Monday, June 24, 2013

Irony Run Amok in SDA Conversations

I am sitting at a dinner table with some distant SDA family members or I run into an Adventist friend at the store and the following very polite  conversations takes place in somewhat similar words: 

SDA: You know I love you to death, Teresa, but I have occasionally popped onto your websites. I even started to read your book and, you know, I mean this as kindly as I can put it but.... you are kinda mean-spirited. It seems to me you are rather bitter to say and write the things you do about Adventists. You need to stop. Seriously. Move on and love Jesus.

Me: Well, I get that a lot from Adventist. I do understand how you could misunderstand my heart. I try very hard to never attack Adventists themselves. But I'm sure I let something I write pass without realizing that could be misunderstood. Please let me know if you see me criticizing an Adventist. I may point out disagreements we have or even exhort SDA pastors and leaders to be pro-life but I have never attacked an Adventist. 

SDA: You know what I mean, don't be tricky--you're a very bright girl. You speak against us as a church. 

Me: I point out that some of your doctrines are not biblical and in fact, I strongly believe they are heretical, but I talk against doctrines not Adventists. 

SDA: It is the same thing. You attack Adventism, you attack Adventists. That is disingenuous to try and separate the two like attacking one isn't attacking the other. Jesus wouldn't do that. You need to pray more and write less...just sayin'.

Me: Wait? You are confusing me. Taking the premise (which I strongly disagree with) but within your SDA worldview, if attacking someone's beliefs is attacking them, then we have a problem.  The SDA church has always said that they love Catholics and believe some of them to be genuine Christians and will be in heaven, but you then say the church structure is the Whore of Babylon. Aren't you doing to Catholics exactly what you are complaining I am doing to you? After all if you attack Catholicism you are attacking Catholics, right? What if I said to you, "You need to stop attacking Catholics. Seriously. Move on and love Jesus."

SDA: Teresa! You know how sweet Adventists are! All the good things we have done. No other church on earth does so much. Look at our school system, our healthcare system--it is the best in the world. Studies have shown we live the longest because of our healthy lifestyle. We are full of the most amazing people who ever lived. Desmond Doss! Adventists are known around the world and honored. 

We don't attack Catholics! No. Not at all. Catholics have a clear history of church corruption. That's just fact. They are the Whore of Babylon and the anti-christ, so it is not wrong for us to point that out. We aren't criticizing the people. 

Me: So you can criticize Catholicism which isn't criticizing Catholics (in your mind.) But me? If I say anything about SDA doctrines then I am attacking Adventists themselves?  

SDA: We love Catholics and want to help them understand the truth, we are not being mean-spirited like you are, Teresa. Look into your heart, you know the truth. Come back, sweetheart! We love you.

Me: Your church holds annual Revelation Seminars against the Catholic Church utterly distorting history and Catholic beliefs. Then you call her the Whore of Babylon whose leader is the anti-christ pope. That's okay for you to do to the Catholics but Catholics cannot ever point out that your doctrines --about them--are wrong? 

SDA: We are wanting to lovingly point them to God's truth.... Bible truth...about the Sabbath. No other church is as solidly based in the Bible as we are. Everything we teach is straight from scripture.

Me: You teach that Catholics and Apostate Protestantism will one day hunt you down and torture Adventists for keeping Sabbath and rule the world as the evil Whore of Babylon, right? You see that as scriptural and loving? You truly believe that is what Jesus meant when He said, "The world will know you are my disciples by your love one for another?"

SDA: Yes, we are loving you by lovingly pointing out truth. And who's distorting truth? Teresa, shame on you. You know we teach that until the close of probation we don't think the Catholics are the Whore of Babylon. 

Me: So, let me just get this straight. You can call my church the future Whore of Babylon and you are doing it in love. However, when I point out some SDA doctrines (especially those against the Catholic Church and Protestants) are a little crazy, unbiblical and historically inaccurate, I'm the bad guy? 

SDA: But here's the difference. Ellen White was a prophetess and she had visions from God. That makes what she said true. Therefore speaking truth is a good thing, not a bad thing. It is bad when you speak against truth. And since Catholics are going to come against us in the future and hunt us down and torture us for keeping Sabbath, it is not mean-spirited to warn you about it so that you will repent and leave the Whore of Babylon. 

Me: Oh, okay. So when you speak "truth" against the Catholics, you're doing God's work and when I defend Catholicism, I'm doing the Devil's work. You can attack and that's a holy, sacred attack for truth. But you cry foul and play the victim when someone simply defends themselves against your attack or even so much as tells you that your accusations are untrue.

I mean, think about it. That's the bully crying when someone tells him to quit beating up on a littler kid.

By this time, the conversation has turned tense even though everyone is still smiling and wanting to come across as Christians.

Me again: What I am understanding you to say is that you are the good guys for attacking Catholicism (and Apostate Protestantism) but Catholics and Protestants should be silent and allow your slander without retort because if we defend ourselves we are the bad guys, right? 

SDA: This is America. We have the right to speak truth. Teresa what I am actually hearing you say is that the Catholics want to silence us. (They shake their heads.) Just like the Catholics.... This is what I mean! Seriously, this conversation to me just reinforces that Ellen was a true prophet because what I am hearing coming out of your mouth is chaos and wanting power over what others say. Next step, the Inquisition and then Madame Guillotine. 

You need to calm down. I sense a lot of anger in you and that shows me that you don't really have Jesus in your heart. Think about this. (They pat my hand gently.) You wouldn't be getting so defensive if you had just remained SDA.

There is a short pause. 

SDA: So, how's your kids? Are you and Arthur still together?

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