Friday, June 14, 2013

The Seventh-Day Adventist Church is 150 Years Old Today

The Houston Chronicle notices:

Here are some SDA promos from the movie, "The Adventists." Please note the main focus is on SDA healthcare. No mention of Ellen White or the Sabbath Message or the Last Days. It's Ellen-Lite.

Well, I guess having a longer than average life expectancy is fine. That's a good thing. But they need to get other more vital things right being a religious group. Christians would tend, you would hope, to spend more time on the gospel than on promoting health.

My concern is that Adventists are pro-choice and some SDA hospitals do abortions on demand. This is a great concern for Christians who wish to join with Adventists in spreading the gospel. However, Christians have always been against abortion. Therefore, the SDA church's promotion of it through its honoring of the United State's most notorious abortionist, Edward C. Allred, at La Sierra University, is so scandalous to God's people as to virtually remove themselves from mainstream Christianity.

Christ doesn't weigh our good works against our bad works. Adventists will not get a pass for being pro-choice because they helped the children that got to live. This is basic Christianity 101.

I wouldn't be truthful if I wished the SDA church a life expectancy ten years more than the average denomination life expectancy (since that is what it seems these two film messages are about.) What I wish for them, what I pray earnestly for them is that they will come to understand the fullness of truth and join the Christian Body of Christ. I hope something much more than a long earthly life. I want them to be eternal people, people of Heaven.

We will continue praying for them. God can do miracles.


Marcos David Torres said...

Thanks Teresa! You are so right on. While I love the SDA focus on health its pointless without the gospel. Ellen advised the church to be careful with health evangelism because its so easy to forget the evangelism and just focus on the health. But Ellen is simply repeating the central focus of Jesus commission - to make disciples. As one SDA pastor put it, if we only preach the health message all we will produce are long living sinners. Whats the point of that? Our focus needs to be in the gospel. I heard a presentation by a popular SDA preacher recently (Jeffrey Rosario). He was talking about a book he read in which the author traced the historical contributions of the different protestant denominations. As he read, he couldn't help but get excited about what the guy would say about Adventists. To Jeffrey's dismay (and the vocal disappointment of the audience listening to him)the author simply said, "they are known for being vegetarian." I felt my heart sink along with his.

Thankfully, I am starting to see an overwhelming focus on the gospel in our church these days. The theo majors I am studying with, our professors, and even a lot of pastors I have worked with over the last few years, are all trying to steer the ship back onto the right course, but as you can imagine, a big ship takes a long time to turn around, lol. But with people like you praying for us, I know it wont be long before God does his thing.


Teresa Beem said...

Marcus, you have given me such hope.

Please, please read up on abortion and the early church. Read the Didache.

Before the church had a codified doctrine on the trinity, before it had a coifed doctrine on the full divinity of Christ, it was AGAINST ABORTION!!

There had never, ever been a time Christians thought it was okay to procure an abortion, even when they debated when the child was a "life." Today we have people who call themselves Christians and do not take a stand against abortion, but they are either being self-deceptive or they are ignorant of the Bible and Christian history.

The word pharmakeia is often rendered in Bible translations as "sorcery" or "magic arts" but the original meaning of the first century Greek is more directly "manufacturer of medicines." Revelation 9:12 and 21:8 place those who practice pharmakon in hell. The placement of this word is important. Usually it is listed in with the sins of murder and sexual immorality as it was known to be potions to produce abortion. Placement of types together was important in first century writers, so it makes great sense that abortifacient drugs were placed between the words murder and sexual immorality.

Alvin Schmidt, Under the Influence, (Zondervan Publishing 2001) relates that that both pagans and Christians understood that the word pharmakeia/pharmakon used by Paul and John refers to the practice of abortion. He continue that one of the main duties of the sorcerer was to manufacture potions and spells that would expel the unborn from the mother's womb. Plutarch, a pagan, noted that pharmakeia was primarily used for contraception and abortion. (Romulus 22 of his Parallel Lives).

Teresa Beem said...

The Epistle of Barnabas (1st c. Christian document) states, "Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion neither shalt destroy it after it is born."

Clement, bishop of Alexandria (155-215) writes that the biblical word pharmakeia directly refers to killing a child by abortion in The Tutor. Second century, Apocalypse of Peter, describes hell with a special punishment for women who procured abortions. Also from the second century was Athenagoras, Christian apologist, who wrote in A Plea for the Christians, "What reason would we have to commit murder when we say that women who induce abortion are murderers and will have to give account of it to God."

Third century letter, The Epistle of Diognetus, written by a Christian records the well known fact that "Christians marry as do all others, they beget children, but they do not destroy their offspring." Minucius Felix in Octavius records how pro-life the early Christians were. Bishop of Africa and attorney, Tertullian defended the Christians pro-life position in Apology (AD 197). As did Bishop of Carthage, Cyprian and the Synod of Elvira in Spain in AD 305 and the Council of Ancyra in AD 314 as well as in the Apostolic Constitution. Ambrose, bishop of Milan, Zeno, Bishop of Verona, JohnChrysostom, Augustin of Hippo, Basil of Caesarea, and translator of the Bible, Jerome all record that the early church was universally, completely and totally against abortion.

There is no early church father or apologist who wrote anything that disagreed with these, nor is there any arguments in favor of a pro-choice position. Christians have always been and will continue to be pro-life.

Adventists have chosen to disregard 2000 years of Christian history, Biblical interpretation and even their own pioneers to embrace our self-centered, immoral 20th century culture and veil their consciences against the immorality of the murder of innocent unborn children.

Teresa Beem said...

One last thing. No matter where you come down on the abortion issue, there is no Christian denomination that has gone so far as to honor an abortionist like La Sierra University.

Edward Allred --personally--murdered more than a quarter of a million Americans. He bragged about it to the Los Angeles Times.

This doctor graduated from La Sierra and Loma Linda U. and has given millions of his blood money to these schools. The GC hasn't stopped it or even raised a voice to speak against it.

The Christian world looks upon this with utter horror. Even people who want abortion safe, legal and rare would never honor an abortionist by opening up a business center for him.

Please, as an SDA theologian, please stand up against this.

Marcos David Torres said...


I cannot disagree with you. This is something I will be looking into. I'm an Adventist because of the Bible, however, our church is far from perfect.

I know one of the struggles we have as a people is in legislating laws based upon religious belief. We don't believe in church imposing laws based on our beliefs upon those who do not share those beliefs. However, we can still take a stand. I don't care how you coach the Biblical language, there is just no way to reconcile abortion with Christianity. I know there are hairy cases such as the death of the mother, high chance of infant disability, rape etc. And I am not schooled enough to make a statement on any of that, but generally speaking I have no disagreement with you.

BTW, just out of curiosity, how did people in the first century get abortions? I can see how today with all the technology but back then? Sounds wild.

Teresa Beem said...

Evidently there were doctors (one famous one is Galen) and they concocted medicines that would kill the child. I imagine they were much like todays.

Many women who go in today have a fibrous tube inserted into the opening of their womb (will attempt to not be too graphic here) and the fibers absorb moisture and expand, that alone can cause an abortion (and sepsis!) Even though today we scrape the baby out after that, I assume they could have used the first part.

Some scholars suggest they had chemical inserts that killed the baby.

There are some early quotes (secondary sources that I have been trying to find English first sources but haven't been successful yet) --probably from the second or third century---of a citizen of Rome who says the sewers ran thick with the blood of aborted children.

Rome had become SO corrupt in first few centuries AD that women chose not to have children because it ruined their figures. Surrogate motherhood was common--just pay a poor woman to have a baby for you and keep your husband happy with your girl-like figure.

Having babies was out. So evidently abortion would have been another way to solve that problem for women.

Like I said, I haven't found the primary source for this but I heard it years ago from a really reliable scholar.

Marcos David Torres said...

Mercy! I never knew that before. I know here in the states before abortion was legalized women used to try and use coat hangars or other contraptions to bring on an abortion but I didn't know this was also common in the ancient world. I remember hearing a preacher say, (and I'm paraphrasing) - They had their fertility temples with pagan prostitutes, today the temple is the computer screen and the prostitute is a porn star. They had their child sacrifices to the God Molek, today we have abortion clinics. -

Thanks for sharing!