ARIZONA CONFERENCE — Ed Brothers could hardly believe what he was telling his wife, Jan. “I’m going to resign my credentials to the Assemblies of God denomination after 50 years. My beliefs have become the beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventists, so we must find an Adventist church to attend.”
An ardent Bible student, Jan came under conviction that the Sabbath was Saturday. She mentioned this to Ed and encouraged him to study the issue.
In June 2009, they began watching Good News TV. They were mesmerized by the systematic theology and teachings they were hearing.
As an Assemblies of God minister, Brothers developed arguments against the Sabbath—and Adventists. But after watching Good News TV, his arguments against the Sabbath began to change.
In October 2009, the Brothers began looking for an Adventist church to attend. They went to the Mesa Palms church and found it friendly and welcoming. On their first visit, the pastor, Terry Darnall, was out of town. He returned to find a request card from the Brothers asking for a visit.
Darnall thought he was calling on a retired Seventh-day Adventist pastor, but quickly realized it wasn’t the case.
Darnall and Ed Brothers began an immediate, close relationship. They discovered that they were born in the same small town in Nebraska, which they call “a holy coincidence.”
“You know, if you told me a year ago that I would become a Seventh-day Adventist, I would have laughed in your face!” Brothers told Darnall. “But I’m not laughing anymore. In fact, I’m praising God for the new truths I have learned. All those perplexing doctrinal questions I had all my life have been answered. It just makes so much sense.”
It was difficult writing his letter of resignation to the Assemblies of God denomination and informing his local Assemblies pastors and their many friends of their decision.
“We are so happy,” Ed says. “We know that God was leading us on this journey and has an important mission for Jan and me. We want to share with all our colleagues and friends the wonderful messages we have found from God’s Word.”
Ed and Jan Brothers became members of the Mesa Palms Seventh-day Adventist Church on March 20.
“Pastor Ed preached his first sermon at Mesa Palms in May,” says Darnall. “He aspires to become an Adventist pastor and receive his credentials as a Seventh-day Adventist pastor emeritus from the Pacific Union Conference. The Brothers are a powerful witness for Christ and His teachings. I think that maybe Jan and Ed are not totally retired yet!”
Assemblies of God Evangelist Joins Turlock Church
CENTRAL CALIFORNIA CONFERENCE — Jim Sarnowsky was adamant that he did not respond to the free Final Events DVD offered by mail to every household in Turlock, Calif. But when Bible worker Tabitha Maxwell came to his home with his order card in her hand, he agreed to accept the DVD.
As he watched it, he kept waiting for something to be incorrect, not biblical. But everything was true. That began the spiritual fight of his life.
“I came from a pretty bad world and got saved at 29 years of age,” Sarnowsky says. Strongly influenced by his grandmother, a Pentecostal preacher, he eagerly began to serve God, first as a youth pastor, then for 30 years as a non-denominational evangelist for the Assemblies of God organization.
College and seminary educated, this credentialed minister had a difficult time studying the Bible with a 20-something young adult. “I really gave that girl a hard time,” Sarnowsky says. He’d argue, “Look, I’m not going to be one of your Seventh-day Adventists.” Maxwell would just smile.
A Bible worker for five years, Maxwell trained at Mission College and Weimar College. She had considered studying law or medicine. “God kept placing in my heart, ‘Tabitha, you can make an eternal difference in peoples’ lives.’”
Once studies began, she took church member Richard King, a retired dentist, with her as often as his scheduled allowed. “It is important for a new believer to have a strong connection with a member,” she explains.
For more than two years, Sarnowsky, Maxwell and King studied together. “This was going against everything I’ve ever believed,” Sarnowsky said. “I told Tabitha, ‘I’m old and stuck in my ways. I have to search things out for myself.’” He also attended three public series during that time.
Peace eluded him. He prayed for answers. While re-reading a text h! e’d read more than 100 times about Jesus’ second coming in 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17: “…and the dead in Christ will rise first,” questions began to clear. “I always believed that when you died you went immediately to heaven,” he says. “So why were they rising?” Sabbath was a more difficult journey.
In time, Sarnowsky was convinced. He turned in his ministerial credentials and immediately lost his income. “I saw that it was more important to follow the truth. My relationship with Jesus is what gets me to heaven, not a bunch of credentials,” he says.
The price is high. “Everybody thinks I’m crazy. My wife thinks I’m crazy. Church members disowned me completely. Thousands of people are disappointed in me. But I’d rather please God.”
Sarnowsky was baptized in January 2010. “I believe with all my heart that God sent her to my door,” he says of Maxwell. Now at peace, he says, “The Scriptures are more alive to me now, all coming together and it fits.”