- Who Is on the Lord's Side?
- Golden Calves
- Carnival-like Apostasy-Post 1844
- Adventist Carnivals
- Drama, Theatrics and Music
- Musical Instruments
- Christian Music of the World
- Adventist Preference
- Guidlines for Change
- The Generation Gap
- A Contrast
- So Much in Common
- Sentimental Love
- Love, Love
- Charity: True and False
- The Test of Love
- Celebration and the Third Angel's
- The Great Divide
- Meet Evil Decisively
- God's Men
- As Hard to Quench As Fire
- A Tiger by the Tail
- Celebration: The Vatican Connection
- Ringleaders in Apostasy
- Our Beloved Brethren
Who Is on the Lord's Side?
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
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
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.
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
(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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.