In Loving Memorial of Lloyd Rosenvold



Lloyd & Leola Rosenvold

"Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD, Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come." Joel 1:14,15 

Table of Contents

  1. Who Is on the Lord's Side?
  2. Golden Calves
  3. Baal-peor
  4. Carnival-like Apostasy-Post 1844
  5. Adventist Carnivals
  6. Drama, Theatrics and Music
  7. Musical Instruments
  8. Christian Music of the World
  9. Adventist Preference
  10. Culture
  11. Guidlines for Change
  12. The Generation Gap
  13. Testimonials
  14. A Contrast
  15. So Much in Common
  16. Sentimental Love
  17. Love, Love
  18. Charity: True and False
  19. The Test of Love
  20. Celebration and the Third Angel's Message
  21. The Great Divide
  22. Rebuke
  23. Meet Evil Decisively
  24. God's Men
  25. As Hard to Quench As Fire
  26. A Tiger by the Tail
  27. Celebration: The Vatican Connection
  28. Ringleaders in Apostasy
  29. Our Beloved Brethren

Who Is on the Lord's Side?

Chapter 1

MUCH of what has been written by concerned believers to expose the fallacies of the so-called "Adventist worship; celebration-style," has focused on the superficiality, and the bizarre methodology and music of the new form of "worship" with its rocklike musical beat, physical gyrations, etcetera.

In this book, while we will certainly discuss these named aberrations, we propose to also point out to those innocently ensnared in these excesses, that even more subtle and dangerous departures from truth lurk within the celebration fanaticism. The very pillars of the everlasting gospel and the third angel's message are being defaced and even lost in the excitement of the creeping Pentecostalism of the celebration phenomenon in Adventism.

What is more, we propose to show that this phenomenon is not something entirely new. It can be traced both into ancient as well as modern church history. Celebration is the fifth distinct episode of its kind to intrude itself into the midst of God's people. This historical repetition of five similar apostasies is an exceedingly important point in understanding and grappling with this apostasy.

In these pages some Adventists will for the first time learn the shocking truth that this whole celebration excitement had its origins in the plans of the Papacy in the Second Vatican Council which convened in 1962. Stay tuned.

Sadly, some beloved brethren, church administrators, seem totally oblivious to the dangers inherent in these current departures from truth and even if some do sense the dangers, thus far they seem loath to take a firm stand for truth in this crisis hour. The prophets of old risked their reputations and their very lives by taking a firm stand against apostasies. Ellen White too, when she met fanaticism, took a firm and clear stand, and in the power of the Holy Spirit saved the church from many disasters.

Where is there now a Phinehas to stem the tide? Where are the Joshuas, the Josiahs, the Nehemiahs, the Ezras, the Elijahs, the John the Baptists of our day who will boldly proclaim, "Thus far and no farther shall this fanaticism go!" As in the days of old, should not the call of the hour be: "Who is on the Lord's side?"

Let us ponder the issues together in the light of sacred history and the counsels from God's Word, and then take a firm and unyielding stand for truth in these trying days just before the close of probation.

In the chapter which follows we begin with the first of the five similar apostasies that have afflicted God's people.

Golden Calves

Chapter 2

ADVENTIST carnivals? Yes, you read it right. How could that be? not God's people supposed to be sedate and fine from worldliness, confusion, noise and frivolity? Yes, you are right, but in one conference 90 years ago (1900) Seventh-day Adventist worship services became so frivolous, so demonstrative, so noisy and worldly that the Lord's servant likened their services to a carnival for Satan and his angels. See Selected Messages, book 2, 36. More detail on this in a later chapter.

What is a carnival? Certainly it must be related to the word "carnal" or "fleshly." Check any large dictionary and you will find that one of the best illustrations of a carnival would be the rowdy Mardi Gras celebrations practiced in certain cities and nations just before lent. The participants are supposedly looking forward to holy worship to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus. But during Mardi Gras, they cast all caution to the wind, and engage in the fleshly lusts of revelry, wild music, merrymaking, and even immorality!

At Horeb

Israel had been rescued from Egyptian slavery and had endured the treacherous journey and marvelous deliverance in passing through the Red Sea. They were now encamped at the foot of Mt. Sinai (Horeb), and in response to the admonitions of

God through Moses the people had promised to obey all that Jehovah commanded.

They had also experienced the awesome grandeur- thunderings mid fire and smoke as God audibly proclaimed His ten commandments in their hearing. The theocracy (God's church) was well on its way toward becoming organized and it was now time for the people to meditate upon the signal experiences through which they had passed and to determine to fulfill their pledge of a few days earlier: "All that the Lord bath spoken we will do." Exodus 19:8

Moses and Joshua Ascend the Mount

Moses and Joshua ascended Mt. Sinai to receive further counsel from God. While they were gone a very shocking development occurred in the camp. The year 1900, referred to above, was not the first time that God's professed people had engaged in a spirit of carnival merriment and celebration. In the absence of Moses and Joshua, a carnival spirit took possession of the people. Come with us now to the inspired writings as we go back to about the year 1462 B.C. to consider the apostasy of Israel at Horeb as described in Patriarchs and Prophets, 315-317:

While Moses was absent it was a time of waiting and suspense to Israel . . . They waited eagerly for his return.... Day after day, week after week passed, and still he did not return.... During this period of waiting, there was time for them to meditate upon the law of God which they had heard, and to prepare their hearts to receive the further revelations that He might make to them.... But they did not do this, and they soon became careless, inattentive, and lawless.... They were impatient to be on their way to the Land of Promise-the land flowing with milk and honey. It was only on condition of obedience that the goodly land was promised them, but they had lost sight of this. There were some who suggested a return to Egypt, but whether forward to Canaan or backward to Egypt, the masses of the people were determined to wait no longer for Moses.

The Congregation Demanded Gods

The people desired some image to represent God, and to go before them in the place of Moses.... In the absence of Moses,

the judicial authority had been delegated to Aaron, and a vast crowd gathered about his tent, with the demand, "Make us gods, which shall go before us."

Aaron should have been brave enough to face the clamors of the multitude, but when he offered merely feeble resistance,

The tumult increased. A blind, unreasoning frenzy seemed to take possession of the multitude. There were some who remained true to their covenant with God, but the greater part of the people joined in the apostasy. A few who ventured to denounce the proposed image making as idolatry, were set upon nd roughly treated, and in the confusion and excitement they finally lost their lives.

Aaron feared for his own safety; and instead of nobly standing up for the honor of God, he yielded to the demands of the multitude.

Aaron was so frightened when he saw that the rabble even murdered some who resisted, he decided to join with them. He asked for their golden ornaments, and from these "He made a molten calf, in imitation of the gods of Egypt" to which they could look for "religious guidance."

A Day of Celebration

Seeing how pleased they were with his sculpture artistry, he went two steps further and built an altar to their "golden god" and invited the people to have a grand feast of praise to their gods, and to offer sacrifices on the following day.

The announcement was heralded by trumpeters from company to company throughout the camp. "And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play." Under the pretense of holding "a feast to the Lord," they gave themselves up to gluttony and licentious reveling.

At Horeb there was gluttony, music, dancing and licentiousness combined in the carnival-like revelry. And worse yet they did all this in licentious nakedness. See Exodus 32:25

The Lord saw it all from heaven and hurried Moses and Joshua down the mountain to deal with the apostasy. The true God has declared that it is not He who is glorified and praised a in "a bedlam of noise and confusion." Another master is being worshiped: "Demons in the form of men are present." See Selected Messages, book 2, 37

The music that accompanied their celebration around the golden calf was so loud and raucous that Joshua, as he descended the mountain with Moses, thought it was "the noise of war." But Moses said, No! "It is the noise of them that sing!" They sang, they danced, they feasted, they celebrated around the golden calf! It was "their leading men" of the nation who led out in shouting "These be thy gods, 0 Israel!" See Review and Herald, vol. 5, 493. This shameful account is recorded in Exodus 32.

Tables of Stone Broken

When Moses drew near enough to identify the golden calf and the dancing, he threw down the tables of the law that God had given him in the Mount, and broke them. Thus he signified that in that ancient celebration ceremony, God's holy law and the covenant had been broken by the people.


Why did God allow such extensive apostasy to develop in His church as that of the golden calf episode? Hear the word of the Lord:

God might have checked the movement at the outset; but He suffered it to come to this height that He might teach all a lesson in His punishment of treason and apostasy. Patriarchs and Prophets, 318

Modern Golden Calves

Do we have any "golden calves" in our midst today? This is a question we need to answer, for Inspiration implies that we do:

How often, in our own day, is the love of pleasure disguised by a "form of godliness."! A religion that permits men, while observing the rites of worship, to devote themselves to selfish or sensual gratification, is as pleasing to the multitudes now as in the days of Israel. And there are still pliant Aarons, who, while holding positions of authority in the church, will yield to the desires of the unconsecrated, and thus encourage them in sin. Ibid., 317

Mt. Sinai was the first recorded instance of a carnival-like worship amongst God's organized people, but it was not to be the last such fanaticism. How drastic were the results! In future chapters we shall study four more comparable episodes in the ecclesiastical history of God's true people.


Chapter 3

ISRAEL had camped at the foot of Sinai for several years while the nation was organized and the sanctuary built, et cetera. Finally, the command went forth, Ye have compassed this mountain long enough; turn ye northward. So they left Horeb (Sinai) and travelled the distance to Kadesh on the borders of Canaan in a mere eleven days (Deuteronomy 1:2). Some of the people thought it wise to send spies (one spy from each tribe) into Canaan to see if they could really conquer the land, and the Lord allowed them to have their way. See

Patriarchs and Prophets, 387. After almost six weeks they returned, and ten of the spies, a great majority, brought evil discouraging reports. Only two, Caleb and Joshua, were of good courage. "We can possess the land! " they insisted.

Essentially all of the people murmured with the ten and did not wish to proceed. God granted them their wish, but He told them that all of the murmuring adults who were above twenty years of age (when they left Egypt) would never enter the Promised Land. They must turn back into the wilderness for forty years to wander and die.

So now, almost forty years after crossing the Red Sea, and after traversing the desert wastes and skirting the border of Edom, they were again encamped near the Promised Land on the east side of the Jordan River. Moses was giving his final instructions to the people (see book of Deuteronomy) before they should cross the Jordan into the Promised Land.

The Vale of Shittim

Having already gained possession of the valued territory of Bashan, as Israel settled into the beautiful valley of Shittim, they felt confident and at ease. We turn again to Patriarchs and Prophets, this time to pages 453-456 to narrate this story:

This sheltered valley had the climate of the tropics; here flourished the shittim, or acacia, tree, giving to the plain the name, "Vale of Shittim." It was here that the Israelites encamped, and in the acacia groves by the riverside they found an agreeable retreat.

In their ease, yet in human restlessness, the congregation in the beautiful plain of Shittim close to Jordan became curious and began to get ecumenical ideas relative to the religions of the heathen peoples in their neighborhood. The Lord's servant describes it so vividly:

But amid these attractive surroundings they were to encounter an evil more deadly than mighty hosts of armed men or the wild beasts of the wilderness. That country, so rich in natural advantages, had been defiled by the inhabitants. In the public worship of Baal, the leading deity, the most degrading and iniquitous scenes were constantly enacted. On every side were places noted for idolatry and licentiousness, the very names being suggestive of the vileness and corruption of the people.

These surroundings exerted a polluting influence upon the Israelites. Their minds became familiar with the vile thoughts constantly suggested; their life of ease and inaction produced its demoralizing effect; and almost unconsciously to themselves they were departing from God and coming into a condition where they would fall an easy prey to temptation....

At first there was little intercourse between the Israelites and their heathen neighbors, but after a time Midianitish women began to steal into the camp. Their appearance excited no alarm, and so quietly were their plans conducted that the attention of Moses was not called to the matter. It was the object of these women, in their association with the Hebrews, to seduce them into transgression of the law of God, to draw their attention to heathen rites and customs, and lead them into idolatry. These motives were studiously concealed under the garb of friendship, so that they were not suspected, even by the guardians of the people.

A Grand Carnival-like Festival

Finally the apostate prophet Balaam advised the heathen king Balak "to proclaim an idolatrous feast in honor of their idol gods, and he would persuade the Israelites to attend, that they might be delighted with the music." See Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4, 49. Balaam was planning a carnival-like entertainment for the Israelites!

At Balaam's suggestion, a grand festival in honor of their gods was appointed by the king of Moab, and it was secretly arranged that Balaam should induce the Israelites to attend. He was regarded by them as a prophet of God, and hence had little difficulty in accomplishing his purpose. Great numbers of the people joined him in witnessing the festivities. They ventured upon the forbidden ground, and were entangled in the snare of Satan. Beguiled with music and dancing, and allured by the beauty of heathen vestals, they cast off their fealty to Jehovah. As they united in mirth and feasting, indulgence in wine beclouded their senses and broke down the barriers of self-control. Passion had full sway; and having defiled their consciences by lewdness, they were persuaded to bow down to idols. They offered sacrifice upon heathen altars and participated in the most degrading rites.

It was not long before the poison had spread, like a deadly infection, through the camp of Israel. Those who would have conquered their enemies in battle were overcome by the wiles of heathen women. The people seemed to be infatuated. The rulers and the leading men were among the first to transgress, and so many of the people were guilty that the apostasy became national. "Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor."

(The words "Baal-peor" are considered by scholars to represent the worship of Baal in the mountains known in ancient times as Peor. This name is no longer in use geographically but owes its notoriety and place in sacred history to the apostasy of Israel on the east bank of the Jordan.)

The mirth and carnival-like festivities with drinking, and dancing and music soon led not only to physical fornication and adultery but to spiritual adultery as well, for the Israelites joined the heathen in their idol worship and orgies.

Punishment of the Israelites

God showed His displeasure by sending a terrible plague upon Israel. As tens of thousands died in the plague at Baal-peor, the congregation wept sorely and sought repentance. The medical nature of the plague we do not know. But,

The judgments visited upon Israel for their sin at Shittim, destroyed the survivors of that vast company, who, nearly forty years before, had incurred the sentence, "They shall surely die in the wilderness."

What a dreadful carnival sin this was, just before God's people, Israel, were to cross over Jordan into the Land of Promise!

As at the golden calf, again it was the rulers of the people and leading men who were among the first to join in the orgies of the sinful festival. So many of the common people followed their example that it became a national apostasy. Yet, there were faithful men among both the leaders and the people. "The aged leader [Moses] was filled with indignation." Besides Moses, Caleb, Joshua, Eleazar, Phinehas, and undoubtedly many other leaders and laity in Israel stood firm.

Modern Counterparts of Baal peor?

Once again God's people are resting on the borders of Canaan-this time the heavenly Canaan. Can we find evidence of Baal-peor counterparts in God's present-day church? It appears that the answer is "Yes! " As we stand on the banks of spiritual Jordan, while we are in a tarrying time just before the loud cry and the end of all things earthly, does it not seem apparent that many in our midst have become curious and are fraternizing in spirit and in doctrine with the sentiments and gods of the nominal churches about us? Surely, none of us would go so far as to engage ecumenically with the worldly churches in a carnival-like spirit of worship as was done at Baal-peor? Would we? For the answer to these questions please consider later chapters which follow.

How the Plague of Ecumenism Was Stayed

The priest, Phinehas, filled with indignation, followed one of the rulers with his Midianitish woman friend into his tent, and slew both with his spear. The plague was stayed when this brave act was performed. For this act of courage Phinehas was honored by God.

Would that in our day there was a Phinehas who could stem the plague of ecumenism and fraternization with the fallen churches and the illicit worship being imparted to us from them!

Thus we end the account of the second documented carnival-like episode recorded in the sacred history of God's organized church. There are three more to follow. Stay tuned.

Carnival-like Apostasy Post 1844

Chapter 4

FROM the experience at Baal-Peor we now traverse the centuries of history until we arrive at the year 1844 when our modern church was embryonic. Just as the golden calf experience occurred near the beginning of ancient Israel's journey to Canaan, so, shortly after 1844, there was a very shocking development in our early church history. We shall allow Ellen White herself to detail this story for us:

In the period of disappointment after the passing of the time in 1844, fanaticism in various forms arose.... They made demonstrations similar to those you have made, and confused their own minds and the minds of others by their wonderful suppositions. Yet these persons were our beloved brethren, and we were longing to help them. I went into their meetings. There was much excitement, with noise and confusion. One could not tell what was piped or what was harped. Some appeared to be in vision, and fell to the floor. Others were jumping, dancing, and shouting. They declared that as their flesh was purified, they were ready for translation. This they repeated again and again. I bore my testimony in the name of the Lord, placing His rebuke upon these manifestations.

Some who had engaged in these movements were brought to their right mind, and saw their delusion. Some had been excellent, honest people, but they thought that sanctified flesh could not sin, and thus they had been taken in Satan's trap. They had carried their strong ideas so far that they became a reproach to the precious cause of God. These sorely repented, and some were afterward among our most reliable men and women. But there were others who ever after walked in sadness. We could not at any time make them feel that they were worthy to work for the Master, whose precious cause they had so greatly dishonored.

As the result of fanatical movements such as I have described, persons in no way responsible for them have in some cases lost their reason. They could not harmonize the scenes of excitement and tumult with their own past precious experience; they were pressed beyond measure to receive the message of error; it was represented to them that unless they did this they would be lost; and as the result their mind was unbalanced, and some became insane. These things bring a reproach upon the cause of truth, and hinder the proclamation of the last message of mercy to the world. Selected Messages, book 2, 34-35

`"The same kind of influence [that came into the 1900 carnival-like apostasy] came in after the passing of the time in 1844. The same kind of representations were made. Men became excited, and were worked by a power thought to be the power of God." Selected Messages, book 2, 37

Consider how soon after the Advent movement (which became our SDA church) started out on its journey to the heavenly Canaan, some of our number, as it were, danced about a "golden calf!" How strange that church members indulged in the same type of music, dancing and shouting, in both ancient and modern Israel! Each time with a variation of doctrinal errors accompanying them, and a similar yet not identical worship-style.

"Our Beloved Brethren"

So it was that some of "our beloved brethren" were caught up in the post-1844 era in demonstrations similar to those that transpired in Indiana in 1900 which Ellen White clearly labelled as a carnival for Satan. They were beguiled by excitement, noise, confusing music, jumping, dancing and shouting. At that time, some were even having false visions and falling to the floor! One could surely not deny that these deceived brethren were the neopentecostals of their day! Right?

What should be our attitude toward such individuals who are caught up in deception or in neopentecostalism? Are we to slam the door shut upon them, leaving them alone to perish in their deception? No! Ellen White spoke of them, even while they were under their deception, as "our beloved brethren, " whom we should be "longing to help!"

We also have before us the worthy example of Moses who, after the transgression of Israel in making the golden calf, pleaded with God on behalf of his "beloved brethren." To save them, he was even willing to have his own name blotted out from the book of life!

Shall We Attend Their Meetings?

Ellen White explains: "I went into their meetings"-why? Not to "celebrate" with them, but for a higher purpose. "I bore my testimony in the name of the Lord, placing His rebuke upon these manifestations." Surely, this is the only reason that we, today, should ever consider attending such demonstrations! Unless we go to rebuke them and warn them of their danger, we would surely not have the protection of the heavenly angels. The only way we can help these deceived brethren is to lovingly present truth, rebuke their errors and point out their dangers. In no case should we join them in their heathenish practices.

As in the golden calf episode at Sinai, the fanatics after 1844 also engaged in nudity nakedness with both sexes. Sensuality was the result. See Exodus 32:25; and Maranatha, 234

Some Consequences

Through Ellen White's testimony of rebuke and warning, shortly after 1844, some souls became undeceived, were brought into their right mind, and were afterward "among our most reliable men and women!" (This should be an encouragement to us in our struggle to help our brethren today who have gone into deception.) Others were sad and remained depressed ever afterward for having so dishonored their Master. They seemed unable to strongly witness for truth.

Still others who had been "pressed beyond measure to receive" this erroneous carnival-like worship, were unable to cope with the tension between the new "excitement and tumult" and their own previous precious experience with the Lord. Their minds became so unbalanced that they became insane. If we once give our minds over to Satan's control, we too, could be taken in his snare and lose eternal life, as well as our sanity in this life!

Our prophetess writes: "The fewer of such [carnival-like] demonstrations there are, the better it will be" not only `for the actors" but "for the people in general" Selected Messages, book 2, 35

Our next chapter will discuss the carnival apostasy that arose in Indiana as well as the fifth such apostasy.