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Adventism. A Cult?


Why do some people think the SDA Church is a cult?

Steve Answers:

Probably because the Seventh-day Adventist Church is a cult! There, do I have your attention?

The word "cult" literally means "worship," and that worship is usually a worship of the deity. So yes, Seventh-day Adventists worship theDeity, as do all other Christians. In fact, people in other world religions and even pagans worship what they consider to be deity/gods, whether it’s the sun, moon, rain, crops, or ancestors whom they believe are more powerful than people living on earth today.

But the word "cult" also brings to mind other meanings. In a larger context, Christians are a cult in the country of India, where themajority of people are Hindus. But Hindus are a cult in the United States, where the majority of people are Christians.

Small, more recent religious groups are considered to be cults if they aren’t part of the mainstream. Jehovah’s Witnesses; Latter-daySaints, (sometimes called Mormons), and Seventh-day Adventists sometimes get classified as cults.

Perhaps the worst association with the word "cult" brings to mind a group of weirdos who follow some charismatic leader and do things thatseem bizarre to most people. The key leader becomes as a god to these people who might be manipulated in a number of ways. Full commitment to the leader is necessary, and followers often give them their commitment when the leader isperceived as a type of god or hero.

To many Christians the negative use of the term "cult" refers to a distortion of the basic beliefs of Christianity, such as the Bible, the Trinity, and salvation by grace through faith.

About 50 years ago Walter Martin wrote a book called The Kingdom of the Cults. In his book Martin identified Seventh-day Adventists asone of the cults that claims to be Christian but really isn’t. The distortions he identified included:

1. Salvation resulting from obeying the Ten Commandments (including the fourth commandment about the Sabbath)

2. The writings of Ellen White being more important than the Bible to Seventh-day Adventists

The Seventh-day Adventist Church published a book in response to Walter Martin’s assertions. It was written by George Knight and titled Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine. In it Adventists point out that we believe salvation comes only by graceŃa gift from God throughfaith, by trusting Jesus for everything; and the writings of Ellen White are good for helping people understand the Bible, but they are not as important as the Bible!

When Walter Martin revised his book, he wrote that he had made a mistake about Seventh-day Adventists, and that they really are true Christians.

If you read the first edition of Kingdom of the Cults, you may think that Seventh-day Adventists are a cult in the negative sense of the term. If you know of Seventh-day Adventists who think that salvation comes from something they do instead of as a gift from God, you’d find some people whoclaim to be Adventists, but they don’t really believe what Adventists believe!

I’ve met a few Seventh-day Adventists who appreciate the writings of Ellen White so much that they seem to follow them more than the Bible. That sounds like a cult to me.

How about you? Do you follow distortions of Christianity? Do you even know what the basic beliefs of Christians are? Are you more apt tofollow these beliefs too much or too little? Do you worship, since thatŐs what the word "cult" actually means?

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