January February March 2011
VOLUME 12, ISSUE 1
D E P A R T M E N T S
The life EXAMINED
with Carolyn Macomber
What is integrity?
What does it mean to live with integrity? The word "integrity" is defined as the state of being whole and undivided. The opposite of integrity would be a state of dividedness.
For forty-six years I lived in a divided but unexamined state. I knew something wasn't quite right with my belief system, but I couldn't figure out what it was.
Seventh-day Adventism always seemed to have something missing as I was growing up. Things didn't seem to add up, yet there was plenty of addition in the doctrines I held as truth: 1260 days plus 7 weeks plus 49 weeks—and so on … I was lost in an oblivion of numbers without context. They didn't make sense, but at the time I just trusted those more "learned" than I.
Then I began to study on my own—and things got worse. More and more confusion arose. The addition needed to be subtracted from my belief system. Finally I had to decide if I could live with a consciously divided heart—claiming to be an Adventist and appearing to have integrity, but privately disbelieving some of their foundational doctrines. I lived with this intense dividedness for quite some time until I made the decision to step into the abyss of the unknown: living outside of Adventism. It has not been easy, but I would not change my decision for anything! My heart has been made whole by the gift of a holy sacrifice—Jesus Christ. His resurrection has given me hope. Receiving His gift of grace has raised me, also, from death to life (Eph. 2:1-8) and multiplied my joy.
Now that I am gone from Adventism, I hear from those who continue to remain Seventh-day Adventists. Some tell me that they don't believe that Ellen G. White is a prophet; they also don't believe a person must keep Saturday as the Sabbath to be saved; they don't believe that Sabbath-keeping will be the test at the end of time (as Adventism teaches), and they also don't believe that Sunday-keepers will receive the mark of the beast (as Adventism also teaches).
Let us look at one of these doctrines: Sunday-keepers (those who worship on Sunday) will receive the mark of the beast. The mark of the beast is clearly a mark that associates a person with Satan. This claim is serious! To believe that those who worship on Sunday are connected with the devil is a damning accusation and doctrine. Yet this teaching is a doctrine in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. For a person to say he doesn't believe this doctrine yet still to remain a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is like supporting an institution that sells poison in baby food packaging. To say that one doesn't believe in Ellen White, the seventh-day Sabbath as the seal of God, Sunday worship as the mark of the beast, the investigative judgment (that clearly denies the finished work of Christ), and yet still worship as an Adventist is to live with a divided heart—which is no integrity at all.
Some within Adventism have challenged me about criticizing them (although I am simply pointing out the inconsistency in Adventist doctrine) because they personally believe in Jesus and have a relationship with Him. I want to challenge them clearly concerning their divided heart. They are living with duplicity, believing one thing, but living another.
Stepping away from a divided heart and leaving what is known for the unknown is not easy. Yet to live with a complete lack of integrity is worse. I challenge those reading this who have one foot in Adventism and one foot out—I challenge you to live with integrity and search the Scriptures for yourself.
Who will you live for, yourself or Christ? Will you live without integrity or in peace with an undivided heart? †
Copyright 2011 Life Assurance Ministries, Inc., Casa Grande, Arizona, USA. All rights reserved. Revised April 4, 2011. Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Carolyn Macomber is teaching at an inner-city school. Discovering increasing inconsistencies between Adventism and the Bible, she withdrew her membership from the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 2009. She is a member of The Chapel Evangelical Free Church near Andrews University in St. Joseph, Michigan, is a children's teaching leader for the St. Joseph Bible Study Fellowship, and is co-founder and leader of the Former Adventist Fellowship at The Chapel. She will share her discoveries in this column, and you can read her experiences of processing out of Adventism into the Christian community at her blog or watch her testimony HERE.