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SDA: The Cult

I’ve been troubled for the last 6 days. I came across a podcast on YouTube that I had never watched. It just popped up on my home screen. I don’t get how because usually, YouTube will bring similar suggestions to what I’ve been watching. I’m a firm believer in everything we are doing, whether useful, helpful, or seemingly nonsensical at the time, is all for something.


In one of my WhatsApp groups someone posted a video of how to get out of a car filled with water. In Jesus name I pray I never have to use that info. But even in watching that video there is a reason why at that time, and on this day I watched it. God knows. As for the YouTube podcast that I watched that led me to be troubled not just on that day but for 6 days, I’ll be honest and say I don’t know why I was to watch it. Do I have thoughts on it? Most certainly and I am going to share it here and at an angle you will not expect.


The title of the Podcast was "Are Seventh-Day Adventists A Cult?" And it was a reaction episode to an episode they saw of a podcast by The Perrys & Dr E. Mason. The podcast showed clips of the podcast by the latter two groups of people. What was said is what has troubled me for the last 6 days. Is it the first time Seventh Day Adventists (SDA) have been called a cult to my knowledge, not at all. But why did this one leave me troubled for nearly a week. I am hoping may be in writing this, I will then land on my 7th day and rest from being troubled.


The Excellent Book as I call the Bible, tells of the time Jesus said in his ministry for us to beware of false prophets. I thought the verse was false preachers to suit what I wanted to say but its actually false prophets. At this point I want to draw you back to the title of this blog platform where I share my testimonies in Jesus Christ and understanding of God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.


It is called my little understanding to highlight that in matters of God, I am not theology trained, not a pastor, not an elder, deaconess, Bible scholar or anyone else with intellectual authority on Gods’ word. I am a child of God, learning, excited to learn and excited to share.


I also have the understanding that sometimes, what I think I know, may turn out to have more layers of knowledge that I may not have yet. Am I willing, open and committed to the teachings of the Holy Spirit, by the Holy Spirit and anyone he sends to guide me, the way Priscilla & Aquila guided the young man? 100% Yes and In Jesus name, because without him I can’t do anything, including the things I profess I will do.


What this means is for all the posts I’ve written, should I later find I didn’t quite understand something the way it ought to be understood, not only will I learn but will make an adjustment. The Dinner post (originally written in 2012) is one where I adjusted the names of the angel, and only used Gabriel, when I discovered who Michael was. This is interesting because in the podcast mentioned above (not the reaction one), they talk about Michael.


What did Jesus mean when he used the term false prophets as the Excellent Book (because it is from God so off course, its Excellent) says. My understanding of false prophets in short, are those who would speak false things about Christ or Gods’ word. After watching the Reaction podcast, I asked myself, would false preachers be also those who tell falsehoods in any other matters? To me the answer is yes, I don’t know what your answer would be.


If I go by my answer of yes, I was troubled because the speaker on cults is one who is held in high esteem by many people of Christian faith. He is also the pastor of a church in Philadelphia, a popular city in the World, so again great influence. He is a founder, author, has done counselling, officiated weddings, and don’t forget the doctorate study that has him recognised as Dr.


The reason I’ve been troubled is because of what he said about Christian SDA’s. I’ve been troubled because how can a man of such calibre, educational & societal standing say what he said. We are privileged to live at a time when information is literally on our fingertips and our eyes, in the form of what we view or see. Before the pandemic spread of A.I., we had and still have things like Wikipedia, which do not say what Dr Mason said. Why? Chat GPT is my close buddy for all sorts of things and even that did not say what he said. Why? If you want to learn more about me, the best place to start with is me. So, if we were to go to the official SDA websites, they don’t say what he said. Why?


Let’s take a trip to Jesus’ ministry when he was walking on this earth. There are so many reasons why he left his perfect place to come to earth. A journey that was brought on by 2 people I will always have the biggest problem with for the rest of my life more than anyone else, Adam & Eve. The Excellent Book says Jesus came to bring light so we may not remain in the darkness.


The Excellent Book also says Jesus came to bring good news to the poor and bring liberty to the captives. Before Jesus left his disciples on earth, he asked them to go and make disciples of all nations. He asked them to preach the gospel to the whole creation. Not only did he ask them to do that, but he also told them those that believed in him would do many things including casting out demons and heal the sick.


Knowing these things that Jesus said, I was troubled because with what Dr Mason said, how come the conversation did not lean in that direction of attempting to seek the alleged lost who are in a cult and bring them to Jesus. In fact, any of the people I have heard speaking of Christian SDAs have never seemed to be bothered to save us from our alleged downfall. Why I am troubled is Jesus would be bothered to save us, in fact he did with the greatest sacrifice of his own life. Why aren’t these reps of Jesus not interested in doing their own version of bringing us home?


If any of them, including Dr Mason were to do an evangelism to bring Christian SDAs to Jesus, I can tell them it would be the easiest evangelism in the history of evangelism and in the history of all the ones they ever did. He would find no resistance in Christian SDAs believing in Jesus Christ. Secondly as for being baptised, he will find many of us already got baptised in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, before the evangelism event. Most of all, he would find just like him, we believe in John 3:16 as the only route to eternal life and the Bible as Gods' Only living word, sharper than a two-edged sword and of which if we recall, the devil will flee.  We would sing and rejoice and have a wonderful Jesus time.


This is how I feel about what Dr Mason said. The story I can bring again from Jesus’ ministry is the one where the woman was caught in adultery. She was brought to Jesus for him to say what should be done in a matter that the law required for her to be stoned. The difference with what Dr Mason said and the story of the woman is the woman was actually caught in adultery, a set up because how do you catch someone right in the middle of adultery? On the other hand, Christian SDAs have not been caught in cult-ery (I know there’s no such word but you get what I am saying). The Shakahola Massacre was caught in cult-ery.


To me that conversation was to stone Christian SDAs. With the following both groups of people have, once their following hears something like this, they also won’t bother to dig for the truth because their leaders can never say anything wrong. Or can they? Whether knowingly or unknowingly? The beauty is that Jesus laid the example in that story of the woman caught in adultery. No one was able to cast the stone and they walked away.


In addition to that, Jesus asked us in the Excellent Book to judge not, that you be not judged. I get why he said that even before I saw glimpses of that episode. The first thing is because God looks on the heart, man looks on the outside. This is why we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to show us who we can associate with, hang out with, believe or even follow on social media. God knows more and sees more than we ever will with these finite bodies and finite wisdom we are limited with, this side of eternity. This is why we must ask him for help and guidance in everything. Did you pray before reading this post?


On the outside, we can see so many things that seemingly look one way but when we dig, we will discover something else is going on and very far from what we believed. There’s a video that came up on my YouTube (again) of a young man who looks like he doesn’t smile. He has been teased and even told he looks like a computer generated A.I. and that he has a face that “not even a mother could love”, all because he doesn’t smile. If you don’t take the time to listen to his story, you will miss that he has a condition called Moebius Syndrome. You will also miss to find out he has a business that saw him get $50K in one month. He smiles on the way to the bank but you can't see his smile and you will never.


Sadly, we all do this to each other. We see something, conclude one way, without taking the time to dig and see for ourselves what’s really going on. The story of the young man has taught me that I need to relax my preference to meet someone special who has a nice smile.  Things are not always what they seem. This is why I’ve been troubled by what Dr Mason said. All he had to do or has to do is even watch our Church services which are streamed online, not just when we have our main church service, but anytime there is a streamed event. He would see why what Wikipedia and ChatGPT say is nothing like he says.


My aim in this piece is not to convince you of what SDAs do or don’t do, believe or don’t believe. My whole thing is all the resources are freely available to you to find out for yourself. This is why I said at the beginning I would write this from a different angle than what would be expected. I will tell you in the flesh, I would love to say all sorts of things about the comments that were made but, I have to remember this. At any given time and even at the end of this earth, Jesus will ask me, “T.P.A, you had a fabulous opportunity to show who I am, and share that we walk together. How did you do in that exercise I sent to you through YouTube and through Dr Mason?”


What would I say, if I wrote this in the flesh? I am not going there. There is a bigger picture in our experiences and a bigger picture of what we say about these experiences. People are also watching. I’ve been writing this blog as a way of doing my part to shine Jesus’ light, because I know the fair God we have, wants everyone to have a chance to get to know him, walk with him and believe in him, same way as I’ve been doing, before he can come back and take us out of this raggedy earth and take us home.


So, if my mission has been to shine Jesus’ light, I can’t just write things as I want to. I can’t just write things out of anger, disbelief and disappointment. Even when I want to go opposite of what Jesus wants me to do (something I know full well about as a Christian), I know and believe I must shine his light. This is also what I know about Jesus’ light.


It is so Powerful and not even the differences in beliefs in the various denominations can dilute or diminish Jesus power. This is why I can listen to other Christians who are not in my denomination and be touched by God in a mighty way. The same applies vice versa, that’s’ if they haven’t been poisoned with falsehoods. Jesus has mighty power that no one can take away once its residing in you or me. They can stone you like Stephen, but your faith in Jesus, they can never kill whether by stones or their words. Thank you Jesus.


The Excellent Book, tells us the father of lies is out to steal, kill and destroy. He does that in so many ways, division through strife is a major one. This is another reason I can’t write this piece in the way my flesh would want to. The bigger picture is that the devil wants to spoil any effort of and discourage anyone who believes in Jesus. He will do that by any means necessary. Christian SDAs are doing many things, in many spaces from education, medicine, disaster relief and yep we have members in the Blue zone, Glory to God.


Rather than focus on our differences as Christian denominations, rather than judge when we don’t have the truth, and I hope I can say, yet, if we focussed on our similarities, we will discover those are more powerful than the differences. Why? Because Jesus Christ is at the centre. When Jesus is at the centre, surely what can’t we do especially at a time when Jesus is knocking on people’s doors and they’re not answering, refusing to answer or can’t even hear! If they hear they are defiant and hardened of heart to open the door that in comparison, Pharoah’s heart would appear soft as a marshmallow. This is where our focus should be. Not conversation that doesn't edify anyone or the church.


If I find you are doing your part in bring people to Jesus, I should and I am happy that you are doing that. The same should be true vice versa because this means, I am covering this angle as you cover that angle, so that ultimately, we can all proclaim John 3:16. Not as a recital but a fundamental, inner core belief. A belief that will see some of us paddle, some of us swim, some of us hang on that wood Rose refused to share with Jack in Titanic, to get to eternity, BUT, many of us get there because of our belief in Jesus.


I have heard Jackie Hill Perry’s sermons and one of them touched me so much I included it in one of my blog posts “5am Tantrum Part 1”. As someone who also has so much influence on the world when it comes to Christianity, I was so disappointed she could let that conversation happen on her platform, when it looked like she also didn’t know much about Christian SDAs.


I felt it was irresponsible because, the life of a Christian is about seeking the Truth in everything. I don’t feel that conversation was about seeking the truth, when simple things like Wikipedia and ChatGPT are a good basis for any of her team to update her briefly so that instead of saying the SDAs will come for her, she could have asked, well how come these simple sites say otherwise. Jesus is the Truth right? Our challenge as Christians is to seek Jesus in all we do, Help us Jesus, because we all struggle with this.


The annoying thing is I can’t even stay in my anger and disappointment that a PhD scholar, leader, prominent person of his church and following didn’t even do basic research, neither did a host of a widely viewed podcast and Bible teacher. Why? Jesus reminds me anytime I want to stay in an unforgiving and angry spirit, of the powerful words and love he had when he asked of his Father on the cross “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”. And you know what, they really don’t know in that topic. What's also annoying is I also have to say, I do things that I know not to others and to God.


The beauty about this writing is that I don’t have to have any goal, aim, or mission with it. What I know is though I’m getting irritated of being called a cult, I know Jesus understands my frustration and cares, because he is Jesus and also because he’s been there in worse ways. The people who lied on him killed him. A death that he didn’t deserve but a death that has given you and me a Mighty chance of living in a place, where there will be no grief for any reason and definitely not for being constantly misrepresented, misjudged, misunderstood and misheard.


A place where we will never be seen as the black sheep. A place where for the very first time in the history of humanity, not only will all the man made races be united in Gods’ Love, but all God’s children will be united as siblings in Christ and all that yapping and yacking we did on earth about who is who, who is not doing what and who is a what, was not even necessary because through the Grace of God, the guiding of the Holy Spirit, and the saving mercy of Jesus, We made it Home!


My own personal lesson in this experience is the reminder not to seek validation from a human being, known or unknown. Not to be bothered by what they think or say. They will get it wrong and/or because they know not what they do. God knows what he does, Loves me with a Love I can never understand but I understand and then I don’t understand again. God has the final say in everything and my heart should be looking to him to hear what he says about me. The Excellent Book has a whole bunch of wonderful words he says about you and me. May I stay in that place where its only Gods' view and opinion I seek and keep, because it’s the one that will comfort me and the only one that is true.


The Excellent Book says how John saw a number that could not be numbered. It’s going to be a whole bunch of us with our Father and this is where my comfort comes from in conversations like this. Guys, we are going to make it Home, In Jesus name. What a day of rejoicing that will be!

 

Related Verses

2 Corinthians 11:13-15

2 Peter 2:1-3

1 John 4:1

John 12:46

Luke 4:18-19

Isaiah 61:1-2

Matthew 28:19

Mark 16 :15, 17,18

Revelation 7:9-10



 

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