“Unity which is not based upon the truth of God is not communion, but rather a conspiracy.” Spurgeon, April 1887
Ben Carson, who first made waves by a politically incorrect speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013 and potential candidate in the Republican primary for president, has been invited to speak at the Southern Baptist Pastor’s Conference. Carson, a surgeon and stalwart defender of religious liberty, happens to be a Seventh Day Adventist.
Seventh Day Adventists, if you are unaware, have an aberrant theology. The “Adventist” in their name refers to 1843, when followers of William Miller (the “Millerites”) believed his prophecy, that Jesus would return that year. After the failed prophecy, Miller – like modern day Harold Camping – blamed the failure on his math and made a subsequent prophecy for 1844. After that failed prophecy regarding Christ’s advent, the Millerites broke up.
The Millerites, however, needed somewhere to go. When Jesus didn’t return on the day prophesied (called “The Great Disappointment”), one prominent member of the Millerites claimed to have a vision which he interpreted as the dates being correct, but that Jesus’ return was a spiritual one, and not physical. This caught on and another former Millerite, Joseph Bates, began to publish literature in regard to Jesus’ spiritual advent to Earth.
Several new prophets arose in this movement, including their chiefest prophet, Ellen G. White. White claimed direct, divine revelation from God and shortly after The Great Disappointment, claimed visions that would lead the “Adventists.” These visions included – among other things – a command that Adventists leave all other “apostate churches,” a return of seventh-day Sabbath worship and a dietary code similar to that of Old Testament ceremonial law. Other teachings of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, even unto this day, include a denial of eternal, conscience torment (hell), Jesus and Michael the Archangel are one and the same, and soul-sleep.
Carson may be a stalwart defender of religious liberty, but an orthdox Christian he is not.
Last year, Pulpit & Pen lamented the speaking roster at the 2014 SBC Pastor’s Conference, which was a virtual Who’s Who of Downgrade elite. As Spugeon said, “We are going downhill at breakneck speed.” This year, we invite a Seventh Day Adventist to speak.
Baptist21 posted an article laying out four concerns (theological, missiological, generational and gospel). It’s worth your time to read. They gave the conference organizer, Willy Rice, and opportunity to respond to their concerns and **shockingly** he chose not to.
The article ends with this paragraph:
Our desire in raising these concerns is to start a conversation regarding the purpose of our annual gathering, and why our affiliations matter, as we advance the Great Commission in America. Our suggestion is that we believe it would be prudent for future SBC leaders to stop inviting politicians to our meetings. Period.
But as their article suggests, the problem isn’t that we’re inviting politicians to speak. We’re inviting people to speak at our pastor’s conference who hold to anything but sound theology. We’re inviting people – like last year, Rick Warren and both last and this year, James McDonald – who are not sound, but famous. It’s not politics that is the problem. It’s the lust after fame and celebrity that’s killing us.