dear Adventist community, have you read the Bible?
Updated: May 5
As I have become more integrated into the online ministry world, I've had numerous people or groups on social media reach out to me. I also went out of my way to find groups on social media that held titles relating to Adventism or young adults in ministry simply to get a better feel for what everyone is thinking and feeling. If I am going to write for the Christian/Adventist audience, I want to know who I am writing to! I've been sent links to articles, sermons, and videos. I do my best to take a look at whatever my readers send my way... but recently what I've been receiving hasn't been... the best. In fact, over the past few weeks, I have realized it is healthier for my spiritual life not to remain in several Adventist groups on Facebook. I no longer want to have their posts and comments showing up in my feed. We need to talk about what is going on.
Right now it is very clear that the world needs to know Jesus. It is very evident that there is a lot of fear, anxiety, and stress filling the minds and hearts of nations across the globe. The Adventist church is such a proud organization when it comes to the three angels' message and being a witness. We cherish our values and treasure the fact that we have such a wonderful grasp on scripture. As we see people searching for Jesus we are in a rush to reveal him. This is awesome; and exactly what we should be doing, however, it is very alarming to me the way we are going about it.
It seems that much of our approach in comforting the world during this pandemic is centered around Ellen White and her books and teachings (I have written an entire article about Ellen White which I will link here). Specifically, I am seeing a lot of posts and discussion about the following three topics:
1. The Great Controversy
2. The Sunday Law
3. The Sabbath
I'm not sure why a large portion of the Adventist Community has decided that while people are dying from COVID-19 we should start proclaiming that religious persecution is coming for us next. It is unclear to me how a pandemic verifies that Jesus will be arriving this year (I mean he could, but please remember Matthew 24:36). Most of all I have failed to comprehend why a hurting world needs to hear about the Sabbath right now more than they need to hear about the Savior.
Now before you start telling me I'm a SADventist, a BADventist, or an Ellen White hater just take a breath. I am not arguing that Ellen White has shared some extremely insightful literature when it comes to studying the Bible. I have all of her books on both my phone and my iPad, and I enjoy referencing them as needed. I am not arguing that the Sabbath is important (see my post on it here). I am not saying the world will never end or that there isn't a need for people to seek salvation. I'm just tired of seeing Adventist Doctrine being the focus of our denomination instead of the Bible itself. Isn't our doctrine supposed to be built on the Bible? Yet instead of telling people how to know God and comprehend the Bible, we are telling fanatical stories about a Sunday law.
Here is something we all need to think about: The whole reason Ellen White wrote her books was because people were not effectively studying and searching the scriptures for themselves. The whole purpose of Ellen White's ministry was to lead people to the Bible! Yet here we are, centuries later making the exact same mistakes as those who came before us. Not only are we straying away from active Bible reading, but we are now using Ellen White as a crutch- as an excuse or "proof" that we already have this whole spiritual thing figured out. In fact, many times in history when we see a prophet rise up, it is because God has a new message for his people. It is often a message we need because we've become negligent in our own efforts to know God. Why is it that amidst a pandemic I am seeing more Ellen White quotes about Sabbath-keeping show up in my feed than Bible verses about security, peace, and salvation through Jesus?
We must realize that the whole reason our Adventist church denomination was so groundbreaking and so successful when it first began was because it was the first denomination to really root itself in scripture alone. It was the first denomination to recognize the continuing validity and sanctity of all 10 of the Ten Commandments. It was the insight of scripture that brought the crowds. The people were hungry for it. They were desperate for it- and it is still the same today. The world is not looking for Ellen White, they are looking for Jesus- and while Ellen White books are a great commentary or reference point, they should never replace the Bible. If you are reading Ellen White books more than the Bible itself, you are doing it wrong.
Our fundamental beliefs should never replace the Bible.
Our health message should never replace the Bible.
Our focus should never be on anything other than accepting Jesus and understanding/comprehending scripture.
I want to know where the Ellen Whites of this generation are. Maybe that idea makes you scoff. Am I implying that people should start self-proclaiming that they are prophets? No. I am implying that if we were as motivated as Ellen White was to seek and read and understand the Bible itself, we would be seeing a lot more impact in our work today. People love to tell me that the reason the youth are "leaving" the church is because it is "end times". People reason away the dwindle in tithe or church attendance by pointing out that we are seeing that trend in ALL denominations. I refuse to accept this as "how it has to be". The Holy Spirit is not to be limited.
I truly believe that if we as a united denomination put our focus back on the Bible itself- on helping people desire to read the Bible daily- nearly all if not all of these issues we are struggling with today would decline. It will never be perfect, but I do not believe anyone can argue that we already read, promote, or study the Bible to the capacity that we could. If we really believe that we are a part of the "remnant" people, we better make sure we are prepared to bear that title. Are you really ready for people to come to you with their Bible questions? Would you really know what verse to tell them to turn to? If we know our doctrine better than our Bible, we need to do some soul searching.
As we see the world take a turn for the worse, it's time to become the experts on the Word of God once again. People do not know how to study the Bible. People do not know how to understand the Bible. People do not know where to even begin when it comes to reading the Bible. Many of US don't even know... but we can learn.
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Read my related posts:
Who is right about the Bible? https://www.thebiblegirl.com/post/who-is-right-about-the-bible
How do I start reading the Bible? https://www.thebiblegirl.com/post/how-to-actually-start-reading-the-bible
Why was the Bible written? https://www.thebiblegirl.com/post/the-bible-is-god-s-diary