I had a great weekend visiting with friends up at Southern University this weekend. The few that know I don’t subscribe to Adventism either wanted to know why or wanted to try to convince me I was wrong; it usually feels like they are trying to convince themselves they are right.
Basically the only theology theme was the Sabbath. Not once did anyone mention salvation, the cross, Jesus, blood atonement, or Justification by Faith. Walking on campus I got the “have a happy Sabbath” – I wanted to reply “Jesus Saves dude”. The debates with me all focused on the Sabbath and law. I get the feeling I could be an Atheist as long as I still keep the Sabbath holy. Among my friends there were conversations on Sabbath and Sunday and why “they” are wrong to keep Sunday. I kept quiet on those; we were there to reminisce about academy days not get into a theology debate.
Adventists criticize Mormons for Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon while ignoring or defending their own “prophet” and her writings. I heard someone once suggest that Mormons were raised by Satan to distract from and discredit Adventists and Ellen White (Mormons were earlier; 1820’s). They criticize Jehovah Witnesses for having their own Bible while testifying to how much they enjoy Jack Blanco’s Clear Word but insisting that it’s not the Adventist translation (ah, right...but what will the next generation say though?). They laugh about how legalistic the Jews were and shake their heads about how the Pharisees treated Jesus; I was insulted and called a “legalist” by a long time pastor friend this weekend for insisting that our conversation focus on the words of Scripture. Seems he wanted to talk in analogy. Like the Pharisees, Adventists have their legalistic traditions and structure; any deviation is attacked and crucified. All the while they ignore or are ignorant of EGW’s “borrowing” and her credibility problems. The more balanced are critical of “some Adventists” who are legalistic, but don’t investigate what produced that mentality. The “balanced” are balanced because they ignore the history and core of Adventism and don’t read EGW.
Adventists have fatal flaws in their theological picture and are – ARE – legalistic about the Sabbath. While claiming to observe the Sabbath because of Creation they insist that at Creation God instituted the Sabbath law and simply restated it again in the Ten Commandments. If you inspect especially the traditional Adventist writing on theological subjects of Sabbath, law, transfer of sin to the sanctuary and the cleansing that started in 1844 and the two apartment theory you will find verse after verse misquoted or quoted out of context; the facts will not substantiate the conclusions. Adventists fill in the gaps and distract from the problems with analogies and by “finding” patterns in scripture. When the specific details do not prove the point they become generalists. When the broad view is absurd they become overly focused on specifics.
Adventists are not the remnant, I’m convinced of that. If they were we could have Spirit filled discussions about Jesus, salvation, and humble searching through Scripture to see what it actually teaches. True, there may be a remnant in the “remnant”, but I don’t see them much. It’s sad – I don’t think Ellen White would approve.