A Pastor's Testimony

I have been asked, "Are you still a Seventh-day Adventist?"

I no longer call myself a Seventh-day Adventist although I still keep the Sabbath and look forward to the second coming of Christ.

When I became a Christian, I made a commitment to Christ, not to a man-made religious denomination. I believe the true church of Christ is a spiritual body which cannot be confined to the man-made limits of denominationalism.

I have always been more an evangelical Christian than a Seventh-day Adventist. I have received greater spiritual benefit from the clear teaching of the gospel in the writings of John Bunyan, John Calvin, Martin Luther and John Wesley than from the vague teaching of the gospel in the writings of most Adventist authors including Ellen White (except Steps to Christ). I have long preferred to listen to the clear preaching of the gospel by evangelical radio/TV speakers rather than the vague preaching of the gospel by most Adventist radio/TV speakers other than H.M.S. Richards and H.M.S. Richards, Jr. I have felt much more at home with my evangelical Christian brothers and sisters in other denominations than among non-evangelical Adventists with whom I had little in common.

When I became a Christian, Christ placed a burden upon my heart for those who were spiritually "lost" in the parched desert of legalistic Adventism and called me to bring them the water of life contained in the good news of the gospel. I fulfilled Christ's calling as a minister of the gospel and pastor within the Seventh-day Adventist denomination until I was terminated from employment in 1992. For almost a year I tried to continue that ministry of the gospel as a lay pastor within the Adventist congregation where I was a member. The new pastor made systematic attempts to isolate me from the church membership by making defamatory and slanderous false statements about me when he visited church members (several of them were so furious about what he had said that they called me -- some, including one of the elders, despised him so much for what he had done that they stopped attending church). The new pastor also opposed my having any visible role in the church -- even as small a role as offering prayer during the worship service or teaching an adult Sabbath School class in a side room.

Almost four years ago, I came to the place where I could no longer support the corrupt and abusive structure of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination where spiritual abuse and lying, even lying under oath in court, have become a common practice and where denominational leaders arrange interest-free loans of large sums of money from denominational funds for their own personal benefit. Since I considered my position to be in conflict with the membership vows I had taken when I became a member of a Seventh-day Adventist denomination, I concluded that I had no choice except to withdraw my membership from the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. I returned my ministerial credentials to the conference at the same time. I have continued to minister the gospel as a non-denominational, independent pastor since that time.

I now consider myself to be a Seventh-day Christian with no denominational affiliation.

Last fall a Seventh-day Adventist congregation in this area asked me to provide limited pastoral care to them because they had not been receiving any pastoral care from their conference-appointed pastor for more than a year. (They had previously seen their pastor only once a month -- if something else didn't come up -- something else seemed to come up on a regular basis.) The leaders of that congregation are aware that I am no longer a member of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. They have told me that was not a problem to them. They cared only that I would preach the gospel and provide spiritual care.

I focus on the basic principles of Christianity in my ministry. I see clear evidence of spiritual growth in the lives of these people as the Lord blesses my ministry of the gospel.

Pastor Wayne Willey

Seventh-day Adventist Church