Posts tagged cult
How I Handle Anti-SDA Assaults
photo credit: Anant N S ( via photopincc

I get emails and comments every month that range from friendly to hostile. Adventists often write and thank me for this blog. Members of other denominations write and engage me in friendly debates. And of course, others (sometimes former Adventists sometimes not) write with aggressive tones, angry accusations, and hostile inquiries. I have had people email me to tell me ever so kindly that I am in a cult, that the church I love teaches heresy, that Ellen White was a false prophet, and that the SDA church has roots in freemasonry. I have had people tell me that the teachings of our church are unbiblical and built upon "the leaven of Ellen White," that I am in a "works-based religion," and countless other statements that I cannot even remember.

So how do I respond? With grace. At times this has helped turn the attacker into a friend, but there are other instances in which no amount of kindness has helped. Some people write with one goal in mind: to argue with me. They are not interested in common ground. They are not interested in appreciating my faith and having a respectful conversation. They just want to fight. But I made up my mind a long time ago that fighting about religion is immature and downright ridiculous. What's funny is when I refuse to argue but instead open an invitation to respectful and friendly dialogue these would be defenders of the truth never write back. I am left wondering, if I really was in a cult how in the world do these people expect to help me by bombarding me with hostile accusations from every possible angle? To those who like to attack my church, allow me to share with you a response I gave to one of my many assailants: "Is it possible that I am misled? Of course! But if you know the truth, you certainly are not doing a great job of wooing me toward it."

I am not surprised when people are hostile toward the SDA church. First of all, the SDA church is still relatively new in the world of Protestantism. Study the history of protestant denominations and you will see that every time a new denomination popped up the old ones were hostile toward them. As a matter of fact, SDA's are lucky when we are called a cult. Historically speaking many members of new protestant denominations were fatally persecuted by members of the older protestant denominations. "Because of the belief of opposing infant baptism and refusing to fight in wars, Anabaptists were persecuted by Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, and Calvinists. Hundreds to thousands of them were tortured and executed for their beliefs."* This trend continued as late as the arrival of the Methodists and Seventh Day Baptists. John Wesley encountered fierce persecution during his life, even to the point of being dragged out of his home by an angry mob that wanted to kill him. John James, a Seventh Day Baptist preacher, was martyred in 1661 for his political views. So when people call the SDA church a cult, as much as it hurts, I am thankful. I bet John James would have preferred such treatment.

At the end of the day the aggressors will always be there. There is nothing I can do about that, but as we begin this new year I would like to thank everyone who has ever dialogued with me in this blog and has done so with kindness and respect. Even when we disagree entirely it is always refreshing to talk about our differences with love. If that is you, don't stop writing me. I love to hear from you even if our faiths are polar opposites.

Wishing you all a happy new year.


Why "Sola Scriptura" Is Not Enough
I recently came to the realization that Sola Scriptura, the Bible and the Bible alone, is not enough. Now before you head down to the comment line and demolish me allow me to explain. Trust me, its not what it sounds like.

A few days ago I was doing some research for a blog I was writing called "Is Phony Theology the Result of "New" Bible Translations?" During my research I came across a sermon by a man named David Koresh. Now for those of you who don't know who David Koresh is, here is a bit of back ground. David Koresh was a Seventh-day Adventist who left the church and started his own movement known as the Branch Davidians. I wont go into details here, but if you would like to learn more about the teachings of David Koresh then I recommend you read this article.

Now back to my post. David Koresh was, to put it simply, a cult leader. He led his cult, the Branch Davidians, into a complex in Waco Texas that was eventually raided by the authorities and burned to the ground killing everyone inside including children. Koresh himself was killed. Now what does this have to do with my blog title "Why 'Sola Scriptura' Is Not Enough"? As I mentioned earlier, I had the opportunity to hear a bit of an excerpt from one of Koresh's sermons and I couldn't believe my ears. Although the recording was bad, it was good enough for me to clearly hear him say, "if you are going to be in this message you're gonna be in your Bible." Koresh was advocating to his followers - study the Bible. Don't just study it, know it. As soon as I heard this it became clear to me that the easiest way to lead someone into a phony church is to patronize them with cliches about how they have to study their Bibles, defend everything they believe from their Bibles, and follow the Bible alone. 

But shouldn't we do all of the above? Absolutely! But under one condition. Sola Scriptura doesn't mean "the Bible and the Bible alone points to me (ie. David Koresh or anyone else) as the only one who knows the truth." It would be so easy to tell someone, "I believe in the Bible alone and that's why I follow Koresh because the Bible tells me to." This is exactly how David Koresh deceived the people that followed him into their fiery deaths. He convinced them that the Bible and the Bible alone was the truth and that the Bible pointed to him as the prophet/messiah that they should follow. Therefore, Sola Scriptura only works when it points you back to Sola Scriptura and not to some so called spiritual leader. The word of God exalts Jesus Christ as our guide and no one else. Koresh was able to trick his followers by preaching Sola Scriptura that points to me. Today I would like to suggest that the only safe guide is this formula:

Sola Scriptura that points to Sola Scriptura.

Thus. I conclude that Sola Scriptura is not enough. What we need is Sola Scriptura Monstrantem Se Sola meaning "Scripture alone pointing to itself alone." This is our only safety.

Further Reading: Ellen White vs. David Koresh

photo credit: Adam Polselli via photopin cc