LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

FROM THE FALL, 2017, PRINTED PROCLAMATION!

 

Veganism and giving offense

I enjoyed the article by Stephen Baxter, “In and Out of Adventism”, in the Spring, 2017, issue of Proclamation!. Some of it sounded very much like me.

I also enjoyed Stephen Pitcher’s “The Clear Word on Food” very much. While I do agree with a lot of the article, although I am still processing it, it seems to overlook some things…The article seems to focus on the Bible verses defending meat, but it ignores…the historical significance of these teachings in Paul’s times.

Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles and wrote his letters primarily to newly converted Greeks about subject matter that concerned the Greeks. …Vegans got their start in Greece about 500 BC. The Greeks felt that it was immoral, unethical, and wrong to use any animal or part of an animal without its permission. (This idea is basically a part of New Age philosophy today.) So, many of Paul’s statements such as not eating to give offense (Rom. 14:20) and not judging those who eat meat and those who don’t (Rom. 14:3), apply equally to vegans and to meat-eaters.

 Bakersfield, CA

 

Editor’s response: Proclamation! ran an article on the source of the Adventist health message in the Spring, 2015, issue. Author Cheryl Granger traced the Adventists’ emphasis on vegetarianism and the supposed ill-effects of meat-eating to ancient paganism and showed its similarity to new-age ideas. The article is entitled “The Seventh-day Adventist Health Message: From where did it come?” and may be accessed here.

 

Deep dive into The Clear Word

I appreciated the last hard copy of Proclamation! With each issue I see more “layers of the onion” to peel back, and I see how convoluted Adventist teachings are.

Please give my special thanks to Steve Pitcher for his deep dive into The Clear Word (“The Clear Word On Food”). Stunning.

Dana Point, CA

 

You’ve made Satan happy

I’m ashamed of this magazine and you can count on us to toss it in the trash can! Please remove our name from your mailing list. We do feel sorry for all of you who have lost your way. You have made one person happy—his name is Satan.

Avinger, TX

 

A special mission

I want you to know you are in my prayers regularly. I thank God for Bible students at Proclamation! magazine who bravely cut through false doctrine taught in Adventist schools and churches. My mother would never let me read anything that was not published by Pacific Press [an Adventist publishing house]. I was never allowed to question my Adventist faith, and the Lord knows I had many questions as I read Romans and Galatians.

In the early years of my marriage, we were best friends with an Adventist minister and his wife. The minister had graduated cum laude from Andrews seminary and struggled with doctrine. He was pastor of a large Adventist church in Washington state. Finally, after five years, he painfully turned in his ministerial credentials to the North Pacific Union Conference. He and his family hit hard times for a while.

Every weekend, our family hopped on a ferry and crossed Puget Sound to their little island home. We always brought lot of food supplies: pot pies, vegetables, salad, and pies. We were their sounding board. Those were wonderful times! They helped us all to know what we believed and not look to the Adventist commentary for support.

God bless you dear people. You are called to a special mission—to bring truth to those deceived by false doctrine.

Sacramento, CA

 

Good grief, Pitcher!

It seems at times with you guys nothing is sacred! Now, the Bible tells us we have the right—with no restrictions—to eat anything and everything one’s heart desires! Well, go for it, Bro. Pitcher; eat to your heart’s content!

However, my friend, let it be said, the inspired health information, 150 years before it’s time, has produced a group of people that it is widely known live an average of eight to ten years longer than the average population and with fewer illnesses, on the average, as well! Why? Because they have adhered, generally speaking, to a diet promoted by a woman with only a third grade education. Adventists and Ellen White have been witness to the world about a healthful diet years before one became fashionable!

It almost sounds like it could be inspired information!

Oh, by the way—truth is always the truth regardless of whether we accept it or not!

See you when I awake!

Retired Pastor, Roanoke, VA

 

Carefully crafted articles

Please keep me on the mailing list! I am a retired evangelical pastor, a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I very much appreciate your carefully crafted articles. A number of former Adventists, including pastors, have attended our church, and they have been a tremendous blessing to us.

Wichita, KS

 

Religion is not credible

Thank you for the many years of sending me your magazine. I am, however, asking that you no longer send the magazine as I no longer find any religion credible, or useful, whether it be Adventism or any other form of Christianity or monotheism.

Proclamation! is a well-done publication, and I have no animosity or hostility towards your mission—only indifference. There are many others who would better profit from and appreciate your journal, and your money is better spent sending to those individuals. Again, thank you for sharing your religious journey, but I am moving on.

Berrien Springs, MI

 

Editor’s note: The above letter is a grief to us, and it demonstrates the fact that the seeds of agnosticism lie at the heart of Adventism.

Adventism teaches Ellen White’s warnings that to reject her writings and to reject the Sabbath will ultimately mean that people will reject the Bible and God Himself. Consequently, many people who find Adventism to be untenable and impossible to observe properly drift away into unbelief and agnosticism.

These people seldom reason that they were taught the Bible wrongly. Instead, they reason that the Bible doesn’t apply to them and is illogical and rigid. Because they cannot trust the Adventist Jesus and his Heavenly Father, they dismiss the real revelation of the Trinity found in Scripture. If “the Truth” they learned proves tawdry and false, they certainly will not venture to find real Christianity—something they have been taught is a deception and the product of Roman Catholicism.

 

Feel less weird

Yes, please keep me on the mailing list! I like knowing there are other former Adventists out there; it helps me feel less weird about how I was raised.

Keep up the good work!

Middleburg, FL

 

Does Paul teach the IJ?

Hi folks, I have forgotten the explanation about this verse. A friend of mine is using it to support the investigative judgement: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10).

Alberta, Canada

 

Editor’s response: You need to read the verses before and after verse 10. The context is Paul’s chastising of the Corinthians for developing factions around the teachers that they personally prefer: “I am of Cephas.” “I am of Paul.” I am of Apollos.” “I am of Christ.” He reprimanded them for their division, and then he said that he had laid a foundation that could not be duplicated nor changed: he had laid the foundation of Christ for them.

Others, then, would come and build on that foundation. Some would build well, using permanent building materials such as gold, silver, and precious stones. Others would build with perishable materials—wood, hay, and straw. Paul then says that everyone’s works will come into judgment, and the fire would prove the quality of each man’s work. Some people do work within the church that is not gospel-founded. (Please note that Paul is speaking to believers, not unbelievers.)

Next Paul says that work that is not of the quality of precious metals and jewels will be destroyed in the fire, but the person himself will be saved, as one escaping through the flames. This passage is not about an investigative judgment; it is referring to the fire of “that day”—an eschatological term that refers to Jesus’ coming judgment of the world. On that day of judgment, the fire will destroy work we do that is not based on the gospel of the Lord Jesus.

If we have truly been saved, even if we do things that have no eternal, gospel value, we will be saved, but our works will be burned. If, however, our works are gospel works and are eternal in quality and value, we will receive rewards (not specified but promised) for those works we did while in the flesh before we died.

Importantly, this passage is not teaching that people can lose their salvation if their works are burned up. Salvation is never a reward for our works. Rather, it is always a free gift given to those who place their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus as their Savior and Lord.

This passage is not describing an investigative judgment; the verses about works being burned must be read in the context of the entire passage!

 

Kudos to Chris

Yes! Please keep me on the list to receive Proclamation! I am a former Adventist having grown up from childhood trying to make sense of their doctrines as compared to Scripture. The magazine has been extremely helpful in guiding me through Scripture as I continue to unlearn the errors that I grew up with. Please pray for me and my husband as we search for a permanent Bible-teaching church home.

I wish to express my appreciation to Chris Lee for the recent article entitled “In Death Are We Present With the Lord?” It was clear and concise on what the Bible says about what happens when we die. Thank you, Chris! Thank you so much to each and every one of you for your commitment to teaching the truth directly from Scripture.

Centennial, CO

 

Doug Batchelor Foiled

I have a quick testimony you might want to print in your magazine.

A brother in Christ, Delroy Reid, has sent me a subscription to your Proclamation! magazine. I appreciated it but really haven’t felt the need for it since I haven’t come into contact with Adventists in my area. Also, my area of apologetics is more focused on Islam and the unfortunate liberal drift in greater Evangelicalism today.

But, praise God, I knew there was a reason I have been receiving your magazines! A brother in our church wanted to share a DVD with me about Revelation, and he thought it would be good to share with our class at church.

You guessed it; it was “Amazing Facts” by Doug Batchelor! I had thought this guy was an Adventist, and then I watched the DVD and recognized it immediately.

Now, as pastor, I will kindly share with my brother that we cannot show his DVD in church, but now, thanks to your efforts, I can give him an in-depth explanation as to why this teaching is wrong and why the Adventists are in error.

Thank you for your efforts; they are not in vain! Keep up the good work!

Pastor Joseph Alghrary, Mooresville, NC

 

Burdened and desperate

My children and I need out of this relationship.We are abused emotionally and verbally and put out of the house very regularly. I’m not allowed to pursue an education. I suffered a mental breakdown some months ago. Please help us. I need a place to go. I don’t believe in EGW’s teachings. My husband said I’m a demon, that the devil has taken over me. I need peace of mind.

Via email

 

Editor’s response: Adventism provides a place for serious abuse and dysfunction to hide. Unfortunately, the incidence of hidden but severe abuse among Adventists is far more common than people want to believe. If you or your children are in danger, you need to find a shelter or other safe place to go. Meanwhile, you need to become anchored in truth and reality and in the absolute fact of the gospel of the Lord Jesus. Read through the gospel of John and actually journal it, copying out even a few verses each day. Read the book of Galatians each day for a month, asking God to reveal what He knows you need to know. The Lord knows your circumstances and is not surprised; He will give you courage and trust in Him, and He will guide you. He has promised to be the husband of the widows and the Father of the fatherless, and He will guide you to safety. It may be frightening to change your circumstances, but He has promised to comfort you and to give you family in Jesus. He asks us to trust Him and to be willing, if necessary, to lose what we most cherish for His sake. He will never forsake His children.

 

Treading dangerous ground

I am a Seventh-day Adventist in good standing and in agreement with the organized church. As a committed believer in the traditional doctrines of the church, I am well-satisfied with my understanding of orthodox Christian theology. The heretical articles in your journal sadden me, and I feel nothing less than pity for the souls who are deceived thereby…I will continue to pray for you, knowing that Mrs. White confronted much dissent in her day as well. Please realize that you are treading on dangerous ground at odds with our Creator. He is coming soon and, at that time, He will separate the real chaff from the authentic and mature wheat. Until then, the door to confession with contrition and repentance is open to us all.

Burlington, NC

 

Robbing God?

The Spring, 2017, issue of Proclamation! spoke to me like no other to date! Praise the Lord for all who shared and mostly for the Holy Spirit who makes it clear indeed!

I could speak to many points of interest, but there is one I will mention. I am wondering why Mr. Barker didn’t mention Malachi 3:10 in his brilliant (and very thought provoking) article on the Adventist fundamental belief on tithing. It seems to my wife and me that to address how God is “robbed” would have been a good place to further explain tithe. We love you all!

Albemarie, NC

 

Editor’s response: Adventists use Malachi 3:10 as a proof-text for tithe-paying: “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.’”

Here is the context. Malachi was likely contemporary with Nehemiah and was writing to the Jews who had returned to the Promised Land after their Babylonian exile. They were rebuilding their temple and the city of Jerusalem and reestablishing their community. Malachi begins chapter 3 by prophesying the Messiah’s coming, “the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight.” He continues by saying that this One will purify them “so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.”

He continues by reiterating God’s promises never to destroy His people and calls them to return to the Lord, reminding them that historically they have persisted in turning away from God’s statutes.

Then Malachi tells Israel that they are robbing God by not giving Him the required covenant-commanded tithes and offerings. These gift and tithes were not random free-will offerings; they were explicitly defined in the law. Malachi continues by reiterating the Mosaic covenant promises to Israel: that if they keep the law and do what God commanded, He would bless them; if they ignore the covenant, God would send curses: their land would not bear fruit; their vines would drop their grapes.

We cannot take God’s Mosaic covenant-promises that He made specifically to Israel and apply them to us. God’s promises included promises not only for their personal care but for the prosperity of the land of Israel which He had given to them—if they kept the law faithfully.

Jesus, however, inaugurated a new covenant, a covenant to which Malachi referred before this reminder to pay tithe. Jesus is the guarantee of a better covenant enacted on better promises than the Mosaic covenant (Heb. 8:6).

The new covenant does not depend upon obedience to the law and its regulations. Rather, it depends upon our belief in our new High Priest who is not descended from Levi but is designated according to the order of Melchizedek (Heb. 7:11). Under the new covenant, God doesn’t give us commands to pay tithe. Instead, He asks us to trust Him with everything we are and everything we have.

The specific promises to Israel based on the levitical priesthood and the Mosaic covenant do not apply to the church, the body of Christ. Instead, we have a new law, the law of Christ (Gal. 2:6) which replaced the Mosaic law when the levitical priests were replaced by our High Priest in Melchizedek’s order (Heb. 7:12). Now God has promised to supply everything we need. Jesus told us not to worry even about what we will eat, drink, or wear; our Father knows we need these things. If we seek the kingdom of God first, He will provide all these things as well (Mt. 6:25-34).

 

Can I follow a God who kills?

Most of my life I read and studied the New Testament. I have decided to delve into the Old Testament. I am having so many questions and actual heart ache over the Old Testament. For example, this morning I was reading Numbers 31, and it has me almost crying. The Old Testament has so much killing. For example, there are so many sacrifices. It seems so much like works to me. When I read this morning from Numbers 31:15 and on, I was close to tears. I cannot shake the awful feeling I have—murdering all the men of Midian and saving the women and children…If I keep on with the Old Testament it will drag me down to the lowest of lows. What about His love and His yoke being light? Can I follow a God who kills women and enslaves virgins and children? I am asking God these questions with no answers.

Alberta, Canada

 

Editor’s response: I understand your questions. First, the Adventist worldview makes creatures’ free will the prime “value” in the universe, not God’s holiness. We were taught that God limits His power in order to be fair to us. He would “never” impose Himself on us.

The Bible, however, reveals that God is sovereign and holy; creatures are to worship Him, and sin is an affront to Him. God said in Eden that sin yields death; the sacrifices were a “substitute” death that would enable Israel to worship God without being stricken dead by God’s holiness. Blood was required as an atonement for sin.

Animal deaths, however, cannot pay for human sin. They foreshadowed a perfect human substitute who would pay for all human sin. Meanwhile, God’s people had to bring sacrifices in order to approach His holiness and be forgiven. Otherwise, their sins kept them separated from Him.

The deaths of the Midianites is an example of God’s protecting His people from the corruption of demonic pagan worship. Numbers 31:16 says this attack was God’s judgment on the Midianites, through Balaam’s advice, to infiltrate Israelite ranks and lead them into sin. God had intervened with Balaam, keeping him from cursing Israel, but Balaam refused to honor Him and helped Midian lead Israel into sin. God judged this sin of Midian’s.

Second, Adventism did not teach us the truth about the nature of man. We learned that we were “body + breath”, and a breathing body WAS a soul. We learned man did not have an immaterial soul/spirit that survives the body at death. Thus, God’s judgments seemed cruel; if God commanded that someone die, we believed he would cease to exist. We saw God’s judgments as arbitrary cruelty to people who were probably doing the best they could.

The story of Job helped me. God ultimately doubled the animals he lost in the fire and storm, but he only got ten more children. As an Adventist I was bothered by the fact that his wealth doubled, but his children were merely “replaced”. When I realized that the “real us” does not cease with death, I saw that God actually did double Job’s children. When his first ten children died, their spirits went to the Lord. God gave him ten more, and now, in eternity, Job has his 20 children. None of them ceased to exist.

The biblical truth about man has helped me understand God’s Old Testament judgments. His judgments occur when people persistently refuse to believe. Romans 1:18-20 says God’s divine nature and eternal power are clearly revealed in what has been made “so that all men are without excuse”, but unbelievers “suppress the truth in unrighteousness”. In other words, God judges those who suppress what is evident to them.

Moreover, 2 Peter 3:9 says God is patient and does not want any to perish but to come to repentance. For example, in Genesis 15:16, God tells Abraham that his descendants will come back to the land “in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”

God gave Israel “the oracles of God”, as Paul says. His commands that they be separate from the nations were to protect them from deception and false gods.

The massacre in Numbers is an example of God judging the wicked because their wickedness had become dangerous to His people, and the wicked themselves were persistently unrepentant. Importantly, those who died did not cease to exist. If people died who believed what God had revealed, He took their spirits to be with Him. If they were simply unrepentant, He still keeps their spirits for His final day of judgment. Those who survived were brought into a God-fearing society instead of a pagan one marked by human sacrifices to angry gods.

Scripture tells us that God knows His own, and not one will be lost (Rom. 8:29–30; Eph. 1:3–14). God’s destruction of evil, as in the cases of the flood and of His commands to destroy evil people, is part of His protection of His own creation.

God’s destruction of sin is always a mercy, not a cruelty. Moreover, our sovereign God never destroys people who “haven’t had a chance to hear”. God reveals Himself and draws us to Himself, and all are without excuse. We can trust Him.†

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