“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” — John 13:34, 35
A Recent Incident
Have you ever gone to a church, quietly sat down and peacefully enjoyed the worship service, was asked to leave the church with no apparent explanation except a “you are not wanted here”, exercised your right to refuse the request to leave, was threatened with police force for non-compliance, and finally (during the sermon) escorted out of the church by the police for all to see? Is this where we are now in the Seventh-Day Adventist church? The above stated occurrence just recently happened at the Philadelphia Seventh-Day Adventist Church here in Long Beach, CA. Now of course there’s more to the story, and I will attempt to faithfully relate this to you.
For twenty years my friend Patrick has been visiting and performing as a singer at various local southern California Seventh-Day Adventist churches. He is well known among them, and he likes to share his faith and beliefs with all that he comes in contact. And I must say, my friend can really sing. God has blessed him with a beautiful voice. Now although Patrick is a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist (S.D.A.) church and believes in all of the twenty-eight fundamental beliefs of the S.D.A. church, he also believes in fifteen additional beliefs that mainly have to do with prophetic interpretations of the bible. The name given to the collection of writings that pertain to these fifteen beliefs is the Shepherd’s Rod message. Those who believe in the Shepherd’s Rod message are called Davidian Seventh-Day Adventists (D.S.D.A.’s). The Shepherd’s Rod message teaches its followers that the primary audience (at this point in time) are Seventh-Day Adventists. Of course others who wish to learn more about this message are not discouraged, but the primary focus is for S.D.A.’s. The main reason for this is that the prophecies believed by the D.S.D.A.’s will first be fulfilled in and upon S.D.A.’s. And thus in their love for the S.D.A. members, they feel an obligation to share their message with S.D.A.’s. Now the leaders of the S.D.A. church are not inclined to accept the Shepherd’s Rod message. As a matter of fact they teach their ministers in the S.D.A. seminaries that the Shepherd’s Rod message is error, and they also teach the same to the S.D.A. members. This has been the continual struggle from 1929 to present.
The Details Leading Up To The Incident
In June 2012 Patrick had a thriving bible study from ten to twenty S.D.A.’s who were members of the Philadelphia church. The interest in these meetings was intense and high. Those present remarked how they have never seen the truth presented to them with such clarity, and they asked “why do we not hear this from those who minister to us”? These bible studies were conducted outside of the church in member’s and non-member’s homes. Over time the word got to the leaders of the Philadelphia S.D.A. church. The acting pastor, Anthony Kelly, held a presentation about and against the Shepherd’s Rod message. At this first meeting on Sabbath, December 15th at 4:30 PM, Patrick was surprisingly blocked at the entrance of the church and not allowed to come into the meeting. On December 19th for the midweek prayer service, Patrick was allowed into the church. At this meeting, Patrick did let the members know what previously happened to him on December 15th. And then on Sabbath, December 29th, Patrick came again to the church, sat down, and finally asked to leave. He refused believing he had a perfect right to be there. Unfortunately for him the police were contacted, and he was finally escorted out of the church during the sermon for all to see. The mob-like confusion that resulted caused the sermon to be interrupted. Some members voiced their agreement to what was going on, others were heard saying “this is wrong, this is not right”. Others left the service never to be seen that day again. At present, the leaders of the Philadelphia church are threatening all of the members who studied with Patrick with “disfellowshipment” unless they recant their acceptance of and belief in the Shepherd’s Rod message.
Is this where we’ve come as a church, as Christians? I could possibly understand that if someone was yelling during the service or doing something that was very unbecoming like cursing, spitting, or picking fights; yes we may have to physically remove someone from the premises. But when one is not threatening, distracting or in any way disturbing the service, do we call on the police to remove them? Is not God’s house “a house of prayer for all people” Isa 56:7 or shall we add to the word and say “except for D.S.D.A.’s”. I know of a group in the bible who called on the Romans to deal with one in their midst that they did not like. This is how the Jewish leaders dealt with Christ. Shall S.D.A.’s not learn from this terrible example on record for all to see? How is it that the people so readily listen to and adopt the views of the leaders without an honest investigation of the matters for themselves? The Shepherd’s Rod message has been around and still thrives since 1929. It’s not going anywhere. It has weathered many a storm and stands solid as ever. It’s adherents though scattered and few are not inclined to follow people and are not easily swayed by leaders. They are throughout the S.D.A. world church. How will S.D.A.’s deal with this annoying stone that the leaders reject? When it comes to “disfellowshipping” can we possibly learn from the following verse in John 9:22: “These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ [or that they believe in the Shepherd’s Rod message], he should be put out of the synagogue”. “Disfellowshipping” is for those who persist in sin according to our counsels and testimonies in the writings of the Spirit Of Prophecy. I do hope and pray that lessons will be learned here for the future, and this fiasco never again be repeated. But it is sad to say that this recent incident and history does not side with my hope.
By David Anderson
“Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.” — Isaiah 66:5
Summation Of The Additional Fifteen Beliefs:
1. That the prophetic gift in the Seventh-day Adventist church (through the medium of which the church was brought forth in 1844 and nurtured and preserved for seven decades) ceased its manifestation in 1915 and was not remanifested until 1930, and that this cessation and this remanifestation are paralleled by the cessation of the prophetic gift in the Old Testament and the remanifestation of it in the New.
2. That the present manifestation was timed to the 430-year prophecy of Ezekiel chapter 4, and that it is the “addition” anticipated in Early Writings, p. 277.
3. That it was manifested anew in the closing work for the church to effect the sealing of the 144,000 servants of God (Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 266), and to give power and force (Early Writings, p. 277) to the Three Angel’s Messages (Rev. 14:6-11) so that the 144,000 might be empowered to accomplish the closing work for the world, and to gather all their brethren out of all nations (Isa. 66:19, 20; Rev. 18:4).
4. That the destruction of the tares from among the first fruits of the living (Matt. 13:30, 48, 49; Ezek. 9:6, 7) results in the purification of the church.
5. That immediately thereafter, the angels let loose the four winds (Rev. 7:1-3), whereupon ensues the time of trouble and Michael’s standing up to deliver from it, all whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Dan. 12:1).
6. That the angels’ letting loose the four winds to blow over the four corners of the earth (Rev. 7:1), does not anticipate a World war but rather a world wide decree enforced throughout Babylon by the image-beast, and that then no one may buy or sell save he who worships “the image.” Rev. 13:15-17.
7. That subsequently, the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7) for the 144,000, the sons of Jacob, logically develops on their way home (Gen. 32:1, 24) to the land of their fathers (Ezek. 36:28; 37:21, 25).
8. That the foregoing epochal event shall cause the 144,000 to have their names changed as did their father, Jacob (Gen. 32:28), and as a body receive a new name which the mouth of the Lord shall name (Isa. 62:2).
9. That these events shall ultimate in the setting up of the Kingdom (Dan. 2:44; Isa. 2:1-4; Mic. 4; Ezek. 37), wherein the 144,000, those who follow the Lamb “withersoever He goeth” (Rev. 14:4), shall stand with Him on Mt. Zion (Rev. 14:1), and there “receive the forces of the GentiIes. ” Isa. 60:5, 11.
10. That with this sequence of events will ensure the Loud Cry of the angel that lightens the earth with his glory (Rev. 18:1), as the other Voice cries, “Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Rev. 18:4.
11. That in response to this call, many nations will say: “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Mic. 4:2.
12. That the Voice will cease to cry when all the saints shall have been gathered out of all nations. Then shall “the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.” Amos 8:11, 12.
13. That then will follow the dissolution of the world-wide organization of the image of the beast (Rev. 19:1-3), the close of the investigative judgment of the living (Rev. 15:5-8), the end of probationary time (Rev. 22:11), and the pouring out of the seven last plagues upon the wicked (Rev. 16).
14. That under the seventh plague, the hosts arrayed for the battle of Armageddon will fight with, and will be decimated by, the armies of Heaven (Testimonies, Vol. 6, p. 406), and that Christ shall appear in all His glory, destroy the remaining wicked, resurrect the righteous dead (1 Thess. 4:15-17), and usher in the millennium (Rev. 20:5).
15. That for a little season (Rev. 20:3), a hundred years (Isa. 65:20), after the millennium, the wicked shall live again and then finally be destroyed by fire (Rev. 20:9), whereupon all things shall be renewed, and God’s original plan shall proceed to perfect fulfillment in an uninterrupted eternity of heavenly joy (Rev. 21:4).” — Fundamental Beliefs of Davidian Seventh-day Adventists, pp. 11-15