1975 Jan-MarVIII 1(75) - VIII 3(75)
1975 Apr-Jun VIII 4(75) - VIII 6(75)
1975 Jul-Sep VIII 7(75) - VIII 9(75)
1975 Oct-Dec VIII 10(75) - VIII 12(75)
1976 Jan-Mar IX 1(76) - IX 3(76)
1976 Apr-Jun IX 4(76) - IX 6(76)
1976 Jul-Sep IX 7(76) - IX 9(76)
1976 Oct-Dec IX 10(76) - IX 12(76)
1977 Jan-MarX 1(77) - X 3(77)
1977 Apr-Jun X 4(77) - X 6(77)
1977 Jul-Sep X 7(77) - X 9(77)
1977 Oct-DecX 10(77) - X 12(77)
1978 Jan-Mar XI 1(78) - XI 3(78)
1978 Apr-Jun XI 4(78) - XI 6(78)
1978 Jul-Sep XI 7(78) - XI 9(78)
1978 Oct-Dec XI 10(78) - XI 12(78)
1979 Jan-Mar XI 1(79) - XI 3(79)
1979 Apr-Jun XI 4(79) - XI 6(79)
1979 Jul-Sep XI 7(79) - XI 9(79)
1979 Oct-DecXI 10(79) - XI 12(79)
Feb Knight Descends On Jones. 1of 4.
Mar Knight Descends On Jones. 2 of 4.
1988 Apr-Jun 3 & 4 of 4.
last of WWN published
ADVENTIST LAYMEN'S FOUNDATION OF CANADA (ALF)
SHORT STUDIES - William H. Grotheer -
End Time Line Re-Surveyed Parts 1 & 2 - Adventist Layman's Foundation
- Legal Documents
Holy Flesh Movement 1899-1901, The - William H. Grotheer
Hour and the End is Striking at You, The - William H. Grotheer
the Form of a Slave
In Bible Prophecy
Doctrinal Comparisons - Statements of Belief 1872-1980
Paul VI Given Gold Medallion by Adventist Church Leader
Sacred Trust BETRAYED!, The - William H. Grotheer
Seal of God
Adventist Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956
SIGN of the END of TIME, The - William H. Grotheer
of the Gentiles Fulfilled, The - A Study in Depth of Luke 21:24
BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
Song of Solomon - Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary
Ten Commandments - as Compared in the New International Version & the King James Version & the Hebrew Interlinear
OTHER BOOKS, MANUSCRIPTS & ARTICLES:
Various Studies --
Bible As History - Werner Keller
Canons of the Bible, The - Raymond A. Cutts
Daniel and the Revelation - Uriah Smith
Facts of Faith - Christian Edwardson
Individuality in Religion - Alonzo T. Jones
"Is the Bible Inspired or Expired?" - J. J. Williamson
Letters to the Churches - M. L. Andreasen
Place of the Bible In Education, The - Alonzo T. Jones
Sabbath, The - M. L. Andreasen
So Much In Common - WCC/SDA
Which Banner? - Jon A. Vannoy
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WWN 1987 Oct - Dec
1987 Oct -- XX -- 10(87) -- ANOTHER COMFORTER -- Part 2 -- As we continue our study of the revelation of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, we turn first to the prison epistles - Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. The primary references are found in the letter to the church at Ephesus. There Paul sets forth the Holy Spirit as the builder of the Church. (Eph. 2:22) Then he specifically warned the church - "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." (4:30)
In Hebrews, the Holy Spirit is portrayed as One who speaks. "The Holy Spirit saith" (3:7); and "The Holy Spirit...had said before" (10:15). The first quote is from the 95th Psalm, while the second is taken from Jeremiah. (31:33) The early church recognized that the Holy Spirit spake "by the mouth of David." (Acts 1:16) However, Jeremiah clearly says that what he wrote was a "Thus saith the Lord." (31:31) There is a relationship between the "Lord" of the Old Testament, and the Holy Spirit of the New. As noted in Part I, Paul declared - "Now the Lord is that Spirit." (II Cor. 3:17) We also noted the same picture in the epistles of Peter. Peter wrote that "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (II Peter 1:21) Yet these men - prophets - searched "what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify." (I Peter 1:10-11) Peter also adds that this "Spirit" was "sent down from heaven" as a co-laborer with the Apostles as they preached the gospel. (I Peter 1:12)
The final writings of the New Testament - those of the beloved John - give a full revelation of the Holy Spirit which completes the picture and solves for us the problems intimated in the rest of the New Testament, occasioned by the Incarnation. In fact, the test by which we can know we are confronted by the true Holy Spirit, and that the Spirit is indeed guiding a professed messenger of the gospel involves the doctrine of the Incarnation. John wrote - "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God." And how do we know? "Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God." (I John 4:2)
p 2 -- There is in the first Epistle of John an interpolation which John did not write, but which those who hold to papal trinitarianism grasp as evidence of the Trinity. In I John 5:7-8, the words beginning with "in heaven" in verse 7, and ending with "in earth" in verse 8 appear in no Greek manuscript of the New Testament prior to the 11th Century. These words were first found in a Latin treatise of the 4th Century, and inserted into the Sacred Scriptures during the noonday of the Papacy. The verses should read: "For there are three that bare record, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one."
The book of Revelation while using symbolic language adds much to our understanding of the Holy Spirit. When the door was opened in heaven, and John was asked to enter, he saw a throne on which sat the Eternal One - He "which is, and which was, and which is to come." Before the throne were seven lamps of fire which are stated to be "the seven Spirits of God." (4:5) Then John beheld "a Lamb as it had been slain" with seven horns and seven eyes. These horns and eyes are declared to be the same "seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth." (5:6) With the fulness of omnipotence, and the completeness of omnipresence, the Holy Spirit is sent forth into "all the earth." But the symbolism indicates that when the "Lamb" as the sacrifice appeared, the Spirit of God was so closely identified with the "Lamb" so as to be even as the horns and eyes are to an animal.
This Spirit speaks to the seven churches. (Rev. 2:7, 17) Yet the messages are declared to be coming from Christ to the same seven churches. (Rev. 2:1, 8, etc.) There is one voice. The voice of the Spirit is also heard speaking of those who have heeded the Three Angels' Messages. (Rev. 14:13) First John hears "a voice from heaven" pronouncing a blessing; then comes the voice of the Spirit which was sent forth into all the earth - the same area to be covered by the angel messages. (Rev. 14:6) The same Person who directed the Church in its beginning as revealed in the Book of Acts also directs the giving of the final messages of God to earth's inhabitants. In fact, the New Testament presents the Holy Spirit as the new commander of the "ministering spirits" in the warfare between good and evil till earth's last hour, when Jesus himself shall return as Lord of lords and King of kings.
There is one final picture in the book of Revelation: - "The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." (Rev. 22:17) Even as Revelation pictures Jesus and the Spirit speaking as one voice so also does the bride of Christ and the Spirit speak ultimately as one voice. A question: Is this symbolism suggesting that even as the Holy Spirit consumated the Incarnation so that He might be one flesh with us, so also the same Spirit effects the "bride" of Christ so that she might be one spirit with Him?
We turn now to the final revelation in the New Testament concerning the Holy Spirit - the Gospel of John. Here Jesus is recorded as promising to give "another Comforter" to His followers on earth. (John 14:16) In speaking of this "Comforter" in relationship to Himself, He chose the word, allos, rather than heteros. Both words mean, another, in the Greek, but with a difference in the comparison. Thayer in his Greek Lexicon remarks "Every heteros is an allos, but every allos is not a heteros." (p. 29T To see this difference, we have only to note how these words are used in other New Testament references: Romans 7:23 - "But I see another (heteros) law in my members, warring against the law of my mind."
Acts 7:18 - "Till another (heteros) king arose, who knew not Joseph."
Galatians 1:6-7 - "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another (heteros) gospel: which is not another (allos); but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ."
From these illustrations, it can be seen that allos distinguishes between two of the same kind, and which are on an equal level, while heteros denotes two of a different kind not on the same level. In other words, Jesus was saying that the Holy Spirit was of the same kind as He, but a distinct Being from Him. This is further illustrated in the fact that Jesus called the Holy Spirit, the "Comforter" (paracletos). In his first Epistle, John speaks of Jesus as "an Advocate" (paracletos) I John 2:1.
As Jesus continued the conversation in the upper room, He comforted the disciples with the assurance that He would not leave them orphans, but stated - "I will come to you." (John 14:18, margin) Though He had stated that the Holy Spirit was a distinct Person from Himself, He indicated that in the coming of the Spirit, He would be coming to them. The only way that I have found to express this relationship is to use the term - Alter-Ego. Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as a result of the Incarnation are in an Alter-Ego relationship.
3 -- John as he f urther reports that upper room conversation notes
Jesus as referring to the Holy Spirit as "He" - "That
The text reads - "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name, He (ekeinos)
shall teach ,you all things." (John 14:26) This same
There is a final revelation we dare not overlook. It was the Holy Spirit who overshadowed Mary. The result: - Jesus - a new distinct Being - the God-man. In the final hour, there will be earth-people who, when demanded to testify for their faith, will open their mouths to speak. But they will not speak themselves, for being so fully possessed of the Spirit, it will be the Holy Spirit which will speak. (Mark 13:11) Then when all things are made new, the Revelation indicates that "the Tabernacle of God", even Jesus, (John 1:14, Gr.) will dwell with man, and "God Himself shall be with them, and be their God." (Rev. 22:3) Again Two as revealed in the Old Testament. But the same revelation in the same context declares the Holy Spirit speaking as one voice with "the bride." (Rev. 22:17) Is not this the same experience as recorded in Mark 13:11, which describes earth's final witnesses? Then could it not be suggested that "the bride" of Christ becomes in consort with the Lamb, the "third" in the picture as a result of the Incarnation, and the wonder of the Plan of Redemption? Even as the "how" of the Incarnation remains a mystery to angels as well as to man, so also "how" this ultimate plan of God will be accomplished remains mysterious. We only read, and wonder, and in faith say as did Abraham - "Amen." (Gen 15:6)
The word translated, "believed" in Gen. 15:6 is the Hebrew word, amin. In the Greek it is amen (verily in John 3:3). In English, we say - Amen (So be it).
Some idea of "the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began" but is made manifest in the revelation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ can be perceived when one recognizes that "human beings were a new and distinct order." (R&H, Feb. 11, 1902) Man made "in the image of God" was "designed to be a counterpart of God." (R&H, June 18, 1895)
The significance of what this "counterpart" design of God is to be can be perceived in part by a comparison of Scripture. When Christ returns the second time, there will be two groups of the redeemed: 1) The "corruptible" - those who have died. These put on " incorruption." 2 ) The "mortal" - those who are alive on the earth - put on " immortality." Here is a significant word use in the Greek. The word translated, "immortality", here in I Cor. 15:53-54 is athanasia, and is used in only one other place in the New Testament also in Paul's writings. This other use in I Timothy 6:16 is in reference to God - "Who only hath immortality."
Truly Christ became one flesh with us that we might become one spirit with Him. In a special sense in the revelation which God gave to Him to show to His servants (Rev. 1:1), this applies to the group which that revelation designates as "the remnant of her seed," "the bride" of Christ - the 144,000.
This experience can only be ours in this final generation as we permit the mind of Jesus to be our mind. That mind calls for a complete emptying of self, the ekenosen of Philippians 2:7, which in the KJV reads He "made Himself of no reputation." The Greek reads - "But Himself, He emptied."
p 4 -- 0 JERUSALEM, JERUSALEM!-- Each month as I ponder what to write for the Thought Paper I ask myself, "what is the need of the people in the field?" As we attempt to document the apostasy for those who have not as yet been exposed to the current events in Adventism, there is a need to provide spiritual food and encouragement for those who are aware of the events happening. Many today need the courage to follow their convictions regarding the sentence of the heavenly sanctuary, "Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting."
Proverbs 6 tells us that there are seven special sins that God hates; these are an abomination to Him. One of those listed is "A lying tongue." Without question the tongue is the most difficult member of the body to tame. James says: "Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!" (James 3:5). God knows that when lying words are spread about today, the spark that is kindled quickly becomes a large fire. The problem today however is not a spark, but rather a roaring flame that is taking God's people down to the flaming fires of a real hell.
Shortly after the death of good king Josiah the people of Israel were ready to quickly return to the Baal worship which had prospered under the reign of Manasseh. It was during this time that "The Iron Prophet" Jeremiah told the people: "Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. " (Jeremiah 7:8) What were the "lying words" that the people trusted in? "Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these." (Verse 4) Concerning this is the following insightful comment: Evidently the false prophets maintained that God would never allow the Temple, His dwelling place, to fall into profane hands; that the presence of that Temple in Jerusalem would serve as a kind of charm to protect the city and its inhabitants....Similary today many church members trust in external church connections for salvation. They are more ready for outward religious activities than for the inner preparation of the heart. This phrase repeated three times, expressed the pride that the people felt in the greatness of the religious institution represented by the Temple. S.D.A. Bible Commentary, p. 387 Emphasis mine.
The false prophets prophesied falsely saying "Peace, peace," when there was no peace. (See Jeremiah 5:31; 6:14) To help the people realize that the presence of the temple and the organization could not save them, The Lord directed their attention to Shiloh. "But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickness of my people Israel." (Jeremiah 7:12) Just as the presence of the ark did not save Shiloh from destruction, so the ark, nor any other part of the temple could save them from destruction if they continued in their disobedience.
The Jews never learned the lesson that God had for them. When finally having been rejected of God in 34 A.D. , and having been given over to satanic control, they still worshipped in the temple and presumed themselves the favorites of heaven. During the years just prior to the destruction of Jerusalem the Jews' trust in the outward had reached its zenith.
Yet in their blind and blasphemous presumption the instigators of this hellish work publicly declared that they had no fear that Jerusalem would be destroyed, for it was God's own city. To establish their power more firmly, they bribed false prophets to proclaim, even while the Roman legions were besieging the temple, that the people were to wait for deliverance from God. To the last multitudes held fast to the belief that the Most High would interpose for the defeat of their adversaries. But Israel had spurned the divine protection, and now she had no defense. (The Great Controversy, p. 29)
The question comes down to us today, are we any different than the thousands of Jews who today visit the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem to offer their prayers? Do we not have many leading in the move to the Wailing Wall, calling for a corporate repentance when the corpus has already been weighed in the balances and found wanting?
Where are those
today that will stand as firm as "the Rock of Gilbraltar"?
Where are the men who will not compromise or try to rationalize the
reality of heaven away? They are not to be found hiding behind a paycheck
preaching "peace and safety" sermons. The people trust in
the ship going through to the heavenly harbor and taking them with
p 5 -- Like the Jews of old who clung to the Temple and Jerusalem believing that God's presence would not be withdrawn, many today believe that God's presence will not, yea even cannot leave the General Conference. This was not the teaching of Ellen G. White.
Many will today tell you that the church "may appear about to fall, but it does not fall." However, most of these pious individuals have never read the whole testimony to discover the context under which it was written. In the letter to Elders Butler and Haskell dated December 8, 1886 from which the above quote is found, Sister White draws a parallel between Jerusalem and the church. In this letter there are portions reprinted in books and periodicals which make available to the church member choice statements the hiearchy would desire for the membership to read without giving a balance to the picture as to properly educate the laity. As good as fresh vegetables are, eaten alone they are not enough to provide a good diet with out fruits, grains, etc. So today the church member is hungry to know what the total picture is. Not only do they need to know the total picture, but they must know how Jesus would have them react and they must build an experience so that they have the courage to follow the leadings of the Holy Spirit. Concerning the parallel between Jerusalem and the church, there is the following interesting portion of the letter which has been released, but not published by the church.
I think of His great sorrow as He wept over Jerusalem, exclaiming, "0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not" [Luke 13:34.] God forbid that these words shall apply to those who have great light and blessings. In the rejecting of Jerusalem it was because great privileges were abused which brought the denunciation upon all who lightly regarded the great opportunities and precious light that were entrusted to their keeping. Privileges do not commend us to God, but they commend God to us. No people are saved because they have great light and special advantages, for these high and heavenly favors only increase their responsibility.
The more and increased light God has given make the receiver more responsible. It does not place the receiver in any safer position unless the privileges are wisely improved, prized and used to advance God's glory. Christ said, "Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes." [Matt. 11:21.]
When Jerusalem was divorced from God it was because of her sins. She fell from an exalted height that Tyre and Sidon had never reached. And when an angel falls he becomes a fiend. The depths of our ruin is measured by the exalted light to which God has raised us in His great goodness and unspeakable mercy. Oh, what privileges are granted to us as a people! And if God spared not His people that He loved because they refused to walk in the light, how can He spare the people whom He has blessed with the light of heaven in having opened to them the most exalted truth ever entrusted to mortal man to give to the world? (Letter 55, 1886 Emphasis mine.)
Coupling this with the following statement from Vol. 8 the picture becomes crystal clear. "Jerusalem is a representation of what the church will be if it refuses to receive and walk in the light that God has given. Jerusalem was favored of God as the depositary of sacred trusts. But her people perverted the truth, and despised all entreaties and warnings. They would not respect His counsels." (page 67) What have we done with the truth of the atonement entrusted to us? How dare we to have compromised with the Evangelicals. Has not the General Conference said in her heart, " I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow." (Rev. 18:8) Lest one think that a great injustice has been done with the text let us state clearly that we are not calling the church, Babylon the Great. We are merely using the imagery of the text to describe the attitude of the leadership. Ellen G. White used it in the same way to describe the attitude of the Jewish leadership before the destruction of Jerusalem. (See G.C. p. 17)
"And when He was came near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, if thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation." (Luke 19:41-44) Just as Jesus wept over Jerusalem He must surely weep over His professed people today. We are told that in the destruction of Jerusalem that there was not one Christian lost. Why were the Christians able to escape the fate of Jerusalem? Because they understood the decision of the heavenly sanctuary about the Jewish Church, and when the signal given by Jesus occured, they acted. In the final conflict there will not be one Christian lost to the enemy of souls, even though there will be many church members lost. Why? Because they, like their early Christian Brethren, are able to say "Amen" to the decision concerning the judgement of the corpus and relate to it as God would have them.
The real problem that many are having today in accepting the decision of heaven is that they have trusted in the church to save them. Then when they see the church is lost, they being so closely aligned with it, see themselves lost with it and therefore cannot accept such a decision. Just as Jerusalem appeared impregnable to the Jews, the General Conference must appear impregnable to the church membership, so that if 95% of the leadership were in apostasy, they would still support it. Sabbath by Sabbath the people sing, "My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus' blood and righteousness." When instead of having their hope on the solid Rock, it is really upon man. "Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man. Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD." (Psalm 108:12; Jeremiah 17:5) Why is it that we cannot accept the simple statements of Jesus?
I am the way; the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. I am the true vine...Abide in me...I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved....I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die...My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. (John 14:6; 15:1,4; 10:9; 11:25; 10:27-29)
Jesus says, "Look
unto me, and be ye saved. (Isaiah
45:22) Being educated to look to man and to trust in man, the confidence
of many is in man and man's organization. However, "It is better
to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man." (Psalm 118:8)
p 7 -- Reader of the Thought Paper, how is it with you today? Is your confidence in the Lord Jesus, or merely man? Are you looking to the GC to guide you along the pathway that leads to the heavenly Canaan? Jesus says that if you are His, no man, devil, or organization can take you out of His Father's hand. Some fear being cast out of the synagogue. But to the life hid in Christ, it does not matter if our names are not on the church roll here on this earth as long as our names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
If we would quit listening to the lying tongue of man we could make confession with our mouth that Jesus is Lord. Today we are worried about being cast out just as much as the people did in the days when Jesus walked among men. When Jesus healed the man blind from birth (see John chapter 9) the leaders asked the blind man's parents by what means their son was healed. Their answer was: "we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself." (John 9:21) Why did the parents answer such when they knew better? The answer is in the next verse. "These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews." (NOTE: In the gospel of John, the term "Jews" is used for the leadership of the Israelites.) What was it that they feared? "For the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that He was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue." Is this why some do not confess Him today? "For fear of the Jews?" Do some not confess today for fear of being put out of the synagogue? No doubt many believe that the church holds the keys to the kingdom of heaven not realizing that the keys are the words of Christ. (See Desire of Ages,p .414; John 1:12; 17:3)
There is another reason beside the thought of losing one's membership that many do not confess Christ. "They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." (John 12:43)
What do we love today? Where are our affections centered? Do we love the praise of man more than the praise of God? Do we love the fine pew in the synagogue with the "peace and safety" sermons, or do we love Jesus more than anything the world has to offer?
If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (Romans 10:9-11)
God is calling for watchmen upon the walls of Zion today: - men who will accept the decision of the heavenly sanctuary, men who are not ashamed. God is not looking for jellyfish, but men with backbone. God wants people who have such a love for their fellow brother that they are willing to be put out of the synagogue if necessary. "So thou, 0 son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them for me." (Ezekiel 33:7)
# 8 -- The Righteousness of God (Part One) --
2. "The law, being 'holy and just, and good,' cannot justify a sinner. In other words, a just law cannot declare that the one who violates it is innocent." (Ibid., p.55)
3. "That is to say, a man cannot do good until he first becomes good. Therefore deeds done by a sinful person have no effect whatever to make him righteous; but, on the contrary, coming from an evil heart, they are evil, and so add to the sum of his sinfulness. Only evil can come from an evil heart, and multiplied evil cannot make one good deed; therefore it is useless for an evil person to think to become righteous by his own efforts. He must first be made righteous before he can do the good that is required of him, and which he wants to do." (Ibid., p. 58 Emphasis mine) This will be the subject of the next lesson. --- (1987 Oct) --- END --- TOP
1987 Nov -- XX -- 11(87) -- 1888 RE-EXAMINED EXAMINED -- Part 1 -- This year Elders R. J. Wieland and D. K. Short have published a new and updated edition of 1888 Re-Examined. This has been done after all known supplies of the original edition were exhausted. Further, the release of the original manuscript in a special publication, known as A Warning and Its Reception prepared specifically for the study and guidance of the members of the Executive Committee of the North Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists" has for all practical purposes likewise been exhausted. Both the original publication of 1888 Re-Examined and A Warning and Its Reception were limited printings which means simply that the ability of most of the readers of the updated edition of 1888 Re-Examined to compare the two editions will be circumscribed. Because of this, we believe that it is imparative to give a thorough and complete as possible comparison between the two editions wherein major issues are involved in the following areas:
Omissions, deletions, and out of context quotes.
Besides these comparisons, certain key errors and other omissions in the updated edition need careful consideration:
The omission of relevant historical data between 1950 and the present.
It must also be considered that Elder R. J. Wieland has strenuously opposed any reprint of A Warning and Its Reception. This publication not only contained a copy of the original edition of 1888 Re-Examined, but also the "Defense Literature Committee Report" issued in 1951; a "Further
p 2 -- Appraisal of the Manuscript 1888 Re-Examined brought out in 1958; Wieland and Short's answer to that report; a third response of the officers of the General Conference to the manuscript; and a "Final Letter of Commitment" written by Wieland and Short to Elder W. R. Beach, then Secretary of the General Conference. All of this data must be evaluated in reference to the new edition to arrive at truth. To write a popular-type version on the history of its rejection, and omit key factors in that history is to commit conscious deception upon the reader. When all the facts are brought into full view, then each individual can and must make a decision that will be eternal in consequence. We do not know at this point in writing how many Thought Papers will be required to present the record in full perspective, but we shall continue to document this issue to the fullest extent possible. This for several reasons: 1) The true message of 1888 is vital and eternal in its results; 2) The complete message as given in 1888 has yet to be considered in its entirety (the updated edition does not do it); and 3) The last four decades of our church history have not been properly examined in the 1987 edition of 1888 Re-Examined.
we want it clearly understood that we have no contention with Elders Wieland
and Short over the following facts of Seventh-day Adventist Church history:
A Comparison of Chapters -- The 1950 edition of 1888 Re-Examined contained 13 chapters, while the 1987 edition has 15 chapters, plus a preface and four appendices. 1 The first 9 chapters of the 1950 edition find a parallel in the 1987edition's first 10 chapters except for the rewording of the chapter titles, 2 and the separating of chapter 8 of the first edition into two chapters in the updated manuscript. Chapter 10 of the 1950 edition is also made into two new chapters, while chapters 11, 12, and 13 are compressed into one chapter in the 1987 edition. Then two completely new chapters are added supposedly dealing with Seventh-day Adventist Church history from 1950 to the present and beyond. (See page 3 for graphic comparison)
It is interesting to observe that in the chapter entitled - "The 'Alpha' and 'Omega' Crisis" - we were unable to find a single use of the word,"omega" nor a discussion of it. However, in the following chapter - "The Pantheism Apostacy" - the "omega" concept was developed in a very superficial way. It was evident that even with the shallow perception that the authors demonstrated concerning the "omega", they were unwilling to make the application of what they do perceive the "omega" to be. (This will be documented as this analysis continues.)
Throughout the 1987 edition added material appears based on documents, letters, and current manuscript releases from the White Estate which shed further light on the rejection of the 1888 Message and its aftermath. For the incorporating of this new found documentation, the writers are to be commended.
other facets of thought recur from time to time throughout the new manuscript.
Wieland's personal theology developed over the years since 1950 is interwoven
with the message of 1888. There is also a thread woven through the entire
updated manuscript - Laodicea will go through triumphantly! This contention
is reiterated again and again in spite of what is written in Revelation
3:14-20; or what the Writings seek to tell us. With the Jewish people
of Christ's day, Wieland cherishes the idea that the corporate Seventh-day
Adventist Church is the favorite of Heaven, and that it is "always
to be exalted as the church of God." He with them defies "earth
and heaven to
The 1987 Edition Toned Down -- We alerted the readers of the Thought Paper when the announcement of the revision of 1888 Re-Examined was first made, that it would be toned down. We wrote: Now they [Wieland and Short] come out with a revision, a revision that will say, at least, their emphasis was too strong [in 1950]. The forthright and plain speaking was as "gall" to the hierarchy, and for this cause, they rejected it. Wieland likes to speak from the book of Jeremiah. Has he forgotten what the Lord told Jeremiah when instructed to speak "in the court of the Lord's house" - "diminish not a word." (Jer. 26:2) (WWN, XX-8, p. 5)
In the 1987 edition Wieland and Short did just this even to the point of referring to Jeremiah when they did it!
p 3 --1888 RE-EXAMINED - Chapter Comparsions
p 4 -- In the 1950 edition, the authors drew five conclusions as they closed the chapter - "The Grave Seriousness of the 1888-1892 Reaction." (pp. 70-71) The parallel chapter in the 1987 edition - "The 1888 Rejection of Ellen White" - closes with a section which asks a question- "Do the 1890's Have a Message for the 1990's?" (pp. 76-78) That the reader may sense the parallel of these two sections, and note the toned down evaluation, we will quote the first two paragraphs in the 1987 edition, and then underscore in quoting from the 1950 edition the similar wording. In 1987, Wieland and Short write: Ellen White's ministry to the Seventh-day Adventist Church frequently exhibits this Jeremiah-like quality.[The authors had at the close of the preceding section quoted from a letter to J. S. Washburn with the comment - "Here, like Jeremiah, she writes almost in despair"] The ancient prophet's message is present truth. The 1888 episode is a parable, and God will test us again.
Because the facts of our 1888 history have been so widely garbled, our contemporary attitude is still unappreciative of Jones and Waggoner's work. We are still suspicious lest their message may lead to fanaticism. We still falsely assume that it carried the two messengers away into apostasy. As long as we think thus, should the Lord send any more pearls of truth to be cast before us, we would be obliged to react to such a message as did the opposition of the 1888 era.
1950 edition the lengthy parallel section will be quoted with only deletions
where space can be conserved without destroying the sense so the reader
can see the gravity of the deletions. It reads: Therefore,
in the light of the findings of this investigation:
(2) Our contemporary attitude is still unappreciative and mistrustful of Jones and Waggoner's work from 1888-1892. We are still suspicious of the precious message which they brought us from heaven in "clear, distinct, lines", which was "the truth as it is in Jesus". We still think it tended toward being radical and extreme. We still suppose that it carried the two messengers away into fanaticism, resulting in their apostacy. As long as we think thus, should any more pearls of truth be cast before us, we would be obliged to react to such a message precisely as did the opposition in 1888.
p 5 -- (3) All our pretentions to the contrary, we will show a complementary mistrust of the Spirit of Prophecy, which if it were analyzed in Heaven's infallible tests would be revealed as a varnished unbelief. Most of us would be candid enough and intelligent enough to run for shelter if a Righteous Being were suddenly to appear in the Temple for a thorough-going investigation with the Spirit of Prophecy as the completely authoritative blueprint, and began probing into the complete whys and wherefores of our educational, medical, and evangelistic work.
Woe to us, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because we write books about the deceased prophet, and garnish the memory of the pioneers, and say, "If we had been in the days of our fathers..." Wherefore, we be witnesses unto ourselves, that we are the children of them that spurned the prophet, and wise men at and after Minneapolis.
(4) We would do well to make sure of our present heart attitude toward the ministry of the Holy Spirit, in the greater light of intelligence which now shines unmercifully upon the hidden motives and evil machinations of our ego, id, self. ...
We would do well to study
the Scriptures recommended to us so earnestly in Testimonies to Ministers, p.
76 - "if God has ever spoken by me, these scriptures mean very much
to those who shall hear them," said Mrs White. [John 7:19-23, 27,
28; Luke 11:37-52] We should then inquire what guarantee we have that
we are any more capable of recognizing Jesus Christ than were the Jews.
Perhaps we are, through some cause best known to God, unable to distinguish
between the sacred fire of God's own kindling, and the strange fire which
we offer. (TM 356) Perhaps we are, after all, "not able to
distinguish the precious ore from the base material", and "will
take the great leader of apostasy and name him Christ our Righteousness."
(Leaflet Series, #3, Apostasies) We might discover to our horror that
"false phases of Christianity are being received and taught, which
bind souls in deception and delusion. Men are walking in the light of
the sparks of their own kindling." Perhaps in our educational institutions
we are infatuated with "specious reasonings", which "give
utterance to opinions that betray sacred, holy trusts," because we
are "charmed with men and women who are not converted." (TM
86, 87, 465) Perhaps, as the consequence of our shameful insult to the
Son of God at Minneapolis, we have become so self-confused that the following
words make sense:
Shall the ark of the covenant be removed from this people? Shall false
principles and false precepts be brought into the sanctuary? Shall antichrist
be respected? Shall the true doctrines and principles given us by God,
which have made us what we are, be ignored? ... This is directly where
the enemy, through blinded, unconsecrated men, is leading us.
We wouldn't like to admit that those words do make sense today, but if the whole investigation of Minneapolis and its aftermath focuses the picture more sharply, we may find that we have developed a curious, distressing mental hyperopia that permits us to see evil if it is sufficiently farfetched and distant in the past, but blinds us to it when it is under our very nose.
we will be pleased to contemplate it or not, the following will take place:
enlightenment of the Spirit of God, we shall not be able to discern truth
from error, and shall fall under the masterful temptations and deceptions
that Satan will bring upon the world.
If we spurn and insult the true Christ and the true Holy Spirit, what power can possibly preserve us from an infatuation with the false Christ and really modern Spiritualism? (1950 edition, pp. 70-72)
All of the above, except what is underscored, and the last quotation from the Review and Herald, has been deleted from the 1987 edition. The last quotation is introduced by this non-controversial sentence "God's word has been true from the very beginning." (p. 77) Here alone is sufficient evidence for the intelligent mind to see that Wieland and Short have toned down the 1987 edition to make it more acceptable to the hierarchy!
If Elijah had toned down his message, would it not have been more acceptable to the Baal-worshiping Ahab? If John the Baptist would have softened his message could he not have escaped the wrath of Herodias? God's messengers are not to consider self, but to faithfully proclaim the message given to them. If Wieland and Short really believe that they were called of God in 1950, then should they not realize that God's Spirit was with them as they phrased a needful message to the leadership of the Church? What then is this toned down "update" in the eyes of God? There is more than one way to "insult" the Spirit of God!
p 6 -- Footnotes: -- 1 Appendix A - "Did A. T. Jones Teach the 'Holy Flesh' Heresy" - appears to have been set in a different type style from the other appendices as well as the main section itself. This is left unexplained. However, in recent months there has been some agitation over this issue. See Commentary, I-2, pp. 5-7, 14. It is reported that a new book on the life of A. T. Jones is due out in 1988 which will seek to negate Jones' influence by supposedly documenting this charge. Did this information get to Wieland and Short late in their revision and updating of 1888 Re-Examined, so that this appendix was written after the rest of the manuscript was ready for the press? Or did someone else have a major role in writing it? It is interesting that they acknowledge their indebtedness to Jeff Reich (p. 191). Was this after his "turn-around"? See "1888 Message Newsletter", Feb., 1987, p. 4.
2 The change in title for Chapter 6 from - "The Grave Seriousness of the 1888-92 Reaction" to - "The 1888 Rejection of Ellen White" is suspect. The first two sections in both editions are captioned the same: "The Holy Spirit Was Insulted" and "Jesus Christ Was Spurned and Insulted." The content of the chapter in both editions is similar except for additional materials regarding Ellen G. White's exile to Australia in the new; while omitting documentation from the original concerning the rejection of her counsel.
Wieland and Short's position is that to reject the heaven-sent messenger is to reject the One sending the messenger. They quote - "To accuse and criticize those whom God is using is to accuse and criticize the Lord who sent them." (TM, p. 466; 1888 ReExamined, 1987 ed. , p. 67) "Men professing godliness have despised Christ in the person of His messengers." (FCE, p. 472; Ibid. , p. 68) This hypothesis of Elders Wieland and Short is correct. (See also John 13:20) Because of this they could justify the change of title. But against this backdrop another factor must be considered.
The 1986 Annual Council voted to hold a Centennial Celebration in 1988 at Minneapolis. In reporting this action, the Adventist Review quoted Robert Olson of the White Estate as stating that the 1888 session was "the only session where Ellen G. White was publically defied." (Oct. 30, 1986, p. 12) Do Wieland and Short think that the recognition of this fact and possible implications will constitute "denominational repentance" and that the insult and spurning of Deity can be thus bypassed? Does this account for the change in title?
Wieland and Short should know better - lip service does not constitute repentance. John the Baptist called for more than lip service. His message was - "Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance." (Matt. 3:8) At the 1988 Minneapolis Conference, Ellen G. White will be affirmed. Besides this, "suggested events for the convocation include presentations for study papers of righteousness by faith and a dramatic enactment of the 1888 session." (Adventist Review, 6p. cit.)
this, the General Conference has bit off more than they can chew. There
are only two options open to them: 1) They can preach the
true message of 1888 and admit that for the last 100 years that the major
writings on 1888 (such as Froom, Pease, Olson, and Spalding) were wrong.
However, the teachings of Daniells' book are little improvement over pre-1888 righteousness by faith. Wieland and Short have so stated. In their 1987 edition, they declare that the teaching of 1888 as understood by Daniells was "nothing unique" but was "in perfect harmony with the best [non-Adventist] evangelical teaching." (p. 61; quoted from By Faith Alone (Pease), p. 189)
Why the change? That is the question. Was principle involved? or was it a policy decision? To be Contiuned
the Next Issues:
p 7 -- Christ our Righteousness -- Lesson # 9 -- The Righteousness of God (Part Two) --
SESSLER RIDES AGAIN -- In the "magazine - Last Day Messages (Sept-Oct., 1987) was a letter written by Robert Sessler to Ron Spear. (pp. 26-27) One would think that after Sessler read the Critique on his Abomination of Desolation in the Commentary (I-1) - and he received a copy he would be more careful in his research and deductions. But Sessler "rides again"! In his letter to Spear, he wrote: But she [Ellen G. White] also says: "There is hope NEITHER IN Sardis nor LAODICEA. OUT of this experience must come the victors into that of Philadelphia brotherly love. He has no promise for Loadicea as a whole. ... But the individual who opens the heart's door and lets Christ in, who comes into that wonderful communion with the Divine Lord, will by that very process come into the condition of brotherly love. THEY WILL CONSTITUTE THE REMNANT." Signs of the Times (sic), Jan. 17;-1911 (Emphasis as in his letter)
Ellen White did not write this!! It was written by the editor at that time, Elder Milton C. Wilcox. The issue is not whether the statement is true, but the matter of accuracy in documentation. And as we wrote in a letter to Sessler about this, we hold no brief for Spear's position.
But the conclusion drawn by Sessler compounds his error. He wrote - "Our leaders just happened to leave this article out of Vol. 4 [of the facsimile reprint Ellen G. White articles in the Signs] but Praise God it got into our hands."
The leaders didn't "just happen" to leave it out - they, were only including Ellen G. White articles, not Wilcox's. As we wrote in the Critique, there are enough manipulations by the hierarchy without charging them with something they did not do.
This charge by Sessler points up the basic weakness of his work. He really doesn't know what he is doing, and demonstrates his inability to make valid decisions in evaluating source materials. The tragedy is that many besides Sessler are doing the same "sloppy" research, and the tragedy is compounded because those who read this type of research are deceived by it, and join the "riders" to destruction - the consequences of which are eternal.
NOTHING WHICH DOES NOT BEAR
1987 Dec XX -- 12(87) -- 1888 RE-EXAMINED EXAMINED -- Part 2 -- The three final chapters of the 1950 edition of 1888 Re-Examined have been compressed into one in the 1987 edition - "Ellen White's Predictions of Baal Worship." Much has been deleted. The chapter of the new edition closes with a conclusion which states: Baal-worship was and is a disease of the [church] body that is foreign to it and makes it sick. But healing is possible through repentance and reformation. (p.160)
The 1950 edition closed with a section - "CONSTRUCTIVE RECAPITUATION." In this section was a clear call for "denominational repentance." That section read: It is now abundantly clear that "we" have traveled the road of disillusionment since the Minneapolis meeting in 1888. Infatuation with false teachings has taken the place of clear, cogent, heaven-inspired truth, as regards "righteousness by faith". By the hard, humiliating way of actual experience with [the] counterfeit, Israel has brought herself to the time when she is ripe for disillusionment. The simple faith to believe, which was spurned at Minneapolis, is now replaceable with the bitter tears of humble repentance, occasioned by our history. The following prophecy has been fulfilled, and awaits only its realization by the church: "Unless the church, which is now being leavened with her own backsliding, shall repent and be converted, she will eat of the fruit of her own doing, until she shall abhor herself."(8T 250)
This specific call for a "denomi national repentance" was based upon a clear testimony from the Writings - Vol 8, p. 250. It is direct counsel to the church as a corporate body. Written within ten days following the adjournment of the 1903 General Conference Session, the events of that session dare not be ignored if the clause concerning the "church" -- "which is now being leavened with her own backsliding" - is to be clearly understood. [These events will be noted in another section of this "critique".] But strangely, this paragraph, and quotes from the Writings is not found at the close of the 1987 edition, nor at the close of the corresponding chapter in the 1950
p 2 -- edition; however, it is found at the close of the last appendix, mutilated by ellipses. (See pp. 208-209, 1987 edition; also Footnote #1) That the reader may see clearly what has been done to the quotation, we will produce it in full, noting in bold type the sentences and paragraph deleted: God has not changed toward His faithful servants who are keeping their garments spotless. But many are crying, "Peace and safety," while sudden destruction is coming upon them. Unless there is thorough repentance, unless men humble their hearts by confession, and receive the truth as it is in Jesus, they will not enter heaven. When purification shall take place in our ranks, we shall no longer rest at ease, boasting of being rich and increased with goods, in need of nothing.
Who can truthfully say, "Our gold is tried in the fire; our garments are unspotted by the world"? I saw our Instructor pointing to the garments of so called righteousness. Stripping them off, He laid bare the defilement beneath. Then He said to me: "Can you not see how they have pretentiously covered up their defilement and rottenness of character? 'How is the faithful city become an harlot?' My Father's house is made a house of merchandise, a place whence the divine presence and glory have departed! For this cause there is weakness, and strength is lacking."
Unless the church, which is now being leavened with her own backsliding, shall repent and be converted, she will eat of the fruit of her own doing, until she shall abhor herself. When she resists the evil and chooses the good, when she seeks God with all humility, and reaches her high calling in Christ, standing on the platform of eternal truth, and by faith laying hold upon the attaiments prepared for her, she will be healed. She will appear in her God-given simplicity and purity, separate from earthly entanglements, showing that the truth has made her free indeed. Then her members will indeed be the chosen of God, His representatives. (Test. Vol. 8, pp. 250-251)
The time element in this whole chapter needs to be carefully considered. Because Wieland and Short did not do so, and because they could not put certain elements of this prophetic testimony into their presuppositions, they chose to delete.
The chapter is captioned - "Shall We Be Found Wanting?"- and the "We" is the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a "corporate body." This is clearly indicated in paragraph two (Again we quote in full, noting in bold the deletions of Wieland and Short. See 1987 edition, p. 208) - In the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist church is to be weighed. She will be judged by the privileges and advantages that she has had. If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence, "Found Wanting." By the light bestowed, and the opportunities given, will she be judged. (p. 247)
The force of the whole paragraph is corporate and future at the date of writing,1903. Note the use of the pronouns, "she" and "her" with "will." - "she will" - "on her will" - "will she be". "Will" with third person expresses simple futurity. The fulfillment of this paragraph was yet future in 1903. That the church as a corporate body would be judged in the balances of the sanctuary - that was without question. It "is to be". The decision to be rendered was not made in 1903. At that time, the church was only "being leavened with her own backsliding." (p. 250) It was the beginning. To avert the verdict - "Found Wanting" should the "backsliding" reach the limit of Divine Patience, there was only one solution - repentance and conversion. This we shall discuss in the next section.
Returning to the whole paragraph deleted by Wieland and Short in quoting from Testimonies, Vol. 8, p. 250, we need to explore the question - When is the once "faithful city" judged "an harlot"? When is the time that the "divine presence and glory" depart from the midst of the city - a place once called the "Father's house"? In the 5th volume of the Testimonies, (pp. 207-216) is to be found a parallel statement, and it is placed in a time sequence. [This chapter, Wieland and Short do not even discuss in their 1987 update even though it has the utmost bearing on their presuppositions] The parallel language reads: - "But the glory had departed from Israel; although many still continued the forms of religion, His power and presence were lacking." (p. 210) [Note use of past perfect tense; see box for comparison]
is the time setting for the condition noted in 5T: 210? Answer:
"Jesus is about
p 3 -- to leave the mercy-seat of the heavenly sanctuary to put on garments of vengeance, and pour out His wrath in judgments upon those who have not responded to the light God has given them." (pp. 207-208)
Who are the first to feel the wrath of God when the "final atonement" is completed? "Here we see that the church - the Lord's sanctuary - was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God." (p. 211)
If language is saying anything, it is saying that when Jesus completes His work of atonement, the Church has not repented, nor responded to the "light" given in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and thus is "Found Wanting"! This strikes directly at the thesis of Wieland and Short. They write using human logic: The foundation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is the belief in the good news of Daniel 8:14, "Then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." Then shall this constant cloud of failure which has hovered over God's Israel be lifted; then shall God's name be cleared as His people demonstrate His plan of salvation to be a success; then shall the sacrifice of Christ be vindicated. A cynical attitude which says, "Suppose the church fails and the conditions are not met" is the same as saying, "Suppose the sanctuary will not be cleansed." The honor of God requires that it shall be cleansed! (p. 208, 1987 edition; Emphasis theirs)
Is the Holy Spirit cynical? He inspired the prophetic picture, that "the church - the Lord's sanctuary - was the first to feel the stroke of God's wrath."
Who will receive the benefits of the "final atonement"? "The little company who are standing in the light." (p. 209) A "faithful few ... who have preserved the faith in its purity, and kept themselves unspotted from the world." (p. 210) [See I John 1:7]
What have "the faithful few" been doing? "These sighing, crying ones had been holding forth the words of life; they had reproved, counseled, and entreated." (ibid.)
What are the results? "Some who have been dishonoring God, repented and humbled their hearts before Him." (ibid.)
What will the rest of the church "the lord;s sanctuary" - be doing? "Many continued the forms of religion, His power and presence were lacking." (ibid.)
Will "the faithful few" tell the "some" who repent to continue to support with the sacred tithe, the "leadership" of the "many" from whose corporate body "the glory of the Lord had departed"? (ibid.) How tragic to delete, and ignore, yet profess belief in the Writings! This tragedy is compounded by the fact that Wieland and Short profess to be giving the 1888 Message - the Message of Christ's righteousness "which is pure, unadulterated truth." (TM, p. 65) Thus what has been set forth as an update of the true message becomes through deceptive ellipses, and omissions a fatal delusion which is being used to give concerned Seventh-day Adventists a false sense of security.
Denominational Repentance -- When the call was made in 1950 by the two messengers - Wieland and Short - sent by God to the church urging "denominational repentance", the leadership recognized exactly what God was trying to say. In the first appraisal of 1888 Re-Examined, the hierarchy wrote: Throughout your manuscrupt it is evident that you feel the denomination should rectify certain things pertaining to 1888, and then make due acknowledgement and confession of the same. This is really more than a suggestion; you strongly urge that this course be followed. The following extracts are quoted from your manuscript:
Every failure of God's people to follow light shining upon their pathway for the past century must be completely rectified by the present generation before the remnant church can be granted any divine vindication before the world. p. 2 [Modified in the 1987 edition]
There is before the remnant church a heavy account to settle. The sooner the issue is faced squarely and candidly the better. p. 2 [Deleted in 1987 edition]
Such a view of the matter will require that this generation recognize the facts of the case, and thoroughly rectify the tragic mistake. p. 38 [Unmodified]
Then on page 137 you write that "a denominational repentance" is essential before the loud cry can be received. [Statement only cosmetically altered in new edition] (A Warning and Its Reception, pp. 252-253)
was the decision of the hierarchy? -- We
do not believe that it is according to God's plan and purpose for the
present leadership of the movement to make acknowledgement or confession,
either private or public, concerning any of the mistakes made by the leadership
of a by-gone generation. (ibid. - p. 253)
p 4 -- In this action, and what followed, we find a repeat of 1888 with an exception. Even as "the light that [was] to lighten the whole earth with its glory was resisted, and by the action of our own brethren has been in a great degree kept away from the world (SM, bk. i, p. 235); so also the light that God sent through Elders Wieland and Short was kept from the laity by the action of the hierarchy. But the sad fact is, that unlike the messengers that God sent in 1888, both Wieland and Short consented to this action. They became parties to the decision to keep the light God gave them for the Church away from the people. To borrow their own language from the original edition - Wieland and Short have "a heavy account to settle. And the sooner the issue is faced squarely, the better." 2) See Footnote-#2.
When in 1958 another review of the original manuscript was forced upon the hierarchy at the insistance of A. L. Hudson, the response was the same. Note: The solution proposed, of the denomination making confession of the mistakes of men in the 1880's and 1890's and of a denominational repentance, is not possible nor would an attempt to do so be of value. The experience of the church is the collective experience of its members and leaders, and thus rightness with God is a matter of present day personal relationships. (A Warning and Its Reception, p. 259)
Twice within a decade the original call was rejected. But it wasn't as if the leadership did not know what the rejection of the 1888 Message was. They did know, and they did respond. Elder W. H. Branson who was General Confeilence President at the time when Wieland and Short presented their manuscript, called a Bible Conference in 1952. (See 1987 edition, pp. 165-167) Branson himself presented a topic on "The Lord Our Righteousness." (Our Firm Foundation, Vol. II, pp. 575-618) Near the close of the presentation, he declared: No longer will the question be, "What was the attitude of our workers and people toward the message of righteousness by faith which was given in 1888? What did they do about it?" (p. 617)
This was a clear reference to the manuscript which had been presented to them two years previous. Why was it no longer necessary to answer these questions? Branson gives this answer: But the message of righteousness by faith given in the 1888 Conference has been repeated here. Practically every speaker from the first day onward has laid great stress upon this all important doctrine, and there was no prearranged plan that he should do so. It was spontaneous on the part of the speakers. No doubt they were impelled by the Spirit of God to do so. Truly this one subject has, in this conference "swallowed up every other."
And this great truth has been given here in this 1952 Bible Conference with far greater power than it was given in 1888 Conference because those who have spoken here have had the advantage of much added light shining forth from hundreds of pronouncements on this subject in the writings of the Spirit of prophecy which those who spoke back there did not have.
The light of justification and righteousness by faith shines upon.us today more clearly than it ever shone before upon any people. (pp. 616-617)
In giving this answer, it should be evident that the rejection of the call for "denominational repentance" was not just an "off-handed" rejection but deliberate. The Bible Conference became an attempt "to climb up some other way" into the acceptance of God without such a repentance and confession. But by their own acknowledgement in their attempt to by-pass the divine formula, they placed themselves and the corporate body in grave danger. A correct evaluation of our history from 1950 to the present confirms this fact, and the results which followed.
The Scripture plainly teaches: It is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavely gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they fall away, to renew them again unto repentance. (Heb. 6:4-6)
In 1888 God gave "a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones." (TM, p. 91) This was a three-fold message - theological, organizational, and "individual " - seeking to restore to man the "power akin to that of his Creator." (Education, p. 17) This was rejected, but they did not deny the faith. (The "alpha" was turned aside) God gave specific counsel for the rectification of the rejection of the 1888 message - "Unless the church, which is now  being leavened with her own backsliding, shall, repent and be converted." (8T:250)
God again sent two messengers with that call and based on that counsel.
(See p. 1, of this Thought Paper) But not only was it rejected, but there
came a falling away from the truth committed in sacred trust to
p 5 -- the Church. Within three years of the 1952 Bible Conference, the SDA-Evangelical Conferences took place resulting in the publication of the book - Questions on Doctrine. This "falling away" " involved the denial of the final atonement. [See "The Sacred Trust Betrayed"] This was followed with dialogues between the SDA Church and the World Council of Churches resulting in a Seventh-day Adventist theologian being placed on the Faith and Order Commission, the doctrinal arm of the WCC charged with the "obligation to work towards manifesting more visibly God's gift of Church unity." The Scripture teaches that "it is impossible ... if they fall away to renew them again unto repentance."
Now either the above aspects of our history from 1950-1980 have to be ignored as Wieland and Short have done in the updated edition, or else these events in the light of Hebrews 6:4-6 are telling us that the present agitation for "denominational repentance" is an effort in futility. This raises a question. Is the obvious silence on the "falling away" which followed the 1952 Bible Conference the SDA-Evangelical Conferences & the SDA WCC dialogues - on the part of Wieland and Short, a self-inflicted Laodicean blindness to enable them to carry forward their "effort in futility" in contradiction to the Holy Scriptures? Does this "blindness" enable them to now call again for "a denominational repentance" to thus ease their conscience of their failure to stand up and be counted in 1950? It may provide a rationale for their present agitation, but what accounting will have to be given for the people - "men, maidens, and little children" who shall perish! (5T:211)
Footnote #1 -- As far as we have been able to determine, the sentence "Unless the church, which is now being leavened with her own backsliding, shall repent and be converted, she will eat of the fruit of her own doing, until she shall abhor herself" - is quoted one other time in the main body of both manuscrupts. (p. 36, 1950 edition; p. 43, 1987 edition). The comment on this reference from 8T:250 is similar in both editions - "That experience is no evidence that God will have cast off His church." The key to the casting off is not that she shall "abhor herself" but rather, does she "repent." If she does not repent, and is not converted, then the sentence can be only - "Found Wanting"!
Now Wieland and Short cite examples of repentance - Job, Isaiah (1950 ed.) and Peter in both editions. But these are not all the examples which the Bible gives. There is Esau, who though "he sought it carefully with tears" "found no place of repentance." (Heb. 12:17) There is an unseen line over which none - individual or corporate body - dare pass. It could well be that the centennial celebration next year in Minneapolis will produce "tears." This will be no sign of acceptable repentance and conversion. Fruits meet for repentance must be seen. Even then there is a primary question which must be resolved - Has the corporate body crossed the unseen line?
Footnote #2 -- In the new updated edition of 1888 Re-Examined, Wieland and Short seek to explain why they did not continue to give the message that God placed upon them in 1950, but rather went back to Africa. After noting that the General Conference "officially rejected" God's call for a "denominational repentance," they wrote: "The authors would not rebel against General Conference direction. They have always firmly supported the principle of church organization and order. But they could not conscientiously retract their basic convictions which they believed were based upon the inspired testimony of Ellen White. Therefore they appealed the matter to the next higher authority - the Lord Himself in the investigative judgment and 'to the disposition of His providence.' They went on with their missionary duties in Africa." (p. 165)
Here we have a real conundrum. In The Mystery of 1888, Elder Short produces evidence that a vote wa taken at the 1888 Session against the message of Righteousness by Faith as given by the Lord's messengers, Jones and Waggoner. (pp. 20-21) It needs to b recalled the thinking of the Church at that time in regard to the authority of the General Conference Ellen White had written in about 1875: "When the judgment of the General Conference which is the highest authority that God 'has upon earth, is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be maintained, but be surrendered." (3T:492)
But what, did Jones and Waggoner do? They went forth preaching the message God gave them and Ellen White joined them! What a contrast between the "messengers" of 1888, and the response of the "messengers" of 1950! And the action in 1950 was not an action of the General Conference in session, but merely the finding(s) of the hierarchy.
Wieland and Short indicate they appealed the negative decision of the hierarchy to "the next higher authority." What Higher Authority could anyone want than a call from God to give a message to His Church? The basis of this message was already underwitten by the first messenger to the Church - "Unless the church ... shall repent." Here we have "the Mystery of 1950" which is even more difficult to fathom than "the Mystery of 1888." What if John the Baptist had said - "Lord, I have given the leadership your message, and they have 'officially rejected' it. I am going back to the desert, and leave it in your Providence to take care of."
The 1950 "messengers" write that they chose, after appealing to a "higher authority" to leave the message God wanted given at that time, to His dispostion. But more than that, they bowed out of the picture, taking a vow of "perpetual silence." There was a third General Conference report. This they did not mention in their updated manuscript, nor their reply to that report. Their reply we have reproduced on page 6 from A Warning and Its Reception. Each reader can evaluate Wieland and Short's commitment to silence, and the "disposition of Providence." We have underscored parts of the key paragraph.
There are some questions which cannot be answered this side of eternity. What if Wieland and Short had perceived their call as Jones and Waggoner did theirs? Could the apostasy of the SDA-Evangelistic Conferences been averted? What tragedy could have been avoided if men - mere men - had accepted their high calling instead of bowing to man! -- To Be Continued.
p 6 -- A Warning and Its Reception, p. 396 --
Dear Elder Beach:
A little over eight years ago we presented a certain document to the General Conference Committee in which we endeavored to express frankly our deep convictions and concern. We left the matter before the Lord and in your care, and thereafter refrained from agitation or pressing our views before the Committee or the church. We have always felt it improper for us to appeal a matter such as this from the General Conference to the church at large. Hence our consistent and persistent refusal to grant anyone permission to reproduce our document.
The 70-page document which we prepared recently was not presented to you with a desire to abandon our policy of the previous eight years. We decided to prepare it mainly because in a previous document rather widely circulated, our honesty and integrity were called in question, our manuscript being represented as a "serious reflection upon the literary ethics of its authors." We felt that all would recognize we had a right at least to attempt to clear our characters of such an implication.
Perhaps it was merely a selfish concern which motivated us. We recognize that a more perfect faith might have trusted the Lord to vindicate our literary ethics without our saying anything in self-defense. Perhaps our second document is a kind of Ishmael-treatise, written prematurely, in place of waiting patiently in faith for an Isaac defense to have come in due time providentially. Perhaps we pulled too hard on the oar of "works."
Whatever may be our mistake, we wish to state herewith our desire to leave this matter, to drop it henceforth and to continue as in the past to refrain from any agitation whatsoever or the pressing of our view upon the General Conference or the church. If our views and convictions are of the evil one, surely we must not press them. If, on the other hand, there is any truth in our presentations, the Lord can well take care of it without any assistance from ourselves. We do wish to say again, brethren, that we believe the corporate Seventh-day Adventist church is the one true remnant church, led of God, and we are thus happy to resign the whole matter to the disposition of Providence.
We return to our mission field, therefore, with no desire to make an issue of our views there or elsewhere. We are grateful that it could be said of our service during the past eight years, "The two brethren returned to their fields of labor and threw themselves wholeheartedly into their work of proclaiming the gospel message." We earnestly pray now that by the grace of the Lord the same may truthfully be said of our future service also.
S/ R. J. Wieland D. K. Short
p 7 -- Christ our Righteousness -- Lesson # 10 -- The Garment of Salvation --
2. "The new heart is a heart that loves righteousness and hates sin. It is a heart of willingness to be led into the paths of righteousness. ... In short, it is a heart free from the love of sin as well as from the guilt of sin." (Ibid, pp. 69, 70)
3. "God does not adopt us as His children because we are good, but in order that He may make us good ... He receives us just as we are. It is not for our goodness that He loves us, but because of our need." (Ibid., pp. 72, 71) --- (1987 Dec) ---End---- TOP
1 Commentary -- Volume I -- Number 1 --
p 2 -- WHY THE COMMENTARY? -- With so many publications imeographed sheets coming to the mail boxes of the members of the Adventist community, why even consider another publication, even if it is only going to be issued quarterly? Two recent letters, we believe give the answer. One respected brother wrote: The following sentence in your last Watchman [XX-1] cheered my heart as nothing has in your publication: "No one can grow spiritually with a diet composed of the revelation of apostasy even if it be letters written by church leaders in support of Sunday legislation." I could hope that your efforts in positive presentation of the truth as it is in Jesus in the four angels' messages will grow larger and larger and documentation of apostasy smaller and smaller. A thousand times more documentation of apostasy will not convince those whose eyes are closed, and those who recognize a need must have spiritual food, not carrion.
Then from Australia came this word from a dedicated brother: I have been reading the latest issue of your "Watchman, What of the Night?" dealing with T. A. Davis and R. S. Donnell. This was a bit of a shock! I had purchased Was Jesus REALLY Like Us? at a Standish meeting here sometime ago, but had not gotten around to go through it carefully. I may not have picked up the problem anyway.
We do believe as we wrote, the concerned in Adventism do need "spiritual food." However, there are some who if awakened will respond positively. These still need documentation of the apostasy.
However, a third need is evidenced by the letter from Australia. Those who are professing to teach historic Adventism, and the message of Christ's righteousness are mingling truth with error. Sadly, due to the conditioning received through fellowship in the Church, the laity have been taught to take whatever a respected leader would say without questioning its validity by the Word of God. Thus over the years, the common person has not been encouraged to distinguish between the voice of a true shepherd and the voice of an hireling.
The Scripture is clear that not only will Satan appear as an angel of light, but "it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as ministers of righteousness." (II Cor. 11:14-15)
To the Philadelphian church, besides telling them, "Behold I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast," they are also told they will be confronted by those which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie." (Rev. 3:11, 9) An open apostate is not hard to identify in Adventism today. He has denied the sacred trust - the sanctuary truth of the final atonement. But what about those who make a profession of the sanctuary truth and weave into their teaching deadly errors?
will enter heaven without the righteousness of Christ, be it imputed or
imparted. It is clearly
Further, too many today, do not even exercise the discernment of the Jews of Christ's time. If someone can simply bring together a series of quotations from the Writings, many will sit and listen to him as a voice from God, without checking further. The Jews knew that one speaking for God must be commissioned by God to speak. There were evidences which supported that commission, such as, fulfilled prophecy, or coming in fulfillment of prophecy. (See John 1:19-23; Mark 1:15; and Matt. 21:23)
Today, there are "many voices" prufessing to be giving a true message to the concerned in Adventism. This was foretold. (See R&H, Dec. 13, 1892) But many are running with no message of substance even as Ahimaaz in the days of David. (II Sam. 18:22) But worse today, these messages are mingled with error. Some who are running find it very "profitable." One even braggs about the "deep pockets" he goes for. All of this is covered under the facade of promoting the "firm foundation, " or the message of the righteousness of Christ, or both. God's message is truth, pure and unadulterated, supported by Him, without appealing to man for support.
factors, in the present confusion of voices, need to be openly called
to the attention of the con cerned
people of God. Thus we see the two publications of the Adventist Laymen's
Foundation meeting these three needs: 1) Documentation
of the apostasy, in Adventism; 2) Feeding from
the Word of Truth, the awakened in Adventism; and 3)
Warning those awakened of the deception being practiced behind a facade
which professes to banner historic Adventism. We hope to keep "
Watchman, What of the Night?" confined to objectives #2 and #3,
while Commentary will primarily involve #1, and also cover items
under #3 which we cannot cover in Watchman for lack of space.
p 3 -- THOU SHALT NOT STEAL -- By the time of the printing of this first issue of Commentary most readers will be aware of the Harris Pines Mills banckruptcy. The impact of this loss upon the denomi nation is hard to comprehend. Many jobs will be lost to our people, especially to acaderny and college students. Not only this, but the denomination stands to lose millions of of dollars form the treasury. However,thanks to the vote of the Board of Harris Pine Mills and the General Conference Corporation, millions will be saved for the Church at the expense of the creditors of Harris Pine Mills!
God's holy law, a transcript of His character, says, "Thou, shalt not steal." (Ex. 20:15) Jesus in the New Testament magnified the law as prophesied. (Isa. 42:21) True Christians today do not think of the commandments in the narrow way as did the Jews of Christ's day. The genuine Christian perceives the commandments as "exceeding broad." To withhold something which rightfully belongs to a person is thievery just as surely as to directly steal it from them.
God committed His oracles to ancient Israel. They, in turn, were to show God's character to the world. In the 19th century God entrusted His final message to the Seventh-day Adventist church so they might show His character to the world - a character revealed in His holy law and in a people who keep "the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." With the church betraying its sacred trust in the area of the final atonement in the heavenly sanctuary, it becomes easy to see how we have betrayed God in revealing the character of Satan rather than the character of the Lord Jesus Christ.
As the plight of Harris Pine Mills became worse, a six-man survival team was appointed. It was made up of Adventist business men with H. F. Otis, President of the Review and Herald, and only church employee, as chairman. The committee was to study to see if Harris Pine Mill scould be saved. After three months the team concluded it could not be saved. On December 3, 1986, the survival team met with the Harris Pine Mills' board and the General Conference Corporation to decide the fate of the industry. In reporting to the Church, Elder Neal C. Wilson wrote: The meeting lasted the entire day. Board members agonized over the situation, probing the data and the findings of the survival committee, seeking to find a way that Harris Pine Mills could be saved. But it became evident that there was now no chance of survival. It was one of the saddest, most traumatic meetings that I have ever had to chair.
the board concluded that it was faced with only two realistic options.
One was to place the company in voluntary dissolution. This means that
the company would
p 4 -- wind up its operations as quickly as possible, dispose of its assets in the most profitable manner it could, and try to pay off its creditors.
Although this option included some pluses, it involved heavy negative factors. Most problematic was that under this course of action the church faced an open-ended situation with regard to continuing and ongoing losses. The survival team estimated that the winding up of the company would result in unbearable additional financial losses. They estimated that the General Conference could stand to lose $30 to $40 million, with the figure possibly rising significantly. Further, during this time of voluntary liquidation any one of the creditors might attempt to foreclose and force the church into involuntary bankruptcy. (Adventist Review, Jan. 1, 1987, p. 7)
The first option was not very appealing. Losses could be very high. The General Conference could stand to lose $30 to $40 million or more! The church might even be forced into involuntary bankruptcy! However, with this option, the church would at least "try to pay off its creditors." An honest attempt would be made to do the right thing. Wilson continues: The other option, which was strongly recommended by the survival team, was to stop the economic hemorrhage by filing under Chapter 7 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code. (On December 12, 1987, the filing was changed to Title 11. This means that Harris Pine Mills is requesting permission, under bankruptcy laws, to reorganize and reopen its doors, while at the same time to meet the demands of the creditors via bankruptcy litigation.) This has the effect of placing immediately the operation and the assets of the company in the hands of the court. Under this option the church's total losses could be as high as $15 million, depending on factors such as the marketable value of the inventory. (Ibid.)
Wilson states that losses could be as low as $5 to $15 million with this option. Where is the difference between the $40 million mentioned in the first option, and the possible $5 million mentioned in the second? It would be a loss that some of the creditors of Harris Pine Mills would have to suffer.
Stealing from the creditors was the option chosen rather than take the chance of the loss of the General Conference organization. Wilson goes on to add: This is the first time an entity associated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church has found itself facing this prospect. At last, having weighed all the options, the board regretfully voted to take this course. Two days later, on December 5, papers were filed for voluntary bankruptcy under Chapter 7 with the federal district court in Portland. (Ibid.)
says the board voted "regrfully" to take the bankruptcy option.
Not only was this option taken by the board "regretfully", but
it must have been taken also very reluctantly. In a letter dated, December
11, 1986, Columbia Union President, Ron Wisbey, sent an update to the
Union pastors revealing the then current status of Harris Pine Mills.
(See p. 6) Included with Elder Wisbey's letter was a chronology of the
"Key Events of the Last Three Months." This information reveals
p 5 -- taken by the members of the Harris Pine Mills board. They voted 7-5 for bankruptcy. Some felt that "bankruptcy would cheat honest people." Only one vote changed would have produced a tie vote of 6-6. Apparently, there were at least five men who wanted to do the legitimate thing - make a truly honest attempt to pay off the creditors, and trust the Almighty God that the denomination would not be forced into bankruptcy.
If the Seventh-day Adventist Church is truly God's appointed church of today, then the board should have had no reservations the possible loss of money. Does not God own "the cattle upon a thousand hills"? (Ps. 50:10) Does not the Lord say, "The silver is mine, and the gold is mine"? (Haggai 2:8) God is well able to make up any loss which might occur in an honest solution to the problem. Even $40 million is no large sum for the Creator of the universe.
The most revealing part of the Wisbey letter was the vote count taken by the General Conference Corporation. If the Corporation voted "regretfully" for the bankruptcy option, they were not so reluctant as the Harris Pine Mills board. The vote of the Corporation was 12-3 in favor of the bankruptcy option.
The greed and avarice that was shown in the days of Christ is being repeated today. What a parallel exists between the present situation and John 11:47-50. Read it carefully and note the following parallel: Then gathered the General Conference, Corporation and the Harris Pine Hills board and said, "What shall we do? We are millions in debt. If we try to pay off our debts, the world would foreclose upon us, and they shall come and take away our place and denomination." And one N. C(aiaphas) said unto them, "Ye know nothing at all, nor consider it is expedient for us, that some creditors should suffer that the whole denomination persish not" ... and they took forth counsel for bankruptcy.
The mismanagement of funds at Harris Pine Mills cannot be overlooked. As reported by Wilson in the Adventist Review (Jan. 1, 1987), the losses had risen to $50,000/day. [This was later upped to $60,000 per day. (See p. 7)] In the Adventist Review (Dec. 4, 1986) was an article which asked the question "What Will $50,000 Buy?" This article lists 90 different items that could be used by the different divisions of the world field, each item costs around $50,000. These included: 210 bicycles for Ugandan pastors; salaries for 28 pastors for one year in Malawi; 25 to 50 jungle chapels or lamb shelters; 25,000 copies of The Great Controversy in Arabic; etc. Simple mathematics shows that as one reader of the Thought Paper wrote - "Instead of years of squandering the Lord's money, 3 months of proper management could have purchased all of these items."
As bad as the management problem was, the worst evil was the bankruptcy action which will cause us to stink before the creditors and the onlooking world.
p 6 -- Let us remember that it is a Remnant "which keep the commandments of God." (The 8th is included as well as the Sabbath) David says in the Psalm - "It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law." (119:126) AS
UNION CONFERENCE OF SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS -
You may have heard the story that Harris Pine Mills filed for bankruptcy last Friday. It's true.
You also may have heard plenty of rumors. Rumors never bless the work of the Lord. When rumors run rampant, losses never shrink. When rumors run rampant, the number of layoffs never beccmes less. When rumors run rampant, the descriptions of character never become more Christ-centered.
shared two pages of information with you in this packet:
I'll share other information with you as it beccmes available, so that you can be the informed source in your church. I hope you'll use this infonnation to squelch outlandish rumors.
I look forward to seeing you during the Union Ministeriium in January.
7 -- KEY
EVENTS OF THE LAST 3 MONTHS --
October -- Complaints about Harris' record keeping mount. Board receives only financial compilations, not audited statements. Survival Team unable to get all needed operating infornation.
Survival Team visits plants, says several changes necessary if Harris is to survive: new management, marketing plan, better manufacturing control, new product development, cost analysis of present product lines.
Later, Harris Pine requests loan from General Conference. GC votes $3 million loan, to be secured by Harris timber resources.
November -- Survival Team member gives use of his corporate jet so members can visit all 26 Harris branch plants.
Enough information finally found to estimate Harris operating loss: $30,000 a day. Otis reports that most income is generated by selling lumber, not finished product.
Survival Team discovers inventary problems. Most inventory is parts of furniture, not finished pieces. Thus, inventory inflated.
December 3 -- The Survival Team tells Harris Board company can't be saved. They recommend volundary liquidation or Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Chaotic records still make analysis difficult, prompting Otis to comment, "None of us would stake our reputation on the report we present today." One thing is sure: the problem grows daily. $7 million more debt is discovered during the committee meeting. No one is sure how high the loss may grow. "All this began to fall apart in 1980," Otis tells the Board.
Two Survival Team members say that in September they had thought of buying the company and running it. Both say now there's no way.
Board debates all day on bankruptcy or voluntary liquidation. Voluntary liquidation could cost twice as much as bankruptcy. But some feel bankruptcy would cheat honest people. Others say voluntary liquidation would waste church dollars. Final vote among Harris Board members is 7-5 for bankruptcy. Final vote among GC Corporation members is 12-3 for bankruptcy. Harris Board is dissolved.
General Conference Corporation, sole Harris stockholder, appoints tbree-member interim Board to facilitate the bankruptcy: Harold Otis, Don Gilbert, Karl Bahr. All three are church Employees - Otis at Review & Herald; Gilbert, GC treasurer; and Bahr, GC associate treasurer.
December 8 -- General Conference votes to send each full-time employee a gift of about two weeks wages. Otis says the gift is "an act of ccupassion."
11 -- Trustee discovers additional losses for fiscal 1987, doubling
the previous loss. Loss now estimated to run $60,000 per day, or $9 million
in 5 months.
p 8 -- EDITOR - "Our Firm Foundation" - NOT SO FIRM -- ( THE WAYMARKS OF ADVENTISM -- Ronald D. Spear -- Edited by Dorothy Hilmer ) -- Our Firm Foundation is not as firm as it might appear. When WWN XX-2 reached the field, an alert friend wrote calling our attention to a book written by its editor, Ron Spear - The Waymarks of Adventism. In this book, Spear teaches the same Holy Flesh concept on the doctrine of the Incarnation as Elder Thomas Davis is teaching, and as R. S. Donnell taught in Indiana. He wrote: Yes, Christ had an advantage in one sense: He had a sanctified will from birth to the cross. He was born with the nature that becomes ours when we are born again - humanity combined with divinity. (p. 39, emphasis his. See next page.)
This concept as expressed by Editor Spear has some interesting overtones. If I receive at the time I am "born again" a sanctified will, then is this not teaching instantaneous sanctification? The quotes from the Writings upon which Spear bases his deduction does not say what he says it says. Read it carefully. It says Jesus "kept his will surrendered and sanctified."
further teaching is even more alarming. He writes concerning the prenatal
experience of Jesus - "In the prenatal experience, while in her womb,
Christ was inheriting Mary's love for God." Unbelievable! He, whom
the Scriptures tell us was "in the bosom of the Father" (John
1:18) bonded by an everlasting love each for the other, in His prenatal
state "inherited" love for God from Mary? When once error is
embraced, there is no limit to the depths one will go in developing that
error, and seeking to make it look like truth.
p 9 -- THE NATURE OF CHRIST -- "Jesus revealed no qualities, and excercised no powers, that men may not have through faith in Him. His perfect humanity is that which all His followers may possess, if they will be in subjection to God as He was." DA 664
"As a man He supplicated the throne of God,'till His humanity was charged with a heavenly current that connected humanity with divinity. Receiving life from God, He imparted life to man." Ed 80.81
When we supplicate the throne as He did, we will have thepower that He had. Did Christ really have an advantage over me? The answer is "yes" and "no."
No. He was tempted far beyond what we will ever be tempted. He had divinity, I do not. The devil provoked Him for 33 years, trying to get Him to use His divinity to keep from temptation or sin. The wilderness experience was one place where he was tempted to use divinity, so was His daily confrontation with church leaders and finally the cross. He used only the Holy Spirit to keep from sin and to work miracles. His divinity was then a disadvantage. "Had there been one deviation from the devine mind in the work of Christ, the plan of redemtion would have proved a failure." R&H February 15,1898
Yes. Christ had an advantage in one sense: He had a sanctified will, from birth to the cross. He was born with the nature that becomes ours when we are born again - humanity combined with divinity. "Jesus Christ is our example in all things. He began life, passed through its experiences, and ended it with a sanctified will. He was tempted in all points as we are, and yet because He kept his will surrendered and sanctified, He never bent in the slightest degree toward doing of evil or toward manifesting rebellion against God." ST October 29, 1894.
As God, He chose Mary to be His Mother. She was chosen because of her piety and her devotion and love to God. She was everything that God could find in a human mother, a sinner, but filled with love for God and her fellow men. In the prenataI experience, while in her womb, Christ was inheriting Mary's love for God. In the post natal experience, He saw God through his mother. Mary was continually yielding her will to God's will. Christ learned these lessons from His mother's knee. (p.39)
is not all of Spear's heresy. The next sentence reads: "In the post
natal experience, He saw God
When the doctrine that Christ took in the Incarnation, the same nature as a "born again" person as was first taught in Indiana, Eld S. G. Huntington warned that it had papal overtones. Ron Spear in his book - The Waymarks of Adventism - gives us some insight as to what those papal overtones could be.
The sad part of this whole picture is that folk are deceived into thinking they are receiving firm and fundamental Adventist teaching when they follow the guidance of Ron Spear as editor of Our Firm Foundation.
This further points up the fact as noted in the introductory article - "Why the Commentary?" - that all one has to do is bring together a paper containing unlimited numbers of articles from the Writings, and many concerned Adventists will not even detect error that is mingled in the paper, or bother to check the heresy of its editor.
"Without controversy great the mystery of Godliness: G was manifest in the flesh... Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith..." I Timothy 3:16; 4:1
p 10 -- Walla Walla Wallowing -- A student interviewed said - "This movie showed nudity, had implied sex between non-married couples, and had bad language in a couple of brief instances."
p 11 -- COLLEGE WRITING -- EG ENGL 122 H (Required)
Elements of Argument -- A Text and Reader -- by Annette T. Rottenberg - University of Massachusetts at Amherst -- Deep Throat, Nora Ephron, Excerpts, p. 304: "Deep Throat, as I write, is currently in its twenty-second record-breaking week at "the mature World Theatre" on Times Square, and is thirty-seventh on the list of Variety's top grossers, having so far taken in some $1,500,000. The film cost $40,000 to make, and its profits are such that Frank Yablans of Parimount Pictures, who speaks in sentences that sound suspiciouly like Variety headlines, calls it "The Godfather of the sex pics."
Throat -- by Nora Ephron -- EXCERPTS, p. 304 --The plot of Deep
Throat - that it has one at all is considered a breakthrough of a
sort - concerns a young woman, Linda Lovelace playing herself, who cannot
find sexual satisfaction through intercourse. "I want so hear bells
ringing, dams bursting, rockets exploding," she says. She goes to
a doctor and he discovers that her problem is simply that her ...
The Real Linda Lovelace -- by Gloria Steinem -- EXCERPTS, p.309 -- Using Linda had been the idea of Gerry Damiam, the director-writer of Deep Throat. "The most amazing thing about Linda, the truly amazing thing," she remembers him saying enthusiastically to Lou Peraino, who bankrolled the movie, "is that she still looks sweet and innocent." ...
watching Linda perform in public as a prostitute had given Damiano the
idea for Deep Throat in the first place. He had been at a party
where men lined up to be the beneficiaries of the sexual sword-swallower
trick Linda had been taught by her husband and keeper, Chuck Traynor.
(We have omitted the grossest details of the oral sex vividly described)
p 12 -- At Registration for the Winter Quarter at Walla Walla College, a paper, evidently a student production, asked each registrant to indicate "the courses in which he would like to enroll."
Among the listed courses in the area of Business and Career was "BC-201 How to Profit From Your Own Body"; under Home Economics, "HE-23 The Repair and Maintenance of Your Virginity"; under Health Care, "HC-312 High Fiber Sex" and "HC-401 Understanding Nudity"; and under Crafts, "C-102 How to Draw Genitalia."
While this may have been thought of as a "practical joke(?)", it does reveal a mind bent. And while it was merely a student production without the consent of the administration of the college, what other reaction could be forthcoming with the "menu" being fed the student body as indicated on the previous two-pages?
Should not the committee on Lyceums and the teacher of English 122H give serious consideration to the counsel of Paul in Philippians 4:8? Surely there are better quality of programs available for Lyceums than a PG rated movie, and text books free from the filthy side of human behaviour. If there are no such texts perhaps it might improve the quality of education offered at Walla Walla to use some of the Writings of Ellen G. White as examples for Essay writing. True, it might be a bit "old fashioned" to do so, but what a blessing over the sex-orientated "new fashion"! At least it would not encourage the risk of AIDS.
BIRDS of a FEATHER -- An announcement came to the desk about some forthcoming tapes to be available through a tape production ministry. It read - "Advance notice: We should have the cassettes of the JOHN OSBORNE-CHARLES WHEELING series just completed in San Bernadino, CA in several weeks."
This was interesting, because various announcements have been noting Osborne as "Elijah." How can an "Elijah" form a confederacy with one who is seeking to tear down the prophetic basis of the message of the Three Angels of Revelation 14? Did not God ask - "How can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3)
The old adage still holds "Birds of a feather flock together." Add to this "flock" Ron Spear and you have quite a "flock" - hardly the voice of Elijah! (See pp. 8-9) Osborne is merely the key popular spokesman for a confederacy with a great agenda - sensationalism, error, and much truth, or else it would not be capable of deceiving.
Do not forget that the righteousness of Christ is truth, pure and unadulterated. See TM, p. 65.
p 13 -- THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION AND CHURCH HISTORY -- A CRITIQUE -- After receiving five copies of the manuscript - The Abomination of Desolation and Church History - by Robert Sessler from different persons, some of whom asked for comment, I thought a critical analysis of this work would be very appropriate for the first issue of Commentary. The manuscript contains 208 pages of mimeographed quotations from the Writings with comments interlaced between the various quotations. In addition, there are two appendices.
A summary gives the thrust of the manuscript. Beginning with 1855, the author gives a series of dated conclusions ending with the statement - "Without a doubt, satan is the leader of the professed Seventh-day Adventist church!" (p. 208, emphasis his)
Assembling the material, the author adopted two recommendations from the Writings themselves: 1) "The Lord has declared that the history of the past shall be rehearsed as we enter upon the closing work." And 2) "Regarding the testimonies, nothing is ignored; nothing is cast aside; but
p 14 -- time and place must be considered." (p. 7, Emphasis his) Based on these two principles, Sessler groups successive time periods in the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church beginning with 1844-1868, gathering from the Writings various concepts to support his presupposition. There can be no question that there is needed a clear understanding of our church history; neither can the method of analysis proposed - taking into consideration "time and place" - be faulted. However, the application of the method as used by Sessler is open to serious question.
Just because a statement may have been written at a certain date, does not mean that the application is at that time. The internal context of the "testimony" must be considered. For example, the chapter - "The Seal of God" (5T:207-216) - though written about 1880, specifies the "time" of app1ication to be when "Jesus is about to leave the mercy-seat of the heavenly sanctuary." The chapter is also closely tied to the events portrayed in "the visions of God" (8:3) given to Ezekiel (8:1-11:25).
This internal evidence is ignored by Sessler in his application of Ezekiel 8 with events in the history of the Church. On page 185 of the Manuscript [hereafter designated as ADCH], he indicates fulfillment of Ezekiel 8:16 to have been in the selection of General Conference Committee in 1901, just because there are 25 men involved in both instances.
This application could have come about because of two factors: One, Sessler was not aware of the fact that "the visions of God" given to Ezekiel cover chapters 8 through 11, and that in the 11th chapter, there 25 men are brought to view again as "the men that devise mischief and give wicked counsel" in Jerusalem. (11:2) While the evidence is inconclusive as to whether these are the same 25 in each instance, both constitute apostate leaders in Judah. And two, Sessler apparently did not take time to check the make-up of the General Conference Committee following the adoption of the new Constitution in 1901. This committee contained among others, the following: - S. N. Haskell, A. T. Jones, D. H. Kress, J.N. Loughborough, David Paulson, W.W. Prescott, E A. Sutherland, and E. J. Waggoner. Theses men could not be equated with either the 25 men of Ezekiel 8:16, or 11:2, if different, for they were not sun-god worshippers, nor "men that devise mischief and give wicked counsel" in Jerusalem.
a total lack of knowledge of the significance of the 1901 session could
have caused Sessler to jump at the seeming parallel of 25 men in Ezekiel
with the 25 men who made up the GC Committee in 1901. While "thorough
work" was not done (8T:106), decided progress was made at
the session toward the structure of organization God designed His church
to have. It was in 1903 that a reversal took place and the church began
to be "leavened with her own backslidding." (8T:250)
But the committee resulting from the 1903 Constitution had more than 25
members. Faulty applications lead to faulty conclusions.
p 15 -- Because the manuscript is primarily a series of quotations from the Writings, one is unable to check to see if every quotation is used in context. However, a very serious and gross use is made of one key reference. To warrant the conclusion drawn, it had to be lifted completely out of context. On page 127 of ADCH, Sessler quotes from Spirit of Prophecy, Vol IV, p. 232 on the definition of "Babylon" as used in the Second Angel's Message of Revelation 14. He emphasizes the sentence which reads - "The message announcing the fall of Babylon must apply to some religious body that was once pure, and has become corrupt." To Sessler, this is the Seventh-day Adventist Church. But had he added the next sentence to his quotes, the application as intended by Ellen G. White is clearly given: - "But how appropriate the figure as applied to the Protestant churches, professing to derive their doctrines from the Bible, yet divided into almost innumerable sects."
This is not the end of Sessler's perversion of truth. He compares the sentences he quotes from the 1884 edition of Great Controversy with a non-referenced statement which says the same thing in substance, his quotes would have, had he given it in full context. But he charges that the SDA leadership "tampered with Mrs White's testimony" and accuses them of "deception." Now the church's leadership is guilty of many things, but the deception which Sessler charges them with in this instance falls back on his own head, because of gross misrepresentation of the facts in an attempt to prove his presuppostion.
The question naturally arises; if Sessler has been as loose with context in his use and application of the other statements which he has gathered together, where is the credibility of the whole manuscript?
Sessler's basic premise upon which he based his summary and conclusion is that "the abomination of desolation" spoken of in Daniel and noted by Jesus has a double application. In its second application it supposedly enters the Seventh-day Adventist Church even as the actual fulfillment of this prophetic designation stood in "the holy place"- Jerusalem. But instead of treating this phrase as a proper noun, he separates the phrase and considers the words as common nouns.
Jesus, Himself, clearly defined this prophetic designation to be found in Daniel. (Matt. 24:15; Luke 21:20) In the prophecy of Daniel, it represents Rome in both its pagan and papal phases. Even as Pagan Rome destroyed the earthly type of the ministration of Jesus as priest and High Priest, just so, Papal Rome has sought to abolish through its false mediatorial system, the heavenly ministry of Jesus Christ.
p 16 -- The concept of the duality of Rome in the prophecies of Daniel is clearly emphasized. In Daniel 2, the "iron" continues down into the toes of the image. In Daniel 7, the "little horn comes out of the non-descript beast and is never separated therefrom. The "little horn" of Daniel 8 continues until it is "broken without hand." (8:25) In simple language, this term, "The Abomination of Desolation" - cannot be urderstood by breaking the term down and treating each noun as a common noun. It can be understood only by considering the whole phrase in the context of the prophecy in which it is found in the light of Jesus own definition.
Now if Sessler had wished to pursue the concept of "papalsim" in the Church, he could have found a solid foundation in the Writings; because Ellen G. White does speak of the Church as "following in the track of Romanism." (TM, p. 363)
Sessler in seeking to give Matthew 24:15 a dual application is merely following Desmond Ford's "apotelesmatic principle" which states that " a particular prophecy... may have more than one application in time." (Daniel 8:14, etc. , p. 302) Our pioneer fathers, on the other hand, taught: [The Lord] unscales the prophet's eyes, and opens to his view coming events. The historian sits to record them as they occur. Providence never mistakes, nor wheels around, to roll by the predicted event the second time. No, when the event has been recorded, it is, like the Deluge, in the past. There is no second series of the four great empires, no second first Advent. (The Advent Review, August, 1850, p. 8)
In his summary, Sessler stated that "satan is the leader of the professed Seventh-day Adventist church!" He begins his summary with the date 1855, prior to the organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Did "satan" organize the Church? Have what we believed over the years, now to be accounted as error - that God raised up the Advent Movement? Before "satan" could become "the leader" of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the church would have to be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, and pronounced, "Found wanting" - in other words, spued out. This is not saying that this has not occurred, but this is the only basis upon which "satan" could become "the leader" of the Church.
the manuscript - The Abomination of Desolation and Church History
- is based upon a hermeneutic (interpretive principle) and is deceptive
in its contextual use of some of the Writings. It
fulfilled demands a response,
p 17 -- Marty Wold Fingers -- The PEDDLERS of the BIG "LIE" -- -- In a letter dated, January 6, 1987, written to subscribers of Christian Liberty, Marty Wold, who had just taken over the editorship from Ian Jones, tells of having prayed "earnestly for the Lord's will to be done in [his] life and the lives of [his] little family in these final moments of earth's history." Then he tells what answer the Lord gave: - "Like a flash of lightning across a darkened sky, my mind was stirred with some startling and humbling realizations. The Lord distinctly impressed me with the thought that Christian Liberty was not needed in this final hour."
As the letter continues, Brother Wold tells how the Lord broke from his mind "the traditions of the Pharisees" which had leavened his soul. Had not the Lord intervened,he would have dug his "heels deep into the dung hill of tradition," wrapping himself in "the many quotes of the Spirit of Prophecy to justify" his position. Then he makes some very perceptive evaluations. That the force of what he wrote, and how he wrote might come through not only clearly but as forceably as it did to me when I first read it, I will copy those paragraphs without mixing in any personal comment. He wrote: Today, many conscientious, zealous individuals are damning their souls by compiling statement after statement to justify their "work for the Lord." Schools, restaurants, sanitariums, printing presses, etc., are springing up all over the place. There is a superficial conservative revival in the wings of Adventism which believes, although not admitted, that a return to the FORMS of Adventism will usher in the latter rain upon the earth. Christ looks at this nauseous spectacle and declares, "your house is left unto you desolate." Christ is not in this superficial conservative movement, for they have chosen the seen for the unseen, the FORM for the power.
Unsuspecting souls are being swept to perdition by such conservative ministries as The 1888 Message Conferences (Robert Wieland), Our Firm Foundation (Ron Spear), Hartland College (Colin Standish), Amazing Facts (Joe Crews), etc., etc. Although differences arise between these various ministries, there is one deadly thread which weaves these ministries into a powerful coalition of evil. The damnable heresy, LIE, spread far and wide by these zealous crusaders is - The SDA organization is "going through" to the kingdom. They actually believe that God will cleanse the SDA organization of all the bad, leaving the good to receive the latter rain and sail "the ship" safely into harbor. What a delusion!
p 18 -- Just before the destruction of Jerusalem, while Roman armies besieged the temple, false proptliets were bribed "to proclaim ... that the people were to wait for deliverance from God." As a result, more that a million Jews spilled their deluded blood. What a tragedy! All because of believing that "the ship" would go through!
Oh, can't we see that history is being repeated to the very letter! However, instead of one million Jews perishing this time, more than five million Seventh-day Adventists will die in their delusions. "Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie." 2 Thess. 2:10, 11.
The Lord's wrath is kindled against the denominational and the self-supporting work. His judgments will SOON be upon those who cling to such filthiness. He is now calling for the honest in heart to FORSAKE these dead forms of religion and to repent and be converted that their "sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord." Acts 3:19. He is calling for His people to enter by faith into the holy of holies and be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
"How is the faithful city become an harlot!" Isa. 1:21 [See also 8T, p. 250] The Seventh-day Adventist Church and all the "self-supporting ministries which bow down and worship the golden calf which she has erected are represented in this passage. Included also in this message is any individual, although claiming to be a reformer, who refuses to call the honest in heart OUT of bed with this harlot. For a harlot is anyone who worships ANY object above God, and many zealous "reformers" are worshiping none other than the abominable idol of SELF. They refuse to bear ALL the straight, testimony for fear of making themselves of no reputation. I know, for I was one of them. But now praise God for opening my blinded eyes that I might see.
Some may wince at the strong language and the comparison with the Jews which Brother Wold uses. Is this, however, any stronger than what is used in the Writings? Consider the following: Here we see that the church - the Lord's sanctuary - was the first to feel thestroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light, and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust. ... These dumb dogs, that would not bark, are the ones who feel the just vengeance of an offended God. Men, maidens, and little children, all perish together. (5T:211, Emphasis mine)
Are not the peddlers of the big lie cherishing the same idea as the Jews of old? Note: The Jewish people cherished the idea that they were the favorites of heaven, and that they were always to be exalted as the church of God. (COL. p. 294)
What happened in A.D. 34, and in A.D. 70? We are living antitypically between these two dates.
Special 2 Commentary -- Volume
I - Number 2 --
p 2 -- EDITORIAL - "Where Is the Lord God of Elijah?" -- A "Special Report" supplement to the National & International Religion Report for April 3, 1987 began by saying - "There is an ethical crisis among Christian fund-raisers. This is not news. It was not news even before the Oral Roberts story and the Jim Bakker story erupted into headlines." This crisis did prompt a conference which convened in March at Kansas City sponsored jointly by the Christian Stewardship Council and the Billy Graham Center. More than 600 registered, coming in the main from evangelical denominations. Three days were spent in search of "a more excellent way" in fund raising.
Although we in our Laodicean blindness may not recognize it, this same ethical crisis confronts the Adventist community, whether dissident or regular; whether within the accepted perimeter or outside. The hustlers and the con artists aren't restricted to just the TV showmen of the charismatic wing of theevangelical community. The independent ministries of Adventism are making merchandise of what is termed "traditional or historical Adventism." When the editor of Our Firm Foundation boasts that he goes after "the deep pockets" and the pastor of the Prophecy Countdown ministries introduces his sermon - "The Real Elijah Message with a pitch for "big" money telling of $30,000 in four days, the ethical crisis in Adventist fund raising has surfaced whether we are willing to face the implications or not.
The implication involving the hustlers in Adventism is more than the issue of how the money is being spent, or if the cause for which it is being spent is truly the proclamation of the Third Angel's Message. It is a question of simple faith and trust in God versus a trust and dependence on men. It is a question of whether we are merely proclaiming "traditional Adventism" in a setting which projects self, or are we truly presenting that message in verity which finds its basis in faith. (See R&H, April 1, 1890) It is more than merely saying that one is preaching the real Elijah message, or whether one is truly emulating the faith of Elijah in Elijah's God. "Where is the God of Elijah?"
Elijah did not solicit a piece of land along the Brook Cherith. God sent him there and commanded the ravens to feed him. (I Kings 17:24) Elijah did not send "an electronic letter" to the widow woman of Zerephath, who did not even have a SS check. God sent him there and provided a divine "social security." (I Kings 17:9) God even provided for His errant servant, who having exhausted his energy fell asleep under a juniper tree. (I Kings 19:4-7)
p 3 -- It is easy by means of modern electronics to project one's self, but when the facade is torn away and the veneer penetrated, the shallowness can be seen. Where is the Lord God of Elijah? He is not there! Froth and icing, glitter and tinsel is substituted for reality. And when the "party" is over, it will be seen for what it is - another "high" on the "broad" way.
Fundamental principles of truth are involved in the proclamation of the truth. It is all one package. You do not profess to proclaim truth, and support it by unethical means, -means which either deny the true God, or means which reveal we are serving a different God than is revealed in the Bible. The God of Elijah is not a different God today than He was in Elijah's time. The Bible states that that God declares - "Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet." (Mal. 3:5) That prophet will not be going after "deep pockets" nor will he be seeking to project self by exploiting "traditional Adventism"; but that prophet will be presenting present truth relying on God to provide as He did under the Juniper tree, and by the Brook Cherith.
Tragically, we are living in a time when "a wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; the prophets prophesy falsely and the priests bear rule by their means, and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof ?" (Jer 5:30-31) If God's professed people knew their Bibles, these "priestly" hustlers in Adventism could not obtain "the means" which they do; the "deep pockets" would be zipped shut to them.
We are living under the New Covenant. What this New Covenant relationship means is clearly spelled out in the Word. When God's Spirit writes in each heart His will - the law - "they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest." (Heb. 8:11) John writes that all under this Spirit guided relationship receive "the anointing" and "need not that any man teach" them. (I John 2:27) Those thus anointed understand clearly "that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel." (I Cor. 9:14) They do not have to be told, coerced through electronic letters, or "mind controlled" into giving. If led by the Spirit of truth, they will not only support that which is truth, but that which is operated on the principles of truth. Man cannot bless the giver except in words - but the giver who gives under the Spirit of truth will be blessed by the Lord God of Elijah. They will operate freely under the New Covenant rather than under the PR tactics of the hustlers in Adventism.
who are using PR tactics are telling you something if you will stop and
listen. Their call is not from God - though they may say so - but rather
either from men, or from self mesmerism. If it were from God, then God
would supply the need to meet the fulfillment of the call without their
soliciting a single penny. This is what the God of Elijah did! But when
men have to go to men to obtain their funds instead of letting the Spirit
of God move on human hearts to provide, you can be sure
that the project, program, or whatever, is of man.
p 4 -- Then there is a further revelation of God, or gods. Men create a god perhaps only a philosphical god, but nevertheless a god to them as real as any idol ever carved by the heathen; and since that god cannot provide for them, they have to plead, beg, and promote give-aways to bring in the money. One concrete example of this is God's Last Call Ministries. Mike Clute's god does not destroy, neither does he provide the means to meet the needs, so men have to be solicited with letters and offers. The God of Elijah does not operate that way!
One can even preach "righteousness by faith" but seek support of man motivated by human appeal rather than the Spirit of truth who brings genuine righteousness under the New Covenant. If we really want to bring about a genuine repentance, why not encourage the people to seek that "anointing" and let God motivate them to provide for His ministry of righteousness, if such it be. If it is of God, He will provide as He did for Elijah. If not, and one must seek man's pockets, deep or otherwise, then the sooner men realize that the ministry is of man and not of God, the better it will be.
In this hour when many voices are calling and claiming to be sent of God, as was prophesied (R&H, Dec. 13, 1892), everyone of God's professed people should seek that anointing from on High so as to determine what is of God and what is not. And the question to ask is - "Where is the Lord God of Elijah?" (II Kings 2:14) And there is no better way to find the answer as to where the God of Elijah is NOT, than to check who is sending out the electronic letters and weaving into their publication a constant call for means. Anoint thy eyes with eyesalve that thou mayest see where the Lord God off Elijah really is.
Items of Interest -- Moscow News criticized the "holy alliance" between the Vatican, the US Central Intelligence Agency, and President Ronald Reagan. The newspaper said that "each Friday, CIA antennas are orientated towards the Vatican in order to give all the secret information to the pope." (EPS 87.05.42)
Pope John Paul II in a 114-page letter - "Redemptoris Mater" (Mother of the Redeemer) issued March 25, reaffirmed Roman Catholic teaching about Mary and suggested that all Christians should "together look to her as our common mother, who prays for the unity of God's family, and who precedes us all at the head of the long line of witnesses of faith" in Christ. In the letter, the Pope said Mary's role in salvation is subordinate to Christ's. He observed that Christians still "must resolve considerable discrepancies of doctrine concering the mystery and ministry of the church, and sometime also the role of Mary in the work of salvation." (EPS 87.04.22)
Milan, Italy - Magistrates have issued warrants for the arrest of Paul Marcinkus, the American archbishop who heads the Vatican Bank. The warrants charge that Marcinkus and two other Vatican bank executives are accessories to fraudulent bankruptcy. (EPS 87.04.07)
p 5 -- THE HOLY FLESH -- Were Jones and Waggoner Involved? -- A CRITIQUE WITH COMMENTS -- When the editors of "Watchman, What of the Night?" wrote on "The Holy Flesh Alternative" (XX-2), Jeff Reich ordered a copy of The Holy Flesh Movement 1889 - 1901, a research manuscript published by the Adventist Laymen's Foundation. [I say, "editors" advisedly because Brother Stump furnished me with a copy of Davis' book, Was Jesus REALLY Like Us? so that I could accurately state what Davis taught as compared with what the men of the Holy Flesh Movement taught.] After receiving the manuscript, Reich wrote that things were coming together for him with the information he had gathered. Then in Number 130 of his Laymen Ministry News, the lead article was captioned "The Holy Flesh Movement." The factual data and most of the quotes were lifted right out of the manuscript and source notations - to the manuscript were given only when no alternative presented itself. The impression is left that the writer had done a lot of original research. One must add that Brother Reich's honesty exceeds that of Vance Ferrell who in callaboration with Ron Spear plagiarized material without the slightest reference to sources. (See Waymarks of Adventism, 2nd ed., appendix)
p 6 -- In the hurried appropriation of the historical data found in the manuscript, there is a factual error that should be corrected. It is stated that in 1897, S. S. Davis was a colporteur, yet two paragraphs later, Davis is stated as having been licensed to preach in 1893. (p. 4) Reich has confused the connection between S. S. Davis and Jesse Dunn, who was the State Agent (Colporteur Leader of the Conference) at the time.
This incident points up a growing ethical problem in the dissemination of data, and conclusions based on the research that produced the data. Some of the problems could no doubt be chalked up to ignorance or lack of training in doing research rather than purposeful dishonesty. I know in my formal training, the course in Research and Bibliography, while giving me the tools for research, and how to report that research, also impressed upon my mind that honesty is a factor in the realm of study and research as much as in any aspect of our daily lives. If a clerk gave us too much money back when we paid for a purchase under $20.00 with a $20.00 bill, we would return the excess amount. Why? It is not ours! But when it comes to another's person's research, we do not exhibit such honesty. Why? It is not ours! Herein is the problem of simple ethics in journalism. In the Adventist community it has become acute.
It is possible that the Adventist problem results from how we look at the literary borrowing of Ellen G. White without any documentation. This is not being written from a critical viewpoint, but just stating a matter of fact acknowledged and documented in Church publications such as the Ministry, (June, 1982) Has the attitude we have taken because of this literary borrowing somehow justified our own lax ethical standards in this same area? It is something we should consider.
This editor has some real deep convictions on this subject. Knowing that truth is of divine origin (John 1:14; IHP, p. 140), he does not believe that he should copyright any of his research for protection. A man can receive nothing except it be given to him from above. (John 3:27) Thus truth is free and open, and those who deal in truth should also be honest in respect to another's man work. This editor has found that those who are dishonest in this area cannot be trusted that their word is their bond.
In writing the article - "The Holy Flesh Movement" - Jeff Reich has introduced a new and important aspect to the issues involved in the Movement which this editor did not discover in his research. Whether this was discovered from material obtained through the Archives, or from Brother Reich's collecting of A. T. Jones' writings, and thus his own research is immaterial. The importance of it cannot be overlooked.
subsection of his article, Jeff Reich deals with Jones' involvement in
the Holy Flesh Movement. In 1899, Jones was the first of two editors of
the Review. In the April 18th issue, in a noncaptioned article,
he raised some questions involved in the holy flesh controversy. Reich
7 -- quotes from three key paragraphs in this brief editorial by Jones.
We are quoting these because of the direct relationship they sustain to
the teachings of Thomas and Margaret Davis. Jones wrote: There
is a serious and very bothersore mistake, which is made by many persons.
That mistake is made in thinking that when they are converted, their old
sinful flesh is blotted out. In other words, they make the mistake of
thinking that they are delivered from the flesh by having it taken away
altogether. Then when they find that this is
And when it is decided and constantly maintained that the flesh of the converted person is still sinful flesh, and only sinful flesh, he is so thoroughly convinced that in his flesh dwells no good thing that he will never allow a shadow of confidence in the flesh. And this being so, his sole dependence is upon something other than the flesh, even upon the Holy Spirit of God; his source of strength and hope is altogether exclusive of the flesh, even in Jesus Christ only. And being everlastingly watchful, suspicious, and thoroughly distrustful of the flesh, he never can expect any good thing from that source, and so is prepared by the power of God to beat back and crush down without mercy every impulse or suggestion that might arise from it; and so does not fail, does not become discouraged, but goes on from victory to victory and strength to strength.
Conversion, then, you see, does not put new flesh upon the old spirit; but a new Spirit within the old flesh. It does not propose to bring new flesh to the old mind; but a new mind to the old flesh. Deliverance and victory are not gained by having the human nature taken away; but by receiving the divine nature to subdue and have dominion over the human, - not by the taking away of the sinful flesh, but by the sending in of the sinless Spirit to conquer and condemn sin in the flesh. ... The Lord Jesus took the same flesh and blood, the same human nature, that we have, - flesh like our sinful flesh, - and because of sin, and by the power of the Spirit of God through the divine mind that was in Him, "condemned sin the flesh."
Reich further points out that Jones began in 1900 a series of editorials on the book of Hebrews, which later became the basis for the first section of his book - The Consecrated Way. At the very beginning of these editorials, Jones stated: The condescension of Christ, the position of Christ, and the nature of Christ, as He was in the flesh in the world, are given in the second chapter of Hebrews more fully than in any other place in the Scriptures. (R&H, Dec. 11, 1900)
After studying Hebrews 1 in the first editorial, Jones proceeded to Hebrews 2, and wrote: That man was the first Adam; this other Man is the last Adam. That first Adam was made a little lower than the angels; this last Adam, Jesus, we see "made a little lower than the angels." That first man did not remain in the position where he was made, "lower than the angels." He lost that and went still lower, and became subject to sin, and in that, subject to suffering, even to the suffering of death. And the last Adam we see in the same place, and in the same condition: "We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death." And again: "Both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all OF ONE."...
p 8 -- As Man, Christ is of the same flesh as is that of men. As Man, He is of the same blood as is that of men. He is of "the same flesh and blood as are the children of men. They are "all one." (R&H, Dec. 18, 1900)
These articles, which struck directly at the teaching of the Holy Flesh Movement's leadership in regard to the Incarnation, did not go without notice. Donnell responded by an article in the Indiana Reporter. He quoted the title Jones had chosen for the editorials - The Faith of Jesus - and leaving no doubt as to his opposition to the position taken by Jones, wrote - "We only call attention to these articles in order to show the fallacy of such a posi tion." - What I Taught in Indiana, (p.15) Reich has performed a real service by bringing to light this hitherto and unknown factor involving the Holy Flesh Movement.
were merely past history an open confrontation between the Lord's "messenger"
(A. T. Jones) and the leader of the Holy Flesh Movement - we might rest.
But now again in 1987, the lines have been clearly drawn. Now it is the
confrontation between the position of the Lord's "messengers"
1 of 1888, and those who are professing to teach "historic
Adventism" - Spear and
It is not surprising that Spear and Standish have chosen to go along with this teaching, but the real conundrum is Elder R. J. Wieland, who was present at the Hartland Conclave for Unity. He did not open his mouth publically in defense of the Lord's "messengers." Yet he is professing to press for a revival of the 1888 Message. Has his refusal to evaluate current Church history caused him to become unable to discern between truth and error? It is time that every sincere seeker of truth take a new look as to what is taking place on the periphery of regular Adventism, and re-evaluate his position and support.
1 Both Jones and Waggoner taught the same in regard to the Incarnation. At the 1901 General Conference session, E. J. Waggoner at the evening meeting of April 16, choosing as his text, Heb. 10:4-10 - a key Scripture for the Holy Flesh advocates - presented a strong affirmation of the doctrine of the Incarnation as was set forth in the 1888 Message. The next morning Ellen G. White presented her testimony which ended the Holy Flesh Movement.
p 9 -- Which Way? the Church - Rome? - Moscow? -- When the Adventist Review for January 22, 1987, came to my desk, I opened to the first section - "Letters" - and there, without editorial comment, was an amazing letter from Neal C. Wilson. It duly chastised the editors for printing two articles on Christianty and Communism. He wrote - "It is ... my opinion that articles of this kind have no political overtones and have no place in our general church paper;..." He also took to task, though not naming him, the author of the articles. He stated - "In my judgment some statements were inaccurate, unnecessarily provocative, and sweeping in nature."
Wilson in his letter labeled the articles "private opinion" that "do not represent the position of the .Seventh-day Adventist Church." He expressed his regret to the government (USSR) and the authorities (the KGB?) "who have shown consideration and kindness to our church."
My interest was quickened as to the one who had written these "inaccurate" and "provocative" articles. (I missed the issues in October, 1986, which carried the articles due to the fact I had not received one issue, and the other came at the time the Thought Paper was due to go to the press.) To my surprise, the author was none other than Dr. B. B. Beach! Here in this "Letter" section of the official organ of the Church, the laity were being given more inside information than has ever been given in "Newsbreak". Here was revealed a major policy conflict within the Curia on the Sligo. It appears as a rupture of consequence between parties who had united to put through at the 1985 General Conference session in New Orleans a hierarchical structure of which a Federal Judge could state in his decision - "Next to the Roman Catholic Church, the Adventist Church is the most centralized of all major christian denominations in this country." (Proctor vs GC of SDA; See WWN, XX-1) It should be recalled that Dr. B. B. Beach co-authored with his father, Elder W. R. Beach, the book - Pattern for Progress. This book with a "Preface" by Neal C. Wilson was recommended by Wilson to every delegate at the 1985 GC Session. This book contained the blueprint of what was adopted at the session in organizational changes. (See WWN, XVII-11)
is a another factor which comes into play in this picture of a major policy
conflict. In the same month that these articles appeared in the Adventist
Review (Oct. 2, pp. 8-9; Oct. 9, pp. 8-10, 1986), B. B. Beach was
in Rome for the annual conference of Christian World Communion Secretaries
of which he is the Secretary. One will recall that it was at the 1977
annual conference of the same group, also held in Rome, that Beach presented
to Pope Paul IV, the Adventist Church in symbol. The 1986
p 10 -- annual conference, also at Rome, "included separate sessions with the pope" who "re-affirmed that for Roman Catholicism, 'the search for Christian unity is a pastoral priority.'" This conference voted as its new chairman, Pierre Duprey, secretary of the Vatican Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity. Beach was reelected Secretary placing him in tandem with the Vatican representative. (Ecumenical Press Service, 86.10-126) Thus the Adventist Church at its highest level is in a policy split as to which way to go - Moscow or Rome? Since contacts made by Beach at Vatican Council II, he has been leading in the approach to the WCC, and Rome. It was during the Pierson administration that a series of contacts were made with Moscow.
beginning of these contacts cannot be disassociated from the final arrest,
trial and imprisonment of the late Elder Vladimir Shelkov, the leader
of the True and Free Seventh-day Adventists in the USSR. A series of dated
facts will help us to understand this relationship, and its implications.
From this chronology of events, the first visit of Elder Lohne must be carefully noted, and a series of reactions from the official Pierson visit.
First, the Lohne ground-breaking visit: The arrest of Elder Shelkov on March 14, 1978, was made in Taskkent, a Soviet city in Central Asia. When Lohne went to Russia in May, 1977, his report of his itinerary read: Our trip began in Moscow, the capital. From there we went to Alma-Ata in the South, close to the China border. In this famous wintersports city and surrounding area, there are many believers. It was a joy to worship with them and to share a message from the Bible. Frunze and Tashkent were other cities we visited in Central Asia. (Review, July 411~ 14, 1977, p. 4)
p 11 -- Three things are significant from this reported itinerary. 1) Tashkent - the route from Alma-Ata to Tashkent via Frunze is on the north side of a high mountainous area which is well suited for hiding as Shelkov did from 1967 till his arrest in 1978, some nine months after Lohne's visit. 2) Lohne on this trip went first to Moscow, and then directly to the region where Shelkov was in hiding. This in the light of #3 is significant. 3) There were many believers in this area. But when Pierson with Lohne made their "official" visit to Russia, they did not go to this area! Yet Pierson in reporting his trip to the Fletcher, NC, SDA Church, stated that Lohne had "made arrangements well." (Taped Report, Sept. 16, 1978) It is also of significance that Pierson did not get to make his "official" trip until after Shelkov was arrested!
All the factual data leads to only one conclusion. The hierarchy in Washington aided the KGB in the arrest and demise of Elder Vladimir Shelkov. Why was the KGB so intent on the arrest of Shelkov? "Shelkov's entire guilt lay in his rejection of war. Because of this the Soviet authorities feared his influence on young people: as he had deep faith and education, he was able to persuade people he was right." (Quoted in Religion in Communist Lands, Vol 8, #3, p. 205)
After Shelkov's release from prison in 1967, he organized the Adventist underground publishing activities. The True Witness press was successful in the dissemination of thousands of photocopied and written pamphlets and hard bound books. At Shelkov's trial prosecution displayed 110 works produced by him during his hiding. "His works, though theological in content, constantly reaffirm the True and Free Adventist commitment to pacifism, Saturday observance and evangelization of young people." (Ibid " p 206) One of the most revealing sections of the indictment agains Shelkov was the accusation that he was sympathetic to the cause of the illegal Baptist sect, and "dissidents" such as, Sakharov, Solshenitsyn, Orlov, and Ginzberg. He established close links with the Soviet human rights movement, even writing to President Carter appealing for help in the release of Yuri Orlov and Alexander Ginsburg who he said had defended "true justice and morality" as enshrined in the Ten Commandments. His activities as a keen, perceptive writer, and the members of the True and Fre Adventist group as distributors of those writings, made him the prime target of the KGB. Being unable, to locate his hideaway, contact was made with his "brethren"(?). As result of these contacts beginning in 1977 with the visit of Lohne to the Tashkent area, the KGB launched in 1978-1979 a campaign against the True and Free Adventists in Russia, which involved searchs, confiscation of religious literature, arrests and trials, culminating in the final trial and sentencing of Shelkov himself.
Before discussing the present activities of the Takoma Park base hierarchy, we need to note another phase of this picture.
p 12 -- At the time when Pierson made his "official" trip to Russia, Shelkov was in KGB custody. Pierson did not go to see him in prison; he avoided the Tashkent area. Neither did he appeal for Shelkov's release even on humanitarian grounds. After Pierson returned from Russia, and it was evident he had said nothing, nor done nothing in behalf of Shelkov, others took up the cause. "Nobel prize winner Andrei Sakharov issued an appeal Monday to the World Council of Churches and to Pope John Paul II on behalf of an 83 year old Seventh-day Adventist leader," so read The Sacramento Union, Nov. 28, 1978. (p. A4) [Note Sakharov did not appeal to the General Conference in behalf of Shelkov.] In December, 1978, Dr. Michael Wurmbrand asked his readers, regardless of religious affiliation to write to the General Conference and ask them "to tell the truth about Communist persecution and start helping the victims." (The Voice of the Martyrs, p. 2) The Church leadership stonewalled the issue. For the many who wrote, a "Dear Friend"form letter was written by Lohne.
When Reuters of London took up the story, the hierarchy in Washington found it necessary to issue a news release. This was done by Elder Roland Hegstad who disassociated the church from any connection with Shelkov and accused him of "political activism." (RNS, March 30, 1979, p., 21) Hegstad is living to "eat" his own words even to the point of joining Neal C. Wilson in that "political activism."
February of this year a Soviet-sponsored International Forum for a Non-nuclear World and Survival of Humanity was convened in Moscow. From he avoided the Grand Kremlin Palace, General Secretary, M. S. Gorbachev, on February 16, released his plan for a new look in Soviet peace overtures. These included, "democratization," "verification," and "glasnost" [open-ness]. The 850 delegates gathered in the Grand Kremlin Palace represented world political and cultural leaders and also included a delegation from the Seventh-day Adventist Church headed by Neal C. Wilson.
Besides Wilson, the other three members of the delegation were - Dr. Jan Paulsen, president of the Trans-European Division; Dr. Ray Hefferlin, molecular physicist from Southern College, of Seventh-day Adventists; and Elder R. R. Hegstad, an associate in the General Conference Department of Public Affiars and Religious Liberty. Dr. B. B. Beach, who heads the department was not a part of this delegation. He had fallen from grace!
Four full pages the Adventist Review, May 7, 1987, carried the report of this political orientated conclave. In the section written by Hegstad, he noted as sitting "only five or six seats" from him, Andrei Sakharov, who had been released from exile only two months prior. One wonders, if Hegstad sitting there, recalled the appeal that Sakharov made to the WCC and the Pope in behalf of Shelkov. Did he recall his own news release accusing Shelkov of "political activism". Now he was a part of such a delegation involved in a type of activism.
p 13 -- The first of the two articles in the Adventist Review on this peace gathering was written by the editor himself. In fact, the front cover in full color, hailed the event - "Adventists and the Soviet Union A New Era?" Johnsson in his article "analyzes the recent flurry of contacts between Adventist and Soviet leaders." He noted that Wilson spoke at this Soviet peace propaganda Forum. Then in a section captioned - "Analysis: A Door of Opportunity," Johnsson comments that in a nation with only 31,000 government registered members "to see our leaders welcomed into the Kremlin and participating in discussions with top Soviet leadership has given Adventists a tremendous boost in morale." (p. 10) One thing is clearly observable in Wilson heading a delegation to the Kremlin. He beat the Pope there!
The price tag should still haunt the Church - the martyrdom of Elder Vladimir Shelkov. The number of "stones" cast by the men in high places has yet to be revealed in their fulness. Only circumstantial evidence is now available. Let there be a glastnost coming from the hierarchy of the church both past and present. Let Elder Lohne tell all to whom he talked in Moscow before preceding directly to the area where Shelkov was in hiding. Let him explain that while many Adventists lived in this area, Pierson did not go there on his "official" visit. How did he prepare the way "well" for Pierson by going to Tashkent, if Pierson did going not go there? Or did he by going to Tashkent prepare the way for Pierson to go to Russia?
Let Pierson tell why in his "official" visit, he endeavored to bring all groups of Adventists together under a govenment recognized church and bowed to the demands of the Soviet authorities to sanction the attendence of children of Adventist families at school on Sabbath. Let the leadership of the Church explain why they did not join, even for humanitarian reasons, the appeal for the release of Shelkov.
Then there are some other questions. If John Paul II should call for a Unity Forum of the World Religious leaders,-would Wilson head such a delegation, and would Beach be included? What would Wilson say at such a gathering? Could he now refuse after going to the Forum at Moscow? Which way? - the Church. Rome? Moscow? Did not Jesus tell Pilate - "My kingdom is not of this world." (John 18:36)
p 14 -- The POT and the KETTLE -- In the Adult Sabbath School Lessons Quarterly for the first quarter of this year, a comment was printed which created a furor in the Adventist Community, so much so, that a "form" letter was prepared to answer the volume of inquiries pouring into the Sabbath School Lessons section of the Church Ministries Department of the General Conference. The statement which sparked the outpouring of protest reads as follows: One thing is certain, nothing is gained by dogmatism and controversy. In such areas as unfulfilled prophecy, we must tread humbly and softly. It is our responsibility to study the Scriptures for ourselves, to ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to submit our understandings to those in the church who are able to judge our findings, and then abide by the decisions of the church in order to maintain the unity of the church. (p. 92)
Dr. Erwin R. Gane, Editor of the Adult Sabbath School Lessons, and who formulated the "form" letter in response to the many inquiries, was correct in noting that the context of this statement is in connection with the discussion of "the king of the North" in Daniel 11. He is also correct in noting that there have been different opinions among Adventist writers in the past as to what power is represented by "the king of the North" and/or the "he" in Daniel 11:45.
Dr. Gane further stated - "The subject discussed on p. 92 of the quarterly does not concern any established truth held by the Adventist Church." In a technical sense, he is correct. The church has not made an official pronouncement on the interpretation of Daniel 11:45. It must also be allowed that some of the language of Daniel 11:36-45 is difficult to relate to the present conditions as found in the Middle East. However, Gabriel in relating to Daniel the prophecy found in chapters 11 & 12 prefaced the revelation by stating "I will show thee what is noted in the scripture of truth." (10:21) Also, it dare not be overlooked that Daniel 11:45 and 12:1 are closely linked. In fact, in an understanding of Daniel 11:45, we discover the event which immediately precedes the close of all human probation. In the light of this, and the seriousness of the times to which we have come, the papal overtones of the statement found in Lesson 13 of the Adult Lesson Quarterly constitutes a real basis for concern, not withstanding Gane's explantion.
At the height of this furor, a friend visited the campus and called my attention to a similar statement in the introduction of the New Catholic Version of the Bible - the Douay Confraternity Version. Written by J. Edgar Bruns, S.T.D., S.S.L. of St. John's University Graduate School of Theology, it reads: Of course the average reader will often be at a complete loss in determining this [the intent of Scripture]; he must rely on the Judgment of competent scholars who themselves leave the ultimate decision to the Church. Just as it is the perogative of the Church to safeguard the interpretation of the Bible, so it is the Church alone which can declare what books are or are not inspired.
p 15 -- Admittedly the context is different, but there is still that common factor - the authority of the Church in interpreting what is truth. Basically it is the usurpation of the role assigned to the Holy Spirit of truth. The matter of unity is not that unity achieved by ecclesiatical dictum, but a unity realized when men truly submit themselves to the control of the Holy Spirit.
Circulated through the dissident Adventist Community as the time for the study of Lesson 13 approached was a one page tract (printed on both sides), and noted - "For Seventh-day Adventists Only." The title in large bold type read - IT'S A MATTER OF AUTHORITY. The message was a combination of Biblical references and statements from the Writings. The author made a very key point when he asked - referring to the statement in the Adult Lesson Quarterly - "If Luther and the later reformers had followed such counsel, there would have been no Reformation and all today would be in the fellowship of the Roman church for the sake of unity." This concept is equally valid whether referring to prophetic interpretation as the context of the Sab. Sch. Lesson indicated, or whether, as Gain suggested, the author of the lessons intended it to be in reference "to new truth."
However, in checking the references used in the tract from the Writings, my daughter discovered a serious deletion. Quoting from Great Controversy p. 595, the topic sentence of the paragraph had been omitted. That sentence read: But God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrine, and the basis of all reforms.
This deleted sentence is in line with counsel found elsewhere in the same book. It reads: In our time there is wide departure from their [the Scriptures] doctrines and precepts, and there is need to return to the great Protestant principle - the Bible, and the Bible only, as the rule of faith and duty." (pp. 204-205)
To ignore this "great Protestant principle" and to substitute some other authority is just as papal as the statement found in the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly. This is exactly what the author of the tract does in his ministry. What virtue is there in the "pot" calling the "kettle" black? Sadly, there are many others just as confused in regard to this "great Protestant principle", as he is.
The Spirit was not given - nor can It ever be bestowed - to supercede the Bible, for the Scriptures explicitly state that the Word of God is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested. (Ibid., p. vii)
None but those who have fortified the mind with truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict. (Ibid. p. 594)
We are to receive God's Word as supreme authority. (6T:402)
3 Commentary -- Volume I - Number 3 --
- "Sons of Light -- This
past Sabbath (August 29), we were studying John 12:20-50 for the Sabbath
School lesson. We were about to pass by the response of the people to
"a voice from heaven" (ver. 28) with only a casual observation,
when Ron, our Business Manager
Jesus was approaching the supreme moment in His life, - the purpose for which He had come in to the world - to give His life as a ransom for many. His soul was troubled. (ver. 27) His humanity was beginning to tremble as the hour approached. What should He say? "Father, save Me from this hour?" No, "for this cause came [He] unto this hour." Then He said what only a truly surrendered person could say -"Father, glorify thy name." (ver. .28) Then came the voice from heaven. But this response was not to meet the need of Jesus, but for the sake of the people who were gathered there in the temple. Why?
A momentous crisis had come in the history of th:worl - and the universe. God would be "glorified" in Jesus; the prince of this world would be cast out. This would be the reality - though unseen. That which would be seen would be a Man condemned as a Hebrew zealot for seeking to set up a kingdom in place of the Roman power. It would be as if it had thundered - the storm would soon pass over, and the sun would appear again. Why could not men see the reality - the unseen, a crisis of the ages?
[Perhaps, that this point be not missed, a word of explanation is in order. The KJV reads - "Now is the judgment of this world." (ver. 31) The word translated - "judgment" - is the Greek word, krisis, which transliterated into English is - crisis. Also the Greek text does not have a "the" so the verse literally reads - "Now is a crisis of this world."]
We are approaching another crisis of this world. In fact, we are in the hour of its final approach. Are we hearing only thunder, and are thus unable to truly perceive the meaning of what has, and is taking place? Why? Is the experience as recorded in John 12 being repeated again today?
people's response to Jesus' announcement of an imminent crisis was that
they had been taught that
p 3 -- the Messiah abideth forever, and why should He teach that "the Son of man must be lifted up." They even declared that this was based on inspiration - "out of the law." (ver. 34) Jesus' answer to this faulty perception was very simple - "While ye have the light, believe on the light, that ye may become sons of light." (ver. 36, RV) Jesus is stating plainly that being able to quote or compile "inspired writings" does not mean that one is walking in the light, or teaching truth!
In the verses that follow, John adds his "commentary" as to why the darkness covered the people so that they were unable to perceive the light of truth and be truly "sons of light." John first quotes from Isaiah 53:1, then adds - "Therefore they could not believe, because that Isaiah said again"_- and he quotes Isaiah 6:10. But in quoting, he uses neither our KJV translation, nor fully the LXX . 1 John contrasts a "he" with the 'I" of "I should heal them." The words of Jesus, upon which John is commenting speak of only two "persons" - "the prince of this world" who was to be cast out, and "the Son of man" who was to be lifted up for the healing of mankind. And so now comes another question: Why was the prince of this world able to so blind the chosen people of God they could not perceive true light, and to become so dull that the voice from heaven was only distinguishable as thunder?
clearly states that among the chief rulers many believed on Jesus (ver.
42). But "belief" is not enough. Connected with true belief
must come confession. The Greek word translated, "confess,"
compounded from homos
(like) and logos
(word) meaning "to speak in accordance with; adopt the same terms
of language." But to do so in Christ's day - to confess Him - was
costly. They would be "put out of the synagogue." A confession
of truth today:1 is just as costly. Men
Why this deceptive duplicity? John tells us - "They loved the praise of men more than the praise of' God" (ver.43). These are the voices which are sounding today on the periphery of Adventism. Down deep in their hearts they know things are not well. They also know, if their persistent rebellion against light has not totally blinded them, that God has spoken in fulfilled prophecy as to the times and seasons. But to so confess, would lead to but one thing - they would be put out of the synagogue. Not to be "a son of light" means that one becomes by default "a son of darkness." And as in Christ's day, they turn from Christ - the lifted up Son of man - to keep in the good graces of the hierarchy. The glorificaion that God offers - the cross they reject that they may have the approbation of people who are unable to discern the enunciation of God's voice, thinking it
p 4 -- thundered. Or worse yet, accepting the adulation of a people who think they hear in their crossless message the voice of an angel.
What are you? A son of light? Or a promoter. of darkness under.the guise of light? Are you willing to walk with Jesus wherever He went? Even to the Cross outside the gate! Or are you afraid to confess the truth for fear of being put out of the synagogue?
The sad part today is that there are those who are advocating what is called "separation" (such a Sessler) who do not even know what the truth is all about. They are teaching error. They even quote "inspired sources" as did the people of Christ's day. But having either no knowledge of, or having rejected "present truth", they advocate a separation without having made a confession to truth which would bring about in God's own way - being put out of the synagogue.
1 -- How John quoted Isaiah 6:10: Isa. 6:10 KJV - "Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed."
Isa. 6:10 LXX - "For the heart of this people has become gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them."
John 6:40 RV - "[Isaiah said again] He hath blinded their eyes, and he hardened their heart; lest they should see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, and should turn, and I should heal them."
p 5 -- OSBORNE JOINS TREK OF "FOOLISH VIRGINS" -- In the recent issue of Telecaster (Vol. 1, #2), John Osborne answers a question about his present relationship to the Seventh-day Adventist Church inasmuch as he moved his headquarters out of the Bonita Springs SDA Church. In this reply, he tells of the "deal" cut with the conference brethren which will place him and his local following under their jurisdiction. He noted that while at the present time, the Conference "does not recognize him as the pastor," it is believed "that with the pleasant winds of reconciliation that are blowing that that time will soon come." (p. 34) This means simply that he will be restored as a full minister within the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Osborne's version of the "reconciliation" can be read in an answer to another question of the same issue of Telecaster (p. 36). He indicated in the discussion that the subjects of the "use of the tithe" and "the Nature of Christ" were approached "with open mindedness and candor." He did not tell what agreement was reached in regard to the tithe, but it can be accurately deducted that "the Nature of Christ" dealt with the subject of the Incarnation. This doctrine presents, no problem for the hierarchy - they can bend either way, or both ways. As one conference president told a concerned brother, "We are not concerned with what you believe. Adventists now have an open-ended theology. Believe what you wish; just keep the tithe coming in."
[Until the "fine print" of the whole "deal" cut by Osborne and the Florida Conference hierarchy is made available for all to read, reservations must be entertained in regard to Osborne's report of what was agreed to. Some of Osborne's deceptive tactics prior to this can be documented, and there is no evidence that he has made a change since these were brought to his attention.]
real picture comes into sharp focus as one considers the doctrine of the
Incarnation which was discussed. In a recent editorial in the Adventist
Review - "Pulling Together in North America" - this doctrine
was noted with the following comment: Nor
should we divide the church over the human nature of Jesus. Let us exalt
Jesus as the only one fully God yet fully man, the one tempted in all
points and capable of falling yet wholly without sin. Regardless of whether
we think that Jesus came in the nature of Adam before or after the Fall,
we can agree
on these most basic points." (July 2, 1987, p. 4)
p 6-- Since this is the present position of the Church leadership they had no problem adjusting to Osborne's belief on this point. But it does raise a very acute question for Osborne. Is it vital whether one believes that Christ took the pre-Fall, or post-Fall nature of Adam? While the "brethren" assured Osborne that he could believe what he wished and "no demands" (Osborne's emphasis) would be placed upon him to believe otherwise, Osborne compromised with them admitting that they also could believe as they wished. In essence, he told the hierarchy by joining them, it just isn't that important! With the position of the hierarchy clearly set forth in the Adventist Review, Osborne gave credence to apostasy by tacitly joining it!
It is a deception to tell people "I didn't give up anything, yet we all got together." Osborne did give up a vital point by admitting you can believe what you wish about the nature of Christ in the incarnation. Can you so admit? You must decide, and in so deciding, you must make a decision in regard to Osborne. Can two walk together lest they be agreed? This question presents a challenge to you as well as telling you the real nature of the compromise Osborne made with the hierarchy.
Perhaps by accident, or mere coincidence, in this same issue of the Telecaster, is an article on "The Ten Virgins." It reveals the full import of the "deal" Osborne cut with the hierarchy. One quote in the article from the Writings, if Osborne had followed its message, would have saved him from his own self-deception. It reads - "The parable [of the Ten Virgins] is designed to point to the peril of surface work." (See p. 13) This "surface work" - the shallow thinking - marks and identifies the whole of Osborne's program. One of his own board members conveyed this problem to me, and even attempted to arrange for Osborne to have sufficient data to be informed, but to no avail.
us take a hard, below-the-surface look at the message of the parable.
There are certain "given" factors as in geometry:
p 7 -- Interestingly, this parable was used by Ellen G. White in connection with the reaction to the 1888 Message. She wrote to a brother who had been blessed by the Ottawa, Kansas Campmeeting. Referring to the parable she wrote: This parable has been and will be fulfilled to the very letter, for it has special application to this time, and like the third angel's message, has been fulfilled and will be present truth till the close of time." (R&H, Aug. 19, 1890)
Besides linking the parable with the third angel's message, she also connects it with the Laodicean state. In the same article, she wrote: The state of the Church represented by the foolish virgins, is also spoken of as the Laodicean state. (Ibid.)
What is sometimes forgotten is that the "most precious message" God gave to Elders Waggoner and Jones was for the church, and that message is declared to be "a testimony that presented the truth as it is in Jesus, which is the third angel's message, in clear distinct lines." (TM, pp. 91, 93)
Let us take a look at the parallel between the parable of the Ten Virgins and the picture of Laodicea. In Rev. 3:14-20, Christ is pictured as ever outside the church - standing at the door knocking, but never let in by the leadership of the church. Further, the picture portrayed is that only individuals not the church corporately - open the door to receive Jesus. The text reads - "If any man." (3:20) In the parable, the wise "go out to a meeting" with Jesus, while the foolish go to man. They remain in the Laodicean state.
A similar picture of warning is to be found in the Third Angel's Message. It declares - "If any man worship the beast" (14:9) It is important to note how the "beast" is defined: - "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is a number of a man. (13:18) In simple language the message states - "If any man worship man." What does it mean to worship? - Give allegiance to; come into fellowship with; seek acceptance by.
The foolish virgins go to man because they want the approval and acceptance of man on the way to meet the Bridegroom. Those who reject the Third Angel's Message give allegiance to and fellowship with man - worship a beast! They may even preach the message in a theoretical and surface manner, telling their listeners they are preaching "traditional" Adventism.
It is a lonely road to walk out to meet Jesus. Few guests want to join you in true fellowship with Him - "sup with Him" - taking the emblems of His sacrifice. They much prefer the banquet tables where all can make merry, and there is a manufactured fellowship and unity. "They love the praise of men more than the praise of God." (Jn.12:43)
Don't forget the parable. The foolish virgins still have their lamps. You will still hear the same doctrinal presentations from Osborne you have heard before. There may be even the same sembelance of power; but it will lead you to a worship of man, instead of taking you forth to meet the Bridegroom. There will continue to be the display of "self" (See back page of Telecaster) and the exaltation of man with the design to obtain means, because cutting a "deal" with men, he has to turn to man for his support.
Well did Jesus say - How can ye believe, which receive honor from one another, and seek not that honor that cometh from God only? (John 5:44)
p 8 -- A CRITIQUE -- An Essay - "FALL, FINAL ATONEMENT AND VINDICATION" -- This essay is published by 1888 Message Revival, and authored by Bob White as a sincere attempt to direct attention to the final atonement and its significance. That there is such a need is beyond question to those who are willing to give serious thought to the sanctuary message.
The whole essay is built around a statement in the book, Education, pp. 14-15. It reads: In order to understand what is comprehended in the work of education, we need to consider both the nature of man and the purpose of God in creating him. We need to consider also the change in man's condition through the coming in of a knowledge of evil, and God's plan for still fulfilling His purpose in the education of the human race.
In the development of his thesis, the writer dwells at length on what happened to man when he sinned in contrast to what he was as God created him. In this he assumed a faulty and untenable premise. Asking - "What is an unfallen nature?" - he writes: Whether of man, or an angel, or an inhabitant of an unfallen world, it is the perfect blending of the natural attributes of that species of creature, fully blended with the divine nature. The divine nature is an ingredient, an active component of the nature of that intelligent creature. Adam's unfallen nature was a perfect blend of all his natural attributes with the divine nature. Such a blend "does not commit sin" (MH 180). (p. 4, Emphasis his)
The simple fact is that Adam did sin - so did Lucifer! Instead of changing this false premise of what is an "unfallen nature," he compounds his error by asserting that after man fell, he was given another nature. He writes: Adam was instantly given a fallen nature when he CHOSE to sin... (p. 3, Emphasis his)
Of this fallen nature, Bob White declares: The fallen nature is NOT a corruption, a degradation, a perversion, of the unfallen nature. It is a different nature than the unfallen nature.(Ibid. Emphasis his)
By taking this position, White contradicts the Writings upon which his whole essay is built. Ellen G. White wrote: In creating man, God gave him noble qualities. He endowed him with a well-balanced mind, and made every power of his being harmonious. After the fall there was not given to man another set of faculties... The fall did not create in man new faculties, energies, and passions; for this would have been a reflection upon God. It was through disobedience to God's requirements that these powers were perverted; the affections were misplaced, and turned from the high and holy purpose to a lower aim and to meet a lower standard...
p 9-- Through the sanctification of the truth man becomes a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. What may not man become through the grace given him, if he will but be a partaker of the divine nature? (R&H, March 1, 1887)
Two things need to be noted from this statement: 1) Man was not created with a "divine nature." He receives this "through the sanctification of the truth." 2) Man was not given a different nature as the result of his disobedience, but the faculties with which he was endowed were "perverted, misused, and degenerated by disobedience."
The premise as set forth by the writer of the essay, left him but one way to go as to what the plan of redemption was to accomplish, and that is, the eradication of the fallen nature, given him "instantly" when he sinned. And this is the position taken. He writes: The detrimental effect of sin upon the mind must be eradicated." (p. 7, Emphasis his)
Commenting on Zachariah 3, White further states: Satan stands by to accuse [the 144,000], and the command is given: "Take away the filthy garments" (the fallen human nature for it has completed its purpose). (p. 8)
While Bob White denies that his position is "holy flesh" teaching (p. 10), there is no escaping the fact that the concept of the "eradication of the fallen nature" is indeed basic Holy Flesh doctrine. An interesting sidelight is that while researching the Holy Flesh Movement, prior to the publication of the E. G. White Review and Herald articles, I found tucked away in the papers of S. S. Davis, one of the leading exponents of the teaching in Indiana, the quotation from the March 1, 1887 issue. They never used it; they just couldn't reconcile it to their teaching of the "eradication of the fallen nature."
the essay by Bob White, there were constant overtones of Brinsmeadism
(Decade I). Parallels between White's observations and the teachings found
in God's Eternal Purpose were obvious. This was understandable
inasmuch as White was closely associated with Robert Brinsmead during
the first decade, flying him from appointment to appointment in the United
While this Essay must be severely faulted for its erroneous assumptions, it is hoped that this will not mean that the study of the final atonement will be set aside as of little moment.
NOTE -- Since the publication of the last issue of "Watchman, What of the Night?" (XX-10), we have had opportunity to review further the new 1888 Re-Examined and find that to limit a discussion of its premises to a crtique in this issue of Commentary would be inadequate. We plan to devote the whole issue of WWN (XX-11) to an analysis of the publication. It will present the united findings of both editors.
p 10 --"PEOPLE OF THE BOOK"? -- When I became a Seventh-day Adventist sixteen years ago I heard our people proudly describe themselves as: "People of the Book." For many years Seventh-day Adventist were rightfully known as "People of the Book." However, as I meet our people in the churches and in their homes, as I read the publications from the periphery of Adventism, I have become painfully aware that as a group, we are no longer "People of the Book."
Why is it that our knowledge of the Scriptures is not what it should be? Is it because we are not spending the time in study that we should? While many are not taking time to study, there are some on the periphery of Adventism who are devoting much time to study and yet are still unable to discern truth from error, unable to understand the real issues of Adventism today. Why is this so?
I would like to propose that our lack of understanding is in part because of a most subtle deception that the devil has for the remnant people. That deception is the use of the "lesser light" of the Spirit of Prophecy as the "greater light" instead of it being a means to lead us to the "greater light" -the Bible.
Before I continue any further I would like to state my own personal conviction regarding God's special gift to His remnant people.
My understanding of the Spirit of Prophecy is the same as that of the late M. L. Andreasen. He stated: I believe that the writings of Sister White are true messages of God for this church and that no one can ignore and disobey them except at great, infinitely great, loss.
Let me make this clear. I am not to worship Sister White or her writings. I am to worship God. I am to preach Christ. I am not to consider her writings another Bible. As a Protestant I must stand on the Bible and the Bible only. I am not to consider her writings an addition to the Bible, presenting new light. I am to use them as a magifying glass that does not create new truths but makes plainer that which is already revealed. In my own life and thinking I find them of surpassing value. I most highly recommend them to others. (Without Fear or Favor, p. 78)
"And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ ... The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Rev. 12:17; 19:10) For one to deny the place of the Spirit of Prophecy, he must deny that portion of Scripture which clearly identifies its existance.
While looking through the June-July issue of Laymen Ministry News, I noticed an example of the above mentioned deception. A study "Overcoming Sin" (p. 28) was written
p 11 -- in question and answer form with thirteen questions. The answers to these questions were from the Spirit of Prophecy and the Bible. In answering the thirteen questions, only two of the questions received answers from the Bible. In the same issue was an article - "The Work of the Holy Spirit and Apostasy." (p. 21-27) In this seven-page article there were twenty-four references from the Spirit of Prophecy, one reference from A.T. Jones, and three references from the Bible (two of which were in the quotations.) This seems to be the rule rather than the exception, not only for this publication, but for the great majority of publications that come from the presses of the so called "dissidents."
Again, lest I be misunderstood, let me state that I am not against the use of the Spirit of Prophecy. One only needs to read my articles in the Thought Paper over the last year to see where I stand. Let me also state that we can and must overcome sin. The Spirit of Prophecy references used in this article were statements of truth and good for our study. However, after reading through the study, one is left with the opinion that the Spirit of Prophecy is the guide for the Christian and that the Bible is used to add strength to the Spirit of Prophecy statements.
Some day you and I will be standing before a court of law and asked to give a reason for the hope that is within us. At that time an Ellen G. White quote will not do! While many Adventists can give a Bible study on the Sabbath or the state of the dead, there are few who can give a good study from the Bible alone on Daniel 8:14. There are even fewer Adventists who can show from the Bible alone that the Christian should believe in the seperation of church and state. Most Adventists would quickly agree that the church must be seperated from the powers that be, but how do they prove it? They site the problems that have occured in past histroy when the church and state were united, or they give references from The Great Controversy.
Adventists claim to be a continuation of the Protestant reformation. The motto of the reformation was "sola Scriptura." Yet many of the professed heirs of the reformatioo have a new motto: "The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy." I know, at this point, I will be dubbed by some as an heir to the apostasy of D. M. Canright. But please let the reader understand, the Testimonies are not in question. The Testimonies are not the problem today. Canright used "sola Scriptura" in order to discredit Mrs. White's writings. The problem is not with Ellen G. White. The problem is the improper use of the gift that God has given to His people. Ellen G. White herself recognized this problem. We need to consider what she said for two reasons. First, there are many who are not informed on this issue. Secondly, the "Neo-Adventist" who would place the Writings above the Bible also need to understand the true nature of what she has written. While many of these statements may be shocking, they are vital to our understanding.
p 12 -- Testimony of the Spirit of Prophecy -- On the last day of the 1909 General Conference, Ellen G. White went to the platform to speak. "After a few words of good cheer and farewell, she turned to the pulpit on which lay a Bible. Opening it, she held it up with hands that trembled with age. 'Brethren and sisters, I commend unto you this Book.' She closed the Book and walked down from the platform. She had spoken her last word to the assembled delegates of the Seventh -day Adventist Church." (Without Fear or Favor, pages 66, 67)
Today many would teach new doctrines which they claim are supported by the Writings. Not only are doctrines taught, but a whole host of reforms as well. However, if one desires to follow the teachings of the Spirit of Prophecy concerning doctrines and reforms, the Writings are explicit! - "God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms.(SOP,Vol. IV, p. 413; Also see The Great Controversy, p. 595.)
During the time that I was a member in one of our churches in West Virgina, the pastor's father-in-law was given opportunities to speak frequently. This sincere man would take a large catalog case full of Spirit of Prophecy books onto the platform and begin to read quote after quote. As a new Christian, I desired to hear the word of God preached from the pulpit. I was hungry for the meat of the Bible.
As good as the references were, they did not meet the need in my life at that time. I must wonder if the Spirit of Prophecy quotes from the publications of today are the meat that the people in the field need? A few years later I was in a church where the minister passed out Spirit of Prophecy books before the worship service to people to read quotes for him at different parts of his message. I often thought of what visitors might have thought who came to hear Bible preaching from "People of the Book." What did Ellen White say concerning this pratice? She wrote: My brethren, God has given you but one standard and that is the Bible. The Bible and the Bible alone is to be your guide. The testimonies should never be preached from our pulpits. They should be read at home and used as stepping stones in the study of the Bible. You have no right to use the testimonies to prove doctrines. Had you studied your Bibles as you should there never would have been any need of the testimonies for it is God's perfect and complete guide to all who would know the way of life. (Proper Use of the Testimonies, pp. 4-5; Quoted in The Greatest Thing in the World, p. 5 - Emphasis supplied)
Christians should be preparing for what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise, and this preparation they should make by diligently studying the word of God, and striving to conform their lives to its precepts. The tremendous issues of eternity demand of us something besides an imaginary religion, a religion of words and forms, where truth is
p 12 -- kept in the outer court. God calls for a revival and a reformation. The words of the Bible, and the Bible alone, should be heard from the pulpit. (Prophets and Kings, page 626)
At times I have seen individuals carry small file boxes of quotations from the Writings to read to someone who differed in doctrine or lifestyle from them. Please think carefully about what Sister White told a group gathering in the Battle Creek College library April 1, 1901 during the General Conference session. She said: Don't you quote Sister White. I don't want you ever to quote Sister White until you get your vantage ground where you know where you are. Quote the Bible. Talk the Bible. It is full of meat, full of fatness. Carry it right out in your life, and you will know more Bible than you know now. You will have fresh matter - 0, you will have precious matter; you won't be going over and over the same ground, ... (SpaldingMagan Collection, p. 174 -Emphasis supplied.)
These quotations are not used with the idea of proving what the Bible cannot. They are not used as a club to hit one over the head who uses only the Spirit of Prophecy, or uses it above the Bible. They are given for the honest in heart who are ignorant as to the true nature of how the Writings are to be used. Ponder long the following words of counsel. - Let everyone who claims to believe that the Lord is soon coming, search the Scriptures as never before; for Satan is determined to try every device possible to keep souls in darkness, and blind the mind to the perils of the times in which we are living. Let every believer take up his Bible with earnest prayer, that he may be enlightened by the Holy Spirit as to what is truth, that he may know more of God and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Search for truth as for hidden treasures, and disappoint the enemy. (R&H, Nov. 22, 1892 - The weight of this statement is appreciated when one understands that this was written shortly after the first National Sunday Legistation was signed into law in 1892.)
Testimony of the Scripture -- In our study of the Scriptures, note the words of Christ. "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." (John 17:17) Jesus declared Himself to be "the way, the truth, and the life . . . . " (John 14:6) Of this life, Peter stated: "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12) Paul told Timothy this great salvation is found in the Scriptures. "And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." ( 2 Tim. 3:15) Now ask yourself a very simple question: where else aside from a few scattered references in Josephus' writings and others, can one read about Jesus except in the Bible? This should tell us something. Then should we not concentrate on the original source - the Bible?
"Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the
p 14 -- preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Ephesians 6:14-17)
would one know what truth, righteousness, faith, or salvation is apart
from the Bible? Worldly
The Psalmist asked the question: "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?" The answer is given immediately: "By taking heed thereto according to thy word." (Psalm 119:9) When we want victory from sin where can we turn? "Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee." (Psalm 119:11)
"For the word of God is living, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword..." (Heb. 4:12 margin) Truly the Bible "is full of meat, full of fatness." Does this imply that there is no need for the Spirit of Prophecy? No! Jesus bestows gifts upon His people because there is a need. And what is that need? Mrs. White writes thus: Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light. (R&H, Jan. 20, 1903)
Relationship of Non-Canonical Prophets to the Scripture -- An understanding of the relationship of non-canonical prophets to the Scriptures is given by the testimony of the Scriptures themselves. - "Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon." (Acts 13:1) "We entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. And the same had four daugthers, virgins, which did prophesy. And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judea a certain prophet, named Agabus." (Acts 21:8-10)
These verses mention various prophets, but we do not have in the Bible a Book of Agabus, nor a Book of the four daugthers of Philip. However, these prophets are mentioned in connection with one who wrote more of the books of the New Testament than any other single person. Further, Agabus is given a message for Paul. (Acts 21:11) Here we see the work of non-canonical prophets - their work is local with specific guidance for individuals and groups, meeting local conditions. (Bible Study Guide, p. 74. Also see Acts 11:27-30; 2 Chron. 9:29;12:15)
p 15 -- Historic Adventism -- Today many who would denounce the "New Theology" and send up a plea for "Historic Adventism" have fallen into the camp of "Neo-Adventism" without even knowing it. What is the historical view of the Spirit of Prophecy that our pioneers held? A careful examination will reveal it to be in harmony with the Writings. Notice the thoughts of James White: The Bible is a perfect, and complete revelation. It is our only rule of faith and practice. But this is no reason why God may not show the past, present, and future fulfillment of his word, in these last days, by dreams and visions; according to Peter's testimony. True visions are given to lead us to God, and his written word; but those that are given for a new rule of faith and pratice, separate from the Bible, cannot be from God, and should be rejected. (A Word to the "Little Flock", p. 13 Emphasis supplied)
The church's first "Statement of Belief" was published on the Steam Press at Battle Creek in 1872. It is an idenitical statement to the one published in the first issue of The Signs of the Times, June 4, 1874. Concerning the authorship of this "Statement of Belief," the book The Living Witness notes: "Though there is no assurance that James White was the only author, he no doubt had a large part in its composition." (p. 1) What did that historic statement say concerning the gift? It stated that they believed, - "That the Spirit of God was promised to manifest itself in the church through certain gifts, enumerated especially in 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4; that these gifts are not designed to supersede, or take the place of, the Bible, which is sufficient to make us wise unto salvation, any more than the Bible can take the place of the Holy Spirit; that in specifying the various channels of its operation, that Spirit has simply made provision for its own existence and presence with the people of God to the end of time, to lead to an understanding of that word which it had inspired, to convince of sin and work a transformation in the heart and life; and that those who deny to the Spirit its place and operation do plainly deny that part of the Bible which assigns to it this work and position." (The Living Witness, p. 6)
In conclusion: Let us study and use the Spirit of Prophecy as God has designed. "Quench not the Spirit." (1 Thess. 5:19) However, let us not fail in our calling to be Bereans who "were more noble than those in Thessalonica in that they received the word with all readiness of mind; and SEARCHED THE SCRIPTURES DAILY." (Acts 17:11)
Special 4 Commentary -- Volume I - Number 4 -- CAST OUT OF THE SYNAGOGUE -- The thoughts running through my mind are mixed and varied. It is as if my parents had called me and told me that they no longer wished for me to be their son, they had disowned me. As I went out the doors of the Indian Creek Church where I had pastored for three years I could.hardly believe what had happened. The pain was intense, I was prepared to leave and yet it was at the same time a great release from the tension and strain that I had been under for the last three years. As sympathetic brethren offered their condolences I prayed that when their time should come that they would be able to stand for the truth and that there would be brethren there to encourage them as they were there to encourage me. It is for those who have been cast out of the synagogue before me and those who will be cast out after me that this experience is being written out. "Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."
Recently, while planning this article for the Commentary, a document a document was laid on my desk written by former Ohio Conference pastor John Croskey about his experience with the Ohio Conference. (Those who are familiar with the John Croskey story will understand why I was interested in his document after reading this issue of the Commentary.) While looking through the article I became disturbed with several parts. Let me state before I comment about the document that I believe that there was an injustice done to Brother Croskey by the conference. How much injustice, only God knows. However, this documented commentary will not be of the same nature as Croskey's. The leadership will not be labeled as having "Satanic Characters" nor will they be called "wretches" as in Croskey's paper.
nine of the manuscript written by Croskey is a picture of Elder Marwood
Hallett whom Croskey was assigned to intern under at Akron. Across from
the picture of Hallett is the caption: "Now does this man look like
he'd make a good 'BOSS OVER ME' for Motschiedler (Ohio Conference president)
- or what??? One thing is
certain: when I saw the man's picture, I was not the least bit 'encouraged'."
(See document - SPIRITUAL WICKNESS IN HIGH PLACES - Emphasis supplied.)
Since when did the appearance of an individual have anything to do with
While it is our desire to write the Commentary in a Chistian manner, our thoughts are reminded of what the servant of the Lord wrote: "So men who should be standing as faithful guardians of God's law have argued, till policy has taken the place of faithf:ulness, and sin is allowed to go unreproved. When will the voice of faithfu rebuke be heard once more in the Church?"
coviction is: I
have no hard feelings toward any of the people connected with the conference
or the local church in any way. This includes Elder Herbert Broeckel who
is the Mountain View Conference president, the Conference Committee, as
well as those who voted for my disfellowshipment. I account many of them
brothers and sisters in Christ regardless of how they :* wish to account
me. My desire is not to unnecessarily call names or label people. This
is not a laughing matter. (There will be no smiling faces in this commentary
as there was in
To be able to understand the events that led up to my disfellowshipment, I shall give a brief chronology of events during the last five years, three of which I was pastor of the Indian Creek S.D.A. Church in the Mountain View Conference. (Contrary to accepted standards, the chronology will be in both past and present tense.) 2
We received our first call to the ministry in the summer of 1983. I was to work in a similar capacity to that of an intern under an ordained minister in a small church in West Virginia. I chose to teach public school for the support of my family while the
p 2 -- conference would give me a travel allowance. At that time, I could only envision the church as doing good and being on the straight and narrow path to the kingdom. I had heard of Desmond Ford and knew that I wanted nothing to do with "offshoot" theology such as his. However, thanks to the Ministry magazine, my vision of the church was soon to change. It was in the Ministry magazine that I learned that the pastor did not have to seek "New Theology," the church would bring it to his mailbox every month. One of the first issues I received (December 1983), created great problems for me. The first article of that issue was certainly not Historic Adventism. This article, "Within the Veil," written by Erwin Gane, has since become quite well known. I wondered, why would the church publish such material? I asked my fellow ministers about it at the workers meetings and found none, that I asked, had read it. Finally I talked to the district pastor. His comment was, "I don't seeanything wrong with it." (That was the last time that I asked him for any theological advice!) Little by little, the Lord was showing me the error that was being taught.
Our next call was to take the Indian Creek Church in May of 1984 as a stipend pastor. I would still be working in the public schools for the support of my family while pastoring the small church (average attendance was about 20). While at Indian Creek, the picture of what had been taking place in the church started to become much clearer. The book, Letters to the Churches, came to my attention for the first time. With wonder I read about the S.D.A. Evangelical Conferences of 1955 and 1956. This sparked my interest in studying the "Alpha and Omega" of apostasy. As I studied and researched, I found that we had deviated from the "blueprint" in the medical work, the education work, the ministry, etc.
After reading Wieland and Short's manuscript, 1888 Re-Examined, I would discuss the hope of repentance by our poeple with the head elder Glen Ford (no relation to Desmond Ford). Many hours did we discuss, study, and pray for a repentance to take place in the church. During this time we both felt that it was at least possible for the church to be turned around, although we were not sure if she would. With the passing of time, and more light coming to us, our hope of denominational repentance began to fade.
About this time I met Marty Wold who had recently become a stipend pastor in the conference. This brief introduction to Marty left me with the impression that he was one of the finest Christians I had ever met. Marty was not lifeless like so many of the other ministers, but rather he was vibrant, and on fire for Christ. It came as a great shock when I soon after heard that Marty had been dismissed from the ministry. Desiring to know what had happened, Brother Ford and I invited Marty to Indian Creek.
In visiting with Marty I was convined that I had not misjudged his Christian exerience. We found Marty was more informed about the apostasy than we were. In his studies he had drawn the conclusion that the S.D.A. Church would become a persecuting power in the last days. (While at first skeptical, I believe that Marty's hypothsis will prove to be deadly accurate.) Since much of Marty's interest and study was in the topic Righteousness by Faith, I asked him to give some studies to the church members that were interested. These studies were held in my mobile home (the home was set up on a portion of the church lot that we had leased) on a Sabbath afternoon; and at Brother Ford's house the following Sunday. The dates for the meetings were December 29 and 30, 1984. 1
Marty was invited back to visit the last weekend of January 1985. Most of the church members as well as the former pastor of the Indian Creek Church attended the studies held at the Ford's home. A month later - the last weekend of February - Marty spoke at the Ford's home on religious liberty and health reform. When the news returned to the conference office that I had had Marty in our area, specifically in my home, the conference president (Elder Wayne Coulter) wanted to see me. In a kind way he told me that I had given sanction to Marty's views by having him visit, and that this should not be done anymore. He told me that some of Marty's ideas were correct, but that the church was going on to the kingdom and not to worry about it.
During this time, my loyalty to the church was beginning to waver. When I entered the ministry, I promised the Lord that I would always be loyal to the truth. Now it was becoming more difficult to be loyal to the truth and loyal to the church at the same time. I remember telling Sister Ford after an evangelistic meeting that it was getting a little scary to preach on apostate Protestantism. The more I studied the picture, the more we were beginning to look like one of the daugthers of Babylon. The struggle was great, yet I continued to support the church and its programs every way I could.
saw the vain attempts the church was .making to give the three angels
messages in the form of "New Theology," we decided to increase
our efforts in the part of the vineyard
that God had intrusted to us. Since most of the members, including myself,
held full time jobs, our little church decided to support a full time
Bible worker. Though the salary was small ($600/month), a young
May 2, 1985 - I met Elder William Grotheer for the first time at Brother Ford's home; his presentation was on Bible prophecy. The former pastor of Indian Creek and his wife, the Fords, my wife and I were the only ones present. Although there are just a few, the meeting was quite stimulating for all attending. There was nothing presented that could not have been given at any worker's
p 3 -- meeting. Elder Grotheer gives each family the document: Times of the Gentiles. My copy goes to the shelf.
May 19, 1985 - The regular constituency meeting of the Mountain View Conference
Sabbath, June 8, 1985 - Indian Creek is the first church in the Mountain View Conference that Elder Broeckel visits to speak in. We open the doors with a loving welcome hoping that here would be one who would stand for the truth. As sincere as Elder Broeckel may have been, we were later to be bitterly disappointed.
July 1985 - The manuscript, Times of the Gentiles, comes off the shelf. I have been looking for the missing piece to the church puzzle and I now believe that it may have been found. As I study the prophecy of Jesus in Luke 21:24 the scroll unrolls. Here is the answer to why the church has gone down hill so much in recent years. I write Elder Grotheer and ask him to come and study Luke 21:24 in detail with me.
Friday, August 23, 1985 - Elder Grotheer and I study Luke 21:24 for the entire day. Every facet of the prophecy is looked at, every angle is carefully examined.
Sabbath afternoon, August 24, 1985 - Elder Grotheer presents a three part study, "Times of the Gentiles" in my home. Most of the church people attend and the response is varied. Some have strong objections to the material presented, yet they cannot refute the prophecy of Jesus. Some realize that the prophecy has been fulfilled and begin to understand its implications. Brother LeBrun is quite disturbed. In talking to him after the meeting, we concur that the S. D. A. Church organization is no place to bring the souls we were working for, but rather we would have to bring them into a local fellowship. This decision of Brother LeBrun is soon forgotten.
In learning about the 1980 Dallas General Conference session and what had taken place, I decided that it was time to talk up louder. Not only did I have to speak up, but I could no longer financially support what I knew to be apostasy. Yet even at this time, I financially supported the local conference wherever I could. The support of the local church was little problem since I was the pastor. When I found out that the General Conference had millions of dollars invested in the stock market I was very surprised. From talking to those who "play" the market I found out that it was "gambling." Not only were we gambling away God's money, but we were doing much of it on products that were not in keeping with our standards.
Sabbath, early September 1985 - My sermon is on the tithe. The first 80% of the message is straight from the Bible and could be preached in any S.D.A. Church. However, the last 20% would not have been so well received. After reading texts such as Isaiah 58:1; Joel 2:1; Ezekiel 33:3-9; 1 Peter 5:2; and 2 Timothy 4:2, I read part of the General Conference auditing report from the previous year and discuss our involvement in the stock market. I emphasize to the people the scriptural obligation of returning a faithful tithe, and then offerings. However, I also emphasize that we cannot put God's holy money in unholy hands. I do not tell anyone not to tithe to the conference, or where to put their tithe. (It has been more than two years since then, and I have never asked or advised anyone not to send their tithe to the conference. When asked about my personal position, I have been clear and "make no bones about it" - I cannot support apostasy.)
October 1985 - Knowing that the conference president has received word of the tithe sermon and wanting to be up front, I write to him about my concerns. On Sabbath October 19, I preach what I believe will be my last sermon as a Seventh-day Adventist minister. The conference president will be visiting me the next day and my mind goes back to the way that Marty Wold was fired.
Sunday, October 20 - Elder Broeckel comes to talk to me about my concerns. I express to him that I do not see how we can fulfill the characteristics of the remnant church with the apostasy that is going on. Believing that the pastors in Mountain View Conference were teaching Historic Adventism, I offer to return my tithe to the conference if it will stay there. To this Elder Broeckel responds that that is not possible because of the world wide nature of the church and the polices would not allow it. I offer to study from the Bible the basis of my concerns with Elder Broeckel, his reply is, "Allen, I'm no theologian." He does offer to let me study with any minister of my choice in the conference to see if my concerns can be cleared up. He expresses to me that he believes that if I could attend one of our schools I could get things straightened out. (I have never been a student in an Adventist school.) I tell Elder Broeckel that if I went to the seminary that it would be my ruination. If the seminary cannot prepare a conference president, to study theological issues with an untrained (by church standards) pastor, then I didn't that it would help me. Instead of releasing me of my pastoral duties Elder Broeckel says that he will ask the Conference Committee to give me two months to study the issues out with the pastor of my choice and then if things are not straightened out, something will have to be done about my pastorate.
Sunday evening, October 20 - I remove my personal belongings out of the pastor study at the church. I determine to seek after truth, change where I am wrong, but not to compromise just to stay in the ministry.
November 1985 - I study with Pastor John Oddie about the tithe. John is a close comrade of mine and I respect him very much. John pastored the Parkersburg S.D.A. Church whe I was canvassing. He had the funeral for our first child and the dedication for our second. I believe him to be a true Christian (and still do). Although the studies are friendly and we each learn some new things about tithes and offerings that neither of us knew before; however, neither John nor I convince each other on the question of what the "storehouse" is.
p 4 -- On my monthly workers report for November I request to be able to meet with the Conference Committee at their next meeting, the 16th of December, to explain my position. I receive a letter dated November 16, 1985 from Elder Broeckel. In it he states, "We are noting this request and will follow through on it if it is deemed needed." He also recommended that we get together on Sunday night, December 15. He then states: "As per your request, John Oddie called me today and reported that he felt you and he had made significant progress. If it's not necessary for a full airing at the committee of this whole matter, I would just as soon that we handle it that way. In any event, if you and I can have some time together on Sunday evening along with Charmaine, to go over these matters we can determine then whether it is necessary for you to be in Parkersburg the next day."
From his letter and a follow up phone call Sabbath morning the 14th, I am under the impression that I will be able to meet with the Conference Committee on Monday. Sunday evening, when I requested to be able to meet with the committee, Elder Broeckel explained that there "wouldn't be time" to bring up these issues at the Conference Committee meeting the next day.
Winter and Early Spring 1985, 1986 - Things ride along without much controversy. We feel it is the calm before the storm. Elder Bacchiocchi is invited to camp meeting and I protest to the Conference President. His reply is kind, but instead of studying the issues out with me, he again proposes that I consider "summer school, graduate educational experience, or time with selected brethren at the General Conference."
March 1986 - Our small church is placed in a district with the Valley View Church, a large congregation about 50 miles away. Harold Wightman, the new pastor will be the district pastor for both churches. Until Pastor Wightman completes his studies at Southern College, retired pastor Elder Raymond Broderson will fill in. I am still to continue at Indian Creek as stipend pastor. However, the new district pastor will be responsible for "board meetings, business meetings, and preaching in Indian Creek at least once a quarter."
April 21, 1986 - Elder and Mrs. Broderson visit us and have supper with us. They are very friendly, yet Elder Broderson tells me I am too critical of the brethren. He is very outspoken against Elders Wieland and Short calling for corporate repentance.
May 2, 1986 - I have an appointment at the conference office to see the president. I visit with Elder Broeckel, Elder Ken Wright (conference treasurer), and Elder Broderson. They believe that it would be best if I resigned from being the pastor of the Indian Creek church. The last Sabbath of May is set as my last Sabbath as pastor, after that Pastor Wightman will be in the area and ready to take over. It is a long three hour drive home that day.
May 5, 1986 - I write my letter of resignation.
May 14, - 1986 - Elder Broeckel writes to confirm that he has received my letter. He writes again on June 6, 1986 to acknowledge that the Conference Committee accepted my resignation the week before at their regular meeting.
May 18, 1986 - Pastor Wightman has nominating committee meeting.
May 27, 1986 - Pastor Wightman visits to speak in the Indian Creek Church for the first time. He has come to discuss the tithe issue. (During this time a minority of the membership are returning their tithe to the conference.) There is no question about the need of tithe paying. The question is, "What is the storehouse?" Pastor Wightman reads a lot from the Church Manual and quotes from both Ellen G. White and Arthur White, but does not read one Bible text.
June 5, 1985 - Tonight there is another nominating committee meeting because some of those nominated at the prior meeting are not returning their tithe to the conference. The nominating committee is given a list of those members in "good and regular standing" to choose from.
June 7, 1986 - Pastor Wightman's first Sabbath service at Indian Creek. Some tense moments come up about voting on the officers and church board members the nominating committee has selected. His sermon is on "LOYALTY."
June & July 1986 - Relations are strained between those who are supporting the hierarchy and those who are speaking out on such issues as: the use of the tithe, the preaching of "New Theology," etc.
August 30, 1986 - Discussion begins for the first time about the possible need to meet separate from the Indian Creek Church if the tensions do not let up. Those of us that some would call "dissidents" decide that we will devote the month of September to fasting and prayer about the matter of what to do.
September 29, 1986 - The Bible worker has accepted a call to New Hampshire and the church must decide who to call as a replacement. Many of those who have not been returning their tithe to the conference have been using it to support the Bible worker. In fact, over 90% of the funds for the Bible worker have come from the "dissidents." A church business meeting is called to discuss guide lines for the new worker with the new head elder as the chairman. The meeting
p 5 --becomes quite tense and controversial as the leaving Bible worker states that the new Bible worker should teach new members loyalty to the church regardless of what the church does. Not only that, but no mention of any apostasy should be made. While the "dissidents" do not wish for our family problems to be aired to the public, they believe that one should not be brought into the family without being informed of what the family was involved with. The "dissidents" desire the new Bible worker to be loyal to the truth, not necessarily the church. Arrangements had been made for some of the church members - dissidents and non-dissidents alike - to continue the present Bible studies that Brother LeBrun was conducting. At this meeting the "dissidents" are informed that they will not be giving any of these Bible studies. The message is clear, the local leadership is afraid of what we might teach prospective members about the apostasy. The meeting continues until 11:30 that night. We see that peace and harmony cannot exist as things are. Something must give!
October 4, 1986 - The "dissidents have a meeting at Brother Ford's
house after church
Monday, October 6, 1986 - At the church business meeting I ask for the floor at the beginning of the new business section. The letter is read, I give a copy to Pastor Wightman and excuse myself. (To be continued)
Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Indian Creek S.D.A. Church,
We the undersigned, members of this body of believers wish to express to you our future intents, purpose and desires.
First as to intent: As we believe most of you are well aware that since about the first of June of this year there has been serious differences over the issue of the "Storehouse". These differences have created a serious division among us that has manifested itself indifferent ways at different times. We are not accusing anyone for the problem. All we have asked is that we be allowed the conviction of conscience in this area. It is our understanding that we are all together doctrinely except on this issue and the issue of how we should relate to the present apostasy in the church. On these issues, and any others, we would be happy to sit down with an open Bible and discuss the reason for the hope that is within us.
Because of the above problem, we have come to realize that to have peace and harmony which we beIieve is just as important to you as it is to us, we are going to take the following action. We will form a little company of believers to meet separate from the present Indian Creek Church and depend upon God to provide us with a meeting place. We have only been able to secure this decision after much fasting, prayer and anguish of soul especially through the entire month of September. We cherish no hard feeIings towards anyone. We are not bitter toward any man, woman, or child of the entire corpus of believers in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
As to our purpose: We do not desire to go out to the world and publish what has happened to any of us. We believe this is a family issue and sharing family issues with the world would not please our Saviour. We have the same burden for souls that any of you have. If you will recall we have always been wilIing to sacrifice for this purpose. We wiII be praying for your prosperity in doing a good work for the Master in this irea. It is our purpose to serve Jesus in all that we do. We believe that there are many to be saved from the world even at this time in earth's history. However, we also realize that there are millions within the Seventh-day Adventist Church that are going down to a Christless grave. Therefore, we will try to wake up as many of our own members as we possibly can as to present truth for today. We believe that the Truth, not man or organization, is the most important thing that we can follow. (Please see Testimonies to Ministers page 93). We have no desire to follow any man or organization except that the HoIy Spirit of God is leading. We do not purpose to make any "raids" on any of our churches, however, if in our visiting someone comes seeking to know more about our Saviour or the apostasy, we will not hold our peace for anyone. We will definitely not try to persuade anyone to be of our group except as they would voluntarily wish to do so. Anything other than this would be a perversion of the love revealed in the Gospel. If we learn that any of our brothers and sisters are in a strait place, we are here to be of service and help and wilI extend ourselves to you in every way possible.
Now as to our desire: Some of us have been members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church for many years, others not so long. The reason for this membership is that we believe that God called this movement into existence and committed to them truth as a precious legacy to share with the world. We love this truth and we love the S.D.A. Church, however we realize that the Ieadership betrayed that sacred trust given to us over 100 years ago. That trust was betrayed at the 1980 Dallas General Conference and no repentance has yet come, or appears to be coming. We do not desire to be disfellowshiped as some may think. We do care about the body, perhaps more than others. That is the reason that we have this burden to speak out. Only unIoving parents wouId allow their children to stick a hand in fire without warning them. Today the S.D.A. Church is playing with "strange fire."
If you find us to be going out and Iiving in open sin then come to us and discuss it. Our prayer is that we will be open to receive spiritual help from you. We do not believe ourselves to be better people than anyone. We only desire our brothers and sisters to love and to overlook our fauIts and failures, but not our sins. We desire to be a help and not a hindrance . We write this with Iove and appreciation.
p 6-- Editorial -- Shadows of Brass -- While doing research for the story: "Cast Out of the Synagogue" three articles from the Mountain View Conference Newsletter, Challenge, caught my eye. The first article was in the October 1986 issue. The title was: "We Deserve Better." This article, written by a conference worker, began: "About half our membership attends church on any given Sabbath. We deserve better than that!" After discussing some of the various goals that the conference has for "Harvest 90" the article closes with the following two paragraphs. - As we seek our spiritual gifts, our place in God's work, we will accept no compromise for excellence. With God's help, we will all join together to make our Sabbath Schools the most exciting anywhere; our worship services the highlight of our week.
We will go forth from our worship spiritually rejuvenated, charged for another week of service, happy people reaching out to bless others. We are going to do a better job of practicing and living our faith. We're going to do it -- because we do deserve better! (Challenge, October 1986, page 1 - Emphasis in the original.)
Do we really deserve better? Perhaps we should ask, do we deserve. anything? The answer is yes! We deserve something, the grave! This is all that you and I can earn and truly deserve. When the emphasis is on what we can or will do, the emphasis is no longer on Jesus, even if the works are works of service and not works of salvation. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to do the best that we can, or wanting more people to attend worship services, "Coming events cast their shadows before." (D. A., p. 636)
In the February 1987 issue of the Challenge the lead article is entitled, "'On Being 'Number one.'" In this article the terms "number one" and "one" occur with emphasis no less than 19 times. While the article describes the desire to have Jesus as "number one with you" and "number one in your life" the overtones of "New Age" philosophy are present whether the writer is conscious or not. 1 The emphasis in the first part of the article is on being number one. the first three paragraphs state: A recent survey reported that West Virginia telephone operators were rated number one in courtesy, efficiency and service.
Our region of the country also is fortunate to have a whole conference filled with loyal, active and effective members. Adventists in western Maryland and West Virginia are also number one.
We're number one in that this is the year we celebrate our one hundreth anniversary as a conference. This is also the year that we have set our sights on reaching our full one hundred thousand dollar goal for Conference Advance. Last year we reached a long-desired financial goal, one million dollars in tithe. (Emphasis in original.)
The writer goes on to state, "God is anxious to prove to us that we are number one." (Emphasis in original.) Why would we be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the conference? Perhaps it would have been more pratical to "sigh and cry" over the fact that we have been around 100 years with the work unfinished rather than to have a celebration. Are these appeals to the pride of the church member what they need today? Are we really "number one?" Is there anything so good about us as to be praised and told that we "deserve better?" What a different view the apostle Paul had concerning self. He wrote, "For I know that in me (that is in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing." (Romans 7:18) In Galatians 2:20 Paul declares (according to the Greek) that his ego is "crucified with Christ."
In the September 1987 Challenge the lead article, "We're Still Celebrating," begins: "General Conference President Neal Wilson, and West Virginia Governer Arch Moore Jr., are a tough act to follow. But our celebrating 100 years of Adventist activity in West Virginia and western Maryland is not over." Personally I have a hard time understanding how one could celebrate the fact that a political leader could enter the Lord's sanctuary on the Sabbath day to speak to our people. Yes, "Coming events cast their shadows before." No longer does B.B. Beach hold a monopoly on the presentation of medallions. 2 On the second page of the Challenge is the following notice: Our Lay Advisory Council has produced special Centennial coins. Donations for them go to the Mountain View Lay Advisory Fund (MVLAF 1987) for improvement projects at Valley Vista.
One of these coins is enclosed so every family in our conference can have a remembrance of this special year.
The Mountain View Lay Advisory group has made wonderful improvements at our conference camp and convention center. Thanks for participating in this important fund-raising effort as well. (See the gold sheet [Re-produced facsimiIe on white paper, page 7. encIosed for more information.)
With the "We Deserve Better" and "Number One" philosophy being taught by the leadership it is no surprise that the laity are following in the same track with appeals to pride, by offering solid brass coins. Where is the simple appeal of the gospel? Why is it that we must use "5th Avenue" tactics to get to the pocketbooks of the people? The simple reason is that the pure love of Christ is not present to be the motivating factor!
Another question must be addressed. Can the Holy Spirit move upon people to contribute to a work that He is not involved in? The answer is of course no. Then when "the Lord withdraws his presence from those who have been blessed with great light," it comes as no surprise that 5th Avenue tactics will have to be employed!
p 7-- by David Hunt & T. A. McMahon published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 97402. 2) Monthly Moody, Feb. 1985. Two articles: "New Age or Ancient Error" and "Saying No to the New Age." 3) The General Conference Biblical Research Institute has recently prepared a 27 page paper on the New Age movement within the church entitled, New Age Movement and Seventh-day Adventist. This can be obtained from the Biblical Research Institute, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist, 6840 Eastern Ave., NW., Washington, D.C. 20012.
2. See page 27 of the Adventist Review, July 16, 1987 for Beach's latest presentation of the Adventist Medallion to Czechoslovakian, Vladimir Janku, Secretariat for religious Affairs in the Presidium of the Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia. Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world." (John 18:36) Of His followers He said, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." (John 17:16)
The back of this sheet shows promotional information used by the Lay Advisory Council prior to and during our 1987 Centennial Camp Meeting. This brought inquiries, donations, and requests for keepsake coins. But some aren't aware that these lovely coins were minted.
The original plan was to involve Pathfinders, school students, or those with a burden to get capital improvements at Valley Vista on a solid footing, to invite members to donate to Mountain View Lay Advisory Fund (MVLAF 1987) and receive coins in return.
With each donation of $20.00 or more, the donor would receive not only a beautiful coin but also a certificate good for one free night's lodging at Valley Vista (except during campmeeting). The size of the donation would determine how many coins were received.
THIS PLAN STILL HOLDS -- But seeing is believing. Now you can see and feel these golden coins that have actually been pressed under tremendous pressure in a former Government press, from solid brass. Your coin is enclosed inside the tithe envelope with this CHALLENGE. Just drop it on the table and hear it ring. Then realize that both General Conference President Neal Wilson and West Virginia Governor Arch Moore, Jr. prize these enough to have them on their desks as a memento of this Centennial Camp Meeting and the beautiful camp we have been developing for our Mountain View youth and members.
THINK CHRISTMAS -- You may want more than one of these limited edition coins for gifts to friends and relatives.
Pathfinders helped prepare the enclosed tithe envelope containing your coin. You can use it to donate to Mountain View Lay Advisory Fund (MVLAF 1987) through your local church before the end of 1987. Your church treasurer has been requested to send names and addresses of donors of $20 or more to the conference office so the Valley Vista certificate for one night's free lodging can be sent to you. Or if more convenient, you can direct to Mountain View Conference, 1400 Liberty Street, Parkersburg, WV 26101.
IF YOU WANT MORE COINS FOR GIFTS, please write direct to the conference at the above address. (Select from the chart on the reverse.)
The enclosed coin is sent to you at no obligation. You may keep it -- but we hope you will also make a donation for it to MVLAF 1987.
We believe all who receive the coin will enjoy it. And all whopromote this will gain a blessing knowing they've helped continue the ministry of our Valley Vista Adventist Center.
--- END Commentary #4 --