Spring 2011: Q & A with Professor Walter Veith
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Summary: Continued from the Fall 2010 edition of Faith on the Line
 
 

How did you first get into evangelism?

It started off simply with evolution and Creation. Those were my first lectures. As a scientist, I have first hand involvement with these issues, and if you want to be able to speak with authority on a subject, it’s best to have first hand experience.

When it comes to Catholicism, I also had first hand experience. My whole life was a turmoil: Protestantism versus Catholicism. That’s why I became an atheist. The doctrine of hell and many other issues were too big for me to reconcile.

I was given this incorrect picture of the character of God—this disgusting, vengeful, malicious deity out there that will crush you just for the sake of not belonging to the right denomination.

But nobody’s saved just by being a Seventh-day Adventist, for example. You’re being saved by a relationship. And do you think that I’m an SDA because I enjoy joining some sect or other just to be weird or different? If there was a way out, I would have taken it.

Who wants to be an SDA, and walk 180 degrees diametrically opposed to what the world is doing? Who wants to lose all his friends because he doesn’t want to eat meat anymore?

Who wants to lose all her friends because she doesn’t drink anymore? Even your family may turn against you.

I’m an SDA because there’s no where else to go. If you want to follow the truth, you have to become an SDA. Even the Roman Catholic Church says that if you want to follow the Bible, you have to become an SDA. If even Rome says that, there’s no other choice.

You can argue and you can say whatever you like. But if you really study it, there’s no way out, you have to be an SDA.

Where have you taken this truth in your evangelism?

Personally I have been to many countries—Eastern, Western— fifty or sixty countries. I’ve lost count.

But where this truth has been taken is another question. It has gone to the heart of Siberia, to the most remote countries of the world.

It’s amazing where these DVDs have gone, and how they get to some places. We have the most amazing stories of how people get hold of these DVDs, and what this work has actually accomplished. I can only say that this work is not mine. The work must be from a Higher Power.

We Christians have this tendency to want to fill the church building, and so we water down the distinctive features of the faith that are somewhat uncomfortable.

My evangelistic approach is exactly the opposite. I have learned in my evangelism to take the very issues that are the problematic ones and make them prominent.

So if Ellen White is a problem, give a lecture on it off the bat. If Sabbath is a problem, lecture on it. Whatever is the problem, lecture on it.

The Bible says teach them all things, whatsoever things I have commanded you—not just a smattering. When people come in they must know the truth.

I tell them straight, “you are coming into the most pathetic church on the planet.” You turn the argument around. The Bible says they’re blind, pitiful, naked, poor, wretched, lukewarm, fast asleep. That’s the church you’re coming into.

There are bits and pieces of Babylon showing up in the SDA Church. What’s it doing here? Well, you see, the Enemy came and sowed these tares. What shall we do? Shall we rip up the tares? No, let them grow together until the harvest.

Leave the judging to the Lord in case you by chance rip out what you think is a tare, and it turns out to be wheat.

I think the statement is certainly supported by the Bible that it’s not up to us to judge. It’s God’s job. But aren’t we told in the Bible and Inspiration that we should reprove error and reach out to our erring brothers and sisters to try to help them see the error of their ways?

Matthew 18 provides us a formula on how to reach out to someone who is transgressing.

Within the Church, private sins must be privately rebuked. Public sins must be publicly rebuked. And there are Biblical examples.

Jesus rebuked Peter publicly because he denied Jesus publicly. It was in front of all the other apostles that He asked Peter, “do you love me?”

That way, all these things could be set straight.

But when it comes to public evangelism, my job is not to attack the Church. This Church is the apple of the Lord’s eye. I have no right to turn my weapons against my Church, but I have an admonition to let the truth do the cutting.

Present the truth.

What advice would you offer, from your experience, to Adventists who are faced with non-Biblical messages or have church leaders encouraging them to accept error in their Christian walk?

I come across this situation a lot. Some churches are fanatically extreme and people often confuse a straight message with extremism.

Extremism is not a straight message. Extremism is making a particular behaviour paramount to your salvation. So you elevate diet, for example to a position of prominence in the plan of salvation. That’s extremism.

That’s just as bad, probably worse, then liberalism. Liberalism means everything goes, rock and roll, swinging the hips, and we’re alright Jack. There’s hope for a liberal. But it’s very hard for a fanatic to come back into the boat.

People ask me whether I’m a liberal or a conservative. I say “I’m a liberal conservative. I’m liberal with others and conservative with myself.”

I get into these churches and everything goes. I’ve been in churches where the pastor will come onto the stage with an electric guitar on his neck and an earring hanging from one ear, and a hairstyle which looks like he stuck his finger in an electrical socket. I’ve had that.

I’ve also had these ultra conservative, “if you don’t do this or that, sizzlefitz, you’ve had it” types. I’ve had both sides. What do you do? Well, I’ll tell you a story.

I was a campmeeting speaker in a first-world country. Thousands of people were at this ten-day campmeeting.

A lot of the preachers at the campmeeting, were trained by outside institutions, Willow Creek type education, Willow Creek type preaching. It was very emotional. If everybody didn’t break down in tears, the sermon wasn’t a success. I’m sitting in that circumstance, thinking that this isn’t blatant error, but it’s dramatization of that which should be very plain.

When it comes to the youth, what happened in those places is just unbelievable. The youth hall had a band and a drum set that would have satisfied five mega bands today.

The youth were actually jumping on chairs, bashing their posteriors together, swaying their arms. It was absolute din. And I thought to myself, is this a Seventh-day Adventist gathering?

I found this young fellow standing outside the youth hall. So sidled up to him, and said, “you’re standing here all alone. Why aren’t you with your friends in there?”

He said, “I can’t go in there.”

“Why not?” I asked.

He said, “My Jesus isn’t in there.”

So we get talking.

There are some chairs, and we sit down and have a nice conversation. He says, do you mind if we talk again tomorrow?”

The next day, there were twenty-five young people sitting there, and again, we have a nice chat.

The next day, there were two hundred youth.

And we’re just chatting. They all say that they want nothing to do with the chaos. That it was peer pressure convincing them to join in on the din.

Experiences like that tell us that no matter how bad it looks, God still has 7000 who haven’t bowed the knee to Baal.

Take the Adventist Youth Congress for example. There are thousands of young people standing up and saying “Listen, we’re sick of being fed inconsequential brainless entertainment. Give us food."

People tell me that my type of preaching will empty the Church. But I’ve always found it filling up. People are getting on fire for this truth.

So how do you respond when the truth isn’t being taught?

When I go into a a gathering, my body language will say it all. I will not get up and say, “what is this apostasy going on here,” even though I’ve heard stuff preached that would make your hair stand on end.

When they start speaking this stuff, I take out my Bible and read it. People watch, and they say, “why were you reading your Bible?”

“Well,” I reply, “I wasn’t getting too much Scriptural truth out of the sermon, so I thought I’d read my Bible.”

And then they sing the swinging stuff or these repetitive mantra prayer songs with beautiful melodies that sweeps people into a euphoria. It’s brainless.

My response is this: just do me a favor. Before you sing a song read it. And when you’ve read it out loud to everyone, think about the lyrics. And if it’s not brain dead, you can sing it.

There are lots of negative influences on the Seventh-day Adventist Church: a flood of non-Biblical teaching, homosexuality, rejection of the Spirit of Prophecy, all kinds of issues that seem to communicate a sense of division, erosion, and even collapse of the Church. What’s your view on that? Do you have confidence and faith in the remnant Church in the face of this apostasy?

Well, aren’t we the antitype of Elijah? Aren’t we the fulfillment of the Elijiah message?

What was it like in the days of Elijiah? He said, “Lord, I’m the only one left. The king is in cahoots with that woman Jezebel. They’re bringing in sun worship, and I’m the only one left.”

The Lord said, “Actually, Pal, there’s 7000 others who have not bowed the knee.”

We’re there too. We’re saying, “what’s going on here Lord? Where are all the people that are supposed to be watchmen on the wall and keeping all this drivel out of the Church?”

But when it came push to shove what happened? God’s Church was triumphant. This Church will go through to the Kingdom, but there will be a mega shaking. I don’t think we have any idea of the magnitude of the shaking that is coming.

According to the Spirit of Prophecy, God will pass by whole churches if we do not repent and return to the worship of the true God.

You have been accused of stating that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is in fact Babylon. Is that true?

I can only say that those people who have accused me of that have never attended my lectures. It’s always interesting that those that have the most to say about my theology, including leaders, have never, ever, ever been to my meetings. They hear hearsay from some liberal individual who totally distorts what I say and then base their judgment on that.

The less they know, the more they have to say on this issue. I have never, nor will I ever, say that the SDA Church is Babylon. A whore perhaps, but not Babylon.

And that’s a Bible truth, not a Walter Veith truth.

Yes. The Lord even raised up the prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute because that’s what He is married to.

People say, “well isn’t the Church Babylon? It’s joining the ecumenical movement! We have people who have signed the document.”

Well yes we have, and we’re in all kinds of councils. But this church is not Babylon. This church has a bottom-up structure. I know there are many in leadership that have this wishful thinking that we have this top-down structure, but they cannot get past the Spirit of Prophecy, which says we have a bottom-up structure.

Even if they say we have a top-down structure, even if they put in an official report to the government, it’s still wishful thinking on their part. The Spirit of Prophecy says a bottom-up structure. That means when there are a particular set of doctrines to be decided upon, it is the world Church that decides.

The world Church happens to be largely in the Third World, where they are sticking to the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy.

I’ve sat in mega faith and science meetings, where one whole division will have exactly the opposite report of the next division.

In fact, I was made spokesman for my division, and my opening words were, “It is with great pride and joy that I read to you the statement of my division.” It was beautiful and absolutely crystal clear as to where we stand and what we believe.

Now, if some president or even some union or even some division goes against the general teachings of the Church and does exactly what the Church as a body denies, that doesn’t make my Church Babylon. It doesn’t even make that group Babylon. But it certainly makes her a prostitute.

So, yes we have prostitutes in our Church that have prostituted themselves, but this Church is the apple of the Lord’s eye and it will go through until the Kingdom.

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