"How Adventists are Blessed by Other Christians"




Below is a guest post written by Seventh-day Adventist pastor, Martin Weber. His website www.sdaforme.com (where this blog is published) is an excellent resource of SDA apologetic's. I think Weber hits the nail on the head on this one. I hope you are as blessed as I was!
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Christmas season draws together brothers and sisters in Christ from all denominations to celebrate our common faith. Despite doctrinal differences, believers around the world unite in appreciation for the gift of our Savior. However, some Christians feel duty-bound to abstain from such inclusive fellowship. They imagine that interfaith interaction betrays their own biblical distinctiveness. I regret that more than a few of my fellow Seventh-day Adventists fall into that exclusivist mindset.

Invariably they quote Ellen G. White in holding themselves aloof from fellowship with the larger Christian community. It’s true that Ellen White initially was a separatist who shared the “shut door” mentality of ex-Millerite Sabbatarians. But as she matured in her theology over the years, she extended herself into connectivity with the wider Christian community. (This is an aspect of her ministry strangely overlooked by most of her fervent followers.) 

For example, in the 1880s Ellen White joined forces with the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, a group of Protestant prohibitionists. She spoke at their rallies and even recommended that some of our best Adventist talent should work for that organization.

In 1892, she braved much criticism from narrow-minded Adventist brethren when she entrusted her signature book,Steps to Christ, to non-Seventh-day Adventists for initial publication. Few today are aware that she contracted with Dwight Moody’s brother-in-law, Fleming Revel, to print that treasured book. 

Even her controversial “borrowing” from non-Adventist authors, in writing her later books, is a form of collaboration with Christians outside our denomination. The enemies of Ellen White allege plagiarism, while her friends point out that copyright standards back then were much more relaxed than they are today. Lost amid this arguing is the undeniable reality that Ellen White thought so highly of non-Adventist theologians and historians that she incorporated their insights—not just their language—into her own books. This amazing fact is highly instructive for Adventists today who wish to quarantine themselves from Christians outside our denomination.

Many of my exclusivist Adventist friends want Sabbath worship services to include only songs from the official SDA Hymnal, to preserve denominational distinctiveness. I’m wondering . . . do they realize how many songs in the SDA Hymnal were composed by non-Adventists (including contemporaries of our good brother Dwight Moody—the most popular Sunday-keeping preacher in Ellen White’s day)? Think of it! Every time we hold Sabbath services, we are effectively welcoming non-Adventist influences into our worship. 
Like it or not, we are one body in Christ with fellow believers of the larger faith community. Thus I’m dismayed and ashamed that some influential Adventists are restricting fellow Christians from speaking at our youth rallies, women’s groups and other church meetings. No matter how sincere their concerns, I believe they are guilty of the inconsistencies already cited here regarding worship music and the example of Ellen White. Moreover, I fear they are quenching God’s Spirit, who operates throughout the general body of Christ. They also limit the sovereignty of God, who exercises His right to anoint anyone He chooses for ministry, whether or not he (or she) carries Seventh-day Adventist credentials. And so God is blessing the songs, sermons and books of many Christians outside our Adventist community.
Some may wonder: “Well then, if God is working everywhere, why should I be a Seventh-day Adventist?” Because this is the only denomination on earth where we don’t have to sacrifice biblical convictions that are dear to us. All Seventh-day Adventist doctrines—when (and only when) they are interpreted properly—are special truths about Jesus for these last days. 
That said, I affirm again that God is alive and well throughout the general Christian community. Despite the exclusive mentality of some Adventists, there is much benefit to keeping our minds and hearts open to the ministry of faithful people outside our community. Just as Ellen White was enriched by fellow Christians (Sunday-keepers!), Adventists today may be likewise blessed.
Speaking personally, the folks at Logos Bible Software are dear to me and friendly to Adventists (they recently published the digitized version of Andrews Study Bible). My friend Pete Heineger at Logos told me that he attended a meeting at Saddleback Community Church where Rick Warren affirmed all the good Seventh-day Adventists are doing in Africa through medical missionary work. Warren’s books Purpose Driven Life and Purpose Driven Church have been a major blessing to me. So have books by other non-Adventists such as Phillip Yancey and Lee Strobel (The Case for a Creator, etc.). Every evening while driving home from work, I listen to Chip Ingram’s “Living On the Edge” broadcast—nobody explains Christian living to me better than he does. I get his podcasts on my iPhone along with “Just Thinking” from Ravi Zacharias, perhaps Christianity’s finest advocate against atheism and secularism. Although I can’t agree with everything I hear from these esteemed fellow believers, neither do we Adventists see everything alike.
If you remain unconvinced that fellow Christians have anything good to offer Seventh-day Adventists, I’ll let you borrow my scissors so you can get to work on the official SDA Hymnal.[1] And while you’re clipping away, maybe you can explain why Ellen White collaborated with non-Seventh-day Adventists whose descendants some of us feel we must shun.
- Martin Weber, How Adventists are Blessed by Other Christians. www.sdaforme.com

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[1] The SDA Hymnal contains songs written by both pre-reformation (Catholic) and post-reformation (Protestant) believers most of whom held theological views that are antithetical to SDA doctrines. (Footnote supplied by Marcos Torres, www.Jesusadventismandi.com)

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