Some Misconceptions About What Constitutes Babylon

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Dear Friends,

Following the last attachment, #3, I received an interesting take on this delicate subject. It is an opinion, nonetheless one that bears some reasoning and deserves some merit.

"Expanding on your definition-"If holding on our petty sins puts us in a 'B' condition, doesn't it follow that if the church holds on to its sins, too, it becomes 'B' ?

''When a church proves unfaithful to the word of the Lord, whatever their position may be, however high and sacred their calling, the Lord can no longer work with them.... In the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist church is to be weighed. She will be judged by the privileges and advantages that she has had. If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence: "Found wanting." By the light bestowed, the opportunities given, will she be judged" LDE 59.

Now in the above quote it is "if" later she says, not if, but when, indicating a change, ''When this church is weighed in the balance of the sanctuary, it is found wanting, having left its first love . What is the final deficiency? Thou hast left thy first love. Then EGW asks the pointed question, IS THIS NOT OUR CASE? [EMPHASIS mine] RH 2-3-1891

Repeating the quotations in another way EGW says,Notwithstanding all this, the church is found wanting. What is the fatal deficiency?--"Thou hast left thy first love." Is not this our case? 1SM 370
Maranatha D"

And Maranatha again,


What are some Misconceptions?

"He [Luther] sometimes doubted whether he had indeed been led of God to set himself against the authority of the [Catholic] church. . . Luther was as yet but partially converted from the errors of Romanism. But as he compared the Holy Oracles with the papal decrees and constitutions, he was filled with wonder. 'I am reading,' he wrote, 'the decrees of the pontiffs, and... I do not know whether the pope is antichrist himself, or his apostle, so greatly is Christ misrepresented and crucified in them.'- Ibid., b. 5, ch. 1. Yet at this time Luther was still a supporter of the Roman Church, and had no thought that he would ever separate from her communion." (GC 132,139; also see GC 102). Yes, the great reformer Martin Luther had been so thoroughly ingrained with the concept: "the structure is the true church, and the true church is the structure" --that even after starting the reformation, he still did not fully understand the issue of who and what constitutes the true church. Today we also see reformers who are trying to keep one foot in the church, and still stand for the truth with the other one. As a result there have been some definitions of the remnant church proposed which are very confusing to say the least; while the truth suffers because of receiving only a crippled, one-footed service.

There are over a dozen characteristics which apply to spiritual Babylon, only one of which is the wine of false doctrines; however, many have come to the conclusion that the entire definition of Babylon, and the only qualification for being part of it-is rapped up in one or two of the false doctrines commonly found within the wine of error. Because of this major imbalance, there is a definite need for further understanding on the topic.

First, we need to recognize that even though the cup is full which is in the hand of "MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS" (Rev 17:4,5), there are still some Babylonian errors that are not in this cup (as we soon will see). Also, the various harlot daughters do not hold all of the false doctrines that the Mother has in her cup; yet they are still a part of Babylon (GC 383).

Next, we need to understand the fact that there is one and only one spiritual Babylon in the entire world; it is made up of the Catholic church, who is the Mother of harlots (plural), and "the various forms [plural] of false OR apostate religion" (GC 381). Here it is stated even clearer: "corruptions which have been entering the various organizations [plural] that constitute Babylon [singular]" (GC 603).

Why is it important whether Babylon is singular or plural? Because the examples given by Ellen White of common Babylonian doctrines, are referring to the wine of error found in the teachings of Babylon as a whole singular unit: "The fallen denominational churches [plural] are Babylon [singular]. Babylon [the combined unit of all these religions] has been fostering poisonous doctrines, the wine of error. This wine of error is made up of false doctrines, such as the natural immortality of the soul, the eternal torment of the wicked, the denial of the pre-existence of Christ prior to His birth in Bethlehem, and advocating and exalting the first day of the week above God's holy and sanctified day. These and kindred errors are presented to the world by various churches" (TM 61,62). Notice that she said "the various churches" are the source for these false doctrines; she didn't say that every individual church must hold all of these errors before it may be called Babylon. Now let's look at how different individual religions contribute to the wine of Babylon as a whole.

1. Roman Catholics: teach "the eternal torment of the wicked"; but not "the denial of the pre-existence of Christ prior to His birth in Bethlehem", etc.

2. Jehovah's Witnesses: teach "advocating and exalting the first day of the week above God's holy and sanctified day"; but not "the natural immortality of the soul", etc.

3. Seventh-day Baptists: teach "the natural immortality of the soul"; but not the "advocating and exalting the first day of the week above God's holy and sanctified day", etc.

Some people have the idea that the SDA denomination must teach Sunday worship and the immortality of the soul before it can become part of Babylon. The problem here is that people want an easy chair way to know when it's time to get out; something that simple doesn't take any serious thinking, studying, praying, or faith. Yes, it may take some faith. "God never asks us to believe, without giving sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith... Yet God has never removed the possibility of doubt... Those who wish to doubt will have opportunity; while those who really desire to know the truth will find plenty of evidence on which to rest their faith." (STEPS TO CHRIST, p. 105; see also PP 432).

Must Sunday keeping be promoted, before an organization can become Babylon? Does that make sense? If this is actually the case, then as long as the congregations attend a building on Saturday (or even Friday evening): they could each set up a graven image to the sun-god and bow down before it, burn the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy on an altar to it, literally sacrifice the true and faithful before it, have orgies and practice witchcraft around it, and teach every false doctrine ever invented by the devil except Sunday keeping--but still not be Babylon! Heaven help anyone who really believes such utter ridiculousness!

Others are focusing on a few technicalities related to Babylon, forgetting that God's loving purpose for calling people out of her is so that they won't be lost.

Bob De La Torre