The Prodigal Son: A return to the Seventh Day Adventist Church

Well, just a little over a month and we have already returned… But why?

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Have you ever come to realize that something is true and then later try to ignore it, but you can’t because in the back of your mind the truth is still there smiling at you? For example, if your entire life you were being paid $10 an hour to do a $30 an hour job to one day realize that you were supposed to be getting paid that amount the entire time. You can move along, trying to ignore it, but you can’t. You’ll eventually find yourself in the office asking for a correction.

Our decision to return to the SDA church went something like that.

If you want to read the blog post that explains why we left at the end of December, you can click here to read it before moving on.

The short hand answer to our reason for leaving is the church’s inability to intellectually give a reason for their faith in the writings on Ellen G. White. After having read much of her work, one will be hard pressed to find a person within the church that can discuss her writings with you. Although I disagree with some of her commentary and find no reason “as of yet” to believe in her visions or prophecies, the Historicist view on eschatology is closest to the truth.

And when one actually does spend time reading through her writings it does bring some serious light into what the early reformers believed and taught regarding biblical prophecies, like Daniel and Revelation. With that, I think that her writings are in fact worth reading. And, I would recommend them to others while still disagreeing with some of her commentary.

One example of her commentary that changed my life would be her commentary on diet in the bible. Because of it, I am a vegan.

Although this church can’t reasonably give an answer for their faith in Ellen G. White when questions or criticism arise, that doesn’t make the truth of their eschatology any less true.

For example, the main reason why we weren’t able to stay away long, would be the church’s stance on the beast that comes up out of the earth found in the prophetic book of Revelation.

And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. – Revelation 13:11-14

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To the SDA church this beast is North America. This beast looks like a lamb, but speaks like a dragon. We look like a Christian nation, but we speak like the world. A large percentage of this nation, particularly the southern half, attend church. And yet, there is no change. No true repentance. This beast causes fire to come down out of heaven in the site of men.

Ellen G. White describes this fire as the charismatic movement in great detail.

Don’t get me wrong. I have friends that are part of this movement, and I find them to be very sincere in their faith (including the pastor of the church we just left when returning to the SDA church). But, when we examine this movement as a hole we will find that there is something amiss. When we stepped away from the SDA church in December we began to attend one of these churches. Of course they disagreed with our eschatological views on things like the state of the dead, eternal hell, and the rapture. But, that was to be expected.

However, every week was the same. I found myself watching people get “filled” one day out of the week with no real internal change taking place. Have you ever heard the phrase “on fire for Christ”?

The charismatic movement is raining down this false fire. People are getting filled, being passionate for Christ one day out of the week with no real fruit to show for it.

Christ said that we will know them by their fruit. When I go to these churches I don’t see repentance. I see people chasing emotion while maintaining their interest in the worldly things around them. At what point did the church decide that fruit meant church growth, church attendance, the number of people baptized every quarter, and the number of ministries being run under one roof, etc.?

The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The fruits that we are led to look for in a church are works based (church growth) when in reality, they are character based. And that isn’t something I see in America anymore.

The modern protestant movement has replaced the fruits while becoming complacent in its sin. And the main fruit that the charismatic movement lacks from my perspective is self-control. Some of them become so passionate during worship in church that they literally lose control and when it’s done, they go right back into the world unchanged.

I realize that I should pluck the plank from my own eye before pointing at the sins of others. And with that, I am a nobody. And I have no true answers. This post is just me hashing out my thoughts while sharing them with others. Who am I to have any answers or an opinion for that matter? I would refer you to 2 Corinthians 12:11 for that one.

While attending this charismatic church, the lobby was a time where I was eager to hear peoples stories of conversion and faith. But all I heard were stories about recent movies, current video games, and the latest tech gadgets while offering to go get drinks later. Church has become a social club. Not a place of spiritual growth.

The thing that made me have to get up and leave was when the pastor stated, and I quote: “two of the things that Jesus said to the rich young ruler were not true”. The pastor may have meant something else, but that isn’t what was said.

So, what is the strange fire?

It’s an appearance of godliness but the lack thereof.

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.2 Timothy 3:5 

The truth is, we are all asleep. When the ten virgins of Mathew 25 heard the loud cry “All” of them woke up. This means that at that last call, all of the churches were asleep. I think that we are in that time. We are all asleep. And the SDA church is no different. They are asleep too, not practicing much of what they preach… just like the rest of the christian world.

Although this may be so, it doesn’t change the fact that their view on eschatology, theology, and doctrine are closest to the truth with or without Ellen G. White.

You can’t compromise the truth just because the church is asleep.

We had to return. The only other option is strange fire. The path that leads to destruction is broad. And sadly, most of the modern protestant world is on that path. We have lost what it means to have true repentance. And besides, who needs repentance  these days anyway when the beast that looks like a lamb but speaks like a dragon can offer you the easy way out; grace without works.

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