By Tom Mostert, President

Pacific Union Conference

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Dear Reader,


The following article is most interesting and important. Elder Tom Mostert is retiring this year and he is beginning to sound the alarm. Ron




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Tom Mostert, President

Dear Pacific Union Member:

As some of you who regularly read my letters know, I tend to focus on issues impacting the personal or collective faith and mission of our members and the Church in general. Matters we recognize are there, yet
for various reasons are not discussed. Here is my latest hot button issue!

The Zero Sum Equation

More and more Adventist members and some pastors are modifying their faith according to what is or is not convenient to believe and practice. Most do not admit this is the reason, but I have noticed most of the
modifications are in the area of sanctification; the process of progressive development of a God-like mind and lifestyle. Few tamper with the basic free gift of salvation. Let me illustrate how it works...


A person is raised with the guilt trip of legalism hanging around their neck in the name of sanctification. It robbed them of peace of mind and made religion an intolerable burden to bear. But they are more
enlightened now, and have simply accepted the free gift of salvation provided through the death and resurrection of Jesus. In general, they hope to become more like Him in thought and lifestyle, but any worry about specifics simply destroys their peace of mind. So if it is important, God will bring it to mind — otherwise, they practice sanctification only in general terms.

Total acceptance of the traditional Adventist understanding of sanctification is ZERO.


Someone decides they will believe in general healthful living, but not worry about the details. Since various studies show the benefits of red wine, and they like the taste and relaxation qualities of it anyway, it is incorporated into their diet — in moderation, of course! Likewise with coffee. After all, what is a modern lifestyle without a caffeine kick?

When the list is finished, the incorporation of the traditional Adventist health message in their lifestyle is ZERO.


Church leaders have attempted to get people involved in various witnessing activities. But they don't like the pressure to participate, and strangers always scare them. So they say to themselves, "Why go through the pain and discomfort of activities which bring limited
results? I'll settle for saying something positive for God when someone asks me a direct religious question. That leaves it to God to bring me the person, and spares me the time and energy necessary for an unpleasant activity. Anyway, I am so busy with job and family it is
impossible to find the time."

Intentional sharing of the Adventist faith with others? ZERO.


Where once it seemed important to have a modern day prophet to warn and instruct us as we prepare for the second coming of Jesus, it is now inconvenient to accept Ellen White's pointed counsel about personal
changes. My, the list is endless! So we look for reasons not to read her: some say she might have simply copied large portions of the material in her books; the church was so legalistic in the past, she probably just flowed with the times. Now our emphasis is on salvation
through Jesus, full and complete.

Total serious consideration of the prophetic messages from Ellen White = ZERO.

What Do You Have Left?

These are but a few examples of a long list of thought patterns developing in members' lives. You could add belief in absolutes, the unique mission of the Adventist Church , and faithfulness in tithing. In the end each area equals ZERO.

A church whose distinctive truths have been zeroed out is left with nothing different from the community church down the street. The unique Seventh-day Adventist message and mission is reduced to ZERO.

Sincerely your friend,

Tom Mostert, President

Pacific Union Conference

Editorial, Pacific Union Recorder, August, 2007


Ron’s Commentary: You could add that because all of the above is true, the presence of God in the church is reduced to ZERO.

I have noticed the lack of “absolutes” in the theology of many SDA’s who claim enlightenment.