The Curse of Independence

There has been, in the experience of CSDA evangelists, something of a controversy going on in Adventism regarding the concept of “unity.” All will agree, with a somewhat forced tone, that the ideal for the people of Yahweh is that they all be united in beliefs and basic practices. It is hard to argue with this concept in theory, for it is so clearly revealed in the words of the Messiah Himself. In the Gospel of John, one of the Master’s last prayers on the earth contained the words recorded in the following passage:

“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may beone, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” (John 17:20-23)

Yet despite such a clear teaching, the opinions of various groups claiming the name “Adventist” appear to take the same course as their view on the concept of Righteousness By Faith or Victory Over Sin: “Maybe someday,” or “This will happen, when Christ returns,” or, “That is, of course, the goal, but practically speaking, it’s not likely.” Such comments of these, which reflect little confidence in the unifying power of the Holy Spirit, are found not just among the laity, but even the leaders of those who desire to be counted among the Redeemed. Men such as this have said to us, when we attempt to promote Yahshua’s desire as written in John 17, “We just don’t share the same burden for unity that your group does.”

And yet, this is an unwitting admission of something far more serious. The Scriptures tell us, in addition to a clear teaching on unity, “we have the mind of Christ.” (1Cor 2:16) Also, “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked,” (1John 2:6) where the word “walked,” there means something much broader than merely walking on our legs, but also “conducting one’s self,” and seeking the same goals and opportunities. The question may then fairly be asked, “If we claim to be Christ’s but do not share His very intensely stated burden for the unity of His followers, are we truly His at all?”

Apathy on this issue is perhaps one of the greatest dangers we face. Some have seen the evils of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, made all the more public by their recent draconian actions in the United States courts, and departed in disgust. They can hardly be faulted for this; however, it is not sufficient to simply leave slavery and wander out into the wilderness. Our Father in Heaven is no careless Leader, and no half-hearted Savior of His people. Whenever He calls His people to depart from their bondage, He never just leaves them to their own devices, or to make their own way. There is not one such example in the Scriptures.

When He called Israel out of Egypt, He had prepared for them a promised land. When, in Christ, He called us out of sin, He said to us, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” (John 14:1-4)

When He calls us, in these last days, to depart from the crumbling tower of modern, spiritual Babylon, (Rev 18:4) is it to be imagined that He has dealt with us in any lesser manner than His people in previous ages?

The problem is that with so many counterfeits to the truth out there, teaching half-Gospels, or focusing on some lesser issue than the victory we have won over sin and mortality in our unity with Yahshua, by the time many people hear the truth they are “burnt out” on organized churches. These are truly tragic cases, for so many can no longer dare to hope that, in addition to the precious gift we reveal to them of a life lived free from shame and failure, there also comes (automatically) a community of supportive saints that are fellow-travelers toward the Heavenly Kingdom.

Apathy, of course, is only one of the issues that stands in opposition to Christian Unity, and by the term “Christian Unity,” I mean not merely an ideal espoused by Christians as a teaching, but a very real, visible, and actual unity for which Christ Himself prayed. Naturally, those who initiate divisive movements are not motivated by apathy; they are driven to do what they do.

We have no reason to assume that individuals who do this are anything less than sincere, yet we find misinformation, misapplication of the scriptures, or a false concept of prophecy, at the heart of many of the independent movements that result from these schisms. The spiritual effect of them is plain for anyone to read, as it is written plainly, “God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked; that there should be no schism in the body.” (1Cor 12:24b, 25) Even those who are accounted least in the Body of Christ are given honor and strength, that there should be unity despite the diverse kinds of people that compose the Church.

But what can be done to restore a sense of unity, when dealing with movements that are suffering from the curse of “independence?” I place the term “independence” in quotations, because the term signifies something that is not an actuality in movements that separate from the established Body of Christ for anything less than an overt calling-out by Yahweh Himself. While those in these movements may consider themselves independent of the corruption they left behind, this idea is rarely given serious consideration: If Yahweh Himself has not led us to where we now are, with clear signs, with a spirit of prophecy, with direct evidence that He has been the one guiding our steps, are we not also independent of His will?”

This question, rather than being given consideration, is more often met with outrage, and questions such as, “Are you suggesting we should have stayed in the movement that we left? Don’t you know that they…” and a string of doctrinal errors, personal affronts, and unbiblical practices follow. It is not to be suggested that any of these things are to be ignored, yet there are two things that must be kept in mind.

First, one need only look through the Old Testament to find many examples of great corruption in Israel. Pagan influences had the chosen nation bearing witness to blatant idolatry, prostitution in the very Temple of Yah, selfish and godless kings, murder and exile of the few remaining messengers of Heaven, and even the sacrifice of children to heathen deities. Any finger-pointing about dress reform, health reform, military service, and so on fall far short of what Yahweh has tolerated among His chosen people in the past. Again, this is no justification for any of these things, and it is certain that we are responsible for far greater light than was given to pre-Christian Israel. And yet, the principle remains: an individual, or group of individuals has no right under Heaven to withdraw from the chosen of Yahweh unless something very specific happens, and that specific thing is none of those particulars listed above.

In every case, in every case, where Yahweh has instructed His people to depart from a former organization and found a new one, it is because that former organization has abandoned the principles of Heaven and then, in that “independent” state, united with civil authority to become a persecuting power. The Israelites with Rome, the apostolic movement with Rome, the Sunday-keeping Protestants with the U. S. Government… in every case this same pattern is seen.

And now, in these last days, there is such a reason for departing from church-state unions such as, but not limited to, the General Conference organization of Seventh-day Adventists (what most people consider to be “mainstream” Seventh-day Adventism) because of their union and unity with the world in opposition to Christ. In uniting with the U.S. civil government and becoming a persecuting power in the courts of the land, the GC brand of Adventism has followed in the footsteps of every organization of ages past from which Yahweh has told His people, “Depart for the sake of your very souls.”

But that is just the first thing to keep in mind, that if one has departed from what they once believed to be a valid Church for any reason other than this specific form of corruption, they are not following the voice of Yahweh as revealed in the Scriptures.

Second, whether they left for the wrong reasons (which would indicate a need for repentance) or the right one described above, Yahweh has a place in which He is gathering His people.

If either of these things is understood, it would completely eliminate the existence of modern independent movements! If the first was understood, people would remain in the Church until such a time as it was made clear they should depart – there would not be home-grown church groups springing up, each with its own take on doctrine and practice. If the second were understood, the people would be actively seeking for the promised land, for the unified Body of Christ that had thereafter been given to faithful keepers. (Mat 21:41-43)

And for this second concept, Adventists in general have little excuse for misunderstanding or ignorance. In the writings of Ellen White, she spelled out in no uncertain terms: “God is leading out a people, not a few separate individuals here and there, one believing this thing, another that. Angels of God are doing the work committed to their trust. The third angel is leading out and purifying a people, and they should move with him unitedly.” [Testimonies for the Church Volume One, page 207]

The purpose of this article is not to point out the flaws that exist in the various independent movements out there (although from the Scriptures above, the very presence of such movements would indicate a “flaw”).Instead, it is to point out the beauty of the truth, that Yahweh has not been careless in His leading of the Christian people. He has gone ahead of us, as He has ever done, and prepared a place for His people to gather. It is not, according to the Bible and writings of Ellen White, something for which we must wait until the Second Advent. It is an active, united, current movement that will follow the leading of the Third Gospel Angel (of Rev. 14) through the time of trouble, and then onward into glory.

“But,” some might say, “The Creation Seventh Day Adventist Church, though it calls itself ‘a Church,’ how is it different from the very independent movements whose existence it criticizes?” There are several distinguishing characteristics, which are these:

1) The CSDA Church claims to be the united Church of Yahshua in this last generation

Many independent movements, in order to justify their own existence, must justify the existence of other small groups as well, in opposition to the words of the Scripture and Spirit of Prophecy writings. They may use the writings of individuals such as A. T. Jones to show that some early Adventists were not as much in favor of organization as the apostles, but these must be subjected to the Biblical writings, and not the other way around. Any movement espousing an ecumenical, “My group is ok, your group is ok, even if we disagree on some things,” attitude is not fulfilling the prayer of Christ as read from John 17, and thus not fulfilling the will of Heaven. This is not a case of religious intolerance, but an acknowledgement of the need to hold up the unchanged, and unchangeable, standard to which Yahweh is calling His people. Individuals may choose to worship who or what they like, and we would never interfere with their right to make that choice by force, coercion, verbal abuse or any other unsanctified means; yet it is the duty of those who do know the truth not to leave the ignorant unwarned. (Ezek 33:8, 9)

2) The CSDA Church has as its primary function the revelation of the Gospel as described in Revelation 14 to the world

Rather than focusing on the errors of some other movement, except to use it by way of contrast to the truth, the CSDA Church is based entirely upon “the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev 14:12) Members of the Church present as their core doctrine the concept of Victory over Sin or, as it was called a century ago, Righteousness by Faith, which is nothing more or less than the ability Yahweh has given to His people to faithfully obey the commandments by means of the faith given through His Son. Most, if not all, independent movements actively demonstrate that they have some other raison d'être (reason for being) than this.

3) The CSDA Church understands, and can explain, the conditional nature of prophecy

This is a great weakness in every movement other than the true Church of Christ. One of the key principles necessary for the proper and non-private interpretation of prophecy is the understanding that if the spiritual condition of the people to whom a prophecy is given changes, the fulfillment of that prophecy also changes. The Scriptures provide witness upon witness of this, and yet it is ignored by groups that continue to look forward to the fulfillments of various prophecies that will never come to pass… thus falling into great error, and deafening themselves to the true voice of the Spirit.

4) The CSDA Church claims direct prophetic justification for its experience and actions

Members of the Church believe in, and accept as a practical reality, the words of the Scripture that state, “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy,” (Rev 19:10b) and believe this principle has been guiding their movements as a people. Rather than limiting this gift to any one individual or set of writings, we also accept this Word, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit.” (Joel 2:28, 29) This was clearly not the case in the early Advent movement, at least not in complete fulfillment. But such a time has come, and those who have not yet so much as heard of the movements of the Spirit in these last days (similar to the Christians remembered in Acts 19:2) are invited to “come and see.” (John 1:46)

With such things in mind, it is the intention of the evangelists of this Church to reach out to those in the independent movements, particularly those associated with Adventism (who have received the most light) and invite them to submit to the prayer of Christ in John 17, the words of the modern day prophet in the Testimonies document, and the testimony of those who, in harmony with the continuing spirit of prophecy that resides in the Church of Christ, are moving forward in the Three Angels’ Message, with the power and renewed authority of Revelation 18’s Loud Cry for this final generation.

The CSDA Signet
A publication of CSDA believers

While it is true that the Lord guides individuals,
it is also true that He is leading out a people,
not a few separate individuals here and there,
one believing this thing, another that. Angels of God
are doing the work committed to their trust.
The third angel is leading out and purifying a people,
and they should move with him unitedly.
- Ellen G. White