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A Response to Ken Corkum’s “Supportive Criticism”
Publish date: Aug 12, 2009
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In the March 2010 issue of the Maritime Pulse for the Maritime Seventh-day Adventist Conference, Pastor Ken Corkum published a statement expressing his concerns regarding Amazing Discoveries and Pastor Victor Gill’s Sleepwalking DVD. Below, we outline several of Corkum’s concerns and address each one from our perspective:
1. Independent Supporting Ministry Agreement
Ken Corkum states that Amazing Discoveries “has been unwilling to enter into an agreement with their local conference in BC, asks why our ministry would not agree with the SDACC Independent Supporting Ministries Policy as outlined in the article.
He indicates in the article that Amazing Discoveries has been “invited” to enter into an agreement with the local conference, but we “refuse to work with the organized Seventh-day Adventist Church.”
Supporting the Conference
Amazing Discoveries had a good relationship with the Church and it was Amazing Discoveries that approached the Conference to find out how we could more formally work with the organized Church. Although the BC Conference participated with us in early evangelistic efforts, we have never been invited to become a supportive ministry and to “work with the Church” although Amazing Discoveries makes every effort to support the Church.
Our evangelism includes inviting people to join their local Seventh-day Adventist Church. Our speakers are members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and serve in official capacities. Walter Veith is an ordained pastor and evangelist of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in South Africa, and there are countless reports of those who have come into the Church as a result of his evangelism.
Victor Gill is an ordained pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada and has brought many souls to the Seventh-day Adventist Church around the world, including Canada, Ukraine, and India.
At every opportunity, we have invited the local Conferences to work with us so that there would be a support system for individuals who decide to study further after a series. In a recent request to hold an evangelistic series in BC, we were told by the BC Conference that our speakers are not wanted anywhere in the province.
Although we are not officially “banned,” there is strong recommendation from the BC and Canadian Conferences to all churches to not include Amazing Discoveries speakers in evangelistic plans. Unfortunately, because organizations that work with the Conference are called “supporting ministries,” there is a mistaken attitude among some Adventists that all groups that do not have Conference sanction must be “unsupportive ministries.” An organization does not need to be officially classed as a “supporting ministry” in order to be supportive of the Church. It is logical that Adventists and leaders who do not know about Amazing Discoveries would wish to contact the BC or Canadian Conference for more information about this ministry before they invite Amazing Discoveries to their church. Sadly, however, personal opinions and assessments of Amazing Discoveries and its message are the basis for the recommendation, rather than clear Biblical counter-arguments.
We have asked for a meeting with the Conference so that they might inform us of any error that is being preached, but they have not responded.
However, we have heard secondhand that the leadership opposes some of the topics Amazing Discoveries presents because the topics are not considered to be fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Amazing Discoveries is committed to the Seventh-day Adventist understanding of end-time truths as revealed in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy and we believe the fundamental beliefs of the Church are God-given.
Therefore, we must disagree with the Conference’s understanding of our content. It is true that the current and historical world events mentioned in Walter Veith’s series, such as the history of organizations like the Illuminati are not mentioned in the fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. We believe that the presentation of current events and history is not contrary to our fundamental beliefs but in fact strengthens Bible prophecy by revealing today’s application of Bible prophecy.
It is a Seventh-day Adventist fundamental belief that Babylon will be the conglomerate of the whole earth that opposes God. Amazing Discoveries is working to show how this prophecy is coming to fruition in our world today.
In the very time in which we live the Lord has called His people and has given them a message to bear. He has called them to expose the wickedness of the man of sin (TM 118).
Note that we are to expose the wickedness of the man of sin—not only to speak of him in theory as if it all were still in the future or only in the past, but to show with clarity what are his tactics and his plans in the world, to show the evil and wickedness of his actions and philosophies. As we near the soon coming of Christ, this will involve current world events. This is the mandate of every Seventh-day Adventist and has always been so:
The present is a time of overwhelming interest to all living. Rulers and statesmen, men who occupy positions of trust and authority, thinking men and women of all classes, have their attention fixed upon the events taking place about us. They are watching the relations that exist among the nations. They observe the intensity that is taking possession of every earthly element, and they recognize that something great and decisive is about to take place—that the world is on the verge of a stupendous crisis. The Bible, and the Bible only, gives a correct view of these things. Here are revealed the great final scenes in the history of our world, events that already are casting their shadows before, the sound of their approach causing the earth to tremble, and men’s hearts to fail them for fear (Prophets and Kings: 536-537)
Many Seventh-day Adventists have not noticed the slow movements towards the set up of the final players of the end-time drama. Along with other Protestants, some have even neglected to concern themselves with the growing strength of the papal power. Amazing Discoveries seeks to wake up sleeping Laodicea as well as those deceived in Babylon to the reality of the soon coming of Jesus. How else can these warnings be given in a relevant way to the people, unless we show them the signs of the times and the dangers that threaten the whole world? In Matthew 24, Jesus warned that even the elect could be deceived by Satan’s deceptions at the end of time. The message of Amazing Discoveries seeks to expose these deceptions. People will not know what “come out of Babylon” means if they do not know what to come out of and what that means in today’s world. For a further discussion of our message and why we preach it, please see the Spring 2010 edition of Faith on the Line .
Independent Supporting Ministry Guidelines
When we approached the Conference in regards to becoming formally recognized as a supporting ministry, we were given the guidelines as outlined in the Maritime Pulse. We quickly realized there was a problem with the way the guidelines were worded:
Sound Theology – The theological positions of the Supporting Ministries and the emphasis placed upon them shall be in harmony with the fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In supporting these beliefs, the context of both the Biblical text and writings of Ellen G. White, as assessed by the Biblical Research Institute and the Ellen G. White Estate, shall be faithfully used. Theological positions not addressed in the fundamental beliefs shall not be promoted (emphasis added).
This paragraph states that unless the Biblical Research Institute and the Ellen G. White Estate approve of what is being preached, it cannot be preached. Unfortunately, this position is untenable for us.
But the Seventh-day Adventist Church is not lead by a hierarchy, as the Catholic Church is. We are not mandated what to preach by a certain group or institution of our Church.
We do believe that the Bible Research Institute and Ellen G. White Estate can serve as an excellent resource for study. However, the final authority in all matters must be the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit of Prophecy itself (not the Estate). The wording of these supporting ministry guidelines implies that the Biblical text can only be preached and interpreted as dictated and assessed by the BRI and EGW Estate.
To whom should preachers give their first allegiance? To the BRI and the Ellen G. White Estate? Or to the Holy Spirit, the Word, and the Spirit of Prophecy? Surely it must the latter. The Biblical Research Institute, important as its role may be, is not infallible.
Take for example the BRI’s tance on the identity of the Antichrist and 666. For decades, the stand of the Adventist Church has been that the Antichrist is the Roman Church-state, as proven through the Bible, the reformers, and the Spirit of Prophecy.
But there’s a growing popular view among Adventist scholars that disowns the traditional Seventh-day Adventist interpretation of the Roman Catholic Papacy being the 666 described in Revelation 13. In addition, Ellen G. White has also fallen into question by some Adventist scholars. Under these circumstances, we must always remember that the BRI and the EGW Estate are made up of fallible humans, and therefore the final authority must always be the Bible and the Bible alone with the Spirit of Prophecy to help guide.
2. Victor Gill and Supporting the ChurchIn his article, Ken Corkum also discredits the DVD Sleepwalking by Pastor Victor Gill—a long-time friend and employee of Corkum and the Maritime Conference. He accuses Pastor Gill of talking out of both sides of his mouth: on the one hand claiming to be “supportive of the Lord’s church in end times” and on the other putting down “the publications and institutions” of the Church. Corkum insists that by pointing out the dangers of the spiritual formation movement in a DVD that is available to the public, Pastor Gill is being “non-supportive” of the Church.
What does it mean to support the Church? It seems that according to Ken Corkum’s article, we must never speak out against anything unBiblical, if it means pointing out error in the Church. But history and the Bible tell us that the Church is not perfect or infallible. Israel was God’s people, but they played the harlot.
And we are doing the same today. The Church is not Babylon, but it is playing the part of a harlot. Several years ago, when Willow Creek first became popular under Bill Hybels, Seventh-day Adventists flocked to Willow Creek seminars to learn how to make larger seeker-centered churches. Has the SDA church become richer as a result? See what Adventist Today itself says about it.
Now, the new spiritual formation movement is sweeping through Protestantism, and we are falling in step. Why are SDA leaders promoting spiritual formation with its New Age mysticism? Denis Fortin, in the same Maritime Pulse issue, suggested that Adventists teach spiritual formation in order to hone students’ skill of discernment so that they will not be mere reflectors of others’ thoughts. Did discernment happen with Willow Creek? By participating in Willow Creek, were we not being mere reflectors of other people’s thoughts? Which people are we really afraid reflect? Could one of them be Ellen G. White?
We hope that Brother Corkum will reexamine his attitude towards his brother, Pastor Victor Gill, who is trying to protect the remnant Church from Satan’s attacks. If anything, we need more support of these brave self-sacrificing ministers, who are out in the front lines doing the work in difficult places of the world and who are calling out the dangers threatening God’s remnant Church.
3. Sleepwalking and Spiritual Formation
Corkum warns against “circulating the DVDs” as in “an underground movement of exciting revelations,” and insists that any issues or concerns about what is being done or taught in the Church should be addressed directly to the leadership who are “open to listen.” He also insists that it would be better to stay away from addressing the “member in the pew.” He asks, “Of what benefit is pointing out believed sin in a non-supportive way to our local church members?”
Is it unsupportive to point out the dangers of spiritual formation and the inroads it is making into the Church? Are we not permitted to speak the truth under the injunction of God to anyone who would listen? The DVD is available to anyone who wishes to view it. We are not to speak only with the leadership, and wait for them to take a stand. In many cases it is the leaders that are bringing spiritual formation to the people in the first place. This Church is not a top down structure, although certain leaders may wish it to be. This Church is a bottom up structure, based on the Spirit of Prophecy. It is the members who are called upon to test every spirit and to hold fast that which is good.
Throughout Ken Corkum’s article, he states that only the leadership—whether it be the BRI, the Ellen G. White Estate, the “spiritual leader” of the Maritime Conference, or any other official leaders or boards—should be the ones deciding what should and should not be taught, preached, and believed by the laity.
If we cannot preach to the members and allow them to study further and make up their own minds, then we are back in the time of the Dark Ages, when the Word was removed from the people, sifted, and only presented through leadership. It is our duty as members to sift through and study everything that is presented and to accept only that which aligns with the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. This includes the pros and cons of spiritual formation. One side cannot be the only side presented if members are to make a choice based on full knowledge.
Pastor Corkum suggests that our people be kept safely from the controversy and told only that which has been officially interpreted and digested. But will this process enable our people to stand when the crisis hits? Grave times are ahead of us and the battle is soon to rage. But it is in the individual hearts and minds of each member that the war will be fought and decided. Each one of us must make our own choice.
Since the writers in the Maritime Pulse suggest that spiritual formation is not dangerous to Seventh-day Adventists, Amazing Discoveries has made more information on spiritual formation available on our website for anyone who wants to study this topic further.
ConclusionThe Seventh-day Adventist Church is not run by spiritual leaders or spiritual directors, but by another Leader made manifest to the individual heart through the study of God’s Word and the Spirit of Prophecy.
Being supportive of the Church does not mean turning a blind eye when error creeps in. The leadership is not the Church and is not infallible. The Church is the entire body made up primarily of members, and all are to test what they hear against the Scriptures and Spirit of Prophecy.
Already there are coming in among our people spiritualistic teachings that will undermine the faith of those who give heed to them. The theory that God is an essence pervading all nature, is one of Satan’s most subtle devices. It misrepresents God, and is a dishonor to His greatness and majesty. Pantheistic theories are not sustained by the Word of God. The light of His truth shows that these theories are soul-destroying agencies. Darkness is their element, sensuality their sphere....If God is an essence pervading all nature, then He dwells in all men; and in order to attain holiness, man has only to develop the power that is within him. These theories, followed to their logical conclusion, sweep away the whole Christian economy. They do away with the necessity for the atonement, and make man his own savior (Evangelism: 601- 602; T8 291-292).
The trumpet is to give a certain sound. The attention of the people is to be called to the third angel’s message. Let not God’s servants act like men walking in their sleep, but like men preparing for the coming of Christ (Review and Herald, Mar 2, 1905; Evangelism: 119).
Shall we wait until God’s judgments fall upon the transgressor before we tell him how to avoid them? Where is our faith in the Word of God? Must we see things foretold come to pass before we will believe what He has said? In clear, distinct rays light has come to us, showing us that the great day of the Lord is near at hand, “even at the door” (T9: 19-20; Evangelism: 120).
For more information, contact the Maritime Conference directly:
Maritime Conference 121 Salisbury Road, Moncton, NB, E1E 1A6, or
email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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