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More ‘Hope’ from the General Conference

July 29, 2019

 

Just a couple of days ago, as of the time of this writing, Pastor Andrew and

Sister Hilari published a powerful and engaging article on the topic of the vain hope the General Conference is pushing through the publication and distribution of The Great Hope and the NKJV Hope Bible. As God would have it, this author has also been closely following the ongoing, seemingly endless, reports from Adventist News Network (ANN) about the global distribution of another book of hope—the Missionary Book of 2019, Hope for Today’s Families, by Willie and Elaine Oliver of Adventist Family Ministries.[1]

 

 

To get an idea of how extensively this 96-page book is being distributed, let’s look at what ANN had to say about a single day of literature evangelism in the Mexican state of Chiapas:

 

“More than 200,000 Seventh-day Adventists in Chiapas, Mexico, distributed two million copies of the book Hope for Today’s Families to homes, businesses, and people in public places on Sabbath, May 11, 2019. The book highlights biblical passages that strengthen families in modern society.

It is the first time that such a large quantity of missionary books was distributed in a single day in Chiapas, and one that does not surprise top local church leaders.”[2]

The Trans-European Division, on its own official Web site, recently reported on a distribution effort of the same book in Poland, a country where there are reportedly under 6,000 Seventh-day Adventists among a population of 38 million. Victor Hulbert, director of the Division’s Communication Department and moderator of the TED News Network discussion forum, writes:

 

”Thirty-thousand copies of the 2019 Missionary Book of the year, Hope for today’s families, will soon be distributed across the population of Poland following a launch at the Polish Union Camp Meeting on Sabbath, 20 July.”[3]

Judging from the numbers, it seems as though this book must surely contain a message of dire urgency for a dying world. But does it? Let’s find out.

 

A light perusal of the book is all that’s necessary to see that numerous versions of the so-called “bible” are quoted, but never the King James Version. Likewise, there is only a single reference to Ellen White, whom the Olivers refer to as “a prolific Christian writer of the nineteenth and early twentieth century.”[4] It is a serious demotion to go from being the Lord’s messenger to being swept among the ranks of the many Christian writers of bygone centuries! If the Olivers would refer to themselves as Christian writers of the twenty-first century, which I’m sure they would, that places their writings on the same level as Sister White’s. What’s even more appalling is that such a statement would imply, however subtly, that their writings somehow apply to us in the twenty-first century, whereas Sister White’s do not.

 

A major emphasis of Hope for Today’s Families is on the institution of marriage. Yet, despite all the worldly and pseudo-intellectual spiritual advice they give on marriage, not once in the entire book do they mention the Sabbath, twin to the institution of marriage, given by God to Adam and Eve at creation time in the garden of Eden. So, we have a missionary book reaching millions of hungry souls around the world, and it mentions not a single word about God’s Sabbath?! Is there any hope for today’s families who disregard the Sabbath? When God created the marriage and the family, He made the Sabbath an integral part of it. Within God’s plan for the family, the twin institutions of marriage and the Sabbath cannot be separated. “What therefore the Lord hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Mark 10:9)

 

Hope for Today’s Families also draws heavily from the writings of infidels, as if this should be a surprise at this point. Among the many works cited is The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Families, by Stephen R. Covey, a Mormon whose writings are said to “subtly promote his Mormon beliefs.”[5] “Covey explains in The Divine Center” (one of his earlier books) “that he has discovered how to communicate Mormon truths to non-Mormons by simply changing his vocabulary. He writes, ‘I have found in speaking to various non-LDS groups in different cultures that we can teach and testify of many gospel principles if we are careful in selecting words which carry our meaning but come from their experience and frame of mind.’ (The Divine Center, p. 240)”

 

The Olivers do indeed seem to be careful in their selection of words throughout the text of their book. For example, on pp. 16-17, they write “To be sure, three things must happen in the space between what a family member says to you and how you respond.” Whenever this author has heard the words “the space between” spoken in this style, it has been with reference to spiritualism and the New Age movement. Consider the following text from the Web site of The Space Between Yoga:

 

“The space between is a yoga experience designed to get you out of your head and into your soul.

 

We are breathing new life into a beautiful, ancient practice through movement, music, meditation, breathwork and a stunning studio experience. Our flows are juicy, our guidance inspiring and our vibes high. Step inside and come alive.

 

Our mission is for people to leave feeling more alive than when they came in. We want to meet people in the space between no longer and not yet, in a place of self-discovery, on a quest for self-love and remind them they are enough.”[5]

 

On the final page of the book, Willie and Elaine tell us that “The best decision you can make for your family is to make God the third column in your marriage—the Counselor and Guide for you and your children, a real source of hope when everything around you seems hopeless.”[6] What are we supposed to understand by making God the third column of our marriage? What do those words even mean? If the Olivers were truly giving Christian advice, wouldn’t they counsel us to make God first in our marriage? and to first become one with Christ before even thinking about getting involved with a marriage partner? A rather extensive Internet search brought up some interesting information from a Christian apologetics organization called Stand to Reason on the subject of what they refer to as The Third Column.

 

“A third column has begun to form. Everywhere I travel I meet sharp, committed, ambassadors for Christ who are students of those in the first two columns and are grouping up with others of kindred spirit in their local communities.

 

Their names will probably never grace the cover of a book or be in lights on an apologetics conference marquee. Instead, they are foot soldiers with boots on the ground, individually being faithful to defend the Gospel in smaller arenas their Commander in Chief has entrusted to them.”[7]

 

The question is, who is their Commander in Chief? Among the values listed on the Mission & Values page of their Web site is Discipleship. That sounds innocent and “Christian” enough, but pay close attention to the wording of the text that describes what they mean by this. “Spiritual growth and training is accomplished in the context of relationship, both formal and informal, near and far, for the purpose of building skilled Christians, internally (spiritual formation) and externally (impact on others). This is the goal of the Great Commission.”[8]

 

Spiritual formation, there you have it. Is this ultimately the source of the “hope” the Olivers have in mind for your family? If all of this evidence isn’t enough to answer this question, the final point this article makes should serve to put a nail in a sure place. On the very Web site Adventist Family Ministries is using to promote the Olivers’ book, the following esoteric words are used: “This small book can help. Its ideas and solutions come from ancient wisdom but are as relevant as today’s news.”[9] What do you suppose “ancient wisdom” refers to? Is it normal to speak of the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy containing ancient wisdom? No, of course it is not, and, as this article has attempted to demonstrate, Hope for Today’s Families does not contain any true Godly wisdom. According to the Collins English Dictionary, the definition of ancient wisdom is “pre-Chrisitian knowledge, philosophy, and beliefs.”[10] Pre-Christian, of course, means pagan.

Wikipedia, on its Masters of the Ancient Wisdom page, offers the following:

 

The Masters of the Ancient Wisdom are reputed to be enlightened beings originally identified by the Theosophists Helena Blavatsky, Henry S. Olcott, Alfred Percy Sinnett, and others. These Theosophists claimed to have met some of the so-called Masters during their lifetimes in different parts of the world. Sometimes they are referred to by Theosophists as Elder Brothers of the Human Race, Adepts, Mahatmas, or simply as The Masters.”[11]

 

Now that we can see the great deception of the General Conference’s various “Hope” books, we should be grieved at how much money (much of which must surely come from God’s holy tithe) and effort is being wasted on the production and distribution of such soul-ruining trash. Imagine the impact the everlasting gospel could have on the lives of the millions who have received these books if they had instead been given inspired books such as The Great Controversy, Ministry of Healing, and the King James Bible.

 

  1. https://family.adventist.org/missionarybook2019/
     

  2. https://news.adventist.org/en/all-news/news/go/2019-05-29/adventists-distribute-2-million-copies-of-this-years-missionary-book-in-chiapas-mexico/
     

  3. https://ted.adventist.org/news/1467-missionary-book-of-the-year-launched-in-poland
     

  4. http://publishing.adventist.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Hope-for-Todays-Families.pdf
     

  5. https://thespacebetweenyoga.com
     

  6. http://publishing.adventist.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Hope-for-Todays-Families.pdf
     

  7. https://www.str.org/publications/the-third-column#.XTytky2B28U
     

  8. https://www.str.org/about/mission-values
     

  9. https://family.adventist.org/missionarybook2019/
     

  10. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/ancient-wisdom
     

  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masters_of_the_Ancient_Wisdom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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