In response to Dale Ratzlaf’s former Adventist seminar in Huntsville, Alabama, a
columnist at Adventist Today recently commented, “Hell hath no fury like a Former Adventist [scorned].”
It concerns me when I read statements like the one above. Adventist doctrines can create a paranoid schizophrenic worldview with touches of megalomaniac delusions and that comment may reveal an inkling of it. Nevertheless, how do we respond to this and other SDA questions like, “Why do we hang around the edges of Adventism [apparently venting our fury]?” or “Why don’t we move on and leave them alone?”
Of course I cannot speak for all Former Adventists but I know I can speak for thousands and thousands.
Why do we dare talk to our Adventist friends and relatives about our new life outside Adventism and compare it with the old? The answer: the gospel of Jesus requires it. We are our brother’s keepers. Believe it or not, we LOVE them! We have been taught since Cradle Roll that we must be willing to stand up and defend truth--that one day we may have to die doing it! No wonder we are so strong in our positions, our characters were honed in Adventism to be Bible-believing, truth zealots!
For my Adventist friends:
Most of us truly understand your feelings about our leaving. We know your fears, your mindset, your prejudices, we WERE YOU at one time. Many of us dismissed and judged former Adventists. I personally remember worrying about the salvation of family and friends who left the church. Knowing that we know you leaves you exposed and vulnerable, so you go on the defensive and we understand that too. We recognize that it is hard to put down one’s sword when defending one’s religious beliefs. Demonizing us as opponents allows you to guiltlessly fight the harder.
But we do not consider you our enemy. Through all the inflammatory rhetoric coming our direction to try and divert us, we persist in gently (and sometimes not so gently) attempting to get your attention on truth. Truth makes people uncomfortable. It made US uncomfortable when we heard it too! So again, it may pain you to hear, but we know what you are going through and the why you may feel it necessary to throw into the debate ad hominem attacks. Truth is searing, truth cuts to the core. Having one’s false beliefs clash with reality is like getting hit with lightning.
I know you think that sounds incredibly arrogant and patronizing, and I apologize that I do not have the writing talent to say it with more meekly. But believe me when I say from my heart, truth humbles a person.
So where do we go from here?
I very much hope we can respectfully dialogue. There is much we can learn from each other. There is a lot of healing for all of us to do. So we hang around you because you are important to us. The more we long to be like Jesus the more we long to be with our family and friends. I cannot speak for anyone else but myself here, but I just get so incredibly excited about what Christ is showing me that I can’t keep my mouth shut. His ways are too good to keep silent about. So many Adventists do not have a clear and vibrant view of the gospel. We former Adventists just want them to see what we see!