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 1998 Oct - Dec
-- XXXI -- 10(98) -- THE
ELIJAH SYNDROME -- Editor's
Preface -- On various occasions when serving
as pastor of the then First Church in Toronto. Canada, I would preach
a Sabbath sermon which I entitled simply - "This and That."
From time to time in a file which I labeled, "Sermon Ideas,"
there would accumulate material on several topics but not enough to make
a single sermon out of any one of the ideas. Then on a given Sabbath,
I would bring several of the ideas into a "This and That" sermon.
This issue of WWN is similar - ideas that have accumulated since
the first of the year, one of which did turn into a full length article
after I started writing.
Using an epithet for a title, I have sought to emphasize that if Paul could declare, I am preaching the only true gospel, let all who preach otherwise, be cursed, what is our problem with taking a similar position when to us has been committed the everlasting gospel? Then in thinking about it, prophecy has indicated that the Elijah message is to be given in earth's last hour. Should one be any less positive about his conviction than was Elijah? Perhaps we should be as sure before Whom we stand, as he was.
Living as we are in the final hours of human probation,
we should be thinking in terms of translation, and what it means for those
who shall face the close of probation, During the year as a part of several
regular articles, we have discussed aspects of this subject. In the article
- "Children of the Translation" - we have reviewed those points.
The article on "Unity in Faith and Doctrine"
as well as "Let's Talk It Over" addresses the emphasis this
year by various major "independent ministries" as they try to
get their heads together. Just as we began this article, we received through
the mail a summary of concepts of two other such ministries who are also
seeking unity. Several years back, two ministries besides the Foundation
met together, prayed and studied until we produced a statement of beliefs
built in what we believe to be truth. Ecclesiology took care of itself,
once truth was determined - but it must be unadulterated.
p 2 -- The
Elija Syndrome -- At the conclusion of the
Sermon on the Mount, Matthew attaches a comment on the reaction of those
who had listened. It reads: And
it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished
at His doctrine: for He taught them as one having authority, and not as
the scibes. (Matt. 7:28-29)
What had Jesus said? No
man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the
other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot
serve God and mammon. (6:24)
in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that
leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat: because
strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and
few there be that find it (7:13-14)
The summary is obvious: one Master, one way; no other
Master, no other way! In the Gospel of John, to His discipies, He left
no lingering doubts as to what this meant. He stated clearly - Ye
call me Master and Lord: and ye say well, for so I am. (13:13)
To doubting Thomas, Jesus unequivocally stated -
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,
but by me. (14:6) Again, one Master; one way. Did Jesus have
"the Elijah Syndrome"? ("I,
even I only" - I Kings 19:14 ) But you say, Jesus could
so speak for He was God manifest in the flesh. This we will grant, but
let us consider further.
we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that
which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed (Gal. 1:8)
So wrote Paul to the Galatians. Plainly, without mincing words, Paul said,
"I, even I, have the gospel. There is no other!" He was even
willing to certify this conviction. He affirmed - I
certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not
after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it,
but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1:11-12)
Has not prophecy indicated that an angel from heaven was
to bring "the everlasting gospel" from heaven and commit it
in sacred trust to a people to proclaim? (Rev. 14:6) Has not this prophecy
been fulfilled? We have been told: In
a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchman
and light-bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning message
for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the word
of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import, -- the
proclamation of the first, second, and third angels' messages. There is
no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to
absorb their attention.
The most solemn truths
ever entrusted to mortals have been given them to proclaim to the world.
The proclamation of these truths is to be our work. The world is to be
warned, and God's people are to be true to the trust committed to them.
(Testimonies for the Church, Vol 9:19)
Is there only one final three-part message to be given
to the world before the return of Christ? Or are there multiple messages?
What does this mean? If only one, then would not God's true people in
the last hour be derided as possessing "the Elijah Syndrome"?
Can we not be as decisive in regard to the "everlasting gospel"
as Paul was concerning the "gospel" which he certified came
to him by Jesus? Is it not the same gospel and from the same source?
Some other questions need to be asked: If
we are proclaiming "the everlasting gospel" - the only gospel
for earth's final hour - why must there be invited, by the leadership
of the Ministerial Department of the General Con-ference, a Presbyterian
and Baptist minister to join in proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus
Christ? Or do we no longer believe that the second angel's message has
relevancy? If God did indeed commit in sacred trust the final and only
message for this hour to the Seventh-day Adventist Church for the inhabitants
of the earth, why has the church leadership been involved with the World
Council of Churches (WCC), and its Faith and Order Commission? If the
Three Angels' Messages are unique, and they are, why did we need to craft
the Dallas Statement of Beliefs in 1980 to conform to requirements as
set forth in the Constitution of the WCC for membership in that body?
Now one further key question: Do not our actions
negate our belief in the Three Angel's Messages, and thus constitute a
rejection of them? Yet the Church says that it is preaching those Messages.
For a few moments consider how the Bible presents Elijah.
We perceive him on the Mount of Transfiguration as a symbol of those who
will be translated without seeing death, while Moses represented those
who will be resurrected. Perhaps we have overlooked a more significant
p 2 -- even then leading a group to seize Him.
One, who was closer to Him than the betrayer, would deny Him. All would
forsake Him and flee. (Read the picture in Desire of Ages, p.687,
an note the sentence; "In its hardest features, Satan pressed the
situation upon the Redeemer") It was in reality, "I, even I
only." Did Jesus need the "Elijah Syndrome"? Was this why
Elijah was sent with Moses?
The Bible also pictures "Elijah" as coming before
the great and terrible day of the Lord (Mal. 4:5). While John the Baptist,
the sole voice raised up to prepare the way of the Lord, answered this
prophecy at the first Advent (Matt. 11:14), we have interpreted it to
mean that in the final hours it will be a group of people who will fulfil
"the coming of Elijah." If such is the correct understanding,
every individual member of the church will face the "I, even I alone"
experience. Speaking of the final hour of crisis, the messenger of the
Lord wrote - "The faith of individual members of the church will
be tested as though there were no other person in the world" (Ms.
1a, 1890). In other
Elijah was translated and did not experience death. Is
this telling us something? God loved Elijah and wanted him to be forever
closer to Him? Is it also indicating that this derisive epithet - "the
Elijah Syndrome" - is telling you what the meaning could be of the
description of that group in whose mouth is no yeudoV-
"perversion of religious truth." (Rev. 14:5 - KJV translation,
"guile.") Indeed, is not this group - the 144,000 - clothed
with "the righteousness of Christ, which is pure, unadulterated truth"
Perhaps we had better be speaking and writing even as
Christ spoke - with conviction, and not as the scribes.
Children of the Translation
-- Among the verses cited in affirming the "New Birth"
[See WWN - 8(98)] in the first Statement of Beliefs by Seventh-day
Adventists in 1872, was Luke 20:36. These words of Jesus read: Neither
can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are children
of God, being the children of the resurrection.
The Third Angel's Message closes with a call to behold
an exhibit - a group of people in contrast to those who worship the beast
and his image - "Here is the steadfastness of the holy ones: the
ones who are keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus"
(14:12; lit. Gr.). But lest one should forget the faithful respondents
to the other angel's messages, another voice from heaven declares, "Blessed
are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth" (14:13). After
these two groups are identified, John sees the coming of the Son of man
to reap the harvest of earth (14:14-15). Then the children of the resurrection
and the children of the translation become one family of the redeemed.
However, the point is - since we are living so near the final hour when
the harvest of earth is fully ripe and will be harvested, why are we not
hearing emphasized the fact of "the children of the translation,"
and what that means and requires?
Twice previously this year we have raised this question
in the setting of the Atonement (See "The Atonement," Part II,
6(98), p.3-S), and when we discussed the early Adventist teaching on "The
New Birth" (See 8(98), pp.3-4). If as all events indicate, and fulfilled
prophecy confirms, we are in the final period of time, our minds and our
thinking dare not be side-tracked by programs which are seeking to repeat
that which was to have been, and should have been, the main emphasis prior
to the end time. The attention is to be riveted on "soul affliction"
as our great High Priest comes to the last act of the final atonement.
(If you have not studied carefully, the taped transcription of "The
Last Act of the Final Atonement," I suggest that you do so immediately)
Let us once more review the Biblical basics upon which the urgency of
this hour is founded.
1. The seven last plagues of God's
wrath fall on the inhabitants of earth prior to the coming of Christ as
King of kings and Lord of lords. (Rev. 16:1; 19:11-16)
2. During this time, there is "no
Man" in the temple of God. (Rev. 15:8) Intercession has ceased. (I
The conclusion cannot be avoided that acts of sin will
have ceased in the lives of those who will escape the wrath of God and
be translated without seeing death when Jesus comes as King of kings and
Lord of lords. This makes mandatory that attention in the final hours
of human history be directed to the forming of that group which can be
designated as "children of the translation."
Further, there is pictured a decree which is issued prior
to the coming of Jesus: He
that is unrighteous (o adikwn) let
him be unrighteous still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still:
and he that is righteous (o dikaioV
), let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
And behold I come quickly; ..." (Rev. 22:11-12)
A simple analysis of this verse indicates two categories
of people - the saved and the lost - and two divisions in each category.
The Greek text, as indicated in the above para-
p 4 -- graph, clearly reveals that between one
division of the two categories, it is simply the unrighteous in contrast
to the righteous. The second category - righteous and holy - reflects
the same two divisions of the saved as is found in Revelation 14:12-13
and I Corinthians 15:52-53 - the incorruptible, and the immortal.
If the comparison is valid between these three verses
- Revelation 22:11; 14:12-13 and I Corinthians 15:52-53 - then "the
holy one who is to be holy still" is describing a "child of
the translation" in contrast to "the children of the resurrection."
It is a fact that in Revelation 14:12 the same word, only in the genitive
plural, is used for "saints" (twn
agiwn), as is used to define him (o
agioV ) who is to remain "holy still." It is at this
point that some careful consideration needs to be made. How can I become
"holy" so that the decree will keep me "holy"? Is
this to be the basis of a works program in this final hour, so that I
will be ready for translation? Can I make myself so holy that God will
merely confirm it? The phrase "holy still" is agiasqhtw
eti. The 29 places in the New Testament where
hagiastheto is used, 26 times it is translated, "sanctified."
(See I Cor. 1:2 where "sanctified" is used in connection with
"saints") The key to its force in Rev. 22:11 is that it is in
the passive voice - the subject being acted upon. The "holiness"
confirmed is from outside the recipient. But coupled with this fact is
the Greek word - eti - "still."
The same power which confirmed him holy, is the power that made him holy
initially. The single conclusion to be drawn is that that holiness which
makes one a part of "the children of the translation" is the
holiness which is in Christ Jesus, and which in the final atonement He
ministers though the Holy Spirit to the living who are "in Him."
Unity in Faith &
Doctrine -- How
to be Achieved? -- Within
the fractured and splintered community of Adventism, this year has witnessed
an attempt to achieve unity among certain major independent ministries.
As reported in Landmarks (Feb., 1998) a meeting in New Smyrna,
Florida, from January 8-10, brought together twenty leaders from seventeen
different ministries. They achieved what could be termed an "Eucharistic"
unity. This was followed by a meeting near Denver, Colorado, April 12-14,
which was attended by thirteen representatives from seven of the seventeen
independent ministries which had met in Florida. From reports available
in both Our Firm Foundation [OFF] (June, 1998), and Landmarks
(May, 1998), the primary emphasis was on ecclesiology, or how they
were to relate to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Statement released
indicates that the group adopted a one foot in, and one foot out policy.
In the light of known doctrinal differences between participants
at the conference, it was quite startling to read as a part of their statement
- "we concluded that our differences in no case involved the pillars
of our faith, the essentials of the gospel, or the three angels' messages."
In the light of this assertion, we would ask two questions:
1) Do the attendees at the Denver Conference consider
the incarnation as one of the "essentials of the gospel"?
2) What is their present position on the doctrine
of the incarnation? If the answer to the first question is affirmative,
then they do need to clarify the second question.
It is a supportable fact that certain "voices"
present at the Denver meeting hold the same teaching on the Incarnation
as did the leaders of the Holy Flesh Movement at the turn of the last
century. Back in 1986, Dr. Larson declined to attend a conference at Hartland
Institute where this teaching was presented and promoted. Now he is meeting
in unity with them. Who has changed? This needs to be clarified.
There are three editions of Waymarks of Adventism
by Ron Spear, one original, and two second editions, one second edition
released in "July, 1981," and the other a "cover-up"
of the first. At least one of the attempted "cover-up" was in
regard to the incarnation. Each edition has a forward by Dr. Ralph Larson,
and in each edition is the teaching which Larson declined to meet head-on
at Hartland in 1986. (See pp.38, 39, 42 in the respective editions) In
a preamble to the report on the "Denver Statement," Spear wrote
- "Hope International stands behind the messages of our past sermons
and publications" (OFF, June, 1998, p.6).
[ For documentation of the parallel current teaching under
question, and the same teaching by the leaders of the Holy Flesh Movement,
see WWN - XX - 2 (1987)]
The picture is further complicated. In a publication released
by Steps to Life on "The Tithe Problem" by Dr. Ralph Larson,
he writes - "My theology is precisely and specifically the theology
set forth in the book Seventh-day Adventists Believe" (p.3).
In the book cited, the teaching on the Incarnation is "precisely
and specifically" the teaching of an Anglican divine, Henry Melvill
who taught "Christ's humanity was not the Adamic humanity, that is
the humanity before the fall; nor fallen humanity of Adam after the fall.
It was not the Adamic because it had the innocent infirmities of the fallen.
It was not the fallen, be cause it had never descended into moral impurity.
It was, therefore, most literally our humanity, but without sin"
(p. 47). Melville considered this to be "the orthodox doctrine"
(Footnote #13, p.57). It would be helpful if Dr. Larson would harmonize
his acceptance of the Melvill "orthodox doctrine" with the conclusions
at which he arrived in his monumental work, The Word Was Made Flesh.
The Incarnation is not the only doctrine wherein those
involved in this "unity" dialogue differ on "the essentials
of the gospel." Spear and Colin Standish have both sug-
p 5 -- gested that certain Biblical statements
by Paul on "the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" be "disregarded"
(See Special Report, Nov.-Dec. 1993, 1888 Message Study Committee Newsletter).
Because one may not be able to comprehend all that Paul has written, and
cannot harmonise what he has written with their own modified Tridentine
doctrine of salvation by faith plus works, is no justfication to disregard
what Paul has written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. How can
there be unity when some of those involved in the process want parts of
the Bible disregarded? Surely Dr. Larson does not "buy" this
There is more to unity than merely a common ecclesiology,
determining what constitutes the church. That has already been defined.
It reads: "Where
two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst
of them." (Matt. 18:20) Where Christ is even among the humble few,
this is Christ's church, for the presence of the High and Holy One who
inhabiteth eternity can alone constitute a church. (Letter 108,
The question is simple. Where is the presence of Christ?
In answering this question, the testimony, "The Seal of God,"
(5T:207) needs to be carefully read and the sentence - "But
the glory of the Lord had departed from Israel; although many still continue
the forms of religion, His power and presence were lacking"(p.210)
- thoughtfully considered. If this were done, then those formulating the
"Denver Statement" are back to square one - "the essentials
of the gospel."
In 1890, the messenger of the Lord wrote - "The truth
is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light"
(R&H, March 25, 1890). In all seriousness, I ask, where is
one principle of advancing truth which the signers of the Denver Statement
have received from the Spirit of truth since the beginning of their ministries?
What ray of increasing light are they now walking in, in which they did
not walk from the start?
Now another question: In 1892, the same
messenger wrote - "We have many lessons to learn, and many, many
to unlearn" (R&H, July 26, 1892). What understandings
of truth have these men projected since beginning their ministries that
they did not hold before? What have they unlearned? From the statement,
there are at least twice as much to unlearn as there is to learn. The
evidence suggests that there has been no move forward, but a manifest
resistance to any rethinking of what is assumed as fundamentals, to see
if all positions held can be sustained by the Word of God. Yet, the messenger
of the Lord wrote clearly - "As long as we hold to our own ideas
and opinions with determined persistence, we cannot have the unity for
which Christ prayed" (ibid.). Why then call a meeting and
sign a unity statement, when the characteristics of true unity are lacking?
What is the answer? In the same time frame, the messen
ger of the Lord has given us the answer if we will only heed the counsel.
Each of those involved in the unity meetings noted, profess great reverence
for the Writings. Now it is time to act out that profession and follow
counsel. First, some questions were asked:
How shall we search
the Scriptures? Shall we drive our stakes of doctrine one after another,
and then try to make all Scriptures meet our established opinions, or
shall we take our ideas and views to the Scriptures, and measure our theories
on every side by the Scriptures of truth?
The warning was given
- "it was the unwillingness of the Jews to give up their long established
traditions that proved their ruin. They were determined not to see any
flaw in their own opinions or in their expositions of the Scriptures;
but however long men may have entertained certain views, if they are not
cleady sustained by the written word, they should be discarded.
What guidelines are given? -- Those
who sincerely desire truth will not be reluctant to lay open their positions
for investigation and criticism and will not be annoyed if their opinions
and ideas are crossed. This was the spirit cherished among us forty years
ago. We would come together burdened in soul, praying that we might be
one in faith and doctrine; for we knew that Christ is not divided. One
point at a time was made the subject of investigation. Solemnity characterized
these councils of investigation. The Scriptures were opened with a sense
of awe. Often we fasted, that we might be better fitted to understand
the truth. (R&H, July 26,1892)
We believe providential events opened this Spring to erect
on the campus a dormitory which, with other facilities available, provides
a place for such "councils of investigation" as marked the beginning
of the Advent Movement. If indeed, those who have signed the various statements
truly want the unity for which Christ prayed, and believe that the Writings
are the work of the Messenger of the Lord, we challenge them to come into
line with the counsel given. We open our facilities for such a fulfilment
of Christ's intent for His people. Not only does this apply to those who
are seeking unity in regard to the ecclesiological questions addressed,
but also to those who are setting forth various concepts on the Godhead
which they call present truth. It is time that the many dissident voices
in the Community of Adventism resonate as one on the truth as it is in
With this issue we place "the ball" in the court
of those who declare with their lips that they believe what the Messenger
of the Lord has written. We challenge them to utter more than just words.
Rather we urge them to come into unity so that all that is said and written
in their publica-
p 6 -- tions is in indeed in harmony with the written
Word of God. Let us come together and "open our Bibles with a sense
of awe" even with fasting if need be. The hour is too late to play
tiddly-winks with eternity, and deceive God's concerned people with a
profession of trying to achieve unity. Rather, it is long past the time
that we find that "righteousness of Christ, which is pure unadulterated
Let's Talk It Over
-- In the adjoining column, we have
reproduced in full context a statement from the Review & Herald
(Dec.13, 1892). This is in the same time reference with the statements
quoted in the above article relative to progressive truth and advancing
light. In the second paragraph are three conjunctive adverbs of time -
"after," "then," and "while" (underscored).
These indicate a sequence of events as well as a simultaneous happening.
A careful consideration of these paragraphs could do much to free the
community of Adventism from its splintered condition. It could also help
concerned Adventists evaluate correctly the present siren call for unity.
The consequential second paragraph begins - "After
the truth..." The "truth" if taken in the context of the
preceding paragraph is the "Sabbath" truth. After this truth
has been preached to "as a witness to all nations," certain
things are to occur: 1) "Every
conceivable power of evil will be set in operation."
2) "Minds will be confused by many voices each
with a supposed "message from God" containing "great light."
"Then there will be a removing of the landmarks and an attempt to
pull down the pillars of our faith."
The "independent voices" in the community of
Adventism today are based on the premise that apostasy has overtaken the
main body. The verification of this apostasy is based on the compromises
resulting from the SDA-Evangelical Conferences which were confirmed in
the 1980 Dallas Statements of Belief. Now we face an "either/or."
Either this assessment is valid, which means "the truth has been
proclaimed as a witness to all nations" or else it has not been so
proclaimed, and the changes in our doctrinal teaching introduced by the
SDA-Evangelical Conferences constitutes "advancing truth" and
"increasing light" to facilitate the giving of the loud cry.
This conclusion would justify the coziness of Adventism with the Evangelicals,
and nullify the basis for the existence of any "independent voice."
It is obvious that certain aspects of this prophetic "testimony"
have not been fulfilled as yet. But who can say that Satan is not now
working "with his lying wonders"? This brings us face to face
with the fact that while he is thus working, the
"fall of Babylon" is proclaimed, and "God's people"
are called "to forsake her." This brings us face to face with
the ecclesiology question which the Denver Statement sought to address.
At this point is where some of the admonition found in the references
noted in the above article from the same time frame as this statement
comes into play. We have "many lessons to learn, and many, many to
unlearn" (R&H, July 26, 1892).
First, the Biblical basis of this clear statement relative
to forsaking "Babylon" is found in Revelation 18:4. Other references
in this section of Revelation, for example 16:12, indicate a type and
antitype hermeneutic to understand the relationship between the past history
of Babylon and the present. It is clear that Babylon was
never "God's people," even though Nebuchadnezzar
was declared to be God's servant in carrying out the judgment of God upon
His rebellious people (Jer. 25:9). The "people of God" got into
Babylon through captivity. The call for them to "come out of Babylon"
was to build again the Temple to which "the desire of all nations"
would come (Haggai 2:7).
Modern Israel went into "captivity" by its own
choice in adopting the theology of the Evangelicals in crucial areas which
muted the uniqueness of Adventism. The call to forsake Babylon is a call
to come out of the Evangelical theology and rebuild again the temple of
truth - even "the righteousness of Christ, which is pure, unadulterated
truth" (Testimonies to Ministers, p.65). If the message of
1888, brought by two messengers, had been accepted, the revelation of
"Christ in you the hope of glory" would have been realized and
Christ would have returned for His "temple people" long ago.
Further, if the call in 1950 by two other messengers had been heeded by
the hierarchy of the Church, the tragedy of 1955-56 of our captivity to
the Evangelicals would have been averted.
The issue of ecclesiology is only secondary; the issue
is truth, a truth that will free God's people from their captivity to
Babylon. The "temple of truth" must be rebuilt on "the
righteousness of Christ, which is pure, unadulterated truth." To
possess such a truth will require that we start unlearning "many,
many" lessons based in tradition, and in their place learn "many"
other lessons so that the truth will be "pure" and "unadulterated."
In this "temple" will need to be enshrined "the advancing
truth" that has been neglected so that the freed people of God may
"walk in the increasing light." AND,
the only way this
will be realized is to accept the counsel given to adopt "the spirit
cherished" by God's people in the beginning of this Movement as they
sought to escape the captivity of Babylon in their day and thus heed the
Second Angel's message.
Time is fast running out; the end is upon us, but the greatest tragedy is the shambles in that part of the Community of Adventism professing so-called "historic" Adventism obsessed with a desire for unity, and missing the mark as to what the real basis of unity is - TRUTH - pure, and unadulterated" even the righteousness of Christ.
p 7 -- As
God called the children of Israel out of Egypt, that they might keep his
Sabbath, so He calls his people out of Babylon, that they may not worship
the beast or his image. The man of sin, who thought to change times and
laws, has exalted himself above God, by presenting a spurious Sabbath
to the world; the Christian world has accepted the child of the papacy;
and cradled and nourished it, thus defying God by removing his memorial,
and setting up a rival Sabbath.
After the truth has been proclaimed
as a witness to all nations, every conceivable power of evil will be set
in operation, and minds will be confused by many voices crying, "Lo,
here is Christ, Lo, he is there. This is the truth, I have the message
from God; he has sent me with great light." Then there will
be a removing of the landmarks, and an attempt to tear down the pillars
of our faith. A more decided effort will be made to exalt the false Sabbath,
and to cast contempt upon God himself by supplanting the day he has blessed
and sanctified. This false Sabbath is to be enforced by an oppressive
law. Satan and his angels are wide-awake, and intensely active, working
with energy and perseverance through human instrumentalities to bring
about his purpose of obliterating from the minds of men the knowledge
of God. But while Satan works with his lying wonders, the time
will be fulfilled foretold in the Revelation and the mighty angel that
shall lighten the earth with his glory, will proclaim the fall of Babylon,
and call upon God's people to forsake her.
At the time of the loud cry of the third angel those who have been in any measure blinded by the enemy, who have not fully recovered themselves from the snare of Satan, will be in peril, because it will be difficult for them to discern the light from heaven, and they will be inclined to accept falsehood. Their erroneous experience will color their thoughts, their decisions, their propositions, their counsels. The evidences that God has given will be no evidence to those who have blinded their eyes by choosing darkness rather than light. After rejecting light, they will originate theories which they will call "light," but which the Lord calls, "Sparks of their own kindling," by which they will direct their steps.
OF INTEREST --
In the Spring (1998) issue of Sunday, the official organ
of the Lord's Day Alliance of the United States, there was reprinted an
article from The Providence (RI) Journal-Bulletin (Dee. 19, 1997).
The author was writing on "Slow Down Sundays." He began this
feature article with the sentence - "Bring back the blue laws."
Then as he described the "Sunday" he knew as a boy growing up
free from "traffic jams on the way to hideous malls," he asked
a question of himself - "Do I think the blue laws are coming back?
No. America's pneumatic love affair with commerce is too powerful"
(p.6). However, Robert Whitcomb closed his article commending a nonbinding
referendum by the town of Pembroke, MA, requesting the State to bring
back the blue laws. Sunday has not reported on the outcome of this referendum.
In the summer issue (p.12), following an article by a former Seventh-day Adventist, was the footnote - "While we believe that Sunday is The Lord's Day, we believe that the constitution of the United States protects the right of all Americans to practice their religious convictions, including the choice of their day of worship." --- (1998 Oct) --- End --- TOP
-- 11(98) -- DISSENT
IN ROMANISM -- Editor's
Preface -- For the past several years
we have reserved the November issue of WWN for a review of the
ecumenical happenings taking place during the year. These items of interest
were gleaned from the Bulletin of the Ecumenical News International
(ENI).This year we planned the same, and gave the assignment several months
ahead of schedule. Hours were spent by the assignee in gathering the material,
but in the end no copy was given to the editor. This necessitated a quick
rescheduling. At the time information on several fronts was coming to
my desk, and from this material we have prepared the present issue of
WWN. In the area of ecumenism the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed
again resurfaced. Some interesting comparisons were discovered.
Within the Roman Church in the United States there is
a divi-sion among the Bishops which also reflects the same division which
exists among the laity and the educators. There are liberal Roman Catholics
and there are those who strictly follow the papal edicts. In the annual
American Bishop's confer-ence, these divisions surface and the press makes
capital of them. The result is that an old policy of closed conferences
is being reactivated. Beyond this, the 1998 conference was followed by
a special Papal pronouncement which added to the Canon Law of the Church
"teeth" so that if any theologian or bishop strayed to far afield,
he could be disciplined.
The Los Angeles Times dropped a "bomb"
on the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Two, staff writers opened up old
issues which have plagued the Church for the past two decades, and revealed
the relationship existing between the Federal government and ADRA. Beyond
the tragedy of the corruption revealed, is the use made of tax dollars
to further the religious objective of the Global Mission program. The
millions of dollars received and their use belie the position taken by
the Religious Liberty Department opposing Federal support to church related
schools through vouchers. Folkenberg was allowed to respond prior to the
Times Report release. His answers!?!
p 2 -- Dissent
in Romanism -- On August 12, 1996, Cardinal
Joseph Bernardin of Chicago "established the Catholic Common Ground
Initiative," at the same time releasing a statement, Called to
Be a Catholic: Church in Time of Peril. This statement "describes
the current situation of polarization in the church and calls for dialogue
regarding issues of critical importance in the church's pastoral life."
A committee of prominent Roman Catholics agreed to work with him to begin
this dialogue. At the first meeting of the committee a year later, the
Cardinal had learned that his illness was terminal, and asked the Archbishop
of Mobile, Alabama, to succeed him as chairman.
"The Initiative is a call to Catholics to try to
move beyond the kind of polarizing spirit that divides the church into
camps. It also calls for the broadest possible range of views within the
boundaries of church teaching in order to find ways of addressing matters
of importance to the church. The very concept of breaking through the
barriers of distrust and engaging in honest and open dialogue has captured
the imagination of Catholics throughout the church since the announcement
of the Initiative. The call aroused hope among the parishioners, parish
priests and pastoral ministers, college and university administrators
and faculty members. They expressed hope that a new level of discussion
might revive the spirit of Vatican II, best expressed in the
Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World."
The quotation from this Vatican II document is of interest from two points of view: 1) What the statement quoted says, and 2) What the preface to this Constitution states. First the two paragraphs quoted in support of the Initiative: In virtue of its mission to enlighten the whole world with the message of the gospel and to gather together in one spirit all women and men of every nation, race, and culture, the church shows itself as a sign of that amity which renders possible sincere dialogue and strengthens it.
Such a mission requires
us first of all to create in he church itself mutual esteem, reverence
and harmony, and to acknowledge all legitimate diversity; in this way
all who constitute the one people of God will be able to engage in ever
more fruitful dialogue, whether they are pastors or other members of the
faithful. For the ties which unite the faithful together are stronger
than those which separate them: let there be unity in what is necessary,
freedom in what is doubtful, and charity in everything. (par. 92)
The Common Ground Initiative of the late Cardinal Bernardin
is an attempt to unify "all legitimate diversity" in the Roman
Church so that the Church can by its example point the way "to gather
together in one spirit all women and men of every nation, race, and culture."
It needs to be remembered that the ecumenical unity for which Rome is
professedly willing to settle is a "unity in diversity." At
the moment their own house is not in order. The Pope is on one side, while
many of the American Catholic Bishops are on the other.
The "Preface" to the Constitution quoted indicates
that Vatican II addressed "all men." It reads: Now
that the Second Vatican Council has deeply studied the mystery of the
Church, it resolutely addresses not only the sons of the Church and all
who call upon the name of Christ, but the whole of humanity as well, and
it longs to set forth the way it understands the presence and the function
of the Church in the world of today.
Well is it stated in The Great Controversy, "Except
those who are kept by the power of God, through faith in His word, the
whole world will be swept into the ranks of this delusion" (p. 562)
- and this delusion is Spiritism in its modern guise. Do not forget that
the prophetic Word indicates that "the spirits of devils" like
frogs were seen coming from the mouths of all three symbols involved in
the final confrontation. (Rev. 16:13-14)
The very guideline by which the proposed unity is to be
achieved as noted in this Constitution of Vatican II - "unity in
what is necessary, freedom in what is doubtful, and charity in everything"
- is echoed in the Statement of Faith of Grace Place in Colorado. The
affirmation in prefacing their Statement reads - "In essential beliefs
we have UNITY. In non-essential beliefs we have LIBERTY. In all our beliefs
we have CHARITY." Again "unity in diversity" wrapped in
"love." [See WWN 7(98), pp.24]
In The Catholic World
Report, a magazine voicing the conservative
Roman stance of John Paul II expresses deep concern that the annual meetings
of the American Bishops of the Roman Church will after twenty seven years
of open general meetings become closed sessions. A featured news article
in the August/September issue concludes that in this decision for closed
sessions "there seems to be more at stake here than a mere procedural
technicality. The recent move toward secrecy reflects new tensions in
the bishops' relations with Rome." (p.32)
The writer explains: While
the bishops like and respect Pope John Paul, informed sources within the
bishops' conference report that some of them are increasingly annoyed
at what they consider "provocative" interventions in their affairs
by the Roman Curia. Other bishops side with Rome, giving rise to some
clear and pronounced differences of opinion. (ibid.)
Issues noted by the article in The Report involved
"Liturgical translations," "Priesthood and lay ministry,"
p 3 -- and "Catholic higher education."
This last issue arose from a document released by John Paul in 1990 -
Ex Corde Ecclesiae. This document called attention to a canon law
which mandates that all teachers of theology in Roman Catholic colleges
and universities have formal approval by the local bishop. This the Roman
higher educational establishment strongly resists. The first reaction
of the bishops was that they would study the mandate question. The Holy
See told the bishops to try again.
The change to open sessions began after Vatican II with
some regulated attempts. The "open-meeting" policy went into
effect at the annual meeting in 1972. A large press corps joined the bishops
as the first general session began. The write-up is a bit humorous: Cardinal
John Krol of Philadelphia, the president of the bishops' conference, rose
to speak, and the reporter's eyes popped. The cardinal was speaking in
Latin. There was nervous coughing and shuffling of papers. Cardinal Krol
stopped and fixed the press with a wicked grin. "We told you we'd
let you in," he said, "but we didn't tell you what language
we'd speak." (p.35)
The Pope has reacted to the dissent among the American
bishops. He, with a strong assist from Cardinal Ratzinger, "has issued
a new apostolic letter, in the form of a Moto Proprio, tightening
the disciplinary provisions of Canon Law that deal with theological dissent."
(CWN) A Moto Proprio is a document issued on the Pope's own initiative
and authority. The document in question is Ad Tuendam Fidem meaning
"To Defend the faith." This "short, four-page document
... adds new paragraphs to the Code of Canon Law. The purpose of the change
is to defend the integrity of the faith against theological dissent."
(CWN) Released on June 29,1998, the month the Bishops had convened in
Pittsburgh, this document added "teeth" to certain sections
of the Law.
leaders and theologians are asked to make a Profession of Faith indicating
the acceptance of all the truths taught definitely by the Church, the
Pope points out that there has been no provision in the Code of Canon
Law which corresponded directly to that oath." Therefore, he added
a second paragraph "making it clear that anyone who refuses to accept
a proposition definitely taught by the Church is thus 'in opposition to
the doctrine of the Catholic Church'." Then "a canon dealing
with ecclesiastical sanctions for those who reject authority is amended
to stipulate that anyone who violates" the newly inserted second
paragraph "'is to be punished with a just penalty'." (ibid.)
It should be obvious that "unity in diversity"
which appears to be the goal of the Catholic Common Ground Initiative
is directly at odds with the Pope's objective. Is, therefore, the Ecumenical
stance projected by Cardinal Edward Cassidy, president of the Vatican
Council for Promoting Christian Unity, only double-talk when he stated
- "We are not working towards uniformity
among the Churches of the world. We are working towards unity
in faith and in communion." (The Catholic Leader, Feb.24,
1991, p. 3; emphasis theirs) Or is the Cardinal really saying outward
diversity in form, yes; but in regard to faith and communion, no dissent.
The Oath and who takes what parts of the Oath is enlightening:
"The 1989 Profession of Faith, which is required
of certain categories of Church officials, consists of the familiar Nicene-Constantinipolitan
Creed of the Church which all Catholics are obliged to profess aloud at
Mass on Sundays, Holy Days, and Solemnities. This basic Creed is followed
by three short paragraphs, or propositions, by which the person who is
making the Profession of Faith specifically affirms the kind of belief
that is to be reposed in the teaching of the Church at several levels.
Thus the person subscribing professes that:
"1) With firm faith I also
believe everything contained in the Word of God, whether written or handed
down in Tradition, which the Church, either by a solemn judgment or by
ordinary and universal magesterium, sets forth to be believed as divinely
Those holding ecclesiastical positions, besides affirming
the Profession of Faith, also take an Oath of Fidelity, "This Oath
of Fidelity includes a promise to remain in communion with the Catholic
Church, to carry out one's duties in accordance with the requirements
of Church law, to remain faithful to the deposit of faith and the common
discipline of the Church, and to obey the bishops as the authentic teachers
and rulers in the Church of Christ." (p. 46)
In the Roman Church at the present time, there are "liberal"
forces represented by various American bishops, and the conservative element
worldwide who find their voice in Pope John Paul II. The American bishops
involved in the Common Ground Initiative which was begun by the late Cardinal
Bernardin want to see the spirit of Vatican II revived. While John Paul
gives lip service to the Vatican II Council, his Encyclicals indicate
that his whole outlook is more in harmony with Pope Leo XIII whose concept
on Church and State did not reflect the American model, but rather opposed
p 4 -- The
Creed Re-Surfaces -- In the Profession of Faith, noted
above, which every Romanist confesses aloud at each Mass he attends, is
the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. This Creed is closely associated
with the objective of the World Council of Churches aim "to discover
whether Christians today can confess their faith together ecumenically."
To this end, the Faith and Order Commission developed a study - "Towards
the Common Expression of the Apostolic Faith Today." - "For
this study, the Faith and Order Commission has chosen the Nicene-Constantinopolitan
Creed of A.D. 381 - already officially recognized by many churches - as
a summary of the apostolic faith." (One World, No.132, p.
15) Interestingly, at the Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 1993 Faith and
Order Conference, Jean Tillard, a vice-moderator of Faith and Order, and
a Roman Catholic, without specifying a date, "suggested in his address
on the last day that consideration be given to 'a gathering of all the
major leaders in the churches - perhaps in Jerusalem - simply to sing
the creed together. That would be a wonderful expression of the degree
of unity already present and of its origin."' (One World,
No.189, p. 15) [Would Folkenberg be there with his singing voice?]
The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed proclaims the Trinity
doctrine, which "is the central doctrine of the Catholic Faith. Upon
it are based all the other teachings of the Church." (Handbook
for Today's Catholic, p.11) At the world conference of the Faith and
Order Commission in Spain, the moderator, Mary Tanner, declared that an
important task at this conference was "to re-vision the goal of visible
unity" in terms of koinonia,
which she called "the most promising theme of contemporary ecumenical
theology." Drawing on the WCC's Seventh Assembly statement Tanner
defined "the fullness of koinonia"
as being realized "when all churches are able to recognize in one
another the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church." (One World,
This thought was developed further by theologians who
spoke. One stated that "the notion of the church as koinonia is rooted
in faith in God as trinitarian." A report summarizing the work of
the 1993 Faith and Order Conference "depicted this shared life of
Christians as rooted in the Triune God, who is 'the ultimate reality of
relational life.' Consequently, 'unity and diversity are inseparable."'
Note the expression - "rooted in the Triune God."
Keep in mind that this expression was used in the Report coming from the
Faith and Order Conference in 1993. Thirteen years previously in 1980,
a statement placed in the Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist
Church, "Unity in the Body of Christ," concluded with this affirmation
- "Through the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures we share
the same faith and hope, and reach out in one witness to all. This unity
has its source in the oneness of the triune God, who has adopted us as
His children." (Statement # 13) No such statement appeared in any
previous Statement of Beliefs. The whole statement speaks to the theme
of "unity in diversity." A prior statement (#11) defines the
Church as "the community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as
Lord and Saviour" echoing the Constitution of the WCC, art. I. (See
So Much in Common, p.40) Is it any wonder then that when the Faith
and Order Commission chose as its confession of faith the Nicene-Constantinopolitan
Creed the comment could be inserted that it was "already officially
recognized by many churches"? This should give us pause for thought.
Did the Seventh-day Adventist delegates to the Dallas General Conference
Session by the adoption of the language chosen - "the oneness of
the triune God" - inspire the ecumenical dialogue thirteen years
later of the Faith and Order Commission of the WCC, or is there a common
spirit at work gathering all to the place called in the Hebrew tongue,
Har-Mo'ed? (Rev. 16:13-14, 16)
The articles were the results of an investigation conducted
by two Times Staff Writers - Tom Gorman and Eric Lightblau. The
first report headlined on the front page read - "Currents of Change
Roil Seventh-day Adventists." As one begins to read this first report,
he must wonder why the historical inaccuracies which mark these first
paragraphs, and ask himself if this is the type of research that will
mark the whole lengthy outlay. The question is further heightened when
the writers did not even get Folkenberg's middle initial correct in his
name. One might reply that this is merely small detail in a veritable
sea of data, most of which is negative. To the credit of the staff writers,
they did interview and obtain information from sources both within as
well as from dissidents without the Church structure. Folkenberg was allowed
to reply to the information gathered in the research. His weak responses
coupled with acknowledgement of a very grave misappropriation of funds
tilts the report toward the staff writers. It will be of real interest
to see if the Church leadership will reply to the two reports and what
they say. It is also evident that much of what was gleaned of the situation
in the Church in America came from La Sierra University, some of whose
staff including its president gave a negative picture.
It is the second article, again headlined on the front
p 5 -- which causes real concern. It was captioned
"A History of Complaints Dogs Adventist Aid Agency." This is
a report involving ADRA - the Adventist Development and Relief Agency.
The report begins by revealing that two tennis courts were built in Rwanda
"with U.S. government relief aid - the second constructed so players
would not have to squint into the sun. A tennis pro was hired with money
kicked back to the Adventist group from local Rwandans who had improperly
received huge amounts of government food intended for the needy."
This revelation was based on an U.S. government investigator's report.
ADRA "received $85 million in federal cash, food
and freight, plus tens of millions more from other nations and donors,
during the last two years for which reports are available. ADRA was given
more funding than all but three groups out of more than 400 federal program
participants. Along with that assistance have come serious questions about
how it has been used - from accusations of corruption to complaints of
The government funding unit, Agency for International
Development (AID), rejected $2.8 million in billings from ADRA because
of an AID auditor's report in 1995. ADRA had billed the amount for "public
relations, fund raising, and other overhead expenses. The agency also
questioned whether ADRA charged the government twice for some items, amounting
to hundreds of thousands of dollars in possible double-billings."
"In Mozambique, U.S. auditors found in 1994 that ADRA employees purloined commodities and profited by selling food 'unfit for human consumption' to unsuspecting villagers. Auditors also voiced concerns over $105,000 in U.S. funding forwarded to an Adventist owned university in Michigan for hunger research - including some money that appeared to be pure 'profit' for the school."
The most serious charge made in the LA Times report
is that the line between humanitarian relief and religion is blurred.
The Church's formal mission arm known as Global Mission is headed by Folkenberg's
brother, Donald. While Mario Ochoa, ADRA's executive vice president, declared
that "no one's ever confused Global Mission and ADRA," the staff
writers noted that Global Mission called ADRA "a bona fide ministry
of Jesus Christ and the Seventh-day Adventist Church," noting that
its work "provides a strategy to reach people previously untouched
by other church institutions. The church's mission is incomplete without
ADRA's distinctive ministry."
Hal Butler, planning director at Global Mission until
1995, is quoted as indicating that officials from his agency and ADRA
met together "to plan potential joint projects. ... If ADRA went
in there first and had some health programs or whatever to get things
going, we might be able to come in later." The interaction is cited
in the report. Global Mission has in several incidents built medical clinics,
and then turned them over to ADRA to operate. "The arrangement obeys
'the letter of the law. They are not out there proselytizing,' said Folkenberg.
... He acknowledged, however, that the effect has been to heighten the
denomination's profile with local residents whose lives have been improved
through the clinics. 'That's a way to what the church is all about,' he
said, 'Spread Christianity and spread Adventism."'
The report quotes Elder Robert S. Folkenberg's reaction
as flippantly declaring ADRA to be "99.44% pure, like Ivory soap"
even in the light of all the documented evidence researched by the staff
The question lingers - How can this connection with the
Federal government of the United States be harmonized with what was thought
to be our position on the separation of Church and State?
"For generations, the U.S. government has worked
to foster America's image as benevolent benefactor to the world's needy.
Most people do not realize, however, that this often amounts to goodwill
by proxy. AID has come to rely more heavily than ever on a network of
417 private groups, sharing an annual pot of more than $1.4 billion."
Into this "pot" is the official hand of the Adventist Church.
As one Adventist who was interviewed remarked - "The Church has become
'an arm of American foreign policy."' Then the backside of the coin
reads - The State is helping to forward the Global Mission of the Church
via Federal tax dollars through ADRA.
The staff Report included a comment from an Internet site. They quoted one writer who complained about "a lack of top level accountability, advising rebels to cut off contributions or leave the church altogether - 'vote with your wallet or vote with your feet,"' was the suggestion. It has precedent. Jesus walked out of the Temple declaring, "Your house is left unto you desolate." (Matt. 23:38; 24:1) (All direct quotes in the above article are from the Los Angles Times August 13 & 14.) --- (1998 Nov) --- End --- TOP
Dec -- XXXI
- 12(98) -- SEEING
by FAITH -- Editor's
Preface -- The closer we draw to the close of
all human history, the more our walk will be by faith rather than by sight.
This faith will need to be based on the Word of God. A recent experience
involving an exchange of letters brought this vividly to mind. This experience
and the lesson to be learned is the basis of the first article - "Seeing
by Faith." My suggestion to each reader is that when you come to
the questions asked in The Great Controversy (p. 625), you pause
and re-read it, and honestly ask yourself, can I say, "Yes, that
is what I will do." Then, consider if you are now laying the ground
work in your spiritual life so as to assure the desired outcome. It will
not be easy. It will require the faith of Jesus. More than commandment
keeping is involved in the steadfastness of saints. (Rev. 14:12)
We had planned to summarize the entire 1998 Seminar on
the Corinthian letters in this issue of WWN, but soon discovered
that this was an impossibility. So this issue has been devoted only to
the first letter, and then in the first issue for 1999, we will note some
important truths found in Paul's second letter to the Church at Corinth.
We have grouped the lessons and truths of the first letter into topics
- "Unity," "The Logos of the Cross" (Note E. 3. Waggoner's
confession), "Typology," and "The Communion Service."
In this first Epistle are two great essays, one on, "Love,"
and the other on "The Resurrection." Both require much more
study and reflection that we were able to give them in the brief space
available in this issue, We hope that what has been written will challenge
you to some personal study of these two subjects. Paul lists three elements
of the spiritual life - faith, hope and love, and declares that the greatest
of all three is love. Why? One reason only - "God is love."
The other two arise out of the human experience. A part of that human
experience is the hope of the resurrection, or translation, for as Paul
writes, "If in this life only, we have hope in Christ, we are of
all men most miserable." But because He died, and arose again, we,
too, who place our faith in Him, will live again.
p 2 -- Seeing
by Faith -- In the June/July issue of First Things,
a writer borrowing from Mark Noll, on the "scandal of the evangelical
mind," writes about "More Scandals of the Evangelical Mind."
The author reared as a Southern Baptist tells of his odyssey from the
conservative mould of his youth to a more liberal perception of what he
once believed. Speaking of his and his wife's present beliefs, he wrote
- "We have also concluded that the Pope isn't the Antichrist."
The notation at the end of the article indicated that
the author was "a graduate student in history at the University of
Ottawa, Canada." I wrote to him in care of the History Department
of the University, and included with my letter the tract - "Antichrist
- Who Is He?" My letter read in part: Being
a graduate student in history, you can follow the flow of empires from
Babylon to Rome. A close comparison with the prophecy of Daniel 7 reveals
basic truth and fingers the one-man government of the Roman Church. The
enclosed tract offers you the documentation. I would suggest a re-thinking
of your conclusion. A close study of history and prophecy provides much
light as to the reality of the present, tearing away the facade with which
men and nations cover themselves.
My letter finally reached him six weeks later in his new
location as a member of the history department of a California State University.
He responded in a hand written note: -
"Thank you for ... the information sent. I do not find 'Antichrist,
Who Is He? convincing, but I do thank you for sending it."
To this I responded -
"May I suggest, unless you do not believe in the prophetic Word,
that with your background of the flow of history that you give me a more
accurate interpretation of this prophecy. I am interested in truth, truth
that is pure and unadulterated."
Again he responded and wrote (this answer observe carefully): I
have no alternative interpretation of Daniel 7 to offer you. The main
reason why I reject the view that the pope is the antichrist is that I
have read much of the current pope's writing and I fellowship often with
devout Catholics. I think Catholics are wrong about some important things,
but it is impossible for me to think them in the camp of Antichrist. This
probably strikes you as naive. At any rate, I wish you all the best.
There are "devout" Roman Catholics. The present
Pope has written much, and that which he has written is "studded"
with Biblical references. Consider the Apostolic Letter outlining the
"new" theology of Rome in regard to Sunday. It contains many
Scriptural references even to the acknowledgement of the original Sabbath
as the seventh day. But do we judge by our senses, or by faith based in
the Word of God?
As Eve stood before the forbidden tree in the Garden of
Eden, she "saw
that the tree was good for food, and that it was a
pleasure to the eyes." (Gen. 3:6, Heb.) She thought with
her senses ignoring the word of God which had been spoken to her. On the
other hand the victory that overcomes the world is faith. (I John 5:4)
This faith comes by "hearing," and that hearing is to hear what
God says in His Word. (Rom. 10:17) Being warned that "Satan himself
is [to be] transformed into an angel of light," why should we marvel
that "his ministers" should manifest elements of light? In prophetic
language, it is the dragon that gives to the beast "his power, and
his seat, and great authority." (Rev. 13:2) The language of prophecy
is not pleasant language - "dragon," "beast," and
"false prophet." But to the student of Scripture it is meaningful;
it becomes "a lamp unto (his) feet and a light unto (his) path."
(Ps. 119:105) He perceives through the deceptive darkness that covers
the earth, the path of truth and with the enlightenment of the Spirit
of truth walks therein.
Two questions are asked in The
Great Controversy in the chapter, "The Time of Trouble,"
which need to be an swered, not just verbally but in the reality of an
experience now as well as in the forthcoming time of trouble. They read: Are
the people of God now so firmly established upon His word that they would
not yield to the evidence of their senses? Would they, in such a crisis,
cling to the Bible, and the Bible only? (p.625)
You cannot be established upon that which you do not know.
Neither can you cling in a crisis to the Bible, and the Bible only, if
you have been clinging to something other than the Bible in the present.
Videos are an excellent means of communication of events, but as a projection
of truth, they have the same effect on the viewer as TV - the mind gets
turned off and the viewer is mesmerized by the speaker. Helps, there need
to be, but this can be served by audio tapes played on a cassette with
a pause button, so that as the Bereans of old, what is said can be checked
against the Word of God. Or, there are written study guides available
if one wants to avail themselves of such. But you say, "This takes
time." True, and it is not as comfortable as sitting back in a recliner
and being lulled into a fatal security - a delusion that has cost many
viewers unrecoverable thousands of dollars and this is just recent past
history. Is it not time, instead of repeating this experience through
other "voices" that each determine that he is going to use the
Sabbath hours for the study of the Word of God even if it means meeting
With all the siren calls for "unity" which have
been made this year by various "independent voices," Is it not
time we started walking by faith and not by sight?
p 3 -- Paul's
Teaching in First Corinthians --
On Unity -- One of the problems which Paul faced in
the Church at Corinth was disunity. He had received from "the house
of Chloe" information that every member at Corinth had declared his
partisanship saying, "I am of Paul; and I am of Apollos; and I am
of Cephas; and I am of Christ" (I Cor. 1:12). It is not much different
today among the "independent voices" on the periphery of Adventism.
One says he is of Grosboll; another of Spear, and another of Standish.
And others not wishing to be identified as among these three could say,
I am of Larson. Paul wrote very pointedly to the Corinthians partisans: Now
I beseech you, brethren, by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that ye
all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but
that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same
Throughout this year reports of unity meetings involving
the above named leaders of "independent" ministries have appeared
in the official publications of all of them. We find it most difficult
to harmonize Paul's criteria for unity - "speak the same thing,"
"be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment"
- with what we read in these publications. It is true that on the back
page of Landmarks (July,
1998) there was a call to attend a "campmeeting in the
beautiful Rockies" with the three "voices" listed as the
main speakers. But inside the journal was found a "Special Notice."
It read in part: We
believe and encourage all true Seventh-day Adventists in every place we
travel to start and organize "home circles." By a "home
church" we mean a church that is dependent on God and the Word of
God as given in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy for guidance and is independent
from the present apostasy in the conference structure of Adventism. ...
We still hold the same philosophy, as we have been teaching and writing
since 1987. (p. 3, Insert)
A month previously, Ron Spear wrote in a special boxed
statement to his "Supporters and Prayer Partners" which was
placed just above a copy of the "Denver Statement" the following: Hope
International stands behind the messages of our past sermons and publications,
and we are committed to remain faithful to our God given ministry of assisting
in the work given to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This remnant church
is called of God and will finally triumph in purity at Christ's soon coming!
Although the majority of its members will fall, we must all encourage
God's people to be faithful and to support the Seventh-day Adventist Church
in every way possible, insofar as is consistent with the principles of
God's government and the leading of the Holy Spirit. (p.6)
Where is the unity as outlined by Paul to the Church at Corinth in these two positions? If he should read them, would he not also say even as he wrote - "Are ye not carnal?" (I Cor. 3:4).
of the Cross -- Please take your Bible and read I Corinthians
1:18-24. In the KJV, the word "preaching" is used in both the
18th and 21st verses. One would expect that the same Greek word would
be used in both instances. Not so. In the 18th verse, the Greek word is
logoV, the same word used by John
in speaking of the Word in John 1:1-3,14. While we cannot say that Paul
used the word in the same sense as John used the word four decades later,
yet John's usage reflects back on previous usage. Logos as used by Paul
conveys the concept of the "message" which the Cross speaks.
Elsewhere Paul will write of this as "the wisdom of God in a mystery,
even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory"
(I Cor. 2:7). That mystery was revealed in the Logos made flesh (I Tim.
While the Jews required a sign which appealed to their
senses, and the Greeks wanted logic which could satisfy their thinking,
Paul declared that "we preach a Messiah crucified" (ver. 22).
To the Jews, this was a "stumbling-block," a scandal (skandalon).
They perceived that anyone who was hanged on a tree was "cursed"
of God (Deut. 21:22-23). They could not perceive of the Messiah, one sent
from God, being cursed by God. Such a concept was a stumblingblock to
them. Yet for us to be freed from the curse another had to bear the curse
To the Greek such preaching was "foolishness"
(morian). This Greek word come through
into English as our word, moron.
How could logic justify a God who would die for the creature who had chosen
to be a rebel against Him? It is not logical, but it is the way of
agape (love). To those who respond to the Logos of the Cross,
this Messiah of God, the cross becomes for them "the power of God,
and the wisdom of God." The prophet Habakkuk caught a vision of this
redemptive act and declared - "And His brightness was as the light;
He had bright beams coming out of His side: there was the hiding of His
power" (3:4, margin). One cannot separate the stigma of the Cross
from the Logos of the Cross. (Gal. 6:17; "marks" in the Greek,
Throughout eternal ages in the Word made flesh will be seen the scars
of the Cross.
But what does this "message" of the Cross mean
for us? Consider - verse 30 - "But of Him, are ye
in Christ Jesus who has been made wisdom to us from God, both
righteousness and sanctification and redemption. (Lit.). Why?
·p 4 -- "That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord (verse 31) The Logos of the Cross speaks to me, telling me, that I cannot boast that I have contributed one iota to my justification, sanctification, or to the glorification which is to come. It is but mine to do the "work" (singular) which God requires (John 5:29).
The Logos of the Cross perhaps could be better perceived when one considers E. J. Waggoner's Confession of Faith. He testified: Christ is primarily the Word of God, the expression of God's thought; and the Scriptures are the Word of God simply because they reveal Christ. It was with this belief that I began my real study of the Bible, thirty four years ago (1882). At that time Christ was set before my eyes "evidently crucified" before me. I was sitting a little apart from the body of the congregation in the large tent at a camp meeting in Healdsburg, one gloomy Sabbath afternoon. I have no idea what was the subject of the discourse. Not a text nor a word have I ever known. All that has remained with me was what I saw. Suddenly a light shone around me, and the tent was, for me, far more brilliantly lighted that if the noon-day sun had been shining, and I saw Christ hanging on the cross, crucified for me. In that moment I had my first positive knowledge, which came as an overwhelming flood, that God loved me, and that Christ died for me. God and I were the only beings I was conscious of in the universe. I knew then, by actual sight, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself; I was the whole wodd with all its sin. I am sure that Paul's experience on the way to Damascus was no more real than mine. (pp.34)
-- Take time to read I Corinthians 10:1-11. Biblical typology is
of two kinds - horizontal and vertical. Here in the Corinthian letter,
Paul uses the horizontal typology. The smitten rock from which the water
gushed in the wilderness journey (Ex. 17:5-6), symbolized Christ. The
events during the wilderness wanderings are also declared to be "figures"
or "types" for the instruction of those "upon whom the
ends of the world are come" (ver. 11, margin)
All that happened during the wilderness experiences of
Israel are not recorded, but those that are recorded served as an example
or type for our study and edification. Further, the application of typology
is limited to these wilderness experiences and cannot be applied to all
of the Old Testament history of Israel. In other words, only that which
is plainly inferred to be a type can be so used. This avoids unwarranted
Adventism is based on two counts in typology using both
the horizontal and vertical. The dating for the beginning of the judgement
in 1844 was a horizontal use of typology. The typical Day of Atonement
was the tenth day of the seventh month. From this, the antitypical Day
was determined to be October 22,1844. The meaning and significance of
what took place in the cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary was developed
from vertical typology based in the book of Hebrews which declares that
the priests of the earthly tabernacle "served unto the example and
shadow of heavenly things" (Heb. 8:5). The horizontal typology was
first applied during the Millerite Movement by Samuel Snow in the Spring
and finalized in the late Summer of 1844. The vertical application is
uniquely Adventisn growing out of the Great Disappointment.
Here is a crucial area of study. The Bible of the Apostolic Church was the Septuagint (LXX). Every quotation from the Old Testament used in the book of Hebrews is from the LXX. It is in this book that the vertical typology between the earthly sanctuary and the Heavenly counterpart is set forth. However, nowhere in the book of Hebrews is the Greek word usage as is applied to the concept of atonement in Leviticus 4 and 16 to be found. The focus in Hebrews is on the priestly ministry of Jesus as the Surety of a better covenant. The Day of Atonement is alluded to (10:25), but the typical relationship is not developed. The fact is that when describing the typical Most Holy Place the text reads - "of which we cannot now speak particularly" (Heb. 9:5). The emphasis is placed on hagia, which is defined as the first apartment, or "tabernacle" (Heb. 9:2).
Service -- Paul indicates that the order of service and its
significance was received by him directly from "the Lord" (I
Cor. 11:23) The first service introduced by Jesus the night of His betrayal
was connected with and preceded by the Passover Feast. This same combined
"supper" was evidently practised in Corinth inasmuch as many
Jews had believed including the Chief Elder of the synagogue and possibly
his successor. Problems had developed. Not everyone could bring his own
supper, and those who did, did not share. Besides this the wine brought
by some was used to excess and drunkenness followed. See I Cor. 11:17-22.
In such a state, the real meaning and significance of the Lord's Supper
First, Paul says the Lord took some of the bread which
had been prepared for the Passover, and "when He had given thanks,
He broke it, and said, Take eat: this is my body which is broken for you:
this do in remembrance of Me" (11:24). The question arises, why could
Jesus give as a symbol of His body a piece of bread which had been broken,
when the type indicated - bone of Him shall be
p 5 -- ondly, a soldier pierced His side, and from
it flowed both blood and water. John emphasizes that he saw this actually
occur. Geike, in his Life and Words of Jesus, indicates that what
John saw reveals that "Jesus died, literally, of a broken heart!"
(p. 541) Why? My sins; your sins. What a contemplation should be ours
each time we partake of the broken bread.
Next followed the cup symbolizing "the new testament
(covenant) in my blood" (11:25). The blood of Jesus makes Him "the
Surety of a better covenant" (Heb. 7:22), even "the everlasting
covenant (13:20). Those who drink of this cup, accepting the terms thereof,
are the "new" Israel of God. This is not a covenant of Equals;
God disposes everything. It is "His will" that is to be realized
"through Jesus Christ" (13:21). In partaking, we yield our wills
to do His will, otherwise we drink unworthily. (I Cor. 11:29) While it
is true, the "old" Covenant was based upon the promises of Israel,
the fact is the "will of God" did not change from one covenant
to the other. This fact must be kept firmly in mind as we face the final
conflict between truth and falsehood.
While the synoptic Gospels and Paul emphasize only the bread and wine of the Communion Service, John writing his gospel at the end of the Apostolic era - omitting the recitation of the actual Service as given by the others - emphasizes the preliminary Service - the Ordinance of Humility. From this emphasis, we can better understand what Jesus did first, which made possible the sacrifice symbolized in the bread and wine. John writes that after the Passover supper was ended (13:2), Jesus arose from the table, "laid aside His garments; and took a towel (lention) and girded Himself" (v.4). Thayer defines lention as the towel or apron which "servants put on when about to work." Jesus laid aside His glory - the "form of God" taking upon Himself the "form of a servant" (Phil. 2:6-7) and walked in life to the one commitment - the Cross. But having made provision for the washing (cleansing) of His own whom the Father gave Him, "He taketh His garments" again (ver. 12). There would be a Resurrection; He would drink anew with them the cup in the Kingdom (Matt. 26:29).
-- Inserted between two chapters on "Spiritual Gifts,"
is the sublime essay on "Love" (KJV, "charity"). While
Paul advises the Corinthians to "covet earnestly the best gifts"
yet he would reveal to them "a more excellent way" (I Cor. 12:31).
After concluding his essay on the more "excellent way" - the
way of love - he encourages them to "desire spiritual gifts, but
rather that ye may prophesy," and don't forget to "follow after
love" (I Cor. 14:1).
The Greeks used four different words to express various
human emotions and relationships which we cover by the one word, "love."
Filew meant to "regard with affection." It was the most
generally used word for love as can be seen by its derivatives.
Philos was a friend; philema
was a kiss. Compounds of this word are well known: philadelphia,
brotherly love, and
of wisdom or knowledge. Another Greek word for love was stergw
which expressed the mutual love of parents and children; respect of people
for rulers; and even dogs for their masters. It is not found in the New
Testament, except in compound words as found in Romans 12:10, and translated,
The Greek word for "sensual ecstasy which leaves
moderation and proportion far behind; forgets all reason, will and direction
on the way to ecstasy," eraw
(eroV), is not found in the New Testament.
Paul and John chose to express love by the word,
which conveys an active love on another's behalf. While the verb
form appears in Greek literature from Homer on down, the noun has been
found only once outside of the New Testament. In both Paul's and John's
use of the word, is revealed a new dimension of love. "God is love;"
"God so loved that He gave His only begotten Son," was how John
used the word to convey a love expressed unselfishly and unstintingly.
Paul expresses his perception of the word in his essay to the Corinthians.
Against this backdrop, there are some definitive state. ments in the Writings in regard to what must be assumed to be agape love. These read: Supreme love for God and unselfish love for one another, - this is the best gift that our heavenly Father can bestow. This love is not an impulse, but a divine principle, a permanent power. The unconsecrated heart cannot originate or produce it. Only in the heart where Jesus reigns is it found. "We love Him, because He first loved us." (Acts of the Apostles, p.551)
True love seeks first
the honor of God and the salvation of souls. Those who have this love
will not evade the truth to save themselves from the unpleasant results
of plain speaking. When souls are in peril, God's ministers will not consider
self, but will speak the words given them to speak, refusing to excuse
or palliate evil. (Prophets & Kings, p.141)
The concept that love is "a divine principle,"
a power which guides the life causing the possessor to speak the truth
plainly regardless of consequences must be contrasted with what is today's
norm - speaking and doing only that which is "politically correct"
or "socially acceptable."
The force of what Paul has written could be better perceived
if in place of love (charity) we would substitute the name of Jesus in
verses 1-8. Doing this, these verses would read: Though
I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,
p 6 -- and
have not Jesus, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And
though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and
all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains,
and have not Jesus, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to
feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not Jesus,
it profiteth me nothing.
long and was kind; Jesus envied not, was not rash (margin), nor puffed
up, did not behave Himself unseemly, sought not His own interests, was
not easily provoked, thought no evil; rejoiced not in iniquity, but rejoiced
in the truth; bore all things, hoped for the best, endured to the end.
Jesus never failed nor will He fail us.
-- Every recorded sermon or testimony in the Book of Acts references
the resurrection. From the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:22-24) to Paul's presentation
on Mars Hill (Acts 17:31), the Apostolic message was that God raised Jesus
from the dead. From the fearless testimony of Peter before the very men
who plotted the death of Jesus (Acts 4:8-12), to the testimony of Paul
before Agrippa (Acts 26:22-23), the theme was the same, God raised Jesus
from the dead. Paul's stated objective was that he might know "the
power of [Christ's] resurrection," and that he, too, "might
attain unto the resurrection of the dead" (Phil. 3:10-11). The reason
is plainly stated in Paul's treatise on the resurrection in this first
Epistle to the Corinthians: "If in this life only we have hope in
Christ, we are of all men most miserable" (verse 19).
The cry of humanity which echoes through the Old Testament
is summed up in the question asked by Job - "If a man die, shall
he live again?" (14:14). There is nothing more hopeless to all earthly
appearances than to look on the face of a loved one whose eyes are closed
in death. Those who stood before the Cross saw Jesus - "His visage
... so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men,"
yet these same disciples beheld the glory of the resurrected Lord with
only the testimony of the nail scared hands and riven side remaining.
To them the resurrection was for real. It was their hope. Because He lived
again, they, too, would live!
his essay on the resurrection stating that he declares to the Corinthians
the gospel "by which also ye are saved." The first point he
affirmed to be "that Christ (the Messiah) died for our sins according
to the scriptures" (15:3). Here is where Christianity and Judaism
divide. The "Messiah" for whom the Jews looked would not suffer
but reign. The Christian Messiah was the Messiah of Scripture, the suffering
servant, who would be "brought as a lamb to the slaughter" (Isa.
53:7). Secondly, this Messiah "was buried, and that He arose again
the third day [also] according to the scriptures" (15:4) On these
two fundamental premises, the gospel rests.
Paul then begins his argument. How is it, that if we preach
that Christ arose from the dead, some say "there is no resurrection
of the dead?" (15:12) If this be true, then Christ is not risen,
and our hope is a vain hope; we are yet in our sins, and those who are
dead having placed their hope in Christ "are perished" (15:17-18).
Not so, says Paul, but rather: Now
is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that
slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection
of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made
alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward
they that are Christ's at His coming. (15:20-23)
After establishing the ultimate objective of time - the
triumph of life over death by Jesus Christ, Paul returns to the challenge
that the dead rise not. This time it becomes personal. Why is he doing
what he is doing? Why be "baptized" for the dead if the dead
rise not? (15:29). There are two baptisms in the Bible - water baptism,
and a dedication. Of the latter, Jesus said, "I have a baptism to
be baptized with; and how am I straightened till it be accomplished"
(Luke 12:50; see also Matt. 20:20-23). To his like baptism, Paul was referring
for he asks, "And why stand we in jeopardy every day?" (15:30)
How useless would be his life - and note the perils he faced as enumerated
in II Cor. 11:23-28) - his daily dying - if the dead rise not. He illustrates
- "If [speaking] after the manner of men I fought with the beasts
at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not?" Rather,
"let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die." (15:32)
Next Paul turns to two questions - "How are the dead
raised up? and "With what body do they come" forth from the
grave? Answering the second question first, Paul declares there are "celestial
bodies" as well as "bodies terrestrial" (15:40) Then he
also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is
raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory;
it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body;
it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a
spiritual body. (15:42-44)
Paul concludes that "as we have borne the image of
the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly" (15:49)
In his second epistle to
the Corinthians, Paul returns again to the subject of the resurrection.
He speaks of the present existence as "our earthly house of this
tabernacle." There is to be another, "an house not made with
hands, eternal in the heavens" (5:1) So long as we are in this present
"tabernacle" we "do groan, being burdened: not for that
we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed
up of life." (5:4) Why must a change take place? "Flesh and
blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." (15:50) The final phase
of the new birth must be realized. When? The answer is clearly stated:
p 7 --
Behold I show
you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in
a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet
shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall
be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal
must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption,
and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to
pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 0 death,
where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (15:51-55)
Paul in these verses uses two different words to describe
the status of the redeemed. Those who die in the Lord, in the resurrection,
put on afqarsian (incorruption), while
those who are translated put on aqanasian
(immortality). This latter word is used only three times in the New Testament,
twice in these verses and once in I Tim. 6:16, where the nature of God
is described. This fact opens before the student of the Word, a realm
for contemplation and an insight into the plans and purposes of God.
It is this victory over death and the grave to which Paul
refers when he concludes - "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the
victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (15:57) Man cannot alter
the hopelessness of death, but God can. He raised up Jesus, and because
He lives, we, too, shall live. The victory came and comes through Him.
He could say - "I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I
am alive for evermore; and have the keys of the grave and of death"
The very element of the hopelessness of death, is used
in Scripture to convey to us the very helplessness that is ours in this
fallen nature. Paul wrote that we "who were dead
in trespasses and sins," God "hath quickened (made us alive)
together with Christ and hath raised us up together and made us sit together
in heavenly places in
Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches
of His grace and His kindness toward us through
Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:1, 5-7). By what means - "by grace are
ye saved" (v.5) Even as our bodies succumb to death, so we must surrender
to the working of God (Phil. 2:13; Isa. 4:8).
This is an issue in the final conflict. There will be
a small group of people in whose mouths will be "found no guile"
(Rev. 14:5). On the other hand, the rest of mankind will become "the
habitation of devils" (18:2). It has been well stated: Through
yielding to satanic influences, men will be transformed into fiends; and
those who were created in the image of God, who were formed to honor and
glorify their Creator, will become the habitation of dragons, and Satan
will see in an apostate race his masterpiece of evil, - men who reflect
his own image. (R&H, April 14,1896)
What will make the difference between the guileless and the fiends? The guileless will "have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 7:14) --- (1998 Dec) --- End --- TOP
Special Issue # 1 --
Publications already published have noted and publications
to be published will note that following 1950, there was a marked change
in the Church's teaching in regard to the nature Christ assumed in becoming
flesh. This is very true; but was it an instantaneous change, or was there
a gradual departure from the truth held by the Church on this doctrine
in its beginning? We suspect that there was a gradual change. In this
Special Issue of WWN, we will trace the record from the early days
of this movement, noting the consistent teaching till 1930. What appears
to be a "below the surface" movement for change cannot be concretely
documented. There is suggestive evidence that such was the case, and there
are pieces of the puzzle with possible answers identified, their whereabouts
unknown as yet.
The major problem is that those who digress from the original stated position of the Church are presenting as an alternative the deviant voices of the past as reflected in the Holy Flesh Movement in Indiana at the close of the 19th century. The fact remains that any compromise with the position held by the Adventist Church as reflected in the 1872 Statement and amplified in the 1888 Message is only echoing to a lesser degree the Roman dogma of the Immaculate Conception. We do well to note what Dr. E. J. Waggoner said in a sermon preached at the 1901 General Conference session the evening before the Holy Flesh Movement was brought to an end the following morning. This special issue of WWN closes with Dr. Waggoner's challenge - "We need to settle it, everyone of us, whether we are out of the church of Rome or not." And he added - "a great many have the marks yet."
p 2 -- The
Compromises of the Past Six Decades -- Trying
to Find an Answer to the Incarnation Question -- For
the first eight decades of the existence of the Seventh-day Adventist
Church, its teaching on the doctrine of the Incarnation was consistent.
During this period, there was one exception to this consistency - the
teaching of the Incarnation by the men who led the Holy Flesh Movement
The Statements of Belief published in 1872, 1874, in the
for the years, 1889, 1905, and from 1907-1914, all read the
there is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father ...; that
He took on Him the nature of the seed of Abraham for the redemption of
our fallen race; that He dwelt among men, full of grace and truth, lived
our example ...
Again during this period, there was one exception. In
1894, the headquarters Church at Battle Creek drew up their own Statement
of Beliefs. It read: That
there is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, ... that
He took on Him the nature of man, for the redemption of our fallen race;
that He dwelt among men, full of grace and truth, lived our example ...
Much has been made of the Battle Creek Statement. It is
true that this statement was included in a publication of the Church's
officers and members. It can be assumed to have been approved by the Church.
Since it was the headquarters Church with a membership at that time of
over 1500 members, including all the officers of the General Conference
as well as the editor of the Review & Herald, Uriah Smith,
who helped formulate the original 1872 Statement, it could be conceived
as a formidable weight of evidence in a discussion of the beliefs of the
Church. Froom in his book, Movement of Destiny, uses this factor
in seeking to show that the Church at this early date was altering its
perception of the doctrine of the Atonement (pp. 338-342). The essence
of this alteration on the doctrine of the Incarnation is reflected in
the 1931 Statement which was formally adopted in 1946.
In connection with this Statement of the Battle Creek
Church, we should note a point or two in regard to the Yearbook.
It was first authorized by the General Conference Committee in 1882. Its
contents made it an authoritative voice of the Church's position and standing.
(See SDA Encyclopaedia, rev. ed., p.1336) The 1889 edition was
the first year to include a section devoted to "Fundamental Principles
of Seventh-day Adventists" which contained the statement on the Incarnation
as noted above. None appeared again till 1905 during the Kellogg apostasy.
Then it appeared regularly from 1907 through 1914, the year preceding
the death of Ellen G. White. However, the Yearbook was not published
between 1895-1903, being replaced by the General Conference Bulletins
during that time.
This does present some interesting questions which have
remained unanswered. Why did the Battle Creek Church choose to formulate
an altered Statement of Beliefs from the original 1872 Statement? Why
were no statements published after 1889 - the year following the October,
1888, GC Session, except for the Battle Creek Statement in 1894, until
1905? Why the break at the time of Ellen G. White's death?
However, during this period, the publications of the Church
and the Writings carried an unequivocal position on the doctrine of the
Incarnation. As early as 1852,
James White wrote in the Review & Herald;
"Like Aaron and his sons, [Jesu] took upon Him flesh and blood, the
seed of Abraham." (Sept.16) This
echoes the concept in the 1872 Statement in which he participated with
Uriah Smith in formulating. In 1854,
J. M. Stephenson, answering the question, "What blood
was shed for the remission of sins?" - replied -
"Was it not the identical blood which had flowed through the veins
of Mary, His mother, and back through her ancestry to Eve, the mother
of all living? Otherwise He was not ' the seed of the woman,' of Abraham,
Isaac, Jacob; and David." (Review & Herald, July 15)
Then in 1858, Ellen White
wrote in Spiritual Gifts, Vol.1, p.25 -
"Jesus told [the angels] ... that He should take man's fallen nature,
and His strength would not be even equal to theirs."
Again in Vol. 4a
of the same set, she wrote in 1864
"It was in the order of God that Christ should take upon Himself
the form and nature of fallen man." (p.115)
Apart from the Writings of Ellen White, there was little
discussion of Christology in Adventism until 1888 because the ministry
was preaching the law until they were "as dry as the hills of Gilboa,
which had neither dew nor rain." (R&H, March 11, 1890)
In 1889, Ellen White clarified what she meant by using the expression
"fallen nature" which Christ took upon Himself. Writing of the
symbolism of the ladder which Jacob saw, she stated -
"Christ was the ladder. ... This ladder reached from the lowesr degradation
of earth and humanity to the highest heavens." (Signs of the
Times, July 29)
In 1888 and
after, E. J. Waggoner in his presentations of Christology clearly
fact that Christ took upon Himself the flesh, not of a sinless being,
but of sinful man, that is, that the flesh which He assumed had all the
weaknesses and sinful tendencies to which fallen human nature is subject,
is shown by the statement that He "was made of the seed of David
according to the flesh." (Christ and His Righteousness
pp. 26-27; 1892)
After 1891, when Ellen White went to Australia, and 1892 when E. J. Waggoner accepted assignment in England, the burden of the message of Righteousness by Faith, and its associated Christology fell upon A. T. Jones. In 1895, at the General Conference Session, Jones told those in attendance that they were there "studying the same subject that we have
p 3 -- been studying these three or four past years; but God is leading us further along in the study of it." (GC Bulletin, p.330) At this session, commenting on John 1:14, Jones asked - "Now what kind of flesh is it?" In answering this question, and asking another, he amplified the answer to both: What kind of flesh alone is it that this world knows? - Just such flesh as you and I have. This world does not know any other flesh of man, and has not known any other since the necessity of Christ's coming was created. Therefore, as this world knows only such flesh as we have, as it is now, it is certainly true that when "the Word was made flesh," He was made just such flesh as ours is. It cannot be otherwise. (ibid., 232)
There is no question that there was opposition to the
1888 Message, and the men who gave it. This has been well documented by
Wieland and Short. (See A Warning and Its Reception) This opposition
centered in Battle Creek, and Uriah Smith was a part of that opposition.
The question must be asked if this fact had anything to do with the variant
Statement produced by the Church there? Off setting this possibility,
but not negating it, is the publication in the Review & Herald,
August 22, 1912 as one of the "General Articles" of that issue,
the Statement of Beliefs as was published in the 1912 Yearbook,
with the notation, "By the late Uriah Smith." (Smith died in
1903.) The statement on the Incarnation is the same as was written in
1872. Also an interesting factor, the editor in 1912 was F.M. Wilcox,
who Froom avers formulated the 1931 Statement (Movement of Destiny,
p.413), and which altered the wording on the doctrine of the Incarnation,
reflecting the overtones of the Battle Creek Statement on this doctrine.
We must pause for a moment, and analyze the two exceptions to the stated doctrine of the Incarnation during the first eight decades of Adventist history. First the Battle Creek Statement, and with it, we can compare the 1931 statement formulated by Wilcox. The three statements, 1872, 1894, and 1931, read in time sequence:
The difference of these three statements could be dismissed
as a matter of semantics. Yet there is an unquestionable clarity in the
1872 Statement - "the nature of the seed of Abraham" is the
fallen nature of mankind. The Battle Creek Statement leaves the door open,
for Adam possessed "the nature of man" both before and after
his Fall. The "nature of the human family" could be construed
as the "fallen nature" since there was no "family"
until after the Fall. Yet the emphasis of wording, in context, is weighted
toward the concept that Jesus accepted humanity, without regard to defining
the nature of that humanity. Further, one must wonder, why the expression,
"the seed of Abraham" was chosen for the 1872 statement, when
a more emphatic statement would have been forthcoming had Romans 1:3 been
used - "the seed of David according to the flesh" - which Paul
declared to be "the gospel of God." (1:1) This "gospel
of God" was the emphasis in the 1888 Message.
The major "exception" during the time period
under consideration was the Holy Flesh Movement of Indiana (1899-1901).
The last two issues of the Review & Herald for 1900 carried
a two part editorial on "The Faith of Jesus." Though not initialled,
it was written by A.T. Jones who at the time was co-editor with Uriah
Smith. Based on Hebrews 1 & 2, it clearly taught that Christ took
upon Himself the fallen nature of man. To these editorials, R. S. Donnell,
president of the Indiana Conference, responded in a series of articles
in the Indiana Reporter, the local conference paper. The articles
were titled - "Did Christ Come to This World in Sinful Flesh?"
When he republished these articles in 1907 in self defence, he commented
- "Why I was charged with teaching 'Holy Flesh' I know not, unless
it was in my article(s), as well as in the pulpit, I took the negative
side of the question." It is interesting that Donnell perceived of
the epithet attached to the movement as connected with their teaching
on the Incarnation. They certainly did not teach that they would receive
"holy flesh" in this life. This factor is all the more important
when considered against the backdrop of what Ellen White is quoted as
saying at the demise of the Movement at a constituency meeting in Indianapolis.
Elder G. A. Roberts, who was present at the meeting quoted her as stating
I am gone from here, none are to pick up any points of this doctrine and
call it truth. There is not a thread of truth in the whole fabric."
(Ellen G. White Estate, Document File #190)
What did Donnell
teach? He taught two concepts which have reappeared in Adventist
perceptions of the Incarnation since 1950. The first reads: When
Christ came to this earth He came to make Himself an offering for sin
and, in order to make an offering that would be acceptable to the Father,
He must at least be as free from sin in every particular as was Adam before
he fell. It was because of this that He could not step into some human
body already on earth, and purify it and go to the cross in that body
and offer the sacrifice. No; that body had known sin in itself and therefore
was guilty of the same sins that all the rest of humanity had committed,
and as a consequence needed a savior itself and would not and could not
be an acceptable sacrifice. There were plenty of bodies here on earth,
but they were all in the same condition; they all had sinned and come
short of the glory of God. But in order to save man, Christ must enter
humanity, and because all were sinners, and not a body could be found
that was suitable, what had to be done? A body had to be made for the
occasion. (What I Taught in Indiana, pp. 8-9)
The second stated: And now, how must He come? Must He come possessed of the inherent traits of the fallen race, or while He comes as a man, should He not come as a man redeemed, ...? This must be so,
p 4 -- for
Paul ... says: "For both He that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified
(not those He is going to sanctifiy, but they who are sanctified) are
all of one; for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren."
Notice that it is the sanctified ones who He is not ashamed to call brethren.
Further it is the sanctified ones of whose flesh He partakes. (Heb. 2:14
quoted) (ibid. pp. 4,5)
Then in answer to a question asked him by the incoming
conference president, Donnell
nature was a divine human nature, a nature which prior to the new birth,
has not been possessed by a single son or daughter of Adam since the fall.
Before discussing the compromises of the last six decades
(1930-1990), let us fix in our minds the clarity and preciseness of what
the Church taught in regard to the human nature Christ assumed in becoming
incarnate. These citations will not be exhaustive, but the few cited will
be representative. Ellen
White wrote at the turn of the century during the time of the
Holy Flesh Movement: Think
of Christ's huntiliation. He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human
nature, degraded and defiled by sin. ... He united humanity with divinity;
a divine spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh. He united Himself with the
temple. (Youth's Instructor Dec. 20, 1900)
Christ were united the divine and the human - the Creator and the creature.
The nature of God, whose law had been transgressed, and the nature of
Adam, the transgressor, meet in Jesus. (Ms. 141, 1901)
The first Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly was published
in 1889. During the years from its first printing to 1930 a number of
lessons discussed the doctrine of the Incarnation. Two illustrations of
the teachings found there will suffice. In 1923, a Sabbath School lesson
on "The Godly Life" in its first note declared: Christ
took upon Himself the infirmities and sins of the flesh. ... but to every
sin He died, every lust He crucified, every selfish desire He denied Himself
- all for our sakes. (2nd Qrt., p.22)
Again from a 1928 Quarterly: Carnal,
natural man cannot abolish his enmity against God. It is a part of his
nature. It is intertwined in every fibre of his being. But Jesus took
upon Himself our nature of flesh and blood (Heb. 2:14), "in all things
... to be made like unto His brethren" (Heb. 2:17), "of the
seed of David according to the flesh" (Rom. 1:3); He met and "abolished
in His flesh the enmity," "the carnal mind"
(Rom. 8:7), "the mind of the flesh" (Rom. 8:7 ARV). He condemned
sin in the flesh for us forever. (1st Qrt., p.15)
Not only did the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterlies
proclaim a consistent message on the nature Christ assumed in the Incarnation,
but books published during this period also echoed the concept. One example
will illustrate the position taken. In 1924,
Elder Meade MacGuire's book, The Life of Victory, was
released. He noted that Paul spoke of the fact that in the body is a law
"warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity
to the law of sin which is in my members." What is the answer to
this aspect of the sin problem? MacGuire's answer read: There
is only one means of deliverance from this inherent law of sin. That is
Christ. He took humanity upon Him. He conquered sin while in a body which
had come under the hereditary law of sin. He now proposes to live that
same sinless life in my members. His presence completely counteracts the
power of the law of sin. (pp.17-18)
There are other citations that could be quoted from the
Sabbath School lesson quarterlies from 1896 to 1930 which spoke the same
message; and other books, such as Bible Readings for the Home Circle,
which taught the same thing. Those chosen came from the final decade of
the eight decades of Adventist teaching on the subject. In 1931 a change
was made in the Statement of Beliefs on this doctrine. Whether it was
merely semantics, or was a substantive change may be open to question,
but the fact remains the wording was changed.
This new wording was reflected in the Sabbath School lesson
quarterlies. In 1941, an introductory note read: Through
sin man finds himself without hope and without God in the world. "The
wages of sin is death" - death confronts every son and daughter of
Eve. Into this hopeless picture the Son of God presents Himself. Because
of His infinite love, He took upon Himself the form of a man and the
frailties of a long ancestral line. Having accepted human nature,
He endured the sentence of sin in His body on the cross. He suffered the
death that is ours because of sin, that we might live the life that He
merited because of righteousness. This is the only avenue by which man
might escape the penalty of sin and enter into life - the more abundant
life here, and everlasting life in the eternal kingdom. (4th Qrt.,
p.6; emphasis supplied)
While books were still being released after 1930 from
the Church's publishing houses teaching the doctrine of the Incarnation
as stated during the first eight decades, such as Facts of Faith
by Christian Edwardson, and The Wine of Roman Babylon by Mary E.
Walsh, a revision was made in 1949 in Bible Readings for the Home Circle
which completely altered the teaching. (Compare the study notes of a 1915
edition with the same notes in a post 1950 publication of the book on
the reading, "A Sinless Life.")
Further, F. D. Nichol, whom F. M. Wilcox asked to critique the 1931 Statement which he had written (Movement of Destiny, pp.413-414), published a book in 1932 - Answers to Objections. A portion of this book with considerable new
p 5 -- matter was published in 1947 as Reasons
for Our Faith. Then in 1952, a new edition of the 1932 book, with
material from it and the 1947
publication was released under the original title. In this
book, Nichol discusses the Incarnation. He wrote in answer to an objection,
"Seventh-day Adventists teach that, like all mankind, Christ was
born with a sinful nature," that
"Adventists believe that Christ, the 'last Adam,' possessed,
on His human side, a nature like that of the ' first man Adam,' a nature
free of any defiling taint of sin, but capable of responding to sin, and
that that nature was handicapped by the debilitating effects of four thousand
years of sin's inroads on man's body and nervous system and environment."
If language has any meaning, the only meaning that can
be deducted from what Nichol wrote is that Christ had the pre-Fall nature
of Adam, and not the post-Fall, "sinful nature," and that the
only difference between Adam in Eden and Christ four thousand years later
was physiological. Is this what he really meant?
At the close of the answer given, Nichol appends "a
word of counsel to some of our Adventist writers and speakers." Suggesting
that while we use the term "sinful flesh" to mean that Christ
"took on Him the seed of Abraham," those who see the Scriptures
through Calvinistic eyes read into the term "something that Adventist
theology does not require." (p. 397) Here is an area for exploration.
In this counsel, Nichol is actually quoting from the pre-1931
Statements of Belief. This leads then to another question. Was the suggested
change in the 1931 Statement in regard to the Incarnation made so as to
deflect the attacks from the growing influence of Evangelical Fundamentalism?
However, there is another factor in this picture. Nichol must have known
that Bible Readings for the Home Circle had been revised and altered
in regard to the doctrine of the Incarnation. Was that change also perceived
as altering what Adventist theology of the Incarnation does not require?
Keeping in mind the time frame in which the change in
Bible Readings was made and Nichol's revised book was published,
we are left with some other unanswered questions. In 1952, a Bible Conference
was held in the Sligo Park Seventh-day Adventist Church with representatives
present from all parts of the World field. The planning committee for
the conference included both Rebok, who made the revision in Bible
Readings, and Nichol. What is interesting is that no one was assigned
the subject of the Incarnation, and only passing reference was made to
it by one speaker in his presentation (Our Firm Foundation, Vol.2,
pp. 43-44), yet other aspects of Christology were presented. Why? Had
a division developed in Adventism, though still below the surface, which
did not permit an open presentation of the subject? Wieland and Short
in their warning to the General Conference in 1950 - 1888 Re-Examined
(original edition) - and which helped to trigger the Bible Conference,
suggests the possibility (pp. 186-188), but in the following chapter no
documentation is offered.
Before detailing the events at the time the issue did
surface into a full scale controversy within Adventism, we need to keep
in mind a little noted report by Froom of some unofficial studies at the
Church's headquarters. In his book, Movement of Destiny, he stated
that soon after the issuance of the 1931 Statement of Beliefs, during
the years till 1935, certain leaders - and he names a few (p.430) - gathered
together on Sabbath afternoons for Bible study and dialogue on subjects
which he calls "the eternal verities." He writes - "There
were no agendas. No minutes were kept, no reports passed out. (Copious
notes, however, were taken by some individually.)" (p.429) [If
someone knows who kept such notes, perhaps Froom himself did, and where
these might be found, it would be a contribution, even in this late hour,
to truth if such a one would step forward with the information]
The question must remain - what influence did these meetings and the men
who attended them have on the direction which Adventism has taken today?
Three years after the 1952 Bible Conference, Seventh-day
Adventists would begin their dialogue with Calvinistic Evangelicals which
would change the face of Adventism and splinter its ranks. These conferences
during 1955-1956 brought certain Adventist leaders face to face with Barnhouse
and Martin in a discussion of various major teachings of the Church. The
result of the questions asked, and the answers given in writing to the
Evangelicals, the Adventist conferees perceived of a resultant book being
published which would be "a definitive statement of contemporary
Adventist theology, in convenient reference book form." (Adventist
Heritage, Vol.4, #2, p.41) Following its publication in 1957, it was
used in the Bible classes of the Church's colleges, which in turn has
had its effect on the ministry of the Church in the decades following.
Observe the use of the term, "contemporary." In its position
on the incarnation, it did not resonate, as we shall observe, the consistent
teaching of the first eight decades of Adventist thought. What is even
more interesting is that the Adventist conferees perceived they "were
supported by the 1931 statement of fundamental beliefs," and the
Evangelical conferees because of this 1931 Statement "were satisfied
that [their Adventist counterparts] were presenting contemporary Adventist
doctrines." (ibid, p. 38) This only compounds the confusion
of the present as one seeks to arrive at the truth as to what the word
change in the 1931 Statement actually meant in regard to the Incarnation.
Did it reflect a change in Adventist thinking that could be called "contemporary"
in contrast to the previous decades of teaching, or was it merely an attempt
to avoid Calvinistic interpretations of past statements? Whatever, it
played into the hands of those who compromised basic truths at these Conferences
While the major issue of concern from the viewpoint of the Evangelical conferees was the doctrine of the Atonement - a completed atonement on the cross, or a final atonement following the sacrificial atonement of the cross (Eternity, September, 1956, p.43), Adventist teaching on the Incarnation was altered. The book, Questions on Doctrine, taught that "although born in the flesh, [Christ] was nevertheless God,
p 6 -- and was exempt from the inherited passions
and pollutions that corrupt the natural descendent of Adam." (p.383)
The word, "exempt" has theological overtones inasmuch as this
is the term used in Catholicism as they explain their doctrine of the
Immaculate Conception. Cardinal Gibbons in his book, The Faith of Our
Fathers, wrote - "Unlike the rest of the children of Adam, the
soul of Mary was never subject to sin, even in the first moment of its
infusion into the body. She alone was exempt
from the original taint." (p.171, 88th ed., emphasis supplied)
The question then must be confronted. If Christ was "exempt,"
what do the Scriptures mean when they declare that Christ "took our
infirmities on Himself, and bore the burden of our diseases." (Matt.
8:17, 20th Cent.) The explanation given in Questions on Doctrine
weaknesses, frailties, infirmities, failings are things which we, with
our sinful, fallen natures, have to bear. To us they are natural, inherent,
but when He bore them, He took them not as something innately His, but
He bore them as our substitute. He bore them in His perfect, sinless nature.
Again we remark, Christ bore all of this vicariously, just as vicariously
He bore the iniquities of us all. (pp.59-60)
When the book was published, reaction was not long in
coming. M. L. Andreasen responded with Letters to the Churches.
Others spoke up, and paid the price for dissenting from this new "contemporary"
Adventism. The division within Adventism became so acute that Robert
J. Spangler, editor of Ministry (June, 1985), featured
a debate between Norman Gulley and Herbert Douglass under pseudonyms over
the question of the nature Christ assumed in the incarnation. In an editorial
of the same issue, Spangler succinctly summarizes the previous two decades
of debate resultant from the SDA-Evangelical conferences. He wrote: Through
the years this subject has been one of fervent discussion. The book
Questions on Doctrine, published in 1957, startled the thinking of
Adventist ministerial leadership, since numerous statements from Ellen
White's pen were used to support the concepts that Christ had a sinless
nature. M. L. Andreasen in a series of publications titled Letters
to the Churches, took issue with the position of Questions on Doctrine.
L. E. Froom's book Movement of Destiny published in 1971, again
emphasised the sinless human nature of Christ, based largely on Ellen
White statements. In 1975, the book Perfection. published by the
Southern Publishing Association, presented the views of four Adventist
theologians on Christian perfection. The point was made that a person's
soteriology is affected by his Christology. Eric Claude Webster in his
published doctoral thesis, Crosscurrents in Adventist Christology,
states, "The significance of this rift in Seventh-day Adventism is
not insignificant." (p.24)
One year later, in
the same publication, Elder Thomas A. Davis presented
his "alternate view" to the positions presented a year earlier.
He wrote: We
read in Hebrews 2:17 that Jesus was "made like his brethren
[the born-again, sanctified ones] in every respect."... In light
of the foregoing we may conclude that there was something important about
the incarnate nature of Christ that was like born-again people. I suggest
that in this idea is a concept that could bring together the two viewpoints
discussed in Ministry. (June, 1996, p.14; emphasis his)
As he continues his presentation, Davis elaborates: This
brings me to my main emphasis. To develop my thesis, I stated, ... that
"there was something important about the incarnate nature of Christ
that was like born-again people." Now I give it the proper perspective
by rewording it thus: There is something about born-again people that
is like the incarnate Christ. This, I believe, is the better viewpoint,
rather than the more common one - one that is sometimes given short shift
- that Jesus was "born born-again." (It might be observed that
the difference here is in perspective.) (ibid. p.15)
Observe carefully, Davis indicates the difference is in
"perspective" not substance.
Spangler had another dream. He envisioned a book which
amplified each statement of belief which had been voted at the Dallas
Session of the General Conference. His dream became a reality in the book,
Seventh-day Adventists Believe... This book gives what
is called the "orthodox" view of the Incarnation as defined
by Henry Melvill. Two paragraphs, and two footnotes demand careful reading.
The first paragraph and footnote reads: So
that He could save those in the utter depths of degradation, Christ took
a human nature that, compared to Adam's unfallen nature,
had decreased in physical and mental strength - though He did so without
sinning. (p.47, emphasis supplied)
The footnote reads,
in part, - "Christ
took upon Him ... a human nature that had decreased in 'physical
strength, in mental power, in moral worth' - though not morally depraved,
but totally sinless." (p.57; emphasis supplied)
If language means anything, this position states that
Christ took upon Himself "a sinless human nature," not the fallen
The second paragraph and note is as follows: "Christ's
humanity was not the Adamic humanity, that is, the humanity of Adam before
the fall; nor fallen humanity, that is, in every respect the humanity
of Adam after the fall. It was not the Adamic, because it had the innocent
infirmities of the fallen. It was not the fallen, because it had never
descended into moral impurity. It was, therefore, most literally our humanity,
but without sin." (p.47)
The footnote indicates that this is a direct quote from Henry Melvill, an Anglican clergyman. It is explained that "by 'innocent infirinities' he meant hunger, pain, sorrow, etc. He
p 7 -- called this view of the pre- and post-Fall
nature of Christ, 'the orthodox doctrine."' (p.57, #13)
The position is again clearly indicated that Christ took
the fallen physical nature of Adam, but had the unfallen moral nature
of Adam. In a preceding section (5a, page 46), the book indicates that
Christ "was made in the 'likeness of sinful flesh,' or 'sinful human
nature,' or 'fallen human nature."' To complicate this picture further,
section 4 stated, "His human nature was created and did not possess
superhuman powers." (p.46) God created a "sinful human nature"
that really was not sinful, but only had "innocent infirmities"?
I will leave with the reader to put this all together. I cannot. What
is even more amazing is that Dr. Ralph Larson who after his research published
in the document, The Word Made Flesh, "bought" into this
confusion. He wrote: We
pause to point out that the true doctrine of the nature of Christ is set
forth in the new Seventh-day Adventists Believe. pp. 37-56. (The
Tithe Problem 32)
In 1991, in a supplement to the Adventist Review
on "Tithe," Roger W. Coon, Associate Secretary of the Ellen
G. White Estate, wrote: There
are at least three views on the nature of Christ current in Adventist
circles: (1) that at the incaruation
Christ took the nature of Adam before Adam's fall: (2)
that He took the nature of Adam after the fall; and (3)
that He took a nature that in certain respects was like Adam's before
the fall, but in other respects was like Adam's after the fall. (p.3)
Currently, the renewed controversy is sparked by Dr. Woodrow Whidden of Andrews University, and will be further augmented in a forth coming publication of Dr. Jean R. Zurcher's book, Christ Manifest in the Flesh, translated from the French edition. Whidden, in a paper presented at the Sanctuary Bible Conference, June 11, 1997 held at Berrien Springs, Michigan, listed the same three categories of current Adventist thinking as did Dr. Coon; however he gave a more detailed analysis.
The first category that Christ took Adam's unfallen nature,
represented by the book, Questions on Doctrine, Whidden indicates
"that no one (that I know) who is currently active in ministry and
teaching hold to" it. He cites retired Robert Olson as one "who
comes close to it." (p.15) Borrowing from Zurcher, Whidden lists
the post-Fall of Christ's human nature as "The Traditional or Historical"
view. Then a third view is called - "The Alternate Christology"
- which is defined as "the most recent and most widespread today.
Presented by professor Heppenstall ... it was developed by the authors
of the book Seventh-day Adventists Believe. (Quoting Zurcher)
Whidden in his analysis suggests some subcategories in
these last two positions. He notes that many of those who hold to the
post-fall nature of Christ's human nature accept the Thomas A. Davis "alternative"
and adopt the teaching of the Holy Flesh Movement that Christ came with
a "born born-again" nature, or a "converted,"
"redeemed" human nature, which in Christ's case means a sinless
human nature. Basically this is no different than
the position set forth in Seventh-day Adventists Believe... . Whidden
lists among those holding this position as Sparks, the late Joe Crews,
and Dennis Priebe. He might have added Colin and Russell Standish. No
wonder Whidden confessed that "I want to simply throw up my hands
and say, 'Ah, come on folks, we are really not all that far apart."'
The compromises have simply brought us to a muddled confused
state. How much more simple is it just to say - "God was manifest
in the flesh;" "the Word became flesh and dwelt among
us" - knowing full well that the only flesh Mary could give to Jesus
was the flesh of fallen humanity. Anything apart from this is only degrees
removed from the Roman doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Well may those who are seeking to resurrect the teaching of the men involved in the Holy Flesh Movement, as well as those who subscribe to the Melvill "orthodox" teaching, ponder the counsel given by Dr. E. I. Waggoner the evening before the demise of the Holy Flesh Movement. He said:
need to settle it, every one of us,
you not see that the idea that the flesh of Jesus was not like ours
--- (1998 Special Issue #1) --- End --- TOP
#2, 1998 -- DIES
DOMINI --THE "NEW" THEOLOGY
OF THE PAPACY REGARDING SUNDAY --
Encyclical - Tertio Millennio Adveniente - "The Coming Third Millennium"
- calling for a Jubilee
in the year 2000, the Pope made one reference to Sunday. He wrote -
"Every Sunday commemorates the day of the Lord's resurrection,"
In this same encyclical, the
Pope suggested dialogue with the world's religions, noting that
"the Jews and the Muslims ought to have a pre-eminent place."
It is well known that both
of these religions observe a different day of worship than Sunday. He
indicated that in the Holy Land and Rome this Great Jubilee will be celebrated
As for Rome, there an "International
Eucharistic Congress will take place."
This year in connection with Pentecost, Pope John Paul
II sent an Apostolic Letter to the Bishops of the Church bringing together
the Eucharist and the observance of Sunday, Mary, and the "Most Holy
Trinity." His main emphasis was to establish the "new"
theology of Rome in respect to Sunday as had been set forth in the Catechism
of the Catholic Church released in 1994. Special attention has been
given to the Papal choice of words in their "new" theology of
Sunday, and the warning given in the Writings. See Editorial - "Let's
Talk It Over."
p 2 -- DIES
DOMINI --THE "NEW" THEOLOGY
OF THE PAPACY REGARDING SUNDAY -- An
Apostolic letter was sent from the Vatican, May 31, 1998, "To the
Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Catholic Church on Keeping the Lord's
Day Holy." The contents of the letter followed closely and served
as an enlargement of the discussion of "The Third Commandment"
found in the new Catechism
of the Catholic Church released
in 1994. Gone now is the bold assertion that the Church "changed"
the day of worship from the seventh to the first day of the week. In place
of the claim to have "changed" the day, the new catechism reads
is expressly distinguished from the sabbath which it follows chronologically
every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that
of the sabbath. In Christ's Passover, Sunday fulfils the spiritual truth
of the Jewish sabbath and announces man's eternal rest in God. (Par.
In beginning his Apostolic Letter, Pope John Paul II seeks
to unite the observance of Sunday as the Lord's day with the Early Church.
He says - "The Lord's Day - as Sunday was called from Apostolic times
- has always been accorded special attention in the history of the Church
because of its close connection with the very core of the Christian mystery."
He cites as evidence Revelation 1:10, and a text from a questionable epistle
of Ignatius of Antioch dating from the same era.
The basic concept upon which the whole letter turns is
the fact of the resurrection. The Pope wrote - "The Resurrection
of Jesus is the fundamental event upon which the Christian faith rests"
- citing I Cor. 15:14. Since that event occurred on the first day of the
week, every Sunday, then, is an Easter. Further, the Day of Pentecost
occurred on the first day of the week following the resurrection. In fact,
the Pope chose the Day of Pentecost as the day on which to release this
Apostolic Letter on the theology of Sunday. Thus we face a fact with double
emphasis used to support the observance of Sunday.
Throughout this discussion of the "new" theology
of Rome on the observance of Sunday, there is a constant repeat of "Sunday
Eucharist" or "Sunday Mass." (I counted their use at least
20x) Quoting from the new
Catechism, John Paul II noted - "The Sunday celebration
of the Lord's day and His Eucharist is at the heart of the Church's life."
(Par. 32) Using philosophical reasoning and eisegetical interpretation
of events which occurred on the Day of the Resurrection, he links the
symbols which Christ gave to commemorate His death on Thursday night,
and accomplished in reality in Himself on Friday, to justify the celebration
of Mass on Sunday. The pope wrote: The
close connection between the appearance of the Risen Lord and the Eucharist
is suggested in the Gospel of Luke in the story of the two disciples of
Emmaus, whom Christ approached and led to understand the Scriptures and
then sat with them at table. They recognized Him when He "took bread,
said the blessing, broke it and gave it to them." The gestures of
Jesus in this account are His gestures at the Last Supper, with the clear
allusion to the "breaking of bread," as the Eucharist was called
by the first generation of Christians. (Par. 33)
There is no way that the sacrifice made on Calvary can
be made an integral part of the resurrection. On Friday, He finished the
first phase of His work for man's redemption. He rested in the tomb on
the Sabbath day. He arose on the first day to a new work and to a new
ministry. This distinction must be kept clear in our minds.
There is no question but that the resurrection is a fundamental
event upon which the Christian faith rests, and was so emphasized in the
New Testament. It is no accident either in the Divine arrangement of events
that the year that Christ died, both the Resurrection and the day of Pentecost
should come on the first day of the week. The Apostle Paul in proclaiming
the resurrection of Jesus in the synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia declared
that this event fulfilled that which is "written in the second psalm,
'Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee"' (Acts 13:33). And
for what purpose? We read - "He that said to Him, Thou art my Son,
today I have begotten thee," also said - "Thou art a priest
for ever after the order of Melchisedec" (Heb. 5:5-6). He that called
Him from the dead, and proclaimed Him His Son, fifty days later inaugurated
Him into the High Priesthood (Acts 2:33). Thus the work for the realization
of a new creation began on a first day - Jesus "was raised for our
justification" (Rom. 4:25) - even as the original creation began
on a first day. This fact the Roman Church does not want to recognize,
as it substitutes for the Priestly work of Christ its own priestly orders,
denying that there is only "one mediator between God and man, the
Man Christ Jesus" (I Tim. 2:5).
That you, the.reader, might sense the full import of what
the Pope has written and its significance as it relates to the immediate
future, it will be best to summarize the five chapters of this letter
with the introduction and conclusion. It also needs to be kept in mind
that the Pope's thinking is focused on the year 2000 as a crucial date
in his agenda of events he wants to see transpire. (That date is not far
off ! ) In the introduction, he wrote - "The coming of the Third
Millennium, which calls believers to reflect upon the course of history
in the light of Christ, also invites them to rediscover with new intensity
Chapter 1 - Dies Domini --The "new" theology
of Rome for the keeping of Sunday holy is based by Pope John Paul II in
the Biblical theology of the Sabbath. He begins this chapter with the
Discussing the Old Testament revelation, John Paul writes:
the Creator's plan, there is both a distinction and a close link between
the order of creation and the order of salvation. This is emphasized in
the Old Testament, when it links the "shabbat" commandment not
only with God's mysterious "rest" after the days of creation,
but also with the salvation which He offers to Israel in the liberation
from the slavery of Egypt. (Par. 12)
Thus, he says, "the Sabbath precept, which in the
first Covenant prepares for the Sunday of the new and eternal Covenant,
is therefore rooted in the depths of God's plan." (Par. 13) Again,
the old "change" concept from the seventh to the first day is
now in the "new" theology of Rome considered as a "supplanting"
or to use their word, it "replaces" the Sabbath, as well as
locking into Sunday observance the blasphemous celebration of the Mass.
Interestingly, the Pope places the Sabbath, and by transition
Sunday, as a moral precept of the Decalogue. In this context, he stated
a perception, of which we need to take note. He wrote: Unlike
many other precepts, [the Sabbath] is set not within the context of strictly
cultic stipulations but within the Decalogue, the "ten words"
which represent the very pillars of the moral life inscribed on the human
heart. In setting this commandment within the context of the basic structure
of ethics, Israel and then the Church declare that they consider it not
just a matter of community religious discipline but a defining and indelible
expression of our relationship with God, announced and expounded by biblical
(sic) revelation. This is the perspective within which Christians need
to rediscover this precept today. (ibid.)
The Pope noted that the Fourth Commandment (Third to them)
began with "remember." Then he commented - "It is a call
to awaken remembrance of the grand and fundamental work of God which is
creation, a remembrance which must inspire the entire religious life of
man and then fill the day on which man is called to rest. Rest therefore
acquires a sacred value: the faithful are not only to rest as God rested,
but to rest in the Lord." (Par.16) Then he observes that "remember"
is also to be found in the repeat of the Law in Deuteronomy, where Israel
was to recall their liberation from slavery. Again he emphasizes that
these two "rememberings" "reveal the meaning of 'the Lord's
Day' within a single theological vision which fuses creation and salvation."
(Par. 17) "What God accomplished in Creation and wrought for His
People in the Exodus has found its fullest expression in Christ's death
and Resurrection. ... It was in the Paschal Mystery that humanity ...
came to know its new 'exodus' into the freedom of God's children who can
cry out with Christ, 'Abba, Father !' In the light of this mystery, the
meaning of the Old Testament precept concerning the Lord's Day is recovered,
perfected and fully revealed in the glory which shines in the face of
the Risen Christ. We move from the 'Sabbath' to the 'first day after The
Sabbath', from the seventh to the first day: the dies Domini becomes the
dies Christi." (Par. 18)
We cannot emphasize too strongly the "smooth"
transition being attempted. Now no longer the boast: we have power to
change the very day of worship. Rather, It is the very nature of the redemption
provided which necessitates the transference to a new "Lord's Day."
Never mind if the redemption was provided in the work which Jesus completed
on the sixth day, it is now forged together in one service - the Eucharist
- on the first day. In a sense it is a denial of the cross, and a contradiction
of their own symbolism in the crucifix.
He continues - In
the light of this constant and universal tradition it is clear, that although
the Lord's Day is rooted in the very work of creation and even more in
the mystery of the
Then why the crucifix?
The pope traces the transition from the "Jewish Sabbath"
to the worship on Sunday, noting that both days were observed at first.
Then he comments: A
comparison of the Christian Sunday with the Old Testament vision of the
Sabbath prompted theological insights of great interest. In particular
there emerged the unique connection between the Resurrection and Creation.
Christian thought spontaneously linked the Resurrection, which took place
on "the first day of the week," with the first day of the cosmic
week: the day of the creation of light. This link invited an understanding
of the Resurrection as the beginning of a new creation, the first fruits
of which is the glorious Christ, "the first born of all creation"
and "the first born from the dead." (Par. 24)
This led to another "smooth" explanation of
a transition previously admitted in Roman Catholic writings in "uncoated"
terms. The Catholilc World, a monthly magazine of "General
Literature and Science," describes the transition in these words
- "The church took the pagan philosophy and made it the buckler of
faith against the heathen. She took the pagan Roman Pantheon, temple of
all the gods, and made it sacred to all the martyrs; as it stands to this
day. She took the pagan Sunday and made it the Christian Sunday. She took
the pagan Easter and made it the feast we celebrate this season."
(March, 1894) Now note John Paul's explanation under the heading of "The
day of Christ-Light": This
Christocentric vision sheds light upon another symbolism which Christian
reflection and pastoral practice ascribed to the Lord's Day. Wise pastoral
intuition suggested to the Church the christianization of the notion of
Sunday as "the day of the sun," which was the Roman name for
the day. ... This was in order to draw the faithful away from the seduction
of the cults which worshipped the sun, and to direct the celebration of
the day to Christ, humanities true "sun." (Par.27)
Closing this chapter, John Paul refers to Sunday as "an
indispensable day." Observing that "what began as a spontaneous
practice became a juridical sanctioned norm" by the beginning of
the third century. Inasmuch then as "the Lord's Day has structured
the history of the Church through two thousand years," he asks, "How
could we think that it will not continue to shape her future?" Therefore,
he concludes - "Given its many meanings and aspects, and its link
to the very foundations of the faith, the celebration of the Christian
Sunday remains, on the threshold of the Third Millennium an indispensable
element of our Christian identity." (Par. 30)
Here and there throughout his letter, the Pope lets historical
fact escape his manipulation as in this concluding paragraph of Chapter
II. Sunday observance was a "spontaneous" practice without any
Divine authorization, and not until the Third Century were any laws made,
civil or ecclesiastical, demanding its observance. Further, the Apostle
Paul himself had warned what was coming and which had already begun in
his day - apostasy from the truth for personal exaltation (Acts 20:29-30;
II Thess. 2:7).
Chapter III - Dies Ecclesiae -- The subtitle of
the Chapter is - "The Eucharistic Assembly: Heart of Sunday."
The first paragraph declares - "As the day of the Resurrection, Sunday
is not only a remembrance of a past event, it is a celebration of the
living presence of the Risen Lord in the midst of His own people."
The pope indicates that those who have received "the grace of baptism
are not saved as individuals alone, but as members of the Mystical Body,
... They have become 'one' in Christ." "The assembly
of Christ's disciples embodies from age to age the image of the first
Christian community" who "devoted themselves to the apostles'
teaching and fellowship, to the blessing of bread and the prayers."
To the pope, the use of the terms in Scripture, "the
breaking of bread" or "the blessing of bread" means the
Eucharist. Immediately in comment, he declared "The Eucharist is
not only a particularly intense expression of the reality of the Church's
life, but also in a sense its 'fountain-head.' The Eucharist feeds and
forms the Church." Thus "the mystery of the Church is savoured,
proclaimed and lived supremely in the Eucharist." While the "ecclesial
dimension intrinsic" to the Eucha-
p 5 -- rist is realized in each such service, "it
is expressed most especially on the day when the whole community comes
together to commemorate the Lord's Resurrection" - Sunday.
Because "the obligatory presence of the community"
is required, "the Sunday Eucharist expresses with greater emphasis
its inherent ecclesial dimension. ... In celebrating the Eucharist, the
community opens itself to communion with the universal Church imploring
the Father to 'remember the Church throughout the world' and make her
grow in the unity of all the faithful with the Pope and with the Pastors
of the particular Churches, until love is brought to perfection."
(Par. 34) It is in this sense that John Paul perceived of "dies Domini"
as also "dies Ecclesiae." He emphasized that nothing "is
as vital or as community-forming as the Sunday celebration of the Lord's
Day and His Eucharist." (Par. 35) "The Sunday assembly is the
privileged place of unity: it is the setting for the celebration of the
sacramentum unitatis which profoundly marks the Church as a people gathered
'by' and 'in' the unity of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
At this point, we need to pause and consider the significance
of what the pope has written. He uses the word, "community."
The question is, Is this term used as synonymous with "parish"
which he also uses in these paragraphs which clearly indicates the local
Roman Church, or is he giving it an "ecumenical" meaning? If
the latter, then the Apostolic Letter is plainly stating that the Eucharist
is perceived as the basis of unity with Rome. This concurs with the position
taken by Cardinal Edward Cassidy, President of the Vatican Council for
Promoting Christian Unity, at the seventh Assembly of the World Council
of Churches in 1991, when at a press conferece he declared "that
sharing the Eucharist is the 'ultimate sign and seal' of church unity."
Further, in the "unity" envisioned is a "unity"
in the central doctrine of the Roman Church. In the Handbook of Today's
Catholic, one reads - "The mystery of the Trinity is the central
doctrine of Catholic Faith. Upon it is based all the other teachings of
the Church." (p.11) Much more than merely an urging by the Pope for
Roman Catholics to give more personal attention to Sunday observance,
this Apostolic Letter has overtones of moving the Christian community
into full doctrinal unity with the Papacy.
The pope affirms that "at the table of the Bread
of Life, the Risen Lord becomes really, substantially and enduringly present."
(Par. 39) "The Mass in fact truly makes present the sacrifice of
the Cross. Under the species of the bread and wine, upon which has been
invoked the outpouring of the Spirit who works with absolutely unique
power in the words of consecration, Christ offers Himself to the Father
in the same act of sacrifice by which He offered Himself on the Cross."
In this description of what supposedly happens at the
Roman Eucharist is a "softening" of the previous teaching. The
"new" theology of Rome is stating that "the Spirit"
works with "unique power in the words of consecration" to turn
the "bread" into the actual body of Christ. The "old"
position of Rome as stated by Augustine is "He that created (if I
may say so) gave me the power to create Him; and He that created without
me is Himself created by me" (Dignity and Duties of the
In this declaration is the clearest evidence that there
is no salvation available in the Roman Eucharist. The Scriptures clearly
teach that "without shedding of blood is no remission" (Heb.
9:22). The celebration of the Roman Mass, no matter how John Paul wishes
to re-word it, is still blasphemy against God, His name, and His tabernacle
The issue of the Sunday Eucharist has other overtones
which involve a perceptive understanding of what is involved in the seal
of God and the mark of the beast. One section of this chapter involves,
"The Sunday obligation." John Paul declares that "the Eucharist
is the very heart of Sunday." He cites the history of the Church's
attitude toward a faithful obligation to celebrate the Eucharist on Sunday.
He then noted that the Code of Canon Law of 1917 gathered the tradition
of the previous centuries into a universal law. It states that "on
Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are bound to attend
Mass." "This is the teaching of the Catechism
of the Catholic Church, and it is easy to understand why, If we keep
in mind how vital Sunday is for the Christian life." (Par. 47)
We do not worhip a day; we worhip on
a day. On Sabbath, we worship the God who created. This is the very essence
of the First Angel's Message, as he announced the commencement of the
end-time struggle (Rev. 14:6-7). The Pope is calling for a renewal of
worship on Sunday. But what is worshipped? A piece of man-made bread blasphemously
declared to be God. The issue is more than a day. It is who we worship
on that day. The earthly powers may enact laws forbidding "work"
on Sunday (this presents an opportunity to witness), but when they seek
to enforce the "obligation" of the Roman Code of Canon Law that
"the faithful are
p 6 -- bound to attend the Mass," then the
line is clearly drawn "between the laws of men and the precepts of
Jehovah, between the religion of the Bible and the religion of fable and
tradition" (Great Controversy, p.582).
Chapter IV - Dies Hominis -- In this chapter the
pope again relates Sunday to the Sabbath. After stating that "the
Christian Sunday [is] a true 'time of celebration,' a day given by God
to men and women for their full human and spiritual growth," he declares: This
aspect of the Christian Sunday shows in a special way how it is the fulfilment
of the Old Testament Sabbath. On the Lord's Day, which - as we already
have said - the Old Testament links to the work of creation and the Exodus,
the Christian is called to proclaim the new creation and the new covenant
brought about in the Paschal Mystery of Christ. Far from being abolished,
the celebration of creation becomes more profound within a Christocentric
perspective, being seen in the light of God's plan "to unite all
things in [Christ], things in heaven and things on earth." The liberation
of the Exodus also assumes its full meaning as it becomes a remembrance
of the universal redemption accomplished by Christ in His Death and Resurrection.
More than a "replacement" for the Sabbath, therefore, Sunday
is its fulfilment, and in a certain sense its extension and full expression
in the ordered unfolding of the history of salvation, which reaches its
culmination in Christ. (Par. 59) In this perspective, the biblical
theology of the "Sabbath" can be recovered in full, without
compromising the Christian character of Sunday. (Par. 60)
It is the duty of
Christians therefore to remember that, although the practices of the Jewish
Sabbath are gone, surpassed as they are by the "fulfilment"
which Sunday brings, the underlying reasons for keeping "the Lord's
Day" holy - inscribed solemnly in the Ten Commandments - remain valid,
though they need to be reinterpreted in the light of the theology and
spfrituality of Sunday. (Par 62)
What does this mean? "This is why Christians [Note
the "new" reasoning, "Christians" not the Papacy]
called as they are to proclaim the liberation won by the blood of Christ,
felt that they had the authority to transfer the meaning of the Sabbath
to the day of the Resurrection." (Par. 63)
What next? "When through the centuries, she has made
laws concerning Sunday rest, the Church has had in mind above all the
work of slaves and workers, certainly not because this work was any less
worthy when compared with the spiritual requirements of Sunday observance,
but rather because it needed greater regulation to lighten its burden
and thus enable everyone to keep the Lord's Day holy. In this matter,
my predecessor Pope Leo XIII in his Encyclical Rerum Novarum spoke of
Sunday rest as a worker's right which the State must guarantee."
"Therefore, also in the particular circumstances
of our own time, Christians will naturally strive to ensure that civil
legislation respects their duty to keep Sunday holy, in any case, they
are obliged in conscience to arrange their Sunday rest in a way which
allows them to take part in the Eucharist, refraining from work or activities
which are incompatible with the sanctification of the Lord's Day."
Little, if any comment, is needed to note the import of
these words of the Pope. Further the use of the terms, "fulfilment,"
and "replacement" are not without significance.
Chapter V - Dies Dierum -- The intent of this chapter
is to relate Sunday to the Roman Liturgical Year. To the pope Sunday is
"the natural model for understanding and celebrating these feast
days." In connection with the "Solemnity of Pentecost,"
he noted that it "takes on special importance, celebrating as it
does the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles gathered with Mary
and inaugurating the mission to all peoples." (Par. 76)
Conclusion -- John Paul II concludes that "the
spiritual and pastoral riches of Sunday, as it has been handed to us by
tradition, are truly great." Because of this, "the faithful
should be convinced that they cannot live their faith or share fully in
the life of the Christian community unless they take part regularly in
the Sunday Eucharistic assembly. The Eucharist is the full realization
of the worship which humanity owes to God, and it cannot be compared to
any other religious experience." (Par. 81) Here the line is again
clearly drawn. We worship either Him who made all things, or a "god"
created by man. We will receive either the "seal of God," or
we will receive "the mark of the beast."
As to be expected, the pope entrusted "this Apostolic
Letter to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin" because for one
reason, "Mary is always present in the Christian Sunday." Why?
"It is the mystery of Christ itself which demands this: indeed, how
could she who is Mater Domini and Mater Ecclesiae fail to be equally present
on the day which is both dies Domini and dies Ecclesiae?"
Therefore, as "the word [is] proclaimed in the Sunday
assembly, the faithful look to the virgin Mary, learning from her to keep
it and ponder it in their hearts. With Mary, they learn to stand at the
foot of the Cross, offering to the Father the sacrifice of Christ. ...
From Sunday to Sunday, the pilgrim people follow in the footsteps of
p 7 -- Mary, and her maternal intercession gives
special power and fervour to the prayer which rises from the Church to
the Most Holy Trinity."
In the pope's Letter, there is found the suggestion that the Eucharistic Sunday is linked to the second coming of Christ. He writes that "the Christian Sunday ... springing from the Resurrection ... cuts through human time, the months, the years, the centuries, like a directional arrow which points them towards their target: Christ's Second Coming. Sunday foreshadows the last day, the day of the Parousia." (Par. 75) In the Conclusion, the pope affirms - "From Sunday to Sunday, enlightened by Christ, [the Roman Church] goes forward towards the unending Sunday of the Heavenly Jerusalem," and Rev. 21:23 is quoted. (Par. 84) One cannot escape the conviction that the groundwork is being laid in this Apostolic Letter for the coming of Satan as Christ with the declaration that he merely transferred from the Sabbath to the day of the Resurrection, its sacred obligations.
LET'S TALK IT OVER -- We have not been left in darkness as to the order of events that will mark and are marking the close of the age. While the second coming of Christ has been declared to be as a thief in the night even by Jesus Himself (Luke 12:39-40), Paul says that as children of light, "that day should not overtake you as a thief" (I Thess. 5:4). The Messenger of the Lord in an article captioned, "Let the Trumpet Give a Certain Sound" (R&H, Dec. 13, 1892), outlined a series of events and connected them with conjunctive adverbs of time. (The paragraph in context will be renpoduced facsimile In the October issuee of WWN, p.6) Suffice for now, will be a brief listing of the events given there, in order:
the truth [Context would indicate that truth to be the Sabbath] has been
proclaimed as a witness to all nations, every conceivable power of evil
will be set in operation, ..." It is not saying that all nations
will accept the Sabbath, but the evidences of its binding claims will
be given in witness to all nations.
Event # 1: That which confirms the fulfilment of
this beginning point is the fulfilment of Christ's own prophecy as given
in Luke 21:24. For detailed documentation, see the manuscript, The
Hour and the End.
Are we prepared to meet the subtlety of the Pope's reasoning;
to meet his questionable Scriptural eisegesis? It should be clear to the
most casual reader that the cornerstone of this "new" theology
is the uniting of the sacrificial work of Jesus on the Cross with its
Eucharistic celebration of the Resurrection. This strikes directly at
the Sanctuary truth given to Adventists as a sacred trust.
Much study remains to be done so that every ray of the advancing light of truth may be incorporated into "the righteousness of Christ which is pure unadulterated truth." In the final conflict upon which we are now entering none will be victorious unless robed in that righteousness. (1998 Special Issue # 2-- DIES DOMINI --THE "NEW" THEOLOGY OF THE PAPACY REGARDING SUNDAY) --- End ---