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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fear

Ever since I started questioning Adventism 10 years ago, I've noticed this strange occurrence - The more I study the Bible, the more I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Adventism is wrong. But the more I listen to my Adventist friends and relatives, the more I start to re-think my beliefs. In fact, the only way I was able to stay in the Adventist church for so long after I started studying was by stopping my Bible studies completely (I would do the occasional devotional, but no deep studies). I can't say with absolute certainty that what I believe now is 100% correct, but I do know that Adventism isn't Biblically sound.

Growing up, I was always taught not to make decisions based on emotions and I still believe that to be correct. It's funny how the results of that advice have flipped, though. I have noticed that if I shift my focus off of what the Bible teaches and on to other things (people, opinions, etc.) then fear quickly creeps back in. Fear concerning my former beliefs - What if Ellen White was really a prophet? After all, she does say a lot of beautiful things! What if by rejecting her we are rejecting God? But then I remember the completely different picture she gives from the Bible and how she pulls texts out of context & makes them say something completely different to prove her points.

The Bible specifically gives us counsel on this - “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him” (Deut. 18:22).

And when my well-meaning Adventist friends tell me I'm fulfilling Ellen White's prophecies by leaving the SDA Church and "turning against" Adventism, sometimes the fear of being wrong creeps back in again. What if the Sabbath really is the end-time issue and worshipping God on Sunday (or as we were taught - "Sunday-keeping") is the Mark of the Beast? But then I open my Bible and remember that it is Ellen White - not the Bible - that teaches these things.

I see the sincerity in many of my friends and relatives and I wonder how so many people can be so wrong. I wonder if I missed something instead. After all, how could I find something that so many close to me missed? I see myself through their eyes and know they must be worried about me. They probably think I've joined some fanatical new age movement or some type of a cult (ironic!). I know that many are afraid of my beliefs because they avoid me now. I wonder if maybe they see something that I don't. I know that no one on the inside of a cult believes they are in a cult. Am I really chasing after strange beliefs and making the Bible say what I want it to say so I can be more comfortable?

But then I remember the weeks, months, years I spent studying and comparing. I remember the discussions I've had with people on both sides. I remember the lack of answers that I received to so many questions in Adventism. I remember the conversations I've had with friends, relatives, and even multiple SDA pastors who never gave me answers. I remember the piles of Biblical evidence and how the Bible when read as a whole supports the old & new covenants. And if I wanted to remain comfortable, I would have stayed where I was! There is nothing "easy" or "comfortable" about changing your beliefs and being viewed as dangerous, disobedient to God, and even lost.

I think it takes awhile for the hold that Adventism had on us to completely disappear - for the fear factors to go away. Until then, I will continue to trust the Bible and not my emotions or the views of others to guide me.

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