The Reformists of the SDARM generally BELIEVE and TEACH:
- The SDARM believe in various conspiracy theories (not to be confused with the Adventist teachings about the Great Controversy).
- A common SDARM belief is that the Roman Catholic order of priests known as the Jesuits have infiltrated the mainstream SDA Church.
The Reformists are WRONG because:
- Assuming Jesuits do infiltrate Churches (and this author is not necessarily support that idea), it is far likelier, looking at the evidence, that they have in fact infiltrated the SDARM Church(es).
- There a number of significant similarities between the Roman Catholic Church and the SDARM. It is debateable whether Reformists could even consider themselves true Protestants anymore – they are more accurately types of Papists.
- There are also a number of significant similarities between ancient pagan and New Age Gnostics and the SDARM. As such, it is arguable that Reformists are types of Spiritualists.
- In any event, Adventists should steer clear of any such conspiracies theories. They are almost always a distraction from Jesus Christ. There is a marked difference between Great Controversy and other lunatic fringe conspiracy theories.
- After 100 years of existence, the SDARM branches only have some 30,000 members each; whereas, in 150 years the mainstream SDA Church has 22 million! Not only does the SDARM fail Gamaliel’s test in Acts 5:38-39, but their tiny size allows their leadership to maintain absolute control. As a matter of sociology and psychology, trying to control 30,000 people is much, much easier than a movement with millions of members – as most cult leaders well know.
- The SDARM predominantly engages in ‘sheep stealing’ from the mainstream Adventist Church. As such, they do nothing to add to real kingdom numbers, and only serve to ferment dissent and schism within the Adventist movement.
- For such a tiny size, the SDARM causes a lot of mischief for the Adventist movement. In particular, its spirit of disunity is borne out in its own movement, as seen in the two competing American and German SDARM Churches.
- The SDARM leadership maintains absolute control in a manner consistent with the creeds and cardinals of the Papal system.
- Most interestingly, the SDARM twists mainstream Adventist theology, adopting many Roman Catholic views on issues. The greatest irony is that at the same time they claim the mainstream SDA Church is in apostasy. This last point will be explored further below.
- Why did the SDARM Church split in 1951, when there was in effect virtually no doctrinal differences? If it was sheer politicking over status and power, then there needs to be almost nothing more said as to why the SDARM (both of them) is itself an apostate false religious group. Such a group clearly does not represent the character of Christ and thus by its rotten fruit should be avoided.
- Its reliance on extra-biblical sources (namely Ellen White and tradition) for its official doctrinal positions, rather than the Protestant teaching of sola scriptura (the Bible and the Bible alone).
- The practical importance it places on works, rather than upholding the position of sola fide (salvation by grace through faith alone).
- Its emphasis that Adventists need to leave the mainstream SDA Church (or even the other Reform Church) to find the surety of salvation.
- Its practice of closed communion (only members are permitted to take part in the Lord’s Supper).
- Its total probation on remarriage in the case of divorce.
- Its misogynistic beliefs and practices concerning the subordination of women.
- Its strict views on family planning.
- Its establishment and enforcement of theological creeds, allowing for little to no variation of belief.
- Its subordination of individual political conscience to the Church.
- Its use of ‘kingly power’, being Papal-like authority and control over the general laity.
- Its practical emphasis on right knowledge, The Truth, as the path to salvation.
- Its belief that it has special and secret knowledge.
- Its antagonism to academic knowledge.
- Its view of itself as a small elite, with special rights, privileges and knowledge than mainstream members of the movement.
- Its cloistered separation from what it sees as the contamination world.
- Its extremely poor practical view of the human body, with its puritanical views towards sex, food and leisure.
‘There is a vast world of difference between being a great controversy Adventist and a grand conspiracy Adventist. The way each narrates history, handles Scripture, shapes discipleship, impacts church community, and forms the mind and heart are often very different. One is our inspired calling from God, the other is a twisted product of man. In the introduction to her book The Great Controversy, Ellen White explains her methodology and aim. She says: “The great events which have marked the progress of reform in past ages are matters of history, well known and universally acknowledged by the Protestant world; they are facts which none can gainsay.” What a contrast to conspiratorial Adventism! This should be our approach. Tragically, conspiracy Adventism turns all of this on its head. Crazy, dubious claims are made the essence of the message.’
As also explained by Tammy Roesch in “Seventh-day Adventists and Conspiracy Theories” there is a danger in confusing prophecies found in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, with attempts to ‘fill in the gaps’ through conspiracy theories such as those peddled by Walter Veith:
‘So why are Adventists attracted to conspiracy theories? The ones most attractive to Seventh-day Adventists involve religion, especially the subject of Last Day Events. If the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy writings give some details, they want more. But curiosity can be a very dangerous element. Adventists are especially vulnerable to theories of a New World Order because they want so badly to see any signs that might confirm their belief that Jesus is coming very soon and the dreaded Mark of the Beast is just around the corner. In my view people believe in New World Order because it is what people with their “itching ears” want to hear.’
What does the Bible teach about conspiracy-theory fanaticism?
As rightly observed by Anthony McPherson in the article “Conspiracy Adventism” of 14 June 2013 from the Record:
‘Paul has strong words for those who turn the church away from the truth to speculative fables: “As I urged you . . . charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith” (1 Timothy 1:3,4; see also 1 Timothy 4:7 and 2 Timothy 4:4). In Titus, after encouraging a devotion to the Gospel and good works, Paul warns: “avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless” (Titus 3:9). As a pastor you soon learn what produces healthy discipleship and what leads to fanaticism, perpetual immaturity and a harsh, argumentative spirit. Devotion to conspiracy theory is a prime example. Obedience to Paul’s words would immediately eliminate it from Adventism.’
As Pastor McPherson then rightly observes, conspiracy theorists ironically often move away from Jesus:
‘I have never yet seen an Adventist conspiracy theory presentation that didn’t dramatically move the focus away from Jesus Christ and onto the wildest speculation. Jesus becomes a minor supporting act. Front and centre are always the phantom conspirators and of course the heroic conspiracy theorist himself. Conspiracy theory parasitically lives off its improper attachment to Christianity. And, inevitably, the parasite always ends up killing its host.’
What does Sister White say about such fanaticism?
One is reminded of Sister White’s warning about such fanaticism:
‘After preaching the Word of God to warn the people of the errors of Rome, fanatics began passing through the land, destroying souls as they went. Learning of what was happening, Melanchthon said, "There are indeed extraordinary spirits in these men; but what spirits?" But when Martin Luther heard of it, he said, "I always expected that Satan would send us this plague.”’ (Great Controversy, 187).
And similarly elsewhere:
‘We cannot allow excitable elements among us to display themselves in a way that would destroy our influence with those whom we wish to reach with the truth. It took us years to outlive the unfavorable impression that unbelievers gained of Adventists through their knowledge of the strange and wicked workings of fanatical elements among us during the early years of our existence as a separate people.’ (Ellen G. White, Manuscript 115, 1908)
Thus, in any event, Adventists should steer clear of any such conspiracies theories. They are almost always a distraction from Jesus Christ. There is a marked difference between Great Controversy and other lunatic fringe conspiracy theories.