Adventist culture vs. Adventist faith

The cooperative efforts of those involved in the ‘Coming Out’ Ministries seems to be much in the Adventist news of late with most of the discourse being very negative. This is not a surprise to those of us involved in this collaborative effort, for we know from the word of God that Satan “is wroth with the woman (the church), and [making] war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ,” which “is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 12:17; 19:10).

Knowing and accepting this, I am impressed to publicly share an observation that I have been making for quite some time now. And that is that there seems to be two very prominent motives behind even being a Seventh-day Adventist in this day and age: one being the embrace of one’s Adventist culture, the other being the embrace of the Adventist faith.

As I read negative reports in publications such as Spectrum Magazine and articles from SDA Kinship, there is something quite blazingly apparent to me. The accepted rule of faith and practice appears to be that of “political correctness” and “conventional thinking” rather than a plain “thus saith the Lord.”

Through my own personal web site ministry,, I have from time to time gotten caught up in correspondence that has revealed itself to be a platform of debate rather than an honest search for truth as expressed in the word of God. At that point I usually turn the conversation back to the challenger with this simple request: “Please show me from the word of God your position, His approval of homosexuality. Truth can bear scrutiny, so please show me from the word of God my error. I am not above being reproved, corrected and instructed” (See 2 Timothy 3:16,17).

At that point I never hear from the challenger again. You see, this is the element that is missing in the pro-gay argument and discussion coming from many of those of the Adventist culture. This also is what is missing in “The Seventh-Gay Adventist Film.” The appeal from that side of the discussion is to one’s feelings and emotions and to human reasoning rather than considering God’s feelings and emotions and reasoning.

Our God invites all of us, “Come now, and let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). That means that He would really like to be included in the discussion, but with the clear understanding found in Malachi 3:6, “For I am the Lord, I change not.”

1 John 4:8 tells us that God is love. And it is our loving heavenly Father who has expressed Himself very plainly throughout the Bible regarding the issue of homosexuality, that it is one of several abominations, that it is sin, that homosexuals along with many other sinners “shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (See 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

Rather, we are counseled, “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1,2).

Of those going to view the screening of the "Seventh-Gay Adventist" film, I have asked to take a piece of paper and a pen and to write down every reference made in the film to the feelings and emotions of God and to the offense God is made to feel through the issue of homosexuality, and to write down every text of Scripture used in the film to support the position taken by the players and the producers. They come back to me with a blank piece of paper saying, “I get your point!”

So, why is this issue so aggressively confronting the Seventh-day Adventist Church today? Our denomination has a history of making the word of God our rule of faith and practice. Yes, we have made mistakes, and yes we may make more, but our practice has been that of the Bereans of old, to search the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (See Acts 17:11).

What has emerged from my observation over decades now is an ever-increasing conflict between those of the Adventist culture and those of the Adventist faith. For the most part, Seventh-day Adventists who are gay and who promote homosexuality and defend and justify it are gays who were raised within the Adventist denomination, not gays being converted into Adventism. It is their culture. It is their extended family. It is what they have grown up with and have known all their lives. They do not want to be disfellowshipped from the community to which they have belonged the better part of their lives. They do not want to experience yet another form of rejection.

For years I have pondered the question, why do Seventh-day Adventists who are gay, who defend homosexuality, who justify homosexuality, why do they not find a gay friendly church or community for their social and spiritual fellowship rather than try to change the well-established biblical doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventist Church? It only makes sense to me that they are clinging to their Adventist culture, while at the same time rejecting the Adventist faith, the faith that teaches the beautiful message of salvation from sin, transformation of character, the promises to the overcomers, restoration to the image of Christ, in which image mankind was created in the first place.

You see, one common thread I notice woven throughout the entire gay community, whether Adventist, Christian, Catholic or atheist, is a perception of rejection. They feel alienated by society, peers, family, and church. A difference of opinion is perceived as a form of rejection.  Rejection is not nice; it is hateful. One must be protected from hate. Therefore, legislation is called for to protect them from the rejection perceived as hate, but why is their difference of opinion from those who hold another view not also considered to be rejection and hate? Why should their opinion be so protected, while the opinions of others are not? The reasoning is not consistent, nor logical.

What is it that is actually being rejected in this scenario? It is the tenets of the Adventist denomination that are built upon a plain “thus saith the Lord” that are being dismissed and rejected. In other words, it is the word of God, His expressed will that is being rejected by the proponents of pro-gay theology.

As my own children have been growing up, I have repeatedly taught them the best we can do for them is to create an environment that promotes the will of God in our family, and in our home, but at some point they must choose for themselves either the ways of the Lord or the ways of the world. They must graduate from Adventist culture to Adventist faith. Until they make that decided choice to allow Jesus to be Lord and Master in their own lives, rendering cheerful and unquestioning obedience to Him, our Christian home is just their environment, their culture. I have told them repeatedly, “You can eat those Big Franks, and tofu burgers, and go to church on Sabbath the rest of your life and be no closer to the kingdom of God than the atheists of the world. You must choose Jesus for yourself and not depend upon Mom and Dad or the church to get you to the kingdom of heaven.”

Adventist culture is not confined to the gay issue exclusively. It has full spectrum ramifications. It is very easy for any one of us to lapse into that Laodicean state, to drift along in our Adventism thinking that we are bound for glory, but Jesus warns us, “knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold (faith and love) tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment (the righteousness of Christ), that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of they nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve (discernment of the Holy Spirit), that thou mayest see.  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Revelation 3:17-19).

If as an Adventist one does not accept the plain and clear word of God as his rule of faith and practice; if he does not accept the counsel and authority of the Spirit of Prophecy as manifested through the writings of Ellen G. White, I would have to consider him to be of the Adventist culture, but not of the Adventist faith.

Those of us working together as ‘Coming Out’ Ministries accept the Adventist faith, for we do accept the word of God as our rule of faith and practice, though we too are still on the journey, not claiming to have yet arrived.

We believe that sin is the transgression of the law. (1 John 3:4)

We believe that practicing homosexuality is sin, an abomination, and transgression of the 7th commandment. (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13)

We believe that Jesus came to save His people from their sins, (Matthew 1:21) even the sin of homosexuality, and that He can and will save us personally from our sins.  “For such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor. 6:9-11)

We believe the Spirit of Prophecy statement: “Through all ages and in every nation those that believe that Jesus can and will save them personally from sin, are the elect and chosen of God; they are his peculiar treasure.  They obey his call, and come out of the world and separate themselves from every unclean thought and unholy practice.” (RH 08/01/1893)

We believe that “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17)

We believe the Spirit of Prophecy commentary on that promise, that “the new birth consists in having new motives, new tastes, new tendencies; that a genuine conversion changes hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong.” (RH 4/12/1892; Letter 105, 1893)

We believe that we can “Let this mind be in [us], which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5)

We believe that “it is God which works in [us] both to will and to do of His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)

We believe and are confident that “He which hath begun a good work in [us] will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)

We believe that we overcome Satan, the accuser of the brethren, by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of our testimony. (Revelation 12:11)  Therefore, we go forth with the messages the Lord has laid upon our hearts to share.

It pains us to see some from the Adventist culture criticizing and slandering these beliefs, bearing false witness against ‘Coming Out’ Ministries by misrepresenting our message and by casting doubt upon our Adventist faith, but we take great courage from the promises “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4) and, “For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth” (2 Corinthians 13:8).

As the old saying goes, “Bad publicity is better than no publicity.”  Therefore, the bad press that our Adventist faith receives we trust will only work to draw attention to our message that “Nothing is impossible with God, for our God is mighty to save, the whosoevers, from whatsoever, even to the uttermost.”