When we look at the parameters of the teaching of spiritualism outlined in the Spirit of Prophecy, it is shocking to see how many of them are found in Adventism, dressed up. In The Great Controversy, 588, Ellen White makes it clear that in the end time, spiritualism will claim to be Christian. For many years Seventh-day Adventists have felt immune to spiritualism because we understand the state of the dead.
Seventh-day Adventists are protected, for instance, from apparitions of the Virgin Mary because we know who that is. However, Ellen White reveals that impersonating the dead is only one error of spiritualism. The primary tactic of spiritualism is calling evil good and darkness light. (See Isaiah 5.) God’s curse is upon those guilty of this. As a consequence, the distinction between righteousness and sin is lost.
Someone objects, “Do not preach that. Someone will not like it.” That happened in New Guinea and caused the rise of the historic Adventist movement in that country. There were people preaching the Third Angel’s Message on the street and the structure administration said in effect, “Do not do that.” They replied that they had to do this to have a clear conscience.
The New Testament teaches that we should separate sin from the church. Sin is darkness and truth is light. But the teachings of spiritualism cause people to separate the one who is against sin from the church. That is the reason for the historic Adventist movement in Hungary. The New Testament teaches that light and darkness are always to be separated. (See 2 Corinthians 6:14¨C17.)
Spiritualism advocates joining the darkness when the New Testament says that light and darkness have no fellowship. (See II Corinthians 6:14.) The historic Seventh-day Adventist movement developed in Zaire because people said, “We must separate from darkness, and not become part of those who are breaking God’s law.” God said to the apostle Paul, I have called you to turn the Gentiles from the power of Satan to the power of God, to turn them from darkness to light. (See Acts 26:18.)
You must either separate from the darkness or become a part of it. That is happening today in Adventism. If you listen to error, it will take control of your mind and you will not know what has happened. (See Early Writings, 124¨C125.)
What do you do about open sin? In Russia many true-and-faithful Seventh-day Adventists were forced to act independently and separate from the structure because they were pressured by the state to send their children to school on Sabbath. Sadly large numbers of professed Adventists choose the easy way, the way of violating the law of God, in order to avoid persecution by the state. This is not a story of just an isolated person here or there, but of faithful Adventists who were saddened by the apostasy of the professed Adventists around them. Ellen White says. “How can fathers consent to their children attending school on the Sabbath, or any part of the Sabbath?” Manuscript Release, vol. 5, 79.
Spiritualism condones a life of sensual indulgence and involves a sensual religion. (See Medical Ministry, 101 and Testimonies, vol. 8, 295.)
Spiritualism makes gods out of men. This is one of the first teachings of spiritualism. In the Garden of Eden, the serpent told Eve the forbidden fruit would make her like God. Heathen religions and spiritualism have taught that ever since. In heaven there is a King and He is God. The devil imitated that and men were made gods. That is the origin of human monarchies, kingly power, and the divine right of kings.
If a man, or a group of men become conscience for the whole group, you no longer have the individual conscience. Men becoming “god” is also a teaching of Romanism. They say you must be in harmony with the community of faith. Their leaders are so strong, they believe they can alter God’s law. But no man or group of men, not even the General Conference in session has the authority to change anything God said. The idea that men can act as God and speak as the voice of God, even changing the Word of God is a teaching of spiritualism.
When wickedness is being done, and you are not protesting it, but, financially supporting it, what account of your stewardship will you give in the day of God? Do you know what is being done with many millions of dollars of tithe paid to the structure? They are using it to try to destroy truth. In Rogue River, Oregon, just recently, a letter was received from the General Conference warning them not to use the name “Seventh-day Adventist” anymore. This is also happening in New Guinea, Australia, and New Zealand. What will happen if they do? We know that in the past,with John Merrick, they spent many thousands of dollars and put him in jail for using the name.
It is a paradox that our close friends in the corporate structure pay their tithe money to destroy us. That is literally what is happening. Our friends are giving their money and that money is being used to destroy historic Adventists all over the world. This is a form of making a god out of men. Men have decided to be conscience for their fellow men. The Spirit of Prophecy teaches that we should investigate what is being done with the tithes and offerings. These people who are being harassed believe all the historic doctrines of Seventh-day Adventists and are trying to live in harmony with those beliefs. They are opposed for standing up for truth and spreading the Third Angel’s Message. If the true and faithful are harassed but the sinners in Zion are not, you have a classic situation of calling good evil and evil good, a classic identifying mark of spiritualism.
Another primary teaching of spiritualism is that what is, is right. This is a common teaching throughout academia and in society today. That means the natural state of man is good and therefore you develop the good within you. This came out of pantheism, which Ellen White said was the alpha of deadly heresies and a spiritualistic theory. If God is in all, then actually you are God. This philosophy is being used today in psychological counseling.
Another popular error of spiritualism has become a common teaching in Adventism today. It is that God will not condemn and therefore you should not reprove anyone reproof is unchristian. But reproof is so we can learn where we are in error. Its object is to show us how to put our lives in harmony with God’s Word. Since God does not change, we must do the changing. If we stay out of harmony with God we cannot be saved. The Bible says God is going to condemn. (See Romans 2; 2 Peter 2, 3; Revelation 14:9¨C12 and 2 Thessalonians 2.)
God’s faithful servants, just before Jesus comes, are to give a straighter testimony than John the Baptist. Otherwise, God will not recognize them as His servants. (See Testimonies, vol. 1, 321.) I would rather be in trouble with men than with God. If what I say steps on someone’s toes, I am sorry that you feel hurt, but I cannot apologize if it is from the Word of God.
Then there is the second chance theory. In the Catholic Church if you do not make it here, hopefully you will be able to make it in Purgatory after a while. Some Protestants believe in a millennium of peace when everyone will get a second chance. The Eastern Religions believe in reincarnation you can have many chances. In the religion of the Bible you are having your second chance right now. The first chance was lost in the Garden of Eden. If you are not saved before you die, you are not saved at all. God is going to condemn the wicked in the judgment.
The fruit of the teaching that “God will not condemn” is that it does not matter what you do, just live as you please, heaven is your home. You have probably heard that you will keep sinning until Jesus comes and then He will save you that is some of the same philosophy. We did not have this error in Adventism in the past. All this comes from spiritualism.
This is the same lie that the devil told Eve in the Garden of Eden. God said: You eat of this fruit, you will die. The devil said, You can sin and not die. And the devil is still telling that lie. That is spiritualism. One of the first effects of spiritualism is that people lose control of their mind, thoughts and imagination. Ellen White described this happening in her day. Some Seventh-day Adventist ministers were dissatisfied with their wives. They did not know they were following spiritualism. They just thought they were unhappy. But the devil was in control of their minds. (See Medical Ministry, 101.) They imagined, when they saw an attractive woman, that they could have a relationship with her and even have children by her in heaven. Ellen White said there was no hope for them unless they were converted. She wrote to a minister who was involved in this thinking and said, “Stop, right where you are.”
People think there is some secret going on in their mind and no one knows about it. Actually, the devil is in control of their minds and they do not even know it. They are under spiritualistic control and in the day of judgment, husbands and wives will find out things about each other they never knew before.
When a person is used by the Holy Spirit and is following Jesus, the Lord gives them the power to control their imagination. They are not imagining evil things. When evil imaginings are carried out, people think it happened all of a sudden. It was not sudden at all. Evil thoughts had been fostered for a long time. Satan will present enticing allurements and sensual thoughts to the followers of Christ in the last days. In Patriarchs and Prophets, 453¨C461, we are given approximately twenty different ways that the devil works so that people break the seventh commandment and their home will be destroyed.
If we want to be in the kingdom of heaven, by the grace of God, our imagination needs to be purified, or we are not going to be there. The devil works in many ways to make people lose control of their minds. (See Testimonies, vol. 8, 295.)
Another characteristic of spiritualistic religion is that the religion is sensational. It appeals to the senses, involving body movements of both preachers and parishioners, music, and the subject material for sermons. Ellen White reveals that we are going to have sensationalism in Adventist Churches just before the end of time. (See Selected Messages, vol. 2, 36.)
Another characteristic of spiritualism in religion is referred to in Medical Ministry, 97. It says, “restraint” is decreased and people lose their sense of obligation to others. Jesus Himself sensed His obligation to others. He even had pity on a wounded bird or a hurt animal. And His infinite compassion for the fallen race was so great that it led Him by choice to come to this world as a man to die on Calvary. Jesus said, “No man takes My life from Me. I lay it down of Myself.”
When people lose their sense of obligation to others, they become self-centered and develop sensual minds. The temptations to sensuality are multitudinous today. Many pictures in store windows, tabloids, newspapers and magazines, on videos and television are abominable and sinister. There is a master intelligence trying to get control of your mind.
How does the devil get control?
Diet. Ellen White writes about flesh foods and dairy products. Animals have serious diseases today. But even if animal foods were healthful, they tend to stimulate the sensual, sexual passions. The devil is intense on creating every type of delectable, tasty and appetizing animal food, because that is one way he is trying to get control of your mind.
Through the eyes. What we see has a tremendous effect upon the mind. We must surrender our mind to God daily and ask that the Holy Spirit be in control of our eyes and our mind. What are you looking at? If you are deliberately looking at sensual and awful pictures, the Lord cannot protect you. That is the sin of presumption. What are you reading? A characteristic of spiritualistic pollution is a sensual bond through your eyes and ears to stimulate sensuality so that you will not be in a position to receive the Holy Spirit. (See Medical Ministry, 101.)
Through self-indulgence. What kind of life are you living? Are you just doing whatever you feel like? Eating whatever tastes good? Or are you in control of your life? Are you controlling your thoughts? Your appetites? Your passions? What was the sin of the antediluvians? Ellen White says their sin was in carrying to excess that which was not sin in itself.
The devil comes to the people of this generation through phrenology, psychology and mesmerism. (See Testimonies, vol. 1, 290.) This is another characteristic of spiritualistic religion. Our modern word is hypnotism. Psychology books that do not agree with the Bible or Spirit of Prophecy are wrong. Have you heard of Ericksonian hypnosis? This type of hypnosis does not necessarily put a person into a full trance. It is induced simply in casual conversation. By using suggestion, you exert a strong influence over their minds so they obey you. The newest development in Ericksonian hypnosis is called neurolinguistic programming. This has taken over our society. We cannot even go to a used car lot today without a salesman using NLP on us. We received advertising that was sent out to salesmen and business men and its message was, “Come to this seminar. We will teach you how to do NLP to increase your sales, and show you how to be more successful in business.” It is also in the media. Today it is everywhere. Only the Lord can protect us from it.
Would you ever have thought that something like NLP could come into Adventism? But today we have pastors trained in NLP. People trained in NLP will not tell you what they are doing. They think you will not notice them practicing it. But when we find them using the techniques the hypnotists do, what are you supposed to believe? Our only protection is to stay close to the Lord and stay away from anyone who is practicing NLP.
Another characteristic of spiritualism is that people believe they have inherent power in themselves to accomplish good work. (See Testimonies, vol. 1, 294.)
Another characteristic of spiritualism is the lack of time for meditation and prayer. (See Testimonies, vol. 1, 295.) How much time do you spend in meditation and prayer? Are you talking to the Lord before you get up in the morning? As you go through the work day? Are you asking the Lord to control your mind through His Spirit?
A characteristic of spiritualistic religion is called free love. (See Testimonies, vol. 8, 292.)
God ordained love in the marriage relationship. There are parameters for our safety. But the devil wants to destroy these walls of protection. When I was a boy, a couple in our church was divorced. The men in the church were shocked that Seventh-day Adventists got a divorce. Things were different in the Adventist Church then. We claimed not to believe in free love. What really is the difference between polygamy and marrying and divorcing and marrying and divorcing?
The Bible still says the same thing about divorce. In Malachi 2, God says He hates it. According to the Bible, there is only one reason anyone has a right to remarry. Some Adventists are not straight on this point. The only Biblical reason that allows remarriage after divorce, is if your spouse committed adultery. (See Testimonies, vol. 8, 292.)
“Man’s great danger is in being self-deceived, indulging self-sufficiency, and thus separating from God, the source of his strength. Our natural tendencies, unless corrected by the Holy Spirit of God, have in them the seeds of moral death. Unless we become vitally connected with God, we cannot resist the unhallowed effects of self-love, self-indulgence, and temptation to sin.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 315, 316. His Divine power helps us overcome. The difference is eternal life or eternal death. In Revelation 2 and 3 the promises to the Seven Churches are given to overcomers.
Another teaching of spiritualism is that each mind will judge itself. That destroys the First Angel’s Message and the Biblical doctrine of the judgment. Could this happen in Adventism? In the last few decades Adventist people have been disputing about the doctrine of the investigative judgment. People do not like it. The Bible says God is going to judge every person who has ever lived. (See John 5.)’
The argument that the devil gave to the angels in heaven was that true knowledge places men above law. Unbelievable! As a young pastor in a conference church in Adventism, if I showed a statement from inspiration, that was the end of the discussion. That is the way it used to be. But today some will argue with the Word of God. That is a teaching of spiritualism, placing your own mind above the Word of God and His law. (See Romans 3:19.)
The last teaching of spiritualism is similar to the devil’s lie to Eve in the Garden of Eden. He said all sins committed are innocent. I was shocked some months ago when studying a book recommended by Seventh-day Adventist leaders and published by an SDA publishing house. This book said that when you sin under grace, this sin does not bring condemnation. What does this mean? Sin is sin. What is this idea that I am saved now and if I sin, I am going to be saved anyway? When you sin, you are lost unless that sin is repented of, confessed and forsaken. There is no such thing as salvation in sin.
The idea that you can be under grace and keep sinning, is one of spiritualism’s most dangerous guises. Some preachers in Adventism are teaching this heresy today. Are you discouraged by the devil because it seems you cannot overcome some sin? Go to the Lord and say, Lord, I am surrendering everything to You: my mind, my will, my all. I am choosing to follow You. Lord, there is sin in my life. But I am willing to do anything, be anything, surrender anything to you. Please, work in my life and save me from my sins. He will answer your prayer. No matter what the sin is, the Lord will help you to overcome. He will take away your past guilt and give you power enough to overcome. No sin is innocent. There is no such thing as sinning under grace and still having a relationship with the Lord.
Many of these teachings of spiritualism are coming into our church. What are we going to do? What has happened? “In His Word, the Lord declared what He would do for Israel if they would obey His voice. But the leaders of the people yielded to the temptations of Satan, and God could not give them the blessings He designed them to have, because they did not obey His voice but listened to the voice and policy of Lucifer. This experience will be repeated in the last years of the history of the people of God, who have been established by His grace and power.” Manuscript Release vol. 13, 379.
Seventh-day Adventists are the people of God established by His grace and power in these last years. The above quotation says the experience ancient Israel went through is going to be repeated in the last years among God’s people. Are we in the last years now?
We are living in that time. We have to pray, Lord Jesus, keep me free from all the doctrines, and teachings, and characteristics of spiritualism. I do not want anything to do with it. The devil will deceive and control as many as he can. God has promised to give us “eyesalve to recognize Satan’s deceptions; power to become sons of God; deliverance from the bondage of sin; and freedom to have eternal life through Jesus Christ. “(See Revelation 3:18; John 1:12; James 4:7; John 8:32 and Hebrews 2:15.)