Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 8, 1959
NUMBER 22, PAGE 8-9b

Letters To An Adventist -- (I)

Bill Shamblin, Port Hueneme, California

Dear Adventist Friend:

I am writing this letter in the interest of eternal truth. I sincerely hope that it will be received and considered in the same spirit that it is prepared. I am interested in the soul and spiritual welfare of every human being, and I am incited to this action by the impression that most folk share this interest, and that even many of those in error are themselves sincere in their quest for truth. So I am appealing to you, my friend, to "come, let us reason together."

The Apostle Peter said, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear." (1 Pet. 3:15.) This, of course, would mean to give a scriptural or Bible reason; and this we must do, for we should never practice anything for doctrine without Bible authority. I herein question the doctrinal program of the Adventist church, not the conduct of individual members. Every organization has its undesirables, and even though this is embarrassing and brings some reproach on the organization, it does not destroy its validity.

It would be a wonderful thing indeed if all religious people were united together in the body of Christ (Eph. 4:4), and would speak the same thing and be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1 Cor. 1:10.) This could be achieved only if everyone would accept the Bible as the only rule of faith and practice, and would follow it precisely in matters of doctrine.

May I speak frankly, dear friend? Though the above mentioned proposal is my fondest dream, I could never accept the doctrinal program of Adventism, unless some devoted person could show Bible authority for those practices held at issue. There are a number of such practices, but space would not permit us to consider them all in this letter; so I would like to mention what seems to be the cardinal doctrine of Adventism — the keeping of the old ten commandment law.

Let me say at the very outset that even though I consider Adventists to be in error, they are at least more consistent in this matter than most other denominations; for while most denominations claim to be under the ten commandment law, they make no pretense to observe the seventh day as the Sabbath. I concede that if we were under the old Decalogue today, we would be obligated to keep the seventh day as a Holy Sabbath, and no other day could suffice. The first day of the week is not and never was the Sabbath day. It is not a holy day and should not be observed as such. In fact, in this dispensation, there are no holy days, and we should not keep any day as such; however, the early church assembled on the first day of the week to break bread, (take the Lord's Supper, Acts 20:7) and we do the same thing today. We do not keep a "holy day," however. We simply observe a memorial according to the New Testament example. This cannot be wrong, for it has divine approval. But there is no example of the church coming together on the Sabbath day to break bread; therefore, it is without divine approval or Bible authority. In fact, when certain ones undertook to keep the Sabbath day, they were rebuked for doing so. In Gal. 4:10,11 the Apostle Paul said, "Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain."

Paul did not rebuke them for keeping the wrong day, but rather for keeping any day at all. In fact, the days that they were keeping were the same days that had been observed under the Old Law — the weekly Sabbath. Col. 2:16 says, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days." Now some make a play on words here, and say that since the word "days" is plural, it doesn't refer to the seventh day Sabbath; but this is just a quibble, for there are at least thirty places in the Old Testament where the seventh day Sabbath is referred to as "Sabbaths"; and in the New Testament it is referred to as "Sabbath days" in a number of places. For instance, Jesus said, "Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days." (See Matt. 12:5-12 also Mk. 3:1-4; Lk. 4:31, and Lk: 6:2-9 AV.) Under the Old Law, they were to observe every Sabbath day - i.e. all Sabbath days. There was never any other Sabbath day except the seventh day of the week, but there were many weeks; hence, many Sabbath days, and so the seventh day Sabbath is referred to as "Sabbath days". Even if we could find another Sabbath day law or a dozen separate Sabbath day laws as for that matter, it would not exempt the fourth commandment from Paul's statement in Col. 2:16, for his statement is all comprehensive (not specific), and would include all Sabbath days — i.e. any day that is called a Sabbath. The passage also mentions "a holy day", and the same thing would also hold true here. It would refer to any and all holy days; and since we are not to be judged in respect of a holyday, we are not to be judged in respect of a Sabbath day, for the seventh day Sabbath was certainly a holy day. Hear the fourth commandment, (Ex. 20:8) "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." Col: 2:14-16 shows that all holy days and all Sabbath days had been abolished, and that is why the apostle Paul said in Gal. 4:10,11: "Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain."

The Apostle Paul spent much of his time in combating Judaism in the early church; consequently, we have a great deal of material on this subject, and it isn't likely that anyone could possibly misunderstand this subject without a considerable amount of help. Hear the Apostle now in Col. 2:14-17, "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; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." Here Paul is saying that the old law was abolished when Christ was crucified.

But some will say that this passage refers to the ceremonial law, not the ten commandment law; and so they would divide the old law into two parts in order to justify a position, but the Bible makes no such distinction. In fact, the term "Ceremonial Law" or "Ten Commandment Law" per se is not found in the Bible. But Adventists say that the ten commandment law was the law of God, and the ceremonial law was the law of Moses; and again I say that the Bible knows no such distinction. Luke uses the terms "Law of Moses" and "Law of the Lord" interchangeably with reference to the same law. Lk: 2:22-24 says, "And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the Law of the Lord, every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons." Here we have the terms "Law of Moses" and "Law of the Lord" used in the same passage with reference to the same law. So we see that the Bible makes no distinction between them. All of the old law was given by the Lord; hence, it was all the law of the Lord, and it contains what Adventists call the ceremonial law as well as the ten commandment law. But all of the old law was given through Moses; hence, it was all the law of Moses, and contains the ten commandments as well as the, so called, ceremonial law. Mk. 7:9,10 says, "And he said unto them, full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honor thy father and thy mother; and, whose curseth father or mother, let him die the death." So you see, the law of Moses and the law of the Lord is the same law, and when Christ abolished the old law, he abolished all of it.