Decades of SDA Ecumenical Involvement Documented
by Nilson Jones
SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISM AND ECUMENISM
Seventh-day Adventists have been entrusted with the holy mission of giving to the world the first, second, and third angel's messages of Revelation 14. They were called upon to proclaim the coming of the hour of God's judgment, the fall of the nominal Christian churches (that became Babylon), and a warning against the beast, the image of the beast, and the mark of the beast.
We cannot overlook the fact that within the ranks of these nominal Christian churches are to be found many faithful souls who are eventually to be called out. They are designated by God as "My people." Although they have not been blessed with the knowledge of present truth, they are living up to all the light that has come to them. We should do all in our power to reach these precious souls still bound by the chains of tradition and superstition. The very same problem, however, which existed in the days of Israel exists today. "The leaders of this people cause them to err." When there is an apostasy, a departure from God and the truth, those who have proved themselves to be false shepherds carry undoubtedly the greatest guilt. It would be the greatest of follies to think that, by joining these leaders in their plans and programs, we would be better able to reach the people with the truth.
Since the Christian world has compromised with the powers of darkness, Adventists are not to enter into any kind of courtship with other denominations. Commenting on Isaiah 8:12, the Spirit of Prophecy says:
"Let the watchmen on the walls of Zion not join with those who are making of none effect the truth as it is in Christ. Let them not join the confederacy of infidelity, popery, and Protestantism." 4BC 1141.
It should be borne in mind that the faithful remnant is described as not being defiled with women (Rev. 14:4). This means that here is no ecumenical relationship or approach between them and the fallen denominations. Adventists should stay away from churches and meetings where the truth is denied; "for it is wrong to thus encourage them while they teach error that is deadly poison to the soul and teach for doctrines the commandments of men. The influence of such gatherings is not good. If God has delivered us from such darkness and error, we should stand fast in the liberty wherewith He has set us free and rejoice in the truth. God is displeased with us when we go to listen to error without being obliged to go; for unless He sends us to those meetings where error is forced home to the people by the power of the will, He will not keep us." EW 124, 125. If we do not listen to the warnings that have been given us concerning this trap of Satan, we are in danger of putting darkness for light and light for darkness.
The fallen churches are under direct control of Satan; therefore, God tells His people to come out from among them (Rev. 18:4). What excuse can we present in the day of judgment, if we act contrary to this command?
"Today, as in the days of Elijah, the line of demarcation between God's commandment-keeping people and the worshipers of false gods is clearly drawn.... And the message for today is: 'Babylon the great if fallen, is fallen.... Come out of her, My people."' PK 188, 189.
In spite of the fact that Adventists have been warned not to get involved in the confederacy of Satan, because "the members of Satan's church have been constantly working to cast off the divine law, and confuse the distinction between good and evil" (TM 16), there has been a great deal of forbidden association and collaboration. It is not our purpose to make accusations, but when we see a real danger we must lift up our voice like a trumpet, and show the professed people of God their transgressions and sins (Isa. 58:1). The Spirit of Prophecy explains this scripture as follows:
"Though they are called the people of God, the house of Jacob, though they profess to be linked with God in obedience and fellowship, they are far from Him. Wonderful privileges and promises have been given to them, but they have betrayed their trust. With no words of flattery must the message be given them. 'Show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.' Show them where they are making a mistake. Set their danger before them. Tell them of the sins they are committing, while at the same time they pride themselves on their righteousness." 4BC 1149.
It is written that the sins of Babylon must be laid open. "The fearful results of enforcing the observances of the church by civil authority, the inroads of spiritualism, the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power, all will be unmasked." GC 606. As a consequence of this work, Babylon will be "aroused and enraged" and will finally take measures against us (EW 272). Therefore, if we understand our mission, we will not be seeking friendship, harmony, and cooperation with the fallen churches.
One of the greatest evils to be unmasked is the purpose of Satan in uniting the churches. "Satan determines to unite them in one body and thus strengthen his cause by sweeping all into the ranks of spiritualism." GC 588. Therefore, the professed people of God should understand that, by cherishing the spirit of ecumenism, they are playing into the hands of the enemy. Even if we did not have the Spirit of Prophecy writings, the warnings contained in the Bible should be sufficient to keep us clear of the embrace of the tentacles of this dangerous octopus, called ecumenical movement.
"The principles set forth in Deuteronomy [chapter 28:64-67] for the instruction of Israel are to be followed by God's people to the end of time. True prosperity is dependent on the conti nuance of our covenant relationship with God. Never can we afford to compromise principle by entering into alliance with those who do not fear Him.... Those who ... come with smooth words and fair speeches, apparently seeking for friendly alliance with God's children, have greater power to deceive. Against such every soul should be on the alert, lest some carefully concealed and masterly snare take him unaware." PK 570, 571.
"The wicked are being bound up in bundles, bound up in trusts, in unions, in confederacies. Let us have nothing to do with these organizations." 4BC 1142.
"Satan has a large confederacy, his church." TM 16. To associate with his family of popular churches is to play into the hands of the enemy. "Satan is constantly seeking to strength his power over the people of God by inducing them to enter into alliance with his subjects.... But the Lord has in His word plainly instructed His people not to unite themselves with those who have not His love abiding in them." PP 563.
I--EXAMPLES OF FORBIDDEN ASSOCIATION
The following examples of association, collaboration, and close friendship will not be endorsed by genuine Adventists who understand the message.
The warm relations and close connections of Adventists with Babylon did not develop overnight.
Quotations from older publications have been included here as evidence that the SDA Church started courting the fallen denominations several decades ago and that she is getting closer and closer to them.
1. Congregational Church, Adventist Pastor (Enterprise, USA)
From an SDA church paper:
"Pulling up in front of the Congregational church as worshipers are still arriving for Sunday morning services, (Pastor Barnes guns the engine, pulls a sharp U-turn in the icy intersection, parks his car and enters the foyer.... He then announces that the Enterprise Seventh-day Adventist and Congregational churches will be holding joint Easter weekend services. 'On Friday night, we will be meeting here for a joint communion service. On Saturday morning you are invited to attend the services of the Adventist church. And on Sunday morning, we will be inviting the Adventists to attend the Easter services here'... Congregational Pastor Emrys P. Thomas . . . told them that Barnes was a personal friend of long standing and that even though he was an ordained Seventh-day Adventist minister, he made a good substitute Congregational pastor."-Gleaner [official organ of the North Pacific Union Conference], April 21, 1975.
2. Interdenominational Easter Services in SDA Church (USA)
From The Review and Herald:
"I think that you are justified in granting permission for the use of your church building for an Easter service to be held by other religious bodies." RH May 22, 1958.
3. Community Thanksgiving Service (Vicksburg, USA)
"The Community Thanksgiving Service will be held Thurs day morning at 10 o'clock at the Bowmar Avenue Baptist Church. Dr. John G. McCall, pastor of the First Baptist Church will be the guest speaker.... Father Michael Glynn, pastor of St. Paul's Catholic Church will lead the responsive reading, the Rev. C. Anthony Russo, pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist Church will offer the Thanksgiving prayer, and the Rev. Harold Jordon, pastor of the Bowmar Avenue Baptist Church will direct music." Vicksburg's Evening Post, November 26, 1975.
4. Community Service (Cicero, USA)
From an SDA church paper:
"Those gathering together to praise the Lord in song were from the following churches: Raymond Blackford, Bethel Lutheran; Dr. William Early, Cicero Methodist; Rev. Stephen Bard, Cicero Wesleyan; Father Duane Craycraft, Sacred Heart Catholic Church; Rev. Don Paden, Cicero Christian; and Pastor Randal Murphy, Cicero SDA Church." RH March 9, 1967.
5. Art Festival in Wayland (USA)
"Plan to attend the Art Festival at St. Joseph's School on January 5 and 6 with public viewing to take place on Sunday, Jan. 6 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. This is sponsored by the Wayland Council of Churches which includes Sacred Heart of Perkinsville, St. Joseph's, United Methodist, United Church of Christ, and Seventh Day Adventist.... The Festival will close with an Ecumenical Service in the Church on Sunday afternoon...."The Valley News, January 2, 1974.
6. Eight-day Festival (Funchal, Madeira, Portugal)
"Representatives of several Christian denominations attended the 'Oitavario' [festival of eight days] of Prayers in Behalf of Christian Unity, which will close today [January 25, 1976] with an Ecumenical Service to be held at 11 a.m. in the English Church (Anglican Church) on Quebra Costas Street. (The photo shows) from left: Rev. Harper, chaplain of the English Church at Funchal; Rev. Pedro Barbosa, Pastor of the Presbyterian Church; Right Reverend Satterthwaite, Bishop of Fulham and Gibraltar; Father Rafael Andrade, representative of the Funchal Diocese; and Rev. Paulo Falcao, pastor of the Adventist Church."-Jornal da Madeira [Portuguese newspaper], January 25, 1976.
7. Religious Liberty Association of Colombia
From The Review and Herald:
"On October 29, 1966, a further step was taken toward religious freedom in Colombia, with the foundation of the Religious Liberty Association of Colombia.... A Seventh-day Adventist, Raimundo Pardo Suarez, was chosen as president. The vice president is the Reverend Noel Olaya, a Catholic priest and a relative of several of Colombia's past presidents. H. Niemann, pastor of the central church of Bogota, was elected secretary, and Fernando Tapias, an Adventist businessman, treasurer. Dr. Carlos Didacio Alvarez, a Catholic lawyer and staunch defender of religious liberty, was appointed auditor. The rest of the directorate was chosen from among leaders of various religious persuasions." RH March 9, 1967.
8. Ecumenical Meetings (Spain)
"An important 'pre-theological' ecumenical meeting took place under the sponsorship of John XXIII Center, of the Pontifical University of Salamanca, May 24-25 . Besides the professors of this University, there were Catholic specialists; Adventist, Baptist, and Episcopalian ministers' as well as pastors of the Evangelical Church, in attendance. The participants decided to continue having dialogues of this kind on an annual basis."-LActualite Oecumenique [France], June 15, 1966.
9. SDA Jubilee in Hungary
From an SDA church paper:
"To celebrate her 75-year jubilee, our church in Hungary conducted several religious services September 5 thru 8 .... The meeting held on Thursday was attended also by representatives of the Government and representatives of other churches and denominations."-Adventecho [German SDA paper], December 15, 1973.
10. Ministers Fraternal (Bunbury, Australia)
"Seven Bunbury church ministers . . . said that Bunbury had the symptoms of a morally sick community. They were concerned that the town could become like Sweden, where, they claim, complete sexual freedom was allowed. The seven ministers are members of the Bunbury Ministers Fraternal. They are from the Roman Catholic Church, Methodist Church, Church of Christ, Congregational-Presbyterian Church, Baptist Church, Seventh-day Adventist Church and Apostolic Brethren Church." -The West [Australian newspaper], December 2, 1966 [emphasis sup plied].
11. Ringwood Inter-Church Council (Ringwood, Australia)
"Ringwood's Inter-Church Council comprises representatives of the Church of Christ, Church of England, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Salvation Army, Seventh-day Adventist and the Ringwood East Baptist churches."-Eastern Post Gazette [Australian newspaper], November 11, 1965.
12. Churches Merging in China
From an SDA church paper:
"Merger of Churches in China. Of late more and more news have been coming in about churches joining one another and merging together. What a unification on a local basis looks like, can be seen from the guiding principles adopted for the merger between the Church of Christ and the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Chinchow, Liaoning Province, which we quote word by word from 'China Bulletin' published by the Far East Office of the Foreign Missions Department of the National Council of Churches in USA: 1. The denominational names heretofore adopted by both churches are abolished, and from now on the church will be called 'Christian State Church of Chinchow.' 2. The organization, the buildings, the properties, and the personnel become one. Surplus property will be used for the socialistic upbuilding. 3. The Adventist tithe-paying custom is revoked; let everyone give as much as he likes. 4. Previously adopted patriotic resolutions will be adapted to the new conditions after the unification. Provisions will be made for a reformation in the way of thinking of the individual church members. In compliance with the appeal of the Government for steel production, the church will install and run her own factory, owned by the people." -Der Adventbote [German SDA paper], December 15, 1959.
13. Adventist Delegate at Seventh-day Baptist General Conference
From an SDA church paper:
"As a delegate of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, I attended the annual session of the General Conference of Seventh-day Baptists, which was opened August 12, in Milton, Wisconsin, USA."-Adventecho [German SDA paper], October 15, 1973.
14. New Look at the Heads of Leading Churches
a) Head of the Church of England
SDA's express their belief concerning the leader of the Anglican Church. They write:
"Particularly comforting is the discovery that one of God's latter-day champions is none other than Archbishop Ramsey himself, one hundredth occupant of the See of Canterbury."-The Signs of the Times [SDA paper in USA], January 1968.
b) Head of the Eastern Orthodox Christians
Roland R. Hegstad, an SDA leader writes:
"A visit with Ecumenical Patriarch ATHENAGORAS.... I disengaged myself from his gray-black whiskers and asked him jocularly, 'Did you give me the same kiss of peace you gave Pope Paul on the Mount of Olives?' His large expressive brown eyes twinkled. 'Yes,' he replied, 'the very same kiss. But with you it was not necessary, for with you I have not been at war!"-Liberty [SDA paper in USA], March-April 1967.
II--CLOSER TO ROME
Many Advent believers are surprised at the changed attitude of the SDA Church toward Roman Catholicism. The examples below will speak for themselves.
1. New Look at the Papacy
An SDA church paper says:
"When we as Protestant Christians consider the term of office of Pius XII, we cannot refrain from showing due respect to the pious and reverence-imposing personality of the deceased Pope. . . . John XXIII, whose motto is 'Obedientia et Pax' (obedience and peace), is piloting the Catholic Church thru a difficult time. I am convinced that the prayers of the Protestant world in behalf of a good Pope, make sense. May his decisions stand before One Who is greater than he is!"-Jugendleitstern [German SDA paper], January 1959.
2. Adventist Choir in Catholic Church (Indonesia)
From an SDA church paper:
"The Catholic Saint Ignatius Church in Magelang (Indonesia) was crammed with 1700 people who came to hear the 'Way Singers' of our Far Eastern Academy (Singapore)."-Adventecho [German SDA paper], October 1, 1973.
3. Inter-faith Concert (India)
"For the first time in India, Protestant and Catholic choirs organized a joint concert in New Delhi to raise funds for the Indian Red Cross. The Catholic Sacred Heart cathedral choir sang with choirs of Anglican, Methodist, Seventh-day Adventist and other churches and the Delhi Choir Society."Universe [England], January 4, 1963.
4. Maranatha Flights International (Kodiak Island, Alaska)
From an SDA church paper:
"Not all those cooperating in the project are Seventh-day Adventists. Father Sean O'Donoghue, rector of the Kodiak Catholic church, offered the facilities of the St. Mary's Parish School for use by Maranatha.... The fellowship is genuine. Father O'Donoghue delivers one of the early morning worship talks and prays for the success of the Adventist center. He and the Sisters of the Sacred Heart eat with the workers and seem intently interested in a religion that would motivate people to perform as Maranatha is doing. Father O'Donoghue is invited to participate in the opening services lof the new SDA Church)."-GIeaner [official organ of the North Pacific Union Conference], August 18, 1975.
5. Denominational Barriers Removed
(Asian Aid Organization)
From an SDA church paper:
'What we like about this going concern is that it has cut across denominational boundaries. At the recent election of officers at the annual general meeting, a new committee was elected. It consists of two Catholics, one Presbyterian, one Anglican, one Pentecostal, and four Australian-Chinese Adventists (the four who saw the need and went into action)."-Australasian Record [Australian SDA paper], September 3, 1973.
6. Adventist Choir at Catholic Mass (Brazil)
" 'For those who died in the Santa Luzia accident there is hope of resurrection.' With these words of introduction, Dom Joao de Rezende Costa, archbishop of Belo Horizonte, opened the ecumenical worship in honor of the 18 victims of the accident.... Mass was celebrated by the archbishop.... At the end, a choir of the Seventh-day Adventist Church sang a few religious hymns and popular songs."-Diario da Tarde [Brazilian newspaper], September 1, 1976.
7. Joint Ceremony in a Catholic Church (Spain)
"Friday, May 13 (1967), at 8:00 p.m., the crypt of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Pompeii was crammed. An act of meditation and prayer, organized by the Ecumenical Center of Barcelona, was taking place. The ceremony was jointly conducted by the Archbishop of Barcelona, Dr. Marcelo Gonzalez; Rev. Enrique Capo, pastor of the Spanish Evangelical Church; Mr. Antonio Comavella, of the Adventist Church; and Bro. Roberto Giscard, monk of the Protestant community of Taize."-La Vanguardia Espanola [Spanish newspaper], May 18, 1967.
8. Christian Family Project (Philippines)
"The nominations committee yesterday [July 25, 1971] announced acceptance of the nomination of the family of a Seventh-day Adventist minister (Pastor C. Banaag) in search for the Christian Family of 1971.... Minister Banaag has visited many countries in Asia and the United States. His last trip was in 1968 when, as a member of the International Church-State Commission composed of 34 religious liberty secretaries of various countries, he visited the countries of Europe, the Middle East, Russia, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia and was given a one-half hour audience by the Pope Paul VI at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. Pastor Banaag also attended the ecumenical encounter with the Pope at the Apostolic Nunciature on Taft Avenue last year when the pontiff came to Manila for a visit. This year's search is under the joint sponsorship of the Christian Family Movement and the Philippines Herald, by appointment of the papal nuncio, with the cooperation of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines."-The Philippines Herald, July 26, 1971.
9. SDA's and the Vatican
From The Review and Herald:
"During the visit of the Church-State Study Commission to Italy, the members joined in a general papal audience in St. Peter's. Afterwards three members of the commission spoke briefly with the Pope Pierre Lanares, religious liberty secretary of the Southern European Division; Roland R. Hegstad, editor, Liberty; and Leif Kr. Tobiassen of Andrews University. The pope . . . (presented) . . . a souvenir medal to Dr. Tobiassen." RH May 30, 1968.
10. Papal Decoration for an Adventist
From an SDA church paper:
"Samuele Bacchiocchi, who studied at Andrews University and was Bible teacher at the Adventist Junior College in Ethiopia, recently received a gold medal from Pope Paul VI for taking the degree of licentiate in church history with distinction (summa cum laude), at the Papal Gregorian University in Rome."-Adventecho [German SDA paper], June 15, 1973.
11. Universal Fatima News
In the hands of the SDA Church the threefold message has become so tame and voiceless (6T 60) that all fear on the part of the fallen churches seems to be gone, so much so that now even the Catholics advertise Adventist books. A Catholic paper, for example, announces the coming of an Adventist colporteur: "J. W. Proctor, The Great Lakes representative of the Bible Story, spends his time in visiting and building good will among all churches. He will be in greater Chicago after January 1st, visiting parochial and public schools, in the interest of promoting good literature in the home."Universal Fatima News [Catholic paper in USA], December 1966.
12. Catholic Leaders Now Invited to Speak in SDA Meetings
From an SDA church paper:
"The Jackson Church Men's Club held a dinner meeting recently at a local restaurant. Following the dinner they listened to an address given by Sister Mary Marita, principal of Jackson St. Joseph School and teacher of the fifth grade. Sister Mary Marita was invited by William Moors to speak to the Men's Club."-Lake Union Herald [SDA paper in USA].
"Sister Bernice, a Roman Catholic nun who is a graduate student in mathematics at Andrews University, recently spoke to the ministerial club at Andrews."-Lake Union Herald [SDA paper in USA], January 2, 1969.
From The Journal:
"On Tuesday afternoon more than 400 persons attended the dedication of the new $80,000 library of the Washington Missionary College. Included in the group were leading educators and librarians from nearby schools and colleges.... Praising the project, Dr. Roy J. Deferrari, general secretary of the Catholic University of America, as principal speaker, said the 'library is worthy of pride and admiration.'"-The Journal [USA], October 9, 1942.
Further down, the article says that "among the guests on the speakers' platform were the Rev. James R. Kortendick, reference librarian, Catholic University; Professor Hurley, library science division, Catholic University, Victor Schafer. oresarations department, Catholic University."
From a magazine in Argentina:
"For the first time in Argentina, a dignitary of the Roman Catholic Church appeared in a church of another religious confession to speak to the congregation. The final prayer, offered in common, sealed symbolically the Papal aim to cement the union of the Christian churches, that is, the separated brethren. This was an historic event, and even an astonishing one, since the Catholic dignitary who came to the chapel was a bishop.
"The event took place in the chapel of the Christian Adventist Church, whose leaders invited the diocesan bishop of Goya (Corrientes), Monsignor Alberto Devoto. He was a member of the Preparations Committee for Vatican Council II, correspondent for the Press at the 4th session of the council, a member of the Liturgic Reforms Committee that introduced different changes in Catholic worship, and he belongs to the line of dignitaries renovating the Argentine Ecclesiastical hierarchy.
"The news of Monsignor Devoto's visit to the Adventist Church had created great interest and expectation. Pastor Victor Schulz, local leader of the Adventist Church, received the high dignitary of the Catholic Church on his arrival. After a welcome had been given him, Monsignor Devoto entered the church accompanied by the Adventist leaders. The distinguished visitor was then introduced to the assembly by Pastor Schulz. He expressed the pleasure of the Christian Adventist Church 'for having on its rostrum such a learned priest of the Catholic Church,' and he said he was looking forward with great interest to 'the subject of his address,' considering the fact that he (Mon signor Devoto) had attended all the meetings of the Council, thus being thoroughly informed concerning the atmosphere of the eminent congress, and familiar with the historic transcendencies of the thoughts of its promoters, John XXIII and Paul VI."-Asi [Argentine magazine], October 1966.
From a newspaper in Brazil:
"Adventists dedicate a chapel (in Maringa, Parana, Brazil). The presence of diocesan bishop Jayme Luiz Coelho and other priests and pastors transformed the dedication of the central chapel of the Seventh-day Adventist Church into an authentic example of ecumenism.... During the dedication services, pastor Jose Ira ja da Costa e Silva, who handed the chapel over to the congrega tion; the diocesan bishop; and mayor Adriano Valente had the floor."-Folha de Londrina [Brazilian newspaper], May 14, 1972.
13. Pulpit Exchange (Morganton, USA)
From an SDA church paper:
"Robert Hunter, pastor of the Morganton, North Carolina (SDA), district, and a member of the local ministerial association, joined in PULPIT EXCHANGE DAY, exchanging pulpits with (Father) Thomas Burke of St. Charles Roman Catholic Church. The theme of the city-wide program was 'Blest Be the Tie."' Southern Tidings [official organ of the Southern Union], April 1975.
14. Official Visit to the Pope
"Seeking the Objectives of Complete Unity
"After the general audience of Wednesday, the 18th inst., the Holy Father received the participants of the Conference of Secretaries of World Confessional Families. The group was accompanied by Bishop John Howe, General Secretary of the Anglican Consultative Council, and Mr. B. B. Beach, General Secretary of the Seventh-day Adventists. This was the first time that representatives of the Seventh-day Adventists met the Pope.
"To commemorate this significant moment, they offered an artistic gold medal to the Holy Father.
"The Holy Father directed the following discourse to them:
"Dear brethren in Christ:
"We rejoice to be able to receive such an important group today, and we welcome you to Peter's See.
"In you we greet the representatives of a considerable portion of the Christian people, and through you we send our wishes of grace and peace in the Lord to your Confessional Families.
"We are happy to express, in your presence, our common faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only Mediator with the Father, the Saviour of the world. Yes, brethren, together with the Apostle Peter, we proclaim that 'Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby ve must be saved.' Acts 4:12.
"On her part, the Catholic Church is solemnly engaged, through Vatican Council II, in an ecumenism based on increased fidelity to Christ the Lord and on heart conversion (see Unitatis Redintegraho, 6-7). At the same time, she is conscious that 'nothing is more alien to ecumenism than that false irenicism that would harm the Catholic doctrine and obscure its genuine and precise meaning (Ibid., p. 11).
"Reinforced by the power of the word of God, let us therefore pursue, despite all difficulties, the objective of full unity in Christ and in the Church.
"And, with humbleness and love, let us direct our thoughts and our hopes to our Lord Jesus Christ. Glory be given to Him, as well at to the Father and to the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever."L'Osservatore Romano [Catholic paper, Portuguese edition], May 29, 1977.
"Adventist for the First Time With the Pope
"On Wednesday, May 18, Pope Paul VI received in special audience the representatives of the Conference of Secretaries of World Confessional Families. In the group there were, among others, Bishop John Howe, First Secretary of the Anglican Advisory Council, and Mr. B. B. Beach, First Secretary of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This is the first time that a representative of this religious body has come to meet the Pope. On that occasion, to commemorate their visit, they presented the Pope with a gold medal....
"The Conference of Secretaries of World Confessional Families was organized twenty years ago, and its founder was the First Secretary of the Anglican Advisory Council, Bishop John Howe. The present Secretary of the Conference and at the same time the First Secretary of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Mr. Beach, made a statement at the Vatican Radio emphasizing the importance of this first meeting of Adventists with the Pope. Word for word, this is what he said: 'It was a great honor for me, as the Secretary of the Conference, to be present here in Rome, in audience with the Holy Father. On this occasion I presented to the Pope a book about the world-wide work of the Adventist church."' -Glas Koncila [Catholic paper in Yugoslavia], June 5, 1977.
As Seventh-day Adventists are coming closer and closer not only to the Protestant denominations, but also to the Roman Catholic Church, the following prophecy is becoming more and more significant:
"When the Saviour saw in the Jewish people a nation divorced from God, He saw also a professed Christian Church united to the world and the papacy." RH October 8, 1901.
Well known Protestant leaders had talks with top Adventist leaders and finally declared: "We are delighted to do justice to a much maligned group of sincere believers, and in our minds and hearts . . . acknowledge them as redeemed brethren and members of the Body of Christ." Time Magazine [USA], December 31, 1956.
The SDA leadership, in turn, declared: "We are one with our fellow Christian denominational groups in the great fundamentals of the faith once delivered to the saints." Questions on Doctrine [SDA book], p. 32.
According to different publications, SDA leaders have committed themselves to refrain from any thrusts against the Catholic Church and to withdraw from public sale any writings offensive to Catholics. The Spirit of Prophecy declarations, that this pseudo-religious system should be abhorred and shunned (GC 572), and that her sins should be laid open (GC 606), have apparently been forgotten.
A Catholic paper in Australia informs:
"Public protest against Seventh Day Adventist publications offensive to Catholics blew up in 1940 when a book, This Mighty Hour, published by the Signs Publishing Company, another subsidiary of the Adventists, caricatured the Pope as 'Antichrist' and as the 'Beast' of the Book of Revelation.
"Following upon readers' letters, action was taken by the Catholic Women's Social Guild which made a spirited public protest. Many people, including proprietors of hotels and guest houses, refused to purchase products of the Sanitarium Health Food Company, another Adventist subsidiary.
"The result was that officials of the Sanitarium Health Food Company called at The Advocate office and expressed regret for the publication of the offensive matter. The secretary for Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania of the Sanitarium Health Food Company said in a statement to The Advocate that the book in which the offensive statements appeared 'was originally published in Europe and was republished by the Signs Publishing Company here without their careful customary scrutiny of its contents.' The passages complained of, it was said, 'do not represent the views of the Signs Publishing Company's management and certainly not of the Sanitarium Health Food Company.'
"It was said, further, that the book had not been in circulation for some considerable time, was not then being circulated and was not likely to be reproduced by the Signs Publishing Company. 'They greatly regret their part in having republished it and doubtless will attempt by some suitable means to rectify some things so far as lies in their power.'
"Though other Adventists also called at The Advocate office and repudiated the secretary's statement, we accepted the assurance of the secretary, as an official.
"Since later publications had not come to our notice and it seemed that the above offensive type of publication was disappearing in the better climate that has been developing in the intervening years, The Advocate accepted recently in good faith the Sanitarium Health Food Company's advertisement.
"Following protests from some of our readers we contacted the Seventh Day Adventist headquarters at Yarra St. Hawthorn, I and spoke to Pastor L. Jones. He assured us that the book, This Mighty Hour, had been withdrawn early in the forties and was not now in circulation. He said that the author had, in fact, recently visited Australia and was asked about the book. According to Pastor Jones, the author said that were he to write such a book today he would write it differently. Pastor Jones added that a new climate now happily existed between the religious denominations and that so far as he knew nothing of this kind of literature, which might be deemed offensive, was now being circulated by the Adventists." The Advocate [Catholic paper in Australia], February 13, 1964.
A Catholic paper in Germany says:
"Outsiders should not interfere in family quarrels. Let Seventh-day Adventists settle their own disputes among themselves. We do not want to get involved in the strife as to whether this or that direction is a true representation of Adventism.... In 1914 two percent of the members were disfellowshipped from the German Seventh-day Adventist Church, because they declared that participation in war service, and that on the Sabbath (Saturday), cannot be reconciled with the Adventist doctrine. The disfellowshiped believers have considered themselves as the true keepers and defenders of Adventism.... In the spring of 1936, this 'Reform Movement' was dissolved and forbidden all over the country, as 'under the cloak of religious activities they were pursuing aims which were opposed to the world views of National Socialism.' Penalties were applied in the form of imprisonment and confinement in concentration camps.... The Adventist 'Reform Movement' in Germany is now reproaching the originally incorporated and recognized Seventh-day Adventist Church for the fact that they are seeking 'better relations to the powers of darkness,' that they consider the Sabbath commandment as suspended in time of war, that they adhered to the Nazi State, that they do not observe the meat-eating prohibition, that they permit remarriage of divorced parties, and that they extend the number of those saved beyond 144,000.... There is something else, however, which is important to us. The original SDA Church assures us emphatically that they will 'abstain from any instigation against Catholicism.' "-Paulinus [Catholic paper in Germany], March 8, 1953.
IV--THE SDA CHURCH AND THE NATIONAL COUNCILS OP CHURCHES
It is unfortunate that, in spite of the warnings contained in the Bible 12 Cor. 6:15-18; Rev. 14:4; 18:41 and in the Spirit of Prophecy, the Adventist Church is taking part in National Councils of Churches. The following examples will show what is going on:
A pamphlet issued by the Christian Council of Zambia, Africa, shows a membership of 22 churches, and the SDA Church is listed as one of them. What is CCZ? [pamphlet published by the Christian Council of Zambia].
From The Review and Herald:
"When Adventist world leaders were convinced that the church could carry on its work without any change in its teachings or means of support, they yielded to government demands to align with the Protestant organization.... Thus, with mixed feelings on both sides, on March 24, 1972, Seventh-day Adventists became the forty-second communicant in the Church of Christ in Zaire." RH Feb. 27, 1975.
The Dutch press informs about the Christian Churches in China:
"The Seventh-day Adventists were one of the first denominations to become reformed and to join the Communist Church. Other denominations followed before long, but not all. These were the Evangelical Church and the Chinese Orthodox Church, the former under the leadership of Rev. Wang, and the latter under the leadership of Rev. Watchman Nee."-Haagse Courant [Dutch newspaper], January 27, 1962.
Other publications add more information:
"The Adventists were declared to have gone through 'a new birth' as an organization. They were rewarded by being officially classified as a 'Reformed Church,' the first in Communist China." The Story of Maly Liu [book], by Edward Hunter, p. 222.
"Eleven seminaries in East China were merged into the Nan king Theological Seminary, becoming the Ginling United Theological Seminary, like separate faculties in a university. The whole range of Protestant faith was indiscriminately brought together, including Seventh Day Adventist and the Apostolic." The Black Book on Red China, by Edward Hunter, p. 66.
A letter from the National Council of Churches says:
"The Seventh-day Adventist is an associate of the National Council of Churches.... The Seventh-day Adventists have been affiliated with a unit of the Council since its formation in 1950." -Letter From National Council of Churches [USA], March 21, 1960.
5. Poland and Czechoslovakia
The report on the committee meeting of the Ecumenical Council of Christian Churches in Poland, held in Warsaw, February 23, 1967, says that the Seventh-day Adventist Church was the first to hand in its declaration of accession, joining the Ecumenical Council.
Hereunder we quote from several Polish papers:
"Adventists are working in close cooperation with the Ecumenical Council." Tribuna Ludu [Polish newspaper], December 15, 1967.
"The churches of Czechoslovakia held an ecumenical gathering January 18-19 , in Bratislava, for the purpose of discussing their participation in the Fourth Peace Conference of All Christians, which will take place in Prague, in October. The following churches sent their delegates to this gathering: Orthodox Church, Unitarian Church, Methodist Church, Church of Evangelical Brethren, Church of the Brethren, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Czechoslovakian Church, Reformed Christian Slovakian Church, Lutheran Church in Slovakia, Silesian Church of Evangelical Lutherans."-Rodzina [Polish newspaper].
"Polish Ecumenical Council in Session . . .
"A Delegation of twelve representatives has gone from Poland to the Fourth Peace Conference of All Christians to be held in Prague. This Delegation comprises leaders of churches that are united in the Polish Ecumenical Council, such as the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the United Catholic 'Pax,' and the United Christian Fellowship."-Rodzina [Polish newspaper].
"Pastor Dombrowski and Pastor Lyko were honored with the badge which was granted at the celebration of the 'One-thousand year-Christianization.' Furthermore, they were on the Board of Directors at the Peace Conference of All Christians."-BiwleWnach Infortnacynich [Polish magazine], May 16, 1967.
The two ministers mentioned in this report are prominent SDA leaders in Poland.
A Hungarian Baptist church paper reports that the Adventist Church in Hungary belongs to the Council of Free Churches. Another issue of the same paper tells of an official visit by a delegation from the Hungarian Council to the Soviet Union. According to the report, this delegation included Mr. Szakacs Jozsef, then president of the Adventist Church and at the same time vice president of the Council of Free Churches, in Hungary. The report includes the following:
"The Power of Common Faith
"Summarized report on the visit of the Hungarian Church delegation to the Soviet Union.
"The leaders of the Union of Evangelical Baptist Churches in the Soviet Union invited an official visit from the Hungarian Baptist Church as well as from the Council of Free Churches, for July 13-28. The representatives were: Mr. Laczkovski Janos, president of the national Baptist Church and vice-president of the Baptist World Alliance; Mr. Szakacs Jozsef, president of the Adventist Denomination and vice-president of the Council of Free Churches; and Nagy Jozsef, Baptist theologian and dean, secretary of the Hungarian Council of Churches....
"In every service we expressed the hearty greetings of the Hungarian Baptist Church and of the brethren of the churches which belong to the Council of Free Churches. The congregations and the church leaders received the greetings with sincere love.
"Our delegation had the opportunity of having a sincere talk with Baptist and Adventist brethren, and we told them how we work together and respect each other's principles of faith....
"Church leader Mr. Szakacs Jozsef expressed his appreciation to the leaders of the Baptist Church especially for the brotherly love which he enjoyed during his visit as vice-president of the Council of Free Churches and president of the Hungarian Adventist Church, and also for the timely help of the brethren, which made it possible for him to meet the representatives and members of the Adventist Church. All members of the delegation took part in the services in the Adventist congregations.
"We finished our visit with many rich blessings and with the hope that we may mutually be enriched through the common faith and testimony."-Bekehirnok [Hungarian Baptist paper].
"Evangelist Billy Graham has accepted an invitation to hold a crusade in Hungary. Graham's acceptance was announced jointly by the evangelist and Sandor Palotoy, chairman of the Council of ' Free Churches in Hungary. Palotoy extended the invitation to Graham while in the United States for a General Council meeting of the Baptist World Alliance. Himself a Seventh-day Adventist, Palotoy represents the eight evangelical churches in Hungary." -Southern Tidings [official organ of the Southern Union], September 1977.
"Mr. Graham's visit . . . was sponsored by the Council of Free Churches, an alliance of Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, Seventh-day Adventist, and other denominations." Religious News Service [USA], October 14, 1977.
From a report filed early in 1984 by one who was associated with the SDA Church in Hungary for twenty years, and published in the bulletin, "Watchman, What of the Night?" vol. XVII, No. 9, we quote these portions:
"In 1957 the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Hungary became a member of an organization called The Council of Free Churches (Hungarian abbreviation: SZET), which unites all smaller, that is, almost all small Protestant denominations in Hungary....
"In 1965 the Council of Free Churches joined the Ecumenical Church Council with all its member churches, most of which had already been in the ecumeny, therefore also the Adventists, even if only indirectly. As a rule, the current president of the Council of Free Churches is also the vice-president of the Ecumenical Church Council. After the sudden death of S. Palotoy, Jozsef Szakacs succeeded him, and he was at that time the president of the Hungarian Adventist Union Conference.
"Membership in the Council of Free Churches means that all denominations make a financial contribution to it; share one theological seminary and thus receive the same training at the seminary; strictly obey the rules and regulations of the Council of Free Churches (concerning elections!), proclamation of the Gospel, financial matters, mission, etc., even if clear Biblical instructions are sacrificed or violated.
"The true Adventists saw where all this was leading on the one hand, a looser, much freer life style, mixed marriages (because permitted), divorces, worldliness; and on the other hand, the gradual prohibition, discouragement or cunning paralyzation of all possible projects for children and youth, the use of literature and other means of evangelization....
"The situation got so bad that faithful ministers, young and old, wept together, fasted and spent many nights in prayer. They became convinced it was time to stop this degeneration. In 1965, their determination was followed by action. They raised their voices in protest. The result: 6 pastors were dismissed and 300 church members were excommunicated....
"Although the leaders of the General Conference of Seventh day Adventists had clearly been informed of these conditions, . . . they granted recognition to that godless, wicked leadership on January 26, 1984. WHAT COULD BE THE REASON BEHIND IT?"
A leading daily in Budapest informs what was done in the SDA Church in Hungary, in January 1984:
"N. C. Wilson, the president of the world organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, along with other high-ranking church officials, stayed in our country at the invitation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Hungary between January 18 and 30. They discussed church related matters and visited local congregations.
"N. C. Wilson and Denes Zarka, the president of the church in Hungary and their respective retinues visited Imre Miklos, the undersecretary of State and president of the office for Church Affairs. At this meeting N. C. Wilson informed Mr. Miklos of the steps they were going to take concerning the matter of the splinter group within the Hungarian Church. N. C. Wilson stated that, as in other countries, the Seventh-day Adventist world organization recognizes only one church organization, the one elected at the electoral conference, and which also the State has recognized.
"N. C. Wilson has expressed his appreciation for the useful and beneficial attitude of the Hungarian State toward the church, as well as for the high degree of religious liberty he had experienced in Hungary."-Nepszabadsag [Hungarian newspaper], January 31, 1984.
And what happened to those honest Adventists who were "sighing and crying" for the apostasy that they could see in the church? They were disfellowshipped. The report from which we quoted before says:
"For eight years now, 1400 Hungarian Adventists have been vehemently struggling to survive, that is, to be able to remain within the church from which they have recently been excommunicated at one stroke."
7. SDA's and the World Council of Churches
The New York Times informs:
"The World Council of Churches today admitted nine Roman Catholic theologians to membership in its principal theological body, the Commission on Faith and Order.... Also admitted to full membership were six representatives of other nonmember churches, including the Seventh Day Adventist Church...." - New York Times [USA], July 12, 1968.
An SDA church paper says:
"Since 1965 there have been yearly dialogues between the World Council of Churches and the Seventh-day Adventists.... Since 1968, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists is acknowledged by other international churches as a 'World Confessional Family.' The Adventist participation in the yearly conference of the 'world confessional families' has brought good results.... Conscientious cooperation is necessary, as long as there is no compromise regarding firmly established beliefs and religious aims."-Adventecho [German SDA paper], February 15, 1973.
The examples quoted in this writing should enable the reader to catch a glimpse of the snare in which the church is getting entangled. Not everything that is happening in this field is published, and not all that is made known in this connection ever comes to our notice. But the limited number of instances mentioned reveal the existence of a dangerous situation.
Many sighing and crying Adventists who can see the apostasy wonder what will be the final end of this forbidden courtship. Under these circumstances the following warning of the Spirit of Prophecy becomes very significant:
"Instead of leading the world to render obedience to God's law, the church is uniting more and more closely with the world in transgression. Daily the church is becoming converted to the world." 8T 119.
"When those who are uniting with the world, yet claiming great purity, plead for union with those who have ever been the opposers of the cause of truth, we should fear and shun them as decidedly as did Nehemiah." PK 660.
A SERIOUS DANGER IN THE SDA CHURCH
A few years ago, many SDA's were shocked when they heard that their brethren not only laymen, but also medical men and leading ministers-were getting involved with the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International, a Pentecostal group who is working to unite all Protestant bodies in the fellowship of Spiritualism. In the "Full Gospel Men's Voice" of September 1962, these Pentecostal believers gave the following report about their tenth annual convention held in Seattle, Washington, July, 1962:
"The Holy Spirit came down upon the people.... Scores received the precious baptism with the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues.... There were representatives of many faiths assembled for a common purpose: Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Dutch Reformed laymen, Methodists, Lutherans, Nazarenes, Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists - and hosts of others- all meeting at the feet of Jesus."
Some SDA's Are Worried
This sad and startling fact caused some agitation and led scrupulous Adventists to raise their voice against this involvement. We quote from "Newsletter" of February 1, 1963:
"It would be far more pleasant to dismiss the whole thing by saying, as some have vainly hoped, that our leading brethren (who attended that Pentecostal convention) did nothing more than present the third angel's message to the convention in Seattle, and that VOICE has not accurately or fairly presented the case. But after examining all the evidence available, interviewing the FGBMFI representatives, listening to the actual tape recordings of the proceedings at the convention, and examining certain cor respondence over this issue, it is very apparent that VOICE has given as fair and as accurate a picture as could be expected. .: .
"Elder R. A. [Roy Allan} Anderson began his talk as follows: 'You know Christianity is a religion of joy. (Audience: "Amen!") It's not a religion of restrictions! The only thing we need to know is the power of the Spirit in our lives and He will lead us into all truth.... The religion of Jesus is a religion that sets the soul on fire with the joy of Jesus. (Audience: "Amen!") Jesus opened the prison house of sin and brought His people out, and as I look out into your faces today I'm seeing a group of people who by the grace of God have been brought out of the strongholds of sin. Let us thank the Lord for that, it's a reality! (Audience: "Amen!" Waves of applauses and cries of "Praise God!").... I am happy for one thing as I see it today, and that is the wonderful witness of you business men.... We need to set our churches on fire! . . . It's been a great joy to be with you! . . . I trust that this convention will set the people of God on fire! (Audience: "Amen.") When a church is on fire with the Spirit of God the world will take notice. May the Lord richly bless you and make this a great convention for the extension of His kingdom in the hearts of men.'
"We wish we could say that the foregoing was only a sudden and unpremeditated lapse on the part of Elder Anderson, but the clear evidence indicates that this is not the case.... In 1950, Elders Wieland and Short sent an urgent warning to the General Conference. showing and warning the brethren that there was grave danger in our ranks of worshiping the false Christ . . .. declaring the end of this infatuation with the false Christ would be the reception of Spiritualism. You yourselves know that their message was totally rejected. Six years after this message came, some of our leading men, among whom was R. A. Anderson, were conferring with some of the Evangelical leaders. It was then that they seriously compromised themselves on the great doctrines of the Atonement and the Incarnation of Jesus.... The same year, Elder Anderson wrote to Elder R. A. Grieve, then President of the North New Zealand Conference, telling him of his wonderful fellowship with the Evangelical ministers, how they were men of God, etc., admitting that our past teaching on the nature of Christ had been incorrect, and then concluding these startling admissions with this astounding statement: 'We have come to the time in our history and the history of the Evangelical Church in general, that we are moving into the experience of the Pentecostal outpouring of power.' (April 23, 1956.)
"So, at least ever since 1956, Elder Anderson has believed that the other churches (whom Mrs. White pronounces 'Babylon,' and declares that Satan has taken possession of them as a body, Early Writings, 273), are in line for the Pentecostal baptism of power together with the Adventists. Oh, terrible deception! . . .
"Elder George Vandeman was at the Fellowship Convention for a number of days, and from his own testimony in different parts of North America, he bears witness to the wonderful fellowship and workings of God at this modern seance in Seattle. We reproduce here a letter to that effect. We personally checked this evidence, by interviewing a number of people who attended a public meeting in Vernon, B.C., and find that they all heard Elder Vandeman testify to the wonderful blessing he received from the Seattle Convention. (A few days later came testimony from eastern Canada that he was testifying to the same thing over there.)
"'Almost from the outset of Elder Vandeman's very first meeting ... there was a strange spirit....
"'In every meeting, with the exception of the last one, I believe, Elder Vandeman spoke, sometimes repeatedly, of a meeting in Seattle.... He spoke of the earnestness of these wealthy men and the marvelous fellowship there as he and Elder Richards, together with Billy Graham and Oral Roberts and others spoke to and prayed with these men. It seemed that he had gained a great deal of strength and inspiration from his fellowship there. He just couldn't get over speaking about it....
"'In his second meeting Elder Vandeman made a call for all to stand who wished to reconsecrate their lives to God. The appeal was strong and I would not find fault with it, although in the meetings generally there was a strange spirit, and there were the references to the marvelous meetings and fellowship with the wealthy business men. This was the Sabbath morning service. Everyone, or practically everyone in that large auditorium stood for consecration. Then, just before prayer, as we were standing, he said: "Now we're going to pray for spiritual healing, and then tonight we'll pray for healing of the body." . . . He cited a few instances of marvelous physical healings that had taken place at such meetings....
"'In the last meeting of the series . . . Elder Vandeman seemed more like himself than he had at any of the previous meetings. The hypnotic influence was not in evidence, at least not to the extent that it had been.... Alice M. Rogers, Winfield, B.C., Canada.' ...
"Elder Richards from the Voice of Prophecy was also in attendance.... Elder Richards spoke on the coming of Christ, and only said such things as would suit the hearers who were preparing to welcome the false Christ. His remarks sounded very much like the setting up of the glorious temporal millennium on this earth such as E. G. White said in The Great Controversy, p. 589 and it is certain that is what his hearers gathered from the talk.
"Besides these three leading brethren, quite a number of other Adventist ministers were in attendance. To the credit of some, they saw what was going on at the convention, did not like what they saw, and left with grave apprehensions as to the effect on the other Adventist laymen in the audience, including some of our medical men. With our brethren taking such a prominent part in this grand spiritualistic carnival, they no doubt thought it was a good place to be, especially when such a renowned leader as R. A. Anderson placed his blessing upon the whole thing."
Some are Deceived
Gaining ground rapidly, the neo-Pentecostal movement, also known as charismatic movement, has already penetrated "all denominations the Protestant churches first, and then also the Catholic Church," and is now spreading like wildfire, so that no church, not even the SDA Church, is free from the influence of this movement, informs Jean Zurcher.
We have been told by some Adventists that what they have witnessed in certain SDA circles is Pentecostalism. In an effort to obtain additional information, some time ago the writer of this article put a pertinent question to a well-informed brother who had been in the SDA ministry for a long time. His answer was: "Just one example: In the Adventist church at . . ., the pastor asked an Adventist lady who had been a Pentecostal believer some time ago: 'When you were fellowshiped into the Adventist church, did you stop receiving the charismatic gift? She said: 'Oh, no! I have never stopped speaking in tongues.' And there was a chorus of 'Amens."'
In his book Rattling the Gates, published by the Review and Herald Publishing Association, Roland R. Hegstad tells about an Adventist brother who said to him: "I've been speaking in tongues now for almost six years. Got the gift at a Pentecostal meeting in Indianapolis. I'm still an Adventist, however, and I believe the time has come to bring the gift to the Seventh-day Adventist Church." Surely that brother is not the only one showing a pro Pentecostalist tendency in the SDA Church.
A "Spirit-filled SDA" dentist tells his experience as follows:
"I attended a small church in Redlands. There were several speakers, but one especially spoke with such power that I said, 'Lord, the power with which he speaks is what I want in my own life.' . . . Then a lady spoke to me. She said, 'I was praying today and the Lord told me someone was coming to my church tonight looking for the Holy Spirit, but I don't know who it is.' I said simply, 'I'm looking for the Holy Spirit.' She suggested that we kneel and pray. They told me to lift my hands and praise the Lord, which I did. All of a sudden there came a deep peace within my heart and I knew the Lord had done something for me. I could hear the people around me say, 'He's being filled right now.' . . . Suddenly I began to sing in a language I had never learned! Since that time I have not only sung but also prayed in that language . . . The people in my Sabbath school class noticed a difference in me. That following Saturday I put down my notes and the Lord spoke through me in such a way that many in the class began to weep. Afterward they told me, 'That was the most wonderful lesson we ever had.' . . . I told my wife about it, we all knelt together and prayed, and my wife received the baptism in the Holy Spirit right in our home.... I am now able to go to Full Gospel meetings, and there as well as in our prayer groups, pray with all kinds of people-Catholics, Nazarenes, Church of Christ, Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Methodists and others-with such a spirit of love and fellowship as I never before knew.... I also discussed my experience fully with one of our leaders, the former head of the ministerial department of our church, and he said, 'God has been leading you every step of the way.' In my office I keep a goodly stock of VOICE magazines, and almost every patient who leaves the office receives one.... One evening I was asked to give my testimony.... My brother, who is a practicing dentist in Riverside, was there. After hearing my testimony the Spirit of the Lord moved in his heart.... A few weeks later, at an inter-faith renewal program, he received the baptism in the Holy Spirit.... It was a new suit that led me to personally meet my Lord as the Great Physician. Always I have had the right sleeve of my coats shortened one inch because my right arm was that much shorter. When the suit came, they had forgotten to alter that sleeve. My wife suggested I take the coat to the tailor and have the sleeve shortened. I decided to go to God and ask Him to lengthen my arm. That night in the Evangel Temple in Redlands, as Pastor Lawrence and others prayed for me, I felt a strange sensation in my right shoulder and down that arm and it grew out a whole inch right in front of our eyes! When I went home, my suit fitted perfectly. But I faced a new problem, for now all my other right sleeves are too short!" VOICE (Full Gospel Businessmen's church paper), January, 1973.
Further examples may not be needed, since SDA leaders admit that the pro-Pentecostalist tendency among SDA's is growing rapidly. An SDA church paper says: "There is a movement today that threatens the eternal life of many people. Seventh-day Adventists-both ministers and lay members-should beware. It is growing at an alarming rate. It is spreading like an uncontrolled fire in a wheat field.... It is known by several names.... Some people call it the charismatic renewal or the charismatic movement. Others know it as neo-Pentecostalism.... Although many Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Methodists, Roman Catholics, Pentecostals and others, including some Seventh-day Adventists, have participated in the experience, it is not a church. These people remain in their own churches, yet they often fellowship together, frequently in private homes, where they sing and pray in tongues, prophesy, and read the Bible in an atmosphere of great emotional fervor."-Australasian Record, January 28, 1974.
In the first of a series of articles on the charismatic movement, published in O Ministerio [The Ministry], (March-April, 1975, Brazilian edition), Jean Zurcher, secretary of the Euro-African Division (1975), says: "What are we to think of this movement? In our churches, the youngsters, the adults, and even the pastors are asking themselves: Why should the Adventist Movement miss these charismatic experiences? After all, wouldn't this really be the Holy Spirit? Didn't the apostle Paul write to the Corinthians: 'I would have you all speaking in tongues' (1 Corinthians 14:5) Did not he thank God for speaking more languages than all others (Verse 18)? And what should we say about the gift of healing?--As can be seen, this subject deserves a deep study."
There is, chiefly in the United States, a strong propensity in the SDA Church towards assimilation to the other Evangelical churches, in which the charismatic phenomenon is breaking out all over. This trend can be seen especially among the SDA youth. Elder Nelson, from the General Conference Youth Department, deplored this fact saying (1974):
"Satan is now preparing the minds of Adventists.... I hear today, as I go from coast to coast, a cry among the youth: Don't talk about the law. All we want is Jesus. We just want to hear about His love. Bless your hearts, I love to talk about Jesus, and His love, but this kind of a feeling, this kind of a movement, is preparing Adventist youth for a great disappointment. What is happening? . . . There are thousands of youth today within the church, yea, tens of thousands, that know nothing of the 2300-day prophecy. They couldn't explain Daniel 7 if they had to. When you talk about the three angels' message, they think it's something that is outmoded. It is something to forget about. It has nothing to do today.... And then they make the statement, 'Our church is no different than any other church.' I know what I talk about. They are preparing to be fooled. Consider the rapture theory for a moment, that's now capturing the world . . . (Elder Nelson explains it) . . . A bunch of nonsense. How could Seventh-day Adventists believe this kind of junk? But it's being heard from Adventist pulpits, it's being presented by Adventist youth witnessing groups, it's for sale in Adventist book stores, and I saw it prominently displayed right down here just yesterday.... Our young people are singing songs, 'We are one in the spirit . . .' In what spirit? That s a Pentecostal holiness tongue-movement song, in which they shout and sing, 'We are one in the spirit.' Who jumps, and shouts, and hollers? What's happening today? Some thing is creeping in among us, silently and steadily, preparing us to be fooled. We are being attacked within and without the church. Thousands are readily accepting the Evangelical teachings of Babylon today...." (From a tape.)
The charismatic influence of the neo-Pentecostal movement is evidently becoming a serious problem in the SDA Church. Adventist publications admit it. An article published in The Review and Herald (May 24, 19731 says: "The neo Pentecostal movement will prove to be a far more subtle danger to the Seventh-day Adventist Church than theological liberalism or evolutionary humanism." In January 1973, SDA leaders held a meeting to study the neo-Pentecostalist problem, and the German SDA paper Adventecho No. 13, of July 1, 1973, made the following comment:
"Twenty-three leaders of the Church--ministers, professors and authors--met at Camp Cumby-Gay, Georgia, USA, from January 4 through 9, to study the different aspects of, and the position of the Church toward, the 'charismatic movement.' . . .
"For some time Seventh-day Adventists had been observers of this phenomenon in other churches, with the feeling that they themselves had nothing to do with it. Although it shouldn't be said that this is now an acute problem of the church, the occasion demanded a reconsideration of the matter. This short cut to a victorious life is making a strong impression upon the young people, and also upon some of the students in our colleges....
"When things come into the church causing disunity and division in her midst, and these things and their representatives are simply condemned, then the matter is only slighted off. The church, which is attentive and vigilant, must be prepared, all the time, for a serious rendering of account. Her own shortcomings may have caused that which she is now fighting against.
"The fact that three participants had been invited from outside the United States . . . shows that the whole problem has worldwide significance."
Very significant is also the fact that the article from which we just quoted these short portions was published under the title: "Are SDA's going to speak in unknown tongues?"
Half a century ago it would have been considered anathema to offer the Adventist pulpit to a Pentecostal minister. But now no more. Well-known faith healer Oral Roberts was invited to speak to the Adventists in the university church (Loma Linda, California), at 11 a.m., March 8, 1983. We quote from a newspaper:
"When Roberts took the floor in front of about 1,800 listeners, he received but polite applause.
"However, he left to warm, sustained hand-clapping. Not all skepticism had been laid to rest, but the LLU graduates seemed willing to accept Roberts' good works on their own merits....
"The doubts about Roberts' credibility as a speaker at an Adventist conference stem from his origins as a Pentecostal faith healer....
"'I was in the desert not 70 miles from here when He [Jesus] came to me and began to speak to me. I was devastated but I saw what must be done,' he said....
"Conservative Adventists continue to view Roberts with alarm. Nine protesters passed out handbills in front of the church prior to the lecture. The fliers connected Roberts to 'the false prophet . . . deceptive theories . . . spiritualism . . . and the enemy.' Few attending the lecture took time to talk with the protesters...."The Sun [published in San Bernardino, California], March 9, 1983.
To be more correct, the news editor should have said that what conservative Adventists are viewing with alarm is the mistaken idea that even a Pentecostal faith healer may be invited to occupy an Adventist pulpit. Pentecostalism is creeping in among the Advent people, and not too many seem to be alarmed at the existing danger.
The danger is increased by the false teaching that the latter rain is falling and that the church is actually experiencing a revival. We quote from SDA publications:
"And today He is adding His power according to plan. He is giving, we believe, the 'latter rain' experience. According to His promise, He is pouring out His Spirit 'upon all flesh' (Joel 2:28). There can be no mistaking this. We may not discern it or experience it, but thousands are." RH Jan. 28, 1965.
"The latter rain for which we have been praying and that has been experienced in such meetings of our leaders and evangelists as the recent one at Camp Berkshire, New York, fell in a marked way on our regular student literature evangelists at Waunita Hot Springs, June 30-July 3."-Central Union Reaper [SDA paper in USA], Sept. 17, 1968.
"The latter rain is falling. The Holy Spirit is being richly poured out all about us.... Why not read all about it in the Review and Herald." (Circular letter by R. G. Campbel to subscribers of Review and Herald, 1968.)
"There are evidences around over the world of early showers of the latter rain." (Letter to the field, by W. J. Hackett, president of North Pacific Union Conference, October 1968.)
Together with concerned Adventists we must say, in conclusion, that "it is vitally important for our church members to scrupulously differentiate between the true Holy Spirit and Satan's counterfeit," and to raise our voice "in warning against the insidious danger creeping into the SDA Church."
In the Snare of Spiritualism
According to one of their leaders, the neo-Pentecostal movement "is spearheading the greatest religious revival the world has ever known." (Clifford Ford, VOICE magazine, September, 1962.) The "spirit" gave them a prophecy--this was reported by one of their spokesmen--that every denomination would join them in a mighty religious revival that would sweep in the pre millennial reign on earth. The mushrooming growth of this movement, today, is a hint that the prophecy may come true. And no wonder, for Satan is making his final preparations to deceive the world with the masterpiece of all deceptions--Spiritualism. Now mark the fearful result: "Except those who are kept by the power of God, through faith in His word, the whole world will be swept into the ranks of this delusion." GC 562. The servant of the Lord still adds: "I saw the rapidity with which this delusion was spreading. A train of cars was shown me, going with the speed of lightning.... It seemed that the whole world was on board. Then he showed me the conductor.... He said, 'It is Satan. . . . He has taken the world captive . . . and they are all going with lightning speed to perdition.' I asked the angel if there were none left. He bade me look in the opposite direction, and I saw a little company traveling a narrow pathway. All seemed to be firmly united by the truth." EW 263.
These last two statements from the Spirit of Prophecy (GC 562 and EW 263) make it plain that the whole world will be caught in the snare of the Spiritualism, with only one exception-a small remnant of faithful believers in the truth. This small remnant will then be clearly distinguished from the church. Sister White writes: "In the hour of the church's greatest danger most fervent prayer will be offered in her behalf by the faithful remnant." 5T 524. "At the time when the danger and depression of the church are greatest, the little company who are standing in the light will be sighing and crying... especially . . . in behalf of the church because its members are doing after the manner of the world." 5T 209, 210. It is a fearful thought that, according to prophetic evidences, not even the SDA Church will escape. This is one of the reasons why some honest souls are sighing and crying "for all the abominations that be done in the church" l3T 2671.
The servant of the Lord warns:
"Many things intended to deceive us will come, bearing some of the marks of truth. Just as soon as these shall be set forth as the great power of God, Satan is all ready to weave in that which he has prepared to lead souls from the truth for this time."3SM 404.
"The Word of God . . . is to be our defense when Satan works with such lying wonders that, if it were possible, he would deceive the very elect. It is then that those who have not stood firmly for the truth will unite with the unbelieving, who love and make a lie. When these wonders are performed, when the sick are healed and other marvels are wrought, they will be deceived." 3SM 407, 408.
"The cause of Christ will be betrayed. Those who have had the light of truth, and have enjoyed its blessings, but who have turned away from it, will fight down the Spirit of God. Inspired with a spirit from beneath, they will tear down that which they once built up, and show to all reasonable, God-fearing souls that they cannot be trusted. They may lay claim to truth and righteousness, but their spirit and works will testify that they are betrayers of their Lord. The attributes of Satan they call the movings of the Holy Spirit." RH May 24, 1898.
"Go to God for yourselves; pray for divine enlightenment, that you may know that you do know what is truth, that when the wonderful miracle-working power shall be displayed, and the enemy shall come as an angel of light, you may distinguish between the genuine work of God and the imitative work [of] the powers of darkness." 3SM 389.
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