One would think, and even expect, that the official news organ of an established religious denomination would faithfully and consistently present newsworthy articles to its constituents in a way that upholds the standards of the church. And, ideally, these church standards would be faithful to the Word of God. But is this the case with the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s ANN (Adventist News Network)? Years of careful reading have caused this writer to doubt this very much, unfortunately.
The purpose of this article is to expose the direct contradiction of one recent ANN article to the Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy, for as we are admonished in Isaiah 58:1, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins.” The article in question, written by Marcos Paseggi of Adventist Review and published on October 6, 2017, is titled “Annual Council Opens with Focus on World Mission.”
Mr. Paseggi informs his readers that “Global Mission Centers were created by the world church to ‘help Adventists to know how to build bridges of understanding and friendship with people from major world religions and philosophies,’ according to the centers’ website.” The Bible plainly teaches that believers are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14.
By reading such news articles from ANN, we either ignorantly (or willingly) accept fallacy, or, by the grace of God, our eyes are opened and we see that it is the regular lines of the denomination which have become thoroughly steeped in false teaching and preaching, and that we must speak out against it. In the instance mentioned above, we can see that the condition has metastasized, as the Global Mission Centers preach a false gospel while ANN regurgitates it through mass media.
Later, we learn that the Global Center for Adventist-Muslim Relations “advises members how to build friendship relations with respect and how to make sincere efforts to meet Muslims where they are,” while the Center for East Asian Religions asserts that “Buddhists don’t believe in a supreme god or a corrupt human nature,” and that “elements such as these can make spiritual conversations challenging.” Instead of advising us to rise to the challenge, we are simply told that “beneficial conversations begin with understanding the Buddhist mindset.” While it is true that Christ’s method of evangelism involved meeting the people where they were, and we are called to follow His example, we must not content ourselves with leaving the people where they are. God forbid! We must call the people “out of darkness into his marvellous light. 1 Peter 2:9. As Sister White counsels, “It is not safe for Christians to choose the society of those who have no connection with God, and whose course is displeasing to Him. . . . Many feel that they must make concessions to please their irreligious relatives and friends. As it is not always easy to draw the line, one concession prepares the way for another, until those who were once true followers of Christ are in life and character conformed to the customs of the world. The connection with God is broken.”
Seventh-day Adventist Christians who have experienced true heart conversion to the Lord––the One who created the heavens and the earth, the sea and the fountains of waters—ought to know that it is our solemn duty to declare the everlasting gospel, yea, the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14:6–12. Meeting unbelievers where they are, laying down the protest (do we even remember the Protestant Reformation as something that involves a protest rather than just some all-appeasing ecumenical work of ongoing reform?), and building bridges to connect ourselves with false religions and philosophies, is not the work that God has called us to do. For, as God’s messenger for these last days wrote so succinctly, “It is by beholding that we become changed. And as those sacred precepts in which God has opened to men the perfection and holiness of His character are neglected and the minds of the people are attracted to human teachings and theories, what marvel that there has followed a decline of living piety in the church. Saith the Lord, ‘They have forsaken Me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water’ Jeremiah 2:13.”
For the church to connect with the secular and post-modern mindset, the Center for Secular and Postmodern Studies has issued guidelines for young people to connect with others by “trying to learn and speak the language of the city.” Mr. Gonçalves, director of the Center, is quoted as saying, “In our events for young unchurched people, time and again, we hear first-time visitors who say, ‘I have no idea why I am in this place, but I came because of my friends.’” Contrasting this with Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000, one would have to think that those hungry souls were hungering for the “grace of God that bringeth salvation” (Titus 2:11), not just aimlessly following a man with a platter of food for lack of anything better to do. We must, then, consider what the Bible, through its many plain examples, teaches about city evangelism. Three such examples come readily to this writer’s mind: Rahab and the city of Jericho, the Samaritan woman at the well, and Jonah in Nineveh. Let’s have a close look at each of these.
“By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.” Hebrews 11:31. In other words, Rahab had faith, and “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17. So, in Jericho, a city of unbelievers, the two spies sent by Joshua lodged in the house of Rahab, where they preached the everlasting gospel to her. (The spies did not live in Jericho, but rather commuted to the city from a rural outpost.) As a result, Rahab and her entire household were saved from the destruction of the city. In Joshua 6:17, the Bible tells us, “And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.”
The woman at the well
It was the custom of the time that the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans, yet Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well, and in the course of their conversation, after offering her living water, said to her, “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:22–24. Here, was Jesus speaking the language of the city and worrying about how to reach the unchurched, or was He preaching the everlasting gospel? We know the answer to this, and as a result of the everlasting gospel that He preached, “many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that I ever did. . . . And many more believed because of his own word; And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.” John 4:40, 42.
The Biblical account of Jonah and the whale begins with an admonition from God, in which He says to Jonah, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.” Jonah 1:2. After Jonah resists the word of the Lord and ends up in the belly of a fish, where he is convicted of his sin, repents, and experiences true heart conversion, he is given a second chance to preach the cutting truth of the everlasting gospel to the people of Nineveh. This time, “Jonah began to enter the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.” Jonah 3:4–5.
Besides Nineveh, the Bible also refers to Babylon as “that great city” (Revelation 14:8). Like Jonah, we must preach the everlasting gospel to those in spiritual Babylon. However, the present truth for us today encompasses the entirety of the three angels’ messages, whereas in Jonah’s day, the second and third angels’ messages had not yet been revealed. So, we must preach not only the “present” truth of Jonah’s time (the first angel’s message, which commands us to fear the God of Creation and declares that His judgment is come), but the whole everlasting gospel of Revelation 14:6–12, which identifies Babylon, the beast and his mark, and the image, and calls on us to keep God’s commandments and the faith of Jesus. This comprehensive gospel message is present truth for our time, in verity. If Jonah were to have simply tried to speak the language of the city (to do in Nineveh as the Ninevites, so to speak), and to build bridges with them, God could not have used him to deliver His saving message to the people of Nineveh. After Jonah preached the message God had given him, “God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.” Jonah 3:10. Babylon, “that great city” of these last days, however, will not be spared, as Revelation 18:19 proclaims in no uncertain terms, “And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.”
Getting back to the article, a most disturbing bit of advice on reaching the big cities through evangelistic outreach follows, with Homer Trecartin (pictured above), director of the church’s collective Global Mission Centers, saying, “If we’re going to finish this work, we can’t do it only from outpost centers. We have to have dedicated Seventh-day Adventists living in the cities.” This, brothers and sisters, is an outrage of the most egregious and dangerous sort. Has Mr. Trecartin thrown away his Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy? or can he, as a high-profile figure in the Seventh-day Adventist Church (he held the post of president of the Middle East and North Africa Union until 2016), really be so absent of knowledge and awareness of the things of God as to prod us and our families onward to destruction? We know the account of Sodom and Gomorrah, and we surely don’t want to meet the same fate as did the dwellers of the cities of the plain, upon whom God rained down fire and brimstone. (That downpour of fire and brimstone, by the way, was mixed with mercy, whereas God’s wrath—the seven last plagues—will be poured out without mixture on the wicked.) “When Lot entered Sodom, he fully intended to keep himself free from iniquity and to command his household after him. But he signally failed. The corrupting influences about him had an effect upon his own faith, and his children’s connection with the inhabitants of Sodom bound up his interest in a measure with theirs. The result is before us. Many are still making a similar mistake.
“Let it be your study to select and make your homes as far from Sodom and Gomorrah as you can. Keep out of the large cities. If possible make your homes in the quiet retirement of the country, even if you can never become wealthy by so doing. Locate where there is the best influence.”
Sister White further educates, “There is not one family in a hundred who will be improved physically, mentally, or spiritually by residing in the city.” “Before the overflowing scourge shall come upon the dwellers of the earth, the Lord calls upon all who are Israelites indeed to prepare for that event. To parents He sends the warning cry: Gather your children into your own houses; gather them away from those who are disregarding the commandments of God, who are teaching and practicing evil. Get out of the large cities as fast as possible.”
This call from Mr. Trecartin and the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Global Mission Centers is as far removed from God’s word on the subject of city evangelism as the east is from the west. This, taken together with the rest of the article’s points discussed in this writing, presents a very frightening picture of what the church’s press operations (and indeed the teachings of the regular lines of the church at the highest levels—for they are inextricably linked) have become. How long can God tolerate this outright apostasy in His church? “How long? Not long!”
7. White, Ellen G. 1930. Messages to Young People, p. 432.
8. White, Ellen G. 1911. The Great Controversy, p. 478.
12. White, Ellen G. 1952. Adventist Home, pp. 138–139.
13. Ibid., p. 137.
14. Ibid., p. 139.