The Truth About Seventh-day Adventists


by William H. Branson  


But, sad to say, Mr. Canright has not been alone in this attempt to nullify the law of Jehovah. We live in a lawless age. Men are not only trying to remove the restraints of the law of God, but to get rid of  God Himself. Infidelity openly stalks in the pulpit, and skepticism sits in the pew. Men are losing their former sense of sin. They no longer feel the need of a sin-pardoning Savior. They are therefore rejecting the doctrine of the atonement, the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, the virgin birth, and are telling us that Jesus was only a man, although a peer among His fellows. The evolution theory has robbed God of the glory of the original creation, and removed the evidence of His power for regeneration. 

Naturally, men who accept these heresies would desire to be rid of a law which purports to have come from God who, in their reckoning, does not exist. This no-law doctrine is a fitting companion to the evolutionary, modernistic teaching that has lately spread throughout Christendom as an overwhelming flood.

But have those churches which have been betrayed by their leaders into an abandonment of God's moral precepts as a rule of life binding upon Christians grown more holy? Have they progressed more rapidly in their conquest of the world for Christ? Are their converts truer Christians than were those made by the church in the days when the Ten Commandments was held up as the standard of a final judgment before the great white throne? Is the world growing better under this no-law, no-atonement preaching? Is it? We will permit Mr. William T. Ellis to reply to these queries as we quote from an article published by him in the Washington Post, July 15, 1919:

What portends this turbulence of our time; which has swept around the earth like a seismic  current? With so much that was for ages accepted going now into the scrap heap, are we to discard also the teachings of our mothers and of the Book they taught us to revere? Is a new philosophy of life, a new creed of religion, to be forged in the day's superheated furnace of unrest? Shall we look for a herald of a better social order who will bear in his hand a different code of laws for the regulation of man's relationship with man, and with the Unseen? Is there to come out of Russia or out of Germany a working faith for a revolutionized world?

With all the honesty of soul I possess I have sought to see straight into the causes and character of conditions. Turn whichever way I will, follow whatever set of conditions I can call to mind (and I have had recent personal experience of Bolshevized Russia, of proud and discontented Europe, of sullen and menacing Asia), I find myself led straight up to the mount of the law. Here is the answer to every question. Things have gone wrong because . . . people have departed from this law. They will never get right until . . . people have the clarity of vision and the courage to turn to the keeping of the ten words spoken on Sinai.

Let us confess the truth. . . . We have wandered from the straight paths of our fathers, and have turned aside from the simple faith that made them great. . . .

Is there any one of the Ten Commandments that we as a civilization have not openly, flagrantly, and shamelessly violated, in disdain of God and in disregard of the proved social utility of these laws?

A universal acceptance of the Ten Commandments, together with the summary of the law given by Jesus, would straightway, overnight, relax the tension of the times, settle revolutions, and bring in that better day toward which the world is blindly and violently groping. . . . The path runs straight as a sunbeam from the granite crest of 'Jebel Musa,' Mt. Sinai. The master word is here: 'Keep you the law, be swift in all obedience.' . . . The Ten Commandments are an exposition of universal justice.


Seventh-day Adventists are absolute Fundamentalists. As has already been pointed out, they hold strictly to all the great fundamentals of the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They have nothing in common with Modernists, who would remove the foundation stones of the plan of redemption. They are endeavoring, through the grace of God, to fulfill the words of the Master, spoken through John the revelator, when He said of those who were to be called out of the nations and tribes of earth in preparation for His Second Advent: Here is the patience of the saints:

Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. Revelation 14:12. Or, as rendered by Goodspeed: On this fact rests the endurance of God's people, who obey God's commands and cling to their faith in Jesus. '

The teachings of this church, therefore, are not some new-fangled theories, novelties just  discovered, but rather a going back to the old paths, a restoration of precious truths lost through the great apostasy of the Dark Ages, but necessary to be restored to the people of God, that they may be in readiness when Christ comes. When He comes He will find a remnant waiting for Him, who will be without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, yes, without fault before the throne of God. Ephesians 5:27; Revelation 14.

Seventh-day Adventists do not admit that they are the troublers of Israel. When Elijah was accused by King Ahab of having troubled Israel, the prophet replied: I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou has followed Baalim. 1 Kings 18:18.

This, then, is our answer to the charge that the Seventh-day Adventist teachings confuse the people. There is no confusion so long as men believe in God and obey His law. The only confused ones are those who prefer to follow a tradition that makes void the law of the Most High. And we submit that Mr. Canright's confusion began when he renounced the binding claims of the Ten Commandments, and not when he, by the grace of God, was obedient to the divine law. Mr. Canright did not advance from darkness to light when he repudiated Seventh-day Adventism, but the light that was in him evidently became darkness.

(See Matthew 6:23.) It shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee. And thou shall grope at noonday, as the blind gropes in darkness, and thou shall not prosper in thy ways. Deuteronomy 28:15, 29.


The strangest thing of all in connection with Mr. Canright's case is the fact that he must have fully realized that in repudiating Adventism he was going from light into darkness, as is evidenced by a confession made by him after one of his disaffection experiences, when he, for a time, gave up preaching, but was still a member of the Adventist Church. This disaffection took place about 1882, and for some two years Mr. Canright worked on a farm. In 1894 he accepted an invitation to attend some general meeting's to be held in Michigan by the Seventh-day Adventists, and while there he made a voluntary public confession, which was afterward published by him in the Review and Herald, the Seventh-day Adventist official church organ, in the issue bearing the date, October 7, 1884. In this confession he said in part:

Most of the readers of the REVIEW know the part which I have acted in this cause for many years, both in preaching and in writing. They also know that for two years past I have dropped out of the work.

Then, after speaking of certain reproofs that were given him because of a wrong course he was taking in the conduct of his work, he added:

This I did not receive at all well, but felt hard toward Sister White, and soon quit the work entirely.... So I went to farming, resolved to live a devoted life, and to do all I could that way. But I soon found my doubts and fears increasing and my devotion decreasing, till at length I found myself largely swallowed up in my work, with little time, taste, or interest for religious work. . . . So it always is when a person lets go of one point of the truth, he begins to drift, he knows not whither.

A short time since I attended the Northern Michigan *camp meeting with Elder Butler. Here we had a long time for consultation, prayer, and careful examination of my difficulties. I began to see that at least some of my objections were not tenable, and that I myself was not right and in the light. . . . I saw that I had put a wrong meaning on some things, and that other things were certainly true. If these were true, then I had certainly been wrong all the way through. . . . Everything looked different. Then I felt how wrong, sinful, and in the dark I had been. My sins came up before me as never before in all my life. Like Job I cried, 'Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes .. . . . .

Friday, September 26, while on the camp ground at Jackson, Michigan, I felt in my heart the most remarkable change that I ever experienced in all my life. It was a complete reversion of all my feelings. Light and faith came into my soul, and I felt that God had give me another heart. I never felt such a change before, not even when first connected.... I believe it was directly from heaven-the work the Spirit of God. I now believe the message as firmly and re understandingly than ever before. . . . Such nearness God, such earnest devotion, such solemn appeals to live a holy life, can only be prompted by the Spirit of God. Where at is, there I want to be. I am fully satisfied that my own salvation and my usefulness in saving others depends upon being connected with this people and this work, and here take my stand to risk all I am, or have, or hope for, in is life and the life to come, with this people and this work.

This remarkable statement was published by Mr. Canright only a little more than two years before he became grieved again at some of his associates, and finally dropped out of the Seventh-day Adventist Church altogether. He immediately began to advocate the doctrines which he had declared only two years before to be darkness. In the foregoing confession he graphically relates how the Spirit of God had led him out of the darkness of his fears and doubts and hard feelings, and had restored him to the light. He was led to feel how wrong sinful, and in the dark he had been. He had had a new conversion, and was convinced that his salvation depended upon his connection with this people and this work. 

Said he, I believe it was directly from heaven-the work of the Spirit of God. Let the reader remember that these words were not uttered and published by the mere boy, uneducated, with no knowledge of the Bible, of history, or of other churches, that Mr. Canright presents himself to have been when he first became a Seventh-day Adventist. But by a seasoned minister of some twenty-six years' experience, and only about two years before he finally left the church and posed before the world as the great exposer of Seventh day Adventist errors!


If, therefore, the Spirit of God led Mr. Canright back into the light in October, 1884, and placed in his heart a settled conviction that Seventh-day Adventism was truth, what spirit was it that led him to renounce this light on February 17, 1887, two years and four months later? Could the same spirit have led him on both occasions? He was certain in 1884 that the experience that came to him and which fully settled him in the Adventist faith was directly from heaven-the work of the Spirit of God. Whence, then, came the change two years and four months later, which led him to repudiate this whole experience? Does he claim this also to be from heaven and the work of God's Spirit? Is, then, God divided against Himself, leading men one way today and another way tomorrow?  

And if Mr. Canright was in the light in 1884, when he became fully settled in the Seventh-day Adventist faith, what was he in when he renounced it two years later? Should it be said that when he left the Adventists he had .had his eyes opened and saw clearly that he had been in darkness all the time that he was connected with them, we would reply that only two years and four months before, he tells of having felt in his heart the most remarkable change he had ever experienced in all his life. It is described as a wonderful work of God, direct from heaven, an experience that could only be prompted by the Spirit of God, which fully satisfied him with the Seventh-day Adventist doctrines, and caused him to take his stand, to risk all he was or had or hoped for, in this life and the life to come, with the Seventh-day Adventist people and their work.

Which experience, therefore, shall we take to be 1: genuine? If he was mistaken in the first instance, can we be sure that he was right in the second? If he was right in the 1884 experience, then he must have been wrong in the 1887 experience. At any rate, can a man who thus frequently changes his mind and who has so many experiences, all of which he in turn attributes to the Holy Spirit, be a safe guide for other men in religious matters? We think not, and we believe that our readers will also seriously question his qualifications as a spiritual counselor and interpreter of the Word and will of God.

In our reply to Mr. Canright's arguments against the moral law and the seventh-day Sabbath we shall follow quite largely the plan of permitting him to answer himself, by comparing what he wrote on these subjects while he was still a Seventh-day Adventist preacher, with what he later said in his book Seventh-day Adventism Renounced. His former statements in support of the enduring claims of the Ten Commandments and the original seventh-day Sabbath are so clear and convincing and so full of Bible proof, whereas his later arguments against these doctrines are so confusing and unbiblical, that we feel sure a careful comparison of the two will readily serve to convince any candid reader that in renouncing Seventh-day Adventism, Mr. Canright went from clear light into dense darkness.

It is of such persons we are warned by Isaiah the prophet when he said:

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Because they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 5:20, 24.