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Independent Lay Evangelist faces Accusations of Anti-Semitism after Speaking in Germany
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Submitted: Dec 2, 2012
By AT News Team


Walter Veith, a former zoology professor from South Africa who operates an Adventist independent ministry based in British Columbia, has been investigated by police in Germany in the aftermath of a recent speaking appointment there. Prosecutors are considering whether or not to charge him with making anti-Semitic remarks and incitement against the government, he has told supporters in a statement being shared among Adventist pastors on Facebook.
 
“I am not … an Anti Semite,” he stated in an open letter to “Dear Brethren in Germany.” He said that “any form of racism is abhorrent to me” and that he has been “an ardent campaigner against racist injustice all my life,” referencing without specifics his background in South Africa.
 
Veith said that he presented a lecture on Daniel 11 and “the purpose of the lecture was to show that literal Israel (both physically and theologically) can in no way represent the ‘spiritual Israel’ of the Bible.” He points out that German is not his first language and that there is the possibility that he misused language or was misunderstood. He said “belittling remarks such as ‘gelbes Tuechlein’ stem from my linguistic inadequacy … not from malicious intent.”
 
The Biblical Research Institute (BRI), the official group of Bible scholars at the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, published an article in its newsletter in January 2008 critiquing Veith’s position that only the King James Version and related translations are reliable. “He arrives at this position partly because of certain conspiracy theories which he espouses rather than on the basis of a study of the original Greek manuscripts,” the article stated.
 
Veith is entangled in a “dark fantasy world” reported Spectrum, the journal of the largest organization of Adventist academics, a year ago. His presentations “blend nutritional advice and traditional Adventist apocalyptic” with “myth that has considerably less logic than a Dan Brown novel and a great deal more creepiness.” He is popular with many Adventists because he defends creationism and has a dramatic personal testimony about his conversion from atheism.
 

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Stephen Ferguson
2012-12-05 5:14 AM

The interestingly flow on question is not why is Veith such a promoter of conspiracy theories but rather why do people like him attract such a following within Adventism?  In my own personal experience, as a 33-year-old, I grew up with a lot of Adventist friends and family, both liberal and conservative (within an Australian context), who were prone to believe in all sorts of conspiracy theories.  

As a public servant for many years, I now know that governments and other large organizations generally are not competent enough to pull of conspiracies. It only takes one person to leak the information - and it almost always happens eventually.  

I read somewhere, and I believe it, that people would rather think their own government is evil (say as the CIA and FBI caused 9/11) than face the truth that their government is powerless to foresee and cope with this random event (such as the CIA and FBI were too incompetent to stop 9/11).  Thus, despite cries of liberty or death, many people, especially those who distrust government the most, perhaps deep down really fear chaos more than control.

William Noel
2012-12-05 8:54 AM

Stephen,

Spoken with an understanding that only a civil servant knows! 

I think the tendency of Adventism to attract conspiracy theories stems from a false concept about prophecy that assumes because God has determined the future and given us a glimpse into His plans through the dreams given to prophets like Daniel and John that we can also know the intimate details of His plans.  There are a several significant problems with this view.  First, God hasn't shown anyone the intimate details about how He's going to do things (not even Ellen White).  Second, the purpose of prophecy is not so we can know those details, but so we can look back, point to what God has done and have confidence that God is in control.  Third, it leaves us looking for what we cannot find instead of focusing our attention on the current ministries God wants us to be doing. 

Serge Agafonoff
2012-12-05 10:07 AM

Agree with you 100% William.

Stephen understands this quite well, given his own emphasis that Christians ought to be fully focussed on that endpoint.  In fact, it is the eternal NOW which ought occupy us, and along with that, HOW we occupy the time.  I think EGW, Great Controversy, etc, have forced a shift in focus, for some, to an unknown future at the expense of personal inner peace, and generated fear of that unknown.  So folks want to know the future, and they go to listen to charlatans who will divine it for them.

Give no thought for the morrow.  Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.  Matt 6.34

PS........ are we three all Aussies?

William Noel
2012-12-05 12:08 PM

Serge,

No, I'm an American who works for the government.  Some things are just common to government bureaucracies. 

I appreciate your reminder about the words of Jesus for us to focus on now instead of the future.  He gave us glimpses into the future to give us confidence that He is in control.  That is important because it frees us from being concerned about tomorrow so we can concentrate fully on doing what He wants us to be doing today.  That includes some oft-ignored or severely minimized fundamentals of Christian faith and ministry like getting to know God more intimately so we can be empowered by the Holy Spirit.  I find it utterly tragic seeing how many Adventists get wrapped-up in being factually correct about God and confuse knowing about God with actually knowing God. 

Ed Dickerson
2012-12-05 12:21 PM

Stephen,

I agree with virtually every word you said. As to why so many Adventists are attracted to conspiracy theories, am I the only one who has seen many evangelists who essentially present Adventism as a conspiracy theory?

"They don't know what forces are working behind the scenes, but we do!"
"We are the only ones who really know what's going on."

If we actively recruit people who want to be 'in the know about what's really happening,' should we be surprised when a 'deeper knowledge' tempts them?

If we manipulate people (using their fear, or their pride of knowing) into the church, should we be surprised when a more skilfull manipulator comes along and takes them away?


William Noel
2012-12-05 3:08 PM

Ed,

I particularly liked your closing line.  While those who get wrapped-up in conspiracy theories and debates about how end-time events will be fulfilled make themselves at risk of being swept-away by a more skillful manipulator, I am even more fearful they will be swept away by discouragement when God doesn't do everything in exactly the way they expected.  History is full of such disappointing events.  We Adventists point back to the Great Disappointment of Oct. 22, 1844 when the number of Millerites dropped from what some estimates put in the hundreds of thousands to only a small handful.  Then there are the followers of the author of that book "The late, great planet earth" (whose name I can't remember).  The list goes on and on. 

William Noel
2012-12-05 3:19 PM

I also think we need to be careful to understand how new laws in a growing number of countries define "hate speech."  A couple years ago Ann Coulter, who loves to throw firebrands, made a speech in Toronto and a few days later received official notice that she was under investigation and potentially facing criminal charges of hate speech.  Audience members loyal to uber-liberal members of parliament felt her remarks about liberals in America reflected negatively on those Canadian officials.  The investigation ended after several months with no charges filed.  Things might not work out so well in many countries of the European Union where a traditional Adventist presentation about the Mark of the Beast could get you arrested because of what would be said about the Catholic Church.  Such situations could create real challenges to spreading the Gospel. 

Ed Dickerson
2012-12-05 3:48 PM

Oh, but how can it be?

The compassionate people on the left would never infringe on our rights of free expression! Revelation 13 and the Great Controversy both say it's the right!

Pardon me for that outburst. I have noticed those on the left have no sense of irony.

William Noel
2012-12-06 10:01 AM

Ed,

I love it!  Ronald Reagan said something to the effect that when you've lost your sense of humor, your ability to laugh at yourself and to see irony in a situation even when it is pointing out your flaws, then you've lost your ability to see things as they really are.

akamai
2012-12-10 2:33 PM

William, Not to mention conservative columnist Mark Steyn being taken to trial by Canada's "human rights commission" because of his comments regarding Islam.

Ella M
2012-12-09 1:46 AM

   Please--conspiracy theories are not the exclusive property of SDAs.  Maybe those here are out of touch with other religions/denominations, but it is most widespread in in the US (the only place I am familiar with) at this time.   I can "prophecy" that it will increase in the future.
   The only well-organized conspiracy is that by the adversary.

Overcliff Road
2012-12-05 3:47 PM

There is a lot to discuss regarding the number of church members who love conspiracy theories and why they do, but I've got a technical question to ask here.  The headline says Veith is a "lay evangelist" but it has been my understanding that he is a licensed or ordained minister in South Africa.  Does anyone know?  And if he is indeed endorsed by the church wouldn't that carry with it a boat load of other implications about the denomination?

-Shining
2012-12-21 5:29 PM

my understanding was that he is ordained

Elaine Nelson
2012-12-05 5:15 PM

The church and its "end time" doctrines have planted the seeds for many years, and now when they are sprouting widely, why should anyone be surprised?  The entire SDA mission is not about Christ--that's for all the other protestant denominations--and we have a special apocalyptic message that is a magnet attraction for certain groups of the population who are excited in founding the answers for the future, all spelled out.

Now that the church is a global one, and growing largely in the mixed populations of the world, totally unlike its beginning, there have been many independent SDA ministries growing over which the church has little control.
This is becoming a problem, it has already, and rather than fighting a small church that few would even know about, over its copyright name, it is now becoming saddled with the legal methods possible to "correct" or discipline ministries that are bringing in money and members.

Stephen Ferguson
2012-12-06 6:00 AM

I think believing in an approaching End Time can be a very healthy thing, as it should hopefully allow one to adopt an attitude that constantly assesses the importance of things in life - much like, if I may, the new perspective people with terminal illnesses sometimes say they obtain.  On that basis, Adventists should be some of the most generous, least materialistic people in the world, and have the strongest relationship with Jesus.

However, I think that it is equally easy, and dangerous, to take End Time beliefs and turn that into an end of itself, and of a fear of 'Reds under the Beds'.  I agree that as the Church has become global, it has become worse.  

Growing up an Adventist, to make an honest reflection, was it seen as more important to know the 'chart of events', with all the Beasts and trumpets, and historical suduko to make it all fit, as if that knowledge was the survival plan, or to know Christ, the actual only survival plan?  I am sure many will disagree, but at least in the Adventist Church I do attend in the country I attend, whenever I hear the End Times mentioned, most Pastors make big efforts to emphasise that if it doesn't result in a stronger relationship with Jesus, then knowing all the chain of events is pointless.  

Finally, I agree that in a world Church, with millions of followers, but with the Advent of near instantaneous communication and travel, the Walter Veiths of this world can do a lot more damage to our world 'brand', and in turn, our own inidividual evangelism (for those of us who live outside the cocoon of Sevy-dom).  

Serge Agafonoff
2012-12-06 6:39 AM

.... with all the Beasts and trumpets, and historical suduko to make it all fit,........

That, Stephen, is classic!


Edwin A. Schwisow
2012-12-06 1:51 AM

As a writer I have interviewed a number of Adventist public evangelists who were/are generally seen as very successful, and each told me during our interviews that they are very independent by nature, self-motivated, and frankly get/got restless performing the role of resident pastors. They told me that they prefered to come into an area and preach, conclude the series with baptismal services, and move on to new opportunities and experiences, including world travel.

During those interviews I also learned that most full-time public evangelists are tempted seriously with the prospect of establishing their own corporations and working for the church contractually, rather than on salary. Frankly, these men are natural salesmen who thrive on continually meeting new people, rising to the occasion with adrenalin-driven intensity, then relaxing and recouping for the next round. Like many salesmen, they are very driven and work very hard to meet with numerical success.

I intend these paragraphs as informational, not critical. I am pointing out, only, that unless one has worked with these preaching men and their families for longer periods of time and have their trust and confidence, it's tempting to assume that they are simply super-dynamic pastors—if you’ve seen one preacher, you’ve seen them all.  In fact, these evangelists are rarely pastoral in temperament and fit the paradigm of salesmen rather than guardians of the flock. They tell me they are at their best when they are preaching their own way, using their own methods, and devising their own strategies for what they define as success. In that sense, many evangelists, though ordained, technically operate as lay preachers, since they have no defined assignments other than their itinerancies for hire. Their DVD- and bookselling enterprises, from which they often garner a great deal of additional income, may not be influenced at all by the churches and conferences where they come to preach as revivalists and evangelists. Their sole connections with the denomination may be their church membership, their contractual dealings with the Church, and their membership in Adventist-laymen’s Services and Industries (ASI).

William Noel
2012-12-06 10:14 AM

Edwin,

I appreciate your description of the evangelist personality.  When I was in the Theology program at Southern there was great anticipation of when evangelist Ken Cox would be coming to speak to us.  The one thing I remember was his statement that you had to enjoy living out of suitcases and have "gypsy" in your blood if you were going to do it for any length of time. 

Your observations are a great illustration of how the Holy Spirit equips different people to minister in a variety of ways.  Few are gifted by God to be evangelists or pastors.  So, why do we thus assume corporately that those are the primary, if not exclusive, roles God wants in the church?  What about those whom God has gifted to heal the sick, cast out demons, or even raise the dead?  There is no scriptural evidence that God does not want to empower believers today to do those things.  So, why are we not seeking those gifts? 

We need more independent ministries of all types whose only connection to the church is teaching the same primary doctrines.  Independent ministries have the freedom to adapt to challenges in real time where being under control of the church bureaucracy means time is lost in delay and opportunities are gone by the time a decision is made.  My childhood dream was to be a TV evangelist in the model of William A. Fagal of Faith For Today.  I had the privilege of working at FFT and what I discovered was a once-vibrant ministry that was being strangled by the control of the church.  The same was true at Voice of Prophecy, It Is Written, etc.  When 3ABN started the reaction across the upper levels of church administration was not celebration that another voice would be proclaiming the Gospel, but horror that it was an independent ministry.


Overcliff Road
2012-12-06 8:53 AM

Edwin,

You provided an interesting and credible assessment of the evangelistic temperament.  And as you said, it arises out of your own experience with many of them.  But I'm still wondering if Walter Veith in particular is more than just an independent evangelist, though he may share all the qualities you mentioned here.  If he is also ordained or licensed by the conference in South Africa, that would suggest he was approved by at least one branch of the worldwide SDA church.  No?

If so, then in at least some sense the denomination is culpable for the content that he presents.  (And I'm not talking about an occasional slip of the tongue or poor translation like the one that may have gotten him in hot water recently in Germany.  I'm talking about the ideas he routinely presents.)

Further, it is my understanding that conferences have the right to revoke ministerial credentials from pastors who teach doctrines that are unacceptable to the denomination.  So if he is credentialed in some way, and if the denomination does not  discipline him or try to modify anything of his claims then it would seem that the denomination is in support of what he says.  Is that a fair assumption, or are things more complicated than that?

Andreas Bochmann
2012-12-07 3:39 PM

The Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook lists Ministerial Credentials for Walter Veith with the Cape Conference, South Africa. I would also be interested in his function/position there. Does he pastor a church? Is he the conference evangelist? 
It surprises me that credentialed ministers of a local conference are travelling around the world quite uninhibited to preach their personal messages - even when churches in those fields caution against them - or in the case of Walter Veith  disallow him to use church buildings for his meetings or to speak in the name of the SDA Church in Germany.

Gordon
2012-12-07 5:20 PM

Can one come to a truthful conclusion by reading others speculations?
 
Regarding the Spectrum magazine is this not the magazine that published articles that Ellen Whites visions were probably due to supposed epilepsy?

I suggest for further reading,  that is if you really are interested in arriving at an unbiased opinion  first read more about his ministry

    http://amazingdiscoveries.org/    there are topics on Health, Creationism, the Reformation, etc...

A further  link with more detailed  information on this whole saga is  
http://www.adventistonline.com/forum/topics/walter-veith-1?page=3&commentId=1451550%3AComment%3A3596972&x=1#1451550Comment3596972

I am South African, I live in Johannesburg and I am aware of many people who have joined the church through Walter Veiths ministry.  Walter is known as a man of integrity.

Gordon Peacock
Johannesburg South Africa
 


Stephen Ferguson
2012-12-08 4:27 AM

And as a South African, do you know if Walter Veith is an ordained minister, and pastors a church etc - as asked above?  

Gordon
2012-12-08 4:08 PM

I am not sure but his ministries website Amazing Discoveries says so - see article   

        http://rekindlingthereformation.com/AD-Magazine-Archive-Summer-2010-Criticism.html   


Kenneth Comstock
2012-12-07 7:02 PM

Why are SDAs prone to conspiracy theories? I've thought about this a great deal recently. There are the real conspiracies we learn about when we join the church, such as the Sabbath conspiracy, State of the Dead conspiracy, health conspiracy, and the conspiracies surrounding the Mark of the Beast (designed to throw us off the track on who the real Man of Sin is). Once you accept that everyone is wrong except for this one little oddball group, it's easy to question other accepted norms. It's easy to fall into the mindset that if it doesn't come from a SDA source, it can't be trusted. Many SDAs won't even associate with "non-SDAs."
Some of us become aloof to the world around us and make ourselves the judge of what we should or should not trust. Others just learn to accept what they hear from spiritual leaders within the church.
 
A friend whom I consider to be very intelligent and actively involved in mission and the health message recently told me about the government conspiracy to control our minds through chemicals being covertly sprayed by what we think are jet contrails. I had heard this before and tried to explain it but she was convinced it's real. The reasoning was that if you just watch the YouTube video, it sounds very scientific and plausible. I imagine this person accepted it more because it came from someone she trusted.
 
Some leaders (I'm not pointing at W. Veith) find that the more they dwell on fringe ideas, the more financial support they get for their ministry from members that are disgruntled or searching for some new and exciting theory, "insider knowledge" or evil report. Some people just don't want to stop and search to uncover more conspiracies. Even if you believe the theories about the Rothchilds, the Illuminati, the World Bank and others, it may not be all that significant. There are other truths more important to focus on for our time. God is ultimately in control. We could spend our whole lives trying to learn about all the conspiracies and miss out on the one truth that needs our attention.

Elaine Nelson
2012-12-07 9:17 PM

There is a certain group of people who are draw to conspiracy theories and Adventism provides the ideal system.  Those who are educated in critical thinking skills and recognize the signs of fallacious ideas when presented.  Sadly, most Adventists have not learned and honed these skill in SDA education where it is mostly taught as indoctrination not to be questioned.  Those who dare question are called trouble makers and not sincere Adventists. 

All4Him
2012-12-07 9:36 PM

We need to be wise as serpents yet harmless as doves... the bigest conspiracy is the devil counterfiting God's Truth.  If we wants to be able to tell the difference between a counterfit bill and a genuine bill we must study the genuine to be able to tell the differences....


Kenneth Comstock
2012-12-08 5:53 PM

All4, I think you said what I was trying to say, but in a lot less words.

Serge Agafonoff
2012-12-08 6:29 PM

Kenneth, Elaine,

SDAism certainly set me up to see conspiracies in all sorts of places.  THe theory of the mark of the beast, 666 equaling Rome, and its power to enforce flase religion on the whole world is one such example.  Mind, that theory is looking pretty sick right now. Anyway, I've now got dozens of 'conspiracy' books etc on my shelves.  Never bother with them these days tho.  If you do want some kind of proof of a conspiracy from among the groups Kenneth mentioned, the Anglo-American Establishment, Carroll Quigley's book, Tragedy and Hope (if you can find a copy since it is itself in short supply due to a 'conspiracy' to hide the 'truth,') around p 950 you will find his statement that he believes a kind of conspiracy does exist, and that he thinks their intentions are honourable and should be made more widely known.  Quigley taught hsitory at Georgetown,and Clinton referred to him specifically as an esteemed mentor in his inauguration speech.

Despite all that, I DON"T CARE!  So what if a bunch of (inconceivably) rich guys get together to control both the Democratic AND Republican parties (Quigley says it happens), nominate presidential candidates, etc etc.  The number of the beast is not RC church or Obama.  The number of the beast is not the number of A man.  It is the number of MAN, you, me, and all the rest of us.  Conspiracies, theoretical and actual, and externalised prophetic theories, are not where its at.  The task is to replace our beastly human nature through rebirth into the divine nature.  Then fear of spooky conspiracies will fade into nithingness.
Matt 10.28.

earl calahan
2012-12-08 8:40 PM

Serge, you bring your message right to each sinner's doorstep. after recognition & confessing my guilt of sin, that has eternal consequences, i wish to understand your references to conspiracies that abound in the world. i don't believe you are saying there is no truth to some of them, but that we should not believe every one that rears its head, is this where you are coming from? Inasmuch as the enemy's wiles are mostly at this time, undercover, & or so deceptive that even the elite is seduced, and the general populace is so envolved in marrying & giving in marriage, they aren't even aware of the net that is gathering them in. Assume you are thinking of the assigning of actual names to individuals or powers of Satanic symbolism.   

Serge Agafonoff
2012-12-08 10:23 PM

Earl, can I paraphrase Someone greater than I?  'My kingdom is not of this material Kosmos.  If it were, then conspiracy theories might have some relevance to My servants.'

That said, I do believe some conspiracies exist.  Quigley, quoted above, wrote from their point of view.  He examined their documents and history.  It runs US politics.  And most of our western 'democracies.' Illusions of freedom are their stronghold.  Eg, the Federal Reserve is a PRIVATE bank.  The US people owe the Fed trillions of growing and unpayable debt.  Same applies in Australia, UK, Europe.  On the other hand, I don't think THEY will want ot be revealed as world controllers becasue they would then become a target of rebellion and the informed power of the people is hard to repress.  But then, eventually, another groupd of stupendous power and wealth would take their place.

But WHO CARES?  I no longer do.  And I don't think it edifies us (true Christians) to care about this world either.  DO we have political obligations?  I don't think so, apart from caring for our fellow citizens.  Not to the stinking mess of corruption that politics is, at any rate.  Babylon will fall without our direct intervention or otherwise.  We can aid in that falling by concentrating on coming out of all things materialistic and on seeking union with the Eternal SPIRIT.

If you like scary movies, look at this.  Its from a website of a Jew who is opposed to Zionism and Israel.  There are many such Jews, surprisingly.  I add a disclaimer that I ahve not personally watched this link.  But others hwo have say it is a summary of a lot of monetary/power consipiracy stuff.
http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/house-of-rothschild-full-documentary-must-watch.html

Re 666..... it is the number of man. (Rev 13.18.  most translations say the number of 'a man' but there is no indefinite article in the greek.)  As the Pogo cartoon said it years ago, 'I have found the enemy... and it is us!'

earl calahan
2012-12-08 11:31 PM

Thanks for your amplification. Man. i agree, but following the history of business and the banking
fraternity as it has grown since the Napoleonic wars. i firmly believe we have strong evidence of the
strategy to bring about one world government. It was greatly enhanced by the forming of the Central
Banks, the IMF, and the United Nations. They actually increase their power in busted economies &
world crises. It is headquartered in the City of London, a square mile within London, England. with
branches in the District of Columbia (within Washington, D.C.), the Vatican, and Tel Aviv.
When cohesiveness is complete with these factions, it will be a powerful bloc to give power to the beast
power. 

Ella M
2012-12-09 1:59 AM

Ella M
ReplyApproveDelete
0 seconds ago

Conspiracy theories are not exclusive to SDAs. Maybe those here are out of touch with other religions/denominations/groups, but it is most widespread in in the US (the only place I am familiar with) at this time. I can "prophecy" that it will increase in the future.
The only well-organized conspiracy is that by the adversary.
   Groups political, religious or otherwise might have agendas and they seek to control but most aren't competent or well-managed enough to carry on a successful conspiracy.  Think of our government; everything they touch turns to tapioca!


mia a
2012-12-09 10:34 AM

Who are we to appoint ourselves judge and condemn this man? Let us not be ignorant, the illuminati does exist, do your research. If for example, the president wants to come out and support homosexuals and be a member of the bohemian lodged, that's not Mr. Veith's fault. He is just the messenger. Let us recognize that two men are falsely accused in a Togolese prison. Togo's religion of choice is vodoo, followed by Islam. Satan is angry about the spreading of the gospel to the whole world. In Germany, the keeping of Sunday is an official and strict law. Do you honestly think that the government there is thrilled to hear a voice crying oit aboit the mark of the beast? Satan is the accuser of the brethren waiting like a vulture for the first slip of the tongue or a "deemed" misinterpretation. This is only the beginning. Let us look up up and know that our red

Elaine Nelson
2012-12-09 2:43 PM

mia a,

You neglected to cite the source that "In Germany, the keeping of Sunday is an official and strict law."  Is that from your personal experience or hearsay?
Having traveled in Germany many times, that is great news to me, so it would be most helpful to supply your sources, otherwise, it is simply another of the many "conspiracy theories" to frighten people unnecessarily,  (See the 9th Commandment.)

Ella M
2012-12-10 3:42 PM

Elaine,
Yes, Sunday closings of stores, I am told by someone who lives there, is the law now. I am not sure how many other businesses are affected.  This is a secular nation, and it is supposedly for "health" and family reasons.  I think this is fairly recent like in the last year or so.

Andreas Bochmann
2012-12-14 10:51 AM

No, Ella, the "Sunday laws" are more than a hundred years old in Germany.  The recent debates are about loosening them. Thus the four Sundays before Christmas the law is waived. Other than that, train stations, airports, petrol stations are exempt. There are no problems around these Sunday laws within the church. The bigger issue may be the return of work on Saturday in many professions which in recent years had a full weekend off work. (And of course, there always are the questions around health and other service industries - but that's pretty universal).

Ella M
2012-12-14 1:15 PM

  Thanks for the info, Andreas,  I hope all is going well with you.  A friend's son lives there in Franfurt.  He grew up in LL but is not SDA any more.  He is a scholar in anthropology and the study of snake fossils.

Andreas Bochmann
2012-12-14 11:10 AM

Mia a, you overestimate the importance attributed to our church. When we turn up in the media at all, it usually is as an "obscure American sect" (like in reports about Angus Jones). IF there really would have been a major impact, Veith could easily have been sued for libel by the Jesuits, who he basically accused (together with others) of masterminding the holocaust in order to bring Israel to Palestine and prepare a grand delusion for believing Christians. So far Jesuits, Illuninati or Islamists (evil powers working together behind the scenes according to Veith) have not bothered to react and make Veith a "martyr".
The church in Germany works hard to be relevant for a needy society around us. At a local level we sometimes succeed, when we feed the homeless (in soup kitchen), care for the dieing (in old people's homes, a hospital and a hospice), offer an alternative approach to education (in our schools) and - yes - indeed, in preaching the gospel in a manner that focuses on the Good News of Jesus Christ - an everlasting Gospel, rather than speculations which don't help anybody.

Ervin Taylor
2012-12-09 1:21 PM

I was about to write that Adventism both creates and attracts those who like conspiracy theories but Elaine has already made the point. “There is a certain group of people who are drawn to conspiracy theories and Adventism provides the ideal system.  Those who are educated in critical thinking skills and recognize the signs of fallacious ideas when presented . . . Those who dare question are called trouble makers and not sincere Adventists.” 
 

lance hodges
2012-12-10 11:42 AM

It is strange that German police would accuse anyone of being anti semite after the German police of 70 years ago rounded up and killed 6 million Jews.  Strange world indeed!!

Ervin Taylor
2012-12-10 12:54 PM

Might I comment on Mr. Hodges comment that the reason that modern Germany is so concerned about anti-Jewish statements is precisely what happed 70 years ago in Germany!  Certain words in the hands of certain individuals of certain disposition have consequences.  May I also echo Elaine's question about where in Germany or anywhere in Europe is the keeping of Sunday strictly enforced?  I too would like to know from where this strange idea came.

Andreas Bochmann
2012-12-14 10:53 AM

Sunday observance is NOT enforced in Europe. But yes, shops are closed in Germany by law.

Stephen Ferguson
2012-12-22 9:43 AM

Andreas: "No, Ella, the "Sunday laws" are more than a hundred years old in Germany.  The recent debates are about loosening them. Thus the four Sundays before Christmas the law is waived. Other than that, train stations, airports, petrol stations are exempt." 

I would hardly call that 'a Sunday law'.  In Perth Australia, we have for years and years, until very recently, had most of our shops closed on Sundays.  When they had a referrendum to overturn this 'Sunday law', it certainly wasn't even seen as a 'Sunday law' by most Adventist Australians, many who voted to keep the law in place.  

Ella M
2012-12-10 3:43 PM

Ervin,  See my note above.

Steve Tanner
2012-12-10 5:53 PM

Having had a German student in our home and then my attempt to learn a little of the language when her family invited us to come to Germany to go with them on vacation I can truly understand how misunderstandings could happen. I'm sure they had laughs over my attempts to speak their language as I at times did when the student was here learning. I finally gave up on speaking German because I didn't want to say something and be so misunderstood. I decided to speak our USA English and let them figure it out. That seemed to be the best. Many of them speak our language very well was what I learned.

wilst
2013-09-15 5:20 AM

But then I think that "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God". I believe this "i know better" or "shut the heretic up" is all against the government of God. God says have mercy, love and truth not hate, condescendence and disapproval of everyone and anyone. So it has been and it is that God is long suffering. I have tried to picture how it would seem if Christ was to show how much he knows, brag about it if we could get any closer to Him. But we are told that God's goodness brings us closer to Him. I think if we could exercise Martin Luther's or even Wycklife's or even the Puritans and SDA Baptists there is always a stinge of error but who can dare say that God was not with them? They were looking forward unto God knowing they have to decrease that He may increase. They used not so perfect bibles if I am allowed to say so. But they came to measure up as God's people. I believe there is no one opposing them. But after the reformation the bible that was arrived to was KJV, the fruit or present of the reformation. Nevertheless the versions that came up later are also improved in language based on what principles? On the KJV and the manuscripts from which it came or is it? I think when Rumors spread they do spread and truth is not trodden underfoot. I believe that not all have even embraced what he said about the bibles. Walter did not chain anyone to the KJV he gave the choice. He says that he uses the NKJV which is also based on the siniticus text. So what is the trouble? I think that God promised to preserve His word not our language. And the fact that EGW and other bible scholars in her time quoted from other versions is a testimony to that. I don't think demonising a person and changing all he has to say makes one a demon. He gave logical statements and reasons why it is incredulous to use other bibles to get doctrine or even a grasp of the prophecies. So was Martin Luther closest to God? No. We have other reformers who didn't follow the commandments of God because they had not the light but who justifies them? Likewise in our age, many claim that they follow what was there and that was left for us by our pioneers but they like only a part of their writing and on others they say that they were in error. But some even the fundamental truths that God established they refuse as fables claiming to know the truth more than what God revealed. So it comes to mind what Jesus said a kingdom divided againt itself shall not stand, how true? But which kingdom is divided God's kingdom or that people are given into fables and hearkening to seducing spirits? I think Walter Veith has played the Luther role that you should read the bible and be specific for it is the word of God, and God does not say what He does not say, only the Devil says and denies himself. So all are in darkness and are looking for light outside of what God has said and revealed to us and still claim to know God. I think this is pitiful and that we should look at the God whom we are looking unto through His word which defines that everlasting life is hinged on knowing God and His sent Jesus Chist (John 17:3). So stop fighting seek God. Stop criticizing say the truth, which is not your experience but Jesus Christ. Stop empathizing with lies, stop spiritualizing truths and be literal showing that God's Spirit is in you. My advice.

Edwin A. Schwisow
2013-09-15 3:26 PM

There are many "flavors" among the Adventist membership, though there is some minimal coming-and-going among them. For some of the "Apocalyptic Flavor", prophetic symbology keeps them anchored in the Remnant Church. Without this ingredient, Adventism to them would seem sterile and even pointless. This has nothing to do with intelligence or education. It has to do with temperament—melancholic thoughtfulness being a prime personality attribute of this group. Often this group is very musically inclined and quite outspoken about its preferences on that score.

Another group consists of those who favor the "Remnant Flavor," but it doesn't take a lot of dissatisfaction or dashed personal hopes (hiring the wrong pastor for a congregation, or a series of sermons that seem harshly non-Remnantist), to soften the ground for an Apocalyptic to invite a Remnantist over into the Apocalyptic-flavored camp, at least for a long visit.) Another option in Adventism is the "Survivalist" group (sometimes but not usually involving firearms) that while guided some by Apocalyptic orientation, prefers to "act" on its conviction that we must physically prepare to care for our families and faith in hideaways, in the end time, and they find great fulfillment in drinking deeply of the Survivalist conviction.

There are a number of additional flavors in the Church, all of them tied to some aspect of traditional Adventism, but which in time become seriously specialized in peculiar areas which can have an effect of anchoring them to the faith, in most cases. It would be interesting to actually compose a published guide, looking closely at these groups. I see no possibility that these groups will anytime soon coalesce into a single, uniform whole as some hope. The demarcation among these groups has been too established, for too long. What some desire is to see  a situation where each and every one of these groups (provided they are law-abiding and hold back the hate rhetoric toward others within the general Adventist fold) can be fully recognized as legitimate manifestations of the Adventist tradition. For example, in this paradigm  "historic Adventists" would be given recognized validity in every way, and be allowed to build their own worship and outreach facilities to reach out in their preferred modus operandi to Adventists and non-Adventists alike that are moved by the historical culture of the faith. On the other hand, there should also be an understanding that growth among members of historic Adventist congregations may tend to be slower than among members of evangelical-flavored and ethnic-traditionalist Adventist groups, and this understanding would deflect any claim that the historicals are somehow inferior because their growth statistics are modest.

I say the following in semi-non-seriousness, but perhaps the day will come when larger Adventist congregations can have sections of their assembly halls set aside and discreetly marked by ushers as "Historic (about 5 % of the hall); Evangelicals and Celebrationists (about 30% of the hall), High-church traditionalists (10%), Visitors and Unflavored (12%), Intellectual Liberals and Cultural Seekers (2%); Mainstream Traditionalists (30%); Survivalists (2%); Apocalyptics (3%); and Traditional Seekers and Ethnic (6%); and so forth. I use this more as a metaphor for the denomination, than as a serious recommendation for actual sectioning of Adventist assembly areas. But it's interesting that in one church where I have attended, we found that basically the main floor naturally divides its seating more or less along the lines of the US House of Representatives. There are three banks of pews, left to right, and wherein possible I sit in the center bank of pews, where the acoustics are best and where other traditionalists tend to park...

Point is, the Church in the US has long-since passed a stage of uniformitarian capability, and to try to force it into that mold at this stage would literally divide it into at least three denominations in the short haul, and perhaps as many as six, longer-term....The faith is one, but the flavors are many—and by and large, this strengthens rather than diminishes our cohesion and ability to minister broadly to the world....

Steve Tanner
2013-09-15 8:29 PM

Wow Edwin,
I found your comments and statistics very interesting. 

Ervin Taylor
2013-09-16 11:23 AM

The 2% figure for Adventist liberals/progressives seems to be about right.  However, you characterized the category as "Intellectual Lliberals and Cultural Seekers" and also had a category of "Traditional Seekers and Ethnics"  Do I assume correctly that you distinguish between "Intellectual Liberals" and "Lifestyle Liberals"?   And I'm not sure why you combine "Traditional Seekers and Ethnics"  (I assume that Ethnic and Ethnics have the same meaning). Those two categories do not seem to go together,  Could you please unpack your categories? 

You main point is spot on.  First World Adventism has broken apart into all types of intellectual, cultural and lifestyle constituencies typically out of touch with each other.  It's a facinating sociological mix with all kinds of political outcomes and the stuff of many thesis and dissertations in the sociology of religion.

Edwin A. Schwisow
2013-09-16 9:56 PM

I'm sorry I cannot really state that these percentages are anything more than ballpark, based on observation and reading through the years. I do see "intellectual liberals and cultural seekers" as related, but not identical; but for purposes here I placed them in one category, as I do believe they get along fairly well, as a group, with many parallel if not identical points of interest.

Your suggestion that intellectual liberals and lifestyle liberals should be differentiated is very valid. In my writing of the above comment, I did not go so far in my mind as to break them out….

I have found our ethnic brothers and sisters by and large to be on the "traditional" side of things, and it bears confirming here that through traditional outreach (evangelism) programs, the results are far more encouraging among ethnic groups and recent immigrants than among more-established populations (in the US). I am told this holds true in other countries as well.

Thanks for these helpful observations and the urging for me to clarify....I am fascinated by this particular study (of the "flavors" in Adventism) and would love to collaborate in deeper research on this question with like-minded academicians of similar bent.... We have seen broad groupings of Adventists (in print) allocated to up to four different categories, but I think these four alone are no longer adequate. It would be a compelling study to create a "Briggs-Myers Typography" of various flavors of Adventists, and perhaps in that way we could more coherently discuss our differences as co-equals in the church, without casting aspersions against those who are not like us. (Briggs-Myers has 16 categories).The practice of denigrating those we consider inferior to ourselves (in knowledge, devotion, wisdom, and practice) has become a very bad Adventist habit well worth breaking. We need each other, and we do need all kinds, though the numbers of people in each group will vary from era to era, and people can and do "cross typographical lines"....

I might add in closing that the group above labeled "traditional seekers and ethnics" refer to individuals not yet fully assimilated into the congregation, still orienting, perhaps preparing for baptism, but not yet comfortable joining any of the other specific flavors. In traditional Adventist-speak, these would be people attending the "Pastor's Class" in Sabbath school. We do not see many staunch liberals or confirmed conservatives following that trajectory very often, unless the pastor herself is extremely left or right of center, and most pastors today tend to stay (at least publically) fairly close to the traditional philosophical center, as do most conference workers. One of the "problems" in the world of Adventist academia is that professors, in particular, are expected to be more exploratory and creative than their colleagues in the pulpit. This is an aspect of our church that some still do not fully understand, let alone accept as a norm that will not change anytime soon, and probably is better left unchanged.... It would be a wonderful thing, it seems to me, if some of this material could be discussed in context of baptismal studies. It seems that when a new convert joins a congregation and is hit in the face with the huge diversity within what she originally believed was a uniformitarian group of like-thinking people, the experience can be very daunting. Better to at least open up some of these topics early, and without apology; ditto with students in academy and college.
 

wilst
2013-09-16 2:24 PM

And at the end of the day it is not just about being historical or many of the groups. It is about God. It was not just about Moses as the pharisees blindly applied to themsleves but also about the prophets like Daniel. At this age I believe that if it is a truth that God established we should embrace it. That spirit of I know better and the log in your eye is bigger than the speck in mine is quite against the Spirit upon whom the church is built Christ Jesus. Even if a group is write sharing in the spirit of the evil one makes it a tool of the evil one as Pr Allen Powell once said. History is good it established the import of prophecy and God Himself has been there since everlasting past and forever will be. So how bad is history? I don't think so. Clear thoughts and lines of thinking authored by Christ are essential for unity and truth in the word. The God is One, the Father, the Son Lord Jesus Christ is One the spirit is one of the Father and the Son, the faith can only be one of Jesus Christ, baptism one as of Jesus, Salvation is One of the Father and the Lamb. Reading more than the word says is always dangerous and closing up what that is opened before us for us is a reason for division. 

Ervin Taylor
2013-09-16 6:52 PM

"Clear thoughts and lines of thinking authored by Christ are esential for unity and truth in the word."  I couldn't agree more.  But would "Wilst" please share with us how everyone is going to agree on the content of "thinking authored by Christ"?  Perhaps he has some new insights as to how that might be accomplished.   .

earl calahan
2013-09-16 10:58 PM

Never in this world!! That is why we have various "mainline" congregations, evangelistic,  traditionals, liberals, progressives, atheists, and many offshoots & sects with variations of all the original Christian groups. i too agree with "clear thoughts and lines of thinking authored by Jesus Christ is essential" to the whole being of man.If JESUS isn't the answer, there is NO answer for man.

wilst
2013-09-18 1:34 AM

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind. Luke 10:27. With the mind God requires we be intelligent also in our love. God does not just disarm us from being carnal He is not just against He is for but towards the narrow gate and strait road. Yes the Lord always has direction before declaring the commandments He said "I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." Therefore He is a God of direction He always takes away out of slavery not into and to this James bears witness " But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." James 1:25

Or so is it? When He chastises does He lead to sin, does He require us to fall into sin? Can He live us there? Everyone knows too well the story of Daniel. But the mind how can one be an intelligent worshiper? It is by knowing the character of God. One of which He is absolutely truthful and when He says anything He does not guess, or says what He does not mean.

A clear line of logic is knowing that a person inspired by the Spirit does not claim for others to do what they don't practise. For example in the epistle of Paul to the Philippians 4:8-9 Failing to recognize that verse 8 is linked with verse 9 leads men to look for good things to do and say that Paul said so.. But surely Paul did not give them a solution out of the church or the scriptures but the same which he preached for they learned received heard and had seen in him do. Now our task is to dig out what the honest things are, just things etc from the writings of Paul and other apostles. I think that is clear. Doesn't this show that He is a God of direction and leads to Himself through the Son?

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you." 
 

But sadly these lines are overlooked. Some say that the Lord did not give the specifications for worship while He requires worship. I think this is making a joke out of God and it is not clear thinking. Others say God does not know how to count. Others say that they know what is truth and still call God a liar. Therefore they start attacking each other everyone saying they are right, while the simplicity of the word is gone from them. They end up discouraged while still far from the truth. This is part of my thoughts. 

Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-09-20 10:59 PM

Dr Veith has written (and speaks) on a large variety of subjects and not just limited to the apocalyptic ones as implied in the article.  There is no evidence showing that Dr Veith hates or discriminates against Jews, even in his use of a term considered ‘by Germans’ as inappropriate - according to the article.  Dr Veith is a Christian of good reputation.  His many articles and lectures testify of this.  By the look of things, I am of the opinion that this was just used a ploy to gag Dr Veith and tarnish his good name by blowing it out of proportion.  German engineering at its best?

At our local mall bookstore, dozens of copies of Mein Kampf are available for sale.  On the book cover I recall seeing a warning that the book is not a ‘nice’ book to read but that it is necessary for such ‘evil’ to be made known (or something to that effect).  Are the publishers and those who buy the book anti-Semitic?  It is a fact that Germany has a ban on much literature considered anti-Semitic and that is understandable, given their terrible past in terms of the horrific genocide meted out to six million Jews.  This shows the extent of what racism can do and what despicable acts fascist (secular or religious) states are capable of.  But trying to tie Dr Veith down to this is in itself unwarranted and uncalled for.  They are just baseless accusations and (to me) nothing but a misunderstanding which is being exploited as a propaganda tool to discredit an honorable decent man.

Here are some of many (other) topics Dr Veith also speaks and has written on:
 
  • Is the Bible True?
  • Who is Jesus?
  • Christian Living
  • Good God, Bad World. Why?
  • Rekindling the Reformation
  • A Day of Rest
  • The Gospel Story
  • Signs and Wonders
  • The Mystic Realm of Death
  • Spiritual Gifts
  • The Millenium of Peace
  • The Second Coming of Christ
  • Archaeology and the Bible
  • Evidence in Stone
  • The Fossil Record
  • Creation to Restoration
  • Crossing Musical Bounderies
  • The Dangers of Television
  • Violence and Video Games
  • Hollywood and the Movies
  • Genetically Modified Foods
  • Can You Beat the Nicotine
  • Get Healthy

Ervin Taylor
2013-09-21 11:08 PM

It appears that Dr. Veith is an authority on many topics: the Bible, archaeology, the fossil record, dangers of television, Hollywood, and genetically modified foods. It would ssem that he is something of a polymath.  As for his problems with German authorities, I'm sure that we are all for freedom of expresssion, unless someone yells "fire" in a crowded room.  However, perhaps the more pressing problem for him, is that he seems to be crying "wolf," "wolf," "wolf" a lot   One's credibility tends to be eroded rather rapidly under such circumstances but, of course, Dr. Veith has no corner on that problem.  His church seems to have been doing that every since it was founded. .   

Nathan Schilt
2013-09-22 9:47 PM

This is an interesting article, with many interesting comments. Without knowing more about what specific law Vieth is alleged to have violated, and the context of his remarks, it is difficult to make even preliminary judgments.

What may not be well appreciated by many readers is the extent to which freedom of religious practice and freedom of religious expression are regularly trumped by "human rights" and the needs of the state, as defined by secular elitists who hold political power in Europe, England, and Canada. It is a preview of what is already on full display in American colleges and universities, and is insidiously creeping into American jurisprudence via regulatory agencies that have low regard and no tolerance for religious institutions and religious business owners whose living faith runs counter to that of government morality.

Tapiwa Mushaninga
2013-09-24 11:35 AM

Nathan

Interesting observation.Sometimes I feel those of the left confuse freedom of religion with freedom from religion.

Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-09-25 6:22 PM

The following should be noted with regards to the 'ban' on Dr Veith in SDA Churches in Germany.  Here are a few excerpts from the Amazing Discoveries Website regarding this: http://amazingdiscoveries.org/12.12.06-walter-veith-responds-to-eud-banned-in-german-churches
 
  • Readers should note that there have been no complaints from Jews in regards to Walter's comments, nor have any non-SDAs had issue with the contents of his series. All complaints and disapproval originated from fellow SDA brethren, specifically those associated with the private news agency EANN (similar to Spectrum), and from Church leadership that sided with the accusers. The ban from speaking in German SDA Churches stems not from any public offence actually made, but rather from leadership so desperate to be politically correct that they rather sacrifice truth. Or is there a more sinister reason for their strong opposition to this message?? [Website]
  • I therefore reiterate that I did not mean it in a derogatory sense and that I harbor no anti-Semitic sentiments. Moreover, having grown up in Africa and not in Germany, I was never associated with discrimination against the Jews nor did I ever side with or share any sentiments with those who did. On the contrary, discriminatory ideologies are abhorrent to me. [Letter sent on December 5, 2012 by Walter Veith to Bruno Vertallier - from Website]
  • My statements have been wrenched out of all proportions and since the actions of the SDA leadership in German-speaking Europe during the war were not exactly exemplary (as is clear from their apology in the 2005 declaration on anti-Semitism and also the recent reiteration of that declaration) I assume that you overreacted for fear that the past should haunt you. In line with that declaration, I too am against all forms of discrimination on the grounds of race or religion and stand firmly for religious liberty but I draw a clear line of distinction between the theological issues and the racial issues involved. [Website]

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