1975 Jan-MarVIII 1(75) - VIII 3(75)
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1976 Jan-Mar IX 1(76) - IX 3(76)
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1977 Jan-MarX 1(77) - X 3(77)
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1988 Apr-Jun 3 & 4 of 4.
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SHORT STUDIES - William H. Grotheer -
End Time Line Re-Surveyed Parts 1 & 2 - Adventist Layman's Foundation
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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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Apr -- XIII - 4(80) -- AGE
OF THE CHEMICAL SUBSTANCES OF THE EARTH - In the Light of Special Revelation
Dr. Frank L. Marsh, Emeritus Professor of Biology* Andrews University:
The deepest students of science are constrained to recognize in nature the working of infinite power. But to man's unaided reason, nature's teaching cannot but be contradictory and disappointing. Only in the Iight of revelation can it be read aright. (Education, p. 134)
* I first became acquainted with Dr. Marsh when, as a student at Union College, I took Biology under him to satisfy the science requirement toward a B. A. degree with a major in Religion. Dorothea Miller, now Mrs Grotheer, was a student assistant in the Biology Department headed by Dr. Marsh. Later - much later when completing my M. A. degree at Andrews University, I elected to take a class - Science and Religion - taught by Dr. Marsh. It was from this class that I obtained a paper written by him at the time - July 17, 1964 - which forms a part of this combined presentation on the above subject. The other part of the combined condensation is a paper written ten years later on the same subject dated March 20, 1974, also by Dr. Marsh.
It must be borne in mind that natural revelation may not
be synonymous with our
p 2 -- interpretation of natural revelation. Because of this basic deficiency on man's part, clear assertions of special revelation must ever supercede natural revelation. It is only in the light of special revelation that we can interpret aright the world about us.
Suppose that on Day Six of Creation Week, after man had been created, God told Adam that nothing in the landscape was older than about three days. ("Adam had learned from the Creator, the history, of creation." PP, p. 83) Suppose Adam had had the point of view of the majority of modern scientists, and believed that only open-minded study of nature would reveal natural truth. (As used by worldly scientists, open-minded study must, for example, refuse all Biblical assertions until their truth can be proved in a laboratory.) Assume Adam replied to the Creator, "Lord, if it is alright with you, in view of the wonderful physical senses and this marvelous mind you have given me, I would like to check these natural phenomena and discover if you are correct in asserting that no object in the landscape is more than three days old!"
Assume that Adam began an open-minded study (as defined by worldly scientists) and observed that he was a mature male of marriageable age (25 years old); that mature fruit-bearing trees were all about him (at least five years old) that giant mature whales were playing in the waters (animals at least scores of years old); that giant trees crown the heights (trees at least 100 years old, possibly possessing what appeared as "annual rings"); that the low, rounded hills and spreading plains of the landscape evidenced at least millions of years of erosion; and that some of the inorganic radioactive clocks apparently had ticked off at least 600 million years. If Adam had had the point of view of our modern worldly scientists, he would have returned to the Creator and said, "Lord, I'm sorry to have to say this, but this landscape is a lot older than you think!" -- and he would have had the most carefully obtained, accurately checked, and valid laboratory proof to support his opinion.
Ridiculous! we say. But that is exactly what is happening when a scientist insists that the results of open-minded study of all natural phenomena must take precedence over all Biblical statements about natural things. However, the Bible-believer must constantly bear in mind that our earth was created and formed in an unnatural way with the appearance of age. Then a millenium and half later the surface of the earth was destroyed, by water and/or mechanical shocks, in some places to a depth of at least 400 miles, and then relaid in an unnatural (miraculous?) way. We live on an earth surface which was unnaturally created in the beginning, and then unnaturally destroyed and unnaturally relaid the year of Noah's flood. How can we possibly assume that we can discover the age of the strata of the earth's crust, let alone the earth itself, by natural methods? Seventh-day Adventism is a revealed religion built on faith in a literal Bible and in its texts as illuminated by the Spirit of Prophecy. By faith we are Seventh-day Adventists.
It is sometimes asserted, tragically even by Seventh-day Adventists, that the origins described in Genesis are merely a myth designed to teach that God created. According to this position, the details found in Genesis chapters one and two are not to be used as a basis for any Seventh-day Adventist philosophy of science. But what was Christ's attitude with regard to the details of Genesis? Note the Scripture:
p 3 -- Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, "for this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they two shall become one flesh?" (Matt. 19:4-5 NASB)
Here we see that Christ accepted a literal Genesis regarding the origin of man. Three texts from the first two chapters of Genesis are alluded to in this statement by Christ. They are:
1:1 - "In the beginning God created the heaven and
Because Christ accepted the details of Genesis, dare Christians do less? It is important to remember that all the Bible writers who refer to origins accept the details of Genesis as simple history. Seventh-day Adventists, as a body, have, never to this date, taken a position on the age of the earth's raw materials. There is some difference in views held on this question. However, this does not mean that God has not given us light which may be brought to bear on this point.
It is of significance that no clear suggestion is made in special revelation to the effect that any portion of our earth was in existence before Day One of Creation Week. Contrariwise, it would seem permissible to hold that Eoxdus 20:11 declares not only that all in the heaven (our solar system), the earth, and the sea came into being "in six days," but also the inorganic substances themselves. When Genesis 1:1 and Matthew 19:4 are compared, the expression "in the beginning" refers to a single great event in the history of our world and its inhabitants. A summary statement covering the work of the six days - Genesis 2:4 - states: "These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created."
Because of the much detailed light that God has vouchsafed Adventists through the writings of Ellen G. White on the subject of creation (a most timely addition of information because of the great importance that the age of the materials has assumed in our day), it would seem that Adventists need not to be in doubt over the age of our earth's chemical substances. As it is true in the Bible so also in the Spirit of Prophecy, there is an impressive absence of any assertion that can be taken to indicate the pre-existence of our earth's raw materials before Day One. This should carry much weight with the careful Adventist student, especially in view of the fact that the Spirit of Prophecy statements were written after Darwin began his work, and these statements dealt specifically with conclusions reached regarding the age of the earth in the light of natural revelation and special revelation.
The following references are among the most helpful in determing the age of the earth's materials as presented in special revelation:
By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear. Heb. 11:3 RSV
p 4 -- The theory that God did not create matter when He brought the world into existence, is without foundation. In the formation, of our world. God was not indebted to pre-existing matter." (8T:258)
The idea that many stumble over, that God did not create matter when He brought the world into existence, limits the power of the Holy One of Israel . (Signs of the Times, March 13, 1884)
Infidel geologists claim that the world is very much older that the Bible record makes it. ... The world is now only about six thousand years old. (Spiritual Gifts, Vol 3, PP. 91-92)(1864)
It is worthy of note that the above three references from the Spirit of Prophecy occur in discussions where the relation of science and religion is the central theme under consideration.
In regard to these three quotations from the pen of Ellen G. White, good exegesis will not permit an interpretation which asserts in Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8, p. 258 and the Signs of the Times, March 13, 1884 , "world" refers to the chemical substances of our earth but in Spiritual Gifts, Vol 3, p. 92, it refers merely to its surface details. In Hebrews 11:3, we learn that when our "world" was created by the word of God, its substance was brought into existence from nothing. The Ellen G. White statements reaffirm this fact, and then her inspired pen adds the basically important knowledge for our day that this great event when our world was formed occurred only about 6,000 years ago.
To the above statements, these might be added: "When the foundations of the earth were laid ... then was laid the foundation of the Sabbath." (Great Controversy p. 455), "The Sabbath institution, which originated in Eden, is as old as the world itself." (Patriarchs & Prophets, p. 336) From these declarations and assertions of special revelation, and the absence of anything to the contrary, one who believes that special revelation supercedes natural revelation is thus able to conclude that nothing about our earth/world is older than Creation Week.
Not only does special revelation make clear that both the earth with its foundations, and man were created in the same great event at the beginning, but Bible chronology tells us this event occurred some 6,000 years ago. However, destructive higher criticism, with its subtle process of rationization of every assertion of the Bible, teaches that because in certain Biblical genealogies and because of Luke's naming of a patriarch not mentioned in the Old Testament in the post-Flood period (Cainan, Luke 3:36), Bible chronology is completely untrustworthy; and resultantly, the Word of God gives no idea at all in regard to the duration of time since Creation Week. This widely accepted doctrine, even broadly accepted among evangelical Christians, was a major victory for the god of deceit.
The Seventh-day Adventist who has any problem in facing this teaching of higher criticism should go to the new Comprehensive Index of the Writings of Ellen G. White, and study carefully the hundreds of references under "Chronology." It will be found that God through His chosen messenger has revealed most clearly to us that the over-all Bible chronology is true. The first Adam live four millenniums before the second Adam. "Christ overcame in the sinner's behalf, four
p 5 -- thousand years after Adam turned his back upon the light of his home." (SM, bk, i, p. 267) Fifty-three references in this list, exclusive of the prophetic 2300, and 1260 year periods, deal with Bible chronology periods of 1,000 to 6,000 years. Every Adventist who is concerned about historical time should meditate prayerfully on the fact that in hundredsof references, the messenger of the Lord accepts Bible chronology. Thus because of the clear teaching of the Bible and of the Spirit of Prophecy on this point, it is the historic position of the Seventh-day Adventists that only about 6,000 years have passed since Creation Week.
What one believes
about Creation, effects how one regards the Sabbath. Why are we to keep
the Sabbath day holy? According to the Fourth Commandment, we are to keep
it holy "for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea,
and all that in them is." (Ex. 20:11) Thus the first reason for observance
of the Sabbath is to remind us of what God created and made in the six
days of Creation Week. Among those facts were the laying of the foundations
of the earth. "The
How appreciative we should be that God gave us the inspired commentary, for example, Patriarchs and Prophets, p.47, which makes clear that not only was the surface of the earth prepared but all the remainder of the earth to its very foundation came into existence during the six days of Creation Week, and thereby the earth's raw materials are included with those works whose creation is memorialized in the observance of the Sabbath day. It behoves us to hold to that point of view of origins which lends the greatest significance to the Sabbath.
To subscribe to a point of view that at least the raw materials were here before Day One makes it difficult to close the door to evolution. But when Adventists accept the assertions of the Scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy which have a bearing on the age of our earth's materials and duration since Creation Week, they have a strong case against uniformitarianism and organic evolution. The fact of nothing about our earth being older than about 6,000 years, provides no stage upon which extended natural processes can act. Is it not clear that God, through His messengers, has supplied us with the very information we need to enable us to see and speak clearly and act positively in this time of confusion?
"THE GREAT JEHOVAH HAD LAID THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE EARTH; HE HAD DRESSED THE WHOLE WORLD IN THE GARB OF BEAUTY, AND HAD FILLED IT WITH THINGS USEFUL TO MAN; HE HAD CREATED ALL THE WONDERS OF THE LAND AND OF THE SEA. IN SIX DAYS THE GREAT WORK OF CREATION HAD BEEN ACCOMPLISHED." (PP. 47)
p 6 -- The Shaking Up of Adventism? -- SDA biblical scholars challenge the traditionalists. by Edward E Plowman - (Reproduced by permission from Christianity Today, Feb. 1980.) -- Desmond Ford is at once a product and a catalyst of recent developments that are plunging the Seventh-day Adventist Church into a serious crisis of identity and authority.
When controversy erupted following a talk he gave in late October at a lay-sponsored forum on the campus of 2,100 student Pacific Union College in northern California, Ford a well known SDA theologian and visiting professor from Australia was summoned to SDA headquarters in suburban Washington, D.C., to explain his views. He had taken issue at the forum with an SDA teaching known as "the investigative judgment," a belief that Christ entered the "sanctuary" of Daniel 8:14 (or "most holy place" of Hebrews 9) in heaven in 1844 to begin judging believers, a work that will continue until his Second Coming. The issue is important because it is a vital aspect of the church's historical foundations. Christ did not return in 1844, as Adventist pioneers had predicted in their study of prophecy, and the investigative judgment teaching was part of the attempt to explain that in 1844 important prophecy had indeed been fulfilled.
Ford declared at the forum that Christ has been king and priest ever since his ascension and that he always knows his sheep. What happened in 1844, Ford indicated, was not a shift in heavenly geography but the raising up of a people (Adventists) who would recover the spirit of the Reformation, proclaiming "the law in its fulness and the gospel in its fulness so that all men might be judged by their response to that proclamation." The theologian linked his dismissal of the investigative judgment to the doctrine of justification by faith, another issue troubling the church.
SDA officials gave Ford, 50, a six-month leave of absence with pay from Pacific Union and instructed him to prepare a paper clarifying and documenting his viewpoints. A committee of administrators and scholars was appointed to supervise and evaluate his work, expected to be completed by this summer.
Ford, who earned a doctorate in England under renowned evangelical scholar F. F. Bruce, arrived in Takoma Park, Maryland, last month and immediately began his task, working out of a basement office in the church archives.
1 Officials emphasize that the church follows a 1ong-time practice of granting its members the right to be heardon any issue affecting the church's teachings. "The church has a history of being, gentle with its creative people." commented SDA education executive Richard Hamill, the official directly responsible for supervising Ford. Hamill observed that the church has allowed for theological change in its development, but to preserve unity, he suggested, change must be evolutionary rather than revolutionary.
Under pressure from Australian administrators, the SDA publishing house at the last minute "deferred indefinitely" publication of a Sabbath school quarterly Ford had written. "'The material was correct theologically; it was simply felt that the author's name was too controversial at this time," commented SDA publications official Howard Rampton, himself an Australian. (Quarterlies are published in 100 languages for use among the 192 countries where the church has work; the translation process was held up while SDA editors hurriedly prepared a replacement manuscript.)
The outcome of Ford's case is unpredictable, say observers. Privately, a number Of SDA biblical scholars who express reservations about Ford's outspokenness, nevertheless generally agree with him on key doctrinal positions, and a large number of laymen and young clergy back him fully. Even some of Ford's detractors would oppose restraint on academic freedom, the observers say. 2 To disfellowship Ford, moreover, would invite widespread campus unrest and even schisms, they point out, but to do nothing would invite further clamor from traditionalists. One suggested solution: an appeal to Ford to tone down his public pronouncements for the sake of unity.
It may not be that
simple. In dozens of interviews with theologians, seminarians, clergy,
administrators, and lay leaders, a common theme emerged: the church must
get the issues out into the open and deal with them responsibly.
One seminary professor, however, cautioned that such a course might result
in a setback for theological reform. The church, he indicated, has come
a long way already on issues such as justification by faith because progress
has been gradual and quiet. (Church leaders point out that Adventists
have always believed in justification by faith, but many of these same
leaders also point out that many Adventists in actual practice have confused
justification with sanctification and believe that their salvation rests
on perfectionism and good works. Over the past decade or so, a number
of biblical scholars and younger clergy have emphasized the finished work
of Christ on the cross, and
There is also ferment over the issues of authority and ecclesiology. A committee of scholars and administrators was dispatched to Long Beach, California, late last month to study the criticisms of an SDA pastor 5 regarding the writings of Ellen G. White, the SDA pioneer whose visions and teachings are considered authoritative by most Adventists and accepted as divinely inspired by many. Pastor Walter Rea, 56, of the 450-member Long Beach SDA church, claims he has hundreds of pages of documentation showing that Mrs. White borrowed liberally - virtually word for word, in some cases -f rom other writers. "She got her knowledge in the same way anyone else gets theirs," he
p 7 -- commented. Adventists must look to the Bible for their authority, he indicated.
In an explanatory letter to the committee members, SDA General Conference president Neal Wilson noted that Mrs. White really acknowledged using other sources. She used biographical, historical, spiritual, and scientific material from other authors, he said. The church has never emphasized this fact, but neither has it tried to cover it up, he noted.
In interviews, theologians said that scholars for many years have known of Mrs. White's "literary dependencies" but have never made a public issue of it. She always exhorted members to look to the Bible for authority, not to her, they said. Early in SDA history, though, many of the church's members placed Mrs. White's teaching on a level equal with Scripture, and they tended to require the Bible to square with her views, a practice that persists among some Adventists today.
"The primary issue in the church today is this: Are we prepared to test Mrs. White by the Scriptures?" asserted one of Adventism's most 3 respected theoiogians, who asked to remain anonymous (as did many other interviewees). "We can't give Ellen White veto power over the meaning of Scripture," he declared.
On the issue of ecclesiology, many members grouse about what they feel is excessive vertical orientation of the church's structures. In this view, Takoma Park is the Vatican, and administration officials are the Italian Curia. Many of the officials would shrug off the description and plead that they are simply trying to do their job. Yet fear of headquarters persists among clergy and teachers, and some lay leaders complain that officials are unresponsive to their concerns. Agendas at national conventions of the church are tightly controlled by administrators. To help sort things out, Wilson has called a meeting of scholars and administrators in 4 August in Colorado to discuss how decision-making processes of the church can be opened to greater participation.
Despite the tensions and transition pains, the Adventists enjoy a measure of sound health. Growth has been fairly rapid, especially overseas. Of 3.2 million members, 566,000 are in North America (in 3,850 congregations). Anti-smoking, dietary, and medical programs have earned the church good will and new members. Effects are still being felt from a spiritual awakening among the church's young people in the early 1970s.
In the last two decades the church has moved closer to the evangelical mainstream. Adventists believe in the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, the sinless life and atoning sacrifice of Christ, his bodily resurrection and ascension, salvation through grace by faith, sanctification by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the imminent return of Christ.
Seventh-day Adventism's roots go back to the early 1800s, when a period of excited speculation about the Second Advent (Coming) of Christ swept through many churches. Some prophecy students, mulling over figures in Daniel 8 and 9, began setting dates. Among the date setters was William Miller, a New York farmer-turned-Baptist preacher, who began making public appearances in the 1830s. His followers, who numbered 200,000 at the peak of his ministry, became known as Millerites or Adventists, only a fraction of whom later became Seventh-day Adventists. They came from many denominational backgrounds.
Miller predicted several dates in 1843 and 1844 when Christ would return, then finally settled on October 22, 1844. Many of his followers gave up their jobs, sounded a "midnight cry" of repentance to the world, and came together to await Christ's return in an atmosphere of worship. When the date passed and Christ did not return - the "'Great Disappointment" in Adventist literature - the movement all but collapsed. Thousands of the disheartened and disillusioned Millerites returned to their churches, where in many cases they were ridiculed and disciplined.
Those who remained
were bitter and divided. They lashed out at the churches and at each other.
Some - including John and Ellen G. White - taught that Christ had shut
the door to salvation, a view that impeded Adventist evangelism for years.
A number of explanations for the Great Disappointment were offered. These
are explored by SDA theologian P. Gerard Damsteegt in his Foundations
of' the Seventh-day Adventist Message and Mission (Eerdmans), the
best and most thoroughly documented book on early SDA history. Ex-Methodist
Hiram Edson and Ellen G. Harmon, the future Mrs. White, said they had
visions showing that Christ had not come out of the most holy place of
the heavenly sanctuary after all but had come out of the first compartment
of the sanctuary and entered into the second, or most holy, to receive
kingdom, dominion, and glory. Further refinements were added to this understanding
of Christ's sanctuary ministry, including the investigative judgment aspect
wherein Christ is determining who is saved and who is not, largely on
the basis of works.
p 8 -- Associations with Seventh Day Baptists led to the adoption of a Sabbath doctrine. Mrs. White, a prolific writer, was seen as having the "Spirit of Prophecy" by which she received revelations from God. A group of Adventists set up a headquarters in 1855 in Battle Creek, Michigan, home of vegetarian Adventist W. K. Kellogg, inventor of corn flakes. Under the leadership of Ellen White's husband James, an editor, the SDA was formally organized in 1863. Following a spat between Kellogg and other SDA leaders, offices were moved in 1903 to Takoma Park. Mrs. White died in 1915.
The keystone doctrine of the Protestant Reformers - justification by faith (God's declaration that a believer through faith is righteous in Christ) - apparently received little attention from the SDA pioneers. Mrs. White later stated that she and her husband had stood alone for 45 years in teaching the doctrine. Moreover, the predominant view of justification embraced by early Adventists was akin to the Catholic one hammered out at the Council of Trent: Christ died for the sins of the past, but if the believer is to survive judgment, he must provide evidence of his righteousness through obedience and good works with the aid of the Holy Spirit. This confusion of justification with sanctification, linked as it was to a pre-Advent judgment, led many Adventists into perfectionism.
The Adventists came to the brink of a theological revival in 1888, according to SDA watcher Geoffrey J. Paxton, an Anglican who is president of the Queensland Bible Institute in Brisbane, Australia. In The Shaking of Adventism (Baker, 1977), an attempt to trace the development of the doctrine of justification among Adventists, Paxton notes that two SDA ministers preached righteousness by faith at the church's 1888 general conference in Minneapolis. Even though Mrs. White supported their views, the conference was divided. Periodic meetings have been called over the years since then to analyze what happened in 1888, and to see if some agreement could be reached on the meaning of the gospel of righteousness by faith. Desmond Ford has been a central figure at some of these meetings, pleading for the church to repent and 5 to embrace Christ's finished work on the cross. It is this call, amplified by Ford and others, that leads Paxton to conclude that Seventh-day Adventism is being shaken right down to its foundation.
SDA officials consider Paxton a troublemaker, and they have tried to ban him from speaking at SDA gatherings.
SDA officials are quick to emphasize that the church has always taught righteousness by faith. The full impact of the message, however, somehow seems to get bottled up.
The official SDA youth publication not long ago complained that Seventh-day Adventism's greatest problem is related to "the consequences of years and years of unceasing perfectionism that has infiltrated every sphere of our denominational existence, be it church, Sabbath school, or home." The result, said the paper, is "a generation of spiritually exhausted and frustrated people" who end up either pretending everything is okay or dropping out of the faith "because they know they will never reach the perfect standards of the church."
Ford isn't the only Australian who has gotten into trouble with traditionalists in the church over the justification issue. Robert D. Brinsmead, graduate of an SDA college in Australia and one of the most vigorous voices for theological reform among Adventists, is another. While Brinsmead was lecturing in the United States in the early 1960s, a denominational executive and a tiny Australian church disfellowshiped him from the denomination. Although he now refers to himself as an independent evangelical, he has remained in touch with Adventists around the world and is frequently called on to speak at unofficial gatherings. One of his weekend series is entitled "1844 Reexamined." In it, he challenges the validity of virtually the entire SDA historical foundation, including the matters pertaining to the investigative judgment.
For some reason,
Ford has been under heavy pressure from unnamed officials to condemn Brinsmead
and his teachings publicly. Ford, however, agrees with Brinsmead on many
positions and has declined to rebuke him. Says Ford about his, own position:
"I am not attacking any basic doctrine of the church, but I am suggesting
that the traditional mode of teaching the judgment can be made more exegetically
sound and more vital in its impact on the spiritual lives of our people."
EDWARD E. PLOWMAN
p 9 -- COMMENTS -- On the three previous pages of the Thought Paper, we have reproduced the article - "The Shaking Up of Adventism" - which appeared in the February 8, 1980, issue of Christianity Today. The matters contained in this well-written article fall into two categories: personal statements by named and unnamed persons; and basic theological issues, namely, the fundamental doctrine of the sanctuary as understood in historic Seventh-day Adventism, and the authority of the Spirit of Prophecy. (In our comments on these two areas, we shall use numbers to designate the particular statements to which we shall refer in the article, and italicize these statements so that the reader can refer back and forth more readily.
The statements attributed to church "officials" and given by Dr. Richard Hamill need to be carefully considered. (1) These statements are simply prevarications. Are these men seeking to rewrite our past history as it relates to the dealing of the hierarchy with the truly "creative" theologian - the late Elder M. L. Andreasen? Let them name one single person who has taken issue with the hierarchy in the past fifty years either in the area of theology or ecclesiology who has received the "gentle" touch described by Hamill. But looking at this from another viewpoint - Are the laity being told that Dr. Ford is going to be "white-washed" and sent forth as a saint to the church to proclaim his heresies once again. Is Hamill so blind as to equate "creative" thinking with heresy? The Statement of the President of Pacific Union College in behalf of the Board of Trustees indicated that Dr. Ford had taken "issue with basic theological positions held by the Seventh-day Adventist Church." (See p. 7 of February issue of "Watchman, What of the Night?") It has been documented from Australia, and in the December, 1979, issue of this paper that Ford is teaching other dangerous errors. The article in Christianity Today suggests that Ford will not be disfellowshiped for fear of a schism in the Church. (2) Yet the Church Manual declares plainly: Among the grievous sins for which members shall be subject to church discipline are the following: 1. Denial of faith in the fundamentals of the gospel and in the cardinal doctrines of the church or teaching doctrines contrary to the same. (Church Manual, p. 234, 1967 edition)
Are we now being told that the delay in dealing with Ford till after the General Conference Session means that the change in our Fundamental Beliefs is to be such that Ford can be declared to be in harmony with the Church's teaching instead of teaching heresy as is now the case?
It will be observed that many who were interviewed prior I to the publication of this article wished to remain - "anonymous." (3) Really what is the difference between writing an "anonymous" letter, and going into print such as in this article without one's name attached to what one said? Why the cowardice? If what one is saying is truth, why hide behind anonymity? If these are the kind of theologians who are teaching the coming ministry of the church woe be to the laity to whom such will minister!
Also the article indicates that intermim president, Neal C. Wilson, is calling for a meeting in August in Colorado to discuss "how decision-making processes of the church can be opened to greater participation." (4) This is a bit late. The General Conference Session will be in April. Apparently with Wilson issuing the
p 10 -- the call, he feels that he has the election of himself as "first minister" of the Church "in the bag." If Wilson really wanted to make changes so that there was not an "image to the beast" at Takoma Park, with its "curia on the Sligo," and a reigning "first minister," all he would have to do in his opening remarks to the Session in Dallas is to recommend that the 1901 Constitution be resurrected and that the ecclesiological reforms began then be continued and enlarged. To do so would require a crucifixion of "self" - a crucifixion most difficult for one "running" for high office. However, when the law of the "New Kingdom" as stated by Christ in Matt. 20:25-28 becomes the basis of all of the chatter about righteousness by faith, then Adventists will no longer be in a "shakey" position.
The two items under "basic theological issues, namely, the fundamental doctrine of the Sanctuary as understood in historic Seventh-day Adventism, and the authority of the Spirit of Prophecy" (5) will be discussed in forthcoming thought papers.
VLADIMIR ANDREEOVICH SHELKOV, 1896 - 1980 -- On January 27, Elder V. A. Shelkov, Leader of the True and Free Seventh-day Adventists died in a Soviet Labor Detention Center. "And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them. " (Rev. 14:13)
Pierson: "Lord, when saw I Thee ... sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto Thee?"
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I,Here am I, send me. And He said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. (Isa. 6:8, 9)
There is a nasty little word called, "criticism." I wonder how many of us have been accused of being critical. We are told that criticism is a sin and that we should never criticize. I shall never forget the first time I was accused of being critical by the leadership. It upset me greatly. That same year during campmeeting in Auburn, Washington, the Conference President arranged for a panel discussion. The members of the panel were a teacher, a minister, and a doctor who were to discuss criticism each from his professional point of view; and at the same time the congregation was allowed to make comments. Later the Panel was sent out to deliberate and bring in their findings. It was all very interesting.
The concensus of the group was that there are two kinds of criticism: Destructive and Constructive. The panel went on to report that as they had considered the matter, they had had a difficult time defining what destructive and constructive criticism actually is. The best consensus the panel could come up with was when you criticize me, it is destructive; but if I criticize you, it is constructive! That decision did not satisfy anyone.
The concept of criticism is a misunderstood issue, and it usually silences a person who is accused of being critical. This misunderstanding of criticism has bothered me for years. The times I would be accused of being critical I would return home upset and wonder if I had committed a terrible sin. If I was to have any peace of mind, I decided, I would have to settle the question for myself; so I went through the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy to find out just what type of criticism is permissible and what type is not, and when it is a sin, and when it is not.
Ellen G. White says that Satan wants to silence the voice of reproof and rebuke in the church. And he accomplishes his purpose by labeling it "criticism." In my study of criticism I found that she says we are not to criticize the minister or our fellow church members regarding their facial expressions, their use of the
p 2 -- English language or grammar, and we are not to criticize their dress. We are not to criticize anything about the person. To find fault with one of God's created beings, who cannot help the way he looks, is sin.
The following quotation is an example of sinful criticism and what Satan hopes to accomplish, and many times does, through this critical spirit. It reads: God always has men to whom He entrusts His message. His Spirit moves upon their hearts and constrains them to speak. Stimulated by holy zeal, and with the divine impulse strong upon them, they enter upon the performance of their duty without coldly calculating the consequences of speaking to the people the word which the Lord has given them. But the servant of God is soon made aware that he has risked something. He finds himself and his message made the subject of criticism. His manners, his life, his property, are all inspected and commented upon. His message is picked to pieces and rejected in the most illiberal and unsanctified spirit, as men in their finite judgment see fit. Has that message done the work that God designed it should accomplish? No; it has signally failed because the hearts of the hearers were unsanctified.
If the minister's face is not flint, if he has not indomitable faith and courage, if his heart is not made strong by constant communion with God, he will begin to shape his testimony to please the unsanctified ears and hearts of those he is addressing. In endeavoring to avoed the criticism to which he is exposed, he separates from God and loses the sense of divine favor, and his testimony becomes tame and lifeless. He finds that his courage and faith are gone and his labors powerless. The world is full of flatterers and dissemblers who have yielded to the desire to please; but the faithful men, who do not study self-interest, but love their brethren too well to suffer sin upon them, are few indeed. (5T:299, 300)
I found that there
is something else we are absolutely not to criticize - the truth. Nor
are we to find fault with it, because truth is a "thus saith the
Lord." Studying further, I found something that it is impossible
to criticize. Error and wrong-doing cannot be criticized; for to speak
against these two things is to rebuke, reprove, warn and exhort. But it
is criticism when you speak
So we cannot reprove
righteousness; that is criticism. We cannot rebuke truth, for to do this
is to find fault and criticize it. Sister White divides it right there.
To find fault with a person, and things about that person, is forbidden;
and God does not approve of it and will not tolerate it. To find fault
with the truth, with honesty, and with uprightness is criticism, which
is sin. But to speak out against dishonesty, deceitfulness, deception,
fraud, falsehood and error is to rebuke, reprove, and exhort; and we are
commanded by God to do this.
p 3 -- It is important to remember the difference between criticism and reproof. In general people do not know the difference. For years I never knew the difference until I arrived at the point where I couldn't live with the constant charge of being critical the moment I spoke against error, dishonesty, partiality, etc.
When we individually or collectively speak against denominational investment policies, as an example, it is not criticism; it is reproof. When the Northern California Conference lost a substantial amount of money playing the stock market - and there is a debate as to the exact amount; the figures range from two million to six million dollars lost -- I believe that it is the laymens' duty to rebuke the leadership for such misuse of the funds entrusted to them. It is rebuke and not criticism.
Personally, I do not think we should play the stock market. I do not say that it is a sin; but if we own stock in a company and that company is open on the Sabbath are we not a kind of a partner? If we read carefully what Sister White says about stock investments, and mining claims, we will find that she does not come right out and say that such investments are sin. But she advises against such investments, and says those who might not be able to take the uncertainty of such things, and who might let the losses drive them into despondency, should not invest.
Friends, we should know the difference between criticism and reproof; and when we know the difference, we should, like Isaiah, respond to the Lord's call. It is impossible to criticize falsehood, error, or deception. Any time we speak against these, it is labeled in the Spirit of Prophecy and the Bible as reproof and warning - not criticism!
There was an interesting incident in Carson City a few years ago. A minister was harshly criticizing someone in the church when a member spoke up and said, "I thought you were condemning criticism the other day in church." The minister answered, "It's all right to criticize the criticizers." Is it? It is alright to reprove wrong; but it is never right to criticize truth, right, honesty, or personal characeristics. It is never right to speak against them. So before we speak against something, we must be sure it is wrong; then we will never be criticizers. We will be reprovers at the gate. We may be unwelcome and a little lonely, and our old friends may pity our loved ones and pass us by; but we will never be criticizers in the eyes of the Lord.
The situation today in the world and in the church calls for prayer and fasting. The message also goes out to you as it went out to Isaiah, "Who will go?"
Mark this point with care: Those who receive the I pure mark of truth, wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost ... are those "that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done" in the church. (3T:267)
It is not enough to
merely profess to believe the truth. All the soldiers of the cross of
Christ virtually obligate themselves to enter the crusade against the
adversary of souls, to condemn wrong and sustain righteousness. (3T:254)
p 4 -- The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left without the seal of God. ... The seal of God will be placed upon the foreheads of those only who sigh and cry for the abominations done in the land. (5T:211, 212)
DESMOND FORD ON HEBREWS -- "There is only one place in the New Testament where the Day of Atonement is given a detailed explanation, and that is in Hebrews nine and ten." So stated, Dr. Desmond Ford at a meeting of the Association of Adventist Forums, October 27, 1979, on the campus of Pacific Union College. After quoting from various verses found in Hebrews 9, Ford urged - "Please note that Hebrews nine is talking about an entering of the second apartment once a year with the blood of bulls and goats."
Feeling more at home in various versions and translations of Hebrews 9 than in the actual text, Ford quoted Hebrews 9:12 from the New International version, and then commented: In case some folks try, as Questions on Doctrine tried, and some other books have tried, to make an issue out of the Greek, the word that is here translated, "most holy place," is literally, ''holy." The Septuagint uses it repeatedly in Leviticus 16 for the most holy place. The word itself can mean the sanctuary as a whole, or it can mean the first apartment, or it can mean the second apartment. You can prove nothing from the Greek, because it has these possibilities. But from the context it is obvious it is speaking about a place that the high priest alone went once every year with the blood of bulls and goats.
To underscore what he thought his observations on Hebrews nine taught, Ford declared: Let me underline it again, because you must get this point. The book of Hebrews distinctly teaches that Christ went directly into the most holy place at His ascension. There is no way out, around, or through it. I have ransacked every nook and corner, and twisted every sylable. [This last phrase, very true!] There is no way out, or around, or through it. The book of Hebrews, chapter nine, teaches that Christ went directly into the most holy place at His ascension.(All quotes from a tape recording of the message given.)
Hebrews 9 give a detailed explanation of the Day of Atonement? Does the
entire chapter talk about the once-a-year entering of the High Priest
with the blood of bulls and goats? Did Jesus upon His asumption of the
office of High Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec begin his
ministry in the Most Holy Place?
These questions demand an answer, and on this answer, the rest of Ford's
p 5 -- can stand or fall.
Ford rightly notes that the Septuagint uses the same word as Paul in Hebrews 9 in describing the place where the High Priest ministered on typical Day of Atonement. Because of this, and the fact that where the Old Testament is quoted in the book of Hebrews, the Septuagint is used, it is doubly important that we understand Paul's own definitive use of the word, Hagia ('Agia) It is also true that this word is translated variously in the KJV as "sanctuary," "holy place," or "holiest." But does this rule out the use of the Greek? All of these factors we shall discuss in the next essay.
HEBREWS --One becomes aware at the beginning of any study of the book
of Hebrews that he is faced with the problem of authorship. Did the Apostle
Paul write this book or did he not? Throughout the writings of the Spirit
of Prophecy, there is consistent
reference to the book of Hebrews as the work of Paul. The book is directed
to the Hebrew Christians, and, as such, was probably written in the Hebrew
of the time. Only one who understood the extreme devotion manifest by
"converted Jews" to the temple and its services (Acts 21:20-24),
and who sensed what would happen to their "faith" when Christ's
prophecy concerning the temple would be fulfilled (Matt. 24:2), could
formulate the theology set forth in Hebrews. Paul alone sensed this crisis,
and in a very real manner felt the ostracism of the
The single word - Hagia ('Agia) upon which the Ford's assertion either stands or falls is used eight times in the book of Hebrews, and is translated five different ways in the KJV. It is translated "sanctuary" in Heb. 8:2; 9:2, and 13:11; "holiest of all" in Heb. 9:8; "holy place" 9:12, 25; "holy places" in Heb. 9:24; and "holiest" in Heb. 10:19. Because of this variation in translation, Ford uses this as an argument that "you can prove nothing from the Greek." It is obvious that the translators have placed their own interpretation on the word, instead of letting Paul define his own use of the word. It might be argued that the translators of the different versions sought to state in English the meaning of the word as they perceived its use in the context of each statement where the word occurred. Surely Paul would not be so misleading as to use the same word to mean a variety of thoughts without so indicating, and this in the light that Paul did define how he was going to use that word.
Unique to this book, the first agartment of the earthly sanctuary pitched by Moses is declared to be "the first tabernacle." (Heb. 9:2) To this first apartment, the word, Hagia, ( 'Agia ) is given. (The KJV translates it - "sanctuary.") The second apartment is also called a "tabernacle"(Heb. 9:3) and named - "Holiest of all" - Hagia Hagion ('Agia 'Agiwn). This is the only place in the entire book of Hebrews where this compound use of the word is to be found. And Paul uses it to refer
p 6 -- to the second apartment of the sanctuary. Further he plainly states concerning this second apartment - "of which we cannot now speak particularly." (Heb. 9:5) In other words it was not the "opportune" time to discuss this apartment of the sanctuary. The problem we now face is very simple. Can each use of the word Hagia ('Agia) which is found in the book, and which Paul defined as the first tabernacle or apartment (Heb. 9:2) be so understood to apply either to the first apartment of the earthly sanctuary or its heavenly antitype?
Let us now note the eight times which the word Hagia ('Agia) is used in Hebrews:
Hebrews 8:2 "A minister of the sanctuary (twn agiwn genitive of Hagia) and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man."
By definition in Hebrews 9:2, this word as used means the first apartment of the earthly sanctuary. The context in Hebrews 8 indicates that the earthly was but the shadow of the heavenly (8:5). Thus we can conclude that Christ as "High Priest" when He ascended on high began His ministry in the first apartment of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man. These verses - Hebrews 8:1-5 - which serve as a preface to the ninth chapter indicate a resent situation at the time of writing. "If He were on earth, He should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law." (8:4) The particular ministry of Christ being noted at that time is compared to the ministry of the "priests" who were confined to the first apartment.
Hebrews 9:2 "For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread which is called the sanctuary" (Haqia - 'Agia) .
This is the definition text which controls the use of phrases and words concerning the priestly ministry of Christ. Note again carefully, the Hagia is the term used to designate the "first tabernacle" or apartment. Thus also when the phrase "first tabernacle" is used, it must be understood to be "the first apartment."
Hebrews 9:8 "The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all (twn agiwn - genitive of Hagia) was not yet made manifest, while the first tabernacle was yet standing." (standing = "retaining its divinely appointed status.")
Paul had already defined "the first tabernacle" as the first apartment of the earthly sanctuary (Heb. 9:2, 6), and then states that this "was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices." (9:9). Thus the way into the holy place of the heavenly sanctuary would not be manifest until the earthly lost its divine status, and the designated High Priest of the heavenly appeared with "somewhat also to offer." (Heb. 8:3)
Hebrews 9:11-12 "But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place (the hagia - ta agiwa), having obtained eternal redemption for us."
This is a continuation of the concepts of the previous verses. Paul is now spelling
p 7 -- out "the way into the Hagia" which Christ has entered with His own blood. Again keep in mind that according to Paul 's own use of the word, the "Hagia" is the first apartment of the sanctuary on earth, and thus in "figure" (9:9) would be the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary.
There is in these verses (Heb. 9:11-12) another point which should be carefully explored. Within the Church, as a part of the present controversy over its sanctuary teaching, is the issue as to whether the Cross is "the Act of the Atonement" and thus the work would be completed on the Cross (Movement of Destiny p. 500); or was the Cross, "the condition of the atonement" (AA p. 29), and thus Christ would enter the heavenly sanctuary "to complete His work."(DA, P. 790) In these divergent concepts, basic, historic Adventist teaching is involved. To formulate our historic teaching on this point would be to state that Christ "by His death began that work which after His ascension, He ascended to complete in heaven." (GC, P. 489) A correct understanding of these verses will clear the issue, and establish the basic, historic teaching of the Church. The question, therefore, is - Did Christ when "He entered in" obtain eternal redemption, or had He obtained it for us prior to His entering in, in other words, on the Cross?
These verses in Hebrews (11,12) constitute one sentence in the Greek text. There is one main clause - "He entered in" (eishlqen - eiseilthen), with two subordinate past (aorist) participial clauses. One of these past (aorist) participial clauses is connected with "being come" (paragenomenoV), while the second is governed by "having obtained" (euramenoV). While the past (aorist) participle is most frequently used to denote action prior to the time of the main verb, there is, however, a use of the past (aorist) participle called, "identical action," in which case the action is identical with the time of the main verb. In such cases the past (aorist) participle most frequently accompanies a verb in the past (aorist) indicative as in the verses here in Hebrews 9:11-12. Thus when Christ appeared in the presence of God for us in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary through the acceptance of the sacrifice - His own blood - a redemption eternal in quality was secured so that all who come unto God by Him, might be saved to the uttermost. (Heb. 7:25)
Hebrews 9:24-25 "For Christ is not entered into holy places (Hagia - 'Agia) made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: nor yet that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place (the Hagia -ta 'Agia) every year with the blood of others."
Again Paul is writing of the "now" time. He declares plainly that Christ is not entered into the "hagia" of the earthly which he has defined as the first apartment, but into its antitype. But the second use of the word, hagia, raises some questions. Is Paul speaking of the Most Holy place, or the second apartment of the earthly sanctuary, thus referring to the ministry of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement? If this be true, then it can be construed that Christ upon His ascension - in other words, "now" - entered immediately into the work of the Most Holy place.
Two factors argue
against this conclusion. 1) Paul's definitions in verses
two and three of this ninth chapter. Let me underline it again, Paul calls
8 -- apartment of the earthly sanctuary, which he designates "a
tabernacle ... the first," as the "hagia."
Then after the second veil comes "the tabernacle which is called
the Hagia Hagion."
If therefore, Paul was referring to the ministry of the high priest in
the Most Holy Place, he would have used the term -
Hagia Hagion - in verse 25 rather than "Hagia."
2) Paul 's use of "every year" in this verse
is not the same, though the same word for "year" is used, as
in Hebrews 9:7 when without question, he describes the work of the High
Priest on the Day of' Atonement. The phrase in 9:7 is -
apax tou eniautou monoV - which literally
translated reads -"once
the year alone." In 9:25 the phrase is -
The preposition kata
- when used with the accusative means, during. Also eniauton
- year - originall denoted a year viewed as a cycle or period of
time. Thus Paul in talking about the work of the High Priest in the second
It is also interesting to note it was "the priest ihat is annointed," in other words ,the high priest who brought the blood of the sin offerings into the Holy Place when such was required. (See Lev. 4:5, 16) Not until the Day of Atonement did the high priest bring the blood into the Most Holy Place. Paul was not speak ing of that day as that antitypical day was not yet come. He was dealing with the "now" time - a time when priests were still offering gifts according to the law. Further, the phrase - kat'eniauton (kat' eniauton) - is unique to the book of Hebrews being found in three different places in the book - 9:25; 10:1, 3. In each of these latter references, the concept of the yearly cycle of the ceremonial services fits the demand instead of considering it as an allusion to the Day of Atonement, and coincides with Paul's own definitions of the terms he uses.
Hebrews 10:19 "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest (twn agiwn) by the blood of Jesus."
Again Paul was speaking to the Jewish Christians of that very time. How he defined his term previously would still apply. They were to follow Jesus "within the veil" as He ministered in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary. (Heb. 6:19-20) Some would have us believe that the "veil" in Heb. 6:19 is the second veil which separated the two apartments. But when Paul referred to this veil, he called it the "second veil." Heb. 9:3.
Hebrews 13:11 "For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary (ta agia) by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp."
While this verse could be alluding to the "cleaning" up following the services on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:27), it can also find its source in the daily sin offerings wherein the blood was brought into the first apartment of the sanctuary. See Lev. 4:11-12, 21.
In all of these verses where agia or agiwn, depending upon the case required in the Greek, are used, no violence is done to the context, or meaning of Paul by applying the definition which he himself set forth for the use of the word. The teaching of the book of Hebrews is simply that Jesus having made the sacrifice - meeting the condition of the atonement - entered into the presence of God in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary to continue the work of the atonement to its completion.
p 9 -- Of the work of Christ in the second apartment of the heavenly sanctuary which was typified in the services of the Day of Atonement, from Paul's viewpoint, it was not opportune to discuss it - that Antitypical Day had not come. Therefore, only an allusion here and there was made. Christ would appear the second time without sin unto salvation. Heb. 9:28. The cleansing work would then have been completed.
-- In our reading of the phrase in the book of Hebrews "the
blood of bulls and calves" (Hebrew 9:12; 10:4) we have concluded
that Paul must be speaking of the Day of Atonement. It is true that these
were the sacrifices which on the Day of Atonement were used in a special
way, but goats, bulls, and calves were also used on other occasions. A
kid of the goats was equally acceptable as was a lamb for the Passover
feast. Ex. 12:5. Goats could be used in the following
We have too often
overlooked the fact that a kid of the goats was a part of the offerings
prescribed in the services connected with the Annual Feasts:
The prescribed sacrifice for the Day of Atonement is most interesting. Besides the "sin offering of atonement," a kid of the goats was also to be offered for "a sin offering." Numbers 29:11. Thus after the formal service was completed, and the sanctuary "cleansed," the round of ceremonies began all over again. On the very day that the Lord's goat was offered, a daily form of a sin offering was again presented. The blood of bulls and goats as specified for the Day of Atonement could never take away sin. Even though Israel was in "soul affliction" on that day, nevertheless a sin offering was presented at the close of the day's activities.
In Leviticus 9:15, we are told that this kid of the goats was "the sin offering for the people." As such only the High Priest of Israel could officiate and would bring the blood into the Holy Place of the sanctuary. Thus the High Priest was not just a one day a year employee to minister on the Day of Atonement, but was the officiating priest at all the services connected with the Annual Feasts, and on each of these occasions entered the Holy Place ministering "the blood of others."
p 10 -- Hebrews 9:25. He was the central figure in the final act of each celebration.
MORMON LEADER ON SUBJECT OF THE PROPHETIC GIFT -- Speaking before the student body of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, Ezra Taft Benson, former US Secretary of Agriculture and next in line to head the Mormon church as its president and prophet, declared that ''as world conditions continue to deteriorate, only those who look to a living prophet for guidance will be able to avoid apostacy and spiritual decline." He counseled the students of this Mormon affiliated university that ''if there is ever a conflict between earthly knowledge and the words of the prophet, you stand with the prophet and you'll be blessed and time will vindicate you.'' He noted that "the calling of the prophet ... to tell God's people what they need to know, not always what they want to know," leads to a test of faithfulness. "How people respond to a prophet's statements on things they would rather not hear is a test of faithfulness. Temporal matters and those of a.spiritual nature are inseparable in God's sight, and the prophet may speak on either. Many find it easier to ignore the prophet than repent of their sins. Popularity is never a test of truth," concluded the Mormon elder. (RNS, March 6, 1980, p.--16)
Comment - While we no longer have a "living prophet" and are engulfed in a devilish conspiriacy to undermine the confidence of God's professed people in the counsels of God's Messenger to the Remnant Church, the comments of this Mormon leader are very apropos in principle. We dare not forget that "a line of truth extending from" 1844 "to the time when we shall enter the city of God was made plain" to God's servant, and she in turn gave to us "the instruction that the Lord had given" to her. Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, p. 57
Individuality in Religion by A. T. Jones is again available. You owe it to yourself to read this book especially in this hour when the Church is in the midst of a crisis over aut hority and doctrine. (Refer to: Order Form; also online at http://ourworld.cs.com/bibleinsight/four-indiv-r/ir.htm.) --- (1980 May) ---End---- TOP
1980 Jun -- XIII - 6(80) -- WHAT DO WE BELIEVE? -- In the first issue of the Signs of the Times (July 4, 1874), Elder James White placed as an editorial, "The Fundamental Principles" which formed the basis of Seventh-day Adventist teaching. Prefacing these twenty-five principles, he wrote: In presenting to the public this synopsis of our faith, we wish to have it clearly understood that we have no articles of faith, creed, or discipline aside from the Bible. We do not put this forth as having authority with our people, nor, is it designed to secure uniformity among them, as a system of faith, but is a brief statement of what is, and has been, with great unanimity, held by them. We find it necessary to meet inquiries on this subject, and sometimes to correct false statements circulated against us, and to remove erroneous impressions which have been obtained with those who have not had opportunity to become acquainted with our faith and practice. Our only object is to meet this necessity.
Elder White noted this statement to be "the more prominent features of our faith."
Prior to his death in 1903, another pioneer Adventist leader, Elder Uriah Smith wrote out what he perceived to be the "Fundamental Principles of Seventh-day Adventists." These were very similar to what Elder White had written. An additional three sections were added to the same "prominent features" as outlined by Elder White. Prefacing his outline of Fundamental Principles, Elder Smith wrote: Seventh day Adventists have no creed but the Bible; but they hold to certain well-defined points of faith for which they feel prepared to give a reason "to every man that asketh" them. 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. (Emphasis ours)
preface and principles were published posthumously in the Review
(August 22, 1912 pp. 4-6), within a year after Elder F. M. Wilcox moved
up to the editorship. This fact should be kept in mind since Dr. L. E.
Froom in his book Movement of Destiny - claims that Wilcox authored
the 1931 Statement - "Fundamental
Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists." (p.418) This also becomes
2 through 11 -- a vital factor for consideration inasmuch as the authors,
including Froom, of the book Questions on Doctrine assert that
"the answers in this volume are an expansion of doctrinal positions
contained in that official statement of 'Fundamental Beliefs.'" (p.
9) Unruh in writing of the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Evangelical
Conferences of 1955-1956 which preceded the publication of Questions
on Doctrine stated that this book "was clarifying and amplifying
the doctrines most generally believed by contemporary Seventh-day Adventists."
(p. 44, Adventist Heritage Vol. 4, #2) The 1931 Statement was cited
as the basis for the doctrinal
Both the editorial by Elder James White, and the statement as formulated by Elder Uriah Smith were written, and appeared in print during the lifetime of Ellen G. White. It is most difficult, since these statements reflect what was held with "entire unanimity throughout the body," to conceive that Ellen G. White in her writings penned thoughts in contradiction to these concepts, unless specific reference can be shown where she called direct attention to this fact. It is rather our interpretation of what she wrote which seems to cause what appears to be contradictions with the Fundamental Beliefs held by the "body" during her lifetime.
Below, and on the following pages, we have placed the three statements side by side as far as possible, with no attempt to coincide the 1931 Statement paragraphs with the other two. The differences between the White and Smith statements will be noted by underscoring of the Signs editorial, where minor phraseology is involved, and putting that change in parentheses in the Smith column. Where there is more than a minor word difference, the Review release wi1 be reproduced in full. The three added Smith statements will be given at the end. Inasmuch as there has been only minor word changes in the 1931 Statement, plus an additional few lines to #19 voted by the 1950 General Conference Session, we shall reproduce this statement in full, placing the added lines in italics, and any word alterations in italics within parentheses.
reproduction of the above Statements of Belief have been provided so that
one may readily compare what was once believed "with entire unanimity
throughout the body" for 67 years (1863 - 1930), and what has been
projected as the belief of the Church today. One can compare- the White
and Smith statements with the statement voted by the 1979 Annual Council
which was to have been presented to the delegates at the General Conference
Session. (See Adventist Review, Feb. 21, 1980, pp. 8-10) This statement,
however, was not presented, and