1. It was born in a mistake. The origin of Adventism was in the Millerite time-setting of 1843 and 1844, which all know was a mistake.
2. That work produced great fanaticism, and wrought disaster to thousands of souls.
3. Out of that movement has grown a whole brood of errors, as they themselves will admit.
4. Seventh-day Adventism is a system of popery - one-man power. From the first, Elder White took this position, and molded the whole system to fit it. He would and did rule and dictate in everything in all the field. He would make it hot for one who dared to start anything which he had not bossed. He was head and president of everything. So now a few run everything. Their word is law. It is contrary to the Gospel, and has resulted in the mental degradation of the mass of that people. A few think for all.
5. The mere word of Mrs. White, an uneducated woman, is accepted as the voice of God to them dictating in everything. "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them." Isa. 3:12.
6. From the start, Elder and Mrs. White would take up publicly the faults, real or imaginary, of any one and every one, ministers, editors and all, and expose them before the whole congregation. If any objected, they were "rebels." All this was then printed in her "Testimonies" as inspired, and circulated for all to read. This has begotten in all a habit of criticising and fault-finding, which is reprehensible to the last degree. Any one might have foreseen that it would result in this. Mrs. White herself now says: "There has been a picking at straws. And when there were no real difficulties in the church, trials have been manufactured." Testimonies, Vol. 1, page 144. "Love for one another had disappeared, and a fault-finding, accusing spirit has prevailed. It has been considered a virtue to hunt up everything about one another that looked wrong, and make it appear fully as bad as it really was." Page 164. Mrs. White herself has set the example, and she is largely followed, till they are a denomination of fault-finders.
7. It is a fundamental doctrine with them that all the other churches are apostate and corrupt. Hence they are eagerly on the watch for every evil thing they can pick up against them. This is poor business, and it begets in themselves a hard, unlovely spirit.
8. They are constantly on the watch for all the evidence they can gather, showing that the world is rapidly growing worse. This again has a bad effect on themselves, tending to make them sour and gloomy.
9. Their ministers are mere lecturers, going from place to place, staying only a few weeks at a time, and repeating the same old sermons over and over. As a consequence they became narrow and small and dry. Their preaching is almost wholly doctrinal and argumentative. This makes them hard and combative, instead of tender and charitable.
10. Their churches are very small, generally numbering from fifteen to forty. They have no pastors, and seldom any preaching. Their meetings are held on Saturday, when others are at work, hence not a soul attends except themselves. So their meetings are small and dull and tiresome, especially to youth and children. Never mingling with other churches, they soon fall into a rut and become very dry. The great mass of them are uncultured, and their local leaders are farmers or mechanics. The decorum seen in other churches is generally wanting in theirs. Their children are noisy, and often the members too. This is not good.
11. Their theory compels them to be narrow and uncharitable. They cannot work at all with other Christians in anything. This is another bad feature of that system. They condemn all Christian workers who do not follow them. See how Jesus rebuked that narrow, bigoted spirit: "And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not, for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me; for he that is not against us is on our part." Mark 9:38-40.
12. In a community they have no influence whatever over the irreligious. Not one of them attends their meetings; not a child outside of their own families attends their Sabbath schools. Other churches, by their public meetings, sermons and schools on Sundays, have a mighty influence for good over the unconverted.
13. Their work is largely proselyting. Truly, "they compass sea and land to make one proselyte." They will work just as hard to get a good old Christian out of another church as they will to convert a sinner. They tear down more than they build up.
14. They count all lost who reject their "message." Their missions of which they boast so much are the dread of all other missionaries, as they work as hard to proselyte members from churches as they do to convert raw heathens or sinners. Thus, of their "mission" in London, Elder Haskell says: "Thirteen have taken their stand on the Sabbath.... These have come principally from the Church of England." Review, April 10, 1888. Yes, their converts are always "principally" from other churches. I became sick of such work.
15. By their arguments they confuse the minds of many, so that they know not what to believe. They set them against other churches, and so they drift away from all and are entirely lost. Adventists have done a large amount of this work, and their influence in that line is fearful.
16. Many of their children grow up to keep neither Saturday nor Sunday, nor to attend any church, and hence they become irreligious.
17. Sunday-breakers who hunt, fish, sport or work that day, are encouraged in it by the arguments and examples of the Adventists. This certainly is evil. A community where Sabbatarians live has no quiet rest-day at all.
18. The power of God does not attend the Advent work as it should, if it is His special work. During my long experience with them, I was impressed with the fact that, as a rule, the work was exceedingly dry and powerless. This disheartened me greatly. I saw that it was so with all their ministers, from large to small. Their year book for 1888 shows that they did not average one convert to each minister!
19. In fields where they have been the longest and are best known, they have the least success. As soon as it is well understood what it really is, they can do nothing.
20. The apostles, the reformers, and others whom God has sent, have built up large societies, and wielded a great influence for good in society. But the Adventists never do. They have no influence for good on society. This feature of the work often troubled me. Notice how the heretical and fanatical sects generally withdraw themselves from community, and build up a little exclusive society by themselves. See the Shakers, the Mormons, the Oneida Community, the followers of Mrs. Southcott, etc. Seventh-day Adventists become a little exclusive party in any community where they are. They go by themselves, and take part in almost nothing which interests others. Take my own town as an example. They have had a church here for thirty years, numbering from fifty to seventy-five. They take no part nor interest in any social, literary, moral, sanitary, temperance or religious work outside of their own. They are never thought of as helpers in any such necessary and noble work. They never attend a prayer meeting, a revival effort, or a Sabbath School except their own. The Young Men's Christian Association, which is wholly unsectarian, is doing a noble work to save the young men of the place. Not one Adventist attends or takes interest in it. On the contrary, the Adventist store is open for trade, and thus becomes a resort for idlers and Sunday breakers. In whatever way considered, their influence is detrimental to the best interests of religion and good society.
How different it was with the followers of the true reformers, Luther, Wesley, Calvin, etc. They stood with the people, worked for them, and made society generally better.
The moment a person becomes a thoroughly converted Seventh-day Adventist, he is spoiled for any further usefulness in society. This is their record everywhere, as all will testify who know them. To convert men to their doctrine is the all-absorbing passion of their lives, leaving them neither interest, time nor means for anything else.
21. I came to see that the great burden of Adventists was about merely speculative theories concerning which they cannot KNOW positively that they are correct after all. Such are their theories about the sleep of the dead, destruction of the wicked, the sanctuary in heaven, the time when Jesus will come, their interpretation of the image beast of Rev. 13:11-18, the mark of the beast, etc. Do they KNOW that they are right about these? No, they think they are, and others equally honest, pious and intelligent, think differently. I came to feel that it was foolish for me to spend my life over what after all I did not know was really so. But we do know that it is right to evangelize the heathen and the vicious of our cities, to save the drunken and fallen, to preach Christ and convert sinners, and to work for everything that will improve the condition of men and society NOW. But with Adventists these things are secondary or neglected entirely, while they constantly put their pet theories first and dwell upon them most of the time.
22. All in their system that has been a blessing to them is held also by all evangelical churches, such as faith in God, in Jesus and the Bible, a pure heart, holy life, self-denial, etc. Nothing good has come to them or to the world by those doctrines which are peculiar to Adventist, as the TIME of the advent, the condition of the dead, the Sabbath, the visions, etc.
23. Having been disappointed so many times and so long, taking so gloomy a view of things generally, they are as a class a very discouraged and unhappy set of people.
24. It is "another gospel," Gal. 1:6, which the apostles never preached. I was long impressed with the fact that we Adventists preached very differently from the apostles. For instance, we were always preaching and writing about the Sabbath, while Paul in all his fourteen epistles mentions it but ONCE, Col. 2:16, and then only to condemn it! "We find in the New Testament 'preach the gospel,' fifty times; 'preach Christ,' twenty-three times; 'preach the word,' seventeen times; 'preach the kingdom,' eight times; 'preach the law,' or 'the Sabbath,' not once!" Warner.
25. They are unpatriotic. Not a soul of them, man or woman, in field or hospital, lifted a finger to aid in putting down the rebellion or slavery. They staid [sp] at home and found fault. See Mrs. White's Testimonies, Vol. 1, pages 253-268. If a man had gone to war he would have been expelled from the church, for Mrs. White forbade it. Hear her: "I was shown that God's people, who are his peculiar treasure, cannot engage in this perplexing war, for it is opposed to every principle of their faith." Testimonies, Vol. 1, page 361. They hold that our nation is "the beast" of Rev. 13:11-18, which will soon become a tyranny. Mrs. White says: "The nation will be on the side of the great rebel leader," the Devil. Testimony No. 31, page 132. So they all feel.
26. Their false ideas of Sunday leads them to join with infidels, atheists, Jews, saloon-keepers and the irreligious generally in opposing any restriction on Sunday desecration. It is one of the anomalies of the age to see a Christian church unite with the worst elements of society and the enemies of Christ, to oppose the best interests of society and the sacrificing work of the most devout and intelligent of the land. What is a religion good for, anyway, which spoils a person for all practical usefulness in society? What does it mean to "love your neighbor"?
The Adventists claim great light above all others on the prophecies. The old women and the little children among them confidently believe that they know more about the prophecies than all the commentators and scholars in the world. They can tell exactly what every horn, and wing, head and tail, trumpet and vial, beast or angel in all the prophecies means! Any possibility of mistake? Not the slightest. And yet probably no people ever made as many mistakes in the same length of time as Adventists have.
Consider how little critical knowledge of exact historical dates and facts common people really possess. The great mass of intelligent business men, farmers, mechanics, mothers and housekeepers, would be poor judges in such matters. Most of them know nothing about it. They could not intelligently dispute any statement a lecturer might make on such points. These Advent preachers go before such an audience night after night for six or eight weeks, with their positive statements boldly made and often repeated, till their deluded hearers think them to be the most wonderful historians, and accept their statements as undoubted truths! So of their Bible readers, who go from house to house to expound the deep things of God. I know them well, have taught many of them, and have been in their training schools. Many of them could not get a third grade certificate, nor have they ever read a volume of history. They simply learn by rote, parrot-like a lesson which they repeat glibly to the astonished farmer or unread mother. Get them off this track and they are dumb. They are like those whom Paul rebuked, "Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say nor whereof they affirm." 1 Tim. 1:7. This fits them exactly. (See Appendix B and C.)