From Hurt to Hope: An Appeal to the SDA Church to Reexamine Its Approach

Philippians 3:12-14 NLT
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. [13] No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, [14] I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

An Open Letter to the SDA Church

Discovering Hope and Healing through Adversity: A Personal Journey Within the SDA Church

It was a life-changing moment for me in 2011 when I dropped to my knees and wholeheartedly embraced my faith in God, declaring it with my own voice. Little did I know, a chance encounter a few years later on a golf course in Durango, Colorado would further shape my spiritual journey. That’s where I met a Seventh-day Adventist pastor who gave me Bible studies about prophecy and the importance of following God’s commandments. How little I knew or understood back then.

I was consumed by the desire to be perfect in my faith and considered myself a member of the one true church, leading me down a path of pride, arrogance, and even disdain towards other Christians. But, in His infinite wisdom and love, God intervened and guided me out of this narrow-minded perspective.

Today, I stand firm in my devotion to God and spreading his love to all those around me. The Seventh Day Adventist church holds a special place in my heart and I long for its members to discover the truth of the Gospel. My journey has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs, but through it all, God’s love has been my rock, my safe haven, and the source of my strength. It’s a love that has never failed me, and it’s this love that I so desperately want to share with others.

This is my story, a testament to the transformative power of God’s love and the unwavering faith that sustains us through life’s ups and downs, and the power of the True Gospel to bring about real and lasting change in our lives.

The heartbreaking pain began when I suffered immense emotional distress when I was shamed and discarded by a small Seventh Day Adventist church in Chattanooga, TN, despite my efforts as an active leader to evangelize and share the Gospel. I was discarded by the SDA community. However, my passion to make a difference and help others in their spiritual journey, inspired by the love of God, remains unwavering. I believe that my experiences, both positive and negative, have equipped me with the knowledge and empathy needed to offer guidance and support to those seeking to deepen their relationship with God.

Throughout my journey with the Seventh Day Adventist church, I was deeply involved and committed to serving the Lord and spreading the Gospel. I volunteered for various tasks, from cleaning the bathrooms to leading studies and prayer groups. My wife and I also donated our resources, time, and talents to support our fellow brothers and sisters in the church. Our devotion to our faith, fueled by our love for God and His people, brought us great joy and fulfillment.

However, our experience changed when we started to question the teachings of the SDA church and saw errors in their teachings compared to the Bible. Our commitment to our faith was met with criticism and condemnation from members of the church who were secretly discussing our level of adherence to Adventism. We were told that we did not meet the standards of Adventism and our pastor even told us that “God would replace us”. This was hurtful and heartbreaking.

When I sought answers from the leaders of the church, I received no response. This led me to study the Bible deeper and question the teachings of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The lack of love and support from the members of the SDA was painful and led me to question if they truly represented the love of Jesus Christ. Through this journey, I have come to the realization that spreading the Gospel requires more than adhering to certain man-made rules; it requires love, compassion, and empathy for others, just as Jesus showed us.

During our journey of discovering the truth, we stumbled upon numerous inconsistencies in the teachings of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. We found that several of Ellen White’s prophecies never came to fruition, and some of the fundamental doctrines of the church, such as the Investigative Judgment and the Shut Door (taught in the beginning of the church), were not supported by the Bible. Furthermore, our research uncovered the disturbing fact that the church had approved of and even performed abortions in their hospitals and clinics, which was in direct contrast to the teachings of love for life and compassion that Jesus taught.

The process of examining the scriptures was not an easy one, as it challenged our long-held beliefs and forced us to question everything we had learned. However, our love for God and our commitment to the truth drove us forward. We poured over the scriptures, seeking answers to our questions, regardless of where the truth led us. We were committed to the truth whether it kept us in Adventism or led us out. That genuine desire for the truth is how we discovered that the entire Old Covenant Law had been fulfilled by Jesus and that love, written in our hearts, was the guiding principle of the New Covenant. Amazing!

This period of discovery had a profound impact on our faith and our understanding of the Bible. We came to realize that the truth was not limited to one particular denomination or religious organization, but could be found in the words of the scripture itself, or better put, in Jesus alone. We were filled with a newfound sense of hope and clarity, knowing that the love of God was not something that could be taken away from us. Love lives in us.

Yet still, the pain was unbearable. To have devoted so much of our lives to a church that claimed to be the truth, only to find out that it was based on false teachings and unfulfilled prophecies was crushing. The betrayal we felt from our supposed “close friends” brought us many nights of tears. We had given so much of ourselves, our time, and our resources, only to be cast aside like we were nothing. Imagine being discarded like you were a piece of trash. The confusion was overwhelming. We were left feeling like we had wasted so much of our lives and didn’t know what was real or not. However, through it all, our love for God and our faith in Him sustained us, guiding us through this difficult time.

The journey of recovery and self-discovery was a long and challenging one. The pain of disappointment and betrayal was intense, and it took a while to process and heal from the emotional wound that was inflicted. Anger, sleepless nights and not sure where to look for fellowship. However, through it all, I found solace in the Word of God and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. I continued to seek truth and understanding, delving deeper into the Bible and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide me.

I came to understand that my faith was only dependent on the teachings of Jesus Christ and the transformative power of the Gospel. Through this process, I discovered a deeper understanding of the love and grace of God, and I experienced the peace that comes from trusting in Him completely.

I learned that it was not enough to simply believe in Jesus, but I also needed to follow Him in obedience to the Gospel and live out my faith through my actions, inspired by His love. This was a process of growth and maturity in my faith, as I discovered the joy, freedom, and love that come from living in Christ.

I am grateful for the journey that led me to a deeper understanding of my faith and a closer relationship with Jesus. Although it was painful, it was also a journey of growth and discovery, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. The Power of the True Gospel is truly amazing.

I understand how challenging and even frightening it can be to question what we believe, especially when it is something that has been a part of our faith for so long. However, I encourage you to take the time to examine the Scriptures and seek the truth, no matter where it leads you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and challenge what you have been taught. The journey of self-discovery and deeper understanding can be difficult, but it can also be incredibly rewarding, leading you closer to the love of God.

The Bible encourages this for us as well.

So take the time to study, to pray, and to seek the truth with an open heart and mind, filled with love for God. Do this with a child-like faith. The rewards will be worth it in the end.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among the disciples. “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 18:1-4 NLT)

And in Luke, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” (Luke 18:17 NLT)

As I reflect on my journey of discovery, my heart is filled with gratitude and a deep sense of connection to you. This journey has been one of the most profound experiences of my life, and I hope that my words can resonate with you in a way that touches your heart and soul.

The journey of faith can be a challenging one, filled with doubt, uncertainty, and fear. However, I have come to realize that these challenges are essential in building a strong foundation of faith that can withstand the storms of life. It is through these struggles that we can grow, learn, and become more connected to God and His truth.

I encourage you to take the time to reflect on your own journey of faith, and to seek out the truth of the scriptures with an open heart and mind. It is through this process of critical examination and reflection that we can deepen our understanding of the Gospel, and ultimately grow closer to God.

My dear friend, I want you to know that you are not alone. You are loved, cherished, and embraced with open arms by those who follow the love that Jesus taught us. Whatever your struggles may be, know that there is hope, there is healing, and there is a community of believers who will support and uplift you on your journey of faith.

I pray that my story has inspired you to embark on your own journey of discovery, and to seek out the truth of the Gospel with a renewed sense of purpose and passion. Together, let us strive to be like the Bereans of the Bible, searching the scriptures daily to determine the truth, and sharing the good news of the Gospel with others.

May God bless you on your journey, and may His love and grace guide you always.

Discover the wonders of the True Gospel today.

We invite you to join us on a journey of self-discovery and truth-seeking. By taking the time to carefully examine our Bible Study, you will gain a deeper understanding of the teachings of the Bible and the impact they have on your faith. This is not just a matter of reading, but of actively engaging in meaningful discussion and reflection. We believe that this process will lead to a more vibrant and fulfilling faith, and we hope that you will join us in this quest for truth. So, let us open our hearts and minds to the teachings of the Bible, and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us on this journey into all truth. Join us now and experience the transformative power of the Word of God.

In the words of Peter, “But the word of the Lord remains forever.” And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.” (1 Peter 1:25 NLT)

To the leaders of the SDA Church:

As you reflect on my journey and the experiences that led me to question the teachings of the church, I urge you to consider the importance of fostering a culture of love, compassion, and empathy within the church. The Bible instructs us to “love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12) and to “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

It is my hope that, in the future, the leaders of the SDA Church will prioritize these values and work to create an environment where all members feel valued, supported, and heard. This can be achieved by encouraging open and honest discussions, providing resources for deeper Biblical study, and promoting accountability within the church rather than a long history of nepotism.

I also encourage you to actively seek out and address any inconsistencies in the teachings of the church, as well as any practices or beliefs that may be in conflict with the Bible. As leaders, it is your responsibility to uphold the truth of the Gospel and to lead by example in your own faith journeys.

In the words of Paul, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). By regularly examining the scriptures and seeking the truth, and correcting your errors, you can ensure that the SDA Church remains a place of hope, healing, and growth for all who seek a closer relationship with God.

It is difficult to witness the pain and suffering that has been caused by the lack of empathy and understanding within the church. The dismissive attitude towards those who question or voice concerns has left many feeling isolated and alone, and this is a truly heartbreaking reality. The hurt that has been inflicted is very real, and cannot be swept under the rug or ignored any longer. It is time for the leaders of the church to take a hard look at their practices and beliefs, and to prioritize the values of love, compassion, and empathy in all that they do. Only then can the SDA church create a community that truly reflects the love and grace of God for all who seek to deepen their faith.

In closing, I pray that the leaders of the SDA Church will take these steps to create a more loving, supportive, and Biblically grounded community. May God’s love and grace guide you in your efforts to bring hope and healing to all those who seek Him.

Final Question

Based on the mistreatment we experienced, what specific actions does the Seventh Day Adventist Church plan to take to prevent similar mistreatment from happening to others in the future? The answer to this question will address the following verses.

Should I come with a rod or a gentle spirit?

1 Corinthians 4:1-21 NLT
So look at Apollos and me as mere servants of Christ who have been put in charge of explaining God’s mysteries. [2] Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful. [3] As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. [4] My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide. [5] So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time— before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due. [6] Dear brothers and sisters, I have used Apollos and myself to illustrate what I’ve been saying. If you pay attention to what I have quoted from the Scriptures, you won’t be proud of one of your leaders at the expense of another. [7] For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift? [8] You think you already have everything you need. You think you are already rich. You have begun to reign in God’s kingdom without us! I wish you really were reigning already, for then we would be reigning with you. [9] Instead, I sometimes think God has put us apostles on display, like prisoners of war at the end of a victor’s parade, condemned to die. We have become a spectacle to the entire world—to people and angels alike. [10] Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools, but you claim to be so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are so powerful! You are honored, but we are ridiculed. [11] Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we don’t have enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home. [12] We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. [13] We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash—right up to the present moment. [14] I am not writing these things to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children. [15] For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. [16] So I urge you to imitate me. [17] That’s why I have sent Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of how I follow Christ Jesus, just as I teach in all the churches wherever I go. [18] Some of you have become arrogant, thinking I will not visit you again. [19] But I will come—and soon—if the Lord lets me, and then I’ll find out whether these arrogant people just give pretentious speeches or whether they really have God’s power. [20] For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. [21] Which do you choose? Should I come with a rod to punish you, or should I come with love and a gentle spirit?

Hebrews 12:14 NLT
Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.

2 Corinthians 6:1-4 NLT
As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. [2] For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation. [3] We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. [4] In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind.