Last month, a Seventh Day Adventist publishing house announced the launch of a brand new study Bible using the New King James Version text. The SDA Church, in case you are unaware of it, was born out of the proselytizing efforts of its founder, the alleged "prophetess" Ellen G. White, whose legalism and exclusivism is legendary around the world. Rejecting both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism and assuming themselves to be the only true "remnant" of God's people on the earth (because of their adherence to a Saturday Sabbath and White's free reinterpretation of Jewish dietary laws as binding upon Christians today), the SDA Church's legalistic approach to the Christian faith well known, yet almost universally overlooked by the non discerning church today. The latitude given to White's skewed interpretation of Christianity borders is both illegitimate and unbiblical, and the unbelievable deference given to her teachings has led many of them to hail her as the "Spirit of Prophecy."
For generations, hordes of SDA evangelists have endlessly conducted"Bible prophecy" seminars in efforts to raid members from established Christian churches, as well as penetrate the world with the gospel according to Ellen G. White. The strident and almost cultic exclusivism driving the SDA vision has left many a victim in its wake and far too many people who've honestly questioned and striven against its challenges to ignore the Biblical and logical answers to Adventist errors. What many of these same people are also unaware of is how the Watchtower Society is an offshoot of the SDA movement itself, abandoning the "prophetess" Ellen G. White's alleged prognosticatory power for that of "pastor" Charles Taze Russell, who was as obsessed with Biblical chronologies and Bible prophecy as she was.
So it was no surprise again, with what Jesus has said about these dark times in Matthew 24, that we'd eventually find a major Christian publishing house, no less then the venerable Thomas Nelson Publishing house, creating a study Bible for Seventh Day Adventists. In doing so, they created a brand new marketing tool that will enable them to penetrate more homes then ever with the legalistic deception of White's questionable doctrine and false prophecy. Creatively restated and recrafted for a new generation of Christians conditioned by a backslidden and media-dependent church to read Bible study notes to glean truth and not rely upon God's Word as taught by God's Spirit (John 14:26), it will fly:
Yes, the new Remnant Study Bible (NKJV) has all the study aids serious Bible students have come to expect from their study Bibles — but it goes way beyond that. Way beyond.Remnant Publications, the publishing house behind this project, makes abundantly clear where they are coming from, in that they are unashamedly advocating SDA doctrine. Thomas Nelson, says this about their allegedly Christian focus, sounding more like a greeting card company run by Joel Osteen or Kahlil Gibran :
For the first time ever, the masterful commentary of E. G. White is now included alongside the Bible text! You’ll also find a complete array of other unique Bible study aids, such as a complete set of Chain Reference Bible Studies and detailed sections on prophetic symbols, the prophecies of Daniel, and the awe-inspiring sanctuary services.
With that reverent coda, the publishers at Thomas Nelson no doubt want to impress upon us that their core mission - the creation of Christian literature that God uses to "breathe new life" into the world - is one which Christians should trust.At Thomas Nelson, we believe that we exist to inspire the world. We believe that the world desperately needs inspiration—the right kind of inspiration—and that we are a conduit for change.
To make this personal and memorable, we have reduced this to a slogan: “We inspire the world.” Here’s how we understand each phrase of this statement.
The pronoun “we” emphasizes our commitment to teamwork. We cannot accomplish God’s purpose for our company on our own. It takes more than a handful of star performers. It takes all of us, collectively working together, each employing our unique gifts, to fulfill our calling.
According to the dictionary, “inspire” means
1. To affect or guide; 2. To fill with enlivening or exalting emotion; 3. To be the cause or source of; bring about.
All of these meanings are relevant to our purpose as a company:
- First, we want our products—books, videos, and conferences—to affect people. We are not in the business of merely entertaining our audiences or “tickling their ears.” Instead, we want our products to have a positive impact on consumers. In addition, we live in a day when people are desperate for direction and advice. As a result, we want our products to provide practical guidance.
- Second, we want our products to have a positive emotional impact. Emotions are not something to disparage or disregard. They can be the very thing that provide the impetus for action. Inspired emotions can lead to noble actions. We want to intentionally stimulate (though not manipulate) those kinds of emotions through the products we produce.
- Third, we want our products to be a source of real change, both in individuals and in our larger culture. Looking back over our lives, most of us recognize that real change frequently came about as a result of the books we read, the conferences we attended, or both. These types of products provide an opportunity to affect deep and lasting change.It is interesting to note that the word inspire originally came from the Greek work theopneustos. It literally means “God-breathed” (Theos, God, and pneo, to breathe). This is particularly fitting for our company, since we acknowledge that God is the ultimate Source of inspiration. We want our products to be a means by which God breathes new life into His world.
The problem is that Thomas Nelson betrays an obscene naivete, gross negligence, or immoral indifference when agreeing to this project - or is guilty of all three. SDA doctrine is a distortion of Christian doctrine and has created untold amounts of unbiblical legalism that have plagued the SDA Church and all who have come under its orbit.
It's fascinating to note that Mr. Nelson, who founded the company in London in 1798, was of sturdy Scottish Covenanter stock and that the Covenanters' had rejected the King of England as the head of the Christian Church there and steadfastly asserted that Jesus Christ alone stood in that authority. The Covenanters endured these "Killing Times" as a result, enduring persecution, civil strife and civil war that dragged on as a result of their unbending rejection of human authority over their faith.
What would Tommy do if he was alive today to see the company he started to now being used to champion another agenda to exalt a purely human authority over the Christian faith? And what might that old Scottish Christian might think in a day in which that same kind of human authority, having no temporal power of state to back it, can easily litigate to shut the voices of dissent off?
What would Tommy do?