Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Ten Commandments and Abortion

Once a close SDA relative of mine told me that if the entire Bible was found to be phony, if everything on earth and heaven disappeared that the Ten Commandments would still be there. He even insisted that God Himself is subject to His own laws, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.

Adventists build a great deal of their remnant status doctrine from the Revelation 12 text that says the remnant are those who keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus. Somehow keeping Sabbath (4th commandment) proves that their church alone fulfills this prophecy because all other denominations keep only nine of the Ten Commandments (they don’t rest on Saturday, but worship on Sunday--breaking the fourth commandment.) 

While I would dismiss the premise on many levels, for argument sake, let’s analyze this idea. 

Adventists claim they keep ALL ten. 

We could spend some time explaining how teaching all Ten Commandments is vastly different from the text that claims the remnant keep all ten. So do all members of the church honor their parents? No one has ever committed adultery? or stolen? Do Adventists keep ALL Ten Commandments? My guess is no. So preaching all ten is very different from keeping them and if they don’t keep them ALL perfectly--then they are no different than anyone else. They just fail at keeping ten instead of fail at keeping nine. But that is not the point I want to make.

Adventist do not even believe in all Ten Commandments. They have flagrantly thrown out the sixth commandment (Commandment 5 for Catholics.) “Thou shalt not kill.”

Adventists have no doctrine against abortion. They have a wishy-washy text that suggest “guidelines” for abortion--it is not even listed under “official statements” on their website:

The text of the guidelines are carefully crafted to allow for members to be either pro-choice or pro-life. I know, I was on the 1988 committee held at Loma Linda University, chaired by Albert Whiting that sent recommendations to the GC Executive Committee that ended up being the 1992 Abortion Guidelines.

The guidelines do not state that abortion is wrong, that it is against the fourth commandment. It contains expressions like, “Abortion is one of the tragic dilemmas of human fallenness.... Attitudes of condemnation are inappropriate in those who have accepted the gospel." The Adventists would NEVER suggest this sentence for the fourth commandment. “The decision to worship on Sunday is a tragic dilemma of human fallenness... Attitudes of condemnation for those who choose to worship on Sunday are inappropriate in those who have accepted the gospel.”

Adventists do not seem to have a problem with standing firm for the fourth, but not the sixth commandment. The published abortion guidelines are practically immaterial because they are a “front” for a hospital system that can choose to abide or disregard them. Some Adventist hospitals perform abortions -on-demand and are used by doctors to even do late-term abortions. 

The church and its members are intimately connected with the abortion business. SDA Pastor George Gainer presented a paper at Loma Linda University in 1988 at an ethics meeting chaired by David Larson. It reported the story of how the SDA Hawaiian Conference paved the way for legalized abortion in that state that eventually spilled over to the mainland’s Roe vs. Wade decision. Adventists have ping-ponged back and forth through its history on the abortion issue. Adventists pioneers taught abortion was nefarious murder. Then it flew to the other side where during the 1960's the General Conference President, Neil Wilson, made a public statement that because of world overpopulation the Adventist church comes down on the side of legalized abortion. 

In 2000 I was told by Dr. George Reid (director of the SDA Biblical Research Institute a theological branch of the General Conference) that not only is the church pro-choice but that “Washington Adventist Hospital had become an abortion mill.” Jan Paulsen’s secretary also told me that Adventists are “pro-choice.”

Most recently, Irving “Bud” Feldkamp, owner of the nation’s largest privately-owned abortion chain (17 family planning clinics) and member of the Adventist church made news. His two daughters, two sons-in-law and five grandchildren were killed in a Montana plane crash.

This is how the Adventist News Network reported it:

Three Seventh-day Adventist families are among the 14 victims killed in a March 22 airplane crash in Butte, Montana. All three families were members or regular attendees at congregations in Northern California (they also reported that several of the victims had attended SDA colleges.) ...Church officials said the tragedy was a loss to the Adventist community. 

While we would not expect the SDA church to announce two of the families were children of Bud Feldkamp, notorious employer of abortionists who continue to butcher thousands of innocent children and who most likely gives blood money to the church, the fact that the family held such close ties to Adventism makes one wonder why the SDA church hasn’t loudly protested against Feldkamp's profession.

Dr. Edward Allred, also raised SDA and graduated at an Adventist University, was for many years the nations foremost abortionist and is rumored to have sold some of his abortion clinics to Bud Feldkamp.

Those who believe Adventists to be the only church to promote all Ten Commandments need to rethink their position. As long as they continue to cave on the sixth commandment, as long as they allow abortions in their hospitals and don’t stand against the abortionists and abortion clinic owners who consider themselves SDA, they really have no higher ground position on the Ten Commandments than any other church. 

Those Adventists who think like my relative are really in trouble because they are basing their beliefs on sandy ground. So if you are looking for a church who keeps the Ten Commandments in order to the be the official remnant church of Revelation 12, Adventism would not be it. The Seventh-day Adventist church is making a very false claim. They could not be the remnant any more than any church who--as they insist the prophecy states doesn't keep all the Ten Commandments.

Adventists really only keep nine.....

Invitation to the Banquet

Though I usually prefer to speak only for myself, I am quite certain the following sentiments would be shared by a great majority of former Adventist: 

Our feeling about growing up Adventist vastly differ. Former SDA attitudes about Adventist doctrines range from bitter rage, vehemently believing Adventism is an anti-Christian, doctrines-of-devils cult to the “can’t-we-just-all-get-along?” mentality believing Adventism is a benign, inconsequential denomination.

Adventists tend to see us who left their church as self or devil-deceived (perhaps we didn’t quite understand Adventist doctrines or don’t know our Bibles well enough). Many think we are Christian sell-outs, weak, petty or wanting to rebelliously indulge in things like Friday night hockey games or drinking wine. They may think we were brought up legalistically, hating the Sabbath. Or they believe we were hurt by someone in the church. The one I hear most often is: “You can’t look at people” as if our decision was based on the imperfect members rather than the doctrines themselves. Some even believe we are dangerous enemies.

In an Adventist periodical, someone was complaining that we never really give up  Adventism, that, leaving the “truth” made it difficult to move on. What they fail to understand is that we aren’t spending our time hovering around Adventists after we leave because we are drawn back to the “truth.” We write blogs, we produce magazines, we spend years putting together books because we truly LOVE our Adventist family and friends. 

Very, very few of the million of us (in North America) who no longer attend the SDA church are your enemies. Those of us who take the time to tell you why we left or help others who may be on the edges of the church, do it because we are truly concerned about you. We may come across zealously against the doctrine or irritated at what we perceive to be your stubbornness, but in our hearts we really simply want you to see what we see. Once the Ellen White glassed of scriptural interpretation are taken off, the sight is unbelievable. 

We claim not only to see in stunning clarity the mistakes of the Adventist pioneers, the pride of the exclusive remnant doctrine, the fear of last-day prophecies, and the strange sabbatarian devotion---not only do we see them but those things have faded into the rear-view mirror.  Appearing before us is a golden new life where pride and fear melt into the brilliance of a joyful peace. Like Christ did with us, we want to remove the dark glasses of falsehood but not to leave you empty, we desperately want you to live in the world of truth and light. The Kingdom of God we now live in is no longer shadows and conspiracies and paranoia. It is a kingdom of delights.

In the Agape Feast of this Kingdom there is no judgement or mocking of a past we held dear. We laugh mercifully at our old selves and the impoverished spiritual meal we served to others.  We thought we had so much as Adventists! 

We do not claim to have a special invitation to this new banquet, all are invited. We even saw your seat there at the table with your name on it. YOU have a very special seat and we don’t want to keep the lavish celebration of God’s love from you.

Our totally, sold-out devotion to Christ is not only why we left Adventism, but what fills us with so much passion to tell others about what we have discovered. This new world is, to us, too wonderful to keep from you. We wish to bless you with the endless, priceless eternal riches that have been poured copiously on us by God.
I know it scares and confuses you to hear an outsider talk about loving Jesus and the joys of Christianity. That is not how it was supposed to go. We were supposed to quit God when we quit Adventism.  Maybe you think we are crazy. However, please accept that we are sincere. Please do not feel afraid or threatened by us. Do not feel awkward. If you are concerned about our salvation, ask questions! We are not bitter. We are not against Adventists, we hover about to, perhaps, share a drink of the fine wine of heaven with you and bless you as we have been blessed.