I find myself amazed that a cult can go so long being accepted by Christians. It seems only Baptist voices are raised against this cult.
And a cult it is! It fits every definition of a cult. I’ll quantify this by explaining that I have to reject Walter Martin’s definition of a cult. Now, SDA’s do fit Martin’s definition of a cult, even though he changed his mind about them. Why? They lied to him. The definition of a cult is:
religion: a system of religious or spiritual beliefs, especially an informal and transient belief system regarded by others as misguided, unorthodox, extremist, or false, and directed by a charismatic, authoritarian leader
2. religious group: a group of people who share religious or spiritual beliefs, especially beliefs regarded by others as misguided, unorthodox, extremist, or false
Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Another definition from my bible college is, “A cult is generally a ‘faith-based’ group that is unorthodox, esoteric, and has a devotion to a person, object, or a set of new ideas. Typically they believe that they have the only ‘true’ teaching and often consider traditional religious systems to be apostate”.
My definition, which I shall use, is
- any group presenting teachings they hold to as necessary to interpret the Bible, or superior to.
- any group who follows a human leader or set of leaders giving additional inspiration or revelation via statements, teachings or writings that must be used to interpret the Bible, or are superior to.
As you can see, that also includes Charismatics, followers of Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, E. W. Kenyon, Benny Hinn, etc. WE’ll deal with Word/Faith soon enough.
Cults often invent their own terminology. In the case of the Roman Catholic Church and Seventh Day Adventists, they both used the same tactic and took Baptist terminology, and simply gave the same words different meanings. Whereas a Baptist will talk about a spiritual event when saying “born again”, a Roman Catholic will attribute it to Confirmation. When a Baptist refers to that same event as “accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour”, a Roman Catholic will attribute it to Communion and the Mass.
The Seventh Day Adventist speaks out of both sides of his mouth. He will tell you to your face that they believe in Salvation through Faith Alone – and yet they are lying, because that’s not what they believe. I can’t think of a less offensive word other than lying. It is what it is. Here’s an imaginary dialogue that will explain what I mean.
Baptist: “Christianity teaches that you are saved by faith alone. We are saved by grace, and not of works.”
SDA: “Right. We believe that too.”
Baptist. “I’m confused. I thought SDA teaches that one must keep the Fourth Commandment to be saved?”
SDA: “No, not at all! That’s a myth we teach that.”
Baptist: “Answer this truthfully – can a person worship on Sundays and go to heaven?”
SDA: “Uh… no.”
Baptist: “So, a person must keep the seventh day sabbath or they will go to hell?”
SDA: “No, not at all!”
Baptist: “Oh, that’s right – you all don’t believe in Hell… yet. Does the SDA denomination teach one must keep the Seventh Day Sabbath in order to go to heaven?”
SDA: “No. We’re saved by faith.”
Baptist: “We’re talking in circles, here. Can a person keep the Sunday Sabbath – without keeping the Saturday Sabbath – and go to heaven?”
SDA: “No. You have to keep the seventh day sabbath to go to heaven.”
Baptist: “So you teach that one must be saved by faith and works?”
SDA: “No, I told you! We’re saved by faith alone!”
As you can see in the imaginary dialogue, the SDA’ist has – by the redefining of Biblical (Baptist) terms – contradicted himself and lied several times. Did he intentionally lie? Most, no. SDA “pastors” – yes. Because they’ve studied enough to be accountable. It’s not a straw man dialogue – I actually saw an exchange like this online, and forgot to save it as a PDF, and now I can’t find it again! I hate when that happens.
The SDA denomination – not Church, because only followers of the Lord Jesus Christ can have a Church – teaches that “Faith and works are the two oars by which one rows to heaven.” They sincerely state one, if born again, is born again by faith – but there’s a demand that one must also keep several commandments in order to be saved. This is how the Bible and real Christians define “salvation by works” . This alone places them promptly outside the definition of “Christian” – just like Roman Catholics – and outside the definition Biblically of “Saved”. They don’t believe in Hell now – but they will shortly after death.
Things to keep in mind is that the differences between Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists are vanishingly small. Things as small as, which year the imaginary “Investigative judgment” occurred, and do you eat meat? and the major difference – do you follow Ellen G. White, or do you follow Charles T. Russell and “Judge” Rutherford?
SDA’s keep the seventh day sabbath, they say. To an Observant Jew sits – no they don’t. They make fires on the Sabbath, they do the prohibited “Melakhah” (work on the sabbath, tying knots, ripping, writing, etc). And Ellen G. White tried to define the Sabbath as 6 pm Friday to 6 PM Saturday, an arbitrary decision on her part. To a Shomer Shabbos Jew (Sabbath Keeper) – no, they don’t keep the Sabbath. if they did, they’d be walking to their meeting houses, and not driving. But this is a minor point. It shows how pick-and-choose the SDA’s are, and how inconsistent and contradictory.
A Christian does not have to do any works to earn salvation, but an SDA does, by their heretical teachings. By pointedly questioning a knowledgeable SDA’ist in the circular method shown above, you can uncover this fact – and hopefully open their eyes to this heresy.
the SDA’ists also conform to another fact of cults – in that they have writings that they hold as superior to the Bible. Christianity at large condemns the Jehovah’s Witnesses for this, but seem to turn a blind eye to this for the SDA.
When it comes down to a shooting match between the Bible and Ellen G. White, they side with Ellen G. White. How can I say this? Because her teachings contradict the Bible. If you continue to stay with the SDA, then you, by your actions and obvious belief, hold Ellen G. White as superior to the Bible. The SDA’ists will urge you to get one of their “Clear Light” Bibles, which has topical notes of E.G.W. interspersed within the text. This way, as you read their “Clear Light” translation and you run across those verses that clearly contradict the Bible, you can read EGW’s writings which will comfort you through clever editing into thinking her teachings expand on the Bible. And if you get really conflicted on this, they’ll assure you that as a latter-day prophetess, her words come straight from God, and don’t you worry, her words have clear light and replace those of the Bible.
And oh, by the way, the Jesus as Archangel Michael thing the JW’s teach – they got that from Ellen G. White.
How is this not a cult? How could Walter Martin have fallen for their lies? The SDA are masters at telling you what you want to hear. Is this an example of Godly Christianity? Or a satanic deception?
Ellen G. White obviously considered herself above her revelations, speaking out against jewelry, but wearing a great deal of it. She didn’t permit women to teach, but often taught men, speaking at meetings as if she were their pastor. She issued a teaching allegedly from God instructing women to wear a combination pant/dress – but after several years of discomfort, abandoned this. If she was speaking advanced revelation from God, she could not rescind this!
And time after time she issued prophecies and stagtements allegedly from God, claiming one could not be saved after 1844 (good news for modern SDA’s!), that Jesus would return visibly to the Earth before the end of the Civil War. Both are false, and clearly mark her as a false teacher and a false prophet.
Bottom line – If you accept the Jehovah’s Witnesses as a cult, then you must accept the SDA as a cult. And SDA’ists need to run, RUN from this cult, before they die without Jesus Christ and are damned forever.