November 1, 2019

So Thankful for Seventh-day Adventists

I remember asking one of the first Adventists I had met, "So what's with all this eternal torment in hell stuff?"

Clifford Goldstein

About 40 years ago I entered the world of Seventh-day Adventists. And I am so very thankful; so thankful for the Adventists who taught me truths that, well, no one else would have. Sure, the Lord is behind it all, but in His wisdom He raised up Seventh-day Adventists to proclaim a message that no one else is proclaiming.

Who, for example, but a Seventh-day Adventist would have given me a copy of The Great Controversy just as I was delving into the occult and spiritualism?

And sure, I could have learned about Jesus and righteousness by faith from other churches, but who other than Seventh-day Adventists would have taught me the “everlasting gospel” (Rev. 14:7, KJV)in the context of the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14?

I remember asking one of the first Adventists I had met, “So what’s with all this eternal torment in hell stuff?”

And though knowing, of course, about the seventh-day Sabbath, I learned from Seventh-day Adventists the bigger picture, both of creation and redemption, contained in the Sabbath truth.

Also, with rare exceptions, who but Seventh-day Adventists would have taught me about the state of the dead, a biblical teaching that I so love and that remains a powerful protection against so many illusions and lies that have deceived billions, including most Christians?

Oh, yes—there’s the hell thing, too. Having been born again just two days earlier, and knowing nearly nothing about Christian theology (and the little that I did know, learned mostly from Hal Lindsey, was wrong)—I remember cynically asking one of the first Adventists I had met, “So what’s with all this eternal torment in hell stuff?” In about two minutes he gave me the gist of what is called (sometimes derisively) “annihilationism.” However much sense it instantly made to me then, over the decades I’ve come to so love this biblical truth, especially in contrast to the raving insanity of eternal torture in hell, which for some reason so many Christians refuse to let go of, kind of like a woman who refuses to leave a violently abusive spouse.

Today, too, with so much of the Christian world having been swept up in the myth of billions of years of suffering, disease, trauma, famine, and death as our Creator’s wonderful way of making life on earth, how thankful I am for people whose very name—Seventh-day Adventist—points to the truth of our origins as revealed in the first two chapters of Genesis.

Now 64 years old and no pup, I’m so thankful for the health message that I learned early on at Wildwood, from Seventh-day Adventists. Again and again, when I walk into restaurants and see people who, to quote Ellen White, are “digging their graves with their teeth,”* I thank God for Seventh-day Adventists and what they have taught me about health.

And speaking of Ellen White—what can I say? Only Seventh-day Adventists have kept alive the legacy of this amazing woman, whose life and ministry have impacted my life and faith in so many positive ways.

Any wonder that I thank God for Seventh-day Adventists?

* Ellen G. White, Counsels on Diet and Foods (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1938), p. 141.

Clifford Goldstein is editor of the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide. His latest book, Baptizing the Devil: Evolution and the Seduction of Christianity, is available from Pacific Press.