Concerning the state of health reform in the Seventh-day Adventist church I once heard someone say in a Sabbath School . . .
“you can eat Little Debbies (an Adventist concoction) and drink diet soda and technically be considered a vegetarian but this does not mean that you will be healthy.”
It seems that health reform in the Seventh-day Adventist church, the supposed “right arm of the gospel”, has become but a confused and lifeless form. A recent story I heard during a Sabbath School class illustrates the point. The teacher told of a certain Conference man who came to visit a church and after giving the sermon address attended the fellowship meal afterwards. An embarasing moment arose as everyone was about to serve themselves when a overly zealous “health reformer” announced to those gathered that one particular dish contained cheese. At this notice the elder promptly dished himself up a large portion of the offending dish even though was not particularly found of “macaroni and cheese”. He added on a few other of his preferred foods and then sat down and ate his meal. He noticed a woman over in the corner who was sobbing and felt impressed to go see if he could comfort her. After asking what was troubling her she explained that she was very hurt because the dish she brought was singled out as something to be shunned when she did not know that Adventists do not like to eat cheese. So the point that the Sabbath School teacher was trying to make in bringing this up in his class is that we should be careful not speak up about our dietary particulars as it might offend a new member who does not know any better or a visitor who may be attending that Sabbath.
This tale struck me odd as I heard an almost identical story from the pulpit at another Adventist church some hundreds of miles away and about a year prior. In this case the pastor told of a case where some new members brought a bucket of Kentucky Fried chicken to the Fellowship meal. Needless to say long time members were in shock and gasped at the site not knowing what to say or do. Apparently the pastor noticed the awkward situation and proceeded to help himself to a couple of pieces. After breaking the ice the latent carnivores in the midst devoured the rest of the bucket. This seemed like a very strange story to be telling during the divine worship hour apparently to make a point to some church members in that particular congregation who were known to be zealous about their health reform.
Apparently this trend of non-progressive health reform is rather widespread in the church as an recent post from the blog ADvindicate by Mark Warren entitled “Cultural Vegetarians” brought forth similar tales, most notably the case of a SDA pastor who stated . . .
“his belief that vegetarianism is simply a construct of SDA church dogma and is really a matter of culture.”
A remarkable position indeed for a leader in the church to be taking! Fortunately the author of this article did point out some obvious problems with such a conclusion and the direct conflict it has with the Biblical account and the purpose of “right arm” of the gospel God has given to us as a people to share with the world. The case is amply proven by the evidence of high quality films and documentaries that have come onto the market lately from those outside of Adventism promoting the advantages of raw or mostly raw vegan lifestyle. It does seems indeed that the church is once again the tail being wagged by the dog.
This is evident as Seventh-day Adventist churches around the country are busy promoting and showing health films produced by the world such as “Forks over Knives” in their local congregations as an outreach tool and awaken interest in the gospel. Unfortunately, this strategy is likely to backfire for the sincere searcher for Truth who may begin attending Sabbath services and then be invited to the fellowship meal afterwards. To the discerning eye will quickly be seen the typical mine field of health booby traps we as Adventists are all to familiar with. Over 90% of the dishes are cooked, lots of cheese, sugary desserts, condiments, creamy dressings, etc. They would also be shocked to find that probably none of the dishes were cooked using organic ingredients. Upon further inspection would come perhaps one the of the most disturbing disease promoting tragedies prevalent throughout the church, the Adventist love affair with meat analogs produced by Loma Linda-Worthington foods and the like. You know the names, FryChick, Vega-links, Stakelets, Wham, etc. These toxic chemical concoctions are some of the most dangerous and deadly of processed foods in existence being loaded with excess salt, excitotoxins (MSG), and a arm long list of chemical ingredients that only a trained chemist or nutritionist could pronounce properly. It seems strange coincidence that none of the leading progressive health food stores (Whole Foods, Earthfare, etc.) stock these products on their shelves. No wonder as it is certain that no serious health advocate would consider this stuff “health food” but rather food fit for promoting “health deform”.
Many times I have pondered over this tragic situation in our beloved church and the needless suffering because we as a people have failed to advance with health reform as evidenced by the extensive prayer requests for the sick every Sabbath. Meanwhile the world is catching on like fire and experiencing the benefits of true health reform because of the profound power of eating mostly raw vegan organic foods, essentially God’s original diet in Eden! Yes it is true that a small minority of Seventh-day Adventists take their health reform seriously and practice all of the light they have, but what do we do about the scenarios presented at the beginning of this post where the church leaders seem to be making examples of over zealous health reformers in the church. It is true that there are individuals who become legalistic and judgmental in witnessing for the health message and do at times display a lack of Christ-like compassion on others who are as not as advanced in health reform as they are. However, is this an excuse to muzzle the ox and prevent any sort of meaningful discussion on the subject? If our leaders were so concerned about the soul salvation of the weaker elements in the church then they should teach the the more experienced members how to properly witness with compassion and care for the souls they wish to reach. Furthermore, why is the latest health reform concerning raw organic foods not being openly taught in the church? Why is it that Seventh-day Adventists are rapidly becoming the least healthy vegetarians on the planet?
When I was first baptized into the Adventist church in the late 1990′s I zealously took up our beautiful health reform message as outlined in the Spirit of Prophecy and gladly put into practice its reforms. As a trained chemist I quickly recognized some of the problems of using the meat analogs Adventists are so fond of. The first sermon I was asked to preached was supposed to be on creation but ended up focusing on some of the dangers of using foods containing excitotoxins and the problems with modern dairy products, i.e. why we need recreation in our lives today. Although the message was thankfully received by a few, mostly new members in the church, the old guard were not to pleased when their sacred cows were trodden upon. After that point I was labeled as an a over zealous new convert who would hopefully settle into the low level health deform practices of the typical Adventist over time. However, the more I read and studied on the subject the more I became convinced that we needed to advance in health reform as admonished by inspiration rather that steadily retreat back to Egypt as the vast majority in the church were inclined to do. As time went on I came to see that the bulk of the responsibility for this deplorable situation lie square in the laps of the church leaders who themselves are the ring leaders in apostasy. It seems that if there is ever going to be true revival and reformation in the church as God has called for then it must mandate a change in regime and a cleaning of house so to speak. This is exactly why the advanced message found in the Shepherd’s Rod arose in prophecy to warn of these very things and to point to the exclusive and only divine remedy found in the book of Micah chapter six and the ninth verse.