“I am filled with sadness when I think of our condition as a people. The Lord has not closed heaven to us, but our own course of continual backsliding has separated us from God. Pride, covetousness, and love of the world have lived in the heart without fear of banishment or condemnation. Grievous and presumptuous sins have dwelt among us. And yet the general opinion is that the church is flourishing and that peace and spiritual prosperity are in all her borders.
The church has turned back from following Christ her Leader and is steadily retreating toward Egypt. Yet few are alarmed or astonished at their want of spiritual power. Doubt, and even disbelief of the testimonies of the Spirit of God, is leavening our churches everywhere. Satan would have it thus. Ministers who preach self instead of Christ would have it thus. The testimonies are unread and unappreciated. God has spoken to you. Light has been shining from His word and from the testimonies, and both have been slighted and disregarded. The result is apparent in the lack of purity and devotion and earnest faith among us.” — Testimonies to the Church, Vol 5, p. 217
As we emerge into the collective festive mania officially known as “the holiday season” many in the church stand in dismay at the worldliness that continues to flood into God’s beloved church without abatement. One must wonder what will bring and end to all of these abominations against the Word of God and His Holy Commandments? To effect the divine remedy for such a malady we must come to acknowledge some of the open trends of worldliness and have caused the church to turn her back from following Christ her Leader according to the above quoted inspired statement. Below are six trends that should alarm any thoughtful student of the scriptures and bring about a heart desire to sigh and cry for all of the abominations in the church if any expect to receive the mark of God’s sealing approval as found in the ninth chapter of Ezekiel.
1. Holiday Festivals, Christmas Galas
Despite the plainest of warnings from scripture (Jer. 10:1-4) the church continues to pay homage to this pagan holiday known as Christmas with a variety of parties and gala events which can hardly be distinguished from the world. Below are a couple of typical announcements of a Christmas worship services being held at Seventh-day Adventist churches. Here is a link to a wonderful little tract that provides some history and background on this so-called Christian holiday and reminds us the greatest gift given to man that is not based on a fleeting seasonal moment (Tract No. 13, Christ’s Greetings).
“12.21.13 – Community Christmas Program
Our annual Christmas worship service. We should all enjoy this year’s program as we celebrate Christmas as a church family. Our service will be filled with music for the season with a unique drama provided by our young adults that should certainly put us in the holiday spirit.” (http://www.downeychurch.com/)
2. Women’s Ordination
The continuing battle over full ordination for women in the church has garnered the attention of the world and now appears to be turning tide in the direction of wholesale apostasy despite earnest appeals from Elder Ted Wilson, the current president of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church. As of the latest reports three out of thirteen world divisions have voted to recommend ordination rites to women (North American, Trans-European, and Inter-European) with only one division opposing (South African-Indian Ocean). It remains to be seen how the other world divisions of the church will respond. We expect that be the GC Session of 2015 there will be support to ordain women because of the underlying money/state incorporation issue which is rarely if ever discussed in connection with the government demand to make women “equal opportunity” to men against the Bible mandate.
3. Worship Styles
There have been pleas from the present church leadership to shun the popular spiritualistic methods of worship known as Spiritual Formations, contemplative prayer, prayer labyrinths, etc. Despite earnest pleas from some concerned church members, the trend goes forward unabated in some large North American congregations. For a prior post on this topic please click this link.
There has been considerable attention focused on the controversy of certain faculty openly teaching scientific evolution as fact at La Sierra University. However, a much larger and unreported trend is that of essentially all of the Seventh-day Adventist higher education institutions seeking the approval of the world through accrediting agencies so that students can be conferred worldly approved degrees (B.A, B.S., M.S., Ph.D., etc.). This whole system of education is derived from the papal model which is contrary to the Bible model as has long been recognized by Elder A. T. Jones in his excellent discussion on the topic found in his book entitled “The Place of the Bible in Education“.
The Adventist Health Care System truly faces a serious crisis as it attempts to figure out how to implement the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) here in the United States. The trend towards worldliness in our health care institutions is not a new one. The Kellogg apostasy that took place in the infamous Battle Creek Sanitarium in the days of Ellen White stands as a solemn reminder of the danger of allowing teachings against the Bible to enter into any aspect of the work. By the 1920′s certain sanitariums had already lost focus of the need to take care of those Seventh-day Adventists who made a stand for the three angel’s message. By the 1940′s many saw the decision of the famous flagship Loma Linda Health Center to bring antibiotics into the hospital as a sign of an ever increasing worldly influence. In recent decades one can hardly distinguish an Adventist hospital from those in the world with many even reported to be be serving meat and coffee under their roofs.
This subject is particularly sensitive and rarely discussed in church circles. Recently a research paper has surfaced which exposes the church leadership double standard in regard to this heinous practice. In a prior post we have pointed out the most dangerous precedent of what appears to be the outright censorship by church authorities against a group of “right to life” Seventh-day Adventists who are asking hard questions on the practices in Adventist hospitals and clinics. Even the worldly news media has taken notice to the silence of the Seventh-day Adventist church on this politically charged issue.
In spite of this deplorable condition of the church, God has not forsaken her. To bring about a reconciliation there has been an ongoing appeal to bring about a true revival and reformation since the 1930′s through the writings of the original Shepherd’s Rod message despite the longstanding and intense hostility against this earnest plea for our estranged mother (church). The soon coming of the judgment of the living foretold by the prophet Malachi announcing the great and dreadful day of the Lord (c. 4:5) is the divine remedy that has also been plainly spelled out in the Spirit of Prophecy. Thus a mighty shaking must take place to purify the apple of God’s eye, the Seventh-day Adventist church, nonetheless there will be a remnant, those who have overcome by the blood of the Lamb and will be found faithful and true without guile in their mouths, the 144,000 first fruits of the final harvest of souls.
“The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out–the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place. None but those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony will be found with the loyal and true, without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths. We must be divested of our self-righteousness and arrayed in the righteousness of Christ.” — Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 380
For some additional quotes from the Spirit of Prophecy that elaborate the purification event that is soon to take place first within the house of God (1 Pet. 4:17), please look up the following passages, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3, pp. 266-67, Vol. 5, p. 80, 211. For series of present truth studies which details these most important events soon to take place, please visit the “Studies” menu link on this website.
May God bless your search for Truth as for hidden treasure and to stand strong, come what may in the Holy name of Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior.