"The thorns of sin will grow in any soil; they need no cultivation; but grace must be carefully cultivated. The briers and thorns are always ready to spring up, and the work of purification must advance continually....
The thorns that have been cut off but not uprooted grow apace, until the soul [and/or the church] is overspread with them." E.G. White, Christ's Object Lessons, p. 50.
"The gospel seed often falls among thorns and noxious weeds; and if there is not a moral transformation in the human heart, if old habits and practices and the former life of sin are not left behind, if the attributes of Satan are not expelled from the soul, [and/or the church] the wheat crop will be choked. The thorns will come to be the crop, and will kill out the wheat." Christ's Object Lessons, p. 50.
"Thorns sprung up.--The thorns made it impossible for the wheat to mature (see Luke 8:14). In the same way secular interest prevent the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23) from reaching maturity. Religion is relegated to the subordinate position of being only one interest among many. For lack of cultivation it withers and eventually dies. That which the thorny-ground hearers lack is a moral transformation (COL 50). To them, justification is the sum and substance of religion, and they fail to realize that the Christian life consists essentially in the process known as sanctification--the process by which evil traits and tendencies are replaced by the perfect life-pattern of Jesus Christ." SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 405.
It is not only I who teaches that the thorns refer to people in the church who are living in open sin. The above statement from the SDA Bible Commentary makes this very clear. They make it impossible for the wheat to mature because of a lack of a moral transformation. This involves the moral law of God. They are living in open violation of the law, so that their lack of morals makes it impossible for the wheat to mature. They believe and teach justification without sanctification, thus they encourage Ford's doctrine that we need not and cannot overcome. This is antiChrist teaching. Those who embrace this teaching never experience a moral transformation and encourage others in the same course.
The above statement and the one immediately below, are the SDA Bible Commentary comments on Matthew 13:7:
"In thorny ground the tender plants did not wither as rapidly as they did in the stony ground. Similarly, the experience of thorny-ground Christians progresses further than that of the stony-ground hearers. They make what appears to be a real start, and apparently they experience justification and the new birth. But they soon become 'weary in well doing' (Gal. 6:9) and do not 'go on unto perfection' (Heb. 6:1). Absorbed by the pleasures of this world and in the pursuit of its attractions, they neglect to weed out from the life those tendencies and traits of character that respond to temptation. They are like the person who had been freed from demon possession only to be repossessed by seven evil spirits (se on Matt. 12:43-45). Many of the things that attract the thorny-ground hearers and absorb their attention may not, in and of themselves, be harmful. But such persons become so absorbed in this world that they have no time to prepare for the next." SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 405.
Thorns are defined by the SDA Bible Commentary as those who teach justification without sanctification, which is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans:
"(Rom. 3:31.) Doctrine of the Nicolaitans.--The doctrine is now largely taught that the gospel of Christ has made the law of God of no effect; that by 'believing' we are released from the necessity of being doers of the Word. But this is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which Christ so unsparingly condemned." E.G. White, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 957.
"(Jude 4).--The Sin of the Nicolaitans.--Is it [our sin] the sin of the Nicolaitans, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness." E.G. White, SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 957.
I believe these statements clearly show "why it is that, in light of Jesus' clear explanation in Matt. 13:22 that the thorns in the parable of the sower refer to the cares and worries of this life, we should accept your (Ron's and the SDA Church's) teaching that the thorns refer to people in the church who are [living]in open sin" [by teaching a false, partial gospel of justification only, omitting the aspect of sanctification which is the other half of the gospel. Paul says to accurse anyone, even an angel, who comes to you with another gospel, and a half gospel is another gospel. I sincerely hope and pray that this answers your question in a clear manner. If not, I suggest you consult the leadership of your church and ask them what they mean by their statement in the SDA Bible Commentary.
How do Tares and Thorns Multiply? How do the Thorns Keep the Wheat From Maturing?
"They mingled with the tares from choice. Like drew to like in transgression. It is a fearful assimilation. Men choose to stand with the first rebel, who tempted Adam and Eve in Eden to disobey God. The tares multiply themselves, for they sow tares, and they have their part with the root of all sin--the devil." Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 235.
Open sinning tares and thorns do not believe in sanctification. They do not believe that we can perfectly overcome with the aid of God's grace power, Rom 1:5, and the Bible verse that says we can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth us. This leaves such persons to be their own judge as to what degree they can overcome. There is no standard under such a belief, and neither indeed can there be! It is a personal opinion free for all! Therefore, like draws like in transgression of the Law of God.