Pickle Publishing "Harsh Teaching; Leisure Time" Research Papers

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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


The Investigative Judgment and Shut Door, and Their Ramifications

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#62 & #63: "The terms of this new investigative judgment doctrine, or sanctuary doctrine as it came to be known, were harsh. It taught that a recording angel now kept track of every move, even to the extent of recording wasted moments, where one might want some leisure time. 'Every man's work passes in review before God and is registered for faithfulness or unfaithfulness. Opposite each name in the books of Heaven is entered with terrible exactness every wrong word, every selfish act, every unfulfilled duty, and every secret sin, with every artful dissembling. Heaven-sent warnings or reproofs, neglected, wasted moments, unimproved opportunities, the influence exerted for good or evil, with its far reaching results; all are chronicled by the recording angel.' Great Controversy 482."—Dale Ratzlaff.

#62: The idea of an angel recording everything is harsh. In essence, this statement asserts that the Bible's teachings are harsh.

That there are books of record in heaven is clearly taught by the following verses:

A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. (Dan. 7:10)

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Rev. 20:12)

That these books used in the judgment must contain everything we have ever done can be seen from the fact that we will be judged by everything we have ever done: "For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" (Eccl. 12:14). Jesus took it one step further by declaring that that includes everything we have ever said as well. So every word we have ever spoken must be recorded too:

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. (Mat. 12:36, 37)

So according to the Bible, the video's declaration that this basic Bible teaching is harsh has been recorded in the books of record in heaven. According to Jesus, the makers of this video will have to "give account thereof in the day of judgment" for this very statement.

#63: This doctrine teaches that you can't have leisure time. There is a typographical error in the above quotation that makes it less understandable. The video mistakenly added a comma. "Heaven-sent warnings or reproofs, neglected, . . . ." should be "Heaven-sent warnings or reproofs neglected, . . . ."

As far as wasted moments and leisure time go, technically, the question is how we should spend our leisure time, not whether or not we should have any. Mrs. White was not against people having leisure time. That this must be the case is clear from the following statement written by her in 1867:

I was shown that Sabbathkeepers as a people labor too hard without allowing themselves change or periods of rest. Recreation is needful to those who are engaged in physical labor and is still more essential for those whose labor is principally mental. It is not essential to our salvation, nor for the glory of God, to keep the mind laboring constantly and excessively, even upon religious themes.—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 514.

Consistently, she advocated using one's leisure time in activities that were beneficial and useful:

As a rule, the exercise most beneficial to the youth will be found in useful employment. The little child finds both diversion and development in play; and his sports should be such as to promote not only physical, but mental and spiritual growth. As he [p. 51] gains strength and intelligence, the best recreation will be found in some line of effort that is useful. That which trains the hand to helpfulness, and teaches the young to bear their share of life's burdens, is most effective in promoting the growth of mind and character.—Education, p. 215.

Who would argue with this? Notice also her concern for children:

Give some of your leisure hours to your children; become acquainted with them; associate with them in their work and in their sports, and win their confidence. Cultivate friendship with them. In this way you will be a strong influence for good.—Review and Herald, May 26, 1910.

And her concern for ministers:

If a minister, during his leisure time, engages in labor in his orchard or garden, shall he deduct that time from his salary? Certainly not, any more than he should put in his time when he is called to work over hours in ministerial labor. Some ministers spend many hours in apparent ease, and it is right that they should rest when they can; for the system could not endure the heavy strain were there no time for letting up. There are hours in the day that call for severe taxation, for which the minister receives no extra salary, and if he chooses to chop wood several hours a day, or work in his garden, it is as much his privilege to do this as to preach. A minister cannot always be preaching and visiting, for this is exhaustive work.—Evangelism, p. 660.

While Mrs. White was all for people having leisure time, she was against wasting time. Yet she was not the only Christian leader to call upon believers not to waste time, even moments of time. Consider this selection from Charles Spurgeon, who called wasting time a sin:

I need not stop to mention the various sins of which ye have been guilty. . . . Oh, do you not think within yourselves, ". . . Have I not wasted many hours within this week that I might have spent in winning souls to him? Have I not thrown away many precious moments in light and frivolous conversation which I might have spent in earnest prayer?"—The Spurgeon Sermon Collection, vol. 1, p. 1027.

The revivalist Charles Finney called upon the members of the church to use their leisure time in soul winning:

If [church members] have any leisure time, let them then make extraordinary efforts for the conversion of sinners and the sanctification of the Church. This is reasonable, this is right, and I see not how this can be neglected without sin.—Letters on Revival, or Revival Fire, pp. 66, 67.

Would not the world be a better place if every Christian utilized their leisure time in spreading the gospel, helping the poor, teaching their children Bible truths, meditating upon the Word of God, etc.? However, the time many professed Christians spend in some activities of pleasure benefits no one, not even themselves.

A Response to the Video

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