SDARM x 2 & The International Missionary Society (IMS)


A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand: The the Nicolici Seventh-day Adventist Reform Movement (SDARM) versus the International Missionary Society (IMS)


SUMMARY
The Reformists of the SDARM generally BELIEVE and TEACH:
- They are the ‘true’ Adventists, and the mainstream SDA Church is apostate.
The Reformists are WRONG because:
- There are actually two – not one – SDARM Churches, resulting from a schism in the 1950’s: the Nicolici SDARM (Nicolici Reformists) and the International Missionary Society (IMS) of the SDARM.
- There were virtually no significant differences between the two branches of the SDRAM – the main cause of division was simply one of power. In Luk 9:46-48 Jesus also condemned the disciples for trying to argue who was the greatest.
- Jesus tells us in Matt 7:20 to watch religious leaders by their fruits. The SDARM ‘fruits’ are one of worldly control and power – not godly humility and service.



Introduction: SDARM x 2
It may surprise many readers that there are in fact two Seventh-day Adventist Reform Movement churches.  Jesus’ words in Matt 12:25:
‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand’
SDARM Churches: What are there two of them?
Yes, there are in two of them – the ‘American’ Nicolici SDARM and the ‘German’ International Missionary Society of the Seventh-day Adventist Reform Movement (‘IMS’). As helpfully explained by Vance Ferrel in The Truth About the Adventist Reform Church:
‘After this 1951 [SDARM] General Conference Session, the main body of the Reform Church split in two... One of the branches is the Nicolici Branch. It calls itself the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement... The original of the two main branches, commonly referred to as the ‘International Missionary Society’ (IMS) branch, is headquartered in Speele, Germany (pronounced “Speel-eh”). Its U.S. branch was located in Sacramento for a time; but, while leaving behind a large congregation in Sacramento in the mid-1950s, it was moved to Colorado, where it is still located. Also calling itself the Seventh-dayAdventist Reform Movement, it took the official name, International Missionary Society of Seventh-day Adventists, Reformation Movement. Two of its U.S. leaders were Oscar Kramer, and Arthur Doerschlor.'
The story of the SDARM’s origins does not stop in 1920, because there was a major schism within the SDARM itself.   In short:

  • In 1951 there was a major split during the session held in Zeist, Utrecht (province) Netherlands, where nearly half the delegates of the SDARM walked out following the then Secretary of the movement.
  • In 1952, the faction subject to the protest reorganized itself, under an old but unofficial name, ‘International Missionary Society of the Seventh-day Adventist Reform Movement’ (‘IMS’), headquartered in Baden Germany.
  • In 1955, the faction who had walked out formally registered the name ‘Seventh-day Adventist Reform Movement General Conference’ in the USA. 
  •  Between 1952 and 1967, there were various legal actions between the two groups. 
  • In 1967 and 1993, attempts were made to further reconcile the two factions, but were again ultimately unsuccessful.
As noted by Helmut Kramer in SDA Reform Movement at page 18, the underlying cause was ultimately one of power struggle over the leadership of the American Union of the SDARM:
‘In 1948 the General Conference leadership in Germany decided to act decisively to bring the American Union under its domination and to transfer the movement's headquarters to the United States. A worker, previously known for his high-handed actions in Australia, was assigned to the United States to reorganize the work in the American Union. When the American leaders refused to hand over the leadership as demanded, this 4tlcial, with one stroke of the pen, dissolved the entire American Union and disfellowshipped its leaders. This arbitrary action agitated a conflict which caused the majority of the members in America to withdraw from the movement entirely. Some returned to the Seventh-day Adventist church, while others gave up their faith completely.
In 1951, at another Reform General Conference session, the same official, who had on his own supposed authority dissolved the American Union, staged a rebellion himself in an attempt to become president of the (general Conference. When he was not able to get his wishes, he withdrew with about 45 percent of the delegates and organized a new movement. He had already secured, in a devious manner, a hold on much of the property. These bold actions resulted in a court case in which the two groups fought each other for the right to use the name and the properties. The case was settled out of court with the understanding that there was to he no further litigation regarding the name. For this reason there are two "Reform Movements" today, each claiming to be the original one.’
The important lesson to take from this is again, is one of judging by fruits.  Despite the clear exhortations of Paul in 1 Cor 6:1-8, brother sued brother before the state courts of Caesar, rather than judging the matter themselves in Christian humility.  It makes one wonder how the SDARM Church(es) say with a straight face that the mainstream SDA Church is supposedly apostate and in Babylon.
Fighting twins: What are the doctrinal differences between the two branches of the SDRM?
Not much.  There appears to be some slight differences about the nature of Christ (which is still an open discussion within the mainstream SDA Church with no official position) and certain ideas about organisation. As noted by Helmut Kramer in SDA Reform Movement at page 22:
‘In this booklet I speak mostly about the "International Missionary Society" faction of the movement, because I was a member. But what is said here applies to both groups since they have common origins and hold to the same basic teachings. If anything, the other faction of the movement ('51) is even more radical and its leaders even more deceitful than the group of which I was a member.
Reformers still spend much of their time either criticizing the Adventist Church to justify themselves as a separate organization or ridiculing the other faction of the Reform Movement and its people. Such criticism has, sad to say, become their religion.
Satan is "the accuser of the brethren," and it is his spirit that inspires men to watch for the errors and defects of the Lord's people, and to hold them up to notice, while their good deeds are passed by without a mention.’ 
Who is the greatest: If there are no major doctrinal differences, what is stopping the two branches of the SDARM from re-joining?
Good question.  It would appear the major problem is essentially one of money, status and power. As noted by Helmut Kramer in SDA Reform Movement at page 18:
‘There have been several futile attempts to reunite these two factions of the Reform Movement. The most notable attempt took place in 1967 at a General Conference session of the '51 Reform Movement in Brazil. An appointed "peace committee," after examining all the documents and interviewing the leaders of their faction who were involved in the split of 1951, came to the conclusion that "there is no difference between us in principle[s of faith]."7 Despite such a conclusion, reunion did not take place. Some leaders feared that they would lose their positions of power; t hey were also unwilling to admit they had made any mistakes. It is evident, however, that both movements tenaciously hold the same false teachings reviewed in this book.’
The behaviour of the SDARM leaders, of both groups, is somewhat reminiscent of the behaviour of the disciples in Luke 9:46-48, arguing over who would be the greatest:
‘An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest.  Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”’
Conclusion: By their fruits you shall know them
The best point to take from the internal power struggles of the two SDARM Churches is Jesus simple warning in Matt 7:20:
‘Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.’
No amount of clever proof-texting or theological gymnastics is sufficient for SDARM to explain away this simple biblical test.

21 comments:

  1. To be fair, the only organization that was actually a split from the SDA church was the IMS.
    As you have faithfully reported above the SDARM were a fanatical movement that walked out of the IMS in 1951.
    The IMS didn't leave the SDA church, they were expelled from it while still wishing to remain SDA's.
    One could make the same statement regarding the IMS/SDA split as you have raised concerning the IMS/SDARM split.....
    "‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand’

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes that statement can also be applied to the mainstream SDA since they are the first to have a split. And also that "by their fruits..." Their backslidings with regards to war questions, about health msgs. etc. are their bad fruits.

      Delete
  2. To be fair the only people that were actually a split from the SDA church were those that were disfellowshipped in 1914-1918. The German Union of those disfellowshipped, used the name "International Missionary Society of the Seventh Day Adventists standing on the old platform of 1844, German Union" (BTW, "International Missionary Society of Tracts" was the name of the Publishing House of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Germany, and they borrowed from that name.)

    In other places:

    Hungary - "The Seventhday Adventists Standing on the Old Platform of 1844" ("seventhday" would probably be hyphenated in English, as it is one word in Hungarian)
    Transylvania - "Adventists of the Ancient Faith"
    Romania - "Adventists on the Basis of the Faith of 1844"
    Yugoslavia - "The Remnant Adventists"
    Scandinavia - "Adventists of the Original Faith"
    Czechoslovakia - "The Seed of the Woman"
    South America - "The Two Percent"

    What happened after 1919 is fully documented. I am a member of the SDARM. To get the facts correct, I'd suggest you read a little wider than Vance Ferrel. That's like relying on "A Current Affair" to give you a cost/benefit analysis as to why "Four Corners" should be axed.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Don't the two comments above (one from a member of the IMS and one from a member of the SDARM) directly contradict as to who broke away from whom? Isn't that proof enough?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I noticed that you simon, are not facing the reality of the very scriptures that you quote. You mention about the disciples that had a controversy over who was greatest. Question: did the disciples repent of that problem? Did they then become the apostles? Yes, of course they did. And we must follow what is truth. Another question Simon: the fruit of the Adventist Church - is it good or bad? When they have compromised the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus? When in time of war they will pick up weapons to defend the fatherland? When they cannot keep the Sabbath faithfully because of their connections not only with politics but with the ecumenical movement? Simon, please find the grace to repent your soul is in deadly danger.

      Delete
  4. "To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this there is not light in them".

    The SDA church was no the church of God by its own account. The Reformation was called out of the apostate christian church primarily represented by Catholics.

    The Millerite movement was called out of the Protestant churches. The Advent movement was called out of the Millerite movement and the SDA church was called out of the Adventists.

    In the apostasy of 1914 the International Missionary Society was called out of the SDA church.

    Each was prophesied (testimony) by God:
    Millerite = 1st angel of Rev. 14
    Adventist = 2nd angel of Rev 14
    SDA church = 3rd angel of Rev 14
    IMS = 4 th angel of Rev. 18 which is the loud cry of the 3rd angel.
    No other organization is prophesied until Jesus comes again to claim his pure bride. Only the shaking comes next.

    So no other reforms after the 4th angel.

    God's church is founded on His Law and Testimony (Spirit of Prophecy).

    God bless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What about the SDRAM - the 5th angel?

      Delete
  5. I noticed the author of this post mentions the disciples without facing the reality that when the disciples argued over who was going to be the greatest that they later repented and became the apostles. Question: what is the fruit
    of the Adventist movement today? What is the fruit of the mainstream of Adventism that has gone with the ecumenical movement that has compromised its beliefs on a thousand different fronts and especially to even compromise the commandments of God in time of war? And of course the Sabbath can certainly not be kept in wartime. I would really like to hear the author speak to these points because this post doesn't really have any doctrinal aspects in it at all but just like Cramer's work it is very subjective and superficial.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Question: what is the fruit of the Adventist movement today?"

      Jerry the fruit of the SDA Church is one of the world's fastest growing faith movements in the world, with the world's largest hospital and school system. One of the largest groups to bring the Gospel message to the most people in the most countries in the most languages. It is the fulfilment of Gamaliel's challenge.

      Where is the fruit of the SDARM or IMS?

      Delete
    2. "...compromise the commandments of God in time of war?"

      Jerry you in the SDARM/IMS had founders who were mistreated. I totally acknowledge that. But it has nothing to do with either me or you personally.

      The SDARM/IMS just like the ancient Donatists - look them up on Wikipedia, you'll be enlightened with the comparisons. They are still trying to gain millage of an ancient slight that happened on the other side of the world to people when none of us were even born yet.

      You are a little bit like Hirō Onoda, the Japanese soldier who refused to surrender at the end of World War Two, only giving up finally in 1974. You're trying to still fight a war long since over decades ago.

      Delete
    3. "And of course the Sabbath can certainly not be kept in wartime."

      Who says it has to be. Don't you know anything of the Macabees Revolt? What do you think the ancient Israelites did when they were attacked on Sabbath?

      Delete
  6. IMS claims 35,000 members and 73,000 congregants in 132 Countries. The SDARM 1955 registered body claimed 38,675 members in 120 Countries at their recent GC.

    Both are widely distributed but thinly spread out. Clearly they would be more effective as a combined group. Presenting themselves as the Loud Cry of Revelation 18 is fairly mystifying..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! By their fruits ye shall know them

      Delete
  7. It was written, "Thou shalt not kill." We often do what the devil does in the most subtle ways, "BLAME GOD." What you're saying simon is what i've heard most non-sabbatarians say, that there are points when it is necessary to defend oneself through violence. Alas, but Christ said that we should always repay evil with good.

    We are clearly taught (in all the law and the testimony) that God will not complete the work of declaring his last message to the world by using a compromised system that chooses when to exalt God's standard and when to pull it down. He won't complete it with a multitude of facilities or people. But by those people characterized by the third Elijah (in simplicity and fullness of Gods' outpoured spirit).

    I'm compelled to think you have sound historical knowledge of theological tennets that occured and arose during reign of the catholic empire. Christ will not be found of those who choose to search the scriptures and testimonies for the justification of their views, I can say, let us carefully and prayerfully search the scriptures, lest we begin to think we have life (in self-seeking) when we don't.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "It was written, "Thou shalt not kill.""

      Actually it is better translated as, 'Thou shalt not murder', but that is a different matter.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thou_shalt_not_kill

      I am not defending the fault of the German SDA leadership to disfellowship Adventist members during WW1. They made an error. I am suggesting the SDARM did not equally exhort Christ's command to forgive, formenting the spirit of rebellion in separating and forming the SDARM. And then that spirit compounded when the SDARM split into 2 - the SDARM and IMS.

      Delete
  8. you have been inspired by the very devil, do not judge what you do not know, you will not be able to mislead the true faithful ones of God, just repent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What I find mystifying is when people attack the author, not the argument. Says all that needs to be said really.

      Delete
  9. "Sevytaliban"
    I have no intention of entering a debate as to who is right or who is wrong. Is it the SDA-Church, SDA-Reform or the SDA-IMS.
    Having said that I have deep personal experience with the SDA church and one of the reform SDA groups. I am very well acquainted with all 3 groups. I believe the decision to use the term is a very poor decision which can be considered very offensive and hurtful.

    The comparison between SDA reforms and the Taliban are grossly inaccurate and defamatory.

    The Taliban modus operandi is very extreme and very violent. They suppress women and children. They kill and behead non believers, christians, and other muslims who have a differing view of islam. They use extreme violence and bloodshed to further their cause and support their religious and world view agenda.

    The Taliban blow up ancient historic Buddhist statutes statues, to promote their view.

    Neither of the the three main groups of SDA organisation engage in this type of behaviour or action.

    While you may wish to make reference to fundamentalist christian beliefs, which may or may not be wrong - it is appalling that you connect fundamental christian beliefs with the Taliban.

    Your use of the terms "radicalisation" and "cult-like" to refer to the Reform SDA groups is very interesting. These are the exact same words used by mainstream christianity to describe the SDA church.

    By the way - The Catholics think the Protestants are going to hell and the Protestants think the Catholics are along with the JW's, LDS, SDA's.

    This leaves all SDA's groups who don't think but rather know the Catholics, Protestants and all other religions and denominations are going to hell.

    Is calling people murderers (Taliban) acceptable?

    Censorship or expolusion, now there is something, some christians are good at.
    Regards
    Seeker

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is an awful presentation. I find it very offensive and I believe most reasonable people would.

    The Taliban physically execute christians, men, women, children and anyone else that disagrees with them.

    To call the SDARM churches Taliban is ridiculous in the extreme.

    My family's connection with the SDA church is several generations deep. The SDARM churches get some things right and some things wrong. So does the SDA chudch.

    I have a very good decades long personal experience and working knowledge of both the SDA church and one of the SDARM churches.

    Much of what you say about the SDARM can be said about the SDA church especially in certain countries.

    In many respects the SDARM adheres to the writings of Ellen White more tenaciously than the SDA church.

    Having said that I believe that both organisations fall far short of of the biblical ideal and instruction.

    There are many horrible corporate scandals involving the SDA church at the highest level involving massive financial loses and misappropriation of money, to say the least.

    17 plus million SDA's and 100 thousand SDARM mdmbers. Why would you even bother. By the way many christians and christian denominations think the SDA church is a dangerous cult despite what Walter Martin said.

    The Catholics think the Protestants are going to hell. The protestants think the catholics are. The SDA's think the Protestants and catholics are both going to hell. The SDARM thinks that the Catholics, Protestants and SDA are going to hell.

    They can't all be right.

    Why dont you do the decent thing and stop using the term sevy taliban.

    Both organisations the SDA and SDARM are good at stuffing things up, especialy the lives of its member's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The Taliban physically execute christians, men, women, children and anyone else that disagrees with them. To call the SDARM churches Taliban is ridiculous in the extreme."

      I would respectfully disagree. The Islamic Taliban can only kill your body. Jesus said, 'Don't be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.' (Matt. 10:28)

      The term 'Sevy-Taliban' is a deliberate ironic pun. It is intended to convey, in an ironic way, how as the Taliban misrepresent mainstream Islam with their extreme views, the SDARM and other groups misrepresent mainstream Adventism

      Delete
  11. "The SDARM churches get some things right and some things wrong. So does the SDA church."

    What things to the mainstream SDA get wrong?

    ReplyDelete

Please ensure all comments conform to Christian principles of discussion as outlined in 1 Pet 3:15-16. Unchristian behaviour will result in censorship or expulsion.