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February 07, 2011


Have you ever wondered why Seventh-day Adventists pray?  Have you ever asked an Adventist why he or she prays?  What are they actually asking God to do for those they pray for?  Do former Adventists and other believers somehow have a different purpose in praying than devout Adventists do? More importantly, dear friend, why do you pray for others? Hypothetically, let's examine the following scenario with Uncle Henry.

Uncle Henry graduated with highest honors from an Adventist university.  As a successful, highly-paid professional, Uncle Henry seemingly has a great life. He is highly respected in his community. He even took a minor in religion.  He further claims to be very knowledgeable about the unorthodox teachings of open theism or the moral influence theory as taught by his SDA alma mater.  In spite of his knowing the 28 fundamental beliefs of Seventh-day Adventism backwards and forwards, he has recently decided to leave Adventism and become an agnostic like his secular friends. His Adventist friends and relatives are greatly disappointed and even in a state of shock. Obviously, Uncle Henry has freely made a decision to no longer be associated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church nor any other religious group.

In light of this dilemma, his closest Adventist relative earnestly prays as follows:  "Dear Heavenly Father, as You are fully aware, Uncle Henry has exercised his God-given freewill and right to reject the "truth." Now Lord, just stand back and don't change his desires in any way. Just leave him alone.  His endowed freewill is of utmost importance to me. He clearly and freely has decided not to love and follow You. Most of all, dear Lord, I pray that You will not fix his choice on You. Please respect his independent and freewill choice by not intervening in his life in any manner.  Thank you for hearing and answering my solemn, heartfelt prayer."  Is this the type of intercessory prayer that devout Adventists pray?   Of course not!  Far from it, indeed!

There is a clashing dichotomy between the reason why Adventists pray for others and what they claim to believe when not bowed in prayer. When not in a stance of petitioning prayer, Adventists are synergistic (not believing in faith alone, but rather wholeheartedly believing in partnership salvation whereby God actually helps them to save themselves).  They verbally insist that they don't want God to change anyone's  will in any manner to avoid creating a robot. Amazingly, however,  the typical Adventist is devoutly Calvinistic (monergistic) when bowed in prayer, but  he promptly returns to his semi-Pelagianist stance when his prayer time is over.

Do Adventists sincerely want the lost to have their hearts become receptive through the direct intervention of the Holy Spirit, their ears unstopped, and their eyes opened to the Gospel as they understand it? Yes, they most decidedly do!  Their cognitive dissonance is very apparent here.  They are trying to believe in two opposing views at the same time.  History has repeatedly revealed that the enslaved often don't recognize their enslavement. Likewise, our SDA friends are seemingly unaware of their conflicting and contradicting belief system. There is no such thing as a "neutral" free will, devoid of all bias and prior inclination, in fallen humankind.  Thankfully, in spite of having a natural bent toward evil, the regenerate are declared righteous  due to His imputed righteousness in their behalf.  Short of glorification, however, the elect still have a propensity toward evil because of their original sin condition.

The Bible repeatedly admonishes us to pray for others.  It is in God's sovereign plan to have His people pray for others and to actively evangelize them.  God delights in seeing our dependence upon Him through our intercessory prayers.  It is only through Him that human hearts are changed and their ways amended.  Indeed, "...salvation comes from the Lord alone" (Jonah 2:9 NLT).   Soli Deo Gloria!  The fallen human will is morally-incapable to choose Christ.  In his classic book, "Chosen by God," Dr. R. C. Sproul rightly states:  "We conclude that fallen man is still free to choose what he desires, but because his desires are only wicked he lacks the moral ability to come to Christ.  As long as he remains in the flesh, unregenerate, he will never choose Christ. He cannot choose Christ precisely because he cannot act  against his own will. He has no desire for Christ. He cannot choose what he does not desire. His fall is great.  It is so great that only the effectual grace of God working in his heart can bring him to faith" (page 75).

The prince of preachers, Charles Spurgeon, declared, "Free will carried many a soul to hell, but never a soul to heaven." Similarly, the great Reformer, Martin Luther, stated:  "If any man doth ascribe of salvation, even the very least, to the free will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright."  Let us not grow weary in fervently praying for the "Uncle Henry" in our families that God will touch his life with empowering, liberating, and transforming grace. Surprisingly, Seventh-day Adventists are monergists (Calvinists) when they pray and synergists when not bowed in prayer. When hard-pressed for an answer, our Adventist friends will reluctantly admit that their prayers for others are indeed asking God to intervene directly and to decisively overrule the fallen human will. Amazingly, thanks to our awesome and sovereign God, their true theology comes out in their prayers.  In summary, here is an excellent definition of monergism and synergism:

"Monergism is the biblical doctrine that regeneration (the new birth) both precedes and elicits faith in Christ in those whom the Holy Spirit sovereignly determines to dispense His grace upon (John 1:13; 6:63-65; Acts 16:14b;1 John 5:1).  Synergism (or synergistic regeneration) is the erroneous doctrine which believes that faith precedes and gives rise to regeneration.  Man cooperates with God in regeneration. Synergists believe the theology that all unsaved persons receive an equal amount of "grace" before God.   Those who cooperate with this grace are saved and those who don't are lost. While a synergist believes grace plays a role in salvation yet he does not believe salvation is by grace alone--instead it is grace plus our response which makes us to be born again.  This means, that in the synergist's belief system, the Holy Spirit has not enabled people in any way to have saving faith, over my neighbor, since this decision is totally independent of God's action of grace."  (Excerpt  from "A Prayer That a Synergist Won't Pray" by John Hendryx)

Dennis Fischer
Web Chaplain

courtesy of

Worldwide Chaplaincy Services
E-mail: dfministries@gmail.com