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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

Wrapping Up the Case

< Prev  T. of C.  ...  195-196  197-198  199-203  204-205  206-210  211-214  215-217  ...  Next >

#204 & #205: "The tactics may not be as blatant today, but believers are subject to pressure tactics today as well to conform to the group. Love, acceptance, and fellowship are very often withheld from anyone who questions the official teachings of the church."—Steve Cannon.

#204: Love, acceptance, and fellowship are very often withheld. Love is a word that can mean different things to different people. It might mean giving a lollipop to your kid, or it might mean giving him some necessary discipline.

Essentially, Mr. Cannon is talking about church discipline here, a biblical teaching that Adventists definitely believe in. Sometimes discipline is the most [p. 134] loving thing to do.

Yet unlike Jehovah's Witnesses or the Amish, Adventists do not practice shunning. To them, church discipline does not mean that family members cannot associate with erring family members. It does not mean that erring ones cannot attend church services.

There are two forms of church discipline within the Seventh-day Adventist Church:

  1. Vote of Censure. This is for a stated period of time. The erring one loses the church offices that he or she holds, and, during the period of censure, cannot have a voice or vote in the affairs of the church, cannot have a public part in the services of the church, and cannot transfer his or her membership to another church.
  2. Disfellowship. This is when the person's name is actually removed from the membership roles of the church. He or she is then no longer a Seventh-day Adventist.

Chapter 14 of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, which outlines these procedures, gets very specific about what a member can and cannot be disciplined for. After the erring one is disciplined, notice the attitude of kindness that must be displayed:

Notification to Persons Removed from Membership—It is incumbent upon the church that removes a member from church membership to notify the individual in writing of the action that was reluctantly taken with the assurance of enduring spiritual interest and personal concern. This communication should, where possible, be delivered in person by the church pastor or by a church board designee. The erring member should be assured that the church will always hope that reaffiliation will take place and that one day there will be eternal fellowship together in the kingdom of God.—p. 189.

Thus churches are to be as kind as possible in their dealing with members who do such things as:

  1. murder,
  2. commit adultery,
  3. steal,
  4. habitually lie,
  5. embezzle,
  6. commit fraud,
  7. take to alcohol or tobacco or narcotics,
  8. commence a warfare against the church, or
  9. deny the basic teachings of the Bible.

Back to Mr. Cannon's statement. He said that "acceptance, and fellowship are very often withheld from anyone who questions the official teachings of the church." Perhaps he doesn't really understand what is going on, for if he did, he would think it actually isn't done often enough!

Receiving the Word, by Samuel Koranteng-Pipim, documents what has been going on for a number of decades among an influential minority of Adventists who no longer take the Bible as it reads. Based on his book, and some of the liberal publications he cites, some of the views being expressed are these:

  1. God is so kind, He will never punish sinners.
  2. Jesus's death on the cross was not as our substitute; His blood did not have to be shed.
  3. Evolution is how we got here, and there was no world-wide flood.
  4. No one has the right to tell any couple not to engage in premarital sexual activities.
  5. Scripture does not clearly condemn homosexual practices (pp. 159, 160, 172, 173, 109, 112, 184, 185, 107).

What do you think? Should people holding such views be just as accepted and enjoy just as much fellowship as those who still believe the Bible?

There are those who seek to liberalize the theology of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. It would be much more appropriate if they started their own denomination rather than try to change one that has stood so strongly for the authority and inspiration of Scripture.

Receiving the Word documents it well. Additional evidence can be found in the journal Spectrum. The documentation package cites this journal under "Point 6" and "Point 14." The Time article under "Point 54" calls Spectrum an "independent journal for church liberals." Grab a copy and look through it, and you will likely see that a number of influential Adventists are openly propagating skepticism while still enjoying acceptance and fellowship. If the Adventist Church is so hard on those who question its teachings, why does Spectrum still exist?

#205: Withholding of acceptance and fellowship for questioning doctrine is a characteristic of a cult. Adventist members are not disfellowshipped for merely asking questions about doctrines. But attacking and going to war against, that ought to be a different matter.

Would Mr. Cannon call the apostle Paul a cult leader? Regarding what to do with a church member guilty of fornication, Paul wrote:

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, . . . deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, . . . Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven. . . . I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or [p. 135] a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. . . . Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. (1 Cor. 5:4-13)

Is Paul advocating a type of treatment toward those in apostasy that is cultic in nature? Or should behavioral problems be handled differently than doctrinal ones?

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (2 Jn. 9-11)

So John tells us that there are certain cases that the church must deal with, even cases involving doctrine. God forbid that anyone would call the apostle John a cult leader!

A Response to the Video

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