Let’s Get “the Hell” Out of The Adventist Church

Here are 100 of the most quotable quotes from AdventUprising.com so far. I hope you don’t take the title of this post the wrong way. In case you did, let me help you: there’s hell in the Adventist church and it’s time for it to go.

1
Despite it’s tax-exempt status, are there times when the (Adventist) church is more of a business than a blessing? | Source

2
I know there are those in the church who want to continue going through the same old motions but the world is no longer the same old place. | Source

3
Even though I don’t want to leave the church, is it possible that the church is leaving me? | Source

4
I think that the Adventist church is not very useful to you. If it were useful to you—on a personal level (including being useful to your community of friends)—there wouldn’t even be a question of whether or not you would want to engage with the denomination. | Source

5
But the denomination thinks you have a problem and wants you to think so too. Since that is the case, allow me to make this perfectly clear: NO amount of fear and guilt Adventist leaders (or your parents) could throw your way is going to change how useful the denomination is to you. Period. | Source

6
To many the Adventist church itself has become an idol—they literally place loving the Adventist organization above loving God. | Source

7
The church is run by people and people make mistakes. Fine. If that’s sthe case, why not sanction all pastors to be rapists? I mean, where’s the line for whether a mistake matters? And who draws it? | Source

8
When the (Adventist) church does wrong it’s ignored. Excuses are made. It’s like nothing bad ever happened. Church “leaders” act as if there is no Earthly accountability—because historically in our church, there hasn’t been. | Source

9
Get out your copy of The Great Controversy and read about Martin Luther. He wasn’t working for secular reform. He was working for reform within his denominational framework. No, the church leaders of his day weren’t happy with him. But he didn’t need anyone’s permission to live his convictions. | Source

10
I believe the institution will continue to bait (young) people like yourself with false hope. They will say two things: they will tell you they hear you and they will tell you you are important. One of those things is true. Source

11
When a person refers to “the church” they could really mean one of three things: a building, the body of believers (aka Christians) or an institution (or denomination). When we speak about the Adventist church, we are really talking about an institution which is made up of Christians who sometimes meet in buildings. It’s interesting to note that both the institution and the buildings would be pointless—couldn’t even exist—without the body. But what if that statement were re-arranged—could you still have the body without the institution or the buildings? Why yes, yes you could. Of course you could. | Source

12
“Of course you don’t have to be an Adventist to be saved or to spread the message. The reason we’re organized is to be more efficient.” (The words of a Conference, now Union, President.) | Source

13
The author points out that the structure of the Adventist institution was not handed down by God on a silver platter. | Source

14
Leadership implies responsibility. Not all Adventists are leaders. Some Adventists have more responsibility than others. — Leaders succeed by empowering those being led. Leaders fail by empowering themselves. Successful leadership isn’t selfish. — Leaders are always chosen. Followers allow leaders to lead. Followers are never obligated to follow any given person or regime. — Leaders are people. You are a person. You can be a leader. — Christians follow Christ. Nothing else makes a person a Christian. Belonging to a denomination with a trademarked name, schools, hospitals, church buildings, book stores, leaders, lawyers, trust departments, board members and tithe envelopes does not make a person a Christian. | Source

15
My denomination gives a whole new meaning to making a calling and election sure. Elections for church offices are basically rigged. I wouldn’t have known that pew-sitters don’t get to vote; that’s reserved for special delegates. I wouldn’t have known that the delegates are only shown “the facts” that previously elected officials want them to see, and even then have a minuscule amount of time to make a decision. I wouldn’t have known how little debate actually takes place, how little transparency there is, how much spin gets spun. | Source

16
If you take a dollar bill and turn it on it’s side, the thickness of that bill constitutes the thin green line. I don’t know about you, but I want to hear people preach, and pray, because they are passionate. I don’t want to hear pastors pandering behind a pulpit that might as well be a prison. Say the wrong thing and it’s forced resignation, or outright firing, for you. And so, pew-sitters, we hear the same kind of thing week after week. And sermons continue to focus on the outward, because to gaze, even honestly, inward and observe (what’s happening in the institution) is treason. And now your pastor is caught between serving God and serving the (Adventist) church. In light of all this, pew-sitters, how can you ever be certain again that the words your pastor speaks each Sabbath are born out of pure conviction as long as they are collecting a pay check? As long as the little green line keeps them in check? As long as they aren’t entirely free to speak their mind? Perhaps it would be better to attend a church service helmed by volunteers. People with nothing to lose, gain or prove. Show me a church where money doesn’t matter and we’ll see reformation. Or be staring revolution right in the eyes. Had I never been hired by the church, I’d only know what I was told—what I was allowed to know, as a pew-sitter. | Source

17
I’ve lost faith in the “leadership.” I’ve lost faith in the “efficiency.” I’ve lost faith that it serves all age groups equally. I’ve lost faith that the organization spends tithe money appropriately, much less reports financial information transparently. I’ve lost faith that the church is as useful as it should be both to Adventists and non-Adventists. I’ve lost faith in the sincerity of “administrators.” I’ve lost faith that many Adventists pastors would be pastors if they weren’t paid. And I’ve all but lost faith that the organization will find a way to correct it’s shortcomings. But I haven’t lost faith. The Adventist organization is not God. | Source

18
Being caught between the past and the future is not the same as being of the present. Source

19
A denominational framework from 1903 is showing it’s age; leaving it’s members (and potential members) in the dust, ironically, by way of not catching up with them. | Source

20
This is the age of the Internet, not the dawn of it. Young people out in the world don’t connect with other young people out in the world by swapping magabooks and handbills with each other. They use apps like Snapchat. And Yik Yak. And Whatsapp. And many others. Their methods of communication are always in flux. | Source

21
It’s like Adventists are still thinking in terms of Legos when the rest of the world has moved on to Minecraft. Adventists want to pipe fiber into their Lego buildings and stream pastors from one old-school service to another (perpetuating the same old lame old rather than rethinking anything)—Adventists think that is using the Internet. | Source

22
Hundreds of thousands of man-hours have been poured into crafting the apps, movies, ads, music, logos, services and products young people consume on a daily—even hourly—basis. From fashion to architecture—and especially in nature—they see talent and genius, resourcefulness and imagination, cleverness and originality. Every molecule in a young person’s environment screams at them provocatively—ferociously competing for their limited time and attention. That is until they enter an Adventist building, click onto an Adventist website or tap to open an Adventist app (which they would never do on purpose). | Source

23
There needs to be a better way to express concern over church operations than not attending church and/or not paying the organization tithe. | Source

24
I fully embrace the fundamental Adventist beliefs. They are my beliefs. But I reject large swaths of current Adventist culture, thinking, traditions, leadership and behavior. Above all, I reject the mediocrity. I reject the constant rehashing of ideas, as if slapping a new label on the same meeting or method is doing something new. | Source

25
The 3ABN crowd is happy to pray for revival, but revival pegs the problems mostly on the congregation. Like this mass of people we call Adventists—this group of people who seem like they could band together and really make something happen if they tried—they aren’t earnest enough. They don’t care enough. They act like they are dead. They need resuscitation. Revival also carries the connotation that what was is also what should be, or what needs to be, in the future. But in reality we don’t need revival. We need reformation or revolution. | Source

26
How can a church that claims to serve the Creator do so with such an astounding lack of creativity? | Source

27
The #2 guy at a “respected" NAD media ministry said this in reply to a young staff member’s insistence that the church should reach out to people where they are: “We don’t need drugs and slang in the church.” | Source

28
The Adventist organization is comprised of members which attend churches which are grouped into Conferences which are grouped into Unions which are grouped into Divisions. This forms “the world church.” Meanwhile software is eating the world. It has been. More and more major businesses and industries are being run on software and delivered as online services—from movies to agriculture to national defense. | Source

29
Could the entire structure of the Adventist organizational system (Conference and Union offices) be replaced by software? Essentially, yes. Staff is expensive. Buildings are expensive. Equipment is expensive. Land is expensive. Travel is expensive. Software is cheap. The denomination is spending AT LEAST $44 million dollars just on (Conference and Union office) staff and just in North America! Can you imagine what could be done if we, as members, shed the redundancy and setup an organizational infrastructure that cost say $1 million per year, rather than $44 million per year, using software and technology? What kind of difference could we collectively make in the world with $40+ million dollars to spend? | Source

30
It’s sad that McDonald’s is unquestionably more creative than the church in it’s advertising and it’s not even touting something that’s good for people. How did that happen? And why? Don’t even think about saying money. It’s a mindset. | Source

31
God is a God of free-will. Adventists believe this. It’s how we all wound up in this great controversy we find ourselves in. And yet free-will is frowned upon within the church. This isn’t an institution that likes options. The (Adventist) church wants robots. It wants clones. It wants puppets. The church wants each successive generation to look and function like that last. When they don’t, out comes the fear and the guilt. And out come the excuses. | Source

32
Frustrated (young) Adventists have told me that they are tired of being salesmen and feeling like the denomination doesn’t sell itself. It burns them out. | Source

33
Adventists in America are drifting. As are those in Canada, Europe and Australia. Continental-drifting, that is—moving further and further away from reaching people on their own continents. People like themselves. Why are these Adventists adrift? Because they don’t know what effective (including cost-effective) evangelism looks like in first-world countries. They don’t know how to reach modern people in the Internet age. The only way they can be missionaries is to go overseas to dilapidated third-world countries where there is no Internet. | Source

34
Of course it’s possible to reach normal (non-Twilight Zone) people. Lecrae does it. | Source

35
The Adventist church claims to be taking a much needed message to the world. And I ask, in response, how the church plans to accomplish this without reaching the entire USA, for instance? Not in well-intentioned words and concepts but in actual, concrete reality. By holding an evangelistic event in a major US city from time to time where 1,000-3,000 people show up, half of whom are Adventist? Okay… well, New York City has more than 8 million residents. Los Angeles has nearly 4 million residents. Chicago nearly 3 million. Even Tucson has over half a million. Now tell me how holding an old-school evangelistic event will reach everyone in each of those cities. We’re talking about numbers that are more like an embarrassingly small .0125% rather than 100%. Come on. | Source

36
“But when the meetings are over I want us to begin to bring them into the ministry so that they get news of the ministry and eventually we begin to ask for money. Absolutely.” — That’s a direct quote from the same #2 guy at a “respected" NAD media ministry mentioned above. I’m not comfortable with that. Are you? | Source

37
The big problem with the denomination’s current financial model is that it couldn’t stay in business without “more souls.” More people = more tithe. Salaries are added with more tithe and cut with less. Especially as the older generations of Adventists continue dying off and the organization sees that it’s stock of souls needs replenishing, money can become the motivation for evangelism rather than telling people about the Messiah. This notion takes “the business” of “soul winning” to an entirely different level… of hypocrisy. | Source

38
Adventist evangelists: would you do it if didn’t receive a denominational paycheck? I’m sure you’ll answer yes. You’d look bad if you didn’t. I know there are some volunteer evangelists out there, but to those who draw a salary I say: prove it. Not in the past. Not in the future. Now. | Source

39
How in the world can the guy who just trashed that nice visiting couple who brought coffee into the sanctuary possibly be reading the same Bible as me? | Source

40
Ellen G. White was prepared to blow everything up (in terms of the church organization she helped found) and start over at the foundation. If she was willing to do that then, what is stopping us from doing that now? | Source

41
We seek to reaffirm our first impressions rather than revise them. I think that’s exactly what is happening within the Adventist church right now. Members have a positive first impression of the church (often grafted onto them, possibly through guilt and fear, from a previous generation) and refuse to see the organization in a negative light—no matter how slight. We’ve all heard about the boiling frog. The frog gets a good first impression and meets a bad end. That’s what is happening to many of young members of the church. | Source

42
A message that isn’t communicated well might as well not exist. Adventists reach a tiny portion of the world… those still living in the past. In the age of the Internet, people can get personalized content (sermons or other information) in vast quantities online and without a middleman. They simply don’t need the church to act as a distributor or gatekeeper. | Source

43
The Adventist institution is full of folks with doctorates who specialize in serving up frozen food—good ingredients, but inedible to many. The ingredients that make up Adventism need to be served in a way in which people can eat them. It’s that simple. If the food is prepared and served wrong, the chef can’t blame people for not wanting to eat it. | Source

44
The Adventist church has been cherishing, enabling and relying upon a culture of fear and guilt. It’s acted as a sadly effective (and yet not guaranteed) one-two knockout punch for keeping butts in pews. It’s an attempt to emotionally beat people into submission. | Source

45
The thin green line is used by the institution to threaten employees into submission. To express thing like, “We’ll give you what you deserve, depending on your attitude.” Well, if your attitude isn’t their attitude, congratulations, you’ve crossed the thin green line. Need to pay rent next month? Don’t cross the thin green line. The thin green line keeps the powerful in power. It keeps brilliant minds in line (in check, really). It keeps transparency in a chokehold; if you tell the world what you have seen—if you violate the non-disclosure you were forced to sign—you will forfeit your livelihood. Many sacrifices are made at the thin green line… but not heroic sacrifices. They aren’t daring and bold sacrifices “for the cause,” but rather sacrifices for personal safety and well-being. | Source

46
Wealthy individuals often call the shots behind the scenes. I wouldn’t have known that things often get done like this: “I’ll give you all this money if you’ll do what I want with it. If not, it’s going somewhere else.” | Source

47
I’m not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But I am ashamed of my denomination. I’m ashamed that the denomination I have been associated with for so much of my life, have believed in, have worked for, have cared for, have invested in so closely resembles a cartel, or a gang, complete with ringleaders and foot soldiers. Where money and rank rule the day and define the way. | Source

48
Adventism. It’s a phrase that makes many proud. Mostly, it makes me sad. Then mad. Then depressed. Over… and over… and… I’m sick of being sick of my denomination. | Source

49
In fact, those who want to continue on like it’s still 1845 (or even 1995 or 2005) are the real anti-Adventists in my view. | Source

50
We won’t ever reach perfection this side of Heaven, but why shouldn’t we get as close as we can? On a scale of 1 to 100, there’s a lot of room between the two ends. 2, 30 and 99 are all less than 100, but 99 is much closer than 2 or 30. If the church were a secular business, I’d gladly lower my expectations. But it’s not a secular business. Is it? | Source

51
The problem is, OBVIOUSLY, that one size does not, OF COURSE, fit all. That’s not the case in fitted hats and that’s not the case in reaching out to people. | Source

52
I’ve been involved with the church’s version of “cutting-edge.” I’m not impressed because… ding ding ding: it’s not useful to me (and needless to say, other young people like myself). | Source

53
I do like hearing about initiatives that help people but I don’t like Christian’s pulling PR stunts (having read Matthew 6:2 and all). What’s the point of giving away this free health care right before the General Conference session? In the same location the GC session is taking place? It’s not like the denomination picked a random time and place to trumpet the fact that it was dishing out $10 million worth of aid. | Source

54
I can also (as has always been the case throughout history) get together with fellow believers anywhere that is safe. At the moment, here in America, that’s just about anywhere. I don’t need a brick-and-mortar church building to listen to a sermon and associate with like-minded individuals. | Source

55
Now suppose for a moment that you were approached by a person with the following request: “Show me—sola scriptura—where the Bible says a true Christian will only be known as a Seventh-day Adventist.” While we all know the words Seventh-day Adventist aren’t in the scriptures, the default Adventist reaction would probably be to point out a set of characteristics possessed by a certain group of people during a certain period of time in Earth’s history. But that’s not what the person was asking for—was it? And what if the Seventh-day Adventist Church suddenly went bankrupt or was shut down by the government? Would those who called themselves members still consider themselves Adventists without a building to gather in, or a trademarked logo or name to be associated with or without a pastor being paid to preach to them? That’s an easy answer—of course they would. Nothing—and nobody—could ever reach into their hearts or minds to tear away their beliefs and convictions. Not then. Not right now. And beliefs are the basis of Christianity. John 14:1 quotes Jesus as saying, “Believe in God; believe also in me.” Just a few verses later He says, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” As you already know, he sure didn’t say, “The Adventist church is the way, the truth and the life.” | Source

56
But hold on: what about preachers who put on “evangelistic” events and declare that the Adventist church is THE remnant church? Are they right or wrong? Someone I know put it like this: “It’s mistaken, both theologically and chronologically, to call Sabbatarians the remnant at this time. The remnant arises when the dragon is mad at God’s commandment keepers. That’s not yet—we talk about the commandments but don’t keep them—lukewarm Laodicea. That’s only possible (ironically) when we lose the law for Christ’s sake—then find the law fulfilling in our lives. Romans 7. ” | Source

57
I get neither my identity nor my salvation from the organization. The denomination has made itself optional in my life—rather than a necessity. | Source

58
I can (and do) believe what I believe regardless of the Adventist denomination. What I believe happens to coincide with what the denomination believes, but, I could take or leave the denomination. | Source

59
If the church was started by a bunch of young trailblazers… where did they all go? And why is it just a bunch of old guys “running” things now? | Source

60
EGW: “That these men should stand in a sacred place, to be as the voice of God to the people, as we once believed the General Conference to be, that is past.” | Source

61
We’ll only be young once (Ecc. 12:1). | Source

62
Institutionalized Adventism ins’t a lean and mean modern denominational framework. No, it’s a bloated behemoth that sucks up resources like a black hole. | Source

63
Has the (institution’s) focus on Christ’s second manifestation undermined—or even excused—a focus on modernization? If so, is that acceptable? | Source

64
They are trying to reach people using methods that haven’t changed in hundreds of years. | Source

65
The Adventist church is crammed full of careerists. | Source

66
But money is, in reality, no meter of God’s blessing. The pornography industry is beyond prosperous. Is it blessed by God? What about the tobacco and gambling industries? (What about the Adventist industry?) | Source

67
It’s also a big part of why the Adventist denomination isn’t very useful to me anymore. I’m not looking to be a careerist or to support careerists within the church. In my experience, careerists are ruining the Adventist church. There’s a pretty simple step we could take to make things better: set term limits for church offices. (Can you believe those don’t already exist?) | Source

68
Presidents, Vice Presidents, Directors, board members, managers and leaders of any kind should be kept on their toes. By imposing term limits, people will feel pressure to accomplish what they can and should before they run out of time. They won’t feel like they have all the time in the world because they literally won’t have all the time in the world. | Source

69
Everywhere you look the forecast calls for personalization—everywhere but the church. | Source

70
Term limits would mean (young) members would no longer have to wait for a person, or group of people, to retire before seeds of change could grow roots. As it is, young people like me are left wondering whether anything will ever change in a significant way within the span of their lifetime. | Source

71
Adventist Health System, which operates hospitals in 10 states, paid its top 13 employees a total of $18.4 million in 2011, including benefits. | Source

72
They have abused money: either weilding it like a weapon or wasting it. They have polluted purity with putrid politics and power. They have become proficiently prejudiced against younger generations and against anyone isn’t a clone manufactured at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews. | Source

73
These Presidents—who are themselves Pastors—and various other Adventist church staffers (like Treasurers) are on various hospital boards. For this privilege they are awarded perks like free iPads and trips to Hawaii (of course you never hear about that stuff from the pulpit when they preach). What business training do they have in the first place to be overseeing hospitals? | Source

74
People profiting from religion operating under the guise of a non-profit organization. The whole idea bothers me. It’s insincere. Salvation is free. See the disconnect? | Source

75
They said Dan Jackson and various other NAD and Union leaders were “Professional Committee Attenders.” LOL! As harsh as that sounds… I couldn’t agree more. | Source

76
And as maddening as it is to see God’s money used to buy luxury office furniture—I’ve witnessed things that were much, much, much worse. | Source

77
After I became an employee, part of me felt like I was involved in a bit sham. It was like a pseudo-church, or pseudo-business… not really fully either. | Source

78
I’d like to see a framework where personalization plays a key role. Where individuals have a real stake. A say. A synchronous framework that isn’t one-sided or top-down. A leaner framework with less waste. A framework where transparency is fundamental. A framework that is adaptable. A framework that actually matters to it’s members and to the world. A framework that is happy to fade away in place of something better. | Source

79
Employees feel like there are no alternatives. I’ve written about this in the past here on this blog. It’s the thin green line (money) that employees can’t cross and still remain employed. It’s a major factor in why nothing seems to change for the better within the denomination. | Source

80
Is serving God the same as serving the church? Is the church supposed to serve me? Does it? How so, specifically? | Source

81
It starts with discussion. But it doesn’t end there. | Source

82
There ARE some really good people working for the church. But what kind of product are they putting out there? Does it justify the cost? Could it be more efficient? More productive? Would you buy a new car you knew to be a lemon just because there were some really good people working in the manufacturing plant? No. You’d say, “What’s the best car I can get for the money?” | Source

83
Adventists believe that if their denomination was sanctioned in the first place, it will be sanctified forever. That because it has existed it will always deserve to exist. I’m not talking about Christianity—I’m talking about Adventism. | Source

84
EGW: He will take His Holy Spirit from the church, and give [the Spirit] to others who will appreciate Him. There is no greater evidence that those who have received great light do not appreciate that light, than is given by their refusal to let their light shine upon those who are in darkness, and devoting their time and energies in celebrating forms and ceremonies. (What are you doing every time you go to church?) | Source

85
Most young Adventists today probably don’t realize that the Adventist church hasn’t always “been this way.” | Source

86
Does, and should, my opinion actually matter to my denomination? Are things being decided for me that I should be deciding for myself? | Source

87
I’ve come to the unfortunate conclusion (having seen it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears) that, oftentimes, unbeknownst to members of the public and to members of the church, Adventist “evangelists” are selling Adventism. Not like selling the idea of Adventism. Like literally selling Adventism. For money. | Source

88
Rather than holding itself accountable, the church tends to make a lot of very poor excuses (which frankly just don’t hold up). I suppose the leadership doesn’t want to look bad. | Source

89
I won’t argue with you that people have come into the Adventist faith thanks to public meetings, satellite channels and literature evangelism. But I will argue with an assertion that the church is reaching the whole world through these methods. If someone enjoys evangelizing via these methods—I’m all for it. Be my guest. Put everything you’ve got into it. Just don’t limit other people who want to try something new or different. | Source

90
There’s a lot of stuff, both good and bad, that I would never have known about the Adventist denomination had I not become an employee, rather than a pew-sitter. Stuff that other pew-sitters can’t believe. Stuff they don’t want to believe. Stuff they want to pretend doesn’t exist. | [Source}(http://adventuprising.com/things-the-adventist-church-has-done-that-make-me-feel-sick)

91
I never would have seen hundreds, then thousands, then hundreds of thousands and finally millions of tithe dollars and donations wasted like congregants were undrainable ATM machines. | Source

92
I wouldn’t have known that the church is full of politics and politicians whose cunning and ruthlessness I’d only expect from the most debauched of the Washington set—not from “Christians” paid via believer’s hard-earned money. My tithe money. Your tithe money. God’s tithe money. I wouldn’t have—couldn’t have—imagined them roaming the halls that tithe built… with not so much as a term limit to put a blessed end to their reign. | Source

93
Only a delusional person, or a person who had something to gain, would even want to continue on in such bad shape. Taking the time to fix a race car after it has crashed will help it cross the finish line faster than getting out to push a scrap heap. | Source

94
I’m just so tired of seeing young Adventists get their hopes dashed over and over and over by church leaders—without even realizing it. | Source

95
It all comes down to this: if the system doesn’t have to change it simply won’t. | Source

96
Yes, you can change the church. But sometimes, in order to change a system you can’t play by it’s rules. | Source

97
It’s like Ed Crooks, a writer for the financial times, says: “When you’ve had a monopoly for a hundred years, and you’ve never seen change, change may seem like death to you.” | Source

98
For over 100 years, the (Adventist) church has felt a monopolistic right to be a gatekeeper and the sole distributor of certain information. In many respects, I believe the institution feels that is has no competition and is therefore not compelled to pursue change; and when you’re thinking like that you basically have no reason to innovate. | Source

99
What is the next frontier? Many Adventists don’t care. Jesus is coming soon. What’s the point? | Source

100
How exactly is the Adventist denomination spurning God? They aren’t effectively reaching the world. Plain and simple. They are perpetuating the denomination—but is that the same as reaching the world? | Source

 
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