Imagine traveling on a bridge that leads to nowhere, envision your subsequent frustration and exhaustion after arriving at the conclusion that the bridge in which you are traveling does not lead to the destination you thought you were headed. Such a bridge has either one or both ends broken or the construction was not completed. This term “bridge to nowhere” has taken on a pejorative connotation when associated with former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin. Reports indicate that “Palin originally supported construction of a bridge, which would have linked the city of Ketchikan with its airport on sparsely populated Gravina Island.”1http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/09/09/palin.earmarks/index.html?iref=24hours The project was later abandoned by Palin’s office and the congressional funds appropriated for the project were kept and apportioned for other questionable endeavors under the direction of Palin’s office.
There is today existing in the worldwide Seventh-Day Adventist denomination the construction of a bridge to nowhere; and worse yet, this broken bridge gives the individuals traveling thereon a false sense of security that they will arrive at their expected destination. Plainly speaking, this bridge being built by Seventh-Day Adventist leaders represents the policies and methods through which the denomination’s worldwide members believe they will receive the latter rain and the seal of God, essentially, receive salvation. It is clear however, based upon the experiences of ancient Israel under the leadership of king Ahab, during the time of Elijah, that no rain, a symbol of God’s favor and blessing through the Holy Spirit, was poured out upon the corporate body because blatant apostasies including Baal-worship, were prevalent. Likewise, no latter rain can or will be poured out upon the Seventh-day Adventist denomination so long as apostasies, modern-day Baal worship, persist and go unchecked.
The experience and message of the prophet Elijah is to be expected in these last days according to the prophecy contained in Malachi 4:4-6. “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” In order for Elijah’s experience to be repeated, the very conditions of ancient Israel that necessitated Elijah’s ministry must be, and indeed are prevalent within the Seventh-Day Adventist denomination, modern Israel.
“And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word” 1 Kings 17:1. What was Israel’s condition at this time to invoke the wrath of God to such a point that literal dew and rain, symbols of God’s blessing, doctrine and Holy Spirit, were withheld for 3 years and six months? See James 5:17. Ahab united with Jezebel, a heathen prophetess of Baal, and did worse than all of his idolatrous predecessors; he served Baal and led Israel into Baal-worship; and he set up groves and erected altars for Baal whereupon sacrifices were offered (1 Kings 16:30-33).
Elijah did not pray for God to revoke His divine judgment upon Israel, because he knew that God cannot bless and approve of even the slightest deviation from truth and principle, and that God’s curse rests upon those who know the standards and refuse to live by them. Elijah rightly understood the principles of Deuteronomy 11:10-17. According to these scriptures, the former rain and the latter rain are only promised and bestowed upon those who love and serve God and hearken diligently to His commandments, while the heavens are shut to those who turn aside and worship other gods. Were Elijah to plead for rain and encourage the Israelites to do the same while Israel remained in such a degenerate and backslidden condition, it would be a mockery to God and presumptuous prayer; and such prayers God does not hearken to but regards them as an abomination (Proverbs 28:9). Elijah recognized that such pleading would be a bridge to nowhere!
Oh that the leaders of the Seventh-Day Adventist church would realize that God will not and cannot pour out His Spirit in latter rain power upon a corporate church in apostasy! In October of 2010 the worldwide church voted to pray for the latter rain to fall upon every member within the denomination in order to finish the work of evangelism.
“Voting by kneeling in prayer, over 300 delegates to the 2010 Annual Council of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Executive Committee approved ‘an urgent call for revival…’ The vote followed an hour-long worship and prayer session — featuring a devotional by Pastor Dwight Nelson of Pioneer Memorial Church in Berrien Springs, Michigan — in which Adventists were challenged to pray for the filling of the Holy Spirit in ‘latter rain’ power to finish the mission of evangelism given to the movement. ‘The Lord wants to finish this work,’ Ted N.C. Wilson, Adventist Church president, said during the meeting. ‘He wants to pour out the Holy Spirit in limitless measure.’”2http://news.adventist.org/all-news/news/go/2010-10-11/adventists-urged-to-pray-for-latter-rain-power-to-finish-work/
The voted document contains the following statement: “We appeal to each church member to unite with church leaders and millions of other Seventh-day Adventists seeking a deeper relationship with Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at 7:00 each morning or evening, seven days a week. This is an urgent call to circle the globe with earnest intercession. This is a call to total commitment to Jesus and to experience the life-changing power of the Holy Spirit that our Lord is longing to give now.”3Ibid
Interestingly, in Ted Wilson’s inaugural sermon in 2010, he reiterates the necessity of seeking and pleading for revival, reformation and the latter rain, while in the same speech he itemizes practices and sins that Seventh-day Adventists should avoid at all costs.
“Don’t reach out to movements or megachurch centers outside the Seventh-day Adventist Church which promise you spiritual success based on faulty theology. Stay away from non-biblical spiritual disciplines or methods of spiritual formation that are rooted in mysticism such as contemplative prayer, centering prayer, and the emerging church movement in which they are promoted.”4http://www.scribd.com/doc/33861749/Ted-N-C-Wilson-Sermon-Go-Forward
Since the time the sermon was delivered until the present, all of the sinful practices listed above have been openly conducted and are quite common throughout the Seventh-Day Adventist denomination, indicating that the leaders, pastors and administrators have not followed these recommendations and neither has the president put policies in place to eradicate these practices and ensure that they do not come in. Certainly before 2010 these practices were around, but they are presently more open and daring; and the fact that they have been identified makes their tolerance all the more inexcusable. There are known pastors and ministries today operating under General Conference approval that are heavily involved in the emerging church movement; the One Project Movement is only one example. There are currently pastors and professors working in SDA institutions that obtained their Master’s and Doctorate degrees in theology with emphasis in spiritual formation; and they are passing these erroneous theories and disciplines on to their unsuspecting members and pupils. There are even courses being offered in SDA universities in spiritual formation and other mystical spiritual disciplines, though they are listed under obscure names. The textbooks for some of the theological courses offered in SDA universities were written by known spiritualists and leaders of the emerging church movement.
There are not a few churches, and ministers that habitually invite non-SDA pastors and speakers to their churches and functions to conduct worship services, seminars and workshops. There are books and various other reading materials passed out and promoted by pastors from authors not of the SDA faith, containing dangerous errors and the teachings of spiritualism. There are professors in SDA schools that teach the theory of evolution, contradicting the Biblical account of creation in six literal days, yet they retain their positions. God will never pour out His Spirit upon a church in such a condition regardless of the appeals, sermons and earnest pleadings for the latter rain. Such thinking is truly is a bridge to nowhere!
President Ted Wilson continues in his sermon by saying that Adventists should look within to implement evangelistic methods based on “The Great Controversy Theme” and that the book The Great Controversy should be read and widely circulated.
“Look within the Seventh-day Adventist Church to humble pastors, evangelists, Biblical scholars, leaders, and departmental directors who can provide evangelistic methods and programs that are based on solid Biblical principles and ‘The Great Controversy Theme…’ Let us read the Spirit of Prophecy, follow the Spirit of Prophecy and share the Spirit of Prophecy. There are so many wonderful books to share including the one book Ellen White indicated she wished distributed more than any other, ‘The Great Controversy.’ Thank the Lord for the religious freedom in this and other countries that allows us to share truth.”5Ibid
Again, an obvious contradiction is apparent in what has been said and what has been and is being done. The book The Great Controversy, like no other book, records in vivid detail the themes of the great controversy from the very inception of sin and Satan to their final demise and Christ’s victory. Yet, under president Ted Wilson, who called for the book’s distribution, the original The Great Controversy, has been stripped of the controversy, significantly condensed and transformed into The Great Hope. Considerable historic and prophetic portions of the book have been expunged leaving readers with an incomplete, vague understanding of the issues involved the great controversy between good and evil. Wilson initiated the “Great Controversy Project,” with the goal of distributing massive quantities of The Great Hope through each division, union and conference.6http://greatcontroversyproject.adventist.org/about-the-project.html It is a great deception to think that the distribution of The Great Hope can take the place and accomplish the purposes that the mass distribution of The Great Controversy could. The following statements attest that the book in its entirety (the sections describing the past, the present, and the future) is needed. Handing out this mockery of The Great Controversy called The Great Hope, while thinking that God’s intentions can be accomplished for the enlightenment of the world and the church is a bridge to nowhere!
“The Great Controversy should be very widely circulated. It contains the story of the past, the present, and the future. In its outline of the closing scenes of this earth’s history, it bears a powerful testimony in behalf of the truth. I am more anxious to see a wide circulation for this book than for any others I have written; for in The Great Controversy, the last message of warning to the world is given more distinctly than in any of my other books.”7White, Ellen. Colporteur Ministry, (1953), page 127
Instruction has been given me that the important books containing the light that God has given regarding Satan’s apostasy in heaven should be given a wide circulation just now; for through them the truth will reach many minds. Patriarchs and Prophets, Daniel and the Revelation, and The Great Controversy are needed now as never before. They should be widely circulated because the truths they emphasize will open many blind eyes. . . . Many of our people have been blind to the importance of the very books that were most needed. Had tact and skill then been shown in the sale of these books, the Sunday-law movement would not be where it is today.8White, Ellen. The Colporteur Evangelist, (1950), page 21
Continuing in his address, Wilson highlights the types of music and worship that should be a part of worship services and the kind of music that should be avoided.
“Use Christ-centered, Bible-based worship and music practices in church services…don’t go backwards into confusing pagan settings where music and worship become so focused on emotion and experience that you lose the central focus on the Word of God.”9http://www.scribd.com/doc/33861749/Ted-N-C-Wilson-Sermon-Go-Forward
Every Sabbath, Seventh-Day Adventist churches throughout the world resound with contemporary, worldly music complete with syncopation, shouting, clapping and dancing. It is a common practice, at least in the North American Division, for churches and ministries to host functions wherein the guest singers are worldly, non-Seventh-Day Adventist artists; notwithstanding, many professed Adventist singers are not in harmony with the Bible and the Spirit of prophecy’s description of heavenly, sacred music either. To overlook such egregious and irreverent actions and still have the audacity to pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the collective body of Seventh-day Adventists is a bridge to nowhere!
Informed, conscientious Seventh-Day Adventists cannot pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the denomination while sin and apostasy persist, are tolerated, supported and even encouraged; this would signify their concurrence that God sanctions these practices and that a mere name and profession are sufficient for God to pour out His Spirit. Yet throughout the years, SDA ministers will hold global campaigns and provide downlinks for churches all over the world to participate in concerted efforts to pray down the “rain” upon the corporate church. These endeavors and revivals will not produce the rain or the fruit because the ministers do not include the reformation that the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy call for. If the conditions were set forth in such meetings, and the worldwide leaders took them seriously, the entire denomination would have to make serious changes, undergo a thorough reorganization and terminate many of its pastors and employees as did king Josiah (see 2 Kings 23:16-25). If any follow-up measures proceed from such “revival” meetings and individuals are baptized only to be sent back into church environments that are not conducive to spiritual growth and are not free from worldly practices and erroneous teachings, the entire effort was a failure. All the expenses, resources, prayer, and man-power were more than wasted if these sincere individuals supposedly reaped are not planted where they are continually educated upon practical godliness along with the central pillars of the Adventist faith, where the corrupting influences of the world are not accepted and practiced.
“Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of mind and heart, a resurrection from spiritual death. Reformation signifies a reorganization, a change in ideas and theories, habits and practices. Reformation will not bring forth the good fruit of righteousness unless it is connected with the revival of the Spirit. Revival and reformation are to do their appointed work, and in doing this work they must blend.”10White, Ellen, Selected Messages, Book 1, (1958) page 128
There is no lack relating to prayer and even holding “revival” meetings throughout the Seventh-day Adventist denomination; however, reformation is scarcely a part of the equation, and souls are awakened in these meetings, only to go back to sleep in carnal security thinking that by merely praying and pleading for the Holy Spirit without being reformed individually, and without the churches being reformed collectively, and thoroughly purged from Babylonian permeation, will produce the outpouring of the latter rain. This is truly a bridge to nowhere and constitutes presumption of the worst sort—asking God to bless a people while sin remains unchecked. Those calling for the corporate outpouring of the latter rain argue that they have strong faith that they will receive the promised blessing; such persons are self-deceived and are in a dangerous position.
“But faith is in no sense allied to presumption. Only he who has true faith is secure against presumption. For presumption is Satan’s counterfeit of faith. Faith claims God’s promises, and brings forth fruit in obedience. Presumption also claims the promises, but uses them as Satan did, to excuse transgression. Faith would have led our first parents to trust the love of God, and to obey His commands. Presumption led them to transgress His law, believing that His great love would save them from the consequence of their sin. It is not faith that claims the favor of Heaven without complying with the conditions on which mercy is to be granted. Genuine faith has its foundation in the promises and provisions of the Scriptures.”11White, Ellen. The Desire of Ages, (1898), page 126
Just as the tree of life was barred by an angel to prevent man from partaking of its fruit and become immortalized in sin (Genesis 3:22-24), God has shut up the heavens from pouring forth rain upon a church (corporately) and persons (individually) who are indifferent to and are practicing or condoning sin. God cannot pour out His Spirit or place His seal upon persons who have defects in their characters lest such persons become sealed or immortalized in sin; contrarily, He will withdraw his presence from them.
“It is with reluctance that the Lord withdraws His presence from those who have been blessed with great light and who have felt the power of the word in ministering to others. They were once His faithful servants, favored with His presence and guidance; but they departed from Him and led others into error, and therefore are brought under the divine displeasure…The seal of God will be placed upon the foreheads of those only who sigh and cry for the abominations done in the land. Those who link in sympathy with the world are eating and drinking with the drunken and will surely be destroyed with the workers of iniquity.”12White, Ellen. Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, (1882-1889), page 212
There comes a point when the leaders must realize that prayer alone cannot bring the sought for blessing of the latter rain. As God said to Joshua when Babylonian material was taken and cherished in the Israelite camp, He is saying to the denominational leadership, “…Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff…Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you” Joshua 7:10, 11 and 13. Many are vainly awaiting the entire church to receive the power of the latter rain even though the “accursed thing” remains; that time will never come—they are treading upon a bridge to nowhere! “Are we hoping to see the whole church revived? That time will never come.”13White, Ellen, Selected Messages, Book 1, (1958) page 122
Since the time will never come for the entire church to be revived, and it has been determined that the methods and policies now employed in bringing about the outpouring of the latter rain are not only ineffective, but presumptuous, it is incumbent upon each one to prayerfully study how it is that he or she can become revived, reformed and a recipient of God’s Holy Spirit in latter rain power. Elijah’s experience atop Mount Carmel provides the answer. Elijah firstly repaired the broken down altar, which signifies reformation in practices, policies, motives and character—being reformed into the glorious image of Christ. Reformation comes only in response to a return to and inculcation of the principles of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, the writings of Ellen G. White, allowing the truth of the words to sanctify the soul. As God reveals what does and does not constitute true worship, and through the help of the Holy Spirit amends are made, idols are destroyed, and false concepts and practices abandoned, such a one may earnestly pray for and even expect the rain to fall in its season.
“Only those who are living up to the light they have will receive greater light. Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognize the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it.”14White, Ellen, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers , (1923) page 507
Prophesy Again Ministries
References [ + ]
|7.||↑||White, Ellen. Colporteur Ministry, (1953), page 127|
|8.||↑||White, Ellen. The Colporteur Evangelist, (1950), page 21|
|10.||↑||White, Ellen, Selected Messages, Book 1, (1958) page 128|
|11.||↑||White, Ellen. The Desire of Ages, (1898), page 126|
|12.||↑||White, Ellen. Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, (1882-1889), page 212|
|13.||↑||White, Ellen, Selected Messages, Book 1, (1958) page 122|
|14.||↑||White, Ellen, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers , (1923) page 507|