People from other denominations will tell you that ‘Adventists’ are good people and they are right. I know many amiable and gracious men and women. But I don’t know any who heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons or speak words of prophecy - which is strange since their community is founded on a ‘prophet,’ albeit a prophet who wound back the new covenant and who instituted legalism as a way of life. The legalism of Adventism is up front because it is the foundation of their doctrine and culture. Legalists or not, the grace of Jesus drips through the grid of poor doctrine. It does so on account of the fact that His reality is our reality even if we degrade what He did for us with a faulty mindset resulting from bad teaching.
Old covenant-non-spirit-living is more subtle in its deleterious effect than not operating in the gifts of the Spirit. It makes us dead when we could have been alive. Jesus overflowed with spirit and life because He was one with His Father. He had the Spirit without limit.
The legalism of many Christians is more subtle than found in Adventism. It is the fabric of the culture of Christianity from which many of them live. But the kingdom of Christ is not a religion. It is a person and lived in by the Spirit. To live in a religion is to live old covenant and Adam. To have Jesus as our life is to be a son of our Father and apostolic in the tradition of Jesus. This is the mode of the Kingdom of God.
Many Christians, most I suggest, live from Christianity as a belief system rather than from the person of Christ their life. Most of Christianity does not live in the radical inheritance of the new covenant and the vicarious humanity of Christ. It lives from mixture of old and new covenant - which accounts for its generally supine nature and the inability to resist Islam, degenerate morality and the secular values of the kingdoms of this world.
FANCY FOOT WORK
The sad thing about Adventism, for its adherents is that it is a lie. It resulted from a mistake that occurred through ignoring scripture. Jesus said ‘No one knows the day or the hour.’ The Adventist pioneers said they did. When Jesus did not come it covered its embarrassment through the fantasy of the Investigative Judgment. But its evolving rationalizations undid salvation, replacing the accomplishments of heaven with an anti-scriptural reversion to law and old covenant.
Not that this is obvious to many. Believers see themselves as a Bible believing culture with Biblically supported doctrines. But this is not so in reality. The assertions that form the fabric of Adventist belief result from a subtle re-working of the scriptures - a torturing of scripture to make it fit a degrading ideology. None well versed in the new covenant and the vicarious humanity of Jesus would have ever received Adventism as the truth.
Adventist socialization (read brainwashing) occurs under the hermeneutic of the law-framework and the dogma of Ellen White’s revelations - insights assumed to be sourced from heaven. In some cases it is a compilation of much of the myth and bad doctrine from the entire history of the Christian church. But as Mrs White assured us, ‘If they speak not according to this word, there is no light in them.’ Given the marked divergence between the White Gospel and the Gospel of Paul and the apostles, we must seriously examine the nature of the source of her revelations. Any attitude, doctrine or teaching that opposes and undoes our completeness in Christ is normally designated the spirit of anti-christ.
Locked inside their ‘package’ Adventists can’t understand why the rest of the Body does not perceive the logic of ‘their truth.’ Particularly the ‘Sabbath Truth’ that seems so obvious to most. But no one who has not been marinated in the assumptions of Mrs White would ever come to her conclusions by reading the Bible independently of her writings.
Adventist ideas are absorbed from generation to generation by wall to wall indoctrination via the ‘Lesson Pamphlet,’ the education system and ideological sermons. Not unlike the closed system of Mormonism it is a fellow traveler in extra-Biblical revelation and maintains itself on the false assumption that it has a prophet that speaks for God. As I have already noted, despite this, many know a personal Jesus which accounts for the grace and pleasantness that characterizes many of their lives. But one can always be a nice person even if one is confined to a wheel chair.
It could be argued that Adventism is a mechanical product of the ever expanding industrial revolution which began about 1785 and has been diversifying ever since. Adventism might be seen as a mechanical religion with Ellen White magic added. Bound in law and having no sense of spirit it has a head-banging essence. It fastened onto the ‘health-message’ as a substitute for spirit in one’s being and the Holy Spirit among us. It began the habit of eating one’s way to holiness supplemented by Bible reading and acts of the will. But’s it greatest need was both ‘grace’ and a ‘Messiah’ to undo the effect of their bad doctrine.
Captured anew by the law, it found a new Messiah of grace in The Sabbath. Pastors from other churches will tell you that Adventists are fixated on the Sabbath. It’s true that Sabbath-keepers cling to the Sabbath like an oyster to a rock. There is a reason for this. The Sabbath has become Adventism’s Messiah. Having defined themselves out of grace and succeeded expertly in reducing the incarnation to a whimper another ‘Christ’ was required. The result was that The Sabbath becomes the false christ of Adventism. How so?
‘The Sabbath with a capital ‘T’ and a capital ‘S’ has become the ‘go-to’ observance employed as a cover-all rite for a law that cannot be kept. People could not keep the law before the cross and cannot keep it after it. So if Christ has been reduced in favour of the law that has been increased some fiction is required to as a stand-in for Christ and His grace. This fiction is The Sabbath.
In Adventism, rather than the law being a shadow to lead to the reality of Christ, Christ becomes the shadow and Chief Assistant to the reality of Moses and his law. In Adventism spirit is regarded as a mist. Law-keeping, observance and behavior is regarded as ‘the real’ and substantial manifestation of righteousness.
Not only is this a disturbing distortion of Christian theology. It denudes Jesus of His deity, makes him subordinate to the law and to Father and suggests a taint of Arianism. A surprising number of Adventists do not know that Jesus is the complete revelation of our Father.
In sound Christian teaching the law is the shadow leading to the reality who is Christ. In Adventism Christ is the shadow who supports the reality of law. In Desire of Ages, Christ is always described as subordinate to the law which makes Jesus less than God (The law becomes god) and Adventism an agenda. Adventism is closer to an ideology that a Christian spirituality. There is plenty that is religious about the law but nothing at all that is spiritual. Spirituality comes from the person of God and is rightly known as spirit and life.
As a result, Adventism is a system and more a political community than a spiritual one. Adventism places itself and its culture firmly back in the knowledge of good and evil while purporting to be ‘Christian.’ But at heart it is a distinct deviation from The Apostles Teaching and a reversal of Christ’s gospel of the Kingdom. ‘I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!’ Gal 2.21 NIV
It is to be hoped that where Adventists are concerned Jesus did not waste His time. He certainly does not regard any one of them as a waste and desires that all be drawn into the fullness of the Spirit of Sonship He has on offer. Sons of the slave woman are incapable of ministering the Kingdom of God. But the Sons of God in the Spirit of Sonship are apostolic representative of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Adventism’s promotion of ‘the Advent Message to all the world in this generation’ cannot save the world. There is no hope for the world in Adam, Moses, the law or versions of the knowledge of good and evil. The new creation springs entirely from the person of Jesus multiplied as His church.
THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
Mrs White’s contention that ‘Christ would have come ‘ere this.’ Was based on the assumption that Christ would have come if people were more righteous as a result of a zealous keeping of the law. Sadly this message is not Christ’s message of grace, light or spirit and truth. Jesus did not come to provide a new and more clever method of commandment keeping. He came to be our life and righteousness Himself. Christ in you is your expression of your redeemed self! He does this today by living in each and imparting the fullness of God to our being.
In the new covenant each person becomes an expression of Christ who lives in her. In the new covenant by the Spirit of Sonship Jesus expresses Himself as you. This is the meaning of Christ come in the flesh and the difference between the gospel of the Kingdom and the doctrine of demons.
Adventists are stuck on Adventism because they believe Ellen White offered an improvement on the doctrine of Christ and the apostles. Many need to decide if they are proponents of Christ’s gospel or advocates of their own gospel. There is a new and living way - a way that represents life and a way that is this body of death.
‘Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world’ 1 John 4. 1-3 NIV.