It disturbs me when I read about the life of a pioneer, some significant figure or one of my forbears and find that they became Adventists ‘though Bible studies.’ In churches in my youth I would hear many people give their life testimony and talk about ‘Since I became an Adventist.’ I wonder if they realised that these words distinguish and separate them, not only from the Body of Christ but from Jesus’ Paul and John’s gospel of the Kingdom.
The ‘Bible Study’ entrance to Adventism disturbs me because it is a case study in how the scriptures can be distorted into another gospel just by joining a series of texts in a certain way – a chain of misrepresentation, so that those who do not know the truth call a wonderful chain of truth.
William Miller’s assumptions were based on a disjointed collection of out of context scriptures purporting to establish the coming of Jesus in the 1840s. Of course He never came. Not only was this string of assumption an assault on truth. It contradicted Jesus’ assertion that no one knew the day or hour of His coming. Yet here was a group whose endeavours were to lead to the establishment of a denomination based on disobedience and a mistake!
Well Jesus did not turn up. Despite this ‘no-show,’ the pioneers did the same again. They concocted a mixture of assorted scriptures in support of the Investigative Judgment doctrine – a fantasy that undid the accomplishments of Father, Son and Holy Spirit on our behalf entirely and resumed the separation of humanity from God that was our status in the law of sin and death. This was our status before the cross in the life of separated Adam. Significantly two people known to me have had depictions from Jesus in which Adventism was seen under and inverted cross – the sign of an upside down gospel.
The law-centric culture of Adventism grows out of the Investigative Judgment and its assumptions as naturally as weeds grow out of compost.
Adventism’s revisionist gospel made the law the central feature of its belief and culture and the so called controversy between Christ and Satan its framework. The Adventist christ is a small christ, not only because Desire of Ages depicts Jesus as subordinate to the law but because Ellen White’s Jesus is only marginally superior to Satan – a devil who is remarkably successful in checkmating the moves of Christ. Adventism needs to be seen for what it is. An attempt to undo the knowledge of good and evil by means of continued efforts in the knowledge of good and evil.
Of course the law is not the issue and Satan’s power is infinitely small compared to the Christ of God who is fully God and has totally defeated Satan and His claims through the cross and resurrection.
The issue is the unstoppable love of our Father expressed in the cross of His Son and the successful drawing - in of humanity to fellowship with God. The issue of the ages is the love of our Father and the spirit of sonship that is our possession and inheritance.
But effectively deprived of grace Adventism has made a pathetic messiah out of the Sabbath and Sabbath-keeping. Stuck in the law it defines itself out of life in the Spirit, yet strives to compensate for the absence of spirit and life with the substitution of the health message.
‘If they speak not according to this word there is no life in them.’ This is an oft quoted scripture by Ellen White and many in Adventism to this day. Yet it maintained the law of Moses as the core of righteousness and often quotes the saying that Moses commandments are the expression of God’s character. But they are not. Jesus’ is the exact representation of God, the complete expression of His character and the Mirror of who you are in His provision of grace and life to the full. You are the effect of Christ’s life in you and as you. Paul writes,
‘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’s difficult not to assert that for Adventism, Christ died for nothing since it situates itself in the law and makes religion out of externalities. For this reason many people in Adventism are dead in their spirit.
The grace of God is not an abstraction. This grace is Christ’s life for you and Christ’s Spirit manifesting in you and as you. This scripture alone demolishes a law-culture and the entire doctrinal structure that is Adventism. If there is no old covenant today because it has been abolished and superseded, then the foundation of all of that is Adventism has been undone. All that is left is a fantasy, an illusion and a group of misguided people fastened on to a load of rubbish. Speaking of the latter Paul wrote,
‘Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ’ Phil 3.8 KJV.
The black hole at the base of Adventism is simply this: It is the erroneous belief that Ellen White spoke on behalf of God. She is an example of the fact that being a good person does not immunise any of us from receiving darkness as though it is light. Ellen White’s revelation did not come from God. As a result she planted tares and crippled sons of God on behalf of the Evil One.
‘Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn’ Matt 13.30 NIV.