Most denominations have some theological beliefs which I feel are dangerous. Obviously some are more dangerous than others. One of the more dangerous beliefs held by some denominations is the 'Second Chance Theory'. The Pentecostal Church teaches that some people will get a second chance after the supposed secret rapture. Jehovah's Witnesses believe that in the new world, the people who were saved the first time around will have a chance to convert the people who were lost on the first try and they will get a second chance. Catholics have the doctrine of Purgatory which in a way is a second chance theory. Adventists have a theory somewhat like the second chance doctrine but it is a little more subtle. This is the belief that, man by his actions can hasten or delay the Lord's Second Coming.
This, in a way gives one a second chance. If one's actions can delay Jesus Second Advent, then the more He is delayed the more chances one has to be saved. Adventists looking around at one another must conclude that the Second Advent is delayed by many years by the actions of their brethren. This leaves lots of time to be saved and rather dampens the Biblical exhortation; "Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2 Cor. 6:2)
This erroneous belief I suspect has come out of the Biblical passage, "Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God." (1 John 3:11,12) A footnote to this verse in the Bible indicates another translation of the word hastening as "earnestly desiring". The passage would then read in part "Waiting for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God". This second translation makes this Bible passage more consistent with others I will be quoting shortly.
Mrs. White feels that Adventists of 1844 and shortly thereafter were very incompetent in the work given them. She feels that had the people been more faithful and done their work, Jesus would have come long ago and all this would be over. She lays the blame squarely on the shoulders of early Adventists: contemporaries that she wanted to manipulate by inferring guilt.
"Had Adventists, after the great disappointment in 1844, held fast their faith ... receiving the message and proclaiming it to the world, they would have seen the salvation of God, the Lord would have wrought mightily with their efforts, the work would have been completed, and Christ would have come ere this to receive his people to their reward ... it was not the will of God the coming of Christ should be thus delayed." (Selected Messages, Book 1, p. 68)Another similar passage:
"Had the purpose of God been carried out by His people in giving the world the message of mercy, Christ would, ere this, have come to the earth, and the saints would have received their welcome into the city of God." (Testimonies 6, p. 450)
Ellen White describes Jesus waiting. She suggests that He must wait because too many are not ready for Him.
"The long night of gloom is trying, but the morning is deferred in mercy, because if the Master should come, so many would be found unready. God's unwillingness to have His people perish, has been the reason for so long a delay". (Testimonies 2, p. 194)Surely this argument is self-defeating. So many are dying daily in a lost condition. Many more are being born to run the risk of not being saved.
Not only did Adventists fail to do their work, they also failed to give enough money.
"If they will be faithful in bringing to His treasury the means lent them, His work will make rapid advancement. Many souls will be won to the truth and the day of Christ's coming will be hastened." (Counsels on Stewardship p. 45)Being barraged with this type of guilt producing statement, I must repeat, it is no wonder that Adventists give so much money. Shouldn't they feel rather guilty about not giving all their money to the church to have Jesus come even sooner?
The Bible says, "He hath appointed a day to judge the world." (Acts 17:31) When that day of judgment occurs and we have been judged, what is the point of Him delaying, His coming any further? The first advent of our Saviour was on schedule and there is no reason to believe that His second advent will not be on schedule and preplanned, as are all other major events in God's overall plan.
Further, in Daniel 8:19 we find, "For at the time appointed, the end shalt be." Paul tells us in Hebrews 10:37; "For yet a little while and he that shall come will come and will not tarry." By all means, we are instructed to pray that His Kingdom will come but that does not mean that our prayers or any of our deeds will actually have any effect on the date. We find that Daniel prayed for future events even though he knew God had set a specific fixed date.
Let me ask Adventists a few serious questions. If you are delaying Jesus' coming by your current lifestyle, don't you feel extremely guilty? How can you possibly live with yourself under this load of guilt? Have you not seen the guilt trips handed out by fellow church members when they felt you were not doing enough work to hasten His coming? Is this not one of the main reasons why there is a total lack of love in your congregation? These false beliefs are leading you down the wrong path.
I think that Satan would be very happy if we were to believe that we could delay or hasten Jesus' coming. If we are sitting here condemning others for delaying His coming then it is impossible for Jesus to come now. But remember what Jesus said in Matthew 24:44, "Therefore be ye also ready for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh." He is coming when you and I think he is not coming. This should make us very careful and watchful indeed.
Let us now turn to some more serious errors. Nowhere does Mrs. White seem quite as confused as in her descriptions of the end of probation and the seven last plagues. My next point is rather difficult to follow and quite confusing, even in the Bible. Mrs. White's beliefs can be found in the Great Controversy, Chapter 39, entitled 'The Time of Trouble'. In essence Mrs. White believes that the close of probation is announced by Jesus in Heaven standing up saying, "It is done." He also says, "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still." (Rev. 22:11) At that point, the plagues begin, and Jesus leaves the sanctuary. Mankind is without an intercessor during these seven plagues for an unknown period of time before the second advent. There are several errors to point out here and this belief can have disastrous effects.
First read Rev. 16:17. "And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the Temple of Heaven from the throne saying, "It is done." Notice that Jesus says, "It is done." at the time of the seventh plague and not as Mrs. White indicated before the onset of the first plague.
I have heard a very crafty defense of this criticism. I was told that Jesus may have said, "It is done," many times. On the cross He said, "It is finished." However, I can only find "It is done." twice in the Bible. The above quotation is one and the second occurrence is in Rev. 21:6. Here Jesus again says, "It is done." but this is after John saw a new heaven and a new earth and after he saw the holy city descending from heaven. The defense goes on by saying, "Well, maybe he also said an 'It is done.' before the first plague and it wasn't recorded in the Bible." This seems to be impressive, fast thinking. But on the first page of Chapter 39, where this occurs notice that "It is done." is surrounded by quotation marks. This means that Mrs. White is actually quoting the Bible here as all quotation marks indicate a passage taken directly from the Bible. She has to be either talking about the "It is done." in Rev. 16:17 or the one in 21:6. She cannot possibly be talking about an, "It is done." occurring before the first plague which is not recorded in the Bible.
And why should she take Rev. 22: 11, "He that is unjust let him be unjust still " and suppose that occurs at the time of the close of probation? There is no such indication for this time sequence in the Bible.
For the next point, again please read Rev. 16:17. This is during the seventh plague and a great voice came from where? It came from out of the temple. But didn't Mrs. White say that Jesus left the sanctuary or temple before the first plague began? What is He doing in the temple at that time? Are we really going to be without an intercessor during the plagues?
Suppose that, as an Adventist, you believe Mrs. White's version of the above. Picture the plagues beginning. You now believe that you have been declared just and that you will remain just (that means you cannot sin). Jesus will be returning in one or two years. You have always had this belief but one fateful day you recognize that you have sinned terribly. But you remember that you were supposed to be among the saved and were now incapable of sinning. Now you realize you have made a mistake and that you must not be included among those saved at the time of the close of probation. What will be your reaction? Who is going to mediate this terrible sin for you? You are doomed! What can you do? It seems to me the only course at that time would be suicide. Do you now see the danger in believing this false doctrine? This teaching is not necessary for our salvation; we need only believe that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. Why take such a terrible chance?
There is another angle. The Bible quite plainly indicates that we will not be perfect (i.e. sinless) until, "that day". It is obvious from 1 Cor. 15:50-57, that those of us who are living will remain sinners until Christ returns and changes us, "in the twinkling of an eye at the last trump". Mrs. White is trying to tell us in her story that we will be completely sinless for a year or so during the seven last plagues. Can you buy her story? I submit to you that Mrs. White's rendition can lead to nothing but the loss of many souls. And superficially, it all seems so innocent!