I have been baptized twice in my life. The first time was at Northside Baptist Church, Colorado Springs in 1971. The second time was with my wife and four children at Elam Road Seventh Day Adventist Church in Murfreesboro Tennessee. People mistakenly believe that the Adventists are a cult or a false religion. Walter Martin, who was a Baptist minister, declared in his 1965 book Kingdom of the Cults that the Seventh Day Adventist Church is not a cult or false religion. He does not give the church a ringing endorsement but he is at least open minded enough to recognize it as a Christian church. Although I no longer attend the Adventist church I still believe most of their doctrine. Trust me when I say that I am the last person to ever join a cult. The Adventist beliefs about heaven, hell, the state of the dead, the rapture, the law, the Sabbath and so many other things challenged me in a way that I had never been challenged before. After much Bible study, prayer, and discussion, I could not dispute most of the beliefs of Adventist church. If someone disagrees with me I don't think that they are going to hell. I just realize that we are all at different stages of growth. These are important beliefs to me but my litmus test for any Christian religion is how do they relate to Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation. The Adventists believe that Jesus is God. A person must recognize that they are a sinner and repent of their sins. Salvation is a gift of God through grace and not of works. However they do stress the truth that if you love Jesus you will naturally want to be obedient to him. You are not saved by the act of baptism. It is a outward symbol of an inward salvation and an act of obedience. Any legitimate Christian denomination believes this way. The Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses for example do not meet this test. Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe that Jesus is God and the Mormon's believe in multiple gods. They believe that Jesus was a man who became a god because he was a righteous man on another world and after becoming a god created our world. Each Mormon is taught that they can become a god by living a righteous life and create their own world like Jesus did after they die. They also believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost of the Trinity are three separate gods rather than three separate persons of the Godhead.
Like any religion the Adventists have their legalists. There are many people in the church who place too much emphasis on Ellen G. White, diet and health. Ellen G. White is considered to be a prophet by the church and by my understanding of the Bible she passes the true test of the prophet as stated in Deuteronomy 18:22. When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him. The Adventists also believe that God gave us a food list because he loved us. Yes, it is part of the Mosaic law but it was an expression of his love. Just like a loving parent would only feed their child those things that would improve their health and not hurt it. Before medical science came of age God warned his people to stay away from unclean animals like pigs, shell fish, catfish, and any animal that is a scavenger. Medical science backs up Gods word today. Many Adventists take it a step further and do not eat meat at all. Every Sabbath we had a pot luck dinner after church that was meatless. Some of the dishes were very good but some were not so good. I never became a vegetarian but for a long time I avoided pork as much as I could. However I had a weakness for bacon and shrimp. I never felt like people were judging me on my eating habits. Polls have shown that Adventists on average live ten years longer than people who eat meat. I am convinced that most Adventists do not think that eating unclean animals or meat will send a person to hell.
|Ellen G. White|
I met pastor Ralph Ringer of Elam Road SDA church in the early 1980's. I have never known anyone who knew more about the Bible than Ralph. Every Sabbath he preached at three different churches in different towns, miles apart. On top of the normal duties of a pastor he would come by my house every week for a Bible study. This man was never stumped by my questions and he could always point me to an answer in the Word. There are few Christians on earth that know more about the Bible than the average Adventist. Even the children know more about the Bible in an Adventist Church than many adults in the mainstream Christian churches. Since I left the church I have attended the Free Methodist Church, and the Baptist Church and as far as their doctrines on the law, the Sabbath, hell, death, the rapture, etc. I feel like a duck out of water. However I am very comfortable with their doctrine on the proper relationship with Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation because it is in harmony with that of the Adventists. The thing that impresses me most about them is that they rely heavily on the Bible and the power of the Holy Spirit for interpretation.
Because I was an Adventist I have known about Dr. Ben Carson almost from the moment that I joined the Church. I learned how he was raised by a good Christian mother and rose from the ghetto to become one of the top neuro-surgeons in the world. I have always liked and respected Dr. Carson. The trend of the media, especially since the 2012 election, is to go after the Republican front runner. In 2012, when Herman Kane became the front runner they started producing women that he allegedly sexually harassed. Of course the media ignored or demeaned the women that Clinton harassed It went after Michelle Bachman, Newt Gingrich and the others. Then when Romney came out on top Harry Reid told the big lie about Romney not paying his taxes and they attacked his religion, the Mormon Church. They did this because Romney was squeaky clean. Although the Mormon Church is a false religion I had no problem with a mainstream Mormon as president. Some Christians like my sister did have a problem with his religion. I don't consider them to be a threat in the same way that I would look at a Muslim as president. Mormons have good values and for the most part are decent people and they love their country. I expected the left to be the first one to bring up Carson's religion but Trump was the first. He did it in a very subtle way, he said “I’m Presbyterian. Boy, that’s down the middle of the road folks, in all fairness. I mean, Seventh-day Adventist, I don’t know about. I just don’t know about.” This is what Trump was really saying. I'm orthodox Christian but you guys need to closely examine these Adventists. That's a strange religion. Do you want a president of the United States that belongs to a church like that?
I expect the mainstream media to describe in detail the beliefs of the SDA church if Carson breaks away from the pack and gains front runner status. For someone who is not familiar with their beliefs, I can see how this church will appear to the low information voter. Of course Obama would probably not be president right now if the media had described Obama's Black Liberation theology in the same detail that they did Mormonism in 2012. Like Mitt Romney they will do the same with the SDA church and Ben Carson. They will probably even try to tie David Koresh and the Branch Davidians with the SDA church. This was a splinter group of the SDA church that was founded in 1942. We had a family that adhered to their beliefs and they attended our church. We called them the Shepherds Rod. The women looked kind of like the Amish, always wore a cap in public, and of course they wore no make-up. These people were fanatics and I came to believe that the only reason that they attended our church was to recruit from our membership. We were invited to their house one Sabbath for dinner. They seemed like nice people so we agreed to go. The family consisted of a man and wife along with their little girl of about ten years old. They lived in a trailer that sat right next to the northern boundary of Stones River battlefield park. Today the battlefield owns the property that the trailer sat on. It was one of the longest afternoons of my life. The lady spread out various books on prophecy all over her living room floor and spent a couple of hours trying to convert me to her way of thinking. Around 1989 I left the church. On April 19th, 1993 David Koresh's compound in Waco Texas burned to the ground killing Koresh and many of his followers. I ran into a lady from the church in Murfreesboro that I had been good friends with. We talked about Koresh and she said that he had been collecting the arms in his compound because he believed that the Branch Davidian's had the true gospel. They were God's avenging angels and they planned to kill mainstream Adventists in order to purify the church. Some time after this I received a strange letter in the mail that I think was from the Branch Davidian's and sounded like a death threat to all orthodox SDA members. There was no return address and my address had been typed on a piece of paper that had been cut out and glued to the envelope. The letter was difficult to follow. It had many misspelled words and appeared to be written by someone who was not well educated. It was a rambling two page letter spouting Branch Davidian theology.
|Amish women. The women of Shepherds Rod dress similar to this.|
Like Kane in 2012 and Carson today, a black Republican could be the biggest threat to Hillary Clinton or whoever the Democrat nominee may be. Since Carson is a very religious man, that fact and his race has the potential for siphoning off a good portion of the black vote. If he could capture even 15% to 20% of that vote it could be devastating to Hillary's chances. Especially since blacks usually vote over 90% for the Democratic candidate. It was around 96% for Obama. The church is very important to black people and on social issues they tend to be as conservative as white Christians. It is only because of historical reasons, since the 1960's, that they vote in block for Democratic candidates. Before the mid 1960's blacks voted Republican for the most part because it was the party of Lincoln. Since the 1930's many blacks crossed over to the Democrats because of the economic policies of Roosevelt. Blacks have more trust in the Federal government than most white people. This is because it has been the Federal government who has come to their rescue in enforcing civil rights law. The government passed the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. The 13th ended slavery, the 14th granted civil rights and the 15th granted the right to vote. In 1948, Truman integrated the armed forces by executive order. The Supreme court ruled in favor of black children with the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling in 1954 which overturned the (separate but equal) ruling of Plessey Vs. Ferguson of 1896. This ruling began the long process of desegregating public schools. It was Republican appointed judges of Eisenhower, like Frank Johnson, that ruled in favor of black interests during the 1950's and 60's. It was a Federal court that desegregated Montgomery Alabama's city busses, ending the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Then there was the 1957, 64, and 65 civil rights Acts. The 64 and 65 Civil Rights Act were simply upholding the 14th and 15th Amendments. Whites believe very strongly in the constitutional principle of states rights, which is a very valid and essential part of our Constitution. However most blacks consider the issue of states rights to be nothing but a cover for racism. There is much validity to this. Far too many Southerners labor under the mistaken belief that the Civil War was not over slavery but states rights. Southerners have touted states rights as a cause through the years but their misuse of the term in the end has done more damage to the real meaning of states rights than anything else.
Carson has the potential to do a lot of damage to the Democratic party. They can't let that happen. If Carson pulls ahead, this thing is going to get ugly. Since Carson probably has the fewest skeletons in his closest, his religion will be targeted. There is valid question that needs to be asked of Carson however. A large number of Adventists tend to gravitate toward the medical profession which could explain why Carson is a doctor. Pacifism is widespread in the Adventist Church. One of the great heroes of WW2 was Desmond Doss. He was the first conscientious objector to ever win the Medal of Honor. Doss was cited for saving 75 men as a combat medic under heavy fire at Okinawa while lowering men to safety from a cliff. He did this after being severely wounded himself. He was a devout Seventh Day Adventist that was observant of the Sabbath even as a soldier. One of the Marines that raised the flag on Iwo Jima, Harlon Block, and was later killed during the battle, was raised as an Adventist. He himself was not a pacifist but his parents were. They were very upset that he enlisted in the Marines and went to war. The question that needs to be asked of Carson is this. Are you a pacifist? We can't afford a pacifist as president of the United States. Personally I don't think he is but I would like him to clarify himself on the subject.
|Harlon Block is the man putting the pole in the ground|