17. Who says the SDA Church is a cult?
It is impossible to say with certainly but it appears that many of the
’s most vocal critics are in fact ex-Adventist pastors and employees. Two notable examples include Dale Ratzlaff and J. Mark Martin, both of whom are ex-Adventist pastors. Another critic, Robert K. Sanders, was an ex-Adventist employee. SDA Church
One might also compare the subjective views of ex-Adventist critics with more objective third parties, such as Walter Martin and Kenneth Samples, who do not view the SDA Church as a cult.
To demonstrate just how subjective the question of who a cult is, vocal critic J. Mark Martin runs a ministry called exAdventist Outreach. He also founded the
Calvary Community in Phoenix, Azinoa USA, a 12,000-plus member church affiliated with Calvary Chapel, where he is currently Senior Pastor. Church
However, somewhat ironically, Calvary Chapel has itself (whether rightly or wrongly) been accused of cult-like practices. For example, in the Sonoma County Independent, dated 1998, Cult deprogrammer Rick Ross described Calvary Chapel as follows:
"I wouldn't go so far as to call them a full-on cult. But I will say that
Chapel is an extremely authoritarian group where lots of control is exercised over the members." Calvary
Furthermore, according to some observers such as Kenneth Samples, given Adventist theology fits within an Arminian framework, the SDA Church's harshest critics are much more likely to come from a Reformed theological background:
"When it came to the classic Calvinism-Arminianism theological debate, Martin was quite fond of referring to himself as a “Cal-minian.” As long as I knew him, he was always very critical of the traditional Reformed theological system. I know this because I am a card-carrying Calvinist (a member of the conservative United Reformed Churches of
North America, URC) and Martin and I differed over some of the relevant theological issues.
I think Martin’s understanding of, and appreciation for, the more Wesleyan-Arminian tradition within Christian history allowed him to relate more easily to Adventist theology. Martin was certainly more sympathetic to non-Calvinistic theological systems than were 1950s evangelical scholars Anthony Hoekema and J. K. Van Baalen who were staunchly Reformed in their theology."
Thus, readers should take note of a critic’s own personal, historical, theological and cultural background. More importantly, rather than just rely on the accusations of critics, the best way for any outsider to judge Adventists is simply to attend a
service one Saturday morning. Seventh-day Adventist Church
Posted by Simon Falindan