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SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS, ECUMENISM, AND HELL
 
[Distributed by Way of Life (David Cloud) Literatureís Fundamental Baptist Information Service. Copyright 2000.]
 

SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISMíS HERESIES

This reminds us that the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) denomination denies many biblical doctrines. According to Adventist doctrine, for example, unsaved men do not go to Hell when they die; they merely sleep in the grave awaiting the resurrection. When the unsaved are finally cast into Hell after the judgment, they are not tormented there forever but are annihilated. Ellen G. White, the alleged prophetess who founded the SDA denomination, stated her revulsion of the doctrine of Hell:

"How repugnant to every emotion of love and mercy, and even to our sense of justice, is the doctrine that the wicked dead are tormented with fire and brimstone in an eternally burning hell. . . . And how utterly revolting is the belief that as soon as the breath leaves the body the soul of the impenitent is consigned to the flames of hell! ... the doctrine of natural immortality first borrowed from pagan philosophy, and in the darkness of the great apostasy incorporated into the Christian faith, has supplanted the truth. . . . The theory of eternal torment is one of the false doctrines that constitute the wine of the abomination of Babylon. . . . But those who have not, through repentance and faith, secured pardon, must receive the penalty of transgression ... covered with infamy, they sink into hopeless, eternal oblivion. . . . There will then be no lost souls to blaspheme God as they writhe in never-ending torment; no wretched beings in hell will mingle their shrieks with the songs of the saved" (Ellen White, The Great Controversy, pp. 469,470,477,478,483)."

Regardless of whether it rubs uncomfortably against human reason, the Bible teaches that the lost must endure eternal conscious torment. Proof for this is found in Matthew 25:46, in which eternal life is compared to eternal punishment in duration and state. "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous unto life eternal."

Revelation 14:10-11 says those who receive the mark of the Antichrist will not be annihilated, but will suffer eternal torment. "And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name."

Another passage that describes the eternal state of the wicked is Revelation 20:10-15. Here Satan, together with the beast and the false prophet, are "tormented day and night for ever and ever." If the Devil and Antichrist and the False Prophet of the Great Tribulation are tormented day and night forever in the lake of fire, this obviously will be the lot of all who are cast there.

The Lord Jesus Christ taught that the lost would suffer eternal torment. Three times in Mark 9 Christ spoke of hell as "the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched..." (Mk. 9:43-48). This is the language of eternal suffering.

Some have argued that though the fire is eternal, the punishment is not. This is an impossible interpretation, because Christ taught that the punishment of the lost would be worse than a violent destruction or loss of existence. Mark 9:42 warns that it is better for the wicked to hang a millstone about his neck and be cast into the sea than face Godís judgment. In verse 43, Jesus began to describe the horrors of Hell. In other words, Hell is going to be worse than any violent destruction. The suffering is eternal in duration. In Matthew 26:24, the Lord said Judasí punishment will be worse than loss of existence. "...it had been good for that man if he had not been born."

None of these verses make sense unless interpreted to describe the eternal conscious torment of the unsaved. All the ramifications of this doctrine might be difficult for us to understand, but the truth remains that God has revealed it and our part is to accept it by faith. Hell is a place of fire, and it is a place where the suffering is eternal. These Scriptures should be a loud warning to every man, woman, and child that life is no game; salvation is not a thing to delay for even an hour. No time should be wasted in finding security in the Savior, whose blood "cleanseth us from all sin." No effort should be spared in reaching lost souls for Christ. God is not only a God of love, but a holy God of judgment. Hell for the unbeliever is as eternal in state and in duration as is the believerís Heaven.

THE CONFUSION OF THE ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT

This also reminds us of the confusion created by the ecumenical movement. It is confusion for those who believe in a literal hell, or believerís baptism, or eternal security, or a literal millennium, or the cessation of sign gifts to associate with those who denounce the these doctrines. Yet the ecumenical movement is promoting this very thing.

The Seventh-day Adventists are becoming increasingly involved with ecumenical endeavors throughout the world. The door was opened for this by the late Walter Martin, founder of the Christian Research Institute, who taught that the Adventists should be accepted as an evangelical group with a few quirky doctrines. Martin disseminated this dangerous thinking widely in his influential book Kingdom of the Cults, and he was joined in this by Donald Grey Barnhouse, pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. These two prominent evangelical preachers entered into "sweet fellowship" with Adventist leaders. (See the article "Why Walter Martin Considered Seventh-day Adventism Evangelical" under the Evangelical section of the End Times Apostasy Database at the Way of Life Literature web site -- http://www.wayoflife.org/.) New books on cults are going a step further than Walter Martin by omitting Seventh-day Adventism altogether. An example is What They Believe by Harold Berry and published by Back to the Bible. Previous editions (1979, 1982, 1986), titled Examining the Cults, had dealt with Roman Catholicism and Adventism, but the 1992 edition omits both. Another example is the 1999 book Fast Facts on False Teachings by Ron Carlson and Ed Decker, which completely omits Adventism.

Everywhere we look we find Adventists participating in ecumenical ventures. As far back as 1962, the 10th annual convention of the Full Gospel Businessmenís Fellowship featured Adventist preacher H.M.S. Richards, Billy Graham, and Pentecostal faith healer Oral Roberts. The Festival of Christian Unity for the Great Jubilee Service conducted in Huntsville, Alabama, January 23, 2000, included Roman Catholics, Charismatics and Pentecostals, Southern Baptists, Orthodox, mainline Protestant, and Seventh-day Adventists. An Adventist pastor said: "It is our hope that all barriers of divisiveness will be moved, and we will focus on the things that unite us and draw us together" (Huntsville Times, Jan. 15, 2000). Margaret Suster, Fuller Theological Seminary professor (who teaches preaching), was a guest speaker for an SDA-sponsored "interactive seminar," April 20, 1999. As of 1994, the office receptionist at Fuller Seminary was Seventh-day Adventist minister Bertie Degraphenreed (Calvary Contender, June 15, 1994). Tony Campolo refers positively to the Seventh-day Adventists in his book 20 Hot Potatoes Christians Are Afraid to Touch (chapter 3). Speaking in 1992, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals in America reported that there is growing cooperation between evangelicals and Catholics and others, including Seventh-day Adventists. He spoke of "permeable denominational walls" and "the broad evangelical tent" increasingly being stretch to include Charismatics, Seventh-day Adventists, and the Churches of Christ (who teach baptismal regeneration). The Evangelical Alliance in Romania includes Seventh-day Adventists. It was reported that Adventist churches participated in the Franklin Graham crusade in Jamaica in March 1999. Seventh-day Adventist CCM group Take 6 participated in the Billy Graham rally in New Yorkís Central Park, September 22, 1991. Adventists participated in a Graham crusade in Germany in 1993. Three prominent Roman Catholics were on the committee. The Alabama State Evangelism Conference in January 1998 featured a choir from the Seventh-day Adventist Oakwood College. Southern Baptist president Tom Ellif was one of the speakers. Seventh-day Adventists participate in the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) meetings each year. In 1994, the NRB presented its Milestone Award to The Voice of Prophecy, a broadcast which promotes Seventh-day Adventist doctrine. Adventists participate in the massive Urbana conferences for college students sponsored by InterVarsity Fellowship. At the Urbana conference in 1996, convention director Dan Harrison observed that "InterVarsity serves the whole church in all of its diversity" and stated that there were Catholics, Adventists, and many other denominations represented (Foundation magazine, Jan.-Feb. 1997). InterVarsity obviously has a heretical view of the "church." Some Seventh-day Adventist churches are listed as members of the Willow Creek Community Church Association founded by church growth guru Bill Hybels. Dallas Seminary professor Howard Hendricks spoke at the Seventh-day Adventist Southern College in Collegedale, Tennessee, in 1994.

I could give many other examples of this, but the point is made. The ecumenical tent is being expanded every few years. We noted this in the article "Mormons Added to the Ecumenical Stew," which was published May 8.

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AVOIDING THE SNARE OF SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISM (D.W. CLOUD) [ISBN 1-58318-036-2] Called the best on the subject by the editor of The Baptist Challenge, this book is diligently researched from official publications of the Seventh-day Adventist organization. The author proves conclusively that the Seventh-day Adventist gospel is false. The two major divisions of the book are: "Adventist History Proves It is Heretical" and "Adventist Doctrine Proves It Is Heretical." The book analyzes Adventist doctrines such as Sabbath-keeping, Soul-sleep, Annihilation of the wicked, Ellen White as a Prophetess, Investigative Judgment, and Misuse of the Mosaic Law. Another chapter is titled "Why Some Have Considered Seventh-day Adventism Evangelical." This analyzes Walter Martin's (author of Kingdom of the Cults) faulty view of Adventism. The 2nd edition (1999) includes selections from D.M. Canright's 1898 book Seventh-day Adventism Renounced. Canright was an early leader in Adventism who left and became a Baptist pastor. The 2nd edition also includes a chapter entitled "Adventists Wanted Me to Revise This Book," describing the attempt by the Seventh-day Adventist denomination to have me change the book. 165 pages, 5 X 8", perfect bound. $5.95 + $3 postage/handling. Way of Life Literature, 1701 Harns Rd., Oak Harbor, Washington 98277. 360-675-8311 (voice), 360-240-8347 (fax), fbns@wayoflife.org  (e-mail), http://www.wayoflife.org/  (web site).



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