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Posts Tagged ‘Revelation Seminar’

I would like to present some real-life examples which illustrate the parable I wrote a few weeks ago,  Deceitful Duck Logic.

A very common practice in  Adventism in order to gain converts is to rent a public facility for meetings and send invitations in mass mailings to the community.  The colorful invitations include promises to explain Biblical topics relating to end times and other subjects people may have questions about.  What they don’t include is any mention of who they are.  Most who attend these meetings are already Christians attending other churches, as these are the people with the most interest in prophecy subjects.

I heard the following account from a person directly involved.   Feel free to check out the facts of this if necessary.  In July 2009 the Adventist  “It Is Written” ministry rented the Performing Arts Theater in Lancaster, California for three weeks, at the cost of thousands of dollars a night.  They sent out over 200,000 invitations to the community and named the series of meetings  “Countdown to Eternity”.  An ex-Mormon and other concerned Christians decided that someone needed to at least inform the attendees about the identity of their hosts and their key beliefs.  After the meetings ended they passed out fliers to those leaving the building.  They delivered more than 500 in the first couple of meetings and many expressed their gratitude for the information.  Observers of the first meetings reported no one would have suspected they were not mainstream evangelical.  They promised to help their audience “understand prophecy better”.  No church affiliation had been indicated.

I have seen this method in action myself, on a smaller scale.  When our own small local SDA church organized similar meetings at the local college,  we were asked to lie in response to questions about the speaker – that our SDA pastor teaching the series  “may be the pastor of a church in the area in a few months”.  We did not agree to lie for him.

Recently another former SDA I know in Nevada received a brochure at her door.  She immediately recognized it as having the Adventist flavor, but no name was listed.  She called the number provided and this is what transpired:

I called the phone number on there.  When the lady answered I told her I had this brochure.  I asked what church was sponsoring it.  She said, “No church.”  I could not stand the lie, so I told her I was a former SDA and I recognized SDA doctrine when I saw it.   She  did a LOT of protesting and I kept on telling her she was not telling the truth.  That is when she admitted she was SDA.  I told her it was a lie to say she did not know what church sponsored this,  and that they had given it to the wrong person.  – Diana R. Lopez

A couple who are in the process of leaving the SDA denomination recently confronted the church’s practice of initially hiding their identity in evangelistic outreach activities.  The following is a response to this issue, a direct quote from the associate pastor of the high-profile Pioneer Memorial Church on the campus of the Seventh-day Adventist Seminary, Andrews University.

The discussion of whether our evangelistic advertising should include the church name has been a live discussion in the church ever since I can remember. Many agree with you that
all of our evangelistic advertising should always include the Adventist name. Most of our evangelistic meetings are held in our own churches because it’s less expensive than renting public facilities, and in these cases the advertising does include the church name by necessity. The other argument is that surveys indicate that the average person on the street confuses us with Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc., and to include the Adventist name would not be communicating truthfully to such people.  I won’t claim that there is never an  attempt to deceive, but I think it’s safe to say that that is rare. Other motivations are involved. – Skip MacCarty

So we see the line of logic is “honesty requires us to not tell the truth.”  Of course the REAL question is, “Why do people confuse you with the other two cults?”  And another, “Why is it okay to lie in order to teach people they should keep the 4th Commandment?”

In spite of their fear of being associated with JW and LDS, Adventism has done an amazing job in the last few decades of presenting itself as a mainstream Christian church which simply meets on Saturday.  I meet so few Christians who know what Adventists actually believe, or that they also have a prophet like the Mormons.   Evangelical factions exist within the denomination who do not hold to the historic precepts which launched the church into existence.  Yet the official stance from the organization remains unchanged in crucial areas that deviate from the tenets of orthodox Christianity.  For an overview of these differences, an excellent Evangelical Resource is “The Truth About Adventist Truth” – by Dale Ratzlaff, former SDA pastor.

Truth does not need to hide or deceive.  It is not afraid of being questioned or tested.  This practice alone tells me there is something wrong with Adventist “truth.”  I dearly love Adventist people.  I know many believe their message is so important it justifies the means.  But I also have a burden for unsuspecting prospects to not take the bait, but to be aware and discerning.

I have been given permission to share both the exit letters and church response which contain the above quotation. (links below) The church requested this couple always include its response with copies of their own letters.  While this couple is under no obligation to do so,  we are in agreement that the church response says much than their exit letters ever could have.

Dana Kendall’s Exit Letter

Scott Kendall’s Exit Letter

Pioneer Memorial Church Response

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A parable showing how to reconcile the conflict between your identity and your message.

Deceitful Duck Logic

duck or chicken?

There once was a duck who thought ill of chickens.  She gathered all the ducks together and convinced them chickens were indeed very evil – so evil in fact, they may be in danger of being wiped out of existence by the Farmer.  They decided to warn the chickens, and teach them how to be more like ducks.  Many chickens were persuaded to try out of fear.  The ducks convinced them the Farmer really loved ducks more and the only way to avoid being eaten was to become a duck.  Sadly, the truth was much different.  The farmer kept the chickens because they produced eggs, and did not kill and eat them.  There was plenty of evidence to support this, yet the ducks told the chickens their eggs were not important, but the most urgent thing they needed to learn was how to walk like a duck.

Not all the chickens were so easily swayed however, and some tried at times to tell the ducks they were very strange for saying such things.  In fact, most of the chickens did not accept the duck’s ideas and would not invite them to the farm socials.  While the ducks were the first ones to cause the rift in this relationship by accusing chickens of being a lower life form, they simultaneously wanted to be accepted by the chickens in some activities.  Since they knew the chickens had been turned off by their duckness, they began to fluff their feathers more and learned how to cluck like chickens.  Eventually the efforts paid off, and the chickens began to accept them and include them in their chicken parties.  If any chicken pointed to them and cried..”Don’t be tricked!! That is not a chicken, but in fact.. a duck!”  The other chickens would turn on them and peck them until they decided it wasn’t worth the effort.

The disguise worked so well, the ducks decided to use it when inviting the chickens to their own meetings.  After all, if chickens knew they were actually ducks, no one would come to hear what they had to say.  The meetings, designed to illustrate why chickens were evil were ironically presented as meetings by chickens and for chickens.  After being mesmerized by the initial illusion, and believing the accusations against their own kind, many chickens were not at all alarmed when the feathers settled down into an oily matte and the clucking turned back into quacking.  In fact, some never even noticed the transfer from chicken back to duck and came to see themselves as a restored chicken – going back to the way chickens were always meant to be… a duck.

So.. if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck.. it must be in reality, the essence of true chicken.

Short Video Question for SDA’s

Interesting set of videos for more information:

John Ankerberg show interviews Walter Martin

(must scroll down page for the series of videos)

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