Expose' by - Rev. Hayes Minnick
1. Denies the substitutionary nature of Christ's sacrifice on the cross. They teach that His death secures a merely conditional pardon and that Satan will ultimately bear the sins of those who become Christians.
In the book, Looking Unto Jesus, p. 237, Uriah Smith, for fifty years one of Adventism's most prominent authors, says: "Christ did not make atonement when He shed His blood upon the Cross. Let this fact be fixed forever in mind."
In the book, The Atoning Work of Christ, pp. 95 and 113, C.H. Watson, a former president of the Adventist General Conference, says, "It is impossible to conclude that a complete work of atoning for sin was wrought upon the Cross.... The work of the atonement must continue as long as probationary time shall last."
In the book, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. I, p. 199, Mrs. White says:
"Jesus has purchased redemption for us. It is ours; but we are placed here on probation to see if we will prove worthy of eternal life."
In the book, The Great Controversy, edition 1911, pp. 485—486, Mrs. White says, ". .. .the scapegoat typified Satan, the author of sin, upon whom the sins of the truly penitent will finally be placed."
What saith the Scripture? See John 19:30; I John 4:10; I Peter 3:18; II Corinthians 5:18—19; Romans 5:10—11.
Mrs. White further says: (Great Controversy — p. 420) "Sin is not cancelled by blood. By the offering of blood, the sinner simply acknowledges the authority of the law and expresses his desire for pardon." The idea of conditional pardon and probationary salvation is diametrically opposed to the doctrine of grace, making it necessary for the individual to contribute something to his own salvation. See Hebrews 9:12; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7; Galatians 2:16—21. Says Mrs. White, in the book, Christ's Object Lesson, p. 155 (1900 edition): "Those who accept the Saviour, however sincere their conversion, should never be taught to say or feel that they are saved. This is misleading." The denial of the eternal security of the believer is a denial of the substitutionary nature of Christ's death and of the doctrine of pure grace.
2. Denies the virgin birth of Christ and teaches that He had a sinful nature while on earth.
In the book, The Desire of the Ages, pp. 86—87 (edition of 1898), Mrs. White says, "...All this displeased His brothers. Being older than Jesus, they felt that He should be under their dictation." If the brothers of Jesus were older than He, then He was not virgin-born! But see Matthew 1:21-25.
In one of the official texts of Adventism, Bible Readings for the Home Circle, p. 115 (trade edition; 1915), the astounding statement is made: "In His humanity Christ partook of our sinful, fallen nature... On His human side, Christ inherited just what every child of Adam inherits -— a sinful nature."
What saith the Scripture? II Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 7:26; I Peter 2:22; I John 3:5; Romans 8:3; Hebrews 4:15.
3. William Miller, from whom Ellen G. White got her cue, taught that Christ would return to earth in 1843, later changed to 1844. But "Papa" Miller was all wrong for the simple reason that Christ is not upon earth as yet. See Mark 13:32.
In the book, The Great Controversy, pp. 421-422, Mrs. White says, ". . .Instead of coming to the earth at the termination of the 2300 days in 1844, Christ then entered the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, to perform the closing work of atonement, preparatory to His atonement."
The work of atonement was completed upon the cross (John 19:30); His present work is mediatorial, not atoning. But note how Mrs. White conveniently changed the prophecy of William Miller when it failed of fulfilment!
In the same book, pp. 485-486, she says: "at the time appointed for the judgment – the close of the 2300 days, in 1844 – began the work of investigation and blotting out of sins."
But see I John 2:12; Acts 10:43; Colossians 2:13; Ephesians 1:7; I Peter 1:19-20.
4. Teaches that no man is in this life possessed of eternal existence, and that in death the soul sleeps in complete unconsciousness; but if, in the "investigative judgment," the professed believer is found "righteous" he will, when resurrected, receive immortality.
In the book, Bible Readings for the Home Circle, pp. 381 and 387: "...in death there is no consciousness... All sentient life, animation, activity, thought, and consciousness (ceases) at death, and.. .all. . .wait till the resurrection for their future life and reward."
The Bible teaches that the believer has eternal life as a present possession. See John 5:24; 3:36; John 10:27—30; I John 5:11—12; II Peter 1:4. As for consciousness after physical death, see for the saved: II Corinthians 5:1—8; Philippines 1:23. There is no interim of soul sleep here. For the unsaved see Luke
5. Teaches that the wicked will be annihilated, thus denying the doctrine of eternal punishment.
Says Mrs. White: "The theory of eternal punishment is one of the false doctrines that constitute the wine of the abominations of Babylon."
But see Revelation 14:9-11.
6. Teaches that the seventh day, the sabbath, is to be observed in this dispensation, and that all who observe the first day of the week are accepting the mark of the beast.
In the book, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. VI, p. 350, Mrs. White says, "To us as to Israel the Sabbath is given ‘for a perpetual covenant.* To those who reverence His holy day the Sabbath is a sign that God recognizes them as His chosen people."
Thus no distinction is made between the old and the new dispensations in an attempt to identify Israel with the Church. They place themselves under law instead of grace. Their teaching with regard to tithing is the same.
But see Romans 6:14; Colossians 2:14—17; Romans 14:5.
7. In the book, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. III, p. 492, Mrs. White says, "But when the judgment of the General Conference, which is the highest authority that God has upon earth, is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be maintained, but surrendered."
But see Isaiah 8:20. The Word of God alone is of absolute and final authority for the believer.
* * * * * * * * *
December 15, 1971
Dear Mr. Holbrook:
Let me thank you for your kind letter of September 22, and for the book forwarded to me at that time on Seventh day Adventist doctrine. I greatly appreciate your taking the time to reply in detail, as also the frank and courteous manner in which you have written. No apology is necessary for the delay, and I trust that you will pardon my delay as I have been in much the same position as you by way of being busy in many demands upon my time. But I do want to acknowledge your letter and thank you for being so gracious as to send me the book.
I am, of course, diametrically opposed to Seventh Day Adventism and have been exposing it through more than thirty years of ministry as a system devised of Satan to delude the souls of men and send them to the eternal hell that you deny. The more closely any cult conforms itself to evangelical doctrine in appearance, the more clever, and therefore, the more dangerous, will be the counterfeit form of Christianity which is thus produced. And that is what Seventh day Adventism is – a clever counterfeit. I have nothing but compassion for those who are so spiritually blind as to be enslaved by it; but as a faithful minister of the Lord Jesus Christ, I must expose it for what it is. It has been very apparent for many years that the representatives of your movement have been most eager to win the approval of evangelicals for the purpose of propagandizing the peculiar "message" of Seventh Day Adventism. You will understand from what I have thus far written that as an old—fashioned Bible—believing fundamentalist it is absolutely impossible for me to endorse this Satanic system or give recognition to Adventists as being truly Christian. If you were genuinely born again of the Holy Spirit and obedient to the authority of the Word of God, you would repudiate Ellen G. White, leave the Adventist movement, and identify yourself with a sound Bible—believing fellowship.
You state in your letter that I have a right to be disturbed about Adventism if it truly stands for what I say it does. But it is not what I have said that condemns it. Seventh Day Adventism stands self—condemned by the statements and pronouncements of its leaders appearing in official publications extending well over a period of more than fifty years. You do not deny the taint and corruption of a pernicious Arian influence in the early period of the movement. Yet, what has been done to correct it? It would take drastic measures to counteract the tremendous amount of brainwashing accomplished through so long a period of time. A mere summary statement touching only the surface of evangelical doctrine will not suffice. Nor will one book, or a score of books, published since 1957 serve the purpose of stemming the tidal wave of heresy created by the propagandists for Seventh Day Adventism on the local level. Indeed, it would require an outright repudiation of the heretical utterances made and of the individuals who made them, if you are to present convincing evidence of change in the position of Seventh Day Adventism as it relates to the Person of Christ. As of this date, I have not yet seen any such repudiations. Nor would I expect to, for in the book you sent to me (the examination of which is one of the reasons for my lengthy delay) there is the further endorsement of the damnable doctrine that it was possible for Christ to sin.
How blasphemous is the statement of Ellen G. White: "Yet into the world where Satan claimed dominion God permitted His Son to come, a helpless babe, subject to the weakness of humanity. He permitted Him to meet life's peril in common with every human soul, to fight the battle as every child of humanity must fight it, at the risk of failure and eternal loss." (The Desire of Ages, 1898, page 49) Are we to suppose even for one split second that Christ might have failed in His mission and that He Himself was thus running the risk of eternal loss? God forbid the thought! Do you not see what this does to the doctrine of His absolute Deity? While it is true that a perfect human nature is capable of sinning (as in the case of Adam), it is utterly inconceivable that the human nature of Christ in hypostatic union with a Divine Person should be capable of sin. As the God-Man He was not involved in any risk whatsoever in His encounter with Satan. It is sheer blasphemy to infer that He might have fallen prey to the temptation of Satan. It amazes me to see the length to which you go in an attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable on page 60 of your book. It would seem that such inconsistences in her written statements were rather the aberrations of a neurotic woman than evidence of the gift of prophecy which you claim for her. We believe that such a claim is counterfeit for at least three reasons: (1) The special gifts of the Spirit were to cease with the completion of the Canon of Scripture, including the gift of prophecy, I Corinthians 13:8—10; (2) During the period in which these gifts were in operation women were absolutely forbidden to speak in public assemblies, I Corthinans 14:33—35. In matters of doctrine and discipline, women were to have no part, I Timothy 2:11-12; (3) The doctrines of Ellen G. White are completely contrary to the Word of God.
Equally blasphemous is the statement of the man who for many years was an editor for Signs of the Times: "In His veins was the incubus of a tainted heredity, like a caged lion, ever seeking to break forth and destroy. Temptation attacked Him where by heredity He was weakest -- attacked Him in unexpected times and ways. In spite of bad blood and inherited meanness, He conquered." (Wilcox, March 1927). Did this statement just happen to get into an official publication of the S.D.A. movement? Was not this man a spokesman of some authority for many years? You know very well that this emphasis has been prevalent in S.D.A. circles throughout the course of its history. The following statement appeared in the 1888 edition of Bible Readings for the Home Circle, and appears again as late as the 1944 edition, page 174: "In His humanity Christ partook of our sinful, fallen nature. If not, then He was not made ‘like unto His brethren,’ was not ‘in all points tempted like as we are,’ did not overcome, and is not, therefore, the complete and perfect Saviour man needs and must have to be saved. The idea that Christ was born of an immaculate and sinless mother, inherited no tendencies to sin, and for this reason did not sin, removes Him from the realm of a fallen world, and from the very place where help is needed. On His human side, Christ inherited just what every child of Adam inherits – a sinful, fallen nature.
On the divine side, from His very conception He was begotten and born of the Spirit. And this was done so to place man on vantage-ground, and to demonstrate that in the same way everyone who is ‘born of the Spirit* may gain like victories over sin in his own sinful flesh." Surely it is spelled out too clearly here to deny, and this diabolic doctrine has been going into Adventist homes through the medium of a favorite devotional book for a period of well over fifty years. Did not these various spokesmen for Seventh Day Adventism mean what they said? If not, they ought to have said what they meant! Incidentally, the myth of the immaculate conception is Roman Catholic doctrine and is rejected by Bible-believing Protestants, as Adventists very well know. It is the miracle of the virgin birth that produced the sinless nature of Christ's humanity, not the supposed immaculateness of Mary's womb.
By no stretch of the imagination can Seventh Day Adventist doctrine as it pertains to atonement be considered evangelical. While piously professing belief in the doctrine of vicarious atonement, you deny the truly substitutionary nature of the death of Christ through your adherence to the absolutely false and completely unfounded, fanciful notion of an investigative judgement conducted by Christ for the alleged purpose of cleansing the sanctuary. If you believe the one, you cannot logically believe the other. Why do you persist in saying that Christ paid the penalty for sin in full when you know very well that Adventist doctrine insists that the believer's sins have not as yet been blotted out, but have been merely transferred to the sanctuary pending further investigation? The following is found in Drama of the Ages, by W.H. Branson, a past president of the S.D.A. sect: "Take an individual who accepts Christ as his Saviour and humbly confesses his sins to God. By these acts and by His acceptance his sins are transferred to the sanctuary. But they cannot at that time be blotted out. The final blotting out must wait until the end of his life or until probation closes for him. Why? Because he may not continue in the faith." If this is not conditional pardon, what else could it possibly be? Mr. Branson continues, "Thus, before the Lord can blot out the sins from the record books, a very careful examination has to be made to see whether those who accepted Christ are still worthy." (Page 278) In all of this, he is following Ellen G. White from whom you quoted in your letter.
This entire sanctuary and investigative~judgment scheme -- and I mean just that --reeks of the stench of Arminian theology, with its mixture of grace plus personal worthiness as a condition of salvation. You may pay lip service to the doctrine of grace, but have not the slightest conception of what the Bible doctrine of grace really is. For you do not see that the believer's one and only ground of acceptance with God is the shed blood and finished work of Christ upon the cross, entirely apart from human merit of any kind. All that you see in the work of the cross is a pardon from past sins; from that point on the individual must keep himself in a state of "salvation" through his continued obedience and faithfulness. You know nothing of the glorious doctrine of justification as taught in the Word of God, whereby the believer is completely justified from all sin --past, present, and future — and is clothed in the perfect righteousness of Christ, through which imputed righteousness alone he stands without fault before the throne of a holy God in a relationship that is eternal and immutable, and in no wise conditioned upon any supposed worthiness, faithfulness, or obedience of the individual himself. Not one thing can the believer do, either before salvation or after salvation, that would commend him to God. The Lord Jesus did it all. It is His obedience as the sinner's substitute (Romans 5:19), and His obedience alone, that constitutes the ground of the believer's justification before God. And until you see this, you have no right to talk about vicarious atonement or to say that Jesus paid the penalty in full. If Jesus paid it all, then there is nothing, absolutely nothing, left for the penitent sinner to do but believe.
Yet, Adventism insists that there is something left for the individual to do or to pay, and in so doing you mix works with grace as a condition of salvation, and thus place yourselves under the two-fold anathema of Galatians 1:6-9. On page 139 of the book already quoted from by Mr. Branson this statement appears: "A man who has never kept the law can be forgiven and justified before God, but he cannot remained justified without keeping it." This is pure legalism, the Devil’s own "do-it-yourself-with-a-little-help-from-the-Lord" religion. If this is what you choose to believe, that is your prerogative, but please don’t call it evangelical! No S.D.A. has ever had, or ever can have, absolute assurance of salvation. He must wait, as Mr. Branson has said, until the end of his life or probation closes for him. Salvation, for Adventists, consists merely of pardon from past sins and being put on probation for the rest of their lives. Such a "salvation" is no salvation at all. It is sheer folly to speak of "security" in a system that teaches that a person can be saved and then lost. Your denial of the blessed doctrine of the believer’s security reveals how thoroughly destitute you are of the doctrine of pure grace.
The S.D.A. doctrine pertaining to Satan and the bearing of sins is as absurd as your doctrine of double atonement. You say in your letter that the live goat bears sin in only a punitive sense, but not in any saving sense. In making the live goat symbolize Satan you thus deny the punitive nature of the sacrificial death of Christ upon the cross. Mrs. White has made this very clear in The Great Controversy -- "Satan, bearing the guilt of all the sins which he has caused God's people to commit," etc. But it is the very bearing of guilt that delivers from the wrath of God and brings salvation to those who trust Christ. Yet you attribute this guilt—bearing to Satan in spite of the fact that the Scriptures clearly and categorically declare that it was Christ "who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree" (I Peter 2:24). The prophet Isaiah looking forward to the death of Christ wrote in a very emphatic manner that "the Lord hath laid on Him (Christ, not Satan) the iniquity of us all!" (Isaiah 53:6). John the Baptist pointed the generation of his day to Christ, crying "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:29). If Christ did not bear the guilt of human sin a punitive sense, then there is no salvation in His death. The fact of the matter is that both goats in Leviticus sixteen typify Christ in two aspects of a single sin—offering, even as the two birds in Leviticus fourteen. The one that was slain points to the fact that He was "delivered for our offences," while the live goat indicates that He has carried our sins far away, having accomplished a complete removal, in that He was "raised again for our justification" (Romans 4:25). In no sense, whatsoever, is the matter of sin—bearing to be attributed to Satan. If you choose to believe otherwise, that is your prerogative, but please do not call it evangelical!
Your statement concerning Peter further reveals how completely destitute of discernment Adventists are with regard to the doctrine of grace. Peter's fall involved loss of fellowship, not of salvation. Those who endure unto the end are saved, not because they endure; they endure because they are saved. Peter's victory lay in the fact of Christ's intercession, Luke 22:32.
I am aware, of course, that Mrs. White did not intentionally intend to deny the virgin birth of Christ in affirming that the brothers of Jesus were older than He. Yet, virtually, by way of implication and inference, this is the net result of her stupid statement when placed over against the standard of God's infallible Word and its clear teaching that the brothers and sisters of Jesus were His mother's own children (Psalm 69:8). It is by this standard that the confused writings of this confused woman must be judged, and not by the Romish dogma which she adopted. There is absolutely no Scriptural ground whatsoever for believing that the Lord's brethren in the flesh were the children of Joseph by a former marriage. Her inconsistency at this point conjoined with the S.D.A. doctrine of the nature of Christ cast a definite disparagement upon the doctrine of the virgin birth, no matter how piously you profess to believe it. It should be obvious to anyone with an ounce of spiritual discernment that E.G. White was a mixed up woman with a mixed up message. It would seem that intellectual honesty would require that you reject her authority and abandon the inconsistencies and vagaries of her mystic mind. The elimination of the teaching concerning the sinful nature of Christ from the 1949 edition of Bible Readings will hardly relieve the opprobrium brought upon the Person of Christ through the pumping of this damnable doctrine into S.D.A. homes for well over a half of a century prior to that time. As emphasized earlier in this letter, it would take a complete rejection of the entire S.D.A. system and all of its heresies to make it evangelically acceptable. The chameleon-like character of every false cult is evidenced in the many and frequent changes it makes to relieve itself of those features which have become embarrassing along the way.
The Millerite movement was a mess, wasn*t it! It is this type of thing that brings reproach upon the doctrine of the second coming of Christ. At least Miller was honest enough to admit he was mistaken. No one ever considered applying the prophecy of Daniel 8:13-14 to the work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary until it became necessary to devise some plan to save the teachings of the self-deceived Miller from being thoroughly discredited. It took a mystic-minded female with a convenient vision to bail him out! In Early Writings, 1882 Edition, page 64, we have this sample of puerility: "I have seen that the 1843 chart was directed by the hand of the Lord, and that it should not be altered, that the figures were as the Lord directed them; that his hand was over, and hid a mistake in some of the figures." Now just what in the name of common sense did she mean? If the chart was directed by the hand of the Lord, and the figures were as the Lord directed them, we would not expect to find a mistake, let alone the Lord with His hand over one to cover it, would we? The prophecy of Daniel has no reference whatsoever to the year 1844. The mistakes are all Ellen G.’s, not the Lord’s. Had the translators translated Daniel 8:13-14 correctly, the word "days" would not have appeared. The prophecy is a reference to the daily sacrifice which consisted of two sacrifices each day, one in the morning and one in the evening — or as the Jewish people observed it, evening and morning. Twenty-three hundred of these "evening-morning" sacrifices would involve a period of 1150 twenty-four hour days, not 2300 years. Christ has been in the holiest of all since His ascension to the Father's right hand (Hebrews 10:12-22). It is nothing short of ridiculous to teach, as Mrs. White, that it took him 1800 years to get there! And if there be anything more ridiculous, it is the unfounded allegation that He is now occupied in the "blotting out of sins." These are Mrs. White's own words in The Great Controversy. You may choose to believe this nonsense; that is your prerogative, but please do not call it evangelical! My sins were dealt with fully and finally, completely blotted out at the cross of Calvary, and His wonderful Word has given me the guarantee that they will never be remembered against me again forever -- hallelujah! God has erased them from His memory.
In your paragraph on "soul sleep" you make it very clear according to doctrine that no one has, or can have, eternal life as a present possession. You say that in Christ a man "receives the promise of eternal life but he does not possess such innately." This means, of course, that he does not have it now. The best that the S.D.A. system can offer is the promise of eternal life as a mere future hope! The verse you give is I John 5:12. You had better read this verse again, and you will see that there is no mention whatsoever of the word "promise" in it. It simply says, "He that hath the Son hath life." It does not say, "shall have life," but hath life as a present possession. The preceding verse makes it even more explicit, "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son." All the verbs are in the past and present tenses, not future. Through the experience of the new birth the genuine believer has imparted to him the very life of Christ as a gift of God's grace the very moment he believes, and thus enjoys it as a present possession. You say you believe in the doctrine of regeneration (point 14), but just what did you receive in the new birth if you do not now have eternal life? The words "mortal" and "immortal" have to do with the body, not the soul. Hence, there is only one person of the Trinity possessed of immortality, Christ, who alone has a body, I Timothy 6:16. And while the believer will not receive immortality until the resurrection, his redeemed spirit goes immediately into the Presence of the Lord at death, II Corinthians 5:8, in a fully conscious state to enjoy the bliss of Heaven (Psalm 16:11), awaiting the resurrection at which time spirit and body will be united. The souls of those who are unsaved pass immediately into eternal conscious torment at death, Luke 16:19-21, "where their worm (figure of speech for the soul) dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." (Mark 9:43-49) There is no such thing as "soul sleep" taught in the Bible. The Book of Ecclesiastes is a Divinely inspired record of the highest that human wisdom can achieve apart from Divine revelation. The issues of life and death are viewed purely from the standpoint of the natural man -- under the sun. It is not a Divine revelation of what transpires after death as you mistakenly suppose. It is the body that "sleeps," and not the soul. You may trifle with the Word of God now instead of trembling at it; you may laugh off the doctrine of eternal conscious torment in a never-ending hell for the present, but I warn you that you will have a rude awakening in eternity to come.
Your denial of the doctrine of eternal torment reveals how utterly shallow a concept you have of sin; of the holiness and justice of God; and of the sacrifice of the Son of God at Calvary. If you do not believe in the doctrine of eternal conscious torment in a never-ending hell, you haven*t the slightest notion as to what Christ accomplished in His redeeming work upon the cross. If you understood what happened at Calvary, you would know why God had to make a hell for those who reject His mercy and grace. See Hebrews 10:29. When you burn in hell, Mr. Holbrook, you will never be able to say that no one told you the truth. The lake of fire will exist and be observable as an eternal testimony to the justice of a holy God. And if this doesn*t fit your concept of love, you had better change your concept of love and bring it into conformity with the Bible. But please, please, do not call your Adventist doctrine evangelical!
The fact that you make no distinction between Israel in the Old Testament and the Church in the New perverts your entire perspective with regard to the sabbath, the character of the Church, and the prophetic program pertaining to the nation of Israel. The weekly sabbath, and all of the other sabbaths, were given to Israel as an earthly nation to be a sign of her covenant relation to God under the old dispensation, Exodus 31:12-18. Nehemiah 9:14 fixes beyond all cavil the time when the sabbath, a type of God’s creation rest, was given to man. There is no statement of clear proof regarding the time element in Genesis 2:1-3. Moreover, the sabbath is not mentioned by name in the book of Genesis, nor until the time of Moses. There is no statement that any of the patriarchs kept the sabbath or knew anything about it. Let’s face it – there is absolutely no mention, whatsoever, of sabbath observance until after Exodus. It was then that it was made known, the very language indicating that it was not known before then. The statement in Nehemiah 9:13-14 is further corroborated in Ezekiel 20:10-12. Could language be any more clear, and the fact be stated any more plainly? It does not say that God restored the sabbath, but that He gave it to them, thus as a sign of the covenant which He established with them when He brought them out of Egypt. See, also, Deuteronomy 5:15. The sabbath was never given to the Gentiles. Throughout the Old Testament the Gentiles are denounced again and again for all other kinds of sins, but not once for breaking the sabbath, though none of them kept it. Your interpretation of Mark 2:27,28 is entirely out of context. The Lord Jesus made this statement in defense of His disciples against the charge of sabbath—breaking. He was not giving a history of the origin of the sabbath, nor defending its sacredness against desecration, nor indicating that it was made for all the race. As the Son of Man, He declared Himself Lord of the sabbath, thus demonstrating human necessities to be superior to sabbath observance. In using the illustration of David, He laid emphasis upon the fact that His needs were superior to ceremonial precept. The service of the priest in the temple, which profaned the sabbath day, was superior to the sabbath observance (Matthew 12:5). Even the preservation of animal life was superior to the sabbath (Matthew 12:9-12). It should be abundantly clear from these examples that the observance of the strict letter of the sabbath law is not a matter of the highest importance.
There is not in the entire New Testament one command to keep the seventh day. Neither Christ nor His apostles gave such a command. It is not once said that it is wrong to work on the seventh day, or that God will bless any one for observing it. No one is ever reproved for working on the sabbath day, nor approved or commended for keeping it. If disregarding the seventh day is so great a crime as Adventists claim, it is incredible that no warning against it should be given in the whole of the New Testament, not even once. Reference to the first commandment is found at least fifty times in the New Testament. Idolatry involving the second commandment, is condemned twelve times. Profanity, covered by the third commandment, is condemned four times. The honoring of one's parents, which is the fifth commandment, is taught at least six times. Adultery, the seventh commandment, is condemned twelve times. Theft, the eighth commandment, is condemned six times. False witness, forbidden by the ninth commandment, is condemned four times. Coveteousness, the tenth commandment, is condemned nine times. Yet not once is the fourth commandment repeated in the New Testament; no Christian was ever commanded to observe it; and no Christian was ever condemned for breaking the sabbath. Long lists of sins are presented in the New Testament covering every possible shade of wickedness (thirteen in Mark 7:21—22; nineteen in Romans 1:29-31; seventeen in Galatians 5:19—21; eighteen in II Timothy 3:1-4), yet, there is not the slightest reference to disregard for the seventh day. Why this total absence of any command in the New Testament to reverence the seventh day? Obviously, because it was a Jewish institution and passed away with the old economy, having been abolished through the death of Christ along with the rest of the law, Colossians 2:12—14. In keeping with the character of the new dispensation of grace, the believer is not only not commanded to keep the seventh day, but is exhorted not to submit himself to the legalistic observance of any day! Galatians 4:8—11; Colossians 2:16-23; Romans 14:5; Romans 6:14. Nor will it do to argue that "sabbaton" in Colossians 2:16 has no reference to the weekly sabbath. Out of the sixty times the word sabbath is used in the New Testament, Adventists admit that in fifty-nine of the sixty it means the weekly sabbath, but in this one instance you say it means something else. Reference to the feast days and new moons in Colossians 2:16 includes all the holy days of the Jewish people except the weekly sabbath; hence there is nothing else left to which ‘sabbaton" could apply but the weekly sabbath.
It is absurd to argue, as do Adventists, that there was nothing ceremonial in the decalogue or about sabbath observance. It was partly moral and partly ceremonial. The sabbath law rested upon a moral basis in that it provided a weekly sabbath for the nation of Israel. But there is nothing sacred in the day itself. It was not until after He had rested that God blessed and hallowed it (Genesis 2:3), thus indicating that it became sacred by Divine appointment. He did not rest on the seventh day because it was inherently holy; He made it holy because He rested on that day. The very act of hallowing makes it ceremonial. It was a moral duty that one day out of seven be devoted to the Lord. All the rest of the aspects and circumstances surrounding the observance of the day were purely ceremonial – by positive appointment. The laws regulating the manner in which it should be kept plainly show that it was a local institution adapted only for the Jewish people in a limited geographical locality. No fires must be built on the sabbath, Exodus 35:3; they must neither bake nor boil that day, Exodus 16:23; they must not go out of the house, Exodus 16:29; their priests must offer two lambs that day, Numbers 28:9; they must compel all living in their land to keep it, Exodus 20:10; they must stone all who broke it, Exodus 31:14; it must be kept from sunset to sunset, Leviticus 23:32; their cattle must rest, Exodus 20:10; no meetings were appointed for that day, it was to be wholly a day of rest. No S.D.A. does these things today. Indeed, it would be impossible for them to do most of them.
So there goes your sabbath observance out the window! Your failure to make any distinction between the nation of Israel as God's chosen earthly people and the Church in this dispensation as His heavenly people; your assumption that God is through with Israel as a nation and that the Church has taken Israel's place, causes you to impose upon your adherents a system of legalistic bondage which it is impossible for them to fulfill. You would put the Church back under law. For if the Church has taken Israel's place, and sabbath observance is obligatory today as a perpetual covenant, so also are all of the other perpetual ordinances imposed upon Israel as a nation. And there were many of them. The only covenant the Church shares with Abraham is the promise of salvation in Christ, Galatians 3:6—9, 13—16. In this sense, and in this sense only, are we the spiritual seed of Abraham, Galatians 3:29; 6:16. The Church as a definite, distinct, entirely new creation, has a character and destiny all of its own. It had its origin on the day of Pentecost and will be completed at the rapture, I Thessalonians 4:13-18. Her citizenship is heavenly, and she is related to her Lord as a bride to her Bridegroom, Philippians 3:20—21; Ephesians 5:23—33. The Church is not Israel, and Israel is not the Church. When the Church is raptured and taken out of the world, God will again deal directly with the nation of Israel who in this present dispensation has been set aside temporarily. God has not cast away Abraham's nation! Romans 11:1-2, 25-26. He will yet fulfill every promise He has made to her, reinstating her in her own land as the head nation of the earth under the millennial reign of Christ, Zechariah 8:23. She will again observe her sabbath (Ezekiel. 46:1 ff) as the sign of her covenant relationship with God. The sabbath was Israel's, and Israel's alone. It was never intended for the Church, whose day of worship is the first day of the week, the Lord's Day, in which she commemorates the resurrection of her blessed Lord. If it had not been for the hallucinations of a mystic—mad woman who claimed in a vision to have seen the tables of the decalogue, and the fourth commandment in the very center of the ten precepts, "with a soft halo of light encircling it," the seventh day movement would never have gotten off the ground!
The statement you quote from the pen of Mrs. White pertaining to the authority of the Scriptures is as highly objectionable as is her pronouncement with regard to the authority of the General Conference. She said, as stated in your letter: "The Holy Scriptures are to be accepted as an authoritative, infallible revelation of His will," etc. Why the indefinite article "an"? Why did she not say that the Word of God is the authoritative revelation of His will? What other authority could there possibly be beyond the authority of the Word of God? Absolutely none! There is no other authority than that of the Holy Scriptures. Yet, Ellen G. White makes room for another authority through the use of the indefinite article "an." And that other authority is, of course, the voice of the General Conference of the Seventh Day Adventists. In language that cannot be misunderstood when taken at its face value, she blatantly and blasphemously asserts that the General Conference "is the highest authority that God has upon earth," thus placing the authority of the General Conference above the authority of the Word of God. If the voice of the General Conference is the highest authority of God, it is obvious that the only authority the Scriptures have is an authority as interpreted by the Conference. Just what difference is there between this diabolic doctrine and that of the Roman hierarchy? Rome too, says she believes in the authority of the Scriptures, but only as interpreted by the Pope and her priests. The statement of Mrs. White is thoroughly reprehensible in any context. No true child of God can afford to surrender his conscience to any form of super-imposed ecclesiastical authority. Jesus Christ alone is Lord of the individual conscience, and the Word of God is the one and only authority for faith and practice. And, incidently, it was the Word of God that governed the decision of the Jerusalem Council in Acts fifteen, not the popular vote of the assembly (Acts 15:15).
Let me thank you again for having written to me. I earnestly pray that by a mighty miracle of grace, the Spirit of God will remove the blindness from your eyes and deliver you from the soul-deluding, soul-daming doctrine of Seventh Day Adventism.
In Jesus’ Precious Name
/s/ Hayes Minnick
Written by - Rev. Hayes K. Minnick