It can come as a delight to find that infinite life is Jesus as our life and not an ideology or a ‘door’ of human devising. Then again it can be seen as a threat – particularly when you have been taught that your church is THE WAY. Although many would not make this explicit, it is in actual fact implicit and is the reason for Adventism’s being a sect rather than a full expression of Christianity. As Paul says,
‘For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes’ Rom 10.2-4 NIV.
A friend of mine was once at pains to show that Adventism is not a cult. She utilised a dictionary definition and attempted to rebut the charge from that position. Her argument was less than convincing because even if technically applicable this culture is closer to being a cult than not being one. Cult-like if only because the Bible is interpreted through the Ellen White lens and the denomination has grown as a tree from the Ellen White seed. Cult-like, more poisonously, because Ellen White’s theology gives legitimacy to Adventism’s white-anting of the new covenant and the demolition of the gospel of the Kingdom. Adventism is not of Christ’s gospel but it is a variation of the knowledge of good and evil.
Adventism wears Christian clothes but it is not the gospel of the Kingdom, the message of Jesus or the teaching of the apostles. It is however a mechanical gospel of the head, the will, and strained for morality since it is based on the law. It has enough Jesus garnishing to appear as part of the Body. It is Christian by name but not by nature. It’s drawing a long bow to assume that a pre-cross, old covenant religion tied to Moses and the law is Christian even if it has its label.
The gospel of the Kingdom states that the grace of God is the person of Jesus in place of us, for us, in us and as us. This is why Paul wrote, ‘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. Righteousness today is not gained through the law. But life and righteousness are gained by Jesus, the righteousness of God for us and in us.
‘But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago’ Rom 3.21 NIV. This way is Christ our life. It would be a mistake to argue that Jesus is not with Adventist people. He is with anyone who takes His name and believes Him. ‘Being with’ is small in comparison to the fullness of Christ come in our flesh. We are withered when the law has come in our flesh and enlarged when Christ is alive in us by His Spirit. What is missing in the law is life to the full, the life of the Spirit and the Spirit of Sonship.
‘God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God’ 2 Cor 5.21 NIV.
Contained in the law we are captured in separation from God and are slaves rather than sons as Paul affirms in Galatians. Only the Spirit of Christ gives life. The flesh, which is the law accomplishes nothing of heaven’s life. In this light the health message, the sanatoriums and hospitals can be seen as a compensation for the absence of life in the Spirit of Christ.
‘The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you--they are full of the Spirit and life’ John 6.63 NIV.
Should we insist on Sabbath-keeping, it is certain that we do not understand life in the Spirit. It shows that we have somehow missed what Jesus did for us or how He ushered in life in the Spirit through His resurrection and personal out-pouring at Pentecost. Life in the Spirit is simply His life as ours. We are the effect of His personal indwelling.
This is what Paul called, ‘Christ our life.’ No longer do we live in the shell and externalities of the law. We are ourselves in Christ and He in us. As a manifestation of Jesus we get to be who we are and who we were designed to be. This is the glory of God and the glory of man.
‘When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ Col 3.4 NIV.
In this age all life comes from Him – never from some object, posture, behaviour or holy day. The Sabbath has no more life-giving power than the Islamic bourka. An absorption in Sabbath-keeping indicates that we do not live in the Spirit, nor do we understand what life in the Spirit is. This is His life as ours and His life as the fountain of all life on the planet. Talk of ‘Divine rest for human restlessness’ is as obtuse as it is misguided. It transfers to a day what is the essence of Jesus for the human race.
Adventist theology is revisionist and anti-gospel of the Kingdom. It denies Christ’s coming to live by the Spirit in our being. Then makes Him subordinate to the law and our ally in living from the law. In doing so it inverts the cross and nullifies the Spirit giving primacy to the flesh.
The touting of itself as ‘truth’ and a door to salvation – along with its false Christ of The Sabbath - places Adventism outside the teaching of Jesus and Paul and beyond the pale of what is generally considered to be Christianity. It leaves good people as dead men walking and dead women talking. But we are no longer wretched or yoked to the corpse of the law because we are one with Jesus and joined in oneness to God. Don’t crucify Jesus again by zeal without knowledge and the attempt to establish your own righteousness. This joins us to a body of death, blinds our eyes and dulls our spirit.
‘What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!’ Rom 7.24,25 NIV.
Adventists attach like limpets to the rock of the Sabbath. Even those who have left the church for agnosticism or unbelief remain persuaded that Sabbath-keeping is sound doctrine. If we were still living from the law it would be. If the Ten Commands remained in place it would be consistent to keep the Sabbath. But they are not. They do not remain in place.
We have new commands and they are these: The command of God is to believe His Son. The testimony of Jesus is ‘I am your life.’ We are not beholden to Adam or Moses. Now Christ is our life and is the law of the spirit of life. The new covenant is a radical break and new departure from the old and dead way of the law and old covenant. Dead because it was steeped in Adam and dead because it was the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The Sabbath can never be a rest. It is not a cover-all for our inability to be righteous. It has no grace and no ability to transform. It is not a Christ. The Sabbath ties Adventism to the law, old covenant, the authority of Satan and the reign of sin and death under Adam. The Sabbath acts as a manufactured Messiah and false grace. An artificial grace since the law cannot be kept so the illusion of keeping it must be looked for somewhere else. Sabbath-keeping is utilised as a false grace - a cover-all for the righteousness we do not have. It is an artifice maintaining the illusion of obedience through law-keeping. It is a false rest and a false Christ.
KEEPERS OF THE LAME
‘The law’ is the rock of Adventism, not only because Adventists have never emerged from the old covenant. Without the law there would be no Adventist denomination. As messengers of the law they are convinced they carry the flame of truth. But the reality is that without the life of the Spirit they are The Keepers of The Lame. The jesus of Adventism is subordinate to the law and lives to aid folks in keeping the law. In actual fact this jesus is not the Christ of God but a figment of The Desire of Ages and the ‘other gospel’ of Ellen White. Desire of Ages is not the sweet account it appears. It subverts the gospel of the Kingdom and replaces it with the gospel of a false prophet.
‘But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God's curse!’ Gal 1.8 NIV.
Adventism is what it is from a sense of legitimacy and entitlement based on the revelation and authority of Ellen White and the pioneers. Never mind that Jesus warned against false christ’s and Paul declared that other gospels attracted a curse – the curse here is the curse of the law and the lack of security seeded into Believers by a works based ‘Have I done enough gospel’. Yet Adventists are good people. What they don’t have is a secure hope and life to the full, having been successfully deluded and robbed by the Evil One.
The Record asks, ‘Is the Adventist church an apostate cult?’ The Record is confident in the expectation that the answer is ‘no.’ It may well be confident, but not accurate since Adventism has consistently rejected Biblical doctrine throughout its history in favour of its inbred suppositions masquerading as some special contribution of theology for the world.
As an Adventist said to me once, ‘They have an answer for everything.’ It is a closed system. An illusion of truth has been knitted and knotted like a shawl from distorted scriptures, off-beat theologians like George Storrs and Henry Grew and from the taint of Arianism and its ‘not quite God’ Jesus.
Mrs White’s focus on Moses, the law and the re - Judaising of the gospel did not come from God. But it is likely that it came from the apocryphal book, The Assumption of Moses. Here Moses is described as being translated to heaven, (a non-Biblical assertion found in her writings but not in scripture), and that Moses became the mediator of God’s covenant. ‘Keepers of the flame’ is consistent with this notion. But neither Moses or the law is the mediator of God’s covenant. Jesus is the Firstborn from The Dead. The covenant as the new and living way is the person of Jesus.
I have friends who are proud that their parents served in this church. I don’t share their satisfaction. I have forbears and relatives who have done the same. I am glad for their sincerity and pleased that they bore witness to a few droplets of life. But sad that they gave their lives for what is mostly a delusion and a rolling back of the accomplishments of Jesus.
In this ‘Message’ scriptures are distorted and wrested from their clear meaning. Now The Clear Word Bible is enlisted in support of the Other Gospel of Adventism and he fantasy of truth is perpetuated disguised as an angel of light. There is an obtuse consistency here. Not content to interpret the Bible through the Ellen White prism the natural over-reach has been to hatch-up and Bible of Adventism’s own.
We have no right to be sanguine or passive about a system of religion that is a form of spiritual abuse.
SPIRIT AND LIFE
Conceits and vanities have been seeded into gullible minds by the power of confusion working through Ellen White. We need not be bad folks to be deceived by the Enemy. Nor need we argue for a lack of intelligence, although this gospel does not foster it. Here are people who do not know the gospel of the Kingdom, who live from false premises and who are not persistent in entering their inheritance as sons and in finding out what the Bible says. Ellen White was not a bad woman – just captured by the spirit of anti-christ.
Paul’s remark in Galatians captures the inception and growth of Adventism in history. ‘Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?’ Gal 3.3 NIV.
A law culture is a garrotte on the Spirit of Life and a G-clamp on the mind. Legalism shrinks the mind, dulls vision and can stultify the brain. It is anti-light and anti-life. But it makes a good fog. Originality, creativity, vision and discernment comes from the person of Jesus who is Wisdom in person. In Jesus spirit and life flows from the trinity directly into the sons and daughters of God. This is the inheritance of all. So the question could better be framed, ‘Is Adventism the gospel of the Kingdom and the apostles teaching? Or is it some ‘Johnny come lately, ’ some Off-Shoot, posing as a fresh revelation from God?