For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.
Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 7, p. 41
I am instructed to say that those who would tear down the foundation that God has laid are not to be accepted as the teachers and leaders of His people.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 4, pp. 210-211
Satan's chief work is at the headquarters of our faith. He spares no pains to corrupt men in responsible positions and to persuade them to be unfaithful to their several trusts. He insinuates his suspicions and jealousies into the minds of those whose business it is to do God's work faithfully. While God is testing and proving these helpers, and fitting them for their posts, Satan is doing his utmost to deceive and allure them, that they may not only be destroyed themselves, but may influence others to do wrong and to injure the great work. He seeks by all the means in his power to shake the confidence of God's people in the voice of warning and reproof through which God designs to purify the church and prosper His cause.
Ibid., Vol. 2, p. 439
Men who stand in very responsible positions at the heart of the work are asleep. Satan has paralyzed them in order that his plans and devices may not be discerned, while he is active to ensnare, deceive, and destroy.
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 409
Unsanctified ministers are arraying themselves against God. They are praising Christ and the god of this world in the same breath.... Let the son of deceit and false witness be entertained by a church that has had great light, great evidence, and that church will discard the message the Lord has sent, and receive the most unreasonable assertions and false suppositions and false theories. Satan laughs at their folly, for he knows what truth is.
The Review and Herald, April 2, 1908
A great danger threatens us in the influence of some who have not followed on step by step to know the Lord. False doctrines have come into our ranks in some places, doctrines that are creating a careless neglect to keep the way of the Lord. There are among us men who in the past God has used to his name's glory, but who are now being ensnared by Satan's deceptions. Many who once prized the truth, because they have refused to heed the instruction God has sent, have become independent and full of self-justification. These men are not to be entrusted as guides for us or for our youth.
Selected Messages, Book 3, p. 411
We shall in the future, as we have in the past, see all kinds of character developed. We shall witness the apostasy of men in whom we have had confidence, in whom we trusted, who, we supposed, were as true as steel to principle.
The Great Controversy (1888), p. 620
All who endeavor to excuse or conceal their sins, and permit them to remain upon the books of Heaven, unconfessed and unforgiven, will be overcome by Satan. The more exalted their profession, and the more honorable the position which they hold, the more grievous is their course in the sight of God, and the more sure the triumph of their great adversary.
Manuscript Releases, Vol. 7, p. 183
The message given man to proclaim in these last days is not to be amalgamated with worldly opinions. In these days of peril, nothing but obedience will keep man from apostasy. God has bestowed on man great light and many blessings. But unless this light and these blessings are received, they are no security against apostasy and disobedience. When those whom God has exalted to positions of high trust turn from Him to human wisdom, their light becomes darkness; and how great is that darkness! Their entrusted capabilities are a snare to them. They become an offense to God. There can be no mockery of God without the sure result.
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 265
The world must not be introduced into the church, and married to the church, forming a bond of unity. Through this means the church will become indeed corrupt, and as stated in Revelation, "a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." Through association with the world our institutions will become unsubstantial, unreliable; because these worldly elements, introduced and placed in positions of trust, are looked up to as teachers to be respected in their educating, directing, and official position, and they are sure to be worked upon by the spirit and power of darkness; so that the demarcation becomes not distinguished between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.
Pamphlet 157 17-18 (Special Testimony to the Oakland and Battle Creek Churches)
During the week of prayer God would have wrought in a manner you have not yet realized were it not for the corrupting principles existing in the church at the very heart of the work, where it was supposed and where it has been taught that the counsel coming therefrom was of God. But the neglect of the measures that should have been taken to cleanse from our institutions and from our church their moral defilement, has brought the wrath of God upon his people.
Last Day Events, pp. 204-206
In the last solemn work few great men will be engaged.... God will work a work in our day that but few anticipate. He will raise up and exalt among us those who are taught rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the outward training of scientific institutions. These facilities are not to be despised or condemned; they are ordained of God, but they can furnish only the exterior qualifications. God will manifest that He is not dependent on learned, self-important mortals.
The Comforter is to reveal Himself, not in any specified, precise way that man may mark out, but in the order of God--in unexpected times and ways that will honor His own name.
He will raise up from among the common people men and women to do His work, even as of old He called fishermen to be His disciples. There will soon be an awakening that will surprise many. Those who do not realize the necessity of what is to be done will be passed by, and the heavenly messengers will work with those who are called the common people, fitting them to carry the truth to many places....
It is discipline of spirit, cleanness of heart and thought that is needed. This is of more value than brilliant talent, tact, or knowledge. An ordinary mind, trained to obey a "Thus saith the Lord," is better qualified for God's work than are those who have capabilities but do not employ them rightly....
Words will come from the lips of the unlearned with such convincing power and wisdom that conversions will be made to the truth. Thousands will be converted under their testimony.
Why should the illiterate man have this power, which the learned man has not? The illiterate one, through faith in Christ, has come into the atmosphere of pure, clear truth, while the learned man has turned away from the truth. The poor man is Christ's witness. He cannot appeal to histories or to so-called high science, but he gathers from the Word of God powerful evidence.
When the heavenly intelligences see that men will no longer present the truth in simplicity as did Jesus, the very children will be moved upon by the Spirit of God and will go forth proclaiming the truth for this time.
The following includes details about some of the SDA leaders and conferences who are leading others into spiritual darkness.
Atlantic Union Conference of SDAs
In August 2009 the Atlantic Union Conference held a Pastors and Teachers Convention that was co-sponsored by the Ministerial Departments and the Office of Education in the Atlantic Union, Bermuda, Greater New York, New York, Northeastern, Northern New England, and Southern New England Conferences. A special feature included a “4 Ball, Best Ball, 27 Holes Golf Tournament,” which included prizes for the “longest drive,” “closest to the pin,” and the winning team.
- A series of contests in which a number of contestants compete and the one that prevails through the final round or that finishes with the best record is declared the winner.
- A medieval martial sport in which two groups of mounted and armored combatants fought against each other with blunted lances or swords.
Is a golf tournament something that our Church pastors and teachers should be involved in as witnesses for church members and students?
Some of the articles featured in the April 2009 Atlantic Union Gleaner are described below.
- Ron Halvorsen, Sr. visited the Patchogue SDA Church in New York and presented two messages entitled “Faith on Fire” and “Prayer Revival.” In the afternoon he presented a seminar that discussed in depth three topics: taking cities for God, prayer walking, and warfare praying (prayer warriors). The prayer-filled seminar concluded with a music concert. Many of the church members have since stated that they “appreciated the presentations and have put into practice much of what they learned.”
- A communication workshop was held in Albany, New York in February 2009, in which a photo is shown of attendees from area churches in the Northeastern Conference of SDAs. They are standing during a morning devotional service with their hands raised “to praise the Lord in song.”
- A GODencounters Young Adult Retreat article entitled “24/7 Worship” included a photo of Maria Long, an SDA pastor’s wife, singing popular Christian rock/pop with a guitar and dressed in destructed jeans (new jeans that look very worn). The Spirit of Prophecy tells us that in spiritual meetings we are to wear the best we have, not something that looks as though a person was in major destruction. That is a distraction, irreverent, and a disgrace to our Creator. The exception is if that is all a person has to wear, but that is certainly not the case in this situation.
Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, pp. 86-87
All who meet upon the Sabbath to worship God, should, if possible, have neat, well-fitting, comely garments to wear in the house of worship. It is a dishonor to the Sabbath, to God, and to his house, for those who profess to believe that the Sabbath is the holy of the Lord, and honorable, to wear upon that day the soiled clothing which they have worn through the labors of the week, if they can obtain anything more suitable....
In their dress they avoid superfluity and display; but their clothing is modest, and arranged upon the person with order and taste. They are more anxious for their bodies to be in a condition to glorify God, than they are to be clothed according to the latest dictates of fashion.
In October 2010, Maria Long performed at the Bonnerdale SDA Church in Arkansas. She is also scheduled to perform on Friday and Sabbath in April 2011 at Andrews University.
The August 2007 Newsletter for Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA had the following statement: “Following a delicious fellowship meal arranged for by the church, members gathered once again in the church sanctuary for a mini-concert by Maria Long and an additional baptismal service.” This is a desecration to combine Christian rock with a baptismal service.
Even though Maria Long says that Christ is everything to her, not only is she deceived by the music she uses, but it is a disgrace as a pastor’s wife. Many people believe they are being used by God to witness through their popular music, but one cannot be led to the true God with Satan’s music. Unless they repent, when the false Christ comes, it will be very easy for them to believe it is the true Christ.
One attendee of the GODencounters retreat stated that the “Bring Back Ancient Worship” workshop on three types of prayer helped them understand the power of prayer and how to improve their prayer life, which left them feeling uplifted and excited. Why is it individuals cannot be excited with what God’s Word already tells us about prayer? It is interesting to note here that “ancient-wisdom” is another term for contemplative spirituality.
A Dare2Do Youth Congress held in October 2010 was co-sponsored by the Youth Ministries departments of the Atlantic Union Conference and its six local conferences. Besides an “inspiring drama presentation,” Steve Varro, a Christian illusionist, “shared many gospel illustrations through illusions.” Several people said the highlight of the weekend was the lessons gained from Varro’s ministry. He travels worldwide to share his “gospel magic” and states that it is to teach object lessons through entertainment. “The Magic of Laughter” is a secular program available for social events and is advertised as “family entertainment with lots of clean comedy and audience participation” along with a “skillful blend of magic” that “leaves audiences laughing, mystified and most importantly . . . entertained.” He has also performed with many celebrities. Some of the memberships Varro has been in involved with include the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the Magical Arts Guild, the Hollywood Magic Castle, and the Fellowship of Christian Magicians. Contrary to Varro’s beliefs, the gospel cannot be combined with magic, entertainment, and Hollywood. Are Christians being prepared for the “magic” that Satan will perform when he impersonates Christ?
Columbia Union Conference of SDAs
The banner on the website home page for this conference states: “Helping People Celebrate God’s Transforming Grace.”
The following is some of what was voted at their 2007 year-end meetings for implementation through 2011: Foster a culture of discipleship; support innovation; increase enrollment in SDA schools; and support initiatives and programs to increase attendance in SDA churches.
The Conference on Innovation in Ohio was advertised and highly recommended. It was stated that the conference would “stretch their thinking” on how to “enhance the organizational church’s viability and ministries.” A photo was included of Raj Attiken welcoming attendees during opening night and a statement that he is a “forwarding-thinking church leader who encourages innovative thinking throughout the field he leads.”
The June 1998 Columbia Union Visitor wrote a synopsis on a talent show held at the Burnt Mills SDA Church in Silver Spring, Maryland. The following describes the event:
- It was a “festive atmosphere.”
- It was “lights, camera, action! With skits and songs, recitals and readings, cookies and quizzes, there was never a dull moment.”
- It was an evening that “emphasized the diversity” of its “multicultural church family."
- The “varied fare of entertainment” included:
- A church member and her friends who “had the crowd in splits” with their ‘The Boyfriend’ skit.
- Three East Indians presented an Indian song “that had the audience tapping its feet to the lively rhythm.”
- Other “delightful musical interludes” included a romantic tribute, and a song sung in “splendid operatic style.”
- “Skits that drew members of the audience in for impromptu performances were a big hit.” The performers delivered a “rousing performance.”
- A pastor was the “star of the evening” who “surprised the congregation with his hitherto-hidden talents.”
- “And for those who didn't get their fill from musical, oratory and theatrical talents,” the cookie-baking contest provided refreshments after “all the excitement.”
- Talent contest winners were chosen and “It was an unforgettable Saturday Night Live at Burnt Mills that revealed how generous the Lord has been in blessing us with talents and potential.” However, a talent show is not the type of talent and potential that God desires.
The “From the Pulpit” section in the December 2008 Columbia Union Visitor included a quote by Leonard Sweet.
In the same issue, Kermit Netteburg, senior pastor of Beltsville SDA Church in Maryland, stated that we should not look for signs of Christ’s return in disasters and should not warn people that the end is near because the “situation is so bad.” He goes on to state that the disasters are “what the devil is doing” and that “Jesus is not waiting for the devil to do more bad things; He’s waiting for Christians—his disciples—to do more good things.” What does God’s Word say about disasters?
Last Day Events, pp. 27-28
What mean the awful calamities by sea--vessels hurled into eternity without a moment's warning? What mean the accidents by land--fire consuming the riches that men have hoarded, much of which has been accumulated by oppression of the poor? The Lord will not interfere to protect the property of those who transgress His law, break His covenant, and trample upon His Sabbath, accepting in its place a spurious rest day.
The plagues of God are already falling upon the earth, sweeping away the most costly structures as if by a breath of fire from heaven. Will not these judgments bring professing Christians to their senses? God permits them to come that the world may take heed, that sinners may be afraid and tremble before Him.
God has a purpose in permitting these calamities to occur. They are one of His means of calling men and women to their senses. By unusual workings through nature God will express to doubting human agencies that which He clearly reveals in His Word.
How frequently we hear of earthquakes and tornadoes, of destruction by fire and flood, with great loss of life and property! Apparently these calamities are capricious outbreaks of disorganized, unregulated forces of nature, wholly beyond the control of man, but in them all God's purpose may be read. They are among the agencies by which He seeks to arouse men and women to a sense of their danger.
Most today do not want to tremble before God, come to their senses, or be aroused to their danger. However, if they do not follow God’s instructions, what will their consequences be? Loss of property, suffering the plagues, then weeping and gnashing their teeth at Christ’s return.
Netteburg states that what gives him confidence that Christ’s coming is soon are the stories from God’s people and that God is “working among us to finish His work.” He then goes on to give examples of church baptisms, church plants, and Bible study interests as his reason for believing in Christ’s soon return. This is the emerging church “works” idea. Just because the SDA Church is growing at a rapid rate today does not indicate it is hastening Christ’s return--certainly not with apostasy in its ranks. What hastens Christ’s return is the purifying of His church, not bringing in more of the world.
In February 2011, the Columbia Union Conference website home page featured news on the special issue of Insight magazine to reach 100,000 Super Bowl enthusiasts. The editor wanted everyone who came to the game to have an opportunity “to meet Jesus” by receiving the magazine. His idea was encouraged by youth leaders around the country and by Ted Wilson, “who raised donations to print 100,000 copies of the special issue at the Review and Herald Publishing Association.” It was announced that churches and youth groups could request free copies of the issue. The director of Subscriber Services at the Review said, “My email was just popping. I received a total of 285 requests, and within a week all 100,000 magazines were spoken for.” The issue included a cover photo and interview with a football star and an article on a football coach whose goal is to be “coaching like Christ.” Lay people, especially the youth, from across the U.S. distributed the magazine in their neighborhoods.
Regrettably, that special issue did not help people “meet Jesus,” because He does not approve of a popular issue that brings glory to football stars and coaches rather than God. The fact that the president of the General Conference and SDA youth leaders from across the U.S. approved of this project indicates the miserable condition the Church is in. How unfortunate that time and money was not spent on a magazine that warned people about the dangers of football and the joys of true recreation.
Bahamas Conference of SDAs
This conference included an article on their website from “Adventist World News” for July 2009 featuring “The Devout Diva: Star running back Rachelle Pecovsky-Bentley puts God before gridiron.” “An Adventist Who Chooses God Over Football.” Below is part of the article.
As the sun sets on her football career with this weekend’s Sup-Her Bowl game, Rachelle Pecovsky-Bentley has been taking a lot of time checking out the sunsets. Well, the D.C. Divas’ retiring star checked out what time the sun sets, anyway. She can tell you without hesitation, for example, when sundown took place on July 11 in Massachusetts, site of the Divas’ last-second, come-from-behind thriller win over the Boston Militia that earned the Divas a trip to the IWFL’s championship game.
“It wasn’t until 8:22,” Pecovsky-Bentley tells me. And that explains why she didn’t play at all in the semifinals game. So had the Divas lost, Pecovsky-Bentley’s run as a player would have ended with her not even in uniform. But, perhaps with some divine assistance, a teammate returned a kickoff 85 yards with just 40 seconds left in the game for the win.
So Pecovsky-Bentley lives to play another game. Well, another half-game, anyway.
The tale of what will be her 10th and final season in women’s tackle football goes like this: Pecovsky-Bentley’s a Seventh-day Adventist. Adventism calls for followers to honor the Sabbath from sunset on Fridays through sunset on Saturdays. That means honoring God, not running for daylight on a football field. Divas home and road games are played on Saturdays and typically have kickoff times of either 6 p.m. or 7 p.m.—or right in the Sabbath’s wheelhouse. The game days and times have been the same since Pecovsky-Bentley joined the squad in 2006, after starring in Philadelphia and Delaware, but she played alongside her teammates and prayed later.
In the past, she “let football mean more than faith,” but during the last preseason, she was “no longer willing to put gridiron before God.” So she “went to Howard and told him she would be of no use to the squad, because her beliefs would cause her to miss too many training camp workouts and games.” However, Howard “made a deal.” She could “honor God and play football.”
Those who compete in sports like to bring out the point of not playing during Sabbath hours, how it is a great witness, and brings glory to God. Some state that they were even able to keep their grade point average high. Regardless of these two points, what have they forgotten from God’s Word? The issues of competition and honor of men.
Hawaii Conference of SDAs
The May 2010 Pacific Union Recorder entitled an article “Youth Leaders Become Better Equipped to Lead.” “Leading by Listening, Learning and Loving” was the theme for the Hawaii Conference “children and youth leaders Hand 'n Hand training weekend.” It must be questioned how the youth leaders can become better equipped to lead with the following:
- Featured speakers from Loma Linda University church and La Sierra University.
- “How to reach kids by incorporating all learning styles” and “how ministry fits into post-modern society.”
- “The program was full of variety,” featuring a praise team, a testimony about having fun at camp, and the Kailua’s Campus of Hawaiian Mission Academy presenting a dramatization.
- Two individuals were “recognized in honor of their devotion to youth and their volunteer spirits,” with one of them receiving a plaque.
- The Hawaii Conference youth director stated, “It is thrilling to see new leaders getting excited about being trained to explore new ideas for leadership in children's and youth ministries.”
- Mention was made of the summer camp program offering “another avenue for young people to connect with Jesus.”
The following was shared with the For My People Ministry by a pastor who attended a teachers’ orientation: “As soon as we assembled, the conference president said we should not put emphasis on last day events, that we should not say we can hasten Christ’s return by godly living, and that we should only focus on Jesus and what He has done. Another leader used a quote from The Great Controversy book by Ellen White and implied that it contradicted the Bible. The quote was referring to living on the earth without a mediator. It is clear that Satan is mad that people are talking about preparing for Jesus to come.”
Spirits of devils
This true experience is an example of two pastors who could have shared truth but did not.
Several years ago, a head deacon of a local SDA Church went to a cemetery to visit his mother’s gravesite. Not remembering where it was located, he went to the cemetery office to inquire. The attendant showed him the location and stated that his mother would be waiting for him. While at his mother’s grave, he felt a distinct presence, but did not know what it was.
Sometime later while at a church conference, the deacon related the incident to two pastors and asked what they thought the presence was. One of the pastors who had written a book on the state of the dead responded that he was not sure what it was, that it could have been just a feeling. The other pastor said that we are not really designed to deal well with death and that it was probably just an emotional response from not being there for quite some time and not to worry about it.
What should have been the correct response? That Satan and his angels are out to convince people that when you die you immediately go to heaven, and that he will do all he can to persuade us of that lie, even during a visit to the gravesite of a loved one.
Early Writings, p. 87
I saw that the saints must get a thorough understanding of present truth, which they will be obliged to maintain from the Scriptures. They must understand the state of the dead; for the spirits of devils will yet appear to them, professing to be beloved friends and relatives, who will declare to them that the Sabbath has been changed, also other unscriptural doctrines. They will do all in their power to excite sympathy and will work miracles before them to confirm what they declare. The people of God must be prepared to withstand these spirits with the Bible truth that the dead know not anything, and that they who appear to them are the spirits of devils.
At death the body turns to dust again, and the spirit returns to God. The spirit is simply the breath of life.
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
…the spirit of God is in my nostrils.
…the body without the spirit is dead….
…the dead know not any thing….
The dead praise not the Lord….
These websites reveal the SDA Church involvement and promotion of life insurance. The Lord has given us advice on this practice that still applies to us today.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, pp. 549-550
I was shown that Sabbathkeeping Adventists should not engage in life insurance. This is a commerce with the world which God does not approve. Those who engage in this enterprise are uniting with the world, while God calls His people to come out from among them and to be separate. Said the angel: "Christ has purchased you by the sacrifice of His life.
'What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.' 'For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.'" Here is the only life insurance which heaven sanctions.
Life insurance is a worldly policy which leads our brethren who engage in it to depart from the simplicity and purity of the gospel. Every such departure weakens our faith and lessens our spirituality. Said the angel: "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." As a people we are in a special sense the Lord's. Christ has bought us. Angels that excel in strength surround us. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without the notice of our heavenly Father. Even the hairs of our head are numbered. God has made provision for His people. He has a special care for them, and they should not distrust His providence by engaging in a policy with the world.
God designs that we should preserve in simplicity and holiness our peculiarity as a people. Those who engage in this worldly policy invest means which belong to God, which He has entrusted to them to use in His cause, to advance His work. But few will realize any returns from life insurance, and without God's blessing even these will prove an injury instead of a benefit. Those whom God has made His stewards have no right to place in the enemy's ranks the means which He has entrusted to them to use in His cause.
http://palmbaysdachurch.org/church/pastor.php (original website)
Following is a list of Phipps’ accomplishments as stated on his church’s website.
- Senior pastor, Palm Bay SDA Church, Florida with contemporary music used; known as a “spirit-filled” preacher.
- Attended Oakwood College; received B.A degree in Theology.
- Attended Andrews University; received M.Div. degree.
- World-famous vocalist.
- Founder and president of U.S. Dream Academy, Inc., an educational program for at-risk children and youth.
- “Innovative” initiator of many projects.
- Performed for the 1984 and 1988 National Democratic Conventions; Robert Schuller's Hour of Power Telecast; the Billy Graham Crusades; the Vatican; Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Diana Ross' wedding; Saturday Night Live; Sunday Live; Oprah Winfrey Show and CBS Nightwatch as well as non-SDA churches and other events.
- Nominated for Grammy Awards in 1988 and 1989.
- Founder of Songs of Freedom Publishing Company and Coral Records Recording Company.
This Adventist Review article discussed the role of Phipps as the only soloist during U.S. President Obama’s inaugural prayer service. The article also included a link to Phipps’ website called, “U.S. Dream Academy” at http://www.usdreamacademy.org, which promotes Oprah’s Angel Network.
A Time of Departing, Ray Yungen, Lighthouse Trails Publishing, Silverton, Oregon, 2008, pp. 103-104
Oprah’s 2005 book, Live Your Best Life, highlights various areas of her philosophies. In the chapter on spirituality there is a story about Spiritual Energy. In it, there is a positive reference to a Reiki master who supports Oprah’s view that “we [humanity] are all interrelated.” This underlies Winfrey’s spirituality, that ALL IS ONE. Despite her charming personal manner, there is little doubt her viewers and readers are still being fed a consistent diet of New Age spirituality.
Why would the Adventist Review editors promote Phipps who promotes Oprah Winfrey—a woman who endorses New Age spirituality? Why do the editors not carefully research before promoting individuals in their articles? Or are they aware and simply do not see the danger? The more influence a person has, the more souls that are lost.
Following is information from the U.S. Dream Academy website:
- Dream Builder Corporate Partners: Adventist Health Systems; Coca Cola Consolidated; Black Entertainment Television Jazz (BETJ).
- Major donors: The Oprah Winfrey Foundation; Coca Cola Bottling Company; Pacers Basketball Corporation Foundation; BET on Jazz; Dionne Warwick Institute.
- Famous supporters: Oprah Winfrey; former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Senator Orrin Hatch; miscellaneous performers, actors, etc.
- Faith Partners: Sligo SDA Church and non-SDA churches.
- 2008 Board of Directors: Delbert Baker, former President, Oakwood University; Barry Black (SDA), Chaplain, United States Senate; Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, Inc.; Benjamin Carson (SDA), Director, Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins Hospital; Benjamin Reaves, Vice President of Mission and Ministries, Adventist Health System; Lynn Parris, Licensed Instructor, Northeastern Conference of SDA; and others.
Summer 2008 Hollywood Field Trip: DreamKids received awards for academic excellence in theater, Tae Kwon Do, and athletic sportsmanship. A Fashion Expo workshop was also held.
The “U.S. Dream Academy” website’s home page also uses the words innovative and mentoring.
Phipps’ website reveals socializing with and condoning the world’s politicians, actors, musicians, comedians, and sports athletes. An opportunity to share the true gospel with children is lost. Instead they are being taught how to be “rich and famous.” What a tragedy.
With all this information, it is puzzling as to why Phipps as well as many others are allowed to remain as SDA pastors.
Dennis Smith has been a pastor for the New Haven SDA Church in Connecticut and has authored many books, including The Baptism of the Holy Spirit. He talks of how he visited his church members, offering prayer with them and “laying hands” on them to “claim God’s promise to fill them with His Spirit.”
The book discusses Smith holding a revival with prayer fasting and contemporary praise songs as well as “seeking the baptism of the Holy Spirit, revival and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.”
He promotes the book Fresh Power by Jim Cymbala, which he says is a book that “wonderfully illustrates the power of Holy Spirit ministry.”
Jim Cymbala is the leader of The Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York City, which is a charismatic, non-SDA church with a choir that won a Grammy for their contemporary gospel performance. The photos on their website include members with their hands raised during a service. One can plainly see that they are not receiving the right spirit. Why would an SDA pastor such as Dennis Smith promote a book by such a leader?
Smith’s book describes a revival meeting he conducted where he states that they “experienced the presence of God as I have never experienced Him before. It is difficult to describe in words. One would have to be there to understand. His presence and blessing seemed to grow from meeting to meeting. The moving of the Spirit in personal lives, the joy, the fellowship was wonderful. One lady described it as ‘falling in love with Jesus again.’ Night after night I would hear individuals making comments about the renewed experience they were having with God.” Were they simply experiencing their feelings, not the work of true revival?
Another book by Smith is entitled 40 Days - Prayers and Devotions. The ad for his book states that “as you spend 40 amazing days with God, He will prepare you for earth's final crisis and Christ's long-anticipated second coming.” How could everyone who reads this book automatically be prepared for the final crisis in just “40 amazing days”? Smith’s methods are similar to Operation Global Rain.
The 40 Days book is also aimed at church evangelism along with Visitor’s Sabbath. Materials must be purchased for a fee. It is advertised that “Kick-Off Sabbath” should be “approximately 40 days before Visitor's Sabbath and 50 days before evangelistic meetings.” Why are sports terms used to advertise spiritual programs as well as in sermons and articles?
Additionally, has the “40 Days” book been copied from the world? Lent includes 40 days of prayer and fasting. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, it is called the Great Lent and it is observed by the Celtics, Roman Catholics, and some Protestants. There are many websites by non-SDAs on 40 days of prayer and fasting. Pioneer Memorial SDA Church also promoted the 40 Days book. Free copies of the book were given away at the mid-week prayer meetings during the “40 days of prayer.” The services were advertised as “forty-five spirit-filled minutes.”
Early Writings, p. 260
Like the Jews, who offered their useless sacrifices, they offer up their useless prayers to the apartment which Jesus has left; and Satan, pleased with the deception, assumes a religious character, and leads the minds of these professed Christians to himself, working with his power, his signs and lying wonders, to fasten them in his snare. Some he deceives in one way, and some in another. He has different delusions prepared to affect different minds. Some look with horror upon one deception, while they readily receive another. Satan deceives some with Spiritualism. He also comes as an angel of light and spreads his influence over the land by means of false reformations. The churches are elated, and consider that God is working marvelously for them, when it is the work of another spirit. The excitement will die away and leave the world and the church in a worse condition than before.
Barry Black is an SDA alumnus of La Sierra University, Oakwood College, Andrews University, North Carolina Central University, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary (Palmer Theological Seminary), Salve Regina University, and the United States International University (Alliant International University). He earned Masters’ degrees in Divinity, Counseling, and Management and received a Doctorate degree in Ministry and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Psychology.
The Signs of the Times, July 31, 1893
We are to rely upon the word of God, and not upon the assertion or speculation of human philosophy.
His military/wartime service began in 1976 in the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps. In 2003 he was appointed as the Chaplain to the U.S. Senate, ministering to about 6,000, including senators, Chiefs of Staff, Capitol Hill employees, and spouses.
In school Black entered oratorical contests, participated in college sports, and studied the writings of Longfellow, Emerson, Milton, and Thoreau. Are those the type of writings that God wants His people to be studying? Among other things, Thoreau was one of the first in the U.S. to support evolution, a tax resister, philosopher, and a leading transcendentalist. A core belief of transcendentalism is that an ideal spiritual state is realized only through intuition, rather than religious doctrines. Milton promoted monism (pantheists are monists) which can be seen in the heresy of his writings. He also believed that Christ did not exist from the beginning. Emerson led the transcendentalist movement and befriended Thoreau. He did not believe in biblical miracles or that Jesus was God. He also believed that all things are divine and was influenced by Hinduism. Longfellow’s poems were often about mythology and legend.
Black stated the following, “Ask ‘Who am I and why am I here?’ If you don't ask yourself these questions of identity and mission you will probably lead a life, as Thoreau says, ‘of quiet desperation.’ ” Why do SDA schools glorify these kind of authors?
Pamphlet 117 38 (Testimony for the Battle Creek Church)
Then there appears in the Review a notice of the celebration of Longfellow's birthday. You deify a man of whose heart you know nothing, of whose relation to God you know nothing. This is similar to the course pursued by Aaron, when he made the golden calf in the absence of Moses, and offered sacrifice before it, while the people proclaimed, "These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." Have the church at Battle Creek put out their eyes, that they cannot see the tendency of these things? If I did not know how God regards your course, I would not write thus. The time spent in paying honor to a mere man, might better have been employed in fasting and praying before God.
Black emphasized the following advantages of his military position: “The variety of denominations, the improved salary, the appreciation on the part of a diverse group of people for my particular talents and gifts,” etc. He is also the recipient of numerous awards. None of these are particularly conducive to a person’s spirituality, including the fact that Black has spent 27 years with military personnel and at least 8 years with political figures. Also as stated earlier, he is a board member of Phipps’ U.S. Dream Academy.
The Youth’s Instructor, May 17, 1900
Zealous in securing worldly treasure and honor, men had forgotten God.
In October 2007, this website announced the Dalai Lama accepting the Congressional Gold Medal from President Bush. The ceremony was held in the Capitol rotunda where Bush “praised the exiled Buddhist spiritual leader as ‘a universal symbol of peace and tolerance.’ ” The article then reported, “U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black thanked God for the Dalai Lama, calling him “his holiness.” This is blasphemy. Not only is that title reserved for God, but since when do SDAs honor Buddhist religious leaders? The Dalai Lama is supposedly reborn in order to enlighten others.
A 2003 Adventist Review article boasted about Black’s nomination to become the next chaplain of the U.S. Senate. “ ‘It is a fitting tribute to Chaplain Black as a clergyman and a high honor to the Seventh-day Adventist Church to have him continue his chaplaincy career as he transitions into this new position,’ said Richard Stenbakken, director of Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries. Don Schneider, North American Seventh-day Adventist president, called Black ‘an excellent choice for the job.’ ”
Dick Duerksen is a La Sierra University religion graduate. He has served as a pastor, high school principal and teacher, editor, planner and consultant for creative ministry, and worked as the youth ministries director for the North Pacific Union. Duerksen has also held high level marketing and mission development positions at SDA institutions, including Florida Hospital for nine years as the director of Mission Development. At present he is an assistant to the president of Maranatha Volunteers International as a professional storyteller and weekly television show host for Maranatha Mission Stories. He and his wife are “storycatchers” as they travel around the world with Maranatha volunteers.
Adventist News Network covered information about SDA communicators receiving awards at an inter-faith convention. While at Florida Hospital, Duerksen was among “the winners at the annual DeRose-Hinkhouse Awards for excellence in religious communication” that was held March 31, 2000. A CD produced by Duerksen “took top honors . . . with judges praising its high production quality as well as its content.” It portrayed “the holistic approach to medical care delivered by Celebration Health” with an emphasis on “the need for a strong spiritual component in the healing process.” Duerksen stated, “We're very honored that this piece was recognized,” because their goal “was to portray something of the ‘essence of God.’ ” From what has been revealed about Florida Hospital, they are not showing a strong spiritual component or the true essence of God.
Among the recipients of the awards was David Smith, the writer/producer for the Voice of Prophecy who has served as the national coordinator for the awards. Other recipients included a TIME magazine journalist, a United Media cartoonist, and an NBC news show. The four-day ceremony included more than 1,200 worldwide religious communicators from faith groups such as United Methodist, Episcopalian, Mennonite, Baha'i, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic. It was organized by the international Religion Communicators Council.
Charlotte McClure, public relations director for the SDA Church, was one of more than 30 SDA communicators who attended. She stated, “It was an opportunity to meet with people of different faiths, to worship together and to learn together. All the participants are facing a similar challenge—how to communicate their faith stories in an increasingly secular-minded world.” Jesse Jackson was the keynote speaker for the opening of the convention and challenged religious communicators from all religions “to make a difference in society by being ‘lights that shine in dark places.’ ”
This convention certainly displayed perfectly what ecumenism is all about. Our light cannot shine if we are not sharing present truth. Those of other religions will be held less accountable than SDAs who have had great light but have been ashamed to share it all. Duerksen and others may not see the wrong of giving and receiving awards, but again, God’s Word tells us otherwise.
Below are sample statements by Duerksen from the June 15, 1998 Columbia Union Visitor as part of a list of “10 things Christian men can do to save the world.”
- “Volunteer at the opera. Well, maybe not the opera, but your community is looking for volunteers to serve on the park commission, the arts and culture commission, the local cable channel and dozens of other significant organizations. You could coach girl's softball . . . . Get involved. Develop friendships with people you don't know. Make your town a friendlier place.” Certainly there is a better way to witness than to drown ourselves in activities that do not honor God or save the world.
- “Read a book. Start with the book of John as Eugene Peterson has written it in The Message. Add Phillip Yancey's book, What's So Amazing About Grace. Then include the chapter ‘Calvary’ from The Desire of Ages, Billy Graham's autobiography and the men's devotional book, 600 Minutes With God.” This book is edited by Ray Dabrowski and Duerksen. It includes 200 devotionals written by Christian men for Christian men. It is advertised on Adventist Men’s Ministries website, which described the book as “personal, direct, humorous and pointed.” The website also recommends Discipleship magazine by NavPress, which sells books by Dallas Willard, Brennan Manning, Eugene Peterson, and other mystics. There is only one good book out of these five worth reading.
- “Lead family worship. Right before the old Seinfeld rerun on Channel 54! [comedy show] Gather the brood. Ask for God's presence and guidance. Read the paragraph. Describe why those words are important to you. Ask, ‘How do you feel God was involved in your life today?’ ” God would not be involved in your life as you are reading The Message, Phillip Yancey’s book about grace, or Billy Graham’s autobiography, etc.
- “Get drunk on grace. It doesn't take much grace to change you so wildly that most of your friends will think you've gone on a personality-changing binge with a carafe of something powerful! Even Peter, fisherman preacher, transformed cusser and bad-swing swordsman, was accused of being drunk. Think of what they'll say about you! You'll hear a whole new dictionary of words applied to you, like kind, peaceful, wise, caring, understanding, a good listener, humorous, interested, genuine and graceful. Drunk. Christian.” Instead of getting “drunk” on just grace, how about drinking from the well of surrender and obedience? Then you will be called all kinds of bad names just as Jesus encountered because He would not give in to temptation. However, God’s grace will rest upon you, and that makes it worthwhile. Contrary to what Duerksen stated above, those men who follow his suggestions will not be able to “save the world.”
In January 2010, Hyveth Williams joined Andrews University as the professor of Homiletics (art of preaching or writing sermons). She hopes that God will use her to inspire students as she was by her professors. Denis Fortin, dean of the Seminary, stated that Williams “brings to the Seminary many years of pastoral experience, a keen interest in communicating the gospel message with power and strength, and a desire to mentor young men and women for ministry.”
The following information gives details on her career:
- 20 years as a senior pastor.
- 13 years as the senior pastor at the Campus Hill SDA Church, Loma Linda, California.
- Author of several books, including Anticipation (Pacific Press Publishing Association); Secrets of a Happy Heart: A Fresh Look at the Beatitudes and her autobiography Will I Ever Learn? One Woman’s Life of Miracles and Ministry (Review & Herald Publishing); co-authored The Celt & The Christ: A Fresh Look at the Book of Galatians (Trafford Publishing); writes for Adventist Review, Women of Spirit, African American Lectionary, Insight, Signs of the Times, Ministry, Message, and Celebration.
- Served in the Southern New England Conference of SDA as a senior pastor and campus chaplain, developing campus ministries for SDA students on college campuses in the Boston, Massachusetts area.
- In the late 1980s, an associate pastor for public evangelism at Sligo SDA Church, Takoma Park, Maryland.
- 10 years as an adjunct professor at Loma Linda University and Andrews University.
- Educator (through London Polytechnic Institute, England) and worldwide public speaker.
- Groundbreaking counseling.
- First black female pastor and first female senior pastor in the SDA Church.
- Served as a women’s editor/talk show host for a radio station and the field school supervisor for the Boston University School of Theology.
- Spoke at the Women’s Ministry Congress on HIV/AIDS Self-worth and Relationship Building in Botswana.
- Her “spiritual journey” chronicled in the “2005 Damascus Road: Hyveth Williams’ Conversion Story” aired on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN).
- First non-Episcopalian to receive the prestigious Fellowship from the Episcopal College of Preachers, National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.
- Andrews University Alumni of the Year (2000).
- Association of Adventist Women & NAD Women’s Ministries Department Adventist Woman of the Year (1995).
- Citizen of the Year for 2007 for Loma Linda and San Bernardino County by the Loma Linda Chamber of Commerce and California State Senate & Assembly.
- Recipient of the 2008 California Assembly Woman of Distinction.
- Widely applauded for her television series “A Painted World: Portraits of Illusions and Reality.”
Noting the long tenure of Williams as pastor at Loma Linda, reminds us of the tendency for pastors to remain at the same church for many years, especially in the larger or mega SDA churches and outside our denomination. What does God say on this matter?
The Paulson Collection of Ellen G. White Letters, p. 108
God would have men of talent who will not deviate from the principles of righteousness to stand in defense of the truth in the tabernacle at Battle Creek. One man should not be stationed in Battle Creek for a long time. After he has faithfully proclaimed the truth for a time, he should leave to labor elsewhere, and some one else be appointed who will give the trumpet a certain sound.
There are others today like Williams who continue to be applauded by the world and follow their colleagues no matter what is taught. In general, pastors are popular today because they are not teaching the whole truth.
The Acts of the Apostles, p. 113
But in the end his [Saul’s] education and prejudices, his respect for his former teachers, and his pride of popularity braced him to rebel against the voice of conscience and the grace of God.
What should God’s leaders be doing instead?
The Review and Herald, October 13, 1891
Here are given the characteristics of those who shall be reformers, who will bear the banner of the third angel's message, those who avow themselves God's commandment-keeping people, and who honor God, and are earnestly engaged, in the sight of all the universe, in building up the old waste places. Who is it that calls them, The repairers of the breach, The restorers of paths to dwell in? It is God. Their names are registered in heaven as reformers, restorers, as raising the foundations of many generations.
At the 2010 SDA General Conference Session, Williams gave a sermon on “Pastoral Formation: The High Calling of Ministry,” which included the following:
- Promoted two popular non-SDA pastors/authors.
- Quoted Aristotle (a Greek philosopher who believed in mysticism).
- Quoted the Bible once in a while, but never asked the attendees to open their Bibles and follow along (a growing habit by pastors).
- Quoted a phrase from Ellen White only one time.
- Shared “daunting data” from Ministry magazine and “apostasy” statistics (meaning those who physically leave the SDA Church, not the apostasy of false ideas in the Church).
- The need for less emphasis on promoting our own works and to stop looking at our own selves and reach out to others. (Is she ignoring the need to examine ourselves in order to become like Jesus?)
- Quoted the definition of grace by Donald Barnhouse (a Presbyterian pastor who believed differently on grace and righteousness by faith than what is in God’s Word).
- The importance to “be” more than “do” (New Age concept).
- Ended her sermon with a shouting display, and Mark Finley stated, “powerful sermon, touches our hearts.”
In an interview afterwards, Williams stated that she believed conference presidents should let their pastors know when they are doing a good job and that she likes it when they tell her she is doing a good job.
This information comes from a Faith For Today website. As you read Williams’ testimony of how she became a Christian, one has to wonder who was leading her. Following are points as she lists them:
- Was not happy with her life and “inside of me I was a very angry, hurt, bitter, person.”
- Saw a psychiatrist to get help.
- She “attempted to commit suicide on three occasions.”
- She recalls that she began to hear voices and thought she was having a mental breakdown and “falling apart.” The more she heard these voices, the more she drank. Later she claimed the voices in her head were God calling her.
- Because of the stresses she was facing, she began to use marijuana to try and put on weight.
- She stated she wanted to be the first black female Mayor in the United States. It was her goal and dream. There was nothing that she would not do to have that. Instead of becoming the first black female Mayor in the United States, she instead became the first black woman pastor in the SDA Church.
- She had an out of body experience. In her own words she says, “I felt that...at that moment, I saw myself dying and I knew...I felt that I had stepped outside of my body and I was standing outside of my body looking at myself laying there. And I knew I was not going to be reconnected with that body. I knew this was it.”
- While in this out of body experience, she recalls that she saw all the ice cream that she had never eaten. She kept screaming about it and stated “That's what I saw pass before me because I am that kind of a crazy person perhaps.” As she “watched this happening,” she realized that she was “never going to be reconnected.” She then heard a voice say, “Come with me and I will give you peace and joy forevermore.” She “knew then it was God” but did not know why she knew this voice was God. “And I can never explain it to anyone. But it was in that moment that I knew I heard God.”
- The voice she thinks was God said to her, “You will know that I spoke to you because three things will happen: Number one someone is going to come to you and they will say to you: ‘I have come to take you home.’ And when they do, you must go with them. And the second time, for the rest of your life, as long as you live on this earth, no matter what the weather, no matter where you are, you will always see flowers… And the third one was something that I needed to do with this encounter, that was not for public consumption and I have never shared.”
- Later she had an encounter with God and wrestled all night with Him and finally gave in and told Him, “I will go with you. But if you ever, ever, ever let me down, if you ever lie to me, if you ever turn me into something that I'm not, I will spend the rest of my life telling people that you are not to be believed.” That is how she says she became a Christian.
The Bible says that we are to become “New Creatures” in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:17) and that we are to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:2). Our old life of sin, our old ways to ruling our life are to be surrendered to God and He will make us a new person. In this sense, God makes us something we are not. God is able to call people from all walks of life. It doesn’t matter how sinful they have been. However, Williams’ testimony has many elements that are demonic, such as the voice in her head, the out of body experience, along with the drugs and alcohol. It makes one wonder who was speaking to her.
Interestingly, on page 152 of her book Anticipation, Williams writes, “After two weeks in this state, I remembered a brochure that had been sent to our office from Gonzaga, a retreat center run by Jesuit priests, announcing an upcoming ‘silent retreat.’ I had never been to anything of the sort, but I sensed that the Spirit was directing me to go.” Again, we have to wonder what spirit was directing her to a Jesuit retreat that teaches the spiritual disciplines of Ignatius Loyola.
According to the Gonzaga Eastern Point Retreat House website, the retreat tries to help men and women grow in their relationship with God through a “variety of retreats and spiritual direction.” It is based on both “Christian values and experiences” and the “Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola.” The retreat welcomes all people from all traditions and backgrounds who are “seeking God in their lives.”
Some SDAs are concerned that Williams continues to make unbiblical statements. If the students who are being mentored by Williams are looking for wise advice and guidance, they should look elsewhere.
The Signs of the Times, June 22, 1882
Is it safe to trust our youth to the guidance of those blind teachers who study the sacred oracles with far less interest that they manifest in the classical authors of ancient Greece and Rome?
On April 6, 2010, Ángel Rodríguez (a former director of the SDA Biblical Research Institute) wrote about “The General Conference Session, delegates and theology.”
- “Expressing the Catholicity of the church.” Rodríguez defines “catholicity” as meaning the “universal nature and multifaceted expression of the church as the body of Christ” and manifesting itself in the “cultural and ethnic diversity of the delegates.” “They come together . . . to stand by what is best for the global church as the body of the Christ. Therefore the catholicity of the church should transcend the geographical and potentially narrow concerns of the delegates without necessarily ignoring them.” Is the word “catholicity” being used just as the words celebration, community, etc. to get SDAs used to Rome’s terminology? When the word is capitalized it means being in conformity to Catholicism. Also notice his use of the word “diversity.”
- “Expressing the apostolicity of the church. By ‘apostolicity’ I mean the nonnegotiable commitment of the church to the totality of the Scripture as the standard of faith and practice. . . . During the General Conference Session the church models and demonstrates through the decisional processes and the pastoral, doctrinal and theological discussions the supremacy of the Scripture in the life of the global community of faith. In other words, the centrality of the Bible in the different local expressions of the church around the world becomes particularly visible during the Session. On such occasions, the Scripture becomes the norm that determines all elements of doctrine and faith, and its principles are used to define and establish policies and to configure global missiological activities. In order for the centrality of the Scripture to rule, it is necessary for the delegates to be well versed in the Scripture and be open to the illuminating influence and work of the Spirit.” Notice there is no mention of Ellen White’s writings. Additionally, Rodríguez writes in such a scholarly fashion that the average SDA struggles to understand what he is saying. He must have known this, because he continues to define what he says. Why not just write it in a simpler format to begin with? Many use complicated words to show their great knowledge. True Christians are not impressed with that, and neither is God.
The Review and Herald, December 16, 1909
Our work is to be done in simplicity. The most effective appeals can be made in the most simple language. Thus the Lord speaks to us in his Word. In the Bible there are some names difficult to pronounce, but there are few words difficult to be understood.
Manuscript Releases, Vol. 19, p. 304
All who have taken knowledge of Jesus Christ will imitate Him in their manner of instruction. They will not have hard words, difficult to understand, but will aim to do no surface work, be short in every address, and not labor to exhibit themselves but to come directly to the point to inculcate ideas which are of value, and every word used should be so plain that the children need not go home and get a dictionary and search out the meaning of the words used by teachers and superintendents. The strength of the educator is in being understood, that he shall not need an interpreter. The less there is of machinery and forms that are really not necessary, the better it will be for the [Sabbath] school.
Rodríguez continues his article by repeating the words “community.” He also stresses the authority of the SDA General Conference Session and about the importance of its unity, oneness, and working together “as one body, free from a potentially divisive spirit based on personal concerns or self-interest.” Regrettably, while the majority of the SDA Church leadership and members are in apostasy, its General Conference Session is not the voice of God and unity is not possible.
Sermons and Talks, Vol. 2, p. 159
It is working upon wrong principles that has brought the cause of God into its present embarrassment. The people have lost confidence in those who have the management of the work.
Yet we hear that the voice of the conference is the voice of God. Every time I have heard this, I have thought that it was almost blasphemy. The voice of the conference ought to be the voice of God, but it is not, because some in connection with it are not men of faith and prayer; they are not men of elevated principle. There is not a seeking of God with the whole heart; there is not a realization of the terrible responsibility that rests upon those in this institution to mold and fashion minds after the divine similitude.
The following explains Rodríguez and the “triple six theory.” The NAD Adult Sabbath School lessons for the second quarter of 2002 were entitled “Great Apocalyptic Prophecies.” Rodríguez was the principal contributor. The lesson for June 6 contained the following:
The number of the beast. The mark, the name, the number of the beast are closely related (Rev 13:17). Many suggestions have been made to explain the meaning of 666. Here we must be very careful. The Bible does not say that the number is the added numerical value of the letters of a name. Some see in the meaning of 666 a symbol of humanity separated from God. Humans were created on the sixth day, and the number can stand as a symbol for humanity without divine rest (the seventh day). Humans have claimed ultimate independence from God (the cause of their fall), and even now they do not want to find rest in Christ.
Over the years, numerous Bible students have come up with various explanations for the 666. Some found significance in the fact that if you added up the number of letters in the name of a former president of the United States, Ronald Wilson Reagan, it came to 666; others saw meaning in that, years ago, all the buses in Jerusalem had 666 on the license plates. This is futile speculation that adds nothing toward understanding truth. The important point is that God’s Word has given us enough information to know what the key issues are and who the players will be in the last days, even if we do not know all the details for now, such as the precise meaning of 666.
The beginning of this “triple six theory” came from Volume 2 of the book God Cares by Mervyn Maxwell. In that book he uses the Revised Standard Version of the Bible (RSV), which translates Revelation 13:18 as follows: “This calls for wisdom: let him who has understanding reckon the number of the beast, for it is a human number, its number is six hundred and sixty-six.” Compare this with the King James Version (KJV): “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” As you can see, this is a major difference. The focus of the RSV is very different from that of the KJV. The KJV focuses on a specific entity, but the RSV focuses on all humanity.
Rodríguez has succeeded in going against God’s prophet, Ellen White, regarding the 666, as can be noted below.
A Word to the Little Flock, p. 19
I saw all that "would not receive the mark of the Beast, and of his Image, in their foreheads or in their hands," could not buy or sell. [Revelation 13:15-17.] I saw that the number (666) of the Image Beast was made up; [Revelation 13:18.] and that it was the Beast that changed the Sabbath, and the Image Beast had followed on after, and kept the Pope's, and not God's Sabbath. And all we were required to do, was to give up God's Sabbath, and keep the Pope's, and then we should have the mark of the Beast, and of his image.
Rodríguez has also gone against what Uriah Smith wrote in the book Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation, which was promoted by Ellen White.
Manuscript Releases, Vol. 21, p. 444
The grand instruction contained in Daniel and Revelation has been eagerly perused by many in Australia. This book has been the means of bringing many precious souls to a knowledge of the truth. Everything that can be done should be done to circulate Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation. I know of no other book that can take the place of this one. It is God's helping hand.
Daniel and the Revelation (1897), p. 626 [Ellen G. White Writings, Comprehensive Research Edition 2008/Words of the Adventist Pioneers]
...As the pope passed him in procession, splendidly dressed in his pontifical robes, the gentleman's eye rested on these full, blazing letters in front of his miter: "VICARIUS FILLII DEI," the Vicar of the Son of God....
Here we have indeed the number of a man, even the "man of sin;" and it is a little singular, perhaps providential, that he should select a title which shows the blasphemous character of the beast, and then cause it to be inscribed upon his miter, as if to brand himself with the number 666. The foregoing extract doubtless refers to a particular pope on a particular occasion. Other popes might not wear the title emblazoned on the miter, as there stated. But this does not affect the application at all; for the popes all assume to be the "Vicar of Christ" [see Standard Dictionary under "vicar"], and the Latin words given above are the words which express that title, in the form "vicar of the Son of God;" and their numerical value is 666.
Why would we think that God gave one version of this important truth to the founders of the SDA church and a different version to those living today?
The Signs of the Times, July 2, 1896
Professed theologians seem to take pleasure in making that which is plain, mysterious. They clothe the simple teachings of God's word with their own dark reasonings, and thus confuse the minds of those who listen to their doctrines.
When Jan Paulsen was still the president of the General Conference of SDAs, the Adventist Review included an article with his sermon at the 2007 Autumn Council. Details follow.
- “We are bonded in unity, and we have to trust each other to do right.”
There is a continuous trend to call for unity and to trust each other. Again, as long as there is apostasy, we cannot all be in unity or trust each other.
- He told church leaders that although “people write to me about a great variety of things they want me to fix, if there are issues really in need of fixing, it is not going to work for me to try to do it; I have to trust others to do it, as must you. I trust you.”
The Signs of the Times, April 21, 1881
Those who occupy responsible positions as guardians of the people are false to their trust, if they do not faithfully search out and reprove sin. Many dare not condemn iniquity, lest they shall thereby sacrifice position or popularity. And by some it is considered uncharitable to rebuke sin.
As long as leaders are taught to just let others take care of the problems, they will not get fixed. To look the other way is not being responsible and the apostasy continues. To just throw out compliments about trusting others accomplishes nothing.
- “Mavericks who act independently and by their own wisdom do not make good administrators in this church.”
This is obviously referring to those who are wise enough to follow God, not man.
- Paulsen also stated that the continuing controversy over the nature of Christ will not be reevaluated while he is president. He went on to explain, “I think there is a reason for why we have chosen generous language in describing our position as a church on the nature of Christ. The uniqueness of Jesus Christ (Wholly God and wholly man – no one else matches the ‘only-begottenness’ of that One) leads us to say that. I have to tell you I just cannot imagine a post-modern person in Europe, a business man in Asia or Latin America, any more than a farmer in Africa will care one iota whether Christ had the nature of man before the fall or after the fall. The realities of the world in which we live have other concerns which occupy us.” He then added that such discussions often focus on living a victorious Christian life, but that such victory will not be attained by “settling the precise human nature of Christ or by the power of His example; it will be by experiencing the ‘power of His resurrection’ to live a new life.”
While Paulsen cannot imagine a post-modern, a business man, and a farmer caring one iota about the nature of Christ, there are those who do care about it, because the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy writers cared enough about it to explain its importance. If Paulsen and those who agree with him never have a concern for the truth on Christ’s nature, then sadly they will never be a part of those who stand without Christ as their Mediator in the Most Holy Place at the end of this earth’s history. Others will take their place of living a victorious Christian life and following Christ’s example. It is interesting that Christ’s resurrection is emphasized instead, because of the fact that the Sabbath was changed to Sunday to commemorate Christ’s resurrection.
- He also urged that church leaders take the pulse of pastors and members to get their input on vital issues and decisions. “If we do not get it right in the local church, it cannot be fixed anywhere else. So, let us listen carefully to what the local pastors say to us as leaders . . . about the flow of ideas, about diversity and unity, about the needs of our people, what they say to us about standards, and about the use of tithe. Their voice must be heard, or our decisions as leaders will not be safe.”
It is perplexing that Paulsen would care about getting members’ opinions on vital issues, since the hierarchy that exists today in the Church does not really care about those opinions, unless, of course, the opinions agree with the leaders. How about heeding the counsel in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy regarding vital issues and decisions.
In January 2010, Adventist News Network reported: “Paulsen Honored at Loma Linda with Festschrift, President's Medal: Adventist, other scholars contribute essays to celebrate world church president's decades of denominational service.” The recognition “came during Saturday morning worship services at Loma Linda University (LLU) Church.” Paulsen was honored with a Festschrift, which is German for “celebration writing” and a collection of essays and articles written by many authors to honor a colleague. Paulsen received one for his “notable achievement” and his 75th birthday. The 463-page book was edited by two of his colleagues and friends, one being Reinder Bruinsma. The contributors included Bert Beach and retired University of Tübingen missiology professor Peter P.J. Beyerhaus, a Lutheran, “under whom Paulsen studied while earning his doctorate.” The University of Tübingen includes Protestant and Catholic theology in its curriculum. Additionally, the current pope (Benedict XVI) is an alumnus of that university. Why would an SDA be willing to attend such a school? Paulsen was also presented with a Presidential Medal by LLU President Richard Hart. Among the six lessons Paulsen said came from “his decades of denominational leadership is that the leader ‘is not the owner of this business; God is.’ ” He is very close to the truth when he uses the word “business,” since that is the direction in which the church is heading. How far will our leaders fall to be accepting such honor, especially during Sabbath morning worship? Worship and honor is to be reserved for God, not man.
Following are the opening comments by Ted Wilson at the 2010 General Conference Session regarding a letter which he read to those in attendance.
I have the great privilege of reading a letter, a letter which you will find of great interest. It has at the top of its letterhead, “The White House, Washington.”
Here are excerpts from that letter:
It [faith] also brings us together to feed the hungry, comfort the afflicted, make peace where there is strife, and lift up those who have fallen on hard times.
As we face the challenges and opportunities of this unique moment in history, may faith move us to unite in common cause, to serve our fellow brothers and sisters.
I hope that as you gather on this special occasion, you are reminded of the abiding truth that each of us has the power to create a better world for ourselves and our children when we do God’s work here on earth.
Barack Obama, President of the United States [applause]
[Wilson]: I want to take this opportunity to thank the government of the United States and so many other governments around the world for their defense of religious freedom, freedom of conscience. Thank God for religious liberty. [applause]
Again, what does the Bible say about crying, “Peace”?
1 Thessalonians 5:2-3
For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them.
Additionally, while it is good to feed the hungry and comfort the afflicted, the statement that faith “brings us together” and unites us “in common cause” is completely ecumenical. The terms “common good,” “public welfare,” “equality for all,” etc. are used by Roman Catholicism, communism and fascism. The letter focuses on a social gospel (socialism) that stresses community work (“good deeds” that are characteristic of Catholicism) and mixes politics and the liberal Kingdom Now theology (a better world now) which is popular with the Purpose Driven and emerging church movements. A better world will only be when this earth is made new again by its Creator, but never before that. Paganism teaches to be “in tune with the earth and nature.” Those who are fooled by this belief will not be a part of the New Earth which God creates.
Wilson thanked the U.S. and world governments for religious liberty. We can appreciate our religious freedoms, however, please notice the following:
The Great Controversy, (1888), p. 564
The pacific [peaceful] tone of Rome in the United States does not imply a change of heart. She is tolerant where she is helpless. Says Bishop O'Connor: “Religious liberty is merely endured until the opposite can be carried into effect without peril to the Catholic world.”
The U.S. Supreme Court currently consists of six Roman Catholics and three Jews. Not only is the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court of the Roman Catholic faith, there are no Protestants. What message does this send?
The Great Controversy (1888), 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.
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.
2 Peter 3:17
Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
Yes, the White House letter is of “great interest,” especially in light of the ecumenical movement and the words of prophecy regarding the image to the beast.
Wilson stated repeatedly to “go forward.” However, we cannot successfully go forward as a Church until we go back to the “old paths,” start over, and then go forward. We are reminded of Jeremiah 6:16 that reads: “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” The Church needs to go back to “primitive godliness,” to the true worship of the God of heaven, not the false god of this world. The Church needs to go back, not forward, to reassess where it went wrong.
And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
The Faith I Live By, p. 326
It is only as the law of God is restored to its rightful position that there can be a revival of primitive faith and godliness among His professed people.
While God’s faithful can agree with much of Wilson’s General Conference Session sermon of July 3, 2010, will actions follow his words? He counseled that we are to test everything according to God’s Word and the writings of Ellen White, and that we are not to be involved in the megachurch or emerging church movements. He further counseled that we are to rely on “humble pastors, evangelists, Biblical scholars, leaders, and departmental directors who can provide evangelistic methods and programs that are based on solid Biblical principles and ‘The Great Controversy Theme.’ ”
This all sounds good; however, the Church is still in trouble. Those who continue to promote megachurch purpose driven, emerging church ideas are not being disfellowshipped. Those who have been disfellowshipped because they stood for right should be reinstated. The SDA Church likes to talk about those who are “in good and regular standing” with the Church. Yet that “standing” is not necessarily “good and regular” in God’s eyes. Many in the Church say that we should not try to fix the problems but just leave it to God. However, if individuals ignore the problems, they will be held accountable. Where are the humble leaders who are teaching the whole truth?
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3, pp. 269-270
The plain, straight testimony must live in the church, or the curse of God will rest upon His people as surely as it did upon ancient Israel because of their sins. God holds His people, as a body, responsible for the sins existing in individuals among them. If the leaders of the church neglect to diligently search out the sins which bring the displeasure of God upon the body, they become responsible for these sins. But to deal with minds is the nicest work in which men ever engaged. All are not fitted to correct the erring. They have not wisdom to deal justly, while loving mercy. They are not inclined to see the necessity of mingling love and tender compassion with faithful reproofs.
Child Guidance, pp. 235-236
Those who have too little courage to reprove wrong, or who through indolence or lack of interest make no earnest effort to purify the family or the church of God, are held accountable for the evil that may result from their neglect of duty. We are just as responsible for evils that we might have checked in others by exercise of parental or pastoral authority, as if the acts had been our own.
There is a great need for strong Church leaders and pastors that will “not be bought or sold; men who in their inmost souls are true and honest; men who do not fear to call sin by its right name; men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole; men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall” (Education, p. 57) and will lead in repentance and reformation through to its completion. We need leaders who will actively work to clean up the churches, book centers, schools, hospitals, etc. It is sad to say that the majority of SDA leaders today cannot be depended on for the whole truth. Each must study and pray individually to know all truth.
Revival and reformation
Wilson called for the forming of a revival and reformation committee, and many of God’s faithful in the SDA Church hoped that finally something would be done about the apostasy in the Church. As we can see in the information that follows, it does not reveal the proper changes needed. How very unfortunate that the emerging church ideas continue to increase at a rapid rate.
The Euro-Africa Division (EUD) held its first session of their new executive committee on October 31-November 3, 2010. Much of the session was about revival and reformation with two main points being identity and unity—identity “found in Jesus Christ” and “unity in the church, unity in the Spirit and unity in goals and action.”
Revival, reformation, and unity will come to God’s Church, but not through the majority and not while errors are taught and practiced.
The NAD website included a feature on the “Strategic Plan Adopted for North American Division,” which described the discussions presented during the General Conference Autumn Council and the NAD Year-end Meeting in late 2010 to “impact church life and its mission” during the next five years. Emphasis was placed on revival and reformation and a “renewed emphasis to come together in love and unity to reclaim missing members and to reach our communities with the gospel.” The initiative “REACH North America” was adopted as a “guideline and measuring device” for personal and corporate revival, nurturing, and outreach. It was resolved that by 2015, the Church in North America “will have become transformed by the Holy Spirit and moved to action” in the ways listed below. One must wonder why the Church is time-setting the event of being “transformed by the Holy Spirit.”
- “Reach Up (Revival and Reformation)”
- “Reach Across (Unity in Diversity),” with mention of the terms catalyst, reconnect, and leadership.
- “Reach Out (Evangelism, Community, Discipleship),” with a focus on large cities.
Selected Messages, Book 1, pp. 204-205
The founders of this system would go into the cities, and do a wonderful work.
The term “wonderful work” means that people will think it is a wonderful work, but it is not of God.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
- “Reach In (Growing Disciples/Adventist Education),” with mention that the Church finds “a way to help strengthen and build a system of Adventist higher education.”
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.
- “Reach Forward (A Focus on Leadership),” with mention of the terms stewardship, member donations, and culture.
The new General Conference Revival and Reformation Committee includes the initiative ‘777’ Worldwide Holy Spirit Prayer Fellowship in which SDAs are to pray seven days a week at 7:00 a.m. or p.m. for the “outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s power and presence” to bring unity. As stated before, unity will not come while the Church is in apostasy.
There was also the “New Year’s Eve/Day Worldwide Day of Prayer” with a week-long series of television programs on Hope Channel, which allowed every church member around the world “to participate in seeking God for a revival experience in 2011.” That is a nice idea; however, does that not leave out those who do not have the Hope Channel? Will they not receive a “revival experience” because of it?
Then there is the “Worldwide Days for Prayer and Fasting” on the first Sabbath of each quarter “designated as days of prayer and fasting for the world church.” It was also encouraged that everyone “establish the first day of each month and one day a week as normal or partial fast days.” “Support information and helps” are being developed by the Prayer and Fasting Subcommittee.
The Revival and Reformation Committee now endorses Operation Global Rain, with the “ten-day worldwide prayer/spiritual emphasis” held on January 5-15, 2011, which was a follow-up to the January 1 day of prayer and “serves as a foundation for all Tell the World initiatives.”
All these initiatives, committees, programs, and helps are beginning to sound much like a business.
Sermons and Talks, Vol. 1, pp. 202-203
Now, some will tell you, and they will begin to reckon, and reckon, and reckon when the latter rain is coming. I would rather that you would reckon right now whether you have brought eternity into your reckoning concerning your individual self. Consider whether you have brought eternity daily to view. If you are right with God today, you are ready if Christ should come today. What we need is Christ formed within, the hope of glory.
The Review and Herald, December 23, 1890
The True Witness declares, "I know thy works." "Repent, and do the first works." This is the true test, the evidence that the Spirit of God is working in the heart to imbue you with his love. "I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." The church is like the unproductive tree which, receiving the dew and rain and sunshine, should have produced an abundance of fruit, but on which the divine search discovers nothing but leaves. Solemn thought for our churches! solemn, indeed, for every individual! Marvelous is the patience and forbearance of God; but "except thou repent," it will be exhausted; the churches, our institutions, will go from weakness to weakness, from cold formality to deadness, while they are saying, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." The True Witness says, "And knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Will they ever see clearly their condition?
The Creative Family Ministry Series included the following for family worship: “Get together with other families and plan a Walk Through the Bible Trail, where different family groups act out Bible stories along the way. Invite neighbors and friends to walk along your trail, enjoying the dramas.”
In this video, José Rojas advises SDAs to not “cry aloud,” that those who do are not winning souls to Christ, and that we should just let God take care of the church.
As if everything so far is not enough, the committee also endorses prayerwalking by instructing “How to Get Started Prayerwalking” and providing “Themes For Prayerwalking.” Ideas were taken from a book on prayerwalking by Steven Hawthorne and Graham Kendrick (Creation House). The following link includes a recommendation for books by non-SDA authors, including The Promise of God's Power by Jim Cymbala.
In the January 2011 issue of Adventist World, the “Revival & Reformation Resources” pages 20 and 21 include the following, which are supposed to help bring revival and reformation into our lives and churches:
- 40 Days - Prayers and Devotions, by Dennis Smith.
- Coming Together Series, by the Center for Creative Ministry.
- Hunger, Satisfying the Longing of Your Soul, by Jon Dybdahl.
- Disciple Tree (www.discipletree.com) - A Website produced by Jim Park, professor of evangelism and mission at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies (the General Conference university for the Northern and Southern Asia-Pacific divisions). According to this website it “is dedicated to the Biblical understanding and practice of discipleship in contemporary and international culture.” Its definition of discipleship is that “Discipleship really encompasses all the aspects of the positive spiritual formation of an individual and a group which will lead to a lifetime of growth, maturity and fruitfulness.”
Early and latter rain (also discussed in chapter 7 of volume 1)
Wilson and the Revival and Reformation Committee are promoting prayer for the latter rain. However, the false latter rain comes before the genuine. With all the facts and evidence, the counterfeit is here today, not only in the world but the SDA Church as well. There has not been a great movement of repentance, which must precede the latter rain. There has not been evidence of a corporate putting away of worldliness or a great calling for the early rain. When these things take place first, then we can truly rejoice that the latter rain will fall.
Last Day Events, p. 158
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 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....
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 507
Many have in a great measure failed to receive the former rain. They have not obtained all the benefits that God has thus provided for them. They expect that the lack will be supplied by the latter rain. When the richest abundance of grace shall be bestowed, they intend to open their hearts to receive it. They are making a terrible mistake. The work that God has begun in the human heart in giving His light and knowledge must be continually going forward. Every individual must realize his own necessity. The heart must be emptied of every defilement and cleansed for the indwelling of the Spirit. It was by the confession and forsaking of sin, by earnest prayer and consecration of themselves to God, that the early disciples prepared for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The same work, only in greater degree, must be done now. Then the human agent had only to ask for the blessing, and wait for the Lord to perfect the work concerning him. It is God who began the work, and He will finish His work, making man complete in Jesus Christ. But there must be no neglect of the grace represented by the former rain. Only those who are living up to the light they have will receive greater light. Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognize the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it.
The reason the latter rain will be falling and SDAs will not know it is because they think it already happened. How can a sincere Christian expect the latter rain in the midst of ecumenism, celebrating, New Age practices, and emerging church ideas? If the Church would do away with the apostasy, the latter rain would fall and thousands would come to hear present truth. There would no longer be a need for myriads of initiatives, committees, programs, etc. When the simple gospel is preached, the end will come.
Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.
The Faith I Live By, p. 333
The latter rain, ripening earth's harvest, represents the spiritual grace that prepares the church for the coming of the Son of man. But unless the former rain has fallen, there will be no life; the green blade will not spring up. Unless the early showers have done their work, the latter rain can bring no seed to perfection....
The Great Controversy (1888), p. 463
Popular revivals are too often carried by appeals to the imagination, by exciting the emotions, by gratifying the love for what is new and startling. Converts thus gained have little desire to listen to Bible truth, little interest in the testimony of prophets and apostles. Unless a religious service has something of a sensational character, it has no attractions for them. A message which appeals to unimpassioned reason, awakens no response. The plain warnings of God's Word, relating directly to their eternal interests, are unheeded.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, p. 187
Those who come up to every point, and stand every test, and overcome, be the price what it may, have heeded the counsel of the True Witness, and they will receive the latter rain, and thus be fitted for translation.
Counsels for the Church, p. 334
Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement. Then the latter rain will fall upon us as the early rain fell upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost.
The following information came from an email to the For My People Ministry regarding the SDA members in the South American countries of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil:
- The SDA Church leaders are not interested in medical missionary work, because it does not bring in lots of money.
- Non-SDAs are invited to preach on Sabbath, sometime because the regular SDA pastors do not have new ideas for sermons.
- Sermons about prophecy are rare, since the pastors are counseled to preach only about the love of God. Ninety percent of church members do not know about prophecy or Ellen White.
- The poor people are baptized quickly and are handled like an unwanted obligation, because they will not be able to pay much tithe.
- Church pastors do not always include the marriage vows at weddings, because that is the modern way. They are also surprised when married couples do not wear wedding rings.
- Most church members and pastors label a person a fanatic if they mention about not eating meat. Some, even pastors, partake of unclean meat, such as pork.
- SDAs, even pastors, drink “mate” tea that is high in caffeine.
- Most church members do not know about the dangers of eating too much sugar, so most do not have teeth by 30 to 40 years of age. The churches do not warn against it and if someone does, again they are labeled a fanatic.
- In March 2009, the person who emailed had attended the Youth Leaders Congress for all South American countries. The event went as follows:
It started Friday evening, and they expected about 500 leaders. At sundown just 40 had arrived and we held a short service. The responsible pastor told the leaders that there would not be control like in other conferences because they were all leaders and they should have the ability to control themselves. The rest of the 500 leaders arrived by motorbike until the early morning. They drove their bikes between the tents, shouted, and assembled their tents while playing loud rock music. Some were definitely drunk. When I admonished some of them, I was told to keep quiet. The shower rooms looked like total destruction, and we could not use them. I never had seen anything like it in my life. My wife said that in all her years as a Free Methodist she never had seen such un-Christian behavior as with these SDA leaders. I had hoped that the pastors would soon control the situation, but they did not want to leave their comfortable hotel rooms. Only about 5 out of 500 attended the early morning devotions. During the late morning service, instead of listening to the pastors, many kept busy with their cell phone, Nintendo Game Boy, and ladies put on their makeup. I will not mention how they were dressed! There was no discipline from the pastors all day. At lunch time the youth made a mess and did not help with the cleanup. It resembled a mountain of garbage. At sundown I met the responsible pastor whom I knew for years. I asked him what was going on with the leaders and why they would behave like this. I also told him that we could not sleep that night. He just laughed and said: “Why do you worry, brother? It is always like this--everywhere! These are youngsters and we are not their parents.” This experience explained to us why most of the younger Adventists do not even know what obedience is. Their parents do not educate them properly. Almost all the children work on Sabbath. Many leave church and go to work. Nobody explains to the youth and to the parents the right biblical ways. It is a terrible situation.
- The doctrine of the un-fallen nature of Christ is taught all over South America. The book that was most advertised and published is Roy Adams’ The Nature of Christ. Because of this false doctrine, many do not feel obliged to obey. If you preach obedience, you are called a fanatic.
- It is taught that Ellen White spoke for her time and that today it is just counsel. It is also taught that the Bible is just a poetic book and that the prophets used their own language that confounded almost everything, and we should not take their accounts too “literally.”
- They teach that Jesus did not really starve in the desert, but that the desert of Israel would have been like our farms in Paraguay full of different fruit trees, and that the fasting was just abstaining from meat. It is stated that because Jesus was much stronger than we, He could resist, so therefore we don’t have to abstain from eating meat. And it goes on and on like this. All has nothing to do with Adventism. I talked frequently with the leader in charge and asked him how he could allow his pastors to teach such false doctrines. He never even tried to correct them.
- The SDA churches do not like to disfellowship anyone who is in open public sin. We have many members and even elders living together with their partners without being married.
- The SDA apostasy is also in Russia and Ukraine. Praise music, hand clapping, and dancing are the big evangelization methods used there.
- And so it could go on and on. It is the same apostasy as in other countries. The “creeping compromises” and the false doctrines are destroying our SDA churches. It is time for us and Jesus to act. Let this be our prayer for the coming surely difficult times.
The following description comes from another email about SDA apostasy in Germany:
- The sanctuary and 1844 messages are rarely taught.
- Many do yoga courses, and Pilates is very popular. They also use magnets and reflexology. Germany’s large SDA university teaches that those are all perfect healing methods, and pastors and elders keep silent. Evolution is supported at the university and many pastors believe in it.
- You cannot talk about overcoming sin or they see you as a heretic.
- One pastor was very controlling with his church members and strongly stated that he is no longer willing to accept “extreme” members who stand for the Spirit of Prophecy, because it is not on a level with the Bible and only gives advice not requirements. He wrote a church member and requested that they no longer discuss doctrine but that he wanted to spend time talking about hobbies. When questioned about going to church and not being able to discuss our beliefs, the pastor said that we should love each other and agree with everyone’s beliefs. It is interesting that the pastor tells those who teach the three angels’ messages not to share, yet advises to agree with everyone’s beliefs.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 217
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.
Selected Messages, Book 1, p. 122
We have far more to fear from within than from without. The hindrances to strength and success are far greater from the church itself than from the world.
Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind.
Manuscript Releases, Vol. 9, p. 168
Will the ministers awake? Will the presidents take the "Testimonies" of mercy which God has given them? Will they do something, and do it now? Will they heed the prayer of Jesus, "I sanctify myself that they may be sanctified"? Generally, the people rise no higher than the minister or the president. If he is a devoted man, losing self and selfish interest in Jesus Christ, his example will have a telling power in that direction on the people.
The Signs of the Times, January 11, 1883
"Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord." The church will rarely take a higher stand than is taken by her ministers. There is need of a converted ministry and a converted people. Shepherds who watch for souls as they that must give account will lead the flock on in paths of peace and holiness. Their success in this work will be in proportion to their own growth in grace and knowledge of the truth. When the teachers are sanctified, soul, body, and spirit, they can impress upon the people the importance of such sanctification.
Christ is looking today for pastors who will feed the sheep, not starve them.
The Review and Herald, September 6, 1892
The charge given to Peter should come home to every minister. Again and again, the voice of Christ is heard repeating the charge to his undershepherds, "Feed my lambs, Feed my sheep."
Faith and Works, p. 86
When errors arise and are taught as Bible truth, those who have a connection with Christ will not trust to what the minister says, but like the noble Bereans, they will search the Scriptures daily to see if these things are so.
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 143
Our ministers need a transformation of character. They should feel that if their works are not wrought in God, if they are left to their own imperfect efforts, they are of all men the most miserable. Christ will be with every minister who, although he may not have attained to perfection of character, is seeking most earnestly to become Christlike. Such a minister will pray. He will weep between the porch and the altar, crying in soul anguish for the Lord's presence to be with him; else he cannot stand before the people, with all heaven looking upon him, and the angel's pen taking note of his words, his deportment, and his spirit.
Last Day Events, p. 189
I tell you that there must be a thorough revival among us. There must be a converted ministry. There must be confessions, repentance, and conversions. Many who are preaching the Word need the transforming grace of Christ in their hearts. They should let nothing stand in the way of their making thorough work before it shall be forever too late.
Where are all the courageous leaders who will show us what truth really is and unite to stand up against the torrent of apostasy and spiritualism that is taking over our beloved remnant church? God is searching for those faithful leaders, pastors, and members who will raise their voices against the backsliding and heresy. If we do not faithfully do our part, when Christ returns the third time to this earth, we will find ourselves outside the walls of the Holy City. Let us not make that fatal mistake.
Jeremiah 2:8; 10:21; 12:10; 22:22; 23:1-2
The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit. [10:21] For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered. [12:10] Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. [22:22] The wind shall eat up all thy pastors, and thy lovers shall go into captivity: surely then shalt thou be ashamed and confounded for all thy wickedness. [23:1-2] Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.
God has seen how His church has degraded His blueprint through irreverent and evil worship services, how many do not worship Him, and how many have been deceived. However, we have these promises.
Jeremiah 3:15; 23:3-4
And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. [23:3-4] And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD.
Let us praise God that very soon He will give only His pastors to His church. His people have been spiritually starved, but they will then be fed. God will gather His remnant from around the world and they will increase.