The Reformists of the SDARM generally BELIEVE and TEACH:
- An aversion of social relations with non-Reformists.
- Teach (if only implicitly) that salvation is in the SDARM alone.
- Practice closed communion for the Lord’s Supper.
- Overuse disfellowshipment (i.e. excommunication) as a tool for dealing with sinners.
- Impose a type of creedalism rather than allow liberty of conscience.
- Use Papal-like and cult-like controls over their members.
The Reformists are WRONG because:
- Jesus regularly ate, drunk and partied with some of the worst sinners, as recorded in Mar 2:15-17.
- Avoiding being unequally yoked as Paul commanded in 2 Cor 6:14-17 does not mean to become avoid all personal contact with non-believers. It means avoiding relationships with non-believers of unequal power over you.
- Ellen White advised that to avoid the world does not mean being a recluse. Enoch did not become polluted by mixing with sinners. Sister White tells us, ‘The society of unbelievers will do us no harm if we mingle with them for the purpose of connecting them with God and are strong enough spiritually to withstand their influence.’
- Jesus made clear in Mar 9:50 that regardless of what official group to which one belongs, whoever is not against Him is for Him. Thus, salvation is found in Jesus Christ alone – not membership in any particular Church or organisation.
- There is no biblical basis for closed communion and simplistic parallels to the Jewish ritual of Passover are not sufficient, as Christians are not bound to observe OT Jewish feasts. Moreover, Paul makes clear in 1 Cor 11 that participating in communion is a deeply personal choice – not a decision for Reformist popes and prelates to judge.
- Ellen White herself approved of a visiting non-Adventist Minister participating in the Lord’s Supper service. She commented, ‘There may come in among you those who are not in heart united with truth and holiness but who may wish to take part in these services. Forbid them not.’
- The Reformists use disfellowshipment (excommunication) as a blunt instrument of discipline, much like the Roman Catholic Papacy has throughout its history. This seems to come more from the authoritarian German origins of the SDARM than the Bible or SOP. Their attitudes have much in common with the ancient heretical sect the Donatists.
- SDARM attitudes, which impose a de facto creed of their members, are contrary to the strong stance of the original SDA pioneers towards religious liberty and anti-creedalism.
- we should not have friendships with non-believers;
- we should sever our family relationships with non-believers, as Abraham did;
- we are now living in the end time of the latter rain, so we must separate now;
- we should have nothing to do with worldly social gatherings, including holidays such as Easter, Christmas or Mother’s Day; and
- we should not even eat with non-believers.