Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
GJ 4:3 (Fall 63) p. 41
Another Look at Seventh-Day Adventism. By Norman F. Douty. Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1962. 224 pp. $3.50.
Since September, 1956, when Dr. Donald G. Barnhouse published an article in Eternity magazine challenging the evangelical world to accept the SDA movement as basically evangelical (“Are Seventh-day Adventists Christians?”), there has been increasing debate on this subject. With the encouragement of Barnhouse, SDA leaders published in 1957 a 700-page volume entitled, Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine, in which they sought to present their movement as one in basic harmony with all orthodox Christian groups. An associate of Barnhouse, Walter R. Martin, likewise sought to present SDAs as evangelicals in his book, The Truth About Seventh-day Adventism (Zondervan, 1960).
In the present volume, Norman Douty, a former president of Grand Rapids Baptist Theological Seminary and College, makes a thorough study of twelve SDA doctrines in the light of their recent claims in Questions on Doctrine and in the light of Scripture. With regard to the former, he succeeds in showing that it does not give a true picture of SDA teaching. With regard to the latter, Douty concludes that the movement is characterized by delusion and heresy. “As long as Adventism remains Adventism it must be repudiated. When it abandons its distinctive doctrines it will no longer be Adventism” (p. 189). Concerning Mrs. Ellen G. White, who founded the movement about 120 years ago with her claims of divine inspiration, Douty states: “We cannot avoid the conclusion that Mrs. White was Satanically ensnared and that those who follow her, however sincere and upright, are equally so” (p. 174).
After studying this book, the reviewer cannot avoid the conclusion that anyone who insists on classifying SDA as an evangelical movement is either ignorant of its teachings or is confused in his understanding of the term “evangelical.” Christians must beware of the current trend of watering down this term to include only an irreducible minimum of orthodox doctrine, and must not fear to brand as heretical those who deviate in significant areas from the plain teachings of the Word of God.
Bible believers everywhere owe a debt of gratitude to Norman Douty for the immense amount of research he has brought to bear upon his analysis of Seventh-day Adventism. While his book is not written in a smooth-flowing and popular style, it nevertheless serves as an indispensable source book for students and Christian workers who are concerned about the true nature of this growing cult.
John C. Whitcomb, Jr.
Grace Theological Seminary
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