Q: I'm a theology student studying at the Venezuelan Adventist Theological Seminary. I would like to know: Is the Seventh-day Adventist Church influenced or affected by the Jesuits? And if not, how can I help my local church brethren to be at ease and committed to the church organization? — Pablo from Curaçao, Venezuela
A: Pablo, thank you for writing. The question about Jesuits infiltrating the Adventist Church is a conspiracy theory that has been passed around for decades. It has no basis in reality.
The Jesuits are, of course, members of a Roman Catholic religious order known as the Society of Jesus. Much intrigue and secrecy surround this order, which was established during the early years of the Protestant Reformation (1540) by a papal bull (a legal document issued by the pope). All Jesuits are required to swear supreme allegiance to the pope.
The Jesuit Society is a very different organization — with different aims and purposes — than the Seventh-day Adventist Church. And we are clearly warned through the Spirit of Prophecy to not have anything to do with secretive organizations (see http://bit.ly/counselonsecretsocieties). Furthermore, as Seventh-day Adventists our allegiance is to God, not to any man.
The guiding influences upon the Adventist church are the Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy, and our understanding of being God’s remnant for these last days as described in Revelation 12:17.
These are the influences that matter. There’s culture and all kinds of other outside pressure, but it is these three that are the real core and guiding influences on our church.
Rather than speculating as to whether or not there are Jesuits in the Adventist Church, we should assume the best of our fellow believers. Let’s spend time examining our own hearts, praying, studying God’s Word, reading the Spirit of Prophecy, asking the Holy Spirit for revival and reformation in our lives, and becoming involved in reaching out to a hurting world in desperate need of a Savior.
Let’s remember the Biblical admonition: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Phil. 4:8).