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The Word: Adventism vs. Christianity

June 12, 2010

12For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Heb. 4:12; NASB)

I realize that the title of this post will cause some to “react”.  Many Seventh-day Adventists see themselves as Christians.  Infact, they see themselves as the “remnant” Christian group that is “closest” in correct interpretation of scripture.  I know that is how I saw myself when I was a Seventh-day Adventist.  When I was a Seventh-day Adventist I liked to think of myself as “open” and “accepting” of other Christian denominations -but I was in the “capstone” category – a part of the “remnant” group.

I realize that this post is not an easy one to talk about … nor explain … Yet, I feel a prompting to “tackle” the topic:  “How Adventism views the scriptures vs. how a conservative Evangelical views the scriptures”.

16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  (2 Tim. 3:16-17; NIV)

God-breathed – ever wonder what that means?  The Hebrews text quoted at the beginning of this post mentions that God’s Word is “living” and “piercing”.  Look at the use of God’s Words in Genesis … God spoke and animals appeared, and the heavens were created by words from the mouth of God … God’s Words bring life.  Jesus is called the Word in John 1.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”

In 2 Timothy it says ALL scripture is God-breathed.  I had a conversation with a dear Seventh-day Adventist friend several weeks ago.  I love her very much.  She has been “taken-aback” by my decision to leave Adventism.  As we talked she peppered me with questions.  She asked me about inspiration and how I view the scriptures.  Then she said, “Only when the Bible says, ‘God said’, is it word for word from Him.”  I was silent, because I knew I had already shared my view that every single word of scripture is “God-breathed”.  I do not take the words of scripture lightly or view one section of the Bible better or more inspired than another.  This Word is life to me … even the prepositions like “about” and “in” are God-breathed.

Yet, Adventism teaches a double-minded view of scripture.  They love to say, “All our doctrines are found in scripture.”  We are “people of the book”.  Yet, look at what their prophetess teaches about scripture:  “The Bible is written by inspired men, but it is not God’s mode of thought and expression. It is that of humanity. God, as a writer, is not represented. Men will often say such an expression is not like God. But God has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rhetoric, on trial in the Bible. The writers of the Bible were God’s penmen, not His pen. Look at the different writers.

It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man’s words or his expressions but on the man himself, who, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts. But the words receive the impress of the individual mind. The divine mind is diffused. The divine mind and will is combined with the human mind and will; thus the utterances of the man are the word of God. (Manuscript 24, 1886; written in Europe in 1886.)

Where do I even begin to take apart that statement!  The “Bible is not God’s mode of thought and expression”.  Huh?!!!   … Adventists will then back peddle and say – you are distorting what she is trying to say … She means God has to work through human language … Ok, … look at this whole quote from Ellen White … Scripture is a combination of God and man and therefore the Word is “diffused”.  Sorry, it just seems to me that the Word of God is somehow diminished in nature …

Also, if you look at one of the doctrinal statements from the Seventh-day Adventist Church it says, Ellen White is an “authoritative source of truth” and the Bible is the “standard” by which we must judge things.  I don’t know about you but “authoritative source of truth” seems to be a step above their doctrinal word used for the Bible which is “standard”.

As an Adventist I saw scripture as having errors (which I was taught in a class at Walla Walla) and that it was “thought” inspired and therefore, at times had “problems”, BUT we must still see it as an important work of literature.  Therefore, scripture, for me as an Adventist, was akin to the inspired works of Chuck Swindoll or C.S. Lewis or ….

When I began questioning Adventism I nearly tossed out the Bible – because I thought I knew the scriptures – but at the time I was finding that the words of scripture didn’t always follow the doctrines of the Adventist Church.  And I had been taught that Adventism understood the scriptures better than any other denomination …

Yet, now, for me … the Word of God is “God-breathed” bringing me LIFE, PIERCING my heart to the point of tears, and TEACHING me and EQUIPPING me for God-glorifying work.

The Bible is SO MUCH MORE to me now … No, I don’t worship the Bible … but it is God’s LIVING Word for me … it literally brings healing to my heart, conviction of sin, and a deep awareness that God is God and I am not.  The Word is Jesus … The Word pierces my heart and brings me to my knees in worship of the Living God, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

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