A CALL TO GODS PEOPLE
PLEASE WAKE UP - BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE ! !
THE BATTLE OVER GODS WORD
attending that conference, I awoke as from a dream. I came to realize
that my approach to the Scriptures had been much like Eve's approach
to God's spoken Word. She was exhilarated by the experience of
exercising autonomy over the Word of God, deciding what to believe and
what to discard. She exalted her human reason over divine revelation.
When she did so, she opened the floodgates of woe upon the world.
Like Eve, I had felt the heady
ecstasy of setting myself up as the final norm, as one who could judge
the divine Word by my rational criteria. Instead of the Word judging me,
I judged the Word. I am now convinced that the issue of the authority of
Scripture is basic to all other issues in the church. The destiny of our
church depends on how its members regard the authority of the Bible.
Richard M. Davidson, The
Authority of Scripture: A Personal Pilgrimage, in the Journal of
Adventist Theological Society, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1990.
[Davidson is the current chairman of the Department of Old
Testament at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, Andrews
University, Berrien Springs, Michigan.]
conference occurred in 1974. Concerned over the mounting crisis, men
faithful to Gods Word, who held positions of influence in our
denomination, arranged for the General Conference to convene, what
became known as, the 1974 Bible Conference. It was an attempt to
reaffirm the authority of Scripture, as the basis for Seventh-day
Adventist standards and doctrinal beliefs.
conclusions were published in a book, A Symposium on Biblical
Hermeneutics, which laid the basis for a later document, produced by
the 1986 Annual Council, entitled Methods of Bible Study.
were attempts to slow, and hopefully reverse, the trend by Adventist
liberals to change the beliefs and practices of our people.
this has not happened. There are Bible teachers, editors, writers,
administrators, and pastors who are carrying our church into the camp of
liberalism. In this present study, you will obtain shocking insights
into how extensive it is.
help is needed! It is only as every Seventh-day Adventist church member
arises to the task, that this growing apostasy can be overcome.
who teach modernism and error in our local churches must be toldby
the members, to change their ways or get out.
members must demand that godly Bible-Spirit of Prophecy believing
ministers be sent to pastor their churches.
of sending their pastors (who are conference employees) to represent
them, they must take an active part at conference gatherings, and fill
the delegates seats themselves. They must plan and work, work, and
plan. Action is needed to return our denomination to its historic
is becoming evident that it is as members declare in unison that they
will only have historic Adventism in their churches, conferences,
schools, editorial offices, and mission work, that the standards and
doctrines of our people in earlier times can be restored.
let us overview a brief glimpse of how far this ongoing rebellion
against the authority of Gods Inspired Word is beginning to take us.
We will not discuss earlier landmarks in the apostasy, such as
acceptance of a finished atonement at the cross, denial of Christ's
ministry in the apartments of the heavenly Sanctuary, the 1844
transition, the investigative judgment, and the necessity of obedience
by faith in Christ to the law of God. Instead, we will point out some of
the more recent frontiers being crossed in the ongoing development of
IS NOT THE SOLE AUTHORITY It
is being taught in our academies and colleges that Gods Word is not a
sufficient rule of faith or guide to standards and doctrines.
Respect for the Bibles agenda means honestly balancing biblical evidence with other relevant data. The Bible is not our only source of evidence . . Obviously, our experience and empirical data will condition our views, and this must be admitted. John Brunt, Adventists, Abortion, and the Bible, in Abortion: Ethical Issues & Options, ed. David R. Larson. Publisher: Loma Linda University Center for Christian Bioethics, 1992, p. 38.
teach that mans suppositions must be added to Gods Word; this is
destroying the faith of many. Because, in truth, when men attempt to do
that, they quickly place their suppositions as superior to Scripture.
men are taught that they may reason away Scripture, there is no standard
or belief that can withstand their faulty thinking. They feel competent
to do this for, as was clearly stated in the quotation at the beginning
of this article, such men have set themselves up as the standard of
right and wrong.
I speaking too strongly? Read on.
IT IS ALL RIGHT TO DRINK LIQUOR According to the liberals, it is not wrong to drink liquor, as long as it is done in moderation. Sounds like the comments we find in the liquor ads, by which the purveyors of whiskey and wine try to whitewash their evil work.
example, Steve Case wrote an article in a book, downplaying historic
Adventist beliefs, which La Sierra University was proud to publish a few
months ago. The book is entitled, Shall We Dance: Rediscovering
Christ-Centered Standards. As do the other writers in the book, Case
explains the liberal interpretation of what these Christ-centered
standards are supposed to be:
Rather than being satisfied with the support of either position [the use or abuse of alcohol], this chapter attempts to look beyond the obvious wine texts in the Bible and consider other Scriptural principles that would have a bearing on the moderate use of alcohol today, especially in North America. Steve Case, Mixing Alcohol, Abstinence, and the Bible, in Shall We Dance: Rediscovering Christ-Centered Standards. Published by La Sierra University, p. 313.
goes on to explain that, in their use of alcoholic beverages, Adventists
should be governed by a fourfold set of principles: (1) Abstention is
acceptable in all circumstances (but not necessary). (2) Alcohol
in high-risk settings is discouraged. (Do not drink in a bar; drink
at home or at a restaurant.) (3) Heavy consumption is discouraged.
(It is best not to drink so much that you get sopped.) (4) Moderate
consumption in low-risk situations is acceptable. (This is partially
a reemphasis of point 2. Drink in the dormitory, drink at youth
gatherings, drink at home, but do not drink in the taverns. Also do not
drink too much when you are out on a date; you might get in trouble.)
astounding book is a so-called Project Affirmation publication of
the University, intended to clarify Adventist beliefs to our youth
and church members. It was published in coordination with the Hancock
Center for Youth Ministry at La Sierra University. And, the book says,
it received the approval of the North American Division Joint Boards of
Education, as well as La Sierra University!
says that some research findings, on the medical benefits of
drinking alcohol, suggest that 2-3 drinks per day is okay. In fact,
it may be healthier than a nonalcoholic diet (Case, in the chapter
entitled, What Those Outside the Church Say, in Shall We Dance,
full chapters in that book are devoted to urging the reader to set aside
his scruples and start indulging liquor. In the first, Case says he is
explaining principles that relate to moderate use [of] alcohol
(Op. cit., p. 303).
the severe condemnation pronounced by the Bible against liquor and those
indulging in it, Case say:
with a bias for moderate use of alcohol receive supportive evidence from
both Scripture and modern science. Op. cit.
is the basis for Cases thinking? It is the same method always used by
the liberals: Set fallible human reasoning above the Word of God.
For Christians, sometimes its useful to temporarily put aside biblical passages and simply consider what those speaking outside the church have to say on a given matter. Listening to a different voice can give a new perspective of Scripture. For this reason, we will now turn to what people outside the community of faith say about alcohol. While some may be Christians, they do not speak for Christians. Op. cit., p. 313.
message here is that we need to go to the world in order to learn how
best to conduct our lives. La Sierra University is doing this; other
colleges and individual members are doing it also.
present writer earlier wrote articles on the rapidly increasing use of
alcohol on the college and university campuses of our denomination (and
another one will be released soon). Now, in an official book published
by the university, La Sierra dares to defy Gods condemnation of the
liquor traffic, telling the youth of the church (1) that it is all right
to drink, as long as you do not get drunk (i.e, the definition of
moderation); (2) that it is not only all right to drink, it is
best that you drink at least two glassfuls a day for your health.
HOMOSEXUALITY IS MORAL For some people, so say the liberals, living in sodomy is a godly way of life. Such people are not doing wrong in carrying on such defiling practices, but you are wrong for condemning their actions.
Moral norms, he asserted, should be asserted, should be determined by scripture, but there is also need for empirical evidence about what it is. Norms are useless in a vacuum. Quoted in Elvin Benton, Adventists Face Homosexuality, Spectrum, April 1982, p. 35.
empirical evidence is so-called research that homosexuality
is inherited. According to the above statement, the Word of God is not
good enough; we need to consult our experience also. If we like it,
imagine that we need it, and decide we inherited it, then it is not an
immoral practice. That is what the liberals in our church are telling
Christians therefore have every reason to encourage homosexuals who are honestly convinced that they should neither attempt to function heterosexually nor remain celibate to form closed-couple homosexual unions. David Larson, Sexuality and Christian Ethics, Spectrum, May 1984, p. 16.
bases his thinking on his theory that the Christian must browse through
four authoritative norms, in order to arrive at moral truth: Scripture,
tradition, reason, and experience. (See his Beyond Fundamentalism and
Relativism: The Wesleyan Quadrilateral and Development of Adventist
Theology, a paper presented to liberal Adventist Bible teachers at
their 1995 annual Adventist Society of Religious Studies gathering (held
that year in November in Philadelphia).
LESBIANISM IS MORAL A number of women's rights groups have developed in the Adventist denomination in the past two decades. In an earlier study on the ordination issue, we listed them all.
of this women's action organizations, known
as the Adventist Women Institute, published a book in 1993 (In
Our Own Words), which contained the struggles of women to gain
their rights within the church.
lesbian wrote one of the chapters in that book. According to the
introductory explanation to that chapter, that lesbian is currently a
salaried Seventh-day Adventist woman pastor, who is married to another
woman! Yet, instead of firing her, the story of her experiences is
detailed in a book published by a church-related women's organization!
She says she formerly was a Bible instructor, and later an academy
teacher, who is now a minister of the church.
says the Adventist Church deceived her, for they told me that my own
nature was sinful, looking to myself would be my downfall . . It did not
tell me to look at the rest of the natural world and discover that
same-gender nesting occurs in many species.
do not know of any ducks, birds, chipmunks, tigers, or other animals
that have same-sex mating, then give birth to young and raise them; but
this woman thinks she does. She says that this newly discovered fact of
nature taught her that she had an unusual calling from the Lord to
have sex with another woman. She says that her ecstasy and torment
of indulging in perversion, while thinking it still wrong, was a
Martin Luther experience, out of which she grew into the glorious
truth that sodomy is moral after all! She said the glorious, liberating
truth came as a result of inner knowing and listening to the
voice of God within me. Lin Ennis, Seeker of Truth, Finder of
Reality, in Iris M. Yob and Patti Hansen Tompkins, eds., In Our Own
Words: Women Tell of Their Lives and Faith, from pp. 232-239.
find a common thread running through all of these liberal
sentiments, the error that something else, besides Gods Inspired
Writings, can provide us with moral standards and beliefs and an
alternate pathway to heaven. Ennis decided that it was not true that her
own nature was sinful, for an inner knowing told her that
what she did was right. That is what she wanted long enough, that a
voice came along which told her it was all right.
I would not want the voice talking to me that is talking to her.
If there were no other evidence of the real character of spiritualism, it should be enough for the Christian that the spirits make no difference between righteousness and sin . . Satan says to the world: No matter how wicked you are; no matter whether you believe or disbelieve God and the Bible. Live as you please; heaven is your home. The spiritualist teachers virtually declare: Everyone that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment? Malachi 2:17. Saith the Word of God: Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness. Isaiah 5:20. Great Controversy, 556-557.
August 1980, six Bible scholars and pastors were commissioned by the
General Conference committee, at the request of Neal C. Wilson, to
attend the first annual Kinship Kampmeeting, in order to establish a
rapport with the gays and lesbians in attendance. It should be noted
that neither the committee nor Wilson were in favor of the gays;
however, a majority of the six who were asked to attend happened to be
individuals who were remarkably favorable to the practice. How they came
to be so precisely selected, we do not know.
there, studies were presented to the gays and lesbians, indicating that
it was all right to continue in their practices. For much more on this,
see The Gay Agenda for the Seventh-day Adventist Church Part 1-3
is another statement by Ennis:
I was so naive about God, so blind to the real needs of human beings, so willing to be led as a sheep, mindlessly following, not thinking for myself, except just enough to afford me the illusion of independence of thought. Far more than I cared to admit, I did what the church said, what the Church Manual said, what the ministers and evangelists I had worked with said. Lin Ennis, op. cit., p. 234.
POLYGAMY RECOMMENDED Trading wives for the night and polygamy constitute lesser-known practices in our church. We have learned of instances in which the former has occurred in Adventist centers; the latter regularly exists in our denomination in Central and South Africa. Even local elders may have several wives.
are declaring that a one-man, one-wife arrangement did not come from
God, but was a gradual evolutionary development from polygamy.
writer comments on the growing apostasy:
Proponents of the new approaches to the Bible do not overtly deny the absolute nature of Biblical truth. Yet by viewing truth as dynamic or evolutionary, at least in such matters as male-female roles, polygamy, and homosexuality, they are leaning in that direction.
although they acknowledge that male headship and the female supportive
roles are taught in both the Old and New Testaments, they argue that
these directives were not meant for all time. The teachings were meant
to evolve and change with culture. Another example is marriage, which
they believe to have evolved from the widespread polygamy in the Old
Testament (Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, David, etc.) towards monogamous
relationships in the New Testament, and now, some would argue, should
include a closed couple homosexual relationship. Samuel
Koranteng-Pipim, Receiving the Word, 1996, p. 156.
EVOLUTIONARY THEORY IS TRUE We will deal with this topic in far greater detail in a later study. The new view of origins is that evolutionary theory is right after all. This liberal position is held by a large number of Adventist scholars. Specifically, these liberals believe that the earth is millions of years old, and that the sedimentary strata picture death going back millions of years. Many question the six-day Creation Week and the existence of a literal Adam and Eve.
former General Conference vice president and university president said
there were animals living in the earth . .
millions of years before these [continental]
plates separated. (Richard Hammill, quoted in
James Hayward, The Many Faces of Adventist Creationism:
80-95. Spectrum, March 1996, p. 27.)
an article in the heavily liberal Spectrum, James Hayward
surveyed the situation and concluded with these words:
By the end of 1995, Adventist creationism stood at an important crossroad. Earlier voices were fading. A larger and more diverse generation of scientists and theologians was setting terms of conversation now more than in 1980. James L. Hayward, Spectrum, March 1996, p. 31.
do people veer so far from Gods Word? Because they want to. They
trust the words, theories, and assumptions of men more than they trust
the Written Word, sent us from God. But, having done so, the inevitable
downward track begins.
Having thus decided to follow science rather than Scripture on the subject of origins, I quickly, though not painlessly, slid down the proverbial slippery slope toward unbelief. Ronald Numbers, The Creationists, 1992, p. xvi.
the momentous Louisiana creation-evolution trial in 1982, Numbers
volunteered to go on the witness stand as an Adventist Christian,
defending the errors of evolutionary theory.
R. Bird, an Atlanta-based Christian attorney who argued the case in
defense of creationism, confronted Numbers on the witness stand:
Bird publicly labeled me an Agnostic. The tag still feels foreign and uncomfortable, but it accurately reflects my theological uncertainty. Ibid.
there we have it. Having decided to follow science [man-made
theories, that is], rather than Scripture, is what Numbers admitted.
Having made that decision, he himself says, down he went. He seems proud
of it. We shudder. Interestingly enough, Numbers was the grandson of a
General Conference president.
Others rashly denied the light behind them and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out, leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and lost sight of the mark and of Jesus, and fell off the path down into the dark and wicked world below. Early Writings, p. 15.
is only one safety for every weak, frail soul in this world, which
offers a multitude of deceptions:
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not on thine own understanding. In all thine ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6.
WORLDLY CLOTHING AND ADORNMENT Gary Land, another liberal Adventist, writes that Adventists got their plain dress standards from the Puritans and Quakers, not from God (Gary Land, Adventists in Plain Dress, Spectrum, December 1989, pp. 42-48).
her part, another Adventist, after declaring that adornment is good,
said that it is a restriction of women's rights not to let them dress
and adorn their bodies any way they like.
conditions do not exist in American culture today . . Furthermore, ours
is a democratic society that inculcated the equality of women and men;
we must be careful not to teach inequality by prohibiting adornment for
women while we permit it for men. Madelynn Jones-Haldeman,
Adorning the Temple of God, loc. cit.
WOMEN IN THE HOME Both the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy teach that the husband is to lead in the home, and that it is the special work of the mother to raise children for the next generation. But this fundamental truth is challenged by the liberals in our midst. They prefer worldly patterns.
the women's ordination crisis, one of the feminist books produced in
the Adventist denomination was The Welcome Table: Setting a Place for
Ordained Women. This book claims, for example, that the standards we
find in Paul's writings, which denote the role positions of men and
women in the home, are not from God but from Greco-Roman household
codes. In fact, it is stated that, by including such cultural ideas
in his books, Paul had fallen from Christ's standard for His
Paul was a man of his own time, and utilized familiar forms to help the people understand ways to live together, forms commonly known as the household codes that are found in [Ephesians 5,] verses 21 through 33 . .
It seems that Paul dealt with the political situation of his day in a way that was most conducive to the spread of the gospel . . Even as we struggle with such issues in our culture . . Though he occasionally glimpsed the ideal that Jesus established during His time on earth, he nonetheless fell into old patterns of coping . . Pails own cultural upbringing does not establish the pattern for today. Sheryll Prinz-McMillan, Who's in Charge of the Family? in The Welcome Table: Setting a Place for Ordained Women, eds. Patricia Habada and Rebecca Brillhart, 1995, pp. 209-212.
other words, throw the Bible out. We no longer need it. Ours is a
different culture, and we can set our own standards.
order to get better jobs and higher positions for women, people are
willing to cast aside Gods Word.
THE ORDINATION OF WOMEN We will not here take the space to discuss this immense controversy, a topic that has shaken the church to its foundations throughout the world field, and especially in North America (Lourdes Morales-Gudmundsson, Women and the Church: The Feminine Perspective, 1995, p. x).
earlier tract studies, we have written extensively about the ongoing
argument over women's ordination.
is significant that a large number of controversies within our
denomination, over the past fifteen years, have occurred because the
liberals in our midst want to abandon the plain teachings of Scripture
on dress and adornment, abortion, liquor drinking, homosexuality, and
THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY In order to undercut the Spirit of Prophecy writings, it is maintained that there are different levels of written inspiration. Another charge is that the writings of Ellen White are culturally conditioned, and merely reflect conditions in the Victorian era. Yet we do not find those pure and high standards elsewhere in the nineteenth century! That era was nearly as corrupt as our own century.
liberal objective is to condition the thinking of Seventh-day Adventists
to reject those vital books. In order to accomplish this objective, a
massive re-education program is underway by liberal teachers,
pastors, editors, and writers in our denomination.
Knittel, president of Southern College for many years and currently a
teacher at La Sierra University, explains the matter:
[The church needs to] take a serious look at the entire issue of Ellen Whites inspiration . . [What is needed is a] massive re-education of church leadership, church ministry, and laity. Frank Knittel, Spectrum, May 1993, p. 56.
then goes on to say that, as that is done, the church members will be
taught that Great Controversy is really not worth much after all,
nor a number of her other writings.
a meeting in Loma Linda, a paper was presented, which included the
Ellen White must be seen as a uniquely gifted woman who used the talents she was given to Gods glory, just as other women in the church may do with their respective gifts if they are properly recognized. The church has traditionally set her too far apart from other women, and all other human beings for that matter, by claiming too much for her, and by claiming too much for what the gift of prophecy entails. Steve Daily, Towards An Adventist Theology of Liberation, a paper presented to the Association of Adventist Women and Adventist Forums, Loma Linda, March 18, 1984.
is of interest that Steve Daily, who has been a chaplain at La Sierra
University for more than 15 years, included the complete paper (from
which the above paragraph is taken) in Appendix B of his doctoral
thesis, presented in 1985 to the School of Theology, Claremont
University. That thesis, a direct attack on the Spirit of Prophecy, bore
the significant title, The Irony of Adventism: The Role of Ellen
White and Other Adventist Women in Nineteenth Century America.
are other statements by this man, who is paid from the tithe of church
members to teach error to the students attending that school:
Adventists, who accept Ellen White as a post-Biblical prophet, would also recognize the prophetic ministry of individuals such as Joan of Arc, Martin Luther, John Wesley, Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu, etc. . . I have no reason to believe she was more of a prophet than Martin Luther or Mother Theresa . . She [Ellen White] was a mystic, and I think people who enjoy a direct, unmediated connection to God are prophets prima facie. Steve Daily, Adventism for a New Generation, p. 188.
EVOLVING TRUTH All the truth we have is given in Gods Inspired Books, the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy.
the liberals attack that fundamental truth, on which our salvation
depends, in two ways:
They declare that the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy contain errors, so we
need to turn to what men today say in order to find the truth.
They tell us that truth is progressive, and only part of it is in those
earlier writings. New standards, doctrines, and revisions are constantly
unfolding. In support of their positions, these Adventist liberals quote
modern Protestant, Catholic, and atheistic authors and theologians.
of people who say you cannot trust the Word of God! Depart from their
presence and their meetings immediately, and take your loved ones with
of people who say the Bible and Spirit of prophecy are not a sufficient
guide for us today, that we need something that So-and-So has thought
up. But the light you need to obey God and get to heaven is found in the
Bible and Spirit of Prophecy.
example of this evolutionary teaching is the view that God was violent
and bloodthirsty in Old Testament times, and evolved into a kind, loving
God in the New Testament. One Adventist Bible teacher and pastor calls
it progressive revelation.
A loving monotheistic God emerges from a pantheon of warlike gods. The progressive Adventist believes that the picture of God blotting out populations either by the sword of man, or by fires, earthquakes, catastrophic storms, and volcanic eruptions, demonstrates that man has indeed made God in his own image. Madelynn Jones-Haldeman, Adventist Today, January-February 1994, p. 11.
variation of this view is that God Himself changed; another is that, in
their ignorance, Old Testament writers were mistaken in what they wrote
about Him. But God Himself says I am the Lord, I change not (Malachi
3:6), and His Word changes not either. All of it is mutually
GOD IS RATHER IGNORANT This heresy is the speculation of Richard Rice, a minister and Bible teacher in southern California for over 15 years.
non-Adventist religious publications, such as Christianity Today
and Christian Century (the two largest in America) have published
articles expressing astonishment that an Adventist would dream up this
strange new heresy and that it would be published by an Adventist
to this theory, God knows the past but can only guess at what the future
might bring. Rice believes His guesses are better than ours.
a theory, of course, eliminates the prophecies of Daniel, Revelation,
Matthew 24, and all the others in the Bible. It also eliminates the last
half of Great Controversy.
in the following quotation from Rice, that God is only infallible in His
statements about the past:
The central claim of this alternative view is that Gods experience of the world is open rather than closed. Gods experience does not consist of one timeless intuition. He does not have one eternal perception of all reality, past and future . . Another way to make the point is to say that time is real for God. His experience is the infallible register of temporal reality. It reflects every [past] event and development in the temporal world. All that happens enters His memory, is retained forever. Nothing escapes His notice . . The future retains its essential indefiniteness from Gods perspective as well as from ours. Richard Rice, The Openness of God: The Relationship of Divine Foreknowledge and Human Free Will, Review & Herald, 1980, pp. 21-22.
sheer audacity of such speculations is astonishing. Yet this is what can
happen when men depart from the Word of God. If Rice's theory is true,
then the predictions the Lord makes in Scripture are deliberate lies on
the prophecy of Daniel Two, which spans nearly 23 centuries, the
statement was made, The dream is certain, and the
interpretation thereof sure (Daniel 2:45).
devils studied objective is to make gods out of people, a person out
of God, trivialize sin as of little consequence, and denounce obedience
to Gods law as legalism which will bring destruction.
GOD WILL NOT KILL THE WICKED The present authors research study, The Terrible Storm, is the most complete collection of Bible-Spirit of Prophecy material on this subject. Revelation 14:9-10 predicts a terrible storm of Gods wrath is soon to fall upon the incorrigibly wicked. But Satan wants the Third Angels Message repudiated in the minds of men. In place of it, he substitutes a different message: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you go to heaven anyway.
spite of a multitude of clear statements in the Bible and Spirit of
Prophecy, for over two decades Mike Clute taught the false doctrine that
God never has, and never will, execute capital punishment on the wicked.
In recent years Mike went into universalism, the teaching that none of
the wicked will ever die. That evil teaching is solidly denounced in Great
error, which Paul Heubach used to teach in the 1950s and 1960s at La
Sierra and Walla Walla (he was the one who taught it to Mike), is being
taught by Graham Maxwell of Loma Linda University (Graham Maxwell,
Servants or Friends? Another Look at God, 1992). Maxwell says he has
a matured view of God, which helps him see that the many
references in the Bible to Gods destruction of the wicked must be
understood as Gods just using a figure of speech.
enough, if God has no wrath against sin, then no wrath against sin fell
on Christ at Calvary and He only had a physical sacrifice and did not
meet the demands of the law, whereby we could be saved.
see Jack Provonsha, You Can Go Home Again (Review, 1982); God
is With Us (Review, 1974); and Dick Winn, Discovering
Forgiveness, Insight, May 14, 1983, pp. 6-7; Gods Way to a New You
(Pacific Press, 1979).
THERE IS NO HELL The teaching that there is no hellfire is being taught by Steve Daily, pastor and chaplain at La Sierra University for the past 15 years (Steve Daily, Adventism for a New Generation, p. 156).
1986 devotional book, His Healing Love, by Dick Winn, also
teaches this error. Published by the Review, it was translated into many
languages and sold all over the world to our people.
asks How Hot is Hell? and then gives this answer:
The day will come when those who refuse His [Gods] gracious invitation for friendship will be given what they have chosen: separation from Him. When you unplug your lamp, it doesn't explode. The light just goes out. Nor do you need to beat on the bulb in anger for its ceasing to give light. That's simply what happens when it is disconnected. By the same token, when one breaks union with God, life ceases. God does not, in anger, need to crush it out . . To be separated from the Life-giver is to be dead eternally. Dick Winn, His Healing Love, Review, 1986, p. 332.
says hellfire is just a metaphor, and nothing more.
The people God was addressing in Biblical times did not always understand this cause-effect principle [of cutting off the power to the lamp, or life to the wicked]. It was difficult for them to appreciate the destructiveness of being out of harmony with God. And so the Bible writers employed the imagery of consuming flames to describe the sureness and completeness of the destruction of life apart from God. But being apart from God is in itself the worst thing that could ever happen to a person. God doesn't need to torch hellish fires to enhance what is already so terrible. Ibid; also see p. 180.
VALUE OF PREMARITAL SEX Steve Daily, the
chaplain at La Sierra who has guided the students in their conduct for
over 15 years, gives us a glimpse of what he is teaching the sons and
daughters you send to that place:
[We need to escape from] our Victorian heritage, which has been well preserved through the work of Ellen White. Most Adventists are not aware of what bizarre and extreme views of sexuality were commonly held by our nineteenth century ancestors. Books like Messages to Young People have served to perpetuate such baggage throughout much of the twentieth century as well . . I had a senior Bible teacher in academy in the 1970s who held similar views, teaching us (much to our amusement) that any physical contact with the opposite sex before marriage was wrong. Our Victorian heritage may be greater than we think. Steve Daily, Adventism for a New Generation, 1993, pp. 296-297.
Finally, the question of premarital sex is an important one. The biblical principle that sexual intercourse be reserved for a monogamous marital relationship is increasingly being viewed as obsolete or impractical by young Christians. One reason for this has been the churchs tendency to address this issue in an all or nothing context . . We need to remember that God created sex to be an enjoyable, pleasurable activity. Op. cit., p. 298.
JOYS OF INNOVATIVE SEXUAL BEHAVIOR Daily
wants the students under his pastoral guidance to experience the thrills
of varied sexual entertainment.
In cases where [unmarried] couples do have intercourse before marriage, and wish to break this behavior pattern, I often recommend an exercise called sexual pleasuring that is commonly prescribed in sexual therapy for impotence and premature ejaculation. These [unmarried] couples need to realize that there is a wide range of sexual activities that can be tremendously pleasurable and satisfying that do not involve sexual intercourse, and its accompanying risks . . Those who criticize such young people for not living up to their standards have no scriptural basis for their criticisms and no right to make themselves moral policemen for other Christians.Op. cit., p. 298.
Daily, the only risk in sexual activity is the possibility of pregnancy.
Losing out on eternal life is not considered. The importance of having
pleasure is held up as the objective to be reached.
THE BENEFITS OF MASTURBATION Daily also encourages the students to discover the healthful benefits of masturbation.
Many Adventists have a masturbation-phobia as a result of Ellen Whites extreme pronouncements about the practice. Her teaching on this topic was rooted in a nineteenth century vital force physiology which has no credibility in the medical community today, and stands in stark contrast to the Bibles silence concerning masturbation. A balanced Christian approach to sexual self-stimulation sees it as a potentially healthy form of sexual discovery, exploration and awareness. It can even be a healthy equalizing force in marriages. Op. cit., p. 297.
UNITE WITH THE ECUMENICALS In this book, Adventism for a New Generation, widely sold throughout our denomination in North America, Daily says we need to go out to the other churches and submerge ourselves in them:
It is churches and movements that are willing to lose their lives, or give up their own identities, for the kingdom of God that will find their lives and be used by God to bring the greatest blessings to humanity . .
We can cease to think or speak of ourselves as the remnant church and see ourselves as a part of Gods larger remnant. We can take advantage of the special opportunity we have to attend other churches, since they meet on different days . . We can involve ourselves in interdenominational bible study and/or [charismatic] intercessory prayer groups to broaden our own spiritual perspectives. We can come to see Christ, not as the possession of Adventism or even of Christianity, but as the universal God and Saviour He is. Op. cit., p. 315.
JOIN THE CHARISMATICS Daily says we should draw especially close to the Celebration and tongues churches. They are enjoying an experience we are missing. Speaking of it, he says, There is a new ecumenism sweeping through much of the Christian church today, that Adventism cannot afford to ignore (op. cit., pp. 212-213).
My thinking about worship was transformed several years ago when I attended the Anaheim Vineyard Fellowship. I was dumbfounded by what I saw. Thousands of people worshipping God with a passion that I had never witnessed in any other church. Some were standing, some were lifting up their arms, others were clapping, some were sitting quietly in prayer or meditation, a few were jumping, and several were kneeling, but they all seemed to be actively worshipping God . . Since that day, I have returned to the Vineyard many times for my own spiritual nourishment and have longed to see the same kind of worship emerge in Adventism. Gods last people will be people who find worship to be the most exciting and meaningful experience in life.Op. cit., pp. 172-173.
says that, uniting with the charismatics, will wonderfully change
Adventists for the better. I believe that the consequences of this
decision will determine the future course of Adventism to a great
degree. Knowing well our beliefs, Daily adds that it is safe to do
this, since our historic teachings about last-day events have been
built on an unsound foundation, and that it has ultimately done us more
harm than good (Op. cit., p. 315-316).
UNITE WITH ALL THAT WILL BE SAVED There is a theme running through Daily's concepts, which indicates that he believes that all religions, non-Christian as well as Christian are part of Gods one church which will be saved; that is, if they unite together in love and put aside doctrinal differences.
We must stop thinking just of ourselves as Gods chosen people and start recognizing the existence and ministry of Gods chosen peoples. It is a call to move from an ethnocentric remnant theology to a spirit of religious affirmation which acknowledges that the kingdom of God on earth transcends every religious movement of humankind, and rejoices that the future kingdom will include many mansions. Op. cit., p. 314.
We can come to see Christ, not as the possession of Adventism or even of Christianity, but as the universal God and Saviour He is. Such a Christ is much more appealing to non-Christians than the Christ of parochial Christianity. Op. cit., p. 315.
TIP OF THE ICEBERG Now,
you will say, it cannot be that leaders and influential men in our
denomination believe these worldly notions. Yet the truth is that there
are many such liberals in our ranks, and many are in positions of
leadership in our churches, schools, institutions, and administrative
an indication of how widespread these sentiments are, read the following
rave book reviews, printed in Steve Daily's book, Adventism for a
New Generation. Not only are the names given, but their titles and
high-placed offices in the Seventh-day Adventist denomination are
mentioned as well. Those men were proud to affix their names to
Daily's 1993 book, as recommending its messages to the fullest:
OF ONE OF OUR LARGEST CONFERENCES:
One of the biggest issues facing the church today is how we will meet
the needs of our younger generations. This book is custom-made to
address such concerns. F. Lynn Mallery, D.Min., S.T.D.,
President, Southeastern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
PASTOR OF ONE OF OUR LARGEST CHURCHES:
I have been through the book in a solid fashion. I am much impressed
and joyous of its contents . . I am absolutely, unequivocally supportive
of the document.William Loveless, Ed.D., Senior Pastor, Loma
Linda University Church of Seventh-day Adventists.
OF OUR COLLEGE-LEVEL YOUTH QUARTERLY:
. . a badly needed and creatively expressed discussion of the major
issues that young people in our church are facing. Our young people
deserve its honesty and courage. Gary B. Swanson, Editor,
Collegiate Quarterly. [It is the Sabbath School quarterly that the young
people in our denominational colleges study.]
OF OUR LARGEST ADVENTIST POLLING PROJECT:
Adventism for a New Generation is one of those books that
demand attention and thought . . I recommend this book to pastors,
educators and thought leaders who want a thorough analysis of what
might be if we fully commit our mission to the work of God.V.
Bailey Gillespie, Ph.D., Coordinator [Seventh-day Adventist], Valuegenesis
OF NORTH AMERICAN YOUTH MINISTRIES:
Steve talks right from his inmost being about the church, its
ministry and especially young adult ministry. He leaves you with hope;
but, be ready to have your ideas challenged.Ted Wick, Director
of Youth Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.
LEADER AT ANDREWS UNIVERSITY:
Steve Daily has written a challenging and thought-provoking book . .
I found his application of SDA theology to current issues extremely
helpful and insightful. [He] writes with the heart of a pastor . . and
the eyes of a prophet. Randal Wisbey, D.Min., Director, Youth
Resource Center, Andrews University.
In addition, several liberals outside the denomination also praised Daily's book, and had their names and comments displayed proudly on the back cover of Daily's book, alongside the above church leaders:
FORMER ADVENTIST, NEW THEOLOGY WRITER:
[This] book is an exercise in the spiritual gift of prophecy. Don
Hawley, Author, Set Free. [Hawley, a well-known Adventist writer, left
Adventism in the early 1980s, and wrote a book denouncing the Spirit of
Prophecy and our historic beliefs and standards.]
OF THE LARGEST LIBERAL ADVENTIST OFFSHOOT:
. . a treasure trove of a book . . [It] shines out for its accurate
analysis, honesty, heart, and Gospel. Desmond Ford, Ph.D.,
Evangelist, Good News Unlimited. [Can you imagine Ford and some of our
top leaders featured on the back cover of a book, and one which
recommends masturbation and free sex?]
OF THE BEST-KNOWN EVANGELICAL SPEAKERS IN AMERICA:
Throughout this book I felt the author was reaching out to people
like me and telling us that he wants to be our brother in Christ and to
join hands with us in the ongoing work of missions and evangelism . . It
is the best book I have read explaining Seventh-day Adventism. Tony
Campolo, Ph.D., Eastern College. [Campolo wrote the Introduction to
Daily's book. He is a well-known interdenominational speaker
throughout North American Protestantism.]
APOSTASY WAS PREDICTED Ellen
White wrote this about the Alpha of Apostasy. Although we are now living
in the Omega, she elsewhere said it would duplicate the Alpha:
The enemy of souls has sought
to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place
among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in
giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and
engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take
place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom
has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would
be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for
the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization
would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of
intellectual philosophy would be introduced. The founders of this system
would go into the cities, and do a wonderful work. The Sabbath, of
course, would be lightly regarded, as also the God who created it.
Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement. The
leaders would teach that virtue is better than vice, but God being
removed, they would place their dependence on human power, which without
God, is worthless. Their foundation would be built on the sand, and
storm and tempest would sweep away the structure. Selected
Messages, Book 1, pp. 204-205.
all of these quotations,
are only discovering the tip of the iceberg.
Adventist books and journals
beginning to carry these sentiments,
we can know that those ideas are, increasingly, being taught
in our schools and churches.