Seventh-day Adventists May Now Eat Pork!

PigsIf you became a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church before 1985, your baptismal vow would most likely include some explicit prohibition against pork, but in recent years attitudes have been changing among Adventists, and their once biblical appeal to Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 as divine command against the consumption of these unclean meats, have equally fallen by the wayside.  It was not long ago that you would hear a pastor reviewing his candidates on this question of pork, among other unclean foods by name, but those days are quickly being thrown to the thrash heaps of history, in so far as the official SDA theology on this question is concerned.

My aim in this article is to demonstrate that Adventists are becoming more and more Roman Catholic on a daily basis, than their being Protestants.  Speaking of Protestants, have you heard of the funeral?  On October 31, 2017, the 500th anniversary of Luther’s nailing his 95 theses to the door of the Castle church in Wittenberg, Germany, back in 1517, the Protestant and Roman Catholic religious worlds will host a joint funeral to the cause of the protest started by this opulent Monk, and declare it dead—a matter of the distant past! Going forward, there will only be Catholics (aka Christians) and rebels, who fail to accede to the authority and teachings of the Church—Evangelical or Roman Catholic! And at such a time when Seventh-day Adventists should be running with the baton of protest in this spiritual relay, they are tossing it in the fields, and using the baton from a cunning interloper, as skillful artificer, a deceiver of deceivers, making themselves, and others by extension, believe that they are still engaged in the official race to the City of God, when in fact they are running part and parcel with the papacy!  I fear that before long, Adventists will no longer be known as the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but will instead be called the Saturday-keeping Catholic Church!

“Even before clean and unclean meats were explicitly mentioned in our Fundamental Beliefs in 1980, the distinction was included in the Baptismal Vows. I remember going over these with baptismal candidates when I was a young pastor in the 1970s, and that the statement mentioned “abstaining from unclean foods.” So it was a test of fellowship prior to 1980.”[1] — William Fagal, 08 January 2008, Associate Director, Ellen G. White Estate

I agree with Dr. Fagal, and know from experience too, that his testimony is correct, because I too, when inducted into the baptismal class, learnt the biblical prohibition against pork and other unclean food articles.  In sharp contrast to Brother Fagal’s testimony, is that of Sister White’s own grandson, Arthur:

After quoting Deut. 14: 8 and Lev. 11: 27-31, the “son” of the prophet declared, “These restrictions were a part of the ceremonial law.  There were two types of uncleanness.  If one touched the body of a dead man he was unclean for seven days.  If one touched the body of an unclean animal he was unclean until evening.  Then it was necessary for him to wash his clothes.  Lev. 22: 6 points out that until this was done he could not eat of any holy things.  In Heb. 8: 9, 10 clear reference is made to these “meats and drinks and diverse washings and cardinal ordinances,” as a part of the ceremonial law which was done away when Christ died.”[2]

I will demonstrate, later, that this “ceremonial law” concept is purely Roman Catholic, and entirely unbiblical at its core.  Learned theologians have for years hid behind this false smoke screen, which we will lay aside through rightly dividing the revealed Word of YHWH.  The danger with this Catholic doctrine should now be quite apparent, in that, it is forcing well-meaning church leaders to reject the authority of God’s word, on the false premise that such laws are a part of the man-made “ceremonial law” of Moses.  Now you will also note that the practices in Leviticus 18, and 19 are all part of this so-called “ceremonial law,” and that is why the beloved Remnant Church of God, the opening its doors to the homosexual crowd.  They come as they are, and remain as they came.  There is now no condemnation towards the vices of our times, most of which are direct violations of the so-called ceremonial law.  What about tithes and offerings?  Well, they too, are in Deut. 14, the same chapter that condemns swine flesh, and by Adventist’s standards are a part of the Ceremonial law, yet every Sabbath church leaders pass the the offering plate at least twice per day.   In some churches there are two offerings lifted simultaneously in the same service!  Yet they tell us the “ceremonial laws” are nailed to the cross.  More will be said on this in another article.

Serve Up The Bacon Please!

baconAdventist hospitals and medical centers are principally installed for advancing the gospel of Health around the word, and have earned distinguished worldly recognition for their advances in Medical Science and technology.  The church has historically seen the laws of health as the “right arm of the Third Angel’s Message,” to be used as an entering-wedge for preaching the gospel of salvation more fully.  So it is rather surprising, if not disappointing to learn that a prominent Adventist Hospital in Florida has been serving up the bacon to its patrons, who are there, evidently, for improving their health!  Let’s take a read of this news report, commenting on the state of nutrition in one of our Hospitals, and I caution that if it is true in Florida, then where else in Adventism might this practice be found?

ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 7 (UPI) — An official with Florida Hospital in Orlando said the facility’s thinking on bacon has “evolved” to allow an eatery on restaurant property to serve it.

Florida Hospital, run by Adventist Health System, has banned a Wendy’s restaurant on hospital property from serving bacon for more than a decade due to religious reasons, but a Panera Bread restaurant opened on the hospital’s property across from the Wendy’s is being allowed to serve bacon and other pork products, the Orlando Sentinel reported Tuesday.

David Banks, senior executive for the campus, said the hospital’s thinking on bacon has “evolved.”

“Those are two decisions separated probably by about 20 years,” he said. “We really wrestled with the issue.”

“We deeply believe in the things we believe in,” he said of Seventh-day Adventists, whose beliefs include the Old Testament’s banning of pork and shellfish.

However, he said “we also want people to have choice.”

“While it’s an important part of the Adventist subculture, it’s not the thing we want to be known for… It’s a little bit of a shift in thinking,” he said.[3]

Deplorable!  Like former US President Barack Obama who has “evolved” in his understanding of the institution of marriage as of divine origin, ordained by God to be transacted between one man and one woman (one male and one female, in gender), the Adventists have equally “evolved” in their theology on the question of clean and unclean foods, to include pork.  But this evolution was long ago in coming, and has had its seeds sown from our earliest foundations, on account of a complete misunderstanding of the truth concerning the so-called “ceremonial laws.”

Walking a purely Roman Catholic path, teaching for doctrines the commandments of Rome, will sooner or later cause Seventh-day Adventists to be more Catholic than Protestant in their theological worldview.  I am not alone is raising this specter, as the father of the current General Conference Present has already declared a much, when he announced to the world church that “There is another universal and truly catholic organization, the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”[4]

While the word catholic also means “universal,” it is a play on words employed by the former Church President, to show that Adventists are not only universal but are also wedded in the embrace of the Roman Catholic Church—a part of Babylon!.  In the popular vernacular we call this subliminal messaging, “telegraphing.”  He was here speaking to the proverbial “base,” assuring them that the Adventists are on an irreversible course in her journey steaming to Rome.  The famous idiom which says “all roads lead to Rome,” might now be revised to more accurately state of the Protestant doctrines that “All Churches lead to Rome”!

 Does the Seventh-day Adventist Church Have a Biblical Stand Against Eating Pork?

This question might best be answered with an “it depends” clause, for it really depends on where you learnt the Advent message, who was your teacher, and the era in which you came to the church, among other factors.  Here, for example, in one of the Denomination’s official publishing organs, the question of pork eating is addressed, and the clear emphasis on the Bible is cited as reason sufficient as to why pork is prohibited among Adventists.

The Adventist Church has no ban on meat eating with the exception of pork, shrimp and other meats designated as unclean in the book of Leviticus. Studies suggest that nearly half of North American Adventists are vegetarians, but many believers in other parts of the world such as South America and the former Soviet Union eat meat, and some have resolutely resisted change.[5]

Yet, in an official dossier in response to the Martin-Barnhouse investigations of Adventist doctrines, entitled Questions on Doctrine, the Church met head-on with the question of pork eating, and here is how she responded in 1957:

“It is true we refrain from eating certain articles, as indicated in the query, but not because the law of Moses has any binding claims upon us. Far from it. We stand fast in the liberty with which God has set us free. It must be remembered that God recognized “clean” and “unclean” animals at the time of the Flood, long before there was a law of Moses. We reason that if God saw fit at that time to counsel His people against certain articles of diet, these things were not best for human consumption; and since we are physically constituted in the same way as are the Jews and all other peoples, we believe such things are not the best for us to use today.”[6]

So, from another perspective, we see downplaying of the Biblical mandate against pork eating, in preference for its unhealthy effects or side-effects, to which the Roman Catholics were not slow in catching on when they declared of us that, “Many Adventists insist that, as a matter of discipline (not doctrine), one must not eat meats considered unclean under the Mosaic Law (many endorse total vegetarianism)”[7]

As Adventists, we gloat in the fact when our positions are correctly represented even by our staunchest theological opponents, and in this case we glory in the accurate reporting of the Roman Catholic press, not realizing that they are simply “walking the dog,” as it were, sending the fool a little farther down the path of no return!  What the Catholics have skillfully done is to completely divorce the Adventists from the so-called “ceremonial laws,” a doctrine that is patently Roman Catholic, and helping the Adventists to accede to the new normal, by as it were “evolving” in their understandings.

We have dissected the Torah into several sub—laws, then turn around to keeping those which we like while eschewing those which we dislike.  We like the artificial division called “health and dietary laws,” and our celebrated theologians would later say of them: “Health laws are timeless and universal because human bodies continue to function in the same way.”[8]

The Truth Behind the Falsehood of the Ceremonial Laws

In a blind attempt to distance itself from Jewishness, the Adventists, like their protestant counterparts have long subdivided the Torah into artificial segments, that allows them to pick and choose which part of God’s laws they will ascribe obedience to, and as of late the subject of the feast days has caused the theologians to dig in their heels, as it were, in opposition to their Jewish heritage.  To clearly distinguish the Adventist position form Judaizes, the church leaders made the following statement back in 1957:

“But while this is true of the eternal law of God as expressed in the Decalogue, it would not be true of the ceremonial law that God gave to Israel. This ceremonial law embraced the types and shadows that entered into the sacrificial system of Israel. All the sacrificial offerings, the feast days, and even the priesthood —all that was typical of the sacrifice and ministry of Christ our Lord—met its end on Calvary’s cross. This we believe is what is meant by the apostle Paul when he wrote that Christ “abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances” (Eph. 2:15). “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross” (Col. 2:14). “Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ” (verse 17).[9]

We can see that as early as 1957, the Church saw that there were two principal laws given to Israel, the Moral (eternal) and the Ceremonial (temporary).  This view stretched back to the foundations of Protestantism, and in the Creeds of Christendom, the Westminster Confession of Faith made the following declaration concerning both laws:

III. Beside this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel, as a Church under age, ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly holding forth divers instructions of moral duties. All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated under the New Testament.

  1. To them also, as a body politic, he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any other, now, further than the general equity thereof may require.

  2. The moral law doth forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof; and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator who gave it. Neither doth Christ in the gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen, this obligation.[10].

So the early Protestants did understand that there are two such laws—moral and ceremonial, with the distinction that the ceremonial law included the weekly Sabbath, on account of the services performed on that day.  To this the Adventists countered and said, no, the Sabbath was from creation, and therefore predates the giving of the ceremonial laws 2500 years later.  Hence the Sabbath is not ceremonial, but moral, save for the feast days (annual Sabbaths).  So the Adventists were able to skillfully rescue the weekly Sabbath, from being cataloged among those things which were proverbially “nailed to the cross,” while still holding on to the dietary laws which were clearly ceremonial.  This all went well though, until the advent of the Computer, when knowledge would increase still farther.  Below, the Adventists have divided the Torah into four artificial segments accordingly:

The four categories are distinguished from each other by the ways in which their laws are believed to apply. A common approach is to regard moral laws as timeless and universal principles governing relationships with God and with other human beings. Ceremonial laws were applicable only to the Israelite ritual system. Civil laws were applicable only to ancient Israelite life under their government, especially under the theocracy. Health laws are timeless and universal because human bodies continue to function in the same way. The stakes are exceedingly high. Whether or not we believe that we should keep a divine command today depends upon the category in which we place it. For example, if the command to observe the seventh day Sabbath is a ceremonial law, as many Christians believe, it is no longer binding.[11]

Noe carefully that this four-part division of the law is purely an Adventist invention, for they even suggest that in determining which part of the Torah we should observe today, all “depends upon the category in which we [not God] place it.”   Building this theme even more secure, the church added a fifth dimension to the Torah, and declared in its current Adult Sabbath School Study Guide (The Adult Quarterly) the following divisions:

“It is convenient for us to classify Old Testament laws into various categories: (1) moral law, (2) ceremonial law, (3) civil law, (4) statutes and judgments, and (5) health laws.

This classification is in part artificial. In actuality some of these categories are interrelated, and there is considerable overlap. The ancients did not see them as separate and distinct.[12]

In their own words the theologians do agree that it “convenient” to make this “artificial” subdivision of the Torah, because it allows cunning theologians (no, not the Adventists) to surgically remove those portions of the Law that are “against us,” in their minds, and literally “nail them to the Cross,” with Christ, and leave them there!  But what is the truth behind this artful subdividing of the Law, who is the inspiration behind this subdivision?  If YHWH, we humbly bow to His authority, but if from the Man of Sin, we need to stand up in protest, in defense of the faith which was once and for all-time delivered unto the saints.  Let’s roll back the smoke screen to see who inspired this doctrine in the first place.

Most Christians are not aware that the terminology “ceremonial law” is not taught in the Bible, and so are not aware that this is a doctrine of distinctively Roman Catholic origins, coming courtesy of the world-famed theologian and philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas.

Roman Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas explained that there are three types of biblical precepts: moral, ceremonial, and judicial. He holds that moral precepts are permanent, having held even before the Law was given, since they are part of the law of nature; ceremonial precepts, which deal with forms of worshipping God and ritual cleanness; and judicial precepts (such as those in Exodus 21 came into existence only with the Law of Moses, and were only temporary. The ceremonial commands were ‘ordained to the Divine worship for that particular time and to the foreshadowing of Christ. Accordingly, upon the coming of Christ they ceased to bind,  and to observe them now would, Aquinas thought, be equivalent to declaring falsely that Christ has not yet come, for Christians a mortal sin.[13]

I have shared with you before that the Bible does teach that the Torah is divided by the Law Giver into three distinctive components—(1) Statutes, (2) Judgments, and (3) Commandments.   Here for example is how the Bible sees this division: “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.” (Mal. 4: 4).

It is of interest to note that the “law” is singular, and this is how Heaven sees it.  God did not say, “remember the LAWS” of Moses, but instead, the “Law” (singular) of Moses, which God commanded which included “statutes and judgments.”  This is simple and clear.

Rome teaches differently, she holds “that there are three types of biblical precepts: (1) moral, (2) ceremonial, and (3) judicial.” It is right here that modern Christianity has fallen off the wagon of truth, and starts to teach Romanized doctrines, such as “the ceremonial law,” a term, idea, and expression altogether foreign to the Holy Scriptures of truth.  It is from pursing this false course why Seventh-day Adventists are today waffling on the question of pork eating, homosexuality, and women ordination, because they have removed large portions of the law, nailing them with Christ to the Cross!

We Honor The Health Laws

Earlier I have shown the Adventist position on pork, that on account of its significant health benefits the church has taught its members to abstain from this food article, among other injurious and health-destroying foods and substances.  Indeed, one can hardly pass the baptismal review class today without confessing obedience to and abstinence from those injurious food items, many times called out by name such as pork, shell fish, coffee and tobacco.  The candidate says yes and s/he is baptized and welcomed into the growing body of the world church of Seventh-day Adventists.  But wait a minute, are Adventists now making a “health law” a test of fellowship, to the point of making it a baptismal vow?  If yes, and indeed the answer is yes, then we may need to scrutinize the other health laws that ought to become a part of the baptismal vows!

For starters, there is a tremendous societal benefit to males being circumcised. It’s not a ceremonial cleanliness smatter, it is a great health benefit to society at large, and women, in particular.

It is one of the first decisions parents of boys face, and it may be one of the hardest: whether or not to circumcise. The practice was born of religious ritual, and then became common place in the 20th century…

Two years ago the American Academy of Pediatrics said the benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks. Now, the Centers for Disease Control is proposing a recommendation that doctors counsel parents, as well as grown men, about the benefits of circumcision. “Clinical trials over the past 9 years have shown that adult circumcision reduces the risk of contracting certain sexually-transmitted diseases,” says Karen F. Buchi, M.D, Chief of the Division of General Pediatrics for University of Utah Health Care. STDs are not the only issue to consider. “There are certain diseases that ONLY occur in uncircumcised men, such as phimosis, paraphimosis, and balanitis,” says William Brant, M.D., a University of Utah Health Care urologic surgeon.[14]

So the word is watching on, and noticing that there is a marked improvement in the health of males who are circumcised, as opposed to those who are not, and wile circumcision causes pain in the recipient, the health benefits far outweigh the temporary grief.  Here is the voice of the World Health Organization  (WHO) on circumcision:  “There is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%.”[15]

Contrary to the views held by the WHO on circumcision, the Adventist theologians think this practice would make Christianity unappealing to adult males!  “Despite the decision, however, some teachers continued to plague the churches by insisting that Gentile converts to the faith were required to keep these rules and laws, including circumcision (not exactly a procedure that would make joining Christianity particularly appealing for an adult).”[16]

The rite of circumcision notwithstanding, there are  today more women in the Adventist church than are men!  We don’t temper the gospel based on its “appeal” or the lack thereof, but simply teach the truth as it is in Jesus, and His sheep will hear His voice and follow Him.  Maybe with circumcision there’d be more adult males in tour churches, to offset the large gender imbalance, which now pushes the women to be seeking the all-male office of the pastorate!  God’s laws are always best, even when they don’t make sense to us humans.

If the Denomination’s claim  on the health benefits of not consuming pork are consistent, then on the same basis they should mandate circumcision, because there is equally strong health benefits in this arena!  If we walk down this road that in addition to the public reviewing of the candidates, each male person, on account of the health benefits of circumcision, should also have a private review with the pastor or urologist to determine his status of circumcision!  So we see that while seeking to downplay God’s laws on the one hand, the rule of logic compels us to do that which we loathe, and become a law unto our selves!

In a separate article I will address the subject of circumcision from a biblical-theological perspective to settle the confusion about what Paul and the early Church actually taught on the subject.  Let is suffice to stand that the reason for the Jerusalem council’s meeting was to determine whether or not one by being circumcised will earn salvation.  If that were the case, Christ would have died in vain!  The same is true for any aspect of the Torah, if by simply living in obedience to all the divine laws, were sufficient for salvation, then Christ did not get that memo, and so wasted his life on the cross in vain, all the while lamenting, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death.” Mark 14: 34.

There was no other way for mankind to be saved, but the way of the Cross, and it was not possible for the Father to let this cup pass from His son in preference to any or all of the Torah.  He had to die to become the propitiation for our sins.  This is the only way sinners could be declared justified (righteous)  before a Holy and Righteous God.  But having cleansed us from all our sins that are past, we are duty bound to live a life of holiness before our Maker, and the way prescribed for our lives is dictated in the Law (Torah).  So to the saved person, the Law (Torah) becomes more precious, because it is a violation of its precepts that wrung the heart of God, and caused His dear son wo walk the lonely road of Calvary to redeem the lost sons and daughters of Adam.

Garrick Augustus, October 28, 2017

—————————————–

List of References

[1] http://ellenwhite.org/content/file/pork-question?numFound=17&collection=true&query=pork&curr=14&sqid=690965824#document

[2] A.L. White, Secretary, Ellen G. White Publications, January 28, 1944.  http://ellenwhite.org/content/file/use-pork-22-4-0?numFound=17&collection=true&query=pork&curr=4&sqid=690965824#document

[3] UPI News,  January 7, 2014,  https://www.upi.com/Florida-Hospital-ends-bacon-ban-with-opening-of-Panera-Bread/11471389122745/

[4] Neal Wilson, Adventist Review, March 5, 1981, 3; italics added.

[5] https://news.adventist.org/en/all-news/news/go/2014-07-14/adventist-church-president-makes-case-for-vegetarianism/  [Jul 14, 2014 | Geneva, Switzerland | Andrew McChesney/Adventist Review]

[6] http://www.sdanet.org/atissue/books/qod/index.htm

[7] http://www.catholic.com/library/Seventh_Day_Adventism.asp, bold emphasis added.

[8] The Role of God’s Moral Law, Including Sabbath, in the “New Covenant”1 Roy Gane, 2003, p. 7,, http://www.adventistbiblicalresearch.org/sites/default/files/pdf/Gane%20Gods%20moral%20law.pdf

[9] Seventh-day Adventists Answer, QUESTIONS ON DOCTRINE, 1957, The Review And Herald Publishing Association, pp. 129-130. http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Books/QOD19570101.pdf

[10] Calvinist’s Westminster Confession of Faith, 1643, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/creeds3.iv.xvii.ii.html

[11] The Role of God’s Moral Law, Including Sabbath, in the “New Covenant” Roy Gane, 2003, pp. 7, 8 http://www.adventistbiblicalresearch.org/sites/default/files/pdf/Gane%20Gods%20moral%20law.pdf

[12] Bible Study Guide – 4th Quarter 2017; Salvation by Faith Alone: The Book of Romans; Monday, October 9, 2017; http://www.ssnet.org/lessons/17d/less02.html

[13] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_views_on_the_Old_Covenant

[14] Circumcision Gets CDC Recommendation,  Dec 4, 2014, uppercase emphasis included in original; https://healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed/postings/2014/12/120414_circumcision.php

[15] Male circumcision for HIV prevention, http://www.who.int/hiv/topics/malecircumcision/en/

[16] Bible Study Guide – 4th Quarter 2017, Salvation by Faith Alone: The Book of Romans,  October 7, 2017; http://www.ssnet.org/lessons/17d/less02.html

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