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A Response to the Video:
Seventh-day Adventism, the Spirit Behind the Church

by Bob Pickle

Answers to Questions Raised by:
Mark Martin, Sydney Cleveland
Dale Ratzlaff, The White Lie
. . . and
Others

Discern Fact from Fiction


Wrapping Up the Case

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#223, #224, & #225: "During the 1950's, certain well-known evangelical Christian ministries approached the Seventh-day Adventist hierarchy in an effort to find out the true nature of their doctrinal beliefs. In a gesture similar to the Mormons, the Adventist leaders desiring the approval of the Christian community at large deceptively espoused the evangelical view of salvation by grace alone. While this temporarily pacified many Christian denominations, it wreaked havoc within Seventh-day Adventism. Many followers felt betrayed and began searching the teachings of Ellen White for themselves in an effort to discover the truth. Those who did were shocked at what they found. What began for many as a quest to validate Adventism turned instead into a lurid discovery of the plagiarism, false prophecies, and heretical teachings of Ellen G. White."—Narrator.

#223: Adventist leaders deceptively espoused the view of salvation by grace alone in the 1950's. Actually, they espoused this view long before. Mrs. White, who died in 1915, wrote: [p. 145]

[The mother] is to exemplify Biblical religion, showing how its influence is to control us in its everyday duties and pleasures, teaching her children that by grace alone can they be saved, through faith, which is the gift of God.—Adventist Home, p. 235.

He who grudges the reward to another forgets that he himself is saved by grace alone.—Christ's Object Lessons, p. 402.

The Jewish leaders discerned the truth that Christ presented, but they also realized that it meant the greatest humiliation to them to accept of the rich salvation brought to them through this humble teacher. To be saved through grace alone, to confess that in and of themselves they deserved no favors, was to acknowledge that which was contrary to their cherished ideas, and to lay in the dust their pride, vanity, and ambition.—Sabbath-School Worker, Aug. 1, 1895.

But our own efforts are of no avail to atone for sin or to renew the heart. Only the blood of Christ can atone for us; his grace alone can create in us a clean heart, and enable us to obey God's law. In him is our only hope.—Signs of the Times, Feb. 9, 1891.

We are to surrender ourselves unreservedly to Him; for His grace alone has sufficient power to save the soul of the repenting, believing sinner.—Signs of the Times, Sept. 7, 1904.

There is need to cultivate every grace that Jesus, through his sufferings and death, has brought within our reach; for that grace alone can remedy our defects; Christ alone can transform the character.—Youth's Instructor, Jan. 28, 1897.

So Adventist leaders in the 1950's weren't being deceptive.

In the documentation package, this is supposedly dealt with under "Point 100," "Point 100a," and "Point 100b," the last of the points it covers. However, there is no substantiation given for this charge at all. The photocopies shown concerning Walter Martin, who was the one supposedly deceived by Adventist leaders in the 1950's, concern the role of Mrs. White within the Adventist Church, not salvation by grace alone. And that's the end of the documentation package.

#224: Many followers felt betrayed by such an espousal. No, they felt betrayed because of what M. L. Andreason said. A prominent Adventist theologian, he said that the book Questions on Doctrine, produced as a result of this dialogue, contained capitulations on some finer points of Adventist theology. Andreason was correct in some of his assessments, and incorrect in others.

#225: The ones who felt betrayed began to search, and they were shocked to find plagiarism, false prophecies, and heretical teachings. The narrator is confusing two distinct groups of people. The conservative element in the church felt betrayed, but they didn't make the "discoveries" referred to. It was the liberal element that did that, but they weren't the ones who felt betrayed.

Pastor Leroy Moore lived through that time period and has been writing a book about the subject. According to him, the "quest" on the part of the liberal element was not to "validate Adventism," but rather "to retain cultural Adventism while casting off all inspired theological and life style constraints." By "all inspired" he means the Bible too.

This writer asked Pastor Moore, "If you can think of some who felt betrayed and made such discoveries after searching for themselves, I would be interested in getting your opinion of how many or what percentage fall in this category." Pastor Moore responded:

I know of none. But it is true that there were "conservatives" along the way who fell into the liberal camp because they had not an adequate gospel. They were too spiritually emaciated to stem the infidel flood that spoke with such authority as to paralyze those who had not learned to search for themselves.—Feb. 15, 2000, personal email.

Thus, conservatives who felt betrayed, who were well read and knew how to search, weren't affected that much by all the "discoveries." On the other hand, the ones who did not feel betrayed, the ones who made the "discoveries," now compose the influential minority referred to under #204 and #196. This is the camp that does not take the Bible as an authority, and that believes in evolution. This is the group that rejects the substitutionary death of Christ, the blood atonement, and other essential pillars of the Christian faith.

A Response to the Video

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