Feb Knight Descends On Jones. 1of 4.
Mar Knight Descends On Jones. 2 of 4.
1988 Apr-Jun Knight 3 & 4 of 4.
WWN 1981 Oct - Dec
1981 Oct -- XIV -- 10(81) -- COVER UP HIERARCHY WAY OF LIFE -- Source Within Church Responded to REVIEW Report -- [Editor's Note: It was back in 1977 before Elder R. H. Pierson stepped aside as President of the General Conference that he wrote an article in the Review (March 24, pp. 6-8) to explain the why of the litigation in which the Church was involved with the Federal government at that time. Some people who were in a position to know the facts recognized the explanation given by Elder Pierson was an end run around the truth and felt that it should be answered. It was decided to send a response by personal mail to every SDA worker in North America. The cost became a prohibitive factor, but "The Response to R . H. Pierson's Report to the Church" remained - though written, uncirculated. We reproduce this analysis so that the laity might understand that "explanations" coming through the official organ of the Church today - The Adventist Review - are no more reliable than such explanations in the past. The author of this "Response" has asked that he be identified only as "a source within the denomination."]
THE RESPONSE -- In his report to the church titled, "When the Church Is Taken to Court," (Review, 3-24-77, pp 6-8), General Conference President Robert H. Pierson seeks to calm the troubled waters of the faithful members of the church by crying, "Peace! Be still!" But there are times when such an instruction is inappropriate.
Now is such a time. Now is rather a time to "let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream." Amos 5: 24. We are faced here with a General Conference president who is telling the Adventist people one thing through the Review, while through affidavits and General Conference attorneys he is telling the courts of the land, and thus the public press, something dissimilar.
In the Review he says, "We do not believe that the church is above the law or that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is not subject to the laws of this country, as has been suggested in the public press." Through his attorneys he says, "The Church claims exemption from all civil laws in all of its religious institutions."
(The above quote appears on page 104 of a brief prepared for the General Conference officers by Malcolm T. Dungan, James H. Quirk, Donald McNeil, and Boardman Noland, a General Conference staff attorney and a Seventh-day Adventist. It was submitted as part of the Opening Brief for Defendants in Civil Case No. 74-2025, EEOC vs PPPA and General Conference, to Judge Charles B. Renfrew in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco. This same assertion is repeated word for word in Civil Case No. 75-1792 before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Court in a Brief for Appellants on page 77, submitted July 6, 1975.)
In the same appeals brief appear the following claims: We insist that in doing its holy work, the church is free to ignore, even to flout, measures [laws] which bind all others. (p. 78)
As an organized religious denomination the Seventh-day Adventist Church insists that it is "wholly exempt" from the cognizance of Civil Authority, and that entanglements, practical exceptions, and "reasonable adjustments" [in order to comply with the law] are not be tolerated. (p. 80)
to what Elder Pierson tells us in the Review, we see that the
public press did not misreport the evidence available to it in publishing
church claims of exemption from the laws of this
p 2 -- country. The fact is that they found this evidence in the public record, placed there by attorneys I carrying out the directives of the General Conference officers.
The Legal Issue -- Elder Pierson makes this statement: "Until more recent years this scale [the traditional plan for remuneration of church workers] provided that the 'head of household' (the wage earner in a family, in contradistinction to a worker with only himself/herself to support) should receive a higher remuneration than a single worker with no family responsibilities."
This statement is unfortunately misleading in two important, basic ways. 1) By applying the term "hersef" equally with "himself" to "head of house-hold," Elder Pierson implies that a female sole-family-support had as good a chance as a male sole-family-support to receive "head of household" benefits. Such was not the case. A great many God-fearing, self sacrificing women church workers were sole-family-support (being widowed or divorced with dependent children or married to invalid husbands). Yet exceedingly few of these women ever received "head of household" benefits down through the years. 2 ) Just as misleading is his description of the "head of household" as "the wage earner in a family, in contradistinction to a worker with only himself/herself to support." This implies that the considerable "head of household" remuneration was based on need. Again such was not the case.
As a general practice church institutions simply defined "head of household" as "married male" and let it go at that. Thus, the institution paid "head of household" remuneration to all married male employees whether or not they had dependent children, whether or not their wives also earned their own incomes (even if larger than their husbands'), whether or not these men also received ( in some cases huge) extra forms of income (such as subscription book royalties, investment income, etc.) Yet to extremely few woman employees did these institutions pay "head of household" remuneration, whether or not they were widowed or divorced with dependent children, whether or not they had to support invalid dependent relatives (including husbands), whether or not they were putting their husbands through school (as was the case with Merikay Silver of the Pacific Press).
Church remuneration policy has never been based on need. In her day E1len G . White spoke out against sex discrimination in remuneration: "If a woman is appointed by the Lord to do a certain work, her work is to be estimated according to its value." Not paying women is "making a difference, and selfishly withholding from such workers their due." And, "When self-denial is required... do not let a few hardworking women do all the sacrificing. Let all share in making the sacrifice. God declares, I hate robbery for a burnt offering." Evangelism, pp. 491-92.
Now Elder Pierson asserts that "there is no head-of-household differential, and a woman holding the same position and doing the same work as a man receives the same salary and benefits." If this is an assertion that there is no sex discrimination in remuneration, it is doubtful. It is not reasonable to conclude that the Federal government would wage protract lega1 battles against church institutions if these institutions were complying with the laws against sex discrimination.
Excuses for Going to Court -- Elder Pierson makes a point out of the fact that, "The Seventh-day Adventist Church has not initiated any of the current court cases. We are defendants in every case." This he seems to offer as a claim to virtue and honor. Since, he implies, we do not believe in taking someone to court, being sued is somehow more virtuous and honorable than suing. But this is not always the case. In the instances here discussed the Federal government has determined that the officers of the Pacific Press, the Pacific Union, and the General Conference have been violating the Civil Rights Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act.
To claim that we are the defendants, we are the accused, is no defense. It is no denial of, wrongdoing. It is no example of virtue and honor. To claim that we are defendants, we are the accused, is no more virtuous or honorable than the thief's protest that he is the defendant, he is the accused. Certain1y there is no honor, no virtue, and nothing praiseworthy in such a claim. To offend is 1ess honorable than to seek remedy for an offense.
"Sometimes a situation developes or deteriorates," Elder Pierson writes, "to the extent that we have no other course than to defend the church when it is sued in court." here refers to "the current cases" in which the Federal government is suing the Church and some of its institutions for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a law of more than a dozen years standing, and the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, amended in 1972 to include teachers. This has given us plenty of time to clean up our remuneration practices. Where, then, is the deterioration that makes costly court proceedings inevitable?
we were violating child labor laws, fire ordinances, health codes, and
safety regulations in our institutions and were sued by the Federal
agencies involved, would "we have no other course than to defend
the church when it is sued in court?" And now
p 3 -- that we have been found by the government to have been violating anti-sex discrimination laws, do "we have no other course than to defend the Church when it is sued in court?" The answer is that we do have another course. We can obey these laws as the Word of God requires: Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. I Peter 2:13-15.
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. Romans 13:1-5
Elder Pierson lists four General Conference guidelines that determine whether the church would go to court. Do any of the rules apply to the cases under consideration?
1) When government demands constitute a violation of a plain "Thus saith the Lord," the church would go to court. - But the government is seeking to enforce laws with which the church agrees. There is no such violation here. This rule does not apply.
2) When the government violates the U.S. Constitution, the church would go to court. - But here Elder Pierson provides no explanations of how the laws at hand violate the Constitution. The only laws at issue are anti-sex discrimination laws. The church agrees that sex discrimination in remuneration is bad. How do these laws violate the Constitution? Are laws prohibiting excessive child labor constitutional, while those prohibiting sex discrimination unconstitutional? If so, then how or why? Elder Pierson offers no reasons. Without them this rule cannot apply.
3) When the government operates beyond its rightful sphere the church may go to court. - But again no reasons or explanations are forthcoming as to how the anti-sex discrimination laws intrude unconstitutionally into legitimate church activities. Does enforcement of anti-sex discrimination law involve an unconstitutional scrutiny, whereas enforcement of health and safety codes do not? Without answers, neither can this rule apply.
4) When the church has problems outside the United States, the church (under modifications of the above rules) could go to court. - But obviously this rule does not apply, since all the lawsuits have been brought within the United States.
Since no reasons have been given showing how any one of the four rules would apply to the court cases Elder Pierson discusses, it was pointless to include them in the article. None shows why the church should have gone to court in these cases. After reading such statements as, "It is unusual indeed when we take issue with the ordinances or directives of the Government," one would think that very powerful, very compelling reasons would have to exist to convince the Adventist laity that these court cases were necessary. But we cannot find such reasons. We cannot even find poor reasons We find no reasons at all.
"Only when matters of conscience," Elder Pierson writes, "conflict with legal requirements would we be unable to comply fully with the laws of the land." Yet he fails to tel1 the church what specific "matters of conscience" in these cases "conflict with legal requirements." Is it a "matter of conscience" that we resist the legal requirements of equal pay for equal work? This is all that the government is asking. Only lay employee's are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act. The clergy are not involved. There is no collision between these laws and legitimate religious activities than there is between health and safety codes and our legitimate religious activities. Is it a "matter of conscience" that we resist the routine investigation and investigations of specific complaints when and if any of our institutions should violate these laws? There is no more intrusion of the government into church affairs involved in the enforcement of these laws than is involved in the enforcement of health and safety laws.
In the absence of any specific conflicting "matter of conscience" that Elder Pierson could bring forward, and in the absence of any conflicting "matter of conscience" involved in obeying these laws, we must conclude that this massive and costly resistance of the Federal government was baseless and futile.
On December 4, 1974, before the huge Federal Case against the Pacific Union Conference was launched in Los Angeles, General Conference attorneys submitted to U.S. District Court Judge Charles B. Renfrew the following statement: The elders of the Church are few, and they
p 4 -- have much to do; they have already had to spend too much of their time, and far too much of the Church's treasury, which comes from the tithes and offerings of faithful people, in connection with this case. (Opening Brief for Defendants, EEOC vs PPPA and GC, p. 105.)
One might ask rhetorically, then, Why are they spending the church's treasury, which comes from the tithes and offerings of faithful people, in this way? Why not rather use it for which it was intended - to pay fair and lawful wages to workers in our institutions?
Minister" Explanation -- Elder
Pierson admits that "the use of
first minister" was "applied" to a General
Conference officer in an affidavit. He fails to mention that it was
he himself who used the term in his own signed affidavit and that he
applied it to himself in his capacity as General Conference President.
"It is... the desire and purpose of the leadership of the Church,
The standard New Catholic Encyclopedia defines "primacy of the pope" as "that full, supreme, and universal authority over all the bishops and faithful of the Church which belongs by divine right to the bishop of Rome as the successor to St. Peter, who received such a primacy among the Apostles directly from Christ." (Vol. 11, p. 779) But Ellen G. White wrote: God has never given a hint in His word that He has appointed any man to be head of the church. The doctrine of papal supremacy is directly opposed to the teachings of the Scriptures. The pope can have no power over Christ's church except by usurpation." (Great Controversy, p. 51)
Orders of Clergy -- In his report to the Church, Elder Pierson also made this statement: "In the Adventist ministry we do not have various 'orders,' with some 'outranking' others." Here is the president of the General Conference telling the laity of the Church that we have no orders of ministry, yet telling the courts that we do. In his own affidavit, signed by him on November 30, 1974 Elder Pierson told Judge Charles B. Renfrew (EEOC v. PPPA and GC) that "the orders of ministry in the Seventh-day Adventist Church include Ordained Ministers, Credentialed Missionaries, Licensed Ministers, Licensed Missionaries, and Credentialed Literature Evangelists" (page 8) and that "the total number of Seventh-day Adventists in all of the Orders of Ministry is approximately 75,000" (page 9).
Elder Pierson describes some of the duties of one of these "Orders of Ministry" in this way: "An ordained minister is authorized, and expected to preach the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to administer the sacraments... " (Same document, p. 8)
Term "Hierarchy" -- "The use of the term hierarchical
system by attorneys," E1der Pierson says, "also
disturbed a few people." He ignores the fact that people have been
more disturbed over the use of the term hierarchy to describe the Seventh-day
Adventist church, not
On the one hand, a representative (delegate) by definition is not one who holds authority in his own right. To the contrary, he is the instrument of those who hold the true God-given authority, the constituents, the local church members, who have elected and delegated him. On the other hand, a hierarchy
p 5 -- is literally a "sacred ruler" or "high priest," one who receives his spiritual authority directly from God and governs the church by divine right. In representative church government, God-given authority rests ultimately with the body of individual believers and expresses itself through the representatives or delegates of the believers.
The SDA Church Manual recognizes the Adventist system to be representative rather than its opposite, hierarchical: "Authority in the church rests in the church membership" (page 46). But the General Conference attorneys, acting under the directions of President Pierson and Vice President Wilson portrayed the Seventh-day Adventist church as a hierarchy: "A 'hierarchical' church is one in which final decisions are made at the top of the organizational ladder." (Reply Brief for Defendants in EEOC v PPPA and GC, p. 28) They were applying this term, not to the Roman Catholic Church, but to the Seventh-day Adventist church. "The General Conference Committee," Vice President Neal C. Wilson testified under oath in the U. S. District Court for Northern California (EEOC v PPPA & GC) on March 20, 1975, "is the highest authority in the Seventh-day Adventist Church."
Judge Charles B. Renfrew, unfamiliar with the original structure of the Seventh-day Adventist church, received a picture of "hierarchical" Adventism from the General Conference officers that showed the General Conference Committee wielding "hierarchical" spiritual power sufficient to secure the excommunication of two SDA church members in good and regular standing by "hierarchical" determination alone. Testified Elder Wilson on this same day, "The General Conference Committee felt that this discipline [disfellowshipping Lorna Tobler and Merikay Silver, two women who sought equal pay for equal work under the law] was necessary in this case... The Church (that is, General Conference Committee) felt that inasmuch as these ladies were at variance with the Church [as determined by the General Conference Committee], the local church of which they, where they hold membership, should be informed of that."
This drift toward hierarchical rule in modern Adventism has gone so far that the highest General Conference officers have been able, through their own Adventist and non-Adventist attorneys, to deny the historic Seventh-day Adventist stand against the kind of spiritual authority claimed by the Roman Catholic Church, and to label as "false doctrine" our historic position. Thus did General Conference attorneys sweep away our historic position, a position adopted by the pioneers, including Ellen G. White: Although it is true that there was a period in the life of the Seventh-day Adventist Church when the denomination took a distinctly anti-Roman Catholic viewpoint, and the term "hierarchy" was used in a perjorative sense to refer to the papal form of church governance, that attitude on the Church's part has now been consigned to the historical trash heap so far as the Seventh-day Adventist Church is concerned. (Reply Brief, EEOC v PPPA & GC p. 4)
the leadership of the church labeled as "false doctrine" Lorna
Tobler's statement of this position: "In
their zeal to deny the organization and structure [hierarchical]
of the Seventh-day Adventist Church [Elder
Pierson's court version of ] in order to be enabled to deny the
The blame for bringing the term "hierarchy" into Adventism cannot be placed upon the legal counsel, although Elder Pierson suggests that the terms in questions were selected by non-Adventist lawyers. The attorneys - both Adventist and non-Adventist represented him and the other General Conference officers and it, as their job to do the General Conference Committee's bidding. The General Conference president is responsible, no matter what he claims. The Adventist delegates in Vienna did not intend to put an irresponsible man into the presidency of the Church.
should, furthermore, be clearly noted that nowhere
p 6 -- in his report to the church did Elder Pierson renounce or abandon the terms "first minister" or "hierarchy" as applied to himself and our church respectively. And nowhere did he admit that he made any mistakes. He said, "If we have erred, we will try to do better next time." (pp. 7-8, emphasis writer) He said, "We are only human. We may make mistakes. (p. 8, emphasis writer) He did not say he erred. He did not say he made a mistake. Nor could he. For all of these arguments and assertions continue unabated and in full force in the legal documents to this very moment.
The good Seventh-day Adventist people will either have to accept them or to shoulder their own responsibilities as members of a non-hierarchical fellowship of believers, a democratically-based representative church, to rid these things from our midst.
H. Wood, Editor,
Back in May, 1981, a brother in Australia received from Elder Eugene F. Durand, Assistant to Elder Kenneth Wood, a letter in reply to his inquiry about Elder M. L. Andreasen's supposed recantation. Durand wrote - "You are correct when you state that Elder Andreasen did not change his mind on the issues of the atonement and the human nature of Christ. Elder Unruh meant, therefore, when he said that 'the author of the criticism made his peace with the church' [See Adventist Heritage, Vol. 4, #2, 1977, p. 45] was that Elder Andreasen agreed not to continue agitating his views publically even though he did not personally change those views. It was, therefore, what we might call an administrative agreement rather than a theological one." (Letter dated, May 6, 1981) Upon receipt of this letter forwarded to me from Australia, I wrote to Elder Durand asking for documentation. In his reply to me, he stated: "We do not have documentation for this here in the REVIEW office. This is Elder Wood's understanding of the situation as he observed it at the time." (Letter dated, July 16, 1981)
In the same letter to Elder Durand asking for documentation, I also asked regarding Elder Wood's position on the book - Questions on Doctrine. On this point Durand's reply read - "In your note you state that Elder Wood heartily approved the doctrinal issues raised by the book, Questions on Doctrine. I am not quite sure what you mean by this statement, whether you are saying that Elder Wood agreed with Questions on Doctrine or not. Just in case there is some confusion in your mind on this, let me assure you that Elder Wood disagrees with some of the positions taken by the book, Question on Doctrine, particularly in the areas of the nature of Christ and the Atonement." (Ibid.)
My reply to Elder Durand on this point is as follows: Now in regard to the other item - Kenneth Wood's position on Questions on Doctrine. Enclosed you will find a copy of a letter signed by him. Please harmonize the comments made in paragraph #3, with what you have written concerning his position in this most recent letter to me. Perhaps, I have missed his public confession in some editorial of the Adventist Review where he disavows that which he avowed in 1968.
Then since you have written what you believe his present position to be, and since the book Movement of Destiny affirms the same positions on the incarnation and atonement as Questions on Doctrine, albeit more bluntly stated, what is Wood's official position on this book by Froom? (Letter, July 19, 1981)
Before giving you Wood's reply to my letter to Elder Durand, background data is necessary. Paragraph #3 of Wood's letter dated Feb. 28, 1968 read: The book to which you refer is undoubtedly Questions on Doctrine, published in 1957. This in no way changes our fundamental beliefs. In fact, it probably sets them forth more clearly than any publication that has been issued from our presses in many a year. I have been next to this whole program from the very beginning, and I have yet to hear any serious reader of this book offer a criticism that can bear examination. It is always possible that some statements might have been expressed more clearly to avoid misunderstanding, but rightly understood, the delineations of doctrine in this book are in harmony with historic Adventism. If you are able to point out any error in the book, I would appreciate hearing from you.
to this - May 1, 1967 - Elder Wood had written to the same individua1
on behalf of Elder Pierson, the following: I
have travelled to a good many places to attend workers' meetings, and
I have asked at these meetings if anyone has found any
p 7 -- point of major doctrinal error in the book, Question on Doctrine. I have found none as yet.
With this background material, we can better understand the significance of Elder Wood's reply to me as a result of my inquiry to Elder Durand. Wood's letter follows in its entirety. (All emphasis is mine.)
August 14, 1981
Dear Brother Grotheer:
In your recent letter to Elder Durand you asked whether I stand by the position on Questions on Doctrine set forth in Elder Durand's letter or in the one I wrote in 1968. The answer is, I stand by both of them. My personal position has not varied on the book. It is important to recognize, however, that audiences vary. One cannot say everything he would like to say to certain audiences. Jesus Himself made this clear when He said that He had many other things to tell the disciples but they could not bear them at that time.
When I wrote the letter in 1968 it was apparent that someone had been seeking to undermine the faith of that person to whom I was writing. Someone was suggesting to this person that the leaders of the church could not be trusted, for they had sold the church down the river in a meeting with the evangelicals; also that the book QOD was full of error. It was apparent that what this person needed was to, have his faith strengthened. I could do this honestly because I believe in the leaders of our work. They make mistakes at times as do all of us, but basically they are God's men. Likewise, I could express support for the book QOD because the average person would be greatly blessed by it. The person to whom I was writing would not have detected any deviation from historic Adventism if someone had not called their attention. Except for those who were extremely well informed on Adventist truths, people would read the book and be blessed. In my letter I was emphasizing this aspect.
Turning to another audience, however, let me say that I have always been critical of the aspects of QOD that in my view represented a departure from historic Adventism. I wrote a 50-page paper on the question and presented it at the Nosoca Pines retreat of the General Conference officers several years ago.
Mrs White made it plain, however, that we should not be constantly correcting our books because it undermines confidence in the church. Thus, instead of even revising QOD, it was allowed to go out of print. This probably has been a better solution than to focus attention on the mistakes in the book, then offer a revision.
As for Movement of Destiny, I feel uneasy about the same matters in it as I did about QOD.
As you know we are living in difficult times. People both from within the church and from outside are attacking the faith. Because of this we are trying to focus merely on the main issues. We think this is less confusing to our people than to bring in many side issues. All truth is important, but obviously some truths are central and some peripheral.
In a time like this it is good to realize that Jesus is the chief Shepherd of the sheep. He has never turned over to under-shepherds the total responsibility of guarding the flock and defending truth. With Jesus as our leader we can have confidence knowing that truth will triumph.
Since fundamental principles are involved in the position taken by the Editor of the Adventist Review, we shall discuss our reply to Elder Wood in another thought paper. --- (1981 Oct) --- END --- TOP
Nov -- XIV -- 11(81)
-- CRACKS IN THE FOUNDATION -- Results
of Omega Apostacy Now Appearing -- The
last chapter of Special Testimonies, Series B No. 2, entitled,
"The Foundation of Our Faith," reveals what would have been,
had the Alpha of apostasy been accepted. (pp. 54-55) It is also interesting
to observe that the advocates of the apostasy referred to their objectives
as a "reformation." The messenger of the Lord asked - "Were
this reformation to take place, what would result?" Then follows
a list of ten things that would occur:
These things did not take place in the time of the Alpha, however, it is written "The omega will follow, and will be received by those who are not willing to heed the warning God has given." (Ibid., p. 50) Thus the very things which the enemy sought to introduce in the time of the Alpha at the turn of the Century will be realized in the Omega. The evidence is clear that with the introduction of "books of a new order" following the Seventh-day Adventist-Evangelical Conferences in 1955-1956 (See Facsimile Documents on this Conference), the Omega of Apostasy settled down upon the Church. (For full presentation of this evidence obtain Cassette Tape - "The Alpha Omega of Apostasy.") Now we are beginning to see the fulfillment of the "bottom line" resulting from the acceptance of this apostasy - "Their foundation would be built on the, sand, and storm and tempest would sweep away the structure." (Spec. Test. Series B, No. 2, p. 55)
is another descriptive prophecy in connection with the time when "Jesus
is about to leave the mercy seat of the heavenly sanctuary, to put on
garments of vengeance,... " (5T :207-208) Faithful ones were
sighing and crying over the departure from the historic faith which took
place as a result of the compromises made with the Evangelicals, and the
fraternizing with leaders in the World Council of Churches. But in all
of this sighing and crying concering what could only be discerned by finite
eyes, there were other sins which seen by God were as yet unrevealed.
The persons committing these felt secure because of the long suffering
of God. In their hearts they said
p 2 -- of the Lord - and not for speculation!
has now brought to light these hidden things of darkness, and has displayed
them as it were with a pen of fire for all to read in the public press.
With the crumbling of the Davenport Financial Empire, cracks in the foundations
of the Church built upon the sand are beginning to appear. No longer protected
by the mercies of the God of heaven, the leadership now turns to an outside
PR firm to seek to daub the creaking edifice with a whitewash. But the
words of God through Ezekiel to the spiritual leadership of Israel apply
with equal force today. They read: Because
they lead my people astray, saying, "Peace," when there is no
peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash,
therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall.
Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down,
and violent winds will burst forth. When the wall collapses, will people
not ask you, "Where is the whitewash you covered it with?"
God has promised to sweep away the refuge of lies with which the spiritual guardians of the people have sought to lull the laity of the Church back into the fatal slumber of death. (See Isa. 28:17-18) A case in point is the attempt of the president of the Potomac Conference of Seventh-day Adventists to cover the investment of that Conference of $45,000 in 1972 with Dr. Davenport. Writing in a "Constituency Letter" dated, Summer, 1981, Elder Ron M. Wisbey stated: "As far as Potomac is involved, it is a relatively small amount ($45,000) and is totally secured, recorded, and liquid to the point that we already have a buyer for the mortgage... The money invested in 1972 with Dr. Davenport and secured as mentioned above, was done with earnings received from regular investments with trustor monies and in accordance with Church policy. However, the reserve from surplus earnings is more than adequate to cover this $45,000 investment should the worst happen and the entire amount be lost, which at this time does not seem likely." (p. 2) No doubt the laity of the Conference, thus reassured by their "spiritual leader" returned to their slumber.
However, the Los Angeles Times Staff Writers were doing their own investigation of this particular investment with Davenport. Here is what they found: A title search performed by Title Insurance and Trust Company, in Riverside for the Times found, for example, that Davenport had conveyed a first trust deed of $45,000 to the Potomac Conference Corp. of Seventh-day Adventists in 1972. Yet another apparent first trust deed for the same piece of Riverside property was conveyed by Davenport to the Adventist-affiliated Collegedale Credit Union for $95,714 in 1976. The title search on the sample property in Riverside also revealed the doctor secured loans with deeds to property he did not own.
In this case, title records indicate that Davenport only leased the land on which he had given deeds to the Potomac Conference and the Collegedale Credit Union. According to tax and title records, the property is owned by La Sierra College, an Adventist institution. (LA Times, Aug. 9, 1981, VI, p. 1)
(May God have mercy on the mortgage buyer which Elder Wisbey states he has found for Potomac's trust deed from Dr. Davenport.)
With the filing of the Bankruptcy Petition by Donald J. Davenport, M. D., in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California on July 13, 1981, and the Exhibits submitted with the Petitions, plus the release by the Adventist Review (Sept 10, 1981, p. 24) of the amount invested by different church entities with Dr. Davenport, certain questions have been raised which remain as yet unanswered, besides those questions which raise grave concerns and doubts.
"A" of the Bankruptcy Petition lists "the ten largest unsecured
creditors." (It appears the emphasis is on the word, "unsecured.")
On this list besides certain banks, some of which loaned Davenport over
One Million dollars, are certain institutions of the Seventh-day Adventist
Church - the North Pacific Union Conference, and the Layman Foundation
of Madison, Tennessee, the Foundation which has underwritten the self-supporting
units in the South. However, the amount of monies involved as listed in
Exhibit "A" for the NPU does not correspond with the amount
of funds as noted in the Adventist Review. Davenport reports only
$100,000, while the Church paper indicates over Six Million dollars. Then
p 3 -- Georgia-Cumberland Conference which the Adventist Review lists as having over Three Million involved is not listed by Davenport, yet documents published in the "green" issue of the SDA Press Release place serious doubts upon the security of the loans made by that conference. Why was not the full disclosure of the amount invested by the North Pacific Union Conference and the investment of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference given by Davenport in Exhibit "A", when monies invested by these two Church entities separately exceeded the amount of the highest figure of any bank loan listed? And how can we believe that banks would loan from one half million to well over one million dollars without security?
Behind the Georgia-Cumberland and the North Pacific Union Conferences investments are two men whose names have appeared in the SDA Press Release - Elder Desmond Cummings, who at the time of the investments was president of the Ga.-Cumb. Conf, and Elder Wayne Massengill, who served as Trust Officer of the NPU. These two men with their wives are also listed as individual creditors by Davenport. (See SDA Press Release, Vol. 1, No. 6) This raises another question - Since it was indicated that only "trust funds" were used, and the laity of the various entities were urged to place their money through the trust department of the Church so that the cause of God would benefited, why didn't these men do likewise? Did they obtain special favors because they used their office to secure other's involvement, or the involvement of the conferences in the Davenport Financial Empire?
Another interesting aspect of the release of names of the creditors - albeit the amount of each individual's involvement has not yet been made known - is the fact that in the case of Elder Massengill, some of his old cronies from Indiana days are listed among the creditors - Elder D. A. Caslow; Wilbur E. Wasenmiller, plus another worker who served in Indiana at the same time - Dr. Jonathan G. Penner. Then, there are two Indiana self-supporting institutions involved - Bethel Sanitarium, and the Adventist Retirement Center, both of Evansville, Indiana. Those who know the roster of the Southern Union Conference can find similar parallels between individual creditors, and Elder Desmond Cummings.
Besides the relationship between these men, and their respective conferences is the fact that other presidents are likewise listed as individual creditors where their conferences are involved. For example; Elder Donald M. MacIvor, now of the Manitoba-Saskatchewan Conference, but who served as president of the Montana Conference; Elder George Liscombe, president of the South Dakota Conference; and Elder E. S. Reile of the Mid-America Union Conference. Only a forthright disclosure by these men of their dealings either with Davenport directly, or their connections with either Elders Cummings or Massengill will suffice to clear the clouds of doubt and suspicion. In connection with this is to be found a vital statement from Manuscript Release #55 by the E. G. White Estate - "Men who are controlled by selfish desires should not remain connected with our institutions, and their course of action had better be exposed, that every church of Seventh-day Adventists may know what principles govern these men."
Among the Church entities listed in the Adventist Review was the Southwest Estate Service as having invested $420,000. This is the organization of the Southwestern Union Conference which gives guidance to the conferences and the laity in regard to trust funds. In Onward Oklahoma, Elder Robert D. Rider, President of the Conference, told the laity of Oklahoma that the conference made a $300,000 investment in the Davenport Financial Empire through the Southwest Estate Service. The claim is made by Rider that this $300,000 was a single irrevocable trust "that required investment." If there was a condition attached to the trust, the possibility of it being revoked was ever present. But another question arises. If the Southwest Estate Service had only $420,000 invested with Davenport, this leaves only $120,000 for the other four conferences of the Union. Why did the Oklahoma Conference carry the brunt of the involvement? Or are the figures released by the Southwest Estate Service to the General Conference inaccurate? Only a full disclosure to the Bankruptcy Court in California will permit this last question to be answered.
most perplexing question arising from the disclosures is yet to be addressed.
The Pacific Union Record (July 27, 1981) in the column - "We're
Glad You Asked" -stated - "No General Conference moneys of any
kind are invested with Donald J. Davenport, M.D." This is also noted
in the Los Angeles Times (July
24, 1981, CC, Part II) in quoting Charles Bradford of the North American
Division. The report read - "The General Conference did not invest
any money through Davenport." However, the filing of the creditors
by Davenport lists - "The General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Inter-American Division." (SDA Press Release, Vol. 1, No.
6) Unless the Inter-American Division is a self-sustaining Division, appropriations
are made to this division by the General Conference. This Division's investments
with Davenport were not disclosed by the Treasurer of the General Conference
in his report in the Adventist Review (Sept., 10, 1981, p. 24)
Why? Then another far more serious question - why are monies available
to this mission Division used for such questionable investments, when
the needs - if we are to believe the mission stories - are so great?
p 4 -- There is one final observation. Elder L. L. Butler, Treasurer of the General Conference, stated in his report in the Adventist Review, before listing the conferences and church entities and the amount of the involvement with Davenport - "In each case listed the following amounts may consist of funds due to various lenders (e.g. trust funds, pooled funds, or church entities), and the loan may have been made by various persons, (e.g., trust officers, trustors, or officers of church entities.)" This statement requires careful analysis. We understand the term, "trust funds" and the concept of "pooled funds" which could represent a grouping together of "trust funds" into a common investment account held by a Union Conference in behalf of the local conferences. But funds owed to "church entities" could involve more than trust funds. This was left unexplained. Then in regard to who could invest monies with Davenport - "trust officers" are listed. Does this mean that Massengill in the North Pacific Union was free to invest monies entrusted to him at will, and at his own discretion? Then there is the word, "trustor," or the one giving the money. Were the laity advised by trust officers to give their money with a stipulation that it be invested in the Davenport Financial Empire? If so, what accountability now rests on these ministers of the conference for the losses to be sustained by the ill advised laity?
The financial structure of the Church built upon the sands of human economics is beginning to reveal for all to see the cracks in its foundation. Turning from the truth and faith in God, all that is left are human methods and resources - only shifting sands. The end is not yet, but a full disclosure is not far distant. This is only the beginning of the judgments of God upon an "unfaithful city."
PERTINENT PRESS COMMENTS -- (The news releases appearing in the American Press come primarily from three major sources; namely, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and a source designated as "Walla Walla (AP)." From these sources we glean the following pertinent comments.)
Los Angeles Times (August 9, 1981, Part VI) -- Worried creditors of Donald J. Davenport, once called the "king of post offices" because of his vast investments in post-office buildings, are uncovering evidence that the creditors say shows Davenport mortgaged properties beyond their worth and offered lenders trust deeds on properties he did not own.
The evidence provides some hints as to why Davenport's once massive real estate empire is crumbling, and why he had to file last month for protection under the bankruptcy laws.
Moreover, the case is particularly interesting because Davenport drew substantial backing from fellow members of the Seventh-day Adventist church and from church officials and church sponsored entities. His bankruptcy filing has brought into the public eye disputes that actually have been festering for years between Davenport and his critics within the tightly knit, conservative religious denomination. (p. 1)
Davenport's investors as listed in court records included more than 20 church employees and officials, some of whom held positions of responsibility in church organizations whose funds also were loaned to the real estate developer.
Moreover, some Adventists - citing recent court cases involving other denominations - contend the church itself may ultimately be held liable for money loaned to Davenport that was being held in trust by the church for its members. (p. 3)
Interviews with a sampling of Davenport's lenders indicate that his $5.3 million estimate last month of what he owed his top 10 creditors barely scratches the surface of his debt. The Pacific Union Conference, American City Bank and the First Women's Bank of California, for example, are among the 10 largest creditors on Davenport's petition. Yet their loans alone total nearly $3 million. Church members say the total will be at least $40 million, and a Davenport attorney has been quoted in published reports as calling that number "a correct ballpark figure." However, the lawyer, Robert Shutan, now refuses to confirm or dispute the figure.
Among the creditors expected to scramble for a share of Davenport's assets are an estimated 20 banks and savings and loan associations, seven insurance companies, 14 Seventh-day Adventist regional conferences and perhaps a dozen assorted institutions of other kinds. The remainder of the 250-name list consists of individual investors, including presidents of four Adventist conferences whose funds were invested with Davenport. The list also included other prominent Adventists, such as V. Norskov Olsen, president of Loma Linda University near Riverside. (p. 3)
borrowed heavily against his properties often encumbering them with loans
far in excess
p 5 -- Some critics of Davenport say that he sometimes fell behind in his interest payments, even in the early 1970s. Walter Rea was an Adventist pastor and a member of the committee that handled trusts and investments for the Adventist Southern California Conference at the time when the conference had loaned money to Davenport, and he recalls delays in the interest payments. "Whenever some of us on the committee would mention it, nothing was ever done," recalls Rea, who was defrocked last year after he publicized extensive evidence that Ellen White plagiarized some "inspired" writings from other 19th-century authors. (p. 11)
By the late 1970s, lenders also were encountering difficulty recovering their principal on demand. Three such church members became so concerned that they took their problem to attorney Jerry Wiley, a professor of law and dean at the USC Law Center. Wiley, an Adventist with extensive experience structuring tax shelters, told The Times that he studied Davenport's investment system about five years ago and concluded it worked only as long as there was a constant influx of new dollars from new investors to cover the payments to old investors.
Because the rate of return on post office and telephone company leases was unlikely to cover those payments, Wiley says, he concluded that Davenport would become insolvent if his sources of money ever dried up. "It was a matter of waiting out the hand," Wiley says. The attorney says he took his concerns to top church officials.
At about the same time, internal church critics were also sounding the alarm. Rea wrote a biting letter to Robert Pierson, then president of the General Conference, about the propriety of the Davenport investments as early as June, 1977. John Adams, an Adventist layman in Tennessee, and Sidney Allen, a layman in Redlands, wrote letters warning church members that there were potential problems for the church officials, in being heavily involved in Davenport's financial empire. Then in 1979 - two years after Rea first complained to the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church about the Davenport investments - top church officials began issuing warnings. (pp. 11, 13)
Los Angeles Times, July 24, 1981, Part II, p. 1 -- Faced with worried inquiries from its members as well as regional associations and financial institutions that have lent money to Davenport, the North American Division of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church has launched its own investigation, a church official said. Charles E. Bradford, vice president for the conference's North American division, said lawyers and accountants have been retained to "help us get the facts."
"It's going to take us a couple of weeks to find out the extent of the involvement," Bradford said Thursday. However, estimates run as high as $46 million, he added. The General Conference itself did not invest any money through Davenport. The funds turned over to Davenport by regional conferences in North Carolina, Georgia, Spokane and Southern California were "surplus" monies not needed for day to day operations of the church, Bradford said.
Walla Walla (AP) quoted in - The Sunday Oregonian, August 2, 1981, and The Seattle Times, August 2, 1981, p. A14. -- The North Pacific Union Conference may have invested as much as $1.9 million with Davenport, a spokesman said. Other estimates range up to several million dollars for the conference, which covers most of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska.
Investments of the Upper Columbia Mission Society, an arm of the Upper Columbia Conference that covers Eastern Washington, northeastern Oregon and the Idaho Panhandle, are believed to be at least $2 million.
Elder Richard Fearing, president of the North Pacific Union Conference, refused comment on the amount of money involved. "To us, this is very serious," he said. The conference has hired a secular public relations firm to help the church through the crisis.
"We are facing a credibility crisis," said Elder Charles E. Bradford, vice president of the General Conference. "We'll have to prove to the people we've done our best and hope the people will understand."
The Washington Post, August 24, 1981, B7. -- The massive health care, publishing, insurance and health food enterprises of the church's international governing body, the General Conference, have earned it a listing in Standard and Poor's, the only church to be included, according to a spokesman of this closely followed information service on big business. In 1979, the relatively small church reported total assets in excess of $4 billion.
In addition to tithes and offerings, which last year netted the church $425 million, the church has an extensive trust program. Virtually every regional unit of the church in this country employs full-time staff persons to persuade members to invest their savings in church-operated trust funds from which they will receive income as long as they live. On their death the amount reverts to the church.
of the money invested in Davenport's ventures came from these
trust funds. The trust funds are
p 6 -- operated by the separately incorporated Conferences and Unions of the Church. Recent court decisions indicating that a national denomination can be held responsible for the financial shortcomings of one of its parts has raised the specter of multiple lawsuits against the General Conference in the Davenport affair.
For years, some in the church had warned against investing in Davenport's operation. Some in positions of authority did heed the warnings. More than two years ago, Kenneth H. Emmerson, then treasurer of the General Conference, wrote to a church official that he had warned Loma Linda University, the pride of the church's academic institutions, that it "should have nothing whatsoever to do with Dr. Davenport or any of his financial 'schemes.'" In his letter, which has since been widely circulated throughout the denomination, Emmerson promised that at a forthcoming meeting of treasurers of Adventist Conferences and Unions, "We are going to strongly urge, in fact we are going to do everything in our power to make it imperative that the brethren begin to liquidate any connection and investments they have with the doctor."
Why Emmerson's advice of April, 1979, went unheeded, why so many Adventist institutions still were listed as creditors of Davenport in his initial bankruptcy petition filed last month, remains a mystery. Church leaders remain close-mouthed. The General Conference has directed its Conferences and Unions not to talk to the press about the matter but to refer inquiries to the General Conference.
Neal Wilson, world president of the church, has refused repeated requests for an interview. His office refers inquiries to James E. Chase, an affable pastor who heads the communication unit. Chase's response to questions about the Davenport affair: "Testimony is being taken, work is going on. Beyond this I cannot comment."
Among the faithful there are growing indications of dissatisfaction. "The Adventist Church worldwide is not being told the true story by our church leaders," complained Dan Ipes of Columbia. Ipes, an Adventist pastor and son of a pastor, feels the church leadership is not being open enough. "A lot of local pastors are really sweating on this," he said. "I want the church to come clean. If we made a mistake, then let's say we made a mistake."
Forbes Magazine, (October 12, 1981, pp. 36, 38) carried an article entitled, "Bad Faith?" written about the Church's involvement in the Davenport Financial Empire. Go to the Library and read the article.
ANALYSIS OF KENNETH WOOD'S LETTER -- In the Thought Paper for October, we published a letter written by Elder Kenneth Wood, Editor of the Adventist Review (See page 7). This letter was the culmination of correspondence as outlined in the Thought Paper - which began because of an inquiry made by a brother in Australia in regard to the late Elder M. L. Andreasen - Did he recant, or did he maintain his position that the book - Questions on Doctrine - was a - departure from the historic faith of the Advent Movement?
In 1968, Elder Wood had written to a layperson that the book - Questions on Doctrine - "in no way changes our fundamental beliefs. In fact it probably sets them forth more clearly than any publication that has been issued from our presses in many a year. I have been next to this whole program from the very beginning, and I have yet to hear any serious reader of this book offer a criticism that can bear investigation." Then in a letter written by Elder Eugene F. Durand, Assistant to the Editor, he stated that "Elder Wood disagrees with some positions taken by the book, Questions on Doctrine, particularly in the areas of the nature of Christ and the Atonement." It is obvious that these two positions are incompatible - they are poles apart! Yet in Elder Wood's letter to this writer, he wrote - "I stand by both of them." The first text that comes to mind is James 1:8 - "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." Then there are the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount - "But let your conversation be, Yea, Yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." (Matt. 5:37)
Moreover, the reason Elder Wood gave for this dual position is even more appalling. "It is important," he writes, "to recognize, however, that audiences vary." In other words, when he is writing to a lay person, he could take a position which he knew was not correct, because that person "would not have detected any deviation from historic Adventism if someone had not called it to their attention. Except for those who are extremely well informed on Adventist truths, people would read the book and be blessed." Then he adds - "In my letter [to the lay person] I was emphasizing this aspect."
Elder Wood states that "he was next to the whole program from the
very beginning" - that program which compromised the historic faith
of the Advent Movement - why didn't he take his stand at that time by
the side of Elder Andreasen? Was it not expedient to do so? Why could
he tell this lay person that
p 7 -- he knew of no serious reader of the book - Questions on Doctrine - who could "offer a criticism that can bear investigation," yet admit to this writer that he "wrote a 50-page paper" on the fact that the book did represent "a departure from historic Adventism"?
If the book - Questions on Doctrine - was so subtly written that the average lay person could not detect its heresy, unless it was pointed out to him, then Wood, who claims he knew this, should have been one of the first to awaken the laity of this treacherous betrayal of sacred truth. But why didn't he? In his own words - "I believe in the leaders of our work." This is simply placing one's trust in man, to follow man wherever he may lead - right or wrong! And the laity must also be kept in subjection to that leadership, even though one is in a position of influence - with the true facts before him - has to lie to accomplish the objective. This is tragedy compounded! - Then to suggest that the lay person who is not informed can be blessed by the reading of heresy, and teachings which advocate the departure from historic Adventism, creates a credibility gap which cannot be bridged.
Moreover, in the same letter, Elder Wood admits that he feels uneasy about Movement of Destiny - the second book of the Omega series, because the same teachings are in it that were also in Questions on Doctrine, the first book of the Omega of apostasy. Yet I find nothing in the editorials of the Adventist Review alerting the laity of the teachings to be found in the book - Movement of Destiny. And a second edition of this book has been published, albeit, I am told, without the imprimatur of Elder R. H. Pierson, and this to his everlasting credit. Elder H. M. S. Richards' endorsement has been substituted for Pierson's. The reader can make his own verification. When are we going to hear the same message at all times come from men in positions of trust whether is be spoken to the laity, or behind closed doors of the committee room. There is only One God, and He hears both speeches - will He not judge for this?
The leadership of the Church - and this includes the Editor of the Adventist Review - profess to believe in Righteousness by Faith, and loudly proclaim that they accept the 1888 Message - BUT in their conduct, and public utterances, deny the message in reality. The reason is simply stated - "They are not willing to exchange their own righteousness, which is unrighteousness, for the righteousness of Christ, which is pure, unadulterated truth." (TM, p. 65)
CORRECTION - In the October Thought Paper (p. 6, col. 2, last paragraph, we attributed to Elder Kenneth Wood, a second letter which he did not write. It was written by Elder H. W. Lowe in behalf of Elder Pierson. We apologize to Elder Wood for attributing to him more letters than he actually did write.
ANOTHER LETTER -- While on an extensive trip through the West and Northwest this past month and a half, I was given a copy of the following letter with permission to share it with the readers of the Thought Paper. It was written by a Lutheran pastor to a lady who was joining the local Seventh-day Adventist Church, and had notified the clerk of the Lutheran Church. The letter speaks for itself:
18 June 1981
Dear Sandy -
Thanks for the letter you sent to Ray Czech. I really appreciate that you notified us of the change you are making. I understand how difficult it was for you to do, and although I wish you could have stayed with the Lutheran Confession, we certainly understand your desire to be with your family.
Orginally the Seventh-day Adventists were quite different from what they are today. I regularly receive the magazine, Ministry, designed for the pastors of 7th Day Adventist Congregations. I am constantly amazed at the changes in teaching that appear there. The Holy Spirit is at work leading us all closer to His truth.
We commend you to your new membership with a prayer for God's blessing on you and your family. Be assured of our love and concern, and I look forward to seeing you occasionally.
This letter echoes the same sentiments as Bishop Robert Terwilliger, of the Anglican Consultative Council, expressed at the 1980 General Conference in Dallas, Texas. He told the delegates - "As I have read the beliefs set before you for revision, I hoped to find some degree of disagreement. I had the most awful disappointment. I found increasingly that we a' e together in our faith." (Adventist Review, May 1, 1980). What spirit is at work? Read, Revelation 16:13-14. --- (1981 Nov) --- End --- TOP
1981 Dec XIV-- 12(81) -- The Pot, The Kettle - Black -- Church Editor Calls for Action Against Trust Officers and Conference Administrators -- A most unusual editorial appeared in the Adventist Review (Oct. 22, 1981) - the 137th Anniversary of the entrance of Jesus into the Most Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary - carrying the initials of the Editor-in-Chief - "K. H. W." It was captioned, "The Davenport Loans." While its forthrightness and call for disciplinary action against trust officers, and conference officials involved in the Davenport scandal is to be commended, a careful analysis of what Elder Wood wrote should not be by-passed. For the benefit of the readers of the Thought Paper - both at home and overseas who do not receive the Review we shall attempt to give sufficient quotes of what Elder Wood wrote so that the observations made in our analysis will be understandable.
After reviewing the facts of the case, the admitted loss of some $21 Million of unspecified church funds, and "the confirmed reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)" had entered the investigation, he states that certain letters had been sent to "trustors and retirees." These letters allege "that the General Conference had not made loans to Dr. Davenport." This has been the "bottom line" of the hierarchy since the scandal first broke. No doubt from the context of Wood's statement, this is true. He makes the allegation cover only the sustentation funds of the retirees. However, still unanswered is the fact that Davenport in listing his creditors with the Court named - "The General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Inter-American Division." This fact was not addressed by the Treasurer of the General. Conference in his, "Summary of Davenport Loans," appearing in the Adventist Review (Sept. 10, 1981), nor was it addressed by Wood in his current editorial. An article appearing in Spectrum, (Vol. 12, No. 1, p. 55) explains these funds were monies received by the Division which the giver had invested with Davenport. This leaves still other unanswered questions arising from this explanation.
admitting that it is possible that none of the funds loaned to Davenport
will ever be recovered, Wood states that if certain policies and principles
had been followed by those in responsible positions this terrible embarrassment
to the Church would not have occurred. He writes - "Only when each
member of a committee, board, or other group expresses his convictions
freely, questions unsafe financial policies, protests unsound proposals,
and is willing, if necessary, to cast a negative vote, will responsible
church bodies deserve full confidence." This is a laudatory observation,
and some of us who in the past years have done so, know the results of
this sort of upright behaviour. But
in this particular case, there is an ironical twist. In Southern California
when the matter of the Davenport loans came up for discussion, and the
interest payments were noted as delinquent, the Los Angeles Times
(Aug. 9, 1981, IV-11) notes that
p 2 -- Walter Rea and others on the committee did speak up, but to no avail. Now one must ask - Was Walter Rea defrocked only because he gave an interview to a Staff Reporter of the Los Angeles Times regarding his findings relative to the writings of Ellen G. White, or were there some other underlying factors such as his protest involving the Davenport investments? Will this be permitted to come to light should a full scale investigation be initiated by the General Conference? It is known that the President of Southern California involved in the defrocking of Rea has been moved the Presidency of the British Union Conference. Promotion for affirmative, reaction to the wishes of the hierarchy, and devastating action against the voice of protest is the rule of the thumb which has been administered over the years. Now the Editor of the Adventist Review says only when this rule is reversed can the church entities deserve the confidence of their constituents. When will Wilson begin to apply this suggestion, and will the previous applications of the "rule of the thumb" noted above be reversed?
Editor Wood calls for the leaders of the various church entities involved in the Davenport fiasco "to give to their constituencies as complete a report as possible on the current situation." He indicates that some have already done so, and implies that in these reports there bas been "openness and forthrightness," with no attempt at a "cover up." Evidently Elder Wood has not followed very closely the nature of the reporting done, for right under his nose in the Potomac Conference, there was a report by the President with all the earmarks of a "cover-up," and was exposed as fallacious by Los Angeles Times. (See WWN, Nov., 1981, p. 2) Before an Editor goes to press involving himself in an issue as volatile as the Davenport case, he should carefully do his home work. Apparently Wood slipped badly in suggesting that the reports already given were "as transparent as the sunlight." We hope that all future reports would be as Wood suggests they should be.
In his editorial, Wood calls for a public confession by the leaders of the church entities involved in the Davenport loans, quoting supporting statements from the Spirit of Prophecy. Then he comments "Forgiveness, of course, does not mean exemption from consequences. Though forgiven by both God and man, a person may receive discipline or punishment for irresponsible actions. We think that the individuals, boards, and committees that lent funds to Dr. Davenport should be called to account for their actions." He then lists the nature of the offenses for which an accounting should be given: One, if the leadership of the entities did not follow the policy of the, General Conference; and Two, "if it can be shown that individuals used their office for personal advantage" to themselves, in other words, was there a "confiict of interest" involved. Admittedly, this should be investigated. It will be of great interest to see what plea will be raised to justify noncompliance with the General Conference policy should such a trial and investigation be conducted by the Curia on the Sligo. Will it be shown that the General Conference's own investment policies which involved the New York stock market since 1967 proved to be so risky for the subentities of the Church that they decided to launch out on their own which has resulted in the Davenport fiasco. When all of this comes out into the open, and we are given the figures on all the investments of all the bodies concerned, including the General Conference - will the color of the pot vary much from the color of the kettle? Won't they both be black?
the Editor in a very pious - very holy, and very much above the fray -
comment states: "Whatever may be the ultimate outcome of the Davenport
affair, we think we should remind ourselves that the strength of the Adventist
Church is not its money, but its message." And here is where Editor
Wood gets involved heavily in the picture. We must ask ourselves - Is
the strength of the Church, its message as changed and altered as a result
of the SDA-Evangelical Conferences, and which alteration was affirmed
in the Statement of Beliefs adopted by the Dallas Session in 1980; or
was the strength of the Advent Movement, the faith committed to it following
the disappointment in 1844, and in the Message sent to it in 1888? And
the affirmation at Dallas, and the commitment given in 1844 are not the
p 3 -- We have already made available for our readers the contents of a series of correspondence in which Elder Wood was involved from 1968 to the present. (WWN, Oct.,1981) In 1968, Wood stated to a layperson that he was next to the whole situation from the beginning regarding the publication of Question on Doctrine resultant from the SDA-Evangelical Conferences (also known as the Barnhouse-Martin Conferences). Further he has admitted that the departure from Historic Adventism was so subtle that only a person well informed in the Truth could detect that departure. He professes to be in that category - well informed in the Truth. But where was his voice at that hour? Did he take his stand with Elder Andreasen? Has he through editorial comment in the Review confessed his error? Has he suggested that all the men involved in this terrible apostasy, including himself by his own admission, be called to give an account of their surrender of the historic faith, and be "dealt with firmly but fairly" as he is suggesting should be done in the Davenport case? He considers the sins of the leaders involved in the Davenport situation in the same light as the sin of Achan which caused the defeat of Israel at Ai. And it is a great sin, bringing reproach on the Church; however, I can read from the same books from which Wood's quoted to justify his call in the editorial, these words: 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 by God as a grievous crime, and equal to the very worst type of hostility against God. (3T:281)
There was a religious crisis in 1955-1956, resulting from the SDA-Evangelical Conferences. But where was Elder Wood? As late as 1968, he was writing to the laity of the Church defending the Apostates knowing full well, that these conferences did result in a change of our historic truths. Wood was not neutral, nor indifferent, but supportive, and defended this departure in the faith to the laity of the Church. To have been merely neutral or indifferent would have been the manifestation of "the very worst type of hostility against God." How then is Wood's sin to be classified? From where we sit, the editorial calling for an accounting from all the men involved in the Davenport embarrassment is merely the pot calling the kettle black. Let us have a full clean up starting with the beginning of the Omega of apostasy in 1955-1956, and let it include the Editor of the Adventist Review!
COMMENTS IN SPECTRUM -- Commenting on why General Conference policy was ignored, Tom Dybdahl, writing in Spectrum (Vol. 12, No. 1, p. 61) gives his explanation, and then asks some probing questions. We quote: "There are several reasons why in violation of the guidelines - leaders often invested their own money, and the church's money with Davenport. He had a good track record, he was a fellow believer, and he paid top dollar, at least to influential individuals. A good many people, often personal friends of Davenport, simply felt that in this case the rules could be ignored.
"The situation appears to be different with respect to the General Conference. As early as 1968, the treasury department began discouraging investments with Davenport, and in April 1979 Emmerson and Osborn were strongly urging church organizations to shun any connection with Davenport. The department's actions, particularly the Emmerson letters to W. J. Blacker and Harold Calkins, make the General Conference look blameless. Still, however, there is reason, in light of claims it has recently made in court, to ask whether the General Conference was unable to do anything about the Davenport matter except give warnings. In the legal case involving the Pacific Press Publishing Association and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the church had argued that it was of the ' hierarchial variety,' with 'orders of ministers,' and a ' first minister at the top.' In the press' reply brief, this had been explained to mean that a 'hierarchial' church is one in which final decisions are made at the top of the organizational ladder, in contrast to a 'congregational' church organization in which every local group, like the Baptists and Unitarians, is free to go its own way.' This reasoning was then used to justify the action of the General Conference Committee when it reached all the way down to declare that two women employees of the press were 'at variance' with the church and therefore should be fired.
p 4 -- "If such is in fact the church's organizational structure, it is difficult to believe that the General Conference was as impotent as it wishes to appear. Indeed, from Emmerson's letter it is clear that the threat to withdraw support from Loma Linda University made any traffic with Davenport suddenly unattractive. It would be interesting to know if such tactics were ever considered in dealing with other uncooperative units, or what role Davenport's friends - and creditors - in the General Conference might have played.
"If there was really nothing the General Conference could do but plead with the union brethren, to whom are the union leaders accountable? The answer should be ' their constituents,' but given the secrecy with which church financial matters are generally handled, most laymen know little about them. And those who try to find out, such as John Adam and Walter Rea, often meet a stone wall. Or if the General Conference could not actually enforce its guidelines, could it not have ordered an audit and then informed the appropriate constituency of the problems and conflicts of interest, a strategy which would likely have resulted in some changes? And finally, if the General Conference is powerless in such matters, it does not inspire confidence that better rules and procedures will prevent any repeats. For despite all the negative publicity and the General Conference pressure, church organizations were reportedly loaning Davenport money as recently as March 1981."
MERCHANDISE "SOULS OF MEN" -- Many a Seventh-day Adventist who the Davenport fiasco has aroused are concerned only with the fiscal irresponsibilities of the hierarchy. They see only a mismanagement of funds entrusted to the Church and they believe that if business-minded laymen could assume responsibility of the Church's internal and business operations, all would return to normal. In so doing, these conscientious, business-minded laypersons appear to forget the power and effectiveness of the Apostolic Church. It was Peter who said to the lame man who laid daily at a Temple gate - "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee." (Acts 3:6)
It was never the intent of the Lord Jesus Christ to have His professed people in the final age of human history listed in Standard and Poor as a great business corporation with assets of over $4 billion. (The Washington Post, Aug., 24, 1981, B7) It was our Lord's intent that the last Church, instead of being "rich and increased with goods" would be even as its Apostolic predecessor - "the church of the living God, the pillar and the stay of the truth." (I Tim. 3:15 margin) The Lord's messenger wrote: The most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals have been given us to proclaim to the world. The proclamation of these truths is to be our work. The world is to be warned, and God's people are to be true to the trust committed to them. They are not to engage in speculation, neither are they to enter into business enterprises with unbelievers; for this would hinder them in their God-given work. (9T:19)
The "trust" responsibility of the hierarchy is not to be the monies of the "saints" of but rather "the most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals." There has been given to us "a truth that admits of no compromise." (Spec. Test., Series B, #2, p. 55) We take alarm when monies entrusted to the Trust Departments of the Church are lost in speculation and we have yet to know the full extent of the involvement in the Wall Street stock market. But are we just as concerned when the truths committed to us are compromised and altered? Are material and temporal losses to be compared with the loss that will be sustained over the altering of sacred, divine truth? One concerns the pocket book, the other the souls of men! Babylon the great is charged with trafficking in the "souls of men." (Rev. 18:13) But the divine "Instructor" asked - "How has the faithful city become a harlot?" And the answer is given - "My Father's house is made a house merchandise, a place whence the divine presence and glory have departed." (8T:250) Not only have we trafficked in the stock market, and in mortgages on Post Offices and Telephone Company buildings, but we have also speculated in the theology of Babylon, and are now offering to the laity "trust deeds" secured by "doctrines of devils." (I Tim. 4:1) By so doing, we are likewise trafficking in the "souls of men."
these allegations appear to be without valid documentation, let us cite
specific examples. Consider first, this doctrinal statement in Questions
p 5 -- How glorious is the thought that the King, who occupies the throne, is also our representative at the court of heaven! This becomes all the more meaningful when we realize that Jesus our surety entered "the holy places," and appeared in the presence of God for us. But it was not with the hope of obtaining anything for us at that time, or at some future time. No! He had already obtained it for us on the cross. And now as our High Priest He ministers the virtues of His atoning sacrifice for us. (p. 381, emphasis theirs)
Now follow closely the Statement of Belief published in the 1889 Yearbook which declared that Seventh-day Adventists then believed: That there is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, ... that He took on Him the nature of the seed of Abraham for the redemption of our fallen race; that He dwelt among men, full of grace and truth, lived our example, died our sacrifice, was raised for our justification, ascended on high to be our only mediator in the sanctuary in heaven, where, through the merits of His shed blood, He secures the pardon and forgiveness of the sins of all those who penitently come to Him. (Emphasis mine)
Now compare the statement found in Questions on Doctrine, where it states that Christ went into the Father's presence without hope, of obtaining anything for us then, or at any future time; with the truth entrusted to us which declares that Christ upon His ascension to the Father's presence obtained for us "pardon and forgiveness." These two concepts are in complete contradiction; yet the Editor of the Adventist Review wrote to a layperson - "This book in no way changes our fundamental beliefs. In fact, it probably sets them forth more clearly than any publication that has been issued from our presses in many a year." (Letter dated Feb. 28, 1968) This is simply trafficking in the "souls of men." Yet the Editor would have those who have betrayed fiscal trusts called to task, while he who has dealt in the "souls of men" goes free.
Another example - in Movement of Destiny a heading for a statement reads: "'Complete' Atonement Made on Cross." Then the second paragraph contains this comment by Froom: Referring to it as the "great atonement," Ellen White declares, "The seal of heaven has been fixed to Christ's atonement. His sacrifice is in every way satisfactory." It is "sufficient" and "efficacious" and "complete." (p. 501, emphasis his)
Where did the phrase "great atonement" - come from? Now let us return to the 1889 Statement of Beliefs, and see. We continue to read, with enough back up to keep continuity: . . . ascended on high to be our only mediator in the sanctuary in heaven, where, through the merits of His shed blood, He secures the pardon and forgiveness of the sins of those who penitently come to Him; and as the closing portion of His work as priest, before He takes His throne as king, He will make the great atonement for the sins of all such, and their sins will then be blotted out and borne away from the sanctuary.
To take the expression "great atonement" as found and used in one of our historic statements of belief, and apply it as was done by Froom is to completely annul truth committed to us - a truth which admits of no compromise. But who approved this altering of our faith? None other than Neal C. Wilson, who at the time was President of the North American Division, and who served as "Chairman of the Guiding Committee, for Movement of Destiny." (p . 16) It is only natural now that Elder Wilson would prefer to have the attention of the laity directed to the financial scandal - which on the surfaces leaves the General Conference clear - rather than face the fact that he chaired a committee which published a book altering a basic truth of historic Adventism. Furthermore, as the elected president of the General Conference at Dallas, Texas, he led the "discussion and voting of a new Statement of Beliefs, which was supposedly a reaffirmation of historic Adventism, but which in realty was a confirmation of the apostasy perpetrated by the compromises of the SDA-Evangelical Conferences. Can we trust our souls anymore than we can trust our monies with those who have showed such callous disregard for truth? Is it still to be questioned whether God has weighed the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the balances of the sanctuary, and that the judgments now falling upon it are the results of His findings? See 8T: 247.
6 -- "ADVENTISTS FACE SUIT ON SEX
Carole Rayburn, a clinical psychologist with a master's degree from Adventist Andrews University and a doctorate from Catholic University, charges the church with denying her employment because she is a woman.
The case was brought in U.S. District Court in Baltimore and names the denomination's top officers as well as its Potomac Conference, its regional group. The denomination is headquartered in Takoma Park; MD, a suburb of Washington. The civil rights suit raises delicate church-state questions and could test just how far anti-discrimination provisions of the law can be applied to religious institutions without constituting excessive government entanglement in religious affairs.
The denomination, with 3.5 million members worldwide, has recently been involved in public controversy over the writings of church founder Ellen G. White. An Adventist minister in California - since thrown out of the church - has claimed Mrs. White committed wholesale plagiarism in her 70 books. At the same time the church is involved in an internal audit to determine how much money its various regions and agencies have lent a prominent Adventist who has filed for bankruptcy after his real estate dealings collapsed.
The discrimination suit asserts that Miss Rayburn was denied employment as an associate pastor of the Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church in Takoma Park and as an associate in pastoral care internship with the Potomac Conference "because of her sex (and) because of her race, in that she was a white person who had associated with black persons ... " Although the church does not ordain women to the pastorate, Miss Rayburn said she was eligible for both positions neither of which are closed to women by the denomination.
Rayburn says she was never given a reason for not being hired, but points out that the internship post was filled by a 21-year old son of a minister on the selection committee who "was just out of college where he had completed his B.A. degree." "I have three degrees in psychology and have finished seminary," she said.
Miss Rayburn made public an internal memorandum from a top Potomac Conference church official in which she was described as "a crusader." "You will notice one of the activities she joined in at Andrews is the Black Forum. She will constantly be working for 'the underprivileged,' trying to better their situation from a material standpoint," the memorandum said.
WEIMAR INSTITUTE CHAPLAIN TAKES PART IN BLASPHEMOUS SACRIFICE OF THE MASS -- Unashamedly, the editor of the Weimar Institute Bulletin (October, 1981) heralds on page one, the acceptance by the Director-Chaplain of the Retreat Ministry at Weimar, Elder Dick Winn, of an invitation, to speak at a gathering of Catholic priests at the Treasure Island Naval Base. The meeting was a monthly gathering of the Catholic military chaplains around northern California called "The Day of Recollection." The day closed with the celebration of the Eucharist, or Catholic Mass, at which service Elder Winn presented the homily.
We wonder how long it has been since Elder Winn has studied Daniel 7; Revelation 13; or II Thess. 2. Perhaps he is unaware of the words of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians, which state: But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils. Ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and the table of devils. (I Cor. 10:20-21)
this act on the part of one of Weimar's administrators should not have
come as a complete surprise to the readers of their Bulletin, because
of the publication in the Adventist Review of its official position.
(Feb. 12, 1981; See WWN XIV-5, p. 9) In the Review, the
President of Weimar placed the Institute squarely in accord with the Statement
of Beliefs adopted at the General Conference Session at Dallas in 1980.
By such an affirmation the leadership of Weimar is standing shoulder to
shoulder with the apostasy of hierarchy of the Church. It was this hierarchy,
through its then "first minister"
p 7 -- who has since been a prominent guest on the campus - who directed legal counsel before a Federal District Court to declare in a Brief - "While, however, Adventist doctrine continues to teach that church government by one man is contrary to the Word of God, it is not good Seventh-day Adventism to express... an aversion to Roman Catholicism as such." (Second Brief, Filed March 3, 1975, US District Court Northern California, p. 30) Further in the same Brief, the leadership of the Church told the Court that the position of Church based on Bible prophecy in regard Roman Catholicism "has now been consigned to the historical trash heap." Elder Winn's act in taking part in the service where the blasphemous sacrifice of the Mass was celebrated is in complete harmony with the position of the hierarchy of the Church. But what an example this sets for students in attendance at the school. We reported previously, about a Professor at Pacific Union College taking one of his Bible classes for participation at a Catholic service in Napa, California. (See WWN XIV-1, p. 7) Now the Chaplain of Weimar is openly presented as participating in service celebrating the Mass. Where can concerned Adventist parents permit their youth to go for an education where they can receive a true perspective of historic Adventism?
This boldly proclaimed participation by Chaplain Winn in the service celebrating the Mass is pictured as an extension of the results of the "right arm" ministry at Weimar Institute. On page two of the same issue of the Weimar Bulletin is the testimony of the Catholic Military Chaplain, serving the Presidio in San Francisco, and who extended to Winn the invitation. The Catholic chaplain testified that the time he spent in Newstart Program "reminded [him] of [his] monastery days." He declared - "I didn't feel threatened by the spiritual environment or the services conducted." If this is the result and correct interpretation of the counsel in regard to the use of the "right arm" our apostasy is deeper than we have previously perceived. May God have mercy on us.
YOU CAN HELP THE TRUE AND FREE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS -- In the July, 1981, issue of "Watchman, What of the Night?" (p. 9), we printed a page from The Right To Believe captioned - "The Case of the Russian 'Robin Hood.'" This modern "Robin Hood" is none other than Rostislav Galetsky of the True and Free Seventh-day Adventists in the USSR. The report revealed that an "urgent appeal for a world campaign to free" Galetsky who has been "held in prison since July 1980 reached the West recently." We indicated at the time that as soon as we had further word as to what the readers of the Thought Paper could do, we would let you know. Correspondence has been exchanged between the Foundation and the leaders of the endeavor to free Galetsky. Keston News Service (Keston College, England) has given further details regarding the arrest and charges against Galetsky. Excerpts from this news service follow: Rostislav Galetsky was arrested in Moscow on July 1, 1980. (He) had just arrived at the Kazan railway station in Moscow. As soon as he left the train five men in plain clothes began following him at a distance. At the entrance to the metro station one of the men following him ran ahead to block his path.
Rostislav Galetsky was a close associate of the longtime leader of the True and Free Adventist Church, Vladimir Shelkov, who died in a Soviet labour camp at the age of 84, January 27, 1980. (Labor camp officials refused to release his body to relatives because he had not completed his sentence) Galetsky was denounced in Izvestiya (May 13, 1979) as an "agent" of Shelkov and accused of passing "slanderous" materials about Soviet religious policy to western journalists.
There are several ways in which you can help not only Galetsky, but also other True and Free Seventh-day Adventist prisoners in the USSR. (As evident in the recent Adventist Review (Nov. 12, 1981) these faithful souls cannot expect any sympathy from the hierarchy who have now formally committed themselves to an atheistic state sponsored SDA Church in the USSR.) --- (Dec. 1981) ---End---- TOP 2002