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Mail Box 4

I see now that if one falls, they all fall.

(Note: the following letter is edited to give this SDA pastor anonymity. It is, however, typical of a number of communications I have with currently employed SDA pastors. You can feel the deep struggle he is going through. Please pray for this pastor and many more like him.)

…I also want to update you on my progress since receiving your two books, Sabbath in Crisis and Cultic Doctrine. I devoured the first one and have scanned the second. My life is very busy, but I took every spare second I could to read Sabbath in Crisis. I have a good friend and great brother in Christ, ____, with whom you are aquatinted, I believe, and to whom you have sent books, also. I want to avoid speaking for him, but I will reference our interactions and the running conversation we have held for the last…months since I,…visited him and his family… At that time we both, without realizing the other was on the same identical journey, articulated our feelings of doubt about the Sabbath as we have long understood it as Seventh-day Adventist pastors and believers. I didn’t know he had purchased your books. He shared his copy of Sabbath in Crisis with me during that weekend. I read some of it, then came home and ordered my own copy, as you know. Over the next … months we conversed frequently by phone and email, sharing our new discoveries and testing arguments pro and con. He sent me Clay Peck’s information and told me he had a set of cassettes by Richard Fredericks, entitled "Sabbath in Christ." He also revealed that a handful of his pastoral friends in …were on the same journey…The reason I am going into so much detail is because my life has been changed; my new belief about the Sabbath and its fulfillment in Christ was born … I will never be the same. I have found joy and understanding and freedom in Christ regarding the Sabbath. I want you to know that I deeply appreciate your work in writing the theological treatises which have impacted me deeply, so deeply and profoundly, that I have been challenged by the Holy Spirit to turn my entire allegiance and ministry over to him instead of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I also need guidance about how to proceed from here…Let me explain. This weekend of reading, and praying, and conversing with …has been pivotal. I shared how one by one, my belief in the "unique" aspects of SDA faith has been losing its meaning to me over the years. Ellen White’s authority, the Investigative Judgment, Adventist eschatology, the Remnant, the Sabbath as a testing truth in the time of the end, and the Old Testament basis for the health message—all have fallen by the wayside for me over the last few years because I couldn’t find them in agreement with the Bible. The only thing remaining was the Sabbath as a rule of faith and eternal requirement of God with its related and all important belief that the 10 commandments are still binding. As we read more passages from Sabbath in Crisis, Peck’s materials, and listened to Richard’s "Sabbath in Christ" tapes…, I began to see that there was a problem with trying to fit the 10 commandments into a faith relationship with Jesus Christ as my only source of salvation. It has always been a source of confusion for me. I have always wondered how God could want us to keep the 10 (or even at best reduce them to "love God...and your neighbor as yourself") when statements in Romans and Galatians revealed that we are no longer under law but under grace. All the attempts by our church to keep these two concepts of law and grace married have required a continual effort, like shaking oil and water together, to somehow create an illusion that they really do blend in the Christian’s life. The best I ever heard on that was …, but his theology of "doing right because it is right" falls short of the New Testament emphasis on following Jesus’ commands and being led by the Holy Spirit. It is also heavily dependent on Ellen White, who I now view as no more authoritative than me or you or whoever makes theological statements that have to be compared to the Bible for validity. I have now come to see that she was part and parcel of the early creation of SDA doctrine, and without her, I doubt the early group of Adventists would have grown into the vast cultic juggernaut it is today. Keeping her firmly seated on the throne of authority in interpreting the Bible is all important, because her authority is required in keeping all of our "unique" beliefs chained together. I see now that if one falls, they all fall. For me, they have fallen. But I am still deeply ensconced in Adventist culture and life because of my work and daily life. I am in a dilemma. I need some guidance. The gospel always frees people but also requires they make a choice to fully devote one’s life to Jesus instead of whatever dependence, however benign.
I was confronted by that dilemma this weekend. My life is at a crossroads. …gave us his Sunday afternoon to study together about these issues, a blessing for us and a gift by the Holy Spirit. At one point, towards the end of our time together, I began to feel deep grief over the possibility of giving up my SDA faith and its accompanying Lifestyle/culture/friendships/work/identity. What I realized was that changing my life is not as easy as changing my clothes. And it has already begun. …my wife, an honest, committed believer in Christ, …is sympathetic but she is on her own journey and is also deeply involved in our local church. She has stated that she will go with me in a new direction if I can prove from scripture my newfound belief about the Sabbath in Christ. There is more at stake…We pray earnestly and talk often about _____ spiritual and formal education in SDA schools given our divergent views from the church, let alone this one about the Sabbath in Christ. All of…friends are SDA. …[He goes on to describe his full involvement with SDA ministry] they are my brothers and sisters in Christ and know and love Jesus and try to follow him to the best of their ability. They gave me a place to belong and a place to do ministry…I am a respected, trusted minister with heavy responsibilities in my SDA community. I am deeply rooted in every conceivable way in my SDA life with the exception of my theology. But I can’t see myself living in this constant tension indefinitely. I no longer count myself as a Seventh-day Adventist. I am a child of God, a member of the mystical body of Christ, and I desire to be led by the Spirit into the direction Jesus wants me to go regardless of my present circumstances. I know that God will not abandon me. But I know Adventists. You are either in or out. Some are "in" while emotionally and even theologically "out" but they do it by covering their real identity. I can’t do that. I once thought that I could serve God as an agent of His grace in the SDA world. This weekend changed that thinking. I can undoubtedly be an agent of grace and change, but I can’t see doing it from inside the walls. The doctrine and culture and longtime deeply ingrained a priori assumptions that guide Adventism prevent it from changing. If anything, it is getting more entrenched due to its xenophobic reaction to the outside influences of Evangelicalism and its own numeric growth in fundamentalist third world membership. But you know all that. And you went on your own journey at great cost as I have heard from ___. Everyone’s journey is different in some ways, but I left …praying for guidance from God as to how to navigate through to a new life and ministry in harmony with my newfound beliefs and my desire to serve Jesus and be led by the Spirit. Could we get together sometime, somehow, and talk?

You are doing the work of your father—the devil

You are doing the work of your father—the devil. Keep it up and you will have your part in the Lake of Fire. The blood of souls will be required of you.

The picture is complete!

Praise God for the peace we have received from the information written in your book. Finally, the picture is complete!

Keep me on your mailing list

Recently I received a copy of your magazine, Proclamation. I enjoyed it very much. Keep me on your mailing list.

I have found it to be well written and helpful

I am just dropping you a note to thank you for sending me the Jan-Feb 2001 issue of your magazine. I have found it to be well written and helpful. The articles on Fender Benders and Hermeneutics are written at a level that I can appreciate. They are not the drivel that I have seen in some Christian magazines, but are substantive and informative…I have read both of your books, listened to your tapes on the Law, and was impressed with your apparent love for the Lord, His Word and your fellow believers. Even when ____ started coming across in a pompous manner you continued in a kind and gracious manner, one that I wish I could emulate.

May the Lord have mercy on your soul

Who or whatever gave you the mistaken idea that we had time to read your drivel? I did not ask for it and no member of our family could be so deranged as to think we’d like it. I feel pity along with anger at your nerve to try to indoctrinate others with your sick lies. You can keep sending it—I don’t care. It’ll make good material to start my fireplace with. I wouldn’t waste my precious time. Have you considered this? You will have to give account of all the dirty lies you’ve told in God’s judgment. May the Lord have mercy on your soul. (From a SDA teacher)

Hang tough, my brother

Nice talking with you on the phone. Here is my check for the two books. We will be supporting you each month with a $___ donation. Hang tough, my brother, and God will continue to bless. (From a SDA pastor.)

Your false and critical teachings should be destroyed

Please remove our names from your Proclamation journal. We are sorry that you have departed from the truth. You need to read Isa. 8:20. Your false and critical teachings should be destroyed. The books you are presenting are all written by off-shoot people who are unhappy with themselves and want attention. We pay that you will change your thinking and writing before it is too late.

Your magazine came as an answer to prayer.

I just received Proclamation. I’m an exSDA and have not been in church for years. Your magazine came as an answer to prayer.

I believe God has led me out of the church

I have made the decision to leave the SDA Church but am struggling with telling my friends and family members who are still very much in the church. I do not attend church because we are in … so my friends assume that is why. However, I feel like I am hiding my true feelings and beliefs in order to keep peace and not have to deal with their shock and/or rejection. I know you have helped many people through this transition. Do you have any advice on how I should handle this in a godly way. I am concerned that I will be a stumbling block to them to the point that from the moment I tell them I am no longer a SDA they will not hear anything I have to say about spiritual matters. If they think I am still a SDA believer, they are then open to have discussions on such things as healing, the Holy Spirit, prayer and other unfamiliar topics. I will continue to pray about it, but I am finding that this duplicitous life is causing me stress and pain. Any words of guidance you may have would be very welcome. My husband and I want to have open dialogue with our friends and family, but we have found that when they find we have "studied our way out of the church" and no longer believe EGW was inspired, they shut down so drastically that any searching discussion is like throwing pearls before swine. It’s difficult. Thank you for your ministry. As a former Adventist, I can attest to the lost feeling that accompanies this new life. In your Oct/Nov 2000 issue of Proclamation you listed several questions former Adventists ask. I, too, harbor all those questions inside of me. Have you published answers to these questions in a similar, concise format? God bless you as you continue in your calling. I hope to one day have the complete peace that you do about your decision. I believe God has led me out of the church, but it is taking time to get rid of the "tapes" and the guilty/fearful feelings that go with them.

Your ministry will crumble

Please take my name off your mailing list, and don’t sow tares among the wheat. You will not succeed, and further more, let me tell you something prophetic. Your ministry will crumble and fall down as the walls of Jericho before the eyes of the Adventists whom you detest.

I have asked for my name to be removed from the SDA membership

Thank you very much for what you do. Your books have made studying SDA issues so much easier. I have asked for my name to be removed from the SDA membership. I ask your prayers as I come form a very active traditional SDA family. They do not want to know the truth and are, of course, deeply disappointed. I have questioned the SDA church my whole life. Thank God that there are answers to my questions that are easier to obtain. Keep up the good work.

Now I am a champion of the message of God’s Grace!

I have just learned of the various former-SDA web sites. I was raised a SDA and attended their schools in California and Arizona. I had a lot of problems in life because of my upbringing and was a rebel and an angry young man. Finally in the mid-70s I learned of Grace and it completely changed my life. It was the most important discovery of my life! Now I am a champion of the message of God’s Grace!

What a waste of time, effort and expense

Proclamation arrived in my mailbox without request. What a sad, sad issue it is. All criticism, which is not inspired by God. Satan is the author of criticism and lies. It appears you have lost contact with a loving God, and have joined forces with Satan who is desperately trying to tear down God’s remnant church, and anyone else he can deceive. What a waste of time, effort and expense…

We call ourselves FAF also

I’m a fourth generation "Former". I’ve been out for about 10 years. And I’ve been a Christian for about 8 years now. A year ago I found FAF on the web. I was so thrilled to know there were other formers out there…I speak to Colleen Tinker about once a month and she’s become a dear friend…Well, our small group of about six regular attendees has been meeting once a month for a few months now. What a blessing it is! We call ourselves FAF also.

Playing games with the devil

I don’t know if you are the Dale Ratzlaff that had to leave Monterey Bay Academy for playing games with the devil. But your current work shows that you are now in partnership with him. You are fulfilling Christ’s prophecy of false teachers and if you do not change I fear you will be held accountable for teaching error and for the lives of those who follow after you. Please take our name off your mailing list…It would be better to have no spirit at all than to have the wrong one which your magazine and teaching shows.

(Note: I was voted teacher of the year, the year I voluntarily left MBA to pastor a neighboring SDA church. I know of no Dale Ratzlaff that had to leave Monterey bay Academy nor one that played games with the devil.—not me!)

[We] find so much joy as we worship with all who believe the Gospel

Thanks for Proclamation. Dale’s books on Cultic Doctrine of SDA and Sabbath in Crisis have been so helpful to many. We resigned from the SDA several years ago and find so much joy as we worship with all who believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The seven last plagues are awaiting you.

Go to hell. Get thee behind me Satan.

I hope you will all take a second look…

Did you know that you are not the first to believe that the Sabbath is not relevant. "Cain and his descendants did not respect he day upon which God had rested." "They chose their own time for labor and rest, regardless of Jehovah’s express command"…I hope you will all take a second look at what you’re doing and come back to God way, it’s the only way.

I am so grateful for you and the person who sent me that book

Dale, some years ago someone sent your book, Cultic Doctrine of SDAs. At first I didn’t want it. After I read some of it I was glad that someone thought enough of me to send it to me. My first impression was to put it in the trash, but as I was mending from surgery, I had nothing else to do so I started to read it. I didn’t believe what I was reading until I saw the quote from EGW, Early Writings, about the day and hour of Jesus coming, I said, "I think I have that book in my garage." Sure enough, I did and found what you were talking about. That started this [my study] I am so grateful for you and the person who sent me that book. Since then I have found about 100 comments that EGW made that are in contrast to the Bible or are out and out lies. Thank God for you and those that are about telling the truth. Keep up the good work. Let me know what I can do to help.

God gave Ellen White pictures

(From a SDA pastor) Dale, there is not even any sense in talking to you. Your sole purpose behind all of this is to attack people who love God. You are not soul winning, you are destroying. Ellen White said that God gave her light for a small remnant to point out that the 2300 year prophecy was correct. You cannot prove that Jesus was or was not physically in the most Holy or the Holy place. His work is in the ENTIRE SANCTUARY as our High Priest. Because His ministration took place in the Holy place, it obviously involves the Most Holy since that is where the presence of God is. His ministration was in the Holy place from Adam until He returns again. In 1844 He went into the Most Holy to perform the Judgment for all those who will be saved (for the first time) and he continued His work in the Holy place. You make a big issue of attacking statements about the Holy and Most Holy places with such a narrow human viewpoint. You attack God’s people by twisting simple statements. God is in the entire Sanctuary all the time and we cannot comprehend His ministry. Hebrews 9:12 refers to the entire Sanctuary NOT the Most Holy. God gave Ellen White pictures so that His people would have a concept of the work going on in Heaven and you have no right picking it apart. You are in dangerous ground, my friend. What I say to you is wasting my breath as better men than I have tried to straighten you out. I pray that you will get your life together and find yourself before it is too late.

I am a joy filled SDA

I have been a Seventh-day Adventist for 15 years and have always had a
very rich, deep and meaningful relationship with my Lord. As a layperson
I have (like many of the "blue" letters) been on a spiritual journey. One
of my close friends read your books and subsequently left the Seventh-day Adventist church along with his wife and two small children. His sister
and mom have left as well. My friend came from a very legalistic home.
Because of my friend's challenging views I was forced to look at my faith
outside the vacuum of the church and view things from his perspective. I
wanted to know what he was going through. I began a search for truth that
began about 9 months ago. I have literally taken every spare moment
available and with my Bible and Bible only began to work through the
distinctive truths of my faith. My friend gave me ample material from
your books with which to see his (your) perspective. I have taken this
quest for truth very seriously. In addition to investigating my Bible, I have also gone as deep as I know how to go into the writings of Mrs. White. I have looked at all of her most controversial statements and compared all of the contexts. One by one I have researched who they were written to and under what conditions they were written. I have done this with a spirit of earnest searching...not to validate my beliefs or to prove yours wrong. I only want truth. I recently had lunch with my friend and have responded to
most of the issues he has brought to my attention. He continues to study
on. I sincerely thanked him for challenging me to really know what I
believe. This has been the most incredible spiritual journey imaginable.
What is my conclusion? I thoroughly believe that SDAs who are drawn to
your material have never really accepted the gift of salvation. If they
are adult children and raised in a legalistic home, they were probably
never taught the simple gospel. They have been understandably trapped in a meaningless faith. In their minds, their bondage is because of the
Adventist teachings. I sincerely believe that a certain segment of the
SDA leadership has been irresponsible in it's presentation of our historic
truths. This would have a devastating effect on people who need to hear
the gospel of peace. Can it be that the ones writing the "blue" letters
have come from homes that lacked the real spirit of the gospel of our
Jesus? Or from ones who are fellowshipping in churches that have the wrong spirit and misguided leadership? I have seen both sides within our
church. The historic teachings of this faith are so full of the gospel and rich in peace and assurance. I say this without compromising on one single pillar of SDA truth because the gospel is the foundation of everything that I
have studied these last 9 months. My heart is so full of joy. The
harmonious message that I find in my Bible and see in our historic message is without equal. Dale, I believe you are sincere in what you are
teaching. But for those who are studying (hard) and see exactly why they
are Seventh-day Adventists and have a vibrant and gospel-filled life of
peace and assurance (yes, there are many of us!), your material is
curious. Rightly presented, every foundational pillar of this faith will
bring enormous peace and joy to the hearer. The gospel of freedom in
Christ is to be found in the SDA church...unfortunately people feel
(because of many complex reasons) that they must abandon other sound
Biblical principles to find what already exists here. Are you fighting
the right battle? Are you sure?

It is great being His, and serving Him

The one thing I love about this journey is despite struggles, and
psychological distress at times, I always have the peace of God in my heart, and the definiteness of never wanting to go back. It is great being His, and serving Him.

With joy, we would more than welcome them

My name is David Kaiser. I am a member of the Worldwide Church of God. I
was a "Sabbath keeper" for 30 years. I just finished seminary training at
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Il. (with an M-Div.) and
am now the new Pastor at the Akron/Canton, Ohio WCG called Grace Community Fellowship. I enjoy your magazine, "Proclamation," and want to continue receiving it in Ohio... Regarding former Adventists looking for contact with other former sabbatarians, I was wondering if you would consider directing them to WCG fellowships, if there was no former SDA group in the area. With joy, we would more than welcome them into our midst, and would be able to identify with what they are going through. Although as a group we do not spend a lot of time commiserating about the past (we now meet on Sunday), instead we now look to the future and to what God has for us to do as part of the larger historical, orthodox body of evangelical believers. If there are former SDA groups in the Akron/Canton area, I would like to know about them, so we could fellowship with them. We would love to tell them they are not alone
in their spiritual journey. Yours, only by the grace of God, David Kaiser.

I don't know how anyone can remain an SDA once they know the truth...

I left the SDA church in 1978. Instrumental in this decision was first
listening to Donald Barnhouse's wonderful tapes on Galatians several times, reading in the Bible that the Holy Spirit is God's seal when we accept Jesus as our Lord--not Sabbath observance, and reading Ron Numbers' book that a devote SDA neighbor loaned me. Needless to say, my friend also left the SDA church…I don't know how anyone can remain an SDA once they know the truth about all the deceitful lies perpetuated by the church leaders and a false prophet. Look forward to receiving you next newsletter.

So much joy

Dear friends, Thanks for the Proclamation news. Dale's books on Cultic Doctrine of S.D.A. and Sabbath in Crisis have been so helpful to many. We resigned from SDA several years a go and find so much joy as we worship with all who believe the gospel of Jesus Christ. Grace and Peace--Keep on exalting Jesus as the only way.

Most SDAs don’t really understand the gospel

I have just received your publication written by Jerry Gladson and am allowing it to educate me just as your two earlier books did. I agree wholeheartedly that most SDAs don’t really understand the gospel and consciously, or unconsciously, believe in righteousness by works, (Actually, I think it’s rampant in the church!) I sincerely appreciate your writing the books and hope they will bless others as they have blessed, or are blessing, me. When I make my final decision about staying in, or leaving, the church I will let you know. I am an engineer, not schooled at SDA universities, so I don’t always grasp biblical ideas and concepts as readily as I would like, but, again, thanks for what you have done to inform those of us still in the church. May God bless your efforts. I try to have an open mind and only want to he truth as it is in Jesus.

So things haven't changed that much

I received the book "Theologian's Journey" today and read it through. The
circumstances are different, of course, but I can duplicate almost
everything in it in my own experience. I know what he went through.
It happened to me 45 years ago. So things haven't changed that much. And I went to school at EMC with _____ _____ . . .he hasn't changed either.
Please send me a duplicate order. I want these two books for someone else.

Astounded by the evidence

Thank you for writing books that are easy to read and theologically sound. I haven't even made it through the first 100 pages of Sabbath in Crisis and I have already been astounded by the evidence.

You don’t need anything else!

Dear Dale and Carolyn, Thank you for sending me your newsletter. I am anxiously awaiting "A Theologian’s Journey". I have been browsing through your web site. It breaks my heart when I read some of the letters, because I know what these people are going through. I have been wondering if there was something I could say that would be of benefit to someone struggling with life after Adventism. I was born and raised an SDA. My husband was employed by the SDA church for 37 years. It occurred to me about seven years ago that I knew a lot about a religious system, but I did not know God. I was led to your two wonderful books and for the first time in my life the Bible made sense. I gave my heart completely to Jesus for the first time in my life on April 19, 1997 and my life has been changed. I now the truth and it has set me free PRAISE THE LORD!! Thank you for your part in it; Because my husband was still employed by the church I kept pretty quiet about my "conversion" and it was difficult to do so because I was so filled with the joy of my salvation. I soon discovered may of my friends were not overjoyed about my "discoveries", so I waited until my husband retired and then had my membership dropped.
One of the hardest things for me, and I think it is for others too, was knowing what to do now that I was no longer a member of the SDA church. Adventists are so geared to church membership and attendance. Adventists have so many "Props", I call them, such as EGW, the Sabbath, church attendance, etc. My first thought was that I needed to go to another church. I soon found out that many Sunday church pastors don’t have a clue about Adventism and couldn’t really be of much support. I was so used to all my "props" I felt alone and frustrated. I prayed and prayed to find the right church. It is funny now, I was so brainwashed. God did not help me find the "right" church, He led me right back to Him, Jesus alone. He is my truth, my life, my salvation, my righteousness, my helper, my strength, thank You, Jesus. You are all I need. Since that time I have found a wonderful church where I can praise the Lord. I guess my advice to others would be to rest in the Lord and seek Him first. You don’t need anything else. Thanks you Dale and Carolyn for all you have done. Thank you for your sacrifices. Just know that there are many of us out here who praise the Lord every day for you. You are in our prayers. Dale, please don’t feel responsible for everyone who reads your books, accepts the truth and salvation offered, and then doesn’t know what to do. We need to know what it feels like to rest in Jesus alone. We have to learn to live without props. You are not responsible for our struggle. Jesus will never, ever leave a truly seeking soul to struggle alone. Praise the Lord!! You are in my prayers daily.

THIS is Christianity. Its good stuff!!

After 40 year in the SDA church, academy and college included, I am now beginning to see clearly. Your correct pastor D., it has taken me about 2 years of study to cut the "cord" mentally with the SDA church. And also, as referenced in the news letter, I felt a plethora of emotions as I leave the circle. Most, I can deal with. Others are tougher. Family ties cause the most concern. My own family members have stated they know that heaven is not only for the SDA's, but I will be held accountable and not allowed in because I know what the "truth" is and yet refuse to follow. What I know is what I was raised with, which does not make it the truth. What I know is that I was taught to never question this (and now I know why). During my "departure" over the last 2 years, I have felt a loss, the reason for which I could not exactly put my finger on. I believe it must have been the loss of that system which I was raised in. A feeling of being let down by that system. Having recently found a "home" where the emphasis is in understanding the word grace and all that it implies, I am having a great time. I am free of the works based theology that I could never keep up with. Now I find, I never had to. The gift is there for the taking. Pastor D, thanks for allowing yourself to be used and leading those of us who need your insight. I will support your efforts because I know there are others like myself. Pray for my family. I want them to know how great this is. THIS is Christianity. Its good stuff!!

Repent

"The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath"...the test will be played out over God's Holy Law, which Jesus represents. You are not ready for Jesus to return if you hinder or lead astray God's commandment-keeping people, brother. Is it paranoia to be prepared for the Sunday-law crisis if "Dies Domini" exists? How can you say you love Jesus if you willingly break His law and teach other people to do so? repent.

In "spirit" we left long ago

Mr. Ratzlaff, … I spoke to you on the phone once briefly, and have ordered several of your books and other publications. My wife and I thank you so much for your ministry. We recently "officially" left the SDA church in Sept. I say "officially", because in "spirit" we left long ago. We are much happier in our walk than we ever were. I was raised Lutheran, and had been an Adventist since 1990. Anyway, I want to thank you again for all you are doing in your ministry to help the people in the SDA church see the errors of that system. I pray that God gives you the strength, and courage to continue this worthy cause for Christ. The SDA church needs it—they just don’t know it. I could go on, but much of it has already been said in the letters section of your web site. Thank you, and God Bless!!

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