by Elder Arnie Suntag
Our country is slowly being unraveled from the inside out. Over this past year, it has received a makeover that has transformed it from a God-fearing nation of hopes and dreams into an atheistic circus sideshow replete with characters and behaviors that belong in prisons and psychiatric wards rather than in the public realm. Sadly, I am not necessarily speaking about the average citizens of this nation, but rather about its leadership – not just in government but, unfortunately, in our own church.
A new paradigm has evolved that has gripped our institutions with an unyielding power to remold minds into thoughtless and unprincipled conformists prepared to press on with an agenda that will not bode well for the billions that inhabit this planet. Despite the prevailing dismay and anxiety that has brought many to the brink of suicide, Seventh-day Adventists should be well-aware of the game that is afoot, since it is well documented in The Great Controversy and in the annals of history. But unfortunately, many have sold out to the gods of comfort and convenience – desperately adopting the narratives of the forces that be and worshipping Baal rather than the God of Heaven. Ellen White summed it up quite succinctly:
“It is a solemn statement that I make to the church, that not one in twenty whose names are registered upon the church books are prepared to close their earthly history, and would be as verily without God and without hope in the world as the common sinner. They are professedly serving God, but they are more earnestly serving mammon” (ChS 41.1).
She went on to say that few have a “realization of what rapid strides we are making toward the great crisis in our history” (RH, April 26, 1892 par. 10). How true that is. I have had the opportunity to speak with a number of people in our church including a few in major leadership roles whose names I will not mention here. In each case, they adamantly insisted that the events spawned by Black Lives Matter, along with the draconian measures implemented to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, have nothing to do with politics. In other words, the BLM movement is purely about eliminating systemic racism, and the restrictions surrounding COVID-19 are absolutely necessary to protect the populace from a deadly disease.
One well-known internationally recognized speaker in our church vehemently insisted that the real threat in these last days has little to do with politics and virtually nothing to do with socialism or communism. The impetus behind his assertion stems from his conviction that the BLM movement is a noble effort to root out systemic racism, despite the violence, and that characterizing it as a divisive measure associated with Karl Marx and communism is nothing but a right-wing talking point. Oddly enough, his own comment is political in nature. But wait — BLM’s leaders have stated on the record that they are trained Marxists. If one understands what that truly means, it leaves nothing to the imagination. These people have learned how to effectively indoctrinate millions with the use of cleverly crafted rallying cries. Case in point: they turned George Floyd from a convicted felon into a folk hero.
I cannot even begin to grasp how those who believe the objectives of this movement bear no resemblance to The Communist Manifesto and that they play no part in earth’s final events are arriving at such a conclusion. Are they naïve enough to believe that the papal agenda and the implementation of a Sunday law is going to happen when Pope Francis calls for a press conference, steps up to a microphone on network television, and tells the world that we are simply going to begin worshiping on Sunday? By what mechanism do they believe the long-standing goal of the Roman power is going to come to fruition without looking like a parody of itself? Is it going to be so two-dimensional that a child can discern it, or will it involve complex agendas that surreptitiously cross the political spectrum in order to avoid being so patently obvious? While it is true that the terms socialism and communism are not used in The Great Controversy or in the books of Daniel or Revelation, in many respects these theories of social organization can arguably be associated with the common good – a Catholic doctrine and a term that is now being used quite frequently by Pope Francis and the media. It is the underlying principle for the Pope’s encyclical on climate change and the justification for the vehement public outcry to address systemic racism.
Furthermore, it legitimizes the need to submit to the pandemic’s mandated restrictions in order to protect others. It also serves as the basis for ecumenism and the incentive to exterminate fundamentalism. All of these ‘ideals’ are being advanced in the name of the common good. Is this a mere coincidence? Of course not. Irrespective of the paths taken, these political strategies will lead to Sunday legislation – whether it is to support so-called Christian observances or to embrace the secular goal of giving the earth a day of rest in order to reduce carbon emissions. In short, all roads lead to Rome.
If those in our church who have become disciples of radical socialist theology would remove the blinders and objectively consider current events within the framework of Bible prophecy instead of being lulled into submission by cleverly crafted political narratives, they would clearly discern the game that is afoot. Jesus admonished us to watch and pray (Luke 21:34-36). The Great Controversy warns us that when we dispense with our nation’s founding principles – in this case supplanting the principles of our Constitution with socialist and totalitarian ideals, it means that the end of this world’s history is very near:
“When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near” (5T 451.1).
Without realizing it, millions have succumbed to an agenda that is designed to trample upon First Amendment rights. Government agencies and the mainstream medical establishment have, under the guise of a medical emergency, colluded to enforce mandates that defy scientific principles, contravene the Bill of Rights, and impede our ability to worship God in the manner he has prescribed. Nonetheless, our church, which has historically been the bastion of religious liberty, still remains reticent on the atrocities being committed by renegade authoritarians through draconian measures. Such incursions have not only restricted freedom of conscience, but have taken the lives of more people than the supposedly deadly COVID-19. And the process continues unabated despite mounting opposition and truly credible scientific counter-arguments.
Yet our church leadership remains silent while churches around the nation are filing lawsuits to protect the Constitutional rights we hold so dear. They recognize the obvious reason to mount a challenge: to be obedient to what the Lord has asked of us. That is, to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25), to sing praises to the Lord (Psalms 68:4), to receive communion (1 Corinthians 11:24-26), and to baptize others (Matthew 28:19). The non-SDA churches did not take the restrictions on these important practices lying down. But our church did. Churches in states such as Michigan and Florida filed lawsuits to protect their freedoms while a number of churches in California openly defied Governor Gavin Newsom’s mandates. Then of course there are pastors like John McArthur of Grace Community Church who said, “We will obey God rather than men” and proceeded to sue the state of California in a now well-known battle for religious freedom.
Yet pastors, elders, and other leaders in our own church are hiding under their beds for fear of a heavily hyped virus and the authoritarians who are touting its dangers. Many of the very same individuals are also taking a knee for the BLM movement. What sort of example are these professed Seventh-day Adventist clergymen and leaders setting for the flock? They are proliferating the insidious deceptions spawned by radical political activists while flouting the dire impact of their actions. They are subliminally amalgamating themselves with atheistic authoritarians who fervently hope to eliminate worship altogether – whether it is through the radical arm of BLM and Antifa, or the authoritarian mandates that surround an exaggerated pandemic. When questioned about their willful compliance with mandates that violate our beliefs as Seventh-day Adventists, they arrogantly respond by insisting that we should render to Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, in order to justify their own behavior.
The problem is that they conveniently omit the second part of that verse: “render unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). These recalcitrant leaders in our church are going to ultimately be held accountable for misleading perhaps millions of our brothers and sisters and will be weighed in the balances and found wanting. While they desperately cling to the practices that have been mandated by government agencies, they are willfully abandoning those that define us as Christians. If there was ever a time for them to take a stand on behalf of their profession of faith, it is now. Ellen White could not have said it more aptly:
“If God abhors one sin above another, of which His people are guilty, it is doing nothing in case of an emergency. Indifference and neutrality in a religious crisis is regarded of God as a grievous crime and equal to the very worst type of hostility against God” (3T 280.3).
In all fairness to those who tout the deadly nature of COVID-19, we should consider the epidemiological facts behind the virus. Unfortunately, upon close examination, these facts simply do not support their concerns nor the position they are taking. They are indeed indisputable if one takes the time to actually study them. The case fatality rate (CFR) for COVID-19 has proven statistically not to be any higher than certain strains of the flu in most populations, yet it is still being promoted as an extraordinarily deadly disease that requires the complete shutdown of our entire society.
Furthermore, it is far less contagious than many other viral diseases that we have encountered and successfully overcome during past decades without destroying economies, impeding normal human relations, and impairing our childrens’ growth and development. As I have mentioned in other articles, even measles has an R0 value that is more than five times that of COVID-19. The problem is that the hype and exaggeration have become so great that they have rendered COVID-19 a killer virus on a par with Ebola, which incidentally carries a CFR as high as 80-90 percent. That is, your chances of dying from Ebola would be staggering and, in most cases, almost a certainty. The danger of COVID-19 is a far cry from that of Ebola, to say the very least. But you would never surmise that when you observe the incredibly destructive mitigation efforts that have been implemented to tackle it. So much fear has been artificially generated around COVID-19 and the cleverly devised fables promulgated by the media and those with a political agenda, that millions have been terrorized. It has driven them to willingly submit to unscientific measures that strip them of their God-given right to choose, while at the same time rendering their lives needlessly burdensome and oftentimes unmanageable.
As I have said many times, where is God in all of this? Have we relegated Him to the sidelines? We have literally shut down the planet in a futile effort to avoid a ubiquitous virus, while many in the scientific community know full well that such methods simply do not work. There is no way to empirically prove that lockdowns, masks, or social distancing will stop the spread of any virus. This is a scientific fact that any child in middle school would learn by studying the Scientific Method. Furthermore, the draconian measures that have been forcibly grafted into our lives were supposed to have been implemented to flatten the curve. However, this concept simply means that the same number of people will eventually die from the disease – it will just take more time to happen.
As a result, those in authoritative roles are now stating that these measures will go on for years – perhaps indefinitely. Thus, this now apparent charade has become more about a power grab and a divisive wedge than a scientific approach to minimize the spread of a disease. If nothing else, these invasive and ineffective mitigation efforts are more about superstition than about science. I will not belabor the point about the efficacy of masks or the use of social distancing and all of its contradictory aspects, as I have already done so in previous articles. Suffice to say that these wildly preposterous and unprecedented measures have done far more harm than the virus itself. So, how did such a paradox ever cement itself into our culture and intrude upon our daily lives? How did so many people willingly comply with the mandates and embrace these fallacious practices? The simple answer is fear. Fear is a great motivator.
It was Hermann Goering, Adolf Hitler’s right-hand man who, after he was convicted at Nuremberg, said that fear was the key tactic used by the Nazi regime: “The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders,” he said. “That’s easy.” Today, the fear of this virus has, by design, found the Achilles heel of a society that is desperately afraid of death because it has abandoned God and his principles for living. Never mind the promises in Isaiah 41:10 and many related verses. Even the supposedly faithful leaders in our church seem to have forgotten these while they lead our brothers and sisters down a path of fear and trepidation. They are the faithless – having nothing to provide a sense of safety and security for themselves other than the now corrupted and politicized medical establishment. For them, this institution has taken the place of God.
Unfortunately, the belief that modern medicine has all the answers rather than the health principles that were an integral part of our church’s early beginnings, has left a gap that Satan can easily capitalize upon. Many now believe everything they are told by the so-called authoritative agencies such as the CDC, NIH, and WHO, and follow their edicts to the letter like compliant little children – never questioning or critically analyzing the actual data these agencies promote as fact. They simply turn a blind eye to the underlying politics and the incompetence that have oftentimes been associated with these agencies historically. Even the WHO has come under fire for its collusion with China and the CCP. No surprise there.
It really pains me to see my brothers and sisters in Christ compliantly muzzled with masks, particularly when one considers the health risk that extended use of these accoutrements pose, including respiratory acidosis and its ultimate immunological implications. God designed us anatomically and physiologically so that it is actually necessary to be exposed to pathogens in order for us to develop a natural immunity. This is a fundamental principle of immunology that defines how our immune systems are supposed to function. To derail that process through unprecedented and unscientific draconian measures ironically places us at greater risk for adverse outcomes from any infection, including COVID-19 itself.
Furthermore, it makes a mockery of the principles of health that we supposedly embrace as Seventh-day Adventists. It speaks volumes about our level of faith (or lack of it) that we have in God who told us that if we follow the principles he gave us, he will not put any of the diseases upon us that he brought upon the Egyptians (Exodus 15:26). In other words, if we eat a healthful diet, exercise, get fresh air and sunshine, and generally use common sense during any epidemic as we have always done in the past – like washing our hands and staying home when sick – we will avoid becoming ill or at least prevent adverse outcomes if we do succumb. To mask up, isolate ourselves, and generally limit our exposure to the environment and to fresh air, places us at risk of experiencing a cytokine storm when exposed to a virus our bodies have not encountered before – not surprisingly the very phenomenon responsible for most of the COVID-19 deaths.
So how long will our church leadership remain silent on these matters? How long will they allow the charade to go on by obliging the baseless edicts that endeavor to regulate every aspect of our lives including worship? What will it take to awaken their common sense and recognition of the malfeasance that lies beneath the surface? The news media is replete with stories that would have been considered pure fiction just a few years ago. Take for instance a recent story out of Idaho. Three people were arrested and others cited for failing to wear masks or maintain social distancing at an outdoor church service in Moscow, Idaho. It happened when their city council arbitrarily extended the outlandish restrictions to January 5.
Apparently, the town does indeed live up to its name. Elsewhere, signs were posted in the UK reminding people to social distance and to “look away when passing by other people.” A man was forcibly carried out of a Sprouts store in Arizona for refusing to wear a mask. Indiana passed a law making the failure to wear a face mask a class B misdemeanor carrying a mandatory six-month jail sentence. A woman was tased and arrested for not wearing a mask at her son’s football game in Ohio – even though she was sitting nowhere near other spectators.
A woman shopper at a Walmart in Alabama was body-slammed by an off-duty police officer for complaining about wearing a mask and refusing to do so, and she faces criminal charges. Joe Biden has promised that if he is elected president there will be a national mandate requiring people to wear masks everywhere – all the time. Gavin Newsom has told Californians that they should wear their masks “in between bites” when dining at a restaurant. And the sheer insanity goes on and on. I cannot help but wonder if people honestly see these instances as well-intentioned methods of disease control or the absurd and flagrant violations of basic human rights that they really are. The truth seems rather obvious to me.
The story is no better with the BLM movement. For instance, citizens who try to defend themselves against attack by Antifa and other terrorist groups are prosecuted for doing so, but the terrorists are permitted to commit their felonious acts free from indictment. In some locales, they are even encouraged by government officials to do so. These and dozens of other examples are illustrative of what should be a rather obvious orchestrated effort to create division in our society, ultimately leading to a revolt. It is the story of the former Soviet Union and, from a sociological and theological standpoint, a throwback to the French Revolution. To insist that politics play no role in these events and that socialism or communism are not part and parcel of the threat that ultimately leads to the papacy’s final act in these last days is quite frankly nothing but sheer ignorance.
When will the millions who have been deceived in our churches have an epiphany and realize that they have been hoodwinked by aggressive and clever Marxist strategies to create division in our society and especially in our churches? Will our illustrious leaders ever stand up for the truth? Ellen White really hit the nail on the head a long time ago:
“One thing it is certain is soon to be realized — the great apostasy, which is developing and increasing and waxing stronger, and will continue to do so until the Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout. We are to hold fast the first principles of our denominated faith and go forward from strength to increased faith. Ever we are to keep the faith that has been substantiated by the Holy Spirit of God from the earlier events of our experience until the present time. We need now larger breadth, and deeper, more earnest, unwavering faith in the leadings of the Holy Spirit. If we needed the manifest proof of the Holy Spirit’s power to confirm truth in the beginning, after the passing of the time, we need today all the evidence in the confirmation of the truth, when souls are departing from the faith and giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. There must not be any languishing of soul now” (SpTB07 57.1).
She also pointed out the following: “Of those who boast of their light, and yet fail to walk in it, Christ says, ‘But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you” (RH, August 1, 1893 par. 5).
So what has kept those in leadership from boldly proclaiming the truth? Whether it is about the actual origin of the BLM movement or the perpetuated fallacies about COVID-19, the clock is ticking and millions are being kept in darkness because of our leadership’s failure to act. Perhaps they are afraid of retaliation. After all, if you expose the Marxist roots of the BLM movement and take a position against it, you may wind up with your church or administrative offices being burned to the ground.
If you challenge the government or the public health officials by exercising your right to worship God freely, you may be shut down, fined, or sued. Regardless of the concern, standing resolutely for the truth has always had its risks. The Protestant reformers knew that all too well. But the difference between those who are truly consecrated to the great commission and those who merely wear their faith on their shirt sleeve, is the willingness to assume those risks. It is ultimately the difference between being converted and being a hypocrite.
Our society is being insidiously divided by very well-orchestrated Marxist efforts at a grassroots level. The prevailing politics are pitting left against right, blacks against whites, poor against rich, gay against straight, and now mask-wearers against anti-maskers. I cannot imagine how intelligent, thinking people, like the well-known leaders in our church mentioned earlier, can be so blind to these Satanic strategies to create division in our society, that they willingly and compliantly follow the crowd. They have aligned themselves with those who called for Barabbas.
The mask issue alone has literally torn some of our church congregations apart. People who do not wear masks, even those with medical conditions for whom this poses even greater risks, are often condemned and even ostracized. This must stop before even more lives are destroyed. While Sunday worship and the transient papal supremacy that surfaces at the end of all this pandemonium when the deadly wound has fully healed is an unalterable prophetic event, it is nonetheless vitally important to help our brothers and sisters to understand the game that is afoot right now. If we fail to do that, millions will be lost and all of those who failed to take a stand and defend the truth will be complicit in their demise.
Scripture warns us that in the last days the deceptions will be so great that, if possible even the very elect would be deceived (Matthew 24:24). The key term here is if possible. I can only hope and pray that those in our church, particularly our leadership, will come to their senses and stand up for the truth as our forefathers once did — before it is too late.
About the author: Arnie Suntag is the founder and president of Walk of Faith, an organization that conducts seminars and educational series on health and disease prevention and provides outreach services to the community. For inquiries or comments call (866) 359-2640 or email Arnie Suntag at firstname.lastname@example.org.