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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Official doctrine

I've noticed this issue come up many times, so I thought I would address it. The issues we raise here aren't focused on individual beliefs. I know there are many Adventists who don't believe these things. But this is what Adventism and/or Ellen White teach. So while you personally may not believe this way, this is what Adventism itself teaches. This is what we have a problem with. Many of you may consider yourself Adventist but you may not believe this way. I am not speaking to you or about you in any way, although I would say that I don't think that is true Adventism - just your own version of Adventism.

I don't know if that is necessarily wrong or right, but I know that many, many people do that. They create their own version of Adventism to suit them. I did the same thing when I was an Adventist. I've had many Adventists tell me that they don't believe a particular doctrine or statement, and that's great! But the SDA Church does teach that, so that is what we speak out against.

One big issue is the Sabbath. I've had many Adventists tell me that they like to make the day a special family day, which is awesome! But they still believe it is important to "keep" the Sabbath (although they are not following EGW or the Bible's instructions for Sabbath-keeping). And many Adventists have told me they don't believe keeping the Sabbath has anything to do with whether or not you're saved, but that is not at all what Adventism itself teaches.

Here are a few official quotes (from either the official church doctrines or Ellen White comments) on the Sabbath. The doctrine on the Sabbath (from the 28 Fundamental Beliefs) is very nice-sounding and leaves out (interestingly) the important parts about Sabbath being the end-time test and dividing line between believers & unbelievers, although Ellen White covers that very well...

"The beneficent Creator, after the six days of Creation, rested on the seventh day and instituted the Sabbath for all people as a memorial of Creation. The fourth commandment of God's unchangeable law requires the observance of this seventh-day Sabbath as the day of rest, worship, and ministry in harmony with the teaching and practice of Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a day of delightful communion with God and one another. It is a symbol of our redemption in Christ, a sign of our sanctification, a token of our allegiance, and a foretaste of our eternal future in God's kingdom. The Sabbath is God's perpetual sign of His eternal covenant between Him and His people. Joyful observance of this holy time from evening to evening, sunset to sunset, is a celebration of God's creative and redemptive acts." From website

And here are just a few of the many, many quotes from Ellen White about the importance of the Sabbath -

"It means eternal salvation to keep the Sabbath holy unto the Lord." 6T, 356

"As the Sabbath was the sign that distinguished Israel when they came out of Egypt to enter the earthly Canaan, so it is the sign that now distinguishes God's people as they come out from the world to enter the heavenly rest. The Sabbath is a sign of the relationship existing between God and His people, a sign that they honor His law. It distinguishes between His loyal subjects and transgressors." 6T, 349

"To us as to Israel the Sabbath is given "for a perpetual covenant." To those who reverence His holy day the Sabbath is a sign that God recognizes them as His chosen people." 6T, 350

"The Sabbath question is to be the issue in the great final conflict in which all the world will act a part. Men have honored Satan's principles above the principles that rule in the heavens. They have accepted the spurious sabbath, which Satan has exalted as the sign of his authority. But God has set His seal upon His royal requirement. Each sabbath institution bears the name of its author, an ineffaceable mark that shows the authority of each. It is our work to lead the people to understand this. We are to show them that it is of vital consequence whether they bear the mark of God's kingdom or the mark of the kingdom of rebellion, for they acknowledge themselves subjects of the kingdom whose mark they bear. God has called us to uplift the standard of His downtrodden Sabbath. How important, then, that our example in Sabbathkeeping should be right." 6T, 352

"Far more sacredness is attached to the Sabbath than is given it by many professed Sabbathkeepers. The Lord has been greatly dishonored by those who have not kept the Sabbath according to the commandment, either in the letter or in the spirit. He calls for a reform in the observance of the Sabbath." 6T, 353

"If we desire the blessing promised to the obedient, we must observe the Sabbath more strictly. I fear that we often travel on this day when it might be avoided. In harmony with the light which the Lord has given in regard to the observance of the Sabbath, we should be more careful about traveling on the boats or cars on this day. In these matters we should set a right example before our children and youth." 6T, 360

Those who would have the seal of God in their foreheads must keep the Sabbath of the fourth commandment." 7BC, 970

"The seal of the living God is placed upon those who conscientiously keep the Sabbath of the Lord" 7BC, 980

"True observance of the Sabbath is the sign of loyalty to God" 7BC, 981

"The observance of the Lord's memorial, the Sabbath instituted in Eden, the seventh-day Sabbath, is the test of our loyalty to God." Letter 94

It is clear of Ellen White's position on the matter. The official SDA doctrine is a little less offensive and more vague - basically allowing for Ellen White's messages on the Sabbath while not "officially" coming out and saying those who worship God on Sunday will receive the mark of the beast. They wait until the end of their Revelation Seminars to mention that part...

Anyway, I know many Adventists don't believe this strongly about the Sabbath, but that is what Adventism/Ellen White teaches. (This applies to other doctrines as well, but the Sabbath was the one I chose to bring up).

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