SDARM, Gnostics & Jesuits

Jesuits under the SDARM Bed: The Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement and its Parallel to Roman Catholic Monasticism and Gnosticism

The Reformists of the SDARM generally BELIEVE and TEACH:
- The SDARM believe in various conspiracy theories (not to be confused with the Adventist teachings about the Great Controversy).
- A common SDARM belief is that the Roman Catholic order of priests known as the Jesuits have infiltrated the mainstream SDA Church.
The Reformists are WRONG because:
- Assuming Jesuits do infiltrate Churches (and this author is not necessarily support that idea), it is far likelier, looking at the evidence, that they have in fact infiltrated the SDARM Church(es).
- There a number of significant similarities between the Roman Catholic Church and the SDARM.  It is debateable whether Reformists could even consider themselves true Protestants anymore – they are more accurately types of Papists. 
- There are also a number of significant similarities between ancient pagan and New Age Gnostics and the SDARM.  As such, it is arguable that Reformists are types of Spiritualists.     
- In any event, Adventists should steer clear of any such conspiracies theories.  They are almost always a distraction from Jesus Christ.  There is a marked difference between Great Controversy and other lunatic fringe conspiracy theories.

Jesuit Conspiracies
The Jesuits (officially called The Society of Jesus) are an order of Catholics priests who specialise in evangelism, often in non-Christian environments.  They were founded by an ex-soldier in 1534, Ignatius of Loyola, and became influential as key proponents of the Counter-Reformation during the 16th and 17th Centuries.  The Jesuits are sometimes colloquially known as ‘God’s Marines’ or are seen as the Vatican’s equivalent to the CIA.  They have a long history of involvement in foreign unchristian lands, from the court of the Chinese Emperor to their supposed role in the collapse of the Soviet Union. 
However, there is a long-running belief within Protestant circles of a worldwide Jesuit conspiracy.  As observed in the article “Jesuit Conspiracies” from Wikipedia, starting from the English Reformation, there has been a view amongst Protestant that Jesuits are:
‘"infiltrating" political realms and non-Catholic churches. In England, it was forbidden to belong to the Jesuits, under grave penalties, including the death penalty.’
The recent elevation of the first Jesuit priest to the Papacy, with the election in 2013 of Cardinal Jorge Bergogolio of Argentina who became Pope Francis, has only highlighted Protestant concerns.  Even within the Catholic Church, the Jesuits are seen with some suspicion, often accused by fellow Catholics of: power seeking; political intrigue; casuistic justification; anti-Semitism and theological rebellion.
Belief in a worldwide Jesuit conspiracy is also alive and well within Adventism, as it is with many Protestant groups.  Such thinking extends to the SDARM itself.  For example, in John Paige’s article “Men in the Shadows”, from the 'independent historic' Reformist publication Sabbath Sermons, it suggests the Jesuits secretly control the government and military of Israel:
‘Jewish Zionism positively isn’t a Jewish conspiracy but strictly Roman Catholic who have strategically used certain Jews for their cause’s advantage
…Shimon Peres [President of Israel] as the agent. Shimon Peres was educated by Jesuits in Poland.
…The destruction of the Jewish state is a primary goal of the Jesuits.
…The Jesuit operatives then took control of both the Israeli government and the military (IDF). It was the Jesuits, through their Zionist front men who now ran Israel.’
John Paige goes on further to argue the Jesuits secretly control the US Federal Reserve (the American central bank), established the CIA, was responsible for the Iraq War, and will eventually take control of the US Government:
‘What is the Federal Reserve? The Federal Reserve is owned and was established by the Vatican Jesuits who also established the CIA and other intelligence agencies to gain eventual control of the USA . Congressman Louis McFadden paid with his life for revealing this.
Who is really behind the Iraq war? Who do you think?’
Now this particular author is sceptical of such outlandish claims and fear mongering.  Nonetheless, if there really is a worldwide Jesuit conspiracy, and if the Vatican did want to infiltrate Protestant churches, then presumably they would wish to target the 22-million Adventists of the mainstream SDA Church, who are keeping God’s seventh-day Sabbath? 

Have the Jesuits taken control of the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement(s)?

Presuming the Jesuits were infiltrating the SDA Church, which this author is sceptical of, what then would be the most effective way to do that?  Perhaps one very obvious and effective way would be to cause internal division and dissent within the Adventist movement, so we spend all our energy and resources fighting amongst each other, rather than taking the Gospel to the whole world?
Within this context, the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement (both of them), would be perfect vehicles for Jesuit mischief.  In support of this view, consider the following:
  • After 100 years of existence, the SDARM branches only have some 30,000 members each; whereas, in 150 years the mainstream SDA Church has 22 million!  Not only does the SDARM fail Gamaliel’s test in Acts 5:38-39, but their tiny size allows their leadership to maintain absolute control.  As a matter of sociology and psychology, trying to control 30,000 people is much, much easier than a movement with millions of members – as most cult leaders well know.
  • The SDARM predominantly engages in ‘sheep stealing’ from the mainstream Adventist Church.  As such, they do nothing to add to real kingdom numbers, and only serve to ferment dissent and schism within the Adventist movement.
  • For such a tiny size, the SDARM causes a lot of mischief for the Adventist movement.  In particular, its spirit of disunity is borne out in its own movement, as seen in the two competing American and German SDARM Churches.
  • The SDARM leadership maintains absolute control in a manner consistent with the creeds and cardinals of the Papal system. 
  • Most interestingly, the SDARM twists mainstream Adventist theology, adopting many Roman Catholic views on issues.  The greatest irony is that at the same time they claim the mainstream SDA Church is in apostasy. This last point will be explored further below.
  • Why did the SDARM Church split in 1951, when there was in effect virtually no doctrinal differences? If it was sheer politicking over status and power, then there needs to be almost nothing more said as to why the SDARM (both of them) is itself an apostate false religious group.  Such a group clearly does not represent the character of Christ and thus by its rotten fruit should be avoided. 
However, for the more conspiracy-minded, they may wish to consider whether there were any nefarious elements at play – both temporal and supernatural. And which SDARM is subject to those external powers – is it both of them?  This again suggests the SDARM is a dangerous group that may be under the control of other unholy forces, and thus something no good Adventist should have anything to do with.

Similarities between the SDARM and Roman Catholicism

Despite its usual refrain for Adventists to come out of Babylon, on matters of doctrine to which the SDARM and mainstream SDA Church disagree, it is somewhat chilling that the Reformists themselves adopt very Roman Catholic-like positions.  Consider for example the following about the SDARM:
  • Its reliance on extra-biblical sources (namely Ellen White and tradition) for its official doctrinal positions, rather than the Protestant teaching of sola scriptura (the Bible and the Bible alone).
  • The practical importance it places on works, rather than upholding the position of sola fide (salvation by grace through faith alone).
  •  Its emphasis that Adventists need to leave the mainstream SDA Church (or even the other Reform Church) to find the surety of salvation.
  •  Its practice of closed communion (only members are permitted to take part in the Lord’s Supper).
  •  Its total probation on remarriage in the case of divorce.
  •  Its misogynistic beliefs and practices concerning the subordination of women.
  •  Its strict views on family planning.
  •  Its establishment and enforcement of theological creeds, allowing for little to no variation of belief.
  •  Its subordination of individual political conscience to the Church.
  •  Its use of ‘kingly power’, being Papal-like authority and control over the general laity.
All of which are more in line with Roman Catholic, as opposed to Protestant, positions!

Similarities between the SDARM and Ancient Gnosticism

Further and in the alternative, there are strong parallels between the SDARM and ancient Gnostic sects.  Gnosticism is an umbrella term used to describe certain mystery cults, probably pre-dating Christianity, which began to influence the Early Church.  Some Gnostics broke away to form their own separate sects, whilst others infiltrated the mainstream Church to undermine it from within.
The Gnostics were the first major threat to Christianity, and were causing trouble even in the time of the Apostles.  The Gnostics denied Christ had a literal body (known as the heresy of Docetism), and it was to them that John declared as ‘anti-Christ’ in 1 John 2:22; 4:3 and 2 John 1:7. 
Similarly, the Gnostics believed they had certain secret knowledge about myths, genealogies and other speculations, and it was to them that Paul warns about in 1 Tim 1:4 and 1 Thes 5:1.  Moreover, the Gnostics had an extremely poor view of the human body, so it was again to them that Paul condemns for practicing forced celibacy and abstaining from certain foods in 1 Tim 4:3. 
Now consider for example about the SDARM:
  • Its practical emphasis on right knowledge, The Truth, as the path to salvation.
  •  Its belief that it has special and secret knowledge.
  •  Its antagonism to academic knowledge.
  • Its view of itself as a small elite, with special rights, privileges and knowledge than mainstream members of the movement.
  •  Its cloistered separation from what it sees as the contamination world.
  • Its extremely poor practical view of the human body, with its puritanical views towards sex, food and leisure.

Again, all of these are more in line with ancient Gnostic beliefs and practices, as opposed to true Protestantism!  They are also in much opposition to Adventist teachings on Wholism and the health message.
As for the link between Gnosticism and Roman Catholicism, whilst the Papacy effectively destroyed the Gnostics in the 3rd and 4th Centuries (with later appearances with the Templars during the Crusades and the Cathars in the 12th to 14th Centuries), many Gnostic ideas were inevitably absorbed.  In particular, Gnosticism in effect morphed into the acetic practices of monks and nuns.
So one might legitimately ask whether the SDARM are in effect the monastics of the Seventh-day Adventist Movement? 

An invitation into Babylon
Therefore, this author asks anyone who is involved with the SDARM, or interested in joining, to be aware of the abovementioned dangers.  Ask yourself whether the SDARM is really calling you out of Babylon or is in fact inviting you into it?  If you left or are thinking of leaving the mainstream SDA Church because you believe in Jesuit conspiracies, ask yourself whether you may be jumping out of the frypan and into the fire?   

A warning against conspiracy theories
Given the above arguments demonstrates the hypocricy of the SDARM conspiracies, it is important to conclude with a warning against conspiracy theories in any form.
What is the obsession with conspiracy theories (as distinct from the ‘true’ conspiracy of the Great Controversy)?
As observed by Anthony McPherson in the article “Conspiracy Adventism” of 14 June 2013 from the Record:
‘There is a vast world of difference between being a great controversy Adventist and a grand conspiracy Adventist. The way each narrates history, handles Scripture, shapes discipleship, impacts church community, and forms the mind and heart are often very different. One is our inspired calling from God, the other is a twisted product of man. In the introduction to her book The Great Controversy, Ellen White explains her methodology and aim. She says: “The great events which have marked the progress of reform in past ages are matters of history, well known and universally acknowledged by the Protestant world; they are facts which none can gainsay.” What a contrast to conspiratorial Adventism! This should be our approach. Tragically, conspiracy Adventism turns all of this on its head. Crazy, dubious claims are made the essence of the message.’
As also explained by Tammy Roesch in “Seventh-day Adventists and Conspiracy Theories” there is a danger in confusing prophecies found in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, with attempts to ‘fill in the gaps’ through conspiracy theories such as those peddled by Walter Veith:
‘So why are Adventists attracted to conspiracy theories? The ones most attractive to Seventh-day Adventists involve religion, especially the subject of Last Day Events. If the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy writings give some details, they want more. But curiosity can be a very dangerous element. Adventists are especially vulnerable to theories of a New World Order because they want so badly to see any signs that might confirm their belief that Jesus is coming very soon and the dreaded Mark of the Beast is just around the corner. In my view people believe in New World Order because it is what people with their “itching ears” want to hear.’
What does the Bible teach about conspiracy-theory fanaticism?
As rightly observed by Anthony McPherson in the article “Conspiracy Adventism” of 14 June 2013 from the Record:
‘Paul has strong words for those who turn the church away from the truth to speculative fables: “As I urged you . . . charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith” (1 Timothy 1:3,4; see also 1 Timothy 4:7 and 2 Timothy 4:4). In Titus, after encouraging a devotion to the Gospel and good works, Paul warns: “avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless” (Titus 3:9). As a pastor you soon learn what produces healthy discipleship and what leads to fanaticism, perpetual immaturity and a harsh, argumentative spirit. Devotion to conspiracy theory is a prime example. Obedience to Paul’s words would immediately eliminate it from Adventism.’
As Pastor McPherson then rightly observes, conspiracy theorists ironically often move away from Jesus:
‘I have never yet seen an Adventist conspiracy theory presentation that didn’t dramatically move the focus away from Jesus Christ and onto the wildest speculation. Jesus becomes a minor supporting act. Front and centre are always the phantom conspirators and of course the heroic conspiracy theorist himself. Conspiracy theory parasitically lives off its improper attachment to Christianity. And, inevitably, the parasite always ends up killing its host.’
What does Sister White say about such fanaticism?
One is reminded of Sister White’s warning about such fanaticism:
After preaching the Word of God to warn the people of the errors of Rome, fanatics began passing through the land, destroying souls as they went. Learning of what was happening, Melanchthon said, "There are indeed extraordinary spirits in these men; but what spirits?" But when Martin Luther heard of it, he said, "I always expected that Satan would send us this plague.”’ (Great Controversy, 187).
And similarly elsewhere:
‘We cannot allow excitable elements among us to display themselves in a way that would destroy our influence with those whom we wish to reach with the truth. It took us years to outlive the unfavorable impression that unbelievers gained of Adventists through their knowledge of the strange and wicked workings of fanatical elements among us during the early years of our existence as a separate people.’ (Ellen G. White, Manuscript 115, 1908)
Thus, in any event, Adventists should steer clear of any such conspiracies theories. They are almost always a distraction from Jesus Christ. There is a marked difference between Great Controversy and other lunatic fringe conspiracy theories.


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