By Richard Tinker
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money (Mt. 6:24).
When I was an Adventist, I had goals—good goals—to give my family a nice home, to make enough money so that we could live the good life. I started out as an hourly employee at the Loma Linda School of Dentistry, but after a few years I was promoted to director of my department. I was on my way.
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (Mt. 6:25).
I wasn’t anxious about food or clothes—not yet. But something had changed. I had always been a loyal Adventist, but I had always thought something was “off” with Ellen White. Even as a little boy growing up in a family who always bought the yearly Ellen White devotional and read it in family worship, something about her made me uncomfortable. Much later, as a young adult, I read Desmond Ford’s research about the investigative judgment which Ellen White endorsed with a vision, and I knew for sure that doctrine was flawed.
I read about Walter Rae’s research proving Ellen White had plagiarized most of her material. I began reading discussions online, especially the comments of a Rolaant MacKenzie who had done his graduate work at Loma Linda University, and I learned how Adventist leadership had covered up and manipulated the truth about their prophet. I read books by D. M. Canright and Janet Brown and Sydney Cleveland, and my uncertainty about Ellen White began to resolve: she was not credible.
The final blow to my tenuous loyalty to Ellen White came when I read Dale Ratzlaff’s book Cultic Doctrine of Seventh-Day Adventists. After reading his research, I knew that Ellen White could not have been a true prophet of God. She not only said that unbiblical things were revelations from God, but she also used deception to manipulate her audience.
When I realized that Ellen White was a false prophet, she lost her power. Getting rid of her made it possible for me to hear and understand the gospel as written in the Bible alone. When I realized that Adventism did not teach the true gospel, I knew that I could not stay there. I had to go where Jesus was. I could not raise my boys in a religion that did not teach the true Jesus.
As the director of my department, I knew my religious affiliation mattered to the deans. I told my bosses I was no longer an Adventist, and they said that was OK. I was relieved. My goals, however, had changed. I now wanted to serve my Lord Jesus no matter the cost.
A few years passed, and one day the dean of the school walked into my office and asked me to go for a walk. During the walk he told me that he wanted me to write a letter to him that stated that I would immediately cease my activities with Life Assurance Ministries and Proclamation! magazine. He also wanted me to stop my involvement with the Former Adventist Fellowship conferences and weekly Bible studies. I replied that I would not be able to write such a letter.
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Mt. 6:26-29).
My Father had been working on me. Not only had He changed my goals and desires, but he had given me security—not just security in salvation, but security that kept me trusting Him for the basics of life itself.
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Mt. 6:31–33).
My being fired for cause from the School of Dentistry happened nearly 12 years ago, in June of 2006. Yes, I can say that the words of Jesus are true. Leaving Adventism did create loss. But what my Father has given me since then is so much greater. Not only has He kept food on our table—sometimes too much—but He has brought me brothers and sisters—true family that I will have for eternity.
At Life Assurance Ministries we hear from some who say they can see that Adventism is wrong. They know that the doctrines are not Biblical. They know that Ellen White is a false prophet. But they can’t leave. They might lose their wife, or children, or job, or friendships, or—the list goes on. Here is my answer, from Luke chapter 9:
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Lk. 9:23–26).
If you haven’t followed Jesus yet, why not now? Follow Jesus, no matter the cost.