As an Seventh-day Adventist, I was taught righteousness by faith growing up. Then when I married and compared my experience with my husband’s, something seemed wrong. His Adventist childhood was dark and scary. When I started
questioning other Adventists, I began to realize that I was the exception, not him. Most kids were raised to believe that they had to fulfill Ellen White’s moral and theological expectations in order to make you right with God and get to heaven.
righteousness writings as unenlightened white noise.
For my conversations with Adventists, there are other issues that can break down walls of misunderstanding
between them and other mainstream Christians. Here is one:
The things that got to me personally, that hurt my conscience so badly that I left, had more to do with the SDA position on abortion, it’s distortion of history and it’s unbiblical doctrines. But one more issue that I often do not discuss online but am making an effort to in the last couple of years is the issue of the SDA church distancing itself from other Christians. This lack of unity with and fear of other Christians was not only ignoring a command of Christ, it was eating us up (when I was SDA) as a people. We were so focused on preaching and teaching sabbath that we were not noticing that our families were falling apart.
Something was wrong with this because the New Testament taught a “oneness” for Christians. Unity was a commandment of Christ just as other commandments, how did we explain tossing that one out just because we differed on the Sabbath.
Yet, we were made to fear them as potential deceivers. I blamed our elitism and fear on our inability to get help from other Christians. Oh, I knew that someday they would turn on us and
persecute us....but until that time, didn’t we want to be witnessing among them? Yet, we stayed aloof. At least the vast majority of us did. I knew the Religious Liberty arm of the SDA church would enter a “friend of the court” brief if a person’s religious liberty was threatened....but nothing to embrace other Christians that was church-wide and substantial.
Over the years I yearned more and more for unity with my other brothers and sisters in Christ. What were we afraid of? It really puzzled me. Didn’t we trust God enough to go into the “world” of other Christians to love them?
Then, it was brought up at the 2000 General Conference in Toronto. A person stood and asked if the doctrines of the SDA church could include other sabbatarian or other church groups as part of the “remnant” people spoken about in Revelation. It was debated on the floor and it was voted with a large majority that the SDA church’s doctrines would remain that we are the “sole remnant” people of God.
This shouldn’t have been so surprising to me, but it was a huge blow. I remember throwing myself down upon the ground arms outspread and crying out to God, weeping in repentance for my church. Inside, I knew we were not the sole remnant and the pride of saying such was keeping us from growing spiritually as a church and healing our family wounds.
Behind a great deal of my ministry to former Adventists is to gently show them the degree of separation they have had from the full Body of Christ and how evil it is that they have slandered and rejected God’s other children. It is truly a grave sin of pride that has crusted Adventists over and made them cynical, paranoid and suspicious of other Christians.
What is so typical of this mindset is its inability to see themselves the way others see them. When confronted with their problems of pride, elitism and fear (as well as disobedience to God’s command of unity), all they can do is attack the messenger.
status in their minds. When a mirror is turned upon them, they cry foul and assume it is a great devil that would show them that they are not the sole remnant.
Yet, I do not give up on them. Adventists are victims, not of other Christians, but of themselves. While they are looking for a Sunday law, they will be ignoring and abandoning the true Christian persecution out there. And their children will continue to suffer and hurt without help.
Adventists we need you in the Christian fold. You need to be in the Christian fold. Do not be afraid. Unity is commanded by Christ, what are you waiting for?