The Spiritualism of Adventism
What is the final delusion that takes the world captive? What is its nature? Does sanity prevail one day then delusion the next? I see a gradual process of worldwide deception -- regarding the judgment -- that is deceiving the world and the church. Let's expose super-spiritual spiritualism and the denial of the judgment in modern times. Let us discuss its impact on faithful Seventh-day Adventists.
For an introduction, I will quickly trace the unfolding of the ever-intensifying delusion, beginning with the signs that were already evident in the 1890's. All quotes are from Ellen G. White's classic work, The Great Controversy. The purpose of the words highlighted in bold or italics is not to change the author's original 19th century emphasis but to merely call your attention to thoughts and ideas already present in the text. --The Editor.
"Satan has long been preparing for his final effort to deceive the world. ... Little by little he has prepared the way for his masterpiece of deception in the development of spiritualism. He has not yet reached the full accomplishment of his designs; but it will be reached in the last remnant of time. Says the prophet: 'I saw three unclean spirits like frogs; . . . they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.' Revelation 16:13, 14. Except those who are kept by the power of God, through faith in His word, the whole world will be swept into the ranks of this delusion. The people are fast being lulled to a fatal security, to be awakened only by the outpouring of the wrath of God." ---The Great Controversy, pp. 561-562.
"Satan is making the world believe that the Bible is a mere fiction, or at least a book suited to the infancy of the race, but now to be lightly regarded, or cast aside as obsolete." --The Great Controversy, p. 557. "And to complete his work, he declares, through the spirits that 'true knowledge places man above all law;' that 'whatever is, is right;' that 'God doth not condemn;' and that 'all sins which are committed are innocent.' " ---The Great Controversy, p. 555.
"If there were no other evidence of the real character of spiritualism, it should be enough for the Christian that the spirits make no difference between righteousness and sin. ... Satan says to the world: 'No matter how wicked you are; no matter whether you believe or disbelieve God and the Bible. Live as you please; heaven is your home.' The spiritualist teachers virtually declare: 'Everyone that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?' Malachi 2:17. Saith the word of God: 'Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness.' Isaiah 5:20. ---The Great Controversy, pp. 556-557.
"It is true that spiritualism is now changing its form and, veiling some of its more objectionable features, is assuming a Christian guise. ... While it formerly denounced Christ and the Bible, it now professes to accept both. But the Bible is interpreted in a manner that is pleasing to the unrenewed heart, while its solemn and vital truths are made of no effect. Love is dwelt upon as the chief attribute of God, but it is degraded to a weak sentimentalism, making little distinction between good and evil. God's justice, His denunciations of sin, the requirements of His holy law, are all kept out of sight." ---The Great Controversy, pp. 557-558.
"In the truths of His word, God has given to men a revelation of Himself; and to all who accept them they are a shield against the deceptions of Satan. It is a neglect of these truths that has opened the door to the evils which are now becoming so widespread in the religious world. ...
"Professor Edwards A. Park, in setting forth the current religious perils, ably says: 'One source of danger is the neglect of the pulpit to enforce the divine law. In former days the pulpit was an echo of the voice of conscience. ...Our most illustrious preachers gave a wonderful majesty to their discourses by following the example of the Master, and giving prominence to the law, its precepts, and its threatenings. They repeated the two great maxims, that the law is a transcript of the divine perfections, and that a man who does not love the law does not love the gospel; for the law, as well as the gospel, is a mirror reflecting the true character of God. This peril leads to another, that of underrating the evil of sin, the extent of it, the demerit of it. In proportion to the rightfulness of the commandment is the wrongfulness of disobeying it....
"'Affiliated to the dangers already named is the danger of underestimating the justice of God. The tendency of the modern pulpit is to strain out the divine justice from the divine benevolence, to sink benevolence into a sentiment rather than exalt it into a principle. The new theological prism puts asunder what God has joined together. Is the divine law a good or an evil? It is good. Then justice is good; for it is a disposition to execute the law. From the habit of underrating the divine law and justice, the extent and demerit of human disobedience, men easily slide into the habit of underestimating the grace which has provided an atonement for sin.' Thus the gospel loses its value and importance in the minds of men, and soon they are ready practically to cast aside the Bible itself." ---The Great Controversy, pp. 464-466.
"The prophet Isaiah brings to view the fearful deception which will come upon the wicked, causing them to count themselves secure from the judgments of God: 'We have made a covenant with death, and with hell we are at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves.' Isaiah 28:15. In the class here described are included those who in their stubborn impenitence comfort themselves with the assurance that there is to be no punishment for the sinner...
"Marvelous beyond expression is the blindness of the people of this generation. Thousands reject the word of God as unworthy of belief and with eager confidence receive the deceptions of Satan. Skeptics and scoffers denounce the bigotry of those who contend for the faith of the prophets and apostles, and they divert themselves by holding up to ridicule the solemn declarations of the Scriptures concerning Christ and the plan of salvation, and the retribution to be visited upon the rejecters of the truth. ...They manifest as much assurance as if, indeed, they had made a covenant with death and an agreement with hell --as if they had erected an impassable, impenetrable barrier between themselves and the vengeance of God. Nothing can arouse their fears. So fully have they yielded to the tempter, so closely are they united with him, and so thoroughly imbued with his spirit, that they have no power and no inclination to break away from his snare.
... "The people are fast being lulled to a fatal security, to be awakened only by the outpouring of the wrath of God.
"Saith the Lord God: 'Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.' Isaiah 28:17,18." ---The Great Controversy, pp. 560-562.
"Spiritualism declares that there is no death, no sin, no judgment, no retribution; that 'men are unfallen demigods;' that desire is the highest law; and that man is accountable only to himself." ---Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 688.
Satan says, "Ye shall be as
gods, knowing good and evil." Genesis 3:5. Spiritualism teaches "that man is the creature of progression; that it is his destiny
from his birth to progress, even to eternity, toward the Godhead."
And again: "Each mind will judge itself and not another." "The judgment will be right, because it is the judgment of self. .
. . The throne is within you." Said a spiritualistic teacher, as
the "spiritual consciousness" awoke within him: "My
fellow men, all were unfallen demigods." And another declares: "Any just and perfect being is Christ."
Controversy, p. 554.
In effect, spiritualists have so little awareness of moral accountability or a belief in the true God that, virtually, the spiritualists' belief is that you may "Live as you please for heaven is your home." "You set the standard." "Reality is only what you perceive it to be," which they often express as, "Do your own thing," "there is no right or wrong except for what you think is right or wrong."
That was the nineteenth century view of Spiritualism. It is still taught today. I would now like to enlighten you on the most prominent New Age revelation on the meaning of the atonement.
The story begins with a Columbia University psychologist and atheist, Dr. Helen Schucman, hearing a voice in her mind. "This is a course in miracles. Please take notes." See The Voice (Helen Schucman talks about "The Voice" that conveyed A Course in Miracles to her). The channeled spirit claimed to be Jesus and dictated about 1,500 pages to Dr. Schucman. Those pages became the New Age book, A Course in Miracles. You will see that the revelation that Dr. Schucman received on the atonement is remarkably similar in sentiment to what A. Graham Maxwell teaches about the purpose of Christ's death. In what follows, I present lengthy excerpts that summarize their messages. I also share a startling quote from an article that Mike Clute published three times in God's Last Call, a tabloid style newspaper read by, and specially targeted for, Seventh-day Adventists. Mike Clute, a rival to Graham Maxwell, also received his very Maxwellian theory from a voice in his mind. See Mike Clute, Would Jesus Kill A Little Sparrow?
Warning. This is a look at some cutting edge spiritualistic teachings. (Please don't cry too excessively if I expose some frightening ideas warmly embraced by many Seventh-day Adventists.)
Please note the following ideas as you read.
"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." Matthew 24:14.
1. The final
judgment will not come until it is no longer associated with fear.
Here it comes. The following paragraphs have been chosen for their clarity and shocking similarity to the aberrant theology of many Seventh-day Adventists. In these citations, the editor sees a unique combination of beliefs --- that of an unholy trinity: the theology of Laodiceans, Maxaliens, and Satanists.
"The Message Of The Crucifixion"
"For learning purposes, let us consider the crucifixion again. I did not dwell on it before because of the fearful connotations you may associate with it. The only emphasis laid upon it so far has been that it was not a form of punishment. Nothing, however, can be explained in negative terms only. There is a positive interpretation of the crucifixion that is wholly devoid of fear, and therefore wholly benign in what it teaches, if it is properly understood.
"The crucifixion is nothing more than an extreme example. Its value, like the value of any teaching device, lies solely in the kind of learning it facilitates. It can be, and has been, misunderstood. This is only because the fearful are apt to perceive fearfully. I have already told you that you can always call on me to share my decision, and thus make it stronger. I have also told you that the crucifixion was the last useless journey the Sonship need take, and that it represents release from fear to anyone who understands it." --- A Course In Miracles, Vol. 1, pp. 84-85.
"The message of the crucifixion is perfectly clear:
'Teach only love, for that is what you are."
"If you interpret the crucifixion in any other way, you are using it as a weapon for assault rather than as the call for peace for which it was intended. The Apostles often misunderstood it, and for the same reason that anyone misunderstands it. Their own imperfect love made them vulnerable to projection, and out of their own fear they spoke of the 'wrath of God' as His retaliatory weapon. Nor could they speak of the crucifixion entirely without anger, because their sense of guilt had made them angry.
"These are some of the examples of upside-down thinking in the New Testament, although its gospel is really only the message of love. If the Apostles had not felt guilty, they never could have quoted me as saying, 'I come not to bring peace but a sword.' This is clearly the opposite of everything I taught. Nor could they have described my reaction to Judas as they did, if they had really understood me. I could not have said, 'Betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?' unless I believed in betrayal. The whole message of the crucifixion was simply that I did not. The 'punishment' I was said to have called forth upon Judas was a similar mistake. Judas was my brother and a Son of God, as much a part of the Sonship as myself. Was it likely that I would condemn him when I was ready to demonstrate that condemnation is impossible?
"As you read the teachings of the Apostles, remember that I told them myself that there was much they would understand later, because they were not wholly ready to follow me at the time. I do not want you to allow any fear to enter into the thought system toward which I am guiding you. I do not call for martyrs but for teachers. No one is punished for sins, and the Sons of God are not sinners. Any concept of punishment involves the projection of blame, and reinforces the idea that blame is justified. The result is a lesson in blame, for all behavior teaches the beliefs that motivate it." ---A Course In Miracles, Vol. 1, pp. 87-88.
"Is Each One To Be Judged In The End?"
"Indeed, yes! No one can escape God's final judgment. Who could flee forever from the truth? But the final judgment will not come until it is no longer associated with fear. One day each one will welcome it, and on that very day it will be given him. He will hear his sinlessness proclaimed around and around the world, setting it free as God's final judgment on him is received. This is the judgment in which salvation lies. This is the judgment that will set him free. This is the judgment in which all things are freed with him. Time pauses as eternity comes near, and silence lies across the world that everyone may hear this judgment of the Son of God:
How Graham Maxwell's Rival Interprets Genesis 2 and 3
"We have been told that blessings and cursings cannot proceed from the same mouth. James 3:8-12. The 'Lord God' in Genesis 2 is obviously a grudge-holding, fault-finding personality who obviously thinks it is not enough to curse man and woman for their 'sin' but every created being as well. Neither does He bless anyone or give any Sabbath rest from their constant labors. He is a real slave driver.
"There seems to have been no attempt to comfort, encourage or reconcile the deflated pair in chapter 3. There was no mention of the great forgiveness of God, which is His middle name, that leads all toward total and complete restoration. Rather, their errors are held up and pointed out over and over again. Curses are pronounced upon them with no mercy and they are banished from their lovely garden home at a time when kind words and actions would have been most effective in drawing them closer to the heart of God. These punishments were designed to serve as an ever-present reminder of guilt and could not serve any other purpose but to impose upon them shame and further alienation from God. It would seem this is the real motive of this supposed 'Lord god.'
"Genesis 3 seems to show the serpent trying to break a web spun by an impostor. It was Eve that listened to the voice of the serpent, previously the most glorious animal created. Eve ate of the fruit, felt no condemnation and joyously spread the 'gospel' to her husband. ...
"If Eve listened to the true God in the tree reminding her that everything He created was good, would not she provoke the ire of the 'Lord God' in chapter 2?" ---Mike Clute, God's Last Call, May-Aug. 1995.
According to both the New Age interpretation of the crucifixion and A. Graham Maxwell---Adventism's most beloved teacher of spiritualism---the crucifixion represents release from fear to anyone who understands it.
The following quotes are stunning excerpts from a taped Graham Maxwell evangelistic series at Andrews University (Week of Prayer, October 1987) and were transcribed by the Biblical Research Institute, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
"I would like to talk to you tonight about what Jesus did on the cross has to do with our being His servants or His friends. It is the essence of the meaning of all 66 books, and I would like to summarize it in less than half an hour."
"You remember that when Jesus answered questions, He often went back to the beginning, which always takes a little time. But you remember when they brought up the question of divorce, He said, Well, if you have the time, let Me go back to the beginning. In the beginning it was not so, and so on. And with this most serious of all questions, and the costly answer, that makes it possible for the universe, the whole vast universe, to be secure for eternity, we need to go back to the beginning always. In the beginning God spoke those terrible words, 'In the day you eat thereof, you will die.' Now, if Satan is right, if God has lied to us, that is the end of trust. But if God really meant it when He said, 'You will die,' how will we die? Will He kill us? In the day you eat thereof, I will kill you. Is that the way our Father runs His family? Obey Me, or I will kill you."
"I thought God wanted love and friendship. Is it love Me, or I will kill you?"
"If the soul is mortal, how long will the mortal soul live in the fierce final fires? You die quickly in fire. How is it that some will live longer in the fire, and you know the verses---Luke 12:47,48. Some have more stripes than others. Do you know what this means? If God is the executioner, He will have to perform a miracle to keep you from dying prematurely from shock or suffocation in the flames, and the message is, Love Me, accept Me, or I will torture you in the flames. And you will never get a friend that way. We will all turn into fearful, trembling servants. And He doesn't want that. Do you know what torture is? In any dictionary? The worst kind of torture is inflicting exquisite pain before execution. Do you think our God will do that? I have read in books that even is the loving thing to do."
"Be my friend, or I will torture you to death, but I won't torture you one minute longer than you deserve. Oh, I love that."
"So, I stand at the foot of the cross, and I say, Jesus, hanging there on the cross, what did You mean when You said, Love and obey Me or you will die? And Jesus could reply, I am showing you right now. What was He showing them? As you read on through the 66 books, there are so many references to God's wrath and His anger, some day to be poured out without mixture on the rejecters of His love, especially in the third angel's message. What is this wrath? Is it love and obey me, or in the fury of my wrath I will destroy you?"
"I remember more than forty years ago I determined I had to work that out. I searched all through the Bible for the meaning, and most helpful was the book of Romans. In Romans 1:24, 26, 28, God's wrath is clearly described as His turning away in loving disappointment from those who do not want Him anyway, thus leaving them and giving them up and handing them over to reap the awful consequences."
"And that wasn't new with Paul. It's all through Hosea, chapter 11. God says, My people are bent on leaving Me. I'll have to let them go. But how can I give you up? How can I let you go? Many other places like that."
"Now, was God's wrath poured out on His Son? Well, let me ask you, Did He give Him up? Did He let Him go? Romans 4:25, I am sorry some versions say He was put to death for our transgressions. There is not a word in the Greek about being put to death. It is exactly the same word as in Romans 1:24, 26, 28. He was given up. He was handed over for our transgressions. Yes, the wrath of God was poured out on His Son, as it will be poured out on unsavable sinners at the end."
"What was Jesus' cry on the cross? Why are you torturing Me to death? No, Why have you given Me up?"
"If you want to know how the sinner will die, go to the cross, watch Jesus die, and hear His sad cry, Why have you given Me up? Why have you let Me go? It would be better to come even earlier to Gethsemane, where Jesus began to experience the sinner's separation from the Father. His unity with the Father breaking up. And Jesus fell dying to the ground. Did the Father kill His Son? He didn't even touch Him. And the angels looking on got the costly answer to their questions. Does sin result in death? Indeed it does. But is it the result of God torturing us to death? He never touched His Son."
"Now, that makes sense to me. God doesn't say, Love Me, or I will kill you. He says what we even say to each other. Love Me, or what else can I do but let you go. But when God says, I will have to let you go, we will die. But God says, I won't let you go easily. I'll try everything first. I'll thunder on Sinai to get your attention. I'll send she-bears to inspire a little reverence, because if you don't respect Me, you won't listen, and I can't help you. I'll even come Myself and show you now terrible is the consequence of sin, and if that doesn't win you, what else can I do but sadly give you up, and we mortals cannot live apart from God. Left to our rebellious selves, we will die."
"The angels watched Gethsemane. But the three disciples chosen to witness that costly event slept through the whole meeting. So the angel strengthened Jesus to go out to Calvary and go through it all over again. Besides, there was another question to be answered. Why, dear God, is it so important that we understand all of this? You are the sovereign Creator. You have the right to govern your universe any way you wish. No one would dare question your right to give orders and expect submission to your every command. Nor would anyone dare to question your right to destroy those who are disobedient. And that is just the point. God has replied, I don't want you just to be My servants. I want you to be My friends. I could easily have destroyed Satan when he rebelled, but then you would have served Me from fear---not friendship. Even if I had simply let him go, he would have died, just as Jesus has demonstrated. But the angels, never having seen death, would have assumed that the Lifegiver had killed him, and they would have served Him from fear, just the same."
"And so I hear God saying, Oh, My children throughout the universe, I want you to understand that the obedience that springs from fear can produce the character of a rebel. Even as you fearfully obey Me, you will be turning against Me. Now, please go out to Calvary and see that demonstrated. And this is the one thing that is almost always left out of the explanation of why Jesus has had to die. And why it is a terrible mistake, as you may hear sometimes, to call this explanation the moral influence theory. This is an awesome explanation." ---A. Graham Maxwell."
Prayer and Praise Summary Statement For the Purpose of the Cross
"Our Heavenly Father is unwilling to lose one of His children. He wants us to realize the terrible consequence of sin and take sin very seriously. And He wants us to see the falsity of Satan's lies and accusations. Yes, we will die. But He has not said, Love Me, or I will kill you. It's love Me, or I will let you go, and you will die. But it is not torture and execution at the hands of our gracious Father. For God does not want us to serve Him from fear. Or we will become His enemies."
"I can hear God saying, I want more than anything else freedom in My family. I want peace and joy and love and freedom from fear. Children, I want you all to be My friends. And to tell this and to demonstrate all this costs everything. Truly, only our best friend would tell us. And Jesus went up to heaven, and He went in before the angels, and He asked them, did you get the message? And so after Jesus had heard them tell Him that they got the message, they got the meaning, He came back to this planet to see if the brethren had got it. And He couldn't find them. They were all in deep depression. Well, they hadn't even gone to the meetings to get the answers. The three chosen ones who went to Gethsemane slept through the whole evening, and only one went to the cross. And he is the one who later on shows how clearly he understood it."
"You see, they were dears. And the Lord was going to use them to build our church, and I am glad He uses such people, because that means that He can use you and me, but they still were just servants, you see. They still didn't really understand. So tonight, could you say to Jesus tonight, we get the message. We are your friends. Should we pray."
loving Father in heaven, hopefully, all of us here can join with the
loyal angels in saying that we do get the message. What a price Thou
hast paid to make it clear that Thou art our friend, and just want us to
be friends. What an exalted position that seems to be. But how Thou hast humbled
Thyself to come down and be like a human being among us, to make it
clear Thou doest not want us to be afraid. And so we thank Thee
for making this evidence so clear, and we thank Thee most of all for
what it cost. We get the message. We want to be your friends. In Jesus
name. Amen." ---A. Graham Maxwell.
Spiritualistic Philosophy Replaces Repentance
Maxwell's Church-Sanctioned Spiritualistic Philosophy Replaces Repentance
"But part of the freedom that
comes with friendship, the friendship that is offered in John 15:15, is
freedom from fear, and most of all, freedom from the fear of
the Bible recognizes that one of people's greatest fears is the fear
of dying. And the devil has made the most of it. Even the atheist knows,
and I've talked to some. You know, around a medical center you see a
lot of people who realize that if there is a god out there, they are
about to meet him. And even the atheist knows, though he may have denied
all his life that there is a God, that if there is one, he is about to
come face to face with him. And he wonders what that powerful something
or person will be like. It is very interesting to help such people die
unafraid. Or would you think an atheist ought to die scared stiff? He
deserves to. You know, even God's enemies have no need to be afraid of
Him." ---A. Graham Maxwell.
Are You Now Ready to Face God Without Fear?
"And last night we discussed one of the freedoms that comes with friendship, the freedom from being afraid of an unfriendly God. And hence, as Hebrews 2 says, losing one of the fears of dying. Because we know that if we should die, we would awaken the very next moment of consciousness, face to face with a very friendly God. Even if we are going to be lost." ---A. Graham Maxwell.
Am I the only Seventh-day Adventist who is alarmed by this?
Consider the word pantheist. It's constructed from the Greek πάν (pan) "all" and θεός (Theos) "god". A pantheist then --- of which pantheism is a variation --- is someone who believes that everything is God.
Pantheism, according to dictionary.com, means
1. the doctrine that God is the transcendent reality of which the material universe and human beings are only manifestations: it involves a denial of God's personality and expresses a tendency to identify God and nature.
2. any religious belief or philosophical doctrine that identifies God with the universe.
I add a third meaning as a qualification to the first point:
3. The exaltation of the power and justice of natural consequences above God qualifies as pantheism.
Quite literally then, pan-Gnostic would mean, all-Gnostic. Consider this illustration. John Harvey Kellogg and his associates were called pan-theists because it was their most distinguishing characteristic. They commingled God and nature. They were absolutely thrilled by God being in their bath water, in the air they breathed and in the bread they ate. See Adventism's Past Pantheism.
Similarly, a pan-Gnostic would be someone who believes that everything is Gnosticism. Have you ever met someone that is genuinely fixated or hypnotized by a single idea? There are Seventh-day Adventists that think that the greatest doctrine ever taught to mortals is Gnosticism. They are consumed by it. They are marked by their obsession.
Here is the primary concept behind Gnosticism:
"A rejection of all legal categories pertaining to God, leaving sin as ignorance and salvation as a healing of the mind through accurate information about God and His purposes, was the core teaching of the Gnostic movement in the second to third centuries, and is the basis for most Eastern religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism." ---Richard Fredericks, Ministry, March 1992, pp. 6-10: The Moral Influence Theory---Its Attraction and Inadequacy: The distorted attraction of one popular theory of the atonement.
"The name 'Gnosticism' is given to all those different theories of the universe which professed to be Christian, but amalgamated elements of Christian belief with Hellenistic ideas regarding an intermediate world of superhuman beings between the Supreme One and men, and regarding the human soul as a part of the Divine which had fallen into the dark and evil world of Matter. Each Gnostic sect claimed to have a special 'knowledge' (gnosis) to communicate, by which the Soul could get deliverance from matter and win its way back to the Upper World. Most of the Gnostics represented the God of the Old Testament as an inferior Being, often a Being hostile to the Supreme God, ruling in the lower world, from which 'knowledge' enabled the Soul to escape." ---The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, article 785: 'Gnosticism.'
"The basic premise common to the many varieties of Gnostic belief was that since God is good and the material world is evil, he cannot have created it" (David Christie-Murray, A History Of Heresy, p. 21). The basic premise of Neo-Gnostic Adventism (and Maxwell) is that since God is good and retribution is evil, then God has nothing to do with meting out punishment in a final judgment.
"These systems were philosophical in that the problem which concerned all Gnostics was the reconciliation of the existence of evil with God who is good; religious because they offered salvation", salvation by gnosis. (Does that sound familiar)?
Also see Pseudo Adventism's Pantheism
question or comment?