Witnessing to Adventists Idea #1


#1

I’d like to write posts from time to time emphasizing ways to dialogue with Adventist friends or relatives in meaningful ways. In particular, I’d like to highlight some Adventist-specific ways to introduce the teachings of the Catholic Church. Here’s my first entry:

THE SANCTUARY DOCTRINE (a doozy to understand… but very helpful)

Adventists stress the Priesthood of Christ. In particular, they emphasize that the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross does not complete the plan of redemption. The blood of Christ must also be applied to believers on earth and to the Heavenly Sanctuary. (They also add that Christ began cleansing the Most Holy Place of the Hevaenly Sanctuary in 1844). An understanding of the work of Christ in the Heavenly Sactuary, presenting His body and blood before the Father to cleanse the universe of sin prior to His Second Coming is a unique insight of Adventism. In Adventism, it is hailed as a central doctrinal truth and its discovery led to the formation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Interestingly enough, this belief brings them much criticism from other Protestants (and some who have left the Church) who believe the doctrine denies the efficacy of Chist’s once-for-all Sacrifice, and yet, this doctrine places them closer than any other Protestant group to understanding the Sacrifice of the Mass:

We as Catholics also affirm that the Sacrifice of the Cross paved the way for Christ, as Priest, to continually apply the benefits of His once-for-all Sacrifice to believers and eternally present His body and blood before the Father. However, we add that in the Eucharist, Christ’s body and blood is also made present in the Church, and the priest, acting in the person (and priesthood) of Christ, presents that body and blood of Christ to God together with the local church assembled in the echaristic sacrifice. Thus, what Adventists rightly envision occuring in the Heavenly Sanctuary (that is, Christ eterally presenting His once-for-all Sacrifice before the Father) is made mystically present in Catholic & Orthodox churches during every liturgy or mass. We join our Great High Priest, and the Church, in the universal liturgy centered around the throne of God the Father. (One of the reasons Catholics sing the Sanctus is because we are mystically united to all the angels in Heaven when we prepare to offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice sigging the song of Heaven: Holy, Holy, Holy.)

One should read the Catechism on the Eucharist & the Sacrifice of the Mass, or Adventist materials online/in print on the sanctuary message to better appreciate the nuances of both beliefs…become conversant with this very loaded idea… one will find a degree of similarity unmatched in any other Protestant group, and open door. Serious Adventists will understand this doctrine backwards and forwards (unfotunately, not all tend to study it with depth, and despite its centrality, its complexity ensures it is often understressed or unmentioned).

When witnessing, point out this unique common ground. Again, this teaching is central to Adventist theology, and quite frankly, to Catholic sacramental theology. Then, proceed to point out how the Catholic “sancutuary message” is more profound than that found in Adventist theology:

  1. What occurs in the Heavenly Sanctuary is made mystically present in the Eucharistic Sacrifice. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the Church is one with her High Priest.

  2. We partake of the Sacrifice inthe Eucharist, as the Israeites ate the Passover. Adventists stress the anctuary and sacrifice, but have no concept of what it means to partake of the Sacrifice of Christ. Yet, the notion of eating the sacrifice was central to the Old Testament ritual system.

Protestant “discoveries” can never equal the eternity of Catholic dogma. Catholic theology is the fulness of Christianity… ever more profound, ever more beautiful, ever more personal.

When witnessing to your Adventist friends, be sure to use words such as “sanctuary, once-for-all sacrifice, High priest”… this will ring a deep resonant chord with many Adventists (in short, speak the lingo). Also, never present this as a challenge, but in a spirit of sincere comparison between the two doctrines. Impress them with your concern to learn more of their perspective on something considered profound in Adventism, and enage in throughtful exploration of the Catholic perspective.


#2

Hello adventistnomore

My understanding is that when we “witness” to someone, it is not supposed to be some sort of theological wrestling match with the winning team being the one with the latest psychological ruse.

It is plain that when a Catholic says “the sanctuary doctrine” that they mean something much different than an Adventist who says the same phrase, “sanctuary doctrine.” It is a common teaching of Catholic Apologists to use in common phrases, that in reality mean much different things. Another good example is when Catholics say “we believe in the Bible;” but, in reality, when you say “Bible;” you do mean something much different than I do.

I really dislike such plastic approaches to “witnessing;” and would never fall for it in a million years. I don’t want to be a victim of the latest or the smoothest apologetics technique. I wish that people from all denominations would actually seek more to witness the way God intends. :shrug:

Can you explain to us please, what is your understanding of the following; especially the word “witness” as used in this text, and similar texts?

**Isa 43:12 **I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.

You should also re-think your use of phrases such as:

"Protestant “discoveries” can never equal the eternity of Catholic dogma.

This makes the presumption that the Catholic Church was/is the “first” Church, which the Bible literally denies. Perhaps this is why Catholics mean something so much different than Protestants when it comes to using in common words such as “Bible?”


#3

Dear Adventistnomore,

Thank you for your post. I found it quite interesting. I agree that in order to share our faith with others, it is helpful to understand “where they are coming from.”

I am still “digesting your post” but will write again soon. I hope you will post more about what you have written above on your website.

Sincerely,

Maria1212


#4

adventistnomore,
Nice post. To tell you the truth, I have always avoided this subject when studying Adventist doctrine. It seemed somehow contrived and an invention to cover the mistake of the Great Disappointment. I just never felt the need to plow through it.(Maybe having ADD had something to do with it). You have broken it down nicely.

Being an ex-adventist myself, I try to find as many things as I can that help me understand where Adventists are coming from. Most of my moms family is still Adventist, although they don’t give me much of an opportunity to witness to them.

This is already shaping up to be an intersting thread. I’m sure there’ll be fireworks. It seems that the ones who make the most noise in opposition to Catholic truths, are an aside to those who are lurking, and learning. For those who are honestly open, who really want to learn what and who we (Catholics) are all about, I pray that they will be open to the Holy Spirit.

I look forward to more installations.


#5

Excellent point. This isn’t the only area in which Adventist understanding is much closer to the Catholic than other protestant groups. I think that because many sincere Adventists DO make an effort to understand the bible, they often end up closer to Catholic beliefs than they realize. The sad thing is so often they don’t know Catholic theology well enough to recognize it.

I so appreciate your efforts in witnessing to Adventists. The number of former Adventists who are now Catholic, even just on this forum, is encouraging. 20 years ago, when I was a newbie Catholic I felt like a strange solitary fish indeed. Finding others is very refreshing, as i’m still struggling with my SDA relatives.

MarysRoses


#6

Protestant 101,

I laughed when I saw this dormant “thread” (which consisted only of my original post) could boast its first reply after two years.

It is plain that when a Catholic says “the sanctuary doctrine” that they mean something much different than an Adventist who says the same phrase, “sanctuary doctrine.”

Of course, but we are referring to different concepts of the same Priestly ministry of Christ, and the same Heavenly Sanctuary referenced in Hebrews.

As I recall, I was making the point that Adventists would be surprised to learn that Catholics also have a detailed concept of Christ’s priestly work in the Heavenly Sanctuary (whereas most Christian denominations do not). Adventists might be impressed by our attention to this topic (despite our alternative viewpoint), and that common interest might form the basis for an intriguing discussion. The fact that the Catholic doctrine is intimately tied to our Eucharistic theology also provides Catholics a unique way of approaching Adventist questions related to the Eucharist.

It is a common teaching of Catholic Apologists to use in common phrases, that in reality mean much different things. Another good example is when Catholics say “we believe in the Bible;” but, in reality, when you say “Bible;” you do mean something much different than I do.

I sense an implicit accusation of deception in this paragraph. But I ask you, what do Catholics mean by “we believe in the Bible,” and what do Adventists mean by the same statement?

I really dislike such plastic approaches to “witnessing;” and would never fall for it in a million years. I don’t want to be a victim of the latest or the smoothest apologetics technique. I wish that people from all denominations would actually seek more to witness the way God intends. :shrug:

Funny you should say that. I was a year away from entering the Catholic Church when I first wrote that post; my use of the term “witnessing” reflects the usage I learned from my Adventists friends, professors, and influences. (I haven’t used the term for some time now; I agree with your criticisms.) Looking back, the strategies I suggest in my post are practically lifted out of Mark Finley’s handbook “Studying Together.” Perhaps you should first teach the General Conference’s Vice President of Global Evangelism how “to witness the way God intends.” :slight_smile:

This makes the presumption that the Catholic Church was/is the “first” Church, which the Bible literally denies.

Institutionally, the Catholic and Orthodox churches are in direct, organic continuity with the “first church”; no challenge can be made against the historical data on this point. (When was the Catholic Church instituted?) However, I also believe the Catholic Church is in theological continuity with the “first church.” In fact, my Bible led me to that conclusion when I was still an Adventist. Please show me where “the Bible literally denies” that “the Catholic Church is the ‘first’ church.”

Perhaps this is why Catholics mean something so much different than Protestants when it comes to using in common words such as “Bible?”

What do Catholics mean by “Bible,” and what do Adventists mean by the same term? As I recall they were referring to the same inspired literary collection (plus or minus a few books).


#7

For an excellent book comparing Catholic and Adventist teaching on Sunday and the Saturday sabbath, I recommend reading An Adventist and a Catholic. The author is Paul Eirene.
Contact information for ordering the book is below:

Ave Maria Press
P.O. Box 489, Sation U
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M8Z 5Y8

416-251-4245 or 1-800-663-Mary
Fax 416-253-0480

The ISBN number is 0-9684895-6-7

It is well worth the effort of getting the book and it costs less than ten dollars. I recommend ordering several, so you can share it with your Adventist friends and family. You can also give it as a gift to Adventists who leave literature on your doorstep!


#8

You seem like someone who has done some study on both sides of the fence; but I would comment on this point that Catholic theology has utterly failed to prove where the Bible literally affirms that they were the first Church.

I have read literature from both Catholic and Protestant sources which make this claim quite aggressively, yet the proof is just not there. :eek:

The Catholic Church is certainly not in theological continuity with the first Church either. You make the claims sound so lofty, but you supply no evidence for people to verify your claims. Please show us where the Bible uses the word “Catholic” and says explicitly that the Catholic Church was the “first” church."

You even make many claims about what Adventist really believe, again, without providing proper Adventist references to back up your claims. It looks like you are in the habit of pulling some of your claims out of a hat.

So far, your “witness” to Adventists does not “witness” to me at all. You actually sound confued to me on the Bible doctrines of the sanctuary. if you understood it better, you would never say how “similar” our respective understanding on this subject are. :eek:


#9

This makes the presumption that the Catholic Church was/is the “first” Church, which the Bible literally denies.

When I go to this point, I knew this posting wasn’t credible.


#10

before I do say anything, I would first invite them over for a BBQ,


#11

Witnessing to other Christians is imo a waste of time. It looks like some of you Catholics are obsessed with Adventists. Instead you should rather focus on witnessing to atheists, to people without hope, to people who believe that this life is all there is… there is a mass of souls which need to be reached!


#12

Then you obviously know nothing.


#13

adventistnomore,

I really don’t want to offend you but even your forum-nickname is ridiculous. Looks like the only way you can define yourself is through the opposition to another denomination! This is so bitter.


#14

[QUOTEWitnessing to other Christians is imo a waste of time. It looks like some of you Catholics are obsessed with Adventists. Instead you should rather focus on witnessing to atheists, to people without hope, to people who believe that this life is all there is… there is a mass of souls which need to be reached!]

That is true that there are many are in need of the basic truth of the Gospel message. There are many unchurched who have yet to hear God’s call. Unfortunately, Adventist have made it necessary to “witness” to them in order to counteract the misconceptions and outright lies they continually spread about our Church. I’m sorry you seem to have a problem with this, but it seems that it is the Aventist Church that seems to have an obsession with the Catholic Church, not the other way around.


#15

Protestant101,

Your arguments are not a great witness either. Adventisnomore asked where the bible denies that the Catholic Church is the first church, since you were the one to boldly make that claim, and instead of answering you try to turn it around.
The word Catholic is not in the bible but neither is the word Trinity. Your argument is baseless unless you can provide documentation that the Catholic Church is not the first Church that Christ founded. Where is your evidence?
There is evidence out there to back up our claims, but it is useless if you have already made up your mind about what it means. You have continually, dismissed our evidence. I’ve witenssed this on other threads. Its clear that you believe what the Adventist church teaches, but I have never seen any proof or evidence that it is true.


#16

That is true that there are many are in need of the basic truth of the Gospel message. There are many unchurched who have yet to hear God’s call. Unfortunately, Adventist have made it necessary to “witness” to them in order to counteract the misconceptions and outright lies they continually spread about our Church. I’m sorry you seem to have a problem with this, but it seems that it is the Aventist Church that seems to have an obsession with the Catholic Church, not the other way around.

No, it is the Catholic church which is obsessed by SDA (and other denominations). Just look how many Adventist threads there are in this forum. People dont really seem able to chill out a bit. :frowning:


#17

Some Catholics here have more knowledge on one particular protestant faith than another.

We cant be experts on every denomination of Protestant faiths since there are too many.

And the handle that is used by the Catholic poster who started this very honorable thread, is not bad or negative. It is likely something he/she does not want to forget and out of his/her love for the people that are sincere but very mislead that remain there he/she is showing the most respect of keeping them in mind when spreading the hope in the heart that only the Catholic Church teaches in entire fullness.

This does not sound bitter to me, it sounds like a commitment to care for the lost sheep.


#18

Hmmm…that’s interesting. Can you show me this obsession or where the SDA church is mentioned anywhere official Catholic teachings?
Here is what the Adventist church has to say about the Catholic Church.

*As Adventists relate to Roman Catholicism in particular, both the past and the future enter into our thinking. We cannot erase or ignore the historical record of serious intolerance and even persecution on the part of the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic system of church governance, based on extra-biblical teachings such as papal primacy, resulted in severe abuses of religious freedom as the church was allied with the state.

Seventh-day Adventists are convinced of the validity of our prophetic views, according to which humanity now lives close to the end of time. Adventists believe, on the basis of biblical predictions, that just prior to the second coming of Christ this earth will experience a period of unprecedented turmoil, with the seventh-day Sabbath as a focal point. In that context, we expect that world religions–including the major Christian bodies as key players–will align themselves with the forces in opposition to God and to the Sabbath. Once again the union of church and state will result in widespread religious oppression.

To blame past violations of Christian principles on one specific denomination is not an accurate representation of either history or the concerns of Bible prophecy. We recognize that at times Protestants, including Seventh-day Adventists, have manifested prejudice and even bigotry. If, in expounding on what the Bible teaches, Seventh-day Adventists fail to express love to those addressed, we do not exhibit authentic Christianity.

Adventists seek to be fair in dealing with others. Thus, while we remain aware of the historical record and continue to hold our views regarding end-time events, we recognize some positive changes in recent Catholicism, and stress the conviction that many Roman Catholics are brothers and sisters in Christ.


This statement was recorded on April 15, 1997, by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Administrative Committee (ADCOM) and released by the Office of the President, Robert S. Folkenberg*

The Adventist church teaches that the Catholic church is not only wrong, but that it is Babylon from revelation. I heard more about the Catholic church while I was an Adventist without even trying than I have in the 6 or 7 years that I have been seaching for a veiw of Adventists from a Catholic perspective.

Here on this forum, I find that former Adventists seek to better understand how to find common ground with thier previous religion, just like former Babtists, Methodists, Pentecostles…etc. Some of us still have family and/or friends that we need to deal with. Sometimes it helps to discuss things with others in this venue. After all, this is a Catholic Forum. I have seen no bitterness from any of the ex-Adventists here. You seem upset that we would disagree with your point of view.


#19

Hey, you know what? Even though I am vegetarian; I would come to that kind of thing in a minute! You are on the right track to be sure! :thumbsup:

I felt a pang when I read one poster’s view above which said, in effect, that witnessing is a waste of time:

**Isa 43:10 **Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

In this text, my favorite definition of “witnessing” is detailed for us to “practice” with on each other. :slight_smile: God appears to be saying with this text that our “witness” to others, is “that we may know and believe Him.”

To The Person Who Started This Thread: Does your “witnessing” have this effect on Adventists, or anyone else? Persuading someone that their doctrine is “wrong” doesn’t cut the mustard when it comes to true witnessing. Your little systems of apologetic superiority are sick with something different than Isa.43:10.

The only reason that I believe some Catholics to be true Christians is because of the way they genuinely love me, and care for me in my various personal interactions with them. My feelings for them, my perceptions of them actually have very little to do with doctrine.

On the other hand, I do not class doctrine as somehow optional, doctrines are essential; but the love of Christ will melt and subdue hearts, when the mere re-iteration of doctrines will accomplish nothing but building walls, instead of bridges.

Don’t try to “convince” people that you want to “witness” to; just love them!

**Joh 13:34 **A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
**Joh 13:35 ****By this shall all men know **that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.


#20

Pedja,

I joined this forum a few years ago because I needed encouragement in my own journey towards the Catholic Church. At the time (and up until a few months ago), I was a student in an Adventist University, and felt overwhelmed by the pressures all around me to remain Adventist. People started debates with me pretty regularly; in rare cases, I lost friends because of my new-found faith. It was a rough experience.

I think you can understand my need to connect with other Adventists who had made the same journey of faith for the sake of receiving encouragement. I also had a few doctrinal questions that I neded help with (like the sabbath, etc.). SDA2RC, among others, helped answer those last remain questions. Now, I am happy to do the same for other people. Helping answer other people’s questions and challenges help me reaffirm what I believe. That’s why we start these threads all the time: reaffirm our new faith.

Of course, I wanted a screen name that summed up who I was. Just by the name “adventistnomore,” you understand my basic story: I was once an Adventist. I didn’t want to use a real name, though early on, I often signed with my name (“Hugo”). That turned out to be a disaster, since people at my college recognized me, and reported my online activities to my Adventist religion professors. :frowning: Oh well, haha, no biggie.

Now Pedja,

If you realy believed that talking about other Christians is a waste of time, why are you on a Catholic forum at all? Haha, why not chat with Adventists? Or maybe, why reach lost souls who have never heard the gospel with all the time you spend talking to us Catholics? (Don’t leave… I’m just saying, lol.)

P.S. I’m not bitter, though any conversion is rough on your emotions.


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