“To Separate or not to Separate? That is the Question!” by David M. Curtis.
This book’s purpose is to refute those who believe that we must separate from the Seventh-day Adventist church.
I support the major purpose of this book strongly.
My mother had her name removed from the SDA church in the 1970s, citing the medal to the pope as the last straw in an organization that is “no longer going down the same path as the organization i joined”. In my own life i’ve seriously considered twice the possibility that my duty to God may be to separate from the church. One time was over the tithe and trademarks, and the other time was over what my local church did to me. Both times after much study of the inspired word and prayer, i came to the same conclusion – i must stay with the church at this time. To separate because of what some local church does to me is just a personal “tit for tat” that cannot be of God, and to quit because of the tithe and trademark problem where the GC is not following God’s revealed will (and doctrinal errors that have come in), is not God’s will either. God’s leaders in Israel’s time even killed some of the prophets, yet Israel was still God’s people until they killed Jesus.
The Bible passage that helped me most in deciding whether to separate from the SDA church or not was Ezekiel 9. I definitely want to receive the seal of God in my forehead, and to get that mark, i must not only be sighing and crying for the abominations done in Jerusalem, i must physically be IN it.
Having said that, i do not know but that maybe there will be a message in the future to leave the church. That is my biggest problem with this book. In my heart i wish to give it a “A”, because the conclusion is correct – we should not leave the SDA church here in 2008.
The poor proofreading precludes that tho, and the use of very selective inspired texts pushes it down more. But the stated purpose of the book “To Separate or not to Separate?” is never fully come to grips with. The logic-killers to the author’s whole purpose are shown below in numbers 4 & 13. Truth is progressive, and if God gives the order in the future to leave the SDA church, we must follow. And the clearest example of “separation” in the Bible – the rejection of Israel – is strangely ignored….
So this book (actually small enough to justify calling it a “booklet”), is basically just a Ellen White CD run of quotes on limited topics.
Below are some quotes from the book with selected comments:
1. “The Midnight Cry of the 1830’s and 1840’s…”. Actually, the Midnight Cry lasted from around the middle of August 1844 to October 22, 1844. Ellen White writes in the 1858 Great Controversy regarding the Loud Cry: “This message seemed to be an addition to the third message, and joined it, as the midnight cry joined the second angel’s message in 1844.”
2. “To our shame there are entire web sites devoted to exposing every detail of our churches dirty laundry to the entire world. I pity the person who actually believes that this sort of thing pleases the Lord.”
True that we should not air private sins, but we should, and must, air leader-type denominational sins. As noted above, that is the only way to receive the seal of God in the forehead.
3. “Problems all by themselves are not evidence that we ought to leave the church. We need a plain ‘thus saith the Lord’ in order to make the right decisions concerning something this important. In fact despite what some think, all the problems in the whole church combined are not adequate reasons to justify separation.”
This statement is very good. This is a strong inferential reason not to leave the church – there is no single “damning event” that anyone can point to and declare in the power of the Holy Spirit that the SDA church has become Babylon. My own mother pointed to the gold medal given to the pope, some point to trademarks, some to the Questions On Doctrine book, some to the General Conference reorganization in 1901-3, some to……
4. I want to know what the testimonies say about separation, and that’s all! If they say leave, I will leave. If they say stay I will stay.”
If this applies to all issues, then there is no more new light for us!
5. “Brother Satan resents the church!
He’s not my Brother! (proofreading error?)
6. “He (God) would not give such an important message as the call for a massive exodus from the Seventh-day Adventist church using only some vague or ambiguous passage or quote. Common sense tells us that! That is not how God operates.”
7. “You and I are merely the watchmen, called to educate and share, but never called to judge.”
Jesus says “Judge with righteous judgment”.
8. “Let’s be clear about this, there is no such thing as corporate righteousness, neither is there any such thing as ‘corporate guilt.'”
Not so fast. What about this quote from Testimonies for the Church number 23?: “God holds his people, as a body, responsible for sins existing in individuals among them.” Admittedly, this seems to be directed more at the leaders than the laymembers, but the laymembers elect the leaders, so are indirectly responsible if the leaders do not carry out their responsibilities to clear the church of sins.
9. “He (Jesus) did not point the finger at Israel in private meetinghalls. Nor did he waste his time talking about the Sanhedrin’s (general Conferences) mistakes…”.
My Bible shows many places where Jesus rebuked the leaders’ sins in public and in private.
10. In the section titled “Misquoting the Writings of Ellen G. White A Misquoted Paragraph” a quote from Early Writings is given. It is unfortunate, as checking the original clearly shows that a change has been made, thus totally destroying the argument. Now whether the argument is sound or not, it certainly is one that i have considered many, many times over the years. Here is the first sentence of that paragraph in the 1858gc original: “I saw that God had honest children among the nominal Adventists, and the fallen churches, and ministers and people will yet be called out from these churches, before the plagues shall be poured out, and they will gladly embrace the truth.” The weight of evidence is that it is talking about all Adventists, including those who would later become SDA, because it is clearly talking about the ‘calling out’ happening before the plagues, and there are very few ‘Adventists’ in the world now other than ‘Seventh-day Adventists’.
11. In connection with #10 above – “The book, Early Writings was written in the mid 1840’s.” This statement also is unfortunate, since Early Writings was never “written”, as it was a compiled book, taking portions from Ellen White’s first 3 books written in 1851, 1854, and 1858 and editing and changing them to come up with Early Writings.
12. “The Messages about the General Conference no longer being the voice of God was a present truth message in the 1890’s. That message expired 100 years ago when the church formed New Conferences around the world. Those messages have no present application because the General Conference is no longer being run by only a few men.”
Very strange logic. Of course the message is still relevant today. The General Conference does NOT speak as the voice of God, and has not for over 100 years, ever since God’s messenger wrote that they were not speaking as the voice of God.
13. “Did God reject Israel….? Writing with the answer of ‘no’, the author strangely neglects to quote from the Bible where God DID reject Israel: 2 Kings 17:20 And the LORD rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight.”
14. The book ends with many quotes regarding how we should not be gossipers or talebearers.