THE BATTLE OVER THE NAME "Seventh-day Adventist"
The Battle Over the Name "Seventh-day Adventist"
Part 4: Never Be Ashamed of the Name
Many of our dear brothers and sisters have been taught that they must continue to cling to the name "Seventh-day Adventist" after they have chosen to completely disconnect themselves from the SDA church denomination. Even though Bible and Spirit of Prophecy evidence has already been given showing that we are in a new Movement, that it is God's will for His people to distinguish themselves in name from past churches of apostasy, and that God will call His servants today by a different name, yet many may still be confused. It is for their sakes that we will now address the last major objection raised against calling ourselves "Sabbath Remnant" instead of "Seventh-day Adventist".
The third major objection to calling ourselves by a different name is because many have been taught that it is a command of God that individual believers must never be ashamed to call themselves "Seventh-day Adventist" to the end-even if they have separated themselves from the SDA church.
The foundation for this belief seems to be based upon the following testimony:
"The banner of the third angel has inscribed upon it, 'The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.' Our institutions have taken a name which sets forth the character of our faith, and of this name we are never to be ashamed. I have been shown that this name means much, and in adopting it we have followed the light given us from heaven." Selected Messages, book 2, p 384.
Now who, in the above testimony, were never to be ashamed of the name "Seventh-day Adventist"? Was this testimony directed to single individual believers? No. The context of this testimony was directed to the institutions within the SDA denomination. Thus you can see that all parts within the corporate church structure were instructed to never be ashamed to identify themselves as being "Seventh-day Adventist".
Many may be unaware of the situation which arose that called forth from Ellen White most all of these statements on not being ashamed about the SDA church name. To help understand this point, the following testimony is submitted:
"It has been stated that the Battle Creek Sanitarium is not denominational. But if ever an institution was established to be denominational, in every sense of the word, this Sanitarium was....
"We are not to take pains to declare that the Battle Creek Sanitarium is not a Seventh-day Adventist institution; for this it certainly is. As a Seventh-day Adventist institution it was
established, to represent the various features of gospel missionary work, thus to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord.
"We have come to a time when God has been greatly dishonored. Those who have long known our belief, and what we teach, have been surprised by the statement that the Battle Creek Sanitarium in not denominational. No one has the right to make this statement....In the name of the Lord we are to identify ourselves as Seventh-day Adventists." Battle Creek Letters, p 51-52 (Letter 128, 1902).
The context of the testimony was in relation to the institutions of the corporate SDA denomination needing to identify themselves as "Seventh-day Adventist". Thus you can see that all parts within the SDA corporate church structure were instructed to never be ashamed to identify themselves by this name. But what about individual believers?
All parts within the SDA structure should also include each and every member of this corporate denomination. So then are there statements that declare that each and every SDA church member should identify themselves as "Seventh-day Adventist"? Yes.
"We are Seventh-day Adventists. Are we ashamed of our name? We answer, 'No, no! We are not. It is the name the Lord has given us." Selected Messages, book 2, p 384 (Letter 110, 1902).
"We are Seventh-day Adventists, and of this name we are never to be ashamed. As a people we must take a firm stand for truth and righteousness." Selected Messages, book 2, p 384 (Letter 106, 1903).
You will notice that Ellen White does not use words that indicate single individual believers, but always uses words such as "we" or "our" or "us" which refer to the corporate group of believers within the body of the SDA corporate denomination. Therefore you can see that the context of all these testimonies are directed only to those people who were within the SDA corporate structure.
So basically what Ellen White was declaring was that if you are a member in the SDA denomination, or if you are an institution, or local church, or any other part of the corporate structure, then you should not be ashamed to identify yourself as "Seventh-day Adventist".
Also, in all the testimonies dealing with this issue of not being ashamed of the name "Seventh-day Adventist", you will notice that these were not written counsel to any believer who was outside of the corporate SDA denomination; nor were they written counsel to any individuals who should embrace the same Advent faith, but who were not joined in membership to the SDA church. But you will discover that every one of these testimonies were written counsel to only that which composed the corporate body and structure of the SDA denomination!
So while it is true that Ellen White wrote that SDA's were never to be ashamed of the name "Seventh-day Adventist", the context of all of these testimonies is quite different than what many may believe. These statements were all written counsel to the SDA corporate denomination and its membership, that they were not to hide or be ashamed of their name in order to gain more favor with the world. But not one of these testimonies were written counsel to any individual believer, or to any group of individuals, who would choose to be separate from, or who would choose to work outside and independently of, the corporate body of the SDA church!
Thus there is no inspired support to the belief that all who are separated from the SDA denomination must continue to identify themselves by the name of "Seventh-day Adventist"! There is no inspired validity to the belief that all who embrace the Advent faith, but who are not members in the SDA church, must adopt and identify themselves by the name "Seventh-day Adventist"! And there is also no inspired backing to the belief that all believers in the three angels' messages, irregardless of whether or not they are connected with the corrupt SDA denomination, must fight that apostate church for their individual right to publically identify themselves as "Seventh-day Adventist"!
I sincerely hope and earnestly pray that all can understand that the foundational support given for the belief that all of God's followers must never be ashamed of, and must always identify themselves by, the name "Seventh-day Adventist", is not in agreement with the weight of evidence provided by a "Thus saith the Lord."
This article was written not to cast down, or to needlessly cause any embarrassment or pain to, anyone who chooses to call themselves "Seventh-day Adventist" and thereby be identified with this apostate and corrupt church. But to show all those who have completely disconnected themselves from this Babylonian church that there is no command from God, nor is there any directive from the Spirit of Prophecy, that they must continue to cling to and identify themselves by the name "Seventh-day Adventist".
In this series, we have discovered that there is no church or group name, no matter how sacred or exalted it may be, which can bring any people into any favor with God if they choose to disobey Him--and this includes a name which was chosen by God Himself! This is because God is more concerned with character than with what name we call ourselves by.
We have discovered that after all the followers of Christ separated themselves from their corrupt churches of Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism, that they all chose a completely different name to identify themselves by. These followers of God clearly saw the wisdom of avoiding needless confusion by making the distinction plain between themselves and the corrupt church they had separated from.
We have discovered that the foundational support given for the belief that we cannot call ourselves by a different church name today because the name "Seventh-day Adventist" is written on the banner of God, which is to be borne before the whole world to the end, is not in agreement with the weight of evidence provided by a "Thus saith the Lord."
We have discovered that the foundational support given for the belief that we cannot call ourselves by a different church name today because the name "Seventh-day Adventist" was given by God only to individual Advent believers and not to the SDA corporate denomination, is not in agreement with the weight of evidence provided by a "Thus saith the Lord" as well as history.
We have also discovered that the foundational support given for the belief that we cannot call ourselves by a different church name today because all of God's followers, including those outside of the SDA denomination, must never be ashamed of, and must always identify themselves by, the name "Seventh-day Adventist", is not in agreement with the weight of evidence provided by a "Thus saith the Lord".
And we have also discovered that because of the rebellion and apostasy of the SDA church, God foresaw that the once chosen name of "Seventh-day Adventist" would become defiled. So He clearly revealed that all of His people who have chosen to separate completely from the SDA church would need to be called by another name.
Since all of this is true, then what name should we call ourselves by? What name could be more appropriate to use to identify ourselves by than the name "Sabbath Remnant"?
This name of "Sabbath Remnant" upholds the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. It brings before the people the subject of the Remnant, and thus opens the way for them to study and understand that God will have a people who will keep all of His commandments, who will follow the testimony of Jesus--or the Spirit of Prophecy (Revelation 19:10), who will have the faith of Jesus, that Satan and all of his agents will make war against them, and that this select group of faithful people are prophesied to appear in these very last days just before Christ comes (see Revelation 12:17, 14:12). Thus this name "Sabbath Remnant" still upholds God's Sabbath before the world, but avoids any confusion and negative drawbacks associated with the name of the SDA church.
It is my earnest prayer that you will take the time to study into this issue of what name God would have His separated people to identify themselves by today. And that you will then be led to join with all of us who have completely separated ourselves from all the apostate and corrupt denominations, and thereby have become part of this new last day Movement of God listed in Revelation 18.
May God be praised because many are indeed taking their stand completely separate from the apostate and corrupt SDA church. May God be exalted because many are also realizing the "curse" as they see their witness spoiled as soon as they identify themselves as "Seventh-day Adventist" because the people connect them to that apostate church! And may God be glorified because many are also awakening to the fact that God is today calling "his servants by another name."
~By elder Robert Sessler