be inspired messages from God. Were they?
Mark 13:22,23: For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.
Matt. 7:15: Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Deut. 18:22: When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.
Titus 1:10-12: For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
I Tim. 6:3-6: If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain.
Contradictions with Scripture
Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p.1: "His life testifies that it is possible for us also to obey the law of God. "
Rom. 7:18,19: For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p.9: "Our little world, under the curse of sin the one dark blot in His glorious creation."
Rom. 8:22: For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
Ellen G. White, Early Writings, p. 149, 150: (Jesus speaking) "He then made known..." Ellen describes a sequence of events in which Jesus and the Father converse over the fate of mankind after his fall. When a decision is reached concerning our destiny, Jesus reveals the plan of salvation. In-other-words, when Adam sinned, God was caught by surprise, without a plan. In reality, God's plan for our lives was in place before time began.
I Cor. 2:7: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory
"that the Sabbath was instituted in Eden" (p.149)
"the restoration of the Sabbath is indicated in the Bible prophecy of Revelation 14:9-12...regard observance of the Sabbath as a test of our loyalty to Christ" (p.153)
"heralds of Sabbath reform came to make a further logical application of the mark of the beast - holding it to be, in essence, the attempted change of the Sabbath" (p.181)
Note: What Adventist teach is that when the Anti-Christ, is in power and in alliance with the Great Harlot otherwise known as the Roman Catholic Church, Sunday worship will be evidence that a person has accepted the “Mark of the Beast”.
Heb. 4:9,10: There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
Col. 2:16,17: Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Rom. 14:5,13,17: One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Mark 2:27: And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
Adventists call attention to the seventh-day Sabbath. Isn't it strange that they don't make an issue about the other Jewish holy days?
Ex. 31:12,13: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.
Eccl. 9:5,6: For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.
"at death, the saints go to the grave. They will come alive again, but they come to life and live with Jesus after they are raised from the dead. While asleep in the tomb the child of God knows nothing." (p.523)
Note: For an Adventist, salvation is not assured during this present life or even at death. Until the resurrection and subsequent appearance at the Great White Throne, one does not know if he is saved and a part of the true body of Christ, the Remnant Church. However, a conscience dead saint in the presence of the Lord would have assurance and would not have to wait to learn something he already knows. Because of this, their doctrine of Investigative Judgment requires the doctrine of Soul Sleep.
Death of the body does not mean death of the soul.
Matt. 10:28: And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
At death the saints go into the presence of the Lord.
Phil. 1:23: For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
The unsaved go to a place of conscience punishment.
Luke 16:23,24: And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
Moses, while dead, talks to Jesus.
Matt. 17:3: And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
Samuel, dead in the grave, talks to King Saul. Unless one wants to think that a message from God could come from an evil spirit, one must believe it really is Samuel speaking.
I Sam. 28:15: And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.
Final note on soul sleep: There are many verses that clearly show that the dead have no conscious awareness of earthly matters. This would not preclude a consciousness limited to the abode of the dead.
"it seems to us abundantly clear that acceptance of Christ at conversion does not seal a person's destiny" (p.420)
"that there should be a judgment is not strange" (p.420)
"There must be an examination of the books of record...to determine who...are entitled to the benefits of His atonement." (p.421)
Note: As mentioned before, they connect the Great White Throne and the judgment of our works with salvation. They teach that in 1844, Jesus entered into the Holy of Holies and began an investigation of our works. When this investigation is complete, he will then return to Earth to collect his saints and transport them to heaven. The Great White Throne is simply a proclamation of the results of this investigation and it is at this point that a person learns if he can enter into God’s Kingdom.
II Cor. 5:10: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Further, they base their concept on a heavenly application of Lev. 16:1-34, with an investigation of our works being a cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary. When complete, they teach that our sins will be placed on the Scapegoat, which they believe to be Satan.
The two goats mentioned are referred to as a single offering.
Lev. 16:5: And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering.
Read Lev. 16:1-34. Note that in verse 21, our sins are confessed over the scapegoat. Do we confess to God or Satan? In verse 22, the scapegoat carries away our sins. Could this really be Satan?
Jesus is our atoning sacrifice.
I John 2:2: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
I John 4:10: Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Salvation is found only in Jesus.
Acts 4:12: Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Adventist teach that the word, scapegoat comes from the word; azazel, which means 'evil' or 'cursed', therefore it must be Satan. However, note that the cross is a shame, a curse and it is Jesus who hung on it.
Deut. 21:23: His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.
Heb. 12:2: Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Gal. 3:13: Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.
Our sins were laid on Christ, not Satan. Christ is our scapegoat. To teach otherwise is heresy.
I Peter 2:24: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
Isa. 53:12: Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Jesus was made to be sin.
II Cor. 5:21: For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
We are not condemned, the verb is in the past tense! What do we have to fear concerning a coming judgment?
John 3:18: He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
I John 1:7: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
ANNIHILATION OF THE WICKED
"eternal punishment...is not an endless process... but an effectual punishment which will be final and forever" (p.540)
"reject the doctrine of eternal torment" (p.543)
Eternal means eternal. The condition of torment goes on eternally in the same way that eternal life goes on eternally.
Matt. 25:41,46: Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Note: For torment to be what it is there must be a conscious awareness of it by the soul. The question of consciousness of the soul ties the doctrine of Soul Sleep in with Annihilation Of The Wicked. If this doctrine fails the test of scripture, so does Soul Sleep, and so does Investigative Judgment.
Rev. 20:10,14,15: And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
UNCLEAN FOODS AND GOOD HEALTH
Question (As found in their publication):
Do Seventh-day Adventists believe that foods such as lobsters, crabs, pork, et cetera, all forbidden under the Mosaic law, are still forbidden, binding upon Christians, and hence not to be eaten under penalty of sin? (p.622)
"It is true we refrain from eating certain articles, as indicated in the query, but not because the law of Moses has any binding claims..." (p.623)
"To us, the whole matter of unclean foods is primarily a question of health... We believe that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Cor.3:16; 6:19; II Cor. 6:16)..." (p.624)
I Cor. 3:16: Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
I Cor. 6:19: What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
II Cor. 6:16: And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Naturally, we have no problem about eating for good health or for remembering that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. However, Adventist do look to the law in this matter and say we must live by it.
It is deceiving spirits that forbid eating certain foods.
I Tim. 4:1-5: Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
The weak in faith eats only vegetables.
Rom. 14:1-3: Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
All animals are given by God for food.
Gen. 9:3,4: Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.
LAW, GRACE, AND SALVATION
"there is, and can be, no salvation through the law, or by human works of the law" (p. 135)
"all the sacrificial offerings, the feast days, and even the priesthood...met its end on Calvary's cross" (p. 130)
"The distinction between the moral law of God - the Decalogue - and the ceremonial law can be seen..." (p. 130)
"The opposite and no less dangerous error is, that belief in Christ releases men from keeping the law of God; that since by faith alone we become partakers of the grace of Christ, our works have nothing to do with our redemption." (Steps To Christ, Ellen G. White. p. 64.65)
Note: Notice the last of the four above statements made by Ellen G. White. After saying the law has nothing to do with salvation, she ends up saying that we must keep the law. That is, only the ceremonial law was done away with. Adventists teach that there are "moral laws" which are eternal and still binding and "ceremonial laws" which were fulfilled at the Cross. It is interesting to note that they ignore the third category, which are "civil laws" of Jewish government. In any case, they do not have an orthodox view of the doctrine of GRACE.
Moral and ceremonial aspects of the law, along with the civil, are part of a single entity which is simply: THE LAW. The Bible makes no distinction. The law is the law.
Gal. 3:24,25: Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
It is recommended that a Christian study the complete book of Romans for a full understanding of this subject.
Rom. 11:6: And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
James makes it very clear that our faith will be made evident by our works. However, works are the result, not the cause of a saving faith.
James 2:14,18: What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
KILLING, MILITARY SERVICE, AND CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
As an Adventist, I was taught that it was wrong to kill any person under any circumstances. Always “turn the other cheek” and never defend myself by physical force. Adventist are wi1ling to serve in the military, but only as non-combatants. Usually, they serve in the medical corps. They ignore the fact that the Ten Commandments condemns “murder”, not “killing” and that the same Mosaic Law sanctions “Capital Punishment”, “killing” in combat and defending ones self from his enemies.
"Adventists also teach that gambling, card playing, theater going, and dancing are to be avoided (I John 2:15-17)" (Seventh-day Adventists Believe, p. 284)
In the Adventist church, you are directed on how to conduct your life in extreme detail that far exceeds what the Bible teaches. For example, I was told that it was a sin to go bowling because most bowling alleys have a bar in them and I might be tempted to take up drinking. The list of dos-and-don'ts, mainly don'ts, went on and on and on. My point here is that under the Adventist system, a child is told what to do without the opportunity to grow in spiritual strength by choosing the right and avoid wrong for himself. Then, as an adult, the tendency is to not know how to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit and self control. The Biblical teaching is for each person, under God’s direct control and the support of the church body, to think and act based on ones own personal, Biblically based, understanding of God’s will. The role of fellow believers and church leaders is to admonish and encourage us, based on what the scriptures teach.
1. Doctrines that deny an assurance of ones salvation on one hand and insist, on the other hand, that you must be free of certain sins tend to produce a Christian who is emotionally unstable. You must be perfect but you know you will never measure up to God’s standard.
2. If a person were to focus on performing good works, instead of letting faith produce these works, God’s plan for producing spiritual maturity in you life is being squelched. An honest person who isn’t growing spiritually will drift into despair or apathy.
3. Unique doctrines such as these leads to conflict with orthodox Christianity. If these are true teachings this would be a good thing. But, it must be remembered that such a posture leads to the thinking that “everybody is out to get you”, and a person tends to develop a persecution complex. This is not healthy if what you are fighting over is not true.
4. These teachings do not prepare a person to deal with the demands of ordinary daily living. Victorious living means understanding how to be both completely under God’s control and to be able to act based on ones own judgement. We learn how to make choices by having the opportunity to do so.
5. This dogma gives a false concept of who God is.
6. With respect to the subject of the “Scapegoat”, they clearly teach heresy.
7. If you do not know the true salvation message, it is very probable that you are an unsaved person.