Pastor Andrew Henriques, in this interview shares his thoughts, insights and the implications based on Bible history and prophecy, of the North American Division of Seventh-Day Adventists inviting and allowing Sunday-keeping ecumenicist, Becky Pippert, and Sunday pastor, teacher, and author, Dr. Tony Evans to present at a convention for Seventh-Day Adventist pastors and their families named “CALLED.” The well-attended meeting in Austin, Texas was held June 28—July 1, 2015. During this Conference, Pippert spoke twice. Her presentation titles were: “Talking about Jesus without Sounding Religious” and “Reaching the Secular Mind.”1 Dr. Evans presented on how pastors can impact the communities in which they serve.2
Interviewer: Pastor Henriques, thank you for your willingness to address this topic and to give us your perspective.
Pastor Henriques: Well, my perspective of this issue is based upon the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. If my reasoning is not anchored in God’s Word, it has no value; it’s all about what the Word of God has to say, not my opinion.
Interviewer: Thank you for the clarification. That is one thing that I appreciate, and I think others who listen to you regularly do as well, about you and your ministry; and that is, whatever is taught or presented is based upon, not man’s opinion, culture, emotion, or otherwise, but a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” But I want to get right into this, so I will begin by asking: “Is this something that Seventh-Day Adventists need to be concerned about? Is it of any importance that non-Seventh-Day Adventists were invited to address Seventh-Day Adventist pastors? This is nothing new, it has been happening for years, and the denomination is still in existence.
Pastor Henriques: It may still be here, but it is not the movement that it was when it first came into existence. It has degenerated to such a point, that if the pioneers were still around, it would hardly be recognizable to them. But to answer the question, yes! This is absolutely something that should raise concern for Seventh-Day Adventists. Pastors of Seventh-Day Adventist churches should be educated according to the distinctive Seventh-Day Adventist doctrine. And when non-Adventists are brought in to educate Adventist pastors on anything, evangelism in this case, with the North American Division, they [the Sunday-keeping presenters] will bring their fallen theology and indoctrinate the pastors, who will then indoctrinate their members by their false teachings and the implementation of practices that lead away from the Seventh-Day Adventist message and mission and lead toward ecumenism. Interestingly, if you were to look at the backgrounds of both Becky Pippert and Tony Evans, you will find that they are both strong proponents and leaders of various ecumenical movements. Ecumenism is nothing more than a discarding of doctrinal differences across the various denominations and uniting upon points of doctrine held in common to accomplish certain missions and projects. And students of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy understand that ecumenical movements lead, not only to Seventh-Day Adventists giving up their distinctive messages of Revelation 14:6-12, but finally to the enforcement of the National Sunday Law. I encourage everyone to read The Great Controversy, pages 444 and 445.
Interviewer: What would you say to the person who argues that the position you are taking is nothing more than elitism, separatism and pride? You mean to tell me that there is nothing worthwhile theologically or even practically that anyone outside of the Seventh-Day Adventist denomination can offer Seventh-Day Adventists?
Pastor Henriques: Remember, this is not my personal position or interpretation. I will get to your question. But let me just say that I find it ironic that this conference in Texas was themed “CALLED.” If we look at the very words of 1 Peter 2:9, we find the mission of Seventh-Day Adventists and the calling they are to fulfill. Let me quote it from the Bible. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” It is clear that God’s peculiar people were called out of darkness, and are to point individuals to the marvelous light of the gospel. Of course this text can be applied on a personal level. However, we can also apply it to the mission of the Seventh-Day Adventist denomination. Therefore the context points us to 1844 when God called Seventh-Day Adventists out of the fallen churches that rejected the First Angel’s Message and the Midnight Cry and became Babylon as a result. Testimonies for the Church Volume 5, page 455 states “God has called His church in this day, as He called ancient Israel, to stand as a light in the earth. By the mighty cleaver of truth, the messages of the first, second, and third angels, He has separated them from the churches and from the world to bring them into a sacred nearness to Himself.”3 Why then would any Seventh-Day Adventist, who has come out of the gross darkness of Babylon, go back in to invite pastors and teachers, who have rejected the very messages that have separated them, and allow those Babylonians to teach and train them? What confusion! By inviting these Sunday ministers, Seventh- Day Adventists are rejecting the Three Angels’ Messages; the second of which is to call people out from Babylon. But Seventh-Day Adventists are doing the opposite, calling people from Babylon to teach them.
Interviewer: So pastor, are there ever any exceptions? Are there times or circumstances where inviting people from outside of the Seventh-Day Adventist denomination to preach, teach or train may be appropriate or acceptable?
Pastor Henriques: I am glad that you asked that question because it brings to mind a startling statement from Early Writings, which says that all the truths from God’s Word have been committed to Seventh-Day Adventists, therefore they need not go elsewhere in search for truth. Since I have the book right here, I will read from page 124 and allow that statement to answer the question; it can do a much better job than I can. It is a bit lengthy, but our readers and listeners need to be aware of just how dangerous it is to sit and listen to those in error and darkness.
“The different parties of professed Advent believers have each a little truth, but God has given all these truths to His children who are being prepared for the day of God. He has also given them truths that none of these parties know, neither will they understand. Things which are sealed up to them, the Lord has opened to those who will see and are ready to understand. If God has any new light to communicate, He will let His chosen and beloved understand it, without their going to have their minds enlightened by hearing those who are in darkness and error.
I was shown the necessity of those who believe that we are having the last message of mercy, being separate from those who are daily imbibing new errors. I saw that neither young nor old should attend their meetings; for it is wrong to thus encourage them while they teach error that is a deadly poison to the soul and teach for doctrines the commandments of men. The influence of such gatherings is not good. If God has delivered us from such darkness and error, we should stand fast in the liberty wherewith He has set us free and rejoice in the truth. God is displeased with us when we go to listen to error, without being obliged to go; for unless He sends us to those meetings where error is forced home to the people by the power of the will, He will not keep us. The angels cease their watchful care over us, and we are left to the buffetings of the enemy, to be darkened and weakened by him and the power of his evil angels; and the light around us becomes contaminated with the darkness.
I saw that we have no time to throw away in listening to fables. Our minds should not be thus diverted, but should be occupied with the present truth, and seeking wisdom that we may obtain a more thorough knowledge of our position, that with meekness we may be able to give a reason of our hope from the Scriptures. While false doctrines and dangerous errors are pressed upon the mind, it cannot be dwelling upon the truth which is to fit and prepare the house of Israel to stand in the day of the Lord.”4
So to answer your question plainly and emphatically, no! There is nothing that a person in the darkness of Babylon can tell a Seventh-Day Adventist who has been called out of that darkness.
Interviewer: That statement certainly puts everything we are discussing in perspective. Seventh-Day Adventists should call people out from Babylon to attend their meetings, not as teachers but as learners, so that they too can leave Babylon and be enlightened with God’s truth. Is this statement from Early Writings also implying that if a Seventh-Day Adventist pastor is not preaching the present truth, we should not lend our ears and minds to his teachings either?
Pastor Henriques: That is exactly what the statement is saying. And the sad reality is that many Seventh-Day Adventist pastors have received their degrees from non-Adventist institutions; and so they are teaching the principles of ecumenism, certainly not the present truth. And even the ones who have not received degrees from non-Adventist theological seminaries, but have graduated from our schools, they were taught from books by spiritualists and Sunday authors. What’s the difference?
You know, the Bible says that there is no new thing under the sun. In the days of ancient Israel, we find King Ahab uniting with the priestess of Baal, Jezebel, and allowing the prophets of Baal to officiate and conduct worship services, which caused God to withhold rain (literally and spiritually) for three and a half years. Could it be that the same thing is happening today?
Interviewer: What are the prophetic implications of the North American Division bringing in these non-Adventist people to teach and train Seventh-Day Adventist pastors?
Pastor Henriques: The results will be a giving up of the beliefs and proclamation of the distinctive messages of the three angels—which include the Sabbath truth, the investigative judgment, what constitutes Babylon, the mark of the beast, victory over sin, and so on. The implications are that Seventh-Day Adventists are at the anti-typical borders of Canaan; and just like Israel of old was induced into committing fornication with the Midianitish women, which represent the fallen churches of Babylon, modern Israel, Seventh-Day Adventists, are doing the very same thing. Read the chapter in Patriarchs and Prophets entitled “Apostasy at the Jordan.”
Interviewer: Is there any hope for such a condition that the Seventh-Day Adventist Church finds itself in, or has the cancer become so systemic that there is nothing that can be done?
Pastor Henriques: There is hope on an individual level; but based on Bible history, Bible Prophecy, and the Testimonies, there will be no denominational reformation. You can find that in Selected Messages, Book 1 page 122. And all the praying and fasting and weeping, will not bring change because the cause still remains. So long as Seventh-Day Adventist leaders allow the modern-day Tobiahs to preach from their pulpits, teach from the classroom lecterns and to train our members, there can be no blessing or reformation. Let me read briefly, Nehemiah 13:7-9. “And I came to Jerusalem, and understood of the evil that Eliashib did for Tobiah, in preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God. And it grieved me sore: therefore I cast forth all the household stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber. Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers: and thither brought I again the vessels of the house of God, with the meat offering and the frankincense.”
If the denomination were to be reformed it would call for a full restructuring. That reorganization would begin with the book of the law, the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy, and implementing the practices and principles contained therein.
Many employees at every level would have to be terminated, the educational work would have to renounce its accreditation, the health work would need to be completely remodeled after God’s blueprint; the publishing houses would have to throw out most of its materials—and this does not even scratch the surface. What I am trying to say is that a thorough work as did Nehemiah and Josiah must be accomplished if this denomination is to be what God would have it to be. And even now as I speak, the North American Division is calling for another Pastoral Evangelism Leadership Council at Oakwood University in December of this year wherein other Sunday ministers will be presenting.
Interviewer: In closing, is there anything else that you would like to mention?
Pastor Henriques: Let me close by saying this. The leaders of the North American Division are looking at persons such as Tony Evans and Becky Pippert, and consider them and their methods of community evangelism as successful. The Seventh-Day Adventist leaders are saying that they can learn from them, use their methods, but apply the Adventist message. We have discovered that looking to Babylon, from where Seventh-Day Adventists were called out, would be a denial of our message and subjection of our minds to the infiltration of demons. If you want to know how to be successful in ministry, evangelism, get on your knees, fast and pray, and pick up the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, and God will teach you how to be successful in His work; for Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The same topics that Becky Pippert and Tony Evans were brought in to address are specifically and thoroughly covered in Ellen White’s books; I’ll give you just one, The Ministry of Healing. Unfortunately, the majority of Seventh-Day Adventists see no value in these books, as a result they are fulfilling the words of Jeremiah 2:13: “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” However, the appeal to us from Christ is “…If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.”
Interviewer: Thank you Pastor Henriques. You have certainly given us much to think and pray about. Let us have prayer right now. We know we will be hearing from you soon.
3 White, Ellen. Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5 (1882-1889), page 455
4 White Ellen. Early Writings (1882), page 124.