Trying to Understand Seventh Day Adventism?
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08-04-2012, 08:45 PM
Trying to Understand Seventh Day Adventism?
Good Morning Everyone,

This is my first post on the forum after a very long time of "meaning" to get involved and converse with others. Initially I began searching the forum for people's opinion of the SDA church I have even done numerous Google searches and I am coming up empty handed with a solid explanation of the foundations of the church and if not too much to ask a list of their beliefs and scripture alongside strategic and factual debunks - it's been quite difficult!

I began looking into the SDA church because my grandparents are a part of it, they're almost 90 years old and before being a part of the SDA church they were a part of the local Baptist church. When this happened I was quite confused. I always thought if you were so sure of your beliefs and cram it down everyone else's throats that suddenly up and switching to another denomination wasn't possible. In any case being that they're almost 90 I really didn't want to debate their religion with them, I may not have them for that much longer and I have no problem with believers (so as long as they're not imposing it on me), but alas the debate has brought itself into my home and I now need some help to defend myself. Myself being an atheist and holding all the same beliefs as James Randi (a man I truly admire) insofar as the supernatural and new age, I just can't grasp the beliefs of the SDA church and why they can't see the writing on the wall.

From what I have read and found - all I can see is the makings of a cult! There is a prophetic matriarch (E.G. White) sitting at the head of it all, a woman whom as a child suffered severe head trauma (never making it past 3rd grade) and once being a part of the Millerite movement whom at one time made a false doomsday prophecy. After the world didn't end she separated herself from that movement to continue the teachings under the new banner of Seventh Day Adventist, "Adventist" meaning they're waiting for the "advent" or end of the world.

It would appear to me they do not differ that much from what we would traditionally consider a cult, the difference being they are not like the Charles Manson's of the world that demand death and destruction but they do have a number of prophecies under their belt that never came to fruition as noted below:
  • 1843-MAR-21: William Miller, founder of the Millerite movement, predicted that Jesus would come on this date. A very large number of Christians accepted his prophecy.
  • 1844-OCT-22: When Jesus did not return, Miller predicted this new date. In an event which is now called "The Great Disappointment," many Christians sold their property and possessions, quit their jobs and prepared themselves for the second coming. Nothing happened; the day came and went without incident.
  • 1850: Ellen White, founder of the Seven Day Adventists movement, made many predictions of the timing of the end of the world. All failed. On 1850-JUN-27 she prophesied that only a few months remained before the end. She wrote: "My accompanying angel said, 'Time is almost finished. Get ready, get ready, get ready.' ...now time is almost finished...and what we have been years learning, they will have to learn in a few months." 10
  • 1856 or later: At Ellen White's last prediction, she said that she was shown in a vision the fate of believers who attended the 1856 SDA conference. She wrote "I was shown the company present at the Conference. Said the angel: 'Some food for worms, some subjects of the seven last plagues, some will be alive and remain upon the earth to be translated at the coming of Jesus." 11 That is, some of the attendees would die of normal diseases; some would die from plagues at the last days, others would still be alive when Jesus came. "By the early 1900s all those who attended the conference had passed away, leaving the Church with the dilemma of trying to figure out how to explain away such a prominent prophetic failure."
Having been an Atheist all of my life I have never read the Bible in it's entirety, but I am sure there is a mention in there somewhere of a warning against false prophets.

One of the interesting things my Grandparents make constant mention of is Nebuchadnezzar's dream which was interpreted by Daniel and the basis for their belief in prophecy. The prophecies of Daniel have been so misinterpreted so many times and in so many ways, that most people have no way of actually understanding them. Even Biblical scholars disagree on their meaning. The dream in particular was an interpretation of a statue whose head was made of fine gold, a chest and arms of silver, a belly of brass, legs of iron, and feet made partly of iron and partly of clay.

The interpretation of this statue as understood (or believed) by the SDA church is this:

  1. Head of gold - Babylon
  2. Breast and arms of silver- Persia
  3. Belly and thighs of brass- Greece
  4. Legs of iron - Rome
  5. Feet partly of iron and partly of moulded clay - The divided Roman Empire OR Europe

I am continually told that "interpreting" the Bible should not be done, but by placing geographical locations on this statue as to be its meaning - isn't that interpretation? It does not in the verses by Daniel state anywhere what the countries relate to and other religious sects have an entirely different view of what the feet of that statue represent. To not have a solid understanding of the prophecy and everyone in complete agreeance to it's meaning is to me - interpretation.

Thank you all for reading what I have put forth. I hope to have some great responses and other ideas put forth.

~ Zane ~
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