June 12—June 20, 2015, South Central Conference (SCC) of Seventh-Day Adventists held its annual camp meeting in Huntsville, Alabama, on the campus of Oakwood University. This year’s theme was “Come Holy Spirit.” Among other speakers, Oakwood alumnus, MyRon Edmonds, current pastor of Glenville Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Cleveland Ohio, delivered an impassioned sermon entitled “The Twelfth Man, If I Were the Holy Spirit.” Prefacing his message, Pastor Edmonds praised the South Central Conference president, Dana Edmond, for exhibiting, what he called “courageous leadership” in supporting and encouraging Pastor Snell’s Surge Sunday morning worship services. He went on to express his delight in the “shift” that is taking place within Seventh-Day Adventism, calling the South Central Conference the most progressive conference within the denomination. Pastor Edmonds’ message is reflective of the shift and the resultant new direction in which local pastors and other denominational leaders are taking their congregations; this shift is also the focus of this article. While the majority of Seventh- Day Adventist leaders and members consider this shift to be a positive move—theologically, evangelistically, socially, and otherwise—according to the Bible and the inspired writings of Ellen White, the modern revivals and subsequent new organization that demote God’s standards and places man’s ideas, opinions, and culture above God’s Word is something to be feared, avoided, and unrelentingly exposed for what it is.
This article is not a personal attack against Pastor MyRon Edmonds; he is simply the one voice selected for a particular occasion, to speak on behalf of the countless other pastors and leaders that share the very sentiments brought out in his discourse. If this was only one isolated message given to a local congregation and the mindset of one or two persons, this would be a nonissue. However, due to the epidemical nature of the issues brought out during SCC’s camp meeting, God’s people should be aware and alerted. The discourse, which has been widely circulated and enthusiastically received, completely and blatantly discredits the foundational pillars of Seventh-Day Adventism and correspondingly undermines the authority of Scripture and the writings of Ellen White. This shift occurring in the Seventh-Day Adventist denomination is being orchestrated by the Dragon himself, Satan, but is being carried out by his generals, the pastors, who disseminate the miasma of false doctrine to their congregants, the foot soldiers, who imbibe these errors and eagerly circulate them. Oh yes friends, Satan has a well-organized and highly successful evangelistic campaign in which he is reaching and recruiting many souls to do his biddings; his campaign is termed “modern revivals” in the Spirit of Prophecy.
“Unsanctified ministers are arraying themselves against God. They are praising Christ and the god of this world in the same breath. While professedly they receive Christ, they embrace Barabbas, and by their actions say, ‘Not this Man, but Barabbas…’ Satan has made his boast of what he can do. He thinks to dissolve the unity which Christ prayed might exist in His church. He says, ‘I will go forth and be a lying spirit to deceive those that I can, to criticize, and condemn, and falsify.’ Let the son of deceit and false witness be entertained by a church that has had great light, great evidence, and that church will discard the message the Lord has sent, and receive the most unreasonable assertions and false suppositions and false theories. Satan laughs at their folly, for he knows what truth is. Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan.”1
Lucifer, the light bearer, a one time reflector of the True Light, now Satan, a fallen angel, bearing a counterfeit light through his torch of false prophecy, has sought to cause his light, his flickering flame, to pass from person to person until he compasses the earth with his false fire to deceive. The introspective question that each one must ask as he/she analyzes the sentiments expressed in Pastor Edmond’s sermon contrasting them with the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, is whether his/her light is being kindled from Satan’s hellish torch or from the lamp of the Spirit of Prophecy.
The entire address by Pastor Edmonds is laden with soul-destroying, damnable heresies, all of which will not be here dealt with; however there are five primary positions that will be analyzed. What makes Pastor Edmonds’ statements even more deceptive is that he is quoting from Ellen White throughout, thus making what he is saying more plausible and much more likely to be received; and judging by the enthusiastic reaction from those personally in attendance and the wide dissemination of this sermon via social media, he was successful. If Pastor Edmonds and those who so readily accept his teachings were students of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, they would discover that the Bible along with Ellen White’s writings utterly dismantle the arguments Edmonds has constructed. The five assertions made by Pastor Edmonds that will be scrutinized are the following: 1. The Sabbath is not the seal of God. 2. It is inconsequential to know the nearness of the passing of the National Sunday Law and the details surrounding it. 3. There are no conditions to receiving salvation. 4. The greatest contribution of Catholicism is not Sunday observance. 5. The Holy Spirit, the latter rain, will be poured out upon sinners.
Addressing point one, wherein Pastor Edmonds emphatically states that the Sabbath does not constitute the seal of God, it is clear that such a teaching is tending toward the demotion of the Sabbath. Those who are a part of the modern revivals that cast contempt upon the Word of God will lightly regard the Sabbath.2 The Spirit of Prophecy, all throughout, in no uncertain terms, delineates the Sabbath as the seal of God. Consider the following:
“The sign, or seal, of God is revealed in the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, the Lord’s memorial of creation. ‘The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.’ Exodus 31:12, 13. Here the Sabbath is clearly designated as a sign between God and His people. The mark of the beast is the opposite of this–the observance of the first day of the week. This mark distinguishes those who acknowledge the supremacy of the papal authority from those who acknowledge the authority of God.”3
“Those who would have the seal of God in their foreheads must keep the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. This is what distinguishes them from the disloyal, who have accepted a man-made institution in the place of the true Sabbath. The observance of God’s rest day is the mark of distinction between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.”4
Let us make sure that we find ourselves extinguishing the hellish torch of false prophecy and uplifting the lamp of the Spirit of Prophecy.
The second erroneous point made by Pastor Edmonds, is the notion that it is nonessential for Seventh-Day Adventists to know about the nearness of the enforcement of the National Sunday Law and the surrounding issues. In saying that the events surrounding the passing of the National Sunday Law are unimportant, Edmonds is subtly discouraging the study of the Prophecies of Revelation chapters 13, 14, 16, 17, and 18; he is completely devaluing The Great Controversy, and is essentially demoting what should be the focus of Seventh-Day Adventists.
“In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import–the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention.”5
Furthermore, the Mark of the Beast crisis is the great and final test for God’s people, upon which the destiny of their souls hang. With such fearful consequences at stake, would it not be wise to know all that concerns this final test?
“The most fearful threatening ever addressed to mortals is contained in the third angel’s message. That must be a terrible sin which calls down the wrath of God unmingled with mercy. Men are not to be left in darkness concerning this important matter; the warning against this sin is to be given to the world before the visitation of God’s judgments, that all may know why they are to be inflicted, and have opportunity to escape them.”6
“The Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty, for it is the point of truth especially controverted. When the final test shall be brought to bear upon men, then the line of distinction will be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve Him not. While the observance of the false sabbath in compliance with the law of the state, contrary to the fourth commandment, will be an avowal of allegiance to a power that is in opposition to God, the keeping of the true Sabbath, in obedience to God’s law, is an evidence of loyalty to the Creator. While one class, by accepting the sign of submission to earthly powers, receive the mark of the beast, the other choosing the token of allegiance to divine authority, receive the seal of God.”7
A person’s decisions being made day by day are determining whether he/she is accepting Satan’s hellish torch of false prophecy or holding fast to Jesus’ light of the Spirit of Prophecy. The habits of one’s life are indicators of what side he/she will choose when the great test is brought upon earth’s inhabitants.
The third error, running as a thread throughout Pastor Edmonds’ discourse, is the idea that salvation can be obtained free of conditions. This belief is unscriptural and leads to spiritual complacency, essentially, a Laodicean mindset, thinking oneself as “rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing.” The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy are clear that there are conditions to forgiveness, to answered prayer, to God’s favor, and ultimately to salvation.
“There are conditions to our receiving justification and sanctification, and the righteousness of Christ… While good works will not save even one soul, yet it is impossible for even one soul to be saved without good works. God saves us under a law, that we must ask if we would receive, seek if we would find, and knock if we would have the door opened unto us… Here are conditions, and the Bible is full of conditions.”8
The idea that there are no conditions to receive salvation, as Edmonds implies, is an erroneous and egregious theory emanating from Satan’s hellish torch, and most definitely not from the light of the Spirit of Prophecy.
The fourth assertion made by Pastor Edmonds is that the greatest contribution of Catholicism is not Sunday sacredness, but is rather their belief of earning salvation through works. Anyone who knows even a little history of the Catholic Church will admit that an integral tenet of this denomination is “salvation by works.” But it is clearly and unequivocally the Papacy’s supposed transfer of the solemnity of the seventh-day Sabbath to that of the first day of the week that marks her authority; and the fact that nearly all of the Protestant world are following and thus acknowledging that authority by observing Sunday makes this fact all the more recognizable. Additionally, by minimizing Catholicism’s role in establishing Sunday observance, the third angel’s message is correspondingly minimized, which warns against worship of the beast through observing his spurious, counterfeit Sabbath. Daniel 7:25 mentions what Catholicism’s greatest contributions are, and specifies that this power will “think to change times and laws.” “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” In the Spirit of Prophecy, Sunday sacredness is referred to as the “child of the Papacy,” and is what Satan is using (through his chief agency) to exalt himself even above God.
“The papal power, the man of sin, decides that the Roman Catholic Church has changed the law of God. In the place of the seventh day they have baptized and presented to the world a child of the papacy, the first day of the week, to be observed as a holy day of rest. The Protestant world has received this child of the papacy, has cradled it, and given to it the honor that God has placed on the seventh day.”9
Satan’s torch of false prophecy alleges that Sunday observance is not such a big deal today, while the light from the Spirit of Prophecy affirms that mandatory Sunday observance will be enforced upon all the inhabitants of the earth under penalty of death. Again, by minimizing Sunday observance as a nonissue, it is easy to see how Seventh-Day Adventists pastors can support and continue to hold Sunday morning worship services, thus giving credence to Pastor Snell’s Sunday Surge meetings, which is setting the trend for other churches to follow.
Finally, the point raised by Pastor Edmonds that a person need not, and indeed cannot, be perfect to receive the latter rain, can be found nowhere in either the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy. Perhaps the most energetic and climatic run in the sermon, which invoked a most resounding response of approval from the congregation, complete with shouting, wailing of arms, and jumping up and down in excitement, was his rant starting with “The Holy Ghost is for crazy people.” He goes on to say that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the latter rain, is for the drunkard, the liar, the homosexual, and the Pharisee. If a person can receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, the latter rain, while practicing sin, what need is there to strive for victory, what need is there to fast and pray? Christ’s sinless life, His crucifixion, and His mediatory ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary would have no value if there were no opportunity for human beings to be victorious over sin. The granting of the Holy Spirit is intended to give perfection of character to God’s people. “Christ has given His Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress His own character upon His church.”10
Pastor Edmonds states that when the early rain, was poured out upon the disciples in the upper room, that they were not perfect, and therefore neither can the recipients of the latter rain be. In his own words: “I’ve heard this over and over in churches, that we got to get right. And we will quote Acts chapter two, where the Bible says they were all in one accord. Well that all in one accord does not mean that they were all perfect…” Compare what Pastor Edmond’s states with what the Spirit of Prophecy says:
“Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement. Then the latter rain will fall upon us as the early rain fell upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost.”11
How many will accept Satan’s hellish torch of false prophecy passed to them from MyRon Edmonds or the light of the Spirit of Prophecy.
Indeed there has been an ongoing shift in the downward direction within the Seventh-Day Adventist denomination, a new organization. But how can it be discerned, one may ask. The light from the Spirit of Prophecy provides a most comprehensive response.
“The enemy of souls desires to hinder this work [a revival of primitive godliness]; and before the time for such a movement shall come, he will endeavor to prevent it by introducing a counterfeit. In those churches which he can bring under his deceptive power he will make it appear that God’s special blessing is poured out; there will be manifest what is thought to be great religious interest. Multitudes will exult that God is working marvelously for them, when the work is that of another spirit. Under a religious guise, Satan will seek to extend his influence over the Christian world. In many of the revivals which have occurred during the last half century, the same influences have been at work, to a greater or less degree, that will be manifest in the more extensive movements of the future. There is an emotional excitement, a mingling of the true with the false, that is well adapted to mislead. Yet none need be deceived. In the light of God’s word it is not difficult to determine the nature of these movements. Wherever men neglect the testimony of the Bible, turning away from those plain, soul-testing truths which require self-denial and renunciation of the world, there we may be sure that God’s blessing is not bestowed.”12
In light of the recent errors and false doctrines that were spewed from the pulpit during SCC’s 2015 Camp meeting, here are some questions that the Lord would have Seventh-Day Adventists consider:
“Who has authority to begin such a movement? We have our Bibles. We have our experience, attested to by the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit. We have a truth that admits of no compromise. Shall we not repudiate everything that is not in harmony with this truth?”13
1 White, Ellen. Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers (1923), pages 409 and 410
2 White, Ellen. Selective Messages, Book 1, (1958), page 204
3 White, Ellen. Testimonies for the Church, Volume 8, (1904), page 117
4 White, Ellen. SDA Bible Commentary, Volume, 7, (1957), page 970
5 White, Ellen. Testimonies for the Church, Volume 9, (1909), page 19
6 White, Ellen. The Great Controversy, (1911), page 449
7 White, Ellen. The Great Controversy, (1911), page 605
8 White, Ellen. Faith and Works, (1979), pages 111 and 112
9 White, Ellen. Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, (1923), page 139
10 White, Ellen. The Desire of Ages, (1898), page 671
11 White, Ellen. Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, (1882-1889), page 214
12 White, Ellen. The Great Controversy, (1911), page 464
13 White, Ellen. Selected Messages, Book 1, (1958), page 205