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A question about the Shepperd's Rod and Reform Movement (and whatever movement I have not mentioned but may need to know about)

This is a request for information, not an attempt to start a pointless debate.

Is there a reasonably simple, "sanitized" source of information about the Shepherd’s Rod and Reform Movement message? I wish to understand what they teach, without being troubled by their negative campaign against the SDA church, and their usual efforts to try to confuse the issues.

As I make SDA friends online, I am finding that many of them are of those persuasions, so instead of simply avoiding them as I usually do (and was taught to do), I wish to understand them, as impartially as possible. I am disappointed by the efforts of some of them to not exactly admit what they are, when I ask them directly, but I am refreshed by those who have told me plainly what they are, with no apparent dishonesty.

I am familiar with the documents from the Biblical Research institute, but those seem mostly historical, I wish to understand the movements as they exist today.

One more thing, the offshoots I met in my home country and the USA are usually engaged in trying to convert adventists to adventism (their brand of course), and not at all interested in unbelievers. But online I have met some offshoots that appear genuinely interested in sharing the message with unbelievers and reaching to the community. This I had never seen before, it challenges some of my past perceptions of how to easily identify them. I think that behavior is more common with independents, who are not the same as the Rods and the Reforms, at least in my understanding.

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If we really want to know what are the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement and what they really believe, we need hear from them. Why do not go the their website?
www.sdarm.org
e-mail: info@sdarm.org

Davi
Gabriel,

The SDA Reform didn't leave our church voluntarily. They were disfellowshipped. This was done in Europe.

There are other ways of helping our nation in time of war besides taking up a weapon and killing people. The problem with a Christian fighting in a war is that you could very easily be killing an SDA or other Christian. That is the situation during WW1 and WW2. There were some SDAs in the German and Russian armies who were killing each other. That is why the German SDA said they did not want to be in the military. They didn't believe God wanted them to be killing other Christians and other SDAs.

During WW2 there were SDAs who supported the war effort against Nazi Germany and Japan, but without killing. Desmond Doss was one such man. He served as a medic. And he won a Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery in saving many lives during battle. He was badly wounded himself but he kept saving more and more men. Other soldiers who previously had made fun of him for his Christian beliefs came to admire him and gave their lives to Christ because of Desmond's Doss's powerful witness for Christ.

When Desmond Doss died just two years ago, it was the biggest funeral in the city of Chattanooga. Almost the whole city turned out to pay their last respects to this man.
She was talking about the Civil War. Not every war. That was the first war Sabbath keeping Adventists dealt with. The government was not, at that time, making provisions for Sabbath keepers. But they do now.

Of course I would surely understand if you feel a certain war is wrong, and you feel obligated to protest that war.
Or if you see the kind of fraternizing that goes on in the military. They are always seen in movies playing cards and drinking a lot, and chasing wild women. You might feel you can't thrive spiritually.
You may see a greater obligation in the spiritual war that God has us fighting. Are those soldiers going to help us in that war?
There may be many reasons to avoid such a crowd. But to say that a Christian is not allowed to join the military or police force is just not Biblical. We don't have any example of anyone telling someone to drop out of the military. But it says:

1 Cor. 7:20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.
7:21 Art thou called [being] a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use [it] rather.


The military is full of people who are searching for truth, as we see in the military captain who went to Jesus. Many there have a sense of honor, and would love the truth if they had it. So, in spite of the scenes of the drinking, and so forth, we must realize there are many who do not partake in such things. And you can get the diet you need, and can keep the Sabbath, except in emergencies. We need people there. I would go, if I could, but I'm already to old. I thank God for Doug Bachelor's children, and all the Adventists in the military, and I pray the Lord will give them every opportunity to witness there, and win souls and get people Baptized into the truth, who are seeking truth.
Loving war and going to war are not the same things.

1 Sam. 15:32 Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past.
15:33 And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.


This was the judgment of God upon Agag. Agag loved war, and went to war just to conquer, caring nothing for the lives lost. God's people, on the other hand, went to war to establish their nation, and to claim the land that was theirs. It may be needful to go to war to preserve the sovereignty of your country. Here's another one:

There was the proud, ambitious Napoleon, whose approach had caused kingdoms to tremble. There stood men of lofty stature and dignified bearing, who had fallen in battle while thirsting to conquer. As they come forth from their graves, they resume the current of their thoughts where it ceased in death. They possess the same desire to conquer which ruled when they fell..... {EW 293.1}

Thirsting to conquer would be the same thing as the love for war. This is Satanic. Not out of necessity, but vanity. It's evil.

I wonder if our country does not want to occupy Iraq because of their oil. I wonder if there would be a war if they didn't have so much oil. Is this a good cause? Would the prophet approve?
I was replying to Raquel, who quoted EGW saying "Satan delights in war".
You got it, Requel. I can't see God wanting SDAs to take up weapons for the purpose of making war. I would have gone to Iraq or Afghanistan but only as a medic or in some non-combatant role, and I would have been just as prepared to treat the enemy as I would my fellow Americans.
Gabriel,

I agree that just because the government tells us to take up arms doesn't mean we have to do it. That is not what Jesus is talking about. He is not saying we should take up arms just because the government says to do it. The principle is if it doesn't violate our conscience, then we should do it. Well, taking up arms to kill for the government-- even when I support the government-- does violate my conscience. The point is that we can't tell other people what their consciences should tell them on subjects that are not clearly spelled out in the Bible. I think carrying weapons in war is one such subject that the Bible is not completely clear on. So there is room for believing either way.

This is why I don't side with Reform SDA. While I wouldn't sign up for combat duty, I believe in your right to do that, and I don't believe it would mean you are committing a sin. That is between you and God. Also, while I wouldn't necessarily be a Police Officer carrying a weapon, I have an nephew who is SDA and he's an armed policeman in AZ. In fact, he was so good with a weapon he has trained cops to shoot. Somebody has to do those things in this wild, sinful, and very dangerous world.
Back to the Civil War. I found out this:

Very many men in authority, generals and officers, act in conformity with instructions communicated by spirits. The spirits of devils, professing to be dead warriors and skillful generals, communicate with men in authority and control many of their movements. One general has directions from these spirits to make special moves and is flattered with the hope of success. Another receives directions which differ widely from those given to the first. Sometimes those who follow the directions given obtain a victory, but more frequently they meet with defeat. {1T 363.5}
The spirits sometimes give these leading men an account of events to transpire in battles in which they are about to engage, and of individuals who will fall in the battle. Sometimes it is found to be as these spirits foretold, and this strengthens the faith of the believers in spiritual manifestations. And again it is found that correct information has not been given, but the deceiving spirits make some explanation, which is received. The deception upon minds is so great that many fail to perceive the lying spirits which are leading them on to certain destruction. {1T 364.1}
The great leading rebel general, Satan, is acquainted with the transactions of this war, and he directs his angels to assume the form of dead generals, to imitate their manners, and exhibit their peculiar traits of character. And leaders in the army really believe that the spirits of their friends and of dead warriors, the fathers of the Revolutionary War, are guiding them. If they were not under the strongest fascinating deception, they would begin to think that the warriors in heaven (?) did not manifest good and successful generalship, or had forgotten their famed earthly skill. {1T 364.2}

So here's one problem. They didn't seek counsel with God's people. But they trusted in spiritualism. This was causing them undo loss. She says a lot about this war. She said they should have trusted in God to give the victory in war:

Instead of the leading men in this war trusting in the God of Israel, and directing their armies to trust in the only One who can deliver them from their enemies, the majority inquire of the prince of devils and trust in him. Deuteronomy 32:16-22. Said the angel: "How can God prosper such a people?
365
If they would look to and trust in Him; if they would only come where He could help them, according to His own glory, He would readily do it." {1T 364.3}
I saw that God would not give the Northern army wholly into the hands of a rebellious people, to be utterly destroyed by their enemies. I was referred to Deuteronomy 32:26-30: "I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men: were it not that I feared the wrath of the enemy, lest their adversaries should behave themselves strangely, and lest they should say, Our hand is high, and the Lord hath not done all this. For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them. Oh, that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end! How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the Lord had shut them up?" {1T 365.1}
There are generals in the army who are wholly devoted and seek to do all they can to stop this dreadful Rebellion and unnatural war. But most of the officers and leading men have a selfish purpose of their own to serve. Each is looking for gain from his own quarter, and many of the true, whole-hearted soldiers are becoming fainthearted and discouraged. They nobly perform their part when in an engagement with the enemy, but the treatment which they receive from their own officers is brutal. Among the soldiers there are men that have fine feelings and independence of spirit. They have never been accustomed to mingling with so degraded a class of men as war brings together, and being tyrannized over and abused, and treated like brutes. It is very hard for them to endure all this. Many officers have brutal passions, and as they are placed in authority they have good opportunity to act out their brutal natures. They tyrannize over those under them as Southern masters tyrannize over their slaves.
366
These things will make it difficult to procure men for the army. {1T 365.2}
In some cases when generals have been in most terrible conflict, where their men have fallen like rain, a reinforcement at the right time would have given them a victory. But other generals cared nothing how many lives were lost, and rather than come to the help of those in an engagement, as though their interests were one, they withheld the necessary aid, fearing that their brother general would receive the honor of successfully repulsing the enemy. Through envy and jealousy they have even exulted to see the enemy gain the victory and repulse Union men. Southern men possess a hellish spirit in this Rebellion, but Northern men are not clear. Many of them possess a selfish jealousy, fearing that others will obtain honors and be exalted above themselves. Oh, how many thousands of lives have been sacrificed on this account! Those of other nations who have conducted war have had but one interest. With a disinterested zeal they have moved on to conquer or to die. Leading men in the Revolution acted unitedly, with zeal, and by that means they gained their independence. But men now act like demons instead of human beings. {1T 366.1}
Satan has, through his angels, communicated with officers who were cool, calculating men when left to themselves, and they have given up their own judgment and have been led by these lying spirits into very difficult places, where they have been repulsed with dreadful slaughter. It suits his Satanic majesty well to see slaughter and carnage upon the earth. He loves to see the poor soldiers mowed down like grass. I saw that the rebels have often been in positions where they could have been subdued without much effort; but the communications from spirits have led the Northern generals and blinded their eyes until the rebels were beyond their reach. And some generals would rather allow the rebels to escape than to subdue them. They think more of the darling institution
367
of slavery than of the prosperity of the nation. These are among the reasons why the war is so protracted. {1T 366.2}
Inspiration says this:

When the laws of men conflict with the word and law of God, we are to obey the latter, whatever the consequences may be. The law of our land requiring us to deliver a slave to his master, we are not to obey; and we must abide the consequences of violating this law. The slave is not the property of any man. God is his rightful master, and man has no right to take God's workmanship into his hands, and claim him as his own. {1T 201.2}

So, she would have said the same thing about the military draft. If the draft causes us to break God's law, then we are to disobey it, right? So does it? Does she tell us to dodge the draft?

I saw that those who have been forward to talk so decidedly about refusing to obey a draft do not understand what they are talking about. Should they really be drafted and, refusing to obey, be threatened with imprisonment, torture, or death, they would shrink and then find that they had not prepared themselves for such an emergency. They would not endure the trial of their faith. What they thought to be faith was only fanatical presumption. {1T 357.1}

I am not fully settled in regard to taking up arms, but this
looks consistent to me. I think it would please the enemy for us to
obstinately refuse to obey the law of our country (when this law
is not against our religious faith) and sacrifice our lives. It looks to
me that Satan would exult to see us shot down so cheaply,
for
our influence could not have a salutary influence upon
beholders, as the death of the martyrs. No, all would think we
were served just right, because we would not come to the help of
our imperiled country
. Were our religious faith at stake, we
should cheerfully lay down our lives and suffer for Christ. {2BIO 43.5}

We are at present enjoying the protection of our civil and
religious rights, by the best government under heaven.
With the
exception of those enactments pressed upon it by the slave
power, its laws are good. . . . Whatever we may say of our
amiable President, his cabinet, or of military officers, it is
Christlike to honor every good law of our land. Said Jesus,
"Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's;
and unto God the things that are God's" (Matt. 22:21). Those
who despise civil law should at once pack up and be off for some
spot on God's footstool where there is no civil law
.--Ibid. {2BIO 42.2}

He then declared that "for us to attempt to resist the laws of the best government under heaven, which is now struggling to put down the most hellish rebellion since that of Satan and his angels, . . . would be madness." He added: {2BIO 42.3}

Those who are loyal to the government of Heaven, true to the
constitution and laws of the Ruler of the universe, are the last
men to "sneak" off to Canada, or to Europe, or to stand
trembling in their shoes for fear of a military draft.
Is God their
Father? He is a mighty God. "Behold, the nations are as a drop of
a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance:
behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing" (Isa.
40:15).--Ibid. {2BIO 42.4}
Some of these statements where by James White. They didn't want people to think Adventists where traitors, in sympathy with the South. Such traitors where shot. They would not have died as martyrs, but as traitors.

Conclusion: If our country needs us to take up arms, then we must do that. It is our sworn duty to our country.
I was a "conscientious objector" during the Vietnam war and served as a field medic. In other words, conscientious objectors do serve in the military but in non-combatant roles.

I was trained to help anyone hurt or wounded, including the enemy. I refused to be trained in, or to carry, weapons.

The Reform are opposed to any service in the military by its members. And during World War 2, the Reform SDAs refused all military service.

The SDA position is that it advises its members to be non-combatants but if a member decides to accept a combat role, the church will support them. The Reform SDAs would not.
During the time of the draft, SDA often received official "conscientious objector" status, which meant that they would not be forced to train with or carry weapons, but so far as I know they all went into active military service when drafted. I don't know of any SDAs who refused all military service.

There was a difference between conscientious objectors and pacifists. I knew of pacifists who went to jail rather than be drafted into the service. I was not a pacifist.

If I had been in a situation where my unit was being overrun by the enemy and my buddies would have been killed if I didn't pick up a weapon to defend them, I would have picked it up. A "pacifist" won't pick up a weapon under any circumstances.

Have you heard of Desmond Doss? He was one of the first SDA "conscientious objectors" during WW2, and the most famous one, but he disliked that label. He wished he could have been called "a conscientious cooperator.' He saved many men's lives during a battle on Okinawa.
The history that I was told goes along these lines... German SDAs refused to join the armed forces on the basis that they were commandment-keepers and appealed to freedom of conscience. The German government wanted their stance verified by the GC. Apparently, the GC said that there was nothing to prevent them serving in the armed forces, i.e. bearing arms. They were then arrested, prosecuted, etc., on the basis that they were taking a personal stance rather than a religious stance. They were then disfellowshipped because they insisted on maintaining a stance of non-support for the armed forces, that is, not working as medics as that was also helping to prosecute war.

Having said that I will add that: (i) this is dependent on my memory of what I was briefly told some 17 years ago; (ii) it was not an impartial account so may not be unbiased.

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