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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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I just hope that we can learn from this. I would like to believe that when Sky quotes something ... that it is being done accurately.
Sorry Travis but i dont twist Mrs. White's quotes. The burden is on you to prove that now.

Just because someone claims I have "twisted" Mrs.White's quotes does not mean that I have. Jim just verified the quotes for us and they are what they are. They were put somewhere else in the most recent publication. I quoted from an older edition but they are exactly the same.

sky
Don, thanks so much for your help but the quotes I have used are not from a "revised edition" or in "modern language". Nothing has been changed.. The quotes are from Sister White in the original. I will re-post with full quotations and I hope that every one will be able to see that the meaning was not altered in any way, shape, or form. Okay here is the entire post in full context.
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Don, it is my understanding that it was then just as it is now... the Rods and Davidians only prey on SDAs because they have a special message for them. There is a special mark or seal for SDAs, the rejection of which will lead directly to their death at the hands of the angel with the slaughter-weapon in his hands. Houteff was the angel with the writer's inkhorn so I guess you can fill in the rest yourself. (See Ezek.9 for context). JohnB
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This goes to show that God has a special message for Laodicea and the enemy knows that, so he makes one counterfeit after another.

But "Amid the confusing cries, 'Lo here is Christ! Lo, there is Christ!' will be borne a special testimony, a special message of truth appropriate for this time, which message is to be received, believed, and acted upon. It is the truth, not fanciful ideas, that is efficacious. The eternal truth of the Word will stand forth free from all seductive errors and spritualistic intepretations, free from all fancifully drawn, alluring pictures. Falsehood will be urged upon the attention of God's people, but the truth is to stand clothed in its beautiful, pure garments. The Word, precious in its holy, uplifting influence, is not to be degraded to a level with common, ordinary matters. It is always to remain uncontaminated by the fallacies by which Satan seeks to deceive, if possible, the very elect." E.G.W. Bible Commentary, Vol.7,984. (7a 428)

This statement was made by Mrs. White in the context of Rev.18:1... the light that is to lighten the whole earth with its glory and which was resisted in 1888. See also 1 S.M.234,235.

What is the eternal truth of the Word? Concerning this message which was resisted in 1888, which was the special testimony, a special message of truth the Lord sent to the church, we read:

"How long will you hate and despise the messengers of God's righteousness? God has given them His message. They bear the Word of the Lord: There is salvation for you but only through the MERITS of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit has been offered to you again again." Testimonies to Ministers, 96,97.

Salvation through faith in the merits of Jesus Christ means acceptance with God, forgiveness, justfication, and sanctification of the Holy Spirit and glorification.

"We are accepted through Christ's merits alone." E.G.W. Bible Commentary, Vol.5,1122 (7a242)

"The sinner is justified through the merits of Jesus." E.G. W. Faith and Works,107.

"We are to be transformed through the merits of Christ." E.G.W. Our Father Cares,204.

This special testimony, or special message of truth, is the interest that will prevail and the subject that is to swallow up every other!

"He died to make an atonement, and to become a pattern for every one who would be His disciple. Shall selfishness come into your hearts? And will those who set not before them the pattern, Jesus, extol your merits? You have none except as they come though Jesus Christ." E.G. W. Bible Commentray, Vol.5,1128.

Simple as ABC. And yet we do not understand it. "The matter of salvation is just as simple as ABC. But we do not understand it." E.G.W. Faith and Works,64. On this very page Mrs. White defines "living faith" as "laying right hold upon the MERITS of the blood of a crucified and risen Savior."

It is just as simple as ABC and yet it needs to be continually repeated, again and again, for "we are slow to learn and ready to forget." Desire of Ages,98.

The apostle Paul said, "For me to repeat the same thing is not tedious, but for you it is safe." Phil.3:1.

For me it is not tedious to repeat the same statements from the pen of inspiration that extol the all-sufficient merits of Jesus Christ but for you it is safe.

sky

Why should the matter of "merits" be so difficutl to understand? I was raised with the belief that salvation was through the merits of my good works and that I could pray to the "saints" because they had a bank of merits and that made them intercessors between God and man. .. The idea of salvation through merits is the right idea but it must not be creature merits but the divine merits of Jesus Christ alone for "only His merits will be recognized" "only His merits avail with God." Our Father Cares,149; F.W.48.

Here are the last two quotes in full: "Only the merits and righteousness of Christ will be recognized. But this is placed in our account in rich fullness. We may draw upon God every moment. God has pledged Himself to open before us all the riches of His grace." E.G. White, Our Father Cares,149.

"Works without faith are dead, and faith without works is dead. Works will never save us; it is the merit of Christ that will avail in our behalf." E.G. White, Faith and Works, 48.

Here is the last quote in full context:

"All that man can do without Christ is polluted with selfishness and sin; but that which is wrought through faith is acceptable to God. When we seek to gain Heaven through the merits of Christ, the soul makes progress,. 'Looking unto Jesus , the author and finisher of our faith,' we may go on from strength to strength and from victory to victory, for through Christ the grace of God has worked out our complete salvation." F.W.94.

This last quote can also be found in Selected Messages, Vol.1, p.364 exactly as it is found in Faith and Works, 94.

sky
Sky. You simply can't use the quotation marks if the text does not have those words exactly in the exact order. You may 'think' that the quote says what you write. But when you use quotation marks ... it must be exact. If you are going to state what you 'think' the quotation says ... just state so and don't use quotation marks.

If you add or delete words in a quote ... you are putting words in the author's mouth or taking away words from the authors mouth and thus misquoting the author. You wouldn't like it if I did that to you ... So, please be accurate so we can have faith when you quote a source. This is critical.

You say "I hope that every one will be able to see that the meaning was not altered in any way, shape, or form."

I am not here to debate whether the meaning has been changed or not. What is clear is that words were either added or deleted or the entire quote was simply in your own words. This can not be done when you put something in quotation marks.

I hope that we can just learn from this experience and move on. I would like to be able to trust that when you quote references that they are correct. May God Bless you ...
This should be my last post to you on this. First you stated that the statements I used could not be from Mrs. White. Then you changed your mind saying that they were from her but that they were not as portrayed. Then you repeated two or three times that these quotes were not attributed to Mrs. White and that she did not write those commentaries! I have in my possession Volume 7A of Bible Commentary from which I have taken these quotes.... I have had this Bible Commetary for I dont know how many years now...

If these quotes are not from Mrs. White, then why take me to task for something you yourself do no believe even existed?

True I paraphrased a couple of sentences but the thougtht was not altered in any way, shape, or form. What is true of the Bible is also true of the Tesimonines. It is not the "words" that are inspired but the "thoughts." As long as the thoughts being conveyed are not altered, and are preserved, the message is the same. But if words are added or taken away to change the meaning of the thought originally expressed, then we have every reason to object. This I have not done in any way, shape, or form.

I challenge you or anyone else for that matter to bring forth any evidence that I have changed the meaning of anything Mrs. White has written.

You know what brother 4Him, isn't it rather interesting that just a little while ago, you rejected the clearest testimonies concerning the issue of whether one should be taught or dare to say "I am saved" until Christ shall come and you rejected the clearest testimonies as to whether or not one may be able to cease to sin, to overcome as Jesus ovecame, and now you are presenting yourself as the guardian and protector of those very writings and accusing me of having misquoted the Testimonies when I haven't altered the thoughts conveyed in the statements I have used in the least!

There is definitely something wrong with this picture!

sky
It is dangerous to change the words of our prophet when you are quoting her. You may believe that you are not changing the meaning. But what you ARE doing is changing her words , misquoting her and misrepresenting her.

You are free to paraphrase her. But please identify what you are doing and do not but quotation marks on words attributed to our prophet when it is really just YOUR personal words. This is critical to honesty.

When you drop or add words from the quotes of our prophet ... you need to make it clear to the reader what you have done and not include quotation marks. Please.

And another danger is to do as you have with our prophets words and take them out of context.

If you read the Sabbath School lesson for this past week ... you would realize the purpose of Sister White saying that we are not to say we are saved. The purpose was to discount the 'once saved always saved' theology that is so prevelant in society today. This is a dangerous belief and she was addressing it.

But, as the lesson brings out ... we can at this moment have the assurance of salvation. What we don't know and should not say is that our status is sealed and that no matter what we do from now on that we will be saved in the end.

I have clearly articulated this to you. I wish you would not twist my words.

And as far as the rest ... it is the same issue and I just do not have the time or energy to set you straight. I doubt it will do any good anyways. You are determined to undermine me. SO ... I will just turn the other cheek and let you attack.
Sky ... you said "True I paraphrased a couple of sentences but the thougtht was not altered in any way, shape, or form. What is true of the Bible is also true of the Tesimonines. It is not the "words" that are inspired but the "thoughts."

And I need to address this for you.

I firmly believe in preserving the 'exact' words of Ellen White. Once we go down the road you have chosen we are in danger. For ANY of us to think that we have the 'wisdom' given to us to 'improve' the words of our prophet ... then we are in trouble. I don't believe that you have this ability.

So, when you quote our prophet ... I would like to believe that the words you use ... are HER words and NOT yours. Inserting YOUR words and representing them as HERS ... is a slippery slope. Not to mention a dishonest one.

I would just ask that when you use quotation marks ... that you use her words and not insert your words ... even if you think they are an imporvement from our prophets'. Some here may actually disagree with you.
4Him,

sky is pointing out something true that bears repeating:

"You know what brother 4Him, isn't it rather interesting that just a little while ago, you rejected the clearest testimonies concerning the issue of whether one should be taught or dare to say 'I am saved' until Christ shall come and you rejected the clearest testimonies as to whether or not one may be able to cease to sin, to overcome as Jesus ovecame, and now you are presenting yourself as the guardian and protector of those very writings and accusing me of having misquoted the Testimonies when I haven't altered the thoughts conveyed in the statements I have used in the least!

There is definitely something wrong with this picture!"

I'm in 100% agreement with sky.
I think 4Him is just saying that if you're not going to have a word-for-word quote, you should not put quotation marks around it, because that's misleading.
Hopfully, we really will be back on topic now, thanks Don for at least trying to turn the thread back to the original topic...

It was Shepherd's Rod theology that I was sharing, sorry if I didn't make that plain. Personally, I don't have to bother with their actual theology too much as their deceitful and dishonest approaches put me off immediately.

However, they believe that it is up to them to separate the wheat and the tares in the SDA church and that this must be done to purify the church prior to the beast's law of Rev.13. Those left over will be the 144,000 who will stand with Jesus on Mount Zion and then proclaim the Loud Cry.

This is one of the reasons that there was so much concern over the stockpiling of weapons at Mt Carmel, Waco. Houteff's widow taught that the 42 months of Rev.11:2 would begin in 1956 and last until 1959 when the SDA church would be "purified" according to the pattern of Ezekiel 9. She taught that following this a Davidic Kingdom would be set up in Israel.

With the obvious failing of this prophecy the movemnet then splintered into various groups with the Branch Davidians of Waco becoming the most notorious.
Ok, let me throw something else into the mix... which "Reform SDA church" are we talking about? As often happens the Reformed movement split into other groups some of which could be best described as Reform Reform SDA. I don't recall all the details although I do recall that Kozel was their GC President and he reorganised and then Nicolici had his group and others moved away from him and so on.

I have many good friends who are Reform SDAs and to be honest they are no different from conservative SDAs. A lot of emphasis placed on EGW, the Health Message and righteousness by faith and I have never heard anything that I could detect as being doctrinally incorrect.

Shepherd's Rod are another story. I never trust them because as a body of people they are dishonest, yes, some come across as nice people but it is very hard to relax in the company of people when you can never be sure if they are being honest or not. I would (and have) attend Reform SDA church quite happily. I would not feel comfortable attending a Shepherd's Rod or Branch Davidian service.

I have a lot of sympathy for the Reform SDAs stand in regard to the military, it is Biblical and in line with what SDAs originally professed. I believe the SDA church has apologised for what happened in the past. I know a few SDAs who live in countries where they have been conscripted into the armed forces and they have terrible tales to tell. Not allowed to keep the Sabbath, one brother had a rifle tied to his hands using barbed wire because he refused to bear arms, beatings, ridicule and worse. But I have also heard some amazing testimonies of how God overuled the military leaders and preserved those faithful brethren.
I think and feel the same as JohnB on this, in regard to the differences between the SDA Reform and the S. Rods.

The Reform have some legitimate arguments, although I don't believe in separating from the SDA church. The problem, though, is that our church and some of our leaders did make some terrible mistakes at time of WW1. No doubt both sides were at fault but the separation was forced on SDAs who were difellowshiped because they decided not to bear arms in the German military. Many of these men went to prison and some were executed for following their consciences. But for this they were disfellowshiped. Efforts have been unsuccessful to bring the two groups back together, because the Reform believes the SDA church ought to admit the leadership were in the wrong.

Anyway, it is a sad state of affairs. I personally think our church ought to admit they made mistakes, but to be honest, I think things have gone so far now that the Reform wouldn't re-emerge anyway. They are very strong in a few beliefs that oppose our beliefs, such as on the military, the 144,000, as well as vegetarianism and the writings of Ellen White. They believe that people who don't accept Ellen White ought to be disfellowshipped, and of course we believe the Gifts of the Spirit should not be made a test of fellowship.

So there we stand, both sides unwilling to change and so both sides in separate churches. So close, yet so far apart.

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