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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

Discern Fact from Fiction

Salvation, Grace, and Obedience

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#146, #147, & #148: "So not really relying upon the grace of God alone to save them, Adventists are striving to be rigidly obedient and this makes for an inflexible, guilt-ridden, legalistic lifestyle."—Mark Martin.

#146: Adventists do not rely upon the grace of God alone. This is not what Adventists believe, nor what Mrs. White taught:

Only through the blood of the Crucified One is there cleansing from sin. His grace alone can enable us to resist and subdue the tendencies of our fallen nature.—Ministry of Healing, p. 428.

. . . there is safety only in Christ. It is through His grace alone that Satan can be successfully repulsed.—Testimonies for the Church vol. 2, p. 409.

His grace alone can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul, and attract it to God, to holiness.—Steps to Christ, p. 18.

Divine grace is needed at the beginning, divine grace at every step of advance, and divine grace alone can complete the work.—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 508.

It was by self-surrender and confiding faith that Jacob gained what he had failed to gain by conflict in his own strength. God thus taught His servant that divine power and grace alone could give him the blessing he craved.—God's Amazing Grace, p. 279.

And the list could go on.

#147: They're striving to be rigidly obedient. Actually, there isn't as much striving as there ought to be. The average member will likely tell you that there is a bit of laxity in the Adventist Church today. And that trend seems to be growing.

#148: They're inflexible, guilt-ridden legalists. Probably every denomination has its legalists. This writer had one coming to a church he pastored back in the 1980's. She didn't seem guilt-ridden one bit, which was quite unfortunate given the situation. Repeatedly when confronted about her unchristlike behavior, she would list all the wonderful things she had done, as if good works could buy her a pardon for backbiting, gossip, and dishonesty.

It is probable that the average legalist feels no more guilt than the average person. Legalism is a way to get rid of guilt, not cause it.

For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. (Rom. 7:9-11)

The law tells us what God requires. When we realize that we fall short, we feel guilty. Then we have a choice to make regarding how we deal with that guilt.

Legalism is one way. The legalist thinks that his partial, imperfect, self-centered "obedience" can earn him salvation. As he deceives himself into thinking that he really is obeying God's commandments, guilt to a large degree goes away.

When an individual realizes what God requires and wants to obey, he soon finds out that he has a problem:

For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. . . . For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. . . . For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (Rom. 7:14-23)

This is a necessary experience to go through for the one who is seeking Christ. Such an experience reveals to us our great weakness apart from Christ. Then we know Whom we must rely upon for strength and power to live the Christian life:

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. . . . There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Rom. 7:24, 25; 8:1, 2 )

No condemnation to those who walk after the Spirit? And why might that be?

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Rom. 8:4)

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (Gal. 5:16)

The life of rebellion has been transformed into one of loving obedience. Isn't the gospel beautiful? [p. 98]

A Response to the Video

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