Ben Carson, POTUS, and the SDA

I could be amiss here, but it seemed pretty clear to me that when Ben Carson released his 2012 book, America the Beautiful, he was contemplating life in politics, if not a run for the White House. With his brand new book One Nation just coming out and being launched at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in March, I have even less doubt he may well run for President of the United States (POTUS).

Image of One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future
One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future by Carson MD, Ben (Author), Carson, Candy (Author) Amazon logo

That being the case, one could simply say “Go Ben” and leave it at that. The recently retired neurosurgeon is a very impressive fellow with pretty solid conservative credentials, and would make a great POTUS. But I fear that just as many misguided and unhelpful Christians refused to vote for Mitt Romney in 2012 because he is a Mormon, many will do the same with Carson since he is a lifelong Seventh-day Adventist.

Of course the next US election is not even close – it is a full two and a half years away (November 2016). But those considering running for POTUS or VPOTUS need to plan things very early on. So while he has not fully declared his hand here yet, there is a good chance he could run.

So for that reason it may be worth while looking a bit more closely at what the SDAs actually believe, and whether these beliefs are something Christians have to be worried about. Specifically, are they more or less a Christian group, or in fact a cult?

To try to answer that, we must say a few words about the history and teaching of the SDA. It basically started when Ellen G. White (1827-1915) in the 1840s claimed to get visions and revelations from God. Let me pause here for a moment. It is most interesting that quite a few cults all emerged around the same time in the US with very similar features.

Most had strong charismatic leaders, often claiming direct revelations from God, and most were millennialists. Four quite famous ones which also emerged during this period were:
-Mormons: 1820s, Joseph Smith
-Christadelphians: 1840s, John Thomas
-Christian Science, 1870s, Mary Baker Eddy
-Jehovah’s Witnesses: 1870s, Charles Taze Russell

But back to the SDA. Obviously as their name implies, one of their chief tenets is the rejection of Sunday as the day of rest, and the dogged commitment to only a Saturday Sabbath. And they are another adventist or millennial group. Many of the groups mentioned above were influenced by the teachings of William Miller who in 1833 publicly predicted the Second Advent of Jesus Christ in 1843-1844.

When that failed to materialise, his many followers reacted differently. Soon thereafter White started receiving her visions. A seventh-day Sabbath was one of her revelations, along with special emphasis on diet and health. Complete abstinence from coffee, tea, alcohol, tobacco, pork and various types of seafood is an important part of their religious practice.

The revelations and prophecies of White led to the formation of the first SDA church in 1863 with some 3,500 founding members. The church grew due to conferences, Bible study groups, and her books, such as The Great Controversy (1858), which helped to spread her message.

Theological problems of the SDA church include: an unnecessary legalism with emphasis on Old Testament ceremonial laws as necessary for salvation; belief that Jesus had a “sinful nature”; belief that Satan was a scapegoat and on him mankind’s sin was laid; belief that Sunday Sabbath observance is a mark of the beast; belief in soul sleep; and a denial of the eternal punishment of the lost.

So back to our original question: Is it a cult? One leading expert on the cults is the late Walter Martin. In his important volume, Kingdom of the Cults, first published in 1965, the founder of the Christian Research Institute looked at a number of the major cults. He did not include the SDAs in the main body of the work.

However, (as in my Revised 1968 version of the book), he did have a lengthy (64-page) appendix closely examining the group and its teaching. He begins his careful study with these words:

“It is my conviction that one cannot be a true Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, Christian Scientist, etc., and be a Christian in the Biblical sense of the term; but it is perfectly possible to be a Seventh-day Adventist and be a true follower of Jesus Christ despite heterodox concepts which will be discussed.”

And he concludes the appendix this way: “I am convinced of the sincerity of the Adventists’ claim to regeneration and allegiance to the New Testament principle of saving grace. I appreciate their high regard for the law of God and their desire to obey it. I cannot agree, however, with their insistence upon linking ‘commandment-keeping’ to observance of the ceremonial law, especially with regard to ‘unclean’ foods. I feel, moreover, that they err in saying that Michael is a title of Christ, and I believe that I have shown that they violate the linguistic and scriptural meaning of Jude 9.”

It should be noted that there have been some major splits, factions and doctrinal divisions over recent decades in the SDA, with some still siding fully with White and her revelations, others not, and so on. So it is not a monolithic, uniform body today.

As one of their own told me elsewhere: “Right Bill. I was brought up SDA. Very difficult to explain their theology if not brought up with it. Some are on the Christian cultic side but others are not – just Christians who go to church on Saturday.”

Many of the older standard works on the cults included the SDA, such as Hoekema’s 1963 The Four Major Cults; Van Baalan’s 1962 The Chaos of the Cults; Gerstner’s 1960 The Theology of the Major Sects; DeHaan’s 1958 A Study of Cults; and Breese’s 1975 Know the Marks of the Cults. But many of the newer works on the cults and aberrant religious movements are less confident in making this claim, partly because of the various recent changes taking place in the SDA world.

For example, McDowell and Stewart’s 1992 volume, The Deceivers, briefly discuss the SDA and a few other groups in a section on “Groups in Transition.” In their earlier volume, Handbook of Today’s Religions, they barely get a mention. A three-page article on them found in the Dictionary of Contemporary Religion in the Western World edited by Partridge discusses their history and teaching, noting areas of divergence from evangelicalism.

Ruth Tucker in her 1989 Another Gospel says this: “When the distinctive doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventists are not strongly emphasized, most Protestant evangelicals would probably find themselves far more at home in an Adventist church service than in a liberal mainline Protestant one.”

Bob Larson’s volume, Larson’s New Book of the Cults (1982, 1989) does not even mention White or the SDA. Nor do Ankerberg and Weldon in their 1999 Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions. Ditto for Mather and Nichols’ 1993 Dictionary of Cults, Sects, Religions and the Occult.

So all in all, I would tend to not call them a full-fledged cult. They certainly do not deny some of the biblical fundamentals that the other cults do, such as the deity of Christ and the Trinity. They do have some odd, if not aberrant teachings, but some of those seem to be in flux to some extent at the moment.

So, if Ben Carson will get involved in US Presidential politics in the days ahead (and we are still not even sure if he will), it seems to me that if you are inclined to not vote for him because of his faith tradition, that may not be a very good reason for any Christian to raise here.

As I said often enough back in 2012 as I was defending Romney over against Obama to all the purist critics, Romney was not running for theologian-in-chief, but for POTUS. This will be just as true of Carson – if he runs. Even if there are areas of concern about SDA theology, teachings and practice, we are not voting for them but for one individual.

So soon enough we may learn if Carson throws his hat in the ring. While he is not perfect in all areas (who is?), he is a very substantial conservative and Christian thinker on most important issues, and at this early stage would certainly get my vote.

For further reading on the SDA, as found on the Web, here are three helpful, balanced and informative articles:
www.probe.org/site/c.fdKEIMNsEoG/b.4223487/k.8916/Are_SeventhDay_Adventists_Christians_or_a_Cult.htm
www.searchingthescriptures.net/main_pages/answering_cults/seventh_day_adventism/sda_a_cult.htm
www.apologeticsindex.org/3100-seventh-day-adventism

Also, Ben Carson’s new book can be viewed here: www.amazon.com/One-Nation-What-Americas-Future/dp/1595231129

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26 Replies to “Ben Carson, POTUS, and the SDA”

  1. Dear Bill, You have written how a Seventh Day Adventist seems to want to run for the U.S. Presidential elections. After the nonsense we have seen from Barack Obama, etc., perhaps we should ask what beliefs Ben Carsons has about abortion, same sex marriage, etc. With best wishes, Franklin

  2. Thanks Franklin. We already know that he is pro-life and that he believes marriage is between a man and a woman. If he does run, we hope that he stays strong on such beliefs.

  3. Nice article Bill. The SDA’s do have some interesting views on certain practises (e.g. alcohol consumption).

    I just find it weird that people claim to have these revelations from God regarding something like not consuming alcohol, and yet (as you state in another article on your site re: alcohol sonsumption) all other scripture points towards it being more than ok provided it is done in a sensible manner.

    It’s even more proposterous of course for Islam where they are effectively forbidden to do so and yet one of their great “prophets” in Jesus did the exact thing that mohammed calls people defiled by *shakes head*

    My main question i’d like to ask is this:

    I’ve been in conversations with SDA’s before and whilst I think the spirit within can confirm if another has the spirit of the Lord also by their actions and beliefs of crucial biblical concepts (grace through Christs atoning death on our behalf), when it comes to discussing the roots of the vision of the SDA’s is this something you think we should be rebuking outright or rather just dialoging and instead shifting the focus back to what we would deem canonical scripture?

  4. Ben Carson has very admirable views on moral and economic issues. He is most definitely pro-life, and points out that he has operated on the unborn patient. He also slammed the leftists greed for higher tax rates from a biblical perspective:

    What about our taxation system? So complex there is no one who can possibly comply with every jot and tittle of our tax system. If I wanted to get you, I could get you on a tax issue. … I see the fairest individual in the Universe, God, and he’s given us a system. It’s called tithe. Now we don’t necessarily have to do it 10% but it’s principle. He didn’t say, if your crops fail, don’t give me any tithes. He didn’t say, if you have a bumper crop, give me triple tithes. So there must be something inherently fair about proportionality. You make $10 Billion dollars you put in a Billion. You make $10 you put in $1. … but now some people say, that’s not fair because it doesn’t hurt the guy who made $10 Billion dollars as much as the guy who made $10. Where does it say you have to hurt the guy? He’s just put in a billion in the pot. We don’t need to hurt him. It’s that kind of thinking—it’s that kind of thinking that has resulted in 602 banks in the Cayman Islands. That money needs to be back here, building our infrastructure and creating jobs—and we’re smart enough—we’re smart enough to figure out how to do that.

    Having said that, President isn’t the only office to fight for. Dr Carson would make an excellent Surgeon General under a President Ted Cruz, for example, and Lt. Col. Allen West a great Defense Secretary, Trey Gowdy for Attorney General, Rand Paul as Treasury Secretary.

  5. Thanks Wes. As I mentioned in the article, the SDA already is doing this amongst themselves, with some questioning big time White and her revelations, and with various factions and doctrinal splits appearing. Those who play down some of the aberrant teachings and look to stay true to biblical orthodoxy I think we can be at one with. Those who still defend White and her visions we perhaps just leave alone, unless God raises you up to reach them in a specialised ministry.

    But sure, if God leads you to a dialogue with them you can discuss such matters, and pointing them to biblical truth is a good place to do it from. Some of the lesser things we can perhaps allow to go on, such as their strict dietary claims – unless I suppose if they still insist it is an essential part of one’s salvation. But the easiest option is to simply point SDAers to their own who are moving in a reformist direct, away from some of the aberrant stuff, and back to biblical orthodoxy.

    And it should be noted that while many SDAers see White’s revelations/writings as having divine inspiration, they still do not fully equate them with the authority of the Bible itself.

  6. Yeah in relation to the matter of people making certain practises crucial for salvation that are just not it is definitely in our place to speak up for the truth.

    Your comment reminds me of Pauls statements of course in relation to the making a brother stumble re: food and to let him be as long as he’s on the right path.

    Thanks for that.

  7. At the risk of stroking your ego Bill, this was an excellent, well balanced article on the SDA’s. Whilst I agree completely that the distinctive doctrines of the SDA church (ie, those not held to by most evangelical/Sacramental churches historical) are errant, nonetheless, they tend to be doctrines that don’t interfere with an SDA’s receiving regeneration by the Holy Spirit through repentance from dead works and faith towards God. For example, one can believe in soul sleep, anhillationism, Saturday Sabbath observance etc, yet still enter the kingdom of heaven… So I think an SDA POTUS like dr Carson would be a good thing… I also believe that Mrs White, whilst being mistaken in her beliefs, will be seen in heaven by those of us who have believed on The Lord Jesus and been transformed from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light!!

  8. “When the distinctive doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventists are not strongly emphasized, most Protestant evangelicals would probably find themselves far more at home in an Adventist church service than in a liberal mainline Protestant one.”

    So true, especially when mainstream Protestant churches can teach or do the following,
    1. Genesis is allegory, not history.
    2. Abortion should not be talked about
    3. Scriptural warnings about homosexuality can be ignored
    4. Jesus teachings have limited relevance to today
    etc

    If it was a choice between the two, I don’t think I’d miss the cup of tea.

  9. I bought Ben Carson’s, “America the Beautiful”, last year and he certainly made an impression on me as a good and wise man. So much so that I can’t see how he’d manage the compromises necessary for political life – man, what does THAT say about our times!

    I didn’t know he was a SDA and it makes no difference to my admiration for him.

  10. Off topic, Bill, but I thought I’d let you know I posted a comment on Amazon’s one hostile review of your book:

    “Most marriages throughout history were brutal arranged affairs and had more to do with political power and little, if anything, to do with love.”

    Absolute drivel.

    With the phrase, “political power”, clearly you’re only talking about the dynastic relationships of elites, not the marriage of the average pleb. Secondly, were you really suggesting that arranged marriages are inferior to Western ones based on fleeting romantic ‘lerve’? The reverse is true: arranged marriages are far more stable. Even today, university graduates from many Asian countries are happy for their parents or a professional match-maker to find them spouses. They know that true love is of the will, not lust.

    Marriage has always been and still is primarily about the welfare of children, not the romantic or sexual satisfactions of adults. Consequently homosexual ‘marriage’ – sterile by nature – is an abomination and a mockery of marriage which is open to new life.

    As homosexuals didn’t manage to kill marriage by derision, they decided to make it meaningless by demanding a spurious right to ‘marry’ – which will do the job nicely, won’t it.

    It will be a short-lived victory. Alas for you, the imams, the Asians, some Africans, Pacific Islanders and it seems even Russia won’t buy this homosexual ‘marriage’ nonsense and I know who the losers will be – the decadent West.

  11. You know if you really wanted to understand the Adventist’s you probably should ask them. Their 28 fundamental beliefs are available for all to see so there’s no need to guess. Bill Adventists don’t believe you have to keep the commandments to be saved they believe in salvation by grace. As for Ellen White she either was a prophet or wasn’t. If you look at her life and work she would be a pretty strange cultist. I’ve seen some of the modern day prophets and heard what they say and I know who I would say is from God. Books like Steps to Christ and the Desire of Ages are some of the best books I have ever read but you judge for yourself. As for the book the Great Controversy it is confronting for sure but it’s all unfolding before our eyes. I believe God is particular about worship. I believe the Bible when it says the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I believe God has Prophets and are especially vocal before major prophetic events or when God is trying to get a message out. I believe God created this world, I believe in the second coming of Christ. I believe in the Grace of God and the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. I believe we are commissioned to advance the gospel to the entire world. The Adventists I know love Jesus with all their heart and are committed to furthering the kingdom of God while striving to be more like Christ through His power and grace. I’m no theologian but I do study the Bible and think that if we are committed to Jesus and stay close to Him He will reveal truth and give wisdom to those that seek it. I know it’s the Adventist’s aim. Prayer, study and a willingness to be led by the Holy Spirit claiming the promises of God day by day, lifting up Jesus to those around pointing to His sacrifice as reason we surrender all to Him. We stumble and fall but Christ is faithful and will abundantly pardon we trust in His salvation. We trust that Jesus will do the things he says that He will come back to take us to be with him where He is, where there are mansions prepared for the redeemed. We believe in Heaven where there is no sickness or death where the former things are passed away and we will be forever with the Lord. The first thing Jesus answered to a question about signs of the end of the world was watch out that you are not deceived. Deception is native to Satan the father of lies and I know you may think Adventists are deceived. The Bible describes at the end of time a Christian people that don’t make it into the kingdom saying Lord Lord we did this and that in your name but the Lord say’s I never knew you. Different denominations claim to have the best handle on this doctrine and that doctrine but they can’t all be right fundamentally there can only be one truth. I could not claim to know everything there is to know, but I know Jesus and I know the Bible and I do know that the Adventist church is committed to prayer, Bible study and to a Christ centered life. They are committed to proclaiming the gospel to the whole world; they build schools, universities, hospitals and are present in virtually every country on the globe. God is first in their lives. If it’s a cult that’s news to me.

  12. Thanks Greg. As I say in my article, there are plenty of SDAers who beg to differ with you, and are rightly moving away from the primacy given to White and her extra-biblical revelations and returning instead to Sola Scriptura, where we all should be at. And there are plenty of cult-like things I noted about the SDA in my article (eg., am I really a reprobate for worshiping my Lord on Sunday? In fact, I worship him every day of the week). As I said, I will side with the SDA reformers here, and not the hardcore White camp. But thanks for your thoughts.

  13. I would say cultish but not necessarily a cult. I have known a few SA’s and had two brothers in law involved with them. Also some home schoolers we were involved with. I seriously doubt the non-practising brothers in law were born again but I visited a SA retirement home with one and met quite a few old SA and would not like to say they were outside of the Lord. With the home schoolers we had no doubts the wife knew the Lord in a real way yet the husband did not in any way relate and appeared just to be someone who had grown up in a cult with no evidence whatsoever he had ever become born again. This is one we have to leave with the Lord. Yes maybe it can be proven to be a cult on certain grounds yet there seems to be genuine believers. However when it comes to the Jehovahs Witnesses I have not yet been able to see that they are born again and we had several neighbours that were deep into it. I think they can be clearly called a cult. that follows another Jesus.

  14. Hi Bill,
    I love your articles as a rule but was a bit upset at the one on SDA’s being a possible cult. I was brought up Presbyterian, became a “red hot Pentacostel” later in life and the pastor said I would be the last one who would ever leave as I was so devout. I had been involved in about 4 different Pentacostal groups before settling on this one and had often been to various protestant churches in my journey. After 10 years in this one Pentacostal church I really felt moved “to go on with Christ” and I attended a SDA mission. I really loved it and was a great student but my pastor told me to write 20 reasons why I would consider leaving his church and when I did that , he looked me in the eye and told me that my alcoholic husband would stop drinking, my drug-addicted son would stop taking drugs and I would get a swollen head from knowledge but would die spiritually as I was joining “the devil’s church and the devil would leave me alone!!!”. People virtually “came out of the woodwork” to tell me how God had told them that I was joining a cult and even if I visited old friends at their homes, they would get the pastor and elders to come to their home after to get “rid of the demons that I had brought into their home!”. The local Minister’s Fraternal all prayed again this mission run by the SDA’s and put out a 2 page sheet damning them…it was totally false and utterly libellous. So much for Christians and “by their fruits you will know them”!

    I was an avid student and had done honours at school in history so loved the challenge to really study the Bible. I went on a fantastic Bible Lands -Reformation tour and did so much research and found the statements made about SDA’s are basically all wrong. I have never been so happy and on fire for Christ, teach Creation to a local Christian school, run Creation VBS programs for all denominations.
    I feel very sad when a denomination is under question like this … people should attend our church themselves, read Ellen White’s books and make up their own mind. I even have a lady at the school where I teach not talk to me as I am a SDA! I look at the many churches in our town who do not believe in a literal 6 day creation, do not believe in a world-wide flood and think the Old testament is a book of stories and I am so pleased to be an Adventist standing on the authority of God’s Holy Word and have Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and am filled with The Holy Spirit!

  15. Thanks Margaret, but as I clearly said in my article, the SDA is not a monolithic whole, but has plenty of different versions and even factions of late. And I clearly said those which seek to be more biblical and less White-heavy are likely to be very much on our side. I am glad it sounds like you have found one of the better ones.

  16. I don’t understand these criticisms of Bill. He wrote the article DEFENDING the SDA’s!!! He was pointing out that they weren’t a cult, but suffered from some doctrinal areas that most evangelical and orthodox sacramental churches would consider heretical (eg, soul sleep, annhilationism, Christ’s atonement being fulfilled in two stages and therefore not yet being complete, etc.). I would think that SDA’s should welcome Bill’s attempt at defending the SDA’s as legitimate brother’s and sister’s in our Lord Jesus Christ.

  17. Thanks Joel. Yes it is a bit perplexing to have some of these upset SDAers railing against me when I clearly said the church as a whole does not hold to clear cultic and heretical teachings such as denying the deity of Christ and the Trinity. There are nonetheless some areas of real concern, especially with some of those still clinging to White and her revelations, but as I made clear often, for many SDA folks, I can happily feel at one with them, and call them brothers.

  18. We have some SDA friends and your article is very kind and fair.
    The issue of soul sleep and annihilation come dangerously close to core issues though as they can lead into deception that can take people away from salvation, though they have the concept of Jesus the son of God and the Trinity biblically correct.
    To be a vegetarian for religious reasons is actually denying the fallen sinful state this world and we are in. At the fall everything started to fall apart and plants were no longer able to supply all the nutrition our body needs. To pretend we can be vegetarians now because we were created vegetarians is to pretend all is still as well with the world as it was at creation. So, be vegetarian or eat meat but don’t exclude people from your church because of what they choose to eat.
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

  19. Well balanced article Bill, it is the report that I would also give them in general from my research and experiences. SDA groups and churches are different in their beliefs, some holding to the White’s views while others not so much. This makes it difficult to know who is who.

    I was on a flight recently where I shared a row of seats with a SDA gentleman who had been in Melbourne at an SDA conference for ministry training. We had some great conversation about the Christian faith, including morality, discipleship, the authority of scripture alone, biblical shepherding that says the hard things to disciples in the face of them being offended and leaving. I was impressed with this guy as I purposely start talking about these topics to upset someone who claims to be a Christian yet is not.

    It was a breath of fresh air not to be sitting next to some compromised, hyper-grace, immoral bible apostate.

  20. Hello Bill,

    As a SDA Pastor, I found your description of our faith fair and balanced – and honestly, there are many of us who struggle to come to terms with the role of Ellen White. Perhaps the reason is that we do the exact opposite of what she herself told us to do! For many SDA members, her word becomes authoritative when she expressly forbid that practice. There is a separatist group – Reformed SDA – who rely far too heavily on Sister White’s writing for the foundation of their theology, and in my humble opinion, there is the potential for a lot of spiritual damage.

    On the other side of things, there is always within the church, and I’m sure this is true of most Christian faiths, to forego past doctrine for the new, popular movements – specifically sexuality, creation, etc. It is definitely happening within our church now, and to be honest, it has been draining at times. I put my name down on a public statement here in Canberra regarding the vote for same-sex marriage, and I received criticism from within my own church, despite it being a simple statement of requesting a parliamentary enquiry before the vote!

    As for our “odd, if not aberrant, teachings” – you’d have to be more specific! Of course, I’m happy to dialogue with anyone who wishes to discuss them, but I do believe that the theology of the SDA church is Scriptural…even when some of our members drift from that foundation.

  21. Dear Bill,

    I grew up (and was educated) as a devout Roman Catholic. Today, I am a Seventh-Day Adventist Christian. I won’t bore you with my journey from Catholicism, but I would like to take this opportunity to share with you one of the most compelling reasons I am now an SDA. Simply put, the SDA church is the closest that I have come to any denomination actually adhering to the principle of “sola scripture”. You may be surprised to hear that a church whose origin is closely linked to the prophetic ministry (and writings) of Ellen G. White can be perceived as being so faithful to the teachings of scripture. I was surprised too. I won’t try to address or correct your misconceptions about the SDA church. But I want to encourage you. If you want to understand what Adventists believe (and how the writings of Ellen White inform those beliefs), then read a few of her books. You will find that although Ellen White attested to receiving inspiration from God, and to encapsulating that inspiration in her prolific writings, she never called herself a prophet. In fact, you will find that she had great concerns about anyone elevating her or her writings above scripture. You will find that she clearly espoused the view that the scripture is the singular authoritative source of Christian faith and belief. Her writings constantly reinforce her belief that ALL other sources of inspiration (including her own) are to be tested against the teachings of scripture, and rejected if they are not entirely in harmony. Although dreams and visions informed some of her writing, she also drew heavily on the works of other Christian writers. She considered those works also to be inspired, as long as they met the biblical test. She saw her writings (and those of other inspired writers) as a “lesser light”, helping to illuminate and bring clarity to the teachings of scripture. Her singular goal, unlike so many other prophets and teachers, was to draw men and women to Jesus Christ, by pointing inexorably back to the teachings of scripture. I have read and been blessed by the writings of many inspirational Christian authors. But the writings of Ellen White consistently uplift Jesus, by pointing to God’s Word, unlike any other author I have read. If you read what she has written, I assure you, you will not fall in love with Ellen White, but you will fall in love with Jesus Christ and with the Bible. Unfortunately, so many people are willing to form opinions and comment about her writings without ever having read a single one of her many books. I encourage you to read any of them. They are not heavy reading material. Her book Steps To Christ is quite small but so incredibly packed with biblical wisdom, you won’t put it down and will find yourself rereading it again and again. As you read her writings you will find those writings constantly referring you to the Biblical source material on which her commentary is based. You may choose to interpret some biblical teachings differently, but you won’t find ANY extra-biblical teachings. That is what sold me on the SDA church. I didn’t have to depend on the writing of Ellen White (or anyone else) as the source of my beliefs. I could depend on the “Bible only”, and from that sole source, I could find all of the supporting information to make my own independent decision on what to believe. Today, the Bible is still the sole source of my beliefs and Jesus Christ is the singular “Author and Finisher” of my faith. The beautiful inspired writings of Ellen White, working in concert with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, are entirely responsible for me falling in love with both the Bible and its Author – Jesus Christ.

    Blessings,

    Dean

  22. I would like to say something, I’ve been born and raised in the 7th day adventist church, I pefectly know the church beliefs and practices.

    I have noticed for many years how legalistic the members are, its said you are saved by grace however you have to dress one way, eat the way they recommend, you have obey the law of Moses, obviously including the sabbath…members are not happy! you can easily see it and I understand them.

    I deeply feel that the veil is still covering their faces, they still keep things from the old covenant, they cant really enjoy and live under thew covenant of Christ, they cant be free from the law, they are still in bondage ,

    As you can see, Im in transition, Im becoming a christian, and Im very happy! understanding the sacrifice Jesus made at the cross is magnificent. We are under a new covenant now. As the bible say: a new covenant, new priest, new law, better promises, and eternal covenant.

    I know that we are saved by faith in Jesus. My prayer is that 7th day adventists can see the glory of Christ and that veil can be removed! the new covenant is superior to th old one, Christ promised to put his spirit in us! it’s a spiritual covenant. The old covenant is obsolete!

    Blessings for all!

  23. Thanks Dean Hamilton for sharing your experience with Ellen White’s writings. You are spot on. She always points to the Bible as the ultimate authority, and never contradicts the Bible.

    Bill,
    Thank you for supporting the idea of sola scriptura. I completely agree!

    I see that you mention that White received vision of a seventh-day sabbath, which led to the adoption of it by the church. The interesting thing is though, my Bible talks repeatedly of one day as holy, and that is the seventh day. Keeping the seventh day Sabbath is actually a return to the very principle you are looking to uphold – sola scriptura.

    Also, I agree that none of these practices will lead to salvation (diet, sabbath, etc.) But Adventists teach salvation by grave alone. We keep God’s commandments (including the fourth one) BECAUSE we are saved and love Him, not to achieve salvation.

    Thanks for your thoughtful article.

  24. First off I like Mr. Carson, admire his history and beilive he would make a good president, however there is no way he can win, the Dems will destroy him regarding his SDA beliefs, what percentage of die hard catholics n others do you think will stay home and not vote? Think you know the answer.

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