Like the Frogs of Egypt

Liberal Adventist Books and Magazines

Liberal books and magazines, which make light of historic Adventist standards and teach deviant doctrines, are appearing in increasing numbers in our ABCs and college and university bookstores. They are also being put into our college and university libraries.

What can our people do? They can protest to leadership and urge fellow believers to unite with them in asking that such materials be removed from our stores and no longer printed by our publishing houses.

When I visited the Andrews University Bookstore in 1981, I found Robert Brinsmead's later books, containing his teachings against 1844 and the Sabbath, on sale. Desmond Fords books were also proudly displayed, even though he had been discharged from the Adventist ministry the previous year at Glacier View. When I asked the clerk about this, I was told the university likes to have controversial books, for it stimulates the thinking of the students!

In 1989, I entered the Columbia Union College Bookstore and found a number of worldly novels for sale.

None of this would have been found in our schools in the 1950s. We had godly administrators and Bible teachers back then. It was the decision in the 1960s to only hire Bible teachers with earned doctorates, which was partly responsible for this downward trend. Prior to that time, only mature pastors and evangelists were employed as Bible teachers. Since then, our colleges only hire men who have undergone doctrinal brainwashing in Protestant, Catholic, and atheist universities.

I am not exaggerating. Doctoral work is a mind-retraining program. You are either totally indoctrinated into their beliefs or you do not receive the coveted Ph.D.

Back in the late 1980s, a friend found an anti-Jesuit book in Southern Adventist University library. When he started to copy it, the head librarian hurried over and told him the machine was out of order, and he would have to return later. Yet it was working fine when he started.

When he returned that afternoon, the head librarian was absent, and he started copying the book again. Immediately, the head librarian appeared, waved him off, and said the machine was not working.

The next time he came back, the book was gone. He returned several times to the library, always without success. Over a period of several weeks, he encountered similar incidents with other books.

Another problem are the journals. Errant doctrinal magazines, which have no place in Adventist libraries, are regularly placed on display in our college and university libraries for the students to read.

This includes such publications as Spectrum and Adventist Today. When conscientious believers protest, they are told that such magazines are needed to broaden the understanding of the students.

Southern Adventist University, as well as most of our other higher education institutions in North America, does not consider it their responsibility to provide their students with historic Adventism in the classrooms, bookstores, libraries, and evening entertainments.

Yet the irony is that the McKee family, which donated all of the money to build the large Southern College Library, must look with shame when they now enter that library and see what the youth of our Church are presented with for reading materials.

In the early 1990s, Southern College closed down the Ellen G. White Heritage Room in the large library. When concerned students and parents inquired as to the reason, they were told the library needed the space for something else. As I recall, it was an audio-visual center or something similar.

Spectrum magazine began in the late 1960s as a journal for highly educated Adventists. Obviously, there was something of a snob factor involved here, and many Adventists entered subscriptions. It was considered something of a mark of distinction to have Spectrum displayed on the coffee tables of well-to-do church members.

But, by the mid-1970s, Spectrum was changing from a journal for sophisticates to an attack journal on the Spirit of Prophecy. Gradually, the field of interest broadened, as, first, Adventist Currents and Adventist Today began publication until, in one or the other of the journals, you could find articles subtly favoring womens liberation; women's ordination; homosexuality; pro-Catholic and Protestant ecumenism; and articles against the historic standards, beliefs, and prophetic interpretations of our people.

In the early 1990s, Charles Wheeling published an approximate 16-page, 8 x 11 publication, in which he presented reasons to his local Adventist church why his views were not heretical. When I read through Wheeling's reasons for rejecting, or modifying, various teachings of Ellen White, I found he heavily quoted Spectrum in defense of his positions. It was the place to find that kind of material. Yet, for years, our colleges and universities have subscribed to it so your young people can read it.

Adventist Currents eventually went out of business, but Adventist Today, which replaced it, is a mirror of the liberalism dominating La Sierra University and Loma Linda University: poems to our father-mother god, the problems that the book Great Controversy has caused in our denomination, and repetitious articles on evolution as the correct view of scientific facts are standard fare.

If you send your precious youth to one of our colleges or universities, this is the kind of reading matter they will encounter in the library.

Should our local churches and conferences support schools which are trying to send our youth down a side street which leads out into the world? Should we send our young people there for training? These are serious questions.

Why has our denomination stopped printing low-cost Spirit of Prophecy books? Do they not want them to be distributed? With all the money that is coming into the Church, surely, they can afford to issue quality books, such as Great Controversy, Desire of Ages, Christ's Object Lessons, Patriarchs and Prophets, and Bible Readings at less than a dollar a copy in boxful amounts. We are doing it here. They could, and should, do it also. The more of those precious books which are distributed, the better.

Why are our Adventist Book Centers selling an increasing number of religious books published by non-Adventist publishing firms? I am sure that those of you who glanced through the Spring edition of the ABC Book Catalog were shocked. Not over 10% of it was printed by our own publishing houses. Ask your ABC for a copy, and page through it. Some of the evangelical authors, whose Left Behind and similar rapture books are now run-away best sellers, also had their other books listed for sale in it!

We are even starting to print fairy-tale-like books for the younger children in our church. We will not even mention the musical productions for sale.

Where is all this taking us? When will it all end?

Well, we have an answer to the second one: It will end at the National Sunday Law, when church members which these publications have educated in worldliness, go out and leave us entirely. They may take the organization with them, but the faithful will remain. By definition, the remnant are those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:17).

We pride ourselves on the wide distribution of literature; but the multiplication of books, even books that in themselves are not harmful, may be a positive evil. With the immense tide of printed matter constantly pouring from the press, old and young form the habit of reading hastily and superficially, and the mind loses its power of connected and vigorous thought. Furthermore, a large share of the periodicals and books that, like the frogs of Egypt, are overspreading the land, are not merely commonplace, idle, and enervating, but unclean and degrading. Their effect is not merely to intoxicate and ruin the mind, but to corrupt and destroy the soul. The mind, the heart, that is indolent, aimless, falls an easy prey to evil. It is on diseased, lifeless organisms that fungus roots. It is the idle mind that is Satan's workshop. Let the mind be directed to high and holy ideals, let the life have a noble aim, an absorbing purpose, and evil finds little foothold.

Let the youth, then, be taught to give close study to the Word of God. Received into the soul, it will prove a mighty barricade against temptation. Thy Word, the psalmist declares, have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee. By the word of Thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer. Psalms 119:11; 17:4. Education, 189-190.

The influence of most of the periodicals of the day is such as to render the Word of God distasteful, and to destroy a relish for all useful and instructive reading. The mind assimilates to that which it feeds upon. Counsels to Writers and Editors, 133-134.

The light of truth which God designs shall come to the people of the world at this time is not that which the worlds men of learning are seeking to impart, for these men in their research often arrive at erroneous conclusions and in their study of many authors become enthused with theories that are of satanic origin. Satan, clothed in the garb of an angel of light, presents for the study of the human mind subjects which seem very interesting and which are full of scientific mystery. In the investigation of these subjects, men are led to accept erroneous conclusions and to unite with seducing spirits in the work of propounding new theories which lead away from the truth.

There is danger that the false sentiments expressed in the books that they have been reading will sometimes be interwoven by our ministers, teachers, and editors with their arguments, discourses, and publications, under the belief that they are the same in principle as the teachings of the Spirit of truth. The book, Living Temple, is an illustration of this work, the writer of which declared in its support that its teachings were the same as those found in the writings of Mrs. White. Again and again we shall be called to meet the influence of men who are studying sciences of satanic origin, through which Satan is working to make a nonentity of God and of Christ. 9 Testimonies, 67-68.

In the education of children and youth, fairy tales, myths, and fictitious stories are now given a large place. Books of this character are used in the schools, and they are to be found in many homes. How can Christian parents permit their children to use books so filled with falsehood? When the children ask the meaning of stories so contrary to the teaching of their parents, the answer is that the stories are not true; but this does not do away with the evil results of their use. The ideas presented in these books mislead the children. They impart false views of life and beget and foster a desire for the unreal.

The widespread use of such books at this time is one of the cunning devices of Satan. He is seeking to divert the minds of old and young from the great work of character building. He means that our children and youth shall be swept away by the soul-destroying deceptions with which he is filling the world. Therefore he seeks to divert their minds from the Word of God and thus prevent them from obtaining a knowledge of those truths that would be their safeguard.

Never should books containing a perversion of truth be placed in the hands of children or youth. Let not our children, in the very process of obtaining an education, receive ideas that will prove to be seeds of sin. If those with mature minds had nothing to do with such books, they would themselves be far safer, and their example and influence on the right side would make it far less difficult to guard the youth from temptation.

We have an abundance of that which is real, that which is divine. Those who thirst for knowledge need not go to polluted fountains. Ministry of Healing, 446-447.

I am given words of caution for the teachers in our schools. The work of our schools should bear a different stamp from that borne by some of the most popular of our institutions of learning. Many of the textbooks used in these schools are unnecessary for the work of preparing students for the school above. As a result the youth are not receiving the most perfect Christian education. Those points of study are neglected that are most needed to fit them for missionary work in home and foreign fields, and to prepare them to stand in the last great examination. The education needed is that which will qualify students for practical service, by teaching them to bring every faculty under the control of the Spirit of God. The study book of the highest value is that which contains the instruction of Christ, the Teacher of teachers.

The Lord requires our teachers to put away from our schools those books teaching sentiments which are not in accordance with His Word, and to give place to those books that are of the highest value. He will be honored when they show to the world that a wisdom more than human is theirs, because the Master Teacher is standing as their instructor.

There is need of separating from our educational work an erroneous, polluted literature, so that ideas which are the seeds of sin will not be received and cherished as the truth. Let not any suppose that a study of books which will lead to the reception of false ideas, is valuable education. Those ideas which, gaining entrance to the mind, separate the youth from the Source of all wisdom, all efficiency, all power, leaving them the sport of Satan's temptations. A pure education for the youth in our schools, unmixed with heathen philosophy, is a positive necessity.

We need to guard continually against those books which contain sophistry in regard to geology and other branches of science. Before the theories of men of science are presented to immature students, they need to be carefully sifted from every trace of infidel suggestions. One tiny seed of infidelity sown by a teacher in the heart of a student may spring up and bring forth a harvest of unbelief. The sophistries regarding God and nature that are flooding the world with skepticism are the inspiration of the fallen foe. Satan is a Bible student. He knows the truths that are essential for salvation, and it is his study to divert minds from these truths. Let our teachers beware lest they echo the falsehoods of the enemy of God and man.

It is a mistake to put into the hands of the youth books that perplex and confuse them. The reason sometimes given for this study is that the teacher has passed over this ground, and the student must follow. But if teachers were receiving light and wisdom from the divine Teacher, they would look at this matter in a very different way. They would measure the relative importance of the things to be learned in school. The common, essential branches of education would be more thoroughly taught, and the Word of God would be esteemed as the bread sent down from heaven, which sustains all spiritual life. Counsels to Parents and Teachers, 389-390.

These persons bring certain Scriptures together, and interpret passages of the Bible, so as to give coloring to their views; but they are wresting the Scriptures to make them appear to say that which they do not say. False theories will thus be propagated in the world to the very end, and as long as there are printing presses and publishing houses, erroneous matter will be presented for publication, and books will be prepared for public circulation.

Should there be no guard against the publication of erroneous theories, our own publishing houses would become the agents for disseminating false theories. Writers make a world of one or two items of theory, which others cannot regard as important, and then the writer thinks his ideas are greatly belittled. Counsels to Writers and Editors, 153-154.

 Several years ago, I reported on a conversation with the editor of the Walla Walla student newspaper. She phoned to complain to me about my tract series which told about the atheism, faculty-student homosexual club, intercollegiate sports craze, and wild music orgies at the college, which the student newspaper had reported favorably in some detail. During the conversation, I sought for some comparison by which to impress on her how terrible were the teachings and activities at the college, and mentioned the terrible writings of Voltaire.

Shocked at my remark, she instantly retorted that her literature teacher at the college had directed her to Voltaire as a model of writing and literature. So she had spent months carefully reading through all his writings with great profit. Nothing I could say could dissuade her. All that was being published, taught, and danced at Walla Walla was perfectly okay.

It is said that Hume, the skeptic, was in early life a conscientious believer in the Word of God. Being connected with a debating society, he was appointed to present the arguments in favor of infidelity. He studied with earnestness and perseverance, and his keen and active mind became imbued with the sophistry of skepticism. Erelong he came to believe its delusive teachings, and his whole afterlife bore the dark impress of infidelity. Child Guidance, 196.

Voltaire and his associates cast aside Gods Word altogether and spread everywhere the poison of infidelity. Great Controversy, 281.

When Voltaire was five years old, he committed to memory an infidel poem, and the pernicious influence was never effaced from his mind. He became one of Satan's most successful agents to lead men away from God. Thousands will rise up in the judgment and charge the ruin of their souls upon the infidel Voltaire. Child Guidance, 196.

You will recall that Voltaire declared that, by the bitter onslaught of his books, he was going to destroy Christianity within his lifetime.

The infidel Voltaire once boastingly said: I am weary of hearing people repeat that twelve men established the Christian religion. I will prove that one man may suffice to overthrow it. Generations have passed since his death. Millions have joined in the war upon the Bible. But it is so far from being destroyed, that where there were a hundred in Voltaire's time, there are now ten thousand, yes, a hundred thousand copies of the book of God. Great Controversy, 288.

Here is what Ellen White said about two other atheists, who also spent their lives spilling a torrent of attack on Christianity and defense of atheism:

There is another class of books that you should avoid; the productions of such infidel writers as Paine and Ingersoll. These are often urged upon you with the taunt that you are a coward and afraid to read them. Frankly tell these enemies who would tempt you, for enemies they are, however much they may profess to be your friends, that you will obey God, and take the Bible as your guide. Tell them that you are afraid to read these books; that your faith in the Word of God is now altogether too weak, and you want it increased and strengthened instead of diminished; and that you do not want to come in such close contact with the father of lies.

I warn you to stand firm, and never do a wrong action rather than be called a coward. Allow no taunts, no threats, no sneering remarks, to induce you to violate your conscience in the least particular, and thus open a door whereby Satan can come in and control the mind.

Suffer not yourselves to open the lids of a book that is questionable. There is a hellish fascination in the literature of Satan. It is the powerful battery by which he tears down a simple religious faith. Never feel that you are strong enough to read infidel books; for they contain a poison like that of asps. They can do you no good, and will assuredly do you harm. In reading them, you are inhaling the miasmas of hell. They will be to your soul like a corrupt stream of water, defiling the mind, keeping it in the mazes of skepticism, and making it earthly and sensual. These books are written by men whom Satan employs as his agents; and by this means he designs to confuse the mind, withdraw the affections from God, and rob your Creator of the reverence and gratitude which His works demand.

The mind needs to be trained, and its desires controlled and brought into subjection to the will of God.

Instead of being dwarfed and deformed by feeding on the vile trash which Satan provides, it should have wholesome food, which will give strength and vigor. Fundamentals of Education, 93-94.

May our people wake up, before it is too late!