January February March 2011
VOLUME 12, ISSUE 1
D E P A R T M E N T S
You can be spiritually alive today
"What's the difference between Adventism and a legalistic Baptist church?"
The question took me by surprise; I had not been out of Adventism many years, and it was the first time someone had asked me that sort of question. I was at a church women's retreat where I had earlier given a talk on my journey out of Adventism, and my questioner was the wife of a Mission Aviation Fellowship pilot who had spent years overseas, sometimes serving Adventist missionaries.
"The Baptist church is built on orthodox Christian doctrines," I replied; "Adventism is built on unbiblical doctrines."
In the years since I first grappled with that question, I have come to see that the unique teachings of Adventism lead to a single core that skews its entire theology. That core is buried in the investigative judgment doctrine, and it is this: Jesus did not complete the atonement on the cross, and Satan plays a role in its completion.
The Bible compared to Adventism
The Bible teaches that Jesus became sin for mankind (2 Cor. 5:21) and died as a propitiation for our sin (Rom. 3:26-27). He carried the guilt of human sin as our Substitute, thus giving us the right to be counted righteous through faith in Him.
Adventism teaches that Jesus' death on the cross did not complete the atonement, that it only accomplished the transfer of human sin to the heavenly sanctuary where ultimately Satan will bear the guilt of human sin and cleanse heaven by carrying the guilt for sin into the lake of fire.
The atonement, however, is between God and humanity alone. Neither Satan nor any other angel plays any role in the process of salvation. Humanity is guilty of its own sin; no angel or demon is held responsible. The Lord Jesus—God the Son in human flesh—took full responsibility for carrying the guilt of our sin and also for paying its price.
The reality that in Adventism Jesus neither completes the atonement nor bears the final responsibility for human sin explains why Easter is almost ignored within that organization. His death is merely one step in a process that may lead to salvation. His resurrection only promises eventual recreation of our bodies at His second coming.
Adventism, with its beliefs that humans have no immaterial spirit and that they must contribute their best efforts in order for Jesus to make up the deficit in their righteousness, fail to understand that Jesus' resurrection is the source of our spiritual life. Because He broke death's claim on us, we can be brought to spiritual life by His indwelling Spirit (Rom. 8:10-11).
He is alive! And because He is alive, we have the right to become children of God (John 1:12). Easter is the most important holiday of the year; death could not hold Jesus! The Father accepted His sacrifice, and He destroyed the curse of death.
Satan plays no role at all in removing the curse of sin.
In this issue
In this issue we share the final installment of Dr. Louis Talbot's 1957 article on why Adventists are not evangelical. Chris Lee examines why Easter is so important—and why Adventists do not generally celebrate it. Dale Ratzlaff explains the role of "progressive sanctification" and shows that we are justified entirely by the personal righteousness of the Lord Jesus. Ben and Delina McPhaull share the story of why they left Adventism, and Carolyn Macomber challenges readers to live with integrity. We also share a report of the 2011 Former Adventist Fellowship conference held at Trinity Church in Redlands, California, in February.
We pray that this Easter you will know Jesus and the power of His resurrection in your life. In Him, your past, present, and future sins are forgiven, and in Him you have passed from death to life.
Hallelujah! He is risen indeed! †
Copyright 2011 Life Assurance Ministries, Inc., Glendale, Arizona, USA. All rights reserved. Revised April 4, 2011. Contact email: email@example.com
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