Waymarks of Adventism by Ron Spear (1986)
Ron Spears is the controversal head of Hope International. “Controversial” because he is unrelenting in his criticism of the organized Seventh-day Adventist church. His organization was singled out by the General Conference, along with Steps to Life and Hartland for being “critical of the church”. His star probably did not rise any higher among SDA leadership circles with this book, as he writes: “Our greatest danger then, is not Catholicism or Apostate Protestantism, but Apostate Adventism.” Exactly right.
My heart is generally in favor with those who point out the errors and sins of the people who are carrying God’s name, as that is the work given us to do. We must “sigh and cry for all the abominations” done in the camp, or else we will fall in the general destruction of the wicked. John the Baptist is our example. And yet, we must do it in love, and never call people out of the SDA church.
But whatever the author’s beliefs and actions, this book is mostly on solid ground, with one strange thing, one unfortunate thing, and one thing that nearly all “prophecy seminar” speakers do.
He covers the landmarks, showing correctly that the Sabbath truth, Sanctuary, and State of the Dead are the 3 major doctrines that separate us SDAs from other Protestant denominations. He goes into detail on the Sanctuary message, showing clearly that yes, perfection is not just required, it IS possible. Of course it is possible in Jesus Christ alone, so we must be fully in Jesus at all times. He is very correct in stating that there is among our people a “misunderstanding the difference between perfection and perfectionism”.
The only new thot that i got from the book was that: “when the saints were defiled, the sanctuary was defiled.” This statement makes me think a new angle on the “abomination of desolation”.
The one strange thing is: “He progressively took our fallen nature from infancy to the cross.” He is adamant that Jesus took our FALLEN nature. Just when i was ready to skip to the next part, consigning him to the same “conservative SDA” heap that conveniently ignores inspired passages about Jesus being also born divine, he gives the extremely correct view that: “He was born with the nature that becomes ours when we are born again…” Then why the “progressively” stuff? Does it matter? Yes. Because we can and MUST live without sin, and Jesus is our perfect example. He then goes and tries to show that Jesus had “tendencies” to sin, but no “propensities”. Sorry sir, no semantic funny business allowed.
Faith and works, the shaking of Adventism etc. are covered very well, with just a very slight problem with the timing of the 3 Angels’ Messages, but one unfortunate thing is his calling the angel of Revelation 18 the “fourth angel”. No, there are numerically only 3 angels. This is important, for a “4th” angel would also denote a “4th” message. In case this is seen as semantic wrangling, please note that i have personally met people who have left the SDA church as they believe Fred Wright is the “4th angel’s messenger”, just as Ellen White was the “3rd angel’s messenger”. And no, Jesus is not this other angel of Revelation 18 no matter how many SOP quotes you can get to prove it. The 1858 edition of the Great Controversy is VERY clear about that – it is an angel. No more, no less.
There are pointed questions about how we spend our time, and what do we love to think about and talk about, to get us to contemplate our eternal destiny. Then, at the very end is a “prophecy seminar” scare tactic that makes all us SDAs look foolish. He gives many reasons why the crisis is just upon us. Of course many of these are not true, and downright laughable. For example, he writes that the world is running out of energy. But actually there are more proven reserves of oil today than in 1986 (assuming oil is what he is talking about, as the idea of energy from the sun, wind, waves, atom etc. decreasing can hardly be imagined). “We are reaching a crisis in population explosion….Mass starvation for millions of people will be a reality”. Wrong! The world today in 2008 is MUCH wealthier and healthier and longer-lived than 20 years ago. “Crime increase” – well, it has actually decreased in America for the last 15 years or so.
These and other laughable “misses” make all us SDAs look silly in the eyes of thinking people around the world, and make it that much harder to get them to think seriously about their eternal salvation. That is why we should stick with the Bible and what we know to be the inspired truth, and leave this “fortune-telling” to others to make them look silly instead of us.
Nine Signs of Conversion:
1. Complete peace in the soul
2. Love for others
3. Complete turning from the world
4. Victory instead of defeat
5. Intense desire to pray
6. Sensitivity to sin
7. Complete obedience to all truth
8. Witnessing to others
9. Love for the Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy