Among the many strange, and in some cases, new doctrines which have appeared on the horizon of Seventh-day Adventism during its short history, is a doctrine which has been referred to as "the character of God" message by those who embrace it. Most others know it better as the doctrine which teaches that God does not kill. Those who have accepted it declare that this message is the end-time message and is the ultimate understanding of God's character. Others see it as a dangerous doctrine which undermines the very basis of Christian faith, the trustworthiness of the Scriptures.

Specifically, this teaching says that God Himself never ever, under any circumstances, personally takes or removes the life of any creature. It says He may allow others to do it, He may accept the blame for it, but He Himself never is the agent or the cause which removes life. What this means is that every place in the Bible where it says that God killed or destroyed or took a life, is not to be believed the way it reads, but must be reinterpreted to fit this doctrine. So then we would have to accept that God never caused the great flood in Noah's day, never destroyed Sodom & Gomorrah, never slew Korah, Dathan and Abiram, never destroyed Pharaoh's army in the Red Sea, etc. etc.

1. What are the issues involved in the debate?

a. Firstly there is the question of what the character of God is really like. (COL 69)

b. Secondly there is the question of what is love really like? How does true love behave?

2. What does The doctrine really teach?

a. The Doctrine that God does not kill says that God never ever under any circumstance removes the life of any of His creatures; that such an act is contrary to the character and the will of God; That God never ever moves towards any creature with the intent of causing harm.

By Brendan Knudson

For many years, there has been a teaching which has taken a hold of Adventism which is called by moderate proponents the “Character of God” message, by extreme proponents the “non-violent God” teaching and by many the “God does not kill/destroy” doctrine. There is very little harmony across the board within the ranks of its advocates, yet it holds an allure which attracts many an honest seeker.
My involvement with this teaching began when a close friend of mine asked me a few times to “set straight” another mutual friend who was advocating it. As I spoke with him, I could never sympathize with his position and found all conversation about it extremely frustrating. I was shocked, however, to see my close friend one day announce that she had become a believer in the message. From then I decided to look more closely at it.

(2 Tim 3:16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

(Exo 20:21-22) And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. {22} And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.....  (Exo 21:14-17) But if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die. {15} And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death. {16} And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death. {17} And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.

God destroys no man. Everyone who is destroyed will have destroyed himself. Everyone who stifles the admonitions of conscience is sowing the seeds of unbelief, and these will produce a sure harvest. By rejecting the first warning from God, Pharaoh of old sowed the seeds of obstinacy, and he reaped obstinacy. God did not compel him to disbelieve. The seed of unbelief which he sowed produced a harvest of its kind. Thus his resistance continued, until he looked upon his devastated land, upon the cold, dead form of his first-born, and the first-born of all in his house and of all the families in his kingdom, until the waters of the sea closed over his horses and his chariots and his men of war. His history is a fearful illustration of the truth of the words that “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Gal. 6:7. Did men but realize this, they would be careful what seed they sow. {COL 84-5}


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