Most people would be quite willing to admit there is no church currently on earth that has all the truth. Nowhere does the Bible indicate that we will have all the truth anytime prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ. Seventh Day Adventists strongly preach the second advent of our Savior which should be stressed more by other churches. It is hardly mentioned by some denominations. This is a very emotional subject and one can become very wrapped up in it.
Adventists really take the second advent a little too far. They stress this so much and with such vigor that false doctrines have developed from it. The erroneous idea that one can either hasten or delay Jesus' coming is one example which will be discussed later. The preoccupation with the second advent really makes Adventists a sad and pathetic group of people. The joy and fun of this current life is completely dismissed. This really produces an environment of a living hell for their young children who are not quite so fanatic. Adventists seem to neglect the reality of eternal life. They fail to realize that this life is part of that eternal life, and that they should be happy, joyful people. Instead they sit around with long faces feeling very sad and blaming one another that Jesus has not yet come.
The other item which the Adventist Church stresses is the sabbath day. The get people to believe that the sabbath day must be kept holy as commanded in the Old Testament. If one is not keeping the seventh day sabbath then he has the 'Mark of the Beast' and is slated for everlasting destruction.
The Adventist church teaches some Biblical truth better than other denominations. It is to their credit to do this but some Biblical subjects are severely perverted, particularly by the writings of Ellen White. The whole movement has become very dangerous and is a threat to many Christians. The power of this movement must not be underestimated.
The gospel truth in itself is very strong. When one begins wondering why he is here, what life is all about, etc., it is very comforting to accept the peace and hope offered through Jesus Christ. Many of us share this and pray that we will never lose it. However when people are coming to Christ, the devil is going to throw up stumbling blocks in their pathway. The Adventist Church is especially adept at doing just that.
It is quite obvious that false religion is not going to be handed to us as a bunch of unbelievable lies. Rather the material will contain a lot of truth which is very impressive and the error will be very well hidden. We would not expect the devil to present 100% lies. Anyone can see through a deception like that. We are warned in the Bible that we will be deceived by miracles, not tricks. "The coming of the lawless one by the activity of Satan will be with all power and pretended signs and wonders and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish because they refuse to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends upon us strong delusion to make them believe what is false so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth". (2Thess 2:9-12) Also notice Rev. 16:14, "For they are the spirits of devils working miracles". It seems quite evident that Satan will be able to work miracles such as healing the sick, producing some natural phenomena and may appear in other forms. He appeared to Eve as a serpent. In these latter days he may be appearing to people who are hurting, disguised as a lost, loved one.
Notice the story of Moses confronting the Pharaoh of Egypt to have the children of Israel released. We see that the magicians of that day had great power which was given to them by Satan. The devil has power to do many things. I do not believe he can new life; I believe this is the realm of God only. I do not believe the devil can read a persons thoughts, as the Bible indicates that God alone knows what is in the heart of man. many people seem to be worried that Satan does know their thoughts. It is true that he may be somewhat of a mind reader depending on the expression on one's face. He is usually aware of what temptation one is facing at the moment. However I stress that he cannot read your thoughts.
In the story of Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar, the great king insisted that his prophets tell not only what he had been dreaming but what the dream meant. None of these false prophets were able to do this, proving the devil could not tell them what was going on in Nebuchadnezzar's mind during his dreams. Only God was able to give this information and He chose Daniel to serve His purpose at that time.
The devil will use all kinds of miracles and deceptions to lead one astray. Paul warns us about the terrible enemy who confronts us. "Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places". (Eph 6:11-12) We are fighting a foe who is much smarter than we. The only protection we have is our belief and faith in Jesus Christ and this is to be our armor. The better we know God and the more we have of the truth the better we shall be protected.
We would not expect the devil to be working very hard in a den of sin or among a group of pagans. He has already won there and has nothing in particular to gain. The place he is going to put his real battle is in the church where people are actively seeking a closer relationship with God. It is here that Satan's deceptions can be expected to be overwhelming if we are not well prepared and protected by God.
Some religious denominations are much more
vulnerable to Seventh-day Adventism than others. Adventists particularly like to
work on Catholics. There are several Catholic beliefs that can be attacked quite
nicely. A person of any denomination however can easily fall prey to their advances
as they seem to rely so heavily on the Bible at first and make very good arguments for
their points. They usually come at you with a lot of truth that you have not heard
before and they show it to be true from the Bible. This sets up feelings of
intolerance towards the victims previous beliefs.
Most Christians are really starving for the Bible and Bible studies. Even in Protestant denominations this need often arises and to fill this void one may turn to an Adventist Bible study group. At first it seems very impressive that Adventists seem to stress the Bible so much. This is a very strong drawing card and is used with expertise by Adventists. This is somewhat of a deception in itself, as many Adventists know very little about the Bible. Having lots of material produced by their own prophet, there is really little need to turn to the Bible. In sixty-nine books she covers the Bible completely. Reading these works keeps one busy enough to stay away from the Bible.
Bible studies given by Adventists are really their standard sales pitch. They have specific chains of Bible passages all related to one subject which support that doctrine in the way they profess. Other relevant Bible passages will be left out if they seem to be in any way contradictory. These Bible chains are based on the Bible principle of "precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little, there a little". (Isa 28:10) This concept itself is new to most Bible students and seems to carry a lot of weight. Adventists however pervert this instruction by leaving out bits here and there which do not support their position. Other than these Bible chains, which are easily marked in his Bible,the average Adventist has very little foundation in the Bible itself. The claim that Adventists are people of the Bible is totally false. They are people of Ellen White who have perverted the Bible miserably.
It is quite paradoxical how these people actually know very little about the Bible in general. At times one wonders whether their ministers have ever read the Bible let alone studied it deeply. One Adventist pastor had misinterpreted a Bible passage so badly that he believed John the Baptist was lost for all eternity. It was very shocking for me to hear this from his lips and realize that he had been leading me for quite some time and having considerable influence on my thinking.
Perhaps the most impressive Bible study presented by Adventists is the topic concerning life after death. This catches many victims. Their belief in life after death is somewhat like that of the Jehovah's Witnesses. It is fairly plain from the Bible that people who are lost will not actually burn in hell forever. There is a much more acceptable explanation than that. This belief tends to make God appear unjust and this particular perverted belief in eternal torment is one reason that some Catholics and Protestants have such a small measure of faith. However, no matter what you believe about future life, it does not really have any bearing on your salvation.
Prophecy in the Bible as described by Seventh Day Adventists is also very exciting. Their interpretations may or may not be true but are somewhat fascinating and set the stage for further indoctrination. I will not touch on any specific prophecies at this time. Suffice it to say they are very powerful tools.
The title 'Reverend' is used by most clergymen and seems to be a traditional title. However, if you really think about it there is no one anymore reverend than you are. By giving someone this title of 'Reverend' you are putting yourself down and giving this particular person a license to exercise power over you. This is not what God intends. The term 'Reverend' should be reserved for God alone. "Holy and reverend is His name". (Ps 111:9)
If you call another person by such a title you are setting yourself up to be victimized or manipulated. You should feel quite comfortable at calling your minister by his first name. If you prefer, use 'Pastor', which denotes one as ministering to another. Likewise you should be able to call your doctor or dentist by his first name without feeling uncomfortable. However if you do prefer to use the term doctor or any other title, just make sure you are using it because you want to; not because you feel compelled to do so.
The sabbath day is a very difficult subject. This may be very impressive to Protestants and may lead them into the trap of Seventh-day Adventism. I will discuss the sabbath at some length in a later chapter.
Adventists efficiently ridicule Catholics in front
of Protestants. That tends to draw Protestants closer to Adventists and makes them
more prone to further indoctrination. Making fun of Catholic practices provides something
in common to break the ice.
Being an ex-Catholic, I am well aware of many shaky beliefs of this denomination. Unfortunately Catholics have left themselves wide open to criticism concerning false doctrines. Their theology has grown very little over the centuries and repeated pronouncements by the pope tend to keep most Catholics disillusioned. This leaves them at great risk for falling into the trap of Seventh Day Adventists.
Adventists literally make fun of Catholics, particularly their bingos and dances, their praying for the dead and praying to saints. The doctrine of indulgences is a very easily attacked item, as is confession to a priest, penance, etc.
Much of what I have said about 'Reverend' above applies to the title 'Father'. Priests seem to demand this title and the flock seems compelled to continue using it. Jesus gave many commandments during his short stay here on earth. He said "And call no man your father on earth for you have one father, who is in heaven". (Matt 23:9) Here Jesus is pointing out how the Pharisees like to be called Rabbi and enjoyed being seen by other men doing their penance; how they enjoyed the places of honor at feasts and in the synagogues. But Jesus warned no one is to be called Rabbi, Father or Master. This seems to be a rather straight forward commandment. Jesus goes on to say "He who is greatest among you shall be your servant". This would tend to indicate that your minister is not someone to be set about you but someone who gladly ministers to you and is on an equal basis with you. You should be quite content to call your priest by his first name. If he cannot tolerate it then that is his problem, not yours.
No Catholic doctrine is quite as easily attacked as the triad of confession, penance and indulgences. The Catholic church has recently indicated that confession to a priest is not completely necessary. However many Catholics continue to confess directly to the priest as it gives them a sense of relief and gives them someone to talk to. Perhaps this is a good thing in itself. The bible is quite adamant in pointing out the fact that there is to be no mediator between God and man except Jesus Christ. "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all." (1Tim 2:5) The Bible is quite plain in pointing out that one need confess his sins only to God directly. Forgiveness is easily given by the grace of God.
Catholics generally insist that a sinner do penance to pay off his sin. Whether this is five stations of the cross or two Our Fathers and ten Hail Mary's, it seems to me that this is an affront to God. How can it be possible that we pay off our sins by chanting a few memorized verses. If it is so easy for us to pay off our sins, why did Jesus have to bother to come and suffer and die on the cross for you and me?
The doctrine of penance of course leads into the trap of indulgences. These are pretty well hidden by the Catholic church at this time but a few centuries ago forgiveness for sins was granted by the pope or a bishop for a certain sum of money or other service. This really gave a license to sin. This is one of the most prominent doctrines which bothered Martin Luther and lead to the Protestant Reformation. Indulgences are still alive and well in the Catholic church. For example, a mass said for a departed loved one will get so many years off his time in Purgatory.
This leads us into the doctrine of praying for the dead. It also leads to the doctrines of Limbo and Purgatory, neither of these being described in the Bible. It seems that it would take a very unjust God to allow the actions of another person to have an effect on his punishment or reward. Each person will be judged on his confession of faith in Jesus Christ and will be rewarded or punished according to his works on that basis. No amount of rosary saying, masses or prayers can have any effect on the dead. This is a self defeating practice which must be abandoned by the Catholic faith - it perpetuates disbelief in Catholic youth.
Transubstantiation is another point of differing doctrine between Catholics and Protestants in general. Catholics actually insist that the bread and wine of the communion service is changed into the body and blood of Christ. It certainly doesn't look to be changed into anything different and the Bible gives no hint that it actually becomes the body and blood of Christ. The Biblical passage "And when He had given thanks He break it and said 'Take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of me;". The term "this is my body" in the original actually reads "this my body" with the verb "is" being absent. That verb ahs been put into the English version to make it more readable. A verb such as "represents" or "signifies" could have been used just as well. It would not have given the impression that the bread actually becomes the body of Christ. The same argument goes for the "this is my blood". (1Cor. 11:24-26) This is not a serious point but one which keeps Protestants and Catholics separated to this day - and gives Adventists and other cults another chance to steal away those in doubt.
Catholic views concerning Mary the mother of Jesus are also wide open to attack. Catholics generally hold that Mary was and always remained a virgin. This is easily proved not to be so by some Biblical texts. I have no doubt that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost and the Mary remained a virgin until after His birth. Consider this passage: "When Joseph woke from his sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus." (Matt, 1:24,25) This passage specifies that Joseph did not know his wife Mary until she had given birth to Jesus. It seems evident from this passage that Joseph did know his wife after Jesus was born. Mary could not possibly remained a virgin. In another passage we read; "While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside asking to speak to him." (Matt. 12:46)
In wondering about Jesus, the people had this to say "Where did this man get his wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not hi mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? (Matt. 13:54-56) "After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples." (Jn. 2:12) Joseph and Mary apparently had quite a large family.
Catholics tend to suggest that the word brother was meant here as first cousin. There is no good reason for taking that meaning from the Bible. Elsewhere the Bible speaks about 'His cousin John'.
The Immaculate Conception is a mystery and one which I believe. However I do not feel it is necessary for my faith to believe Mary retained her virginity throughout her life. Having further children by Joseph detracts in no way from her character as far as I am concerned. Many people try to make sex appear dirty and this doctrine about Mary remaining a virgin forever tends to support that attitude.
Praying to Mary and other saints or angels is another easy doctrine to attack. The Bible is quite adamant that no one but God be worshipped. As indicated above there is no mediator between God and man except for Jesus Christ. This makes it completely useless to ask Mary, the saints, or the angels to intervene for us with God. We have a direct line to the Father through Jesus Christ and should use it. Neither Mary, our favorite saints, nor the angels can put in a good word for us. Our salvation rests entirely on our own shoulders and depends on whether we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior.
Many Catholics will flatly deny that they pray to Mary, saints or angels. In the 1977 version of Handbook for Today's Catholics we find the following prayer to your guardian angel. "Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom his love commits me here, ever this day be at my side, to light and guide, to rule and guide, Amen."
We do not have to ask our guardian angel to look over us. God has already looked after this. The angel is under direct orders from Him. We cannot influence our Guardian angel.
A favorite prayer of Catholics is "Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To you we cry... Turn then, of most gracious advocate, ...." In this prayer Mary is made out to be our hope and advocate. Again I must stress that our only hope is in Jesus Christ. He alone is our advocate and intercedes for us with the Father. Mary has no part to play in this and the only reason that Mary might be in heaven at this time is the fact that the Catholic Church has declared that she was taken up into heaven. This doctrine is not indicated in the Bible.
Unfortunately a lot of time is wasted by Catholics in saying the rosary. This in most part is praying to Mary - for what?
Prayers for the dead consume considerable energy. Let us get on with the business of praying for one another who remain alive and who need each other's prayers to get through the miseries and trials of this life. Let us have the faith that God will be just in His dealings with our dead loved ones. Let us be realistic enough to admit that we cannot bribe God by saying a few Hail Mary's or a mass for our loved ones who have gone to the grave. These practices are responsible for sending your kids off chasing cults like the Adventists and other degrading clans!
Much is made in the writings of Ellen White to point out the atrocities committed by popes in bygone centuries, particularly against other Christians. This or course is true of dealings between many denominations. We find the pilgrims fled England for religious freedom only to arrive in America where they immediately took up witch hunting to murder so called heretics. Enlighten your children in these realities. Otherwise these monstrosities will be used against you.
Those belonging to the Pentecostal faith profess belief in the secret rapture and stress speaking in tongues. These theological points can be attacked Biblically. If these beliefs can be made to look foolish to the new prospect then considerable ground has been gained.
Jehovah's Witnesses are very difficult for Adventists to deal with as their delusions are very firmly entrenched. The bad theological point concerning Jehovah's Witnesses is the fact that they do not recognize Jesus as Almighty God. he is said to be the Son of God and a Mighty God but not one with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Notice the play on words - 'Almighty' versus "Mighty God'. This makes God's plan of redemption somewhat of a hoax. What is the point of Him sending just another Son to die for my sins. He could have sent anyone and called him His Son. The traditional belief that God came down Himself in the form of Jesus Christ and suffered more than we do is the only thing which keeps us from shaking our finger at God and blaming Him for what is happening to us.
Other cult members are very unlikely to be influenced by Seventh Day Adventists. Their beliefs are so deeply ingrained that they are generally unshakable.
Adventists generally want you to believe that you are involved in some form of false worship. They delightfully attack such festivals as Christmas and Easter. They enjoy making fun of Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, Easter eggs, etc. They point out that all of these traditions may have originated in pagan cultures and therefore insist that they have no place in Christian life. This is all very impressive in the beginning but as it is repeated over and over it tends to become a bore. It is quite obvious that some symbols and rituals have crept into Christianity from pagan practices. But in now way does this detract from a Christian's worshipping God.
Tammuz is a false God mentioned in Ezekiel 8:14. His symbol was the cross; one of the most universal symbols of Christianity also happens to be the cross. Adventists have crosses in their churches. They have made no attempt to remove these on the basis that the cross is a symbol of the pagan god Tammuz. However, they are very intolerant of such things as Easter bunnies and Easter eggs used as a symbol in Christianity for new life or fertility. The intolerance of Adventists towards other denominations is their downfall. it really impresses one just how great hypocrites they really are.
Whether you are Protestant, Catholic or whatever, I feel your best defense from any of the cults, including the Seventh Day Adventists, is a good basic knowledge of the Bible. The Bible is generally ignored by Catholics, a little less by Protestants in general and I think it is a fair generalization to say that none of us spend enough time with our Bibles. This is really the method God uses to speak to us individually, to instruct our consciences, and to comfort us.
Paul advises us to "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil". (Eph 6:11) The armor of God is faith and knowledge which comes only through reading or hearing God's Word. This may be the only protection we have against the fantastic deceptions set up by the devil. Remember that Jesus quoted scripture to Satan when he was confronted and tempted after forty days of fasting in the desert. Jesus used no other weapon than His knowledge of scripture.