Did You Know? Seventh Day Adventist

The Christian community is large and diverse. There are numerous denominations and groups that are nestled under the umbrella of Christianity.  The purpose of this post is to introduce the reader to the Seventh Day Adventist faith.

There are some who argue that the Seventh Day Adventist are a cult and Christians should not have fellowship with them.  I am not quite there yet.  I think they do have some unorthodox doctrines and teachings, but I’m not sure their faith should be characterized as a cult.

A Brief History of Seventh Day Adventism

During the Second Great Awakening of the early 1800’s, regions of New York were evangelized to completion.  These “Burned Over Districts” were regions where everyone professed to be Christians.  Thousands of new converts were searching for churches to teach them about Christ.

In this climate of new believers and few elders or discipled leaders to guide their understanding of Christian faith, misinterpretation of Scripture began to become doctrine.  A Baptist pastor by the name of William Miller spent years studying prophecy and concluded that Christ was going to return in October of 1844.

When Christ did not return, there was a Great Disappointment and many followers returned to their denominations.  In the aftermath that followed, a group of Millerites formed the Evangelical Adventist which would later become the Seventh Day Adventist.

The Adventist Movement

When 1844 came and went, the Millerite followers concluded that the interpretation of Daniel 8:14 proclaimed by Miller was wrong.  Miller taught that October 1844 was the date when Christ would return to the earth and cleanse the earth.  What some Millerites concluded was that the date was correct, but the cleansing was a heavenly event and not an earthly one.

This event marked the final act of atonement as Jesus entered into the Holy of Holies in Heaven which later developed into the doctrine of Investigative Judgment.

Ellen G. White

One key figure in the history of the Seventh Day Adventist church is Ellen G. White.  She played a critical role in transitioning from the Great Disappointment of William Miller to the Adventist movement that exist today.

Key Doctrines

  • The Law – The Law of God, embodied in the Ten Commandments, is still binding to Christians today.
  • The Sabbath – Observed from sunset Friday to sunset on Saturday, during which time no secular work is conducted.
  • Conditional Immortality – Those who do not receive Christ do not go to a place of eternal torment, hell.  Instead their souls are permanently destroyed, a doctrinal position called Annihilationism.
  • Investigative Judgment – A heavenly process that began in 1844 as Jesus began judging those who professed Christianity.  This process affirms who is and who is not saved.
  • Remnant – There will be an end times remnant who will have kept the commandments of God and the true testimony of Jesus.  It is this remnant that Revelation 14:6-12 refers.

Conclusion

The teachings of the Seventh Day Adventist church, for the most part, line up with traditional Christian doctrine.  Some argue that the Adventist teachings are heresy and they should be considered a cult.  I have not come to that conclusion.  I am still trying to gain a better understanding and want continue to study and learn.

What do you think?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

A Study of Other Faiths: Mormonism

Lesson One in the series “A Study of Other Faiths: Mormonism”

Our Sunday School class at Calvary Baptist Church.  This lesson was from Sunday, September 26, 2010.

A Study of Other Faiths: Mormonism

Mormonism Follow Up

Mormon TabernacleA series on the site has been about other religions and faiths.  We have just finished a look at Mormonism and had a good discussion in Sunday School.  I wanted to highlight a few additional teachings of the Mormon Church and offer a little more commentary.

Mormonism: A Cult

A cult is a religious system that deviates significantly from orthodox, fundamental teachings of Christianity.  Since Mormonism has significant differences in theology and doctrines, they are best referred to as a cult and not part of the Christian community.

Heresy: Jesus Conception

Mormon teaching is that Jesus was conceived via a physical sexual union between God the Father and Mary.  This is how Jesus received both his deity and human nature.  Brigham Young said that Jesus was not “begotten by the Holy Ghost.” (Journal of Discourse, volume 1, pp 51)

THE TRUTH:

  • “Now the birth of Christ was as follows. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit…for that which was conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 1:18,20).
  • “Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’. And the angel answered and said to her ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you’” (Luke 1:34-5).

Heresy: Jesus’ Origin

Mormonism teaches that Jesus is the first “begotten son” of God.  Meaning that Jesus is literally the first spiritual offspring of a sexual relationship between God the Father and his wife.  Jesus is the first born of all God’s children, including you and me and Lucifer, the Devil.

THE TRUTH:

  • “For in Him all things were created, both in the heavens and the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him” (Col. 1:16).
  • In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…the Word became flesh and dwelt among us [Jesus]” (Jn. 1:1,18).

Conclusion:

In my short study of Mormonism, the one truth I have found is that this religion is heresy.  Nearly ALL of the doctrines and teachings of the church are in error and do not align with the teachings of the Bible.

They use the same terms as Christianity, but they have been redefined to mean something completely different.  Do not be deceived!  This is cult full of heretical teachings and the Christian should be aware.

Did you Know? Mormonism

The Christian culture is dotted with numerous denominations and groups.  From Catholics to Protestants, from Baptist to Methodist, from Mormons to Jehovah’s Witness, the Christian culture is quite varied.  The purpose of this post is to highlight, in their own words, views, theology, and doctrines from the Mormon church.

Did You Know?

Mormonism is a religious group under the umbrella of “Christian.”  It is my point of view that they are better categorized as a cult.  I view Mormonism as a sect outside the orthodoxy of Christianity.  In most accounts, their theology is significantly different than traditional, orthodox Christianity.

A Brief History

In upstate New York during the 1800’s Second Great Awakening, there were several counties that had become known as the “Burned Over District.” These were areas where the gospel has been preached and people had responded in such numbers, that there was no one left to evangelize.  The western portions of New York was composed completely of converts.

It is in this area of New York that a young boy named Joseph Smith was reared.  He and his family were devout believers and very religious.

In the spring of 1820, Smith was praying in the woods near his home when he experienced a vision of the Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  He was told that he would be the prophet who would restore the purity and truthfulness of the church.

In the fall of 1823, Smith was visited by an angel named Moroni who directed him to a location where he found a book of golden plates.  These plates contained writings that would eventually become “The Book of Mormon.”

A Glimpse into Theology

It is not the purpose of this post to explain or describe the totality of the Mormon religion.  I do want to highlight a few of the deal breakers.  There are a few aspects of Christianity that are non-negotiable.  Doctrines and theological positions that we cannot bend, they are the fundamentals to our faith.  I would like to highlight a handful of these fundamental doctrines that are heresy as taught by the Mormon church.

The Nature of God

Heresy One:  God is only one of many gods (Polythiest).

  • Joseph Smith, in Pearl of Great Price, the book of Abraham, uses the plural reference to Gods.
  • In Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.370 – 372, Joseph Smith states, “The doctrine of plurality of Gods is prominent in the Bible.  The heads of the Gods appointed our God for us. . . you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves . . . . the same as all Gods have done before you.”
  • Brigham Young, Mormon Prophet wrote: “How many Gods there are, I do not know.  But there never was a time when there were not Gods” – Journal of Discourse, Volume 7, p.419 of 474

The Biblical Truth:

God is ONE and there are no other gods. (Monothiest)

  • Deuteronomy 4:35
  • Isaiah 44:6, 48:12, and 45:14, 21-22
  • Isaiah 43:10
  • Nehemiah 9:6
  • I Timothy 1:17

Heresy Two: God is flesh and bone, an exalted man.

  • Joseph Smith, in Doctrines and Covenants, states that “the Father has a body of flesh and bones tangible as man’s; the Son also . . . .”
  • Joseph Smith continues: “God himself…is a man like unto one of yourselves…God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth…You have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves” (Times and Seasons, vol.5, pp.613-614); “Here then is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves…the same as all Gods have done before you…To inherit the same power, the same glory and the same exaltation, until you arrive at the station of a God” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.346-347).

The Biblical Truth:

God is Spirit, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omnipotent

  • Hosea 11:8 – I am God and not man, the Holy One.
  • Numbers 23:19 – God is not a man that He should lie.
  • Malachi 3:6 – For I, the Lord, do not change.
  • Also see Isaiah 43:10, Psalms 139, Psalms 90:2