Friday, March 9, 2012

Adventist Soul Sleep

The Adventist's doctrine of soul sleep has become an uncanny and somewhat spooky self-prophecy. 

For the last two thousand years, each Sunday Christians have proclaimed the Apostle's and Nicene Creed that states that Christ "shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, of whose Kingdom there shall be no end." 

The yearly season of Advent reminded believers of not only the first but second coming of Christ. Christians have always taught of this great apocalypse. Amidst the millennial fever of 19th-century America, date setting was a national religious trend, not just among Millerites, as most Adventist are taught. That same prophetic cry of "Jesus is coming soon and He told me the date" has remnants among the Harold Campings of our day.

Yet Adventists believe that have been the sole voice out there still believing in a literal Second Coming. The only difference is that they have been preaching for about 180 years that it was imminent. 

Adventists live life in this imminent last-days perspective that isolates them from reality. While they scan the radar for any possible Sunday laws or Sabbath infringements anywhere in the world--awaiting their own persecution, what disappears off their screen are the Christians who are being tortured and martyred for their beliefs all that time around the world. 

Some, because of their prophetess' visions recorded in the book Great Controversy, have a paranoia and fear of other Christians deceiving them. So they hunker down and reject the world as the devil's arena, awaiting the black helicopters and gas chambers secretly being built for the SDA holocaust. (Many SDAs actually believe this...)

Seventh-day Adventist doctrine encloses upon a person's perspective and until the believer only to sees what is within its little sphere. It rejects this threatening world of Catholicism and Apostate Protestantism. All the world is sad and dreary.... their little flock is the only safe place. 

Their Investigative Judgement doctrine, if accepted as written, can lead one into terrible despair about one's unknown or unforgiven sins. Many think their eternal destiny in hell is always just one bad thought away, one sip of coffee or wine, one bite of shrimp or pork, one sabbath-breaking moment away. For many traditional Adventists, this is their gospel, and it is frightening.

When Adventists communities are discovered, Christians will find spiritual ghost towns: nice people in a haze of historical and biblical distortion. The religious version of the invasion of the body snatchers can be seen in every Adventist church. For Satan has lulled them into a trance, a deception of what is truth. They look to a deceased female visionary to interpret scripture for them and they publish bibles to keep their adherents always within their dark fantasy of theology. 

Their flesh is walking but their souls are asleep. Their prophetic doctrine has manifested itself and they have been snatched into soul sleep. 

The only remedy for this is to understand the true gospel. Truth is a light in this dark gray world. When Adventists understand it is He who gave HIS life once and for all, gifting us a New Covenant in His blood for all those who believe, not just those who keep Sabbath they will begin to emerge from this stupor of deception. 

But I do not believe that our discussions are enough to revive and animate their sleeping souls. We must be Christ to them, through love and self-sacrifice. When our fervent prayers and humble love is poured out for them, their fears will soften, their ears will hear, and their eyes will open. 

Let us pray and live Christ, that our Adventist family and friends may awaken from their soul sleep.


Lynn Golden said...

Very well put!
You really hit the nail on the head this time with this blog. It most certainly is a self fulfilling prophecy. No doubt about it, their souls are dead asleep. I just woke up myself a few months ago! But like you wrote, God's love is a powerful enough to wake them up out of their stuper.

Stephen Korsman said...

"Many think their eternal destiny in hell is always just one bad thought away, one sip of coffee or wine, one bite of shrimp or pork, one sabbath-breaking moment away."

How is that different from Catholicism saying that you're off to hell after any particular mortal sin (bad thoughts, missing Mass, can't think of coffee/wine/shrimp equivalents, but condoms and swearing at a bad driver might fit in here) until you manage to get to confession?

One could argue that what destroys your relationship with God and removes the salvific grace is not an individual sin, but rather a return to sin itself, so one's state in the eyes of God doesn't change with a sin, but with an entire attitude, because the individual sin doesn't change one's love for God, but an attitude moving away from God does just that. But this isn't the standard Catholic interpretation as I understand it. (It's my view, because it's the only way I can make sense of it all. An unknown Jesuit once said we're allowed seven heresies - that must be one of mine.)

How does one abandon an Adventist sin-fear-repent-sin-fear-repent experience without adopting a "sin doesn't matter" view, or adopt the Catholic view and not be subject to the same sin-fear-confess-sin-fear-confess despair problem.

Teresa Beem said...

Stephen, I can understand your viewpoint and misunderstanding--- having been both Adventist and Catholic. However, there is no real correlation at all. Catholics are indelibly and irreversibly adopted into the New Covenant at Baptism. That is somewhat equal to Protestant's idea of "being saved." We prefer "born-again." We can never loose the status of being the child of God. We can, however, leave willfully--but we leave as children of God and that means you have ALL heaven and Christians on earth pulling us back through prayers and offerings. To Catholics faith is a communal grace and no individualist. Gods grace will pull you back!

The only way a Catholic can break our relationship with Christ is to intentionally and with full will (premeditated) committing a grave/mortal sin (understanding that it will cause us to leave the kingdom). These things rarely occur as no grave sin can be accidentally committed or even out of passion. Most people are ignorant of what is sin and so they cannot commit a grave sin because they do not have full will in it.

Also, even under these circumstances you can immediately ask forgiveness and you are forgiven. You should go to Confession if you can, but you will not go to hell if you die before making it.

Remember, it is all about your heart and intentions. God is not going to let us go. He will come after His sheep who have gone astray.

Again, remember these sins are so heinous as to kill the grace in our hearts--such as premeditated murder, adultery, etc. Sin is VERY serious and must be understood to ruinous to our souls. But Catholicism always keeps the Cross and Christ's sacrifice in front of our eyes, so we may see the price He paid for our sins. He is merciful. He is love.

Catholics teach that no one EVER accidentally ends up in Hell. No one is going to end up in hell and be shocked or surprised. We will throw ourselves into hell rather than choose to serve God--intentionally, purposefully.

Catholicism teaches that salvation is not formulaic, God is sovereign and He will save those with His mercy whom He chooses.

His grace is powerful and if you are a true Christian, committing a moral sin may happen, but you can always depend upon His mercy and grace and you don't fear like Adventists do about these things that distract from real sin like drinking coffee and watching movies and drinking wine.

Also keep in mind that even if one dies with sins that we didn't ask for forgiveness for, we have purgatory to cleans us. God places safety net after safety net after safety net for us who are weak sinners.

I have never for one minute felt anything but perfectly safe inside Catholicism. I was "saved" at Baptism! I am now INSIDE Christ's Kingdom. I cannot be snatched out of His Hands! He is faithful.

For Adventists, salvation is projected into the future. You will BE saved after death. The Kingdom of Heaven is something in the future. The SDAs, in a sense, are being good in order to show God how much they are trying. They are trying to impress Him so that one day they may gain heaven. They impress Him with keeping the Sabbath and parts of the Levitical law they still see as in effect.

Ellen White claims you will one day stand before the Father without an intercessor IN ORDER to merit heaven. You must be perfect in order to gain heaven.

This is wholly different than Catholicism. The Catholic church has taught for 2000 years that we ENTER the New Covenant Kingdom at Baptism. Because we are now adopted children of God we, through His power, grow in grace. We will eventually become perfect--usually after death in purgatory. As we all believe that NO sin will be allowed in heaven.

If you have any more comments about Catholicism, please go to my Catholic blog as that is specifically for that. This one is for Former SDAs. Thanks so much and God bless.

Teresa Beem said...

Stephen I just reread my comments, I guess it was me who was soul- asleep as my answers sound rambling and incoherent. Please excuse the poor writing--but in my defense, I was down with the Norvirus and had a fever! Today I am still pretty sick so I will attempt a re-write when I am feeling better. God bless, Teresa

Stephen Korsman said...

Thanks for the response - it sounds fine! Sorry to hear about the norovirus - nasty one. In the lab we always hope to find an outbreak - not very nice, I know, but we get excited about strange things!

Anonymous said...

What are your thought's on SDA member's who when confronted with these thing's mentioned in "Adventist Soul Sleep" will respond with, "well we arn't like that anymore, we are progressive and changed." and "EGW is hardly even mentioned anymore from the pulpit" as well as "our pastor won't even allow certain doctrine like the 2nd coming talked about in morning classes"???

Teresa Beem said...

(Note: Still VERY sick with virus, excuse me please).

I grew up in a church just like you described. Very Progressive. That is why I wrote carefully using the term "traditional" SDA and "some."

If you are staying inside Adventism as a missionary to bring them to the fullness of the gospel, God bless you and we will be right behind you, praying for you.

But if you (the hypothetical person you are describing) are just staying in Adventism as a progressive because you are afraid to step out into mainstream Christianity, then that is another subject.

And again, I will try and address this more when my head is more clear. God bless and thanks for the question.

Richard said...

Since you mentioned "Sunday laws" - the SDA's I've met and heard seem focused on the U.S. imposing a "National Sunday law."

Yet in my part of the U.S., alcohol sales on Sundays are becoming more common, even in grocery stores - while the Europeans are moving closer to Sunday restrictions these days.

Could it be that other Sabbath-keeping groups have been closer to the mark about which power is the "beast power" after all?

Teresa Beem said...

Please explain you comment....