Sunday, November 23, 2008

QUESTIONS for Former Adventists

I have asked myself over and over, "why did God open my eyes about Adventism?" My sister who is the sweetest faithful server of Christ is still an Adventist. I tend to over analyze everything and many people just want me to shut up and enjoy being in the truth, but I really desire to know. I also would like to ask other former Adventists the same things I ask myself. If I get enough responses, I might compile them into an article to submit to Proclamation Magazine.

So here are some questions:

1. Do you feel like God chose you and miraculously opened your eyes--like Lot and his family being physically taken out of Sodom and Gomorrah? (You feel you personally had nothing to do with it.... just a miracle of grace.) If you feel this way, is there anything we can do to help other Adventists receive this miracle or should we just let God do things in His own time? After all, being chosen is God's business, not ours.... (or any version of that.)

2. Do you feel God is calling ALL Adventists into a fuller truth and you had some personality characteristics that made you more willing to see truth? Perhaps you are courageous or inquisitive or rebellious or intelligent. What in YOU made God able to get through where He has not been successful in other Adventists? If this is the case, then how do we reach Adventists who may not have these types of personality traits?

3. Do you feel you had and still have a more authentic relationship with Christ than Adventists and that is what led you out?

4. Do you feel that God took you through an experience that helped you see the truth and it had nothing to do with personality? How can you take your personal experience and use it to help others see the truth?

5. Finally, what, if anything, can we do or should we do to help other SDAs see the full truth of the gospel?


Anonymous said...

1. "Yes" I feel that God chose me, but I feel He waited until I was ready. I was out of the Adventist church for 20 years before He opened my eyes about it. I always felt I would have to return to it someday. I think we have to have the material ready and available for when an Adventist is ready to hear it. God prepares them and puts the questions in their mind. We work in partnership with God on this.

2. God could get through to me because I am a person who will do a lot of research if something interests me. Once I have it in my mind to research something, I will tirelessly do it until I get to the "truth" of whatever it is. God had to first put that desire in me to research Adventism though. I hope God is calling ALL Adventists out but I haven't seen this yet. I've talked to my Mother several times about it but she still is not interested enough to question it. She is comfortable with it. Let me know if you find an answer to this question.

3. I did not have much of a relationship with Christ while in the Adventist church or my first several years out of it. I didn't develop that until shortly before I started studying my way out of Adventism. It was my growing relationship with Christ that lead me to do the research.

4. Yes, God did take me through an experience that helped me see the truth. I went through several "bad" experiences in life that made me open to learning more of Christ. I had been attending the Lutheran church. I went to church but didn't have a relationship with Christ. I was open to learning more when God brought a "new" member to our church who I became friends with. She asked me if I would like to study the Bible with her. As I studied the Bible with her and started reading it on my own, I discovered things that contradicted what I had been brought up to believe. That was the beginning of my journey out of belief in Adventism. I believe it was a combination of circumstances brought about by God AND a personality that loves to dig into things and discover "truth". I believe these types of experiences can be used to help other Adventists AFTER they have been primed by God to be open and ready through their own experiences brought on by God that have put questins in their minds.

5. I believe we are doing what we need to do by having these web sites that are available to the questioning. By having our testimonies "out there" for all to see. Writing books, just being available to the questioing Adventist. I believe our prayers can help immeasurably. Whatever God calls on us to do. I am going back to school to get a Masters Degree in Pastoral Counseling. I hope that is something that will help me in being able to counsel someone who is leaving the Adentist Church. Help me understand them better. Maybe I'll be better able to answer your questions. It's "God" not "us". "He" calls them and uses us to help them out.

Anonymous said...

1. I believe God chooses whom He will. He chose me in 1984 when I wasn't even looking for Him. I became a Christian on the living room floor of a guy I met less than 2 months earlier. I was a diligent student after that experience back then, and studied my way into SDA theology. In my attempt to make my theology more defensible, I kept studying, and God used that willingness to study my way out.
2. God calls us into truth, but the real issue is are we willing to listen. He will take us where we are, but doesn't want to leave us there. Most Adventists - which included me for many years - do not approach the Bible with a clear desire for the word to speak to them. It is already decided for them, the answers need not to be questioned. This mindset keeps people from hearing God. He may be calling, but many are not able to hear Him.
I think for me, the decision that led me to where I am today originated in the intense desire to be a great father. I wanted to teach my children what is true - in all things, not just theology. None are better teachers than those who take on the role of the student first. I became a better student when I was expected to teach it to others. As I began wrestling with my ideas on truth so I could teach it to my kids, I adopted a more open mind about my theology. Prior to this, I genereally studied to defend instead of studying to discover. Being a father made me willing to be wrong in order to make sure they were raised right.

3. My relationship with God has always been different than most SDA's that I know. This was evident to me the first time I stepped onto an SDA campus. I was actually saddened by the lack of true connection with their maker. I was looking forward to being discipled by people who had been in the SDA church for years, but found that it seemed I was more developed spiritually than my peers. The lack of connection forces me to believe that my relationship was indeed more authentic. That hurts to say, but it is true.

4. The experiences God has taken me through have indeed played a part in where I find myself today. I am tempted to say that Christianity is a moving target, and that this has been the reason my theology has evolved. In actuality, what I find to be the case is not that Christianity is a moving target, but rathr that my gun was not shooting straight. Asking God to give me eyes to see the truth, the wisdom to discern truth when it is in front of me, and the courage to aim for this truth (walking in it) no matter how different or difficult the trail may be. I don't think this is a personality issue. I see it as a heart issue. Do each of us as individuals have the courage to really walk in faith?
5. I don't know if I can say that I see the full truth of the gospel yet. I see it more clearly every day, but it is ever increasing and becoming more amazing to me every day. The truths that I have received continue to build on each other, and then a paradigm shift. That shift is what has to happen for an SDA to see the gospel. Strangely, in more than one occasion I have found myself asking God what I am to do with the newfound truth He has given me. The opportunities to share come up, but I have yet to seek someone out to show them this truth. It is only through opportunities that present themselves that I share. Nevertheless, I have gotten many chances to share this with people, and I have gotten mixed reactions as to how it applies to other SDA's. I would say that God will make it clear to you how to share - in fact, I would say that He already has.

Anonymous said...

1. I truly believe that God chooses all of us. For me, it was a series of disastrous events that basically spewed me out of the church through no real choice of my own. Once out, I sought refuge in a large Presbyterian church, which turned out to be a saving grace to me. They were connected, praying, non-judgmental people and just loved me into grace, which I badly needed at that time. It started a 10 year period of intense healing and soul searching for me. Since then I have been through some refining fires. I also think that God can save us in or out of the SDA church, so I am not particularly motivated to help people get out. For some people it seems to work out.
2. I don’t feel that I have a “fuller truth” at all. I feel like I have a close connection with the creator of the Universe and that “truth” is something we cannot fully understand on this earth. That’s why I think it doesn’t matter so much if we are “in” or “out” as it does that wherever we are, we are connected to our divine creator. Some people appear to be able to connect in the SDA environment, others of us don’t. I know longer pretend to know what “truth” is in terms of religion. I think that for me, just reading Proverbs and the New Testament stories of Jesus life on earth help me to know what He wants of me in the here and now. I try to just stay focused on that, living in God’s love in each moment, rather than trying to be sure I have “the truth.” I accepted Christ when I was 3 during a Revelation Seminar. I’ve never waivered from that original devotion. It was a result of that experience and continuous answered prayers and miracles that my faith in God continues to be strong. The one thing that made it easy for me to leave the SDA church was that I have always needed for rules to make sense. Too many rules in the SDA church do not make any logical sense, so it was easy to walk away from. But I still keep the Sabbath in my own way, although I never go to church on any day, and I am still a vegetarian. Some things make a lot of sense to me.
3. I think that I was always seeking that personal relationship with God and never felt satisfied until I got out and it was just me and Him. I had to work that relationship out on my own, rather than trust the “club membership” to provide the security for me. I haven’t read your book yet, but I think that a lot of SDA people trust in their own ability to keep the rules, rather trust in Jesus as their actually Savior. I run away from anything that demands perfection of me. I can’t offer that to anyone, even God. Thank goodness He knew that.
4. I don’t know if God “took me through an experience” or if God met me in that dark place of “the terrible experience” and showed me a better way out than the way I came in. Here is how I say it, “God uses the crap from yesterday to fertilize the garden of today.” I don’t assume He put the crap there, just that He knows how to make good come out of everything in our lives, even the bad stuff, which sometimes are the results of our own bad choices. I honestly stopped worrying awhile back about taking responsibility for how others get saved. I focus on loving others in the very best way possible, and let them experience God’s love through me. The rest is up to God. I don’t know His will for someone else’s life, whether that is out of a church or in a church or which church.
5. Live it. The gospel is an incredible story of love. If we do not love well, we are missing the one thing that Jesus asked us to do and none of the rest of it matters.

Teresa Beem said...

Thank you guys for taking the time to answer the questions! I would love to get some more answers.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any plans of publishing your book for other languages? I am brazilian and I think it would be great see this book of yours translated to portuguese.

Anonymous said...

Good questions. I have wondered about this myself and I have been away from the SDA church for 10 years now.

I've wondered why me? I think the root of it for me goes down to a connection with God. I had a connection with God as an Adventist and it was Him speaking to me that led me to take the steps to leave the church. I was like - okay God, but this isn't how it is supposed to work. He opened the door for me and gave me the courage to go through to the unknown. I could have chosen to stay in the comfort of my Adventist world. It wasn't until after I took the step away that He really began to open my eyes to what the Bible really says. Once I discovered several huge problems with SDA teachings I took off the SDA glasses and God revealed a whole new world to me.

1. Yes and no. My eyes were miraculously opened, but only after I took a step of faith into the unknown.

2. Yes, I do believe God is calling all SDAs into a fuller truth and not all respond. I think mostly because a great majority are not born again and stuck in religion. It took many years for God to get through to me. I am inquisitive in nature, yet stubborn and set in my ways. He slowly led me to the point of departure. God can lead any personality out. Some will not respond and turn a blind eye to issues God brings to them.

3. Yes, I think that was a big part of it for me.

4. Yes, I did have an supernatural experience after which I was not content with life as normal. I began a search for truth which led me away from all SDA beliefs.

5. I think the websites have helped many people. Personally, for me it was seeing the genuineness of true Christians. I saw in them what I didn't see in SDAism. I think prayer is huge too.

You should post a link at FAF to get more responses.

Anonymous said...

1. Yes I feel that God chose me. He took 30+ years to convince me though. In Dec 2003 I had decided to be rebaptized in the SDA church. My name had been removed from the church books a couple years after my divorce and I was never informed this was going to happen. I found out about it when I saw an SDA elder in the supermarket about 2 years after it happened.
When I decided to be rebaptized God brought my attention to a website on the internet about EGW. I think He waited until I was ready to listen to Him.
2. God knows I like to learn new things. He also knows I wanted to love Him with all my heart and soul. In those 30+ years He showed me how to love Him and it was not anything to do with sabbath keeping.
I see that God is calling individual SDAs out. As for the church as a whole from the General Conference on down, that is something only God knows.
3. As a Seventh-day Adventist I had no relationship with Jesus. I did not know that is what He wanted with an individual. It has only been since I left adventism for good and accepted what Jesus did for me that I have a relationship with Jesus that I will not trade for anything.
4. God took me through many experiences before I knew it was Him doing it. He was in charge in my marriage, divorce, raising my son as a single parent and everything else in my life. He is still in charge of my life.
5. One of the jobs God has given to me is to tell anyone He brings into my life what Adventists really believe. I have spoken to my senior pastor, our care pastor and some of the other pastors in my church about adventism. God always makes sure I meet the former SDAs who attend my church.
As for current adventists, when and if God gives me the opportunity to speak to them, God will let me know what to say.
I am glad there are all these internet web sites written by former SDAs. That way a person can read them in the privacy of their home, like I did. God has more children in the SDA church and as they are ready and they hear Him calling they will come out and follow him.

lindylou said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lindylou said...

Great questions! Ones I have pondered myself. What is it that lets a person take a look at their belief system with real honesty and openness? There's a great book that deals with this subject of how people deal with cognitive dissonance in their lives. It is titled, "Mistakes were Made, but Not by Me!" It discusses how people choose to deal with beliefs they encounter that run contrary to their own belief system and discuss how we can learn to be more open. It might be a helpful read.

Personally, I believe that our role as ex-SDA's is to be available to share our own experience at the right time. It is better to share when asked, rather than go on the attack. A book such as the one you've written is a great device because it can be picked up and read when the person is ready.

I think we formers need to be careful that we don't carry our cultish baggage with us when we hop over the fence...We need to make sure we don't continue thinking that our current truth should be the measuring rod for everyone else, no matter how wonderful it is to us. It is the Holy Spirit's job to convict and our job to be ready to share and answer questions.

Anne said...

Hello. Here I am at your blog, a link to which I found as I was reading one of the versions of Dr. Bacchiocchi's obituary.

I just read your resignation letter, and I shall not comment on it. I am still a Seventh-day Adventist but do not attend church any longer. We all have our reasons for leaving/not attending. No church is perfect, but I still believe that the SDA Church in general is still God's own Church for these last days – sorry, minutes – of earth's history, even though I disagree with their official interpretation of Revelation 13&17, which is one reason I decline to attend. If the church that was raised up to interpret prophecy can't get that right (and won't even preach it on Sabbaths or be open to differing interpretations), then I don't want to attend and listen to bland sermons that I could hear in any other denomination, I will pray about it, and, sure enough, God led me to websites detailing other interpretations of Revelation. Plus I got sick & tired of people arriving late, chattering, moving around, and generally showing scant respect in the sanctuary (totally different from the denomination I grew up in). Also, I have a huge gripe about SDAs celebrating Christmas and Easter and Valentine's Day and Mother's Day, etc etc. In spite of all this, I thank God that He brought me into His true church many years ago. Unfortunately, at the end of time, there will be all sorts of attacks on God's Church, some from outside, the most dangerous ones coming from Adventists themselves, which I think we are seeing now. God will prevail.

More SDAs should start thinking & praying for themselves and searching the Bible & the Spirit of Prophecy writings and actually connecting with Jesus Christ instead of just attending church every Sabbath to "be seen" and go through the motions. They don't seem to get it that time is very short. For a while I felt guilty about not attending church, but thanks to friends and the Internet I see that many more of us are finding that we have to go where God is leading us. Interesting times are upon us.

I do commend you for taking a stand and pray for God's blessings for you in your continuing quest.

Anonymous said...

i attend the adventist church, and i gave my life to christ in the church. i am not part of a cult because to me that means devil worshiper. i am not. My desire for truth is not dummed down because i attend an adventist church. i never grew up in one, i just attended a powerful service felt the power of God and gave my life.

i must say i hardly read ellen white, except a few times when some of her quotes pop up. i think God used her in a mighty way, whether you believe that or not. You know a tree by it's fruit. I know that there are a lot of things that the church can work on but show me a perfect church and i will tell you that the moment you walk in it will become imperfect. Christ continues to perfect us all, until we all have the mind of christ.

your decision to serve and love God is not because you are out of the adventist church (majority of the bloggers seem to have experienced a lot of church politics ha ha) but because you needed more. there are many rivers out there if the adventist church is not your river jump into another one. it's funny that the heavenly gates don't show the church you attended but the names of the apostals and on the walls the names of the children of Israel. whether you are lutheran, baptist, pentacostal, methodist adventist christ died for all of us. I feel that the body of christ keeps dividing it's self in the name of i have found truth.
i am not a cult member and never will be. and God has already called me out of darkness and into the light, i can confidently say that i am a child of God there is no other calling out i need. if your family did not read the word of God then tough for them cause in my family we had bible studies not ellen studies.
it is refreshing to know that you are growing in the churches you have found yourselves in. i am growing and i continue to grow in mine. It just hurts me to know that you would think of me as evil and in need of deliverance from a cult. yes me, cause i am part of the adventist family.

I love all of you, for your sincerity and your passion for christ. I pray that God will continue to lift your spirits up and to encourage you.

Anonymous said...

God is not only calling adventist but every one, the spirt of the Lord will be poured upon all flesh. the latter rain will fall on evry one. I should start a blog on question for former

Jesus prayed for us all , "I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. "Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."(John 17:20-26)

Jesus is coming for a glorious church, and i don't know how bring down another church will make this prayer a reality. I tell you the church that will see christ face to face will be glorious, and just as my saviour asked will he find faith on the earth when he comes back.. well i just don't know with the way things are going i don't think so especiouly with this kind of mindset.

Like christ said we don't know God like He knows God, and may it continue to be our thirst to know christ more.

with all the love and adventist

Anonymous said...

I think alot of ppl are conusion the devil with god!!!

JesusOverIsrael said...

i got into SDAs via a correspondence course i did via amazing facts. i did it more out of curiosity. with each answer sheet i sent along a list of questions. sometimes they answered them, sometimes not. i have received a few personal emails from doug batchelor.

what turns me off about doug is that his picture is plastered all over his amazing facts magazine and catalogue. he is a lot more visible than Christ!

i would like to know, however, a plausible refutation of the SDA view that the papacy represents the little horn of Daniel 7. i have corresponded with Orthodox Christian friends, and while they oppose many doctrines of the SDA, such as no eucharist, no veneration of saints, no rosary, etc, they would however largely concur that the papacy has gone bad and indeed heretically veered from communion with the eastern centers of christendom.

JesusOverIsrael said...

have you seen these:

Teresa Beem said...

Wayne D.,
Thanks for the comment! Since it included your phone number I don't think I will post it, but I hope we can keep in touch via this website.

Awesome, let us know where you landed after leaving the SDA church.... What denomination are you? Send your website and we will post it here.

Blessings, Teresa

Anonymous said...

I did the opposite of you, I switched from being catholic to SDA. Not because of the sabbath but because my church let me down. I don't understand how you could go to a religion that God speaks against in the Bible? A true Christian knows that the only way to God is through his son Jesus Christ. He said no one goes to my father except through me. The church teaches different by saying we need a priest and to call him father. They pray to Mary and the saints. The pope says he is God here in place of our true God. They pray in repetition and have bones of saints where they pray. Mathew 23 describes the church in detail and again in revelations. Its not only the SDA that sees this anyone who reads the word knows this. Do you feel that now you're catholic things have changed? I feel that in this point of my life in Christ I can only trust the word because of so many false prophets. This is why God said not to follow man. I am not judging you but I am judging the church because they are responsible for so many who died for not following them. How do you also explain them changing the Ten Commandments by taking away the third one, thou shelt not pray to idols or make statues of images? Its because it wasn't convenient for them since they came from the Romans who worshipped the sun. All they did was combine religion and politics together to have power.