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Messages from God for His People

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The TRUTH Book

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Introduction

Please note: Unless stated otherwise, the information from websites was collected in 2010. Underlining has been supplied for emphasis.

Please pray for discernment before reading this chapter. Study and research for yourself to learn the seriousness of what we have only begun to show. May the Holy Spirit be your Guide. The information in this chapter will be effective to those who are converted or wish to be converted. These are testing messages and warnings for those who sincerely desire to do the will of God.

1 Corinthians 2:14

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

In the previous eight chapters, the writers of this book followed the instructions God gave in Ernie Knoll’s Boardroom dream. If needed, please see the Introduction for further information. We showed how Ed Reid, Steve Wohlberg, Eugene Prewitt, Ángel Rodríguez, David Gates, Vance Ferrell, Linda Kirk, and Laura Lee Jones have not stated the truth concerning Ernie and have been instrumental in leading many to believe he is a false prophet. The Boardroom dream further instructed us to reveal the sad condition of God’s last day remnant church. Like Israel of old, the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church has become corrupt. Many of its leaders are no longer faithful to God and have slowly led God’s people into a condition of apostasy (unfaithfulness, backsliding, and heresy). The Bible calls that condition “Laodicean” (see Revelation 3:14-22). Like the Jews of Christ’s day, they pride themselves in the fact that they are God’s chosen last day people. They believe they have the truth and are confident that because they have accepted Jesus, they are assured of a place in heaven. But what does the Bible say?

Revelation 3:16-17

So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.

This is truly a sad picture of God’s last day Church. No wonder God has sent messages through Ernie. God is trying to awaken His people. In 1893, Ellen White wrote:

Notebook Leaflets from the Elmshaven Library, Vol. 1, p. 99

Those who claim to believe the truth do not possess that power that God would bestow upon them if they really believed, and were striving for conformity to His image. The church is in the Laodicean state. The presence of God is not in her midst. If Christ were formed within, the hope of glory, conformity to His image would be seen, and the church trials which separate the members from Christ would disappear.

The Laodicean message pictures Jesus knocking on the door. He is on the outside wanting to come in. This applies individually as well as to God’s organized Church. In 1893, Jesus was not in the midst of His Church. As we will see in this chapter, time has not improved the condition. Like the Jews who refused Jesus at His first advent, SDAs are refusing Him entrance today.

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 76

I have been shown that unbelief in the testimonies has been steadily increasing as the people backslide from God. It is all through our ranks, all over the field. But few know what our churches are to experience. I saw that at present we are under divine forbearance, but no one can say how long this will continue. No one knows how great the mercy that has been exercised toward us. But few are heartily devoted to God. There are only a few who, like the stars in a tempestuous night, shine here and there among the clouds.

Many who complacently listen to the truths from God's word are dead spiritually, while they profess to live. For years they have come and gone in our congregations, but they seem only less and less sensible of the value of revealed truth. They do not hunger and thirst after righteousness. They have no relish for spiritual or divine things. They assent to the truth, but are not sanctified through it. Neither the word of God nor the testimonies of His Spirit make any lasting impression upon them. Just according to the light, the privileges, and opportunities which they have slighted will be their condemnation. Many who preach the truth to others are themselves cherishing iniquity. The entreaties of the Spirit of God, like divine melody, the promises of His word so rich and abundant, its threatenings against idolatry and disobedience—all are powerless to melt the world-hardened heart.

Many of our people are lukewarm. They occupy the position of Meroz, neither for nor against, neither cold nor hot. They hear the words of Christ, but do them not. If they remain in this state, He will reject them with abhorrence. Many of those who have had great light, great opportunities, and every spiritual advantage praise Christ and the world with the same breath. They bow themselves before God and mammon. They make merry with the children of the world, and yet claim to be blessed with the children of God. They wish to have Christ as their Saviour, but will not bear the cross and wear His yoke.

We realize there is good in the SDA Church. However, this chapter focuses on those problems that need fixing. It is not written to be judgmental but to expose error and exalt truth as the Lord has commanded. We are not trying to attack certain individuals but are pointing out the danger they are in and hope that they will repent, be truly converted, and receive eternal life. This is necessary as well, to try to save those who follow these individuals. In the Bible, Paul warned people and judged their teachings. Judging a person’s teaching is not the same as judging that person. We love God’s Church and do not criticize it. However, we must call sin by its right name.

Education, p. 90

Of the rebuke that is love, of the blow that wounds to heal, of the warning that speaks hope....

 

The Signs of the Times, April 21, 1881

The servant of God should never allow his own spirit to be mingled with the reproof which he is required to give; but he is under the most solemn obligation to present the word of God, without fear or favor. He must call sin by its right name. Those who by their carelessness or indifference permit God's name to be dishonored by his professed people, are numbered with the transgressor,--registered in the record of Heaven as partakers in their evil deeds.

 

Manuscript Releases, Vol. 16, p. 114

When God speaks to men, commanding them to bear His message to the people, it means something. Those who are commanded to bear a message must move out although obstacles of a forbidding character are in the way. Those who claim to know the truth, and yet lay every obstacle in the way so that light shall not come to the people, will have an account to settle with God that they will not be pleased to meet. God manages His own work, and woe to the man who puts his hand to the ark of God.

It is false loyalty to the SDA Church that leads members to keep silent in a spiritual crisis.

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3, p. 280

If God abhors one sin above another, of which His people are guilty, it is doing nothing in case of an emergency. Indifference and neutrality in a religious crisis is regarded of God as a grievous crime and equal to the very worst type of hostility against God.

In this chapter, we again intend to follow the instruction given to Ernie in the Boardroom dream. This includes showing the following:

  • Many leaders are not teaching the truth.
  • There are conference leaders and pastors who are not what people think they are.
  • God’s faithful are not to support the spiritualism that is in the SDA Church.
  • The Church is in apostasy but God will cleanse it.
  • Evidence of the apostasy and the truth as written in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy.

We were told in the Boardroom dream, “As you all prepare this document, do not hold back.” In the past, people have pointed out the apostasy within the SDA Church. Some become critical of the Church and declare it to be “Babylon.” We do not believe that is the case. However, the majority are in apostasy. We believe the Church will not fall, but will be purified, and the unfaithful will leave the Church. The end of this chapter will include more on this topic.

Manuscript Releases, Vol. 1, p. 348

Those who have published the "Loud Cry" tract have not consulted me upon the subject. They have quoted largely from my writings and put their own construction upon them. They claim to have a special message from God to pronounce the Seventh-day Adventist Church Babylon, proclaim her fall, and call the people of God to come out of her, and try to make the testimonies substantiate their theory. These publications are misleading minds, and increasing the prejudice already existing, and tend to make it more difficult to get access to them to present the message God has given in warnings to the world of altogether a different character from the ideas presented in these pamphlets.

At the first advent of Christ, He had to openly rebuke the leadership, because they had lulled the people into a false sense of security. He called them hypocrites, serpents, fools, and blind guides (see Matthew 23). The leaders were offended, and many may have wondered if Jesus was being critical of the leadership and the church. However, truth is truth, and those corrupt leaders knew that what Jesus said was true, but they hardened their hearts. Is it any different today? Will this book be rejected and its writers accused of being critical and showing no respect for the leadership? In the same chapter that Jesus laid open the sins of the proud leadership, He predicted the following, which still applies today:

Matthew 23:34

Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city.

If God had not instructed us to write this chapter, we would not have done so. Like Elijah who was called at a time of great apostasy, we believe God has called Ernie to wake up His people, because Jesus is about to return. That is the purpose of this chapter. We fully believe that God will awaken His people through what Ellen White predicted as the shaking.

Early Writings, p. 270

I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth. Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this is what will cause a shaking among God's people.

This phase of the shaking that is caused by the proclamation of the Laodicean message will stir up opposition. Truth has always caused opposition. From the time of faithful Abel to the last great conflict when the whole world will oppose God’s faithful people, the truth has been hated. All must decide whether they will stand on the side of truth that is unpopular or follow error that is popular.

The Desire of Ages, p. 242

Truth was unpopular in Christ's day. It is unpopular in our day. It has been unpopular ever since Satan first gave man a disrelish for it by presenting fables that lead to self-exaltation. Do we not today meet theories and doctrines that have no foundation in the word of God? Men cling as tenaciously to them as did the Jews to their traditions.

It is with tears that we write this chapter, yet it is a necessary one. What we have included is only a small part of what is transpiring in the SDA Church. Our warning to you is that the Church is involved in a spiritual flood of apostasy and spiritualism and most are not even aware of this tragedy or refuse to sound a warning. It is to the eternal loss of the majority. Only a remnant from the SDA Church today would be saved. We believe God is now taking the reins into His own hands, that He is drawing a line in the sand and like the days of Elijah and Joshua, He is asking us to make a decision. We pray that God’s people will no longer “bind about His work” of the “angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world.”

Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 300

Unless those who can help in _____ are aroused to a sense of their duty, they will not recognize the work of God when the loud cry of the third angel shall be heard. When light goes forth to lighten the earth, instead of coming up to the help of the Lord, they will want to bind about His work to meet their narrow ideas. Let me tell you that the Lord will work in this last work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning. There will be those among us who will always want to control the work of God, to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world. God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands. The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness.

 

Christian Service, pp. 41-42

A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs. To seek this should be our first work.

The time has come for a thorough reformation to take place. When this reformation begins, the spirit of prayer will actuate every believer, and will banish from the church the spirit of discord and strife.

A revival and a reformation must take place under the ministration of the Holy Spirit. Revival and reformation are two different things. Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of mind and heart, a resurrection from the spiritual death. Reformation signifies a reorganization, a change in ideas and theories, habits and practices. Reformation will not bring forth the good fruit of righteousness unless it is connected with the revival of the Spirit. Revival and reformation are to do their appointed work, and in doing this work they must blend.

 

The Great Controversy (1888), p. 609

Different periods in the history of the church have each been marked by the development of some special truth, adapted to the necessities of God's people at that time. Every new truth has made its way against hatred and opposition; those who were blessed with its light were tempted and tried. The Lord gives a special truth for the people in an emergency. Who dare refuse to publish it? He commands His servants to present the last invitation of mercy to the world. They cannot remain silent, except at the peril of their souls. Christ's ambassadors have nothing to do with consequences. They must perform their duty and leave results with God.

Please notice that SDA worship services, books, periodicals, the media, and so on include truth and error mixed, which is very deceiving. In this chapter you will find many examples of apostasy and spiritualism in the SDA Church throughout the world. Many believe this is just a problem in only a few places. Perhaps this was true many decades ago, but not today. Because it was not stopped at the onset, it has escalated to what is now worldwide open and rampant rebellion against God and His truth. The SDA Church leadership is trying to protect the Church name, so it has been trademarked. However, that very name is gradually being destroyed by apostasy. God is looking for a people who will put the name back.

As you read through this chapter, please take note of how the Church leaders seem to be more concerned with why there are not more “worldly” people (the unchurched) coming into the organization rather than why the faithful members are concerned or why those faithful are leaving the churches because present truth is hardly being taught. Instead of the mindset that the SDA churches need to become more like the world to reach the world, they should realize that many leave the Church because they are not truly converted to begin with. The churches should have continued on the upward path to “primitive godliness” not the downward path of “postmodern worldliness.” The pastors are not to be pleasing people but giving them what they need rather than what they want. Beware of what you are taught by others. Always test it with God’s Word.

Matthew 10:16-22

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

We want to make it very clear that we fully believe God will cleanse His organized Church. God does not lead offshoots. Just as He brought Israel out of Egypt and led them to the Promised Land, so He has taken for Himself a church out of Babylon and will lead it into the heavenly Canaan. That SDA Church began just prior to 1844 when people were called out of the fallen churches. It was later organized under God’s direction in 1863 as the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is this Church that Satan is now waging war against, as predicted in Revelation 12:17. It is this Church that God will cleanse, so that it can proclaim the TRUTH, the whole TRUTH, and nothing but the TRUTH.

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Terms and definitions

Please be aware: The following terms are used today by SDAs. While these are not all bad in themselves, many are included in Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and the ecumenical, charismatic, New Theology, New Age, and emerging church movements. (Most of these terms are underlined throughout the chapter.)

  • Agape feast:

    • A religious meal also known as a “love feast” and a historical form of the Eucharist.
    • Although it died out, it was again introduced by eighteenth-century groups and churches such as in Methodism and revived recently in groups like the Anglicans and the “house church” movement.
    • Contemporary Christians celebrate the Eucharist and afterward participate in an informal agape feast that is called “fellowship hour” or “coffee hour,” sometimes along with education.
    • Some Eastern Orthodox Christians have an agape meal after the “divine liturgy” and at the conclusion of Easter.
    • A tradition in freemasonry since at least the eighteenth century.
  • Authentic; authenticity: Means to downplay trying to prove doctrines and instead to discover truth through conversation and relationships with other Christians.
  • Bridge: “This mystical stream [contemplative prayer] is the Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality.” —Tilden Edwards, Spiritual Friend, p. 18.
  • Catalyst: To bring about change or speed up a process.
  • Celebration: The observance of a feast, a special day or season, and the honoring of an event by religious ceremonies, festivities, etc., such as the celebration of Easter and the Eucharist. Celebration is a word used hundreds of times in the Vatican II liturgical document and has been used for decades in the SDA organization, being used profusely today.
  • Community; community of faith; faith community; global community; sense of community: Encompasses ecumenism in a call to unity in a supposed all-inclusive community of faith with a universal god, with diversity significant to a multi-cultural and multi-generational community acceptable to both Protestants and Catholics. It is interesting to note that those in the Dark Ages were taught to support the decisions of their community.
  • Connect; connecting; connection; connectivity: In relation to popular spiritualism today, a term from pantheistic monism which believes that “all is one” (syncretism or monastic), “one is all,” and “all is God,” that everything and everyone are all connected in oneness; and that God is in all religions and individuals, so all things and people are connected.
  • Contemplative prayer:

    • Also known as centering prayer, listening prayer, mantra prayer, silence prayer, soaking prayer, and breath prayers (using a single word or short phrase to repeat along with breathing). There is also the “Jesus prayer” or “Prayer of the heart” that is constantly repeated and said silently or aloud, while walking, sitting, or working and used by Protestants and Catholics. It can be traced back to the sixth century.
    • A “Christian” form of Eastern meditation and prayer promoted as a way to experience an “intimate relationship” with God.
    • Through interaction between monks and practitioners of Eastern meditation, this practice was formed to be easily practiced by anyone and leads into “the silence” but actually leads away from God.
    • A type of meditation that goes beyond thought by using repeated words or phrases while sitting or lying comfortably with eyes closed. If thoughts enter into the mind, the person is to return to the mantra. At the end of the prayer, the individual is to remain in silence for several minutes.
    • An effort to go “deep” within oneself. Once the person moves away from thoughts “into the presence of God” in silence, it is then time to listen, not talk, to God. If one is struggling with a problem, he is to gently ask for guidance and then listen for the response. This is a form of self-hypnosis that can lead to contact with fallen angels. True listening to God comes from reading the Bible and discerning the Holy Spirit.
    • Modern promoters include Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Richard Foster, Brennan Manning, Ken Blanchard, Chuck Swindoll, Larry Crabb, Henry Blackaby, etc.
  • Contemplative spirituality:

    • Belief system that uses mystical practices to induce altered states of consciousness (the silence) and is rooted in occultism but often hidden in Christian terminology.
    • Terminology includes “spiritual formation,” “spiritual disciplines,” “the silence” or “the stillness,” “ancient-wisdom,” and many others.
    • Includes pantheism (the belief that the universe is God) and panentheism (the belief of all in God, a god that is part of nature but still an independent identity).
  • Creative; creativity: Involves everything from expressive, charismatic worship including contemporary music and drama to ancient liturgical customs.
  • Deep; deeper; deepen: Going “deep” or “deeper” to know God more fully in contemplative prayer. God asks us to go deep by searching the Scriptures.
  • Discipleship: A way of mentoring or training “disciples,” which includes the indoctrination into contemplative spirituality and “establishing, empowering, and equipping” for “spiritual growth.”
  • Disciplines: See “Spiritual disciplines/exercises.”
  • Emergent: Involved in the emerging church movement and in a more limited way refers to Emergent Village, which is advertised as a “growing, generative friendship among missional Christians seeking to love our world in the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” It is associated with Brian McLaren and veers from doctrinal truths of the Bible, teaching that we should not limit ourselves to Scripture but to see God “out of the box” (see definition below). This would agree with the Roman Catholic Church which denies that the Bible is the only authority.
  • Emerging church (Ancient-Future church):

    • A worldwide ecumenical movement initiated in the 1990s by Leadership Network but inspired by successful businessman Peter Drucker in the 1950s and grew with the help of other successful businessmen. Bob Buford started Leadership Network in 1984.
    • Supported by multi-million dollar corporations and influenced by mystics.
    • Concentrated in North America, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and Western Europe.
    • Consists of a religion which is believed will bring spiritual transformation by reverting back to the beliefs and ideas from A.D. 100 to 600.
    • Called a “Christian” movement because of the altered terminology, yet where doctrines and the Bible are minimized.
    • Redefines Christianity with a mixture of various theologies and practices such as contemplative spirituality, Catholic liturgy, charismatic worship, and Eastern spirituality (New Age or old occultism) in which those involved wish to live their faith in what they see as a postmodern world. Does the term “postmodern” simply define a more evil society, and is it used as an excuse to turn religion into something that pleases the majority?
    • Includes mysticism: an experience with the supernatural; a system of contemplative prayer and spirituality aimed at achieving direct intuitive experience of the divine; unites religions in a new way of experiencing God; tied to Catholicism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. It is being taught to lay people through retreats, books, seminars, small groups, etc. God’s Word tells us in Hosea 4:6 that we are destroyed because of forgetting His law, not from a lack of mysticism.
    • Includes those not satisfied with the traditional church structure, evangelism, worship (prefer stories rather than sermons), and mission/community outreach, where worship occurs in denominational, independent or house churches.
    • Emphasizes social networking, activism, and politics (mixing church and state).
    • Involves diversity in beliefs and practices, including plurality of biblical interpretations.
    • Includes a preoccupation with sacred rituals and “good works.”
    • Involves the Protestant Reformation in reverse.
  • Experiential: The spiritual disciplines as practiced through such methods as contemplative prayer, which can lead to experiencing demons.
  • Festival/Fest: A word overused in churches today and borrowed from the world, such as a family fun festival; music festival; Christmas festival; film festival; Jewish festival; harvest festival; children’s worship festival; festival of praise; festival of the laity; ring fest (handbells); choir fest; song fest; and power fest.
  • Incarnational: Assumes that anyone who claims to be a Christian can serve “incarnationally” because Jesus lives in and through them; therefore, an incarnational ministry may completely ignore the true gospel, hiding the “divisive” messages of salvation.
  • Innovative; innovation: Initiatives; introducing something new, such as new worship services.
  • Interspiritual; interspirituality: Interfaith dialogue that aims at common ground in beliefs by concentrating on similarities between faiths, understanding values, commitment to the world, education and community-building efforts; based on religious universalism that teaches all people will be saved because everyone has God within them and that no religion is fully right or wrong; desired outcome of contemplative prayer.
  • Intuitive; intuition: Does not refer to divine discernment but rather a mental way of learning knowledge through a “deeper level” other than through reason, memory, or the five senses for creativity, inspiration, insight, self-understanding, and personal growth. Includes intuitive individual counseling and business consulting to “make advances” in science, medicine, history, language, health, etc. Often taught by New Age consultants through conferences, lectures, classes, publications, websites, etc.
  • Kingdom Now theology (dominionism):

    • A liberal theology that believes the kingdom of God will be established here on earth by human effort either by political or even military means, making it a “Christian” world.
    • The Roman Catholic plan to make the emerging church a bridge to Rome and win the world to the Eucharistic Christ, which to them is the Second Coming.
    • Stresses environmental issues such as the “green” movement—the plan to “save-the-planet”—which worships the earth and believes that a perfect world will come into existence through the help of man becoming better.
    • Tendency to use the word “kingdom” rather than “heaven.”
    • An effort by Satan to merge all religions, which denies the gospel message. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).
  • Lectio Divina:

    • A form of mental prayer developed in the early centuries that means “divine reading” and is similar to the method of Ignatius of Loyola that leads to contemplative prayer. A text, such as a passage from the Bible, is slowly read in a repetitive fashion as the person thinks about it and the practical applications as a way to “encounter the presence of God.”
    • The modern form taught by spiritual directors involves reading, reflection, prayer, and contemplation. These correspond with the four functions of sensing, thinking, feeling, and intuiting suggested by psychologist Carl Jung. It is popular among Catholics and gnostics, and now with emerging churches.
    • Wikipedia online explains that Lectio Divina includes four stages, the fourth being when “the prayer, in turn, points to the gift of quiet stillness in the presence of God, called contemplation.” In September 2005, Pope Benedict XVI stated: “I would like in particular to recall and recommend the ancient tradition of Lectio Divina: the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to him with trusting openness of heart (cf. Dei Verbum, n. 25). If it is effectively promoted, this practice will bring to the Church - I am convinced of it - a new spiritual springtime.”
  • Liturgical dance:

    • Originated in non-Christian pagan religions.
    • Entered Christianity in the late twentieth century.
    • Used as an expression of worship or prayer by using body movement.
    • Accompanied by different kinds of music.
    • Usually performed by women.
  • Liturgy: Forms of public church services; the Eucharistic celebration.
  • Mantras: See “Positive self-talk.”
  • Maturity: A word used by contemplatives, who teach that true maturity comes only through time spent in contemplative silence; also a reference to those who have been trained in emerging church practices.
  • Meditation (New Age, Eastern):

    • Also referred to as “the silence” or “brainwave training.”
    • Satan’s counterfeit for God’s meditation and practiced in Buddhism and Hinduism.
    • Used to experience altered states of consciousness to achieve “spiritual enlightenment,” yet controlled by a spirit that is not the Holy Spirit.
    • An attempt to train, calm, or empty the mind by focusing on a single object. When the mind is “emptied,” that is when the enemy comes in.
    • Growing in popularity as evidenced by the increase of New Age spiritual retreats and yoga studios.
    • Transcendental meditation is where the mind, released by the repetition of a mantra, becomes “calm” and “creative.”
  • Mentor; mentoring: Also known as a counselor, teacher, adviser, or guide. In this case, we are referring to those who teach emerging church ideas.
  • Missiology; missiological: The study of a church's mission as it relates to missionary activity. This word was popularized by Fuller Seminary’s School of World Mission (Pasadena, California).
  • Missional:

    • A term used in the ecumenical, emerging church movement in which the mission comes from people’s desires and thoughts rather than from the Bible.
    • Focuses on small group mission activities, church planting, and “kingdom growth” versus church growth.
    • Connected with Emergent Village, social activism, hospitality, acts of kindness, global justice, community involvement, and café ministries.
  • Out of the box: Think or do things in a new way; may include the belief that we must not limit ourselves to the Bible but to see God “out of the box.”
  • Paradigm shift; new paradigm:

    • Belief that all is God and all is one.
    • New pattern or model as an integral part of the emerging church movement in order to restructure “Christianity,” involving all denominations in a clever strategy by basically changing theology and worship services to resemble more closely the Roman Catholic traditions.
  • Positive self-talk:

    • A New Age auditory mental technique also known as mantras or “affirmations” believed to create new mental processes and positive new life results, whether in the area of health, business, self-help, or sports improvement, etc.
    • Use of a word or short statement that is mentally or verbally repeated at regular intervals “until the subconscious mind accepts it and brings the command to a reality.”
    • Affirmations used by practitioners with their mental training and self-help programs during the relaxed state, in the form of hypnotic suggestions, to supposedly bring about positive changes in a person’s life.
    • A mantra in Hinduism is used as an invocation of a god or as a magic spell.
    • Continual repetition of a mantra or even of music (such as a syncopated drum beat) is a call for demonic possession. (Syncopation is an interruption of the regular flow of rhythm.) Taize prayer/singing is also similar in that just a few words are used repetitively to give it a “meditative character” and a way to “listen to God” and enter into the “contemplation of His presence.” Different languages are used to represent its international and ecumenical nature. It is usually held in a darkened church with participants lighting candles, and all face an icon such as a cross. The monastery at Taize, France, has become a popular place to participate in this practice, especially for young adults from around the world, where as many as 10,000 of all faiths gather at one time. One participant stated that humanity forms a single family and that God lives in every human without exception. The Pope gave his blessing to this practice, which includes silence and chanting, more directed and focused than centering prayer.
  • Postmodern Christianity: A term closely associated with philosophy, Catholicism, and mysticism; stresses nature, science, being social, and exploration of the inner self; and now infiltrating Protestant churches.
  • Power: A word used in abundance in churches today, such as power-packed, powerfest, power-filled, Holy Ghost power, power night, power hour, and empower, yet the majority are using the wrong power and the wrong spirit.
  • Prayer circle: Recent resurgence in popularity attributed to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement.
  • Prayer or meditation labyrinth:

    • The labyrinth has been reintroduced to the U.S. in the past decade and is a mystical Catholic ritual that dates back to the Middle Ages (around the 12th century) and possibly predates Christianity through pagan practices. It was a substitute for making a pilgrimage to the dangerous Muslim-controlled Holy Land to trace the "passion route" of Jesus. While walking the labyrinth, Catholics meditated on Christ’s sufferings in their imagination, supposedly obtaining the same pardons to shorten their suffering time in “purgatory.”
    • The labyrinth comes in many sizes and shapes made from either stones in a garden landscape, mounds of dirt, etched in hard floors worldwide such as in cathedrals, and now comes in portable canvass or on computers. It is commonly called an “eleven-circuit labyrinth,” because of its singular path that lies in eleven concentric circles with thirty-four turns that go into the twelfth circle at the center called the rosette. It has only one winding path to the center and back out again. The center symbolizes enlightenment and that all paths lead to God, which is universalism.
    • This “sacred path” includes three stages or journeys. The inward theme is about letting go of things that hinder our approach to God. The center is for meditation and peace. The outward theme is about relationships between us and the planet, all as seen in relationship with God.
    • Used for contemplative prayer, meditation, personal reflection and renewal, a form of pilgrimage and a way to “connect with God in a higher spirituality” and contemplate the “deeper things of life.”
    • Associated today with New Age mystical practices and the occult.
    • A “tool for personal, psychological and spiritual transformation,” according to the Labyrinth Society.
    • Called the Medicine Wheel in Native American culture, the Never Ending Circle for Celts, and the Kabala in Judaism.
    • Becoming popular today with contemporary Christianity, especially the emerging church movement. Uses a mixture of rituals, visuals, contemporary ambient music, art, media, symbolic activities, as well as Catholic and Orthodox icons. Participants can use a “guided tour” CD for instructions, meditations, and music relating to part of the labyrinth.
    • A “finger labyrinth” provides the same experience in a small space. Before entering the participant is to spend a few moments becoming stilled and inviting the “Holy Spirit” in. Upon entering the path, the person is to move at his own pace, pausing, and feeling the curves. Reaching the center, he is to spend time seeking awareness of God’s presence as a time for clarity, self-offering, or healing. Returning to the path outward, he is to carry any blessings or insights received.
    • The religious and medical communities promote this practice not only as a way to pray but for reducing stress, calming the mind, and relaxing the body. Said to encourage healing, clarity, peacefulness and “connecting with the deepest part of self” (inner knowledge).
    • A labyrinth prayer walk is what occurs in a prayer labyrinth as a person walks through the maze-like pattern.
  • Prayer stations: A place set aside for prayer with a combination of such items as candles, crosses, miscellaneous icons, Bible verses, devotional questions, a prayer notebook, etc. and similar to the Catholic “stations of the cross.”
  • Prayer walking: It is believed that prayer walking in neighborhoods will help to dispel the demons.
  • Prayer warriors:

    • Those committed to praying for others and used by many evangelical and Protestant Christians.
    • In Dominion theology, prayer warriors believe they are engaged in spiritual warfare against demonic forces. This is common in Christian Reconstructionism and Kingdom Now theology in which they mix politics and theology (church and state) and claim they have strongly influenced the Christian Right in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. They might pray for individuals or entire states or regions (“prayer expeditions”). Some groups have flown over the areas to be prayed for. Prayer for nations is known as “prayer journeys.”
  • Revolution; revolutionary: The “overthrow” of traditional worship and changing theology, replacing these with the emerging church ideas.
  • Sacred space: A place where someone goes to perform a mystical practice such as “the silence” or the state of “being” during that experience.
  • Seeker-sensitive/seeker-friendly churches:

    • These attract the unchurched and are usually associated with megachurches, which are large (at least 2,000 members), independent, usually nondenominational and formed as an offshoot from a Protestant church.
    • Use non-threatening “Christian” messages which are usually short and focused on self-improvement and relationships rather than doctrines (theological compromise that destroys true worship) and include contemporary music and drama.
    • Include activities for families at different stages.
    • May include state of the art technology, nurseries and day care.
    • Community surveys and studies are done to discover what the unsaved want (felt needs) not what they really need, which is man-centered rather than God-centered. Therefore, when their circumstances do not immediately improve, they leave the church. Surveys show that these church growth ideas do not produce spiritual growth and the fad is wearing off, while many turn to the emerging church movement. Ideas and programs come and go, but biblical truth lasts forever.
  • Silence; solitude (used with meditation):

    • The closing off of all noise.
    • Absence of normal thought by “quieting” the mind.
    • Undirected prayer; being willing to “not know.”
    • A belief that you are concentrating on God and giving Him a chance to talk.
    • Option to practice a “palms-down, palms up” exercise, etc.
  • Small group/cell church fellowship: Being pushed as a way to spread contemplative spirituality. It is interesting to note that Leonard Sweet states in his book Quantum Spirituality that the "power of small groups is in their ability to develop the discipline to get people 'in-phase' with the Christ consciousness” (divinity of man) and “connected” with one another (interspirituality).
  • Social justice: The belief that all mankind deserves equal political, economic, and social rights and opportunities. According to the philosophy of social workers, peace is not possible if there are gross inequalities of power and money.
  • Spiritual direction/director: A method to promote or teach the spiritual disciplines and the silence. It was traditionally practiced by ordained clergy only. Recently the practice has been embraced by non-ordained persons. There are two primary forms for teaching: retreat direction and regular direction, which differ in the intensity of “reflection” and frequency of meeting. A retreat can last a weekend, a week, or even 40 days. The person usually meets with their director for one hour each day, in which exercises or new spiritual disciplines like Lectio Divina are given to the directee. Regular direction is a one or two hour meeting every four to eight weeks. While with the director, the directee shares personal experiences of “encountering the divine,” and the director listens and asks questions. The directee is to attempt the disciplines and exercises between meetings. (See next term for further information.)
  • Spiritual disciplines/exercises:

    • Formulated by Ignatius of Loyola (1491–1556), founder of the Society of Jesus (a religious organization of the Catholic Church also known as the Jesuits). Loyola was a spiritual director and vigorously opposed the Protestant Reformation. He encouraged individual and group retreats to practice the disciplines. Specialist retreat centers are found wherever there are large groups of Catholics.
    • A set of meditations, prayers, and other mental exercises originally designed to be done over a period of about 30 days and approved of by Paul III in 1548. The more prominent prayers include contemplative, centering, labyrinth, and Jesus prayers as well as the Lectio Divina and breath prayer. The retreatants spend their days in silence, usually pray up to five hours each day, and see the spiritual director daily for one hour. Eucharistic liturgy is celebrated on a daily basis. Today the disciplines have been compressed or stretched to fit different timeframes.
    • Included are solitude, celebration, fasting, simple living, Bible study, worship, “simple contemplation,” etc., as “works righteousness.”
    • Used today by most major denominations.
  • Spiritual formation:

    • Also known as formative or contemplative spirituality, sacred listening, and the Ignatian Way.
    • Teaches and applies the spiritual disciplines, such as contemplative prayer and "inner healing.”
    • A movement through which contemplative prayer enters churches and brings individuals into contact with evil spirits.
    • Includes the wrong theology originated from Catholicism and methods from pagan/occult Eastern mysticism.
  • Spiritual retreat: A place to train in emerging church practices, especially contemplative prayer/meditation.
  • Taize prayer/singing: See “Positive self-talk.”
  • Transformation; transformational: Most commonly used when referring to “spiritual transformation” or “transformational faith.” The act of transforming the deeper aspects of the human spirit through a self-induced or “divine” act. Used in metaphysics (a branch of philosophy), which is often unbiblical. Focuses on relationships, community, and contemplative spirituality.
  • Unity in diversity: See this chapter’s section entitled “Unity in diversity.”

You may also notice the trend of using slang words, which belittles the reverence of spirituality. Beware of words that begin with “re” such as: re-forming, re-formation, re-imagined, re:church, re:frame, reimagining, reinventing, rethinking, redefine, reJesus, reDisciple, reMission, and reOrganize as well as any terms, phrases, or practices you encounter that are unfamiliar to you.

Top

Apostasy

We have seen the natural progression in the SDA Church from the alpha to the omega of heresies, deception, apostasy, and spiritualism. Following are just some of the events that led to where the Church is today.

Alpha of apostasy

1903:

John Harvey Kellogg’s pantheism in The Living Temple book.

Omega of apostasy

1932:

The General Conference of SDAs voted accreditation for the SDA colleges, which paved the way for adopting the world’s curriculum, calling for higher education, with pastors attending interfaith universities and learning false ideas. Pacific Union College in California became the first to be accredited in 1932. As of 2006, over 100 SDA schools worldwide were listed as being accredited.
http://education.gc.adventist.org/documents/accreditationstatus.pdf

1950s:

Questions on Doctrine book (changes on the nature of sin and the nature of Christ).

1960s:

Rock music and television.

1970s/80s:

Celebration services; lowered standards; New Theology.

1990s:

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP); church planting/growth; charismatic movement; Vatican representative and Vatican flag at SDA General Conference Sessions.

2000 to present:

Spiritualism through the Purpose-driven, New Age, and Emerging Church movements.

All these changes and many more brought in new SDA church members quickly. The Church received much quantity but not much quality. What is underlying in all this? Love of money, popularity, power, pride—being unconverted in a Laodicean state. The growing apostasy in the SDA Church is the result of the majority ignoring their own sins and those of others, and souls are lost for eternity. As Jesus looks down on the remnant church today, He does not see a pretty picture.

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 72

As Jesus views the state of His professed followers today, He sees base ingratitude, hollow formalism, hypocritical insincerity, pharisaical pride and apostasy.

Apostasy means a walking away from Bible truth and the testimonies. If individuals or churches do not speak out against apostasy, they become a part of it.

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6, p. 130

There is no time now to fill the mind with theories of what is popularly called "higher education." The time devoted to that which does not tend to assimilate the soul to the likeness of Christ is so much time lost for eternity. This we cannot afford, for every moment is freighted with eternal interests.

 

Christ Triumphant, p. 349

Look, you who are hesitating between obedience and disobedience. Look in imagination at the vast multitudes worshiping at Satan’s altar. Listen to the music, to the languagecalled higher education. But what has God written upon it? Mystery of iniquity.

 

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9, p. 171

To prepare to receive the higher education in the school above is now to be our purpose.

 

Selected Messages, Book 1, p. 200

In the book Living Temple there is presented the alpha of deadly heresies. The omega will follow, and will be received by those who are not willing to heed the warning God has given.... Dangers that we do not now discern will soon break upon us, and I greatly desire that they shall not be deceived.

 

Ibid., p. 202    

One and another come to me, asking me to explain the positions taken in Living Temple. I reply, "They are unexplainable." The sentiments expressed do not give a true knowledge of God. All through the book are passages of Scripture. These scriptures are brought in in such a way that error is made to appear as truth. Erroneous theories are presented in so pleasing a way that unless care is taken, many will be misled.

We need not the mysticism that is in this book. Those who entertain these sophistries will soon find themselves in a position where the enemy can talk with them, and lead them away from God. It is represented to me that the writer of this book is on a false track. He has lost sight of the distinguishing truths for this time. He knows not whither his steps are tending. The track of truth lies close beside the track of error, and both tracks may seem to be one to minds which are not worked by the Holy Spirit, and which, therefore, are not quick to discern the difference between truth and error.

 

Manuscript Releases, Vol. 11, p. 247

The difficulties that have arisen have been very hard to meet, and they are far from being settled yet. One, and another, and still another are presented to me as having been led to accept the pleasing fables that mean the sanctification of sin. Living Temple contains the alpha of a train of heresies.

 

Ibid., p. 251

The Word of God is to be a lamp to your feet. That precious, sacred Word, is not to be appealed to to uphold any spiritualistic, philosophical views regarding God, for He is dishonored by such views.

No greater deception could be presented to the minds of men than the representation you have made of God in the pleasing fables you have advocated. Souls will be lost through the sowing of the sentiments found in Living Temple. In presenting error you have united with the prince of darkness in his work of seducing souls to eternal ruin.

The influence you have obtained with worldlings is not the credit to you that you have supposed it to be. Unless you change, decidedly change, your life will be a savor of death unto death instead of a savor of life unto life.

 

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2, p. 123

Accumulated light has shone upon God's people, but many have neglected to follow the light, and for this reason they are in a state of great spiritual weakness. It is not for lack of knowledge that God's people are now perishing. They will not be condemned because they do not know the way, the truth, and the life. The truth that has reached their understanding, the light which has shone on the soul, but which has been neglected or refused, will condemn them. Those who never had the light to reject, will not be in condemnation. What more could have been done for God's vineyard than has been done? Light, precious light, shines upon God's people; but it will not save them, unless they consent to be saved by it, fully live up to it, and transmit it to others in darkness.

 

Selected Messages, Book 1, p. 197

Be not deceived; many will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. We have now before us the alpha of this danger. The omega will be of a most startling nature.

The awful results can now be seen because the beginning of apostasy was allowed to continue until it is now the omega. It is certainly of a “most startling nature” and can be seen today with the New Age and emerging church movements in the SDA institutions. The “dam has broken,” and a flood of errors has entered God’s beloved church. Only He can help now.

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 217

I am filled with sadness when I think of our condition as a people. The Lord has not closed heaven to us, but our own course of continual backsliding has separated us from God. Pride, covetousness, and love of the world have lived in the heart without fear of banishment or condemnation. Grievous and presumptuous sins have dwelt among us. And yet the general opinion is that the church is flourishing and that peace and spiritual prosperity are in all her borders.

The church has turned back from following Christ her Leader and is steadily retreating toward Egypt. Yet few are alarmed or astonished at their want of spiritual power. Doubt, and even disbelief of the testimonies of the Spirit of God, is leavening our churches everywhere. Satan would have it thus. Ministers who preach self instead of Christ would have it thus. The testimonies are unread and unappreciated. God has spoken to you. Light has been shining from His word and from the testimonies, and both have been slighted and disregarded. The result is apparent in the lack of purity and devotion and earnest faith among us.

Let each put the question to his own heart: "How have we fallen into this state of spiritual feebleness and dissension? Have we not brought upon ourselves the frown of God because our actions do not correspond with our faith? Have we not been seeking the friendship and applause of the world rather than the presence of Christ and a deeper knowledge of His will?" Examine your own hearts, judge your own course. Consider what associates you are choosing. Do you seek the company of the wise, or are you willing to choose worldly associates, companions who fear not God and obey not the gospel?

 

Manuscript Releases, Vol. 7, p. 197

Confederacies will increase in number and power as we draw nearer to the end of time. These confederacies will create opposing influences to the truth, forming new parties of professed believers who will act out their own delusive theories. The apostasy will increase. "Some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils." Those who have started this warfare at their own charges will come more and more to practice the works of Satan.

 

Ibid., Vol. 9, p. 212

If the power of Satan can come into the very temple of God, and manipulate things as he pleases, the time of preparation will be prolonged.

 

Ibid., Vol. 7, p. 174

And to be an apostate, a traitor to the cause of God, is much more serious than death; it means the loss of eternal life.

 

Ibid., p. 185

The apostasy will exist in this night of spiritual darkness. It will then be destroyed by the brightness and exceeding glory of Christ's coming. Oh, what a day of gladness for the righteous that will be! What a breaking up of the spell of fanaticism and delusive sentiments when Christ shall shine forth before his ancients gloriously. Then the system of Satanic delusion which souls have preferred to the truth that involves a cross will be broken up.

Ernie’s dreams: examples of apostasy

A View of Heaven

  • Irreverent worship services, which include Christian rock and modern praise music.

Build an Ark

  • Many listen to man’s opinion instead of God’s and fail to hear His voice in the messages of the dreams.

The Mailroom

  • The work is great, but the workers are few.
  • Many no longer share or believe in the messages from the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy and that Jesus is coming soon; books are sent out that are not from God but from another author.
  • Because many ignore and provoke the true God and worship other gods, He will pour out His wrath on them.

Creeping Compromise

  • Church members do not want to hear how Satan gradually brought in compromise.

Keep Going

  • The majority believe the faithful minority are wrong in their beliefs.

Watch, as I AM Coming!

  • The keeping of Jewish traditions, holidays, feast days, and lunar Sabbaths.
  • Adding man’s opinions to God’s Word.
  • Setting dates for Christ’s Second Coming.
  • Using unreliable Bible versions.
  • Rejecting Ellen White as God’s messenger.
  • Compromising standards.

If You Love Me

  • Arguing over finite details.
  • Belief in the Bible Code.
  • The study of unbiblical ancient rituals.
  • Wasting valuable time examining old studies of the seven thunders (Jeff Pippenger), which are not important to salvation.

The SDA Church

  • While in church, not having your thoughts on the service or dressing in a worldly or casual style.
  • The various styles of SDA churches can be termed as follows:

    • The Buffet Church: Allows food in the foyer and sanctuary.
    • The Total Grace Church: “We have been saved in our sins.” “Amen! Sin and be forgiven; Jesus has saved us.”
    • The Scorekeeper Church: Places emphasis on church growth and the number of baptisms, whether the candidate is ready or not. “IN, UNDER and OUT!”
    • The Sports Church: “Jesus will beat the opposing team. We have a victory at His touchdown. The game is won!” The people cheer, holding their drinks and snacks up, saying, “Go team Jesus.”
    • The Hypnotic Church: The pastor talks very smoothly about love and grace, speaks only about certain parts of the Bible, shares how we are to learn new ideas, and mentions such terms as “community of faith” and “innovation.” He uses certain hand and arm movements, slowly walking from one side of the platform to the other. The members become relaxed and lulled into a sleepy stupor.
    • The Charismatic Church: Uses a screen up front with words on it. As the members sing, they raise their hands and wave them back and forth. The song constantly repeats itself, with no verse of inspiration. Many then step out into the aisle and begin slowly walking up and down, singing and waving their arms. Gradually they being skipping, and after a little more time they begin running up and down the aisle proclaiming they “have the spirit.” Next they begin speaking unintelligible languages.

The ABC

  • Includes storybooks that are not according to what is shown in Child Guidance by Ellen White.
  • The CD, DVD, and music section includes material that is not inspiring, just entertaining. “Happening Tunes for Happening Times. Get Your ‘Vid’ On.”
  • The Creeping Compromise book by Joe Crews is not sold at the Adventist Book Centers (ABCs). However, they do have some “really great novels. It is all ‘the rage.’”

A Great Work

  • Eating a bad diet, overeating, etc.

Stand Fast

  • It is important that we understand what the tithe and offerings are being used for; much of it is used to promote spiritualism within the SDA Church.

Get Ready

  • Many have become greedy and selfish, do what they can to get ahead, have lost sight of heaven, and because they are distracted with things of the world, they no longer watch for signs of Christ’s return to this earth.
  • There are SDAs who believe they are saved because their names are on the church records.

Love and Rebuke

  • Many are misconstruing and denying the messages; many go by what others say rather than praying and studying for themselves.

Testing the Spirits

  • Many are looking just to the SDA leaders for guidance. However, even the “brightest lights” will go out.
  • Many pastors and teachers are being dismissed from their jobs, because the funds placed in the offering baskets were squandered away and invested not in souls but in Satan’s gambling halls.

The Cross

  • The Love and Grace Church: Includes sermons and songs on the love and grace of Jesus, while members wave their arms and repeat the words: “Jesus is love and Jesus is grace. Jesus is grace and Jesus is love. Raise your hands to Jesus. Ask for His grace. Thank you for Your grace. We love You Jesus.”
  • The Casual Communion/Offering Plate Church: The deaconesses go to the coffee cart in the foyer to collect Danish pastries and imitation grape juice. While in casual conversation, they cut the pastries into small pieces and pour the drink into small paper cups. The deacons walk up and down the aisles to pass out Wet Ones so all can clean their own shoes. The pastor tells everyone to make sure they show how much they love Jesus by putting a large amount of money into the offering plates.

In His Time

  • Many pastors are leading their members astray. These are not God’s pastors.
  • Many SDAs are deceived and need a thorough conversion.

Repent, as I AM Coming!

  • Many SDAs are allowing Satan to use them and to cause unbelief in the messages.
  • Those who are critical of the messages and cause discontent and spread lies must stand before God to answer for their deeds, if they do not repent. This especially applies to those pastors who do not verify what they have been told.

In the Heart of Jesus

  • Many need a repentant spirit.
  • It is a false theory that God does not kill or destroy.

Two Cars

  • Some try to force their opinions on others to have them believe as they do.
  • The majority in the SDA Church are in apostasy.
  • It is false to state that the Holy Spirit is not a real Person and not a part of the Godhead.
  • It is false to state that we can be saved in sin.
  • Many depend on others rather than God for salvation.
  • Many do not help those they can to give up their sins.
  • Many love the treasures of this world.

The Amusement Park

  • The majority of SDA Church members are promoting or being fooled by amusements, celebration worship services, NLP, and emerging church practices, etc.
  • The majority do not have the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Two Men

  • Many look good on the outside, but not on the inside.
  • Many are hypocrites full of pride.

The Senior Bishop

  • There are SDAs following Roman Catholic beliefs.
  • The unfaithful SDAs are blaming the faithful for the problems in the Church.
  • At present a majority of the SDA churches are about entertainment and glorifying man rather than God.
  • There are irreverent SDA church services.

The Yellow Corvette

  • Faithful SDAs are being censured or disfellowshipped, while those in open sin continue as leaders.
  • Many pastors do not have a concern for those who have been disfellowshipped.
  • Where are the pastors who visit and pray with members in their home?

The Vessel

  • Spiritualism and paganism have entered the SDA Church.

Titus

  • God is warning against Jewish legalism and trivia, against falsehood and laziness.
  • Many highly educated individuals do not rely on God for help.

The End

  • There are SDAs who do not hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.
  • There are SDA counselors who do not warn individuals about their sin of living a homosexual lifestyle. Those counselors will be held accountable to God, because homosexuality is not due to a genetic makeup but rather a chosen path of trampling on the holy institution of marriage.
  • Among those who stand to receive eternal death are those who served as leaders and infiltrators in the SDA Church and who spoke truth and error. Also included are those who ignored, chastised and condemned God’s prophets and messengers.

The apostasy and spiritualism have come into the SDA churches gradually. It is the devil’s trick of creeping compromise, and the opposition has come from only a minority in the Church. Over time, it has spread worldwide and is accepted by the majority.

Counsels on Health, pp. 240-241

When there has been a departure from the right path, it is difficult to return. Barriers have been removed, safeguards broken down. One step in the wrong direction prepares the way for another. A single glass of wine may open the door of temptation which will lead to habits of drunkenness. A single vindictive feeling indulged may open the way to a train of feelings which will end in murder. The least deviation from right and principle will lead to separation from God and may end in apostasy.... It takes less time and labor to corrupt our ways before God than to ingraft upon the character habits of righteousness and truth. Whatever a man becomes accustomed to, be its influence good or evil, he finds it difficult to abandon.

 

Prophets and Kings, p. 479

Among the children of Israel who were carried captive to Babylon at the beginning of the seventy years' captivity were Christian patriots, men who were as true as steel to principle, who would not be corrupted by selfishness, but who would honor God at the loss of all things. In the land of their captivity these men were to carry out God's purpose by giving to heathen nations the blessings that come through a knowledge of Jehovah. They were to be His representatives. Never were they to compromise with idolaters; their faith and their name as worshipers of the living God they were to bear as a high honor. And this they did. In prosperity and adversity they honored God, and God honored them.

Other examples of apostasy include:

  • The Moral Influence theory that God does not kill or destroy.
  • Divorcing for unbiblical reasons.
  • Calling the SDA Church “Babylon.”
  • The belief that God cannot be called by that name.
  • Reapplying past events in the Bible to the future, such as a prophetic day equaling one literal day after 1844.

Top

New Theology vs. true theology

The New Theology that came into the SDA Church first took hold in the 1940s and 50s by some of the leaders at the Andrews University seminary. Edward Heppenstall (from England) came to La Sierra College in 1940, became a religion teacher and the La Sierra SDA Church pastor. He also chaired the systematic theology department at the Andrews seminary, and then taught at Loma Linda University until he retired. He was the main scholar to speak out against M. L. Andreasen’s “Last Generation Theology.” Heppenstall opposed the truth on the human nature of Christ, the atonement, and the character perfection of God’s people who will stand without Christ as their Mediator in the Most Holy Place just before He returns the second time.

In 1957 the book Questions on Doctrine (QOD) was published, which changed the theology on the human nature of Christ and righteousness by faith. Andreasen disagreed strongly with QOD and suffered because of it. He retired as a Field Secretary for the General Conference of SDAs and lost his ministerial credentials.

By the 1960s, the New Theology was being taught to SDA ministers in the U.S. and at Avondale College in Australia by Desmond Ford. Because it was causing so much upheaval, he was sent to the U.S. where he continued to teach his heresy. Eventually he was defrocked, but by the 1980s, the New Theology was spreading worldwide. Ford’s teachings included the following: 1) A person cannot keep the law of God perfectly; 2) 1844 is not relevant, which denies the Sanctuary teaching; 3) Ellen White did not have the authority of biblical prophets.

Because the New Theology has been taught in the SDA Church for over 50 years and teaches the wrong theology, this section focuses on obedience and overcoming, the correct nature of Christ, sin, and perfection. Satan has succeeded in getting SDAs to go from one extreme to the other. Stressing obedience can lead to legalism, or perfectionism, which works without power from Christ, trying to do good works on our own, rather than because we love God and want to follow His Word. Good works can only be attained through Christ. The balance includes faith and works together. We are saved by faith and judged by God’s law. Faith cannot exist without obedience. Obedience exists because of faith. On the other hand, the doctrine of imperfection, allows for sinfulness. Continual disobedience takes God’s grace for granted and doubts the power which God has promised to give when we ask for it. It doubts the complete substitute and example of Christ, that God’s law can be kept and we can overcome all sin before Christ returns. The new “faith” today is based on feelings, imagination, group consensus, and mysticism.

James 2:26

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

 

Faith and Works, p. 49

Faith and works go hand in hand; they act harmoniously in the work of overcoming. Works without faith are dead, and faith without works is dead.

 

Selected Messages, Book 1, p. 398

Grace is unmerited favor, and the believer is justified without any merit of his own, without any claim to offer to God. He is justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, who stands in the courts of heaven as the sinner's substitute and surety. But while he is justified because of the merit of Christ, he is not free to work unrighteousness. Faith works by love and purifies the soul. Faith buds and blossoms and bears a harvest of precious fruit. Where faith is, good works appear.

 

Our Father Cares, p. 79

God’s law is the only correct standard of holiness. It is by this law that character is to be judged.

Cheap grace teaches that obedience follows faith, that obedience is the result of salvation, rather than the condition of salvation. However, faith and works cannot be separated. The modern-day world says that God loves us and accepts us where we are. Much is said about love; however, love expresses itself in obedience. Many deny God’s demand to “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). God has not instructed us to remain in sin. His unconditional love is used by many to mean “once saved, always saved,” that Christ did everything for us on the cross, which is a false assurance of salvation. If that were the case, why are we still here on this earth? Christ may as well return now, but He does not, because His remnant have not yet won the victory. When they do, then Christ will return. God cannot take sinners to heaven because then heaven would be filled with sin. Since God will not allow that, sin must be done away with completely.

Christ Triumphant, p. 81

This goody-goody religion that makes light of sin, and that is forever dwelling upon the love of God to the sinner, encourages sinners to believe that God will save them while they continue in sin and know it to be sin.

 

The Great Controversy (1888), p. 180

...men are not, because of the grace of Christ, free to continue in sin.

 

The Signs of the Times, July 18, 1892

They talk of grace, they preach of grace, apparently they pray for grace; but they have not the grace of Christ in their hearts.

 

This Day With God, p. 299

There is a spurious experience that is prevailing now everywhere in regard to the love of Jesus--that we must dwell on the love of Jesus, that faith in Jesus is all we need--but these souls must be instructed that the love of Jesus in the heart will lead to humility of life and obedience to all His commandments. "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 2:4). The love of Jesus that goes no farther than the lips will not save any soul, but be a great delusion.

 

My Life Today, p. 250

No one who truly loves and fears God will continue to transgress the law in any particular.

 

The Great Controversy (1888), p. 425

Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above, are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort, they must be conquerors in the battle with evil. While the investigative Judgment is going forward in Heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God's people upon earth. This work is more clearly presented in the messages of Revelation 14.

When this work shall have been accomplished, the followers of Christ will be ready for his appearing.

 

Ibid., p. 678

The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.

 

Maranatha, p. 326

Were justice extinct, and were it possible for divine mercy to open the gates to the whole race, irrespective of character, there would be a worse condition of disaffection and rebellion in heaven than before Satan was expelled. The peace, happiness, and harmony of heaven would be broken. The change from earth to heaven will not change men's character; the happiness of the redeemed in heaven results from the character formed in this life after the image of Christ. The saints in heaven will first have been saints on earth.

 

Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 69

Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.

 

Mark 4:29

But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.

Righteousness by faith includes justification and sanctification. Justification provides deliverance from the death penalty through our repentance of past sins and Christ’s forgiveness of those sins. Christ imputes to us the merits of His death. He gives us the credit for what He did for us. However, His death only saves us when we copy Him through obedience to God’s Word. Through sanctification, which is equally important and must be a continuous process, Christ imparts His righteousness to the obedient believer, making complete victory over sin possible and fitting the person to be sealed under the latter rain.

Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 65

At every stage of development our life may be perfect; yet if God's purpose for us is fulfilled, there will be continual advancement. Sanctification is the work of a lifetime.

 

The Review and Herald, November 19, 1908

The third angel's message is to lighten the earth with its glory; but only those who have withstood temptation in the strength of the Mighty One will be permitted to act a part in proclaiming it when it shall have swelled into the loud cry.

Both justification and sanctification are obtained by faith alone. One cannot be justified by faith and not obtain sanctification by the same faith. The two are inseparable. Both will take effort and self-discipline on our part. However, righteousness does not come by trying with all our might to do right on our own, but by choosing to surrender our will to Christ’s will and letting Him work in us, by asking for His help and power when temptation comes.

Sons and Daughters of God, p. 115

As the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. Ephesians 6:6.

Let no one say, “I cannot overcome my defects of character”; for if this is your decision, then you cannot have eternal life. The impossibility is all in your will. If you will not, that constitutes the cannot.

The real difficulty is the corruption of an unsanctified heart, and an unwillingness to submit to the will of God. When there is a determined purpose born in your heart to overcome, you will have a disposition to overcome, and will cultivate those traits of character that are desirable, and will engage in the conflict with steady, persevering effort. You will exercise a ceaseless watchfulness over your defects of character, and will cultivate right practices in little things. The difficulty of overcoming will be lessened in proportion as the heart is sanctified by the grace of Christ.

Our will must choose to give up our sinful desires and surrender all to God’s will. This must happen every time we are tempted. Ask for God’s power and the victory will come. Temptation never ceased for Jesus and it will never cease for us. It is an ongoing battle. Yet God has promised us the victory if we trust in His words. When we control our will and choose to obey God every moment, we are overcoming in His strength, not our own.

The Great Controversy (1888), pp. 528-529

The followers of Christ know little of the plots which Satan and his hosts are forming against them. But He who sitteth in the heavens will overrule all these devices for the accomplishment of his deep designs. The Lord permits his people to be subjected to the fiery ordeal of temptation, not because he takes pleasure in their distress and affliction, but because this process is essential to their final victory. He could not, consistently with his own glory, shield them from temptation; for the very object of the trial is to prepare them to resist all the allurements of evil.

Neither wicked men nor devils can hinder the work of God or shut out his presence from his people, if they will, with subdued, contrite hearts, confess and put away their sins, and in faith claim his promises. Every temptation, every opposing influence, whether open or secret, may be successfully resisted, “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” [Zechariah 4:6.]

 

Our Father Cares, p. 60

There is nothing that can keep you away from God but a rebellious will. The will is the governing power in the nature of man. If the will is set right, all the rest of the being will come under its sway. The will is not the taste or the inclination, but it is the choice, the deciding power, the kingly power, which works in the children of men unto obedience to God or to disobedience.

We are responsible for our choices. When we sin it is because we choose to sin. The exception is a sin of ignorance. However, we will be held accountable for not learning what sin is.

2 Timothy 2:15

Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

 

John 15:22

If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.

 

Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, p. 234

All will be judged according to the light that has shone upon them. If they have light upon the Sabbath, they cannot be saved in rejecting that light. But none will be held accountable for light which they have never received.

 

Selected Messages, Book 3, p. 345

In this day we have been privileged to have increased light and large opportunities, and we are held responsible for the improvement of light. This will be manifested by increased piety and devotion. Our loyalty to God should be proportionate to the light which shines upon us in this age.

 

Gospel Workers (1915), p. 162

Light makes manifest and reproves the errors that were concealed in darkness; and as light comes, the life and character of men must change correspondingly, to be in harmony with it. Sins that were once sins of ignorance, because of the blindness of the mind, can no more be indulged in without incurring guilt.

We cannot trust self, because it is naturally inclined to sin. However, as long as Christ is in our hearts, we will not sin.

Romans 8:1

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

If we distrust ourselves and trust Jesus “to will and to do of His good pleasure” in us, that is the victory.

Philippians 2:12-16

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

Surrendering self does involve agonizing because it does not die easily, but Christ has promised His power to overcome every cherished sin as we surrender to Him.

Christ's Object Lessons, p. 311

When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness.

 

Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 141-142

The Christian life is a battle and a march. But the victory to be gained is not won by human power. The field of conflict is the domain of the heart. The battle which we have to fight--the greatest battle that was ever fought by man--is the surrender of self to the will of God, the yielding of the heart to the sovereignty of love. The old nature, born of blood and of the will of the flesh, cannot inherit the kingdom of God. The hereditary tendencies, the former habits, must be given up....

God alone can give us the victory. He desires us to have the mastery over ourselves, our own will and ways. But He cannot work in us without our consent and co-operation....

The victory is not won without much earnest prayer, without the humbling of self at every step. Our will is not to be forced into co-operation with divine agencies, but it must be voluntarily submitted.... The will must be placed on the side of God's will.

Sinful habits must be replaced with right habits. We need a will that chooses to die to sin and self continually, to choose even physical death rather than dishonor God, and a will that chooses Him throughout eternity.

Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 314

Satan had claimed that it was impossible for man to obey God's commandments; and in our own strength it is true that we cannot obey them. But Christ came in the form of humanity, and by His perfect obedience He proved that humanity and divinity combined can obey every one of God's precepts.

 

1 John 3:9

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Beware of any information on righteousness by faith from the following, where false ideas are or were taught on this subject: Roy Adams, LeRoy Froom, Clifford Goldstein, Norman Gulley, William Johnsson, George Knight, Roy Naden, Jack Sequeira, Morris Venden, Martin Weber, Woodrow Whidden III, and others like them. A few examples follow.

Faith That Works, Morris L. Venden, Review & Herald Publishing, Hagerstown, Maryland, 1999, pp. 161-165

We are all sinners, whether we have ever done anything ‘wrong’ or not. It is not sinning that makes us sinners. It is getting born that makes us sinners.... We are born sinners, and we sin because we are sinners. We are not sinners because we sin! ...Since we are sinners by nature, we of ourselves are never going to be able to produce any obedience.

 

To Know God: A Five Day Plan, Morris L. Venden, Review & Herald Publishing, Hagerstown, Maryland, 1983, pp. 22-23

Man sins because he is sinful. He is not sinful because he sins.... You don't have to sin to be sinful; all you have to do is get yourself born!

 

Adult Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, First Quarter, Lesson No. 5, January 23, 1983, p. 35

We are born sinners.... (Morris L. Venden)

Here is what the Adventist Book Center (ABC) states about Faith That Works:

http://www.adventistbookcenter.com/Detail.tpl?sku=0828014353

 Morris Venden explores the strange and wonderful kingdom of grace, and explains how to fight the fight of faith. “You don't get righteousness by seeking righteousness,” writes Venden. “Righteousness comes by seeking Jesus.” Both seekers and do-it-yourselfers will find here a feast of good things. Open this daily devotional book and join the party.

No thanks. It is better to forego the party and celebrating of this world and save it for the heavenly courts.

Unfortunately, at the time Roy Adams was Associate Editor for the Adventist Review, he wrote the book entitled The Nature of Christ, which teaches that Christ possessed an unfallen nature. The belief of original sin (born sinners) teaches that all will continue to sin, at least in nature, until Christ’s return and urges that focusing on perfection distracts from Christ. However, those who believe in overcoming before Christ’s return are very focused on following Christ as they seek to be like Him in character. We cannot change our nature, but we can change our character. Christ will change our sinful nature at His Second Coming.

Sinful or fallen human nature is the spiritual, mental, and physical condition we are born with. Therefore, without divine aid, we find it very easy to sin. However, just because we are born with a fallen nature does not mean we must always sin. Nature does not choose to sin; people do. Therefore, even though Jesus took on Himself a fallen nature, this did not mean He had to sin. He chose not to sin, just as we can choose not to sin.

Unlike what the New Theology teaches today, the Bible gives us only one true definition of sin. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 John 3:4). God has also provided the following Spirit of Prophecy statements to ensure we are not deceived on this fundamental truth:

The Great Controversy (1888), p. 492

Our only definition of sin is that given in the word of God; it is ‘the transgression of the law;’ it is the outworking of a principle at war with the great law of love which is the foundation of the divine government.

 

General Conference Daily Bulletin, March 2, 1897

The only definition of sin given in God's Word, is transgression of the law.

 

Sermons and Talks, Vol. 1, p. 228

It is the privilege of every sinner to ask his teacher what sin really is. Give me a definition of sin. We have one in 1 John 3. “Sin is the transgression of the law.” Now this is the only definition of sin in the whole Bible.

We are guilty only when we choose to sin in thought, word, or deed, not because we are “born sinners.” Sin is giving in to our fallen nature. The false belief of predestination does not allow our right to choose for or against God. The gospel includes free choice. Sin involves our will, not our nature. Therefore, Christ could inherit our fallen, sinful nature without giving in to sin. He was sinless because He chose to always obey God. He did not allow his nature to control His choices. He used His will to control Himself.

This biblical understanding of Christ’s nature was taught in the messages of 1888 by A. T. Jones, E. J. Waggoner, Ellen White, and others. The good news of the gospel is that God’s grace forgives us when we repent and restores us to His image when we by faith obey Him through the power of the Holy Spirit to become more and more like Christ.

When we make Jesus just our sinless Substitute, we deny His victory over sinful human nature. Let us make Him our perfect Example as well. Our Saviour, who provided atonement for us, will lead His remnant to final victory. However, our fallen human nature will not be changed until we are glorified at Christ’s return.

Hebrews 2:16

For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

 

The Desire of Ages, p. 48

It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man's nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin.

 

Medical Ministry, p. 181

The example He has left must be followed. He took upon His sinless nature our sinful nature, that He might know how to succor those that are tempted.

 

Early Writings, p. 152

Satan again rejoiced with his angels that he could, by causing man's fall, pull down the Son of God from His exalted position. He told his angels that when Jesus should take fallen man's nature, he could overpower Him and hinder the accomplishment of the plan of salvation.

 

Selected Messages, Book 1, p. 253

What a sight was this for Heaven to look upon! Christ, who knew not the least taint of sin or defilement, took our nature in its deteriorated condition. This was humiliation greater than finite man can comprehend. God was manifest in the flesh.

 

Early Writings, p. 150

Jesus also told them that they would have a part to act, to be with Him and at different times strengthen Him; that He would take man's fallen nature, and His strength would not be even equal with theirs [angels]....

 

The Review and Herald, December 15, 1896

Clad in the vestments of humanity, the Son of God came down to the level of those he wished to save. In him was no guile or sinfulness; he was ever pure and undefiled; yet he took upon him our sinful nature. Clothing his divinity with humanity, that he might associate with fallen humanity, he sought to regain for man that which, by disobedience, Adam had lost for himself and for the world.

 

The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 2, p. 39

It was in the order of God that Christ should take upon himself the form and nature of fallen man, that he might be made perfect through suffering, and himself endure the strength of Satan's fierce temptations, that he might understand how to succor those who should be tempted.

 

Selected Messages, Book 3, p. 134

Though He had no taint of sin upon His character, yet He condescended to connect our fallen human nature with His divinity. By thus taking humanity, He honored humanity. Having taken our fallen nature, he showed what it might become, by accepting the ample provision He has made for it, and by becoming partaker of the divine nature.

 

Ibid., Book 1, p. 408

Letters have been coming in to me, affirming that Christ could not have had the same nature as man, for if He had, He would have fallen under similar temptations. If He did not have man's nature, He could not be our example. If He was not a partaker of our nature, He could not have been tempted as man has been. If it were not possible for Him to yield to temptation, He could not be our helper. It was a solemn reality that Christ came to fight the battles as man, in man's behalf. His temptation and victory tell us that humanity must copy the Pattern; man must become a partaker of the divine nature.

 

1 Peter 2:21-22

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.

Christ took upon Himself our fallen human nature, but He never sinned. He laid aside His divinity and took hold of God’s divinity as a perfect example. Why did Jesus pray to His heavenly Father for help if He was able to use His divinity? That would not make sense. He never used His divinity. He took hold of God’s divinity. In this way He had no advantage over us. He is our perfect example of keeping the Ten Commandments. We, too, can take hold of God’s divinity and receive omnipotence just as Jesus did while on this earth. Christ took our fallen human nature that we might partake of His divine nature. What incredible love that is and what hope it gives us. How foolish we would be to not take advantage of that power.

Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 332-333

A character formed according to the divine likeness is the only treasure that we can take from this world to the next. Those who are under the instruction of Christ in this world will take every divine attainment with them to the heavenly mansions. And in heaven we are continually to improve. How important, then, is the development of character in this life.

The heavenly intelligences will work with the human agent who seeks with determined faith that perfection of character which will reach out to perfection in action. To everyone engaged in this work Christ says, I am at your right hand to help you.

As the will of man co-operates with the will of God, it becomes omnipotent. Whatever is to be done at His command may be accomplished in His strength. All His biddings are enablings.

 

The Desire of Ages, p. 664

The Saviour was deeply anxious for His disciples to understand for what purpose His divinity was united to humanity. He came to the world to display the glory of God, that man might be uplifted by its restoring power. God was manifested in Him that He might be manifested in them. Jesus revealed no qualities, and exercised no powers, that men may not have through faith in Him. His perfect humanity is that which all His followers may possess, if they will be in subjection to God as He was.

 

Manuscript Releases, Vol. 13, p. 18

He could have sinned; He could have fallen, but not for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity.

 

Selected Messages, Book 1, p. 256

In taking upon Himself man's nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin.

 

The Desire of Ages, p. 112

Notwithstanding that the sins of a guilty world were laid upon Christ, notwithstanding the humiliation of taking upon Himself our fallen nature, the voice from heaven declared Him to be the Son of the Eternal.

 

Selected Messages, Book 3, p. 136

The world's Redeemer passed over the ground where Adam fell because of his disobeying the expressed law of Jehovah; and the only begotten Son of God came to our world as a man, to reveal to the world that men could keep the law of God. Satan, the fallen angel, had declared that no man could keep the law of God after the disobedience of Adam.

 

The Signs of the Times, January 16, 1896

Satan declared that it was impossible for the sons and daughters of Adam to keep the law of God, and thus charged upon God a lack of wisdom and love. If they could not keep the law, then there was fault with the Lawgiver. Men who are under the control of Satan repeat these accusations against God, in asserting that men can not keep the law of God. Jesus humbled himself, clothing his divinity with humanity, in order that he might stand as the head and representative of the human family, and by both precept and example condemn sin in the flesh, and give the lie to Satan's charges. He was subjected to the fiercest temptations that human nature can know, yet he sinned not; for sin is the transgression of the law. By faith he laid hold upon divinity, even as humanity may lay hold upon infinite power through him. Altho tempted upon all points even as men are tempted, he sinned not. He did not surrender his allegiance to God, as did Adam.

If Christ had come with an unfallen nature, he could not have died because no one with such a nature can die. Why would Jesus have been tempted if He could not have sinned? Additionally, if Christ had come with an unfallen nature, we would have no hope of overcoming. There would be no hope of the 144,000 living without their Intercessor in the Most Holy Place just before He returns to this earth to take them home. Satan wants us to die in our sins, not be saved from our sins. We should be very grateful that his lie has been exposed and a remnant people at the very end of earth’s history will vindicate God’s law by winning the victory over sin. Understanding the right concept of Christ’s nature involves understanding correctly salvation, the sanctuary message, standards and conduct, as well as the Second Coming.

Titus 2:12-14

Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

 

Revelation 14:12

Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

 

The Review and Herald, October 26, 1897

Obedience to the commandments of God is the only true sign of sanctification. Disobedience is the sign of disloyalty and apostasy.

 

Ephesians 4:11-15

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.

 

Matthew 5:16

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

 

Matthew 7:21

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Christian perfection is letting God do His work in us as we depend on Him by faith. It means total victory over sin because we no longer desire to rebel against God’s will. This also involves learning what God’s will is for us. We long to bring glory to God, not ourselves. Temptations will still come, but we would no longer give in to them. Being perfect does not mean we will be equal with Christ, and we will never feel like we are perfect. Perfection is a continual relationship with God just as Jesus had. It is a reflection of His Character.

The Review and Herald, February 5, 1880

God is pleased with men who do not think that they have attained perfection, but who are constantly trying to improve. He would have us come into connection with him, and increase in understanding, and reform our habits, ever rising higher, and approaching nearer the standard of perfection.

 

2 Peter 1:3-7

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

 

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

 

The Review and Herald, April 26, 1881

Unity is the sure result of Christian perfection.

 

Manuscript Releases, Vol. 12, p. 155

Human effort must combine with divine power, that we may be able to accomplish the closing work for this time.

 

Selected Messages, Book 2, p. 378

Let the churches who claim to believe the truth, who are advocating the law of God, keep that law and depart from all iniquity. Let the individual members of the church resist the temptations to practice evils and indulge in sin. Let the church commence the work of purification before God by repentance, humiliation, deep heart searching, for we are in the antitypical day of atonement --solemn hour fraught with eternal results.

We are not saved while in sin, but God will protect His sincere people as long as He knows they will repent. Many in the Bible were protected while sinning, and He will do the same today. Those who achieve victory over sin feel unworthy and are unaware of their victory.

The Great Controversy (1911), p. 620

In the time of trouble, if the people of God had unconfessed sins to appear before them while tortured with fear and anguish, they would be overwhelmed; despair would cut off their faith, and they could not have confidence to plead with God for deliverance. But while they have a deep sense of their unworthiness, they have no concealed wrongs to reveal. Their sins have gone beforehand to judgment, and have been blotted out; and they cannot bring them to remembrance.

 

Revelation 2:7, 11, 17; 3:5, 12, 21; 21:7

To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. [2:11] He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. [2:17] To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. [3:5] He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. [3:12] Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. [3:21] To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. [21:7] He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

 

Matthew 5:48

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

 

Matthew 6:13

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Top

Ecumenical/Interfaith movement

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ecumenism
Ecumenism: “A movement promoting unity among Christian churches or denominations . . . and religions through greater cooperation and improved understanding.”

If the SDA leadership is using the excuse of ecumenism so that the Church is not considered a cult, it is not as effective as they hoped. The Church is still considered a cult by many. Why should the standards and beliefs be lowered to try to look better to the world? God’s faithful will never look good to those of the world. In the process of trying not to look like a cult, the Church now also looks like a hypocrite. It is the same principle as the Roman Catholic Church laughing at Protestantism for accepting Sunday worship. Catholicism admits that there is no biblical authority for the observance of Sunday, since they acknowledge the Roman Church changed the Sabbath to the first day of the week.

The Acts of the Apostles, p. 505

Many among both ministers and people are trampling under their feet the commandments of God. Thus the Creator of the world is insulted, and Satan laughs in triumph at the success of his devices.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seventh-day_Adventist_interfaith_relations
Wikipedia (online encyclopedia) shows the many denominations involved in interfaith relations with the SDA Church, as can be seen in a few examples below. The reason given by the Church is that it enables more religious freedom for its church members. Unfortunately, the disadvantages outweigh the benefits. While the Church is not a member of the World Council of Churches, it has participated as an observer. It is not a member because it would “result in a renouncing of its foundational beliefs and endanger its distinctive message.” Regrettably, that is already in process as seen in the following ecumenical events:

  • The “active dialogue and friendly relation” between the Salvation Army and the SDA Church. “Theologians from both denominations met several times.” Bert Beach (see below) told Adventist News Network that it was “most important to see the very similar approaches to the Gospel message that we have” and that the lifestyles are very compatible and Christ-centered. He also stated that SDAs have “always had considerable respect for the work of Salvationists,” and hopes that in the future we would “increase our knowledge of each other and our cooperation in meeting many of humanity's crying spiritual and material needs.”
  • Between 1994 and 1998, there was theological dialogue between the SDA Church and The Lutheran World Federation on the subjects of justification by faith, Scripture and authority in the Church, and eschatology. It was concluded that “Lutherans in their national and regional church contexts” should recognize the SDA Church as no longer “a sect but as a free church and a Christian world communion.” What is it that has changed in the SDA Church that would make the Lutherans change their mind about the Church not being a sect?
  • In August 2007, there was a meeting between delegates of the SDA Church at the Presbyterian Church's national headquarters “to affirm common beliefs and dispel stereotypes.” Ángel Rodríguez, a former director of the SDA Biblical Research Institute, stated that “The Adventist church has a responsibility to clear up misconceptions other Christian denominations might have of us, and meetings such as this one give us an opportunity to do so.”
  • The first meeting with the World Evangelical Alliance was in 2006. Ángel Rodríguez explained that even though the meeting participants came from “different religious traditions,” there was much they “shared in common and was useful to both parties.” He also said that the meetings were “designed to gain a clearer understanding of the theological positions of each body; clarify matters of misunderstanding; discuss frankly areas of agreement and disagreement on a Biblical basis; and explore possible areas of cooperation.” What are SDAs to cooperate with? Saving the planet? Setting up the kingdom on this world now? Passing a Sunday law together?

Bert Beach
Beach retired in July 1995. Part of his career included Public Affairs and Religious Liberty director of the General Conference of SDAs and serving in various ecumenical interchurch/interfaith councils. The following excerpts on Beach come from the Adventist Review of November 8, 2001 in an article written by Roy Adams of an interview between himself and Beach.

  • Beach attended the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s along with Arthur Maxwell. He said it was the big event of his life and that F. D. Nichol and other editors of the Adventist Review asked him to go observe and write a few articles (at the time being the education director of the Northern Europe-West Africa Division in England and “knew next to nothing about Catholics.”).
  • Authored Vatican II: Bridging the Abyss.
  • Established contact with prominent leaders in the Catholic Church and leaders of the World Council of Churches (WCC). Roy Adams mentioned that as he travels with Beach how it is a joy and an inspiration to see how “at home” he is with these religious leaders and how he negotiates with and humors them.
  • Beach stated that we should be careful how we speak about the Catholic Church, that we shouldn’t use quotes about them from the 19th century because they have changed. This really is saying that he no longer believes what the Spirit of Prophecy reveals on this subject.

The Review and Herald, June 1, 1886

How the Roman church can clear herself from the charge of idolatry we cannot see.... And this is the religion which Protestants are beginning to look upon with so much favor, and which will eventually be united with Protestantism. This union will not, however, be effected by a change in Catholicism, for Rome never changes. She claims infallibility. It is Protestantism that will change. The adoption of liberal ideas on its part will bring it where it can clasp the hand of Catholicism.

 

The Great Controversy (1888), p. 563

The defenders of popery declare that the church has been maligned; and the Protestant world are inclined to accept the statement. Many urge that it is unjust to judge the church of today by the abominations and absurdities that marked her reign during the centuries of ignorance and darkness. They excuse her horrible cruelty as the result of the barbarism of the times, and plead that the influence of modern civilization has changed her sentiments.

Have these persons forgotten the claim of infallibility put forth for eight hundred years by this haughty power? So far from being relinquished, this claim has been affirmed in the nineteenth century with greater positiveness than ever before. As Rome asserts that she “never erred, and never can err,” how can she renounce the principles which governed her course in past ages?

 

Ibid., p. 566

Protestants have tampered with and patronized popery; they have made compromises and concessions which papists themselves are surprised to see, and fail to understand. Men are closing their eyes to the real character of Romanism, and the dangers to be apprehended from her supremacy. The people need to be aroused to resist the advances of this most dangerous foe to civil and religious liberty.

 

Ibid., pp. 444-445

And what do we see just ahead? Another general council! A world's convention! Evangelical alliance, and universal creed! When this shall be gained, then, in the effort to secure complete uniformity, it will be only a step to the resort to force.

When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result.

When the Catholic Church recently apologized for her persecutions of the past, it was not in sincerity, because it plans to do the same again in the very near future. It is plain to see that Protestantism is changing and joining hands with Catholicism in the charismatic, New Age, and emerging church movements.

  • Beach revealed that when church leaders visit Rome that they “like to be able to say they met the pope.” That happened when the Christian World Communions (CWC) met there in 1997 for meetings. While a member of the CWC, Beach had the chance to meet the pope at that time. He saw the occasion as “a little bit of a witness” because he only shook the pontiff’s hand rather than kissing his ring as others did. It is ridiculous that an SDA leader would call it a witness when he should not be there in the first place.
  • In response to Roy Adams about presenting a medallion to the pope, Beach stated that it “happened something like 24 years ago” [around 1977] and “I think, during the term of Pope Paul VI.” How strange that he would not remember those two details with something that “momentous.” However, he did remember that it was during a CWC meeting. He stated that because the pope presented medals to visitors, that he wanted to give the pope something. So he gave him a book about the SDA Church that listed the beliefs, as well as a medallion of the General Conference of SDAs, the same one given to political leaders and others. Here is how Beach described the medal. On one side it says “Behold, he cometh . . . and every eye shall see him.” On the other side are the Ten Commandments, an open Bible, and the cross. Nine of the commandments are represented by only Roman numerals, but with the fourth commandment were the words “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Beach thought this would “give a little message from us as to where we stand.”
  • Adams then stated, “So here you were, actually giving a witness to the highest official in the Roman Catholic Church, and you caught flack from some Adventists for it.” Being both scholars, certainly Beach and Adams already knew that the pope realizes exactly where SDAs stand. Additionally, the “flack” should have come from all SDAs not just some. Beach responded that some people felt it was like paying homage to the pope. Adams replied that at least the “witness” brought satisfaction to Beach.
  • Adams finishes the article by saying that Beach “almost single-handedly succeeded in presenting a better face of the Adventist Church to those outside our own communion” and that we “truly have a treasure in our midst.” We can only conclude that if the SDA Church looks better to the world, it is because it is becoming more like the world. http://www.adventistreview.org/2001-1545/story1.html

The Signs of the Times, February 19, 1894

Through the Dark Ages,--that long night of ignorance and superstition,--the claim of the Papacy to superiority and supremacy was conceded by emperors and kings, although God had sanctioned no such concession, and raised up men to dispute the claim, and to break the Romish yoke from the church of God. Through his appointed agencies God summoned the church to reassert her independence, and in the strength of God she stood forth in the liberty wherewith Christ had made her free. She broke away from the papal yoke, and with the word of God in her hand, met the giant evil of Romanism, even as David met Goliath in the name of heaven, using his sling and a few pebblestones. The defier of Israel was slain before the man of faith; and while men cling to the word of the Lord, they cannot affiliate with the great system of error.

 

Ibid., June 30, 1898

Romanism is now regarded by Protestants with far greater favor than in former years. There is an increasing indifference concerning the doctrines that separate the reformed churches from the papal hierarchy; the opinion is gaining ground that, after all, we do not differ so widely upon vital points as has been supposed, and that a little concession on our part will bring us into a better understanding with Rome. The time was when Protestants placed a high value upon the liberty of conscience which has been so dearly purchased. They taught their children to abhor popery, and held that to remain at peace with Rome would be disloyalty to God. But how widely different are the sentiments now expressed!

It is very ironic to realize that the prophet of God stated there was a time when “Protestants placed a high value upon the liberty of conscience” regarding the protest of Romanism, yet Beach as a religious liberty director went completely against liberty by making friends with Romanism.

The Great Controversy (1911), p. 564

The papal church will never relinquish her claim to infallibility. All that she has done in her persecution of those who reject her dogmas she holds to be right; and would she not repeat the same acts, should the opportunity be presented? Let the restraints now imposed by secular governments be removed and Rome be reinstated in her former power, and there would speedily be a revival of her tyranny and persecution.

http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20090624113301/http://parl.gc.adventist.org/aboutus/staff
/beach.html
(2009)
Beach has received much recognition and honors, such as a special resolution in 1984 from the Maryland Senate for his contribution to religious liberty and elected as a member into the Cosmos Club for his professional distinction or “meritorious contribution to human knowledge.” In the same year, Beach was made a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International. In 1986 he was awarded through the Order of Bishop Horuda with the Polish Catholic Church. In 1998 he received the Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Polish Republic, as well as several others.

https://www.cosmosclub.org/Default.aspx?pageid=31
The Cosmos Club is a private social club in Washington, D.C. for those distinguished in literature, science, and the arts. Individuals are elected as members in every profession related to creative genius, intellectual distinction, or scholarship, including U.S. presidents, vice presidents, Supreme Court justices, Nobel Prize winners, etc. Programs include lectures, forums, concerts, and author dinners. Social activities include movie nights, dinner dances, sightseeing, chess and bridge tournaments and “clubs within clubs” for those with special interests, such as computer enthusiasts or wine lovers. Members may entertain their guests for meals, most programs, or arrange for them to use bedrooms.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_Merit_of_the_Republic_of_Poland
Created in 1974 the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland is awarded to those who have performed great service to Poland and is granted to Poles or foreigners. Since 1991 the Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit is in the 5th class.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_(decoration)
An order of merit is a visible honor awarded by an international organization or government in recognition of distinguished service to humanity or a nation and comes in multiple classes.

http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/wcc-commissions/faith-and-order-commission/i-unity-the-church-and-its-mission/towards-a-common-date-for-easter/towards-a-common-date-for-easter.html#c25298
In March 1997, the World Council of Churches held a Middle East Council of Churches Consultation in Syria. At this assembly, an agreement was worked out for all churches around the world to celebrate Easter on specific Sundays. Under the WCC’s Faith and Order commission, “Towards a Common Date of Easter,” item I.3 states: “Besides the work already done on baptism, eucharist and ministry, the churches need to address the renewal of preaching, the recovery of the meaning of Sunday and the search for a common celebration of Pascha [Easter] as ecumenical theological concerns.” Bert Beach is the first person in the list of participants as a representative from the General Conference of SDAs. The WCC states they are a “worldwide fellowship” of churches “seeking unity” and a “common witness.” This is the perfect description of ecumenism. Why would an SDA leader be interested in a “common celebration” of Easter and the “recovery of the meaning of Sunday”?

http://www.adventistliberty.org/index.php?id=16
The Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Department (PARL) represents the SDA world church to other denominations, including the Christian world communions and other interfaith and interchurch meetings. The PARL Director is the secretary of the General Conference of SDAs council for interfaith and interchurch relations, including dialogues with other religions. It was explained that “while these conversations and relationships are important, they should not be misconstrued as compromising Adventist doctrines or practice.” Regrettably, they have.

Reinder Bruinsma
http://www.adventistreview.org/issue.php?issue=2009-1525&page=27
Bruinsma is a retired church administrator for the Netherlands Union. He made this statement in the September 10, 2009 issue of the Adventist Review: “The greatest sign of the end is not the spread of New Age thinking or the alleged development of some form of world government but is instead the powerful preaching of the message of Christ’s soon coming to every nation and people group, and in every language spoken on earth.” This statement completely ignores the spread of the New Age movement in the SDA Church. We find it hard to believe that he would be ignorant of what is happening, since he was a church administrator. Is he part of the movement himself?

http://spectrummagazine.org/files/archive/archive26-30/27-3bruinsma.pdf
In Volume 27, Issue 3, Summer 1999 of Spectrum magazine, Bruinsma wrote an article in which he denied the biblical and Spirit of Prophecy fact of the papacy being antichrist. It is also a slap in the face to those who were martyred for upholding that truth. Regrettably, this belief is becoming commonplace among SDA leaders. Bruinsma stated that Roman Catholicism has changed in ways that SDAs must regard as positive, that there is “much spirituality in the Roman Catholic Church of which Protestants can be envious.” He explains that we should not watch them with suspicion, and that we “should try to be more balanced than we have often been and should do better than simply offering an extension of the often rather biased and inaccurate picture that many Protestants in past centuries have held of the medieval church.” He believes that modern Catholicism has changed in many ways and it bothers him to see SDA publications still referring to 19th century sources in describing Catholic intentions and views. It is interesting to note that “19th century sources” includes the Spirit of Prophecy. He went on to write that because anti-Catholicism is so ingrained in Adventism that change will not come easy, even if Church leaders agreed that a “re-orientation would be desirable.” He stated that in the meantime, we could at least decide to be less biased in describing Catholics.

http://atlantic-union.org/images/Gleaner Online/Sept10Gleaner.pdf
The September 2010 Atlantic Union Gleaner included the following statement, which was recorded on April 15, 1997 by the General Conference of SDAs Administrative Committee: “Adventists seek to be fair in dealing with others. Thus, while we remain aware of the historical record and continue to hold our views regarding end-time events, we recognize some positive changes in recent Catholicism, and stress the conviction that many Roman Catholics are brothers and sisters in Christ.”

Daniel 7:25

And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

 

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

 

Revelation 13:3-8

And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

 

Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, pp. 117-118

All need wisdom carefully to search out the mystery of iniquity that figures so largely in the winding up of this earth's history.... In the very time in which we live, the Lord has called His people and has given them a message to bear. He has called them to expose the wickedness of the man of sin who has made the Sunday law a distinctive power, who has thought to change times and laws, and to oppress the people of God who stand firmly to honor Him by keeping the only true Sabbath, the Sabbath of creation, as holy unto the Lord.

The perils of the last days are upon us, and in our work we are to warn the people of the danger they are in. Let not the solemn scenes which prophecy has revealed be left untouched. If our people were half awake, if they realized the nearness of the events portrayed in the Revelation, a reformation would be wrought in our churches, and many more would believe the message.

 

The Great Controversy (1888), p. 571

Instead of standing in defense of the faith once delivered to the saints, they are now, as it were, apologizing to Rome for their uncharitable opinion of her, begging pardon for their bigotry.

 

Ephesians 5:11

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

However, we do need to remember the following words:

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9, p. 243

This message must be given, but while it must be given, we should be careful not to thrust and crowd and condemn those who have not the light that we have. We should not go out of our way to make hard thrusts at the Catholics. Among the Catholics there are many who are most conscientious Christians, and who walk in all the light that shines upon them, and God will work in their behalf.

History proves that it is the Roman Catholic Church that has worn out the saints and changed times and laws. “Rome never changes,” no matter how good it may look on the outside. In a short time, that history will be repeated and this time it will be worse. Are we preparing for that time? Or are most being lulled to sleep because “his watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber (Isaiah 56:10).”

National Council of Churches
http://www.ncccusa.org/nmu/mce/dis
This web page shows that the Committee on Disabilities for the ecumenical National Council of Churches (NCC) is composed of national leaders who are appointed by their denominations with the SDA Church included.

Vatican II Documents
The agenda of Roman Catholicism has been to unite Christians through the ecumenical movement. On page 515 of Vatican II Documents, it states that ecumenism should be introduced into all higher learning institutions. Tragically, they have succeeded even in the SDA institutions. The documents discuss introducing celebration terminology and the celebration concept into all churches through the following methods:

  • Get the churches used to a new style of worship, such as using physical gestures and body movement.
  • Use variety in the worship services to encourage participation.
  • Use popular music for the various cultures and temperaments.
  • Educate that the Eucharist and the Lord’s Supper are the basis for Christian unity, eventually calling the service a “communion celebration” and tying it to Sunday celebration.
  • Promote Sunday observance, stressing rest from work.

One can clearly see how close it is to the end of this world, because all the above points are occurring. The Vatican’s goal is to promote a universal worship style to strengthen ecumenism in all churches, which gives Rome a stronger influence with the intent of bringing about one leader—the pope. The Vatican also intends to introduce its concepts into all institutions of higher education. Much of this has already taken place in the SDA colleges and universities. Revelation 13 is about to be concluded.

General Conference of SDAs
http://adventist.org/beliefs/statements/main-stat42.html
The following information comes from a statement that was recorded on April 15, 1997 by the General Conference Administrative Committee. The subject is on how SDAs view Roman Catholicism. It was stated that SDAs “take a positive approach to other faiths” and that “our primary task is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in the context of Christ's soon return, not to point out flaws in other denominations.” However, if we do not point out the flaws, how can we present the straight truth?

Evangelism, p. 562

Our ministers are to make it their special work to labor for ministers. They are not to get into controversy with them, but, with their Bible in their hand, urge them to study the Word. If this is done, there are many ministers now preaching error, who will preach the truth for this time.

Additionally, to say there are “other faiths” denies the biblical teaching that there is only one faith, one true God, and one true church.

Deuteronomy 11:16

Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them.

The Bible gives many examples of pagans leaving their religion. Acts 19 describes those in occultism who burned their books when they accepted Christianity. They did not keep those books and blend the pagan ideas with Christianity anymore than true Christians do not do that today.

The committee further stated that Adventists “recognize some positive changes in recent Catholicism” and stress that “many Roman Catholics are brothers and sisters in Christ.” Will they still be saying the same thing when the Inquisition is repeated and be a part of promoting it?

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, p. 181

I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen, and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth. Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this will cause a shaking among God's people.

Those liberal ideas in the SDA Church today come from the “progressive” mindset.

Mind, Character, and Personality, Vol. 2, p. 559

Truth and error cannot stand in copartnership. Let us now place ourselves where God has said that we should stand.... We are to strive for unity but not on the low level of conformity to worldly policy and union with the popular churches.

Adventist Review
http://www.adventistreview.org/article.php?id=3585
The July 1, 2010 Adventist Review includes an article on how the Pan American Health Organization (a regional agency of the World Health Organization) “recently established collaboration with the Adventist Church.” The Church “was invited to explore a working relationship with the World Health Organization in December 2007.” The article goes on to mention that some are uneasy about working with organizations that might have political agendas or connections. Yet others see the potential for “better access to networks and resources as they seek to improve health in local communities.” “The church is also seeking to help WHO meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. . . .” In April 2010, the Church voted to accept the WHO’s invitation to collaborate. In this case, the end does not justify the means.

http://www.adventistreview.org/issue.php?issue=2010-1530&page=26
"The Shema" is an article from the September 9, 2010, issue of the Adventist Review. The Shema is a prayer formula taken from various Bible verses (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 11:13-21; Numbers 15:37-41). This is an example of unnecessarily borrowing a term from Judaism. It can lead unsuspecting readers to delve into the Kabbalah, which is a discipline and school of thought on the mystical aspects of Judaism. In the Bible, Shema is mentioned only as a person's name; the term never appears in the Spirit of Prophecy.

The Great Controversy (1888), pp. 598-599

It is the first and highest duty of every rational being to learn from the Scriptures what is truth, and then to walk in the light, and encourage others to follow his example. We should day by day study the Bible diligently, weighing every thought, and comparing scripture with scripture. With divine help, we are to form our opinions for ourselves, as we are to answer for ourselves before God.

The truths most plainly revealed in the Bible have been involved in doubt and darkness by learned men, who, with a pretense of great wisdom, teach that the Scriptures have a mystical, a secret, spiritual meaning not apparent in the language employed. These men are false teachers. It was to such a class that Jesus declared, “Ye know not the Scriptures, neither the power of God.” [Mark 12:24.] The language of the Bible should be explained according to its obvious meaning, unless a symbol or figure is employed. Christ has given the promise, “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.” [John 7:17.] If men would but take the Bible as it reads, if there were no false teachers to mislead and confuse their minds, a work would be accomplished that would make angels glad, and that would bring into the fold of Christ thousands upon thousands who are now wandering in error.

Edinburgh World Missionary Conference
http://news.adventist.org/2010/05/adventists-to-partic.html
http://www.edinburgh2010.org
Adventist News Network featured an article in May 2010 regarding the SDA participation in the Edinburgh World Missionary Conference in June 2010. The event was last held 100 years ago, when 1,200 Christians from various religions and countries gathered to “discuss the future of mission.” The following SDAs were among the 250 delegates at the 2010 conference: Cheryl Doss, director of the Church's Institute of World Mission in Michigan; John McVay, New Testament scholar and president of Walla Walla University in Washington; and Ganoune Diop, director of the Adventist Church's Global Mission Study Centers, who was invited “to co-chair the Foundations for Mission session during the conference.” The chair of the conference said “Adventists have been invited to participate because ‘it has been recognized that Adventist missionaries have been making a very significant contribution to missionary work worldwide’ and that ‘the Adventist vision for the future shape of mission will be particularly valued at Edinburgh 2010.’ ” Gary Krause, director of the Office of Adventist Mission, stated that the SDA Church “holds in high esteem other Christians who are also engaged in sharing God's love with the world.”

While we are to love sinners, we are not to love and engage in their false religions. There is more to truth than sharing about God’s love. SDAs have a distinct message to give, and it is being watered down. The goal of the conference was to “explore the best ways to share the gospel in the twenty-first century.” The study themes chosen were post-modernity, relating to other religions, unity, spirituality, discipleship, mission, and power. Diop said he was “grateful to be part of a venue that explores ways to present Christ to our contemporaries.” Jon Dybdahl preceded Diop as the SDA representative on the Edinburgh 2010 planning committee and explained that “we have been asked to be a part of the planning and actual conference because we are perceived as a key part of international Christian mission.” Why is the SDA Church perceived as such a key part to mission? Is it because it has blended its mission ideas with the rest of the world?

http://www.edinburgh2010.org/en/resources/videos.html#c33174
The closing celebration began with the Scotland African choir. After 10 minutes of a total 20 minutes of hypnotic music with drums, the audience stood up and began to clap and sway with the choir. Did the SDA representatives remain for this ceremony? If they did, they probably felt right at home.

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/drumming.htm

During the past few years, drumming is increasingly practiced on a global scale to promote unity, peace and prosperity on earth. The South African organization, One World Beat, organized an event on Saturday 6th May 2006, which was advertised as follows: “Drumming in One World Beat is an event where we are uniting people around the world in one hour of drumming in unison—getting together in a true global village of drumming! It is the first time the drumming event is this big in our country. To imagine the whole world beating the drums at the same hour, for one hour! Bring your own drum. We trust the Lord for a breakthrough—not in our own lives alone, but also in our prayers for a prosperous Africa.” The drumming itself is meant to be the prayer for unity and prosperity in the global village....

Since Richard Foster and others have led the way for the popularization of the “contemplative tradition” in the name of spiritual formation in countless churches professing to be Christian, practices like shamanistic drumming are promoted as an excellent way to get into an altered state of consciousness in the name of Christ. However, while tuning one's brain into a hypnotic beat of a drum may “speak directly to the intelligence of the body,” getting into a mindless trance can be lethal for one's soul.

http://www.sabbathschoolpersonalministries.org/site/1/TheSharing/2010/SharingJuly-Dec2010.pdf
There is a description of a new SDA Church outreach resource in the July-December 2010 “the Sharing” newsletter for the General Conference Sabbath School/Personal Ministries Department. The document includes such terms as justice, relationships, and building bridges—all emerging church terms. It then describes a four-DVD set (the first in a series) produced by Ganoune Diop. The set covers Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and Postmodernism and is based on understanding other religious traditions.

The SDA Church does not need another resource or program. It has had plenty of those for decades, and instead of the Church improving, it worsens. The problems arise when the resources God already provided through the Scriptures and Spirit of Prophecy are either not used or not followed correctly. As long as that is the case, His people will never be ready for Christ’s return. All the resources and programs in the world will not help while there is error mixed in with truth.

Non-SDA leaders speak
Following are examples of non-SDAs speaking at SDA events. This is also part of ecumenism. It is mentioned further in this chapter about the non-SDA speakers at the Andrews, Oakwood, and Walla Walla universities.

  • 2000 SDA General Conference Session: Joseph Reed, Undersecretary of the United Nations (UN) spoke in behalf of Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the UN, in Toronto, Canada in July 2000. In a strong example of the ecumenical movement, Reed appealed to the representatives of the worldwide SDA Church “to continue to give the United Nations the support we need for our world organization. I make this appeal because the United Nations is also your organization. Our world organization. Your United Nations. Without the global efforts of the United Nations, all of our efforts for peace, development, equality, and justice would be to no avail.” He stated that the UN “is of vital importance for the betterment of life on our planet.” Reed then concluded by explaining that Annan wished to have been at the session, but that he was “on a mission of peace in the middle East.” Because of Reed’s “admiration and respect” for the work of the SDA Church, he said it was “an honor” to bring a message from Annan.

    Annan’s message included the following:

    • Spirituality coexists with diplomacy and national security at the UN, through a tapestry of “cleric’s collars, nun’s habits, and llamas robes.”
    • “At the heart” of the UN, they are “dealing in universal values.”
    • “As men and women of faith [representatives at the session], you are natural partners of the United Nations.”
    • “Our shared vision of humanity . . . is essential if we are to cope with the complexities of the age of globalization. Such a vision can foster dialogue where divisions persist . . . and must be prominent in all our thinking as we pursue our goals of enduring peace and development for all the world’s people in the years ahead.”

1 Thessalonians 5:3

For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

Various individuals outside of the SDA Church have been invited to speak at other SDA General Conference sessions.

  • The Pacific Union Recorder and the Adventist Review both featured an article regarding the April 2010 Ministry Professional Growth Seminar organized by the Ministerial Association of the General Conference of SDAs and held at California’s First Congregational Church close to the Fuller Theological Seminary. SDA and non-SDA professors and pastors attended. The SDAs included Roy Adams and Bill Knott (Adventist Review); Lawrence Geraty (La Sierra University); Ricardo Graham (Pacific Union Conference); and Nikolaus Satelmajer (Ministry magazine). Non-SDAs included individuals from Fuller Theological Seminary and Yale Divinity School.

It is unfortunate that this annual event is broadcast worldwide by satellite television and the Internet, since it sends a message to the world that it is alright for SDAs to be ecumenical. While it is important to reach non-SDA leaders, it does not mean the SDA Church is to invite them to speak at our meetings. In the process of sending them invitations and using their ideas, they are succeeding in changing us, when we are to be changing them. Our leaders and members must find other ways to witness, without borrowing from those we are trying to reach. Due to the fact that the world sees us gleaning from them, they lose respect for our beliefs, thinking that the information we have been given by God, especially in the writings of Ellen White, is not enough for us. When we read the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy and pray for the Holy Spirit, the Lord will give us all the ideas we need to reach the world with the gospel. We cannot use the excuse that we are in a postmodern era, and therefore we must use the world’s methods to reach them. God’s messages to the SDA Church are to suffice until the end of this world. Surely we are slighting God Himself when we do not trust in His Word alone.

Adventist-Jewish ministries
http://www.atomorrow.com/discus/messages/160/12501.html?1187218872 (August 2007)
This website included information on Adventist-Jewish ministries through the Pacific Union Conference of SDAs and Southern California Conferences of SDAs in cooperation with the Canoga Park Community SDA Church in California. It stated that they were “pleased to announce the inauguration of a new congregational ministry, Congregation Beth Ohavey Torah, ‘The house of those who love Torah.’ ” The purpose of the new ministry was to 1) “provide an authentic worship experience for those Jewish people who have come to embrace Yeshua ha Mashiach (Jesus); 2) “provide an opportunity for interfaith couples to worship together without compromise” using “authentic Jewish liturgical elements” and “instruction derived from both the Jewish and Seventh-day Adventist theological traditions.” There was also mention of the following:

  • Both Jews and Christians could learn from each other and be blessed spiritually. For example, Christians have much to learn about “Jewish culture, traditions and religion.” Why would SDAs need to learn more about Jews than what is already in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy?
  • They would like to develop a sense of community.
  • The congregation met monthly at the Canoga Park SDA Church on Sabbath afternoons “to celebrate the close of Sabbath, the Havdalah service, and to enjoy a social time together, with food, of course.” Some meetings included the morning worship time.
  • Yom Kippur was celebrated with “repentance” and fasting, then a meal following the afternoon service to break the fast. Simchah Torah commemorated the end of the yearly cycle of Torah readings and the beginning of a new year. Hanukah was a “fun time” to light the Menorah, commemorate the victory of the Macabees, and celebrate Yeshua. Passover included a Seder service. Also celebrated was Pentecost, Rosh ha Shonah and Yom Kippur. The congregational leaders were Alan Reinach and Arnold Trujillo.

http://pacificunionrecorder.adventistfaith.org/issue/9/9/118
As vice president of the Pacific Union, Arnold Trujillo stated in the Pacific Union Recorder for September 2009that he was greatly convicted that the year of evangelism in 2009 in the Pacific Union was a foretaste or the beginning of the Holy Spirit in latter rain power. How can it be latter rain power when the Pacific Union has most likely the worst apostasy and spiritualism in the U.S.?

http://pacificunionrecorder.adventistfaith.org/issue/24/15/409
The July 2010 Pacific Union Recorder featured an article entitled “Passover Celebrated in Five [SDA] Conferences of the Pacific Union.” The article stated that Adventist Jews around the world “gather at Passover time to enjoy a traditional meal and retelling of the Exodus.” This is known as a Seder—a Jewish ritual feast to begin the Jewish holiday of Passover. It is held in late March or April and is performed by a community or multiple generations of a family. The activities involve the singing of Passover songs; drinking four cups of wine; eating symbolic foods; and telling the story of the Israelites escaping from Egyptian slavery, which is a reading of the Haggadah—the order of the Seder and derived from the Mishnah (the “oral Torah”)—and from the Talmud (Jewish philosophy, customs, history, ethics, and law). Although SDAs may not celebrate the Seder exactly as Jewish tradition does, such as the drinking of wine, it is still very similar.

The article explained that this popular Jewish holiday is a “wonderful opportunity to build spiritual bridges with Jewish friends.” The Seder was celebrated at the Glendale SDA Church in Arizona where it followed a “liturgy that Jews have been using since before the time of Christ.” It was led by Alan Reinach, director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Department for the Pacific Union. It included a photo of him wearing a prayer shawl and standing in front of candles being lit. The prayer shawl is known as a tallit and has twined and knotted fringes on each of its four corners. It is to be worn by Jews during their weekday morning services, on Sabbath, and during Jewish holidays. During the Sabbath and holiday evening prayers, it is worn only by the prayer leader (cantor) and Torah reader.

The Recorder went on to explain that Reinach then flew home to conduct a second Seder at the Thousand Oaks SDA Church in California, where the Congregation Beth Ohavey Torah was now being conducted. Their church website advertised that on August 25, 2007, an evening vespers would feature “a Jewish liturgy” as a part of Jewish outreach, yet everyone was invited. On Sabbath, September 22, 2007, Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) was celebrated as the “holiest day of the Jewish calendar.” It was stated that “early Adventists also knew that this festival was a key to the book of Revelation” and that “this should be a great learning experience for us all.”

The article stated that more Seders were conducted in Sacramento, California; Reno, Nevada; and Kauai, Hawaii, and that Pastor Jeff Zaremsky leads two Jewish Adventist congregations in New Port Richey and St. Petersburg in Florida. He also worked with White Horse Media to make “The Ultimate Passover” DVD, a presentation on the “spiritual significance of the Passover” and is a “resource for any church or member who wants to understand the Passover or conduct a Seder.” It is available at White Horse Media and ABCs. We do not recommend it.

The February 2010 Pacific Union Recorder featured an article entitled “Congregation Celebrates Jewish Holidays.” It gave details on the 2009 Hanukkah celebration at the Beth Ohavey Torah (Thousand Oaks SDA Church). The party included traditional foods, stories, games, and music. The speaker explained that “Adventists are called to restore God’s name and His true Temple today.”

A photo was included of participants playing a dreidel game. A dreidel is a wooden spinning apparatus with four sides that each include a Hebrew letter to form the acronym for “a great miracle happened there.” The letters also show a formula for the rules of a gambling game played with the dreidel. This game is growing in popularity and is now played competitively in North America with tournaments during Hanukkah. New dreidel game versions have emerged in the last few years, including Spinagogue, Stacabees, Maccabees, and No Limit Texas Dreidel (a cross between the traditional game and a Texas poker game.) We can see how religious emblems are losing their reverence.

The Recorder article explained that services were also conducted for Passover and Rosh Hashana, which “brought Adventist members and their Jewish friends to enjoy deeply spiritual worship services.” The Rosh Hashana service included the blowing of a shofar (ram’s horn) four times, with worship leader Reinach noting that “each blast corresponds to the four final messages of the angels of Revelation 14 and 18.” It also stated that “as Rosh Hashana calls Jews to repent before an annual Day of Atonement, so too, the antitype calls on the whole world to repent in anticipation of Judgment Day.” In conclusion, Reinach said, “This holiday is a wonderful opportunity for Adventists to review our prophetic calling and ministry, and to teach our children what we believe.”

Why would anyone need to celebrate the Jewish feasts to “enjoy deeply spiritual worship services”? Why would blowing a shofar remind a person of the four final messages of Revelation 14 and 18? The article mentions repentance, yet they ignore the need to repent of following customs, traditions, and rituals which were done away with at the cross. Practicing the feast days is definitely not reviewing the SDA prophetic calling and ministry. While they do not teach that the feast days are legally binding, they are teaching members to review the Jewish calling and ministry. They state that the feasts become “opportunities for fellowship, spiritual insight and blessing.” Can that not be obtained by practicing SDA beliefs? This blending half-way is a dangerous position. “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word” (1 Kings 18:21). If you are an SDA, then follow true SDA beliefs. There is plenty in the Bible and the writings of Ellen White on the history of the Israelites that is a blessing.

The congregation began 2010 “eager for the arrival of Paul Lippi from New York to lead out in weekly services.” Recording artist Rachel Hyman assisted as cantor by combining her music and Bible work. Her Hebrew-style music does not sound like that which heaven would approve of. http://www.wordwindmusic.com/studio.htm

http://www.carvdo.com/video/tuim60KXXDw/Jewish-Adventist-Communites-Worldwide.html
This link showed a video of photos taken at a Hanukkah celebration by Adventist Jews. A photo was included of José Rojas, director of Volunteer Ministries for the General Conference of SDAs. He was wearing a Jewish prayer shawl. It was also stated that there are now about 30 Adventist/Jewish synagogues worldwide. (We find it interesting that the same day we viewed this video, it was pulled from the website by the user.)

http://jewishadventist.org/synagogues-usa
This World Jewish-Adventist Friendship Center website includes information on Jewish-Adventist synagogues worldwide. As of the end of 2010, in the U.S. there were five in Florida and one each in Washington state (Russian), Michigan (Andrews University with Jacques Doukhan), New York, and California; Argentina (3), Brazil (3), Chile (1), Israel (10), Netherlands (1), and Uruguay (1). It was stated that “Adventist Synagogues are a recent development, which some Jewish Adventist leaders wished to begin.” A meeting was held in Brazil in January 1999 at which time Jewish Adventist leaders learned how to build “Houses of Zion's Children” around the world. They acknowledged that “few of these synagogues have been established as yet,” but they “hope to build many more in the near future.”

http://shalomlc.com
The Shalom Learning Center in Hollywood, Florida is an educational institution of the North American Division (NAD) of SDAs. This center exists “to teach Christians Hebraic roots of their faith and also build bridges of understanding and friendship between the SDA and Jewish Communities.” It is interesting to note that Ganoune Diop, who attended the ecumenical Edinburgh World Missionary Conference, has been listed as a Shalom board member.

Joining in Jewish traditions is Satan’s tactic to restore what God has done away with. It may seem innocent at first, but it is on the ecumenical path that leads to destruction. God’s Word specifically instructs that His people were to give up those traditions after Christ’s crucifixion, so why are these being brought back? The sanctuary message should be taught instead. Besides the Scriptures and Spirit of Prophecy, an excellent book on the type and antitype of the sanctuary service is entitled The Cross and Its Shadow by Stephen N. Haskell. Ellen White kept a copy of this book, which she treasured and referenced frequently.

Early Writings, pp. 210-211

Some thought that if they should come down and unite with those idolaters who had embraced a portion of the Christian faith, it would be the means of their full conversion. Satan was seeking to corrupt the doctrines of the Bible.

I saw that at last the standard was lowered, and that the heathen were uniting with the Christians. Although these worshipers of idols professed to be converted, they brought their idolatry with them into the church.... As the followers of Christ gradually united with them, the Christian religion became corrupted and the church lost its purity and power. Some refused to unite with them; such preserved their purity and worshiped God alone.

 

The Signs of the Times, January 3, 1900

Many of the Jewish traditions were of so trifling and worthless a character as to cheapen their whole religion, and these traditions were handed down from generation to generation, and were regarded by many as the word of God. Human inventions, which were constantly becoming more foolish and inconsistent, were placed on an equality with the moral law, until at the time of Christ's first advent, pure doctrine had given place to false ideas. Selfishness, cupidity, self-exaltation had brought in every false practise, until the Jewish nation had lost their high-souled integrity, and their daily practises were acts of robbery toward God and their fellow-men.

 

The Great Controversy (1888), p. 421

The cleansing of the sanctuary therefore involves a work of investigation,—a work of judgment. This work must be performed prior to the coming of Christ to redeem his people; for when he comes, his reward is with him to give to every man according to his works. [Revelation 22:12.]

 

The Sanctuary Service by M. L. Andreasen, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Hagerstown, MD 21740, 1947, pp. 290-291

The Roman Catholic Church is an attempt to re-establish the old theocracy of Israel with the accompanying sanctuary service. The Catholic Church has taken over the essential ritual from Judaism, with certain ceremonials from paganism. It has an established sanctuary service with its priests, high priest, Levites, singers, and teachers. It has a sacrificial service culminating in the mass, with the accompanying ritual and offering of incense. It has its high days patterned after the Israelitish custom. It has its candles, its altar of incense, its table with the bread, and its high altar. The laver with the holy water is in evidence; the daily mass is observed. The parallel between the old Israelitish religion and the Roman Catholic religion is almost complete.

All this would not be very important were it not for the fact that it constitutes an attempt to obscure the real work of Christ in the sanctuary above. When the Old Testament period closed, when Christ began His work in the heavenly sanctuary, it was God’s intent that the sanctuary services on earth should cease. The veil of the temple was rent in twain – and later the temple was entirely destroyed – signifying the cessation of the service on earth and the inauguration of the service in heaven. Christ entered into a temple not built with hands. He entered into heaven itself, there to minister on our behalf. Men are invited to come to Him with their sins and receive forgiveness. The service in the earthly tabernacle had prepared men to look to the real sanctuary in heaven. The time had come for the transfer to be made.

Germany
The following information is a brief outline from chapter 14 of Tithes and Offerings: Trampling the Conscience by Colin and Russell Standish: In 1997 the North German Union Conference voted to join the German Council of Churches (ACK) as a guest member. That same year, the South German Union Conference voted to join the Council of Christian Churches in Germany as guest members. The ACK promotes the worldwide ecumenical movement (unity among Christians). According to ACK’s Article 14, the SDA Church, even as a guest member, is obliged to donate part of the Church’s funds to this ecumenical council.

Evangelism, p. 617

The Lord's injunction, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers," refers not only to the marriage of Christians with the ungodly, but to all alliances in which the parties are brought into intimate association, and in which there is need of harmony in spirit and action.... [2 Corinthians 6:14]

 

Manuscript Releases, Vol. 7, p. 181

In trying to break down the barriers between him that serves God and him that serves him not, they have placed themselves where their feet will never again find solid ground.

 

The Signs of the Times, January 17, 1884

It is mingling our interest with the interest of unbelievers that leads to apostasy and the ruin of the soul.

Unity in diversity
There has been a lot of talk lately about “unity in diversity” and “multiculturalism.” It began by leaders in government and in the churches defining diversity of races and cultures, but that was just the beginning of their secret objective. What was that objective? It was an ecumenical move to convince mankind—Christianity in particular—to accept different views on doctrines. Spiritually, there can never be this type of unity. What is the result? Confusion. It is those who bring in a plurality of beliefs—a diversity of opinions—who cause the confusion. Who is at the head of this confusion? It is Satan working through Roman Catholicism. Protestantism is dying, because the majority of Christians are no longer protesting. Rome has always taught that the church gave the Bible to the world and that the church alone can give the right interpretation. Tragically, the same viewpoint is coming from the SDA leadership. The belief is prevalent that if you are not degreed, you cannot fully understand the Bible. If this is the case, then what do we need the Holy Spirit for? They are placing man’s knowledge above God’s.

Selected Messages, Book 2, p. 24

Let God’s people act so that the world will see that Seventh-Day Adventists are an intelligent, thinking people, whose faith is based on a surer foundation than the bedlam of confusion. The people are hungry for the bread of life. Do not offer them a stone.

 

Ibid., Book 1, p. 175

Our church members see that there are differences of opinion among the leading men, and they themselves enter into controversy regarding the subjects under dispute. Christ calls for unity. But He does not call for us to unify on wrong practices. The God of heaven draws a sharp contrast between pure, elevating, ennobling truth and false, misleading doctrines. He calls sin and impenitence by the right name. He does not gloss over wrongdoing with a coat of untempered mortar. I urge our brethren to unify upon a true, scriptural basis.

 

Ibid., Book 3, p. 412

We have a testing message to give, and I am instructed to say to our people, "Unify, unify." But we are not to unify with those who are departing from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. With our hearts sweet and kind and true, we are to go forth to proclaim the message, giving no heed to those who lead away from the truth.

 

Manuscript Releases, Vol. 15, p. 259

We are to unify, but not on a platform of error.

 

Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 79

...harmony and co-operation must be maintained without compromising one principle of truth.

 

The Road to Rome, Russell & Colin Standish, Hartland Publications, Rapidan, Virginia, 1992, p. 160

Rome has always introduced its errors by the technique of plurality. But it has never been long before all tolerance disappears for those who continue to promote truth. In the “pluralistic” environment, those who choose the truth soon become the targets of persecution. Pluralism has always been a road to the introduction of error, it has never promoted truth. Its final course has inevitably been the persecution of the righteous. It is a course which has a foul track record in history.

Those pushing for diversity do not really believe in diversity, because they have one belief system and it involves deception and bringing about a one-world religion. It will do away with doctrines such as sin and repentance, the time of trouble and Christ’s Second Coming, heaven and hell, the atonement and judgment. When the time is right, it will be said that diversity will no longer work and that we must all unite on their truth. A diverse leadership does not call for change. Only a united force can effect change. A diversity of ideas would cancel each other out. There are only two forces in this world, truth or error. Even truth with error is still error. The unfaithful unite on error. God’s faithful unite only on pure truth.

Those who confront the apostasy are simply told that it is their opinion and the majority do not agree. Does this mean we should not even bother speaking up? No. God’s Word tells us to. It is imperative, because we have a world to warn and a gospel to finish preaching so that Christ can return. Yet it is very important to know which gospel we are teaching. Even though it will be a minority teaching the true gospel, it will be completed. Even though there were only eight that went into the ark, the Flood still came.

When diversity is accepted by SDAs, you will notice they make the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy subject to different interpretations, which leads to disregarding parts of God’s Word. This makes it more difficult for them to distinguish between right and wrong actions. It is the downward trend to giving up God’s Word completely. Regarding the diversity in Bible translations, if everyone kept to the King James Version today, there would not be confusion from the multitude of versions.

Deuteronomy 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.

 

The Desire of Ages, p. 253

The rabbis spoke with doubt and hesitancy, as if the Scriptures might be interpreted to mean one thing or exactly the opposite. The hearers were daily involved in greater uncertainty. But Jesus taught the Scriptures as of unquestionable authority. Whatever His subject, it was presented with power, as if His words could not be controverted.

The curriculum that has been surfacing in SDA teaching material is a large concern, because there are elements which undermine some of the fundamental beliefs. There is a tendency in the institutions for leaders and teachers to give more than one viewpoint without coming to a conclusion, leaving members and students confused as to what is really truth. One example is the articles in SDA periodicals, such as the Adventist Review. Creation versus evolution is another example that has become a questionable issue at La Sierra University, Southern Adventist University, Pacific Union College, and even Griggs International Academy (formerly Home Study International). It is most likely in other SDA schools and spreading throughout the world. Avondale College in Australia hosted a convention of the Institute for the Study of Christianity in an Age of Science and Technology (ICAST). ICAST is a theistic evolutionary organization in Australia that attacks the biblical Creation.

While we must always study individually to know truth for ourselves, pluralism is not helping God’s remnant to follow truth, especially the students who are not expecting to be taught error. Pluralism and multiculturalism teach that all religions lead to salvation and those who do not agree are called fanatics or extremists.

Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 41

"The sower soweth the word." Here is presented the great principle which should underlie all educational work. "The seed is the word of God." But in too many schools of our day God's word is set aside. Other subjects occupy the mind. The study of infidel authors holds a large place in the educational system. Skeptical sentiments are interwoven in the matter placed in school books. Scientific research becomes misleading, because its discoveries are misinterpreted and perverted. The word of God is compared with the supposed teachings of science, and is made to appear uncertain and untrustworthy. Thus the seeds of doubt are planted in the minds of the youth, and in time of temptation they spring up. When faith in God's word is lost, the soul has no guide, no safeguard. The youth are drawn into paths which lead away from God and from everlasting life.

 

The Acts of the Apostles, p. 474

The warnings of the word of God regarding the perils surrounding the Christian church belong to us today. As in the days of the apostles men tried by tradition and philosophy to destroy faith in the Scriptures, so today, by the pleasing sentiments of higher criticism, evolution, spiritualism, theosophy, and pantheism, the enemy of righteousness is seeking to lead souls into forbidden paths.

Theosophy is a Satanic/occult religious philosophy combined with metaphysics and denies the fact that God exists as a personal God, but rather sees man as God. It also teaches reincarnation and spiritual evolution. The goals are to form a universal brotherhood; to study world religions, science, and philosophy; and investigate the psychic and spiritual powers in man. Theosophy helped to bring about much of the New Age ideas today and was founded by Helena Blavatsky, a high level witch.

If you are of the opinion that “unity in diversity” is just a “Christian” aim, notice the following two examples:

  • http://www.futureworldcurrency.com/Documents.asp?DocumentID=3027
    The United Future World Currency website mentions “unity in diversity” in its first article of its manifesto. It states that it is the “foundation that drives this initiative, which started up in 1996.” Its aim is to “bring people together” and that it is “a goal built on faith, common hope, and the unification of cultural and spiritual roots.” Its last article states that the “project is driven by a firm belief in the unification and co-existence of different peoples” and that it “aims to promote an increasingly equal distribution of the planet's resources and human intellect.” The term “co-exist” is used in the ecumenical and New Age movements to unite all religions.
  • http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20080621164115/http://www.indianchild.in/articles/
    Hindu_chaplain_Zed_urges_unity_in_diversity_at_Ramadan_dinner_dialogue_1.asp

    This web page included an article by a Hindu chaplain who urged unity in diversity at a Ramadan dinner dialogue with Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists. They came together at the Fourth Annual Dialog and Friendship Dinner of Sierra Foundation, “an organization committed to inter-cultural dialogue.” –Submitted on September 27, 2007, Reno, Nevada

The Review and Herald, April 12, 1892

Jesus prayed that his followers might be one; but we are not to sacrifice the truth in order to secure this union, for we are to be sanctified through the truth. Here is the foundation of all true peace. Human wisdom would change all this, pronouncing this basis too narrow. Men would try to effect unity through concession to popular opinion, through compromise with the world, a sacrifice of vital godliness. But truth is God's basis for the unity of his people.

 

Ibid., July 24, 1894

It is a grave mistake on the part of those who are children of God to seek to bridge the gulf that separates the children of light from the children of darkness by yielding principle, by compromising the truth. It would be surrendering the peace of Christ in order to make peace or fraternize with the world. The sacrifice is too costly to be made by the children of God to make peace with the world by giving up the principles of truth. Those who have the mind of Christ will let that light shine forth to the world in good works, but that light will bring about a division. Shall the light, therefore, be hid under a bed or under a bushel, because it will mark a distinction between the followers of Christ and the world? It was the purity of the character of Christ that stirred up the enmity of a profligate world. His spotless righteousness was a continual rebuke to their sin and uncleanness; but no principle of truth was compromised by Christ to win the favor of the world. Then let the followers of Christ settle it in their minds that they will never compromise truth, never yield one iota of principle for the favor of the world. Let them hold to the peace of Christ.

 

Luke 12:51

Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division.

We are to love the sinner, but not their sins. In loving those outside of Bible truth, we cannot allow ourselves to begin loving their false beliefs. The devil has tricked the masses into unity with the world instead of unity on truth. True Christians cannot allow themselves to become involved in the ecumenical, “one world religion” movement. It is a move away from historical Protestantism and toward uniting all to accept a national and international Sunday law and persecution of those who do not go along with it. Are you preparing for this imminent event or are you celebrating with the majority? The broad view of ecumenism and interfaith is the broad road that leads to destruction. Other unchristian religious practices attached to the Bible, corrupts its teachings.

The Signs of the Times, October 29, 1885

Many tell us, "You are too particular. God does not expect us to be constantly on guard lest we make mistakes. He is too good to hold us accountable for our course of action day by day." But we are to remember that the way to destruction is broad, while the way to eternal life is strait and narrow.... This shows us that we are to be guarded on every side, lest we mistake the way. We must be careful not to listen to agents of the great adversary, who would guide our feet into forbidden paths, as our first parents were led into transgression.

Top

Celebration movement

Leviticus 10:1

And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.

Ministry magazine
During the time the SDA Church was promoting the Celebration movement, the October 1991 issue of Ministry magazine, by the SDA Ministerial Association, included the following.

  1. Recommended reading

    1. Participating in Worship by Craig Douglas Erickson (a pastor for a non-SDA theological seminary): He promotes the charismatic movement and meditations, including the silence of centering.
    2. Touch Holiness: Resources for Worship, by Ruth C. Duck and Maren C. Tirabassi: This book includes a variety of liturgical perspectives and provides readings and prayers for different services, including the “liturgical year” and “sacraments and rites.” Ministry suggested that with “occasional modifications,” any church could use the material, that it could add “freshness and a touch of elegance” to worship services.
    3. Acting Out the Gospels With Mimes, Puppets, and Clowns by William DeAngelis: Instructions for 19 plays are included. Ministry stated that it was written for Catholics but could be “easily adapted to any church.”
  2. Articles on how to infiltrate the Celebration worship style into the churches.

    1. “Selling Change” by Darryl Comstock: This author promotes the Celebration services as a way to reclaim former members; states that those type of services are “warm, lively, and markedly less traditional” with an “exciting growth in membership”; and mentions changes such as moving the pulpit closer to the congregation, singing livelier songs from a screen and sometimes accompanied with guitars and drums (stating that it was too bad they bought all those new hymnals), using more drama, clapping and raising of hands, changing the order of service and the forms of public prayer, possibly doing away with parts of the Sabbath school program, and shorter sermons with less emphasis on doctrine and more emphasis on the gospel, relationships, praise, and social issues.

      Comstock goes on to explain how pastors are trying to rejuvenate their sometimes “lackluster services” but that “the changes have upset some people” and that it would be tragic to “adopt a liturgy” that “weakens the unity” which is a “prerequisite for the latter rain” and the “gift of the Spirit.” He recommends that those promoting Celebration should not move so fast as to “cause undue distress,” otherwise it would create disunity which is not compatible with Pentecost. He states that to “make sudden changes” in the area of music would cause too much opposition, that a slow process [creeping compromise] gives members “more time to adjust to the new ideas” and allows change without division. He expresses his belief that the church in 1991 was “experiencing the stirrings of the Holy Spirit” that would grow into that “long-awaited explosion of love known as the latter rain.” That was 20 years ago. The latter rain never came. It cannot come in the midst of infiltrating the celebration ideas into the SDA organization.
      http://www.ministrymagazine.org/archive/1991/October/selling-change
    2. “101 ideas for better worship services” (Reprint from WORSHIP, a publication of the Department of Church Ministries, South Pacific Division of the SDA Church in Australia): Ministry stated that the following suggestions were “designed to add life and vigor” to worship services. While many ideas were good, those that are questionable or do not agree with God’s instructions are included below.
    • Try a role play (acting out) a sermon, involving some of the younger members or dramatize a Scripture passage.
    • A staged interruption as an attention-getter.
    • Have a “rousing praise service.”
    • Use of an overhead projector to see the words of the songs. Unfortunately, this has allowed for the raising of hands.
    • Use of a written prayer such as from a prayer book. However, not only are many authored prayers not doctrinally correct, but prayer should come from the heart and through the Holy Spirit.
    • Use drama or a mime to highlight the Scripture reading.
    • A suggestion is made for the congregation to read the Scripture responsively and that if Bible translations is a problem, to put the verse on an overhead screen. Yet if everyone had kept to the King James Version, there would not be a translation problem.
    • During the welcome, allow time for members to greet visitors next to them. Is this the right time and place for visiting? It certainly disrupts the reverence and sends a message to children and visitors that it is all right to visit with each other in the sanctuary. The social time should be reserved for outside the sanctuary.
    • During children’s story, use a little sleight of hand to get the children’s attention and show that “things aren’t always what they appear to be.” Is this why magic tricks are performed in the schools and churches? Certainly a point can be made and interest held without using tricks.
    • Have the children act out charades.
    • Invite the adults to go to a child and tell him or her that they are happy the child is “part of the church family and how much they love having children in the church.” Again, this is not the right time and place.
    • Invite the children to spontaneously dramatize a well-known Bible story. Besides the fact that drama should not be done, it leaves plenty of room for hilarity, since the children are not prepared.
    • Take advantage of the public’s interest in Easter (such as Latin American SDA churches do). Hold a Sunday celebration of the Resurrection (drama could be used).
      http://ministrymagazine.org/archive/1991/October/101-ideas-for-better-worship-services

Many of these suggestions have been accepted in SDA churches. The leaders told the members that they did not know the outcome of the celebration worship style but that they should try it and then wait to see what would happen. A true Christian will never experiment with something that cannot be supported by Scripture.

http://www.ministrymagazine.org/archive/2000/February/worship-and-praise.html
A February 2000 Ministry magazine featured an article entitled “Worship and Praise: One Model for Change in the Worship Hour” by John Solomon, who at the time was the associate pastor at the Yakima SDA Church in the state of Washington. He explained a plan that is “flexible, simple, and yet effective,” that “starts from the small group and works out informally into the congregation as a whole.” The following steps were suggested to help transition a church into more contemporary music in order to help it grow:

  • “Start by educating a small group of leaders.” If they are convinced, they can help “initiate changes gradually,” such as bringing a guitar and introducing praise music with “words coming straight from the Bible.”
  • The leaders can then begin “introducing these songs to small groups in the congregation,” such as Sabbath School classes. Once they become “accustomed to the music,” the pastor can meet with the leaders to “plan for a Sabbath when some of the music may be introduced to the larger setting of worship.”
  • After that first Sabbath, the pastor can make these changes:

    • “Add a praise song at the end of the sermon” or “just before or after the greeting time.”
    • In the call to worship, use a “more traditional hymn and a praise song based on a biblical text.”
    • Include a sermon or a series of sermons on music and have the musicians “pull out the stops on some of the great hymns and biblical songs,” and “authentically focus on Christ and on worship, rather than on the music itself. The Bible is full of instances in which a worship gathering is marked with singing and praising, along with the sharing of the Word.” However, the praising by Christians in the Bible was far from the “praise” of today.
    • “Add more musicians to the music time” for variety.
    • Continue offering “lively renditions of hymn music along with praise music.”
    • Have each small group take charge of the music on a Sabbath, using the same songs the small groups use and rotating the leadership of the music groups.

The article concluded that “modern music in worship is crucial if we are going to keep in touch with many important sectors of contemporary culture. We need to pray, fully seeking the direction of the Holy Spirit as we contemplate reaching people. We must be sure we are following the guiding of the Holy Spirit. Through a willingness to work within culture, we can, like Paul, be all things to all people so as to win the unchurched to Christ and to the power of the gospel.” The author also quoted George Barna, Bill Hybels, and other emergents and promoted the Maranatha! Music Praise Chorus Book. Maranatha! Music was started in 1971 by Chuck Smith, Sr. of Calvary Chapel to promote the “Jesus Music” his young hippie followers were writing and singing.

Again we can see in the steps above a way to gradually infiltrate the SDA Church with modern ways of worshiping, especially through a change in music. That is not how the Holy Spirit works.

Following are some observations again from the book The Road to Rome by Colin and Russell Standish:

  • Celebration-style worship services are introducing irreverent worship forms; encouraging popular religious songs, bodily attitudes and gestures; teaching to accept all just as they are; preaching “loving” sermons; and stating to not be "negative.” These services lack vital present truth, yet it is claimed that these will be “a savior of our church” to “reunite the backslidden with God’s church and make it more acceptable and attractive to nonbelievers.” It is an insult to Bible truth and faithful SDAs to hear that the problems in the SDA Church can be corrected by changing the worship services. The only way to escape the spiritual decline is through confession and repentance.
  • Introducing Catholic terminology is desensitizing our people to Roman Catholicism. Examples include the words “celebration,” “liturgy,” and “canticles” (as seen in the latest SDA hymnal).
  • One SDA church (Dundas, New South Wales, Australia) announced the Lord’s Supper in its bulletin as the “Celebration of the Eucharist.”
  • This is no time to “sing with false joy” as many “journey down that road” to Rome.

The celebration-type churches are not feeding the congregations with the “meat of the Word” but with “party cake.” It is all about having fun and getting along as one big, happy, loving family regardless of the beliefs. This is not the type of celebration God’s faithful are to be involved with. True celebration is calm, not full of excitement. Yes, we are to have enjoyment in life, but when it is all about fun, we miss the seriousness of sin and being reverent to God. How does God ask us to celebrate?

Last Day Events, p. 93

We must go to the people with the solid Word of God, and when they receive that Word, the Holy Spirit may come, but it always comes, as I have stated before, in a way that commends itself to the judgment of the people. In our speaking, our singing, and in all our spiritual exercises, we are to reveal that calmness and dignity and godly fear that actuates every true child of God.

It is through the Word--not feeling, not excitement--that we want to influence the people to obey the truth. On the platform of God's Word we can stand with safety.

 

This Day With God, p. 368

Last night the Christmas [Eve] celebration was held in the [Battle Creek] Tabernacle, and it passed off well--modestly, solemnly, and with gratitude expressed in everything done and said, because Jesus the Prince of Life had come to our world a babe in Bethlehem to be an offering for sin.

Top

Church growth

Membership and money
Beware of those who emphasize the following terms either in spiritual or business matters:

  • Power and passion
  • Power-packed
  • Creating maximum leaders
  • Creating maximum achievement
  • Huge earnings potential
  • How to retire a millionaire

These most likely are used to attract membership and money and in a way that is not approved of by the Creator. The power being stressed today is not the power which comes from God. The desire to become rich and remain that way does not describe those who are waiting for Christ’s return.

Luke 12:34

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

 

Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 370

God never meant that the widespread misery in the world should exist. He never meant that one man should have an abundance of the luxuries of life, while the children of others should cry for bread. The means over and above the actual necessities of life are entrusted to man to do good, to bless humanity.

 

The Signs of the Times, July 24, 1901

Those who have the Spirit of Christ will not selfishly spend on self that which would provide homes for the homeless, and give the destitute food and clothing. They will not lay up their money for the sake of increasing gain. Those who do this are controlled by covetousness. They love neither God nor man. Their fellow-beings are perishing all around them, and yet, tho it is in their power to be a blessing to them, they shut their eyes to their wants.

 

The Great Controversy (1888), p. 595

The spirit which actuated those priests and rulers is still manifested by many who make a high profession of piety. They refuse to examine the testimony of the Scriptures concerning the special truths for this time. They point to their own numbers, wealth, and popularity, and look with contempt upon the advocates of truth as few, poor, and unpopular having a faith that separates them from the world.

 

Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 266

There is no sin in being rich if riches are not acquired by injustice. A rich man is not condemned for having riches, but condemnation rests upon him if the means entrusted to him is spent in selfishness. Far better might he lay up his money beside the throne of God, by using it to do good. Death cannot make any man poor who thus devotes himself to seeking eternal riches. But the man who hoards his treasure for self can not take any of it to heaven. He has proved himself to be an unfaithful steward. During his lifetime he had his good things, but he was forgetful of his obligation to God. He failed of securing the heavenly treasure.

 

Counsels on Stewardship, pp. 231-234

The spirit of gain getting, of making haste to be rich, of this all-absorbing worldliness, is painfully contradictory to our faith and doctrines. Should the Lord most high be pleased to impart His Holy Spirit, and seek to revive His work, how many would be hungering for the heavenly manna, and thirsting for the waters of life?...

I see there is danger of some of our brethren saying, as did the foolish rich man, "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry." Many are forgetting that they are God's servants, and are saying, "Tomorrow shall be as this day and much more abundant." God is looking on your every business transaction. Be on your guard. It is time that deep, earnest thought should be given to laying up treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal.

The desire that some of our brethren possess to earn means fast, leads them to engage in a new enterprise and invest means, but often their expectations of making money are not realized. They sink that which they could have spent in God's cause. There is an infatuation in these new enterprises. And notwithstanding these things have been acted over so many times, and they have before them the example of others who have made investments and have met with an utter failure, yet many are slow to learn. Satan allures them on, and makes them drunk with anticipated gains.

When their hopes are blasted, they suffer many discouragements in consequence of their unwise adventures. If means is lost, the person looks upon it as a misfortune to himself,--as his loss. But he must remember that it is the means of another which he is handling, that he is only a steward, and God is displeased with the unwise management of that means which could have been used to advance the cause of present truth. At the reckoning day the unfaithful steward must give an account of his stewardship.

Some will strike out into flattering speculative money-making schemes, and others will quickly catch the spirit of speculation. It is just what they want, and they will engage in lines of speculation that take the mind off from the sacred preparation that is essential for their souls in order for them to be prepared to meet the trials which will come in these last days....

Every movement of this order, which comes in to excite the desire to get riches quickly by speculation, takes the minds of the people away from the most solemn truths that ever were given to mortals. There may be encouraging prospects for a time, but the end of the matter is failure. The Lord endorses no such movements. If this work is sanctioned, many would be attracted by these speculative schemes that could not in any other way be led away from the work of presenting the solemn truths that must be given to the people at this time.

If the SDA Church is ever to finish the work, its members must not only focus on character perfection but give financially as they have received from God and in the right spirit.

Baptisms
Almost all those who promote the modern church growth movement are promoting spiritual formation through the spiritual disciplines. Theological seminaries prepare graduates to spread this so-called spirituality to the churches through different programs. Pentecostals, Charismatics, Protestants, and Roman Catholics are spreading contemplative prayer with lightning speed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_growth
Church Growth emphasizes missionary work and social awareness. Would-be converts are seen as “seekers.” Church Growth began with Donald McGavran's book The Bridges of God. In 1965, he organized the School of World Mission at Fuller Theological Seminary, making it the home base for church growth studies by tens of thousands of pastors and missionaries by scores of denominations. Church growth includes the “great commission,” research to attract members, rock music, new forms of worship, and activities for families at different stages in life. The New Age preacher, Norman Vincent Peale, was a large influence in the church-growth movement. He was inspired by Florence Scovel Shinn, a teacher of the occult. Peale also united psychology and religion and is the father of the self-help movement that formed the groundwork for the church growth movement.

Evangelism, pp. 308-309

The test of discipleship is not brought to bear as closely as it should be upon those who present themselves for baptism.... When they give evidence that they fully understand their position, they are to be accepted....

There is need of a more thorough preparation on the part of candidates for baptism. They are in need of more faithful instruction than has usually been given them. The principles of the Christian life should be made plain to those who have newly come to the truth. None can depend upon their profession of faith as proof that they have a saving connection with Christ. We are not only to say, "I believe," but to practice the truth. It is by conformity to the will of God in our words, our deportment, our character, that we prove our connection with Him. Whenever one renounces sin, which is the transgression of the law, his life will be brought into conformity to the law, into perfect obedience.

In the book Half a Century of Apostasy, Russell and Colin Standish revealed how in 2002 many in villages of India had been bribed into the SDA Church through baptism. There were also “converts” who were baptized still smoking and drinking alcohol.

In an email received by the For My People Ministry, a testimony was shared about an SDA man in India who learned of the SDA truths through an online course. He was dismayed to learn that the SDA church in his neighborhood was different from what the course taught, especially in dress, health reform, and obedience.

In another email, an SDA couple revealed the following from a mission trip they took outside the United States:

  • As they mingled with union and conference presidents, treasurers, secretaries, pastors, elders and members of the SDA Church, the couple noticed that many of them seemed to be motivated by money.

Counsels on Stewardship, pp. 213-214

It is the purpose of Satan to make the world very attractive. He has a bewitching power which he exercises to allure the affections of even the professed followers of Christ. There are many professedly Christian men who will make any sacrifice in order to gain riches, and the more successful they are in obtaining the object of their desires, the less they care for the precious truth and its advancement in the world. They lose their love for God, and act like men who are insane. The more they are prospered in material wealth, the less they invest in the cause of God.

The works of those who have an insane love for riches, make it evident that it is impossible to serve two masters, God and mammon. They show to the world that money is their god. They yield their homage to its power, and to all intents and purposes they serve the world. The love of money becomes a ruling power, and for its sake they violate the law of God. They may profess the religion of Christ, but they do not love its principles, or heed its admonitions. They give their best strength to serve the world, and they bow to mammon.

  • The majority of them ate meat.

The General Conference Bulletin, April 3, 1901

The principles of health reform have been proclaimed by us as a people.... And yet there are among us ministers of the gospel and members of the church who have no respect for the light that God has given upon health reform. They eat as they please, and work as they please. God calls for a straight testimony to be given to those who claim to believe that we are living in the last days of this earth's history. A line of distinction must be drawn between those who serve God, and those who serve him not.

 

Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 383

The common use of the flesh of dead animals has had a deteriorating influence upon the morals, as well as the physical institution. Ill health in a variety of forms, if effect could be traced to the cause, would reveal the sure result of flesh eating.

 

Counsels for the Church, p. 230

Greater reforms should be seen among the people who claim to be looking for the soon appearing of Christ. Health reform is to do among our people a work which it has not yet done. There are those who ought to be awake to the danger of meat eating, who are still eating the flesh of animals, thus endangering the physical, mental, and spiritual health. Many who are now only half converted on the question of meat eating will go from God's people, to walk no more with them.

It has been clearly presented to me that God's people are to take a firm stand against meat eating.... By the use of flesh meats the animal nature is strengthened and the spiritual nature weakened.

 

Ibid., p. 233

Those who have received instruction regarding the evils of the use of flesh foods... and who are determined to make a covenant with God by sacrifice, will not continue to indulge their appetite for food that they know to be unhealthful. God demands that the appetite be cleansed, and that self-denial be practiced in regard to those things which are not good. This is a work that will have to be done before His people can stand before Him a perfected people.

 

Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 383

Those who use flesh meat disregard all the warnings that God has given concerning this question. They have no evidence that they are walking in safe paths. They have not the slightest excuse for eating the flesh of dead animals. God's curse is resting upon the animal creation. Many times when meat is eaten, it decays in the stomach, and creates disease. Cancers, tumors, and pulmonary diseases are largely caused by meat eating.

  • Two other incidents, which shocked the couple, was when a number of church leaders, including the union president and several others took them to a restaurant to eat dinner on a Friday night (late) and the next day during Sabbath. The couple was surprised that everyone in their team was happy to eat there and made excuses that they needed to eat and that in our colleges and other institutions that our students need to be fed on Sabbath.

Exodus 16:23-24

And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.

 

The Review and Herald, June 8, 1897

Speak not lightly of the restrictions placed upon Israel in Sinai regarding the cooking of manna. The Lord has placed barriers around his Sabbath, that it may not be regarded with the least carelessness or irreverence. When the Lord said, "Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath: bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe," he meant that Friday should be our preparation day, in which we are to do all our cooking. The Sabbath is not to be a day when titbits shall be prepared or cooked. If it is really essential to have beans on the Sabbath, let them be cooked on Friday, and kept warm in the oven. They need not be eaten cold unless preferred. But let no remarks be made as though it were a very light thing whether or not we regard the special requirements of God in regard to the Sabbath. It is not left for any man or woman to venture to disregard one requirement of God.

I see no question in this matter as to what we shall have on the Sabbath day. The food which we have provided on the preparation day can be placed on the table warm, especially in cold weather. In traveling, persons eat cold lunches for days together, and realize no inconvenience or harm. We want palatable, healthful food every day of the week; but upon the Sabbath, let your cook have her day of rest, in the place of cooking for a family. Let every provision be made on Friday. But do not let the Sabbath be regarded as a day in which to get something especially gratifying to eat. Educate your children and every member of the family to enjoy plain, simple food, and to be ready to receive the blessing which the Lord of the Sabbath is waiting to bestow upon all who are in an attitude to receive it.

 

Counsels on Health, pp. 489-490

A scene passed before me. I was in our restaurant in San Francisco. It was Friday. Several of the workers were busily engaged in putting up packages of such foods as could be easily carried by the people to their homes, and a number were waiting to receive these packages. I asked the meaning of this, and the workers told me that some among their patrons were troubled because, on account of the closing of the restaurant, they could not on the Sabbath obtain food of the same kind as that which they used during the week. Realizing the value of the wholesome foods obtained at the restaurant, they protested against being denied them on the seventh day and pleaded with those in charge of the restaurant to keep it open every day in the week, pointing out what they would suffer if this were not done. "What you see today," said the workers, "is our answer to this demand for the health foods upon the Sabbath. These people take on Friday food that lasts over the Sabbath, and in this way we avoid condemnation for refusing to open the restaurant on the Sabbath."

The closed doors on the Sabbath stamp the restaurant as a memorial for God, a memorial which declares that the seventh day is the Sabbath and that on it no unnecessary work is to be done.

  • Depending on where the couple went, the music for the services sounded either like dance music at a night club or hypnotic tribal music—all with “Christian” words. The excuse was that it was their culture.

The Great Controversy (1888), p. 384

What was the origin of the great apostasy? How did the church first depart from the simplicity of the gospel? By conforming to the practices of paganism, to facilitate the acceptance of Christianity by the heathen. The apostle Paul declared, even in his day, "The mystery of iniquity doth already work." 2 Thessalonians 2:7. During the lives of the apostles the church remained comparatively pure. But "toward the latter end of the second century most of the churches assumed a new form; the first simplicity disappeared, and insensibly, as the old disciples retired to their graves, their children, along with new converts, ...came forward and new-modeled the cause."--Robert Robinson, Ecclesiastical Researches, ch. 6, par. 17, p. 51. To secure converts, the exalted standard of the Christian faith was lowered, and as the result "a pagan flood, flowing into the church, carried with it its customs, practices, and idols." --Gavazzi, Lectures, page 278.

 

S.D.A Bible Commentary, Vol. 3, p. 1138

We need increased discernment, that we may distinguish between truth and error. The history of the children of Israel shows the sure result of turning from Bible principles to the customs and practises of men. The Lord will not serve with any plans which gratify the selfishness of men, and blight His work. He will not give prosperity to devices that lead away from fidelity to His commandments. He demands that the talents lent to man shall be used in keeping His way, in doing justice and judgment, whether it be to break down or to restore and build up. God would not have us follow the wisdom of men who have disregarded His Word, and made themselves a reproach by their practises and counsels.

  • Most of the women wore jewelry, like earrings, nose jewelry, and necklaces. It was noticed that this was very prevalent in the culture of that country.

Evangelism, pp. 270-271

A sister who had spent some weeks at one of our institutions in _____, said that she felt much disappointed in what she saw and heard there.... Before accepting the truth, she had followed the fashions of the world in her dress, and had worn costly jewelry and other ornaments; but upon deciding to obey the Word of God, she felt that its teachings required her to lay aside all extravagant and superfluous adorning. She was taught that Seventh-day Adventists did not wear jewelry, gold, silver, or precious stones, and that they did not conform to worldly fashions in their dress. When she saw among those who profess the faith such a wide departure from Bible simplicity, she felt bewildered. Had they not the same Bible which she had been studying, and to which she had endeavored to conform her life? Had her past experience been mere fanaticism? Had she misinterpreted the words of the apostle, "The friendship of the world is enmity with God, for whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God"?

Mrs. D, a lady occupying a position in the institution, was visiting at Sr. _____'s room one day, when the latter took out of her trunk a gold necklace and chain, and said she wished to dispose of this jewelry and put the proceeds into the Lord's treasury. Said the other, "Why do you sell it? I would wear it if it was mine." "Why," replied Sr. _____, "when I received the truth, I was taught that all these things must be laid aside. Surely they are contrary to the teachings of God's Word." And she cited her hearer to the words of the apostles, Paul and Peter, upon this point, "In like manner, also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but, as becometh women professing godliness, with good works." "Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel. But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit."

In answer, the lady displayed a gold ring on her finger, given her by an unbeliever, and said she thought it no harm to wear such ornaments. "We are not so particular," said she, "as formerly. Our people have been overscrupulous in their opinions upon the subject of dress. The ladies of this institution wear gold watches and gold chains, and dress like other people. It is not good policy to be singular in our dress; for we cannot exert so much influence."

We inquire, Is this in accordance with the teachings of Christ? Are we to follow the Word of God, or the customs of the world? Our sister decided that it was the safest to adhere to the Bible standard. Will Mrs. D and others who pursue a similar course be pleased to meet the result of their influence, in that day when every man shall receive according to his works?

God's Word is plain. Its teachings cannot be mistaken. Shall we obey it, just as He has given it to us, or shall we seek to find how far we can digress and yet be saved? Would that all connected with our institutions would receive and follow the divine light, and thus be enabled to transmit light to those who walk in darkness.

The SDA Church is very focused on mission, evangelism, and growth, which is admirable. However, does it make sense to do this while the Church is in apostasy? What are new members being brought into? Would it not be better to “clean up the Church” first? The “cart is before the horse,” and the cart is filled with “cherished idols.” Until we recognize what we need to repent from, true repentance will never come.

The Faith I Live By, p. 221

A union with Christ by living faith is enduring; every other union must perish.... But this union costs us something.... There must be a painful work of detachment, as well as a work of attachment. Pride, selfishness, vanity, worldliness--sin in all its forms--must be overcome, if we would enter into a union with Christ. The reason why many find the Christian life so deplorably hard, why they are so fickle, so variable, is, they try to attach themselves to Christ without detaching themselves from these cherished idols.

So many are excited because the new worship trends are bringing in members by the thousands. Yet if they are led into error and not well grounded in truth, they will not be truly converted and eventually will leave the Church, being in a worse condition than before their baptism. The Church leadership likes to say that it is all about quality not quantity. However, if our eyes are open to what is really going on, we will see the opposite.

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, pp. 31-32

If you lower the standard in order to secure popularity and an increase of numbers, and then make this increase a cause of rejoicing, you show great blindness. If numbers were evidence of success, Satan might claim the pre-eminence; for in this world his followers are largely in the majority. It is the degree of moral power pervading the college that is a test of its prosperity. It is the virtue, intelligence, and piety of the people composing our churches, not their numbers, that should be a source of joy and thankfulness.

 

Ibid., Vol. 6, p. 370

The Lord does not now work to bring many souls into the truth, because of the church members who have never been converted and those who were once converted but who have backslidden. What influence would these unconsecrated members have on new converts? Would they not make of no effect the God-given message which His people are to bear?

 

Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 624

Unless there is an evident victory in favor of truth, the matter is left worse than before the conflict. Those who might formerly have had convictions in regard to the truth set their minds at rest and decide in favor of error, because in their darkened state they cannot perceive that the truth had the advantage.

 

Romans 6:1-6

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

The April 2010 issue of Adventist World featured an article entitled “Positioned for Success.” The question was asked, “Did your conference set a record with the number of baptisms during the Year of Evangelism?” The question must also be asked: Why is the worldwide SDA Church competing to see who can baptize the most members? The article also promoted the following ideas:

  • “Whenever you have a few quiet minutes, close your eyes and see yourself reaching an important goal.” This is in order that success may come “more easily.”
  • Lay members and pastors should “squelch your fears by picturing yourself in a positive position.”
  • Envision your church as known and respected in the community.”
  • Imagine how thrilling it will be to see people accept Jesus.”
  • Visualize the vitality that new members will bring to your church life.”
  • Picture yourself in the pulpit preaching the Word with power, knowing that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are with you.” These are all part of visualization and the power of positive thinking. (See this chapter’s section entitled “New Age movement”/Positive thinking as well as Visualization.)

The Review and Herald, January 18, 1906

The real power of God's people lies not in numbers, nor in the wealth and worldly prosperity that may be displayed, but in steadfast adherence to his Word. The truth, obeyed, is made the power of God unto salvation.

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Spiritualism

In Ernie’s dreams, the Herald says that spiritualism is being used within the SDA Church. This section will identify what spiritualism is, which will lay the foundation for further sections of this chapter.

Maranatha, p. 168

Paul, in his second letter to the Thessalonians, points to the special working of Satan in spiritualism as an event to take place immediately before the second advent of Christ. Speaking of Christ's second coming, he declares that it is "after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders." 2 Thessalonians 2:9.

 

The Great Controversy (1911), p. 588

The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.

As spiritualism more closely imitates the nominal Christianity of the day, it has greater power to deceive and ensnare. Satan himself is converted, after the modern order of things. He will appear in the character of an angel of light. Through the agency of spiritualism, miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and many undeniable wonders will be performed. And as the spirits will profess faith in the Bible, and manifest respect for the institutions of the church, their work will be accepted as a manifestation of divine power.

Apostate SDAs are reaching “across the gulf,” and if they do not repent, they will join hands with the papacy when Sunday laws are passed.

What is spiritualism?

Many believe that spiritualism is simply communicating with spirits. However, the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy teach that it is more than this. Rebellion against God is at the heart of spiritualism.

1 Samuel 15:23

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

 

The Great Controversy (1911), p. 556

But spiritualism, which numbers its converts by hundreds of thousands, yea, by millions, which has made its way into scientific circles, which has invaded churches, and has found favor in legislative bodies, and even in the courts of kings-- this mammoth deception is but a revival, in a new disguise, of the witchcraft condemned and prohibited of old.

 

Genesis 3:4-5

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

 

The Review and Herald, June 26, 1900

Christ warns his followers, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing; but inwardly they are ravening wolves." He exhorts us not to be deceived when false shepherds present their doctrines. These men tell us that the commandments of God were done away at the death of Christ. Shall we believe them, these men who claim to be sanctified, while they refuse to obey God? They say the Lord has told them that they need not keep the ten commandments; but has the Lord told them this?--No; God does not lie. Satan, who is the father of lies, deceived Adam in a similar way, telling him that he need not obey God, that he would not die if he transgressed the law.

Spiritualism more than just communication with the dead

Manuscript Releases, Vol. 21, p. 173

There is a strain of spiritualism coming in among our people, and it will undermine the faith of those who give place to it, leading them to give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. I have seen the arch-deceiver tempting several of our ministers, teachers, and medical workers, presenting fanciful theories to them in a most subtle and charming manner, to wean their affection from those whom they should love and cherish. He shows them charming pictures of women whom they have found congenial, suggesting that in the future life they will be united to the one who is so congenial and whom they will ever love throughout the ages of eternity.

 

Evangelism, p. 606

There are many who shrink with horror from the thought of consulting spirit mediums, but who are attracted by more pleasing forms of spiritism, such as the Emmanuel movement. Still others are led astray by the teachings of Christian Science, and by the mysticism of theosophy and other Oriental religions.

What does spiritualism encompass?

Communication with the dead

Evangelism, p. 603

The belief in communion with the dead is still held, even in professedly Christian lands. Under the name of Spiritualism, the practice of communicating with beings claiming to be the spirits of the departed, has become widespread. It is calculated to take hold of the sympathies of those who have laid their loved ones in the grave.

False Doctrine

The Signs of the Times, December 5, 1895

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 [Spiritualism]; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.

What does spiritualism teach?

Disregard the law

The Great Controversy (1911), pp. 557-558

It is true that spiritualism is now changing its form and, veiling some of its more objectionable features, is assuming a Christian guise. But its utterances from the platform and the press have been before the public for many years, and in these its real character stands revealed. These teachings cannot be denied or hidden.

Even in its present form, so far from being more worthy of toleration than formerly, it is really a more dangerous, because a more subtle, deception. While it formerly denounced Christ and the Bible, it now professes to accept both [postmodernism]. But the Bible is interpreted in a manner that is pleasing to the unrenewed heart, while its solemn and vital truths are made of no effect. Love is dwelt upon as the chief attribute of God, but it is degraded to a weak sentimentalism, making little distinction between good and evil. God's justice, His denunciations of sin, the requirements of His holy law, are all kept out of sight. The people are taught to regard the Decalogue as a dead letter. Pleasing, bewitching fables captivate the senses and lead men to reject the Bible as the foundation of their faith. Christ is as verily denied as before; but Satan has so blinded the eyes of the people that the deception is not discerned.

We can see how the pure truth in the King James Version of the Bible is the first to be rejected.

The Acts of the Apostles, p. 474

To many the Bible is as a lamp without oil, because they have turned their minds into channels of speculative belief that bring misunderstanding and confusion. The work of higher criticism, in dissecting, conjecturing, reconstructing, is destroying faith in the Bible as a divine revelation. It is robbing God's word of power to control, uplift, and inspire human lives. By spiritualism, multitudes are taught to believe that desire is the highest law, that license is liberty, and that man is accountable only to himself.

 

Education, p. 227

Spiritualism asserts that men are unfallen demigods; that "each mind will judge itself;" that "true knowledge places men above all law;" that "all sins committed are innocent;" for "whatever is, is right," and "God doth not condemn." The basest of human beings it represents as in heaven, and highly exalted there. Thus it declares to all men, "It matters not what you do; live as you please, heaven is your home."

 

Evangelism, p. 608

Spiritualism declares that there is no death, no sin, no judgment, no retribution; that "men are unfallen demigods"; that desire is the highest law; and that man is accountable only to himself. The barriers that God has erected to guard truth, purity, and reverence, are broken down, and many are thus emboldened in sin. Does not such teaching suggest an origin similar to that of demon worship?

Teaches falsehood about God

Manuscript Releases, Vol. 4, p. 57

There is a strain of spiritualism coming in among our people, and it will undermine the faith of those who give place to it, leading them to give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. Errors will be presented in a pleasing and flattering manner. The enemy desires to divert the minds of our brethren and sisters from the work of preparing a people to stand in these last days.

I am instructed to warn our brethren and sisters not to discuss the nature of our God. Many of the curious who attempted to open the ark of the testament, to see what was inside, were punished for their presumption. We are not to say that the Lord God of heaven is in a leaf, or in a tree; for He is not there. He sitteth upon His throne in the heavens.

A warning to Seventh-day Adventists

 

The Signs of the Times, August 26, 1889

The condition of society today is the same as when God presented before Israel the abominations of the heathen; and the same warnings are necessary to the remnant people. Spiritualism is advancing through the land in triumph. "The spirits of devils working miracles" are going "forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty." Men are seeking unto them that have familiar spirits; but the people of God cannot in any sense follow the practices of the world. They must keep the commandments of the Lord. The line of separation must be distinctly marked between the obedient and the disobedient. There must be open and avowed enmity between the church and the serpent, between her seed and his seed.

 

Battle Creek Letters, p. 108

In his [Dr. Kellogg’s] presentation he cloaked the matter somewhat, but in reality he was presenting scientific theories which are akin to pantheism.

 

Sermons and Talks, Vol. 1, p. 34

Living Temple contains the Alpha of these theories. The Omega would follow in a little while. I tremble for our people. These beautiful representations are similar to the temptation that the enemy brought to Adam and Eve in Eden. When but a girl I went to New Hampshire to bear warning against these same doctrines. There was a man by the name of Billings and another by the name of Bennet who were preaching a higher spirituality.

 

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8, p. 292

Those who continue to hold these spiritualistic theories will surely spoil their Christian experience, sever their connection with God, and lose eternal life.

 

The Great Controversy (1888), p. 561

Satan has long been preparing for his final effort to deceive the world. The foundation of his work was laid by the assurance given to Eve in Eden: "Ye shall not surely die." "In the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Genesis 3:4, 5. Little by little he has prepared the way for his masterpiece of deception in the development of spiritualism. He has not yet reached the full accomplishment of his designs; but it will be reached in the last remnant of time. Says the prophet: "I saw three unclean spirits like frogs; ... they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty." Revelation 16:13, 14. Except those who are kept by the power of God, through faith in His word, the whole world will be swept into the ranks of this delusion. The people are fast being lulled to a fatal security, to be awakened only by the outpouring of the wrath of God.

Spiritualism is not just crystal balls and the New Age movement. At its heart, it teaches rebellion against God and clothes its false doctrines in beautiful representations. In the Garden of Eden, all the forms of spiritualism were revealed. There we find that:

  • Satan misrepresented the character of God.
  • Error was made to appear as truth.
  • Eve was convinced that by disobeying the Word of God she would not lose eternal life.
  • Satan’s lies are the foundation for the erroneous teaching of the immortality of the soul.

Ellen White trembled for the SDA Church because of the omega of apostasy. It is of a most startling nature, teaches a “higher spirituality,” and is received by those who do not believe the warnings of God. Her prophecy is being fulfilled today.

Mind, Character, and Personality, Vol. 1, p. 41

God calls upon His servants to study His mind and will. Then when men come with their curiously invented theories, enter not into controversy with them, but affirm what you know. "It is written" is to be your weapon. There are men who will try to spin out their fine threads of false theories. Thank God that there are those also who have been taught of Him and who know what is truth.

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Psychology

The infiltration of modern psychology into SDA institutions has strengthened ecumenism and brought in unscriptural practices and ideas. Non-SDA psychologists are accepted as authorities on Christian living because they state they are Bible-believing Christians. However, they unify Christians on their psychological influence, not on the basis of Scripture.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychology

Psychology is the science of mind and behavior…. Some, especially depth psychologists, also consider the unconscious mind. ...clinical and counseling psychologists—at times rely upon symbolic interpretation and other inductive techniques.

 

http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Psychology/psych.htm

It is paradoxical that at a time when secular psychological researchers are demonstrating less confidence in psychological counseling, more and more professing Christians are pursuing it. "Christian" counseling centers are springing up all over the nation offering what many believe is the perfect combination: Christianity plus psychology. Furthermore, Christians who are not even in the counseling ministry look to psychologists for advice on how to live, how to relate to others, and how to meet the challenges of life.

In their attempts to be relevant, many preachers, teachers, counselors, and writers promote a psychological perspective of life rather than a Biblical one. The symbol of psychology overshadows the cross of Christ, and psychological jargon contaminates the Word of God.

Psychology is a subtle and widespread leaven in the Church. It has permeated the entire loaf and is stealthily starving the sheep. It promises far more than it can deliver and what it does deliver is not the food that nourishes. Yet multitudes of professing Christians view psychology with respect and awe.

...psychoanalysis and psychotherapy have no compatibility with the Christian faith….

Psychologists who also claim to be Christians generally claim that they are more qualified to help people understand themselves and change their behavior than are other Christians (including pastors and elders) who are not trained in psychology….

Whenever psychology is intermingled with Scripture, it dilutes the Word and deludes the Church….

Throughout the centuries, there have been individuals who have suffered from extremely difficult problems of living who have sought God, and they have found Him to be true and faithful. They looked into the Word of God for wisdom and guidance for living with and overcoming the problems of life. The lives of those saints far outshine the lives of such pitiful souls as those who have followed the siren song of psychotherapy.

The terms mental disease, mental illness, and mental disorder are popular catch-alls for all kinds of problems of living, most of which have little or nothing to do with disease. As soon as a person's behavior is labeled "illness," treatment and therapy become the solutions….

The Church has been called to reflect Jesus, not the world. Even though we are in the world we are not of the world. Thus, every ministry of the Body of Christ must be Biblical and must not attempt to incorporate worldly philosophies, theories, or techniques.

Jesus is "the way, the truth, and the life," not Freud, Jung, Adler, Rogers, Maslow, Ellis, or any other man. A church that does not seek the Lord as its source but relies on the philosophical and psychological ideas and techniques of men will become as secular as the world. Such a church may indeed have a form of godliness but it has denied the power of God. It has established man as its god.

One popular aspect in counseling is called regression therapy (healing of the memory), in which the patient is told that something bad happened during their childhood and the patient is convinced of it even if it did not happen. Many times it has destroyed that person’s life or others involved. We do not need to go to man to be healed of our past. God, the Great Physician and Mighty Counselor, is well able to do that for us if we come to Him in faith and claim His promises. What did mankind do with depression, grief, and so on before psychologists and counselors were available? They went to their knees and to their Bibles, and we can do the same today.

Personality typing
The four temperaments (sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic, and melancholy) continue to be popular and are derived from Babylonian astrology. Those temperaments have even been promoted through the family ministries at the General Conference of SDAs using the Myers-Briggs psychological personality indicator. The Personal Profile System (PPS) is a personality inventory based on the psychological types theory of Carl Jung, which has its roots in the four temperaments. Jung was anti-Christian, an occultist, and a psychologist.

http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/exposes/burkett/general.htm

A major deception in the church today is the so-called spiritual application of pseudo-psychological temperament theory for individual personality assessment, which, in actuality, is derived from pagan and occultic philosophies. (The "temperament" can be defined as the unique mental and emotional disposition identifiable as the personality.) The study of the temperaments, which are man-centered, self-oriented, and psycho-paganistic, are being offered to the unwitting as a sophisticated, almost magical way to understand our deepest natures and our personality types. In actuality, Christians could be unknowingly lured into the occult by practicing the temperaments and other New Age personality typologies.

Self-esteem education is a program that is meant to make you feel more in control. Yes, you are God's creation, but the biblical way to success is that we must decrease and Christ must increase (John 3:30).

Mind, Character, and Personality, Vol. 1, p. 260

It is not pleasing to God that you should demerit yourself. You should cultivate self-respect by living so that you will be approved by your own conscience and before men and angels.... It is your privilege to go to Jesus and be cleansed, and to stand before the law without shame or remorse. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Romans 8:1). While we should not think of ourselves more highly than we ought, the Word of God does not condemn a proper self-respect. As sons and daughters of God, we should have a conscious dignity of character, in which pride and self-importance have no part.

 

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8, pp. 293-294

In the future, Satan's superstitions will assume new forms. Errors will be presented in a pleasing and flattering manner. False theories, clothed with garments of light, will be presented to God's people. Thus Satan will try to deceive, if possible, the very elect. Most seducing influences will be exerted; minds will be hypnotized.

Corruptions of every type, similar to those existing among the antediluvians, will be brought in to take minds captive. The exaltation of nature as God, the unrestrained license of the human will, the counsel of the ungodly--these Satan uses as agencies to bring about certain ends. He will employ the power of mind over mind to carry out his designs. The most sorrowful thought of all is that under his deceptive influence men will have a form of godliness, without having a real connection with God. Like Adam and Eve, who ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, many are even now feeding upon the deceptive morsels of error.

Satanic agencies are clothing false theories in an attractive garb, even as Satan in the Garden of Eden concealed his identity from our first parents by speaking through the serpent. These agencies are instilling into human minds that which in reality is deadly error. The hypnotic influence of Satan will rest upon those who turn from the plain word of God to pleasing fables.

 

Mind, Character, and Personality, Vol. 1, pp. 261-262

He [Satan] seeks to encourage dependence upon men. When minds are turned away from God, the tempter can bring them under his rule. He can control humanity.

Make God your entire dependence. When you do otherwise, then it is time for a halt to be called. Stop right where you are and change the order of things.... In sincerity, in soul-hunger, cry after God. Wrestle with the heavenly agencies until you have the victory. Put your whole being into the Lord's hands--soul, body, and spirit--and resolve to be His loving, consecrated agency, moved by His will, controlled by His mind, infused by His Spirit; ...then you will see heavenly things clearly.

In the place of bearing your perplexities to a brother or a minister, take them to the Lord in prayer....

Those who know how to pray, who know what are the invitations of the gospel of Christ, who know the immutability of His promises, show dishonor to God when they lay their burden upon finite men. It is right, always, to counsel together. It is right to converse together. It is right to make the difficulties that present themselves in any enterprise plain before your brethren and your minister. But do not so greatly dishonor God as to depend on man for wisdom. Seek God for the wisdom that cometh from above. Ask your fellow laborers to pray with you, and the Lord will fulfill His word, "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20).

 

Ibid., p. 10

The true principles of psychology are found in the Holy Scriptures.

 

Ibid., pp. 19-20

In these days when skepticism and infidelity so often appear in a scientific garb, we need to be guarded on every hand. Through this means our great adversary is deceiving thousands and leading them captive according to his will. The advantage he takes of the sciences, sciences which pertain to the human mind, is tremendous. Here, serpent-like, he imperceptibly creeps in to corrupt the work of God.

This entering in of Satan through the sciences is well devised. Through the channel of phrenology, psychology, and mesmerism, he comes more directly to the people of this generation and works with that power which is to characterize his efforts near the close of probation. The minds of thousands have thus been poisoned and led into infidelity.

While it is believed that one human mind so wonderfully affects another, Satan, who is ready to press every advantage, insinuates himself and works on the right hand and on the left. And while those who are devoted to these sciences laud them to the heavens because of the great and good works which they affirm are wrought by them, they little know what a power for evil they are cherishing; but it is a power which will yet work with all signs and lying wonders--with all deceivableness of unrighteousness. Mark the influence of these sciences, dear reader, for the conflict between Christ and Satan is not yet ended.

Neglect of prayer leads men to rely on their own strength and opens the door to temptation. In many cases the imagination is captivated by scientific research, and men are flattered through the consciousness of their own powers. The sciences which treat of the human mind are very much exalted. They are good in their place, but they are seized upon by Satan as his powerful agents to deceive and destroy souls. His arts are accepted as from heaven, and he thus receives the worship which suits him well. The world, which is supposed to be benefited so much by phrenology and animal magnetism, never was so corrupt as now. Through these sciences, virtue is destroyed and the foundations of spiritualism are laid.

Mesmerism included such methods as animal magnetism, electrical charges, trances, and hypnotism.

Phrenologists believed that human conduct was best understood in neurological terms. It is now considered a pseudoscience (lacks scientific status) and focuses on personality and character.

Colossians 2:8

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Christ is to be our true Counselor. Let us go to the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, particularly the Mind, Character, and Personality volumes and The Ministry of Healing to seek mental health.

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Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)

http://ministrymagazine.org/archive/1992/June/are-adventist-pastors-teaching-hypnotism
Following is information from a June 1992 article in Ministry magazine on neuro-linguistic programming.

  • In the 1970s an interdenominational training organization, called LEAD Consultants, Inc., developed a seminar to train pastors in visitation skills. The founder, John Savage, was a Methodist minister who was interviewed in May 1983 in Ministry by Robert Spangler. Savage entitled his Lab I seminar "A Laboratory School on Skills for Calling and Caring Ministries." The instructor training program was Lab II.
  • “A number of Adventist ministers began using the curriculum because we had no comparable materials. Their goal has been to encourage effective visitation of church members, especially in reclaiming nonattenders.” Lab I provided information on why members drop out of church and included methods on encouraging them to return. It also focused primarily on helping them cope with suffering from illness, death of a loved one, divorce, unemployment, loss of faith, etc.
  • “Lab I is not designed to be doctrinal in nature. What little theology it contained offers no threat to Adventist beliefs.” Most of the time is spent learning “listening skills in order to improve interpersonal communication during visits. Good listening enables one to show compassion to a burdened individual.”
  • The Ministry article described how Lab I and NLP works. One page in the Lab I manual stated: “...during home visits, one should observe the NLP, or thinking style, of the church member to know what choice of words will communicate most effectively. This is much like hearing another person speak Spanish and (if one is bilingual) switching to Spanish in order to facilitate the conversation. It is also following the counsel of Paul who tells us we need to adapt our communication to be like the person we are attempting to reach (1 Cor. 9:19-23).”
  • Ministry stated that “Many ideas espoused are speculative, and the Adventist Church cannot endorse them” and that “No NLP therapy or certification is taught in Lab I” but that “some books about NLP therapy are listed in the bibliography of the Lab I manual, but Adventist ministers who teach Lab I should warn the participants that these books contain ideas Adventists cannot accept. Some even tear the bibliography page out of the manuals before distributing them.” The article explained that it would be best if SDAs had their own materials. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done from years of using the Savage material. So around 1988 the Church Ministries Department and Ministerial Association of the NAD began writing their own curriculum “based on a firm foundation of Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy” and sponsored its distribution at their “Learning to Care” seminars. Today the leadership no longer tears the bibliography pages out of material that advertises the world’s ideas. Instead they blatantly advertise the books. This is the progression that occurs when men dabble with danger.
  • The article states that SDA pastors have not learned hypnotism and that what is taught in Lab I and Lab II “is in no way connected to hypnotism.” The article then compares the “mirroring” technique used to “no more manipulative than Christ’s method of teaching sacred truths in parables suited to His culture.”
  • The article goes on to criticize those who warn about the New Age movement.
  • Spirit of Prophecy statements are interspersed in the article and are misapplied to approve of the Savage program.
  • The article ends by stating the “critics” have offered no proof that these seminars “have hurt anyone.” It stated that many have been blessed by them. The author said he felt “rather foolish” writing the article, that there were more important topics to write about, such as reaching the “deep spiritual hunger” in large cities worldwide, “how small group Sabbath school classes can foster a closer walk with Christ,” and “New Testament church planting strategies.” The question is asked “When will private publications and the rumor mill discuss these questions?”

It is obvious that the author did not have a problem with the Savage seminars and was not happy with those who warned against them. While the Spirit of Prophecy teaches that we should try new methods to reach the world and to understand human nature and the mind, it does not suggest using Satanic methods. If there is any error mixed in, it should be completely avoided.

http://www.leadplus.com/Products.htm#Strategic Communication Skills Manual
Savage’s website advertises CDs and DVDs that parallel and support the Listening & Caring Skills (Lab I) conference and manual, which includes NLP. The manual can only be ordered by a Lab II graduate.

There is much use of the word “caring” in SDA institutions. Yet how can you truly care for others when you do not share present truth and warn against the apostasy? When parents truly care for their children, there is discipline. There is much talk of the “disciplines,” yet true discipline is becoming unknown.

The following is quoted from The Road to Rome by Colin and Russell Standish, pp. 116-119:

Does Satan have men within the assemblies of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, using hypnotic methods to turn the minds of God’s children to error? Listen!

“We need to teach our people how to do what I am doing with you now in church. If I can do it in the University Church with 3,500 sitting there joined elbow to elbow, you can do it in your church—regularly.” Tape recording of a Seminar presented to American Seventh-day Adventist Pastors by the Senior Pastor of the Loma Linda University Church.*

*We have this tape recording on file.

Do what, you may ask?

“The only time we have them [God’s people] at our—at our command in a sense—we’re going to hypnotize themthey’re suggestible people. The only time we can do that is on Sabbath.” Ibid.

Some Seventh-day Adventist pastors have denied that Neuro-Linguistic Programming is used in Lab I and Lab II courses. We possess the official LEAD Consultants Lab I Work Book. We obtained it from the South Pacific Division. On pages 15-16 are listed skills for Effective Listening. One of those cited is Neuro-Linguistics. On page 44 there is an entire page devoted to Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Page 5 lists Neuro-Linguistics among the goals of Lab School and the final page lists the book, Frogs into Princes: Neuro-Linguistic Programming (Bandler and Grinder) as the first book on its reading list.

The authors went on to explain the following: 1) No SDA should attend a church where techniques such as these are used, since it is a “grievous danger” to submit to mind control by others; 2) The purpose of Lab II was so that SDA pastors could teach the same techniques to the laity; 3) In Perth, Australia, some pastors were placed in a state of increased suggestibility and told to remember events from their childhood; techniques like “reimprinting” (altering the perception of past experiences), “sleight of mouth” patterns, and “reframing” was used to produce belief changes. Only the Holy Spirit should be changing our hearts and minds; 4) The techniques are used on unwilling participants as well, which is a form of coercion; 5) Another technique used in NLP is “embedding,” which introduces new “facts” drawn up by the practitioner into the person’s consciousness, which is frequently used by professional counselors. The suggestions are so powerful that these become reality to the person, even if it is not true. Lives are ruined by these techniques, but this is just as Satan would have it. It is interesting to see how these techniques preceded contemplative prayer and other emerging church ideas.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuro-linguistic_programming
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is “a model of interpersonal communication chiefly concerned with the relationship between successful patterns of behavior and the subjective experiences (esp. patterns of thought) underlying them and a system of alternative therapy based on this which seeks to educate people in self-awareness and effective communication, and to change their patterns of mental and emotional behavior.” NLP began to be promoted in the 1970s by the co-founders, Richard Bandler and John Grinder. They believed in the connection between neurological processes (‘neuro’), language (‘linguistic’) and behavioral patterns that have been learned through experience (‘programming’) that can be organized to “achieve specific goals in life.” They also believed that it is an “extraordinarily effective and rapid form of psychological therapy” to address phobias, depression, habit disorder, psychosomatic illnesses, learning disorders, etc. It was advertised as having the potential for “self-determination through overcoming learned limitations and emphasized well-being and healthy functioning,” and that these skills “can be learned by anyone to improve their effectiveness both personally and professionally.” This programming has the strongest influence among psychotherapists, hypnotherapists, and has had influence in management training, life coaching, the self-help industry, sales training, and even seduction.

The NLP co-founders credited the late Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir, and Milton Erickson as their inspiration. Erickson was an American psychiatrist specializing in medical hypnosis and family therapy. The “Milton model” is a form of hypnotherapy described as “a way of using language to induce and maintain trance in order to contact the hidden resources of our personality.” Satir was a noted American author and psychotherapist, known especially for her approach to family therapy and her work with Systemic Constellations (uses stillness and silence). Perls was a psychiatrist and psychotherapist who believed in the “Gestalt prayer,” which focuses on living in response to one's own needs and that by doing this people can help others do the same, creating space for genuine contact. In other words, “I do my thing and you do your thing.”

NLP and hypnosis are based on mysticism. NLP also teaches that positive change can result if one reproduces the behaviors and beliefs of successful people (modeling) or the more successful parts of oneself and that we have all the resources necessary for success within ourselves. The modeling methods are designed to unconsciously assimilate the unspoken knowledge to learn what the master is doing of which the master is not aware.

Learning to Care
http://www.adventistreview.org/article.php?id=2645
In a June 18, 2009 Adventist Review article about reaching church “dropouts,” it stated that “there are ways and means to bring them back home.” Monte Sahlin suggested using the “Learning to Care” training curriculum produced by Ben Maxson.

http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/MIN/MIN19900201-V63-02__B.pdf
The February 1990 issue of Ministry magazine featured an article on “World Ministers Council: Personal Seminars/Exploring the pathways others have found that lead to a deepening spirituality” written by Maxson. It explained, “This practical seminar focuses on the dynamics of spirituality and the tools and skills that will help you grow spiritually. It is designed to give you a theological and experiential foundation for enriching your devotional life. It will explore the classic spiritual disciplines that will help you in your walk with God and open you more fully to His transforming power.” It listed the following that would be learned at the seminars: 1) Understanding the Christian disciplines that “great men and women of God have used throughout history”; 2) Ways of expanding and enriching prayer life; 3) Three forms of Christian meditation; 4) Principles for practicing the presence of God.

Those seminars were obviously the beginning of spiritual formation that is spreading in the SDA Church today. Following are more examples of Maxson’s involvement with spiritual formation.

http://adventist-stewardship.net/article.php?id=153
While the G.C. Stewardship Director, Maxson wrote an article on their website entitled “Renewing Our Minds.” It mentioned two ideas as follows: 1) that “spiritual disciplines are tools of discipleship for nurturing intimacy with God.” Along with Bible reading, prayer, and memorization, he mentions meditation, journaling, and “other such avenues” for practicing devotional skills; 2) to practice the presence of God by developing an awareness of His presence, and that as we do this, we will find our lives transformed.

Steps to Discipleship
http://www.paradiseadventist.org/site/1/docs/S2D_Week_8.pdf
On the Paradise SDA Church website is information on “Steps to Discipleship” with a DVD and study guide written by Maxson. The Week 8 lesson mentions to list the “holy habits” or spiritual disciplines that are easiest and most meaningful to the person. In the previous seven weeks the following “holy habits” were “explored”: “Relational Bible Reading, Prayer, Holy Release [not sure what this is], Practicing the Presence, Journaling, Meditation, Scripture Memorization.” One question asked was “Who has God placed around you that does not know God or is hungering for a deeper walk with God?”

http://www.paradiseadventist.org/article.php?id=54
Under the Resources/Materials section for the Elder’s Peer Discipling Strategy Teaching Material, Maxson states the following ideas:

  • God accepts us “even in our sin.” This is a new theology idea.
  • Self-talk is a “powerful factor in our lives,” so it is “crucial that we bring it to conscious awareness” and it is “usually programmed by our experiences, especially those during our formative years” (a psychology concept).
  • Spiritual disciplines are practical tools and “provide the context for the daily Christian life and growth.”

http://gscadventist.adventistconnect.org/site_data/430/assets/0027/4589/June_Intrasyd.pdf
The Greater Sydney Pastoral Team in Australia met with Maxson for a “day of discipleship resourcing.” Maxson also attended their teachers’ meetings, giving instruction on how schools can use his spiritual formation models of discipleship. He also met with the Conference Stewardship leaders and the Greater Sydney pastoral team to work through a “model of Lordship.” Their team was also introduced to the Steps To Discipleship resource. Quite a few of the Sydney churches will be “incorporating this resource into their plans.” Since the presentations were “a great blessing” to the pastors, they plan to continue to resource their conference for “growing in discipleship.”

http://record.net.au/encounter
In November 2009, the South Pacific Division Record featured an article on the Educational Leaders Conference for SDA teachers in Australia and New Zealand where Maxson spoke. It was explained that “some of his work is at the heart of the Encounter program.” He was booked to come back three times to further discuss his “spiritual formation model” that is part of the Encounter foundational structure that focuses on developing a “relationship with God.” The curriculum is based on a “transformational planning framework.” Five of the SDA secondary schools in New Zealand and Australia experimented with the Encounter program: Northpine Christian College, Lilydale Academy, Christchurch Adventist School and Avondale High School. It was stated that the program is “gathering momentum” and is seen as being a “really powerful way to reach kids” and that it could revolutionize the way the Bible is taught. Teams of teachers were trained on the Encounter program so they could write units for it in order to “engender a strong feeling of ownership.” The first teaching units were to be launched in 2010, with it taking about five years to complete the more than 250 units.

http://adventist.org.au/newsevents/southpacificnews/news_articles/educators_encounter_bible
In November 2008, the SDA South Pacific website quoted Daryl Murdoch, associate national director of Adventist Schools Australia. He stated that the Encounter program “incorporates a well-articulated spiritual formation model with content covering from Prep to Year 10, and has a fresh approach to the teaching of Bible in our schools.” At least ten writers’ workshops were planned for Bible teachers in Australia and New Zealand in 2009.

http://record.net.au/hidden-springs
In June 2009, the Record wrote that Maxson shared with delegates the “spiritual formation model that underpinned Encounter, providing compelling arguments regarding the authenticity of his spiritual formation model.” Murdoch described the curriculum with having “clear focus on spiritual formation.” He further stated that it is a “valuable tool to serve the mission of the church in Australia and New Zealand” and that they must “ensure that a high quality Bible curriculum is available in the near future.”

How tragic that the youth are being led astray with New Age teachings. What a shame that tithe funds are being used for curriculum that is far from high quality.

Pathways
http://roseville22.adventistchurchconnect.org/article.php?id=35
The Roseville SDA Church in California included the “Steps to Discipleship” by Maxson on the home page of their website.

This church also developed a program called “Pathways” to be presented to conference leaders, pastors, and church members in the Northern California Conference and is similar to spiritual direction. A Roseville Pathways Retreat was held in March 2008 at Leoni Meadows, the Northern California Conference camp, and was funded by the Conference and the Pacific Union. It was open to representatives throughout the Union who were interested in learning how to deal with recently baptized members.

The Pathways program was advertised as not only a way to understand the concepts but to “catch the spirit of the special relationships formed between Pathways team members and the newly baptized member” and that the relationship “becomes transformational in the lives of both.” Guests were welcome to join in all the meetings as well as “observe the modeling that happens, and even the intimate bonding between the new member and their Pathways mentor.” It was termed as “a sacred event.” The Roseville leadership team wished to “encourage this type of ministry in as many Adventist Churches as we can.”

The Bible Echo, October 15, 1892

We must study the truth for ourselves; no man should be relied upon to think for us, no matter who he may be or in what position he may be placed. We are not to look upon any man as a perfect guide for us. We are to counsel together, and be subject one to another; but at the same time we are to exercise the ability God has given us to learn what is truth. Each one of us must look to God for divine enlightenment, that we may individually develop a character that will stand the test of the great day.

The goal of Pathways is to “fill a need in the church – turning new converts into a new generation of Adventist leaders” and to equip church members with the “skills necessary to disciple others in the same way Jesus did.” This involves the following: 1) Guiding people to a “spiritual maturity”; 2) Spiritual disciplines that are a “never ceasing passion in Pathways”; 3) Interpersonal skills that are the “pathways that connect ourselves with others” and involves “knowing oneself” and others to bring “wisdom and energy to accomplish our purpose in life”; 4) Mentoring or discipling one person to another “in a bond of love, accountability, learning, and commitment” as the “fastest and most efficient method for growth” and establish “relationships built upon trust, integrity, honesty, commitment and truth.”

Why is the church teaching its members to place so much trust in each other rather than in Christ? This will simply bring them disappointment and troubles, since no one human being can be trusted in comparison to Christ.

Following were classes held by Gordon Arruda and the modeling team during the Sabbath of the weekend retreat:1) The Gift of Presence: “making myself available to another person,” (“the first in a trilogy of what it means to become a sacred companion”) and “personalizing presence” with the Pathways partner and sharing with the group that person’s response about what it was like; 2) The Gift of Hospitality: “making space (or place) for another person in my life, receiving them into my heart, devoting myself to them, where they can be welcome, safe, and heard,” then personalizing and sharing again with the group; 3) The Gift of Dialog: “a mutual exchange of inquiry for the purpose of exploring spiritual truth about God” (“a mutual exploration and discovery benefiting both parties”).

The “presence” is the same as that of mystics that leads away from Christ as the only path to God.

The following information comes from a letter written by one of the Roseville pastors. It was stated that Pathways was designed to 1) teach new converts how to have a devotional life through spiritual disciplines; 2) connect them with a trained church mentor who becomes “their most intimate friend” over the next two years; 3) teach them “the reasons behind what we believe”; and 4) “get them involved in ministry.”

The letter also stated that besides using selected books by Ellen White, they also use books by David Benner, including Sacred Companions, which promotes the teachings of mystics such as Thomas Merton and Thomas Keating. They also mentioned some “mentoring handbooks from a company who specializes in working with church groups.” The handbooks come from Faith-Centered Mentoring and More in Grass Valley, California. It is a division of the Coalition of Counseling Centers Inc. and provides “Christian mentoring and life skills resources.” The staff deals with psychology, fundraising, lecturing, consulting, training, administration, leadership, relationship issues, personal development, and developing “culturally appropriate mentoring programs for executives and emerging leaders.” In the Christ-Centered Mentor’s Handbook, p. 8 it reads: “Keith R. Anderson and Randy D. Reese propose a practical and structured approach to spiritual mentoring which is built on the centuries-old concept of spiritual direction. We see their approach as very compatible with our Christ-centered mentoring.” Under the company’s “Customers” tab, we find the Theological Seminary at Andrews University and Adventist Frontier Missions, along with The Salvation Army, miscellaneous non-SDA churches and organizations, including the Saddleback and Willow Creek megachurches.

iFollow: The Discipleship Resource
http://www.ifollowdiscipleship.org
The November 11, 2010 issue of the Adventist Review included information on the iFollow Discipleship Series for SDAs. It is designed to be used in congregations “to assist people in their pursuit of God” through pastor’s sermons, Bible classes, prayer meetings, seminars, small groups, retreats, training sessions, and discussion groups. The NAD was urged to provide a “discipleship resource that came specifically from the Adventist church” and “reflected more completely the distinctive character of Adventism.” Churches who used “off-the-shelf” discipleship training information from non-SDAs were getting “pushback” from members regarding the content. The iFollow lessons are advertised as a “quality product” to bring “unique value to churches.” Contributors included the Center for Creative Ministry, Mind Over Media, the iFollow Taskforce, and Vervent (NAD Church Resource Center)—leaders in the emerging church movement.

As can be seen in the examples below, the lessons reveal a far different character to what God intended. It is way past time to bring the SDA Church back to where it should be. The iFollow series of book development is an “open-ended process, with more books being added to the list of available titles all the time.” It is being done in order that there will be “no lack of available resources you can use to keep the fire burning.” The fire that needs to be burning is one that would devour the books that teach error. Making matters worse, church leaders are supporting the project, writing for it, and promoting it.

  • An example of a physical prop for illustrating a point included how C. Mervyn Maxwell used a vacuum cleaner from the podium to illustrate that unless we are “connected to our source of power” we can do nothing. The excuse given is that Jesus used illustrations. Where in the Bible does it mention Him using such a distraction when He spoke in the temple?
  • Additional resources:

    • Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds, who is known as a “Zen-master.” (Zen is a school of Buddhism and a word meaning “meditation” or “meditative state.”)
    • Majesty: Experiencing Authentic Worship by S. J. Kidder (teaches spiritual formation at Andrews University).
  • For positioning of the speaker:

    • An “Edgar Bergen” principle is explained as well as who he was. Bergen is most famous for being a ventriloquist in the 1930s as well as a radio performer and an actor.
    • Quoted C. S. Lewis, a man who was involved with the occult. It was explained to “make certain that the audio visual materials you use don’t beckon the audience into a side road.” Those involved in iFollow are in danger of taking a side road that is not the straight and narrow path.
  • George Bernard Shaw is quoted. He was a socialist and an Irish playwright,   mostly in drama and comedy.
  • Under “Identify Your Dominant Learning Style,” there was mention of “role-playing, large body movements” and “taking time for personal contemplation.”
  • For worship team groups, it mentions a praise team and instrumental teams that combine piano, organ, guitar, percussion, etc. and a drama team that provides “creative ways to touch hearts.”
  • Celebrity stories were recommended as illustrations for effective preaching.
  • Under resources for listening skills:

    • John Savage (1996). Listening and Caring Skills in Ministry (NLP).
    • Mention of the 12 step recovery and Alcoholics Anonymous.

The material repeatedly mentions about not “seeking praise from others, but giving praise to God.” First of all, when rock music and drama are performed, it is all about self, not God, and the popular style of “praise” is going to the god of this world.

If the SDA leaders persist in providing the chaff of this world, they should find employment outside of God’s Church.

Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 434

The Lord calls upon His shepherds to feed the flock with pure provender. He would have them present the truth in its simplicity. When this work is faithfully done, many will be convicted and converted by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In April 2002, the Caribbean Union Conference of SDAs had a Women’s Ministry Leadership Certification Program that included Level 1 of communication skills; listening techniques; checking feelings from the past and present, self-disclosure; and awareness of body language. Suggested resources were the Friendship Evangelism Seminar - A Concerned Communications Seminar, Monte Sahlin, Advent Source; Leadership and Development Seminar (LEAD) Consultants, John Savage, Pittsford, NY; and Learning to Care, Ben Maxson, Upper Columbia Conference.

No doubt there will continue to be more SDA versions of discipleship programs developed along with many other unbiblical ideas.

Celebrate Recovery
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_W
For William Wilson, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, spiritualism was a life-long interest. He was also involved with parapsychology, which deals with psychic abilities, life after death, and extrasensory perception (ESP). He also participated in séances using a Ouija board.

Celebrate Recovery was founded in 1991 by Pastor John Baker of Saddleback Church for overcoming addictions with a 12 step program based on “Christian” principles. Not only is modern psychology used but also Eastern meditation is promoted. It is also suggested to openly confess your faults to someone you can trust. Psalm 62:8 tells us to “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.”

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=1196

Contemplatives recognize the meditative Silence–”thoughtless, empty, and void”–that has been simmering in Alcoholics Anonymous since its inception.

...Literally millions of people have already experienced meditation as part of their 12 Step program.

AA’s 11th Step states: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

“Meditation is something that can always be further developed. It has no boundaries, either of width or height,” writes AA co-founder Bill Wilson. This is equally true of 12 Step theology–there are absolutely no boundaries when it comes to defining the “higher power.”

In the Bible, we are clearly told, “I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.” (Isaiah 42:8)

http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20081208054938/http://www.adventistregenerationministries.org
http://www.adventistrecovery.org/article.php?id=29
Adventist Recovery Ministries/Regeneration Ministries (ARM) advertises their ministry as a Christ-centered 12 step recovery program for addictions. This ministry is located at the SDA General Conference headquarters. Unfortunately, it is based on principles from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). It is stated that they encourage membership in AA as well as other 12 step fellowships, such as “The Bridge to Recovery,” which is “confident that, by the time they complete Step 12, they will have experienced a genuine spiritual awakening.” Yet ARM does not “endorse or have any affiliation with any of the organizations.” How can they encourage membership and yet not endorse it? ARM also promotes Ephesians Life Ministries, which is a Christ-centered counseling ministry that combines biblical teachings and modern psychology.

Marvin Moore, editor of Signs of the Times magazine, writes the following in one of his many books:

I’ll never forget the day I lost the last bit of my risk money. I was wired, a nervous wreck, absolutely incapable of concentrating on anything else. I immediately quit trading real money, but it took me several days to settle down emotionally to the point where I could sleep well at night.

In the weeks that followed I spent a good bit of time reflecting on what had happened, especially my emotional frame of mind. Fortunately, for the previous several years I had been fairly diligent in following what is popularly known as a “recovery program.” I had read a lot of recovery literature, attended many Twelve-Step meetings, and made a serious effort to implement the Twelve Steps to recover from my addictions. All of this had taught me a lot about the nature of addiction and its symptoms. And I realized that my response to commodity trading was a classic case study in addictive behavior. In fact, I came to the sobering conclusion that I was an excellent candidate for becoming a full-blown gambling addict! {The Coming Global Crisis, Marvin Moore, Pacific Press Publishing Association, p. 42.}

One of the suggestions in step 5 of the 12 step program is to admit to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. God’s Word reveals the following:

The Faith I Live By, p. 128

Many, many confessions should never be spoken in the hearing of mortals; for the result is that which the limited judgment of finite beings does not anticipate.... God will be better glorified if we confess the secret, inbred corruption of the heart to Jesus alone than if we open its recesses to finite, erring man, who cannot judge righteously unless his heart is constantly imbued with the Spirit of God.... Do not pour into human ears the story which God alone should hear.

Why would SDA Church leaders and members want to promote the 12 step program when it is associated with spiritualism and other non-biblical beliefs and practices? Why not just use the wonderful truths given in the Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy?

Promise Keepers
http://www.promisekeepers.org/home/about/7-promises

  • A non-SDA ecumenical, psycho-spiritual (humanistic psychology), political men’s movement since 1990 that is a mix of truth and error in very deceptive ways.
  • A charismatic movement to bring about union with the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Downplays doctrine for the sake of unity.
  • Emphasis on self-effort by trusting others to keep their shared failings a secret rather than dependence on Christ, since He is unfailing at keeping a promise.
  • Unscriptural feminizing of men and holds a contradictory stand on homosexuality.
  • Promotes secular psychology.
  • Misapplies and misinterprets Scripture.
  • Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper book published by Focus on the Family.
  • Includes a link to “The Road to Jerusalem,” whose vision it is to mobilize the “body of Christ to partner with the Jewish believer for the salvation of Israel, thus the world.”
  • Promise Keepers meetings are promoted in SDA churches and conferences such as Columbia Union, Northern California, Southern California, and the South Australian Conference.

http://absg.adventist.org/2011/1Q/SE/PDFs/EAQ111_04.pdf
With the promotion of the wrong type of confession through Celebrate Recovery, ARM, and Promise Keepers, it is no surprise that the first quarter 2011 Sabbath School lesson number four included a section entitled "Confess Your Sins to Each Other." In reference to James 5:16, the following was stated:

There is an additional interpretation of James’s text, which offers great healing possibilities. Confessing sins, errors, and transgressions to someone you trust brings about emotional healing. Opening up one’s own imperfection to a godly Christian friend will help alleviate the burden of sin. In addition, mutual confession deepens interpersonal relationships. Trusting and being trusted provide the bonding that will make a friendship genuine and lasting. In fact, the entire counseling profession is founded upon the principle that talking is good for the soul.... Following James’s advice not only will alleviate psychological burden but also bring renewed strength to change destructive behaviors. A word of caution though. Although disclosure of committed sins to a close friend may bring much relief, it makes the person vulnerable. There is always the risk that our friend will reveal the confidence to others, and this is destructive to those involved. Most important, we always can confess our trespasses to the Lord in full confidence and with the assured certainty of forgiveness.

Since it is cautioned that there is vulnerability and risk involved, why mention the confession idea to begin with? Additionally, God’s word tells us to be cautious of our words, that most people talk too much.

Proverbs 10:19-21

In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth. The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.

 

Pamphlet 162 7

Too many words that yield no good fruit are spoken.

Top

New Age movement

New Age; New Light; New Spirituality (old-fashioned sorcery/occultism): According to New Agers, this is the Age of Aquarius (Golden Age) when man is supposed to become aware of his divinity and power. The New Age movement is growing in popularity worldwide, as can be seen by the increase of spiritual retreats, yoga studios, etc. One website that provides classes on self-hypnosis, relaxation, guided imagery, and “heart breath” gave the reason that these techniques would reduce stress and help you to feel and live better. Please be aware of the following New Age spirituality and healing practices. These are dangerous and should not be practiced.

  • Acupuncture/Acupressure:

    • Uses the two opposing forces “Yin” and “Yang” within the concept of energy called “Chi” or “life force,” using 24 channels that flow from head to toe and correspond to the anatomy.
    • Uses “triple warmer” and “circulation” that do not fit into anatomy.
    • Works in some cases.
    • Possibly related to hypnosis.
    • Developed from a spiritualistic culture (ancient Chinese medicine).
  • Feng Shui: A Chinese Taoist philosophy and art that teaches about harmonizing the universal flow of the invisible energy force called “chi” into one’s physical surroundings to balance the yin and yang energies (positive and negative effects) and the five elements of earth, water, fire, metal, and wood. It includes positioning objects such as graves, buildings, rooms, and furniture to achieve the maximum harmony and bring good fortune.
  • Heart breath: Heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback training is promoted as a way to teach how to go into deep relaxation by using body-mind awareness techniques. One method is to slow down the breathing and synchronize it as closely as possible with the heart rate, which takes a few weeks to a few months of practice. The reasons given for this technique were that it can help you with stress, depression, insomnia, anxiety, natural birth, high blood pressure, phobias, smoking, jet lag, high altitude climbing, and asthma.
  • Homeopathy vs. allopathy: Allopathy, which is a good practice if not overdone, uses herbal remedies that work differently from the symptom of the disease which is being treated. Homeopathy works the opposite from allopathy. Herbal “remedies” are given that have the same effect as the symptom being treated. The dosage is decreased by repeatedly diluting the “remedy” until the “energy” remains. This is a mystical concept. Herbs can be useful in therapy if caution is used, since there are herbs that are toxic. Pharmaceutical drugs should be avoided as much as possible.
  • Kinesiology:

    • Reinvented in 1963 by George Goodheart, a chiropractor, by combining his study of massage, acupuncture, acupressure, polarity therapy and Kundalini yoga.
    • Involves the “Chi” life force and is closely related to acupuncture and the “aura.”
    • Used to locate “imbalances” in energy fields.
    • Also uses special equipment for diagnosis.
    • Behavioral kinesiology originated with Dr. John Diamond and is based on Eastern mysticism and the “thymus” (an organ in the chest cavity), which he conceived as the gland that controls the energy of the meridians and is closely related to the “chakra” theory. He was also influenced by the word “thymos,” meaning consciousness or the spirit.
  • Martial arts: Here are some reasons why a true Christian would not be involved in this practice:

    • Originated with Zen Buddhism.
    • A form of Eastern practices, especially the "internal styles" such as Tai Chi and Kung Fu. This is especially dangerous, since evil spirits are being invited in to help.
    • Includes meditation and yoga breathing exercises, which provide a false “inner peace” that may lead to demonic activity.
    • Caters to human pride.
    • Associated with violence.
    • Includes competition.
    • “Christian” karate is used by some to spread hate and intolerance toward those who practice other religions and is justified by using it for “evangelism.”
    • There are plenty of good ways to exercise and learn self-discipline rather than through martial arts.
    • Our self-defense is to come from the Bible and praying for protection from holy angels.
  • Pilates: Beware of this method of exercise, since it can mix in New Age ideas practiced in yoga.
  • Polarity therapy: Involves ancient Eastern and alternative medicine ideas, with the concept of a human energy field. It uses touch, verbal interaction, and other methods to supposedly restore and balance the natural flow of energy which is claimed to flow from the universe into the body through the chakras (“force centers”). It is practiced by Hindus and others to re-establish “balance.”
  • Positive thinking:

    • Similar to visualization, guided imagery (see Visualization below), and other forms of self-hypnosis and self-image psychology.
    • The wrong type of positive thinking also includes “possibility thinking,” “positive confession” or “word-faith,” and “positive mental attitude” which teach that you can do anything through the power within you, that no other power is needed because of your “innate potential.”
    • A positive mental attitude obtained from demonic entities.
    • This fast-growing New Age, Charismatic movement involves the teachings of Norman Vincent Peale, Robert Schuller, Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland and others, with the focus on humanistic psychology.
    • The roots of this movement come from the occult and more recently from the Mind Science cults.
    • Linked with the Human Potential Movement (HPM) that developed from the intellectual and social environment of the 1960s and promoted the cultivation of extraordinary potential believed to be in all people. It teaches the potential for experiencing an exceptional quality of life full of creativity and happiness. (Notice later in the chapter the tendency in the emerging church movement for having fun and being creative.) The HPM promoters believe in helping others to release their potential to bring about positive social change. It is linked with the New Age movement and has its roots in humanistic psychology that belittles religion and stresses psychic and mystical development. The HPM also emphasizes philosophy and literature.
    • The Bible tells us that “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Christians have a positive attitude because they trust in God.

The Ministry of Healing, p. 241

Courage, hope, faith, sympathy, love, promote health and prolong life. A contented mind, a cheerful spirit, is health to the body and strength to the soul. "A merry [rejoicing] heart doeth good like a medicine" (Proverbs 17:22).

 

Counsels for the Church, p. 329

They think there is such power in themselves to accomplish great works that they realize no necessity of a higher power. Their principles and faith are “after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

  • Reflexology:

    • Closely related to acupuncture.
    • Based on energy centers of the palm and sole of the foot.
    • Sometimes the diagnosis is accurate.
    • Rooted in the spiritualistic technique of energy-balancing.
  • Reiki: (pronounced ray-key)

    • Means “sacred universal life energy.”
    • Known as palm healing.
    • An ancient form of energy healing in which the practitioner supposedly transfers an increased amount of energy to flow through their palms into the patient by placing their hands on or just above the patient to bring healing of mind, body, and spirit.
    • Divine beings, called astral Reiki guides, sometimes assist in the healing. They lay their hands on the patient’s body alongside the Reiki master. Sometimes the patients can feel the other hands even though they only see one person working on them. The master says a silent prayer for help from the Reiki guides and ends the treatment by silently thanking the guides. This is a form of spiritualism with demon possession.
  • Retreat Centers: Still Point Interfaith Retreat Center (in the mountains of upstate New York) is an example of a New Age retreat center. They advertise it as a place for “solitude, silence, spirituality, diversity, community, living in harmony with the Earth and open to all people.” The term “still point” is interrelated to solitude and silence. It is in a location known as the “Buddhist Belt” because of the many meditation centers operating in that area. These centers are spiritually dangerous to Christians.
  • Right Brain Learning: The right hemisphere of the brain is thought to be the center for creative and intuitive thought. Therefore, New Agers have brought such practices as yoga, meditation, and guided imagery training into churches, schools, hospitals, businesses, etc.
  • Silva Method: A New Age psychological mind control technique with millions of followers worldwide. One of its goals is to teach the method to all students from grade school through college. It is claimed that after the four-day course the student will develop psychic powers through entering an altered state of consciousness (“out-of-body experience”), be able to invite spirit guides to help with problems, and even tap into the minds of other people whether they are alive or have died. The guides lead them to believe that Satan is Christ. The method uses visualization and guided imagery in order to obtain supernatural knowledge, power, and healing. This is known as “shamanism” or witchcraft.
  • Therapeutic Touch/Healing Touch: Based on the occult “chakra” system that supposedly includes seven “energy centers” in the body “aligned with spiritual forces,” with the seventh chakra involving the “God-in-all” view.
  • Values clarification: The New Age movement teaches that values are subjective; you are your own conscience; there are no absolutes, so if it feels good, do it. The Bible teaches that there are absolute truths and laws.
  • Visualization (creative):

    • Also known as “guided imagery,” “positive thinking,” or “imaging.”
    • The releasing of your imagination to a teacher or spirit.
    • Mind control to think out your own reality.
    • Mental concentration and imagining to allow for success; holding mental image of goal.
    • Visualizing images in your mind during meditation of what you want to occur and then expecting it to happen.
    • Demons work through the requests, such as giving advice for becoming a millionaire.
    • Refers to “mind over matter,” an attempt to bring about material change by the power of the mind.
    • Used to imagine energy moving freely through the body for good health.
    • Combining imagery with yoga, massage, or aromatherapy is thought to enhance the effects of those therapies.
    • Used in the arts, sports, business, alternative medicine, religious practices, psychotherapy, self-improvement, and the occult.
  • Yoga:

    • Involves physical and mental disciplines originating from India that include meditation practices in Buddhism and Hinduism.
    • Includes the New Age occult system of breathing techniques that induces altered states of consciousness.
    • A supposed way to become united with the “supreme being” or with the “universal soul.”

The following also form a part of the New Age or occult movement: Alchemy, Aromatherapy, Auras, Auricular Therapy, Ayurveda, Bach Flower Remedies, Biofeedback, Black Box, Body/Mind/Spirit Therapy, Chakras, Chinese Traditional Medicine, Color Therapy, Cranial Sacral Therapy, Crystal Therapy, Divinations, Essential Oils, Magnetic Therapy, Ouija Board, Pendulum use, Purification Therapy, Radionics, Royal Rife Machine, Shiatzu, Soma Body Works, Talismans, Vibrational Medicine, Water Witching, Zapping machine, Zone Therapy, etc. Also beware of any technique that balances or increases vibrations or energies. When it comes to holistic or alternative medicine, always evaluate the method first before allowing it to be used on yourself.

Evangelism, pp. 608-609

The mystic voices that spoke at Ekron and Endor are still, by their lying words, misleading the children of men. The prince of darkness has but appeared under a new guise. The heathen oracles of ages long past have their counterpart in the spiritualistic mediums, the clairvoyants and fortune tellers of today. The mysteries of heathen worship are replaced by the secret associations and seances, the obscurities and wonders, of the sorcerers of our time. And their disclosures are eagerly received by thousands who refuse to accept light from the Word or the Spirit of God. They speak with scorn of the magicians of old, while the great deceiver laughs in triumph as they yield to his arts under a different form.

These Satanic agents claim to cure disease. They attribute their power to electricity, magnetism, or the so-called "sympathetic remedies," while in truth they are but channels for Satan's electric currents. By this means he casts his spell over the bodies and souls of men.

 

Counsels on Health, p. 454

Not a few in this Christian age and Christian nation resort to evil spirits, rather than trust to the power of the living God. The mother watching by the sickbed of her child, exclaims, "I can do no more. Is there no physician who has power to restore my child?" She is told of the wonderful cures performed by some clairvoyant or magnetic healer, and she trusts her dear one to his charge, placing it as verily in the hands of Satan as if he were standing by her side. In many instances the future life of the child is controlled by a satanic power which it seems impossible to break.

 

Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 301

There are many ways of practicing the healing art; but there is only one way that Heaven approves. God's remedies are the simple agencies of nature, that will not tax or debilitate the system through their powerful properties. Pure air and water, cleanliness, a proper diet, purity of life, and a firm trust in God, are remedies for the want of which thousands are dying; yet these remedies are going out of date because their skillful use requires work that the people do not appreciate. Fresh air, exercise, pure water, and clean, sweet premises, are within the reach of all, with but little expense; but drugs are expensive, both in the outlay of means, and the effect produced upon the system.

Pure air, sunlight, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, proper diet, the use of water, trust in divine power,--these are the true remedies. Every person should have a knowledge of nature's remedial agencies and how to apply them. It is essential both to understand the principles involved in the treatment of the sick and to have a practical training that will enable one rightly to use this knowledge.

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Charismatic church services

There is an increase today of the charismatic movement borrowed from Pentecostals. The “holy spirit power” being talked about in most SDA circles comes from feelings, not facts. The following quote describes true Pentecostal energy, not the physical energy, emotions, and feelings displayed today in charismatic services that make one think it is a physical education or dance class instead of a church service.

Gospel Workers (1915), pp. 307-308

The Lord calls for a renewal of the straight testimony borne in years past. He calls for a renewal of spiritual life. The spiritual energies of His people have long been torpid, but there is to be a resurrection from apparent death. By prayer and confession of sin we must clear the King's highway. As we do this, the power of the Spirit will come to us. We need the pentecostal energy. This will come; for the Lord has promised to send His Spirit as the all-conquering power.

Some examples of SDA churches practicing charismatic services are listed below.

Mt. Rubidoux SDA Church, Riverside, California
http://www.mtrubidouxsda.org/index.php
In July of 2010, one church service transpired as follows:

  • Organ jazz played in the background as a pastor shouts a very long prayer. Next was thirty minutes of Pentecostal-style contemporary gospel/praise songs accompanied by organ, keyboard, electric guitar, and drums, while bodies swayed and hands were raised.

Regarding the raising of hands during a worship service, notice the following:

1 Timothy 2:8

I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

What would “wrath and doubting” have to do with literally raising the hands in a worship service? In commenting on 1 Timothy 2:8, the S.D.A. Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, p. 295 states that the lifting up of holy hands is “figurative of a character void of moral defilement” and that “the hands symbolize deeds.”

Psalm 119:48

My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.

Why would we literally lift up our hands to the commandments? The verse is obviously written in figurative speech. Those who raise their hands should instead be folding them in prayer and on their knees in repentance for displeasing God.

The clapping of hands is sometimes referred to as “let’s give the Lord a hand” or “put your hands together for the Lord.” The clapping of today actually brings glory to man not to God. A simple “amen” is appropriate. Many use Psalm 47:1 to excuse clapping during a divine service. “O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.” Does that mean we can also shout during divine service? No. Clapping and shouting do not show reverence in God’s house of worship. Additionally, you will not find clapping as a part of worship in Bible times or even in the recent past of the SDA Church. The Spirit of Prophecy refers to clapping during religious services in the following ways: 1) a snare; 2) causes one to be proud and vain; 3) can stimulate like wine; 4) and can injure a person and influence them to leave the church for the world.

The Review and Herald, December 4, 1894

The applause of men is the food that is relished by the perverted appetite of the Christless soul.

In the Bible, drums (timbrels) were not used in the sanctuary services, only in social gatherings. Please note that there is no reference to drums in the New Testament, because of their association to the common and profane.

  • During offertory and while children ran down the aisle for the children’s story, more jazz played. Special music offered another contemporary song with applause afterwards.
  • The sermon (which lasted an hour and fifteen minutes) started with more organ playing. The pastor paced the floor, used dramatic hand gestures, and spoke in a loud voice. Some humor produced laughing and applause from the congregation. He used only one Bible verse and two Spirit of Prophecy quotes and also suggested that members consult each other about their specific sins in order to overcome the sins. This is not biblical.
  • Another long prayer was offered, then more “praise” singing. They sang, prayed, and preached much about having the Holy Spirit, but when a church holds a Pentecostal-style service, it is not reverent or of the right spirit. With truth and error mixed, it leaves the congregation in confusion.

The modern-type gospel music played in some of the SDA charismatic services is excused away because it is a “cultural” custom. However, it is customary in the U.S. to play rock music, as can be heard in just about every store, business, home, computer, and on radio and television stations. Is that an excuse to use it in the churches? No. God’s true Church is to abide by His Word not the customs of the world. Customs might change, but Bible standards never do. God’s Church cannot let itself be controlled by the latest trends.

Faith and Works, p. 86

While thus depending upon God we shall not be found warring against the truth, but we shall always be enabled to take our stand for the right. We should cling to the teaching of the Bible and not follow the customs and traditions of the world, the sayings and doings of men.

 

The Signs of the Times, October 15, 1894

The fallacies of men have in them no power to sanctify the soul; and the word of God is not to be adulterated with the customs and traditions of the world. "To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."

 

Leviticus 19:30

Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord.

 

Isaiah 6:1-3

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

 

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, pp. 491-499

To the humble, believing soul, the house of God on earth is the gate of heaven. The song of praise, the prayer, the words spoken by Christ's representatives, are God's appointed agencies to prepare a people for the church above, for that loftier worship into which there can enter nothing that defileth.

 The “song of praise” mentioned by Ellen White is not the same as the modern praise songs of today.

(continued from above quote)

From the sacredness which was attached to the earthly sanctuary, Christians may learn how they should regard the place where the Lord meets with His people. There has been a great change, not for the better, but for the worse, in the habits and customs of the people in reference to religious worship. The precious, the sacred, things which connect us with God are fast losing their hold upon our minds and hearts, and are being brought down to the level of common things. The reverence which the people had anciently for the sanctuary where they met with God in sacred service has largely passed away. Nevertheless, God Himself gave the order of His service, exalting it high above everything of a temporal nature.

If some have to wait a few minutes before the meeting begins, let them maintain a true spirit of devotion by silent meditation, keeping the heart uplifted to God in prayer that the service may be of special benefit to their own hearts and lead to the conviction and conversion of other souls. They should remember that heavenly messengers are in the house. We all lose much sweet communion with God by our restlessness, by not encouraging moments of reflection and prayer. The spiritual condition needs to be often reviewed and the mind and heart drawn toward the Sun of Righteousness. If when the people come into the house of worship, they have genuine reverence for the Lord and bear in mind that they are in His presence, there will be a sweet eloquence in silence.

When the minister enters, it should be with dignified, solemn mien. He should bow down in silent prayer as soon as he steps into the pulpit, and earnestly ask help of God. What an impression this will make! There will be solemnity and awe upon the people. Their minister is communing with God; he is committing himself to God before he dares to stand before the people. Solemnity rests upon all, and angels of God are brought very near. Every one of the congregation, also, who fears God should with bowed head unite in silent prayer with him that God may grace the meeting with His presence and give power to His truth proclaimed from human lips. When the meeting is opened by prayer, every knee should bow in the presence of the Holy One, and every heart should ascend to God in silent devotion. The prayers of faithful worshipers will be heard, and the ministry of the word will prove effectual....

When the benediction is pronounced, all should still be quiet, as if fearful of losing the peace of Christ. Let all pass out without jostling or loud talking, feeling that they are in the presence of God, that His eye is resting upon them, and that they must act as in His visible presence. Let there be no stopping in the aisles to visit or gossip, thus blocking them up so that others cannot pass out. The precincts of the church should be invested with a sacred reverence. It should not be made a place to meet old friends and visit and introduce common thoughts and worldly business transactions. These should be left outside the church. God and angels have been dishonored by the careless, noisy laughing and shuffling of feet heard in some places.

No wonder our churches are feeble and do not have that deep, earnest piety in their borders that they should have. Our present habits and customs, which dishonor God and bring the sacred and heavenly down to the level of the common, are against us. We have a sacred, testing, sanctifying truth; and if our habits and practices are not in accordance with the truth, we are sinners against great light, and are proportionately guilty. It will be far more tolerable for the heathen in the day of God's retributive justice than for us....

It is too true that reverence for the house of God has become almost extinct. Sacred things and places are not discerned; the holy and exalted are not appreciated. Is there not a cause for the want of fervent piety in our families? Is it not because the high standard of religion is left to trail in the dust? God gave rules of order, perfect and exact, to His ancient people. Has His character changed? Is He not the great and mighty God who rules in the heaven of heavens? Would it not be well for us often to read the directions given by God Himself to the Hebrews, that we who have the light of the glorious truth shining upon us may imitate their reverence for the house of God? We have abundant reason to maintain a fervent, devoted spirit in the worship of God. We have reason even to be more thoughtful and reverential in our worship than had the Jews. But an enemy has been at work to destroy our faith in the sacredness of Christian worship....

The moral taste of the worshipers in God's holy sanctuary must be elevated, refined, sanctified. This matter has been sadly neglected. Its importance has been overlooked, and as the result, disorder and irreverence have become prevalent, and God has been dishonored....

I am often pained as I enter the house where God is worshiped, to see the untidy dress of both men and women. If the heart and character were indicated by the outward apparel, then certainly nothing could be heavenly about them. They have no true idea of the order, the neatness, and the refined deportment that God requires of all who come into His presence to worship Him. What impressions do these things give to unbelievers and to the youth, who are keen to discern and to draw their conclusions? ...Because of the irreverence in attitude, dress, and deportment, and lack of a worshipful frame of mind, God has often turned His face away from those assembled for His worship.

All should be taught to be neat, clean, and orderly in their dress, but not to indulge in that external adorning which is wholly inappropriate for the sanctuary. There should be no display of the apparel; for this encourages irreverence. The attention of the people is often called to this or that fine article of dress, and thus thoughts are intruded that should have no place in the hearts of the worshipers. God is to be the subject of thought, the object of worship; and anything that attracts the mind from the solemn, sacred service is an offense to Him.

 

Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 351

Everything connected with the apparel and deportment of the priests was to be such as to impress the beholder with a sense of the holiness of God, the sacredness of His worship, and the purity required of those who came into His presence.

 

1 Peter 3:3-4

Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

 

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 500

When a church has been raised up and left uninstructed on these points, the minister has neglected his duty and will have to give an account to God for the impressions he allowed to prevail. Unless correct ideas of true worship and true reverence are impressed upon the people, there will be a growing tendency to place the sacred and eternal on a level with common things, and those professing the truth will be an offense to God and a disgrace to religion. They can never, with their uncultivated ideas, appreciate a pure and holy heaven, and be prepared to join with the worshipers in the heavenly courts above, where all is purity and perfection, where every being has perfect reverence for God and His holiness.

 

My Life Today, p. 286

When the worshipers enter the place of meeting, they should do so with decorum, passing quietly to their seats.... Common talking, whispering, and laughing should not be permitted in the house of worship, either before or after the service. Ardent, active piety should characterize the worshipers.

 

Selected Messages, Book 3, p. 274

I saw that the house of God had been desecrated by the carelessness of parents with their children and by the untidiness and uncleanness there. I saw that these things should meet with an open rebuke, and if there was not an immediate change in some that profess the truth in these things they should be put out of the camp.

 

Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, p. 73

As I returned to Portland, there were evidences of the desolating effects of fanaticism. Some seemed to think that religion consisted in great excitement and noise.

...And Satan loved to have it so. It suited him well to see the truth handled by unsanctified men; to have it mixed with error, and then all together trampled in the dust. He looked with triumph upon the confused, scattered state of God's children.

We trembled for the churches that were to be subjected to this spirit of fanaticism. My heart ached for God's people. Must they be deceived and led away by this false enthusiasm? I faithfully pronounced the warnings given me of the Lord; but they seemed to have little effect....

 

Evangelism, p. 595

A strong phase of fanaticism appeared, calling itself the witness of the Holy Ghost. I was given a message to rebuke this evil work.--Letter 79, 1905.

 

Ibid., pp. 507-508

Music forms a part of God's worship in the courts above. We should endeavor in our songs of praise to approach as nearly as possible to the harmony of the heavenly choirs. I have often been pained to hear untrained voices, pitched to the highest key, literally shrieking the sacred words of some hymn of praise. How inappropriate those sharp, rasping voices for the solemn, joyous worship of God. I long to stop my ears, or flee from the place, and I rejoice when the painful exercise is ended.

Those who make singing a part of divine worship should select hymns with music appropriate to the occasion, not funeral notes, but cheerful, yet solemn melodies. The voice can and should be modulated, softened, and subdued.

 

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 492

The melody of song, poured forth from many hearts in clear, distinct utterance, is one of God's instrumentalities in the work of saving souls. All the service should be conducted with solemnity and awe, as if in the visible presence of the Master of assemblies.

 

Ibid., Vol. 9, p. 143

It is not loud singing that is needed, but clear intonation, correct pronunciation, and distinct utterance. Let all take time to cultivate the voice so that God's praise can be sung in clear, soft tones, not with harshness and shrillness that offend the ear. The ability to sing is the gift of God; let it be used to His glory.

 

Evangelism, p. 510

Some think that the louder they sing the more music they make; but noise is not music. Good singing is like the music of birds—subdued and melodious.

 

Selected Messages, Book 2, pp. 36-38

The things you have described as taking place in Indiana, the Lord has shown me would take place just before the close of probation. Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit never reveals itself in such methods, in such a bedlam of noise. This is an invention of Satan to cover up his ingenious methods for making of none effect the pure, sincere, elevating, ennobling, sanctifying truth for this time. Better never have the worship of God blended with music than to use musical instruments to do the work which last January was represented to me would be brought into our camp meetings.

The truth for this time needs nothing of this kind in its work of converting souls. A bedlam of noise shocks the senses and perverts that which if conducted aright might be a blessing. The powers of satanic agencies blend with the din and noise, to have a carnival, and this is termed the Holy Spirit's working....

Those participating in the supposed revival receive impressions which lead them adrift. They cannot tell what they formerly knew regarding Bible principles.

No encouragement should be given to this kind of worship....

I was instructed to say that at these demonstrations demons in the form of men are present, working with all the ingenuity that Satan can employ to make the truth disgusting to sensible people; that the enemy was trying to arrange matters so that the camp meetings, which have been the means of bringing the truth of the third angel's message before multitudes, should lose their force and influence.

The third angel's message is to be given in straight lines. It is to be kept free from every thread of the cheap, miserable inventions of men's theories, prepared by the father of lies, and disguised as was the brilliant serpent used by Satan as a medium of deceiving our first parents. Thus Satan tries to put his stamp upon the work God would have stand forth in purity.

The Holy Spirit has nothing to do with such a confusion of noise and multitude of sounds as passed before me last January. Satan works amid the din and confusion of such music, which, properly conducted, would be a praise and glory to God. He makes its effect like the poison sting of the serpent.

Those things which have been in the past will be in the future. Satan will make music a snare by the way in which it is conducted.

 

1 Corinthians 14:33

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

 

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, p. 146

I saw that all should sing with the spirit and with the understanding also. God is not pleased with jargon and discord.

 

Selected Messages, Book 3, p. 335

Your voice has been heard in church so loud, so harsh, accompanied or set off with your gesticulations [gestures] not the most graceful, that the softer and more silvery strains, more like angel music, could not be heard. You have sung more to men than to God. As your voice has been elevated in loud strains above all the congregation, you have been thoughtful of the admiration you were exciting. You have really had such high ideas of your singing, that you have had some thoughts that you should be remunerated for the exercise of this gift.

The love of praise has been the mainspring of your life. This is a poor motive for a Christian.
         

Adventist Home, pp. 407-408

They have a keen ear for music, and Satan knows what organs to excite to animate, engross, and charm the mind so that Christ is not desired. The spiritual longings of the soul for divine knowledge, for a growth in grace, are wanting....

The introduction of music into their homes, instead of inciting to holiness and spirituality, has been the means of diverting their minds from the truth. Frivolous songs and the popular sheet music of the day seem congenial to their taste. The instruments of music have taken time which should have been devoted to prayer. Music, when not abused, is a great blessing; but when put to a wrong use, it is a terrible curse. It excites, but does not impart that strength and courage which the Christian can find only at the throne of grace while humbly making known his wants and, with strong cries and tears, pleading for heavenly strength to be fortified against the powerful temptations of the evil one. Satan is leading the young captive. Oh, what can I say to lead them to break his power of infatuation! He is a skillful charmer luring them on to perdition.

 

Selected Messages, Book 3, p. 333

Everything that is connected in any way with religious worship should be dignified, solemn, and impressive. God is not pleased when ministers professing to be Christ's representatives so misrepresent Christ as to throw the body into acting attitudes, making undignified and coarse gestures, unrefined, coarse gesticulations. All this amuses, and will excite the curiosity of those who wish to see strange, odd, and exciting things, but these things will not elevate the minds and hearts of those who witness them.

The very same may be said of singing. You assume undignified attitudes. You put in all the power and volume of the voice you can. You drown the finer strains and notes of voices more musical than your own. This bodily exercise and the harsh, loud voice makes no melody to those who hear on earth and those who listen in heaven. This singing is defective and not acceptable to God as perfect, softened, sweet strains of music. There are no such exhibitions among the angels as I have sometimes seen in our meetings. Such harsh notes and gesticulations are not exhibited among the angel choir. Their singing does not grate upon the ear. It is soft and melodious and comes without this great effort I have witnessed. It is not forced and strained, requiring physical exercise.

 

Messages to Young People, p. 295

Music is the idol which many professed Sabbath-keeping Christians worship. Satan has no objection to music, if he can make that a channel through which to gain access to the minds of the youth. Anything will suit his purpose that will divert the mind from God, and engage the time which should be devoted to His service. He works through the means which will exert the strongest influence to hold the largest numbers in a pleasing infatuation, while they are paralyzed by his power. When turned to good account, music is a blessing, but it is often made one of Satan's most attractive agencies to ensnare souls. When abused, it leads the unconsecrated to pride, vanity, and folly.

 

S.D.A. Church Manual (2005), p. 180

Great care should be exercised in the choice of music. Any melody partaking of the nature of jazz, rock, or related hybrid forms, or any language expressing foolish or trivial sentiments, will be shunned. Let us use only good music in the home, in the social gathering, in the school, and in the church.

It is interesting that the SDA Church does not even enforce everything that is in the manual.

http://www.adventistreview.org/2003-1533/story2.html
Here is an opinion on music from a 2003 Adventist Review article by David Pendleton:

God relishes the vast variety of creation and is eager to accept our worship, whether with pipe organs and candles or tambourines and drums; whether in formal settings with coats and ties and King James English responsive readings, or in informal settings with contemporary drama and aloha shirts. Everything offered up to God in a spirit of genuine worship, authentic praise, and sincere thanksgiving is received with divine favor. The worship of a sincere believer is music to God's ears.

That type of belief system is exactly why God does not accept many of the SDA worship services today. Simply because a believer is sincere does not make him right. A person can be sincerely wrong.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contemporary_Christian_music
Paul Wohlegemuth, who wrote the book Rethinking the Church said that the “1970s will see a marked acceptance of rock-influenced music in all levels of church music. The rock style will become more familiar to all people, its rhythmic excesses will become refined, and its earlier secular associations will be less remembered."

We have certainly seen this change in the churches, sadly, even in the SDA organization. With the majority of the members having partaken of the devil’s music, they are now accepting his religion in the Church or outside the Church, and others have left the organization for no religion at all.

Evangelism, pp. 146-147

We cannot be shepherds of the flock unless we are divested of our own peculiar habits, manners, and customs, and come into Christ's likeness....

The workman for God should make earnest efforts to become a representative of Christ, discarding all uncomely gestures and uncouth speech. He should endeavor to use correct language. There is a large class who are careless in the way they speak; yet by careful, painstaking attention, these may become representatives of the truth. Every day they should make advancement. They should not detract from their usefulness and influence by cherishing defects of manner, tone, or language.

 

The Voice in Speech and Song, pp. 269-271

The minister of God is not to speak words which will create levity....

All lightness and trifling is positively forbidden in the Word of God. His conversation should be in heaven, his words seasoned with grace.

What can the minister do without Jesus? Verily, nothing. Then if he is a frivolous, joking man, he is not prepared to perform the duty laid upon him by the Lord.... The flippant words that fall from his lips, the trifling anecdotes, the words spoken to create a laugh, are all condemned by the Word of God, and are entirely out of place in the sacred desk.

His language should be correct; no slang phrases, no cheap utterances, should fall from his lips.

Ministers cannot be too guarded, especially before the young. They should use no lightness of speech, jesting or joking, but should remember that they are in Christ's stead, that they must illustrate by example the life of Christ....

Flowery discourses will not be sufficient to feed the soul of the famishing child of God.

Some who stand in the pulpit make the heavenly messengers in the audience ashamed of them. The precious gospel, which it has cost so much to bring to the world, is abused. There is common, cheap talk; grotesque attitudes and workings of the features. There is, with some, rapid talking, with others a thick, indistinct utterance.

The messages of truth are to be kept entirely free from cheap, common words of human devising. Thus forcible impressions will be made upon hearts. Let not our ministers cherish the idea that they must bring forth something new and strange, or that cheap, common expressions will give them influence. Ministers are to be the mouthpiece of God, and they must eradicate from their speech every expression that is cheap or common. Let them be careful lest by attempting during their discourse to cause laughter, they dishonor God.

Our message is a solemn and sacred one, and we must watch unto prayer. The words uttered must be of such a character that through them God can make an impression on heart and mind. Let the ministers of the gospel be sanctified through the truth.

 

Evangelism, p. 178

Never weary the hearers by long discourses. This is not wise. For many years I have been laboring on this point, seeking to have our brethren sermonize less, and devote their time and strength to making important points of truth plain, for every point will be assailed by our opponents. Everyone connected with the work should keep fresh ideas; ...and by tact and foresight bring all that is possible into your work to interest your hearers.

 

Gospel Workers (1892), p. 71

Long discourses and tedious prayers are positively injurious to a religious interest, and fail to carry conviction to the consciences of the people. This propensity for speech-making frequently dampens a religious interest that might have produced great results.

 

The Review and Herald, June 23, 1891

To preach in a hard, strained voice, pitched on a high key, is suicidal, and those who have practiced this way of speaking should cease to do it, and learn of the divine Teacher. Several of our ministers might have been alive today if they had observed the simple rules that apply to the use of the voice. Let loud speaking and long discourses cease from among us.

 

Manuscript Releases, Vol. 15, pp. 349-350

Our ministers have not the physical strength to endure the taxation of the vocal organs in this kind of labor. Our ministers should be guarded in regard to preaching long discourses. It is a great tax upon the speaker and a tax upon the people to digest so much matter. Sermons of one half the length would be of far more value than the long sermons usually preached, which are wearing out the strength of the ministers by exhausting efforts that are not necessary.

Is it any wonder that these types of worship services exist when one pastor enjoys praise dancing and the other excelled in football while in high school?

On the Mt. Rubidoux website under “Creative Arts/Ministries” is information on “liturgical dance.” It is stated that the purpose of that ministry exists as a way to minister to God's people in order that souls are saved and lives changed, that they wish to use all the talents God has given, and dancing for the Lord is one talent they want to perfect. In the Bible, dancing is never mentioned as part of divine worship.

Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 707

Again the long train was in motion, and the music of harp and cornet, trumpet and cymbal, floated heavenward, blended with the melody of many voices. "And David danced before the Lord," in his gladness keeping time to the measure of the song.

David's dancing in reverent joy before God has been cited by pleasure lovers in justification of the fashionable modern dance, but there is no ground for such an argument. In our day dancing is associated with folly and midnight reveling. Health and morals are sacrificed to pleasure. By the frequenters of the ballroom God is not an object of thought and reverence; prayer or the song of praise would be felt to be out of place in their assemblies. This test should be decisive. Amusements that have a tendency to weaken the love for sacred things and lessen our joy in the service of God are not to be sought by Christians. The music and dancing in joyful praise to God at the removal of the ark had not the faintest resemblance to the dissipation of modern dancing. The one tended to the remembrance of God and exalted His holy name. The other is a device of Satan to cause men to forget God and to dishonor Him.

 

S.D.A. Church Manual (2005), p. 179

Another form of amusement that has an evil influence is social dancing. “The amusement of dancing, as conducted at the present day, is a school of depravity, a fearful curse to society.”—Messages to Young People, p. 399.

Following is the type of dancing in Scriptures that resembles modern dancing.

Exodus 32:17-19

And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp. And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear. And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.

 

Matthew 14:6

But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.

Another “creative art” used by Mt. Rubidoux is the drama ministry. Their purpose is to minister through dramatic and artistic presentations to enhance connections and stimulate thoughts relevant to important issues in the church and community.

Many use the excuse for drama because of what is stated in Ezekiel 5:1-4 and Jeremiah 32:14-15. The Lord was simply asking the prophets to use certain objects to make a point or to do something constructive, not to act out a drama. While Jesus spoke to the multitudes, He pointed to the flowers as an object lesson. He did not start performing a drama.

Ezekiel 5:1-4

And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber's razor, and cause it to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard: then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the hair. Thou shalt burn with fire a third part in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled: and thou shalt take a third part, and smite about it with a knife: and a third part thou shalt scatter in the wind; and I will draw out a sword after them.   Thou shalt also take thereof a few in number, and bind them in thy skirts. Then take of them again, and cast them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire; for thereof shall a fire come forth into all the house of Israel.

 

Prophets and Kings, pp. 466-469

Laying fast hold on the promises of God, Jeremiah, by means of an acted parable, illustrated before the inhabitants of the fated city his strong faith in the ultimate fulfillment of God's purpose for His people. In the presence of witnesses, and with careful observance of all necessary legal forms, he purchased for seventeen shekels of silver an ancestral field situated in the neighboring village of Anathoth....

Having signed the deeds of transfer and secured the countersignatures of witnesses, Jeremiah charged Baruch his secretary: "Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land." Jeremiah 32:14, 15.

 

The Desire of Ages, p. 582

The cursing of the fig tree [by Jesus] was an acted parable.

 

Manuscript Releases, Vol. 8, p. 264

This land is not to be occupied with buildings except to provide the facilities essential for the teachers and students of the school. This is the school farm. This land is to be reserved as an acted parable to the students. They are not to look upon the school land as a common thing, but as a lesson book which the Lord would have them study. Its lessons will impart knowledge in the spiritual culture of the soul.

The most common excuse given is that the youth cannot be reached today unless the churches use more contemporary methods such as drama mimes, puppets, and clowns. Nowhere in God’s Word are we instructed that in the end times we must use such disgraceful methods in order to attract people to church. Further in Ezekiel 5:11 we read the result of such methods as follows: “Wherefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD; Surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity.” Ezekiel 5:8 tells us “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, am against thee, and will execute judgments in the midst of thee in the sight of the nations.” Of all the denominations on this planet, the SDA Church should know better. It has been given plenty of light and those who do not follow that light will be held accountable.

Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 607

Many urge that by uniting with worldlings and conforming to their customs they might exert a stronger influence over the ungodly. But all who pursue this course thereby separate from the Source of their strength. Becoming the friends of the world, they are the enemies of God.

 

The Great Controversy (1888), p. 463

...church theatricals, church fairs... have banished thoughts of God.

 

This Day With God, p. 359

Let there be no oddities or eccentricities of movement on the part of those who speak the Word of truth, for such things will weaken the impression that should be made by the Word. We must be guarded, for Satan is determined, if possible, to intermingle with religious services his evil influence. Let there be no theatrical display, for this will not help to strengthen belief in the Word of God. Rather it will divert attention to the human instrument.

 

Notebook Leaflets from the Elmshaven Library, Vol. 1, p. 105

Our success will depend on carrying forward the work in the simplicity in which Christ carried it forward, without any theatrical display.

 

Evangelism, p. 137

Not one jot or tittle of anything theatrical is to be brought into our work. God's cause is to have a sacred, heavenly mold. Let everything connected with the giving of the message for this time bear the divine impress. Let nothing of a theatrical nature be permitted, for this would spoil the sacredness of the work.

 

Ibid., p. 396

We are to keep as far from the theatrical and the extraordinary as Christ kept in His work. Sensation is not religion, although religion will exert its own pure, sacred, uplifting, sanctifying influence, bringing spiritual life, and salvation.

 

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9, p. 142

The work in the large cities is to be done after Christ's order, not after the order of a theatrical performance. It is not a theatrical performance that glorifies God, but the presentation of the truth in the love of Christ.

 

S.D.A. Church Manual (2005), p. 179

We earnestly warn against the subtle and sinister influence of the moving-picture theater, which is no place for the Christian. Dramatized films that graphically present by portrayal and by suggestion the sins and crimes of humanity—murder, adultery, robbery, and kindred evils—are in no small degree responsible for the present breakdown of morality. We appeal to parents, children, and youth to shun those places of amusement and those theatrical films that glorify professional acting and actors. If we will find delight in God’s great world of nature and in the romance of human agencies and divine workings, we shall not be attracted by the puerile [foolish] portrayals of the theater.

Why is the SDA leadership not enforcing what is written in God’s Word or even what is in the SDA Church manual? Yes, many are attracted by theatrical performances and contemporary music, but the Holy Spirit does not work through this type of entertainment that destroys a spiritual atmosphere. Can you honestly imagine the heavenly host worshipping with angel actors, clowns, puppets, mimes, drumming and bodies gyrating? No? Then neither should we. Anyone involved in those types of worship activities on this earth would not be happy in the New Earth.

The Signs of the Times, October 13, 1890

Those who have a careless, clownish manner, either in the family or in society, dishonor their divine Lord. Even ministers have thus misrepresented Christ, when in the pulpit they have made a display of theatrical actions and eccentric manners. This is not of God. Eccentricities are sometimes looked upon as virtues by men, but they do not aid in representing Christ. Careless attitudes and irreverent expressions may serve to please men of unrefined tastes, anecdotes may amuse, but the minister who seeks to cater to such tastes has a meager appreciation of the dignity, simplicity, goodness, and loveliness of the character of the divine Lord.

Some of the SDA schools and churches perform Easter plays or show movies in which actors portray Jesus. If we really stop to think about this, it is actually a form of blasphemy. In the past, no one would dare play such a part, but today it is a common occurrence.

Do we really want to be modern Israel dancing around the “golden calf”? Is the SDA Church becoming one big party? What are we celebrating? We should be “sighing and crying” and repenting for falling so low.

http://news.vzw.com/news/2008/11/pr2008-11-03.html
On November 8, 2008, Verizon Wireless named the best American church choir in Atlanta, Georgia during the grand finale of the How Sweet The Sound(SM) competition. The best choirs from eleven cities competed for $45,000 in cash prizes in the finale concert. Two Grammy winners and an award-winning actress served as judges. The choirs with the most votes were invited to perform at some of the “hottest venues” in the country. Some of the regional winners that competed were as follows:

  • Atlanta West Pentecostal Church (Lithia Springs, Georgia)
  • Acme Missionary Baptist Church (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Mt. Rubidoux SDA Church (Riverside, California)
  • New Direction Christian Church (Memphis, Tennessee)
  • Grace Baptist Church (Mt. Vernon, New York)
  • Jubilee Christian Center (San Jose, California)
  • Southern Baptist Church Praise and Worship Center (Washington, D.C.)

The Mt. Rubidoux SDA Church choir performance can be described as “a bedlam of noise” with dancing, hands raised, and hand clapping. It can be viewed at this link: http://www.howsweetthesound.com/media/video_player/2008/21/2008+overall. We can be certain that the “bedlam of noise” today is far worse than in the pioneer days.

http://www.lasierra.edu/index.php?id=1607&print=1
The information that follows comes from the La Sierra University (LSU) website “News & Events” section for April 2009:

Under the direction of Alan Woodson, an LSU alumnus, the 42-member choir won the Los Angeles regionals and performed as the only SDA choir at Atlanta. The members were comprised of Loma Linda and La Sierra alumni and students. They won the Verizon Wireless gospel music contest in Los Angeles before going on to compete at the nationals in Atlanta. Their song, “The Presence of the Lord is Here,” was described as a “toe-tapping combination that started off with an a cappella classical sound” and transitioned into a “hard-hitting gospel rendition with a five-piece band.” At the start of the song, the audience was brought to their feet. Their show “so inspired the choir’s listeners that a competition judge ran up on stage and sang the ending portion of the song with the group.” It must be stated that the presence of the Lord was definitely not at their contests.

S.D.A. Bible Commentary, Vol. 6, p. 1089

We are to use every spiritual nerve and muscle in the contest for the crown of life. No one who does his best will fail in this contest.

The choir members had “prayed God would help them sing their very best. They left the outcome in His hands. God answered their prayers in ways they could not have anticipated and . . . had the opportunity to witness about their Seventh-day Adventist beliefs.” Before the Los Angeles competition, one of the judges “started praising God, and praising God and praising God. You could just feel the Holy Spirit rip through the sports arena. This went on for 25 minutes. . . . The competition turned into a worship service. Our prayers, even before we won, were answered.” The choir prayed that they would “represent the SDA Church well. . . . One judge quipped he wanted to move to Riverside and asked what time Sunday services began at the Mt. Rubidoux church. The question allowed the group to witness about its Seventh-day Adventist beliefs.”

The article stated that the choir’s competition brought it “high profile performance opportunities.” Among other events, they performed for an Oscar gala and Knott’s Berry Farm. Woodson explained that gospel music is “very celebratory” and that is one reason why he loves it. He joined the LSU gospel choir in 1986, the same year it won a McDonald’s Gospel Fest and performed at an ABC television sports special and a wedding for two film stars. At Mt. Rubidoux, Woodson also leads a worship team, a children’s choir, youth choir, chorale, six praise teams, a drama department, a praise dance group, etc. Each year he also organizes “Soulful Messiah” concerts with well-known gospel artists and has served for six years as the church’s minister of creative music and arts. The article ends with this statement by Woodson: “I knew it was God’s plan I should be doing this.”

What a shame that those involved in this type of gospel music truly believe it is God’s music and that they are witnesses for Him. The first clue should have been when the judge mistook them for Sunday-keepers. If they do not reform their ways, they will certainly become Sunday worshipers.

Madison Mission SDA Church, Alabama
http://www.madisonmission.net/index.html
A typical worship service includes a large group on the podium who spend much time in singing (usually one hour) of contemporary gospel/praise music, with clapping, shouting, raising of hands, facial grimacing, and bodies swaying. Some in the congregation will stand up at different times to sway and raise their hands during the music which plays continually during the preliminaries. You also might see individuals prostrating themselves on the floor. The pastor paces the podium during his sermon, while shouting frequently and using many hand gestures. The service may include a dramatic skit.

Selected Messages, Vol. 3, p. 333

Many have attended the meetings and listened to the words of truth spoken from the pulpit, which have convicted and solemnized their minds; but many times the way the singing has been conducted has not deepened the impression made. The demonstrations and bodily contortions, the unpleasant appearance of the strained, forced effort has appeared so out of place for the house of God, so comical, that the serious impressions made upon the minds have been removed.

In 2000 the church opened its 14,000 square foot facility for its 2,000 worshipers. Thousands attended the five-day opening exercises and celebrated with worship, drama, concerts, sports, and community activities. They are currently constructing a building for youth ministry and education. There are also plans to construct a 4,500 seat worship facility and a food and fellowship court. They are proud about departing from "the beaten path" and believe they have raised up a congregation for such a time as this. It is stated that they rejoice as a community of redeemed people, as a community of faithful soldiers, as a community of wounded healers, as a community of saints blessed because of the Spirit of the Lord. They do not realize that it is the spirit of Satan, not the Lord. They may soon be involved in such Pentecostal practices as speaking in tongues.

Counsels on Health, p. 225

Never are we to rely upon worldly recognition and rank. Never are we, in the establishment of institutions, to try to compete with worldly institutions in size or splendor. We shall gain the victory, not by erecting massive buildings, in rivalry with our enemies, but by cherishing a Christlike spirit--a spirit of meekness and lowliness. Better far the cross and disappointed hopes, with eternal life at last, than to live with princes and forfeit heaven.

 

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8, p. 244

Many of the members of our large churches are doing comparatively nothing. They might accomplish a good work if, instead of crowding together, they would scatter into places that have not yet been entered by the truth. Trees that are planted too thickly do not flourish. They are transplanted by the gardener, that they may have room to grow, and not become dwarfed and sickly. The same rule would work well for our large churches. Many of the members are dying spiritually for want of this very work. They are becoming sickly and inefficient. Transplanted, they would have room to grow strong and vigorous.

 

In Heavenly Places, p. 299

In large churches of believers... there is special danger of lowering the standard. Where many are gathered together some are more liable to grow careless and indifferent than they would be if isolated and made to stand alone.

 

Selected Messages, Book 2, pp. 34-36

There was much excitement, with noise and confusion. One could not tell what was piped or what was harped.... Others were jumping, dancing, and shouting.... This they repeated again and again. I bore my testimony in the name of the Lord, placing His rebuke upon these manifestations....

There is nothing in these demonstrations which will convince the world that we have the truth. Mere noise and shouting are no evidence of sanctification, or of the descent of the Holy Spirit....

The Lord desires to have in His service order and discipline, not excitement and confusion.... Excitement is not favorable to growth in grace, to true purity and sanctification of the spirit.

God calls upon His people to walk with sobriety and holy consistency. They should be very careful not to misrepresent and dishonor the holy doctrines of truth by strange performances, by confusion and tumult.... When believers speak the truth as it is in Jesus, they reveal a holy, sensible calm, not a storm of confusion.

 

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, pp. 505-506

Eternal things have little weight with the youth. Angels of God are in tears as they write in the roll the words and acts of professed Christians. Angels are hovering around yonder dwelling. The young are there assembled; there is the sound of vocal and instrumental music. Christians are gathered there, but what is that you hear? It is a song, a frivolous ditty, fit for the dance hall. Behold the pure angels gather their light closer around them, and darkness envelops those in that dwelling. The angels are moving from the scene. Sadness is upon their countenances. Behold, they are weeping. This I saw repeated a number of times all through the ranks of Sabbathkeepers, and especially in -----.

 

Selected Messages, Book 3, p. 332

It is not safe for the Lord's workers to take part in worldly entertainments. Association with worldliness in musical lines is looked upon as harmless by some Sabbathkeepers. But such ones are on dangerous ground. Thus Satan seeks to lead men and women astray, and thus he has gained control of souls. So smooth, so plausible is the working of the enemy that his wiles are not suspected, and many church members become lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.

 

The Faith I Live By, p. 242

Musical talent too often fosters pride and ambition for display, and singers have but little thought of the worship of God.

 

Evangelism, pp. 510-512

There is nothing more offensive in God's sight than a display of instrumental music when those taking part are not consecrated, are not making melody in their hearts to the Lord....

Their heart is gone "after their idols."

 

Creeping Compromise, Joe Crews, Homeward Publishing, Yorba Linda, CA, 2008, pp. 89-91

By operating through the thalamus, Satan bypasses the mental and spiritual barricades of intelligent reason, and enters the citadel of the mind—the great control center of all human decisions and action. There, in the mind, Satan has the equipment to translate sensual musical impressions into physical action. Through the telegraphic network of nerves reaching every part of the body, he can communicate the appropriate commands to act in accordance with the emotional stimuli of the music.

...there are some broken-meter, harmonic dissonances in the melodic line which are completely out of harmony with natural body rhythms. Such is the typical, insistent tempo of rock-and-roll music.

He [Satan] has been delighted to manipulate the lives of unconverted young people through rock music, but he is even more delighted when he can intrude his mind-bending, hypnotic music into the church. By his age-old program of gradualism, he has managed to break down the fine sense of discrimination.... Any mingling of spiritual and carnal brings a reproach upon the people who are chosen to proclaim God’s last warning message.

The Holy Spirit also works gradually with individuals, but He uses truth. When the devil works gradually with individuals, he uses truth and error.

As an introduction to the following quotes, the author spent over 16 years as a professional rock and roll musician in Europe and Africa. After his return to the Lord, he did extensive research on music and its effects.

From Rock ‘N Roll to Rock of Ages, Brian S. Neumann, Southern Africa, 1997, p. 56

Take a look at this recent statistic that was printed in the Sunday Times, 30th March, 1997 under the heading, “RHYTHM AND BLUES.”

p. 61: Musicians are more twitchy than violin strings, says a report from the British Performing Arts Trust. It found that two out of three musicians suffered rapid heart beat, sweating hands, muscle tension, trembling, shaking, loss of concentration and breathing problems. They are also anxious, depressed and suffer from joint pain, deafness and ‘disobedient fingers.’ One in five are on permanent medication.

p. 67: Rolling Stone Magazine, rock’s foremost magazine, proudly noted in its 20th anniversary TV special: It’s not just an exaggeration to say that rebellion is more than just an occasional theme in rock, it is its very heart and soul....

p. 75: From here [1950s] on the world embraced the key element of jazz and blues, the beat. On this rhythmic foundation was built the skyscraper of all our modern popular forms of music.

Nothing would ever be the same again....

It is interesting that it was in the 1950s that the SDA organization made its fatal mistake with the publication of the book Questions on Doctrine.

In his book, Brian Neumann also discusses the following facts on well-known rock and roll musicians:

Little Richard stated that this kind of music is demonic, taken from the Voodoo drums, drives people from Christ, and is contagious. Elvis Presley was addicted to drugs and was involved in the occult, as are many in this industry, including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and many other musicians today. David Bowie stated that “rock ‘n roll” is dangerous, will bring about the “dark era,” and has always been the devil’s music.

Ibid., p. 91

Read any well researched book about the history and origins of the rock ‘n roll beat with its syncopated rhythm, that places the accent on the offbeat in the 4/4 time (march beat), and they will all tell you that the roots of this rhythmical style are derived from the beat of the ritual Voodoo dance’s of Africa. The key to its effectiveness lies in constant repetition, which research has shown has a hypnotic effect on those who are exposed to it for extended periods.

p. 92: What about rap, techno, house music and some of the so called newer modes of pop; do their styles of rhythm fall into the same category as the traditionally accepted Rock ‘n Roll beat? My categorical reply would be, most definitely, yes!

The music today that most closely resembles the Voodoo ritual dance music is rap and some of its hybrid forms.... The music becomes the hypnotic tool and once under its spell, the mind is left wide open to receive the messages that demons want to implant in their subconscious.

p. 93: Whether we like it or not, the ingredients that make a Voodoo ritual ceremony such a Satanic success are the very same ones that keep the churches of dance and vice so rich and thriving today. No true child of God will be found in their association.

 

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/voodoo

Voodoo: A religion practiced chiefly in Caribbean countries, especially Haiti, syncretized from Roman Catholic ritual elements and the animism and magic of slaves from West Africa…. To place under the influence of a spell or curse; bewitch.

 

1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

What about the lyrics of “Christian rock”? Are those all right? According to Neumann, one song, as an example, contains a “garble of mumblings” in the bridge section of the song.

1 Corinthians 14:9

So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.

The lyrics of most modern praise music today lack spiritual depth and are nothing but vain repetition. Often the singers can be seen swaying back and forth to the music, grimacing and using much hand movement. This tends to bring attention to the person rather than to God. Additionally, most vocalists today are trained to sing in a “bar room” style of voice with a breathy sound rather than the soft, low tone of the past. Christian rock music is not sacred and certainly not Christian. In fact, it is worse than secular music because it blasphemes God. Putting Christian words to demonic music does not make it alright.

You may be wondering what type of music is good. Neumann gives some steps which you may wish to follow.

  • Pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
  • Then you will “discern whether the music you are listening to has a spiritually uplifting effect, or whether it has a rebellious or even depressive effect,” even in classical music. “Our music should sound as pure and heavenly as possible.”
  • If the music contains lyrics, be sure they are biblically sound and do not “insinuate a false spiritual message.”
  • The vocalist and musician should be focused on Christ not self.

The Signs of the Times, January 16, 1879

Satan had led the heavenly choir. He had raised the first note, then all the angelic host united with him, and glorious strains of music had resounded through Heaven. But now, instead of strains of sweetest music, discord and angry words fall upon the ear of the great rebel leader.

Since Satan was once the music director in heaven, it is logical to conclude that music would be an area where his deceptive skills would be honed to a very sophisticated level. It is also reasonable to conclude that his influence and skills would not be limited to composers of “worship” music. Many composers have written music for special events, ranging from a celebration of the end of a war (Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks) to the Olympic Games (John Williams’ theme music). Since many composers have explored the gamut of real and imaginary life in their music, it is difficult to say that a composers' work is all good or all evil. For example, Mendelssohn wrote A Midsummer Night's Dream about the love affair between a woman and a half man, half donkey, as well as the glorious oratorio, Elijah.

Carelessness in the selection of our music can provide Satan with a powerful tool into our brain and soul. We cannot assume that a piece is good just because it is classical. (Contrast the gloriously reverent style of Handel’s Messiah with Ramirez’ setting of parts of the mass to dance tunes, called Misa Criolla. The Andrews University Singers use excerpts from both in their CD titled, “Let the People Praise!”).

Discerning appropriate music will also involve the following questions and research:

  • Why was this composition written? What was the original purpose? For example, The SDA Hymnal includes national anthems and folk tunes. Does the fact that the compilers included them necessarily make them appropriate to sing as we worship God?
  • What type of person was the composer? Was he someone whose life lent itself to inspiration from God or from the evil one?
  • What is the theme or focus of the music? Does it bring glory to God? If the music has words, discernment may be simpler.
  • What type of rhythm does it have? Music in 2/4 and 4/4 time (march rhythm) tends to be straightforward and positive, like our heartbeat. Music in 3/4, 3/8, 6/8, etc., tends to be dance or waltz-like. A good deal of modern music has been written in odd or unusual time signatures (syncopated), such as 5/7, which are alien to the body's innate rhythm.
  • What effect does it have on me?  Examples include: Does it lift my spirits or depress me? Does it remind me of heavenly things or make me want to dance? Is it soothing or irritating? Does it make me want to get work done or make me lazy? Is it educational or vain repetition?

Colossians 3:16

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

 

Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 594

Music forms a part of God's worship in the courts above, and we should endeavor, in our songs of praise, to approach as nearly as possible to the harmony of the heavenly choirs.

On p. 137 of his book, Neumann commends Kenneth Wood, a past editor of the Review and Herald, for his article written on January 20, 1972, entitled “Take these things hence.”

Christian parents and church leaders do young people a gross disservice when they blur the distinction between acceptable and non acceptable music, and condone a low quality of music and performance within the context of the church, ‘to keep the young people in the church.’ What a heavy responsibility they will carry for permitting their youth to enjoy sin without guilt.

Neumann concludes with the following appeal on p. 139:

No Christian should be led to believe that in order to reach the world with music, it is necessary to play its music. Music does not convert people, it is the power of God’s Spirit that convicts and converts the soul. It is the Christians duty to always present the higher standard. Do not, for one moment, think that you can assist the Holy Spirit in His work by mixing the sacred with the profane. The ground which you will be treading on will be dangerous ground, fraught with evils that you will not be able to control. Our command is to be separate, a royal priesthood, presenting the pure to a world lost in sin.

As the style of music worsened, the music that came before was not so bad. The wrong type of music—from waltzes to rock, rap, etc.—crept in gradually to ensnare even church members and to destroy their taste for heavenly music.

Bellfort SDA Church, Houston, Texas
http://www.bellfortsda.org
In 2009 during Sabbath worship, Pastor Joe Grider was shown in photos wearing a robe decorated with what resembles Maltese or Iron crosses. The Maltese cross is the symbol of the Knights of Malta, an order of “Christian” warriors, which originated from the Order of Malta. The Order of Malta is a Masonic Order, closely associated with the Masonic Knights Templar, which is affiliated with Freemasonry, a secret society that is condemned by God. Iron crosses have represented the military, especially in Germany where it was made popular by Adolf Hitler in World War II. Why would an SDA pastor represent himself in such attire? We are not suggesting that Grider is associated with a secret society or fascism. However, the wearing of robes by SDA charismatic pastors during worship services is becoming common practice. One reason given by a pastor’s wife was that her husband would sweat too much and it ruined his suits. Is it just a coincidence that these robes, which resemble Catholic priests’ attire, are coming in at the same time as the emerging church movement?

Activities in this church included an International Day Celebration, another practice becoming popular. Drama was also included as part of the church routine.

Celebration Center SDA Church, Redlands, California
http://www.celebrationcenter.net
Andy McRae is the current pastor. Besides the usual worship services with Christian rock, hand raising and drama, they also promote the 12 step Celebrate Recovery program.

http://celebrationcenter.net/index.php?nid=146550&s=gl&media_id=434034&showMedia=v
On October 30, 2010, Pastor McRae officiated in a communion service with a dimly lit room and dramatic lighting on the platform. The communion table included lit candles. Part of the communion sermon included a thanksgiving prayer, a practice performed in Orthodox churches. McRae then stated in prayer in reference to the communion emblems: “These gifts of bread and wine, make them to be for us the body and blood of Christ.” An emblem is a representation that functions as a symbol. John 6:53 states, “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” “Eating Christ’s flesh” and “drinking His blood” is symbolic for taking in God’s Word, depending on it for spiritual food and drink, just as we depend on food and drink for physical life. If that verse was literal, then all those who do not partake in communion would not be alive, since the verse states that unless you partake, “ye have no life in you.” The church members also came forward to receive the emblems, which is a standard procedure for receiving the Eucharist during Catholic mass.

When Steve Daily previously pastored this church, the Events section featured an announcement about the Celebration Center hosting the Great Awakening Tour (April 17-24, 2009) with evangelist Eric Gonyon. It was advertised as a “radical campaign to REACH a radical generation” with the “life-changing message” of Christ. It was also stated that in almost two years almost 25,000 individuals were trained on how to reach communities with the gospel and that over 712,000 people made decisions for Christ. While the revival team is on the road, Eric Gonyon is the administrative assistant to Rodney Howard-Browne. You can find much of his tour activities at http://www.youtube.com. He can be seen doing “faith healings” and together with Kenneth Copeland as they are both involved in speaking in tongues and holy laughter. Under the “Kingdom Adventism” section below, notice what Pastor Daily says regarding “holy laughter.”

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, p. 414

Some of these have much to say upon the gifts and are often especially exercised. They give themselves up to wild, excitable feelings and make unintelligible sounds which they call the gift of tongues, and a certain class seem to be charmed with these strange manifestations. A strange spirit rules with this class, which would bear down and run over anyone who would reprove them. God's Spirit is not in the work and does not attend such workmen. They have another spirit.

http://www.revival.com/revival.xhtml
This website shows the Great Awakening Tour statistics. As of August 2010, the “tour soul count” was at about 1,166,000 and the “global soul count” at about 4,436,000.

One of the beliefs of Revival Ministries International (a part of The Great Awakening) is that the love of Christ should be the primary message of the Christian church and should take precedence over all theological or denominational differences. This is the same emphasis on ecumenism that is being seen more and more even in the SDA Church. Yes, the love of Christ is primary but there is more to the gospel than that. It is only part of the “picture.”

This website includes photos of a Great Awakening Tour in Argentina in November 2010. It shows not only individuals with their hands raised but some lying on the floor who have been “slain in the spirit.” It is obviously not the Holy Spirit, but demon possession. This is the direction SDAs are headed if they continue with celebration services. These methods are being directed by Satan himself to prepare fundamental Christians to accept him when he impersonates Christ.
http://www.revival.com/day-2-pm-service-in-salta-argentina.2865.1.htm

The following website shows that the Celebration Center SDA Church is listed with the Southeastern California Conference of SDAs.
http://www.adventistdirectory.org/searchresults.aspx?&Search=Celebration%20Center%20SDA%20Church&EntityType=C&SortBy=0

Kingdom Adventism
http://kingdomadventism.com
2009 and 2010: Steve Daily is currently the senior pastor of the Kingdom Life Fellowship in Redlands, California. While Kingdom Life Fellowship is not part of the SDA organization, it is described below to show the progression that takes place with Daily moving from university chaplain and faculty member at La Sierra University to the Celebration Center SDA Church (with the Southeastern California Conference of SDAs) to the Kingdom Life Fellowship. He states that his “kingdom congregation” is committed to help bring renewal to the SDA Church. His “church” includes a membership of interdenominational Christians not associated with the SDA Church. They emphasize “expressive worship,” the gifts of the Spirit, and an openness to other churches. He has ministered in the SDA Church for over 30 years as a pastor, licensed psychologist, author, university chaplain and a faculty member at La Sierra University. He has called for a more open Adventism that moves beyond sectarian claims of being the “remnant church” to embrace other Christians in a Christ-centered and Spirit-filled kingdom mentality. Daily received his BA plus an MA in History at Loma Linda University, an M.Div. from Andrews University, a D.Min. from Claremont School of Theology, and a Ph.D. in psychology from Alliant University. He wrote the book Adventism for a New Generation as well as other books and has shared his beliefs in more than 40 countries.

Daily calls himself a “Kingdom Adventist.” He believes that denominationalism is divisive and has taken a toll on the “Body of Christ” and he minimizes creeds and loyalties. He believes Ellen White did not “have it all right,” that she has “devotionally blessed us” but that she must be tested by the Bible.

Counsels for the Church, pp. 93-94

It is Satan's plan to weaken the faith of God's people in the Testimonies....

The gifts are next questioned; then, of course, they have but little weight, and instruction given through vision is disregarded. Next follows skepticism in regard to the vital points of our faith, the pillars of our position, then doubt as to the Holy Scriptures, and then the downward march to perdition. When the Testimonies, which were once believed, are doubted and given up, Satan knows the deceived ones will not stop at this; and he redoubles his efforts till he launches them into open rebellion, which becomes incurable and ends in destruction. By giving place to doubts and unbelief in regard to the work of God, and by cherishing feelings of distrust and cruel jealousies, they are preparing themselves for complete deception. They rise up with bitter feelings against the ones who dare to speak of their errors and reprove their sins....

If you lose confidence in the Testimonies you will drift away from Bible truth. I have been fearful that many would take a questioning, doubting position, and in my distress for your souls I would warn you. How many will heed the warning?

Daily also stated that through the “radical grace” of God we will know that all our past, present, and future sins have been forgiven. His ministry includes “prophecy,” “delivering those who are demon-oppressed or possessed,” and is open to the “gifts of the Spirit” including “tongues” with emphasis on the discernment of these gifts. Sadly, this pastor is trying to deliver others from demon-possession when he is inviting demons himself. He also believes in the type of “tongues” known as “glossolalia,” which is unintelligible gibberish or a meaningless jumble of sounds or writing. How does this benefit anyone? “Xenoglossy” or “xenoglossia” is the type of “speaking in tongues” through the Holy Spirit, in which a person is suddenly able to speak or write a foreign language which they never learned. This enables a person, when necessary, to share the gospel to those of a different language.

The Acts of the Apostles, p. 39

"And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." [Acts 2:3-4] The Holy Spirit, assuming the form of tongues of fire, rested upon those assembled. This was an emblem of the gift then bestowed on the disciples, which enabled them to speak with fluency languages with which they had heretofore been unacquainted.

 

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, p. 412

Fanaticism, false excitement, false talking in tongues, and noisy exercises have been considered gifts which God has placed in the church. Some have been deceived here. The fruits of all this have not been good. "Ye shall know them by their fruits." Fanaticism and noise have been considered special evidences of faith. Some are not satisfied with a meeting unless they have a powerful and happy time. They work for this and get up an excitement of feeling. But the influence of such meetings is not beneficial. When the happy flight of feeling is gone they sink lower than before the meeting because their happiness did not come from the right source.

The most profitable meetings for spiritual advancement are those which are characterized with solemnity and deep searching of heart, each seeking to know himself and, earnestly and in deep humility, seeking to learn of Christ.

After the Great Awakening Tour, Daily stated that he was “totally impressed with Rodney Howard-Browne and his church,” because of his “truly mind-boggling” level of anointing. While sitting next to him at the minister’s luncheon, he was told about a “powerful prophetic word” for the Celebration Center and the SDA Church. Following is what Daily recalled as best he could: That God is pleased with his interdenominational spirit as His servant and that God is going to use him to “raise up an army in his church and in the Adventist denomination” that will give the true gospel and “release His Holy Spirit with fire,” resulting in many souls for years to come. Howard-Browne had Daily give his testimony before television cameras of “what God had done” in his church and community through the Great Awakening Tour. When Howard-Browne prayed over him, Daily states that he “felt a powerful move of God” that allowed him “to experience holy laughter to the greatest degree” at this point. He stated that because he is of Northern European descent that he is not one who “manifests easily” because he suffers from “emotional constipation.” However, he believes that “move of God was powerful” and it will “release” him into a “greater boldness” in his “street ministry.” This information resembles a false latter rain and shows how close we are to the final events of earth’s history. Tragically, he is setting himself up to very easily become a Sunday-keeper.

Daily has written about 15 books, including Adventism for a New Generation. The foreword to the book was written by Tony Campolo (a non-SDA who is a forerunner in the evangelical emerging church movement). He states that “it is the best book” he has read that explains Adventism. Lynn Mallery (former President of Southeastern California Conference of SDAs) says that Daily’s book addresses the concerns of how to meet the needs of the younger generations. Yet Daily’s methods and beliefs will take the youth further from Christ at the peril of their salvation. Randal Wisbey (president of La Sierra University) finds Daily’s “application of SDA theology” of current issues “extremely helpful and insightful” and that he writes with the “eyes of a prophet.” It is also recommended by Desmond Ford (“new theology” advocate), William Loveless (former pastor of Loma Linda University Church and founder of the Adventist Student Mission program), Gary Swanson (Editor, Collegiate Quarterly), V. Baily Gillespie (coordinator for Valuegenesis Research Project), as well as Don Hawley (a former SDA who wrote a book against Ellen White and a former employee for the SDA General Conference Health Department).

Some of Daily’s beliefs as stated in his book include the following: It is not essential for us “in general” to agree about “what is right or wrong concerning homosexuality”; after dating for quite some time, couples should discuss “their convictions and sexual boundaries” and that “sexual exploration and experimentation before marriage should respect these boundaries”, that they should enjoy themselves “in a guilt-free balance within those boundaries”; that the “belief that fallen human beings can perfectly keep God’s law is also declared to be a lie in Scripture”; and that we have no right to make ourselves “moral policemen for other Christians.”

On the subject of homosexuality, even though the SDA Church officially does not approve of it or same-sex marriage, SDA churches fall far short of disfellowshipping those who practice or promote it, especially if they are in leadership positions. Some are even baptized while practicing this sin.

It is obvious from the Bible that homosexuality is a sin and that God did not create us that way. It is not in the genes. That is an excuse made to condone the practice. God created man and woman (Adam and Eve) and told them to be fruitful and multiply. Satan has counterfeited true marriage. If homosexuals do not believe in the Bible, it is hard for them to believe that being a homosexual is a sin. However, it is something they chose and can only be overcome through the power of God when they repent and ask for help, just as with any other sin. Environmental influences play a large role in homosexual orientation, but a relationship with Christ can keep a person from giving in to those tendencies.

Each person is of value to God and He wants all to repent and follow Him. It is our Christian duty to encourage others to overcome sin. However, if they do not accept our help, we must move on to those who do. The verses below show us what God’s Word teaches about this type of relationship.

Leviticus 18:22

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

 

Leviticus 20:13

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Jesus states the following to show God’s ideal for marriage (one male and one female):

Mark 10:6-8

But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.

 

Romans 1:26-27

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

 

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

 

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Effeminate

Effeminate: (of a man or boy) displaying characteristics regarded as typical of a woman; not manly.

The following verses give sinners hope when they repent and ask for help.

1 Corinthians 6:11

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

 

John 8:31-32

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

 

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Following are descriptions of some of the graphics that have been on Daily’s website:

  • The congregation with most raising their hands during the service and in very casual dress, including faded jeans, shorts, or flip-flops.

Child Guidance, p. 531

Many need instruction as to how they should appear in the assembly for worship on the Sabbath. They are not to enter the presence of God in the common clothing worn during the week.... While we should not conform to worldly fashions, we are not to be indifferent in regard to our outward appearance. We are to be neat and trim, though without adornment. The children of God should be pure within and without.

  • A worship music team with drums, etc.
  • Worshipping with flags.
  • A performing dance ministry, including teen dancers.
  • Prayer for “deliverance” and a laying on of hands for a person lying on the floor.
  • Children stand with raised hands and lead out with flags and dance.
  • A large group on the platform rebukes the “religious spirit” with lots of drama.
  • A couple participates in a “miracle meal” (a new form of communion) while standing, facing each other, holding hands and each holding a large cup of drink.
  • A beach baptism with Daily and a bikini-clad girl in the water.

Daily includes a link to his daughter’s church where she is the pastor at Lone Tree Community Church (Lone Tree, Colorado), which worships similarly to his church.

Tragically, Daily and his daughter are just two more deceived into ecumenism and the charismatic movement. One page on Daily’s website had the following title. “Photos from The Kingdom: Our Role in the Latter Rain.” The latter rain will never fall on those who promote the devil’s tactics.

Kingdom Life Fellowship, Redlands, California
http://www.kingdomlifefellowship.net/index.html
Steve Daily, the senior pastor, stated that he is on “spiritual overload” from all that “God is doing.” He shares how he spent a “powerful weekend” at his daughter’s church to preach and saw God’s Spirit working powerfully with her kingdom congregation. There were at least 17 groups around the country in just two weeks who showed an interest in working with his church and Kingdom Adventism. He also shared that the Lord gave him a new topic for Easter weekend entitled “Holy Levitation!” and encouraged his members to “celebrate Resurrection weekend with a bang!” (written March 2010).

The website also strongly emphasizes “small groups and weekly fellowship,” which uses contemplative prayer practices, etc.

Kingdom Kids: According to the “children’s pastors,” children are nurtured in a safe environment through prayer, relationships and worship through song/dance, creative arts, and “other expressions of the heart.” They explained that through “uninhibited worship” they discover what it means in the Bible to be “at rest”—a place “where God can work His power” through them “in healing, deliverance, and miracles.”

Yes, God can work through people in healing, deliverance, and miracles but not when they are involved with those things not taught in God’s Word.
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charismatic_Adventism#cite_note-108
It is interesting to note that Wikipedia states how Adventist churches with “charismatic leanings have been controversial,” and that some have left the denomination. One author states that the first celebration churches in the early 1980s were the New Life Celebration church in the Portland, Oregon area; the Celebration Center in Colton, California; the Hillview Church near Avondale College in Australia; the Buffalo Church in the New York Conference; and the Cherrybrook church in Sydney—the first in Australia.

Many today believe that the following Spirit of Prophecy quote gives us license to have loud and entertaining worship services and parties.

Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 371

Shall we not keep holy festivals unto God? Shall we not show that we have some enthusiasm in His service? With the grand, ennobling theme of salvation before us, shall we be as cold as statues of marble? If men can become so excited over a match game of cricket, or a horse race, or over foolish things that bring no good to anyone, shall we be unmoved when the plan of salvation is unfolded before us? Let the school and the church henceforth have festivals of rejoicing unto the Lord.

However, please notice that in the following paragraph that precedes this, it is referring to the joy of having the Holy Spirit—and not in a charismatic way.

Ibid., p. 370

Again and again the heavenly Messenger has been sent to the school. When His presence has been acknowledged, the darkness has fled away, the light has shone forth, and hearts have been drawn to God. The last words spoken by Christ to John were: "The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Revelation 22:17. When we respond to God and say, "Lord, we come," then with joy shall we draw water out of the wells of salvation.

If you read other Spirit of Prophecy statements on this subject, you will realize that it does not approve of today’s types of festivals. We are to have holy joy and enthusiasm, through the Holy Spirit, in the work of the Lord. When we have the true Holy Spirit in us, the worship services will be interesting without entertainment. That is how heaven worships.

Southeast SDA Church, Cleveland, Ohio
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYspnYhZsQI
This video featured a 2010 “Preachout” with very charismatic preaching by several SDA pastors. It seemed the louder they preached and the more they moved, the more attention they received. It is so far away from the reverence of true preaching and something devils appreciate and heaven abhors. If it is not repented of, then “holy laughter,” “speaking in tongues,” and “healings” will follow.

Evangelism, p. 184

The Lord calls upon you to make decided improvement in your manner of presenting the truth. You need not be sensational. Preach the Word, as Christ, the Son of God, preached the Word. Violent gesticulations detract greatly from the impressions the truth would make upon human hearts, and lessen the force of the demonstrations of the Spirit of God. They efface the solemn impressions regarding God's Word that holy angels desire shall be made upon minds.

 

Ibid., p. 640

I see that great reformation must take place in the ministry before it shall be what God would have it. Ministers in the desk have no license to behave like theatrical performers, assuming attitudes and expressions calculated for effect. They do not occupy the sacred desk as actors, but as teachers of solemn truths. There are also fanatical ministers, who, in attempting to preach Christ, storm, halloo [shout], jump up and down, and pound the desk before them, as if this bodily exercise profited anything. Such antics lend no force to the truths uttered, but, on the contrary, disgust men and women of calm judgment and elevated views....

Awkward and uncouth gestures are not to be tolerated in the common walks of life; how much less, then, are they to be endured in the most sacred work of the gospel ministry. The minister should cultivate grace, courtesy, and refinement of manner. He should carry himself with a quiet dignity becoming his elevated calling. Solemnity, a certain godly authority, mingled with meekness, should characterize the demeanor of him who is a teacher of God's truth.

Why do people need a church service that entertains? Because they have grown up with entertainment in their home. A love for amusement destroys a love for truth.

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6, p. 437

When faith lays hold upon Christ, the truth will bring delight to the soul, and the services of religion will not be dull and uninteresting.

Metropolitan SDA Church, Hyattsville, Maryland
http://www.metrosda.org/home.html
This 900-member church, with Brenda Billingy as the senior pastor, is not only charismatic but a good example of ecumenism.

http://www.ttembassy.org/Invitation_to_Inter-Faith_Service.pdf
This link announced an interfaith service held at their church on a Sunday morning to celebrate the 48th anniversary of independence with the Embassy of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Pastor Billingy delivered the homily.

Ministries for the over 200 young people include the following:

  • Each year the church Cavaliers play in an SDA Church basketball league, with “playoffs and a championship game for each age group.” What a shame that they include children as young as six years old. Of course they could not go without mentioning that their “adult team was league champion for the 2004-05 season.” They even mention that the games provide a chance for their young people “to engage in fun, competitive activity” as well as fellowship. It is then stated that once you attend one of their games, you will be sure to be “hooked and keep coming back for more!” Games take place at various county public school gyms. Yes, the devil is very good at hooking the unwary.
  • In the last few years for Children’s Sabbath, the Children Ministries and the Education Department collaborated to “host this special day, including an oratorical contest for elementary and high school students.”
  • Puppets for Christ is one of their newest ministries, in which “the puppets present a story on the second Sabbath of each month” and is a “favorite with Metropolitan's children.” This ministry’s goal is to teach children “important moral and spiritual values, through the puppets' often humorous exploits and antics.” The puppets were to be featured in a series of DVDs to be shared with members of their church as well as for “an evangelistic tool to reach non-members.” They explained that if a church member loves children and is interested in acting or scriptwriting, but does not like “being in the spotlight” that the puppet ministry “might be just the thing for you.”

Their Metro Praiz choir was advertised as a “rollicking, hand-clapping, foot-stomping gospel choir” that uses a “contemporary musical alternative,” incorporating “style, professionalism and pizzaz within a deeply spiritual framework to create a consistently moving worship experience.” True Christians find it hard to understand how that type of “music” can have a “deeply spiritual framework.” In line with the usual rhetoric, it was mentioned that they have performed with many artists in the Washington Metropolitan area and that they represented the Allegheny East Conference of SDAs by achieving 3rd place in the competition at the BAYDA Youth Congress held in 2001 in Indiana. They ended by saying that “all the honor and glory belong to God,” in spite of their mentioning that the director did an outstanding job and that he was “proud of their performance.”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvN4FqXzQqw;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IodZn7Vx37A

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Purpose Driven movement

This movement began with the teaching of Rick Warren, an evangelical and a Southern Baptist senior pastor of the megachurch called Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. The movement originally began as a paradigm taught to pastors worldwide to help them be more effective leaders. Details are included in his 1995 book, The Purpose Driven Church. In 2002 he wrote The Purpose Driven Life as a 40-day devotional book. Both books are international best-sellers with millions of copies in print and have been shared worldwide in churches, conferences, seminars, etc. Warren has also authored many other “Christian” books. He is also the major “catalyst” for the emerging church movement and heavily endorses contemplative prayer. He promotes other emerging church leaders such as Bill Hybels (pastor and founder in 1975 of the non-denominational megachurch Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago, Illinois); Leonard Sweet (Methodist preacher into mystic beliefs); and Brian McLaren (influential evangelical pastor and author, on the board of Emergent Village, and founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church in Maryland).

Warren’s two Purpose Driven books minimize doctrine (the true gospel) and stress entertainment and the “something for everyone” approach. In The Purpose Driven Church book, Warren states: “Are there unrepentant pagans mixed into Saddleback’s crowd of 10,000? Without a doubt . . . that’s okay. Jesus said . . . Don’t worry about the tares . . . .” Incredibly, that same mindset is found in the SDA Church.

Many SDAs have gone to Saddleback and Willow Creek churches to learn their programs. The Adventist Review for December 18, 1997 featured an article by Andy Nash that recommended visiting Willow Creek. The church has three weekend services with about 23,000 attendees and is the first-largest church in the U.S. It is interesting that Nash stated in the Adventist Review article that he was grateful for Willow Creek, because it prompted his former academy church, Forest Lake (Florida) to get “intentional about worship” and that his SDA relatives and friends now “recognized their natural abilities,” including drama. At the beginning of 2011, the following SDA churches were listed as belonging to the Willow Creek Association.
http://www.willowcreek.com/membership/profilesearch.asp

  • California: Alhambra; La Mesa; Palo Cedro; Placerville; Rocklin-Sunset Oaks; Westminster Good Samaritan
  • Florida: Forest Lake; Florida Hospital
  • Colorado: Newday Christian
  • Idaho: Lifesource Community; Oasis
  • Maryland: New Hope; Spencerville
  • North Carolina: Foster
  • Nevada: Living Water Fellowship; Mountain View
  • Ohio: Toledo First
  • Utah: Wasatch Hills
  • Washington: Anacortes Adventist Fellowship; Connections

Below is just a small list of SDA churches that have or are still promoting the Purpose Driven movement.

Portsmouth SDA Church, New Hampshire
http://www.portsmouthsdachurch.org/Pastor_%20Johnson.htm
Pastor Phil Johnson recommends that new believers read The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, which he describes as “40 short, biblically-based chapters on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.”

Pleasant Hill SDA Church, California
http://www.pleasanthilladventist.org/podcasts
A sermon by Chris Estay on January 16, 2010 was entitled “The Purpose Driven Church” and discussed ideas by Rick Warren.

Tunapuna SDA Church, Trinidad & Tobago
http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20080408192451/http://www.tunapunasda.org/sermons
/2007/11/03/divine_hour/sookra
“The purpose driven life” sermon by Henry Sookra on Sabbath, November 3, 2007 included eight listed purposes.

Hillcrest SDA Church, Nashville, Tennessee
http://www.hillcrestsdachurch.org/PDF%20Files/November21.pdf
Announcements, Sabbath, November 21, 2009
“Hillcrest’s Purpose Driven Youth Ministries”
This church also recommends rock/contemporary gospel.

Carmichael SDA Church, California
http://www.jeffrobinson.net/carmsdastuff/Bulletin/bulletin_20030614.pdf
June 14, 2003 bulletin announced Friday nights as time to discuss the book “The Purpose Driven Life” as a way to “discover purpose for your life.” Contemporary music and refreshments were included.

This church also held a marriage seminar (by a non-SDA ministry) entitled “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage.” While it may have had some good ideas, would it not have been better to have a seminar based on the Bible and The Adventist Home book by Ellen White?

The For My People Ministry received an email describing a marriage seminar held by another SDA Church. It was advertised as “Movie Night for Couples Only” and used the book Empowering Couples: Building on Your Strengths by David and Amy Olson. This is what the correspondent shared: “I find it strange that ministers promote this book rather than The Adventist Home by Ellen White. In fact, no mention is ever made of it to new members. It is saddening to witness how our churches easily ignore counsels and warnings contained in the Spirit of Prophecy and enthusiastically reach out to embrace teachings from non Seventh-day Adventists. It is shocking and baffling.”

It is also enlightening to know that David is the president and Amy the research associate at Life Innovations. David has received many awards from nationwide organizations, is a member of the American Psychological Association, has written over 20 books and 100 journal articles, and has appeared on numerous shows, including NBC Today Show, CBS Morning Show, and Oprah.

Riverside Community Church, California
http://www.riversidecommunitychurch.com
This is a Purpose Driven church that uses Natural Church Development “to build a healthy church family.” The current pastor, Eric Brown, is a nationally certified Coach Trainer, who occasionally travels to train Natural Church Development coaches. But most weekends “you'll find him doing something just a little bit crazy as he finds ways to make the Bible easy to understand and memorable.”

Worship Services have included:

  • Jesus Jungle Jam” for children ages 6-12 who are sent home with “tons of God goodies.”
  • Junior High Jolt!” for 7th and 8th graders.
  • High School Surge!” that is “fun, real, and if you plug-in, you can get SHOCKed.”
  • A variety of adult Bible study options in which the “GodSpot” host can give assistance.
  • A contemporary worship service in which dress is “come-as-you-are casual.”
  • Toast n’ Jam,” a time to get together before the morning service to “share in some food and fellowship and have an impromptu worship ‘jam session’ experience” where you have “plenty of time to grab something to eat and still be in your seats on time for the 11 am service.”

The Celebrate Recovery 12 step program is also available. The evening ends with Solid Rock Café.

This church would do well to ask the Lord’s forgiveness for using His name so lightly. Additionally, grabbing food and getting to your seat in time sounds like buying food at a theater and getting to your seat in time for the movie. Is this the low level that our churches have reached? Is it all just about food and entertainment? That is certainly what the world has indoctrinated humanity with.

The Reach SDA Church, West Richland, Washington
http://www.gotothereach.com/cms
This church website included the following information:

  • Involved with “40 Days of Community” (a part of the Purpose Driven movement).
  • Links to sermons by Morris Venden on faith.
  • Worship with drama and the “BackStage” praise band.
  • Worships “vibrantly casually” so that all members may “comfortably visit / share / mingle / empathize together without care for a written or unwritten code of dress or conduct.”
  • Promotion of small groups for fellowship as a way to provide an environment in which to safely confess, grow, and share struggles together in order to “be free of the unhealthiness we know we have inside.”

Counsels for the Church, p. 304

Sin of a private character is to be confessed to Christ, the only mediator between God and man. For "if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." 1 John 2:1. Every sin is an offense against God and is to be confessed to Him through Christ. Every open sin should be as openly confessed. Wrong done to a fellow being should be made right with the one who has been offended. If any who are seeking health have been guilty of evilspeaking, if they have sowed discord in the home, the neighborhood, or the church, and have stirred up alienation and dissension, if by any wrong practice they have led others into sin, these things should be confessed before God and before those who have been offended.

It was explained that Jesus showed us what small groups can provide, since He had a group of twelve disciples and also an intimate group of three (Peter, James, and John.) This reasoning sounds quite innocent, until one learns what it is really about.

Yes, small groups are fine, but what is being taught? If a person has not responded to the true gospel, accepting Rick Warren’s methods will definitely not help. The idea that as times change the church must change with them comes from the fallen one who hates true worship and will do all he can to send souls to their eternal death. Misery loves company. It is obvious that the Purpose Driven movement is not driven by God’s purposes.

Emerging Church Plants
http://www.goodnewsatlanta.net/network/emerging_church_plants
This website shows the SDA Emerging Church Plants in the Atlanta, Georgia area. The following website was listed as a resource: http://www.purposedriven.com

It is obvious that the Purpose Driven movement is not driven by God’s purposes.

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Emerging church movement

How did it begin?

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/leadershipnetwork.htm

Many think that the Emerging Church movement was started by a bunch of young people who wanted a hip atmosphere at church ... not so at all.

According to an article in the recent edition of Criswell Theological Review, written by Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill, it was the Leadership Network that initiated the Emerging Church movement. Driscoll states:

In the mid-1990s I was a young church planter trying to establish a church in the city of Seattle when I got a call to speak at my first conference. It was hosted by Leadership Network and focused on the subject of Generation X. ... Out of that conference a small team was formed to continue conversing about postmodernism ...

By this time Leadership Network hired Doug Pagitt to lead the team and organize the events. He began growing the team and it soon included Brian McLaren. Pagitt, McLaren, and others such as Chris Seay, Tony Jones, Dan Kimball, and Andrew Jones stayed together and continued speaking and writing together as friends....

McLaren, a very gifted writer, rose to team leader in part because he had an established family and church, which allowed him to devote a lot of time to the team. That team eventually morphed into what is now known as Emergent. (Mark Driscoll, "A Pastoral Perspective on the Emerging Church")

Incidentally, in Driscoll's article about the Emerging Church, he left out the one element that counts the most - the Emerging Church's affinity with contemplative spirituality. As I have often said, remove contemplative from emerging and all you have left is coffee, couches and candles.

Spiritual Formation

The Great Controversy (1911), p. 464

Before the final visitation of God's judgments upon the earth there will be among the people of the Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children. At that time many will separate themselves from those churches in which the love of this world has supplanted love for God and His word. Many, both of ministers and people, will gladly accept those great truths which God has caused to be proclaimed at this time to prepare a people for the Lord's second coming. The enemy of souls desires to hinder this work; and before the time for such a movement shall come, he will endeavor to prevent it by introducing a counterfeit. In those churches which he can bring under his deceptive power he will make it appear that God's special blessing is poured out; there will be manifest what is thought to be great religious interest. Multitudes will exult that God is working marvelously for them, when the work is that of another spirit. Under a religious guise, Satan will seek to extend his influence over the Christian world.

In a previous section, we learned that spiritualism appears beautiful on the outside and will teach a higher form of spirituality. Spiritual formation fits this description. On the surface, it sounds innocent, but as we will see, it is nothing more than a disguised form of spiritualism and is being used to lead people back to Rome. Because it is embraced by all religions, we should be alarmed and question its origin and where it leads. Following are further details on spiritual formation and spiritual direction.

Presbyterian Church

http://gamc.pcusa.org/ministries/spiritualformation/whatis

Spiritual formation is the activity of the Holy Spirit which molds our lives into the likeness of Jesus Christ. This likeness is one of deep intimacy with God and genuine compassion for all of creation. The Spirit works not only in the lives of individuals but also in the church, shaping it into the Body of Christ. We cooperate with this work of the Spirit through certain practices that make us more open and responsive to the Spirit's touch, disciplines such as sabbath keeping, works of compassion and justice, discernment, worship, hospitality, spiritual friendships, and contemplative silence.

First United Methodist Church

http://www.cfumc.org/fumc/spiritual_formation_

Spiritual Formation is the process by which people are shaped by God's love and enabled to grow in their faith. We are spiritually formed through practices such as prayer, study, fasting, worship, and other disciplines. There are several programs at First Church which focus on spiritual growth. Here at First Church, we provide resources and information about Spiritual Formation, both in our church and elsewhere.

How is spiritual formation achieved?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_formation

Formal Study

  • Theological Training
  • Certificate Programs in Spiritual Direction
  • BA and MA Programs

Informal study

  • Bible Studies
  • Retreats
  • Conferences
  • Independent study/reading the classics

Community/church involvement

  • Corporate worship
  • Volunteer service

Practice of spiritual disciplines

  • Prayer, the study of scripture, fasting, simplicity, solitude, confession, worship, submission, service, etc.

Ordinary experiences of everyday life

  • Work and play
  • Family life

Many of these approaches are not questionable, and this is what makes spiritual formation deceptive. Some of those promoting it may not even realize its dangers, because on the surface it appears to be Christ-centered.

If you have become involved in mystical spiritual formation, please read the following:

James 4:7

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

 

The Review and Herald, May 6, 1862

When those who have witnessed and experienced false exercises, are convinced of their mistake, then Satan takes advantage of their error, and holds it constantly before them, to make them afraid of any spiritual exercises, and in this way he seeks to destroy their faith in true godliness. A fear rests upon the mind, of making any effort by earnest, fervent prayer to God for special aid and victory, because they were once deceived. Such must not let Satan gain his object, and drive them to cold formality and unbelief. They must remember that the foundation of God standeth sure. Let God be true, and every man a liar. Their only safety is to plant their feet upon the platform of truth, to see and understand the third angel's message, prize, love, and obey the truth.

Alpha course

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/alphacourse.htm

Lighthouse Trails Research has added the Alpha Course to its Spiritual Formation list.... It is the hope of Lighthouse Trails that believers can be made aware of this fast growing spirituality that negates biblical Christianity because of its mystical, panentheistic roots….

“The NEW AGE of Alpha: A critique of the Alpha Course for those who know their Bible”

THE Alpha Course has swept the globe and is being used by an incredibly wide range of groups—including Anglicans and Roman Catholics, Methodists and Seventh Day Adventists. Where other evangelistic initiatives have petered out very swiftly, Alpha has done the opposite. From its roots in the late 1970s, Alpha has grown to stunning proportions today and millions have already participated.

http://www.alphana.org/Groups/1000047505/What_is_Alpha.aspx
This information comes from the Alpha course website:

Alpha is an opportunity to explore the meaning of life in a relaxed, friendly setting. The Alpha course usually meets once per week for 10 weeks, and includes an amazing one-day or weekend getaway. Each session, people enjoy great food, laughter and learning in a fun and friendly atmosphere where no question about life or God is seen as too simple or too hostile....

During the 1990s, the Alpha course spread–first throughout the UK and then internationally–as more churches and groups found it a helpful way to answer people’s questions about the Christian faith. Now, there are more than 33,500 courses run in 163 countries and the Alpha course is supported by all major denominations.

Alpha also includes a marriage course. Following are some of the SDA churches where the Alpha Course has been offered:

http://www.mainepca.org/oldsite1/alpha.html
White Memorial SDA Church, Portland, Maine

http://alphana.org/Articles/1000056694/Welcome_to_Find.aspx?search=adventist
http://www.knowgodmore.com/index.php/outreach/#Alpha
Ken Dedeker, Minnetonka SDA Church, Minnesota
Grace Adventist Church, National City, California

http://torquaysda.2day.ws/torquaysda/section/AlphaCourse
Torquay SDA Church, Canada

http://www.alpha.org/node/10016825
Contact: Pastor Damir Super, Croatia

It is tragic that so many SDA churches continue to use the devil’s methods to lure in the unchurched.

Spiritual direction

Catholic Church

http://ncronline.org/news/spirituality/ancient-and-contemporary-pathway-god

An ancient and contemporary pathway to God, Tom Gallagher, May 28, 2010

Spiritual direction is an ancient practice in the church and was recovered and renewed by Vatican Council II,” said cofounder Mercy Sr. Janet Ruffing, an author and a professor in the practice of spirituality and ministerial leadership at Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Conn.

Spiritual Directors International (SDI)
http://www.sdiworld.org
SDI explains that it is an interspiritual “learning community committed to advancing spiritual direction around the world” with a membership that “consists of people from many nations and many faiths.” According to SDI, spiritual direction is “the contemplative practice of helping another person or group to awaken to the mystery called God in all of life,” and they respond “to this call by tending the holy around the world and across traditions.”

http://www.sdiworld.org/amazon/spiritual-direction-bibliography/theses-and-dissertations2.html
This website’s spiritual direction bibliography for theses and dissertations on Spiritual Direction and Formation in August 2001 listed the following two SDA pastors: Lyle Arakaki on spiritual direction as a model for assimilating new baptized members in the SDA Church (1997, San Francisco Theological Union) and Derek Morris on nurturing the pastor’s spiritual discipline of prayer through the dynamic of spiritual direction (1987, Andrews University). Michael Edward Dunn (Angwin, California) is listed under the spiritual directors for the SDA Church.

Spiritual Direction was started by mystics and promoted by “Christians.” According to Wikipedia online, it is “the practice of being with people as they attempt to deepen their relationship with the divine, or to learn and grow in their own personal spirituality. The person seeking direction shares stories of his or her encounters of the divine, or how he or she is experiencing spiritual issues. The director listens and asks questions to assist the directee in his or her process of reflection and spiritual growth. Spiritual direction develops a deeper relationship with the spiritual aspect of being human.” God’s words teach the opposite of these practices.

Micah 7:5

Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide.

 

Isaiah 45:22

Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

 

Sermons and Talks, Vol. 2, p. 164

God has been greatly dishonored by His people leaning upon human beings. He has not told us to do this. He has told us that He will teach us, He will guide us. We may come to Him and receive help. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally," and upbraideth you not for your ignorance.

 

The Gospel Herald, March 1, 1901

Do not depend upon human beings for spiritual help. Resist the temptation to make flesh your arm. Look to God as children look to an earthly Father. Believe that He loves you and that He will help you, even as He has promised. If you will believe, you will have confidence, trust, reliance, and rich blessings, because you will realize that Christ is the foundation of your faith.

 

Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 381

The promises of God are full and abundant, and there is no need for anyone to depend upon humanity for strength. To all that call upon Him, God is near to help and succor. And He is greatly dishonored when, after inviting our confidence, we turn from Him--the only One who will not misunderstand us, the only One who can give unerring counsel--to men who in their human weakness are liable to lead us astray.

 

Ibid., p. 487

I shall not dishonor my Lord by encouraging people to come to me for counsel, when they have a standing invitation to go to the One who is able to carry them and all their burdens.

This instruction from the Lord also applies to such programs as Promise Keepers, counseling, and modern psychology.

Contemplative prayer

This type of prayer has no scriptural support. Philippians 4:6 tells us to let our requests be made known to God through prayer. It is to be comprehended communication with God, not mystical meditation with mantras. Matthew 6:7 states that when we pray, we are not to use vain repetitions. This is also a problem with popular songs of today that tend to repeat the same words often or include hypnotic drum beats.

Manuscript Releases, Vol. 18, pp. 101-102

By the expression "vain repetitions" the Saviour meant words without meaning, words oft repeated without corresponding thought or proper understanding, words spoken without true and earnest desire. God is not pleased with a careless, unmeaning repetition of many words. This is what makes many prayers long and tiresome....

Having cautioned His disciples not to use vain repetitions in their prayers, Christ gave them a model prayer. "After this manner therefore pray ye," He said:

"Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." [Matthew 6:9-12]

I am instructed to say to all our churches, Pray the prayer that Christ taught to His disciples. Study this prayer; live it; and you will win a crown of life everlasting.

True meditation is to think about or fill our minds with God’s Word, not empty our mind as in Eastern meditation. The quotes below instruct on how to meditate and show us the right type of contemplation and transformation.

Psalm 1:2

But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

 

Joshua 1:8

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

 

Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 60

God bids us fill the mind with great thoughts, pure thoughts. He desires us to meditate upon His love and mercy, to study His wonderful work in the great plan of redemption. Then clearer and still clearer will be our perception of truth, higher, holier, our desire for purity of heart and clearness of thought. The soul dwelling in the pure atmosphere of holy thought will be transformed by communion with God through the study of Scriptures.

 

Manuscript Releases, Vol. 15, p. 25

Fill the mind with the great humiliation of Christ, and then contemplate His divine character, His majesty and glory of the Highest, and His disrobing Himself of these and clothing His divinity with humanity. Then we can see a self-denial, a self-sacrifice, that was the marvel of angels.

 

Lift Him Up, p. 43

The contemplation of the matchless depths of a Saviour's love should fill the mind, touch and melt the soul, refine and elevate the affections, and completely transform the whole character....

 

Manuscript Releases, Vol. 20, p. 339

There is a rich abundance of precious truths in God's Word--truths which are of vital consequence to the people of God, truths which will fill the mind with fragrant thoughts of heavenly things and provide a solid foundation for character building. Discard fables and vain imaginings. Present only the words, "It is written." Let Jesus take possession of mind and heart.

Shalem Institute
http://www.shalem.org
The Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation (Washington D.C.) is one of the leading centers of contemplative spirituality and for training “spiritual directors.” It offers various resources and programs for clergy, lay leaders, spiritual directors, and individuals. They “honor each individual spiritual path” and welcome those who seek to learn the contemplative way. The question is asked: “Do you wish to deepen your spiritual life?” The Personal Spiritual Deepening Program is a resource for anyone wanting to “integrate a contemplative orientation.” This institute was founded in 1972 by Tilden Edwards (an Episcopal priest and author), and Gerald May (1940-2005), an author who practiced medicine, psychiatry, and spiritual counseling. The institute’s mission is to spread the new spirituality prayer to Christianity. Two of its programs offered include the Earth Mystics series and the Group Spiritual Direction Workshop & Retreat. This institute teaches that “contemplation includes a reverence for the Divine Mystery, finding God in all things, or being open to God's presence, however it may appear.” SDAs have trained at this institute and teach its practices to SDA members. We have to wonder why, when pantheistic practices are clearly involved.

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8, p. 291

Already there are coming in among our people spiritualistic teachings that will undermine the faith of those who give heed to them. The theory that God is an essence pervading all nature is one of Satan’s most subtle devices. It misrepresents God and is a dishonor to His greatness and majesty. Pantheistic theories are not sustained by the word of God. The light of His truth shows that these theories are soul-destroying agencies. Darkness is their element, sensuality their sphere. They gratify the natural heart and give license to inclination. Separation from God is the result of accepting them.

Mystics (non-SDA)

Below are some of the most notable non-SDA mystics and/or proponents of the emerging church movement with some background information.

  • Alice A. Bailey (1880–1949)

    • Author and teacher of the occult, pantheism, theosophy, esoteric healing, astrology, meditation, psychology, the New Age, and contemplative spirituality. She is a large part of the reason for the New Age and emerging church movements today and originated the term “New Age.” She believed in the “coming Christ” but not the true Christ of the Bible.
    • Referred to her togetherness/community mindset as “right human relations.”
    • Stated that most of her writings were telepathically dictated to her by a “Master of the Wisdom,” initially referred to only as “the Tibetan,” or by the initials “D.K.,” later identified as “Djwhal Khul.”
    • Influenced by Madame Blavatsky, who lived in the 1800s and was the founder of theosophy and dealt in mythology and the supernatural.
  • Henri Nouwen (1932–1996)

    • Catholic priest and mystic.
    • Authored 40 books on spirituality, with the most widely read being Sabbatical Journey; The Way of the Heart; The Wounded Healer; The Life of the Beloved; In the Name of Jesus; and Clowning in Rome.
    • Taught at the University of Notre Dame, Harvard University, and Yale University.
    • Studied psychology to be able to “better communicate theology.”
    • Did not believe that Jesus was the only way to God.
    • Believed that all make their own way to God, because God dwells in each human being.
    • Very influential in promoting contemplative spirituality and contemplative prayer.
    • Promoted Hindu spirituality, stating that “all is One,” that all paths lead to God, and that the God in everything unites everything.
    • Endorsed a Hindu book that teaches mantra meditation.
    • Taught that leaders of the future must move to the mystical.
  • Thomas Kelly (1893–1941)

    • Quaker scholar, missionary, speaker, and educator.
    • Authored the book, A Testament of Devotion. The back cover states that the book urges us to center our lives on God’s presence, to find stillness, to discover the peace of the inner spiritual journey.
  • M. Scott Peck (1936–2005)

    • American psychiatrist and author of the self-help book, The Road Less Traveled, which sold millions of copies.
    • Wrote on mystical prayer in his book, A World Waiting to Be Born.
    • Stated that Zen Buddhism should be taught in all the fifth-grade classes in the U.S.
    • Wrote in his book, A Time of Departing, that individuals are to become “totally, wholly God” and that this was promoted by Buddha, Christ, and many others. Later became a “Christian” and promoted Christian mysticism and contemplative prayer.
    • Endorsed a book which stated that we should move away from the historical Jesus toward the “cosmic Christ.”
    • Major New Age leader.
    • Thought the idea of the resurrection of the body to be distasteful.
  • Thomas Merton:

    • Catholic monk.
    • Recently popularized contemplative prayer; interspirituality; New Age thinking, especially Taoism (Chinese witchcraft), Buddhism, and Hinduism. Authored the book Contemplative Prayer.
    • Believed that when mankind comes into unity that disease, sickness, poverty, etc. will be done away with.
  • Thomas Keating:

    • Catholic monk and priest; author and teacher.
    • Founded centering prayer in the 1970s, along with William Meninger and Basil Pennington; directs retreats in the practice.
    • Wrote the book, Intimacy with God: An Introduction to Centering Prayer, which teaches centering prayer, Lectio Divina, praying the rosary, etc.
    • Has attracted tens of thousands in speeches and retreats, spreading the word to a world of “hungry people, looking for a deeper relationship with God.”
    • Believes that centering prayer should be a time to let go of all thoughts. He even claims that the Holy Spirit will not “barge in” and that “when we are willing to abandon our very limited human modes of thought and concepts and open a welcoming space that the Spirit will begin to operate in us at this divine level.” This is a common concept in the New Age movement and leaves no room for the Holy Spirit but leaves plenty of room for the spirits of devils.
  • Matthew Fox:

    • A former priest.
    • Believes in ecumenism and New Age mysticism.
    • Authored The Coming of the Cosmic Christ and Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet.
    • Former president of the University of Creation Spirituality which he developed, since he believes that God and Christ are in all things; lectures, teaches, and is president of Friends of Creation Spirituality.
    • Taught at Stanford University, University of Oklahoma, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Unity Institute in Kansas City and Wisdom University.
  • Richard Foster:

    • Quaker theologian and has been a professor at Friends University and a pastor of Evangelical Friends churches.
    • Best known for his book Celebration of Discipline, which includes the inward discipline of meditation, the outward discipline of solitude, and the corporate discipline of celebration.
    • Wrote Streams of Living Water, which examines contemplative prayer, the charismatic “spirit-empowered life,” the incarnational and sacramental life, and that he envisions “a great, new gathering of the people of God” with “a Catholic monk standing alongside a Baptist evangelist together offering up a sacrifice of praise.”
    • Founded Renovaré in 1988, a Christian renewal para-church organization. In 2008 Foster retired as president of Renovaré, but remains a member of the Board and Ministry Team. Over the following years, Renovaré held conferences in the U.S. on spiritual formation.
    • Along with several other authors, wrote two editions of an NRSV-based study Bible entitled Renovaré Spiritual Formation Bible, which focuses on his six disciplines.
    • Co-authored the book Longing for God.
  • Thad Rutter, Jr.:

    • Wrote the book, Where the Heart Longs to Go: A New Image for Pastoral Ministry.
    • Believes that a pastoral ministry which is rooted in contemplative prayer will nurture the pastor’s own faith journey and is for the caring of God’s people.
  • Neale Walsch:

    • Prominent New Age leader promoting a “new reformation” and a “new spirituality,” yet not even a Christian.
    • Believes in the “global community” that incorporates all beliefs and which makes everyone right.
    • Author known for the New Age bestseller series of books, Conversations with God, including the book, Conversations with God for Teens, with unbiblical answers to questions that he dictated as he listened to an inner voice and includes teaching on the wrong type of meditation.
  • Brennan Manning:

    • Has been a Catholic priest, friar, an author, and a speaker who leads spiritual retreats and travels worldwide.
    • Recommends mysticism, contemplative prayer, psychology, the New Age movement, liberation theology, and a mixture of Catholicism and Protestantism.
    • Invited by Malcolm Maxwell to give the Week of Prayer at Pacific Union College a number of years ago.
  • Dallas Willard:

    • Philosophy professor and author.
    • Promotes contemplative prayer and mysticism through spiritual formation.
    • Participated in the Ancient Wisdom Conference on mysticism.
    • Helped launch the Renovaré Spiritual Formation Study Bible.
  • Eugene Peterson:

    • A pastor, scholar, author, and poet.
    • Wrote over 30 books, including The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (available at ABCs), which is a contemporary paraphrase that includes Marxist, pantheist, and spiritualist thinking. He also wrote the book, The Contemplative Pastor.
  • Philip Yancey:

    • One of the best-selling evangelical authors. Millions of his books have been sold around the world.
    • Columnist and editor-at-large for Christianity Today, which calls the road to maturity the fact that evangelicals are learning from wise teachers in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. In their November 2004 issue, Yancey wrote, “Perhaps our day calls for a new kind of ecumenical movement: not of doctrine, nor even of religious unity, but one that builds on what Jews, Christians, and Muslims hold in common. . . . Indeed, Jews, Christians, and Muslims have much in common.” On contemplative prayer, he quoted Meister Eckhart: “The quieter the mind the more powerful, the worthier, the deeper, the more telling and more perfect the prayer is.” (“For God's Sake,” Christianity Today). The following comes from Wikipedia online: “Christianity Today is an Evangelical Christian periodical based in Carol Stream, Illinois. It is the flagship publication of its parent company Christianity Today International. . . . The founder, Billy Graham, stated that he wanted to ‘plant the evangelical flag in the middle-of-the-road, taking the conservative theological position but a definite liberal approach to social problems.’ ” This periodical is read regularly by many SDA leaders.
    • Speaker at the pro-homosexual American Baptist convention in 2005.
    • Gave a presentation at Avondale College SDA Church in October 2001, which was broadcast throughout the South Pacific Division and spoke at Avondale College in 2007.
  • Erwin McManus:

    • Lead pastor of Mosaic Church in Los Angeles, California. http://mosaic.org
    • A worldwide lecturer on leadership, post-modernism, culture, creativity, and change.
    • Authored about ten books on emerging church ideas.
    • His goal is to “destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ.” He also stated, “Some people are upset with me because it sounds like I'm anti-Christian. I think they might be right.”
    • Has promoted the Myers-Briggs psychological personality indicator and various other types.
    • Founder of Awaken where film makers, humanitarians, artists and poets are involved together with the goal of “maximizing the divine potential” in everyone.
    • Promotes contemplative “breathing.”
      http://mosaic.org/wp-content/themes/mosaic2/media/breathe_1.pdf
  • Dan Kimball: A pastor and author of several books, including The Emerging Church: Vintage Christianity for New Generations. He promotes spiritual formation, discipleship, the prayer labyrinth, prayer stations, New Age meditation, and “following Jesus without following organized religion.”
  • Tony Campolo:

    • Pastor, sociologist, public speaker and author.
    • Wrote the book, Speaking My Mind, which states that contemplative prayer is the “common ground” between Islam and Christianity.
    • Promotes Catholic mystics like Ignatius of Loyola.
    • Promotes progressive thought and reform for the evangelical community.
    • Believes that the Protestant Reformation left too much Catholic truth behind and that the real problem in this world is “rigid” Christians who believe in Christ’s soon return and are to blame for wars and many other evils.
    • In his book, 20 Hot Potatoes Christians Are Afraid To Touch, he writes: “recently, I was a speaker for a large assembly of Seventh Day Adventists. . . .”
    • Wrote in the foreword to Adventism for a New Generation by Steve Daily about his positive experiences speaking at numerous SDA universities.
    • Presented at the first International Conference on Adventists in the Community.
    • In his book, Letters to a Young Evangelical, he states that intimacy with Christ develops gradually through centering prayer.
  • Robert Schuller:

    • Chairman of the Crystal Cathedral church’s board of directors in Garden Grove, California.
    • Retired pastor and founder of the “Hour of Power” worldwide television program.
    • Author who promotes psychology and those like Bill Hybels of the Willow Creek megachurch and Henri Nouwen.
    • Advocates visualization.
  • Chuck Swindoll:

    • Evangelical pastor of the Stonebriar Community Church in Texas.
    • Founder of the worldwide radio program, “Insight for Living.”
    • Head of Dallas Theological Seminary.
    • Educator and author of many books, including one on contemplative prayer entitled So, You Want to Be Like Christ? Eight Essentials to Get You There.
  • Max Lucado:

    • Founder of UpWords, a teaching radio ministry.
    • In 25 years of writing, more than 65 million of his books have been sold.
    • Reader’s Digest named him “America’s Best Preacher”; Christianity Today called him “America’s Pastor.”
    • A DVD called “Be Still” was produced by Lucado, Dallas Willard, and many others and features an interview with Richard Foster, Dallas Willard and others.
    • A preaching minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas.
    • Lucado quotes from a book on Jewish mysticism as well as other mystics and contemplatives, such as Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Merton, Eugene Peterson, and Richard Foster.
    • Barnes and Noble bookstores include Lucado’s book Cure for the Common Life under their New Age section.
    • Lucado’s books are sold at some ABCs.
  • Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen: Authors of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, which is popular with SDAs. Over 80 million copies have been sold. Even though the stories seem uplifting, the authors’ New Age spirituality should lead us to avoid books by these types of authors. Canfield practices yoga, tai chi (a Chinese martial art) and meditation (vipasana which is ancient Buddhist techniques, transcendental which is mantra meditation, along with sound mantra). In addition, he teaches the occult “psychosynthesis” method and has stated that he “felt God flowing through all things.” He also has written and speaks on success principles, including information on metaphysics and meditation. Hansen promotes meditation, and both authors promote occult writers who are channelers and mediums.

Selected Messages, Book 3, p. 232

Just so when infidel authors are studied. These men have sharp intellects, and their sharp ideas are presented, and the mind of the student is influenced by them; they are pleased with their brilliance.

But where did those men obtain their powers of intellect? Where did they get their sharpness? From the fountain of all knowledge. But they have prostituted their powers; they have given them as a contribution to the devil, and don't you think the devil is smart? Many are traveling in the devil's tracks by reading infidel authors. Satan is a sharp being, and they fall in love with his learning and smartness.

 

The Review and Herald, August 17, 1897

It is not wise to send our youth to universities where they devote their time to gaining a knowledge of Greek and Latin, while their heads and hearts are being filled with the sentiments of the infidel authors whom they study in order to master these languages. They gain a knowledge that is not at all necessary, or in harmony with the lessons of the great Teacher. Generally those educated in this way have much self-esteem. They think they have reached the height of higher education, and carry themselves proudly, as though they were no longer learners. They are spoiled for the service of God. The time, means, and study that many have expended in gaining a comparatively useless education should have been used in gaining an education that would make them all-round men and women, fitted for practical life. Such an education would be of the highest value to them.

SDA proponents

At this point in the chapter, you will continue to see the widespread apostasy and spiritualism in the SDA Church and learn about some of the most notable SDA proponents of the emerging church movement.

General Conference of SDA
http://www.adventist.org/mission_and_service/features/-an-adventist-en.html
A cover story on the General Conference website‘s home page for August 11, 2010 discusses how Debbie Higgens has felt called to become the resident director for two years at The Kilns in Oxford, England—C. S. Lewis' home for 20 years where he wrote some of his “most beloved works,” such as The Chronicles of Narnia. Higgens is an Adventist professor from Southern Adventist University (SAU) and has spent much of her career studying and teaching about Lewis. She taught a class on him at Southern and is taking a two-year break. She has a long history with the C. S. Lewis Foundation and has visited The Kilns periodically since the mid 1990s, spending six months there in 2007. She states that she wrote the last two chapters of her dissertation in the office where scholars think Lewis wrote the chronicles of Narnia. Her doctoral committee stated that the last two chapters of her dissertation were her best. While at The Kilns, part of her duties involves overseeing the scholars-in-residence program that allows doctoral candidates from Oxford to reside there while writing their dissertations. Higgens also explains that she hopes to bring the academic side to The Kilns as well as to share the “magic atmosphere” with visitors who tour the home.

Be aware that any of the following is not safe to be involved with.

C. S. Lewis (1898–1963): He was an English author who wrote fantasy, science fiction, and Christian apologetics. He also tutored in philosophy and literature. His writings include:

  • The Chronicles of Narnia, which are seven fantasy novels (fairy tales) for children that mix Christian themes with mythology, spells, and magic, and have been adapted for radio and television. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the best known novel.
  • The Screwtape Letters, which is a story about letters from a demon to a tempter, advising him on methods to secure the damnation of a man and includes a section where an individual dies and goes to heaven.

In 1955 he admitted that ever since the age of 13 he had trouble with a lust for the occult, due to the influence of a schoolmistress who was involved with it. He became a “Christian” in 1931 and made friends with individuals such as the following:

Charles Williams (1886–1945), who was a “dear friend” and adviser to Lewis; a devout Anglican; a specialist in tarot cards (fortune telling) and Kabbalah (mystical teachings); known as an odd and charismatic man; wrote plays and novels which were often referred to as “supernatural thrillers” about black masses, magical tarot cards, an Antichrist, and necromancy (the dead who speak with the living), and seemed to have a fascination with the occult.

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892–1973), who was a devout Roman Catholic and authored, among other works, Lord of the Rings, which includes rings with magical powers, violence, mythology, fantasy, and religion (still popular today and seen in artwork, music, radio, films, television, videos, games, and literature).

Owen Barfield (1898–1997), who was a philosopher and writer focused on the “evolution of consciousness” and promoted the works of Rudolf Steiner who held wrong views on Jesus and the Second Coming, believed in mysticism, Gnostic elements, spiritual exercises, meditation, reincarnation and karma, and belonged to a Masonic order (a secret society).

Neville Coghill (1899–1980), who was a literary scholar and theatrical producer and director.

During the 1930′s and 40’s, both Lewis and Tolkien were part of a literary group associated with the University of Oxford known as the Inklings. Many assert that both men were closet members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn--an amalgamation of Freemasonry (a secret society which includes Babylonian mystery religions). Among the Golden Dawn’s first initiates was a coroner who allegedly performed necromantic rites (black magic; communicating with the “spirits of the dead” in order to predict the future), while another early member was Aleister Crowley, who dealt in black magic. Lewis and Tolkien were also involved with the following: Theosophy; Eliphas Levi’s teachings (a high level black magic occultist); Enochian Magic (an elaborate system of advanced, Satanic, ceremonial magic); the Kabbalah (highest level of Jewish witchcraft); and medieval grimoire (a manual of black magic for invoking spirits and demons).

Christian Education, p. 245

Literary societies are quite frequently organized, but, in nine cases out of ten, they have proved a damage to souls, rather than a blessing. This is because an alliance is formed with the world, or with a class whose influence and tendency is ever to lead away from the solid, to the superficial, from the real, to the fictitious. Literary societies would be of great advantage, if controlled by a religious element; but sooner or later, the irreligious element is almost certain to gain the ascendancy, and have a controlling influence.

 

Evangelism, pp. 591-592

Criticism and speculation concerning the Scriptures have opened the way for Spiritualism and Theosophy--those modernized forms of ancient heathenism--to gain a foothold even in the professed churches of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Side by side with the preaching of the gospel, agencies are at work which are but the medium of lying spirits. Many a man tampers with these merely from curiosity, but seeing evidence of the working of a more than human power, he is lured on and on, until he is controlled by a will stronger than his own. He cannot escape from its mysterious power.

 

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 7, p. 84

We are not to unite with secret societies or with trades unions.

 

Ibid., Vol. 8, p. 27

A power from beneath is working to bring about the last great scenes in the drama,--Satan coming as Christ, and working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in those who are binding themselves together in secret societies. Those who are yielding to the passion for confederation are working out the plans of the enemy. The cause will be followed by the effect.

 

The Review and Herald, July 31, 1894

Be afraid of uniting with the world in secret societies, or of being bound in bundles with them.

 

Selected Messages, Book 2, p. 131

Those who choose to unite with these secret societies are paying homage to idols as senseless and as powerless to bless and save the soul as are the gods of the Hindus.

 

Manuscript Releases, Vol. 20, p. 286

I have been permitted to look in upon these secret societies, their feasts, their order, their works, and my prayer has been, ‘Hide them from my sight forever. Let me not understand more.’ One thing I do know, that those who remain in connection with them will be burned up with the bundles of tares, one with them in the last day.

 

Evangelism, p. 622

Those who stand under the blood-stained banner of Prince Immanuel cannot be united with the Free Masons or with any secret organization. The seal of the living God will not be placed upon anyone who maintains such a connection....

 

Selected Messages, Book 3, p. 85

The Lord also revealed to me Brother Faulkhead's connection with the Free Masons, and I plainly stated that unless he severed every tie that bound him to these associations he would lose his soul.

 

Manuscript Releases, Vol. 14, p. 10-11

I know from the light given, if you remain connected with the Free Masons, you will surely be bound up with them at last, to receive your portion with them.

With this type of background information, why would the General Conference promote Lewis? This is nothing more than promoting the occult. Tragically, we are now seeing the result of Lewis’ errors being taught for decades in SDA schools.

Ephesians 5:11

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

 

Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 688-689

Through the agency of evil spirits strange gods were introduced; and because of transgression, the chosen people were finally scattered from the Land of Promise. This history Satan is striving to repeat in our day. God is leading His people out from the abominations of the world, that they may keep His law; and because of this, the rage of "the accuser of our brethren" knows no bounds. "The devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." Revelation 12:10, 12. The antitypical land of promise is just before us, and Satan is determined to destroy the people of God and cut them off from their inheritance. The admonition, "Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation" (Mark 14:38), was never more needed than now.

The word of the Lord to ancient Israel is addressed also to His people in this age: "Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them;" "for all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord." Leviticus 19:31; Deuteronomy 18:12.

http://www.adventistreview.org/article.php?id=3762
The September 16, 2010 issue of the Adventist Review also featured the same information on Higgens and Lewis.

http://www.kidsviewmag.org/site/1/issue1010/calendar.jpg
The October 28, 2010 KidsView section of the Adventist Review featured a “Hidden Treasure” word search based on Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It suggested that if the child had not yet read the book that perhaps they would after doing the puzzle. The next page was a children’s calendar that included a photo of Lewis.

At Southwestern Adventist University in Keene, Texas, a 2008 weekend Saxon Lecture Series featured a Lewis scholar, Louis Markos, the English professor at Houston Baptist University. He wrote a book on how Lewis can train us to wrestle with the modern and postmodern world. The series included a Friday night lecture on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and a forums meeting on Saturday afternoon on “Making Sense out of Postmodernism.”

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:OW_a5RTTA_oJ:www.pucchurch.org
/ministry/srr/index.shtml+"Narnia+Without+Aslan"+markos&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=au&source
=www.google.com.au
On the Pacific Union College SDA Church website, under “Spiritual Renaissance Retreat,” there were lectures by Louis Markos, with one entitled “Narnia Without Aslan” (the lion character).

Counsels for the Church, p. 210

Shall pagan and infidel sentiments be presented to our students as valuable additions to their store of knowledge? The works of the most intellectual skeptic are the works of a mind prostituted to the service of the enemy; and shall those who claim to be reformers, who seek to lead the children and youth in the right way, in the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in, imagine that God would have them present to the youth for their study that which will misrepresent His character and place Him in a false light? Shall the sentiments of unbelievers, the expressions of dissolute men, be advocated as worthy of the student's attention, because they are the productions of men whom the world admires as great thinkers? Shall men professing to believe in God gather from these unsanctified authors their expressions and sentiments, and treasure them up as precious jewels to be stored away among the riches of the mind? God forbid!

The Adventist Chaplain
The July-September 2003 edition of The Adventist Chaplain included information on “spiritual direction” by the editor, Martin Feldbush. He reveals that while serving as a chaplain near Chicago, he took a class in Spiritual Direction at DeAndreis Theological Seminary. He explains that it was his “introduction to the classic ministry form refined through the centuries by Catholic religious and clergy and in recent decades discovered by many Protestants as well.” He also asked two SDA women who were trained as spiritual directors to give an overview of their ministry. They were Delcy Kuhlman and Diane Forsythe. It was then stated that “several spiritual direction training programs are available for chaplains and pastors” and to request more information by visiting http://www.sdiworld.org and taking the navigation bar to “Training Programs and Retreats.” He ended by suggesting that “some of the better-known programs are The Shalem Institute and The Upper Room,” but that there were others as well.

Adventist Single Adult Ministries (ASAM)
http://www.adventistsingleadultministries.org/index.php
ASAM is a part of the NAD of Family Ministries for the SDA Church. Their goal is to “support and nurture relationships for single adults with each other and with other members of the church family.” As you read what follows, you will notice that about the only relationship that is fostered is that with the world. How is that really helping with true relationships? Is not our relationship with God the most important?

A resource provided for the next ASAM convention included the director of Single Adult Ministries of the Worldwide Assemblies of God.

Non-SDA Resources referenced:

  • Boundless Webzine: promotes C. S. Lewis
  • Saddleback Church
  • The Purpose Driven Life
  • A “Laugh All Night comedy concert” was promoted. http://laughallnight.com

The Signs of the Times, March 19, 1894

There is need for every soul to study the Pattern, Christ Jesus. Those who follow his methods of labor will have freedom in utterance and earnestness in manner. They will be inspired by the sacred themes of truth.... But let no one think that God will approve of a method which will require a man to act the part of a clown, or like a man who has lost his senses. Such methods as these are wholly unnecessary and inappropriate.

Among the Salvation Army workers such methods as these have been employed; but it is more necessary that they should study and preach the word than act in a sensational way in order to draw the attention of the people. It is the word of truth that, like a strong, golden chain, will bind men to God, where they will learn of the great Teacher. It is the word of God that is to test character. The Lord has precious, conscientious souls who have joined the Army; but they need to advance and receive other and higher truths of the word of God.

 

That I May Know Him, p. 141

While we are not to be gloomy, but cheerful and happy, there is to be no silliness, but a sobriety in harmony with our faith. Words and actions form character. Therefore our words should be clean, pure, simple, yet elevated. The gift of speech is a valuable talent, and the Lord has no pleasure in hearing low, cheap, degrading nonsense which tastes strongly of vice and revelry. No Christian should condescend to imitate and catch such habits from another.... These evil, silly words are discordant notes and contribute to the happiness of no one. They are a detriment to spirituality. The Word of God forbids them.

Just because a comedian makes a person laugh, does not make them truly happy inside.

The Adventist Home, pp. 521-522

The multitudes are eager for amusement. The mind becomes trifling and frivolous because it is not accustomed to meditation or disciplined to study. Ignorant sentimentalism is current. God requires that every soul shall be cultivated, refined, elevated, and ennobled. But too often every valuable attainment is neglected for fashionable display and superficial pleasure.

The exciting amusements of our time keep the minds of men and women, but more especially the youth, in a fever of excitement, which is telling upon their stock of vitality in a far greater degree than all their studies and physical labors, and have a tendency to dwarf the intellect and corrupt the morals.

The youth are swept away by the popular current. Those who learn to love amusement for its own sake open the door to a flood of temptations. They give themselves up to social gaiety and thoughtless mirth. They are led on from one form of dissipation to another, until they lose both the desire and the capacity for a life of usefulness. Their religious aspirations are chilled; their spiritual life is darkened. All the nobler faculties of the soul, all that link man with the spiritual world, are debased.

Many are eagerly participating in worldly, demoralizing amusements which God's word forbids. Thus they sever their connection with God and rank themselves with the pleasure lovers of the world. The sins that destroyed the antediluvians and the cities of the plain exist today--not merely in heathen lands, not only among popular professors of Christianity, but with some who profess to be looking for the coming of the Son of man. If God should present these sins before you as they appear in His sight, you would be filled with shame and terror.

The desire for excitement and pleasing entertainment is a temptation and a snare to God's people and especially to the young. Satan is constantly preparing inducements to attract minds from the solemn work of preparation for scenes just in the future. Through the agency of worldlings he keeps up a continual excitement to induce the unwary to join in worldly pleasures. There are shows, lectures, and an endless variety of entertainments that are calculated to lead to a love of the world; and through this union with the world, faith is weakened.

Innovative Impact 2010 Pastor’s Leadership Conference
http://www.innovativeimpact.org/index.php
This conference was designed to be a “team thing” geared for pastors and the “key members of their church leadership teams to share and grow together over two days sitting under some of the most insightful leaders in the ‘frontline’ church today.” Those “insightful leaders” include many involved in the charismatic and spiritual formation movements, such as Hyveth Williams, Derek Morris, Fredrick Russell, Carlton Byrd, Roger Hernandez, and others. “Innovative Impact pulls out the stops in making sure that . . . you will encounter Christ all over again, and receive afresh, the ‘Baptism of the Holy Spirit.’ ” There is an increasing tendency by the leadership to reference the baptism of the Holy Spirit. How can these leaders actually believe it is the Holy Spirit when they are borrowing from Satan’s methods? They are inviting a spirit, but it is not a holy one. Again we see signs of a counterfeit latter rain.

Jeremiah 2:19

Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.

 

The Signs of the Times, April 21, 1881

A deplorable state of coldness and backsliding exists in the Christian world today. The Spirit and power of God seems in a great measure to have departed from his professed people, and the enemy of truth rejoices at their weakness and defects. Infidelity is lifting its proud head, and denying the evidences of Christianity, because of the sins existing among professed followers of Christ.

 

The Upward Look, p. 123

Christ saw Satan patterning after heaven by the use of human association, thus extending the contagion of evil, and He determined to make His church a resisting element. His people are not to borrow the forms and customs of the world, but are to be instinct with the principles which make the church on earth a symbol of the church in heaven, a channel through which heaven's rich blessings can flow.

Partners in Innovation
http://www.sdapartnersininnovation.org
Partners in Innovation is a missional effort started by the Ohio Conference of SDAs, partnering with other church-related organizations. It is committed to forming the emergence of new ways of doing ministry and missions and to have a “culture of innovation” with “sound theology,” missiology, and other disciplines. They wish to develop communities who will carry faith into the “complex world of the 21st century.”

The Publishing Ministry, p. 102

Some are always straining to get something original. This places them in great danger. They produce something new that is not according to the Word of God, and they have not the discernment to see the real harm that results from their ambition to excel some other one in new and strange productions. Thus error comes to appear to them as truth, and they present it as wonderful new light, when it is an innovation that makes of none effect a "Thus saith the Lord."

Below is a partial list of SDA and non-SDA presenters at the Partners in Innovation conferences from 2005–2010.

2005
James Londis: Received a Ph.D. in Philosophy and an emphasis in religion and ethics at Boston University; director of Ethics and Corporate Integrity, Kettering Medical Center Network with 20 years as a healthcare administrator; religion and ethics professor and Corporate Integrity Officer at a healthcare college; president of a Christian college; a previous pastor at Sligo SDA Church in Maryland.

The following was included in one of the many church resources for the 2005 Partners in Innovation Conference: “A growing number of congregations are realizing that traditional worship (however you define ‘traditional’) will only attract a small percentage of the community around the church. Many non-churched people cannot relate to the tone and culture of our worship services.” One suggestion given to reach the community was to develop an “alternative, innovative, indigenous worship service for and with that group while maintaining the traditional service for those who benefit from it.”

The details of this suggestion are as follows: 1) Since it is “deadly” for church “insiders” to plan worship for non-members of the community because it would be the same as what we already have, ask the community to help plan the worship. That way you will be “much more on target!”; 2) The music needs to “speak to your target group,” “to be a medium for offering the Good News.” “Music is always the glue to worship,” especially innovative worship. The music “doesn’t have to be the music you, as a church member likes. This service is for a new group. If you don’t like that music you don’t have to go to that worship service!”; 3) “As with any change, it is helpful to build congregational support for the launching of this new service. Take the time to prepare your congregation, explaining again and again how a new worship service will help the church move closer to its vision and mission.”

It is obvious from what is transpiring in a growing number of SDA churches that these suggestions have been followed.

2005/2006
Leland Kaiser: The founder and president of Kaiser Consulting (a health care consulting firm located in Brighton, Colorado); co-founder of the Kaiser Institute and Two Worlds Wisdom School; a motivational speaker “known for his ability to change the way organizations think”; an advocate of self-designing communities and organizations; an intuitive, executive coach, and organizational consultant; an author, educator, and pioneer in the field of electronic teaching technologies; a futurist and “acknowledged authority on the changing American healthcare system”; a mentor to many hospitals and healthcare organizations in the U.S.; and a pioneer in tithing programs for hospitals. Kevin and Leanne are his children.

Kevin Kaiser: Co-founder of Kaiser Institute; influential in applied intuition; working to create intuitive organizations; pioneers innovative learning that produces people’s extraordinary intuitive gifts; creator of Kaiser Institute’s Program in Intuition; and a speaker and executive coach.

Leanne Kaiser Carlson: Co-founder and initiatives leader of Kaiser Institute and Two World Wisdom School; an influential health futurist, speaker, and advisor; a writer and a hospital trustee; a Senior Fellow of the Estes Park Institute in the areas of Futures, Innovation, and Wisdom Cultures.

2007
Doug Pagitt: Pastor for Solomon’s Porch (a “holistic, missional, Christian community”); owns businesses in Minnesota; authored Church Re-Imagined and Preaching Re-imagined.

Jon Paulien: Well-known SDA theologian and author; Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Dean of the Faculty of Religion at Loma Linda University.

Rabbi Marcia Prager: Dean of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal Rabbinic Program; rabbi for Philadelphia and Princeton P’nai or Jewish Renewal Communities; authored Path of Blessing and called “one of the best introductions to Jewish Renewal learning and practice.” From her website: Jewish Renewal seeks to “embrace a global vision of the role of all human beings and spiritual paths in the transformation of life.” It sees renewal “as a process reaching beyond denominational boundaries and institutional structures . . . in which Judaism is conscious of its place in an interconnected world.” It is “built on the idea that we live in a transformative moment in time, in which a new paradigm for spiritual life is being developed.” Amidah cards can be ordered from her website. They offer the “ancient nineteen blessings in guided imagery, so you can participate in this soul-expanding journey in a new and inspiring way. The full Hebrew text, when memorized and softly chanted (or ‘davvened’) is a hypnotic mantra enabling the ‘davven-er’ to use its images as aids to deep inner work.” “The Amidah is one of the most powerful meditations in Jewish spiritual practice. These nineteen blessings of praise, hope, holiness, healing, restoration and peace are luminous gateways which guide you in a process of spiritual transformation.”

Philip Jenkins: Professor of History and Religious Studies at Pennsylvania State University; graduate of Cambridge University; published over 20 books on “contemporary religious phenomena”; known best for the highly acclaimed book, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity.

Two features advertised for the 2007 conference were as follows: 1) “Innovations – incremental and radical – are occurring in various contexts. Be introduced to a sampling of these innovations; be inspired by those who are on the frontline, reinventing their way to growth, value, and excellence”; 2) “An experiential, participatory, and communal ‘immersion’ to developing your innovation instincts and abilities.”

2008
Kelly Monroe Kullberg: Founder and director for project development of The Veritas Forum; co-authored best-selling Finding God at Harvard: Spiritual Journeys of Christian Thinkers; authored Finding God Beyond Harvard; taught film and C. S. Lewis at Harvard College; past chaplain of Harvard Graduate School Christian Fellowship.

Julius Nam: Received a Ph.D. in Church History/Adventist Studies from Andrews University; part-time associate professor of religion, Loma Linda University School of Religion; enrolled in Juris Doctor program at UCLA Law (California); known for being an engaging Adventist scholar; active in the American Academy of Religion, Adventist Society for Religious Studies, and The Association of Seventh-day Adventist Historians; taught at Pacific Union College; served as pastor in Korea and the U.S.; a principal in organizing the 2007 scholarly conference on the 50th anniversary of the publication of Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine; an initiator of “Adventists Against Prop 8”—a small group opposed to California's 2008 “Proposition 8” which banned same-sex marriages—in contrast to the SDA organization’s official position on heterosexual marriage only, with Nam stating that it is “a question of justice” and that we should “lead the way in pushing for equality”; published in magazines, including an interview in Spectrum magazine entitled “In Japan, Adventists find Willow Creek bridge to the unchurched.”

Leonard Sweet: E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Drew Theological School and Visiting Distinguished Professor at George Fox University; Methodist preacher and worldwide speaker; founder and president of SpiritVenture Ministries; promotes “new light” leaders; author of 600 published sermons, over 100 articles, and 30 books, including The Gospel According to Starbucks; his book, Quantum Spirituality: A Postmodern Apologetic, included a statement from the Jesuit philosopher, Karl Rahner, who stated that a Christian will be a mystic or he will be nothing.

Miscellaneous: Ohio Conference of SDA; Kettering Medical Center Network; The Kaiser Institute; Office of Creative Ministries in the Columbia Union; Versacare, Inc.; Focus PT, Inc.; Center for Creative Ministries and Leadership & Educational Administration Department of Andrews University.

2009
David Neff: Served as editor of a magazine for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (an evangelical and interdenominational campus ministry with over 700 chapters); vice president of Christianity Today International; editor-in-chief of Christianity Today Media Group and Christianity Today magazine, with article topics that include Middle-East peace, environmental concerns, and contemplative prayer.

Suzy Welch: Author, business journalist, commentator, and the former editor of Harvard Business Review; writes (along with her husband) the weekly column The Welch Way; columnist for O – The Oprah Magazine; authored 10-10-10: A Life-Transforming Idea (on self-help). (The Welch Way gives ideas on business management, career success, global competition, mission and values, and how to win in the business world and is in Business Week magazine and the New York Times).

2010
The 6th Annual National Conference on Innovation entitled “Infusion…Where Faith Meets Innovation” was held in Columbus, Ohio and sponsored by the Ohio Conference of SDAs. It was advertised for those who desire transformation, creative change, and purposeful living (similar to the “purpose-driven” movement), as well as living in a “revolutionary” way (means a drastic or rapid change). The following comes from their website:

  • Kettering Adventist Health Care Innovation of the Year Award. (See this chapter’s section entitled “Honor of men.”)
  • Vervent Innovative Church of the Year Award. (Vervent is the SDA NAD’s new Church Resource Center with innovative products and services, more specifically, resources emerging because of “felt needs” discovered through research with local church leaders.)

Someone on the Vervent forum mentioned how we should not call non-SDAs “lost” but call them “friends.” What does God’s Word say?

James 4:4

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

 

2 Corinthians 6:14

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

 

Amos 3:3

Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

 

Christ Triumphant, p. 157

What carefulness should be exercised in the formation of friendship! Companionship with the world will surely lower the standard of religious principle. Solomon’s heathen wives turned away his heart from God. His finer sensibilities were blunted, and he became hardhearted, for he lost his sympathy for humankind and his love for God. His conscience was seared, and his rule became tyranny.

 

The Great Controversy (1888), pp. 508-509

When Christians choose the society of the ungodly and unbelieving, they expose themselves to temptation. Satan conceals himself from view, and stealthily draws his deceptive covering over their eyes. They cannot see that such company is calculated to do them harm; and while all the time assimilating to the world in character, words, and actions, they are becoming more and more blinded.

Conformity to worldly customs converts the church to the world; it never converts the world to Christ.

 

The Acts of the Apostles, p. 362

The minister who is a co-worker with Christ will have a deep sense of the sacredness of his work and of the toil and sacrifice required to perform it successfully. He does not study his own ease or convenience. He is forgetful of self. In his search for the lost sheep he does not realize that he himself is weary, cold, and hungry. He has but one object in view--the saving of the lost.

  • One hour of college credit available through Washington Adventist University.

"Innovation" is not only in the Ohio Conference but has spread across the U.S. and worldwide.

  • Author Book Signings

Each must ask whether the Great Author will be signing their book of life with these words: “. . . he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” Revelation 22:11.

The Great Controversy (1888), p. 557

The Book that is to judge him [Satan] and his followers he puts in the shade, just where he wants it....

  • Kettering Adventist Healthcare contributed $3,000 as the “Innovation of the Year” award for meeting the following criteria:

    • Innovation.
    • Missional impact as it relates to systems such as church policies, common practices, and social norms.
    • Entrepreneurship relating to efficient use of internal and external resources to “make things happen,” and scanning for change and new opportunities.
    • Aspiration and growth.
  • Sustainability involving revenue and the missional aspirations over time with the ability to deal with challenges in a flexible manner.
  • Some of the questions on the award application included the following information:

    • What is new in the innovation that is different to how things have been done?
    • How is the innovation making a profound change in the traditional system?
    • What risks and obstacles were involved in the initiatives?
    • Are there similar innovations elsewhere?
  • Applications were to be emailed or mailed to the Ohio Conference of SDAs.
  • The SDA NAD Church Resource Center contributed $2,000 plus travel expenses for a pastor and two laypeople as a “2010 CRC Innovative Church of the Year” award for meeting the following criteria:

    • Due to a “changing society” the church took advantage of opportunities to do ministry in new ways.
    • The initiative helped with membership growth, “spiritual growth” and contributed to the “target community.”

      The innovation addresses some of the Natural Church Development (NCD) characteristics—an organization that supposedly improves quality in order to improve church growth and has reached 40,000 churches in 70 countries. It promotes emerging church ideas such as a book on the paradigm shift and discipleship resources, Bill Hybels and Willow Creek. NCD’s U.S. partner is ChurchSmart, which is promoted by SDA institutions such as Andrews University through a book by ChurchSmart Resources being required reading for a course entitled “Strategies for Church Growth.”
      http://www.andrews.edu/~ricardo/Church%20Growth.htm
    • The initiative offered the possibility of spreading to other churches.
    • The pastor and two laypeople must attend the Partners in Innovation conference.

Applications were to be mailed to the NAD Church Resource Center at the SDA Church headquarters.

Below is a list of speakers for the 2010 Innovation conference.

  • Alan Hirsch:

    • Speaker topics: “Recalibrating the Church for the 21st Century: Part I –ReJesus, ReDisciple; Part II – ReMission, ReOrganize.”
    • Adjunct professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, George Fox Seminary, and Wheaton College.
    • Author of numerous books mostly on the subjects of missional thinking and discipleship.
  • Barbara Bradley Hagerty:

    • Speaker topic: “Is There Evidence for God? Dispatches from the Frontiers of Science.”
    • Religion correspondent for National Public Radio.
    • Reports on science, politics, culture, the intersection of faith, and law.
  • Zdravko (Zack) Plantak:

    • Speaker topic: “The Leaves are for the Healing of the Nations: Repairers of Broken Walls and Restorers of God’s Justice.”
    • Washington Adventist University Theology Department chair and religion professor.
    • Served as president of Adventist Society for Religious Studies.
    • Lectured worldwide on theology and ethics.
    • Authored The Silent Church: Human Rights and Adventist Social Ethics.
  • Neil Cole:

    • Speaker topic: “Church 3.0: Upgrades for the Future of the Church.”
    • Founder and executive director of Church Multiplication Associates (movement of rapidly growing churches which meet at businesses, campuses, and homes worldwide).
    • Travels to teach leaders how to develop these churches.
    • Served in a smaller church as well as a megachurch.
    • Author of many books.
  • Samir Selmanovic:

    • Ph.D. from Andrews University.
    • Attended the Innovation conference in 2009.
    • Ordained pastor and missional entrepreneur.
    • Founder and co-leader of FaithHouse Manhattan (interfaith community of Christians, Jews, Muslims, humanists, and atheists “for the good of the world”).
    • Served as teaching pastor at CrossWalk SDA Church in Redlands, California. It is a typical emerging church today, previously pastored by Morris Venden, and now promotes the wearing of jeans to church, gives permission to laugh at the jokes or videos, drinking coffee, the world’s movies and music, music festivals, competition, raffles, circus shows, mentions connectedness, creativity, and Communion as the Eucharist, suggests feeling and tasting their “Sabbath rhythms,” quotes C. S. Lewis, etc., yet listed in the NAD church directory.
    • Authored the book, It’s Really All About God (dedication includes Roy Naden and Brian McLaren; acknowledgments include Raj Attiken, Ryan Bell, Tony Campolo, Jon Dybdahl, Lawrence Geraty, Fritz Guy, Kevin Kaiser, Julius Nam, Doug Pagitt, Jon Paulien, and Monte Sahlin). Early promoters of FaithHouse Manhattan also included Samuel Leonor (chaplain of La Sierra University) and Johnny Ramírez-Johnson (Professor of Religion, Psychology, & Culture, Loma Linda University).
    • Helped to develop the emerging church through his work at Emergent Village and in the Re-church Network.
    • States that to believe that God is limited to Christianity would be an attempt to manage God.
    • Recent endorsements of FaithHouse Manhattan included a monk; the professor of Theology, World Religions and Culture at Union Theological Seminary; the director of Interfaith & Social Justice Initiatives at Hebrew College in Newton, Massachusetts; and the Humanist Chaplain of Harvard University.
    • Leader of “Citylights,” a Christian community.
    • Serves on the Interfaith Relations Commission of the United States National Council of Churches.

http://www.faithhousemanhattan.org/faith_house/2010/09/living-room-samhain-a-season-of-harvest-a-circle-of-remembrance.html
The online FaithHouse Manhattan announced their October 2010 event entitled “Living Room Samhain: A Season of Harvest, a Circle of Remembrance” with Temple of the Spiral Path. Samhain (pronounced Sow-en) is an ancient Celtic festival celebrated by modern neo-pagan witches. The article stated: “In the US, Wiccans have been an example of a ‘minority’ religion, often met with misunderstanding and at times with hostility. We want to learn about and from them and are welcoming them to Faith House!” They take comfort in the “closeness of the spirits of Nature, our Gods and Goddesses, and especially our Ancestors.” Temple of the Spiral Path represents the family of covens practicing witchcraft, exploring many aspects of Wicca, and anchors its tradition “within the rich tapestry of the Western Mystery Tradition.”

Why would someone with a Ph.D. from Andrews University be involved with witchcraft? That path is a downward spiral to spiritual death. What does God’s Word tell us about fellowshipping with witches?

Deuteronomy 18:10-12

There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

Why would God’s people want to “experience our neighbor’s faith,” as it states on the FaithHouse website?

Christ Triumphant, p. 157

When the Lord’s people turn from the God of all wisdom, and look to people who love not God, in order to obtain wisdom and arrive at decisions, the Lord will allow them to follow that wisdom that is not from above but from beneath.

http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/MIN/MIN20060801-V79-08__B.pdf
The August 2006 Ministry magazine included an ad for the 2nd Annual National Conference on Innovation for October 2006 in Columbus, Ohio at the time the Kaiser family were presenters. It was announced to register in order to secure a spot and included conference contact information. It then included the speakers and topics:

Leland Kaiser, Ph.D, President, Kaiser Consulting: “Bottlenecks & Breakthroughs”; Leanne Kaiser Carlson, Co-founder, The Kaiser Institute: “How to Fund Innovation with Donor/Investor Partners”;Kevin Kaiser, Co-founder, The Kaiser Institute: “Spiritual Capacities of Innovation Leaders.” Also included was a recommendation by a 2005 participant who stated that it was the most relevant, practical and useful Adventist conference that they had ever attended. Sponsors mentioned were Partners In Innovation — The Ohio Conference of SDAs; The Kettering Medical Center Network; Office of Creative Ministries; the Columbia Union Conference of SDAs; The Kaiser Institute; Focus Physical Therapy, Inc.; and Versacare, Inc.

Some protested at the beginning of this movement, but it has continued and is growing worldwide. One example comes from Africa’s Ghana Union Conference of SDAs 2008 GUC News Digest, Issue No. 4, which featured an ad regarding Partners in Innovation. It stated that Raj Attiken (president of the Ohio Conference of SDAs and director for Mission & Strategy) is calling for a “culture of innovation” in worship and outreach in SDA churches in order to be effective and relevant. He is concerned that church members will become too self-absorbed in “protecting truth” and “preserving tradition” and will “slip further and further into inaction and irrelevancy.”
http://www.sgcsda.org/docs/Newsletter%20GUC%204.pdf

According to God’s Word, it is when we stop protecting truth and preserving the faith of our fathers, that we “slip further and further into inaction and irrelevancy.” Satan twists religion to resemble the opposite of what it is, yet it looks good from the outside and the majority are deceived.

Below is a description from the Innovation website about the 7th Annual National Conference on Innovation called, “Infusion: Where Faith Meets Innovation” to be held in October 2011 in Dayton, Ohio.

The conference will be a three day gathering for “hope-filled, faith-inspired individuals with an almost cellular drive for transformation, creative change, and purposeful living. The sharp, daring, and provocative explorations will expand your thinking, stretch your faith, and compel you to live out your values in a bold and revolutionary way.” Each year participants come from the U.S. and other countries, and a “nationally renowned team of presenters in the fields of faith, spirituality, culture, academia, business and global affairs” come together. This event is always rated by past attendees as “unique, best-in-class, and of high value for their personal and professional lives.”

The Center for Creative Ministry
http://www.creativeministry.org/index.php
This is a para-church ministry recognized by the SDA Church in North America and listed under Reconnecting Ministries. It supports local churches “in outreach and nurture ministries by providing resources, information, training, and consulting.” As can be seen in the examples below, it is all about emerging church programs.

  • Promotes the 6th annual National Conference on Innovation (2010)
  • Includes a quote by Leonard Sweet.
  • The Q & A section includes a statement about how their “reach extends around the world, not only to Adventists but to people of all faith groups. On an ongoing basis we are doing research work with 40 faith groups and many other para-church organizations. We welcome and enjoy the collaboration.” What a sad witness to the other faith groups.
  • The following words are included in their core values: Jesus; relevance; innovation; love; networking; fun; spirituality; and creativity—all “emerging” terms.
  • Resources by Monte Sahlin (promotes spiritual formation; chair of Creative Ministry).
  • Ryan Bell, pastor of Hollywood SDA Church in California, is a board member of Creative Ministry.
  • Board members come from California, Washington state, Maryland, New York, Florida, and Ohio. Interestingly, those states include many of the progressive SDAs in the U.S.
  • Included a photo of Paul Richardson, Director of Center for Creative Ministry, with Raj Attiken, a prominent supporter of the innovation conferences. The caption stated, “It was great to see Raj Attiken, conference president in Ohio, at a leadership conference in August, 2007. Ohio is a progressive professional environment these days due to Raj's leadership.”

    Suggested having different types of reconnecting activities for inactive members, such as self-help seminars, small groups, sports leagues, service projects, and classic car rallies.

This innovation movement calls for the greatest alarm from faithful SDAs.

Emerging churches (SDA)

Early Writings, p. 125

God is displeased with us when we go to listen to error, without being obliged to go; for unless He sends us to those meetings where error is forced home to the people by the power of the will, He will not keep us. The angels cease their watchful care over us, and we are left to the buffetings of the enemy, to be darkened and weakened by him and the power of his evil angels; and the light around us becomes contaminated with the darkness.

I saw that we have no time to throw away in listening to fables. Our minds should not be thus diverted, but should be occupied with the present truth, and seeking wisdom that we may obtain a more thorough knowledge of our position, that with meekness we may be able to give a reason of our hope from the Scriptures. While false doctrines and dangerous errors are pressed upon the mind, it cannot be dwelling upon the truth which is to fit and prepare the house of Israel to stand in the day of the Lord.

 

Christ Triumphant, p. 362

A new order of things has come into the ministry. There is a desire to pattern after other churches, and simplicity and humility are almost unknown. The young ministers seek to be original, and to introduce new ideas and new plans for labor. Some open revival meetings, and by this means call large numbers into the church. But when the excitement is over, where are the converted ones? Repentance and confession of sin are not seen. The sinner is entreated to believe in Christ and accept Him, without regard to one’s past life of sin and rebellion. The heart is not broken. There is no contrition of soul. The supposed converted ones have not fallen upon the Rock, Christ Jesus....

The Lord desires His servants today to preach the old gospel doctrine, sorrow for sin, repentance, and confession.... Sinners must be labored for, perseveringly, earnestly, wisely, until they shall see that they are transgressors of God’s law, and shall exercise repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ....

Listed below are just some of the SDA emerging churches that mix error with truth.

Burbank SDA Church, California
http://burbanksda.com/thisweek.html; http://www.burbankcr.blogspot.com
These two websites include the following information for the Burbank church’s 12 step Celebrate Recovery program held each Friday night. It begins with “food, fellowship, and fun.” Next are the large group testimonies and teaching, then the small groups for open sharing. It ends with a 9:00-10:00 p.m. program that meets at the Solid Rock Café to “socialize with group members over coffee and dessert.” Perhaps this church should provide a Celebrate Recovery program on overcoming the coffee-drinking habit.

Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 425

Tea and coffee drinking is a sin, an injurious indulgence, which, like other evils, injures the soul.

One of their blogs included a recovery program on a Friday night with Sheila Raye Charles (daughter of celebrity Ray Charles) who gave her testimony with her contemporary music and that of her father. A link was included to the “Celebrate Recovery Headquarters” at the Saddleback Church.

A November 5, 2007 announcement stated, “This Week at Burbank: A Purpose Driven Church” where the “un-churched may find a home.” According to the official Purpose Driven Church website with Rick Warren, the Burbank church has also been involved in the 40 Days of Community (a part of the Purpose Driven movement).

A February 2010 Pacific Union Recorder article included some of the community events held at this church. An outdoor “Family Fun Festival” occurred in September 2009 with an “outreach focus” that offered carnival-type games and prizes. At Halloween time, a “Christian magician show” was sponsored as a “safe alternative activity” along with handing out glow sticks (details follow). A neighbor said that when she visited the church she liked the feeling she got when no one minded that her kids were “being kids.”
http://pacificunionrecorder.adventistfaith.org/issue/16/7/247

Child Guidance, p. 540

The house of God is often desecrated, and the Sabbath violated by Sabbath-believers' children. In some cases they are even allowed to run about the house, play, talk, and manifest their evil tempers in the very meetings where the saints should worship God in the beauty of holiness. And the place that should be holy, and where a holy stillness should reign, and where there should be perfect order, neatness, and humility, is made to be a perfect Babylon, "confusion." This is enough to bring God's displeasure and shut His presence from our assemblies.

Pete McLeod (an SDA formerly with the Heritage Singers) was invited to perform a magic show, which included “magical mystical sticks.”

http://www.mcleodmagic.com
McLeod’s background includes 30 years of performing experience, with abilities in song writing, public speaking, magic, comedy, gymnastics, and a Masters Degree in Counseling. After describing a magic trick that he performs, McLeod ends by saying, “I take my bow to thunderous applause.” The following have invited and promoted McLeod: Dan Matthews (co-host of Lifestyle Magazine television show and pastor of Loma Linda University SDA Church); a principal from the Simi Valley SDA Academy; and a manager from Loma Linda University Medical Center. “Your school will scream with laughter” describes McLeod’s Christmas show. One of his contemporary Christian music albums won an Angel award for “Best Album of the Year.” He has also written a book entitled The Magical Journey. It includes 40 illustrated pages of magic tricks described as “secrets and mysteries,” the “secret code of magicians,” and tips on how to perform a magic show.

The Review and Herald, October 13, 1874

Professed Christians engage in feastings and in scenes of amusement which degrade the religion of Jesus Christ. It is impossible for those who find pleasure in church socials, festivals and numerous gatherings for pleasure, to have ardent love and sacred reverence for Jesus. His words of warning and instruction have not weight upon their minds.

 

The Bible Echo, October 8, 1894

Is it possible to have joy in obeying Christ? It is the only real joy that any soul can have. You may have what you call "a good time," and laugh and joke; but your joy will be only a foolish gratification of a mind that is not well balanced by the Spirit of God. Christ continued, "I have given them Thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." Do you expect that the world will love you when you go contrary to the customs and traditions of the world? Do you expect to be treated better than was the Master of the house?

The “Give & Take” section of the May 20, 2010 Adventist Review included a statement that it does not hurt to use a little biblical humor occasionally and featured a Bible joke. Actually, biblical humor does hurt us. More importantly, it hurts God, because it goes against His Word.

Counsels for the Church, p. 252

We should reverence God's word. For the printed volume we should show respect, never putting it to common uses, or handling it carelessly. And never should Scripture be quoted in a jest, or paraphrased to point a witty saying. "Every word of God is pure;" "as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times." Proverbs 30:5; Psalm 12:6.

Hollywood SDA Church, California
http://www.hollywoodsda.org
Ryan Bell is the senior pastor with a Master of Divinity degree from Andrews University, and he is currently pursuing his Doctor of Ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary. He writes articles on the missional church and suggests the liberal Spectrum magazine’s Sabbath School commentary as a resource for the adult Bible Study class on Sabbath. Worship services include drama, a contemporary band and casual dress, including jeans. Their worship team is one of the “most active ministries,” and their Hollywood Worship Band leads them in worship almost every week.

The congregation is advertised as being on a missional journey.

A video showed the church’s Ash Wednesday service in a darkened room with candles and incense burning, with the pastor placing a cross of ashes on the members’ foreheads. Ash Wednesday is observed at masses which are Eucharistic celebrations in the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church and by Protestants. It marks the first day of Lent in the Western Christian liturgical year and is a season of fasting, cleansing, and spiritual discipline.

http://www.hollywoodsda.org/time/seasons-of-the-church-year
This web page reveals how the Hollywood church celebrates the following seasons throughout the year: Advent, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost. It stated that “from Advent until the Day of Pentecost we preach from the lectionary, and during Pentecost/Ordinary Time our services are more thematic and topical.” A lectionary is a reading, especially from the Bible. Notice the following resources:

  • Emerging Word: A Creation Spirituality Lectionary: Scripture Readings and Commentary for the Church Year by Donald Schmidt.
  • Story Lectionary: A Free Online Resource For the Emerging Church
  • Calendar and Lectionary for 2011 with the liturgical year beginning on Advent Sunday 2010, and ending on the eve of Advent Sunday 2011.
  • Revised Catholic Mass Lectionary, translated into many languages and incorporating existing or specially prepared translations of the Bible, with readings for national celebrations added as an appendix or incorporated into the main part of the lectionary.

Why this sudden need to use a lectionary? Emergents would answer that it is relevant for the postmodern culture of today. Will they use the same reasoning for giving up the Sabbath when Sunday laws arrive?

The Great Controversy (1888), p. 386

Says Howard Crosby: “...Christians are making a great deal of Lent and Easter and church ornamentation. It is the old trick of Satan. The Jewish church struck on that rock; the Romish church was wrecked on the same; and the Protestant is fast reaching the same doom.”

The Actors/Writers Workshop on Thursday nights in the Community Chapel is for “professionals in the field looking to improve their acting and writing abilities. Anyone that is looking to expand their writing, acting or directing abilities are more than welcome to come on out and have a good time with us!”

Community partners included Emergent Village and Allelon (a movement of missional leaders).

During “holy week,” the church invites anyone to “journey with Christ towards the cross with daily readings, and worship on Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday.”

It was announced that on a Saturday a group conversation and lunch would be held hosted by their “Peace and Justice” organizer, who develops ways of getting involved in the neighborhood community. It is interesting to note that one website includes information on The Institute for Peace and Justice Education and the Summer School for Emerging Leaders in Conflict Prevention and Transformation, with workshops to support long-term peace.

Jeremiah 8:11-12

...saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.

The Hollywood church is also proud to be the recipient of the 2010 Innovation of the Year Award and the Innovative Church of the Year Award.

http://www.adventistreview.org/2002-1539/news.html
An Adventist Review article included the following: “Loving Babylon--the first ever gathering of the re:church network-challenged both conference attendees and the church as whole to take on the adventure of mission to big cities.” The three-day conference included 60 participants from across the U.S., 15 volunteers from the local church, and 10 speakers. Ryan Bell was one of the conference organizers. Experienced church planter Ed Dickerson was given the re:church Issachar Award at the end of the conference. Bell explained that “re:church is a network of supporting friendships among missional leaders committed to transformation and the shaping of the Emerging Church. God is doing a new thing in our midst--that there is an Emerging Church that we are only just beginning to see. We believe that He is calling leaders to listen, challenge and form His church for a new generation.”

Evangelism, p. 512

When professing Christians reach the high standard which it is their privilege to reach, the simplicity of Christ will be maintained in all their worship. Forms and ceremonies and musical accomplishments are not the strength of the church. Yet these things have taken the place that God should have, even as they did in the worship of the Jews.

The Lord has revealed to me that when the heart is cleansed and sanctified, and the members of the church are partakers of the divine nature, a power will go forth from the church, who believe the truth, that will cause melody in the heart. Men and women will not then depend upon their instrumental music but on the power and grace of God, which will give fullness of joy. There is a work to be done in clearing away the rubbish which has been brought into the church.

Beltsville SDA Church, Maryland
http://beltsville22.adventistchurchconnect.org
The church’s pastor is Kermit Netteburg. Here is information from their November 2010 bulletin:

  • A Christmas social included a vespers, then “Christmas goodies” and a Christmas movie with “fun for the whole family.”
  • A Christmas silent auction hosted by Takoma Academy “TABoosters” in Maryland. Participants could buy tickets, sponsor the auction, or shop for “great gift items like luxury vacations, spa treatments, Redskins [football] tickets, and more.”

http://d.sermonplayer.com/c/BeltsvilleSDA/pdf/2535251_25939.pdf
Another bulletin included these events: a Song Fest, Sermon Skit, Scripture Skit, puppets, and the “Beltsville Ballers” basketball teams playing at a middle school.

Sligo SDA Church, Takoma Park, Maryland
http://www.sligochurch.org
The senior pastor is Charles Tapp. The information below comes from their website.

  • Promotion of Philip Yancey as well as the 12 step recovery/regeneration program.
  • Kid’s church includes “lots of music, drama and stories.”
  • Children’s Street Ministry, which presents a “radical example of Christianity in action” and includes puppetry, face painting, balloon sculpting, drama/mime, and clowning. The ministry goes into a community and “builds relationships while having fun and showing the love of Jesus in action.”

A true Christian will find it difficult to imagine Jesus approving of puppets, face painting, mimes, and clowning to build relationships and show His love in action.

http://www.sligochurch.org/assets/107399
The following comes from their December 2005 bulletin with the title “Sligo Sabbath Celebration: Third Week of Advent” and a sermon by Kermit Netteburg.

  • Lighting of the Advent Candle
  • An outreach and social day for the youth with a coffee and food drive where they would give away socks that were donated, then “food, fellowship, and fun” at the “ESPN Zone” (a sports bar and grill restaurant.)
  • A reminder to sign up for the Washington Wizards game (basketball), an event open to all high-school youth.
  • An announcement about Sligo’s “International Christmas Festival.”
  • Walk Through Bethlehem: Jesus is our Hope interactive Christmas play at the General Conference of SDAs. Purchase of tickets required. http://www.bethlehemwalk.info

http://www.sligochurch.org/assets/107005
From a February 2007 bulletin:

  • Puppet practice
  • An announcement about Sheri Jackson receiving her music training at Oakwood College and the School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana, and that she was the 2006 winner of the Annapolis Opera Competition and was preparing for performances abroad.

Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 459-460

Many of the amusements popular in the world today, even with those who claim to be Christians, tend to the same end as did those of the heathen. There are indeed few among them that Satan does not turn to account in destroying souls. Through the drama he has worked for ages to excite passion and glorify vice. The opera, with its fascinating display and bewildering music, the masquerade, the dance, the card table, Satan employs to break down the barriers of principle and open the door to sensual indulgence. In every gathering for pleasure where pride is fostered or appetite indulged, where one is led to forget God and lose sight of eternal interests, there Satan is binding his chains about the soul.

 

Evangelism, p. 510

The long-drawn-out notes and the peculiar sounds common in operatic singing are not pleasing to the angels. They delight to hear the simple songs of praise sung in a natural tone. The songs in which every word is uttered clearly, in a musical tone, are the songs that they join us in singing. They take up the refrain that is sung from the heart with the spirit and the understanding.

http://www.sligochurch.org/assets/107382
From an August 2005 bulletin:

  • An announcement about a “Hiding Place” meeting each Wednesday night in the Youth Room and that it is a “Christian ‘hangout’ spot for youth with live music, food, games, and fun.” They feature a different genre of music each week and that particular week they had a block party.

Campus Hill SDA Church, Loma Linda, California
http://www.campushillchurch.net
This church promoted the following:

  • Men’s 12 Step Group

    Al-Anon Program – a Spanish 12-Step

    Fridays: Celebrate Wholeness – “If you’re struggling with habits, hangups and hurts, a twelve-step program begins with a free light meal . . . praise music, testimonies, instruction and break-out sessions for men and women.”
  • Folk music, pop guitar, drumming, and cultural dances.
  • “Come and enjoy an evening of music with a young, talented octet from South Korea. The Golden Angels [contemporary music] are visiting our church after being featured at the SDA General Conference Session in Atlanta, GA.”
  • This link shows a video of the November 21, 2009 church service with hula dancing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJXIWnbDuBU
  • This link shows a video of their December 9, 2008 “The Majesty of Christmas” program with sheep on the platform and camels walking down the aisle:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEiNZJ0PDhU

Living Stones SDA Church, La Crescenta, California
http://www.livingstonessda.com/core_values/index.html
This church’s “core values” include these typical emerging church terms: discipleship; fellowship; unity through diversity; authenticity; God matures us within community; cultural relevancy; innovative; creativity; praise; and a friendly and accepting environment. They explain that their church supports small groups “for the benefit and spiritual growth of its members” and recommend being a part of this “life-changing experience!” Details follow.

http://norcalpastors4ncd.wordpress.com/holistic-small-groups
Following is information the church provided for their “holistic small groups” or “cell groups” taken from the “facilitators’ guide/Introduction to Crash Groups: Christianity at Work Through Community.” The reasoning behind this is that “the disciples were a support system to each other, even after Jesus ascended to heaven” and life to them was about “living together in the way that Jesus taught them to live.” Therefore, the hope is that through this system the “crash group” can achieve this too. Each group should consist of 6 to 12 people who meet weekly for 10 out of 12 weeks. The program consists of weekly gatherings, one-on-one fellowship, and working for the community. “Tools” are provided to make the program “as effective as possible.” The group is to be “like a family”; “confidentiality and reliability are crucial to the feeling of security for every member.” A system of “W’s” can be used to “guide the flow of the meeting”: welcome, word, worship, and witness.

The welcome is to be a time of fellowship, a time of getting to know each other. They are to get into pairs and ask one of the following two questions: “How are you doing . . . really?” or “What is the one question you don’t want me to ask you right now?” A new question is brought to the group of new pairs at the next meeting, such as finding out “everyone’s dream vacation destination.” Casual answers are not to be allowed. It is to be a time to “be real with each other,” talking about struggles and blessings, and “holding each other accountable in whatever way we might wish,” a time to “hear each other’s ‘life story.’ ” It is stressed that “confidentiality and complete acceptance of every person in the group is crucial.”

For the Word time, “the sky is the limit as far as what can be used.” Suggested ideas were to show a video; go to http://nooma.com (video website with Rob Bell, pastor of the non-SDA mega-church, Mars Hill Bible Church, in Michigan that promotes contemplative prayer and the emerging church; nooma comes from the word pneuma, meaning breath or spirit) or go to http://www.damah.com (a film festival website; damah means to imagine); read a chapter from a book “that has moved you”; study a challenging section of the Bible; or discuss a “different concept of God you have come across recently.”

Worship time ideas included: “Spend a significant time in silence,” “listen and meditate on a song playing on a stereo and how it relates to your walk with God”; or “try different prayer exercises, both modern and ancient,” such as http://www.sacredgateway.org (a place for online contemplative prayer with help from “modern Jesuit writers”) or the online prayer labyrinth at http://www.yfc.co.uk/labyrinth/online.html. It is an “online translation of the Cathedral Labyrinth created by London alternative worship groups Grace, LOPE, and Epicentre” and toured United Kingdom cathedrals from 2001-2003. Youth For Christ hosted the tour. The original is described as “an interactive installation for spiritual journeys.” It consisted of a pathway on the floor for visitors to follow. “During this journey participants pause and listen to a piece of music and a meditation. They also undertake some symbolic action or ritual.”

During the worship time, it was also suggested to “use any of the arts . . . to create a worship-type atmosphere” and that it may be necessary “to turn out all the lights so as not to have any distractions.”

The witness is a time to organize a trip and an outreach project. The trip can be “camping, going to an amusement park or museum, or anything that the group might be interested in” and “is best if it is at least an overnight stay.” In the past, groups “have been known to fly across the country or even visit other exotic destinations.” The outreach project should be something that “builds up the community” and “will be enjoyable for everyone.” At the end of the witness, “go around the room and ask this simple question to every person individually: ‘Are you willing to pay the price?’ ” This means that the Crash Group must be a high priority. “It isn’t some cult-like weirdness, but a sincere and thoughtful decision to love each other in the group no matter what the cost. An affirmation of this question is required for acceptance into the group.”

The ending of the weekly “gathering” should include prayer. “It may seem a bit silly at first, but it is important. This is best done while in a circle either holding hands or with your arms around each other.” Before leaving, “everyone must get a hug from each other.” It was also encouraged for members to “bring friends to come and hang out at the weekly gatherings.”

Comments by participants included:

  • “Talking to guys going through the same things I was and having the same trials was really helpful.”
  • “Crash groups have profoundly impacted my spiritual life. They have provided a place where I can be utterly honest with other people about my struggles, shortcomings, failures. . . .”
  • “Crash Groups combine a laid back atmosphere with something deeper.”

The individual pairs “should meet with each other outside of the weekly gathering before the next meeting. It does not have to be anything serious, and can take as much time as just grabbing some coffee or lunch in the afternoon.” The group is supposed to be “trying to live life together as a family.” “Because of this dynamic only one weekly meeting will not typically work. So this gives a chance to pull together even tighter.”

The facilitator guide ends with “may your Crash Group be a process of life changing transformation. . . .” Below is a list of concerns regarding this type of meeting.

  • The confidentiality factor, especially in the sharing of personal sins. This is very similar to confessing to a priest and is unbiblical, unless the person has been affected by that sin.
  • Turning out the lights.
  • Fun, travel, and amusement are stressed.
  • Why would prayer “seem a bit silly”?
  • The familiarity of physical contact as a “family” is stressed, such as holding hands, arms around each other, and hugging.
  • The mention of meeting for coffee.

The Crash Group is named after Rob Bell’s “The Crash” and can be found at this website: http://www.atthecrash.com. The use of the word “crash” is quite appropriate. If their emerging beliefs are not repented of, they will “crash” and not survive to the kingdom, because of the Satanic deceptions. Yes, Crash Groups is a “cult-like weirdness.” It resembles the beginnings of a “secret society” and is the perfect “testing ground” to see who will fall for contemplative prayer, etc.

Here is a write-up on one of Rob Bell’s “noomah” videos called “Bullhorn”:

It begins with a “nerdy evangelist in a white shirt” who is “photocopying hellfire-and-brimstone tracts and packing up a bullhorn as he prepares to shout at people on street corners.” There is now a second preacher, “a very different kind of clergyman” who is sitting on a city street bench in a t-shirt and sandals. It is Rob Bell at 34 and looking “like that cool guy in Verizon ads with glasses and spiky hair,” pastor of “a hot new church for twenty somethings.” He talks “straight and fast about a loving kind of God who accepts everyone ‘just the way they are.’ ” As if addressing the “hellfire preacher,” he says: “Bullhorn guy, I don't think it's working. . . . I think it's making things worse. I don't think this is what Jesus had in mind.” The video ends with Bell saying “No, the whole point of Christianity is to experience God's love, to love one another and never to scare or threaten people.”

This is an example of not only disrespect and false theology but the beginning of persecution of faithful evangelists, just as the Spirit of Prophecy predicted many years ago.

Counsels for the Church, p. 356

The coming of Christ is nearer than when we first believed. The great controversy is nearing its end. The judgments of God are in the land. They speak in solemn warning, saying: "Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." Matthew 24:44.

But there are many, many in our churches who know little of the real meaning of the truth for this time. I appeal to them not to disregard the fulfilling of the signs of the times, which says so plainly that the end is near. Oh, how many who have not sought their souls' salvation will soon make the bitter lamentation: "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved"!

Many other churches are doing the “holistic” small groups, including the Orangevale and Vallejo Central SDA Churches in California.

Miracle Temple Worship Center, Baltimore, Maryland
http://www.miracletemple.net
The Miracle Temple Worship Center falls under the emerging/charismatic church category. Below are some of its practices.

  • Includes “Regeneration: 12-Step Recovery.”
  • Discipleship” classes are held for newly baptized members.
  • The home page mentions “helping our members in becoming Kingdom People NOW.”
  • Advertised as “one of the fastest growing Adventist churches in the Baltimore metropolitan area.”
  • In 2005 Pastor Fredrick Russell (who serves as a columnist for the Adventist Review), initiated the First Annual Innovative Impact Pastor's Leadership Conference, bringing in pastors from around the world to Miracle Temple in order to learn how to “grow their local ministries.” The current pastor is Errol Stoddart. http://www.innovativeimpact.org
  • Children’s Church: This is a new trend in which children are separated from their family during the worship service. This church’s program for children ages 4-11 is called “KidzSpace” and was advertised that the goal for the children was to “have fun while praising God!” The teachers share the gospel in a “refreshing and innovative manner.” It is a time of “high-energy, high-impact and brimming with activity.”
  • Small Group Leadership Training: Includes “training and discipleship development,” which included a workshop on the subject of “Life Changing Small Groups” as well as Pastor Stoddart’s seminar topic “Destined Discipleship.”
  • Total Praiz Dance Ministry: This ministry will be having Praise Dance rehearsals for children between the ages of 6-12 years every 1st and 3rd Sabbath of each month. At such a young age, the children are already being indoctrinated.
  • Prayer meeting: It was stated that they have “truly seen miracles happen at these services.” They have “called on Jehovah Rapha and seen people healed.” Calling on God as Jehovah Jireh, they “have seen financial breakthroughs,” “addictions stopped and people who were imprisoned set free!”

This is a perfect example of the counterfeit latter rain—the work of the enemy.

Maranatha, p. 168

There will be conversions many, after a peculiar order, but they will not bear the divine signature. Immorality will come in, and extravagance, and many will make shipwreck of faith.

Why do SDA pastors long for what the world has? The SDA Church has been given the purest, richest truths and yet the leaders are not satisfied with it. They want something they believe is better. It is the typical case of the blind leading the blind. Because they cannot see the precipice ahead of them, they are going over the edge to perdition.

The Paulson Collection of Ellen G. White Letters, pp. 270-271

I would that all our people might see the inconsistency of those who profess to be God's commandment-keeping people, a peculiar people zealous of good works, thinking that they must copy after the world's pattern, in order to make their own successful. Our God is stronger than any human influence. If we will accept Him as our educator, if we will make Him our strength and righteousness, He will work in our behalf.

 

Prophets and Kings, p. 660

"They that forsake the law praise the wicked." Proverbs 28:4. When those who are uniting with the world, yet claiming great purity, plead for union with those who have ever been the opposers of the cause of truth, we should fear and shun them as decidedly as did Nehemiah. Such counsel is prompted by the enemy of all good. It is the speech of timeservers, and should be resisted as resolutely today as then. Whatever influence would tend to unsettle the faith of God's people in His guiding power, should be steadfastly withstood.

 

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, pp. 210-211

In the time when His wrath shall go forth in judgments, these humble, devoted followers of Christ will be distinguished from the rest of the world by their soul anguish, which is expressed in lamentation and weeping, reproofs and warnings. While others try to throw a cloak over the existing evil, and excuse the great wickedness everywhere prevalent, those who have a zeal for God's honor and a love for souls will not hold their peace to obtain favor of any. Their righteous souls are vexed day by day with the unholy works and conversation of the unrighteous. They are powerless to stop the rushing torrent of iniquity, and hence they are filled with grief and alarm. They mourn before God to see religion despised in the very homes of those who have had great light. They lament and afflict their souls because pride, avarice, selfishness, and deception of almost every kind are in the church. The Spirit of God, which prompts to reproof, is trampled underfoot, while the servants of Satan triumph. God is dishonored, the truth made of none effect.

The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left without the seal of God. The Lord commissions His messengers, the men with slaughtering weapons in their hands: "Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house."

Here we see that the church--the Lord's sanctuary--was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust.

  • Harvest Festival Concert: Features Gerald Scott & Co., the Miracle Temple Community Mass Choir with liturgical dance and music and “giving our highest praises to our God!”
  • “Turkey Roll Gospel Skating Party”: All were invited to the “ultimate gospel skating party” with the “hottest gospel music from top gospel artists.” It was stated that it would be a “praise-filled event!” and that they should eat their “turkey” then go “roll it off at the party!”
  • The photo gallery for a Spring Retreat revealed a program teaching “Affirming Practices – Ideas from Jewish Sabbath Traditions,” which included information on a Friday evening “Blessing of Children” and a Saturday evening “Havdalah Ceremony.” A table included challah bread, a cup of “wine,” two candles, etc. Havdalah is the Jewish ceremony that marks the end of the Sabbath or a festival that includes the blessings over wine, candles, and spices. Challah is a loaf of leavened egg bread that is usually braided and eaten by Jews on Sabbath, holidays, and other ceremonies.

http://www.adventistreview.org/issue.php?issue=2010-1530&page=29
In the September 9, 2010 issue of the Adventist Review, Fredrick Russell writes an article entitled “We Have the Who, Now for the What,” in which he refers to a book by Jim Collins.

The book Faith Undone by Roger Oakland reveals that Collins “took a course by Michael Ray called Creativity in Business in 1982. The course (and the book named after the course) takes ‘much of its inspiration from Eastern philosophies, mysticism, and meditation techniques.’ The books talks about ‘your wisdom-keeper or spirit guide—an inner person who can be with you in life’ and says, ‘We meditate to unfold our inner being.’ The book also presents Tarot cards. Collins calls the course ‘profoundly life changing’ and says ‘[I] would not be where I am today, with the wonderful life I’ve been given, without that course.’ Collins was so inspired by Ray’s course that he wrote the foreword for Ray’s 2004 book, The Highest Goal. In that book, Ray tells readers to ‘practice emptying your mind,’ ‘experience not thinking,’ and ‘meditate regularly.’ Other quotes in the book include those of Eastern religion gurus such as Ram Dass, Jiddu Krishnamurti, and Swami Shantananda. Buford’s website not only carries an endorsement for Jim Collins but also a number of articles by or about those who promote mysticism as well.” Why would an SDA leader promote a book by someone who believes in Eastern mysticism?

http://www.adventistreview.org/article.php?id=186
In a 2005 Adventist Review article entitled “Sold Out to God,” Pastor Fredrick Russell was featured in an interview. At the time, he was the senior pastor of the Miracle Temple Worship Center. Currently he is the president for the Allegheny West Conference of SDAs and has started a company called the True North Leadership Group.

The Adventist Review article discussed how Russell wanted to change his midweek prayer service because “nothing was happening.” So he made a visit to the Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York City—a non-SDA charismatic church. He was impressed that there were 2,000 people in attendance at the prayer meeting. Since when is high attendance a true indicator that God is working? He stated that at a certain point, the prayer warriors “began to pray over the lives of the people in the audience” and “One brother prayed over me. He prayed things into my life that only God would know.”

A typical prayer service at Miracle Temple includes the following:

  • The lights are lowered.
  • Two screens are on with soft music playing.
  • A praise and worship team “ushers you into the presence of God” for about 15 minutes.
  • A pastor gives a “teaching word” for about 15 minutes.
  • A period of about 25 minutes to share praise reports.
  • After an offering and announcements, there is a time of intercessory prayer.
  • Corporate prayer is offered.
  • Ends with about an hour for people to pray while seated and listening to piped in music. This includes pastors standing up front so members can come up and mention personal things to the pastors. (This resembles confession to a priest.) Prayer warriors pray with people throughout the congregation. The pastor usually stays until 11:00 p.m. so that people can “continue in the presence of God.”

Russell recommended the following books:

  • Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire (about the “Spirit”) by Jim Cymbala, senior pastor at Brooklyn Tabernacle.
  • Any book written by E. M. Bounds (1835-1913), a Methodist minister; evangelist; revivalist; author; army chaplain; lawyer; a “teacher on prayer”; wrote "Power Through Prayer" and many other books on prayer.
  • The God Chasers by Tommy Tenney, who writes on prayer but is a Charismatic into emotions and manifestations; believes that “God is everywhere in everything” (pantheism); promotes mystics; and downplays the Bible.
  • Prayer Warriors by Ron Halvorsen, Sr., a retired SDA pastor and evangelist.

Atlanta Berean SDA Church, Georgia
http://www.atlantabereansda.org/Berean_Church/home.html
This is another emerging/charismatic church. Carlton Byrd is the senior pastor and the new Associate Speaker/Director of the Breath of Life Television Ministry. He received a Master of Divinity Degree and the Doctor of Ministry Degree at Andrews University. The following points may sound impressive. However, while not all these may be a problem, when put together they raise concerns.

  • Byrd’s honors and achievements:

    • Received the 2007 “Chosen Pastor Award” for Atlanta’s Gospel Choice Awards, which recognizes the Atlanta area’s outstanding pastors for their “exceptional leadership and community involvement.”
    • Named as a resident for the 2008 and 2009 “Who’s Who in Black Atlanta.”
    • In 2008, he was inducted into the Martin Luther King Board of Preachers at Morehouse College in Atlanta.
    • Served as a guest minister on TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network).
    • Church attendance has doubled under his leadership.
  • The worship services are called “Sabbath Celebration.”
  • In 2009 the church was awarded a $5.2 million grant from HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) in order to build a Senior Citizens’ Housing Facility with 50 apartments.

Counsels on Health, p. 290

God calls for men whose hearts are as true as steel, and who will stand steadfast in integrity, undaunted by circumstances. He calls for men who will remain separate from the enemies of the truth. He calls for men who will not dare to resort to the arm of flesh by entering into partnership with worldlings in order to secure means for advancing His work--even for the building of institutions.

  • Byrd encouraged the members to “pray for the power of God” and the “outpouring of God’s Spirit” on their church family.
  • The church was named the NAD’s 2009 Innovative Church of the Year for the SDA Church.
  • Byrd desires to lead others through an “innovative, seeker-sensitive, Christ-centered ministry.”
  • During the 59th SDA General Conference Session in Atlanta, Georgia, the Berean church, along with Byrd and the minister of music, hosted the “Spring Into Praise Choir Festival,” which was Adventist-founded six years ago (www.SpringIntoPraise.org). Their mission statement includes the following: to bring together SDA music organizations such as ministers of music, choir directors and members, and praise teams/dancers; to facilitate each choir member to be part of a “first class mass choir” that covers “all music genres” enabling them to “better serve their local church”; to invest in “future musical greats” by providing scholarships to students who have “acumen for the arts.” Their graphic displayed a group with raised hands toward a dove in the sky and the words “Spring Into Praise,” which sends a charismatic message.
  • During the General Conference Session, the Berean Invitational Basketball Tournament was held in the Berean Christian Junior Academy gymnasium. Participation included guest teams from across the country.
  • “The Mark Thompson Show,” was a scheduled event for a Saturday night—a “Christian Fun Show for All Ages featuring Christian Ventriloquist, Mark Thompson.” He is advertised on his website as an international favorite, “doing silly things along with the puppets” while teaching about a God who loves them, as well as using contemporary music. The character cast includes a zany country disk jockey; a wacky hypochondriac bird; a crafty and mischievous young man; a very emotional younger sister; and the world's smallest trumpet playing tiger. His act is promoted as fast paced, entertaining with high energy, funny and hilarious with comedy and games. Topics include salvation and discipleship, and his programs include “Family Day Celebrations” and “Kids Day Celebration.”

The Voice in Speech and Song, p. 104

Christ did not employ illustrations that would create amusement and excite laughter.

In the instruction of the divine Teacher, there was no illustration used that would leave the least shadow upon the tablets of the soul. His words were of the purest and most elevated character. He never stooped to utter that which was comical, in order that He might attract an audience.

Community Praise Center SDA Church, Alexandria, Virginia
http://www.cpcsda.org/pages/page.asp?page_id=10226
This church has over 1,000 members. Its website includes the following:

  • Information for the “2nd Base Ministry” (sports term) with “events and structures to celebrate and serve” those beginning their “journey of discipleship.”

    States that SDA worship styles differ greatly, that some churches are very formal, (sing hymns and anthems along with an organ or piano), others are “laid-back” and feature praise music with guitars or a small band, others are more “exuberant expressions of praise,” and that whatever the style, all SDA churches are worshiping the same God. Unfortunately, that statement comes from the General Conference of SDAs at this website: http://www.adventist.org/beliefs/neighbor/index.html. If a person studies and believes God’s instructions, he will understand that not all SDA churches are worshiping the same God. If a church worships against His Word, such as with Christian rock music or in a charismatic format, it is not the Creator of the universe that is being worshipped.
  • Includes Ellington's Christian Café at the church with the purpose to provide a “Christian social venue for Christians” in that area, where “Christian artists (musicians, poets, dancers, mime, drama, comedy, and picture artists) can Reach-Out,” and “Reach-In to inspire, uplift and encourage the Body of Christ;” a 2008 ad for a café event: performances by Momentum award nominee, Alyce Metallo (contemporary gospel), Drew Davidsen (jazz guitarist), and recording artist from the church, Angela Bryant-Brown (contemporary praise music) with “great food and great fun” and ticket purchases up to $15 each. This type of event at an SDA church is patterned after other denominations.
    http://upcoming.yahoo.com/event/430358/DC/Alexandria/Ellington39s-Christian-Cafe/Community-Praise-Center
  • Provides a Youth Church twice a month, a Youth Prayer Meeting with Bible study and a movie clip “which sparks a vibrant rap session,” a Drama Team, Mentoring, Basketball, missionary trips abroad (including the Drama group traveling to Bermuda). The young people were invited to join the youth group as they “celebrate what it means to be a young Christian.” Sadly, most do not know what it means to be a Christian.
  • Listed as the 2006 eChurch of the Year Winner.

It is disheartening to know that most churches in the Washington, D.C. area and beyond are very similar to this church.

City Temple SDA Church, Dallas, Texas
http://www.dallascitytemple.org/index.htm
This church’s Young Adult Ministries includes gospel plays. The church also organized its first Junior Bible Bowl Team in 2004 and has won the Federation and Conference level championships since they began. The Bible Bowl now includes the Pathfinders organization, and an Adult Bible Bowl was started. A group of young men from the Ypsilanti SDA Church in Michigan performed a mime routine entitled “I’m a Warrior” at the City Temple SDA Church. http://www.religiousworks.tv/videos/426/dlj-mime

The Review and Herald, October 13, 1874

Should Christ come among the assembly who were absorbed in their plays and frivolous amusements, would the solemn melody of his voice be heard in benediction, saying, "Peace be to this house"? How would the Saviour of the world enjoy these scenes of gaiety and folly?

Grace Temple SDA Church, Ft. Worth, Texas
http://www.bible-bowl.org/pdf/2008%20Fort%20Worth%20Article.pdf
A “Champions in the Word” 2008 National Bible Bowl XXVI Junior Youth championship game was held in the “hallowed halls” of this church. The event was written in sports-announcing terminology, including the scoring. At the end of the game, applause continued as a tie was announced. The competition resumed, then a buzzer sounded at the finish, and the winner was announced. About 32 teams had come to Fort Worth, Texas to compete for the “coveted spot” as champions.

In 1979 a pastor and youth ministry director who became the conference president had desired a way to lift the spirituality of the youth and encourage them to study God’s Word, so “through the impress of the Holy Spirit,” he created the game. He moderated the final game of the adult division, and the photographer was the president of the Southwest Regional Conference. The photos displayed individuals with very large trophies and medallions. Learning the Bible is not about knowing the most trivia and turning it into a game. It is about following and sharing all its truth in preparation for Christ’s return. The games do not foster spirituality but rather a competitive spirit and encourage the addiction. We are only fooling ourselves if we say differently. Ballgame championships are bad enough, but when the Bible is cheapened in this way, it is appalling. Additionally, it is a desecration to hold a rivalry in a church sanctuary.

College View SDA Church, Lincoln, Nebraska
http://www.collegeviewchurch.org/index.php
Their Young Adult Sabbath School class is called “Next ADVENTure” and is advertised as a Jesus-centered, lively and progressive Sabbath School.

Advertised events included:

  • A concert by a non-SDA contemporary southern gospel quartet called “Forgiven” at a Baptist church worship hour on a Sunday.
  • A concert by a non-SDA southern gospel group called “The Chosen Ones” at an SDA church on a Sabbath evening.
  • An Adventure Club “registration party” for any who want to be a part of a “fun ministry” with “awards, cool stories and silly games”. . . “and we want to build our lives for Christ.” These two scenarios are far from having much in common with building lives for Christ.

Co-op City SDA Church, Bronx, New York
http://coopcity22.adventistchurchconnect.org; http://www.yahwehspeople.com/index.html
The following information comes from the bio section of the Yahweh’s People website done by Anthony DeMore, an elder at the Co-op City SDA Church.

  • Revelation 14:6-8 (first and second angels’ messages) are quoted.
  • Stated that Yahweh’s people (God’s people) are “preaching, teaching and taking the Gospel to the street, to every Nation, Kindred, Tongue and People with hard edge uncompromising Christ centered lyrics.”
  • Explained that Brother DeMore is calling Christians to “stand-firm on the foundation of truth, which is Christ” in a time “when truth is called error and error is heralded as truth”; said that “just as the raw unwavering truth of Christ has always been controversial,” that his album “is sure to have heads buzzing,” that it is not for “the Christian who is faint of heart” but rather a “buzz saw of truth cutting deep into the spiritual marrow of all who will hear it”; ended by comparing it to “double-edged, Holy Spirit fire, warriors grab your sword (the Bible), Gospel hip-hop. It’s FIRE!!
  • His “resume”: 1) Preaching and teaching at the Co-op City SDA Church for about six years; 2) Before coming to Christ in 2000, founder and lead vocalist of a hip-hop, metal band called “AD”; 3) Toured Europe and recorded two CDs; 4) Is a public school teacher, poet, screenwriter, and an award-winning playwright.
  • Advertised that his “arresting music immediately grabs you, and holds you with its power and urgency” and is delivered with “lyrical grit and old-school Christian fearlessness.”
  • The biography ends with these words: “Yahweh’s People is life music, come out of the dark into God’s light music, that raw simplistic God is love-truth music, God can resurrect you-free the slave-break all chains music, God is coming back for every nation, kindred, tongue and people music. This is Holy-Spirit-God calling you to change music, this is music that once you hear it, you will want to see and hear the Brother preach and proclaim the Name of God like only he can, live and direct. Yahweh’s People… Our time is now. This is truly music with a message for the last days!”

The sad part of this is that rap “music” was already being promoted by the Adventist Review about 20 years ago. An SDA rap group was featured in a cover article that stated they were the SDA Church’s “best missionaries.”

Eight Mile Rock SDA Church, Bahamas
http://emr.interamerica.org/announcements?archives=true
In August 2009 this church advertised its 1st Annual Talent Show. It stated that since all its church members had talent they could now “show it off.” The categories included: vocal, instrumental, and drama.

North Wembley Community SDA Church, United Kingdom
http://northwembley-adventistchurch-org-uk.adventist.eu
This church advertised the following events:

  • A “Creative Community Worship” in the afternoon on the second Sunday of each month. It is a “relaxed atmosphere” with arts and crafts, refreshments, practical workshops and praise and worship. It stated “there is something for everyone in the family.”
  • The pathfinders are “currently, in faith, taking drumming lessons and one of their goals is to represent the borough of Brent at the opening of the 2012 Olympics.”
  • A Community Fun Day” at a park that included football, cricket, and rap music. It was asked, “When was the last time you saw young Asian men from the community spontaneously rapping in front of a mixed audience of friends, family community members with Adventist onlookers, to rapturous applause?”
  • “Church on the Street for Brixton: Drummers ready!” Those words started the Youth Day Brixton Drum Corps march through the streets followed by the children of the church and at times a large group from the community to “highlight the need to defeat drugs and knife crime and was encouraged by the Brixton police who have struck up a friendship with the Brixton Church.” Besides passing out tracks and booklets, the church members also mobilized their praise team to “sing songs that got everyone moving.” The audience chose their favorite songs and the members were “happy to oblige.” There were also individual singers and a mime group.
  • The church plans to “take the message of salvation” to the community “by the grace of God” in “more profound ways in the future.” With what they have already done, true Christians can only imagine what “more profound” would entail.
  • The Scottish mission delivered two “very powerful drama performances” at the 10th Trans-European Division Camporee in Finland. The second drama was performed on the “International Evening” and depicted salvation in a “creative and contemporary way.”

Avondale Memorial SDA Church, Australia
http://avondalememorial.adventist.org.au/church-programs

  • One option for the Sabbath School group Bible study includes “De-Caf (for adults in a smaller, more informal setting).”
  • Song Service includes contemporary Christian songs.
  • Special Items can include a drama performance.
  • Children's Church done for children by children twice a year is “interactive and engaging” and includes drama.

Collegedale SDA Church, Tennessee
http://www.collegedalechurch.com
This church uses the following programs:

  • Celebrate Recovery, in which it was stated that the “guidelines maintain strict confidentiality to create a ‘safe place’ where you can take off the ‘mask’ and be real and honest without fear.” Confidentiality is a primary principle of the program, and when it comes to fallible human beings, confidentiality can be broken.
  • Listed under the Spiritual Abilities Inventory was “Entertaining ability: to perform, act, speak, magic.”
  • Group Life/GroupLink small groups with links to http://www.smallgroups.com through Christianity Today, which included, under their online Store section, Assessment Packs with these titles: Spiritual Formation in Small Groups; Christian Education and Spiritual Formation; and Spiritual Disciplines Assessment Pack. Another recommended website was http://www.touchusa.org, which included “The Spiritual Formation Backpack,” a complete set of discipleship resources, and the “Children's Spiritual Formation Bundle,” a “one-of-a-kind discipleship series for children grades 1-3.” It did not take long for the emerging church teaching to reach very young children. Under the Spiritual Formation (Discipleship) section was listed 12 books for adults, 9 for children, and 2 for youth.
  • Andy Nash and his wife lead “Connect,” Collegedale Church's multi-generational, contemporary, informal worship service, where “music is a priority.” Nash also teaches journalism at Southern Adventist University (SAU). Connect has a weekly “Connect Arts” ministry that includes a girls’ worship-ballet for ages 4 to 11 and is taught by an SAU student. The Connect leadership team is implementing some new ideas. In a November 18, 2010 Adventist Review article, Nash described some of Connect’s “fresh approaches” to supplementing the preaching as follows: 1) For their Gospel of John series a member built an arch and etched a new name for Jesus each week, such as the Good Shepherd; 2) For the Philippians study they released balloons in the parking lot to symbolize their joy and freedom in Christ; 3) The Esther study ended with a Purim celebration, an Esther drama, Jewish dancing, and a Jewish potluck. Nash stated that “one struggling cook joked that she was going to buy a cake and write ‘Jewish’ on it.”
  • The SonRise Resurrection Pageant is an “interactive, put-you-there-at-the-scene trip through Christ's final days leading to His death and resurrection.” The cast is composed of over 500 church members and SAU students. The Collegedale church has presented the “walk-through” pageant since 1996. It begins in the church sanctuary and continues across SAU’s campus on the Saturday of Easter weekend. “Casual dress and comfortable shoes are encouraged for the leisurely, less-than-a-mile walk.”
  • The Collegedale Adventist Youth in Action (CAYA) is mostly about playing ballgames, such as volleyball tournaments, as well as picnics, outings, and community service. CAYA community study guide resources include these websites: http://group.com with Sunday school curriculum, small groups, leadership conferences, and retreats; http://www.simplyyouthministry.com with Sunday school curriculum, small groups, and discipleship. The CAYA soccer website advertised soccer as an activity they will use for the youth to achieve a spiritual, physical, and socially healthy environment for their kids. The website artwork included a drawing of Jesus playing soccer. It must be noted that God does not approve of such a drawing, since He does not approve of competitive sports. http://sites.google.com/site/cayasoccergocougars

Fresno Westside SDA Church, California
http://pacificunionrecorder.adventistfaith.org/issue/39/2/483
The Pacific Union Recorder featured an article about this church’s Sabbath morning activity in May 2010. The event was sponsored by West Care California and the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Initiative as well as the church. It was Fresno’s Safe Community Partnership Strategy Initiative and was entitled “Bringing Broken Neighborhoods Back to Life.” Pastor Earl Canson stated that “partnering with city officials, other denominations and community organizations allows our church members to reach out and heal.” While a praise band performed, “neighborhood residents explored the more than 30 health education and services booths.” Additions to the health fair offerings were give-a-ways of food and clothing; a prayer booth; Bible stories and other activities for the children; a small exhibit of the Old Testament Tabernacle; and “plenty of good hot food kept the neighbors coming.” They could also attend a “special” Sabbath school program inside the sanctuary. Canson gave a short message from the bandstand and, along with local church elders, laid hands on and prayed over the Fresno mayor and police chief.

It must be plainly stated that while it is good to “reach out and heal,” this activity was not only promoting ecumenism, but it was not the proper time. It made extra work on the Sabbath and was a distraction to the worship services, causing an irreverent atmosphere. If Jesus had walked past this scene, He surely would have said, “Take these things hence.” This is nothing more than a bribe to get the community into the sanctuary. What will the churches think of next to raise the membership figures?

Laying on of hands
The February 2010 Recorder stated that invitations were sent to the President of the United States and his cabinet, the U.S. Congress and Senate, governors, mayors, world leaders from every nation, etc. because they wanted to have the youth lay hands on them as well as pray for the leadership in order to impact the world. The quotes below reveal that the laying on of hands is only appropriate for those entering the gospel ministry.

1 Timothy 4:14

Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

 

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

Presbytery: a body of elders in the Christian church; all the pastors of churches.

 

The Acts of the Apostles, p. 89

This advice was followed, and by prayer and the laying on of hands, seven chosen men were solemnly set apart for their duties as deacons.

 

Ibid., p. 110

God will send forth into His vineyard many who have not been dedicated to the ministry by the laying on of hands.

 

Ibid., p. 160

Before being sent forth as missionaries to the heathen world, these apostles were solemnly dedicated to God by fasting and prayer and the laying on of hands. Thus they were authorized by the church, not only to teach the truth, but to perform the rite of baptism and to organize churches, being invested with full ecclesiastical authority.

 

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

Ecclesiastical: consecrated to the service of the church and the ministry of religion.

 

The Acts of the Apostles, p. 162

At a later date the rite of ordination by the laying on of hands was greatly abused; unwarrantable importance was attached to the act, as if a power came at once upon those who received such ordination, which immediately qualified them for any and all ministerial work. But in the setting apart of these two apostles, there is no record indicating that any virtue was imparted by the mere act of laying on of hands. There is only the simple record of their ordination and of the bearing that it had on their future work.

 

Counsels on Health, p. 540

The work of the true medical missionary is largely a spiritual work. It includes prayer and the laying on of hands; he therefore should be as sacredly set apart for his work as is the minister of the gospel.

 

Daughters of God, p. 102

Women who are willing to consecrate some of their time to the service of the Lord should be appointed to visit the sick, look after the young, and minister to the necessities of the poor. They should be set apart to this work by prayer and laying on of hands.

Forest Lake SDA Church, Apopka, Florida
http://www.deeperfaith.org/home/about
This website is for the church’s collegiate and young adults. They are about “authenticity, devotion, passion.” Dany Hernandez, who is their pastor, stated “Here’s the deal with DEEPER . . .”

  • We are “passionately seeking an encounter with God.”
  • We call it a “Gathering.”
  • We “don’t worry about what people are wearing” or the “color of their hair,” or “what you had for breakfast because after all, didn’t Jesus say ‘Come as you are?’ ”
  • “The last thing you’ll notice is a group of people in desperate need of a savior.”
  • “At DEEPER we take off our masks understanding that no one is perfect except God.”

Hernandez ends with the words “Encounter, Connect, Ignite.” When he prays and “preaches”, it is very casual. Theatrical skits are performed by the young adults. All these terms and activities are the perfect recipe for an emerging church. If the group at DEEPER are not in “need of a savior,” then the Savior cannot save them. If they do not believe that perfection can be attained in this life, then it will not happen for them. They have forgotten that with God all things are possible.

New Hope SDA Church, Fulton, Maryland
http://mynewhopechurch.com/pages/page.asp?page_id=96213
Here is part of the description for the church logo that is green in color: “ ‘Going green’ is to live and work in ways that protect and replenish the environment.” While we are to care for what God has given us, we must be careful not to get involved in the world’s New Age environmental philosophies.

“Restore” is a “young adult worship gathering that was birthed out of a GODencounters event” hosted at New Hope. “Many of the attendees and leaders from that event decided that gathering together for worship and fellowship on a regular basis seemed to be a worthwhile idea.” It includes “food and fellowship at Restore Café followed by inspirational Worship by Rick Anderson, Jr. and band and an inspirational message.” The announcement included a photo of a doughnut and coffee.

Food, fun and fellowship for young adults.” This was an invitation for young adults to “come with food and leave with friends!” at Food Friendzy, which takes place after the Sabbath worship service at the home of a host.

New Hope stated that “the wind of the Spirit is stirring in the hearts of prayer intercessors and prayer leaders, who have stepped and are stepping out of the crowd.” Their prayer ministry includes Prayer Warriors who are “available to pray with you after our Saturday services” at the front of the auditorium.

Ignite is a “prayer meeting for kids and adults” and the place “where we journey to the very heart of God. This journey includes speaking God's Word, Testimony, Drama, Dance, Praise, Worship and other varieties of talent that God has blessed His people with. We believe that every prayer need can be answered with a revelation of God's love.” Contrary to their beliefs, drama, dance, and other displays of “talent” are not gifts of the Holy Spirit. Wednesday evenings “is your time to allow God to Ignite His presence in you.” A photo showed members participating in laying on of hands. Quite a few of the website photos included men and women wearing jewelry.

New Hope’s Visual Arts includes multi-media presentations that “play a large part in the worship experience” including song lyrics, sermon slides, announcements, “cool videos,” and dramatic lighting. The Worship and Creative Arts Ministry at this church is advertised as “the best place for you to use the gifts God has given you if you are an artisan.” They “minister” at weekend services and other key events through music, liturgical dance, video and drama. Their hope is to passionately work together to “enhance the worship experience at New Hope in a powerful and imaginative way.” Actually, they are degrading the worship experience, providing no hope of enhancement unless they do away with the drama and dance. They state that the purpose of New Hope Dance Restoration Ministry (NHDRM) is to “Praise and Exalt the name of our Lord Jesus Christ with the dance, and to make His praise Glorious.” Instead they are praising and exalting the name of Satan. They “desire to create an atmosphere that invites God’s presence” into their midst with their “joyful expressions of praise.” They are really creating an atmosphere that invites the presence of demons. They believe the praise and worship services are enhanced through their “bold movements inspired by the Spirit of God,” that it will teach “how to experience true praise and worship unto Him in the dance. It’s all about God!” God believes their worship services are degraded through their bold movements inspired by the spirit of Satan, that it teaches how to experience the praise and worship to the devil, and that it is all about the god of this world.

The ad concludes by summarizing that if individuals join the NHDRM, they can expect to grow in their relationship with God; find “new freedom in expressing meaningful praise and worship to God”; receive “continual revelation of God’s purpose for your praise expression in dancing”; receive a “spiritual breakthrough for yourself and others as your obedience allows the anointing of the Spirit of God to flow freely”; and receive “a new body as we continue in weekly dance rehearsals and a lifestyle of praise and worship unto the Lord.” A faithful SDA would conclude by summarizing that if individuals join the NHDRM, they can expect to grow less and less in their relationship with God; find a new bondage in praising and worshiping the devil; receive continual revelation of Satan’s purpose for their dancing; receive the world’s pain as their disobedience allows the anointing of Satan’s spirit; and receive a body that does not bring praise and worship to the true God—unless they repent.

The following are leaders at the New Hope church:

  • Rajkumar Dixit is an associate pastor over Community Development and Administration at New Hope. He has been involved in Christian development and non-profit leadership for over ten years and spends much time “forging relationships with civic and community leaders.” Dixit also lectures and speaks frequently “on a wide range of topics related to leadership, church administration, worship, and branding” in religious and non-profit communities. He earned a doctoral degree with a concentration in leadership from the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. and authored the book Branded Faith. Among other ideas, the book instructs on how to change the image of your church from a negative focus, such as speaking against homosexuality, to a positive focus of how to help in different community projects. It is a dangerous idea to think that talking against sin is negative. If that is the case, then we must ignore the Bible. His book also includes a foreword by Brian McLaren. Following is a quote regarding Dixit by McLaren: “Rajkumar Dixit loves the church, and he's in it up to his elbows - pastoring, leading, studying, thinking. He has correctly identified one of the truly pivotal issues the church must face this century, and he writes with clarity and passion to help Christians, church leaders, and denominational leaders move wisely into action. ~Brian McLaren, activist, author”
    http://www.revealworshipconference.com
  • Ann Roda is responsible for families and children at New Hope. Her three goals in life are to first "be still and know God” (contemplative prayer?), the second to be “a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ,” and the third “to lose those last annoying 7 pounds.” Before entering Pastoral Ministry, she spent fifteen years in a corporate career. Roda loves to “hang out with her husband, bike, study history, travel, eat Thai food and sit with a hot cup of coffee surrounded by good folk and good conversation.” Her husband is a Chaplain Director with Adventist Health Care.
  • Rick Anderson, Jr. is the pastor for Worship and Creative Arts. He grew up in a “solid Christian home where music was always an essential element of family worship. His parents, both Christian educators, led a Christian singing group at the High School they taught at and Rick grew up on the front row of their concerts, singing at the top of his lungs.” He studied Communication Technology and Religion at Southern Adventist University, and grew as a worship leader. After ministry at a church plant in San Francisco, Anderson came to New Hope “where he believes that God has big things in store.” He and his wife “love spending time with friends and family, exploring the outdoors, traveling to exciting places, and cheering for any pro sports team from New England!”
  • Dave Gemmell is a pastor for Young Adults and is the Associate Director of the NAD Church Resource Center (CRC). His role at CRC is “to tell the story of healthy churches” in the NAD through seminars, web sites, online newsletters, DVDs, and film. He received a Bachelor in Theology from Pacific Union College and Ministry degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary and the Andrews University Theological Seminary. Gemmell pastored in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hawaii, and for the Las Vegas Mountain View Church. Two of his grown children are instrumentalists at New Hope. “In his spare time he dreams of kitesurfing.”
  • Brian Wight, the Media Director and Producer at New Hope, “comes from a long line of ministers, educators and artists.” He studied Health and Fitness at La Sierra University, Kinesiology from California State University in Long Beach, and Spiritual and Pastoral Care at Loyola University (a Jesuit, Catholic University) in Maryland. Wight served as a chaplain at Washington Adventist Hospital, the Associate Producer for “Morning In America,” a syndicated political talk radio show, and was the On Air Radio Host for “Sounds of Contemporary Gospel,” a local gospel music segment for a Christian radio station. He has also worked in television and film, has been a teacher, and is the creator of Enhance Productions, a film production house “dedicated to Christian themed productions.” His other interest is sports.
  • Timothy Nelson is a lay pastor and the Musicians Director. He has sung “for most of his life and has been a drummer for over 18 years.” He is the Dean of Men at Washington Adventist University, and is pursuing a Masters in Counseling Psychology.

It was advertised that this church is “exploding with growth.” Just like the megachurches? With all the above details on the leadership and activities at New Hope, this church is not following God’s plan for a church. Until the necessary changes are made, it would be appropriate to change its name to the No Hope Non-SDA Church.

Mountain View Church, Las Vegas, Nevada
http://www.come2mountainview.com/index.php
The following is typical of an emerging church:

  • Advertised as “A Seventh-day Adventist Community of Faith.”
  • Mission: “To transform the unchurched into mature disciples of Jesus Christ”
  • Newsletters which include:

    • A section for joking and comic style artwork.
    • A little encouragement and humor from C. S. Lewis.
    • A movie review section for parents.
    • Recommends the following website, which is ecumenical and promotes Christian rock music and comedy: http://www.realworldparents.com/starters.
  • Wednesday Night Power Hour to study “The Journey.”
  • An Alcoholic's Anonymous 12 Step Group
  • Sabbath “Encounters” drama.
  • Sabbath morning performance of Bible parables by a non-SDA professional actor and advertised as a “terrific ‘seeker friendly’ program.”
  • A devotional from Faith That Works by Morris Venden.
  • A candlelit communion service.
  • A worship department that seeks individuals to fill the following positions:

    • Drama team members “to bring stories and sermon illustrations to life.”
    • Drummers who are “high-impact percussion musicians” as part of a praise music worship team.
    • Lighting technicians to “set the moods for worship.”
    • Stage managers to help “create pleasing stage arrangements for worship and other services.”

Regarding his church, the pastor stated that he wants each member to be “saturated with the Holy Spirit and on fire for allowing ourselves and our church to be tools in God's hands to do His work.” He will be waiting a lifetime unless he and his members repent of the apostasy, because the Holy Spirit will not come under the present condition.

Pioneer Memorial SDA Church, Michigan
http://www.pmchurch.org
This is the Andrews University campus church with Dwight Nelson as the senior pastor. Notice the following practices and events and ask yourself if this is one reason the university is in spiritual trouble. If you are a true SDA Christian, you will answer with a yes.

Andrews University Campus Ministries Radio (CMRadio) plays modern praise songs and Christian rock music.

A bulletin announcement included information on a Couples Agape Celebration.

http://www.pmchurch.org/article.php?id=531
Small Groups
The “Different Ways to Pray” section under “Leader Resources” has listed “Prayer Models for Small Groups” where these suggestions were given.

  • Popcorn prayer”: “Begins with tiny seed words and thoughts that gradually expand and bounce off others, exploding in prayer and praise until the burst subsides and the room is full of God’s presence. This prayer, as opposed to ‘sentence prayer’ or ‘conversation prayer’ uses only single words, names or short phrases. Prayers can ascend in any order, and even be overlapped.”
  • Learning to Be Silent”: “Silence in our lives isn’t always peaceful; silence can be frightening” as quoted by Henri Nouwen.
  • Touch and Agree”: “Touch, as a physical act, is well-documented for its soothing and healing properties. When you touch and agree, you surround someone in your group who has a special need, or is about to embark on a special mission. Pray for them while resting hands on their shoulders and head. It’s a tangible symbol that you all agree in asking God to be with them in a special way.” Again, we see here a charismatic activity that belittles the act of laying on of hands. That act is to be reserved for ordaining deacons, deaconesses, elders, pastors, medical missionaries, and Bible workers. Nowhere in the Bible or Spirit of Prophecy is it used in any other way.
  • Prayer Walking: It was stated that prayer walking could be done with a group in a “very natural setting, stopping at various places for prayer and reflection” or “done around a campus or in town pausing at different places for prayers of intercession.”
  • Lectio Divina: This is a very ancient method of praying and meditating over Scripture. It can be used very effectively in groups. The emphasis is on hearing God’s voice speak to you through His Word.

Whatever happened to the good old-fashioned “get on your knees” type of prayer? Has that become boring to the “postmodern culture”? If so, their spirituality needs to be re-examined.

http://www.pmchurch.org/article.php?id=114
Small Group Values” included these emerging terms.

  • Openness: to be “authentic in relationships, sharing our feelings, struggles, joys and hurts.”
  • Safety and Confidentiality: to “keep in confidence what is said in the group.”
  • Evangelism: to “expand the community of believers.”
  • Multiplication: “To see more people connected in Christian community, growing in relationship with Christ.”

Relationships are being stressed here, which are important. However, we must remember that this is also seen as the third stage of the “sacred path” in the prayer labyrinth. In regard to the confidentiality, we must point out again that we are to trust only in Christ, not man.

http://www.pmchurch.org/article.php?id=528
The “Spiritual Body Building” section under “Leader Resources” has a “Nine Dots” exercise in which it is stated that it illustrates the need for “new solutions to old problems,” that sometimes we need to “think outside” our “current framework to find better solutions,” to “break out of the walls of our mental box to find God’s answers in today’s challenges.” It concludes by saying that “to implement God’s vision for church we will also have to overcome some of our preconceived ideas of ‘how to be church.’ ” This is an “out of the box” scenario with a desire to give up traditional methods of church worship services, etc.

Southeast SDA Church, Cleveland, Ohio
http://www.se7day.org
Features from this church have included:

  • Concerts with contemporary gospel recording artists and Grammy award winners.
  • Ecumenical meetings with those of other religions.
  • The “Creative Movement Ministry” that uses “creative movement to encourage and fulfill a worship experience that exemplifies love, expresses gratitude and joy,” and glorifies God through “expressive movements.”
  • An April 2009 Southeast Spirit newsletter advertisement of a massage therapist who also does reflexology, polarity, and Reiki.

Glenvale SDA Church, Australia
http://glenvale.adventist.org.au
This church includes singing of contemporary Christian songs as well as drama performances. Also there are links provided for “Christian satellite TV channels,” which are an ecumenical blend of interfaith networks as follows:

  • EWTN Global Catholic Network.
  • Focus on the Family, whose founder is James Dobson, possibly the most influential Christian leader in the U.S. He is an evangelical author and psychologist. No longer with Focus on the Family, he now has a radio broadcast, “Family Talk with Dr. James Dobson.”
  • The Apostolic Oneness Network, founded by the Christ Apostolic Temple, Inc. Fellowship (CATIF).
  • JCTV Christian youth network, with music video countdown shows, interviews with top artists, and today’s top concert performances and festivals. Also included are action sports, award shows, movies, variety shows, reality series, comedy shows, talk shows, and more.
  • The Church Channel, a multi-denominational religious network.
  • The God Channel, whose vision statement is to “present world class anointed, prophetic, supernatural content . . . reconciling man, woman and child with God by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Just the name alone of the channel is blasphemous. God’s name is being used today as if it was trivial.
  • Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), advertised as the most watched faith channel in the U.S. and the world’s largest religious network that appeals to a variety of Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant denominations. Programs include testimonials from famous celebrities, sports figures, and ministers, exciting movies, contemporary Christian music. For teens and young adults, it’s anything from “muscle men to hot music videos . . . Christian programming that speaks their language.”

    Daystar Television Network, “with an extensive blend of interdenominational and multi-cultural programming.” http://glenvale.adventist.org.au/christian-tv

It would be better to not provide any satellite channels than to include those that teach untruths and the world’s ways. This is a sad example coming from an SDA church.

Coastlife Adventist Church, Australia
http://coastlifeadventist.com
A sample worship service topic at this church was entitled “Core Values – Relevance, Authenticity.”

The goal at Coastlife is to “help every person find their place in God’s service, whether it is cutting sandwiches at the Family Fun Days or playing guitar in one of our worship bands.” So what is wrong with their Family Fun Days? The answer is in this ad:

Saturday, July 10, 2010 at 1pm to 3pm

Family fun day – free ball games, jumping castle and face painting is being provided by the Coastlife Adventist Church.

This was held at a local park and repeated again on Saturday, January 8, 2011.

Child Guidance, pp. 533-534

Parents, above everything take care of your children upon the Sabbath. Do not suffer them to violate God's holy day by playing in the house or out-of-doors. You may just as well break the Sabbath yourselves as to let your children do it, and when you suffer your children to wander about and suffer them to play upon the Sabbath, God looks upon you as Sabbathbreakers.

The parents may take their children outdoors to view God in nature. They can be pointed to the blooming flowers and the opening buds, the lofty trees and beautiful spires of grass, and taught that God made all these in six days and rested on the seventh day and hallowed it. Thus the parents may bind up their lessons of instruction to their children, so that when these children look upon the things of nature, they will call to mind the great Creator of them all. Their thoughts will be carried up to nature's God-- back to the creation of our world, when the foundation of the Sabbath was laid, and all the sons of God shouted for joy. Such are the lessons to be impressed on the minds of our children.

We are not to teach our children that they must not be happy on the Sabbath, that it is wrong to walk out-of-doors. Oh, no. Christ led His disciples out by the lakeside on the Sabbath day and taught them. His sermons on the Sabbath were not always preached within enclosed walls.

Other church announcements included the following:

  • “A revolution is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time. We all need a revolution in our lives from time to time – a changing of old ways, a turning around to face God again, a line in the sand. Revolution is a week of spiritual transformation that takes place each year at Coastlife.” This year Revolution will feature Eddie Hypolite from England and “whether it’s upbeat worship, food and friends or challenging messages, Revolution promises to change your life.” Revolution will then “finish with a bang on Saturday night with a party and Barn Dance with Peter Dixon (blues and classic rock music). If the 300 people at the Barn Dance last year were anything to go by, it’s a night not to be missed. Come along to Revolution this year and be prepared to grow out of sight!”
  • “Superhero Day” was the title of a Kids Church, which included music and puppets. A thank you was given to those who invested in the “spiritual development of our kids!”

According to God’s plan for church worship and Sabbath-keeping, the spirituality at Coastlife is at an all time low.

Escondido SDA Church, California
http://www.escondidosda.org
This church advertises “You don't have to dress up. Just come as you are.”

It is also very active with ecumenical community outreach projects, such as the following:

  • “A Christmas-time outreach displaying a live scene of Bethlehem,” partnering with the Methodist Church “by providing actors, greeters and snacks. Over 1,200 visitors take the tour each year.”
  • “Each spring our church joins with other churches and agencies in a walk to raise awareness and needed funds for those suffering from hunger and poverty world-wide.”
  • Partners with youth leaders from the Methodist and Episcopal churches to “provide a community Easter Sunrise Service, weekly summer beach days, Back-to-School BBQ and Thanksgiving weekend celebration (including Can Hunger! food drive).”
  • “We have also participated in such events as block parties. . . .”
  • Interfaith Community Services (ICS) – We partner with over 400 other faith groups through one central agency to provide basic needs to those regaining self-sufficiency.”
  • “Our church and academy serves a public school specifically for homeless children in San Diego.”
  • “Our church participates with other faith groups and the City of Escondido in a prayer event at City Hall on the designated Day of Prayer in May each year.”
  • “Summer Student Internship”: A 6 to 8 week discipleship training program for high school and college youth; includes a prayer tour in Los Angeles. . . .
  • . . . and much more.

While it is commendable to help those in the community, would it not be better for SDA churches to conduct their own programs rather than unite with those of other religions, which causes ecumenical problems and lack of accountability?

Community Services
There is a trend today in the SDA churches to be zealous in feeding the homeless on the streets, yet ignoring their own SDA church members. We can only conclude that it is because those who practice this trend are either ignorant of their priorities or are seeking to gather recognition with the world, to say, “Look what I’m doing!” Should we not help our worthy members first before helping those on the street who do not care about spiritual matters, but are simply looking for a handout? Yes, we are to feed the hungry, but we are also expected to use common sense in the process. We cannot afford to focus more on feeding stomachs than on feeding spiritually.

Galatians 6:10

As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith

 

Our Father Cares, p. 54

In a special sense Christ has laid upon His church the duty of caring for the needy among its own members. He suffers His poor to be in the borders of every church. They are always to be among us, and He places upon the members of the church a personal responsibility to care for them. As the members of a true family care for one another, ministering to the sick, supporting the weak, teaching the ignorant, training the inexperienced, so is the “household of faith” to care for its needy and helpless ones.

It is the duty of each church to make careful, judicious arrangements for the care of its poor and sick.

Any neglect on the part of those who claim to be followers of Christ, a failure to relieve the necessities of a brother or a sister who is bearing the yoke of poverty and oppression, is registered in the books of heaven as shown to Christ in the person of His saints.

 

Ye Shall Receive Power, p. 82

What a reckoning the Lord will have with many, very many, who present the words of Christ to others but fail to manifest tender sympathy and regard for a brother in the faith who is less fortunate and successful than themselves.

Many will allow a brother to struggle along unaided under adverse circumstances, and in thus doing they give to one precious soul the impression that they are thus representing Christ. It is no such thing; Jesus, who was rich, for our sake became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich. That He might save the sinner, He withheld not His own life. The heart of Christ is ever touched with human woe.

 

Welfare Ministry, p. 105

Wherever the truth has been proclaimed and people have been awakened and converted, the believers are at once to unite in exercises of charity.

 

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 4, p. 550

Should our whole attention be directed to relieving the wants of the poor, God's cause would be neglected. Neither will suffer if His stewards do their duty, but the cause of Christ should come first.

 

Matthew 26:11

For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.

 

Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 102

What you need is less temporal food and much more spiritual food, more of the bread of life.

 

Education, p. 150

Genius, talent, sympathy, even generous and kindly deeds, may thus become decoys of Satan to entice souls over the precipice of ruin.

There is also a new trend in the SDA organization to be more community service oriented. While we are to reach out to our communities and be of service, we wonder why the following underlined words are used by Adventist Community Services International (ACSI), which is under the Sabbath School and Personal Ministries (SSPM) Department of the General Conference of SDAs.

http://www.sabbathschoolpersonalministries.org/article.php?id=7
This website stated that ACSI “promotes an incarnational ministry that well represents Jesus’ method of proclaiming the Gospel.” Its vision is that every SDA church be a “transforming agent in its community, following the method of Jesus to bring help and hope through ministries of compassion in His name (see Luke 4:16-21; MH 143).”

Those statements remind us of information gleaned from the following website.

http://www.crossroad.to/Quotes/Church/post-modern/incarnational.htm

  • The word “incarnational” is heard in most denominations and postmodern churches. “It’s at the heart of the new, experiential form of Christianity -- the transformative movement attempting to unify the world under the banner of the evolving ‘Church.’ ”
  • It fits into Rick Warren’s worldwide P.E.A.C.E. Plan and Brian McLaren's Kingdom of God.
  • “The new emphasis is primarily on collective experience and unifying community service. To avoid conflict, the true gospel -- including the ‘offense of the cross’ -- must be banned along with other divisive Scriptures.”
  • According to Jim Montgomery from the movement, DAWN (Discipling a Whole Nation), the Lord seemed to be telling him, “See to it that I, the Lord, truly become incarnate, as you have been suggesting, in every small group of people on the earth.”
  • The beginning workbook for the Renovaré Spiritual Formation Groups is based on these six major dimensions: Contemplative (The Prayer-Filled Life); Holiness (The Virtuous Life); Charismatic (The Spirit-Empowered Life); Social Justice (The Compassionate Life); Evangelical (The Word-Centered Life); and Incarnational (The Sacramental Life).
  • The following statement by Leonard Sweet was in response to why he has stated that the church needs to use pop culture as a way to share the gospel: “Because it's the Roman road; it's the road people are traveling on; it's the dominant global culture. For the church not to speak to pop culture, not to use images that come from it and sounds that come from it, smells that come from it, well ... that's not being very incarnational ... In order to incarnate Christ into the culture that is there, then we have to look to redeem pop culture.”
    http://www.leonardsweet.com/article_details.php?id=13

Adventist Urban Congress
http://www.nadadventist.org/article.php?id=229;
http://www.nadadventist.org/article.php?id=207;
http://www.columbiaunion.org/article.php?id=149
This NAD-sponsored congress was held at Oakwood College in Alabama on July 22-27, 2007. It was the “first major gathering in NAD in more than 100 years to be focused on the needs of urban communities.” The theme was “Transforming the City: Urban Ministry in the New Millennium.” It was also open to people of all religions. About 200 “urban practitioners” in the NAD and beyond attended the congress. It was cosponsored by the Bradford-Cleveland-Brooks Institute for Continuing Education in Ministry, Oakwood College, Columbia Union College, NAD Evangelism Institute, Philanthropic Services for Institutions, Ministerial Association, and Adventist Community Services. Speakers included Ron Sider, well-known advocate for the poor and professor at Eastern University in Pennsylvania; Barry Black; E. E. Cleveland; Charles Bradford; Gaspar Colon, Washington Adventist University (WAU) Dean of the School of Arts and Social Sciences, professor of Theology, and director of the Center for Metropolitan Ministry at WAU; Monte Sahlin; Zdravko Plantak; more than 40 pastors from the Allegheny East Conference; and others. The event included workshops in “program development, networking, partnerships, fund raising, wholistic ministry, public policy and social justice theology.”

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 4, pp. 551-552

It was not the purpose of God that poverty should ever leave the world. The ranks of society were never to be equalized, for the diversity of condition which characterizes our race is one of the means by which God has designed to prove and develop character. Many have urged with great enthusiasm that all men should have an equal share in the temporal blessings of God, but this was not the purpose of the Creator. Christ has said that we shall have the poor always with us. The poor, as well as the rich, are the purchase of His blood; and among His professed followers, in most cases, the former serve Him with singleness of purpose, while the latter are constantly fastening their affections on their earthly treasures, and Christ is forgotten. The cares of this life and the greed for riches eclipse the glory of the eternal world. It would be the greatest misfortune that has ever befallen mankind if all were to be placed upon an equality in worldly possessions.

The NAD sponsored the second urban congress on August 30-September 2, 2009 at the Dallas First Adventist Church in Texas. While it is good to help the poor, the advocates of this congress are headed in the wrong direction. Have they not learned from history what happens when people get involved in social justice with the world?

SDA leaders

Below is a list of SDA institutions and denominational leaders, with their past or present positions, who were or are supportive of spiritual formation. (This is not a complete list.)

  • Nikolaus Satelmajer: Associate Secretary, General Conference Ministerial Association; past editor of Ministry magazine.
  • Jon Dybdahl:

    • Earned a bachelor's degree in theology from Pacific Union College in 1965; earned a master's degree in systematic theology and a master of divinity degree from Andrews University; in 1981, completed a doctorate in Old Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary.
    • A pastor, evangelist, theology professor, college administrator, and author of Hunger: Satisfying the Longing of Your Soul. This book was advertised in the January 2011 Adventist World Revival and Reformation resources section, page 21.
    • Past president of Walla Walla College.
    • At Andrews University (AU): a professor of world mission and involved in the training of ministers worldwide, holding the position of a pastoral practitioner in the Doctor of Ministry concentration entitled “Discipleship & Spiritual Formation,” teaching “CHMN 705 Theological and Historical Perspectives on Spiritual Growth.”
  • Martin Feldbush: Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries (ACM) director, pastor, religion teacher, healthcare chaplain, chaplain with Association of Professional Chaplains. 
  • O. Jane Thayer: Associate Professor of Religious Education as well as professor and pastoral practitioner of “Discipleship & Spiritual Formation” at AU.
  • Roger Dudley: Professor emeritus of Christian Ministry and director of the Institute of Church Ministry, Andrews University; Director, Adventist Information Ministry.
  • John Jenson: Pastors the South Bay-Redondo Adventist Church in Torrance, California, which includes traditional and contemporary worship services; beach party/worships; a website that has a link for reviews of new eGames which promote violence, magic gems, other gods, possible ancestor worship, rude humor, sexual themes, strong language, fantasy magic, occult, witches, gambling, and alcohol.
  • Jerry Moon: Associate Professor and Chair, Church History Department at AU; Editor, Andrews University Seminary Studies; teacher of Spiritual Formation Practicum course at AU.
  • Susan Zork: Professor of Religion at AU; currently taking course work toward a Ph.D. in Theological Curriculum and Spiritual Formation; attended the Renovaré International Conference “The With-God Life; The Dynamics of Scripture for Christian Transformation”; Denver, Colorado, June 2005.
  • Winston Ferris: Adjunct Professor, Religious Education & Spiritual Formation at AU.
  • Delcy Kuhlman: Adjunct Professor, Spiritual Formation at AU.
  • Derek Morris: Adjunct Professor, Spiritual Formation, Andrews University and Southern Adventist University; pastored at Forest Lake SDA Church in Florida; authored The Radical Prayer and The Radical Teachings of Jesus; new editor of Ministry magazine.
  • Steve Case:

    • Taught “CHMN 720 Current Issues in Youth and Young Adult Ministry” at AU.
    • An author and international speaker to youth and youth leaders; has been a youth pastor and seminary professor.
    • Writes a column for Insight magazine.
    • President of Involve Youth; spoke at 2009 Youth Leadership Development Summit in which the program schedule included a quote by Lao Tzu, a Chinese Taoist philosopher and the father of Taoism.
    • Promotes these youth activities: rap music, skits, familiarity with the opposite sex, sports and competition, tournaments, senseless games, amusement parks, joking, downplaying the health message, prayer walks, and small group solitude.
  • Randal Wisbey: President, La Sierra University (first director of Center for Youth Evangelism).
  • Monte Sahlin:

    • Ordained pastor having served in small and large congregations.
    • Currently serving as Director of Research & Special Projects at the Ohio Conference of SDAs.
    • Professor and pastoral practitioner for “Discipleship & Spiritual Formation” at AU.
    • A senior consultant at the Center for Creative Ministry.
    • Chairman of the board for the Center for Metropolitan Ministry at Washington Adventist University.
    • Served at the General Conference of SDAs in church ministries, media projects, social needs and issues, research and development, and as a regional vice president.
    • A prolific author of books and articles.
    • Worked as director, board chairman or strategic consultant of more than 100 “innovative, community-based” ministries, church plants and nonprofit organizations.
    • An adjunct faculty member at the Campolo Graduate School at Eastern University in Pennsylvania; on the steering committee of the Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership.
    • Awarded an Outstanding Public Service Award by the U.S. government; participated in the Presidents' Summit on Volunteerism as well as the preparatory gathering of 50 representatives of the nonprofit sector at the White House.
  • Allan Walshe: Taught “The Personal Practice of Spiritual Formation” and “CHMN 720 Current Issues in Youth and Young Adult Ministry” at AU; past president of New Zealand Pacific Union Conference of SDAs; served as director of family ministries for the South Queensland SDA Conference.
  • Bill Knott: Editor and executive publisher of the Adventist Review and Adventist World and served as associate editor; pastored in both small and large churches; speaks at conventions, conferences, retreats and camp meetings worldwide; professor and pastoral practitioner of “Discipleship & Spiritual Formation” at AU.
  • Kenley Hall: Adjunct professor of Research and Writing at AU; listed as a possible speaker on “Discipleship & Spiritual Formation” at AU in 2011.
  • A. Allan Martin: An author; professor and pastoral practitioner of “Discipleship & Spiritual Formation” at AU; sponsored participants for the 2010 IMPACT Atlanta; curriculum coach for GODencounters; promotes drama and humorous speakers, the George Barna Group, and other emerging church resources for youth.
  • Joseph Kidder: Professor and pastoral practitioner of “Discipleship & Spiritual Formation” at AU.

    In Kidder’s class, required reading includes The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard. Full participation is required in a one-day Spiritual Retreat in order to “introduce students to the value of spiritual retreats, discipleships, small groups, and bonding with like-minded spiritual pilgrims.” Three hours each week is to be spent in the Practice of Spiritual Disciplines. Kidder travels worldwide to give seminars and train pastors, leaders, and members in spirituality, evangelism, church growth, and leadership.
    http://www.inministry.info/site/1/docs/GSEM541_Spiritual_Formation-Andrews-Sum_10-J_Kidder.pdf
  • Richard Davidson: Professor and pastoral practitioner of “Discipleship & Spiritual Formation” at AU; authored dozens of articles for theological journals; chaired the Old Testament department at AU; former president of the Adventist Theological Society.
  • Heather Crews: Serves as Pastor for Church Life at Keene SDA Church in Texas; currently pursuing Doctorate of Ministry in Leadership and Spiritual Formation through George Fox Evangelical Seminary; served as an Associate Pastor before attending AU for her Master of Divinity; pastored two churches with ministry focus on lifestyle evangelism, worship and spiritual formation; hobbies include reading everything from literature to theological treatises and training in karate; states that her “burning passion is to make Christianity relevant inside the current culture.” http://www.keenechurch.com/index/pastors
  • Duane Covrig: Professor of Leadership and Educational Administration as well as religion and ethics at AU; gathered resources for Partners in Innovation conferences; taught in educational leadership at the University of Akron, Ohio; taught religion at Loma Linda University (LLU); researcher at LLU and the University of California, Riverside.
  • Yat Ang: Member of 2005 In-Residence Cohort for Global Mission Leadership (for doctor of ministry at Andrews University); gathered resources for Partners in Innovation conferences while in the leadership program at AU.
  • Carol Tasker:

    • While at AU, attended the 2001 North American Professors of Christian Education (NAPCE) Annual Conference, giving a research presentation entitled “Spiritual Formation Class - An Unexpected Journey for Pastors in Training” on Saturday, October 27. The theme for NAPCE 2001 was “Spiritual Journey and our Communities of Faith.” “The conference focused on the richness of the spiritual journey found in diverse expressions of the Body of Christ and explored implications for personal and corporate growth.” It also “explored the journey to spiritual maturity in four communities. African, Asian, Hispanic and Willow Creek Community Church experiences were described and explored throughout the conference.” NAPCE is an evangelical, ecumenical organization.
    • While at AU in 2001/2002, gave a dissertation entitled “The impact of intentional learning experiences for personal spiritual formation on seminary students.”
      http://www.napce.org/archives/confer01/confer01.html
      http://www.worldcat.org/title/impact-of-intentional-learning-experiences-for-personal-spiritual-formation-on-seminary-students/oclc/05289067
  • Colin Renfrew:

    • Renfrew is director of Discipleship and Spiritual Development for South Queensland Conference of SDAs in Australia. He is the editor of Spiritually Formed, a “bi-annual journal exploring Christian discipleship in the context of spiritual formation.” http://www.signsofthetimes.org.au/authors/colin-renfrew
    • In an article in the South Pacific Division Record entitled, “Connected to the vine,” Renfrew writes: “Posturing toward God involves the time-honoured disciplines of the Christian life. To the Spirit-filled Christian these disciplines are like breathing and are an indispensible part of each day. Prayer, Bible contemplation and study, fasting, solitude, submission, service, worship and celebration are just some of the disciplines practiced in turning toward the life in our great God and Father.”
      http://www.record.net.au/assets/270047.pdf
  • Miroslav Pujic:

    • Pujic is the director of the Global Mission Centre for Secular and Postmodern Studies and of Media Ministry for the Trans-European Division of SDAs.  He also works to “increase awareness of emergent culture among members and pastors and offers the LIFEdevelopment discipleship pathway “as a model for reaching postmoderns.” During one seminar church members responded positively, “showing that they are very motivated to adjust the church activities to a postmodern level; that music, lectures, group and club activities, and communication at large may be adjusted also.”
      http://www.global-mission.org/article.php?id=900
    • In the May 17, 2008 issue of the South Pacific Division Record, an article entitled “South Qld [Queensland] ‘re:frames’ faith sharing” describes an April 2008 training weekend called Re:Frame, which was led by Pujic. More than 150 church members, pastors, and leaders of the SDA Church in South Queensland attended the first-ever event in Australia. Renfrew, who helped to write the article, stated that “At the heart of the Centre's ministry lies a vision to assist Adventists to understand emergent culture, provide tested and effective discipleship models, and create authentic resources to evangelise in postmodern culture.”
      http://link.adventistconnect.org/record/2008/rec18-08_05_17.pdf

The following are advisors and readers for projects and dissertations on spiritual formation:

Adventist Review
http://www.adventistreview.org/issue.php?issue=2010-1516&page=6
In June 2010, Roy Adams, as Associate Editor of the Adventist Review (now retired), published an article on the emerging church movement. He begins by stating that he first heard about it in April 2008 and gave it little attention because the idea seemed harmless to him. However, about a year later a retired SDA administrator called Adams because he was alarmed at the “growing negative impact” of the emerging church movement. An alarm should be sounded. Additionally, why was Adams just finding out about it in 2008 when it was already active in the Ohio Conference of SDAs since at least 2005 and was being promoted by the General Conference of SDAs in 2001?

After looking into the emerging church movement, Adams came to the conclusion that an alert should be sounded, but not an alarm, and that it is something to be watched, because it may have some good ideas for churches in this postmodern era. He believes it may just be a passing fad just like the New Age movement. Unfortunately, the emerging church movement is here to stay just like the New Age ideas, as can be seen in the sampling above of SDA emerging churches. It is part of Satan’s plan to bring about a one-world religion, and since he hates the SDA Church more than any other, he has attacked it viciously. Additionally, if it is just a passing fad, then what God has shown us in His Word, especially in The Great Controversy, is not true. Adams should know better.

The emerging church movement is still being promoted worldwide and is growing rapidly. How disheartening to know that Satan brought these very practices into the remnant church and most were not and perhaps still are not aware of it. It is interesting that Newsweek noticed this almost twenty years ago, while many Christians and SDAs are ignorant to this change.

Newsweek magazine, January 6, 1992, p. 44: “. . . silence, appropriate body posture and, above all, emptying the mind through repetition of prayer—have been the practices of mystics in all the great world religions. And they form the basis on which most modern spiritual directors guide those who want to draw closer to God.”

One only has to walk into a bookstore and look through the self-help, personal growth, health, and New Age sections to notice the numerous books on mysticism. It reveals that it is the main spirituality worldwide and is a concentrated effort to restructure our society.

A popular seminar speaker and transcendental meditation practitioner, John Gray, authored the bestseller, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus as well as How to Get What You Want and Want What You Have. In the latter book, he wrote how quickly and easily people are “moving into the mystical realm.”

Selected Messages, Book 1, p. 202

We need not the mysticism that is in this book [The Living Temple by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg]. Those who entertain these sophistries will soon find themselves in a position where the enemy can talk with them, and lead them away from God.

 

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6, p. 132

The study of God's word should take the place of the study of those books that have led minds into mysticism and away from the truth. Its living principles, woven into our lives, will be our safeguard in trials and temptations; its divine instruction is the only way to success. As the test comes to every soul, there will be apostasies. Some will prove to be traitors, heady, high-minded, and self-sufficient, and will turn away from the truth, making shipwreck of faith. Why? Because they did not live "by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." They did not dig deep and make their foundation sure.

When the words of the Lord through His chosen messengers are brought to them, they murmur and think the way is made too strait. In the sixth chapter of John we read of some who were thought to be disciples of Christ, but who, when the plain truth was presented to them, were displeased and walked no more with Him. In like manner these superficial students also will turn away from Christ.

 

Joel 2:1

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand.

http://www.adventistreview.org/article.php?id=3384
James Coffin, senior pastor of the Markham Woods SDA Church in Longwood, Florida, also wrote on the emerging church movement in the Adventist Review in June 2010. In his conclusion he is asking where the emerging church is headed. He should know where it is headed, and the question should be asked where we as individuals as well as the SDA Church are headed as the majority become more involved in every “wind of doctrine.” It does not need to be a “learn-as-we-go venture” as Coffin states. The Lord has already shown enough to SDAs in order that they can be certain how to be Christians and how to run the SDA organization, without using the ideas outside their faith.

http://secularandpostmodern.com/postmodernpilgrims.html
At this website, Rey Descalso, Associate Director of the Center for Secular/Postmodern Mission for the General Conference of SDAs and the Youth/Associate Pastor of Markham Woods Church, recommended the book Postmodern Pilgrims: First century passion for a 21st century world by Leonard Sweet.

Jim Appel, Associate of the Center for Secular/Postmodern Mission, recommended the book A New Kind of Christian by Brian McLaren.

James Coffin has also been a director of the Center for Secular/Postmodern Mission.

http://www.adventistreview.org/article.php?id=3383
Fernando Canale also wrote on the emerging church movement in the June 2010 Adventist Review. He is a professor of theology and philosophy at Andrews University. He first describes what the emerging church movement is like in the evangelical churches. They suggest adapting worship services for the postmodern culture, in hopes of attracting the secular youth, nonbelievers and even believers. This may include these practices:

  • Music from heavy rock to traditional hymns.
  • Ancient rituals.
  • Spiritual disciplines.
  • Contemplative prayer and prayer stations.
  • Celebrating the liturgical Christian season, such as Easter.
  • Celebrating the Eucharist.
  • Partaking of Jewish traditions.
  • Sermons optional, minimized or shortened, heavily illustrated with visuals or multiple presenters, and storytelling.

The Review and Herald, December 22, 1904

Weed out storytelling from your discourses, and preach the word. You will then have more sheaves to bring to the Master.

Each item mentioned in the list above has taken place in various SDA churches. Canale states that these all “emerge” from postmodern culture, contemporary charismatic worship, Catholic liturgy, or Eastern spirituality (New Age) and that a major overhaul of theology is under way. He explains how one emergent suggests surrendering all absolutes (philosophical and biblical) to embrace Christian tradition and the postmodern culture. He shows how this movement embraces theological pluralism, relativism, and Roman Catholic ecumenism.

Canale explains that the movement comes from Pentecostalism and Catholic mystical spirituality. He can be commended for stating that if the SDA Church continues to play follow the leader that new generations of SDAs will go back to Rome, that the gospel and the remnant church are at stake, and the SDA leaders should begin a biblical reformation. However, it is dangerous to state as he did that we should assess everything in the emerging church resources in light of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy and use only what is good. Two problems to that include the fact that each person may decide differently what they think is good and as they assess the resources, they can be snared into error.

We see the habit of SDA leaders minimizing the dangers that confront the Church and mixing truth with error, saying just enough to try to pacify those who are alarmed. There is also a tendency to allow what it takes to keep the membership figures growing and the money coming in.

http://www.adventistreview.org/issue.php?issue=2007-1522&page=8
This is just one example of the Adventist Review promoting emerging churches. An article entitled “The Wausau Church Story” by Bill Bossert, tells what his church did to gain more members. At the time he pastored The Shepherd’s House: An Adventist Community of Love, an SDA church in Wausau, Wisconsin. He is now pastor of The Edge Christian Worship Center in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. The article references how they purchased the following two books to help their church grow: Dan Kimball’s book, The Emerging Church, for each elder and the book by Brian McLaren, More Ready Than You Realize, for each of the personal ministries committee members. The Edge church also “worships the Lord using many heartfelt contemporary Christian music themes.”
http://www.theedgecwc.com/praise-and-worship

There used to be a time when a person could recognize an SDA church simply by its name. However, it is becoming a trend now to leave the Seventh-day Adventist name out, with more focus on it being a “community” church. Will this make it an easier transition to a Sunday-keeping church?

http://www.reviewandherald.com/index.php/news/article/20.rhpa
In an article on reorganization, the Review and Herald Publishing Association mentioned their experiencing “years of mounting financial loss.” Could it be due to the errors that are printed and therefore God is not pouring out a blessing? Are they repeating the same mistakes from the past that caused the 1902 fire to totally destroy the publishing house? The following words of Ellen White echo in our ears. These same words apply as well to Pacific Press Publishing Association.

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8, pp. 91-92

The presses in the Lord's institution have been printing the soul-destroying theories of Romanism and other mysteries of iniquity. The office must be purged of this objectionable matter. I have a testimony from the Lord for those who have placed such matter in the hands of the workers. God holds you accountable for presenting to young men and young women the fruit of the forbidden tree of knowledge. Can it be possible that you have not a knowledge of the warnings given to the Pacific Press on this subject? Can it be possible that with a knowledge of these warnings you are going over the same ground, only doing much worse? It has often been repeated to you that angels of God are passing through every room in the office. What impression has this made on your minds?

You have given matter containing Satan's sentiments into the hands of the workers, bringing his deceptive, polluting principles before their minds. The Lord looks upon this action on your part as helping Satan to prepare his snare to catch souls. God will not hold guiltless those who have done this thing. He has a controversy with the managers of the publishing house. I have been almost afraid to open the Review, fearing to see that God has cleansed the publishing house by fire.

The Lord has instructed me that those who cannot see the wickedness of co-operating with Satan by publishing his falsehoods might better seek some work in which they will not ruin our youth, body and soul. There is danger that the standard of truth and righteousness will be so lowered that God will bring His judgments upon the wrongdoers.

It is high time that we understood what spirit has for years been controlling matters at the Review and Herald office. I am horrified to think that the most subtle phase of spiritualism should be placed before the workers, and that in a way calculated to confuse and perplex the mind. Be assured that Satan will follow up the advantage thus given him.

Satan truly has followed up the advantage given him, as can be seen today in the spiritualism that has entered our SDA institutions.

Ministry magazine
http://ministrymagazine.org/archives/2010/MIN2010-03.pdf
John Markovic wrote on the emerging church movement in the March and May 2010 issues of Ministry magazine. He is the associate professor of modern European and church history at Andrews University. His article is paraphrased and condensed as follows: 1) It is hard to define the emerging movement; 2) Emergents should be handled gently; 3) My students read (by choice) the emergents works and some attend emergent worships; 4) Based on what others tell me, the emerging movement is affecting Protestant churches and the SDA Church, being promoted by the “progressives”; 5) There are others who do not like changes and expect the pastors to defend the “established worship practices and theology”; 6) We need to update our worship, yet keep it biblical; 7) The emerging call to be authentic Christians is able to reach society where traditional Christians do not; 8) Yet the emergents challenge certain doctrines which are not necessarily biblical; 9) Leading emergents teach that we should not be critical, divisive, and judgmental; 10) God asks us to reason together, to correctly handle the truth, and to test the spirits. . . .

While it is good that Markovic defends the Scriptures and mentions the need to overcome sin, he goes into details of what is involved in the emerging church movement and completely ignores the fact that it is going on right in the midst of Andrews University and the rest of the SDA Church. His conclusion is disappointing, because it does not sound an alarm. He is part of the problem, especially in leading students down a dangerous path. Once spiritualism is delved into, it is hard to get out of it, just like any other addiction.

http://www.ministrymagazine.org/archive/2008/April/developing-an-adventist-concept-of-spirituality.html
In the April 2008 issue of Ministry magazine, Bruce Manners writes about SDA spirituality and quotes Eugene Peterson and Henri Nouwen. The article covers relationships, worship, and communication in the form of the “spiritual disciplines of reading and listening, of journaling and meditation, of shouting (inwardly, if you prefer) and silence. . . .” He also mentions solitude and practicing the “presence of God.” Next Manners quotes a Rabbi, strongly emphasizes the spiritual disciplines as a way to obtain an “experiential relationship with God,” and ends with a quote by Richard Foster.

http://ministrymagazine.org/archive/2009/August/making-space-for-God.html
In August 2009, Bobby Moore (pastor, Highline SDA Church, Burien, Washington) wrote an article in Ministry magazine entitled “Making space for God: Contemplation as praxis.” He mentions the following, which has been paraphrased:

  • Benedict of Nursia’s “rule” allows for a “spiritual rhythm” in the daily routine to assist “practicing the presence of God” through different spiritual disciplines such as solitude. [Benedict of Nursia (480–547) founded Western Christian monasticism, was a “rule-giver” for monks, and founded twelve monk communities.]
  • Dallas Willard’s book, Spirit of the Disciplines, explains how the “rule” helps us to make “space” for the Holy Spirit and to observe the disciplines that Christ used.
  • Henry David Thoreau wished to “live deep.” Thoreau was a philosopher who believed that intuition was important.
  • In order to be released from the “busyness” of life, “seek to give one’s self to the moment,” as this is the “beginning of contemplativeness” which provides space for God.

    According to author Kees Waaijman, contemplation is entering into a space to “observe the movements of the divine.” As we do this, we will see God move in “ways we have never noticed.” [Waaijman was a friar, a professor of spirituality, and a director of a Catholic institute in the Netherlands, who wrote on the manifestations of spirituality.]
  • Living contemplativelyshifts the paradigm radically,” has eternal benefits, and goes against conventional wisdom. It means to ignore the “tyranny of the urgent,” to live “in rhythm with nature,” and to be compassionate. It is a “planned journey” with flexibility. Intrusions are opportunities to glimpse the Divine.
  • Pray for others so that “God’s grace will operate in their lives” in order that “Jesus will be continually glorified.” Be aware of Christ’s presence in each person you meet. [Unfortunately, the presence of Christ may not be in every person you meet, since it is up to the individual to choose Christ.]
  • “Develop a contemplative lifestyle” with meditation and living in rhythm with God. As you “include space for Him, your passion for an effective ministry will increase—resulting in Christlikeness for yourself, your family, and your parishioners.”
  • To help remind himself to pray in the middle of the day, Moore carries five smooth, colorful stones in his right pocket. As he prays, he removes one and rubs it in his fingers. When finished praying, he places it in his left pocket. Does he not realize that this routine can very easily lead to using a rosary?

Signs of the Times (Australia)
For years the Australian Signs of the Times has included many articles and front cover photos of celebrities. God’s people were never instructed to glorify the world’s superstars.

Proverbs 17:15

He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.

How can the world be taught to be a peculiar people if we feed them with what they already have? How can we remain a peculiar people if we continue to borrow from the world? Below are three examples of Signs articles which show the periodical’s downward trend that has led to spiritualism. Sadly, this is the case in most SDA periodicals.

http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20080531094351/http://www.signsofthetimes.org.au/archives
/2004/november/article5.shtm

A November 2004 article entitled “Stillness is Golden” included the following information:

  • We can increase our “creative energy,” our sense of purpose and “connection with the Divine,” our “focus, contemplation and peace” through “stillness, solitude and silence.” “Be still, and know that I am God” from Psalm 46:10 was quoted, along with other verses on quietness and rest.
  • Stillness can be helped through the external physical exercises such as walking, swimming, dancing, and visual contemplation of such items as a fireplace, candle flame, water feature, or flower arrangement.
  • Our increasing awareness of the character of God reveals “our conscious and unconscious motivation” and “brings about powerful releases within us,” which leads to “transformational healing.”

    In order to “start living fully,” introduce stillness practices, such as the following: 1) While performing daily tasks, be aware of touch, smells, colors, temperatures, rhythm, etc. as modeled by “Brother Lawrence” (1611-1691), who was a Catholic monk; 2) Spend ten minutes of “silent stillness” in a natural setting, focusing on everything sensory in nature around you; 3) With your eyes closed, allow past daily events to “stream past your consciousness,” cherishing the “life-giving moments you missed” and remembering the painful moments with forgiveness and tenderness; 4) In a quiet place, spend twenty uninterrupted minutes in wordless contemplation of the Divine and being receptive and hungry to connect and letting distracting thoughts “float past you without following”; 5) Centering prayer is a method that encourages you to “refocus on God” by “internally saying [repeating] one of the names of God that you relate to.” [This is an example of taking God’s name in vain.]
  • A quote from Silence on Fire: The Prayer of Awareness by William Shannon, a Roman Catholic priest, in which he describes “wordless prayer” when we experience our dependence on God and “our awareness that we are in God.” [In that same book, Shannon wrote that “the goal of all true spirituality is to achieve an awareness of our oneness with God and with all of God’s creation.” In his book, Seeds of Peace, he states that contemplative spirituality has widely replaced the spiritual worldview of many in Catholicism and that “we are in God, but we don’t seem to know it” and “we are in paradise, but we don’t realize it.” He believes that “separate identities disappear in the All Who is God.”]

    “People from many spiritual streams are embracing stillness” and sadly, Christians, in their “flurry to do good works, may be the ones most likely to miss out on these life-giving practices.” [However, in trying to stress inner peace and rest, even quoting Bible verses on examples from Jesus, the article borrows again from another contemplative mystic author, Thomas Kelly.]

Further recommended reading included other contemplative authors. The end of the article promoted “Stillspace,” an independent and non-denominational Christian ministry, and the online prayer labyrinth at http://www.yfc.co.uk/labyrinth/online.html. If the reader wished further information, he was to write the author of Signs Publishing Company.

http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20081120200241/http://www.signsofthetimes.org.au
/archives/2004/november/book.shtm

A Book Review in November 2004 recommended as good reading A Retreat With Henri Nouwen: Reclaiming Our Humanity by Robert Durback. Yet as we have already learned, Henri Nouwen was a Catholic priest and mystic. The book also quotes Thomas Merton, a Catholic monk and mystic.

http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20081011064632/http://www.signsofthetimes.org.au
/archives/2005/december/article3.shtm

Another Australian Signs article of December 2005 by the editor, Nathan Brown, features his thoughts on the movie version of C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Brown also promotes FaithHouse Manhattan. The article concluded with a movie review by Chris Blake, who stated that “compared to typical Hollywood fare, Narnia is bracing entertainment with a fine spiritual message. It’s definitely worth a watch.”

General Conference of SDAs
http://www.adventistreview.org/2003-1531/news.html
SDA theologians and educators met for the Conference on Religious and Theological Education at the General Conference of SDAs in 2003, where a “list of 28 formal recommendations came out of the meetings.” One included urging all ministerial training schools to “include a class in experiential spiritual formation in their curricula.”

Adventist News Network
http://news.adventist.org/2004/02/a-feature-church-cogregatios-icrease-focus-o-spiritual-formatio.html
At the end of a February 2004 Adventist News Network article entitled “Church, Congregations Increase Focus on ‘Spiritual Formation,’ ” it stated that in September 2001, the SDA world church created the International Board of Ministerial and Theological Education (IBMTE). It is to give “guidance and standards” in training pastors, theologians, evangelists, chaplains, teachers, and other denominational employees in spiritual formation in all 13 regions of the church worldwide.

How tragic that the Baptist website quoted below finds it necessary to write about SDA leaders who are promoting the emerging church movement. There will be sincere, faithful Christians of other denominations who will join the purified church during the Loud Cry and take the place of those SDAs who have been unfaithful.

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=2136 (December 31, 2009)

In 2007, Lighthouse Trails posted an article titled Church, Congregations Increase Focus on “Spiritual Formation.” [referenced below] The article, released by Adventist News Network, showed how the emphasis of contemplative/spiritual formation was moving into the Seventh-day Adventist organization. The article stated that “this subject [spiritual formation] is receiving serious emphasis in Adventist institutions, as well as in local congregations.” The following Lighthouse Trails research reveals that Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan is promoting contemplative spirituality (i.e., spiritual formation) through a new concentration in their Doctor of Ministry degree program. An October 2009 Andrews newsletter, put out by Kenley D. Hall (Andrews DMin Project Coach) explains that “Discipleship & Spiritual Formation” and “Youth and Young Adult Ministry” will begin in February 2010 (see brochure).

According to the syllabus of one of the courses in the Andrews spiritual formation program, contemplative mystic proponents will be used to teach students this coming February. In CHMN 705 Theological and Historical Perspectives on Spiritual Growth, professor Jon Dybdahl is using a number of contemplative authors to “Demonstrate a continuing maturity in Christian formation, personal growth and ministry.” This maturity in Christian formation is typical language by contemplatives, who teach that true maturity can only come through spending time in contemplative silence. Richard Foster has been a pioneer in laying out this “maturity” doctrine. So it is not surprising that Dybdahl is turning to Foster for guidance. Other contemplatives being used in the class are: J.P. Moreland (Kingdom Triangle) and Peter Scazzero. A “short spiritual retreat” will also take place during the course. Scazzero’s book, Emotionally Healthy Spiritually (the book being used at Andrews), is a who’s who of contemplative mystics and panentheists; some of those he points readers to are Basil Pennington, Tilden Edwards, Henri Nouwen, Meister Eckhart, Teresa of Avila, and several others.

In J.P. Moreland’s book, Kingdom Triangle (also used in Dybdahl’s class at Andrews), Moreland talks about a maturing process that takes place through “spiritual formation.” Moreland tells readers that a “treasure of deep, rich knowledge of the soul” can be found in the writings of the Desert Fathers, Henri Nouwen, and Richard Foster, (p. 153). Of course, all three of these sources ultimately point followers to eastern-style meditation (i.e., mantra-style). A four-part series Moreland did for Focus on the Family … substantiates that Moreland is embracing contemplative spirituality where he suggests that “Catholic retreat centers are usually ideal for solitude retreats.”

Jon Dybdahl’s contemplative propensities are strongly presented in his 2008 book, Hunger: Satisfying the Longing of Your Soul. In Hunger, Dybdahl favorably instructs on contemplative practices such as lectio divina, visualization (p. 64), the Jesus Prayer, and breath prayers (p. 52). Dybdahl explains in his book that in his “not-so-secret quest for God,” he turned to Quaker Thomas Kelly’s book A Testament of Devotion. It is Kelly, a panentheist, who said that within every human being is a “Divine Center,” a “secret sanctuary” (from A Testament of Devotion). This “secret sanctuary” Kelly is speaking of is what he calls “abiding Light behind all changing [life] forms.” He says: “In that Current we must bathe. In that abiding yet energizing Center we are all made one’ (p. 38).” Dybdahl says in Hunger that Henri Nouwen “intensified” his “craving” for “God’s presence.” (p.12) But the presence that Nouwen is speaking of is the same as that of mystics, and it is this mysticism that led Nouwen to reject Jesus Christ as the only path to God at the end of his life (Sabbatical Journey). Dybdahl’s book is brimming with references to contemplative mystics: David Benner, Morton Kelsey, Adele Alberg Calhoun, Tilden Edwards, Richard Foster, Ken Boa, and Brother Lawrence. (also see this critique on Hunger) [http://spiritualformationsda.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/hunger-critique3.pdf]

Another person who will be teaching at Andrews DMin in spiritual formation is Ben Maxson, pastor at Paradise Seventh-day Adventist church in Paradise, California and adjunct professor at Andrews University. Maxson will be teaching Mentoring for Discipleship & Spiritual Formation. In an article by Maxson titled “Renewing our Minds,” he says that the “spiritual disciplines” (the tools of spiritual formation) help one develop “intimacy with God,” and he encouraged practicing “the presence of God.”

One of the other spiritual formation courses in Andrews Theological Seminary’s DMin program on spiritual formation, taught by Allan Walshe, is The Personal Practice of Spiritual Formation. While the course’s syllabus is not currently posted online, we can partly identify Walshe’s contemplative propensities elsewhere. In an article featuring Walshe at a New Zealand conference, Walshe quotes contemplative pioneer Dallas Willard in referring to “intimacy with God.” This intimacy with God to the contemplative can only be obtained through going into the silence through meditation.

The DMin program on spiritual formation isn’t the only avenue through which contemplative is being implemented at Andrews. The youth ministry degree program is also involved with contemplative spirituality and emerging spirituality. In CHMN 720 Current Issues in Youth and Young Adult Ministry, professors Steve Case and Allan Walshe are using Emerging Church figure Shane Claiborne as well as emergent Youth Specialties author Chap Clark’s book, Deep Justice in a Broken World. The book is about the emerging kingdom on earth theology and turns to such figures as liberal/emerging theologians Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo.

Thus, as is usually the case, when a college or seminary begins to incorporate contemplative prayer, eventually they begin to open up to Emerging Church ideas – it is virtually inevitable. And this is the vehicle that drives our concerns. Those who practice contemplative prayer will move more and more toward an interspiritual outlook. Contemplative prayer (i.e., mysticism) is not just some obscure subculture – it is exploding across the Western religious spectrum.

There is much talk about “intimacy with God.” However, if you try to obtain it through contemplative prayer, you will eventually gain intimacy with evil spirits.

Proverbs 28:9

He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

Empower Ministry Conference
http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20081205005937/http://progressiveadventism.com/
2007/08/14/empower-ministry-conference-to-host-jon-dybdahl-jon-paulien

In 2007 the Empower Ministry Group‘s 5th National Leadership Conference was held at La Sierra University Alumni Center, with Jon Dybdahl and Jon Paulien as speakers. This ministry group was organized in 2002 as a group of Korean-American youth and young adult pastors—a “ministry-support organization for next-generation Asian-American Adventist leaders.” The focus of the conference was spiritual formation and Revelation. Dybdahl led the conference with a full-day “retreat.” It was stated that “those who attended Andrews University in the 1990s will recall the powerful impact that Dybdahl’s Spiritual Formation class had on their lives. Many will also remember the daylong retreat that was part of that course. On the Sabbath of the weekend, Dybdahl will guide us through that special experience and teach us how to lead such a retreat.” Paulien gave a Revelation Seminar based on his “Simply Revelation” DVD and his book The Deep Things of God. It was stated that his seminar promised to be “an excellent introduction and overview of a ‘new’ approach to the Bible’s most controversial book.” The conference closed with a worship feature by Hyveth Williams. It is a fearful thought to think of all those who are being deceived by these three leaders. The “retreat” they are involved in is “retreating toward Egypt.”

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 217

The church has turned back from following Christ her leader, and is steadily retreating toward Egypt. Yet few are alarmed or astonished at their want of spiritual power. Doubt and even disbelief of the testimonies of the Spirit of God is leavening our churches everywhere. Satan would have it thus.

General Conference Sabbath School/Personal Ministries
http://www.sabbathschoolpersonalministries.org
This department stated: “Sabbath School is discipleship through religious education—and so much more. In seeking to meet the spiritual formation needs of its members, it features emphases in fellowship, outreach, Bible study, and mission and provides a rich spiritual environment in practical, everyday settings. In Sabbath School, there’s something for everyone and everything for you and for people all around you!”

North American Division of SDAs Evangelism Institute (NADEI)
http://www.nadei.org
This institute mixes truth with error by using some of the emerging church resources and techniques, such as the book by Bill Hybels, entitled Courageous Leadership as well as ChurchSmart resources. Joseph Kidder, among others, is on the teaching staff. Part of the intensive training is “Kingdom Values.” The Purpose Driven Church by Rick Warren in English and Spanish is promoted under the Resource Center’s “Natural Church Development/Inspiring Worship” section. The irony is that the worship is not inspired by God when it is promoting Rick Warren’s ideas. The book Overcoming Resistance to Change is under the “Church Growth/General” section. The promoters of these programs must be perplexed at how to win over faithful members. Change is not a problem, unless God’s laws or principles are being changed, and that is the case in the emerging church movement.

http://www.adventistreview.org/article.php?id=873
The Adventist Review featured the NAD’s third annual Women Clergy Conference in October 2006 in Indiana, which focused on spiritual leadership, nurturing and mentoring. Ruth Haley Barton, from The Transforming Center in Illinois, provided resources for pastors and began the conference with a presentation. The coordinator of the conference was Dúane Schoonard, associate pastor of the Collegedale Adventist Church in Tennessee, and associate ministerial secretary for the NAD.

Southeastern California Conference
http://gradworks.umi.com/32/68/3268421.html
A dissertation by Sandra Roberts at Claremont School of Theology in 2006 was entitled “Postmodern's ‘most wanted’: Using a spiritual formation process of volunteer youth leadership development in a Seventh-day Adventist conference.” The purpose of her study was to “develop, implement and test a spiritual formation process of leadership development among volunteer youth leaders in the Seventh-day Adventist middle judicatory office of Southeastern California Conference in a changing cultural climate of postmodernism.” Meetings with leaders included encouraging the practice of spiritual exercises. “The thesis of the project is that implementing a spiritual formation process of leadership development is a necessary shift in . . . training local church volunteer youth leaders to most effectively lead ministries to youth and young adults with an emerging postmodern world view which values authentic spirituality over other qualities and skill sets of leadership.”

Andrews University
http://www.andrews.edu/sem/dmin/concentrations/discipling/discipleship__brochu.pdf
The information below is taken from an Andrews University brochure which announced the new Doctor of Ministry concentration entitled “Discipleship & Spiritual Formation” and advertised as “Changing the People Who Change the World.”

  • It began in February 2010 in Orlando, Florida with a teaching intensive for the first module taught by Jon Dybdahl and Monte Sahlin; at Andrews in May 2011 by Allan Walshe and Bill Knott and/or Kenley Hall; at Loma Linda in February 2012 by Ben Maxson and A. Allan Martin; at Andrews University in February 2013 by Joe Kidder. These intensives include reading the “best literature in discipleship and spiritual formation.”
  • What is it? A theological and theoretical understanding of discipleship and spiritual formation, integrating the leader’s “personal spiritual transformation with the skills involved in one on one spiritual mentoring.” Strategies and resources will be developed for pastors to help their congregations to nurture discipleship, spiritual growth, and caring outreach to their communities, as well as teaching “devotional practices and patterns of life” that “shape and define who we are as disciples of Jesus.”
  • What will the program enable you to do? 1) Articulate an SDA perspective on this subject; 2) understand and integrate the devotional habits (spiritual disciplines) into your own life and ministry; 3) demonstrate continued growth in spiritual leadership; 4) assist church members who struggle with consistency and depth in their “journey with God”; 5) train “spiritually mature” and “relationally gifted” people as spiritual mentors; 6) Shape the church into an “authentic community” involved in evangelism through “loving and maturing relationships.”
  • The professors and pastoral practitioners in this course include: Jon Dybdahl, Ben Maxson, Joe Kidder, A. Allan Martin, Allan Walshe, Jane Thayer, Richard Davidson, Bill Knott, Monte Sahlin, and others.
  • Carry out a “biblically and theologically faithful” practice of this subject, both corporately and individually.
  • Discern truth from counterfeit, due to the “growing number of non-biblical spiritualities.”

Why would Andrews University or any other SDA institution bother to teach this course when there are a “growing number of non-biblical spiritualities”? If you expect new pastors to teach “biblically and theologically faithful” practices on this subject in spite of the fact there are so many problems, why bother teaching it to begin with? Why not just produce an SDA-safe course using the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy based on historic beliefs, rather than promote the reading and teaching of so many non-SDA emergents and New Agers? Otherwise, the pastors become confused and deceived, spreading their errors and confusion worldwide.

http://www.andrews.edu/sem/dmin/concentrations/discipling/2010_syllabi/chmn705-syllabus.pdf
This website link is no longer available but showed the course offered for SDA seminary students at Andrews University and taught by Jon Dybdahl: CHMN 705 Theological and Historical Perspectives on Spiritual Growth. The mission statement mentions that the Discipleship and Spiritual Formation Concentration involves understanding discipleship and spiritual formation, including modeling and mentoring. The course aim includes knowledge on “being” and self-reflection. Hunger: Satisfying the Longing of Your Soul by Dybdahl and Streams of Living Water by Richard Foster were required reading, with Steps to Christ as the only Spirit of Prophecy book out of eleven books.

Trans-European Division of SDAs
http://www.ted-adventist.org/features-and-analysis/revival-and-reformation
The Trans-European Division encompasses Europe, the Middle East, two northern countries of Africa, and Pakistan. The following information is a result of this division’s response to the Revival and Reformation Committee of the General Conference of SDAs as well as the division’s 2010-2015 initiative: It was stated that “. . . as we enter a new five-year plan for mission, Tell the World, we commit ourselves . . . to support and promote the following initiatives to encourage our churches and organisations to make spiritual growth in life and godliness our first work. . . .” These initiatives include: 1) Prayer; 2) Bible reading; 3) “Study and apply the biblical disciplines for spiritual growth,” stress management, to enhance relationships, etc.; 4) Being “engaged in at least one outreach or mission project,” which includes small group, church planting projects, etc.; 5) “Participating in spiritual worship, celebration and fellowship” through a small group, church plant, etc.

Additionally, this division’s Media Productions includes Hollywood-style videos.

http://ted-relay.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=52&Itemid=64
This division also has a training program called “Relay: Institute of Youth Evangelism,” which includes “Foundations of Youth Discipleship & Leadership,” a unit of education worth 30 credits and with “learning outcomes” that cover understanding the “spiritual disciplines included in discipleship. Some of the subjects offered are 1) Psychology; 2) Discipleship and mentoring strategies; 3) “Youth culture and material relevant to leadership in that context”; 4) Youth Innovative Initiatives. Practice includes “making disciples” and “designing discipleship pathways,” as well as “introducing spiritual discipline practices.” Also included is a group project “demonstrating discipleship and mentoring skills working with planning, communication and empowerment.” Two of the recommended books are Taking Discipleship Seriously: A Radical Biblical Approach by Tom Sine (encourages churches to become agents of change) and Mass Culture Eucharist and Mission in a Post-modern World by Pete Ward. Electives include “Evangelism in a Post Modern Context”; “Creative Youth Ministry”; and “Spiritual Formation.Newbold College (SDA college in the United Kingdom) was listed as one of the venues out of 12 others that conduct the Relay training.

Singapore Mission of SDAs
http://www.adventist.org.sg/newsletter/janmar2000.htm
Adventist Crossroads is a quarterly report of news and information for SDAs done by the Singapore Mission Communication Department. In 2000 Adventist Crossroads posted online information on Natural Church Development as well as cell church and small groups for the Evangelism Institute of the NAD. It ended by making this statement: “The potential this approach has to offer has gotten our pastors all excited. The individual commitment in the cell group allows one to experience the fullness of true community in Christ. It allows Christian ministry to flourish. It empowers and develops individuals. It nurtures friendship, spirituality and healing. If you belong to a church which is getting excited with plans to organise cell-groups you are on track. If you have not heard about this cutting-edge technology of doing church, look out for it. It will be coming your way soon.”

“Cutting-edge technology” is a good way to describe Satan’s modern methods of “doing” church.

Iceland Conference of SDAs
http://www.adventistworld.org/article.php?id=213&search=aw
The Adventist Review featured an article entitled “Re-Formation in Iceland” written by Gavin Anthony, who is the director of Youth and Discipleship for the Iceland Conference of SDAs. It revealed that this conference is “building its discipleship model” around spiritual formation. To learn more, the article referenced the http://www.reflectingjesus.org website. It is filled with promotion for prominent emerging church leaders, ideas, and resources outside of the SDA Church. In June 2008 Anthony wrote that he was on his way to Andrews University to “start a PhD in spiritual formation and discipleship.”

South Bavarian Conference of SDAs, Germany
http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/MIN/MIN20060801-V79-08__B.pdf
Wolfgang Dorn is a youth pastor for this conference and states that because of our postmodern condition, the future of our Church in the western world “depends highly on our ability to adapt to postmodern thinking” and to respond to the suggestions of Jon Paulien and others. He stated that “this involves changes in many areas” and “moving in this direction” is “for the sake of lost people.”

That direction will cause many to be lost. Common sense tells us that many are using postmodernism as an excuse to bring new theology and new worship practices into the churches. Sinful practices may meet our desires and take care of our feelings, but only truth will meet our needs. To believe that because we are in a postmodern society means we must have postmodern churches compares to believing that since most of the world is breaking God’s laws, the churches might as well do the same, well, maybe just break five of the Ten Commandments and then we will gain more members. Postmodernism is nothing more than evil increasing.

Genesis 6:5

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

 

The Review and Herald, June 12, 1888

The natural, selfish mind, if left to follow out its own evil desires, will act without high motives, without reference to the glory of God or the benefit of mankind. The thoughts will be evil, and only evil, continually.

 

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/emergingchurch.htm?zoom_highlight=re-emergence+church+history

While Rick Warren, Dan Kimball and Dr. Robert Webber and others may be excited about the “Emerging Church” and the direction it is presently headed, I am concerned the “Emerging Church” may actually be a re-emergence of what has already occurred in church history. If the pattern continues expect to see evangelical Protestants become more and more Roman Catholic.
—Roger Oakland

This conclusion makes sense in light of what is written in the prophecies of Revelation and in the book The Great Controversy by Ellen White. It shows how easily evangelical “Protestants” (including backslidden SDAs) will give in to a national Sunday law. It is also a sign that Christ’s return is not far away. God’s faithful need to warn others how to recognize Satan’s subtle deceptions and how to remain faithful to God’s truth in these last days.

Prayer stations
Here are just a few examples of the use of prayer stations in SDA institutions:

  • In 2006 Forest Lake Academy featured a 24/7 Prayer Room which was advertised as a “radical call for the next generation to rise up in passionate, persistent and powerful prayer to change lives, families, communities and nations.” Included were candles, cushions, music, art, worship and “interactive prayer stations to help make your prayer time enjoyable. Prepare to experience God!” It was explained that “prayer can come through various forms.” If the art supplies were used, they were instructed to clean up when done, and they could write experiences in the prayer journal. The original 24/7 Prayer Room started in 1999 in England with a student-led prayer vigil and has spread into 100 plus nations. It is an international, interdenominational movement of prayer, justice, and mission.
    http://www.mysignup.com/cgi-bin/view.cgi?datafile=fla
    ;
    http://www.24-7prayer.com/about/what
  • Andrews University describes their prayer stations as places around campus where students can pray together at different times during the school day. It is thought of as a “spiritual awakening, a way to connect to God and to fellow students,” a “jump-start” for the day, and a “testimony for those who witness it.” Campus Ministries included an ad for “S.P.A.R.K. (Share, Prayer, Ask, Receive, Know).” It is a ministry that supports “small group prayer” on the Andrews University campus through programs that include “sidewalk prayer stations and prayer tag.”
    http://www.andrews.edu/cm/ministry/ministries/prayerstations.htm;
    http://www.andrews.edu/services/studentlife/orientation/year_at_a_glance.html
  • The November 2009 Pacific Union Recorder displayed a photo of an ACTS Prayer Path created by the women’s ministries at the Auburn church (Northern California). It included different stations for “adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication” (A.C.T.S.). This is an ancient pattern for prayer.
  • In April 2008, the Adventist Health/West corporate office in Roseville, California held a “Walk-through Meditation.” A few tables were set up in a room with items such as pictures, poems, icons, a cross-shaped picture frame, flowers, candles, a finger prayer labyrinth, a radio playing soothing New Age music, and four picture frames that included these words: “God’s loving smile is upon you; God’s gracious smile is upon you; God’s welcoming smile is upon you; God’s tender smile is upon you.” This sounds wonderful, but it is conditional for each individual.

Messages to Young People, p. 75

You have a spotted record in Heaven. The sins you have committed are all registered there. God's frown is upon you, and yet you appear destitute of feeling; you do not realize your lost and undone condition. At times you do have feelings of remorse; but your proud, independent spirit soon rises above this, and you stifle the voice of conscience.

Also included were handouts with the following type of information:

  • A summary on forgiveness from the book Forgive for Good by Frederic Luskin. His techniques resemble spiritual practices honored by monks in monastic communities for centuries.
  • A description of prayer labyrinths and suggestions for using one.
  • Instructions for station 1 and spiritual health self-assessments for stations 2 through 5, based on “Healing the Four Dimensions of Spiritual Pain in the classical Sacred Art of Living and Dying tradition,” which included the following:

    • Station 1 – Where is the Hurt?: “The purpose of this self-paced, walk-through meditation is to knock the ‘dis’ out of ‘disease,’ and restore to each visitor a sense of ease.” [There is nothing sacred about God’s people being at ease with mysticism. Forgetting His instructions brings on the disease of sin.]
    • Station 2 – Healing With Meaning and Purpose: “With deep cleansing breaths quiet yourself and take a moment for reflection or prayer.”
    • Station 3 – Healing Through Forgiveness: “Inhale deeply, and then breathe out a prayer for self-awareness. Breathe in once more, and once again exhale fully as you open your heart toward healing kindnesses.”
    • Station 4 – Healing Through Connectedness/Relatedness: “With more deep cleansing breaths, continue to search your heart, giving yourself time for reflection or prayer.”
    • Station 5 – Healing With Hope: “As you prayerfully inhale and exhale, prayerfully contemplate: How am I in the depths of my being?”

Adventist Health/West states that one of their “values” is the “health care heritage” of the SDA Church. Mystical promotion has nothing to do with the heritage of God’s remnant Church. Adventist Health worldwide is a long way from God’s health plan.

http://hungryheartsministries.com/id447.html

My Denomination Does Not Promote New Age Spirituality Through Spiritual Formation Programs!

When allowed to run its course, the end result of embracing this spirituality is a complete paradigm shift—not only away from the simplicity found in Christ, but altogether away from the fact that Jesus Christ is the only way, the only truth, and the only life.

To a man, Evangelical contemplatives all profess belief in Christ.

But all prominent, admitted, contemplatives—all—as in every single one—stress that they have finally come to the understanding that God is in all things.

This is an admission, whether they own up to it or not, that, in their refined, revised, contemplative, opinion, Jesus is no longer the only way.

There is no way God can be in everything and only in those who belong to his son at the same time. The two ideas are mutually exclusive—each diabolically opposed to the other.

The end result of contemplative spirituality is Panentheism.

The spiritual formation that has come into Christian organizations, in its many different facets, is nothing more than spiritualism. Ellen White predicted that there would be an omega of apostasy. The alpha of apostasy was based on pantheism. Does it not make sense that the omega is also based on pantheism?

In order to experience complete spiritual formation, we are taught that we must partake in certain disciplines or exercises. Faithful Christians will have nothing to do with paganism.

Jeremiah 2:13

For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

The emerging church movement is drinking from the stagnant waters of this world. The SDA Church does not need the world’s errors to grow their churches or individually. The emergents believe their source of spiritual water comes from a deep well. However, the deepest spirituality comes from sanctifying obedience to the truth in God’s Word. The Lord has already given the remnant church His truth and methods. Borrowing from the world is not teaching pure truth. It is defeating the real purpose of evangelism. Remember, God’s laws, principles and standards for worship never change.

Let us also remember that the true messages will not be popular. It is only the minority who will hear and respond. How can the world hear the truth if it is not shared? The SDA Church can use thousands of evangelism programs and preach for another thousand years, but if it is not the whole truth, it is useless. God is waiting for the “loud cry” of the undiluted three angels’ messages, not the loud cry of modern praise or rock music.

If the SDA Church blends with Satan’s plan, it will lose the respect of true Christians. Already other religions are writing against the Church’s borrowed methods. The Church should be embarrassed and ashamed. It owes the world an apology. If there is repentance, the Lord will enable it to quickly finish the work. It is time for those in a Laodicean condition to awake and show the world what the whole truth really is. The messages sent of God through Ellen White have been despised or belittled. God is trying to bring those precious messages back to life. They were given as an advantage and people act as though it is to their disadvantage.

Many are saying that there is a need to modernize spiritual terms for the postmoderns and the unchurched. While the words should be kept simple enough for people to understand, in the process, we cannot throw out the King James Version of the Bible and Ellen White’s writings. God expects individuals to study to understand it through the help of the Holy Spirit. Trying to make truth relevant is not an excuse for SDAs to water down doctrines. God has provided those truths just as they are for our happiness, true success, and for our eternal salvation. If we reject that truth, it is our loss. If we join in the emerging church movement to reach the world, the world has reached us.

The Review and Herald, January 31, 1893

We are not to cringe, and beg pardon of the world for telling them the truth. We should scorn concealment. Unfurl your true colors to the gaze of men and angels. Let it be understood that Seventh-day Adventists can make no compromise. In our opinions and faith there must not be the least appearance of wavering. The world has a right to expect something of us, and will look upon us as dishonest, as hiding our real sentiments and principles out of policy, if we present even the semblance of being uncommitted.

The majority of SDA Church members are trapped in the falsehoods of new theology, celebration, and the New Age and emerging church movements. Only repentance can give the freedom to escape the trap and truly begin to walk with Christ toward the real kingdom not of this world.

Counsels for the Church, pp. 348-349

We are now living in the great day of atonement. In the typical service, while the high priest was making the atonement for Israel, all were required to afflict their souls by repentance of sin and humiliation before the Lord, lest they be cut off from among the people. In like manner, all who would have their names retained in the book of life should now, in the few remaining days of their probation, afflict their souls before God by sorrow for sin and true repentance. There must be deep, faithful searching of heart. The light, frivolous spirit indulged by so many professed Christians must be put away. There is earnest warfare before all who would subdue the evil tendencies that strive for the mastery. The work of preparation is an individual work. We are not saved in groups. The purity and devotion of one will not offset the want of these qualities in another. Though all nations are to pass in judgment before God, yet He will examine the case of each individual with as close and searching scrutiny as if there were not another being upon the earth. Everyone must be tested and found without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.

Solemn are the scenes connected with the closing work of the atonement.

It is interesting to note that the emergents cover every world faith except true SDAs. May we be found in that number who stand by the Word of God, live it, and “shout it” to the world. When there are a people (144,000) who do this, the real church will emerge—the church triumphant.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 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. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

The emerging church leads right to Roman Catholicism, helping to fulfill what has been prophesied in the Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy, which tell us that Protestantism changes, not Rome.

The Signs of the Times, February 19, 1894

It is a backsliding church that lessens the distance between itself and the Papacy.

 

Last Day Events, p. 179

Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan....

Some will go out from among us who will bear the ark no longer. But these can not make walls to obstruct the truth; for it will go onward and upward to the end.

 

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, p. 577

The scene was changed. The company now presented the appearance of a Catholic procession. One bore in his hand a cross, another a reed. And as they approached, the one carrying a reed made a circle around the house, saying three times: “This house is proscribed. The goods must be confiscated. They have spoken against our holy order.”

Is the emerging church movement the beginning of this prophecy? It certainly looks that way. The omega is here today. It truly is “of a most startling nature.” It reveals how short time is on this planet. The fast-fulfilling prophecy stated below can be seen in the emerging church movement.

The Great Controversy (1888), pp. 588-589

Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation of spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome. The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.

As spiritualism more closely imitates the nominal Christianity of the day, it has greater power to deceive and ensnare. Satan himself is converted, after the modern order of things. He will appear in the character of an angel of light. Through the agency of spiritualism, miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and many undeniable wonders will be performed. And as the spirits will profess faith in the Bible, and manifest respect for the institutions of the church, their work will be accepted as a manifestation of divine power.

The line of distinction between professed Christians and the ungodly is now hardly distinguishable. Church members love what the world loves and are ready to join with them, and Satan determines to unite them in one body and thus strengthen his cause by sweeping all into the ranks of spiritualism. Papists, who boast of miracles as a certain sign of the true church, will be readily deceived by this wonder-working power; and Protestants, having cast away the shield of truth, will also be deluded. Papists, Protestants, and worldlings will alike accept the form of godliness without the power, and they will see in this union a grand movement for the conversion of the world and the ushering in of the long-expected millennium.

Many SDAs are trivializing the importance of personal study of the Bible and Ellen White’s writings, of repenting and preparing for Christ’s imminent return.

Selected Messages, Book 1, pp. 138-139

In order to increase our spiritual endowment, it is necessary to walk in the light. In view of the event of Christ's soon coming, we must be vigilantly working to prepare our own souls, to keep our own lamps trimmed and burning, and to urge upon others the necessity of getting ready for the coming of the Bridegroom. Watching and working must go together; faith and works must be united, or our characters will not be symmetrical and well-balanced, perfect in Christ Jesus.

 

Ibid., Book 2, pp. 16-17

The Holy Spirit of God alone can create a healthy enthusiasm. Let God work, and let the human agent walk softly before Him, watching, waiting, praying, looking unto Jesus every moment, led and controlled by the precious Spirit, which is light and life.

The end is near. The children of light are to work with earnest, persevering zeal to lead others to prepare for the great event before us, that they may be able to resist the enemy because they have allowed the Holy Spirit to work upon their hearts. New and strange things will continually arise to lead God's people into false excitement, religious revivals, [charismatic services] and curious developments. Let them keep advancing, with their eyes fixed alone upon the Light and Life of the world. Know that everything that is called light and truth in the Word of God is light and truth, an emanation from divine wisdom, not an imitation of Satan's subtle arts [emerging churches]. The light of God's wisdom will be to every true, steadfast, contrite soul as a lamp to his feet.

 

Ibid., Book 1, pp. 186-188

Jesus said: "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3). All that was done and said had this one object in view--to rivet truth in their minds that they might attain unto everlasting life. Jesus did not come to astonish men with some great announcement of some special time when some great event would occur, but He came to instruct and save the lost. He did not come to arouse and gratify curiosity; for He knew that this would but increase the appetite for the curious and the marvelous. It was His aim to impart knowledge whereby men might increase in spiritual strength, and advance in the way of obedience and true holiness. He gave only such instruction as could be appropriated to the needs of their daily life, only such truth as could be given to others for the same appropriation.

He did not make new revelations to men, but opened to their understanding truths that had long been obscured or misplaced through the false teaching of the priests and teachers. Jesus replaced the gems of divine truth in their proper setting, in the order in which they had been given to patriarchs and prophets. And after giving them this precious instruction, He promised to give them the Holy Spirit whereby all things that He had said unto them should be brought to their remembrance.

We are in continual danger of getting above the simplicity of the gospel. There is an intense desire on the part of many to startle the world with something original, that shall lift the people into a state of spiritual ecstasy, and change the present order of experience. There is certainly great need of a change in the present order of experience; for the sacredness of present truth is not realized as it should be, but the change we need is a change of heart, and can only be obtained by seeking God individually for His blessing, by pleading with Him for His power, by fervently praying that His grace may come upon us, and that our characters may be transformed. This is the change we need today, and for the attainment of this experience we should exercise persevering energy and manifest heartfelt earnestness. We should ask with true sincerity, "What shall I do to be saved?" We should know just what steps we are taking heavenward.

 

Ibid., Book 1, p. 189

The times and the seasons God has put in His own power. And why has not God given us this knowledge?--Because we would not make a right use of it if He did. A condition of things would result from this knowledge among our people that would greatly retard the work of God in preparing a people to stand in the great day that is to come. We are not to live upon time excitement. We are not to be engrossed with speculations in regard to the times and the seasons which God has not revealed. Jesus has told His disciples to "watch," but not for a definite time. His followers are to be in the position of those who are listening for the orders of their Captain; they are to watch, wait, pray, and work, as they approach the time for the coming of the Lord; but no one will be able to predict just when that time will come; for "of that day and hour knoweth no man." You will not be able to say that He will come in one, two, or five years, neither are you to put off His coming by stating that it may not be for ten or twenty years.

 

Ibid., Book 3, p. 339

Enoch, the seventh from Adam, was ever prophesying the coming of the Lord. This great event had been revealed to him in vision. Abel, though dead, is ever speaking of the blood of Christ which alone can make our offerings and gifts perfect. The Bible has accumulated and bound up together its treasures for this last generation. All the great events and solemn transactions of Old Testament history have been, and are, repeating themselves in the church in these last days. There is Moses still speaking, teaching self-renunciation by wishing himself blotted from the Book of Life for his fellow men, that they might be saved. David is leading the intercession of the church for the salvation of souls to the ends of the earth. The prophets are still testifying of the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow. There the whole accumulated truths are presented in force to us that we may profit by their teachings. We are under the influence of the whole. What manner of persons ought we to be to whom all this rich light of inheritance has been given. Concentrating all the influence of the past with new and increased light of the present, accrued power is given to all who will follow the light. Their faith will increase, and be brought into exercise at the present time, awakening an energy and an intensely increased earnestness, and through dependence upon God for His power to replenish the world and send the light of the Sun of Righteousness to the ends of the earth.

Ellen White describes exactly the “new organization” that is seen in the SDA institutions which promote New Theology and the New Age and emerging church movements.

Maranatha, p. 203

We cannot now step off the foundation that God has established. We cannot now enter into any new organization; for this would mean apostasy from the truth.

 

Manuscript Releases, Vol. 11, p. 248

It is hard for those who have been charmed by seductive, flattering, soul-destroying theories to see where these theories will lead, or to discern, wherein their spiritual eyesight has been defective.

 

Ibid., Vol. 8, p. 345

There will be seducing spirits and doctrines of devils in the midst of the church, and these evil influences will increase; but hold fast the beginning of your confidence firm unto the end.

Satan and his angels will appear on this earth as men, and will mingle with those of whom God's Word says, "Some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" (1 Timothy 4:1).

When these spiritualistic deceptions are revealed to be what they really are--the secret workings of evil spirits--those who have acted a part in them will become as men who have lost their minds.

 

Selected Messages, Book 1, pp. 204-205

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.

Who has authority to begin such a movement? We have our Bibles. We have our experience, attested to by the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit. We have a truth that admits of no compromise. Shall we not repudiate everything that is not in harmony with this truth?

...the errors that have been coming in must be met.

If you are involved in any of the movements that have been mentioned, repentance and returning to biblical truths is your only salvation.

The Desire of Ages, p. 354

God is dishonored and the gospel is betrayed when His servants depend on the counsel of men who are not under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Worldly wisdom is foolishness with God. Those who rely upon it will surely err.

 

The Signs of the Times, December 1, 1881

As the men of Israel witnessed the corrupt course of the priests, they thought it safer for their families not to come up to the appointed place of worship. Many went from Shiloh with their peace disturbed, their indignation aroused, until they at last determined to offer their sacrifices themselves, concluding that this would be fully as acceptable to God, as to sanction in any manner the abominations practiced in the sanctuary.

Top

Young Adults/Youth/Children

Maranatha, p. 168

Young men and women will be lifted up, and will regard themselves as wonderfully favored, called to do some great thing. There will be conversions many, after a peculiar order, but they will not bear the divine signature. Immorality will come in, and extravagance, and many will make shipwreck of faith.

Center for Youth Evangelism (CYE)
http://www.adventistyouth.org/index.php
Located at Andrews University, this training and resource center was established to claim, train and reclaim youth for Christ. It also serves as a “think tank on how to effectively minister to youth” and provides classroom education for youth professionals to try out creative ministries for post-modern youth. The website included these ministries or resources:

  • 180 Symposium which addresses issues facing youth in the SDA Church and the Christian community. They stated that their desire is to “move forward together in a prayerful, contemplative way,” being sure to “think about the things that really matter.” http://www.adventistyouth.org/180
  • Catalyst, which is a non-SDA organization for “shaping leaders in the church,” and “equipping them to engage and impact their world.” Their vision states, “Catalyst sees a need to ignite and unite the next generation of leaders allowing their passions and gifts to flourish and have maximum impact in our churches and culture.” In referencing their national tour, they state that they have seen “community developed across denominational lines.” This is another ecumenical organization involved in social justice, and the charismatic, contemporary, emerging church movement. Why do SDAs send their youth to this organization when they have the best information already available through the Scriptures and the writings of Ellen White?
    http://www.catalystconference.com
  • Children’s ministry resources from non-SDA websites, such as The New Church of Joy which advertised “Faith for Kingdom Advancement” and “Revolution, Reformation, Revival: Jesus is back on the throne of people’s hearts.” It also included a video about people being “anointed” by the Holy Spirit. This new church is “multi-cultural,” seeing the “authentic and true power of God” and people “being healed from sickness and disease.” It states to “come experience what God may have in store for you.” The adult congregation is “reaching an intimacy” through their “dynamic, spirit-led praise and worship” that drives them “closer to Christ.” They advertise that their youth services will have them “on the edge of their seat” as they hear the “truth of God's Word” through media, drama, video, music, etc. The Children's Ministry is “jammed pack with fun and exciting teaching.” http://www.thenewchurchofjoy.com

This type of advertising reveals characteristics of a false revival and the emerging church. Children need to know that life is not all about fun and excitement.

Child Guidance, p. 139

The more quiet and simple the life of the child--the more free from artificial excitement and the more in harmony with nature--the more favorable it is to physical and mental vigor and to spiritual strength.

 

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 4, p. 415

Novelties in the form of sensational dramas are continually arising to engross the mind, and absurd theories abound which are destructive to moral and spiritual advancement.

 

Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 459

Through the drama he [Satan] has worked for ages to excite passion and glorify vice.

  • Church of Refuge ministry that included a link to an Adventist Review article, which stated that “struggling over petty preferences” such as diet, dress, music, and vocabulary has “shattered relationships” for the youth and that we should not be “judgmental.” The truth is that if those are “petty” issues, then the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy books are petty as well, since they are filled with those issues. Yes, we must not judge, but we still must lovingly teach truth, even if it is not popular.
    http://adventistreview.org/issue.php?issue=2009-1505&page=16
  • Creative Arts included the art of drama.
  • Cruise with a Mission: Beware of these cruises, since the activities have included spiritual formation workshops, Christian comedy, and a prayer chapel with prayer stations.

http://www.youthspecialties.com
Website links to non-SDA resources were also included, the worst being Youth Specialties, a non-SDA youth-oriented organization that promotes the New Age and emerging church movements. It hosts the annual National Pastors Convention, where many contemplatives are invited to speak. They also provide a prayer labyrinth, yoga, contemplative prayer sessions, “emerging worship,” “Creating Sacred Spaces,” and “God Encounters: Spiritual Exercises That Transform Students.” It is a tragedy that SDA youth directors have attended the Youth Specialties conferences and model their youth ministries on what they learned.

http://sacredspace.ie
It is interesting to note that this website called “Sacred Space” is promoting Christian unity, prayer for peace on earth, prayer with the pope, and is run by Irish Jesuits in Ireland.

World Youth Prayer Congress
http://jci2.adventistyouthministries.org/purpose.htm
The NAD Youth & Young Adult Ministries advertised combining “4Extremes”: Youth Ministries Leadership Summit, the Just Claim It Prayer Congress, Ignition – God-encounters, and a Children’s Worship Festival (sponsored by Ohio Conference of SDAs) in one location with separate programs. It was entitled “World Youth Prayer Congress” held April 2010 in Columbus, Ohio with the theme being “Just Claim It: Experience the Power of Prayer - Claiming Communities for Christ.” It was stated that the Holy Spirit was being poured out and that this effort combined four “filling stations for spiritual growth, training, motivation and encouragement.” Over 15,000 youth attended this five-day event, which included, among other activities, biblical drama nightly, a Sabbath biblical floats parade and children’s worship festival, sports teams, a prayer journey, daily prayer/devotional walks, prayer rooms, 24 hour prayer chapel, prayer chain, secret prayer pal, prayer drills, prayer tag, 5K prayer run, prayer walls/altars, and experiential prayers.

Some SDA churches now have a “Prayer Garden” or “Garden of Prayer” during their services. It is interesting to note that the Roman Catholics include a charismatic ceremony called the “garden of prayer” which includes walking from person to person during prayer and the laying on of hands. All this praying may seem admirable. However, with all that is involved, it is nothing more than part of the emerging church movement. Other prayer fads include “prayer warriors,” “Jericho marches” or “praise marches,” “prayer offensives,” “prayer anointing services,” and “prayer expeditions.” There are also prayer initiatives, prayer retreats, prayer ministry teams, prayer guides, prayer swaps, prayer evangelism, and even a prayer shop. It is as if prayer and the promotion of the Holy Spirit have become commercialized. There is nothing in the Bible that shows we should be involved in these kinds of activities. It is popular to say that prayer is a spiritual gift, but God’s Word tells us otherwise. Prayer is available to everyone.

Guest speakers at the Prayer Congress included: T. J. Foltz, Tim Elmore, Jeremy Grant, Paula Olivier, Willie Ramos, Jonathan Cobb, Susan Perez, Rashard Burton, and Eddie Hypolite. It was stated that Hypolite is a “pastor, educational consultant, leadership trainer and motivational speaker, who travels internationally, speaking and teaching in the area of urban evangelism and church planting, life development, social education and youth and street culture. His vocational background was originally in the area of social work. He now serves as Associate Youth Director for the South England Conference.”

In his Sabbath sermon, Hypolite warned leaders about not making church doctrines “a yoke and burden,” that they are “teaching the traditions of men” as “commands of God.” He stressed the centrality of Jesus and that He “is not a doctrine.” If church doctrines are a burden to anyone, then the Ten Commandments must also be a burden, and for that matter, the whole Bible would be a burden. If Jesus is not a doctrine then we cannot believe in Him, since a doctrine is a belief. If we followed Hypolite’s instructions, we would throw out the Bible and our belief in Jesus. That path will not lead to eternal life.

http://clubadventist.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/161402/BUC_News_579_
March_14_2008.htm

This website included the London Live - Special Easter Event on a Friday night in 2008, which included an agape feast with Hypolite as the speaker. Also included were the London Live drama team, media team, and music. It was announced that the Café would open at 6:30 p.m. with the program starting at 7:45 pm. and that there would be a special focus on the Easter message.

http://pacificunionrecorder.adventistfaith.org/issue/22/16/392
The June 2010 Pacific Union Recorder included an article on the prayer congress. It described the massive prayer wall which was placed in the convention center so that young people could write their “prayers of adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication” and mentions the importance of people needing to feel, hear, and touch God before He “becomes real.” Are they being prepared for Satan’s impersonation of Christ on this earth, where they can feel, hear, and touch him, thinking he is really Christ?

As a pre-convention prayer initiative, a “40 Days in the Upper Room” was held. It was stated that, “. . .we are positioning ourselves for the expected outpouring of the Holy Spirit.” “God is preparing His young people for a great Kingdom movement of the 21st century. We firmly believe that during JCI-2, youth and youth adults will see God's vision and purpose for them and will be Holy Spirit empowered to bring Kingdom change to the world.” One activity was to “participate in the Prayer Torch Relay that will culminate at the opening night of JCI-2 with the lighting of the Prayer Torch (yes! just like the Olympics).” Just like the world. Why?

Since upper rooms are becoming popular for SDAs, we found it interesting that an international and interdenominational ministry called “The Upper Room” includes the following:

  • Instruction on worship, prayer, Bible reading, meditation, and journaling.
  • Spiritual support groups and in-depth training in the Christian spiritual life.
  • Courses in core spiritual practices and spiritual formation.
  • A prayer wall.
  • The Academy for Spiritual Formation.
  • A Pathways center for Congregational Spirituality.
  • A Soulfeast yearly conference and SoulFiesta: Leading for Christian Transformation occasional conferences.
  • The Upper Room Chapel, Museum, and Bookstore.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Upper_Room_(Christianity);
    http://www.upperroom.org/academy

Renovatus
http://www.atoday.com/atoday-interviews-pastor-danny-chan
Danny Chan is the founder and lead pastor of the ministry called Renovatus (Latin for “renewal”), a weekly Friday night multi-sensory worship experience held at the Eagle Rock SDA Church in the Los Angeles area of California. Chan is the young adult pastor of the church, where he is “committed to discovering new ways of relating to and connecting with the mystery of God.” He enjoys film and television production and has traveled extensively.

The information below comes from an interview between the AToday online editor and Danny Chan.

  • The service is described as “an ongoing journey” . . . to experience God’s mystery through “contemplation, hands on interaction, prayer, silence, multi-media, etc.” to make worship a “multi-sensory encounter.” One example is a “road” that cuts through their worship space as they “meditate on passages of scripture.”
  • The AToday editor experienced their agape feast by “sitting on floor cushions in the dark, eating pita bread and hummus and smelling the burning of incense while taking in one of the best modern worship bands in L.A.” which gave him a “sense of inclusiveness and acceptance.”
  • Chan responded that for most young people today, worship has become “too stale, too predictable and too theoretical to be experienced.” He described the agape feast service “where we experience what it means to know grace and reconciliation with others in the context of a middle eastern meal. Which is a really long way of saying we had communion.”
  • Chan explained that Renovatus is “a new approach to the worship itself that's responsive to postmodern trends in culture,” which largely came from the United Kingdom but is rooted in the worship approach of Christianity in the first century.
  • Renovatus was created mainly for young adults (18-35) who “are seeking a fresh approach to church.”
  • Renovatus explores Bible truth “through releasing the depth and insight found in stories and metaphors.” When they experience the stories first hand, they have a “life changing quality that is relevant and applicable to both churched and unchurched people.”
  • During Chan’s sermons, he uses a lot of graphics and images that are “looped and splashed on two large screens.” Although some have complained that it's distracting, Chan’s explanation is that it is “to engage all of the senses as we experience truth, particularly the visual sense. But we are honest about not succeeding at it all the time.”
  • Chan produced a short film, entitled “Air Film,” which is “about seeking because that's the road so many travel on. The film is the first in a series of films about a young man on a quest for a true spiritual experience. The plot takes a life-changing twist when the young man meets a wise figure who gives him more than he bargained for. The film not only helps to draw people to our site called areyouseeking.com, but it's an insightful story that speaks about our quest for something more.”

The “wise figure” was dressed in what appeared to be a brown jacket with a hood, which resembled the brown cowl which monks wear. Is this a subtle way of desensitizing people to pagan ways?

  • When asked how Renovatus informs and reflects SDA beliefs, Chan replied that it is a “new approach to an old message.” It is to help young generations “approach and connect to the same Gospel story and Adventism. . . . And one of our contentions (and I'm paraphrasing Eugene Peterson), is that Revelation doesn't so much share new information, it simply helps us to experience what we've already read throughout the scriptures.”
  • Tony Campolo is one of Chan’s spiritual influences and he is currently reading Stand Against the Wind by Erwin McManus, Reversed Thunder by Eugene Peterson, and anything by Philip Yancey.

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/erwinmcmanus.htm

It is evident from the contents of The Barbarian Way [another book by McManus] that McManus has a fascination for old Celtic lore. The ways of the Celts in battle, their commitment to cause and their loyalty to their king seem to be a recurring theme. From the beginning, this book emphasizes the “barbarian way” of doing things and walking through life, hence its name, and declares these ways superior by far to traditional Christianity.... The bottom line is that Jesus Christ doesn't want barbarians. The barbarian heart is the one from which He has delivered us. That “primal,” sensual, I've-got-to-be-me attitude that casts off restraint has no place in the Christian congregation. As romantic as that distant era of warfare and wild living might seem, we can't go back, and we don't really want to. There's nothing back there for us anymore. We need to be satisfied with Christ alone, as He has revealed Himself in the Scriptures. That is enough, and more than we can possibly live out in this short earthly span. The true barbarian way—brutal, self-serving, violent—needs to remain in the deep past where it belongs, where my own Celtic forbears are buried with their swords and superstitions. —A review of The Barbarian Way By Kevin Reeves

Of course, those who read The Great Controversy by Ellen White already know that the barbarian way will return to this earth at the end of time and be worse than before.

The Renovatus website included a video with the following:

  • Mention of The Road Less Traveled book by M. Scott Peck.
  • Describes their prayer stations and stations of the cross.
  • Shows darkened rooms with candles, cross icons, etc.
  • Includes a bedroom setting as a place of solitude, rest, and intimacy with God.

With the Renovatus worship area filled with so many of these items, how much time and expense is put into this type of worship practice? The simple days of pews and songbooks for the youth are quickly passing away. Will they realize too late that all these “things” were not necessary to gain a deeper relationship with Christ, that these were actually leading them away from Him, that it was child’s play on the devil’s playground?

This is the Renovatus website: http://areyouseeking.org/#/renovatus. It advertised its music as the “highest quality modern worship music.” On the other hand, the true God believes that modern worship music is an abomination.

With the above information, it can be concluded that Chan is very influenced by the emerging church movement.

Link 2 Uth
http://www.juventudeadventista.pt/ja/Web/recursos/revistas/Link2Uth_January.pdf
The following information comes from the January 2007 Link 2 Uth Adventist Youth Ministries newsletter through the General Conference of SDAs. Activities during a tour to the U.S. by the Euro-Africa Division youth directors included:

  • Attendance at the National Youth Workers Convention organized by Youth Specialties, which they “enjoyed tremendously,” thought it was “extremely inspiring,” and profited in the technical and “personal spiritual training.”
  • Attendance at an Andrews University seminar entitled “The Youth Leader: Evangelism, Leadership and Spirituality” with lecturer Joe Kidder. The directors spent time talking about their personal leadership and spirituality and thought Kidder “did a great job.”
  • On a Sabbath afternoon, visited Willow Creek Community Church. They were “really impressed and inspired” with their Guest Service and Reception Ministry and thought it was a “great example for us all.” Sunday morning they attended the Mars Hill Bible Church in Michigan (non-SDA mega-church with Rob Bell, who promotes contemplative prayer and the emerging church). They stated that it is always fun to talk with those “in our global community.”
  • Visited the Mennonite “Sight&Sound Theatre.”
  • They stated that they “have to learn from our non-Adventist brother preachers” and that they were able to “grasp a huge amount of ideas by attending different programs and events.”

GODencounters
http://www.godencounters.org/home/main
This is an SDA young adult movement (ages 18-35). Notice the “God Encounters” title from the Youth Specialties convention. These SDA youth claim that GODencounters is a “holy movement” among “new generations” who desire to have a 24/7 experience with God, “recklessly living for His renown.” In wishing for deeper experiences with God, these youth focus on seven “discipleship themes” where “practices” of Christian faith are emphasized.

In 2008, their website included instructions on the art of “being still” by first identifying “sacred space” in any place that is free of distraction to spend time with God. Secondly, take deep breaths while imagining Christ breathing life into you and then exhale your worldly cares. Then ask God to speak to you. If you read Scripture, ask what God might be telling you. Learn to listen. If your mind wanders, repeat the names of Jesus over and over. Again, this is part of mystical spiritual formation and contemplative prayer.

A GODencounters website link displayed this information:

  • The Atlantic Union Conference GODencounters retreat in 2008 entitled “Transition—It's Your Choice.”
  • A 2007 GODencounters retreat entitled “Here I Am to Worship” in Pennsylvania and sponsored by the New Jersey Young Adult Ministries (with a graphic showing young adults with their hands raised while singing).
  • A 2007 GODencounters Conference entitled “Reflecting the Son” and held at the Forest Lake SDA Church in Florida. It began on a Friday night with worship leaders and artists including “Sea of Glass” (rock music) and “Acts of Renewal,” which is a “Christian” comedy act. In one scene it shows someone praying and it was stated in a way to make people laugh. How can the churches recommend artists like these who are disrespectful to God and His truth?

http://godencounters247.blogspot.com/2008/05/worship-as-way-of-life.html
This link advertised the “Encounters Café: A time of relaxed worship and fellowship with intentional direction” at the Collegedale Church of SDAs/Southern Adventist University.

http://godencounters247.blogspot.com/2008_04_01_archive.html
This link from 2008 mentioned how “seven years ago a handful of young adults began a journey, returning to the heart of worship,” when GODencounters began. A “40 days of prayer and devotion” was advertised, with information on websites with “devotional entries to aid in your prayers and meditation on the theme--Jubilee.” It was stated that the “40 days” was a time to seek to “follow GOD’s footsteps,” and “joining Him in what He is doing.” They also “aim to give focus to GOD,” “continuing to be morphed into a reflection of Jesus” and that they are “ignited to disciple and be discipled.”

The brochure for a weekend retreat in Florida that year was entitled “The Kingdom of GOD is a Party.” It was also mentioned that they are “learning to live a life of joyous celebration” because of their Lord and Savior Jesus. These were also advertised: 1) a “GODfest” in San Luis Obispo, California; 2) GODencounters Conferences in Washington State, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey; 3) Texas would soon reveal the GODencounters weekends slated to occur throughout the state; 4) to pray over the many gatherings and the “desire to pray over the transformation process GOD is working in young adult lives daily.”

It is alarming that the SDA leadership is not only allowing this but promoting it. GODencounters is blasphemous and its name takes God’s holy name in vain. How much worse will it get before God intervenes?

On the website home page, a You Tube video was included of youth performing contemporary gospel/praise music while swaying, jumping, clapping, and raising their hands. It was filmed on July 1, 2010 at an Impact Atlanta event held at another location during the SDA General Conference Session.

http://www.24-seven.org/index.php/vagabondservant/media
Currently, GODencounters is promoted by the following SDA conferences: Pennsylvania; New Jersey; Florida; Georgia-Cumberland; and Washington State. There are certainly others who are joining the list.

It is interesting that GODencounters mentions “recklessly living,” since reckless means to be careless, headstrong, rash, indifferent or disregarding consequences. This is exactly what they were doing. It is hard to imagine that just down the road from the General Conference Session, the youth were engaged in such disgraceful activities. It is not the God of heaven that they are encountering. It is an insult to the holy and heavenly Father and disgraces the SDA Church for the world to see. The majority in the Church are not witnessing to the world; the world is witnessing to them.

http://www.adventistyouth.org/cye/411/411_02_10.pdf
This website included the monthly e-newsletter for Adventist youth ministry leaders in cooperation with the Center for Youth Evangelism in which it advertised the book GODencounters: Pursuing a 24/7 Experience of Jesus. The authors of the book include Allan Martin (a seminary professor and the curriculum coach for GODencounters); Lynell LaMountain (founder of Life Ignited “to ignite people with life, laughter, and love by sharing God´s pure grace”); Shayna Bailey (relationship columnist for Insight magazine and a medical student), and many other collaborators and was published by Pacific Press Publishing Association. It is endorsed as the 2010 Discipleship Book of the Year and “mirrors a discipleship movement among new generations, seeking a 24/7 experience of the living GOD.” The book states that hopefully it will bring “blessing and deeper intimacy with Jesus.” Unfortunately, this book is available through the ABCs. It is also recommended at the following website by José Rojas, the Director of the Office of Volunteer Ministries for the NAD.
http://ignitionblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/2010-discipleship-book-of-the-year-godencounters.

Also on the Adventist youth website, there is a video about a GODencounters weekend with contemporary music and speaking presentations. The video projects these words: “Craving something deep and real? We’re taking a risk . . . recklessly seeking an encounter with God.” Youth that were interviewed described the weekend “as a party,” as “diverse and eclectic,” that it was a “jubilee” with “great vibes,” felt God’s presence in the worship and speakers; and another mentions the term “sacred space.”

http://www.lookingforachurch.org/pages/page.asp?page_id=123567
The New Hope SDA Church in Fulton, Maryland included information on Matthew Gamble as the speaker at a GODencounters event at their church in October 2010. It was stated that the event began Friday night with a worship band, Gamble speaking on “restore: rebuilding relationships through rejuvenating faith,” and ended with a 10:00 p.m. Encounters Café where a band filled with “Jesusness” played Christian rock music. Sabbath afternoon and evening included speaking and a book signing by Gamble. This was also advertised at many other SDA websites. According to God’s instructions, the event was far from restoring and rebuilding relationships through rejuvenating faith. Faith comes because we obey God, not through rebellion.

Romans 10:17

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

 

Isaiah 30:9-11

That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.

http://www.impactatlanta.info
“Empowering God's Kingdom and beyond”/IMPACT Atlanta 2010 [iATL]
The young delegates to the General Conference Session were to find opportunities for “servant leadership” and to experience “discipleship equipping” which was to “empower” them to “expand God’s Kingdom” in Atlanta and beyond. Baraka Muganda stated that the General Conference Youth Department’s focus in 2010 was to remind the youth on the importance of being involved with evangelism and leadership. Jonatan Tejel shared their goal to help the youth discover leadership roles in the SDA Church and prepare them for those responsibilities by “strengthening their relationship with Christ.”

How can the leadership help the youth to strengthen their relationship with Christ when they are using the world’s methods? Was the leadership aware of what was transpiring at the youth event? If so, did they not see the danger? Do they just not care because they enjoy the music themselves and are concerned with raising the membership count to bring more funds into the treasury?

Jan Paulsen, the past SDA General Conference President, was instrumental in promoting young people to leadership roles in the SDA Church. Another example of why there is such a pitiful situation with SDA youth is partly due to the 1993 General Conference Annual Council in which it was recommended that the youth leaders would implement the following: 1) Encourage youth to become involved as elders, deacons, deaconesses, Sabbath School leaders, and to serve on church boards and as delegates to constituency sessions, and as conference and union committee members. 2) Friday night and Sabbath afternoon programs are to involve the youth in activities such as forums, agape suppers, drama, mimes, puppets, radio programs, outreach, campouts, and “spiritual” weekends. [Basically, they are to fellowship, party, and have fun.]

These recommendations have only led to the multiplying of emerging churches, in the quest to be innovative, relevant, cultural, and entertaining. Certainly youth need to be involved as well as older adults, but not when they are unsanctified. This simply leads to growing the kingdom of this world. Have the SDA leaders lost their senses? Do they not realize that they will be held accountable for the loss of souls?

http://ignitionblog.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/adventist-leaders-invited-to-discipleship-and-habitudes-training
“Adventist Leaders invited to Discipleship and Habitudes Training”:
Tim Elmore, president of Growing Leaders (not an SDA organization), equipped iATL delegates with attitudes and leadership habits, “sharpening their ability to make a positive impact in their church and community.” Elmore has provided resources and nationwide leadership training for the Future Farmers of America, multiple athletic programs such as the University of Texas football team, and a number of government offices (Washington, D.C.) have used the “Habitudes” curriculum. http://www.habitudes.org

Ignite
The May 2010 Pacific Union Recorder wrote an article about “Ignite”—a one-day “intensive worship” conference for youth in Northern California. It was held on a Friday in February 2010 at the Palo Cedro SDA Church with over 70 students participating. Two of the church worship leaders and the assistant pastor of the Chico SDA Church “dreamed of equipping a new generation of worship leaders” in order to worship God in a “fresh and authentic way,” “to equip and empower students to lead worshipers in their home church,” and “Ignite was born.” The conference included an evening program led by a non-SDA pastor and his Christian rock worship band. One attendee stated that “we need some direction with praise and worship music in the Adventist churches.” It was felt that the “presence of God moved greatly through the music” and that at the end of the night the students had “committed to taking the world back for God.” The article closes by quoting one of the Palo Cedro worship leaders who explained that “this generation is so hungry for meaningful, new ways to worship” and that Ignite was a “catalyst for exploring new territory.”

You Tube advertised Ignite as an “equipping event for high school worship bands” and to come and “be ignited!” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIDxMxdtNC0

http://www.pcadventist.org
The Palo Cedro SDA Church has a Christian rock band, “En Route,” which travels to share their music. They believe it is “an opportunity for students to express worship in unique and varied ways,” that they are on “a journey from some place to another place” and to a “greater level of spiritual maturity.” They strive to be “revolutionary” with “fresh ideas, elements and talents” to lead their peers into the “very presence of God.” It was very disheartening to hear a sample of their version of “How Great Thou Art” played in a blasphemous rock style. On a regular basis, En Route provides the worship for “The Journey Service,” which is for the “progressive” members. “God: Out of the Box” was the title for one of their September 2010 services. The subject for the “Family Service” was “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (named after a television show).

Again, we see a church trying to cater to everyone, but in the process they have brought in error. History shows us that if that pattern continues, error will win out. The direction their church is headed is downward. Unless they repent, their journey will not take them where they believe it is headed. We can appreciate the youth and their desire to become involved in the Church. However, just because we want them to feel needed and accepted, does not mean we allow them to do everything they wish even when it is not right. Children can be “spoiled to death”—eternally. Lack of discipline is a crucial issue. On the other hand, we can be too harsh and unloving as well. Satan desires to have us at one extreme or the other, and that includes guiding our children. It is important that we are balanced in every area of our life.

The “presence of God” continues to be stressed. However, the types of events and practices becoming popular today are driving out the presence of God. Satan is being worshiped and the majority do not realize it.

ConneXions99
http://www.adventistreview.org/article.php?id=2503
An April 2009 Adventist Review article entitled “ConneXions99 a Decade Later” focused on how “lives changed by this young adult movement.” In April 1999, four hundred youth “stormed” the General Conference of SDAs with “dreams, prayers, worship, and hope.” It was a follow-up to the “eXcite98” grassroots youth gathering at La Sierra University. Andy Nash explained that participants created new ministries and networked with existing ones. An event planner said that “it was a movement of the Spirit amidst a generation wanting to be the change.” The June 98 Columbia Union Visitor featured information about “eXcite 98.” Some of the conference events included “powerful workshops,” “enjoying Adventist bands and entertainment,” meeting SDAs from across the country, inspired by keynote speakers, and “focusing on the face of Christ through awesome worships.”
http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/CUV/CUV19980615-V103-12__C.pdf

Unfortunately, they could not focus on the face of Christ through “bands and entertainment.” Then ten years later, the Adventist Review asked some participants what ConneXions99 meant to them and how their lives changed as a result. Here is some of what the comments included.

  • From Spain: “My dream as an artist . . . was to transcend postmodernism by locating and standing on timeless and universal multidimensional principles instead of traditions.” This led to his studies of theology, arts, theater, physics, filmmaking, etc. He is now working on several artistic projects, which include some “Christian film feature” projects based on the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy.
  • Marcel Schwantes, Chattanooga, Tennessee: “That event was instrumental to my ‘born again’ experience. The year before, I was divorced and felt hopeless.” He stated that both the ’98 and ’99 events ministered to his soul and revived his spirituality. He saw Christ working with 400 “visionary kingdom-builders.” Because of that he believes the Holy Spirit fueled him to carry out two West Coast events: Unite99 and Unite2000 at La Sierra University. He has a Masters in Organizational Psychology and a Bachelors in Communications and is now in private practice as a certified life and leadership coach. He provides “personal, career, and organizational coaching to help clients shift, take action, and effect changes from a place of Divine strength.” He also provides training and seminars in human resources and leadership development for churches, nonprofits, and small organizations. Schwantes is the online editor for Adventist Today, a “progressive journal reporting on contemporary issues of importance to Adventist church members.” LifeTalk TV, with Steve Gallimore, included segments with Schwantes discussing his coaching, where self-help and psychology were mentioned.

http://www.marcelcoaching.com
On Schwantes’ website, one of the coaching questions he included for someone to ask is “What ethnic cultural activity (such as Hanukkah, Swedish Dance of Lights, Kwanza, Cinco de Mayo) will I engage in within the next month?” Also included was a testimonial by Lennox Fleary, a recording artist of contemporary gospel/jazz music, in which he describes Schwantes’ ability to “draw on the blueprint within, to facilitate a person's innate ability to guide their choices.”

http://www.lifecoachtraining.com
Schwantes is a graduate of the Institute for Life Coach Training, which is an accredited training program through the International Coach Federation and known worldwide. This program teaches such practices as “heightening consciousness” and includes a link to a psychosynthesis call that one can listen to. Psychosynthesis is an approach to psychology developed by Roberto Assagioli, a psychologist, humanist, visionary, and a world famous occultist. It uses such techniques as guided imagery, drama therapy, journaling, body work, meditation, self-psychology, individual and group psychotherapy, and self-help groups. Assagioli also wrote the book entitled Psychosynthesis. The institute also promotes “transpersonal psychology” which focuses on “higher states of consciousness,” self-realization, personality, and humanistic psychology. Tilden Edwards, a promoter of contemplative spirituality, suggested that those who practice this discipline and have started experiencing “spiritual unfolding” and other unusual experiences should read the book Psychosynthesis in order to understand the dynamics at certain stages.

Schwantes is also a certified trainer using the PeopleMap System, and as stated on his website, it is an “incredibly useful and powerful tool for helping individuals and companies understand the various personalities that comprise their company or business.”

  • Julene Duerksen-Kapao, New Zealand: “I brought a group from La Sierra University and we had a great time.” Kapao is now part of the North New Zealand Mosaic SDA church plant that is “completely outward-focused” and is the Senior Bible teacher at Longburn Adventist College in New Zealand.

http://mosaic.adventist.org.nz
The North New Zealand Mosaic SDA church plant is advertised as “bringing together disconnected, diverse, and broken people and transforming them into a creative community of faith. Regardless of your journey, Mosaic is about second chances and new beginnings.” Is it a coincidence that this church has the same name as the Mosaic Church in Los Angeles, California, pastored by the emerging church pastor, Erwin McManus?

http://www.lac.school.nz/Student+Development/Academic/Bible.html
The Longburn Adventist College website, under the Bible/Religious Studies section, mentioned teaching the personal application of “positive self-talk.”

http://link.adventistconnect.org/record/2008/rec47-08_12_06.pdf
Kapao wrote a news item for the Record (South Pacific Division of SDAs) which stated that each year Longburn Adventist College students enjoy a yearly outing to a play, with the last one being the fairy tale, “Beauty and the Beast.”

http://www.edgeonweb.org
Kapao is also a book reviewer for The Edge, published by the SDA Signs Publishing Company in Australia, a contemporary magazine for youth, typically versed in the ways of the world.

  • Jami Keller, Boise, Idaho: “My wife, Marla, and I presented at both conferences.”

The Kellers are members of Oasis Church, Boise, Idaho (listed on the General Conference of SDAs church directory). “Jami and Marla Keller (interim) is our Spiritual Formation Team Leader.” They minister in the Children's Ministries, Men's Ministry, Family Ministry, Praise and Worship Ministry, Pastoral Coaching, and Collegiate/Sr. High Student Ministries. They have traveled nationwide to present Spiritual and Emotional growth seminars, and have shared with the church community. One daughter is majoring in Theater Arts, the other in Spanish and Philosophy.
http://www.boiseoasis.org/app/w_page.php?id=9&type=section

The Oasis church family provides “uplifting contemporary Christian music.” They are “warm and friendly, non-judgmental, grace-filled people” and “basic biblical truths” are presented in “a way that's relevant to today.” “Come as you are, and everyone is welcome!”

This church recommends the book Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton, which is about spiritual transformation. She is a contemplative speaker who has authored numerous other books, including Invitation to Solitude and Silence and was trained at the Shalem Institute. She taught at the Willow Creek church and is now the president of the Transforming Center (Illinois) and teaches spiritual formation to Christian leaders and pastors.

The church also went through a “50-day Jubilee spiritual growth experience” as a time of “spiritual renewal.” This is a typical emerging church.

Have the previously mentioned individuals changed their lives for the better by attending ConneXions99? If so, why are they headed in the direction of the emerging church movement?

Youth Gospel Crusade, Bahamas
http://emr.interamerica.org/announcements?archives=true
An “Obsessed with Jesus” Youth Gospel Crusade was held on Friday, August 8, 2008 in the Bahamas. It was advertised that the “Holy Ghost Power” was “moving like a magnet in the hearts of young people in the communities and as a whole the North Bahamas Mission.” The youth were instructed to turn their hearts over to Jesus and to stop allowing peer pressure “to build up walls of discourse that seems hopeless to break down or even difficult to get over.” It was also stated that many souls would be “turned over to Jesus Christ.” To close the crusade, a “Youth Summer Splash” was announced for the following Sunday. It was to be the largest beach picnic ever, with “lots of fun and surprises” and “more competition so lets get geared up” and “remember to bring your bathing suits.”

Is it really the “Holy Ghost Power” when the crusade ends with a beach party and competition? The youth are admonished to stop allowing peer pressure, yet along with truth, their elders are teaching error.

The Review and Herald, October 27, 1896

The gaiety, the foolish nonsense, the lack of sobriety, that are current in pleasure parties and picnic gatherings, lead to grave evils. The youth are pleased with exciting pleasures, as was Herod when the daughter of Herodias danced before him.

 

Confrontation, p. 67

The numerous socials, festivals, and picnics, to tempt the appetite to overindulgence, and the amusements which lead to levity and forgetfulness of God, can find no sanction in the example of Christ, the world's Redeemer, the only safe pattern for man to copy if he would overcome as Christ overcame.

United Arab Emirates
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZ05rEt6atM
Four youth mime to contemporary music at the 7th Anniversary Celebration of the SDA church in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. April 24, 2010.

Collegiate Sabbath School Quarterly (CQ)
http://www.cqbiblestudy.org/article.php?id=36
Each week’s lesson and illustrations are done by seven different young adults worldwide, including Australia, Philippines, Jamaica, England, Kenya, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, United States, Ghana, Grenada, Thailand, Sweden, and Bulgaria.
 
Each month CQ’s World interviews someone. One interview took place with Thomas Macomber, an attorney who owns a music production company called “Walkin’ on the Water Records” at http://www.wowrec.com and includes the blues, jazz, rock, and bluegrass music. He has also been an adjunct professor at La Sierra University since 1985. Macomber has now merged his business knowledge with his love for music and teaching into a class at LSU’s School of Business, a course which “turns the classroom into a start-up music company” with students as marketing and promotion executives who are responsible for its success and development. He believes it is important that others in the church “care about what the young adults are doing” and that “resources can be made available for them to act.” He hopes to see his class “become a model for other Adventist colleges.”

Yes, some of us do care about what the young adults are doing, and we are alarmed because the music they are participating in originates from the ex-heavenly choir director.

One of the resources recommended on the CQ website includes the Center for Secular and Postmodern Studies out of the Global Mission Study Center of the General Conference of SDAs, which “explores the potential for authentic Adventist ministry in today’s rapidly evolving postmodern culture.” It also seeks to “discern opportunities for mission presented within emergent culture,” to create resources, and provide training seminars and tools. At present the leaders are Matthew Gamble and Kleber Gonçalves (Brazil).

Matthew Gamble
http://www.24-seven.org/index.php/vagabondservant/bio
Gamble received a Masters of Divinity from Andrews University and in 2008 completed a Doctorate in Ministry with emphasis in Transformational Leadership. He has spoken worldwide through his nonprofit ministry, VagaBondservant International and has appeared on 3ABN. He serves as a Senior Consultant for the Center for Creative Ministry and the Center for Secular and Postmodern Studies. Gamble is also an advisor to the Adventist Christian Fellowship board and the NAD Young Adult Advisory.

http://reinventingsdawheel.blogspot.com/2007/05/rap-session-matthew-gamble.html
Gamble recommends The Ragamuffin Gospel and The Signature of Jesus books by Brennan Manning, which both promote contemplative prayer.

In one online posting, Gamble admits his love for secular music, especially the alternative rock band Incubus. His conclusion is that music is “a medium that is more often than not an expression of a person’s spiritual journey.” He does not think the band is for everyone and that they do not appear to be God-fearing. However, he states that the Bible says that the temple of the Holy Spirit is in you, so “that does not limit the Spirit of God only to followers of Jesus.” His conclusion is that “God’s Spirit is working inside everyone to save them from themselves.” So as he listens to music, he listens for the “spiritual warfare/the great controversy that’s going on inside someone” and that “when that is packaged with a genre of music” that he likes then he has “got a win-win.” Gamble believes that more people, especially leaders, are “realizing the difference between tradition and gospel-truth” which will result in the progress of our denomination.” He feels we need to “continually take our heads out of the sand” and become more serious about the teaching of the Bible and “less concerned about various traditions we came up with 100 years ago (unless they are based on the principles of the Bible).”

These emerging ideas will result in the downward progress of our denomination, not upward. How tragic indeed that the apostasy and spiritualism in the SDA Church has affected the youth like a wide-spreading wildfire that cannot be stopped. In the 1970s, a popular Christian song entitled “Pass It On” begins with these lyrics: “It only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around can warm up to its glowing.” How ironic that even though its words refer to God’s love, that it was songs like this which began the movement toward Christian rock music in the Church. The spark ignited into a roaring blaze of “sing and celebrate,” which has led down the smoke-filled path to the emerging movement. Just like the discos of yesteryear, many Church members, especially the youth, sing with lights dimmed or with dramatic lighting. Their words and thoughts are saying, “Let’s party. No need to worry. We can sin and be forgiven, sin and be forgiven. God’s grace will cover us until Jesus returns.”

Adventist Youth Society
http://gcyouthministries.org/Ministries/AdventistYouth/tabid/56/Default.aspx
This is an organization for senior youth in the SDA churches. While some of the program ideas are good, others are not, such as performing drama and puppet shows, and watching movies (including some on You Tube, in which one included profanity). In the 2010 Yearly Programming for AYS is this statement: “Are you allowing pollutants (TV, music, games, idols, etc.) to contaminate your air?” This is ironic, since they are promoting TV, music, games, idols, etc.

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, p. 609

Modern Israel are in greater danger of forgetting God and being led into idolatry than were His ancient people. Many idols are worshiped, even by professed Sabbathkeepers.

YouthFirst
http://www.gcyouthministries.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=keejtI7%2fsCM%3d&tabid=120&mid=627
Here are some of the points listed as advantages of YouthFirst:

  • The youth bring energy and new ideas to “traditional ways of running a church.” [This is dangerously in line with the emerging church movement.]
  • Pathfinder honors and Adventurer awards are “geared for involving youth,” including silver and gold awards. [Here again is seeking after the prizes of the world, honoring and praising self rather than Christ.]

Selected Messages, Book 1, p. 81

There are many professing Christians who know not Christ by an experimental knowledge. Oh, how my heart aches for these poor, deceived, unprepared souls! As I stand before congregations, and see the self-sufficient, self-righteous ones, and know that they are not preparing themselves to do acceptable work for Christ, and to meet Him in peace, I am so burdened that I cannot sleep. I ask myself, What can I say to these souls that will arouse them to a sense of their true condition? Self is the all-absorbing theme of their life. I long to reveal Christ so plainly that they will behold Him, and cease to center their attention on self....

 

The Review and Herald, June 18, 1889

Whatever has been done to attract the attention to self, has detracted from the glory that should have been rendered to God, and has brought leanness to your souls. It is through this avenue of self-esteem and self-sufficiency that Satan will seek to ensnare the people of God.

  • When we affirm what the youth do, we send the powerful message to them that “what you think and what you do, matters.” [This only applies if we guide them properly in what they think and do.]
  • Both the youth and older adults “will benefit from the energy and creativity.” [This depends on what the energy and creativity produce.]

Many activities which are not approved of by God have come into the SDA Church to “keep the youth in the Church.” When will the lesson be learned that there is never an excuse for watering down God’s truth and His instructions? The youth are still leaving the SDA Church. It is not entertainment that they need. If God’s directions are followed in the church programs and the youth still leave, that is not the fault of the programs. As the end of this world draws near, truth will become less popular. Therefore, less youth and even adults will be interested. That is no reason to change. How does it secure their eternal life when they are given more of what the world has to offer?

The website also included a story about the lives of two altar boys and two priests and how the boys grew up to become Marshall Tito (the abusive head of the communists in Yugoslavia) and Archbishop Fulton Sheen (Roman Catholic bishop who “received an Emmy award for his work on television where he positively affected hundreds of thousands of people”). Why would any faithful SDA wish to promote these types of personalities?

The Great Controversy (1888), p. 565

Every cardinal, archbishop, and bishop in the Catholic Church takes an oath of allegiance to the pope, in which occur the following words: ‘Heretics, schismatics, and rebels to our said lord the pope, or his aforesaid successors, I will to my utmost persecute and oppose.

The Golden Angels, Korea
http://www.goldenangels.org
The Golden Angels are a youth singing group from the Northern Asia-Pacific Division of SDAs. They have assisted in almost 20 evangelistic meetings in Japan, Taiwan, Mongolia, Korea, and Hong Kong. They also visit churches, camp meetings, schools, patients, orphans, prisoners, and soldiers. In 2010 they performed at the SDA General Conference Session. Their music is similar to the Heritage Singers, who are known for contemporary praise worship and southern gospel.

Amanecer, Argentina
The July 9, 2009 Adventist Review had a cover feature on the Amanecer SDA singing quartet in Argentina. Their inspiration has come from such groups as the Gaither Vocal Band, Take 6, Avalon, and the Heritage Singers. The article begins by describing their performance at an event where “you can feel the electrifying excitement . . . the explosion of cheers” as “four young men walk onto the stage” and “harmony envelops the crowd, bringing honor and glory to God.” How can they bring honor and glory to God when they are singing popular contemporary Christian music and are at an event with non-SDA evangelist, Luis Palau? He had a close relationship with Billy Graham, is popular with young people, and suggests that some individuals are “born with an inclination” towards homosexuality. It is estimated he has shared Christian teachings to 25 million people in 70 countries. He stated that “God has truly blessed the Alpha team and the millions who have attended their courses in over 160 countries. I pray our organizations will continue in partnership and purpose as we strive to reach the world for Jesus Christ.” Palau is referring to the Alpha course, which is mentioned earlier in this chapter.

Why would any SDA wish to be associated with such an event? Amanecer stated that they have “started a new repertoire with secular lyrics to open doors to places” they “couldn’t have dreamed of going with only Christian music.” They wish to uplift Christ with their music, but how is that possible by singing the devil’s music? One member of the group stated that “many of our Adventist churches are losing their young people” and that “at times there are such limitations on the style of music that the positive message never gets delivered in a way the youth will hear it.” Amanecer also “focuses on reaching youth with the true message of Christ’s love,” but their music and the true message do not coincide. What kind of individuals will be brought into the Church through such deception? Amanecer also performed at the 2010 SDA General Conference Session. It is obvious that the Church’s theology is beginning to match up with its musical preferences.

Mongolia
http://www.nsdadventist.org/Documents/News/2010/NV/NV100304.pdf
The North Asia-Pacific Division News & Views for March/April 2010 included the following on the SDA work in Mongolia:

  • Eighty-five percent of the SDA members in Mongolia consist of young people.
  • The Youth department held its first interchurch gospel singing “Eternal Sound” contest/festival in August 2009, with eight churches participating. The talent included creative/motion songs. It was planned to make the festival an annual event.
  • The first Mongolian AMiCUS festival was held in December 2009. A Christmas theme was presented where they “enjoyed watching our young people’s creative productions.” These included groups singing, reading poetry, presenting dramas, and other fun activities. The article stated that the “most exciting part was the musical drama” presented by each of the eight groups. They “contextualized the Biblical stories into modern lifestyle and culture of Mongolia using the melodies of the country’s popular songs for the conversational parts. . . . It was fun and interesting.” They are hopeful and believe that the AMiCUS programs will help reach many non-SDA Mongolian students. (AMiCUS is the Adventist Ministry to College and University Students, which is under the direction of the General Conference of SDAs. It seeks to meet the needs of the SDA students on non-SDA campuses worldwide and train them to witness.)
  • In December 2009, the first Bible Olympiad was held in Mongolia. “People were so excited about this activity” that the various churches began preparations a month ahead of time, and included 88 participants from 14 churches. When the first level started, “participants were tense as they were very serious” about the Olympiad. The end of the competition resulted in “a tie for second place and one first place winner.” They believe that the next Olympiad will be “a tough competition because many who failed this time will prepare wholeheartedly to try to get to the top.”
  • Another event included a rented 500-seat amphitheater so that many could watch a musical play about the first missionary to Korea presented by a Korean team named Sullami. The concert hall was “jam-packed with people” and some had to stand. The members of the cast “performed well” as they sang, danced, and acted, and the “musical play was a success.” The following day, the AMiCUS leaders organized games and indoor sports for the students. The purpose of the social activity was for the students to enjoy fellowship. It was stated that they hope God will bless the movement.
  • The Youth Department also decided to organize its own Mongolian Golden Angels team in order to dedicate one year to God. Their purpose is to train the young people for service in order to support, empower, and energize the churches.

http://dialogue.adventist.org/articles/07_2_stevenson_e.htm
This website, College and University Dialogue, is an international “journal of faith, thought, and action” published by AMiCUS in cooperation with the world divisions of the SDA Church. An article is included by Kris Coffin Stevenson promoting the use of breath prayers, such as “Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.” She stated that it could be “mentally said in rhythm to your breathing pattern,” and that “this method can eventually make prayer a part of your very soul as the prayer expands to fill your subconscious.” She recommended being “assured that God will continue to lead you on if you persevere in understanding the mysteries of communication with Him.” Pacific Press published Stevenson’s book, Delighting in God: Prayer Is Opening the Heart to a Friend, and the ABC sells her book, God’s Mighty Champions. She is a former assistant editor of Insight magazine.

http://news.adventist.org/2010/11/descendants-singing.html
Adventist News Network for November 2010 reported that the 7-member Mongolian Golden Angels chose the name Descendants. The group “offers concerts and classes during five-day public evangelism meetings.” The article stated that the group “has aided church growth” and “contributed to the church's health and cultural outreach.” Also mentioned was the fact that the group “will drive for two days for a gig” and that on one 750-mile trip, their rental van broke down ten times. Perhaps the Lord was trying to tell them something?

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/gig
Gig: “a job, esp [especially] a single booking for jazz or pop musicians to play at a concert or club.” This describes perfectly what groups like the Descendants do.

How disheartening it is to see worldly practices being taught and accepted even in new frontiers such as Mongolia. This is truly becoming a worldwide epidemic.

Purity Ball
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/photo/2010/01/20/PH2010012003494.html
The Purity Ball is becoming popular among SDA youth. At the Madison SDA Church in Nashville, Tennessee, teenage boys and girls lined up before being paired off to learn ballroom dancing. The dancing is justified because it “features a vow to abstain from sex until marriage and offers tips on ‘appropriate’ touching between the sexes.” That is to be commended; however, if the Lord has instructed that dancing is not to be a part of a Christian’s lifestyle, why is it being promoted? Purity can be taught much more effectively without the dancing element.

http://www.insightmagazine.org/cover/index.asp?issueID=20101627
The Purity Ball was also a cover story in an issue of Insight magazine for SDA youth. The article began with these words: “The Revelation Worldwide Purity Ball, jointly sponsored by the Revelation Worldwide organization and the Youth Department of the Northeastern Conference [of SDAs] . . . .”

The Adventist Home, p. 498

There are amusements, such as dancing, card playing, chess, checkers, etc., which we cannot approve because Heaven condemns them. These amusements open the door for great evil.

 

Ibid., p. 517

David's dancing in reverent joy before God has been cited by pleasure lovers in justification of the fashionable modern dance, but there is no ground for such an argument.

 

That I May Know Him, Ch. 242

Some regard sin as altogether so light a matter that they have no defense against its indulgence or consequence.... With some... religion is purely a thing of feeling. You will see a fair show of fervor and devotedness for a time, but soon a change comes.... They want a sip of the pleasure of excitement--the ballroom, the dance, and the show....

 

Ibid., Ch. 312

Let every one, for Christ's sake and for his own soul's sake, shun conformity to the world, to its customs, vanities, and fashions. Beware of human commandments that will obscure the holy commandments of God. The pleasure lover is ever unsatisfied, and continually desires to seek again the excitement of the ballroom, the theater, or the party of pleasure.

Insight magazine
http://www.insightmagazine.org
Music/Audio section
The author writes: “Here on Insight’s Web site, we try to feature some of the most accessible groups from across the genre spectrum: gospel, pop, country, rock, indie/alternative—we’ll even review some hip/hop releases in the coming months.” It goes on to state that “what I stay away from are the ‘extremes’: the heavy metal, the mainstream/Christian crossovers, anything that more than a small group of people might find offensive,” admitting that the music they feature may not be what you are comfortable with. The advice given is to “take the safe route” and that if the music encountered doesn’t “speak to or give aid to your relationship with Christ” we should avoid it, but to remember that “a particular style of music might really speak to you but not to your friend.” They planned to start including “select music clips to accompany each review to better aid in your music selection.”

What the author fails to acknowledge is that it does not matter what we think about music but what God thinks about it, and He is very displeased with the type of music promoted. It is not His music. To say that it is alright to listen to popular music as long as the majority like it, does not make it right. In spiritual matters, the minority are in the right. They always have been and always will be on this sinful earth. Unless we learn to love the “music of heaven” now, we will not be found singing with the heavenly choirs.

Christian Education, p. 42

If you lower the standard in order to secure popularity and an increase of numbers, and then make this increase a cause of rejoicing, you show great blindness. If numbers were evidence of success, Satan might claim the pre-eminence; for, in this world, his followers are largely in the majority.

Writing Contest
“Every year, Insight's Writing Contest makes teens famous--well, maybe not famous, but a little richer. Next year it could be you!” Here we have in one sentence, not just one issue but three: competition, fame, and fortune. This magazine is not even close to preparing young people for what is ahead of them.

Guide magazine
http://www.guidemagazine.org
ScreenSmart/“Get the Facts to Make Wise Media Choices” (Hollywood movie reviews)
Regarding a certain movie, an adult reviewer stated: “What I liked about this movie. . . ” and “What concerned me about this movie. . .” then “While I’m not making recommendations for whether or not you should see this movie (that’s for you and your parents to decide!), here are some ‘thinking’ questions. . . .” Concerns about the movie included: taking God’s name in vain, inappropriate gestures, hint at the theory of evolution, white lies, etc.

The Adventist Home, p. 330

By beholding we become changed.

Other features included: “Cartoon of the day,” “Caption the Cartoon” by Guide editor, and “Rich's Cheezy Jokes.”

The Publishing Ministry, p. 217

The illustrations I could not possibly accept under any consideration. Some of them look as if prepared for a comic almanac....

 

Our High Calling, p. 292

Jesting and joking may please a class of cheap minds, and yet the influence of this kind of conduct is destructive to spirituality. I speak to you as a class and also as individuals: Guard your words. Let sobriety and sound common sense characterize your conversation. Do not trifle with the purity and nobility of your souls by condescending to indulgence in stale jokes, and in cultivating habits of trifling conversation.

 

Ecclesiastes 10:12-13

The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself. The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.

The following were promoted: JellyTelly and Adventures in Odyssey (non-SDA programs through Focus on the Family) and Sabbath Hangout (contemporary music).

http://www.guidemagazine.org/extrapages/viewblog.asp?bid=686
The Guide Blog for April 1, 2010 included the following information in an article entitled “Meet the Lads!” by the editor, Randy Fishell: He met a group of “wonderful young men known as ‘The Lads.’ ” (This is a Christian Rock/pop band, writing both songs of praise and worship as well as contemporary music and originally from New Zealand but now in Nashville, Tennessee.) Fishell writes, “(you know, ‘Music City,’ and all of that). These fun-loving guys play energetic, God-honoring music. . . . Now, the music may be a little TOO energetic for some of you and/or your parents. But before you leave the Lads behind, check out their funny ‘Lads TV’ sketches, or listen to their goofy radio antics. (But no matter what, always put your parents' desires first!)”

The Lads’ music is far from being “God-honoring.” How are the youth being prepared for heaven when not only the world’s music but Music City, “funny TV sketches” and “goofy radio antics” are being endorsed? Since the parents may enjoy the world’s music and the “funny” stuff as well, instead of suggesting that parents’ desires come first, why not point them to God’s desires?

The Adventist Home, p. 515

All want to be thought brilliant, and give themselves up to hilarity, foolish jesting, cheap, coarse flattery, and uproarious laughter. The eyes sparkle, the cheek is flushed, conscience sleeps. With eating and drinking and merrymaking, they do their best to forget God. The scene of pleasure is their paradise. And Heaven is looking on, seeing and hearing all.

 

Ibid., p. 524

There is mirth and carousing, hilarity and glee. In all this the youth follow the example of the authors of the books [or media] placed in their hands for study. The greatest evil of it all is the permanent effect that these things have upon the character.

 

Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, pp. 156-157

In the broad road all are occupied with their persons, their dress, and the pleasures in the way. They indulge freely in hilarity and glee, and think not of their journey's end, of the certain destruction at the end of the path. Every day they approach nearer their destruction; yet they madly rush on faster and faster. Oh, how dreadful this looked to me!

Pathfinders
http://www.pathfindersonline.org
Vocational honors were first introduced in 1928. These foster pride, a focus on self, and a love for competition, such as the drill team. It was stated that it will teach order, morale, enjoyment, fellowship, leadership, self-control, and respect. There are other more honorable ways to learn those attributes. What message do the badges that are displayed on the sashes send to others? “Look what I did!” Additionally, some of the honors are not conducive to the children’s spirituality, such as Parade floats; Christian drama; Puppetry, etc.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLoFS7q7qg0
This video shows the Mt. Rubidoux Pathfinders drill team in senseless marching and tap dancing with much cheering and applause. It is as if they are being prepared to join the world’s army instead of God’s, not to mention the pride that is being fostered.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pQhaP_51-M
This video is of the Northeastern Conference Pathfinders drill team and drum corps with a hypnotic syncopated beat that is used at popular parades instead of the steady march beat.

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Adventist_Youth_Honors_Answer_Book
Puppet and clown ministry is included in the Personal Evangelism honor. The Basketball and Soccer honors involve writing about famous players.

The Adventurers (four years to fourth grade) honors include Gymnast; Media Critic (time spent each day with a variety of media, whether Christ-centered or secular); Olympic; Prayer Warrior(new in 2005; includes a prayer walk); and Troubadour (includes acting and entertainment).

In 1996 the Pathfinder Leadership Award (PLA) and the Pathfinder Instructor Award (PIA) curriculum were developed, bringing in more honor to self.

http://pathfinders.adventistconnect.org/pathfinder-leadership-award
This website discusses how the Pathfinder Leadership Award (PLA) was introduced as the entry level training package for Pathfinder leaders and staff members in the South Pacific Division on January 1, 2009. Among other areas, it provides “comprehensive and quality training in various aspects of spiritual formation.” The Pathfinder Specialist Award (PSA) is the highest level of Pathfinder leadership training and was introduced in the South Pacific Division in April 2010.

http://www.adventistreview.org/index.php?issue=2009-1524
The August 27, 2009 Adventist Review focused on the Pathfinder Camporee and an article was included on the honors. It stated that these are “proudly displayed on Pathfinder sashes.” “The proud sense of achievement and accomplishment . . . was all part of the fun.” “They are now challenged not just to wear the Honor patches proudly, but take what they have learned and go serve proudly.” An article on “off-site fun” mentioned sumo wrestling (a Japanese national sport) where children could put on inflatable suits.

http://www.under-oath.net.au/home.html
Australian Union Conference Pathfinder Camporee (January 2011): It was announced that there would be exciting activities, top speakers, outstanding night programs with awesome music and drama.

http://www.pathfinderradio.com
Pathfinder Radio includes miscellaneous contemporary, country-style musicians, etc.

http://www.bible-bowl.org; http://www.pathfinderbibleachievement.org
Pathfinder Bible Achievement/Bible Bowl (PBA) was developed in 1987. This is a program for Pathfinders (grades 5 through 10) in which groups of up to seven team up to answer specific questions from the Bible or portions of a designated book. The article stated that this is a “fun way to encourage Pathfinders to study the Bible, while they also learn team work and excellent study skills.”

Selected Messages, Book 1, p. 133

The time is altogether too full of tokens of the coming conflict to be educating the youth in fun and games.

PBA most likely fosters a lifetime commitment to “fun and games” rather than studying God’s Word. On the day of the event, each Pathfinder must wear their full dress uniform, including the sash, etc. so that they will “look sharp.” Again, the sash brings attention to self. Part of the rules state that “if the team members believe that they should have received more points than the judge gave them, they may have a runner send their paper up to the panel of judges at the front of the church.” This type of program is not conducive to keeping the sanctuary holy and reverent. It was stated that “there is no need for the negative side of competition that sometimes occurs in other team activities. Every team can be a first place team.” However, it is also stated that “As you get closer to the Area level date, you will need to select the six (6) best qualified Pathfinders plus one (1) alternate, in case of illness.” This is competition. There is also the pride that goes with winning. How are the others feeling because they did not win? Certificates, pins and trophies (from small to very large) are handed out as well as an engraved bar for each level. First place is gold, second place is silver, and third place is bronze—just like the Olympic games.

Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 182

We should not seek to imitate Sunday schools, nor keep up the interest by offering prizes. The offering of rewards will create rivalry, envy, and jealousy; and some who are the most diligent and worthy will receive little credit. Scholars should not try to see how many verses they can learn and repeat; for this brings too great a strain upon the ambitious child, while the rest become discouraged.

 

Child Guidance, p. 294

In God's plan there is no place for selfish rivalry. Those who measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves among themselves, are not wise. (2 Corinthians 10:12.) Whatever we do is to be done "as of the ability which God giveth." 1 Peter 4:11. It is to be done "heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ." Colossians 3:23, 24. Precious the service done and the education gained in carrying out these principles. But how widely different is much of the education now given! From the child's earliest years it is an appeal to emulation [ambition to equal or surpass another] and rivalry [The act of competing]; it fosters selfishness, the root of all evil.

 

Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 101

The word of God is to have a sanctifying effect on our association with every member of the human family. The leaven of truth will not produce the spirit of rivalry, the love of ambition, the desire to be first. True, heaven-born love is not selfish and changeable. It is not dependent on human praise. The heart of him who receives the grace of God overflows with love for God and for those for whom Christ died. Self is not struggling for recognition. He does not love others because they love and please him, because they appreciate his merits, but because they are Christ's purchased possession.... He is kind and thoughtful, humble in his opinion of himself, yet full of hope, always trusting in the mercy and love of God.

The motive for reading and studying the Bible should not be to learn trivia so that you can win at a competition. It should be to learn truth so that you can learn to love God and become like Christ in preparation for His return.

Adventist Youth Ministries, South Pacific Division
http://youth.adventistconnect.org/mwtp3-workshops#Spiritual Formation
This division encompasses Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and islands near the Equator, which comprise the Australian, and New Zealand Pacific Union Conferences; and the Papua New Guinea, and Trans Pacific Union Missions.

Move With The Power III is a Youth Ministry Summit to provide training and development for Youth Ministry leaders, including Pathfinders, Adventurers, chaplains, church pastors, and elders. It was stated that training would be provided “by experts in various areas of youth leadership,” such as discipleship and leadership development in order to be “equipped in the best possible way for kingdom-building ministry with the young people in your area of influence.” Pastor Brendan Pratt, Director of Personal Ministries and Sabbath School, Greater Sydney Conference of SDAs, focuses on discipleship and “healthy” churches. His workshop was on how to “put together a spiritual formation plan that is just for you. . . to grow in connection with God and how you’ve been shaped with a unique connection with God.” While discipleship, leadership, spiritual formation, and a connection with God sound like wonderful areas of development, when they are combined with Satanic ideas, they are of no use to God’s people.

A “focus on mission” comes from the July 1, 2010 Adventist Review. In 2009 delegates from the South Pacific attended the first Festival of Mission in Australia to discuss “ideas and concerns including a possible strategic direction for the church.” Delegates stated that the “praise and worship modeled a new way forward, and keynote speakers, Hyveth Williams and José Rojas, set the tone for deeper spirituality.” The article concluded by saying that in the South Pacific “we are involved in innovative mission for our Lord.”

General Conference of SDAs Children’s Ministries
http://www.gcchildmin.org/organize/index.html
The General Conference handbook, The Children's Ministries Coordinator, includes these ideas:

  • Children’s Music Festival with the purpose of providing children the chance to use their talents, including musical mimes, with the festival referred to as a “music extravaganza.”
  • Puppet ministry.
  • Easter dramas.
  • Christmas plays.
  • A recommendation of George Barna, along with other non-SDA authors. Barna has held roles in advertising, politics, research, media, ministry, and marketing research on faith and culture, and has served hundreds of parachurch ministries, thousands of Christian churches nationwide, corporations, organizations, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army. He has authored 41 books on such topics as trends, leadership, church health, and spiritual development. Examples include best-sellers such as Revolution, Revolutionary Parenting, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions. His book entitled The Power of Vision states that “tradition can snare us.” Some of Barna’s books have received national awards. More than 100 of his articles are published in periodicals, and more than a million people yearly access his bi-weekly research report on his website at http://www.barna.org. The media cites him as an authoritative source and “one of the nation’s most influential Christian leaders.” He has been referred to as “the most quoted person in the Christian Church today.” Barna is a “popular speaker at ministry conferences” worldwide and has taught at Pepperdine and Biola universities and several seminaries. He served as pastor of a large church and has been involved in church start-ups. He also received a doctorate from Dallas Baptist University, and was awarded the Eagleton Fellowship (politics and government) at Rutgers University. Two of his hobbies are watching movies and reading novels. We cannot rely on someone of this background and with that much influence and popularity in the Christian world today.

The Review and Herald, November 21, 1878

Wrecks of character have been made by these fashionable church festivals and theatrical performances, and thousands more will be destroyed; yet people will not be aware of the danger, nor of the fearful influences exerted. Many young men and women have lost their souls through these corrupting influences.

 

The Signs of the Times, April 21, 1890

The words of Jesus addressed to this generation may well be regarded with sorrow and awe. He asks, "When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" Christ looked down the ages, and with prophetic eye marked the conflict between the antagonistic principles of truth and error. He saw how real Christianity would become almost extinct in the world, so that at his second advent he would find a state of society similar to that which existed before the flood. The world would be engaged in festivity and amusement, in theatrical shows, in the indulgence of base passions. Intemperance of every grade would exist, and even the churches would be demoralized, and the Bible would be neglected and desecrated. He saw that the desperate revelries of the last days would only be interrupted by the judgments of God.

http://www.gcchildmin.org/pdf/issues/drama.pdf
This link shows a letter dated May 18, 2000 from the General Conference Sabbath School/Personal Ministries Department. It states that it has moved to an “interactive teaching mode in which students and teachers participate in the lesson with the use of dramatic presentations, skits,” etc. following the formats in Counsels on Sabbath School Work, which say that Sabbath School exercises should be as interesting as possible and that children should be involved in the activities. It is “common practice” worldwide, in youth groups, and the GraceLink curriculum for Sabbath School and other church activities. It also states that the Bible books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel used these kinds of activities to illustrate biblical truths. This is amazing. What Bible version was used to come to that conclusion? It would also prove that Ellen White contradicted herself, since she made many statements to the contrary. Tragically, the Church leadership stoops very low in order to cater to entertainment desires. The letter ends by stating that the SDA Church does not change its theology but the methodology must always be “updated and meet the minds of the people with whom we are working.” In the process of changing the methodology, the theology is changed. It is an emerging church idea that worship and theology needs changing to meet the needs of a postmodern culture. However, we are not to change God’s truth just to meet people’s “needs” or to cater to their feelings. God’s truth stands forever. It is the lack of straight truth that has led to the pathetic state the SDA Church is in today.

North American Division of SDAs Children's Ministries
A “Go Fish Conference” was advertised as a “fun packed, hands-on, opportunity to learn how to work with children. Each day is fast-paced, interactive, and practical. With over 70 workshops there will be plenty of time to learn and be encouraged by those who have worked in children's ministries.” Attendees can include pastors, parents, leaders, teachers, and “anyone who works with children birth to age 12 will find practical ways to improve their ministry. Churches that are involved in or would like to start creative ministries such as puppetry, clown, and drama are encouraged to bring their teams. Children's ministry resources are available with the 40 or more exhibitors from a variety of publishers and companies.”

http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20090101114352/http://gofishconference.net/article.php?id=7
The Georgia Conference of SDAs “Go Fish Conference” was held on the weekend of February 11-13, 2011 at Cohutta Springs Conference Center, Crandall, Georgia. A keynote speaker included Craig Jutila, founder and president of Empowering Kids, and who served as Children’s Pastor at Saddleback Church for 13 years. He received his Christian Education degree from Biola University. He is the author of many books and articles and was recently identified by ministry experts nationwide as “one of Children’s Ministry Magazine’s Pioneers of the Decade.” Here again we see the SDA Church supporting someone in the Purpose Driven and emerging church movements. Biola University includes the Talbot School of Theology, which teaches spiritual formation, spiritual direction, spiritual renewal, spiritual disciplines, and promotes Dallas Willard, Ignatius of Loyola, etc. It is almost unbelievable that our SDA leadership would stoop so low as to invite this type of promoter of unbiblical methods. José Rojas and Wintley Phipps (SDA pastors) were among the keynote speakers.

http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20090101114357/http://gofishconference.net/article.php?id=8
Following are some of the topics included in teacher certification: The Post Modern Child; Kids in Discipleship; Leadership Styles; Temperaments; History of Clowns/Clown Ethics; History of Puppetry; Making Simple Puppets; Puppet Manipulation; Puppetizing Songs; Starting a Puppet Ministry; Street Ministry; Stages, Lighting, Special Effects; Writing Skits; Basic Ballooning; Silent Comedy; Face Paint Lab; Gospel Illusions; Improvisation; History of Drama/Use of Drama in the Church; Children’s Drama Ministry Basics; Costuming; Cultural Shifts; Elements of Pantomime; Sketches, Monologues, One Acts; A.C.T.S.; Hearing God; and Prayer Styles.

http://circle.adventist.org/browse/resource.phtml?leaf=10767
This SDA educators website discusses “Oz & Wilde,” who were included as presenters for the conference. It states: “Filled with Biblical truths, witty comedy and colorful apparatus, Oz and Wilde tell kids (& their adult friends) about Jesus through ‘Christian magic.’ ”

http://ncc.adventist.org/article.php?id=982
A “Go Fish--Putting Families First” was a Pacific Union Leadership Convention held at Leoni Meadows November 11-14, 2010 for Family Ministry and Children's Ministry Leaders. “Inspirational General Session speakers” included David Hall, Nevada Utah Conference Family Ministry; Debra Brill, NAD Vice President; Manny and Melanie Cruz, NAD Youth and Church Ministries; and Randy Fishell; Editor of Guide Magazine. Vendors selling the latest Family and Children’s Ministry resources included the ABC and Advent Source. Presentations included: The Postmodern Child; Diversity in Children's Ministries; Kids in Discipleship; Storytelling with Cartoon Characters; Basic Face Painting; Basic Ballooning; Developing your Clown Character; History of Clown Ministry & Clown Ethics; History of Drama - Children's Drama Basics; Sketch Writing; Street Ministry; History of Puppetry & Start-Up; Backgrounds, Staging, Music & Sound Effects; Hand Puppets; Shadow Puppets; Creating a F.U.N. Church; Temperaments, etc.

http://www.nadadventist.org/article.php?id=254
http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20090101114402/http://gofishconference.net/article.php?id=9
The “Go Fish Convention” in Loma Linda, California, November 8-11, 2007 provided training and the “most current research and information on the 21st century child. Children’s Ministries’ goal is to reach across cultural, socioeconomic boundaries and replace the secular worldview with a biblical worldview.” One can only imagine where the “current research and information” came from to help the “21st century child,” since this convention included the world’s view on ministering to children. Part of the convention included a tour of the Saddleback Church.

http://media.floridaconference.com/PDF/floridafocus/ff-v25n3.pdf
The Florida Conference of SDAs “Go Fish Convention” in Orlando, Florida was held September 11-13, 2009. Here is what one participant stated: “The staff was a perfect blend of fun-filled story tellers and message-sharing gospel workers. One never knew when, out of the laughter of a clown act, an inspirational message would follow. . . . Among balloon animal classes, magic tricks, puppetry, health tips, nature walks, and meeting new friends, the main purpose was not lost.” It can be agreed that if the main purpose was about entertainment, then the purpose was not lost. Another stated, “Even the music class turned out to be a fun, praise-the-Lord-with-all-you’ve-got experience.”

The link above also included information on an SDA Singles’ Ministries Annual New Year’s Retreat held December 30, 2009 to Jan. 3, 2010 at Camp Kulaqua, High Springs, Florida. The entertainment featured “Professor Doodad,” who is Darren Casteel, the CEO of the Creative Arts Store in Cleveland, Georgia. He has been a children’s pastor for 15 years and created Quakeville, a “high energy, exciting and fun filled drama relating Scriptures and Bible truths to the children.” He uses “mascots, puppets, original music and special effects during services each week” and is a “professional puppet designer and performer as well as a superb talent in magic, storytelling, and gifted lecturer.” He has worked “across denominational lines to provide quality children’s programs across 24 states.” According to God’s instructions, those programs are not providing quality and should never be used by intelligent-thinking leaders.

The Ohio Conference of SDAs has a “Go Fish Convention” planned for October 7-9, 2011 at The Conference Center at NorthPointe, Lewis Center, Ohio.

It is heart-breaking to realize that the emerging church movement is snaring in even SDA children at a very young age. God’s faithful must cry out, “Lord, can you at least spare the children?” They cannot save themselves, because they are too young to know the difference. Truly this will bring God’s wrath upon those who are responsible for this travesty.

Mark 1:17-18

And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.

When Jesus commissioned Simon and Andrew to be “fishers of men,” He did not have this type of spiritual formation in mind. The two disciples “forsook their nets.” The SDA leaders have not forsaken their “nets.” In fact, they are using the devil’s nets to snare the unaware.

Vacation Bible School
http://www.kgcnvbs.com
A 2010 Vacation Bible School program entitled “Kids’ and God’s Communication Network” (KCGN) and produced by the Review and Herald included skits and a drama/puppet show with puppeteers “Oz and Wilde” as a “different genre for your Bible story time.” The “History Mystery station” used storytelling, drama, interactive activities, and “sleuthing to share the day’s Bible story.” It was stated that there was an effort to keep the drama “light” but still keep the truth of the Bible stories. Drama is drama whether it is light or not. “Play-by-Play” was an “opportunity for some fun and games,” with some “more rambunctious than others.”

The October 2009 Pacific Union Recorder included an article on the Antioch Church Vacation Bible School. The third night began with a song service led by the United in Christ house band, in which the “gym resonated with kids and staff clapping, jumping and singing lively songs.”

Adventist Review KidsView
http://www.kidsviewmag.org
Any faithful SDA will be dismayed with the KidsView section of the Adventist Review. Here are just a few examples that do not encourage children to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

  • March and April 2009: The monthly calendar featured items such as “Michael Jordan played his last NB [national basketball] game in 2003”; “National Heroes Day in Barbados”; “Daffy Duck debuted in 1937”; “Dr. Seuss was born in 1904”; “Barbie debuted in 1959.”
  • March 2009: “If I Could Live in the White House. . .” article with the following question and children’s answers.

    Question – “If you were moving to the White House, what would be the first thing you would do on your first night there?”

    Answers – “I would get every video game in the world. . . . I would also get 30 cats. I think I’d also get a 500-foot TV with ultra surround sound and I’d get lots of cars too.” Another wrote about having a party and if no one came he would just play games. One girl said she would have a slumber party with popcorn, pizza, and drinks, invite friends to watch Alicia Keys sing (R&B/Hip Hop), stay up all night, have a pillow fight and watch a movie.
  • May 2009: A “Student Work” section with SDA schoolchildren’s responses to a writing assignment on a time when they were “proud and happy about something they had done

    “When I got my report card, I started counting all my A’s: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. . . . I got on the . . . Principal’s List for the very first time! . . . That was the best day I ever had and I was very, very proud.” One boy told about winning a poster contest and how he was so proud. Another boy talked about the fun of playing basketball and how one day he helped his team to win and they celebrated and he was so proud. Another describes playing football with his friends and his teacher and how at one point when he caught the ball, his team was “cheering and chanting” and he “felt really proud.”

Proverbs 16:18

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

 

The Signs of the Times, February 5, 1894

Can anyone think it possible that pride can exist in the heart and yet that heart have a place in the kingdom of God? It was pride that caused the fall of Satan. His heart was lifted up because of his beauty. All his wisdom and glory were the gift of God; but the very gift bestowed by the generous love of God was perverted to wrong use in exalting himself, as if his glorious endowments were something that he himself had originated.

Not only is self the hero, but there are the “world’s heroes,” whether real or make-believe. The true Hero, Jesus Christ, is forgotten. It’s all about fame, fun, and fortune, and eternal realities are forgotten. Self takes the throne and forgets that God is on His judgment throne. Let us pray that not one of us will be found guilty of leading any youth astray.

Matthew 18:6; 25:40

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. [25:40] And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

 

Selected Messages, Book 1, p. 190

All around us are the young, the impenitent, the unconverted, and what are we doing for them?

Top

Schools

Recreational activities at SDA colleges
http://www.adventistcolleges.org/CMSPages.asp?PageID=9
This website included a list of possible recreational activities available to students at SDA colleges in the U.S. Some of the activities that do not contribute to spirituality included film studio tours; ballet and opera; indoor and outdoor theaters; auto racing; arcades; professional sports teams; and Civil War reenactments.

When SDAs attend non-denominational schools, if they are not well grounded in SDA doctrine, they will give in to doctrinal error. It is sad to realize that this happens even in SDA institutions. Let God’s people be warned that SDA schools and churches as well need to be scrutinized before attending. If not, their chance of eternal life may be in danger.

Selected Messages, Book 3, pp. 231-233

It would be perfectly safe for our youth to enter the colleges of our land if they were converted every day; but if they feel at liberty to be off guard one day, that very day Satan is ready with his snares, and they are overcome and led to walk in false paths--forbidden paths, paths that the Lord has not cast up.

Now, shall professed Christians refuse to associate with the unconverted, and seek to have no communication with them? No, they are to be with them, in the world and not of the world, but not to partake of their ways, not to be impressed by them, not to have a heart open to their customs and practices. Their associations are to be for the purpose of drawing others to Christ.

Here is the danger of our youth. The attractions in these institutions are such, and the teaching so intermixed with error and sophistry, that they cannot discern the poison of sentiment mingled with the useful and precious. There is such an undercurrent, and it works in such a manner that many do not perceive it, but it is constantly at work. Certain ideas are constantly advanced by the professors, and repeated over and over, and at last the mind begins to assimilate and conform to these ideas....

To many of our youth there is great danger in listening to the discourses that are given by those who in the world are called great men. These discourses are often of a highly intellectual nature, and prevailing errors of science falsely so-called and of popular religious doctrine are mingled with wise sayings and observations, but they undermine the statements of the Bible and give the impression that there is reason for questioning the truth of the inspired Word. In this way the seeds of skepticism are sown by great and professedly wise men, but their names are registered in the books of record in heaven as fools, and they are an offense to God. They repeat the falsehoods that Satan put into the mouth of the serpent, and educate the youth in delusions.

This is the kind of education the enemy delights in. It is sorcery. The great apostle inquired, "Who hath bewitched you that ye should not obey the truth?" Those who receive and admire the sentiments of these so-called great men are in danger, for through the subtlety of the enemy the sophistical reasoning of these false teachers takes root in the heart of our youth, and almost imperceptibly they are converted from truth to error. But the conversion should be just the other way. Our young men who have seen the evidences of the verity of truth should be firmly established and able to win souls to Christ from the darkness of error.

 

The Desire of Ages, p. 464

In these days we hear much about "higher education." The true "higher education" is that imparted by Him "in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." "In Him was life; and the life was the light of men." Colossians 2:3; John 1:4.

 

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9, p. 174

We hear a great deal about the higher education. The highest education is to follow in the footsteps of Christ, patterning after the example He gave when He was in the world. We cannot gain an education higher than this, for this class of training will make men laborers together with God.

 

The Review and Herald, March 31, 1910

The baleful spirit of unbelief is found in every land and is permeating all ranks of society. It is taught freely in many of the universities, colleges, and high schools, and it comes even into the lessons taught in the common schools and the nurseries. Thousands who profess to be Christians give heed to lying spirits. Everywhere the spirit of darkness in the garb of religion confronts the seeker after truth.

 

Fundamentals of Christian Education, pp. 535-536

Those who seek the education that the world esteems so highly, are gradually led further and further from the principles of truth until they become educated worldlings. At what a price have they gained their education! They have parted with the Holy Spirit of God. They have chosen to accept what the world calls knowledge in the place of the truths which God has committed to men through His ministers and prophets and apostles. And there are some who, having secured this worldly education, think that they can introduce it into our schools. But let me tell you that you must not take what the world calls the higher education and bring it into our schools and sanitariums and churches. We need to understand these things. I speak to you definitely. This must not be done.

 

Mind, Character, and Personality, Vol. 1, p. 194

When the heart and mind is submitted to God, when man is willing to be instructed as a little child, the science of education will be found in the Word of God. Higher education of the world has proved itself a farce. When teachers and students come down from their stilts and enter Christ's school to learn of Him, they will talk intelligently of higher education because they will understand that it is that knowledge which enables men to understand the essence of science.

 

Conflict and Courage, p. 210

Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3.

Though in a different form, idolatry exists in the Christian world today as verily as it existed among ancient Israel in the days of Elijah. The god of many professedly wise men, of philosophers, poets, politicians, journalists--the god of polished fashionable circles, of many colleges and universities, even of some theological institutions--is little better than Baal, the sun-god of Phoenicia.

When Battle Creek College failed to follow all of God’s instructions through Ellen White, she encouraged the establishment of a self-supporting institution, Madison College. She became a member of their board, the only position like this that she held. The denominational leaders were not happy that she had done this, because they saw this as a challenge to their authority and control.

History is repeating with the modern-day SDA Church leaders. The majority of SDA schools are not what they should be. While Andrews University includes a horticultural program, most SDA schools no longer do. Instead an emphasis is placed on amusements and sports.

Amusements and sports

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 23

It would be well could there be connected with our college, land for cultivation and also workshops under the charge of men competent to instruct the students in the various departments of physical labor. Much is lost by a neglect to unite physical with mental taxation. The leisure hours of the students are often occupied with frivolous pleasures, which weaken physical, mental, and moral powers.

 

The Signs of the Times, August 26, 1886

Young persons are naturally active, and if they find no legitimate scope for their pent-up energies after the confinement of the schoolroom, they become restless and impatient of control; they are thus led to engage in the rude, unmanly sports that disgrace so many schools and colleges, and even to plunge into scenes of dissipation. And many who leave their homes innocent, are corrupted by their associations at school.

 

The Adventist Home, pp. 499-500

I do not condemn the simple exercise of playing ball; but this, even in its simplicity, may be overdone.

I shrink always from the almost sure result which follows in the wake of these amusements. It leads to an outlay of means that should be expended in bringing the light of truth to souls that are perishing out of Christ. The amusements and expenditures of means for self-pleasing, which lead on step by step to self-glorifying, and the educating in these games for pleasure produce a love and passion for such things that is not favorable to the perfection of Christian character.

The way that they have been conducted at the college does not bear the impress of heaven. It does not strengthen the intellect. It does not refine and purify the character. There are threads leading out through the habits and customs and worldly practices, and the actors become so engrossed and infatuated that they are pronounced in heaven lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. In the place of the intellect becoming strengthened to do better work as students, to be better qualified as Christians to perform the Christian duties, the exercise in these games is filling their brains with thoughts that distract the mind from their studies....

Is the eye single to the glory of God in these games? I know that this is not so. There is a losing sight of God's way and His purpose. The employment of intelligent beings, in probationary time, is superseding God's revealed will and substituting for it the speculations and inventions of the human agent, with Satan by his side to imbue with his spirit.... The Lord God of heaven protests against the burning passion cultivated for supremacy in the games that are so engrossing.

Today we can find Church periodicals such as the Adventist Review using sports analogies, and we even hear pastors using sports illustrations in their sermons.

One example comes from the Knoxville First SDA Church in Tennessee on February 3, 2007, in which a pastor referred to his favorite sports team for analogies during his sermon and wore a sports team jacket for an illustration. He frequently asked, “Where is your allegiance?” Where is the allegiance of pastors who focus on the popular, competitive games of today? In addition, an announcement was made about a Super Bowl party fundraiser to be held the next day in the Knoxville Adventist School gym. A bulletin insert gave further details, such as snacks, drinks, and desserts that would be sold by the 8th grade class, “Guess the final score and win a prize,” and “Bring your comfy chairs and relax in front of the big screen.”

Colossians 3:2

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

 

Manuscript Releases, Vol. 20, p. 24

He who accepts God as his Sovereign must take the oath of allegiance to Him. He must put on the Christian uniform, and bear aloft the banner that shows to whose army he belongs.

 

The Review and Herald, June 14, 1892

Be true to your allegiance to Christ; for it is in half-heartedness in the Christian life that you become feeble in purpose, changeable in desire, and find no rest for your soul. This seeking to serve Christ and the world makes you a stony-ground hearer, and you will not endure when the test comes upon you. The religion of Christ permits no compromise, no yielding to the influences of the world.

 

Creeping Compromise, Joe Crews, Homeward Publishing, Yorba Linda, CA, 2008, pp. 109-110

With shouts and uncontrolled excitement he [a church leader] sits for hours, completely absorbed in an activity that is the very antithesis of everything Jesus stood for and taught. [He] knows all the batting averages and league records, but he’ll sit next Sabbath half asleep in church and will not know a single answer in the Sabbath School class.... Like Mrs. Lot he is bound to the things of the world, and all his stereotyped, platform-religious functions will not change the sentence of death against him. Until that man becomes more vocal about soul winning than he is about a ball game there can be no hope for his salvation.

Sports games foster competition, pride, strife, aggression, can involve physical injuries or become addicting, and destroy a love for useful labor.

Philippians 2:3

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

 

Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 101-102

The leaven of truth will not produce the spirit of rivalry, the love of ambition, the desire to be first. True, heaven-born love is not selfish and changeable. It is not dependent on human praise. The heart of him who receives the grace of God overflows with love for God and for those for whom Christ died. Self is not struggling for recognition.

 

Manuscript Releases, Vol. 6, p. 127

Among the youth the passion for football games and other kindred selfish gratifications have been misleading in their influence. Watchfulness and prayer and daily consecration to God have not been maintained. Converse, communion with God, is life to the soul. The light has been beclouded, and it was well pleasing to Satan to have the impression go forth that notwithstanding the wonderful work of the Holy Spirit in behalf of our institutions of learning, and the office of publication and the church, they fell back to be overcome by temptation. Satan and evil workers cast reflection upon God, and His name has been dishonored....

 

The Adventist Home, pp. 513-514

The welfare of the soul should not be endangered by the gratification of any selfish desire, and we should shun any amusement which so fascinates the mind that the ordinary duties of life seem tame and uninteresting. By indulgence in such pleasure the mind becomes confirmed in a wrong direction, and Satan so perverts the thoughts that wrong is made to appear as right. Then restraint and submission to parents, such as Christ rendered to His parents, seem unbearable.

True Recreation

Good Health, July 1, 1880

True recreation is obtaining fresh vigor of mental, moral, and physical power. This can never be gained by selfish gratification or indulgence. Life was given these youth for nobler purposes. By their habits they are placing themselves among those whom the apostle names as being lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.

 

The Adventist Home, p. 496

There are modes of recreation which are highly beneficial to both mind and body. An enlightened, discriminating mind will find abundant means for entertainment and diversion, from sources not only innocent, but instructive. Recreation in the open air, the contemplation of the works of God in nature, will be of the highest benefit.

 

Ibid., p. 499

Gymnastic exercises fill a useful place in many schools, but without careful supervision they are often carried to excess. In the gymnasium many youth, by their attempted feats of strength, have done themselves lifelong injury.

Exercise in a gymnasium, however well conducted, cannot supply the place of recreation in the open air, and for this our schools should afford better opportunity.

 

Ibid., p. 512

There is a distinction between recreation and amusement. Recreation, when true to its name, re-creation, tends to strengthen and build up. Calling us aside from our ordinary cares and occupations, it affords refreshment for mind and body and thus enables us to return with new vigor to the earnest work of life.

Amusement, on the other hand, is sought for the sake of pleasure and is often carried to excess; it absorbs the energies that are required for useful work and thus proves a hindrance to life's true success.

Between the associations of the followers of Christ for Christian recreation and worldly gatherings for pleasure and amusement will exist a marked contrast. Instead of prayer and the mentioning of Christ and sacred things will be heard from the lips of worldlings the silly laugh and the trifling conversation. Their idea is to have a general high time. Their amusements commence in folly and end in vanity.

There is great need of temperance in amusements, as in every other pursuit. And the character of these amusements should be carefully and thoroughly considered. Every youth should ask himself, What influence will these amusements have on physical, mental, and moral health? Will my mind become so infatuated as to forget God? Shall I cease to have His glory before me?

The best recreation the students can receive is growing gardens and orchards, but so few today know anything about it. Notice below what God stated on this subject.

Education, p. 20

The system of education instituted at the beginning of the world was to be a model for man throughout all aftertime. As an illustration of its principles a model school was established in Eden, the home of our first parents. The Garden of Eden was the schoolroom, nature was the lesson book, the Creator Himself was the instructor, and the parents of the human family were the students.

 

Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 312

Families and institutions should learn to do more in the cultivation and improvement of land. If people only knew the value of the products of the ground, which the earth brings forth in their season, more diligent efforts would be made to cultivate the soil. All should be acquainted with the special value of fruits and vegetables fresh from the orchard and garden.

 

The Review and Herald, September 1, 1904

Wise plans are to be laid for the cultivation of the land. The students are to be given a practical education in agriculture. This education will be of inestimable value to them in their future work. Thorough work is to be done in cultivating the land, and from this the students are to learn how necessary it is to do thorough work in cultivating the garden of the heart.

 

Australasian Union Conference Record, July 31, 1899

The youth that shall attend our school... are to plant it with ornamental trees and fruit trees, and to cultivate garden produce. The school farm is to be regarded as a lesson book in nature, from which the teachers may draw their object lessons. Our students are to be taught that Christ, who created the world and all things that are therein, is the life and light of every living thing. The life of every child and youth who is willing to grasp the opportunities for receiving a proper education will be made thankful and happy while at school by the things which his eyes shall rest upon.

 

Genesis 2:15

And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Below is a partial listing of SDA colleges and universities worldwide with some of their activities.

Andrews University and SDA Theological Seminary (AU), Michigan
http://www.andrews.edu
These events have been held at the AU campus:

  • Easter Passion Play held annually since 2003. The play was inspired by Ron Whitehead, assistant to the president for spiritual life and director of the Center for Youth Evangelism at Andrews. The university leaders unanimously supported the idea.
  • Creative Arts Festival held annually for the last 15 years and “created with the purpose of relieving the lull of winter” on campus and in the community. Features crafts, fine arts, poetry, drama performances, workshops, faculty/staff awards, and concerts, including jazz, reggae, and Christian rock.
  • Worship services include:

    • Mosaic – This is a Friday “late night option” conceived four years ago as an “atmospheric post-vespers experience.” It is termed as a “revolutionary spiritual encounter,” challenging students to “break free from convention” to participate in “interactive cafés, concerts by independent Christian artists, gallery exhibits, and creative prayer experiences.” It “elevates the spirit and opens the door to an enriching Sabbath.” Hors d'oeuvres and hot drinks are served for a “capacity crowd.” Actually, this type of service opens the door to the enemy.

Manuscript Releases, Vol. 13, pp. 257

Your health depends upon the right use of your physical organism. Do not misuse or abuse any portion of your God-given powers--physical, mental, or moral. All your habits are to be brought under the control of a mind that is itself under the control of God. Unhealthful habits of every order, late habits of night, late hours in bed in the morning...are to be overcome.

    • Impact – A Friday night service advertised as a place to be “on your feet all night long.” This “power-packed” vespers is hosted by the Black Student Christian Forum and is known for lasting three to four hours. However, they stated that you will not “find anyone glancing at the clock” due to the “astonishing musicianship and electrifying atmosphere.”
    • Fusion – A monthly vespers that is a combination of all their Friday vespers and late-night options to “represent the unique cultural diversity” at Andrews and includes “different styles, types, and versions of worship.” It claims to be the “most powerful worship experience” at Andrews that “combines the ambiance and artistry of Mosaic with the vitality and spirit of Impact and includes shades of other Friday evening worship experiences.” God’s Word reveals that His truth and the Holy Spirit will not be found in these types of charismatic services.
    • New Life – Known as a dynamic church service. They “bet you won’t go just once,” since they have an “energetic” gospel choir and praise band and “power-packed” preaching that will have you “hooked, on fire, and on your feet in no time.” It is stated that you will find “Spirit and Truth”, in the truest sense.
    • Pioneer Memorial – The campus church with Dwight Nelson as the senior pastor. Their worship is advertised as coming in several forms, “from traditional to contemporary.”
    • On April 7, 2008, “The Dean’s List” for the Andrews Seminary included an announcement that for the April 14 chapel there would be two guest speakers, Dr. Roger Schroeder and Dr. Stephen Bevans (a Roman Catholic priest). Both have attended the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and are missiology professors at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Illinois.
  • Campus activities 2010/2011Sports and talent competitions, including all-night volleyball and half-time shows and the Fourth International Music Competition; February Super Bowl party; an opera production; drama ministries, etc.

http://www.andrews.edu/~baumgart/resources.html#cp
This Andrews leadership website suggests these authors: Jon Dybdahl, Steve Daily, C. S. Lewis, Tony Campolo, Richard Foster, Henri Nouwen, Eugene Peterson, Dallas Willard, and many others as well as books on Buddhism and Islam. The excuse is made that if we do not know the details of other religions then we cannot convert the people as effectively. God’s Word says otherwise.

Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 379

As a preparation for Christian work many think it essential to acquire an extensive knowledge of historical and theological writings. They suppose that this knowledge will be an aid to them in teaching the gospel. But their laborious study of the opinions of men tends to the enfeebling of their ministry rather than to its strengthening. As I see libraries filled with ponderous volumes of historical and theological lore, I think, Why spend money for that which is not bread? The sixth chapter of John tells us more than can be found in such works. Christ says: "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst." "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever." "He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life." "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." John 6:35, 51, 47, 63.

 

Fundamentals of Christ Education, p. 167

The light shining upon those who have eyes to see, cannot be mingled with the darkness of heresy and error found in many of the textbooks recommended to the students in our colleges.

 

Gospel Workers (1892), pp. 414-415

The presidents of our conferences have become weak and inefficient by making flesh their arm. Trust in the wisdom of man does not facilitate growth in grace and in the knowledge of Christ.

Why do SDAs continue to glean from the world’s ideas to reach people? They are to be sharing the special messages given to the Church, not watered-down theology. They have more to offer, so why give less? The enemy certainly twisted things around. “Come now, and let us reason together.” Isaiah 1:18. When we know all the details of our religion, we can effectively answer others’ questions. When we continue to delve into books written by infidels, we will become confused and end up as infidels ourselves.

http://waybackmachine.org/*/http://www.andrews.edu/sed/lead_ed_admin/leadership/resources
/andrews.pdf
(select May 30)
The same Andrews leadership website includes a jazz impact PowerPoint presentation from a 2009 Roundtable with photos of Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and the Hot Five, Count Basie and Benny Goodman, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, etc.; construction of a jazz tune; rhythmic words about needing a cup of coffee; and the terms innovation and transformation.

In another section, there is a painting of fragmented human body parts with lewd depictions. It can only be described as something a demon would paint. The link has not been included because it is better not seen.

http://www.andrews.edu/news/2010/08/howard_opener.html
The Howard Performing Arts Center is located on the Andrews campus and is also a venue for Southwest Michigan’s performing arts. It is advertised as a “brand new, state-of-the-art performance facility” that has “attracted world-class performers from the international classical circuit,” as well as “top Contemporary Christian artists.” Because of the center’s “acoustic perfection and astonishing design” it is referred to as the “architectural gem” of Andrews that “provides an invaluable resource” and an “ideal environment” for vespers, recitals, and awards banquets.

The “Opening Night 2010” concert series began with a graduate of Andrews and his friends performing “well-known Broadway tunes.” The second half included the Lake Effect Jazz Big Band.

One can only imagine how much their “architectural gem” must have cost to build. Can true Christians honestly say that with all that is heard and seen at this arts center, that it is an “invaluable resource” and an “ideal environment”? Certainly not. The following message from the Lord applies to AU and other SDA institutions today.

Special Testimonies, Series A, No. 12, p. 9

I have sent warnings to many physicians and ministers, and now I must warn all our churches to beware of men who are being sent out to do the work of spies in our conferences and churches,--a work instigated by the father of falsehood and deception. Let every church-member stand true to principle. We have been told what would come, and it has come. The enemy has been working under a species of scientific devising, even as he worked in Eden. I can not specify all now, but I say to our churches, Beware of the representations coming from Battle Creek that would lead you to disregard the warnings given by the Lord about the effort to make that a great educational center. Let not your sons and daughters be gathered there to receive their education. Powerful agencies have been stealthily working there to sow the seeds of evil.

Still Waters retreat house
http://www.stillwaters.org/overview/staff;
http://www.sdanet.org/atissue/books/called/benton-09.htm

These websites give information on Tom and Delcy Kuhlman who “felt called to establish a spiritual retreat facility” to be located on 70 acres near AU “in order to allow easy access to ministers, students, and others wishing to enrich their spiritual development.” Still Waters was established in 1989, and in 2009 the Kuhlmans transitioned to Founding Directors. Delcy continues to “journey with people through the gift of spiritual companionship.” It was stated that she spent 25 years “mothering her own and other people's children” which “contributed insights concerning unmet needs for pastoral services to help people surmount everyday stresses.” She attended the AU Seminary, earning a Master of Divinity degree and receiving clinical pastoral education.

Robert & Sarah Fusté have been living and working at Still Waters as co-directors since 2009 and have been a part of the “extended family” since 2001. While taking a course on discipleship at AU, they were invited “to join a group at Still Waters that was looking at the gift of spiritual direction. Participation in this group along with experiencing their first silent retreats and engaging in an ongoing practice of spiritual companionship” led the Fustés to join the board in 2003. It was “a growing call toward some kind of spiritual formation ministry that led them to leave Michigan in 2007 and spend nine months at the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico, partly to discern whether Still Waters might be a part of this calling.”

http://www.cacradicalgrace.org/aboutus/aboutus_index.html
The Center for Action and Contemplation was founded in 1987 by Franciscan Father Richard Rohr, “who saw the need for a training/formation center.” It claims to “serve as a place of discernment and growth for activists and those interested in social service ministries—a place to be still, and learn how to integrate a contemplative lifestyle with compassionate service. The Center’s purpose would be to serve not only as a forum for peaceful, non-violent social change but also as a radical voice for renewal and encouragement.” It is also “envisioned as a faith alternative to the dominant consciousness, offering hope, inspiration and challenge to a despairing world,” and “attracts people from around the world—those who seek peaceful, positive alternatives and solutions to the difficult challenges of our often materialistic, irrational and violent world.” They also share the vision and “understand the constructive message of the Gospel that crosses boundaries of religion, ethnicity, social class and gender.”

“Rooted in its Christian identity, Still Waters welcomes anyone desiring to deepen their journey with God. Our guests and friends come from a variety of denominations and faith backgrounds.” The facility “exists for the purpose of providing a place of silence, solitude and spiritual companionship to help one hear the Shepherd's voice and live prayerfully in their world.”

Those who practice these methods make it all sound so wonderful on the outside, but “inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15). It is not the true Shepherd’s voice they are hearing. Still Waters invites its guests “into the presence of the Lord.” Yet it is really inviting individuals into methods that lead to the presence of demons. One method is their outdoor walking prayer labyrinth.

http://www.stillwaters.org/uploads/pdf/sw_newsletter_december_09_color.pdf
The Fall/Winter 2009 Still Waters newsletter stated, “We have the opportunity to share about spiritual direction with the folks at Storyline in St. Joseph and then a few days later on taking retreat with the theology department at Andrews University in Berrien Springs.”

One of their FAQs states: “Is Still Waters a Seventh-day Adventist retreat center?
Even though the founders and the current co-directors both live out their Christianity through the Seventh-day Adventist faith tradition, we don't have any official affiliation with the Seventh-day Adventist church. We believe that the timeliness need for silence, solitude and spiritual companionship can help heal, nurture and refresh the soul longings of Adventists and non-Adventists, of Christians and non-Christians alike.”

Included in their website “Spiritual Companionship” section, are links to the Shalem Institute and Spiritual Directors International (SDI). Dallas Willard, Gerald May, Eugene Peterson, and Thomas Merton are referenced.

Once a quarter, Still Waters offers a Taizé Evensong service. Worship is held the last Saturday of each month from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. They believe that “knowing God” is more than “knowing about God,” and that “Scripture provides a venue for both.” The worship time “focuses on The Word, provides silence to ponder and listen for God’s personal invitation,” and “group sharing to offer a setting where you may experience God’s love.” However, God is not there for them to “experience,” and anyone who visits Still Waters, including from AU, is not drinking from the fountain of life.

http://www.andrews.edu/sem
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5006882/Teaching%20Spiritual%20Formation%202011-01-26.pdf
The first link above takes you to the second link, which shows the most recent information from Denis Fortin, the dean at AU, as a rebuttal, because AU has been under scrutiny for the last few years due to their teaching of “spiritual formation.” Fortin states the following: “We are diligent to select good academic books on this subject and the choice of books we adopt for our classes does not mean we accept all of these authors’ points of view. . . . It is unfair and false to state that spiritual formation is evil because it is associated with the writings of Church Fathers, some strands of more recent Roman Catholic thoughts, and some devotional practices of other religions. . . . Yet, to avoid any further confusion, we have decided to change the name of our courses to refer instead to biblical spirituality. We hope this will help alleviate some genuine concerns people have had.”

Somehow that clarification is not comforting. Changing the course name is not enough. AU is still in trouble.

Avondale College, Australia
http://www.avondale.edu.au
The information below comes from the SDA college in New South Wales, Australia.

  • The college’s Lake Macquarie Crows football team was established in 1997 and belongs to the Lake Macquarie-based Australian Rules Football club. Several players were selected for the first-grade team—the highest level of competition in that region.
  • Australia’s famous cricket athlete visited the campus during a “festive forum.” One of the students dressed in a cricket outfit “to face a delivery” as the athlete “bowled down the centre isle of Avondale College Seventh-day Adventist Church.” The college president presented a plaque to the athlete, which described him as “a role model for young Australians.” The article concluded by describing how he won an award and a medal. This is certainly a perfect example of desecrating a church sanctuary.
  • In August 2010 the college presented the Broadway fable and hit show, “Guys and Dolls.” http://www.nz-tourism.com/event/574/new-zealand/23/musicals/69442/avondale-college-presents-guys-and-dolls.html
    Students studying drama at Avondale College have produced scenes from Shakespeare’s plays. The college’s news article stated that each scene succeeded in “drawing members of the audience in” as they become “part of the play.” Hamlet’s Three Witches “added continuity and perspective.” The play also “included moments of silliness,” “didn’t lack humour or seriousness,” and viewing it was “bliss.”

Counsels to Writers and Editors, pp. 172-173

I was greatly pained to see on the first page of a recent issue of the Signs a picture of the birthplace of Shakespeare, accompanied by an article on Shakespeare. May the Lord pity our discernment if we have no better food than this to give the flock of God. It greatly distresses me to see those in positions of trust, who should daily be gaining a rich experience, placing such matter before the people.

Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He graciously condescends to dwell among them. Let those who are representing the truth for this time pray earnestly for clear spiritual discernment. Let them be sincerely jealous for the honor of the Lord God of hosts. Let them see the sinfulness of exalting such men as Shakespeare, calling the attention of people to those who did not in their lives honor God or represent Christ.

The men in responsible positions in God's work need to be renewed in the spirit of their mind. Let them lift their voices against the worship of human beings, giving honor to whom honor is due. The men who edit our papers need the divine touch. They need the unction of the Holy Spirit.

 

Manuscript Releases, Vol. 19, pp. 42-43

Brethren, let us come to our senses. In more ways than one are we departing from God. Oh, how ashamed I was of a recent number of the Signs of the Times! On the first page is an article on Shakespeare, a man who died a few days after a drunken carousal, losing his life through indulgence of perverted appetite. In this article it is stated that he did many good works. Man is extolled. The good and the evil are placed on the same level and published in a paper that our people use to give the third angel's message to many of those who cannot be reached by the preached word.

The publication of this article robbed me of my rest last night. I was thrown into an agony of distress. If our brethren have not discernment enough to see the evil of these things, when will they have? Why can they not understand the tenor of such things? We are to stand on the elevated platform of eternal truth. The edge of the sword of truth is not to be dulled. We must take a straightforward course, using the truth as a mighty cleaver to separate from the world men and women who will stand as God's peculiar people.

When we give the message in its purity, we shall have no time for pictures illustrating the birthplace of Shakespeare, or for pictures similar to the illustration of heathen goddesses that was used to fill the space on the first page of a recent number of the Review and Herald. We are not to educate others along these lines. God pronounces against [OR, "PASSES JUDGMENT ON."] such articles and illustrations.

I have a straightforward testimony to bear in regard to them. We are to extol neither idolatry nor men who did not choose to serve God. Years ago reproof was given our editors in regard to advocating the reading of even such books as Uncle Tom's Cabin, Aesop's Fables, and Robinson Crusoe. Those who begin to read such works usually desire to continue to read novels. Through the reading of enticing stories they rapidly lose their spirituality. This is one of the principal causes of the weak, uncertain spirituality of many of our youth.

If Ellen White were here today, she would say the same about what is seen on television and in theaters.

  • “The Promise” of Avondale College is a vocal group with music ranging from classical to contemporary gospel.
  • “Spice Girls” at Avondale College Talent Night 2008: This video showed five young men dancing to rock music and dressed in skimpy female outfits while the audience shouted, laughed, whistled, and cheered.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ny9pZ04kek&feature=related
  • “Back Dorm Boys” at Avondale College Talent Night 2007: This video showed five young men being “remotely-controlled” by a young woman as they dance to rock music and perform sexually provocative moves. These are certainly events that heavenly angels would weep over. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rN37x-RD9hU&NR=1&feature=fvwp

http://record.adventistconnect.org/assets/286567
The October 30, 2010 South Pacific Division Record magazine included a news feature on two Avondale College lecturers who wrote a chapter for a book on Australia’s first Catholic saint. Their chapter states that Ellen White and the Catholic saint both “reveal a bond of commonality and this insight provides a lens through which Seventh-day Adventists can appreciate the heroes of the many faith traditions throughout the world.”

This college boasts about “quality education,” yet with its lowered standards, music, drama, and sports, it is no longer about quality but about having a good time. Unless repented of, it will not be fun on judgment day.

Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, pp. 348-349

Recent experiences in our colleges and sanitariums lead me to present again instruction that the Lord gave me for the teachers and students in our school at Cooranbong, Australia.

In April, 1900, a holiday was appointed at the Avondale school for Christian workers. The program for the day provided for a meeting in the chapel in the morning, at which I and others addressed the students, calling their attention to what God had wrought in the building up of this school, and to their privilege and opportunities as students.

After the meeting, the remainder of the day was spent by the students in various games and sports, some of which were frivolous, rude, and grotesque.

During the following night I seemed to be witnessing the performances of the afternoon. The scene was clearly laid out before me, and I was given a message for the manager and teachers of the school.

I was shown that in the amusements carried on at the school that afternoon the enemy gained a victory, and teachers were weighed in the balances and found wanting. I was greatly distressed and burdened to think that those standing in responsible positions should open the door and, as it were, invite the enemy in; for this they did in permitting the exhibitions that took place. As teachers, they should have stood firm against giving place to the enemy in any such line. By what they permitted they marred their record and grieved the Spirit of God. The students were encouraged in a course the effects of which were not easily effaced. There is no end to the path of vain amusements, and every step taken in it is a step in a path which Christ has not traveled.

In an email, the For My People Ministry learned about a man in Australia who was raised as an SDA. However, when he attended Avondale College during the time Desmond Ford was there teaching the New Theology, everything seemed to fall apart spiritually for him. He is now a strong believer in evolution and does not believe in God at all. He had gone to Avondale to study theology but dropped out and later studied science elsewhere. He and many others have gone astray due to the apostasy at Avondale College. What a weight of lost souls these false educators must carry.

Canadian University College (CaUC), Canada
http://www.cauc.ca
This SDA College in Alberta, Canada promotes the following:

  • Contemporary Christian music.
  • Staying up late on Friday night.
  • Drama ministries.
  • Sports varsity teams, club teams or intramurals, including rugby, men's basketball and ice hockey, men's and women's soccer and volleyball, and the Acronaires tumbling/acrobatic team that performs in Central Alberta and went on tour to Jamaica.
  • The Campus Connections newsletter advertised the following in the classified section:

    • A Harry Potter Levitating Challenge game for sale.
    • A Sabbath morning discussion by Drs. Loren Agrey and Joy Fehr of the book, The Furious Longing of God, by Brennan Manning.
    • A concert by a group called “Eclectrip,” playing folk and jazz music with dramatic lighting, sound effects, and foot work. The advertisement said to “grab a seat for a great show” and to “get ready for an explosion of musical styles” as the concert series “finishes the season with a bang.”
    • A presentation by Bruce Boyd on the topic of Ellen White and drums. It stated that “worship music is often a flashpoint for conflict” in SDA churches and that an Ellen White quote about playing drums and the end of time is “often quoted by those who think that much contemporary Christian music should be excluded” from SDA worship. It then included a question on what Ellen White actually says about drums.

It is obvious that the faculty of this college does not agree with Ellen White’s statements on proper worship music. This subject is a point of conflict, because Satan has fooled SDAs into believing his music is alright. Yes, much contemporary Christian music should be excluded, since it is not approved of by the Great Musician in the heavenly courts.

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 92

How little we know of the bearing our acts will have upon the future history of ourselves and others. Many think it is of little importance what they do. It will do no harm for them to attend this concert, or unite with the world in that amusement, if they wish to do so. Thus Satan leads and controls their desires, and they do not consider that the results may be most momentous. It may be the link in the chain of events which binds a soul in the snare of Satan and determines his eternal ruin.

Northern Caribbean University, Jamaica
http://news.ncu.edu.jm/news_item.aspx?NewsID=1201
This SDA university included the following news item in July 2010:

A call was made during a keynote address by the field secretary of the Inter-American Division as delegates and members of the East Jamaica Conference of SDAs began the Third Quadrennial Session at the Kencot SDA Church in Kingston, Jamaica. He stated that if we live a life of grace “we cannot be in the Church of God and clutch the things of the world. We must deny the dirt of worldliness. God’s Grace should give us self control.”

The above sounds convincing and exemplary until the next statement: “The congregation was refreshed with inspirational singing from the Kencot Male Chorale, Carey Sales, One Voice, among others.” One Voice is comparable to contemporary music.

The Mayor of Kingston “lauded the work of Adventists in the city.” He explained, “I have always maintained and I say it without fear of contradiction that the role of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica in creating a path of righteousness and creating a path for our young people, has done more to the benefit of Jamaica than any other Christian denomination in Jamaica.” This was met with a loud applause from the congregation.

While that may be true, the churches still have a great need to come up to a higher calling. The For My People Ministry received emails from two SDAs in Jamaica, who mentioned the following:

  • The country is permeated with Satanic music, drug abuse, materialism, a culture of violence, and the people are difficult to reason with.
  • Another described the problems encountered in the SDA churches in Jamaica, and of the high apostasy rate after a campaign. It was shared how individuals were invited to church but did not come back, because the churches are low in spirituality.
  • The SDA Church has boasted about the large Jamaican membership yet has failed in its mission and become more focused on numbers. The country’s deplorable condition is because the servants of God have been asleep at their posts.

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2, p. 337

Men and women are in the last hours of probation, and yet are careless and stupid, and ministers have no power to arouse them; they are asleep themselves. Sleeping preachers preaching to a sleeping people!

La Sierra University (LSU), California
http://www.lasierra.edu
Sports: LSU currently competes on ten different sports based on the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s regulations. Included are men’s basketball, soccer, tennis, baseball, and golf as well as women’s basketball, soccer, tennis, volleyball, and softball. The Golden Eagles (LSU’s men’s and women’s basketball teams) included the following information on their website:

  • A list of their games against non-SDA schools.
  • Boasting about their fitness center, six-lane swimming pool, and six “state-of-the-art” tennis courts.
  • Mention of how the upgrading of their facilities is a “major priority,” because the athletes “deserve to showcase their abilities on fields and courts that match.” They are also installing new turf for the men’s soccer team, which will make it “one of the premier collegiate fields in the area” and will help bring new athletes to them. In the past, the condition of the field kept the students from being able to use it. Even though they do not realize it, that is a blessing, considering all the competition they are involved in. It was stated that the fields have been made to “look and play at the level we now desire.” The gym was renovated by redoing the logo and sealing the floor “in preparation for what will be an exciting season.” Also the grass field was replaced inside the running track with new artificial turf. It was done in order to “provide a safer, more attractive space that can be used more regularly for classes, intramurals, athletic events, and general recreation” for the students.
    http://www.lsugoldeneagles.com

Drama: The “News and Events” section for November 2009 was entitled “LSUDrama raises curtain on popular holiday comedy” where “all comic chaos breaks loose” and “delightfully eccentric characters attempt to cope with seasonal traumas.” It suggested bringing the whole family to join in the “holiday mayhem” of the “hilarious sequel to the hit comedy, ‘Greater Tuna.’ ” Additionally, a Hollywood film producer, writer and director showed one of his award-winning PG-rated films at LSU in order to share his movie-making knowledge. The announcement went on to describe more Hollywood details.
http://www.lasierra.edu/index.php?id=1972
http://www.lasierra.edu/index.php?id=2164

Another LSU event included a reading and signing by a world-famous award-winning poet, playwright, and screenwriter. His poetry is known as “arresting and distinctive,” witty, and authoritative. http://www.lasierra.edu/index.php?id=1743

Logo: It is interesting to note that the previous LSU school logo included the words “From Diversity, Community” and displayed a Maltese/iron cross. The current logo expresses the same motto. A description by Fritz Guy, the professor in LSU’s School of Religion, described the circle made by the eight figures (individuals with raised hands) as expressing the “underlying unity enriched by our diversity” through values, attitudes, and activities. He also stated that the figures display an “attitude of joyful worship.” The sun in the center “expresses the overall role” of LSU: to “enhance the light of God’s truth and the warmth of His love in all of its people, in its sponsoring church, and in the surrounding world.” One can only wonder how LSU can enhance God’s truth and love through its unbiblical practices.

New Age and Spiritualism: In April 2009, LSU held a weekend conference entitled “Adventist Women and the Earth: A Response to Ecofeminism,” which took place at the LSU Church. The conference featured talks, workshops, panels, a film screening of “Earth” at a local theater, a prayer labyrinth, and community outreach activities. On Sabbath morning, Somer Penington, Redlands Adventist Academy chaplain, discussed the Global Issues Experience prayer labyrinth and gave a talk entitled “I Came For the Wildflowers, and All I Got was a Snake.” Yes, indeed. When you utilize prayer labyrinths, you are inviting the serpent who beguiled Eve in the Garden of Eden. Sabbath afternoon featured Claremont Graduate University theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether who spoke on “Ecofeminism and Theology: A Comparative Perspective.” Sabbath afternoon workshops and panels included Sheryll Prinz-McMillan, the executive director of the Christian Counseling Center in Redlands and a pioneer of SDA women’s writings on ecofeminism; Warren Trenchard, LSU provost and professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature; and Ginger Hanks-Harwood, LSU Associate Professor of Religious and Theological Studies. The Art and Ecology workshop breakout session included Frances White, a Roman Catholic nun, artist, teacher, and peace educator. The former president of LSU’s Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) as well as current members of SIFE’s Environmental Sustainability Team, discussed their environmentally friendly project, which included on-campus construction of demonstration eco-domes. They also talked about “simple solutions to a brighter, greener future.” There is no bright future for those involved in the ecumenical ecology movement, which teaches there will be a millennium of peace on this earth, thus we must preserve it. There is no room in that idea for a Savior who is about to return to take His people to heaven and one thousand years later return to this desolate earth to recreate it. That is the solution to a brighter, greener future.
http://www.lasierra.edu/index.php?id=1603

Competition: The Pacific Union Recorder for July 2010 featured the LSU SIFE team delivering “topnotch presentations during recent national competitions, ultimately placing among the top teams in the country during the 2010 US SIFE National Exposition at Minneapolis in May.” The team is the winner of more national titles than any team in the world, with six U.S. trophies and two World Cups.

Evolution: According to David Asscherick, evangelist and Director of ARISE, LSU teaches evolution. In a letter sent to the then General Conference President, Jan Paulsen, and others, Asscherick writes:

Dear Pastors Paulsen, Schneider, and Graham,

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ. Like each of you, I am an ordained pastor of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church. I write these words with my heart on full display--from pastor to pastor. This letter concerns the teaching of evolution at La Sierra University. While I am not a formally trained scientist, I am, however, familiar with many of the apologetic, philosophical, and theological issues surrounding the theories of naturalistic evolution. I have made this an area of special study in my life and ministry. So, I feel both comfortable and qualified to speak to the issue, especially in its ecclesiastical ramifications.

It is a matter of incontestable fact that naturalistic evolution is being taught at La Sierra University. This is not in and of itself a bad thing. Evolution should be taught at our denominational universities. But it should be taught as a competing and inimical worldview to the biblical worldview. We need our young people to know what it is they are up against, yes, but when naturalistic evolution is taught as fact or as the preferred and normative worldview, then we can be sure that the enemy has breached our lines.

There is no point in equivocating. I have seen the class materials with my own eyes. Frankly, I think every Seventh-day Adventist deserves to see them. Our people need to know what is happening. Many of them have heard various rumblings, but being the conscientious, confiding, and hopeful people they are, they have generally assumed the very best. We are making capital of their trust.

http://www.detectingdesign.com/PDF%20Files/Lecture%202.pdf
http://www.detectingdesign.com/PDF%20Files/Lecture%203.pdf
Former chair of the biology department at LSU, Larry McCloskey, states in his Biology 112 syllabus from 2009 exactly the kind of material David Asscherick was referring too. On Slide 12 he states, “Evolution is supported by an overwhelming and constantly growing amount of scientific evidence.” Further he states on slide 35 of lecture 3, that “There is nothing ‘theoretical’ about the evidence supporting evolution.” The syllabus continues by stating, “The research about evolution is ongoing and continues to support and refine Darwin’s original ideas.” Unashamedly, McCloskey boasts that “No data have been found to refute the idea” of evolution and that “It is the single unifying explanation of the living world, and nothing makes much, if any, sense outside of this unifying theory.” The next slide continues to indoctrinate students into believing evolution is the only logical and scientific explanation for life on earth by stating that it has “stood up to intense, thorough, continual observation and criticism.”

McCloskey is just one professor from LSU that has helped to destroy the faith of those who were seeking an SDA education. You can find more information about this subject at:
http://www.detectingdesign.com/EvolutionofLaSierraUniversity.html
http://www.educatetruth.com

A testimony: To show that the apostasy had already entered the SDA Church decades ago, the following information is included from an individual who attended LSU in the late 1960’s to the early 70’s:

  • I recall being in a room where two LSU professors talked about viewing a movie that included violence and pornography.
  • Rock & roll was the music that most students listened to. I remember one student listening to the Woodstock album and stating that he wished that he had been there. Held in New York, it was a three-day orgy of rock & roll, drugs, and sex. Of course at the time, SDAs had their own music stars—the Wedgwood Trio, which was widely known as the “Adventist Beatles,” to copy the name of “The Beatles” rock band formed in England in 1960.
  • Two Buddhist students received a full scholarship to attend Loma Linda University from undergraduate to medical school by the SDA mission where they lived. They shared with me how they worshipped Buddha in their dorm room where they had set up a shrine to Buddha.
  • In my first year of Bible class, instead of holding up the truth of Ellen White’s statements against the idea that the “wine” provided by Jesus at the marriage in Cana was grape juice, the professor agreed with my suggestion that it did not matter, that it was the miracle that was important. Being a liberal professor, she believed it was real wine. Today I realize that I was wrong on that matter and that it was the Jewish culture to not drink wine.

Temperance, p. 97

The Bible nowhere sanctions the use of intoxicating wine. The wine that Christ made from water at the marriage feast of Cana was the pure juice of the grape. This is the "new wine . . . found in the cluster," of which the Scripture says, "Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it." Isaiah 65:8. 

It was Christ who, in the Old Testament, gave the warning to Israel, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." Proverbs 20:1. He Himself provided no such beverage. Satan tempts men to indulgence that will becloud reason and benumb the spiritual perceptions, but Christ teaches us to bring the lower nature into subjection. He never places before men that which would be a temptation. His whole life was an example of self-denial. It was to break the power of appetite that in the forty days' fast in the wilderness He suffered in our behalf the severest test that humanity could endure. It was Christ who directed that John the Baptist should drink neither wine nor strong drink. It was He who enjoined similar abstinence upon the wife of Manoah. Christ did not contradict His own teaching. The unfermented wine that He provided for the wedding guests was a wholesome and refreshing drink. This is the wine that was used by our Saviour and His disciples in the first Communion. It is the wine that should always be used on the Communion table as a symbol of the Saviour's blood. The sacramental service is designed to be soul-refreshing and life-giving. There is to be connected with it nothing that could minister to evil.

The attitude of many of the students was far from being like Christ. I know; I was one of them.

Loma Linda University (LLU), California
http://www.llu.edu
Drama: In January 2008, the LLU School of Religion, the Center for Spiritual Life and Wholeness, and Campus Ministries started a program called “Faith & Film” to connect faith with the arts. Two or three times each month during the lunch hour, faculty and students meet to watch a film and talk about its implications for modern Christians. The films include Hollywood drama, crime, and making “heroes” out of humans rather than Christ. Because of this, the implication of watching these films for modern Christians is that it is detrimental to their spiritual life.

Psychology: LLU’s Wholeness Portal website includes a section entitled “Jung Typology (Myers-Briggs)” in which it is promoted and offers a link to take a test.
http://www.explorewholeness.com/assessments.html

Spiritualistic book: The For My People Ministry received the following experience as shared in an email:

Six years ago, I found a book at the Loma Linda University campus store on quantum (vibrational) energy. At the time, I did not realize that the book was on New Age spiritualism. I read the entire book, which included a section on how your body supposedly has extra intuition. It stated that you can close your eyes and ask a question, and if you lean forward it is a “yes” answer. If you lean back it is a “no” answer, and if your body keeps rotating that means you are “unsure.” It was so deceptive because the book used scientific names and because it was sold in an SDA bookstore. Because of the book, I began to dig deeper into such practices as “dowsing” and bought “alpha wave” equipment as well as crystals and amulets. Those led me into visual meditation and the false prophet Edgar Cayce, who was hypnotized at a young age. He also went into vision during trances and would have supernatural insight, which enabled him to teach doctrines opposed to the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. When I realized I must quit what I was into, I sincerely prayed and repented. I threw my “idols” away, and in God’s mercy I was delivered. Then God led me to Ernie Knoll’s ministry, and I kept searching for truth. Once I broke free from spiritualism and read about it in the Spirit of Prophecy, God opened my eyes about the pervasiveness of spiritualism in the world today.

This person was under the opinion that all the books at the LLU campus store are trustworthy. That should be the case, but tragically it is not.

http://www.llu.edu/public-health/cpe/healthypeople/2011/program.page?
The LLU School of Public Health announced a “Healthy People Lifestyle Conference and Expo” for March 8-9, 2011. The first day’s program included a time for yoga. Is LLU aware of the fact that yoga will not produce spiritually healthy people? It is a serious offense how this influential school is leading people astray through New Age and spiritualism.

Newbold College, United Kingdom
http://www.newbold.ac.uk
The Newbold College website stated that its students “like a good night out” and also “enjoy extra-curricular activities like sport, music and drama.”

Sports: May 2010 featured the 15th Annual International Football Tournament on Newbold’s campus, which was “bustling with visiting footballers from all over the world” who were “excited to play for their home teams.” Large crowds supported and cheered for their favorite country’s team. Eleven teams “played their hearts out.” As the games continued, the cheering and matches “became more intense.” After the winner was announced, the “much-anticipated trophies and awards were distributed.”

Art: An art festival was advertised as a “celebration of creativity” with the “many genres of art” done by students.

Music: The students’ musical talent consists of a wide range of music, including contemporary styles. April 2010 included an “evening outing to London” to enjoy Oliver, a musical production based on a novel.

Entertainment: In March 2010, the college and community “celebrated” International Night. “Excitement filled the room” as representatives from 15 countries “took the stage.” Two “noble Newboldians” were the Masters of Ceremonies. With “hilarity and wit,” they “shared jokes between numbers, changed costumes with each appearance and announced the upcoming acts with great enthusiasm.” The night included national dances, comical skits, musical acts, as well as trivia questions with prizes. Newbold has the “uniqueness of celebrating diversity while coming together as one.” One participant stated, “I’ve learned more about the world at Newbold than anywhere else.” Yes, and much of the world that is taught should not be learned.

Fellowship: “ACTS 2010/A Day of Renewal” was Newbold’s “long-anticipated” Youth Day of Fellowship on a Sabbath, which became an “exciting reality” in February with 835 youth in attendance. One workshop involved a theology student who presented “Bridging the Gap: Creating Authentic Community.” He chose the topic because he is “passionate about doing church in new ways and trying to reach people in the culture around us.” A Newbold theology graduate and Christian politician held a workshop on “Christians Running for Public Office? Get Real!” (A statement under the “Arts and Humanities” section of Newbold’s website states that their graduates “have found success in a wide range of fields, including law, international development, events coordination, politics, academics and teaching.”) The workshops were followed by a baptism “celebration,” and the evening was “full of festivities and treats,” concluding with a concert of the “best sounds from around the UK.” One of the attendees claimed that the concert was better than X-Factor and that the group “4 Christ” could have “beaten JLS hands down!” JLS is a music group from the UK who do pop, R&B, and dance-pop. X-Factor is a British television singing competition to find new talent. The coordinator for the event stated that “to see people smile and be happy is well worth the effort.” It is sad to say, but when people smile and are “happy” because of learning how to “do church in new ways,” how to get into politics, and how to celebrate with festivities and foolishness, it is not worth the effort.

The Gospel Herald, August 1, 1899

God has warned his people not to become absorbed in politics. We cannot bear the sign of God as his commandment-keeping people, if we mingle with the strife of the world. We are not to give our minds to political issues.

 

The Review and Herald, June 21, 1898

In regard to the world, Christians will say, We will not dabble in politics. They will say, decidedly. We are pilgrims and strangers; our citizenship is above....

The Lord has been greatly dishonored by his people catching up the issues that arise in this time of test and trial. His people are to keep free from politics. They are to stand as a separate and peculiar people; the name of God, our Ruler, is to be in their foreheads, showing to all that he is their Sovereign.

 

Manuscript Releases, Vol. 3, pp. 40-41

God's people have been called out of the world, that they may be separated from the world. It is not safe for them to take sides in politics, whatever preference they may have. They are ever to remember that they are one in Christ. God calls upon them to enter their names as under His theocracy. He cannot approve of those who link up with worldlings. We are entirely out of our place when we identify ourselves with party interests. Let us not forget that we are citizens of the kingdom of heaven. We are soldiers of the cross of Christ, and our work is to advance the interests of His kingdom.

 

Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 334

Here we should reserve all our influence to act in upholding the truth. The sentiments brought to the front by politicians will be voiced by some who claim to be Sabbath keepers. What angels attend these in the pulpit as they stand up to give the flock poison instead of pure wheat, thoroughly winnowed? Here is the working of satanic agencies to bring in confusion, to bewitch the minds of old and young. Those who have been walking humbly with God will not be engrossed in advocating either side of this question. They will place themselves under His guardianship, and reveal that they are learning lessons from the Great Teacher, who has said, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."

Miscellaneous: A diversity seminar included a lecture entitled “The God Delusion” by a Jewish rabbi, who is a broadcaster, writer, and a minister of a synagogue.

A devotional on the college’s website quoted Morris Venden from his book, Faith That Works. As stated earlier in this chapter, he is a promoter of the New Theology, specifically the unbiblical idea that we are born sinners.

The Media Arts course includes “Shakespeare on Film” as an approved elective.

Newbold College began in 1901 as Duncombe Hall College. It educated ministers and church workers for the SDA Church. Its name has changed many times since it was a missionary training school. It is now advertised as a “fully-fledged international college of higher education offering degrees and diplomas in a wide range of subjects.” Yet it is stated that “in the hearts of many staff and students, there is real commitment to the Christian gospel.” Any faithful SDA today will acknowledge that Newbold would have been better staying as a missionary training school. Its “Christian gospel” of today is not the same as it was in 1901.

Oakwood University (OU), Alabama
http://www.oakwood.edu
Sports: Oakwood includes intercollegiate athletics and intramural sports. The intramurals are the most popular activity on the campus, offering “team competition in the men’s and women’s divisions.” Every year over 2,000 students, faculty, and staff “participate in one or many of the competitive and/or recreational sports activities offered.” The following sports are offered on campus: Men's and women’s basketball; men's and women’s soccer; volleyball; and track & field.

Guest speakers: Speakers at Oakwood have included such guests as non-SDA university presidents and professors, Baptist ministers, and film and television celebrities. It has become a habit for SDA colleges to invite non-SDAs to give lectures. We can only imagine what kind of ideas are being put into the minds of these students.

Competition:

  • A “Miss Oakwood University” pageant is held yearly, with the 16th pageant held in 2009 at a United Methodist Church where six young ladies competed. After an invocation, the six contestants began with a praise dance. The young women “prepared for the pageant through etiquette seminars, community service activities, and other training.” Resembling Hollywood’s “Miss America” pageant, each contestant competed in a talent and evening gown segment and was given a question to answer. There was a first and second runner-up and final walks. The finalist will be “featured along with campus queens from other historically Black colleges and universities in an upcoming issue of Ebony magazine.”

Child Guidance, p. 139

Vanity should not be encouraged by praising their looks, their words, or their actions.

  • The Adventist Review of April 23, 2009 wrote about OU competing in the three-day Honda Campus All-Star Challenge. It stated the following:

    • “While college basketball teams were competing for March Madness bragging rights, other highly gifted students were doing the same—just not on the basketball court.”
    • OU “emerged victorious as the 2009 National Champions.”
    • OU “beat second-place finisher North Carolina Central University to claim the championship and take home grant money for its school.”
    • OU was allowed “to complete its rounds outside of the hours of the Sabbath.”

Being able to keep the Sabbath hours does not justify the competition and time wasted learning trivial knowledge. To receive grant money by competing is to receive ill-gotten gain.

The Signs of the Times, August 1, 1892

If your associates are worldlings who flatter you, telling you how smart you are, and what great things you can do, and you love this unhallowed nonsense, you may well feel that you are in peril; for your moral taste is perverted, your perceptions are blunted.

Music: An a cappella singing group from Oakwood competed on NBC’s “The Sing-off” and won the national singing championship title. They sang one of Michael Jackson’s songs as well as other popular music. First prize was $100,000 and a Sony Music recording contract. How tragic that our young people today are being encouraged to join with the world in its fame and fortune, rather than seeking the humble life of Jesus and heavenly treasures.

The university’s radio station plays a blend of “Inspirational Christian, Lite Urban Gospel, and Adult Contemporary music.”
           
Student activities: Oakwood’s United Student Movement includes these activities: Back to School Block Party; Intramural Sport Competitions; Oak Awards; and Academic Bowl Competitions.

Pacific Union College (PUC), California
http://www.puc.edu
PUC’s diversity statement says “to welcome students of other faith traditions into our community and conversation, valuing their perspectives while respectfully sharing our own.” While it is biblical to respect mankind, it is not biblical to value their perspectives if they are unbiblical.

Many SDA colleges, including PUC, have recently added a film and television major, including drama.

Worship at PUC involves the following:

  • Sunset Med” on Friday night after Vespers to “celebrate” with “modern praise and worship,” singing with friends and a “wide variety of bands.”
  • Virtuous Dudes” is a “group of extraordinary men” who meets on Monday nights to “worship God in the Newton sauna.” They are “digging deeper into spiritual views” or hearing special guests speak. It is “where inspiration meets perspiration.”
  • In Dauphinee Chapel, you can “stumble upon several dozen girls in PJs and slippers, singing at the top of their lungs.” It is called “Virtuous Women,” which meets once a month with “powerful speakers, fun giveaways like fuzzy slippers and jelly beans, and all-girl praise bands to help the girls get their jam on and sing the stress away.”
  • The collegiate Sabbath School includes not only lesson studies but “lots of contemporary Christian music.”
  • The Gathering” is a contemporary worship service held at the PUC Church at 12:10 p.m. for people who prefer “modern and popular genres of music.”
  • Each Sabbath from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. the PUC Church families “host tables with drinks, food, and conversation to get you connected and nourished.”

Sports and athletics includes the gymnasium where students play sports in “formal and informal groups,” the fitness center and weight room, climbing wall, pool, track, tennis courts, and “popular intramurals to league sport teams.” The Pioneers teams include men’s and women’s basketball and cross country, men’s soccer, women’s volleyball, in which they play in the California Pacific Conference, a division of the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics. PUC’s Winter 2010 Viewpoint magazine included a photo of PUC students with the caption stating “Midnight Madness: At a late night pep rally, students met the Pioneers teams, held contests, and won t-shirts.” The school’s Intramural Program involves “playing everything from ultimate Frisbee to floor hockey” and “offers team schedules, sports-talk podcasts, and photo galleries.” Mountain bike races are held twice a year.

The Pacific Union Recorder for July 2010 included information on 16 PUC psychology majors and 4 professors attending the Western Psychological Association convention in Cancun, Mexico. The convention was sponsored by Psi Chi, which is the National Honor Society in Psychology. Besides being Greek letters, psi and chi are also used as psychology terms. “Psi” is a term from parapsychology and related to extrasensory perception (ESP), mental telepathy, and “energy transfer.” In modern times, it is known as “psychic.” “Chi” in Chinese philosophy is the “circulating life energy” or “universal life force” that is believed to be in all things. It is also thought to be an “internal energy” that flows through the acupuncture meridians to bring “life-giving force” to the body’s organs. Does this sound like a society that a Christian should be involved in?

PUC’s Winter 2009 Viewpoint magazine included the following:

  • The cover graphic displayed a prayer labyrinth.
  • Professor Greg Schneider, who