Friday, January 28, 2011

From the Washington Post Jan. 24, 2011

Seventh-Day Adventists and abortion

Christians of all denominations are gathering on the National Mall today to protest the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. But one denomination that may be sparsely represented is Seventh-day Adventists whose large worldwide network of 170 hospitals allows elective abortions.

This stance was revealed last week when Maryland state regulators gave Holy Cross Hospital, a Catholic institution, permission to build a hospital in growing northern Montgomery County, shutting out the Seventh-day Adventists, who also wanted to build a hospital in the area.Some abortion rights advocates opposed Holy Cross's selection because it does not allow abortions.

Adventists resemble many conservative Protestant denominations as they believe in divinely inspired Scripture, six literal days of Creation, justification by faith and baptism by immersion.

Their distinctive rites include worshiping on Saturday, the seventh day of the week as opposed to Sunday, an emphasis on the Second Coming of Christ and an emphasis on following Jewish dietary laws concerning abstinence from pork, shellfish and other foods proscribed as "unclean" in the Old Testament. The denomination is known for its emphasis on health. Alcohol and tobacco are prohibited and many Adventists are vegetarians.

But the denomination may be the only theologically conservative Protestant group that allows elective abortions. Many of their own members didn't know that their worldwide hospital network performed the procedure, which has been quite the discussion on the Adventists for Life Facebook page. A number of posters were shocked to learn the denomination's stance.

"I can't belong to a organization who advocates abortion," one poster wrote. "I believe in Christ my Saviour, the Sabbath & etc. I believe in Sister White also," referring to Ellen G. White, one of the revered founders of the denomination.

Another poster said that Adventists opposed abortionuntil 1970. That is when Hawaii legalized abortion and Castle Memorial Hospital, an Adventist institution in Kailua, Hawaii, the poster said, was pressured by its own doctors, and donors, to start offering abortions. At the time, Adventist leaders in Washington indicated they did not oppose the procedure and thus, more Adventist hospitals began offering the procedure. In 1992, the denomination issued these guidelines on abortion. The official position of the church is that abortion is allowed in "extraordinary circumstances."

SDA evangelist Kevin Paulson has given the longest defense of the church's position here where he agrees the church essentially has no restrictions on the practice and might do well to restrict it more. "Many [Adventists] are forming opinions about abortion," he wrote, "not from the study of Scripture or the Spirit of Prophecy (Ellen G. White's) writings, but from listening to popular Christian leaders like James Dobson, Tim LaHaye, Franky Schaeffer, and Bill Gothard," all of whom oppose abortion.

"Sincere though they may be, these men espouse many theological errors and have no understanding of God's truth for this time," Paulson wrote. "Seventh- day Adventists should listen to such persons with extreme care and discriminating judgment. ...Among the Adventist pioneers, J.N. Andrews and John Harvey Kellogg wrote against abortion, yet the writings of Ellen White maintain the silence of Scripture on the subject... We find it interesting that when Ellen White speaks of the "earliest moments" of our children, she speaks of birth, not conception," he concluded.

Is the Seventh-day Adventists' heavy focus on healthful practices inconsistent with its position on abortion? Tell us in the comments section.

(Go to the link for the comments, they are interesting....)


Stephen Korsman said...

Reading Kevin Paulson's article was sickening. If Adventism practised polygamy, he could do a better job with the same sort of arguments.

He also has no faith in the power of prayer. Had no-one prayed, what would have happened in Nazi Germany?

The good thing is that people are now becoming aware of the Adventist position on abortion.

Teresa Beem said...

My niece who is attending Southern Adventist University wrote a comment on my facebook that she was surprised by the article and doesn't believe it reflects current Adventist thinking, at least at her school. I was at least grateful to hear that. But the facts are that abortion is still going on in Adventist hospitals.

Interesting that the Adventist church really only "keeps" (if that many, I am more speaking of teach) nine commandments. They forget about "Thou shalt not kill." That remnanthood status they believe so deeply in cannot be possible if they only keep nine. At least that is their contention about other denominations.

Anonymous said...

Dear Teresa,

I completely agree with your comment regarding the Adventist church 'keeping' nine commandments and ignoring one (the sixth) - they put a heavy emphasis on the 10 Commandments, accusing other Christian groups of keeping nine, but ignoring the fourth commandment; they’re obsessive about the Levitical dietary laws, and even add to them with their stance on caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco (I’ve seen church members whipped into a frenzy after finding a box of teabags in the kitchen!); yet their hospitals often won’t treat patients who can’t pay, and they carry out elective abortions willy-nilly.

Why are they using lawyers to close down Adventist groups who oppose elective abortion in SDA hospitals, when the Bible and their prophet both speak strongly against using secular courts to settle disputes between Christian brethren?

Why use members’ tithe money (which is supposed to be holy and sacred to God) to pay for this litigation and court action?

Why obsess over the fourth commandment and criticize other Christians for supposedly ignoring it, when the sixth seemingly has no bearing or relevance to elective abortions, as carried out in SDA hospitals?

Why make such a big deal of the Levitical dietary laws and harangue church members who aren't so hung up on food and drink, and try to silence members who protest elective abortions? Is a bacon sandwich so much worse than destroying a fetus for no other reason than that it just isn’t wanted?

I suspect a lot of Adventists don't know what the church's hospitals are doing, or haven't really thought about the theological inconsistencies. I guess that's what happens when a groups claims to have 'The Truth' and to be 'God's Remnant Church' - why bother investigating scripture and praying for guidance from the Holy Spirit when your church claims to know it all already?

Carmelo Rodriguez said...

WOW to believe that the Sabbath is the ultimate command that must be kept but the taking the life of a helpless child a baby without a thought makes the Church President & his associates ,the SDA Hospitals, Pastors & the members who believe & support such horriffic crimes against humanity worse than Hitler the fact that the Church is not 100% against such murders tells us the measure of fear they have of God & thier faith in His word ,yes its all about the money ,fear God get out of Babylon you can put the SDAC along side of a thieves,drug dealers, pimps , prostitute & satan himself , SDAC your playing with the devil & your about to get burned your waisting your time with all your Ten Commandment weekends , Ten Commandments books , 10commandment studies, seminars ect ect wake up the 9 that you say you keep is not enough you break one youve broken them all,your preachers stand by condemning every other church especially the RCC yet you promote the one thing that is contrary to Christ , hmmmmmm what would Jesus do ,you blame the Roman Catholic Church in its days of ignorance for hunting down & killing the Saints not that this was good but it was a sign of the times these people where primitive savages compaired to the world we live in today they practically where crawling out of thier caves back then ,yet who are the modern barbaric savages today who are the ones slicing up babies by the hundreds of thousands just because someone thinks it might get in the way at this present time in thier life & the church benefits from it, I myself have to do the right thing from this day forward Im out thier are awsome people in the SDA Church but I cannot be a part of an organization that promotes the murder of Babies for any reason, God knows the plans he has for us, who are we to take someones life? even if its the mothers belly its sacred ,who cares what the government calls it who cares what planned parenthood calls it ,who cares what doctors & Scientist call it reality calls it cold blooded murder any way you put it thats what it is ,God from the beginning had this child in memory from the beginning He is the one who created this life He put everything in its proper place & gave him a name . I often here the Pastor quote how the murderers destiny is the lake of fire REV. 21:8 get use to the idea jesus is coming soon, for those who are ignorant to the facts its never to late to step away & seek refuge in the Lord the SDAC has lied to you , they condemn others for breaking Gods law yet they that study & know the law & do not keep it will be judged accordingly, no type murder for any reason is acceptable before a Holy God .No the 7th Day Adventist Church is not God's Remnant they set aside God's law for mans traditions & laws same thing they accuse the Roman Catholic Church what hipocrits they flunked the test, Get out of her my people.The truth stings .

BLD Lightpainting said...

This article is sickening to see what evil has been done in the name of God.
Ancient Israel and their their offering their sacrificing their children to the red hot arms of Moloch have nothing on Adventist who killing their children in 2012.

May God help wake us all to the devilish plot that's underfoot in His church today.