BY OWOLABI PAUL
Owolabi Paul has recently resigned his membership from Seventh-day Adventism. After intensive study and the contextual reading of the New Testament, he has fallen in love with Jesus and His cross. This article is his official letter of resignation.
The last five years of my life have been incredible. I could never have seen what they would bring when I first made a personal commitment to the Seventh–day Adventist church and its mission. At the time, that seemed to be the best decision I had ever made.
As an Adventist, I grew in knowledge and zeal, and then I came to know about ALIVE Nigeria. ALIVE stands for Africans Living In View of Eternity. It is a supporting ministry of the Adventist church, and it has chapters in many African countries. ALIVE Nigeria was for me a platform to fellowship with likeminded people who had the same passion and zeal for Adventism. It gave me an opportunity to learn a lot and to do a lot. ALIVE motivated me to go deeper and deeper still into Adventism, its history, and its theology. It was always a delight for me to peruse literally thousands of pages and hundreds of sermons to gain deeper knowledge of Adventism.
During my time with ALIVE Nigeria, I made a decision to be an Adventist apologist and determined to know everything that would enable me to defend the doctrines and preach them with clarity and conviction. In fact, I believe everyone that knows me could testify to my deep love for Adventism and its message and to my desire to defend it against “Babylonian” objections.
ALIVE Nigeria gave me more than intellectual armament; it showed me committed people willing to sacrifice for Adventism. Being involved encouraged me to make all my decisions for the sake of the Adventist mission and message. In fact, all my life was literally given over to this cause, and I made many difficult decisions that resulted in my parents and friends becoming angry.
I had always believed in historic and traditional Adventism and was convinced that all other variants were false. I read thousands of Ellen White passages to learn how to live the Adventist life in these last days when the heavenly records are being investigated, and I taught this Adventism to others. I conducted many Bible studies, and I was often invited to local churches to challenge members to commit themselves to the Adventist message—with huge success.
Questions I could not ignore
Early this year, however, I began a focus of study that led me to a place I never expected to go. I poured myself into Romans, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Hebrews, and finally into the epistles of John. These studies led me to ask many questions. Committed to defending Adventism, I devoted all my energy into thinking through the biblical evidence I was reading. To my shock, however, my study led me on a path I never thought I would tread.
Moreover, as I was discovering things in the Bible that I had never expected to see, my love of Adventist history led me to look closely at some details which Adventist church leadership has tried to sweep under the rug. To my surprise, there are many nearly–forgotten facts which nevertheless have a negative impact on Adventist claims. As someone who has read thousands of pages from Vance Ferrel, William Shea, Stephen Bohr, Amazing Facts, Dennis Priebe, Eugene Prewitt, David Shin, and the Biblical Research Institute, I thought I would be able to find easy answers to my growing concerns.
On the contrary, my studies led me to believe that the foundational doctrines and the identity of the Seventh–day Adventist Church are unbiblical, and I had to leave. Moreover, my studies did not just lead me out; they led me to the true knowledge and experience of the apostolic gospel of Jesus Christ, and this discovery has been the best thing that has ever happened in my life. I have seen the gospel clearly in its simplicity yet its profundity.
Conclusions that undermine Adventism
Just as I used to be committed to explaining Adventism, I now believe I must share what the Bible has taught me. Following are some of the conclusions from my months of study, and these conclusions have disproven Adventism’s unique teachings and have undermined its identity.
Of central importance is the truth about Jesus. At His ascension He entered into the very presence of God and sat at His right hand. He has been there since his ascension and will be there until His second coming (Heb. 1:3; 4:16; 6:19,20; 8:1,2; 9:7,8,12,24; 10:19,20; 13:11,12).
The atonement of Christ was completed at the cross where He cried, “It is finished.” He did not just begin the atonement there, but He finished it at the cross where His blood was spilled as the means of our redemption (Heb. 1:3; 9:12, 28; 10:14: Jn. 19:30; Rom. 3:25).
Christ did not go to heaven to stand and minister and plead and do some further work of atonement, but when He entered heaven, He sat down waiting for His enemies to be made His footstool (Heb. 1:3; 10:12; 12:2; Rev 3:21; Mk. 16:9; Ps. 110:4).
The event at the cross where Christ spilled His blood is the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement. Christ’s sacrifice does not have a parallel with the daily ministration of the priests but with the work of the High Priest (Heb. 7:23–27; 8:6; 9:6–14; 10:12–14).
Christ is not a priest after the order of Levi but after the order of Melchizedek; His ministry is not a parallel to the Levitical priesthood but a contrast to it. Christ is better than angels, than Moses, than Levitical Priests—He is better than every other thing in all creation (Heb. 7).
Through His once–for–all sacrifice on the cross, Jesus has completed the atonement and has perfected us forever (Heb. 10:14).
Righteousness and judgment
In the heavenly sanctuary, there is no veil; therefore, there is no differentiation between a holy place and the most holy. The veil prevented the people and the ordinary priests from gaining access to the presence of God, but in the new covenant there is no veil. We enter straight into the very presence of God where Christ has already entered before us (Heb. 4:14–16; 10:19–23).
There is no “final atonement” in which sins are forgiven but still recorded, waiting to be blotted out on the basis of good works, confession, and a perfect life (Ps. 51:9; 103:12; Mic. 7:19).
Our sins are blotted out the moment we put our faith in Jesus, and God no longer keeps record of them. Our sins and iniquities are remembered no more (Heb. 8:12; 10:17,18; Acts 3:19,20; Rom. 4:3–6).
Acts 3:19 teaches blotting out of sin at the time of repentance, and 1 Peter 4:17 uses “judgment” to refer to the sufferings and persecutions of believers (see 1 Pet. 4:12–19).
Our salvation does not depend upon living a perfect life so as to stand in the judgment. Instead, it depends on the finished work of Christ on the cross where he has perfected us forever. We are saved by the doing and dying of Christ (Rom. 3:21,22; 4:3–6; 5:12–21; 9:30–31; 10).
Judgment occurs now in people’s reaction to the message of the gospel (Jn. 3:16–9, 36; 5:21–24; 12:48). Judgment will then be publicly revealed at the last day at Christ’s coming (Rom. 2:5; 14:10–12).
Those who have put their faith in Christ have no fear for the judgment (1 Jn. 4:15–19; 2:28; 1 Thess. 5:9).
For those who trust in Christ, the verdict of the final judgment has already been given to them; they are justified (Rom. 5:1; 3:24–26; 8:1, 33,34; Jn. 5:24).
Christians can have assurance of salvation now. We can know now that we have eternal life and no one will snatch us from the hands of the Father and the Son. We are not to wait in fear for any concocted pre–advent judgment and then hope we make it (Jn. 6:37–40; 10:28; 1 Jn. 5:13).
The righteousness that saves us is an imputed righteousness, an external righteousness outside of ourselves. We are not saved by grace initially and then by works; we are not saved by God’s grace helping us to overcome and be holy. Instead, we are saved by the life and death of Christ, and His righteousness is always and forever imputed to us (Rom. 5:10–21; Gal. 3:10–14; 2 Cor. 5:14–21; Phil. 3:9–10).
We are not saved by our perfection in the “final atonement”, we are saved by His perfection now and forever (Heb. 10:14; 7:19; Col. 1:28; 2:10).
The gospel is not Christ showing us an example to follow perfectly and thus be saved. Rather, the gospel is Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection according to Scripture (1 Cor. 15:3–4). It is Christ as our substitute; we are saved by his life (Is. 53; Rom. 5:9–10; 1 Pet. 2:20–25; 2 Cor. 5:21).
Christ did not have a sinful nature. He had a human nature subject to temptation, weaknesses, and frailties, but He did not have the propensity or moral tendency to sin. He is the spotless Lamb of God (Lk. 1:35; 1 Pet. 2:22; Heb. 4:15; 9:14; 1 Pet. 1:19).
Daniel and the Little Horn
The context of Daniel 8 is not of an atonement that is to be made in 1844 but of the activities of a wicked power that desolates the temple and tramples the people of God and puts an end to the daily sacrifice (v. 10–13).
What defiles the temple in Daniel 8 are the activities of the little horn, not the confession of the sins of God’s people. Only an out-of-context study of Daniel 8 yields an investigative judgment (verses 10–13, 24–25).
In Revelation 14, there is no mention of believers being judged; it is Babylon, the enemy of Christ and His church that is being judged (Rev. 14:7,8; 17:1,16; 18:2–24; 19:2,17–21).
The Hebrew word for “day” (Yom) is not in Daniel 8:14; the verse refers to 2300 evenings and mornings (ere boqer).
The day-for-a-year principle is a false prophetic principle. Ezekiel 4:6 and Numbers 14:34 say nothing about a day being a year for prophetic studies. Numbers talks about God punishing Israel in the future for 40 years because of what they did in the past—spying the land for 40 days. Ezekiel 4:6 is about a punishment for 40 days in the future that correlate with Judah’s sins for 40 years in the past.
The Hebrew word tsadaq is wrongly translated by the KJV as “cleansed”. The word means “to be just, be righteous, to be justified, to be put or made right”. This is why newer literal translations don’t use the word “cleansed” (NET, made right again; ISV, restored; ESV, restored to its rightful state; NIV, reconsecrated; RSV, restored to its rightful state).
There is no connection between Daniel 8 and Leviticus 16 at all.
The little horn of Daniel 8 comes from one of the four divisions of the Grecian kingdom, not Rome (v. 21–26).
The word “day” does not occur in Daniel 9, either. Instead, the reference is to “seventy sevens” (Shabua shabua). In Daniel 10:2,3, when the “seven” refers to seven days of weeks, it was clearly stated in the verse.
The word Chathakc used in Daniel 9:24 means “to be determined, be decreed, be settled, be marked out”. Most translations have “determined” rather than “cut off”. Even if “cut off” is the right translation (a big IF), it is not conclusive that it refers back to Daniel 8. In short, the Adventists’ arguments for the day-for-a-year principle are in error for two reasons. First, the word “day” is not in Dan 8:14 or 9:24; second, the context of Daniel specifically and the Old Testament generally shows that day-for-a-year is not a legitimate interpretation of these prophecies.
Furthermore, the New Testament which interprets the Old is conclusive that Daniel 7 was fulfilled at the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ (Mt. 28:18; Acts 2:32–36; 1 Cor. 15:25,27; 1 Pet. 3:22; Rev. 1:5).
In summary, Adventist historicism founded on the day-for-a-year principle is flawed. It always tries to fuse historical events and dates to match up with prophecy. In fact, the 1919 Bible Conference minutes detail disagreements even among Adventist scholars as to which date or which event fulfills what prophecy. Historicism has to rely on debatable and made–up dates, some of which correlate with nothing. Examples of debatable dates include 457 BC, AD 27, AD 31, AD 508, AD 538. Dates with fused events include 408 BC and AD 34. (See also Litch, August 11, 1840).
The last days did not begin at 1798 or 1844 but at the coming of Christ (Heb. 1:2). The New Testament believers were living in the last days (1 Cor. 10:11; Phil. 4:5; Heb. 10:37; 1 Jn. 2:18; Rev. 1:3; 22:20).
In fact, as far as atonement was concerned, Christ could have come in the first century; He did not need to wait for a “final atonement” because it was already finished! (Rev. 22:12,20; 1:7: Heb. 10:37).
In disobedience to the words of Jesus, those who became Adventists participated with William Miller’s date–setting for the return of Christ (Mt. 24:36, 42,43,44; 2 Pet. 3:10). Moreover, they labelled the churches that would not accept their dates, Babylon.
Instead of repenting when the dates proved wrong and Jesus didn’t return, the Adventists always believed they were right and sought to manipulate the Bible by inventing the investigative judgment to prove their points, even blaming God for covering Miller’s mistake by teaching Ellen White’s explanation that God held His hand over Miller’s error in date-setting for the purpose of stimulating people to “get ready” for Jesus’ coming. In fact, William Miller used poor hermeneutics in his proof–texting Bible study method. He has gone down in history not as a great servant of God but as a delusional date setter.
The investigative judgment contradicts the Scriptures and was a face–saving device for early Adventists who, in their extremism, taught for seven years that the door of salvation had been closed on all other churches.
Because of their inability to understand Scripture and their use of proof–texting, they established an intricate system of errors which built and depended upon each other. They pitted themselves against other Christians and devoted themselves to stealing sheep by whatever means they could.
A better covenant
The message that prepares the world for the coming of Christ was preached in the days of the apostles, and it is the same message that we should preach now—the grace of God in saving us through the finished work of Christ: His death, burial, and resurrection. This is the gospel, “the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 3; 1 Cor. 15:1–4; Rom. 1:16–17; Col. 1:27–29).
Christ inaugurated the new covenant when He died and rose again, and believers are no longer under the old covenant (Heb. 7:22; 8:6–12; 10:16–20).
The old covenant has ended (Heb. 8:7–9; 13; 10:9; 2 Cor. 3:7–11; Gal. 3&4). In fact, it was a temporary institution that lasted only until Christ came (Gal. 3:19–25; Gal. 4:1–4; Rom. 10:1–4).
Believers are no longer under the old covenant either for justification nor for sanctification (Rom. 7:4–6; 6:15; 1 Tim. 1:6–9; Acts 15; Heb. 8:7–9; 13; 10:9; 2 Cor. 3:7–11; Gal. 3&4; 5:1). In fact, to be under the old covenant is to be cut off from Christ (Gal. 3:10; 5:1–4; Rom. 9:30–33).
The old covenant was given only to Israel (Deut. 4:6–45; 5:26; 7:6–11; Rom. 9:4; Neh. 9:14; Ps. 103:7; 147:19,20). Significantly, it was not even given to the patriarchs before them (Deut. 1:8; 5:3; 6:10; Ex. 3:15; 4:5).
Furthermore, no one kept the Sabbath before Exodus 16. The rest of Genesis 2 is God’s rest, not man’s (Heb. 4:4). Moreover, the day God rested was Adam’s second day. The rest of Genesis 2 was not meant to end (the seventh day had no evening and morning designation), but the incursion of sin flawed the “very good” finished work and ended the rest (Jn. 5:17).
Importantly, the new covenant is not a continuation or a modification of the old; instead, it declares the complete end of the old (Heb. 8:7–9; 13; 10:9; 2 Cor. 3:7–11; Gal. 3 and 4).
Furthermore, the Bible does not divide the old covenant law into parts as we have taught it. Indeed, neither the Bible nor Jewish scholars know of such a distinction. All the law was given by God and is indivisible; we cannot pick and choose parts of it to keep and parts to dismiss. Jesus even affirmed the totality of the law when He said that not one jot or one tittle of the law would disappear until all was fulfilled (Mt. 5:18). In fact, the Ten Commandments are the actual words of the covenant (Ex. 34:28; 31:18; Deut. 4:13; 9:9–15; 1 Kg. 8:9,21) while the other laws are expansions, explanations, and applications of those laws (Deut. 29:1–9; Ex. 24:7). They are all the law of God. They are all obsolete because of Jesus’ fulfillment of them (2 Cor. 3:6–11; Heb. 9:1–4; Heb. 8:7–9,13).
The moral principles of the Ten Commandments that are relevant to believers in the new covenant are well–stated in the epistles (Rom. 13:9, 1 Tim. 6:1; 1 Jn. 5:21; Acts 17:29).
The law was given to the Jewish community, and without being circumcised, a person was not considered Jewish. In fact, the uncircumcised were not allowed to keep the Sabbath or the other feasts. Thus circumcision, Sabbath, and food laws were the major dividing lines between Jews and Gentiles, but these are all removed in the new covenant in Christ’s blood, the covenant that we now teach to all the world (Acts 15; Col. 2:9–23; 1 Tim. 4:1–3; Acts 10; Mk. 7:14–23; Eph. 2:1–16).
The new covenant law is the law of love expanded and explained in the epistles and interpreted by the Holy Spirit. The new covenant is not based on rigid, legal rules written on stone or in a book. Instead, it is the work of the Spirit in the heart of the believer (Rom. 13:10; Mt. 22:40; Jn. 13:34,35; Gal. 5:14, 16; Jas. 1:25: Rom. 8).
Moreover, new covenant sanctification is not defined by perfected law keeping, as Adventism teaches. Christ is our standard, not the Mosaic law. Now the indwelling Holy Spirit teaches believers to behold and meditate on Christ’s person and work; we consider who we are in Him as revealed in His word, and the Spirit uses these truths found in Scripture to transform us into the image of Christ. We get sanctified in the happiness of the assurance of salvation, not in the fear and drudgery of hoping eventually to become obedient enough to be saved (2 Cor. 3:18; 2 Pet. 1:1–4; Col. 3:1–5; Eph. 4:32; 5:2,22,25; 6:1; Jn. 15:12–15).
The Sabbath is not the seal of God in the new covenant; the Holy Spirit is the seal of God (Eph. 1:13; 4:30; 2 Cor. 1:22). Sunday–keeping is not the mark of the beast (Jn. 20:17–19; Acts 20:7; 2:47). Furthermore, there is no commandment to keep the Sabbath in the new covenant; there are no instructions on Sabbath keeping given to new gentile believers anywhere in the New Testament. Conversely, Sabbath–breaking is never mentioned in any of the lists of sins in the New Testament.
The Sabbathon of Colossians 2:16 definitely refers to the weekly Sabbath (1 Chron. 23:30–31; 2 Chron. 8:12–13; 31:3; Neh. 10:32–33; Num. 29; Ez. 45:17; 44:24 Hos. 2:11).
The “days, months, years and seasons” of Galatians 4 definitely refers to the Jewish calendar. The context can yield no other conclusion (Gal. 3–4). In fact, Sabbath–keeping has no importance in the epistles, the portion of the New Testament devoted to teaching Christians how to live.
The rest described in Hebrews 4 is what we enter when we believe in Christ; this is the rest Jesus described in Mathew 11:28–30. It is not the seventh–day rest of the Jews nor the rest of Canaan given by Joshua; instead, it typifies the eternal rest in heaven (Heb. 4:1–11).
Adventism often appeals to Paul’s Sabbath meetings recorded in the book of Acts, but they were in a synagogue context. Paul always went first to the Jews in every city in an effort to bring them the gospel message so they could believe in the Lord Jesus (Acts 13:14, 43–44; 14:1,2; 15:21; 17:1,2; 16:12–14; 18:4).
Finally, Sunday–worship did not originate with Rome in the fourth century. Rather, meeting on the first day began with the Greek churches and was already well–established in the second century.
Pagan Rome knows nothing of a weekly day of rest or weekly worship of the sun. There were no fixed intervals for worship in ancient Rome, but they worshiped the sun irregularly, just as they worshiped Saturn. It is the “catholic” (universal) church that inaugurated worship on the first day of the week, not the Roman Catholic Church.
Three Angels’ Messages
The urgent message for the world is not Sabbath; it is not perfection, nor is it the investigative judgment. Rather, the message for the world is what Christ has done (1 Cor. 15:1–11; Matt. 24:14).
The first angel’s message (Rev. 14:6–7) is not about any investigative judgment. Instead, it is a message that has been preached since apostolic times, not a message for which the church had to wait 1800 years. The first angel’s message proclaims the pure apostolic gospel that includes the fact that men are judged (1 Cor. 10:11; Phil. 4:5; Heb. 10:37; 1 Jn. 2:18; Rev. 1:3; 22:20).
The second angel’s message (Rev. 14:8) is a declaration of Christ’s victory over a false religious system—Babylon. Babylon represents any religious system that compromises the gospel and does not honor Christ, and the second angel announces that the world’s false religious system has fallen.
Then, as soon as the second angel has announced the destruction of false religion, the third angel delivers his message (Rev. 14:9–12). He declares that those who oppose Christ and His gospel will be destroyed. In fact, all who oppose the Lord Jesus are aligned with the beast and his power, and the third angel describes their eternal punishment and suffering. Nowhere is a day of worship even mentioned in these three angels’ messages. What is clear is that those who come out of false religion honor the Lord Jesus and His gospel; those who are destroyed refuse to trust the Savior and His completed atonement (Rev. 14, 17, 18, 19).
The faith we are to proclaim is not Sabbath; it is the faith once and for all delivered to the saints (Jd. 3; 2 Tim. 3:17).
The beast from the sea in Revelation 13 represents political powers, power structures, and ideologies that place themselves against the cause of Christ as Daniel foresaw in Daniel 2 and 7. The beast from the earth in the same chapter is lamb–like. It performs signs and even causes fire to fall from heaven, mimicking Christianity but drawing people to worship the anti–Christ instead of Jesus Himself. It turns the nations away from Christ (Rev. 13:11–14).
Points of Adventist Confusion
It is crucial to see this fact: there is no National Sunday Law established by the United States that will separate true and false believers. The gospel does that.
God’s true children are not sealed when a Sunday law goes forth; they are sealed at the moment of their new birth by the Holy Spirit because God knows those that are His (Eph. 1:13; 4:30; 2 Cor. 1:22; Jn. 2:22–24; 2 Tim. 2:19).
Furthermore, there is no eschatological latter rain to be given to those that are perfect. In fact, in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost, Peter applied Joel 2 to his time. The last days began with the apostles when the indwelling Holy Spirit was first poured out and the church was born (Acts 2). To this day, the Holy Spirit is poured out on every saint that believes at the moment of belief (Acts 2:16–21; Rom. 8:14; Jn. 14:26).
Moreover, the remnant of Revelation 12 refers to no denomination. Rather, the remnant consists of believers who have truly trusted Christ for their salvation. Denomination is not in view; only trusting in Jesus no matter how intense the obstacles defines God’s remnant (Rom. 10:5–12).
The commandments of God as used in Revelation 12:17 are not the Ten Commandments of old covenant law. Christians are not under the old covenant. In fact, the word entole (Jn. 10:18; 12:49,50; 13:34; 14:15,21,31; Jn. 15:10,12; 1 Jn. 2:3,4,7,8; 3:22–24; 4:21; 5:2,3; 2 Jn. 1:4,5; 2 Jn. 1:6) as used by John refers to the sayings and teachings of Jesus, never to the mosaic law. Importantly, whenever John refers to the law, he uses the word nomos (Jn. 1:17,45; 7:19,23,49,51; 8:5,17; 10:34; 12:34; 15:25; 18:31; 19:7).
Importantly for people who have been Adventists, we need to see that in Revelation, the “testimony of Jesus” is not the visionary legacy of Ellen White. Rather, it is exactly what the words say: it is the proclamation of Jesus, His person, and His work (Rev. 1:1,2,9; 6:9; 20:4). It is Jesus’ own testimony about Himself, and it is the testimony of Him as it is found in His word that His apostles and all His followers bear in the world.
Revelation contains many Old Testament imageries because it was written with the Old Testament as the background. Temple imageries, therefore, appear frequently, but they must be understood in the light of the didactic teachings of the epistles, because the New Testament reveals what the Old Testament temple represented. Symbols are interpreted by clear didactic passages, and the Old Testament is explained by the New Testament.
Moreover, the 1260 days do not refer to 1260 years. There is no day–for–a–year principle in the Bible. The three-and-one-half years of Revelation are images from the Old Testament (as in the cases of Elijah in 1 Kings 18 and in Daniel) which represent a period of tribulation.
Finally, the Scriptures condemn proselytizing new covenant believers by placing them on an old covenant “diet”. The great commission is for us to expend our efforts on the salvation of unbelievers, not on using concealed methods to win other believers to a religion that will place them in bondage. Of course, even believers need to be engaged in constant dialogue on issues that matter, but never are we to spend our efforts attempting to bring true Christians into a religion that will put their salvation in doubt and bind their consciences to laws and elemental principles that are obsolete in the new covenant (Gal. 2:4; 4:17,18, Col. 2:8–23; Phil. 3:2; Acts 15; Jd. 4). We are never to bring Christians into bondage to the old covenant law.
Ellen G. White (EGW) taught wrong doctrines; she taught the investigative judgment and all its baggage, and she taught the Sabbath as the final test for new covenant believers.
Furthermore, Ellen White taught that the door of salvation was shut to unbelievers after 1844. Even worse, she said that God showed her this heretical idea in a vision. She even said she saw angels guiding Miller’s studies, thus making the angels accomplices to theological errors. Later, Ellen White was involved in attempts to suppress her early “visions’” that taught the “shut door” and also consciousness after death.
On top of her claims that God gave her false information in visions, Ellen White plagiarized heavily. She copied from other authors like William Hanna, Alfred Edershiem, Conybeare, John Harris, Daniel March and many more, even losing $3,000 in a plagiarism lawsuit. She even copied from those closest to her—for example, James White, Uriah Smith, and J. N. Andrews—without giving them credit, either. Additionally, many of her health visions contained ideas she got from others—and she obviously copied their errors, too.
She not only copied other people extensively and denied doing so, but she also put her “borrowed” words into the mouths of angels!
Over the years EGW changed some of her views on issues which she had previously claimed were given to her by angels. She further confused reality by mixing the gospel with her legalistic counsels.
Furthermore, there are many contradictions and inconsistencies in her writings, and many of her prophecies were unfulfilled. (They were not conditional prophecies.) In fact, she wrote some of her testimonies under the influence of others who were telling her what to say.
In a serious breach of trust, the Adventist organization has been guilty of sweeping under the rug the 1919 Bible Conference where many leaders expressed their reservations about her and where many, such as A. G. Daniels and W. W. Prescott who knew how she compiled her books, gave some strong observations which the church chose to ignore. Similarly, different studies that demonstrate her plagiarism have been kept away from the Adventist members since the 1950s. In fact, many of her errors and mistakes have been glossed over and explained away or denied.
The Adventist organization has claimed too much authority for her and has functionally placed her writings and interpretations above the Bible. Describing her and her writings with such terms as “infallible commentary”, “infallible interpreter”, “continuing and authoritative source of truth”, and as having “prophetic authority” is definitely giving her authority equal to the Bible’s and is placing her biblical explanations over the Bible. Many people, such as W. W. Fletcher, Ballenger, L. R. Conradi, Desmond Ford, and others have been dismissed because their Bible studies conflicted with Ellen White’s claims—claims which almost never are accompanied by supporting biblical exegesis.
Where This Has Led Me
I could literally go on and on. These highlighted points are in no way exhaustive. In fact, many of these points can be expanded into pages of material. I have documentations for every claim that has been made above. I will be more than willing to share if called upon to do so.
It was Ellen White herself who said,
There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible.
But we are not safe when we take a position that we will not accept anything else than that upon which we have settled as truth. We should take the Bible, and investigate it closely for ourselves. We should dig in the mine of God’s word for truth. We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed. The fact that there is no controversy or agitation among God’s people, should not be regarded as conclusive evidence that they are holding fast to sound doctrine. There is reason to fear that they may not be clearly discriminating between truth and error. When no new questions are started by investigation of the Scriptures, when no difference of opinion arises which will set men to searching the Bible for themselves, to make sure that they have the truth, there will be many now, as in ancient times, who will hold to tradition, and worship they know not what (CW 39.1).
I have followed her own counsels, and this is where it has led me. The Bible is beautiful when it is studied not to prove some darling doctrines or to make sure it agrees with one prophet, but when it is studied in its simplicity with an open mind and with the Holy Spirit ready to guard. The discovery of the true gospel has changed all my life. There are still many things for me to learn, and daily, I will open my Bible and allow God constantly to teach me His words.
I have no regrets. Rather, the joy of the gospel of grace is better and greater than friends, fellowship, ministry, likes, praise, honor, position, and everything else the world offers.
I have no fears, either. I know what Ellen White has said in her book Last Day Events; twice I have read about the shaking and sifting of members who abandon her counsels and Adventism. Nevertheless, I rest in these words,
“But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him” (Deut. 18:20–22).
If my leaving is part of the the shaking and sifting, may God send the Adventist Church greater and deeper shaking so that many more can come out of the massive error, legalism, and fear in this religion and enter into the glorious liberty and light of the gospel of grace.
Finally, I hope this document will go wherever people are told that I left. I believe virtue demands that people hear not just rumors about my departure but that they get to read my reasons for leaving the church that I once loved. †
Owolabi Paul lives in Kwara state, Nigeria. His father converted to Adventism when Paul was young; he and his mother and siblings, however, were nominal members. As a university student Paul deeply embraced Adventism, but Christian roommates influenced him to read God’s word seriously. He began reading the New Testament contextually and found it revealed the errors of Adventism clearly. He discovered the gospel and the new covenant, and he fell in love with Christ and His cross. He desires to help others know the gospel of God’s grace. You may contact Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org.