Adventism, for its size is an impressive system. More an ideology than an expression of Christ’s life and teaching, Adventism has an element of success. It ‘Seems to offer solutions to people’s felt needs through medical care, social services, books, literature, and personal contact. The reality behind these forms of proselytizing, though, is usually hidden. Adventism is driven by a false gospel and “another Jesus.”’
IRON AND CLAY
The ‘strength’ of Adventism is its humanism. The weakness of Adventism is that it grows from the garden of the law. But Jesus says His ‘branches’ grow out of Him. Jesus, the apostles and the new testament record clearly teach that the ‘being’ of the Believer grows out of God. This is to say, we have been planted in the trinity in Jesus. Just as wonderful is the new covenant fact that the trinity dwell in us. We are incarnated with God and as such express His nature – if we believe.
This is why we need the mind of Christ and not the mind of a cunningly devised fable. We need the mind of Christ because with our mindset we create the reality in which we live.
Adventism would have it that the great issue of life is the law of God – not surprising since the rationalisation for the great mistake became the Investigative Judgment. The huge issue is more affirming than this boring abstraction. The issue is the wonderfully reliability and trustworthiness of our Father and the fact of our inclusion in the heavenly family as daughters and sons – already. This is an accomplished fact and the ground of our spiritual formation and being.
The false gospel is that the atonement is not complete and it’s up to you to make it real. You read the Bible. Latch onto right doing with your head and ask for Jesus help. But this is not Christ come in our flesh. It’s the law come in flesh. Adventism is a mechanical religion of the head. Thus we have statements like, ‘Keeping close to Jesus.’ Of course we are no more adept at keeping close to Jesus than complying with any element of the law. So if ‘keeping close to Jesus’ is where it’s at the we are done for. So there is this ‘Other Gospel’ that fundamentally undoes the cross and catapults people back to Adam and Moses in the knowledge of good and evil and the law. It’s what Paul called living in the Body of Death.
‘D OF A’
The ‘other Jesus’ part is largely the work of The Desire of Ages. Here we have a Jesus absorbed in keeping the law in general and upholding the Sabbath in particular. In the new testament we find that Jesus lived from His Father. Not from the law. He was not one with the law. He was one with His Father. Jesus modelled not a son of legalism but a son of God for that is what He was. Jesus became the new Adam because He ‘believed God.’ As the Second Adam, Jesus is the One who believes and lives from His Father. This Jesus lives in us, imparting His life, obedience and nature to us by the Spirit. This is Christ come in our flesh – the difference between other gospels and Jesus and Paul’s gospel.
‘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.
The implication of Jesus Christ being ‘under the law’ is not what those who propose this might like. It means that since Jesus is subordinate to the law, He is not God, since to be God one must be subordinate to nothing. Hebrews tells us that Jesus was the complete expression of God. This is no doubt the worst element of Adventism’s false christ – a christ who is not the christ but a creation of ‘another gospel.’