Stephen Bohr and Secrets Unsealed advocate breaking the Sabbath for evangelism purposes.
I’ve held off on writing this post for a long time, knowing that Pastor Stephen Bohr has done much good, but as it seems that this grievous error is going to be advocated again this year (2019), it may be my duty to sound the alarm so that others don’t dishonor God’s holy, 7th day Sabbath with them.
In 2018, Secrets Unsealed had their 10th annual summit at Tenaya Lodge, near Yosemite National Park, California, from October 25-28. I looked on the calendar, and sure enough, it included one 7th day Sabbath. Now I know it is possible to arrange with hotel/catering staff in advance to have them prepare some food on Friday evening in bags, and those interested can pick them up then, and then have the next served meal on Sunday morning. That was done at one camp meeting I went to in Germany in 2006. It worked pretty well, with those wanting more bringing something they bought themselves to eat over the Sabbath hours. It was quite a witness to the workers also, and if I remember right, one or two of them even showed up on Sabbath morning just to see if we needed them, and they hung around a while and even listened in on some of the meetings. 🙂
But Secrets Unsealed had the lodge staff prepare them meals on the Sabbath. I was quite flabbergasted to see this, as I had a lot of respect for Pr. Bohr and his group at least trying to observe “the old paths”. This brazen breaking of the Sabbath commandment:
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11
seemed to me to be an oversight. I remember when advising the people doing one of the first GYC-type meetings in India, that we shouldn’t have them serve us on the Sabbath, and most of them seemed shocked that they hadn’t even considered it, and agreed, and eventually had a self-serve type of dining on the Sabbath (but some of the “top” people didn’t see any problem with making others work for them on the Sabbath).
Surely a pastor as strong as Pastor Bohr would see the problem with it, wouldn’t he? I sent a email voicing my concerns especially regarding the “catering appreciation” event they were planning for the Sabbath day itself! Their reply was: “Yes, this is the time we give thank them and gift them books, like Steps to Christ, The Great Controversy and also a message on DVD or mini series. ”
Hmmmm, so if we break the Sabbath to make the stranger within our gates feed us, it is OK because we give them a Spirit of Prophecy book! Really?!
I sent them this email: “Incredible!
Let’s force others to break the Sabbath,
so we can witness to them!!!
Jesus said something about hypocrites.
Do you remember what it was?
Pr. Bohr and all those associated with this conference still have opportunity to turn from their wicked plans and present Jesus correctly.
Please repent, and follow Jesus.
It seems that my concerns were brought up in an in-house meeting they had, and they sent this long reply:
“Thank you for your comments. We have given ‘Sabbath meals’ much prayerful consideration. Permit me to share the following with you.
Sabbath is a day of celebration and fasting on the Sabbath does not add to the joy and fellowship, which is one of the important reasons for holding convocations.
We do not go out to eat on Sabbath as families because we have the opportunity to prepare for our families before Sabbath. Nevertheless, someone still heats the food and serves it even if everyone helps.
In many large cities, members get to church by bus or train. While they may buy their tickets on Friday, they do not control the subway or its employees. Nevertheless, they go to church.
In our own institutions such as camps and academies, we serve food on Sabbath. The difference is that a lot of work is done on Friday so that the kitchen staff can attend church and enjoy the Sabbath as much as possible. However, we do not have that control here (i.e., at Tenaya).
We live in a secular world that does not live by our principles. We apply Biblical principles where we have control, but cannot control the world around us.
We also use electricity on Sabbath. Why? Because it is available and needed in many ways. Nevertheless, we do not control the electric companies or their employees. Same with the phone.
In order to hold a convention like this we do not have a choice, if we are going to have a convention, except to hold it where lodging and meals are provided.
We practice the principle of Sabbath preparation to the extent we can, given the fact that we do not own or administer their facility (i.e., Tenaya Lodge).
The hotel is not a “stranger within our gate”. We are their guests and we have no power over their employees or running their kitchen. If we did, then everything would be prepared ahead of time etc. However, we are the stranger in their gate and are dependent on them for food if we rent their facility.
In conclusion, Secrets Unsealed will continue to do everything it can to preserve the holiness of the Sabbath where it has the power to do so, and do everything we can to promote the gospel and the three angels messages the best we can.
Over the years, we have established a relationship with the staff at Tenaya. Every year we provide them staff with a gift. Last year we gave each one their very own Bible. One guy had tears in his eyes…he didn’t have a Bible and wanted one. Now he cherishes it because if came from us. Other years, we have gifted them with a study on the state of the dead, the Desire of Ages, and Steps to Christ just to name a few. We have built a relationship with the staff, and they trust and treasure what we give them. This year we gave them a study on end time events. A complete Matthew 24 audio series since most employees commute to work. Bringing Christ to these people is something we would not be able to do if we were not there.
Hope this gives you a clearer understanding. Our conscience is clear with regards to our annual conference. Nevertheless, we respect your choice not to attend.”
This reply shows that their conscience is bothering them, as they directly address the “stranger within our gate” problem. They make it sound like the people are going to work and prepare food anyway, so they are not employing them (even tho it is evident they are). They also try to make it sound fine by making the false equivalence that since we turn on the lights on the Sabbath, it is OK for them to hire people to serve them food on the Sabbath – which is a classic example of the “I’m going to break God’s law to serve my belly, no matter what” rebellion which I’ve seen many fellow SDAs do in my lifetime.
Secrets Unsealed is planning to do the same thing this year, from October 31st to November 3rd, at the same location. Scheduled speakers are: “Stephen Bohr, Vicki Griffin, Norman McNulty, Kameron DeVasher and Eliezer Castaon”. From their PR email: “Some of the Benefits of Attending each year are . . .
Profound study of God’s word
Relevant for end-time preparation
Become grounded in Biblical Truth
Challenge your commitment to a daily deeper study
Variety of speakers
Q & A Sessions after each lecture
Time for prayer and singing
Strengthen your commitment to serving the Lord
Life changing, and spiritually enriching weekend
Health life changing lectures
Resources you can trust in the exhibit hall”
And one more benefit I can think of: You can get hands-on experience in how to be a hypocrite by making others break God’s 7th day Sabbath, with a full belly thanks to their working for you on the Sabbath day.
Please stay away from this event, and call on Secrets Unsealed staff and Pr. Stephen Bohr to repent of this grievous sin.