Seventh-day Adventism Marks “Sad Anniversary,” Corporate Failure
REDLANDS, California—May 15, 2013—“Every year that passes increases Adventism’s embarrassment that they’ve failed to get Jesus to return,” says Richard Tinker, president of Life Assurance Ministries, an Arizona-based organization of former Seventh-day Adventists.
To outsiders, May 18, 2013 appears to be the official Sabbath of celebration commemorating the 150th anniversary of the approximately 18 million-member Seventh-day Adventist Church. But according to Adventist General Conference president Ted Wilson, it’s a day of shame as the faithful face their failure to bring about the second coming of Christ.
“This is a very sad anniversary,” Wilson told members of the world church’s Executive Committee on April 13. “We should have been home by now! The Lord has wanted to come long before this. Why celebrate any more anniversaries when we could be in heaven?”
Born out of William Miller’s failed prediction that Jesus would return on October 22, 1844, Seventh-day Adventism was shaped by a handful who turned their “Great Disappointment” into a new religion. Over the next 15 years these founders—led primarily by prophet Ellen G. White, her husband James White, and Joseph Bates—developed a set of beliefs they claimed had been forgotten since the founding of Christianity.
Today, Adventists claim that Ellen White was inspired exactly as were the Bible writers, explaining that her words are “a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction” (Seventh-day Adventists Believe, 2005 edition, pp. 11, 247).
The mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church has always been to disseminate its distinctive doctrines to the world so that Jesus can finally return. Adventists claim that their message is defined by the three angels of Revelation 14:6-10:
Further, Ellen White prophesied that “Sunday-keepers” will eventually hunt and kill Sabbath keepers—legally. For Adventists, Sabbath observance—not Jesus—is what ultimately separates the saved from the lost.
Ellen White also stressed that if Adventists had successfully taught these three points, Jesus would have already come.
The church’s 150th anniversary, then, is not a cause for celebration within Adventism. Rather, it is a cause of corporate embarrassment and renewed commitment to its mission, as general conference president Ted Wilson sternly reminded his Adventist subordinates.
“Why must we wait on this earth any longer?” asked Wilson. “Why must we observe more anniversaries of the establishment of the General Conference?” Emphasizing the movement’s view of itself as fundamentally different from all other churches, he further declared: “This message will not pass to another group or church.…There will not be another remnant church. You and I are part of the final church God has prepared.”
Adventism has a multi-faceted proselytizing program, frequently aimed at active Christians from other denominations, which includes:
The truth about Adventism
Adventism received a “free pass” when acclaimed evangelical apologist Walter Martin, the founder of Christian Research Institute and author of The Kingdom of the Cults, refused to classify the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a cult in the 1950’s. Since that time, however, several Adventist historians and leaders have admitted that church representatives deliberately misled Martin during conversations with him so he would not recognize the Adventist doctrines of an incomplete atonement and an unorthodox understanding of the nature of Christ and of man.
Martin himself stated on The John Ankerberg Show in 1985, “I fear that if they [Adventists] continue to progress at this rate, that the classification of a cult can’t possibly miss being re-applied to Seventh Day [sic] Adventism.” (Transcript from The John Ankerberg Show, “Who’s Telling the Truth About Seventh Day Adventism?”, 1985, p. 26.)
As the Christian world watches the Adventist Church commemorate its 150th anniversary this year, observers should take note that there is no celebration of this milestone. Instead of rejoicing, guilt-ridden Adventists are committing to renewed efforts to propagate their Adventist gospel to the world—and especially to unsuspecting Christians who don’t understand what really lies behind the whitewashed face of Adventism.
Life Assurance Ministries (LAM), founded by former Adventist pastor Dale Ratzlaff, is a leading authority on Seventh-day Adventism from the viewpoint of former members. LAM publishes the quarterly magazine Proclamation! edited by Colleen Tinker and mailed to nearly 30,000 addresses internationally in addition to its online distribution. LAM also maintains 10 websites. Richard Tinker is the president.
Editor, Proclamation! Magazine
Copyright 2013 Life Assurance Ministries, Inc., Camp Verde, Arizona, USA. All rights reserved. Revised May 15, 2013.