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
As of 2010, all official sites of ALF in the United States of America were closed. The Adventist Laymen's Foundation of Canada with its website, www.Adventist Alert.com, is now the only official Adventist Layman's Foundation established by Elder Grotheer worldwide.
The MISSION of this site -- to put works of the Foundation online.
Any portion of these works may be reproduced without further permission by adding the credit line - "Reprinted from Adventist Layman's Foundation, AdventistAlert.com, Victoria, BC Canada."
Thank you for visiting. We look forward to you coming
WWN 1983 Jul - Sep
1983 Jul -- XVI - 7(83) -- Third Angel's Message -- "If Any Man Worship the Beast and His Image" -- In studying or presenting the Third Angel's Message, we often dwell on the results - the reception of "his mark" - rather than on what the message is really warning us about. Because of this we have difficulty in understanding the counsel which came to the Church regarding the 1888 Message of Righteousness by Faith through Elders A. T. Jone's and E. J. Waggoner. Ellen G. White answered an inquiry concerning the message by stating - "the message of justification by faith ... is the third angel's message in verity." (SM, bk i, p. 372) The "testimony" of these brethren was declared to be "the truth as it is in Jesus, which is the third angel's message, in clear, distinct lines." (TM, p. 93)
How do we get the Mark of the Beast into a positive presentation of Justification by Faith? We don't! It is the result which will follow a rejection of the warning of the Third Angel. The cry of the Third Angel is against the "worship of the beast and his image." What does this mean? Who is the beast? "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the, number of a man." (Rev. 13: 18) Thus to worship the beast is to worship a man, and the image is merely the image of a man. The outcome or results lead to a "number" - and a "mark." In this essay, these results will only be incidental to the general theme. We want to go to the heart of the warning as given in the Third Angel's Message.
True worship constitutes the reverence and respect we pay to the God of Heaven. A blasphemous worship is reverence and respect we pay to a human being as a god, or to one we place between ourselves and God. Such worship is clearly a violation of the First Commandment - "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." (Ex. 20:3) In meeting the temptation suggested by Satan to violate this commandment, Jesus resolutely declared - "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve." (Matt. 4:10) We may fellowship together as brothers and sisters in Christ; we may enter into the intimate fellowship that marks the home; we may work together in fulfilling the great commission; but in all of these relationships, we are to worship and serve only God. When we in any of these relationships of life, honor a fellow man before duty to God and truth, we become a candidate for the mark of the beast.
There is much more to the first great line prophecy of Daniel than we have perceived. The story of the nations from Daniel's day to the final hour of human history is all enfolded in one image - the image of a man. All that man, devises and accomplishes ultimately becomes dust "like the chaff of the summer threshing floors." (Dan. 2:35) All the kingdoms - represented by the gold, silver, brass, and iron - were built by the prowess of men. To accomplish their objectives, the men who established these kingdoms
p 2 -- of earth demanded of their subjects - fellow man - devotion, loyalty, and worship. Being themselves formed from the dust of the ground, they and all with them have or will return to dust. Thus the lesson of Daniel 2 is but an illustration of the words of the Lord to Jeremiah - "Cursed is the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord." (Jer. 17:5)
The only thing that will stand forever is the stone cut out "without hands" - not of human prowess. This is the stone which the builders rejected, and upon whomever it falls, it will grind to powder. (Matt. 22:44) But whoever falls upon this rock and is "broken" the same shall find life. This is justification by faith as portrayed in the symbolism of parable and prophecy the Third Angel's Message in verity.
As the prophetic messages of Daniel continue to unfold, there is pictured the beasts of Daniel 7. But "the saints of the most High" ultimately possess the kingdom. It is given to them. (Dan. 7: 22, 27) They have declared their citizenship in harmony with the One who justifies them in Judgment before the Ancient of Days. Their's and His kingdom is not of this world. (John 18:36). Not only are the "saints" other worldly in their attitude toward material things, but they are other worldly in their belief and worship. They worship only God - not man. They possess the truth as it is in Jesus. This truth was emphatically stated in a question Jesus asked - "How can ye believe (The basis of Justification by Faith) which receive honor one from another, and seek not that honor that cometh from God only." (John 15:44) We miss the First Angel's Message - "Fear God and give glory to Him" - we condition ourselves to reject the Third. So long as we are looking to men, to seek their guidance, follow their leadership, instead of seeking to glorify God, believe and follow His truth, we cannot perceive nor believe in righteousness by faith. The prophet declared - "Cease ye from men, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?" (Isa. 2:22) When we are willing to do this, then we are ready to turn to our only source of help - God alone.
How is all this related to Justification by Faith? I recognize my need. I am sinner. Neither the works of my hands the deeds I do - will justify me before God for "by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in His sight." (Rom. 3:20) Thus I cannot rely upon myself - a man. To believe that there are things which I can do which will merit me the favor of God and heaven, is to receive the mark of the beast. To trust in some man to get me through is equally disastrous. There is only one mediator between God and man, and that is the Man, Christ Jesus. (I Tim. 2:5)
Those who are justified by faith wherein the glory of man is laid in the dust, and God does for him what he cannot do for himself - receive from God His seal, not the mark of a man. That seal is "the sign of the cross of Calvary." (Letter 26, 1898: 7BC:978) It means simply that we have fallen on the Rock and have been "broken." A man with his "bones" broken can do little. He is totally dependent.
It is at the Cross, and over the Cross that the great struggle concerning justification is centered. In the Cross is gathered all aspects of travail resultant from sin. To refuse to follow the enemy of God brings stigma and reproach - the Cross. To surrender to the call of the Cross, means death to self, and all that self desires to do - even to merit salvation. To behold the Cross is to see God's wrath against sin. But to take our cross is to find life. Jesus said - "If any man will come after Me - [not the beast] - let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will loose his life shall find it." (Matt. 16:24-25)
has been the story of the Church in its rejection of the message of
Justification by Faith? What is the story today?
"Now it has been Satan's determined purpose to eclipse the view
of Jesus, and lead men to look to man, and trust to man, and be educated
to expect help from man. For years the church has been looking to man,
and expecting much from man, but not looking to Jesus, in whom our hopes
of eternal life are centered. Therefore God gave to His servants
(Jones and Waggoner] a testimony
p 3 -- that presented the truth as it is in Jesus, which is the third angel's message, in clear, distinct lines. " (TM, p. 93)
The present crisis in the Church has produced two distinct groups. One is identified by their advocacy of neo-Adventism. These can best be described by a paraphrase on the words of a well-known hymn:
These still want the world and all that the world offers. They seek to preach Paul, but forget that Paul confessed "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." (Gal., 6:14)
Due to the emphasis on what is termed, "cheap grace" - a reactionary group has galvanized which also sing the same tune, but with different words:
In between stands "the bleeding Lamb, our Saviour" - with hands outstretched, still pleading: "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light." (Matt. 11:28-30)
He is the essence of the Third Angel's Message. Our faith and our confidence is not in the "beast" - man - but in God manifest in the flesh, "Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised for our justification." (Rom. 4:25) We today who are willing to take up our cross will follow Him to where His cross was placed. "Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach." (Heb. 13:12-13)
OF THE BEAST -- by
Leif Kr. Tobiassen --
The following is taken from The Journal of True Education, February,
1955. It consists of "selections from a baccalaureate sermon delivered
at Southern Missionary College, May 15, 1954." While the philosophy
of the world concerning which Dr. Tobiassen warned the graduating class
has not changed, it has engulfed the Church, and so what was said concerning
the mark of the beast is now very apropos within the Church.
Religious freedom, or any sort of freedom, is a plant that can thrive only in a certain climate. A hundred and seventy years ago, here in America and over in France and elsewhere, men, building upon achievements of the British people through centuries, staked their lives to create a climate favorable to individual freedom. And on this continent, under God, they succeeded. You and I now live comfortably as Seventh-day Adventists on the heritage they carved out to provide scope for the full measure of individual judgment and distinctive decision. In the providence of God this Advent Movement grew in America, not so much because here was money, but primarily because on this continent was a climate of individualism, independence of thought, and freedom for peculiarity. In this climate Adventism has grown strong. In no other climate can Adventist live long. Yet today, a round us and among us, this climate is changing.
Although some may be inclined to deny this ominous change, it is, of course, no surprise to the student of the thirteenth chapter of Revelation. The unerring pen of prophecy predicted it. Only
p 4 -- the willfully blind can fail to see how radical and comprehensive is this change, and how far it has already crept, among even the very elect.
My concern is for you who are today graduating from this Adventist college. Will you be among the many who will obediently line up behind the two eloquent question marks in the fourth verse of Revelation 13? - "Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" Are you?
One of the most dangerous mistakes that could be made in our preaching would be to mislead our congregations into thinking that this last great war will be over theological interpretations or doctrinal disputes. This is a war over your individual attitude - your attitude - toward freedom of opinion and judgment.
It must be admitted that many of your fellow men are ill equipped to fight in this war. By and large they have been molded in an educational system, and under an educational philosophy, in which personal adjustment to the social environment has been set forth as the cardinal virtue. Your fellow men have grown up in a society that worships personal popularity more fervently than any other pagan idol has been worshiped.
Your fellow men have been brought up in an environment that puts the chief premium on the individual's identity with the crowd. Your fellow men are living today in a society in which the cardinal commandment is, Be like the others.
Your fellow men, are indeed many of them, ill equipped for the fight against the beast. They can but shrug their narrow shoulders and ask helplessly, "Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?"
Are you better equipped than they? Has this Adventist college forged around your soul that personal armor in which you can confidently take up the desperate battle with the beast? - the beast of uniformity - the beast of acquiescence - the beast of conformity. What did you do here these four years? And what did we do to you and for you. What quality of genuine steel have we planted in your spiritual spines?
The penetrating influence of the devil has long and skillfully prepared the mental attitudes of our generation. You and I have been born into an age in which all are supposed to think alike, look alike, act alike, and be alike. We have been born into an age that despises dissent and rewards conformity. We live in an age, you and I, in which a firm decision is the rarest thing. The organizational policies of government, business, and even the church have been so adapted that there is always someone else's lap into which we can cleverly deposit the hot potato. In the war against which we shall each have to stand alone and take our individual positions, how, then, can we, you and I, fight the beast?
Your fellow men have been carefully conditioned to avoid just such a fight. The profoundest respect for company dogma is instilled into every junior executive who hopes to advance. The fear of disagreement and dissent is spread over the radio and TV networks. The horror of being found in the frightful company of the dissenting minority is felt in the laboratories and libraries. The fear of controversy is topped only by the hysterical fear of being controversial.
The prophecy of Christ that the time would come when the stout hearts of men would fail them for fear, is today being fulfilled all about us. The fear of being different is dwarfing our youngsters. The fear of loosing face, the fear of debate, the fear of not being told what to think, the fear of holding outstanding or conspicuous opinions, the fear of voting against the mighty majority - these pagan and primitive fears are today tightening their malignant grip on the souls of our people, preparing them to go along with the millions rather than to fight the beast.
a hundred years we have preached that the mark of the beast is the willing
adherence to an un-Scriptural application of one of the Ten Commandments.
That emphasis should, of course, never be weakened. But let not the
great deceiver subvert us into thinking that the issue over the mark
of the beast is primarily theological, or even doctrinal. The issue
over the mark of the beast is psychological - a question of mental and
p 5 -- attitude, a question of intellectual habit.
To take the mark of the beast is to decide to follow the crowd. To take the mark of the beast is to seek the popularity of conformity rather than to fight for the dignity and integrity of truth. To take the mark of the beast is to abdicate that state of human individuality to which it is the aim of God's plan of salvation to restore us.
To wear the mark of the beast is to deny that independence of mind and spirit with which it is God's eager concern to equip each saint. To accept the mark of the beast is to refuse our position with those who fight and fast and pray and witness, and adjust to join those who acquiesce and adjust and give in and go along.
"Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?"
These issues are inescapable. Numerically the forces of the beast are today mightier than ever. Only in conformity is there safety. If safety is what you seek, conform; be like the others.
But God calls you graduates to something much higher ... God appoints you this day to something more divine than being obedient followers of conformity ... He has something much more valuable, much more worthwhile.
I wish that you and I could visit the place where I was born. It is a place on the North Sea, neither famous nor particularly beautiful. The ocean pushes heavily upon the land. Year in and year out, wave after wave has hurled itself on the shore with terrific impact. The pressure is gigantic, but the shore never moves. For 4,500 years it has yielded not an inch.
Because the shore is surrounded by a sturdy chain of tiny rocky islets, under constant attack by the frightening force of the ocean. Often they are submerged under the giant breakers. With tireless fury, day after day, night after night, year after year, century after century, the sea pushes persistently at them. They are mercilessly beaten and battered; nevertheless, they stand defiantly facing the terrible pressure of the sea, fearlessly scorning the growling sea - constant, resolute, unbending, yielding not an inch in their faithful fight for the land behind them. ...
It is God' s hope that against the pressure, against the impact, you will remain constant, unbending, yielding not an inch; that you will refuse to accept the badge of the beast, fearless in your determined fight against it. This its the hope of God, of whose Word I have reminded you. This is the need of the world, which you propose to enlighten gloriously. This is the expectation of the church, in whose congregation you have been growing up these past years.
HOW ARE MEN SAVED? FAITH ALONE? By WORKS? By FAITH PLUS WORKS? -- "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Eph. 2:8-10)
In this summary by Paul, we see faith and works related. The salvation resultant upon a past action on the part of God - God's grace - is a free gift. Works have no part, lest a man should boast. We need to simply face the fact that we can do nothing that merits the grace which God has bestowed "in Christ Jesus." All forms of boasting in regard to one's salvation are excluded. (Rom. 3:27) Paul had written to the Galatians - "God forbid that I should glory [Greek - boast; same as Eph. 3:9] save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." (Gal. 6:14) The words of the hymn express it well - "Nothing in my hands, I bring; simply to Thy cross, I cling."
at the cross, recognizing that I am dead because of trespasses and sins,
I accept from Him as a resurrection and a
p 6 -- life. Then, begins the re-creation through Christ Jesus unto good works.
Unless we are willing to understand what happened at Creation and the Fall, we cannot appreciate the objective of God's design for the "works" in which we are to walk. Man was made in the image of God to reflect His character and likeness. (Gen. 1:26) Man, however, chose to listen to the suggestions of a stranger. To this stranger, he yielded his integrity and gave his allegiance by accepting his version of the Tree of Test. Once compromised, man became a slave in the service of that stranger. From that point on, all men born within the human race - save One - either lived out his days in the bondage of sin with no faith in a deliverance, or he became an active agent in the warfare of the stranger against God.
To God, however, the seducer was not a stranger. He had been created by God, but was now leading a rebellion against God. This war was engulfing the universe. Planet Earth became a conquered bastion of Lucifer. From here he could direct his operations against God. Man had declared himself on his side in the rebellion.
As Commander of the Heavenly hosts, Michael chose to enter enemy territory and there fight in close combat with the adversary. Michael conquered; the power of the Messiah was overwhelming. (Rev. 12:7-10) Through His own death, He made certain the final extinction of him who had the power of death because of sin. But the battle was not over. The warfare was to continue. The book of Revelation reveals the acts and the planned action. In the battle when we surrender to the conquering forces of the Lord Jesus Christ, who are under the command of the Holy Spirit, I change sides. (See DA, p. 352) As a traitor, I should be court-martialed and placed before a firing squad. But in the plan of God, a price was paid for my rebellion, and I am extended amnesty. It is a free gift - it is grace - nothing in which I can boast of myself. I only surrendered.
Once on the Lord's side again, I find the warfare has not ceased. I am assigned duty, either in the front lines, or in a support unit, or given a commissioned responsibility. In whatever assignment, I work to carry out the will of the "Captain of the Lord's host" with the power and equipment which He supplies. There are the "works" which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
The Scripture abounds in such metaphors: "Fight the good fight of faith. " (I Tim 6:12) "Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but... against wicked spirits in heavenly places." (Eph. 6:11-12 margin). "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds." (II Cor. 10:4)
In realizing the salvation which the Lord has provided, we face two basic problems: 1) We really do not make a surrender on the field of battle. "The Christian life is a battle and a march. But the victory to be gained is not won by human power. The field of conflict is the domain of the heart. The battle we have to fight - the greatest battle that was ever fought by man - is the surrender of self to the will of God, the yielding of the heart to the sovereignty of love." (Mount of Blessings, p. 203) And 2) If we surrender then we want to direct our course of life - even the battle - instead of letting the "Captain of the Lord's host" give the orders and assignments.
When we come to the place where we recognize that we are rebels worthy only of the firing squad of God's just vengeance, and then see what that Sovereign love has provided a ransom for our lives in the Victim of the Cross, works in harmony with God's design will flow in mighty currents from such an appreciation.
I survey the wonderous cross
I, who was undone and lost,
the whole realm of nature mine,
p 7 -- WILSON'S LETTER TO FORD -- In the April issue of the Thought Paper (p. 6), we quoted Christianity Today, indicating that on January 27, 1983, Elder Neal C. Wilson "telephoned Dr. Desmond Ford that he was giving the Australian Division the go-ahead to revoke Ford's ordination." Wilson followed the telephone call with a letter which is very revealing in the light of the counsel found in the Scriptures. We will copy the letter, and follow it with the Bible reference. You can draw your own conclusions.
Office of the President
February 3, 1983
I find no pleasure at all in writing this letter to you for I still hold you and Gill in deep Christian regard and will continue to do so. It is only fair, however that I pass on to you the decision of the General Conference Officers after receiving the report of your meeting at Millbrae, California, with the General Conference group January 14-17, 1983.
Our brethren reported on the cordial atmosphere and the spirit of Christian fellowship which prevailed at the meetings. They also gave a clear picture of your attitudes and the love you feel toward the church and its people and your appreciation of its fellowship.
I was particularly anxious to see if there was some common ground on which we could build to heal the wounds and mend the breaches and come together so as to bring about a full restoration and fellowship with the church which you have publicly professed to be a part of. As you know, there were many who did not fully share these concerns, but I felt we should proceed. In giving thought to the personnel of the committee, I had in mind men who would listen and patiently discuss the issues.
In the choice of topics for the first meeting the concern was to be able to assess as early as possible whether we could move toward understanding. The counsel which the Lord has given to church leadership in at least one past doctrinal issue was that unless there is ground to hope for a coming together, long discussions are not helpful to either side. From the report our brethren have brought - and they are unanimous in their views - our approaches and presuppositions, yours as the GNU group and ours in the G.C., in the area of eschatology and the understanding of prophecy, are far apart, even further apart than was the case at the time of the Glasier View meeting. We believe from the remarks reported to us that you see this as clearly as do our brethren who were with you.
This being the case, it is clear to us that no constructive purpose would be served by further study sessions. Even in a case like the 457 B.C. date which you suggested as a topic for study, you and we would come with the same presuppositions and approaches we now have. The position you have taken in regard to all Old Testament prophecy meeting its fulfillment in the first century and having no meaning beyond New Testament times except as reinterpreted by the New Testament, is so radically different that it will divide us on almost every point of eschatology and prophetic interpretation.
We do not judge your sincerity or your Christianity. Our "quarrel" is not with you but with what you are teaching. It is unhappily divisive and confusing to many and we are left with no alternative but to advise the Australian Division to proceed to deal with your case as a minister of the church as seems best to them. I repeat that I find no pleasure in this. I feel nothing but the deepest sorrow and regret and wish with all my heart things could have been otherwise. In doing what we feel bound to do, we do not want to cut off communication with you. You and Gill are still persons, precious people whom I love in Jesus Christ.
May the love of Christ constrain you and may His providence lead and guide you in all your future plans and decisions. With kind regards to you, Gill, and each of your colleagues, I am,
Now read John 9-11
1983 Aug -- XVI - 8(83) -- THERE IS POISON IN THE POT-- Served by Editor ADVENTIST REVIEW -- During the first Quarter of this year, the Adult Sabbath School Lessons written by Dr. Norman Gulley, professor of religion at the Southern College of Seventh-day Adventists, sent tremors throughout Adventism. The volume of response was such that the editor of the lessons in the General Conference Sabbath School Department prepared a "form letter" to reply to the adverse reaction from the field. The Teacher's Helps for that Quarter's lessons were prepared by Dr. Wm. G. Johnsson, Editor of the Adventist Review. Now the editor and Dr. Gulley again "team" up to serve the same "poison" through the columns of the Adventist Review. In the official organ of the Church, (June 10, 1983, pp. 4-8), Dr. Gulley summarizes his concepts of the Incarnation as taught by the Church. He wrote: "Seventh-day Adventists look at the humanity of Jesus in two ways - (1) The pre-Fall view, that seeks to preserve the fact that He came as the second Adam. The emphasis is on the sinless nature of Jesus. (2) The post-Fall view, which seeks to preserve the fact that He came as the son of Mary. The emphasis is on Jesus' identity with fallen human nature. In its 23 different Statements of Fundamental Beliefs the church has never taken a stand for or against one or the other view. This is because both views are found within Scripture and in the writings of Ellen White. If even inspired writers wished to preserve both truths about Jesus, it seemed right for the church to do the same. Therefore both views are found in historic Adventism." (p. 4)
This undocumented paragraph presents "poisonous error" in several categories. (1) The church never has had "23 different Statements of Fundamental Beliefs." (2) Both views of Christ's incarnation are not to be found in Scripture - only one view. And (3) Both views as noted by Gulley are not found in "historic Adventism" - again only one view.
To merely reply to Gulley's assertions, and his arrangement of Scripture, and the writings of Ellen G. White, would be to confuse the issue. Gulley is not approaching the subject - as he once believed it as head of the Bible Department of old Madison College - from the viewpoint of "historic Adventism," but rather from the thinking of apostate evangelical Protestantism. He presents Jesus as resulting from "the creative work of God." He writes' - "There was in Him... the holiness of a new creation." (p. 5) We might ask in passing, is not God ever holy, and was not Jesus, God manifest in the flesh? Why then must a "holiness" be created for Jesus? Further, Gulley asks - "Did the Holy Spirit, creatively present throughout Christ's incarnation, change the corruptible into incorruption for Jesus only (not Mary) just as He will for all of us at the Second Advent?" (Ibid.) He expects an affirmative answer. These are simply
p 2 -- concepts from modern Apostate Protestantism being served through the Adventist Review to the members of the Seventh-day Church. There is poison in the pot.!
To set the record straight and in so doing put some "meal" in the pot (II Kings 4: 41), we shall discuss in as detailed a manner as possible, some history, the teachings of Scripture and historic Adventism in regard to the Incarnation, that we might truly - "Behold the Man!"
In 1872, a fourteen page tract was printed on the Steam Press in Battle Creek presenting A Declaration of the Fundamental Principles Taught and Practiced by the Seventh-day Adventists. (A facsimile of this tract is included in the Documentary - Statements of Belief - published by the Adventist Laymen's Foundation.) This same Statement was printed as an editorial in the first issues of the Signs of the Times on June 4, 1874, edited by James White. (The Living Witness, pp. 1-8) This same Statement appeared again in the Review & Herald, Nov. 24, 1874, and once again in the Signs, Jan. 28, 1875. It was also published subsequently in pamphlet form in 1875, 1877-78, 1884, and in 1888. (SDA Encyclopedia, p. 346)
A second Statement of Beliefs was included in the Yearbook for 1889. It was not inserted again till 1905, and continued till 1914. There were no Yearbooks published from 1895 - 1903, the General Conference Bulletins, taking their place. This 1889 Statement written by Uriah Smith was "only slightly revised and expanded" into 28 sections while the one Elder White helped author had 25 sections. A comparison of the two Statements (See, "Watchman, What of the Night?", June, 1980) reveals that 12 sections were identical; 11 sections had only a word differentiation such as "second coming" for "second advent," or contained an additional explanatory phrase. Only two sections were reworded and these conveyed the same fundamental teachings. Smith added three sections numbered 14-16, dealing with Christian standards of conduct and tithing. While a second Statement of Beliefs, it was not a new nor different Statement, nor did it in anywise alter the fundamentals as printed in the first tract in 1872.
The third Statement of Belief s appeared in the 1931 Yearbook. This was later made official by the 1946 General Conference Session with two sentences added to section 19 on the subject of Spiritual Gifts at the 1950 Session. It was different in several aspects, both in what was stated and in what was omitted.
The fourth Statement of Beliefs was that which was voted by the 1980 General Conference Session. There was also the Andrews University Statement of Beliefs which was voted by the 1979 Annual Council to be referred to the 1980 General Conference Session for adoption. This, however, was not done, and a substitute statement was given to the delegates as a working copy from which the voted Statement was derived.
In 1894, when the Battle Creek Church published its Directory, they included a section of 31 paragraphs explaining "Some Things Which Seventh-day Adventists Believe." This summary contained some added concepts, and deviations, but was basically in line with the two Statements that had been first published in 1872, and 1889. The importance of this Statement is that the Battle Creek Church was at that time the headquarters Church with about 1500 members, out of a world membership of about 40,000. While this represents only about 3.5% of the total Church membership, it did have the college, sanitarium, publishing house, and General Conference staff represented in its membership directory. The name of 0. A. Olsen, President of the General Conference at that time, heads the lists of local elders for the Church.
To obtain "23 different Statements of Beliefs" as alleged by Gulley, one has to count as separate statements every issuance of the 1872 and 1889 Statements, the 1931 Yearbook statement, and its final form in 1950, plus the 1980 Statement, and then include the 1894 Battle Creek Statement, plus the 1979 Andrews University Statement. The question arises as to what advantage did Gulley feel was to be achieved by such devious counting, and inaccuracy of historical fact? There are only three basic Statements of Belief that could be counted as "officially" setting forth what Seventh-day Adventists believe. Two of these were so voted in General Session.
p 3 -- The basic issue involved in Gulley's use of the Statements of Belief is "that the church has never taken a stand for or against one or the other view," of the Incarnation as he presents them in his summary article of his belief on the subject. This simply is not true. What do the early Statements of Belief declare on the subject of the Incarnation? Keep in mind that the 1889 Statement was prefaced with this assertion - "The following propositions may be taken as a summary of the principle features of their religious faith upon which there is, so far as is known, entire unanimity throughout the body." All Statements of Belief published in general publications of the Church, including the Yearbook, from 1872 to 1914 read: "That there is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, ... that He took upon Himself the nature of the seed of Abraham for the redemption of our fallen race; ..."
Even the 1931 Statement - voted official in 1946 - declared - "That Jesus Christ is very God, being of the same nature and essence as the Eternal Father. While retaining His divine nature, He took upon Himself the nature of the human family." Nowhere in any of these statements is to be found the suggestion that Christ took the pre-Fall nature of Adam. The concept that He took the pre-Fall nature is neo-Adventism, not historic Adventism!
The only time in our history where we find the doctrine of the pre-Fall concept of the Incarnation taught by a segment of the Church was during the Holy Flesh Movement in Indiana in 1899-1901. Elder S. N. Haskell in a letter to Ellen G. White (Sept. 25, 1900 ) wrote: "Their [Holy Flesh Leaders] point of theology in this particular respect seems to be this: They believe that Christ took Adam's nature before he fell; so He took humanity as it was in the Garden of Eden, and thus humanity was holy, and this is the humanity which Christ had; and now, they say, the particular time has come for us to become holy in that sense, and then we will have 'translation faith' and never die."
It is interesting to observe in regard to this Movement, G. A. Roberts, quoted Ellen G. White as saying before the special called session of the Indiana Conference to deal with the problem - "When I am gone from here, none are to pick up any point of this doctrine and call it truth. There is not a thread of truth in the whole fabric." (EGW Estate Document File #190) Now lo, and behold, the Holy Flesh teaching on the Incarnation has been resurrected by Gulley, and served to the members of the Church in a pot of poisoned "pottage" by the editor of the Adventist Review. [See manuscript - The Holy Flesh Movement - 1899-1901, pp. 27-34, see Order Form.]
What Saith the Scriptures? -- We turn now our attention to the second major point raised by Gulley, that the Holy Scriptures teach both views of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. The Bible declares - "Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh." (I Tim. 3:16). The word "mystery" is a Greek word - musterion - transliterated into English. As used in the New Testament, it does not carry the concept of incomprehension that is often associated with its use in English. Quoting J. A. Robinson, Moulton and Milligan state that "in its New Testament sense a mystery is 'not a thing which must be kept secret. On the contrary it is a secret which God wills to make known and has charged His Apostles to declare to those who have ears to hear it.'" (The Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament, p. 420, Emphasis Robinson)
While the inspired writers make no attempt to explain, how God was manifest in the flesh, these same writers do define explicitly the nature God assumed in the flesh. The process remains a mystery as the word is used in our language, but the end result is no mystery - God was manifest in the flesh; and the "flesh" is clearly defined.
G. White correctly stated that "Christ,
at an infinite cost, by a painful process, mysterious to angels
as well as to man, assumed humanity. Hiding His divinity, laying aside
His glory, He was born a babe in Bethlehem." (Ms. 29,
1899; 7BC:915, Emphasis supplied)
4 -- Observe, the text in I Timothy state's - "God was manifest
in the flesh" - not God created something in the flesh. He did
not need to create an holy nature for He is ever holy. Being Himself
holy, He condescended to become truly man, by taking upon Himself the
genetic inheritance of the human race. This is clearly set forth in
the Gospel of John. It reads - "In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1) This
Eternal Word "became flesh." (John 1:14 ARV) His glory was
the manifestation of the character of God - grace and truth - not the
flesh He assumed. Thus the Gospel teaches us that the same Word which
ever was (hn - Greek
we are ready to look at the further statement of the angel Gabriel to
Mary that the "being" born of her would be called "the
Son of God." (Luke 1:35) Much emphasis
on "that holy thing" as descriptive of Jesus at His birth
to indicate that He possessed the pre-Fall nature of Adam. Since, however,
He was ever holy, this expression is not as unique as it might appear.
He did not receive from Mary "holy flesh" and since the operation
of the power of the Highest was not to create but to effect a transition
of an Eternal Being from the "form of God" to the "form
of a servant," what then is
Incarnation is basic to the Gospel. Paul
wrote of his call - "Separated unto the Gospel of God ... concerning
his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh."
(Rom. 1:1, 3 ARV) Here
p 5 -- is no mystery. The humanity of Jesus was of the seed of David. I am wondering if Dr. Gulley would be willing as his next project to write a book on the impeccability of David. Such a defense would greatly enhance his position in regard to the Incarnation. But let Gulley, and every one else who espouses neo-Adventism take heed that Paul declares this basic in the "gospel of God." Further Paul states that to preach another Gospel other than the one he himself was proclaiming, is to be accursed. (Gal. 1:9) It is sad indeed for one who would assist in the provision of "food" for a professed "school of the prophets" to be unable to discern between good gourds and the wild variety, and through the pages of the Adventist Review "shred them into the pot of pottage." Would to God that all who have read this poison would cry out in a voice loud and clear - "There is death in the Adventist Review!" (II. Kings 4:38-40)
Paul doesn't stop with merely telling the church at Rome that Christ was born of the seed of David according to the flesh for the redemption of man, but also that God sent "his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh." (Rom. 8:3) In other words - "It was in the order of God that Christ should take upon Himself the form and nature of fallen man ..." (SP, II, p. 39) Now Gulley emphasizes in his article as well as in the Sabbath School lessons he wrote, when commenting on this reference in Romans, that "likeness" is not "sameness." We would simply ask - Does the same reasoning hold true where Paul uses the same identical prepositional phrase in Philippians 2:7 - "in the likeness of men?" Was not Jesus "truly man?" Gulley goes so far as to declare Him, "fully man." How can one be "fully" something, and not be identical to that same something? You cannot interpret Paul when he uses the same prepositional phrase, one way in one text, and a different way in another text. The phrase en omoiwmati means the same in each text. So which way does Gulley want it? - a phantom Jesus devoid of the fallen nature of man, or a truly human Jesus with our fallen nature upon Him in all that it implies. 0 give me the real Jesus - the One who can be touched with all the feelings of my humanity, who was tempted in all points even as I am - yet who was victorious in that He did not sin! Yes that One is my Saviour, "declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness," and God has given "assurance to all men in that He raised Him from the dead." (Rom. 1:4; Acts 17:31)
The reference in Romans 8:3 has a two-pronged approach to the Incarnation and the nature Christ assumed in the flesh. It not only states that Jesus was sent in the likeness of sinful flesh, but He "condemned sin in the flesh. " If He had taken the pre-Fall nature of Adam, He could not have condemned sin in the flesh. Adam could be tempted only from without in Eden. Not so after the Fall. His fallen nature also became subject to the assaults of the enemy. With Christ, He was assailed both from within and without, but He held the integrity of His unblemished character - condemning sin in the flesh. "By experiencing in Himself the strength of Satan's temptation, He would know how to succor those who should put forth efforts to help themselves." (EGW, Review, March 18, 1875, emphasis mine)
Turning to Paul's letter to the Philippians, we read - "Christ Jesus: who existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking a form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men." (Phil 2:5-7 ARV) The Greek word, translated "servant" - doulos - can also be rendered, "slave." It does not require a great mind, nor the possession of a doctor's degree in theology to know that God did not create Adam with a slave-nature. Adam became a slave when he sinned. That form Christ Jesus took, when He emptied Himself of "the form of God." Here again one finds the basic elements of the Incarnation. It was One equal with God in every way - the Logos - who, divesting Himself of the form of God, appeared as a real man in the slave form of man. There was no creation, merely a substitution. He who as God was ever holy, now became man, accepting an existence in that which had been defiled by sin. What a condescension, what an humiliation! "He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin ... because by so doing He
p 6 -- could associate with the sinful, sorrowing sons and daughters of Adam." (4BC:1147) In the slave form of man, He entered the strong man's house, and bound the strong man. See Matt. 12:29.
One more text describes the nature Christ took in the humiliation of becoming a man. Paul writing in the Essay to the Hebrews stated - "Since the children are sharers in flesh and blood, He also himself in like manner partook of the same. ... For verily not to angels doth He give help, but He giveth help to the seed of Abraham. Wherefore it behoved Him in all things to be made like unto His brethren ..." (Heb. 2:14, 16-17 ARV, margin) The whole of this passage in Hebrews is to stress the oneness between the One who sanctifies and those being sanctified. They come into human existence in the same manner, birth; they receive in that birth the same things, blood and flesh; and the same reason for this identity is that help might be bestowed where it is needed - to the fallen sons of men, not to angels, nor to an Adam in Eden.
Those who try to see in the Bible, the concept of Christ taking the pre-Fall nature of Adam, use the texts which tell us that Christ is the "second Adam." (I Cor. 15:45) So He is. But Who is He? Paul clearly states - "The second man is the Lord from heaven." (verse 47) The second Adam is not a "new creation" by which the "image of God" is again formed in the womb of Mary, encased in a physical body of the "likeness of men." But rather "the Lord from heaven" through "a painful process" accepted the inheritance of the fallen race - "the form of a slave" - in which to exist and conquer. It is the conquering Christ - defeating the one who usurped the rights and dominion of the first Adam - who became the second Adam. It was not the Jesus of Bethlehem who was the second Adam, but the resurrected Jesus from Joseph's tomb who has been highly exalted, and who now stands at the head of the human race. Humiliation and a death struggle preceded the restoration of the "first dominion." (Micah 4:8)
The Bible presents but one position on the Incarnation.. The eternal Word took the nature of fallen man, and in that nature sustained the character of God.
"Historic" Adventism" -- Gulley concludes the paragraph quoted on page one of this Thought Paper by stating: "Both views [the pre-Fall, and the post-Fall] are found in historic Adventism.
We have already quoted from the Statements of Belief, written by both James White, and Uriah Smith, long time editor of the Review & Herald, noting that these beliefs were held with "entire unanimity" throughout the body. The historic position of the pioneers of this Movement has been well summarized in Bible Readings for the Home Circle, 1915 Edition. This book stood untouched as the standard exposition of Adventist teaching till 1949, when the concept of the Incarnation was altered, thus heralding the advent of neo-Adventism. The 1915 Edition reads: "In His humanity Christ partook of our sinful nature. If not, then He was not 'made like unto His brethren,' was not ' in all points tempted like as we are,' did not overcome as we have to overcome, and is not, therefore, the complete and perfect Saviour man needs and must have to be saved. The idea that Christ was born of an immaculate or sinless mother, inherited no tendencies to sin, and for this reason did not sin, removes Him from the realm of a fallen world, and from the very place where help is needed. On the human side, Christ inherited just what every child of Adam inherits - a sinful nature. On the divine side, from His very conception He was begotten and born of the Spirit. And all this was done to place mankind on vantage-ground, and to demonstrate that in the same way every one who is ' born of the Spirit' may gain like victories over sin in his own sinful flesh. Thus each one is to overcome as Christ overcame. Rev. 3:21. Without this birth there can be no victory over temptation, and no salvation from sin. John 3:3-7." (p. 115)
"God, in Christ, condemned, sin, not by pronouncing against it merely as a judge sitting on a judgment-seat, but by coming and living in the flesh, in sinful flesh, and yet without sinning. In Christ, He demonstrated that it is possible, by His grace and power, to resist temptation, overcome sin, and live a sinless life in sinful flesh." (p. 116)
p 7 -- Final Observation -- How did the Lord of glory view His coming to earth as a man? He "knew that Adam in Eden, with his superior advantages, might have withstood the temptations of Satan, and conquered him." How did He know? He had created Adam with that power. To have done anything less, would have cast a reflection back on God when Adam fell. To take such a nature - the pre-Fall - would have presented no trial, no difficulty, for all He would have had to do was to exercise the powers thus assumed and He knew He could conquer. But fallen man had no such powers, and could not rely upon himself. Christ also knew that it was not possible for man, out of Eden, separated from the light and love of God since the Fall, to resist the temptations of Satan in his own strength." What was He to do? To assume the nature of man as he was after the Fall, presented risks - eternal risks to Himself. It would be a fearful struggle. What did He decide to do? "He humbled Himself to take man's nature, that, with His divine power combined with the human, He might reach man where he is." (SM, bk i, p. 279) Thank God for such a Saviour. We need not eat of the poisoned pottage served by the Editor of the Adventist Review, but can feast at the Table of the Lord, on which has been provided the Divine Shewbread.
A PRELIMINARY REPORT -- In this issue of the Thought Paper, we planned to give the first report on the response to the Questionnaire sent out several months ago. However, due to the article appearing in the Adventist Review, by Dr. Gulley, we felt that an answer to it should have top priority. In this issue, we will give the list of names to whom the Questionnaire was sent, and a summary of the response so far in brief. The Questionnaire and Cover Letter was sent by certified mail in the USA, and by airmail to the persons overseas. The ones who received these two items were:
Of these 13, two have responded to the Questionnaire, and gave their reasons for answering the first question as they did. They represent two of the most spiritually mature names on the list. Four others did not answer the Questionnaire but sent letters seeking to circumvent a direct reply to the "Yes" or "No" first question. One of these became so wrought up over the Questionnaire that he indulged in personal vendetta and insinuations of a questionable nature. The remaining seven have not responded. It reminds one of the experience on Mt. Carmel, when Elijah asked - "How long halt ye between two opinions?" - the text reads - "And the people answered him not a word." (I Kings 18:21) No doubt among this group were some of the 7000, but for individuals who profess to be giving a warning in spiritual Israel to remain silent casts a shadow over their qualifications as true voices. --- (1983 Aug) --- End --- TOP
1983 Sep -- XVI - 9(83) -- Analysis of Question #1 -- "Do You Affirm as Truly Representative of Your Confession of Faith, the STATEMENT of FUNDAMENTAL BELIEFS of SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS as Voted at the 1980 General Conference Session in Dallas, Texas?" -- Editor's Note: On April 20, 1983, we sent a Questionnaire and a Cover Letter to 13 men who profess to stand for historic Adventism. (See WWN, June 1983, p. 2) Of these thirteen - Lewis Walton, Charles Wheeling, Elder R. D. Spear, Vance Ferrell, Dr. James D. Wang, Dr Colin Standish, Russell Standish, M. D., Elder W. D. Frazee, Lowell Scarborough, Wendell W. Gibbs, Elder W. L. Santee, Lloyd Rosenvold, M. D., and Elder R. J. Wieland only two responded by answering Question #1. This issue of WWN sets forth the vital importance of this first question to truth, and the relationship of the Dallas Statement to historic Adventism. In the light of the evidence, the failure of eleven men to commit themselves should come through as clearly as the flashing red light at a railroad crossing. To ignore the implications of such a flashing light could prove fatal.
If one believes his doctrinal position to be in harmony with historic Adventism, then he should not have difficulty answering this question. One may be publishing quantities of facts concerning the apostasy in our schools, whether PUC, or SMC; one may be producing tapes telling of the circle of apostasy; one may be lecturing on current "happenings in the world and in the Church," telling people to "Wake up;" or one may be a part of a publishing association which purports to publish "Historic Truth," yet if one cannot take a stand either, yes, or no, on what the Church professes to be officially their fundamental teachings, then there is something desperately wrong with what one is trying to accomplish.
When Elijah challenged the whole nation on Mount Carmel - and this included the 7,000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal - the text states - "And the people answered him not a word." (I Kings 18:21) What fear grips the hearts of men so they cannot take an unequivocal stand for truth?
Jesus and truth are inseparable. He said, "I AM the truth." (John 14:6) Thus we can paraphrase a testimony concerning an evaluation of relationship to Jesus which comes near to answering the question as to why men professing historic Adventism are afraid to commit themselves on Question #1." Paraphrased, John 12:42-43 reads thus: "Nevertheless among the chief advocates of historic Adventism are many who know the Dallas Statement of Beliefs is heretical, but because of the hierarchy, they do not confess this fact, lest they be put out of the Church: for they love the praise of men more than the praise of God."
Two of the 13 men to whom the Questionnaire
p 2 -- was sent, did respond forthrightly to the first question. Both Dr. James D. Wang and Elder R. J. Wieland answered this question with a check in the "No" blank.
In the "Cover Letter," I promised to go on record as to my position, and to state, why. I join the two courageous men who were not afraid to take a stand for truth. The Dallas Statement of Belief does not reflect my faith, nor belief in fundamental areas of truth. While some of the statements have become confused in the transition from the Andrews University Statements of Belief voted by the hierarchs at the 1979 Annual Council, to the Statement as finally voted at Dallas, there is still sufficient evidence of departure from the truth committed to the Church to warrant a forthright denial of the Dallas Statement by those professing to be upholding historic Adventism through books and papers, tapes and public lectures.
Let us now examine the Dallas Statements of Belief in specific areas of fundamental truth. This is the basis for Question # 1.
The Godhead -- All - and note the word, All - Statements of Belief issued by the Church either in the Yearbook, or in general Church papers from 1872 through 1914, stated the belief concerning the Godhead in the same way, and in the same words. It read: "That there is one God, a personal, spiritual Being, the creator of all things, omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal, infinite in wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, truth, and mercy; unchangeable, and everywhere present by His representative, the Holy Spirit.
"That there is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, the One by whom He created all things, and by whom they do consist ..."
The Statement voted at Dallas introduced a phraseology concerning the Godhead, which had not appeared previously, not even in the 1931 Statement of Beliefs which had been the first to introduce the idea of the "Trinity" - a non-Biblical terminology. The new phraseology reads: " There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons." We need to ask - From where was the phraseology of this concept derived? In a textbook obtainable at the Loma Linda Book Store, J. N. D. Kelley, Principal of St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, wrote: "The doctrine of one God, the Father and creator, formed the background and indisputable premise of the Church's faith. Inherited from Judaism, it was her bulwark against - pagan polytheism, Gnostic emanationism and Marcionite dualism. The problem for theology was to integrate with it intellectually, the fresh data of the specifically Christian revelation. Reduced to their simplest, these were the convictions that God had made Himself known in the Person of Jesus, the Messiah, raising Him from the dead and offering salvation to men through Him, and that He had poured out His Holy Spirit upon the Church. Even at the New Testament stage ideas about pre-existence and creative role were beginning to take shape, and a profound, if often obscure, awareness of the activity of the Spirit in the Church was emerging. No steps had been taken so far, however, to work all these complex elements into a coherent whole. The Church had to wait for more than three hundred years for a final synthesis, for not until the council of Constantinople (381) was the formula of one God existing in three co-equal Persons formally ratified." (Early Christian Doctrines, Revised Edition, pp. 87-88)
Thus, now appears, instead of a Scriptural summary of our Belief in regard to God, a "formula" worked out by the Fathers of the Catholic Church, and ratified by a Church Council, three hundred years after the Apostles. But we need to go a step further, and ask, why this "formula?"
Besides this statement reflecting the thinking of a Church Council, the Dallas Statement included a statement on the Church, which had not appeared in any previous Statement of Beliefs. It read in part: "The church is the community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour."
p 3 -- One has only to turn to the Constitution of the World Council of Churches to find the reason for the formulations on God and the Church as appeared in the Dallas Statement of Beliefs. The first Article of the Constitution which is noted as the "Basis" of its objectives, reads (Note the italicized parts, and compare with the previous quoted statements from the Dallas Statement of Beliefs): "The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the Scriptures and therefore seek to fulfil together their common calling to the glory of the One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit." (So Much in Common, p. 12)
second article of the WCC Constitution reveals the subtlety woven into
the Dallas Statement. It reads: "Those
churches shall be eligible for membership in the World Council of Churches
How then can anyone remain uncommitted in regard to the Statements of Belief as voted at Dallas which express the basis for membership in the World Council of Churches? To express ignorance of this point as a justification for refusing to answer Question #1, is to confess, blindness. How can the blind lead those seeking the light of historic Adventism amid the darkness of the Omega Apostasy? And if you follow the blind, you are also blind!
The Incarnation -- The 1980 Dallas Statement of Beliefs reads concerning the Incarnation as follows: "4. THE SON - God the eternal Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ ... Forever truly God, He became truly man, Jesus the Christ. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived and experienced temptation as a human being, but perfectly exemplified the righteousness and love of God."
The recent controversial lessons for the Sabbath School - the first Quarter of this year - revived the issue as to which nature Christ took in the Incarnation, the pre-Fall, or the post-Fall nature of Adam. The editor of the Adventist Review, Dr. W. G. Johnsson, writing the Teaching Aids for the Lessons, correctly stated the Church's stand in regard to the Dallas Statement, while failing to do his home work on the other part of the summation. He wrote: "The Seventh-day Adventist Church has not spelled out a definitive stand in this matter. Neither the previous 22 statements of belief nor the more recent 27 Statements of Fundamental Belief voted at Dallas in April 1980 take up this matter." (Adult Teaching Aids Quarterly, January-March, 1983, p. 40) The 22 article, 1931 Statement does state concerning Jesus Christ - "While retaining His divine nature, He took upon Himself the nature of the human family, lived on earth as a man."
However, the statement on the Incarnation in the previous statements from 1872 on through 1914 (except the Battle Creek Church Directory statement) read that Jesus Christ "took on Him the nature of the seed of Abraham for the redemption of our fallen race; that He dwelt among men, full of grace and truth, lived our example..."
Our spiritual forefathers did speak in their confession of faith in regard to the Incarnation, and declared that Jesus did take upon Himself "the nature of the seed of Abraham." This is the post-Fall nature. The 1980 Dallas Statement does not so confess this historic position of the Church. Why then could not those men who received the Questionnaire - and who profess in their writings, and public addresses to stand for the historic faith commit themselves? How long will we continue to halt between two opinions?
Atonement and High Priestly Ministry of Christ -- In the
Dallas Statement one finds that "Christ's
life of perfect obedience to God's will, His suffering, death and resurrection"
is stated to be "the
only means of atonement for human sin." This is declared
to be the "perfect atonement."
It is further noted that those who accept this
"atonement" are assured
"final victory over sin and death."
p 4 -- Lest there be any misunderstanding, it should be stated that the sacrifice made by Christ on Calvary was in every way complete - ample - for the sins of the whole world. His life and death met "the condition of the atonement" (AA, p. 29). But, does the mere acceptance of this fact assure me of "final victory over sin and death"? In the Hebrew sanctuary service, was there nothing beyond the Altar in the Court? Even if an individual came to the Brazen Altar during the year, did this assure him of cleansing on the great Day of Atonement?
If the perfect life Christ lived, and His death on Calvary constitutes the Act of the Atonement, and is "perfect" in the sense of completed, then what further need is there for what we call "the final atonement"? To even make a doctrinal statement about it as we shall note the Dallas Statement did, is merely an exercise which only tends to obscure what has really been said.
The Statements of Belief published from 1872 through 1888 declare that Jesus "died our sacrifice, was raised for our justification, ascended on high to be our only Mediator in the sanctuary in heaven, where, with His own blood, He makes the atonement for our sins." The Yearbook statements, 1889, 1905-1914, word this statement as follows: "That there is one Lord Jesus Christ ... that He ... died our sacrifice, was raised for our justification, ascended on high to be our only mediator in the sanctuary in heaven, where, through the merits of His shed blood, He secures the pardon and forgiveness of the sins of all those who penitently come to Him; and as the closing portion of His work as priest, before He takes His throne as king, He will make the great atonement for the sins of all such, and their sins will then be blotted out and borne away from the sanctuary, as shown in the service of the Levitical priesthood, which foreshadowed and prefigured the ministry of our Lord in heaven."
The contrast between what we once stood for, and what was voted at Dallas should be obvious to all. Why then should one be reluctant to commit himself in a simple yes, or no question, such as Question #1 is?
When we come to the doctrine of the ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, we obtain a confused picture. The Dallas Statement does indicate that "there is a sanctuary in heaven," and that "in 1844, at the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days, He [Jesus] entered the second and last phase of His atoning ministry." However, in the same paragraph is to be found a wording that has never appeared in any previous statement of beliefs. Speaking of the sanctuary in heaven, it reads: "In it Christ ministers in our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross." Where did this phraseology come from and what does it mean? I am not indicating, what does it mean to you, but what does it mean to those reading it, for example the theologians of spiritual Babylon?
We need to keep in mind that when Elder Neal C. Wilson introduced the item of our Statement of Beliefs to the delegates at the 1980 General Conference Session, he stated among other things the following: "There are a great many individuals, for instance, who write to the General Conference Ministerial Association requesting a simple statement of our fundamental beliefs. We would like to feel that when such a statement is sent to those who are theologically educated or who are proficient in stating Biblical truth simply, they will understand not what they see but what we see and what we believe. It is one thing for me to apply a certain set of values and theological doctrinal principles to a statement and find that it all fits together. Someone else reading the same statement might not perceive the same truth." (1980 GC Bulletin, #5, p. 9)
should also be remembered there was an Anglican Bishop at the Session,
listening to the discussion on the Statement of Beliefs, and reading
the working paper given to the delegates. When given an opportunity
to address the Session, he said: "As
I have read the beliefs set before you for revision, I had hoped to
find some degree of disagreement. I had the most awful disappointment.
I found increasingly
that we are together in our faith. Therefore, the unity that we share
p 5 -- simply a unity of good will and fellowship but unity in faith increasingly, a unity in Christ." (Ibid. #9, p. 16)
The question now to be considered is - What is the never-before-to-be-found statement in our beliefs concerning the heavenly ministry of Christ really saying?
While many of us are aware of the SDA-Evangelical Conferences of 1955-56, and the effect on our doctrinal teachings, we have not given sufficient attention as to why certain things were worded as they were, and what these phraseologies actually equate. The clause under discussion from the Fundamental Beliefs is a prime example of what took place. Elder T. E. Unruh, who chaired these fateful conferences, tells us something that went in revising the wording of our beliefs. He wrote: We came to see that many misunderstandings rested on semantic grounds, because of an inbred denominational vocabulary. Our friends helped us to express our beliefs in terms more easily understood by theologians of other communions." (Adventist Heritage, Vol. 4, #2, 1977, p. 40)
The importance attached to this has been highlighted in a recent interview given by Walter Martin to staff writers of Adventist Currents. In telling of his experience during the publication of the results of these conferences, Martin said: "I wrote my book in 1960, three years after Questions and Answers. I had already done the articles for Eternity Magazine. They [Adventist Conferees] read the articles. We went over them together. Not that they were going to censure what I had said (they wouldn't even suggest that). They wanted to be certain what I said was such that Adventists who read Eternity, and read the reprints of the articles, would understand where we were coming from because we had two different vocabularies. And - this was a terribly important point historically - we were actually at that juncture synchronizing vocabulary structure between Adventism and evangelical Christianity, which had never been done before. That was a major semantic breakthrough. You have no idea of how much time went into making sure we used terms that were mutually understandable." (Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 19)
With this background then, what does the clause "making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross" - equate?
The answer is found in Questions on Doctrine, pp. 354-356. It reads: "When, therefore, one hears an Adventist say, or reads in Adventist literature even in the writings of Ellen G. White - that Christ is making atonement now, it should be understood that we mean simply that Christ is now making application of the benefits of the sacrificial atonement He made on the cross; that He is making it efficacious for us individually, according to our needs and requests." (Emphasis theirs).
This is merely putting a "semantic interpretation" on what historic Adventism meant when they stated - "Christ is making atonement now." What the writers of Questions on Doctrine indicate this statement means, and how it is understood in the context of historic Adventism is not the same. A surrender of truth could only account for such an interpretation. This is what happened:
Barnhouse reported that both he and Walter Martin heard the Adventist conferees repudiate their belief that "Jesus' atoning work was not completed on Calvary but instead that He is still carrying on a second ministering since 1844." Now note carefully the conclusion Barnhouse drew: "They [Adventist leaders] believe that since His ascension Christ has been ministering the benefits of the atonement which He completed on Calvary." (Eternity, September, 1956) Did the Adventist really say this to the Evangelicals? YES! Unruh so admits. He wrote: "We affirmed our belief ... in His priestly ministry before the Father, applying the benefits of the atonement completed on the cross." (Adventist Heritage, op. cit., p. 38)
now, carefully, how these Church leaders in Questions on Doctrine
describe the heavenly ministry of Christ: "How
glorious is the thought that the King, who occupies the throne, is also
our representative at the court of heaven! This becomes all the more
meaningful when we
p 6 -- realize that Jesus our surety entered the 'holy places,' and appeared in the presence of God for us. But it was not with the hope of obtaining something for us at that time, or at some future time. No! He had already obtained it all for us on the cross. And now as our High Priest He ministers the virtues of His atoning sacrifice for us." (p. 381, Emphasis theirs)
This quote is important not only for what the authors emphasized, but also for what they did not emphasize. First, what they did emphasize stands in direct contradiction to the position of our spiritual forefathers as they expressed themselves in statements of belief. The Yearbook statements from 1889, 1905-1914, all clearly declare that Christ "ascended on high to be our only mediator in the sanctuary in heaven, where, through the merits of his shed blood, He secures the pardon and forgiveness of the sins of all those who penitently come to Him; and as the closing portion of His work as priest, ... He will make the great atonement."
The part they did not emphasize - "Now as our High Priest He ministers the virtues of His atoning sacrifice for us" - is incorporated as a part of the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists as voted at Dallas. The context of this sentence as it appears in Questions on Doctrine clearly indicates that this language with which the Evangelicals helped us phrase our beliefs, is saying that we now believe in a completed atonement at Calvary, and Christ secures nothing for us either presently, or at some future time. Why then all the verbiage even mentioning 1844? So one can halt between two opinions and still be a good Seventh-day Adventist along with the neo-Adventists?
is not the only double-talk to soften the impact of the surrender of
historical truth which has taken place. When Walter R. Martin was writing
his series of articles for Eternity, he had an advance copy of
Questions on Doctrine before him. He quotes extensively in his
second article (November, 1956) from the answer given to the third question
- "Have Seventh-day Adventists changed from some of the positions
advocated by certain adherents of earlier
years, ... As one compares
Summary -- In one document - the 1980 Statement of Beliefs - the Church in its General Conference Session has promulgated dogmas that harmonize both with Evangelical Protestant teaching, and requirements for membership in the World Council of Churches. Yet 11 of the 13 men to whom the Questionnaire was sent could not forthrightly answer Question #1, and declare where they stood on the 1980 Dallas Statement of Beliefs. How can any honest person seeking truth continue to support what they say or write? It was not the 7000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal who challenged the apostasy on Mt. Carmel, but only the one who would not halt between two opinions, and who knew who was the real troubler of Israel. It is true that to be forthright and to refuse to halt between two opinions does not bring one into favor with the hierarchy - but whose favor do we really want? God and truth, or men and error? Perhaps if those questioned had taken time to study the First Commandment, then they could have answered the first question without difficulty. When we cease to worship men, then we can worship God alone!
HAVE OUR BIBLES, WE HAVE OUR EXPERIENCE