My younger brother Derek and I celebrate the same wedding anniversary date; not that we remembered this when Guy and I set our own date. The last time we had been to Atlanta was four years ago when we surprised Derek and Marsha by going there to celebrate together.
Ten days ago we were now there because Atlanta was the home of the fifty-ninth General Conference session for the Seventh-day Adventist church. Atlanta was chosen for the church’s quinquennium business session because Atlanta has a long history of hosting national religious organizations and gatherings. The Seventh-day Adventist church has more than 80 houses of worship in the Atlanta area.
The sessions were held at The Georgia World Congress Center. This was our first time to attend one of the sessions, and as we sat there in that large dome on our first day I knew we were bound for glorious moments! The nations had come together to pray, to decide and to worship! The theme: Proclaiming God’s Grace.
The Seventh-day Adventist church, a blessing, and into all the world! As I gazed over that large international crowd I could not help but remember the times some of my Bible students shared with me how they had heard that my world wide church family are “cult” members. I smiled to myself and thought what a beautiful “cult” gathering, thousands and thousands of people, believing only in the One in whom is absolute truth. So who are the Seventh-day Adventists? I recommend you do your own research, but here is why I know we are not a cult: Modern cults are identified in five ways:
- Cults usually have a single powerful leader who becomes the cult’s messiah. (our name defines who we worship and who we are waiting for)
- The cult leader’s word or the teachings of the cult becomes absolute truth, overshadowing the teachings of the Scriptures. (our leader Jesus said “If you continue in MY word, then you are MY disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32,33 and John 17:17 “…THY word is truth.”)
- Each cult uses “pressure” to coerce its members into submission (we believe in Joshua 24:15, Revelation 22:17)
- Cults regularly appeal to miracles as a sign of their “divine credentials.” (We believe God can and does work miracles. False religious teachers exploit this truth for their benefit. They appeal to the spectacular, the sensational, as some sort of divine sign rather than a changed life)
- Cults often urge these “converts” to leave their families. ( Bible Christianity calls men and women to follow Jesus and stand for truth, but it also calls them to witness to their families, 1 Corinthians 7:13, 14; Ephesians 5:22,23.
No “cult” leader believes in the “Great Commission” of Matthew 28:19,20 “Go ye therefore and teach all nations … teaching them to observe ALL things whatsoever I have commanded you…”. This is the reassurance our church will continue to live by: Our Savior’s love is powerful and will continue to guide us, individually and corporately; King Jesus is the only One who can do this for you and for me; and the greatest thing is that He will do it in all truth! This is the “leader” we need; One who has our best interests in the depths of His heart! Thank you Seventh-day Adventist church for teaching me this, and so much more!
Wherever you live, you will always find a beautiful Seventh-day Adventist family nearby. Come and visit with us! Your life will never be the same!