Seventh-Day Adventists, Ecumenism and Hell
SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS, ECUMENISM, AND HELL
Updated September 22, 2008 (first published May 27, 2000) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, firstname.lastname@example.org; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article) -
AVOIDING THE SNARE OF SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISM. This book has been called the best on the subject by the editor of The Baptist Challenge. Now it has been throughly updated and enlarged. It is diligently researched from official publications of the Seventh-day Adventist organization and proves conclusively that the Seventh-day Adventist gospel is false. The book begins with a chapter entitled “Adventists Wanted Me to Revise This Book,” describing a deceptive attempt by Seventh-day Adventists to have me change the book. The major divisions of the book are: “Adventist History Proves It is Heretical” and “Adventist Doctrine Proves It Is Heretical.” The book analyzes Adventist doctrines such as Sabbath-keeping, Soul-sleep, Annihilation of the wicked, Ellen White as a Prophetess, Investigative Judgment, Misuse of the Mosaic Law, and Vegetarianism. The chapter “Why Some Have Considered Seventh-day Adventism Evangelical" analyzes Walter Martin’s (author of Kingdom of the Cults) faulty view of Adventism. The book includes selections from D.M. Canright’s 1898 book Seventh-day Adventism Renounced. Canright was an early leader in Adventism who left and became a Baptist pastor. Third edition updated and enlarged September 2008. 206 pages, 5 X 8”, perfect bound, $8.95.
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Cecil Perry, president of the Seventh-day Adventists in England, issued a warning that Hell should not be preached. He was responding to a report issued in April by the Evangelical Alliance of the United Kingdom that describes Hell as a physical place that is occupied by unrepentant sinners. Perry took issue with that, saying, “The message of hell is in stark contrast to the message of hope and love and tends to engender fear” (“British Seventh-day Adventists Warn Against ‘Stoking’ Hell Fires,” Religious News Service, April 2000).
SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISM’S HERESIES
This reminds us that Seventh-day Adventism (SDA) denies many biblical doctrines. According to Adventist doctrine, for example, unsaved men do not go to Hell when they die; they merely sleep in the grave awaiting the resurrection. And when the unsaved are finally cast into Hell after the judgment, they are not tormented forever but are annihilated. Ellen G. White, the alleged prophetess who founded the SDA denomination, stated her revulsion of the doctrine of Hell:
“How repugnant to every emotion of love and mercy, and even to our sense of justice, is the doctrine that the wicked dead are tormented with fire and brimstone in an eternally burning hell. . . . And how utterly revolting is the belief that as soon as the breath leaves the body the soul of the impenitent is consigned to the flames of hell! ... the doctrine of natural immortality first borrowed from pagan philosophy, and in the darkness of the great apostasy incorporated into the Christian faith, has supplanted the truth. . . . The theory of eternal torment is one of the false doctrines that constitute the wine of the abomination of Babylon. . . . But those who have not, through repentance and faith, secured pardon, must receive the penalty of transgression ... covered with infamy, they sink into hopeless, eternal oblivion. . . . There will then be no lost souls to blaspheme God as they writhe in never-ending torment; no wretched beings in hell will mingle their shrieks with the songs of the saved” (Ellen White, The Great Controversy, pp. 469, 470, 477, 478, 483).”
Regardless of whether it rubs uncomfortably against human reason, the Bible teaches that the unsaved must endure eternal conscious torment. Proof for this is found in Matthew 25:46, in which eternal life is compared to eternal punishment in duration and state. “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous unto life eternal.”
Revelation 14:10-11 says those who receive the mark of the Antichrist will not be annihilated, but will suffer eternal torment. “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”
Another passage that describes the eternal state of the wicked is Revelation 20:10-15. Here Satan, together with the beast and the false prophet, are “tormented day and night for ever and ever.” If the Devil and Antichrist and the False Prophet of the Great Tribulation are tormented day and night forever in the lake of fire, this obviously will be the lot of all who are cast there.
The Lord Jesus Christ taught that the lost would suffer eternal torment. Three times in Mark 9 Christ spoke of hell as “the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched...” (Mk. 9:43-48). This is the language of eternal suffering.
Some have argued that though the fire is eternal, the punishment is not. This is an impossible interpretation, because Christ taught that the punishment of the lost would be worse than a violent destruction or loss of existence. Mark 9:42 warns that it is better for the wicked to hang a millstone about his neck and be cast into the sea than face God’s judgment. In verse 43, Jesus began to describe the horrors of Hell. In other words, Hell is going to be worse than any violent destruction. The suffering is eternal in duration. In Matthew 26:24, the Lord said Judas’ punishment will be worse than loss of existence. “...it had been good for that man if he had not been born.”
None of these verses make sense unless interpreted to describe the eternal conscious torment of the unsaved. All the ramifications of this doctrine might be difficult for us to understand, but the truth remains that God has revealed it and our part is to accept it by faith. Hell is a place of fire, and it is a place where the suffering is eternal. These Scriptures should be a loud warning to every man, woman, and child that life is no game; salvation is not a thing to delay for even an hour. No time should be wasted in finding security in the Savior, whose blood “cleanseth us from all sin.” No effort should be spared in reaching lost souls for Christ. God is not only a God of love, but also a holy God of judgment. The torment of Hell is as eternal as the bliss of Heaven.
THE CONFUSION OF THE ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT
This also reminds us of the confusion created by the ecumenical movement. It is confusion for those who believe in a literal hell, or believer’s baptism, or eternal security, or a literal millennium, or the cessation of sign gifts to associate with those that denounce these doctrines. Yet the ecumenical movement is promoting this very thing.
The Seventh-day Adventists are becoming increasingly involved with ecumenical endeavors. The door was opened by the late Walter Martin, founder of the Christian Research Institute, who taught that Adventists should be accepted as an evangelical group with a few quirky doctrines. Martin disseminated this dangerous thinking widely in his influential book Kingdom of the Cults, and he was joined in this by Donald Grey Barnhouse, pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. These two prominent evangelical preachers entered into “sweet fellowship” with Adventist leaders. (See the previous chapter “Why Walter Martin Considered Seventh-day Adventism Evangelical” at the Way of Life web site — http://www.wayoflife.org.)
New books on cults are going a step further than Walter Martin by omitting Seventh-day Adventism altogether. An example is What They Believe by Harold Berry and published by Back to the Bible. Previous editions (1979, 1982, 1986) of this book were entitled Examining the Cults and dealt with Roman Catholicism and Adventism, but the 1992 edition omits both. Another example is the 1999 book Fast Facts on False Teachings by Ron Carlson and Ed Decker, which completely omits Adventism.
Everywhere we look we find Adventists participating in ecumenical ventures.
As far back as 1962, the 10th annual convention of the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship featured Adventist preacher H.M.S. Richards, Billy Graham, and Pentecostal faith healer Oral Roberts.
In 1986 SDA leader George Vandeman published What I Like About...the Lutherans, the Baptists, the Methodists, the Charismatics, the Catholics, Our Jewish Friends, the Adventists. It was an attempt to promote sympathetic feelings toward Adventism on the part of other denominations, but Vandeman was a strong promoter of Adventist heresy and his objective was always to win non-Seventh-day Adventists over to his “church.” It was Vandeman’s book Planet in Rebellion that the devil used to confuse me as a young Christian.
Seventh-day Adventists are members of the Evangelical Alliance in Romania and the French Protestant Federation.
Adventists are members of many local ministerial associations, including Riverside, California, and Honolulu, Hawaii.
Seventh-day Adventist CCM group Take 6 participated in the Billy Graham rally in New York’s Central Park, September 22, 1991. Adventists participated in a Graham crusade in Germany in 1993. Three prominent Roman Catholics were on the committee.
Speaking in 1992, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals in America reported that there is growing cooperation between evangelicals and Catholics and others, including Seventh-day Adventists. He spoke of “permeable denominational walls” and “the broad evangelical tent” that is being stretched to include Charismatics, Adventists, and the Churches of Christ (who teach baptismal regeneration).
Seventh-day Adventists participate in the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) meetings each year. In 1994, the NRB presented its Milestone Award to The Voice of Prophecy, a broadcast that promotes Seventh-day Adventist heresies.
Evangelical leader Tony Campolo has spoken on numerous Adventist university campuses and in 2004 he spoke at the International Conference on Adventists in the Community. He refers to the Seventh-day Adventists in a positive manner in his 1993 book 20 Hot Potatoes Christians Are Afraid to Touch (chapter 3) and in his foreword to Adventism for a New Generation by Steve Daily.
Dallas Theological Seminary professor Howard Hendricks spoke at the Seventh-day Adventist Southern College in Collegedale, Tennessee, in 1994.
Adventists participate in the massive Urbana conferences for college students sponsored by InterVarsity Fellowship. At the Urbana conference in 1996, convention director Dan Harrison observed that “InterVarsity serves the whole church in all of its diversity” and stated that there were Catholics, Adventists, and many other denominations represented (Foundation magazine, Jan.-Feb. 1997). InterVarsity obviously has a heretical view of the “church.”
The Alabama State Evangelism Conference in January 1998 featured a choir from the Seventh-day Adventist Oakwood College. Southern Baptist president Tom Ellif was one of the speakers.
In the 1990s it was reported that Seventh-day Adventist minister Bertie Degraphenreed was the office receptionist at Fuller Theological Seminary (Calvary Contender, June 15, 1994). In April 1999 Fuller professor Margaret Suster, (who teaches preaching) was a guest speaker for an SDA-sponsored “interactive seminar.”
It was reported that Adventist churches participated in the Franklin Graham crusade in Jamaica in March 1999.
The Festival of Christian Unity for the Great Jubilee Service conducted in Huntsville, Alabama, January 23, 2000, included Roman Catholics, Charismatics and Pentecostals, Southern Baptists, Orthodox, mainline Protestant, and Seventh-day Adventists. An Adventist pastor said: “It is our hope that all barriers of divisiveness will be moved, and we will focus on the things that unite us and draw us together” (Huntsville Times, Jan. 15, 2000).
Some Seventh-day Adventist churches are listed as members of the Willow Creek Community Church Association founded by church growth guru Bill Hybels.
In 2006 the Seventh-day Adventists held their first meeting with the World Evangelical Alliance. Adventist representative Angel Rodriguez said: “Although we come from different religious traditions, there was much that we shared in common and was useful to both parties. The meetings were designed to gain a clearer understanding of the theological positions of each body; clarify matters of misunderstanding; discuss frankly areas of agreement and disagreement on a Biblical basis; and explore possible areas of cooperation” (Seventh-day Adventist Interfaith Relations,” Wikipedia). The two groups met again in August 2007.
The SDA have also held dialogues with the Lutheran World Federation, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the Presbyterian Church USA, the Salvation Army, and others.
The ecumenical tent is being expanded every few years. See also “Mormons Added to the Ecumenical Stew,” which is available on the Way of Life Literature web site -- http://www.wayoflife.org.
AVOIDING THE SNARE OF SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISM. This book has been called the best on the subject by the editor of The Baptist Challenge. Now it has been throughly updated and enlarged. It is diligently researched from official publications of the Seventh-day Adventist organization and proves conclusively that the Seventh-day Adventist gospel is false. The book begins with a chapter entitled “Adventists Wanted Me to Revise This Book,” describing a deceptive attempt by Seventh-day Adventists to have me change the book. The major divisions of the book are: “Adventist History Proves It is Heretical” and “Adventist Doctrine Proves It Is Heretical.” The book analyzes Adventist doctrines such as Sabbath-keeping, Soul-sleep, Annihilation of the wicked, Ellen White as a Prophetess, Investigative Judgment, Misuse of the Mosaic Law, and Vegetarianism. The chapter “Why Some Have Considered Seventh-day Adventism Evangelical" analyzes Walter Martin’s (author of Kingdom of the Cults) faulty view of Adventism. The book includes selections from D.M. Canright’s 1898 book Seventh-day Adventism Renounced. Canright was an early leader in Adventism who left and became a Baptist pastor. You will find this book in our bookstore.
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