October 12, 2014

Wilson Says Satan Trying to Destroy Adventist Church

Ted N.C. Wilson, leader of the Seventh-day
Adventist world church, said Satan was using every means at his disposal to try
to destroy the Adventist Church and neutralize
its mission of proclaiming Jesus’ soon coming.

Wilson, speaking in a sermon that serves as his annual
world pastoral address, said the devil’s tactics include ecumenism, charismatic worship approaches, and attacks on biblical prophetic
understanding, and he said he had felt the blows personally in recent weeks with the
death of a prematurely born grandson and the discovery that two other grandsons
suffer serious health problems.

But he urged the listening church leaders of the Annual Council, a
major church business meeting, to join him in submitting to God and taking a
unified stand for the distinctive, biblical beliefs of the Adventist Church,
regardless of whether the teachings might be derided as unpopular or
politically incorrect.

these perilous closing scenes of Earth’s history, remember that the devil is
attempting to neutralize anything and everything we do — even at this Annual
Council,” Wilson told the packed auditorium on Sabbath, Oct. 11, at the world church’s headquarters in Silver Spring,
Maryland. “Through God’s power, let us be entirely respectful, Christ-like, and
loving in our discussions and exchanges during this Annual Council on whatever
topic we may speak.”

Annual Council has several key issues to
discuss, including whether the world church should revise some of the wording of its 28 Fundamental
Beliefs and extend ordination to women. The 338 members of the Annual Council will
decide whether to send those issues for a final vote next July to the General
Conference session, the top governing body of the world church.

Wilson expressed gratefulness to God for bringing about a “beautiful
spirit” in pre-Annual Council meetings between world church leaders.
He shared an appeal from General Conference and division officers to the Annual
Council delegates, asking that they remain Christ-like even if differences of
opinion emerged.

“Our humble demeanor and attitudes, through God’s power, will speak
volumes to those who are watching,” he said, reading the appeal. “We earnestly
appeal that we do all in our power to strengthen the church and this precious
Advent movement.”

Read the full text of the sermon here.

said Revelation 13 outlines a two-pronged satanic plan to destroy God’s
last-day people: an ideological war of lies and errors that challenge the
truth, and outright persecution culminating in a death decree against those who
obey God’s biblical laws.

“Though large-scale
persecution will certainly come, currently Satan is trying to work from the
inside to weaken the church through dissension, discord, and conformity to the
world,” Wilson said.

<strong>RAISING THE WORD:</strong> Ted N.C. Wilson, president of the Adventist world church, preaching at the Annual Council meeting on Oct. 11, 2014, in Silver Spring, Maryland. Credit: Ansel Oliver / ANN

Satan’s Destructive

Wilson repeatedly pointed to
the Scriptures and the writings of Ellen G. White, co-founder of the Adventist Church, as the way to discern God’s will during the 70-minute sermon,
which was punctuated with frequent “amens.” At one point he urged Annual
Council delegates to make sure that they weren’t reading the Bible upside-down.

“When you read the Bible
upside-down, you will get an upside-down understanding,” he said, citing an
African saying that he heard on a recent trip.

He singled out the historical-critical method
of biblical interpretation as undesirable, saying it clouded the themes and
topics of the Bible.

“As we seek to know God’s
will through a study of His Word, we must not place strange interpretations and
employ interpretive gymnastics to draw out conclusions that are not evident
from a plain reading of the Word,” he said.

Wilson, who has made a call
for “revival and reformation” a hallmark of his presidency, listed a number of other
ways that he saw the devil seeking to destroy the Adventist Church, including:

  • Inspiring a belief that
    reformation within the church means giving up unique doctrines so that it is
    easier for people to become Adventists.
  • Using tradition and
    philosophy to destroy faith in the Bible.
  • Urging people to move
    independently of the main body of the church.
  • Advancing charismatic and Pentecostal music and worship approaches
    that focus on church members and those leading out in services rather than on the
    true worship of God.
  • Distracting people with
    secular activities such as competitive sports, the Internet, the media,
    financial deals, and materialism.
  • Encouraging poor health
    habits and a lack of respect for God’s natural laws, thereby enfeebling the
    mind and benumbing the senses.
  • Stirring skepticism about
    the veracity of the scriptural record of the origin of life and early history.
  • Spreading spiritualism.
  • Promoting ecumenism, or cooperation
    and better understanding among Christian faiths with the unattainable goal of
    universal Christian unity.

Wilson strongly cautioned
against associating with ecumenical groups.

“Don’t succumb to the
temptation to be so cozy with other religious organizations that you fall into
the devil’s trap of neutralizing your own effectiveness through unbiblical
ecumenical bonds,” he said.

Adventists also should avoid
inviting clergy from other faiths from preaching to Adventist churches on
Sabbaths, he said.

But he stressed that it was
important for Adventists to be friendly with people of all faiths, to be
leaders in public affairs and religious liberty, and to share their love for
Jesus with the public.

<strong>THE WILSON FAMILY:</strong> President Ted N.C. Wilson, center, posing with his wife, Nancy, right, and their children and grandchildren in a 2013 Christmas photo. Edward is without the pacifier in Ted Wilson's arms, while James is being held by the granddaughter on Nancy Wilson's lap. Courtesy of the Wilson family

Tragedy in the Wilson

Making his message personal,
Wilson, 64, told of a series of hardships that have befallen his family and
that he linked to Satan’s war against the church. Wilson and his wife, Nancy,
have three married daughters and eight grandchildren.

Edward, the 2-year-old son
of the Wilsons’ eldest daughter is suffering numerous neurological problems
after eight months of cancer treatment left him cancer-free but with antibodies
that are attacking his brain, Wilson said.

“We thank God that Edward is
showing some improvement with treatment, but the extent of his future recovery
remains uncertain,” he said.

A second grandson,
15-month-old James born to the Wilsons’ middle daughter, has been diagnosed
with a rare genetic mutation that has only been detected in two other people in
the world. Three weeks ago, the youngest daughter lost her third child.

“After the premature
delivery at four months, she held the perfectly formed little boy in her hand,”
Wilson said. “When the Lord returns, Catherine’s little son will be placed in
her arms, and he will grow up in heaven.”

He said, however,
that the devil would not succeed in any efforts to neutralize his family’s

“In the last year
or so, the devil has attempted to neutralize every one of our three precious
daughters, their families and us as parents. But he will not
succeed. God is in control. He will be victorious. The faith of my daughters
and their families and all of us is strong in the Lord,” he said, drawing loud “amens” from
the audience.

'We Are All in This Together'

Wilson cautioned that no one
listening to the sermon in the main auditorium of the General Conference
building was exempt from the devil’s attacks.

“We are all in this
together,” he said. “There are many in this room who are going through far
worse situations.”

Looking beyond
internal church issues, Wilson said Satan was attacking the church on other
fronts as well, including the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and violence in
Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine.

Despite the difficulties,
Wilson called on the delegates to boldly proclaim the distinctive message of
the Adventist Church.

“Stay away from anything that
will undermine our message or cloud our distinctive beliefs,” he said. “Don’t
be tempted by the devil to blend in with the crowd or be politically
correct.Don’t proclaim a generic
Christianity or a ‘cheap-grace Christ’ that does not point to the distinctive
Biblical truths to be declared worldwide, the very reason for which the
Seventh-day Adventist Church was organized.”

The church leaders stood
when Wilson concluded with an appeal to join him in submitting to
God’s power and asking for protection from the devil’s attacks.

“Our only future hope is in
our personal connection with Christ,” Wilson said. “Our hope as God’s people,
your hope and my hope, is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and

Contact news editor Andrew McChesney at [email protected]. Twitter: @ARMcChesney

Related link

Transcript of President Ted N.C. Wilson's sermon: "God’s Prophetic Movement, Message, and Mission and Their Attempted Neutralization by the Devil"