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 1991 Oct - Dec
Oct -- XXIV -- 10(91) -- WHY STUDY
THE BOOK OF DANIEL? -- It
was none other than Jesus Christ Himself who directed attention to the
study of the book of Daniel. He said: When
ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel
the prophet, stand in the holy place,(whoso readeth, let him understand:)
then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains. (Matt. 24:15-16)
Not only does Jesus
direct us to its study, but He also emphasizes - "Whoso readeth,
let him understand." The importance that Heaven attaches to the words
of Jesus while on earth is but vaguely perceived. Moses, calling attention
to the request of Israel following the proclamation of the Law from Mount
Sinai, not only indicated that God acquiesced to their request but in
that acquiescence made a promise coupling it with a severe warning. God
will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee,
and will put my words into His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all
that I shall command Him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will
not hearken unto my words which He shall speak in my name, I will require
it of him. (Deut. 18:18-19)
Jesus, on the Mount
of Olives, had been asked a specific question, and to that question, He
gave a specific answer, an answer to be found only in the book
of Daniel. The question was compound, but because of their limited perception
at that point in their experience, the disciples thought of it as a single
question covering all the bases. Let us observe the setting which led
to the question. Jesus had just denounced the religious leadership of
Israel in scathing accusations, concluding pointedly - "Ye serpents,
ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?"
He then cited for them their "track record" and the judgment
to follow: Wherefore,
behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some
of them ye shall kill and crucify: and some of them shall ye scourge in
your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: that upon you may
come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of Abel
unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the
temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come
upon this generation....Behold your house is left unto you desolate. For
I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed
is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. And Jesus went out, and departed
from the temple: (Matt. 23:34 - 24:1)
The stunned disciples
followed Jesus out, but in their exit called His attention to "the
buildings of the temple." Jesus only added to their perplexity by
responding - "See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you,
"There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall
not be cast down." (24:2) This
response shocked them into silence. To them the temple was the center
of their religion. They had not as yet understood the distinction between
"temple" and "truth." If the temple were to be destroyed,
that had to be the end of the world. So they asked Jesus after reaching
the Mount of Olives, "When shall these things be? and what shall
be the sign of thy coming and the end of the world?" (24:3) Observe
the compound nature of the question: 1) "When
shall these things be? - the destruction of the temple, and 2)
"The sign (singular) of Thy coming, and the end of the world."
The book of Daniel gives the answer to both!
The sign that marked the imminent destruction of Jerusalem and the temple was the "abomination of desolation" standing in what the Jews considered "the holy area." While both Mark and Matthew use the language of the
p 2 -- book
of Daniel, Luke interprets its meaning as understood by the Christian
church - "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed by armies, then
know that the desolation thereof is nigh." (Luke 21:20) The Apostolic
Church had to understand the book of Daniel, at least this part, and the
gospel of Luke reflects that understanding.
We need to understand
also, for this same book gives us the key by which we may know that the
hour for the close of all human probation has arrived. The final verse
of Daniel 11 reads:
he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious
holy rnountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.
There can be no question as to what is meant by "the glorious holy mountain." Daniel, in his recorded prayer of Chapter 9, prayed, "Let ... Thy fury be turned away from Thy City Jerusalem, Thy holy mountain." (v. 16) Immediately following 11:45 is Daniel 12:1 - "and at that time shall Michael stand up." Thus events in the history of Jerusalem did speak and will speak to the true follower of Jesus as he heeds the counsel given - "Whoso readeth, let him understand."
There are two "times" in Daniel 11:45: 1) "He shall plant" and 2) "He shall come to his end." The book of Revelation would indicate that the first of these two "times" is the signal that the close of probation has arrived. The "he" again would be "the abomination of desolation" standing in what the Jews would consider "the holy place." Those who have been unable to discern the warning signal in the close of probation for corporate bodies (Luke 21:24) will be ill prepared to discern the final sign in the rapidity of the closing events of human history.
Now, we turn our
attention to the human penman of the book - Daniel. Daniel was known to
his contemporaries as one who in life was on a footing with Noah and Job.
Ezekiel wrote twice - "Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and
Job were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness,
saith the Lord." (Eze. 14:14, 20) Further, to set forth the wisdom
of the "prince of Tyrus," Ezekiel again used Daniel for a comparison.
He wrote - "Behold thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret
that they can hide from thee." (28:3) The wisdom and flawless character
of Daniel was known and recognized by his fellow prophet in Babylon.
We need to note why.
In the very first chapter of the book as Daniel and his three close friends
faced their first major decision, the record states - "Daniel purposed
in his heart ... " (1:8) Although the issue was diet, and the diet
involved a request for a vegetarian menu, this cannot be made to sustain
the concept that Daniel practiced vegetarianism throughout his life. When
well advanced in years, he stated that a fast before the Lord involved
the exclusion of pleasant bread and flesh food. (Daniel 10:2-3) While
in the first experience the vegetarian diet was vindicated, and this fact
dare not be dismissed lightly, a more basic factor was involved. Paul
sets forth a principle involving diet which the true follower of Christ
should apply in all his relationships and decisions. Paul
wrote to the Corinthians: But
I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to
devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship
with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils:
ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and the table of devils. (1
With Daniel there
were no gray areas. Black was black; and white was white. There was no
compromise in the things of God, whether it was in that which was offered
to pagan deities or bowing before a Persian monarch in worship. Daniel's
life was marked by the strictest integrity from beginning to end.
to prophecy is also worthy of note, especially so as we seek to understand
the prophecies, whether it be those given to Daniel, or those spoken by
Jesus, or those given to Him to show unto His servants the things which
must shortly come to pass. Daniel studied the works of his older fellow
contemporary prophet in Judah, Jeremiah. From these writings, he understood
that Jerusalem would lie desolate for seventy years. That time was about
expired; Medo-Persia had succeeded Babylon, and Cyrus, named by Isaiah,
was on the scene of history. But still the fulfillment of Jeremiah's prophecy
tarried. What did Daniel do? He prayed. (9:1-3). God answered. (9:20-
22) And in that answer, he was given enlightenment about the abomination
of desolation so that when Christ directed the attention of the disciples
to this prophetic symbolism, they were able to correctly interpret it
to the Christian community. Compare carefully Daniel 9:26-27 and Luke
How do we relate Jesus' admonition, "Whoso readeth, let him understand," to the fact that Daniel was told "to seal the book, even to the time of the end"? (12:4, 9) In the New Testament, the whole era from the cross to the
p 3 -- second
coming is perceived as the "time of the end," the "last
days." Observe how Paul, John and Peter all look upon this period
God, who at sundry
times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the
prophets hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son....(Heb.
it is the last time: as ye have heard that antichrist shall come,
even now are there many antichrists: whereby we know that it is the
last time. (1 John 2:18)
Forasmuch as ye
know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things ,...but with the
precious blood of Christ,...who verily was foreordained before the foundation
of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you. (1
In the giving of
the book of Revelation, the events portrayed in symbolism were "to
shortly come to pass" (1:1), and it is specifically declared - "the
time is at hand." (1:3)
There is a picture
in Revelation 5 which helps us to understand better this concept of "times"
and "seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power" (Acts
1:7). The Father is seated on the throne of power and authority, and in
his right hand is a sealed book. (5:1) Only the Lamb "hath prevailed
to open the book." (5:5) Because the dragon "prevailed not"
(12:8) in his struggle against Michael, the kingdom of God was re-established,
and from the throne could be mandated what must come to pass. (12:10;
1:1) Further, in the unfolding of the Revelation, the book of Daniel is
presented by the Angel as an "open book" in connection with
a specific historic experience. (10:2)
How much then of
this "open book," relates to us? Only the prophecies? Or do
the experiences within the book of Daniel have significance also? In the
seminar section of this week together, we will address the prophecies,
and in the evening studies we will seek to understand the messages which
the recorded instances convey in regard to the critical issues we face
at this time. The whole book is unsealed, and Jesus said - "Whoso
readeth, let him understand." (See
Explanatory Note at end of article)
There is a picture
of Daniel and his three companions which we need to note as we begin a
study of the book of Daniel. Observe carefully some of the data found
in the first chapter: Nebuchadnezzar
king of Babylon [came] unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. And the Lord gave
Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand...And the king spake unto Ashpenaz
master of the eunuchs that he should bring certain of the children of
Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes...whom they might teach
the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans....Now among these were of
the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. (1:1-6)
Over 100 years prior
to this, a prophecy had been given. It read: Behold
the days come, that all that is in thine house. . .shall be carried into
Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord. And of thy sons that shall
issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they
shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon. (II Kings 20:17-18)
Hezekiah had just
entertained the embassy from Babylon who had come to inquire of his restoration
to health and the phenomenon connected with it. Instead of telling the
embassy of the glory of the God of Israel, Hezekiah showed them his material
glory - all that was in his house. Isaiah was sent to ask a question -
"What have they seen in thine house?" (II Kings 20:15) Because
of this failure on the king's part the prophetic judgment was pronounced
We can only imagine
the mental agitations that went through the minds of Daniel and his companions,
when beyond the pain, they perceived that they were fulfilling prophecy.
Isaiah's question - "What have they seen in thine house?" -
could only cause them to consider another question - "What would
the Babylonians see in their lives?" They were determined to redeem
Hezekiah's failure - they "purposed in their hearts." (See Dan.
God has had a purpose
for the Advent Movement. It reads: Here
is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments
of God and the faith of Jesus. (Rev. 14:12)
To this hour, this
has not been realized. The failure of the past generations of the Advent
Movement is a matter of painful history. To us comes the challenge as
to Daniel and his companions, to redeem the failure of the past. We have
a rendezvous with destiny. A part of that rendezvous involves heeding
prophecy. The Scriptures, which cannot be broken, read:
have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take
heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn,
and the day star arise in your hearts - which is Christ in you the hope
of glory. (II Peter 1:19; Col. 1:27)
p 4 -- This
does not mean that the study of prophecy is the means by which the image
of Christ is formed within. However, prophecy does reveal God's viewpoint
of, and attitude toward, events and forces of human history. When, therefore,
I understand correctly and heed the implications of fulfilled prophecy,
I am coming into harmony with the revealed will of God which is a reflection
of the image of Him who came not to do His own will but the will of Him
who sent Him. A failure to heed the message of fulfilled prophecy can
have eternal consequences.
Explanatory Note - The above written article is from the notes of the keynote message given at the 1991 Annual Fellowship, introducing the Seminar on the prophecies of the book of Daniel, and the evening studies on the historical sections of the book. The entire series, plus two of the Bible Studies relevant to Daniel 7, are available on cassette tapes. The Sabbath worship hour message is included. It discussed the crisis in worship which confronts the Seventh-day Adventist Church today. The entire set of tapes may be requested through Adventist Laymen's Foundation, P.O. Box 69, Ozone AR 72854 with $1 for postage.
AMONG THE "SHEEP?" --
A recent news item appearing in The
(August, 1991) read as follows: "
Dr.Desmond Ford, the controversial Adventist scholar, recently spoke to
hundreds of SDA's. Through the Association of Adventist Forums (AAF),
a moderate-to-liberal group, he reached audiences on both coasts this
year. On January 12, Dr. Ford addressed "The New Age Versus the Gospel"
before the nearly full Point Loma (Calif.) Adventist Church. February
9, he gave his view of "Some Strengths and Weaknesses in Contemporary
Adventism" to the New York chapter of AAF. After Ford was interviewed
on local Adventist radio, Friday, Feb 22, he discussed the Gulf War and
prophecy at the Capital Memorial SDA Church in Washington, DC. The following
day he taught the Adult Sabbath School at the Sligo SDA Church in Takoma
Park, Maryland, and later spoke to 500 on the "Pilgrimage of a Committed
Adventist." The popular author and lecture disagrees with some Adventist
doctrines, such as the Investigative Judgement, Dr. Ford emphasizes salvation
by faith, alone. " (p. 17)
This raises some questions. Has Folkenberg, the present
keeper of the Adventist "door" as a "hireling" opened
it to the "wolf"? Where does he stand in relationship to the
AAF - the not so moderate, liberal wing of the Church? Every concerned
Adventist should write to him, and find out. If you hear, let us know.
QUESTION -- "Where
two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst
of them. " "
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, 1886)
"At the time
when the danger and depression of the (SDA) church are greatest, the little
company who are standing in the light will be sighing and crying for the
abominations that are done in the land. But more especially will their
prayers arise in behalf of the church because its members are doing after
the manner of the world. ...These sighing, crying ones have been holding
forth the words of life; they had reproved, counseled, and entreated.
Some who had been dishonoring God, repented and humbled their hearts before
Him. But the glory of the Lord had departed from Israel; although many
still continued the forms of religion, His power and presence were lacking.
Where are YOU? With the " many " or the "few "?
p 5 -- TWO
NEW BOOKS -- Part
past week (August 14), two new books were received in the mail with a
form letter addressed to the managers of the Adventist Book Centers telling
them how much money they would make by stocking these books published
by the Glad Tidings Publishers. These books are apparently the latest
to come from the pens of Elders Robert J.Wieland and Donald K. Short.
book is captioned, "Lightened With His Glory"
and consists of "Questions and Answers" About The 1888 Message."
Short's book entitled, "Made Like Unto His Brethren"
is a forthright defense of the doctrine of the Incarnation as was previously
held by the Church.
One hesitates to call attention to serious errors in these
books since Wieland perceives, and so states, that for me to do so, is
merely manifesting a vendetta against him because he would not join me.
This is far from the truth. He is free to join whom he will, but it would
be far more pleasant if concerned brethren could work together in harmony,
speaking the truth together as it is in Jesus. We did talk at length in
the city park at Carlsbad, California, prior to his launching of the program
he now is in. I set before him my conviction that God had called both
he and Short as "messengers" in 1950, even as He had called
Jones and Waggoner in 1888. I pled with him to recognize that call in
the light of current revelation of God's will in the light of fulfilled
and fulfilling prophecy. I heard later through a mutual friend that I
"tried to twist his arm."
It would seem that Wieland
has forgotten his many attempts to have ministers and church leaders accept
his and Short's Original manuscript
- 1888 Re-Examined.
He was so happy when some saw the light, in other words, "joined"
him. I recall being invited by Wieland to join him at an appointment he
had with the late Don Neufeld. The thrust of this visit was to ascertain
Neufeld's evaluation of the manuscript, and if possible get his approval
of it. The obtaining of such an approval became an obsession with him.
In the end, he chose to accept the counsel of modern Sanballats and Tobiahs
- the Cates and the Mervyn Maxwells - and mitigated and muted the thrust
of the original message which God called both Short and him to give. In
doing so, Wieland has chosen to ignore certain facts, statements from
the Writings, which he knows are there, but which the average reader does
not so know. The same pattern is followed in his new book. We shall cite
one example from the new book.
In answer to the question, "Does the 1888 Message
Study Committee accept donations which 'fragment the support of our regular
denominational work '? " - Wieland
No, we do not wish to fragment the support of our regular denominational
work. We clearly state that we do not accept tithe; and we urge all members
to support the church regularly." (p.132)
However, in the same answer, Wieland cites the case of
"the Madison school" to justify his "irregular" and
"independent" ministry. But if the counsel given concerning
"the Madison school" is so good, why does he not present all
the counsel given? It reads: The
leaders in the work of the Madison school are laborers together with God.
More must be done in their behalf by their brethren. The Lord's money
is to sustain them in their labors. They have a right to share the
means given to the cause. They should be given a proportionate share
of the means that comes in for the furtherance of the cause. (Special
Testimonies, Series B, #11, emphasis supplied.)
Now the "Lord's means" includes both tithes
and offerings. Why the emphasis on not accepting, tithe? There is a reason,
and a question that needs to be asked. Wieland knows that if he followed
the whole counsel given in regard to "irregular" ministries,
such as "the Madison school" was, he could not have access to
the church's sanctuaries, and college campuses. So compromise is the order
of the day. Now the question that Wieland needs to face - Is the 1888
Message he professes to be giving, of God, or not? If it is, and he has
not muted it, then he should share in the "Lord's means," but
if not, then he should reject "the Lord's means." But he should
not hide behind the example of "the Madison school" to justify
his "irregular" ministry, either.
Wieland in his questions and answers relates to the "27 Fundamental Beliefs." (p. 138) His framed question admits that the 27 Statements " are neutral on the nature of Christ and 'righteousness by faith in an end-time setting.' " He even goes so far as to indicate that these two concepts, along with "the nature of sin" have been singled out as so "highly controversial" that "silence on them is actually enjoined." (ibid.) Yet as he closes the discussion of this question, Wieland pens an unbelievable paragraph. It reads: The brethren of the General Conference and the Review
6 -- of a century ago rejected the message because they thought
it was not included in what they assumed were their fundamental
beliefs. Ellen G. White rebuked them, declaring that the 1888 message
"is the third angel's message in verity" ( R&H, April
1, 1890). If that message is what she said it was, "the beginning"
of the loud cry of Revelation 18, it follows logically that it is still
today the "27 Fundamental Beliefs" in verity. (pp.
139-140, emphasis his)
Is there no difference between the "27 Fundamental
Statements" as voted at Dallas in 1980, and the Statements of Beliefs
set forth in1890? Were the 1890 Statements neutral on the Incarnation?
NO! Were the 1890 Statements unclear on what sin is? NO! Did the 1890
Statements address God's objective for an end-time people? YES!
If the 1888 Message as now being presented by Wieland
is the "27 Statements in verity," and those statements
are neutral on the nature Christ assumed in taking humanity, then Wieland
and Short had better get their act together, because Short's book is all
about the deviation in Adventism concerning the nature Christ took when
He became a man.
book takes special note of the "highly controversial"
issues in Adventism today. He cites the document prepared by the Biblical
Research Institute, "An Appeal for Church Unity," from which
apostasy always takes its toll, one of the heavy pressures on the remnant
church today is the divisive effects of some segments of the church, who,
however, profess dedication to Christ and the finishing of the mission
of the church. These members hold certain positions on the human nature
of Christ, the nature of sin, and the doctrine of righteousness by
faith in an end-time setting." (p. 35, emphasis theirs)
Short then zeros in on a statement in the next paragraph
- "It is beyond belief that this appeal can state, 'The world church
has never viewed these subjects as essential to salvation nor to the mission
of the remnant church."' (p. 36) And what remedy does he suggest?
"We cannot change the record of our history. It will stand forever.
But we can repent and confess our error." (ibid.) He continued
to belabor this point, and rightly so. Note the following quotes from
the book: How
can the Adventist conscience lay aside the "chief cornerstone"
and hope to build a glorious church, holy and without blemish? How can
church members be silent when the Adventist Review, premier press
medium of the church, presents one of the most confusing series of articles
ever to appear in a denominational publication? (p. 45)
A grave parable confronts us today. As our spiritual forefathers
"disallowed" and cast aside the "chief corner stone,"
so their house was left unto them "desolate." The foundation
which the Lord wanted His people to build upon became the "stone
of stumbling, and rock of offence." [Texts]
There is no possible way for God's end-time people to
be "lively stones" built into a "spiritual house,"
as long as they try to use two corner stones. The "offence"
taken at the Biblical account of the Christ who was "made like unto
his brethren" continues to be a "stumbling block." Present
solemn reality suggests that the ancient rejection of the "chief
corner stone" finds a parallel today in the church as many deny that
the Word was made "flesh." (pp. 47-48)
The question for the church to face today is: When will
Laodicea understand? Can she perceive how she has been shorn and stands
naked? Can we with Samson learn from our own history? By consorting with
the Philistines we too have had the "seven locks" of truth shaved
off our heads and so lost our mission. Compromise after compromise has
been made. Now we are being told we can shake ourselves and find strength
apart from the truth that has sustained and made us a people throughout
our history. We are told that such things as understanding the nature
of Christ and "righteousness by faith in an end-time setting"
are not essential to salvation nor for the mission of the church. We are
falsely assured that the world church has never viewed these subjects
as central, and they should be laid aside, for these are matters that
Satan would use to take advantage of God's people. (pp. 94-95)
Short then contends that such declarations can only be
the position "of those who have had their eyes plucked out,"
in other words totally blind. But is not Short also blind? He with Wieland
insists that the Church is going to turn around and go through. Has he
not read that when the church takes the position which he has so clearly
defined, that God has something to say at this point in time? lt reads: In
the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist church is to be
weighed. She will be judged by the privileges and advantages she has had.
If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that
Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her. if the blessings conferred
have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her. on her will be
pronounced the sentence, "Found wanting." (8T:247)
(To be concluded)
When told that his was a losing battle, he didn't argue with the evaluators, but responded,"It's difficult to explain without sounding trite. The Lord didn't call me to be successful. He only called me to be faithful."
If the leadership of the Church over the past half century
had maintained such a perception of theirs and the Church's mission, there
would have been no necessity today for any "independent ministry."
Further, the confusion and disarray among the multiple "voices"
sounding on the periphery of Adventism as they seek to take on the "bad
boys" of the hierarchy would be different were Wildmon's philosophy
to become dominate. Many "voices" would cease because
they would recognize that they were not called, but ventured forth on
an "ego" trip. Too many want success measured by human standards.
Behind a facade of loyalty to "historic Adventism," they measure
their success by how many "deep pockets" they can get their
hands into. Others measure success based on their acceptance by the "brethren"
even though they charge that the same "brethren" are rejecting
a heaven-sent message.
The Author of faith knelt in prayer and told the Father,
"I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which
Thou gavest me to do." (John 17:4) To all outward appearance, His
work had been a failure. And He was the Lord of glory in human form!
We can only ask a speculative question. What would the
decades since 1950 been like had Wieland and Short been faithful to the
call the Lord gave them in that year? Would we have been in the kingdom
by now? Even if travail and personal sacrifice had been their lot, would
the earth have been lightened with God's glory and the end come? The fact
is that no one else was given the message they were given. The question
is, what did God intend them to do with it?
p 7 -- We
do know what hierarchical policy was in vogue at that time and which still
dominates. This editor was serving as pastor of the First Church in Toronto.
He was advised by the then Conference treasurer that if any problem arose
"to toss it into the air, and leave lt with the brethren." Such
a policy serves no good for anybody, and neither did it serve God s purpose
to which He called those two young missionaries from Africa. Success cannot
be measured in continuance in what man has assigned one to do in the work
of God, but only faithfulness to the unique burden the Lord chooses one
to carry for Him, regardless of the personal cost or sacrifice which might
ensue. This is the whole teaching of Scripture, and is evidenced in the
lives of all who accepted God's call to service, and made it primary over
any loyalty demanded by man.
Did not Paul write - "It is required in stewards that a man be found faithful." (1 Cor. 4:2) How successful was he as judged by his generation? The judgment of history upon him - so vastly different - has been because he was faithful. --- (1991Oct) --- End --- TOP
1991 Nov -- XXIV -- 11(91) -- THE STONES CRY OUT-- In the August 26, 1991, issue of Newsweek, the Religion section carried the headline - Public Enemy Number One." The first paragraph read: As they watched the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, China's aging leadership became convinced that the man most responsible for the party' s sudden fall from grace was none other than Pope John Paul II. Last summer, internal party documents accused him of directing "reactionary and subversive" forces against communists everywhere. And now, in their determination to remain the last important Communist power in the world, the Chinese are attempting to rout out all papal loyalists in their midst. (p. 47)
This past May, John Paul announced that in 1979, he had secretly made Archbishop Gong, who is in exile at Stamford, Connecticut, a cardinal. The Chinese Foreign Ministry charged the Pope with "meddling in the country's internal affairs." This announcement merely brought to the surface the behind-the-scenes activities which the appointment of Cardinal Gong signaled.
This is but one more evidence that the Papacy is again involving itself in the affairs of nations to accomplish its design to reign over the kings of the earth. The fingering of the Pope as the ring leader in the subversive activities against the communist government of China is merely recognizing - unwittingly - the designation which prophecy gives the Papacy, which makes "all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." (Rev. 14:8) The very stones are crying out!
The Papacy is not only China's Enemy Number One, but is also God's "Public Enemy Number One"! Behind this sinister religio-political force is the true "Enemy" of God and man, Satan himself. On this the prophecy of God's word is clear and distinct. In the book of Revelation, the dragon is declared to be "the Devil, and Satan." (Rev. 20:2) lt is he who gives to the first "beast" of Revelation 13, "his power, and his seat, and great authority." (13:2) The objective of
p 2 -- these
enemies of God is to gather "the kings of the earth and of the whole
world" to "the battle of the great day of God Almighty."
Paul in describing
this last day power against God designates him as "that Wicked"
one "in whom all iniquity has fixed its abode." (Thayer on II
Thess. 2:8) He would operate by the "energy of Satan with all power,
and signs, and terrors of falsehood." (verse 9, Fenton)
In God's plan and
purpose, He did not intend to leave Himself without a witness in the earth
against this malignant working of Satan. He committed to a people in sacred
trust the Three Angels' Messages. (9T:19) These messages were to
reveal "to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,"
the nature of Babylon, and the designation of the "beast" -
his image and his mark. Now as the time is nearing for the marvelous working
of Satan as the false christ, and the forces of earth are being marshalled
for that hour, the voice of God's professed people is muted, and their
actions speak contrary to the light bestowed.
The first official
intimation of the muting of the Church's witness in regard to the Papacy
is to be found in the 1931 Statement of Beliefs. The Statement deleted
that which had been written in all previous statements, the designation
of "the man of sin" as "the papacy." A revelation
of a major change in the thinking of the Church's hierarchy came in 1975,
when the Church through its legal counselors submitted to a Federal
Court a footnote in one of the legal briefs which read:
is true that there was a period in the life of the Seventh-day Adventist
Church when the denomination took a distinctly anti-Roman Catholic viewpoint,
and the term "hierarchy" was used in a perjorative sense to
refer to the papal form of church governance, that attitude on the Church's
part was nothing more than a manifestation of widespread anti-popery among
conservative protestant denominations in the early part of this century
and the latter part of the last, and which has now been consigned to the
historical trash heap so far as the Seventh-day Adventist Church is concerned.
(p. 41, Excerpts - Legal Documents)
In the same
Brief, it is further stated: While,
however, Adventist doctrine continues to teach that church government
by one man is contrary to the Word of God, it is not good Seventh-day
Adventism to express... an aversion to Roman Catholicism as such. (ibid.,
1977, during the final months of the reign of Pope Paul VI,
carried this announcement: In
connection with a recent consultative meeting of secretaries of World
Confessional Families held in Rome, B.B.Beach, secretary of the Northern
Europe-West Africa Division, one of the 15 participants and the only Adventist
in the group, presented a book and a medallion to Pope Paul VI on May
book was the Adventist missionary book Faith in Action, and the
medallion was a gold covered symbol of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
(August 11, 1977, p. 23; Emphasis supplied)
Not only did Beach
place the Church in symbolism into the hands of the Pope with the full
approval of the Church's leadership, but this same Beach with the same
authority requested that the Vatican send an "official observer"
to the General Conference session in Indianapolis. The Vatican responded,
and Beach introduced this representative of "the man of sin"
to speak to the delegates all under the guise of "witnessing."
(See GC Bulletin #6, p. 7; #7, p. 8 )
A few months ago,
the president of the General Conference was responding to questions at
a meeting on the campus of Atlantic Union College. One series of questions
involved the Church's attitude toward Catholicism and the ecumenical activities
of the Church. Folkenberg replied that the position of the Church had
not changed from its historic position. We wrote him a letter asking how
he harmonized the position of the Legal Brief cited above with his answer
at AUC. To this date (September 5), he has not replied.
Today, the very stones are crying out. Men with no Biblical insight, let alone Christian convictions, can see the workings of the Papacy. Yet God's professed people, who have had great light, are muting the truths of prophecy, even though they profess a great zeal for "Revelation Seminars"!
p 3 -- TWO NEW BOOKS -- Part 2 -- In the Original manuscript, 1888 Re Examined, Elders R. J. Wieland and D. K. Short called for "denominational repentance" - and rightly so! In a brief resume of the points covered in chapter 10, they wrote: A recognition of the significance of our denominational history in the light of the Spirit of Prophecy declarations, is essential before the loud cry can be recognized, and received. Could any other kind of "loud cry" than that which follows a denominational repentance "lighten the earth with glory?" What glory for God would there be in it? (A Warning and Its Reception, Second Printing, White Sec., p. 133; Emphasis theirs)
In their "Constructive Recapitulation" at the close of the manuscript,they stated the same thing using Testimonies, Vol. 8, p. 250, in support of their contention. (ibid., p. 196)
The General Conference
"brethren" to whom this manuscript was submitted understood
what Wieland and Short were calling for. In their first "appraisal"
of the manuscript, the Defense Literature Committee wrote to Wieland and
Short as follows: Throughout
your manuscript it is evident that you feel the denomination should rectify
certain things pertaining to 1888, and then make due acknowledgement and
confession of the same. This is really more than a suggestion; you strongly
urge that this course be followed. The following extracts are quoted from
"Every failure of God's people to follow the light shining upon their pathway for the past century must be completely rectified by the present generation before the remnant church can be granted any divine vindication before the world." p. 2
"There is before the remnant church a heavy account to settle. The sooner the issue is faced squarely and candidly the better." p. 2
"Such a view of the matter will require that this generation recognize the facts of the case, and thoroughly rectify the tragic mistake. p. 38
Then on p. 133 you write that a "denominational repentance" is essential before the loud cry can be received. (ibid.. Blue sec.. pp. 7-8)
Appraisal" made by the General Conference in 1958 clearly recognizes
the call given and rejects it. It read: The
solution proposed, of the denomination making confession of the mistakes
of men made in the 1880's and the 1890's and of a denominational repentance
is not possible nor would an attempt to do so be of value. The experience
of the church is a collective experience of its members and leaders, and
thus rightness with God is a matter of present day personal relationships.
(ibid., Green Tint Sec., p. 2)
As the Centennial
of the 1888 General Conference session approached, Wieland and Short published
a revision of their original manuscript. This book was reviewed in the
special "Righteousness by Faith" issue of Ministry
(Feb., 1988). The reviewer, Dr.
C. Mervyn Maxwell of Andrews University, wrote: You
may not agree with everything in it [the revised edition], but this book
deals with an important topic. lt is a crusading book. The original edition
was almost too intense to read. But the new edition speaks lovingly of
wayward brethren, hopefully of an erring church, and thankfully of God's
invitations to repent.
no mention is made of "corporate repentance" and very
little of the "sinful nature of Christ," terms that have
been stumbung blocks to many erstwhile Wieland and Short admirers. (p.
Now the two new books
- "Lightened with His Glory" and "Made Like...His
Brethren" - not only speak of "denominational repentance"
again, but Short's book centers its emphasis on the "fallen nature"
which Christ took upon Himself in the incarnation. While Short's presentation
of the incarnation is the same as stated in the original edition of 1888
Re-Examined, the same cannot be said for the concept of "denominational
Wieland frames a question - "What is the difference between 'corporate confession' and 'corporate repentance'? To this he answers: "Corporate repentance" is a million miles away from a mere committee action, or a four-color advertisement promoting it as the latest "groupthink" strategy. That would never help, for there are many who because of ingrained "loyalty" will jump on any new program that is promoted by "groupthink," for they want to be "in" and thought well of. [Look who is writing now!] ...
word "corporate" has nothing to do with the organization of
the hierarchy. Repentance is a gift of the Holy Spirit, not a constituency
vote. The work of repentance is always individual and personal, but the
word "corporate" is simply the proper term to describe how each
"member of the body" relates to the Head and to one another.
Is not this what the "brethren" told Wieland and Short in 1958? Why now, and not then? Then as Wieland continues his answer, he cites
p 4 -- the experience of the preaching of Jonah and the reaction as "an example of national repentance, led by "the king and his nobles" (Jonah 3:5-9)." Then he concludes - "A repentance of the church today would be denominational. The Lord will give the gift, and His honor requires that He have a people who respond, both leaders and laity." (p.122;emphasis his) Wieland appears to be separating "corporate" and "denominational" repentance, but this is only "hair splitting" for "corpus" in Latin means,"body." Short takes a similar approach, but doesn't try to split hairs. He wrote: The remnant church will understand that "corporate repentance has nothing to do with the organization, the hierarchy. Rather it is the humble acceptance, individually and as a body, of the call that the True Witness makes to the seventh and last church. His plea is specific that this corporate body, "the angel of the church," "be zealous therefore, and repent." ("Made Like. . His Brethren", p. 98)
Yet in 1986, Wieland
wrote, "that the 'angel of the church of the Laodiceans' is primarily
the responsible leadership [hierarchy] of the Seventh-day Adventist church
on all levels, each segment appropriately responsible." ("As
Many As I Love", p. 59)
Why the confusion? The problem harks back to a conclusion based on a faulty premise in the original manuscript. There can be no question but that the Lord called for a "denominational," "corporate" - whichever term you want to use - repentance in 1950, and that it involved the hierarchy. He sent, as in 1888, two "messengers" with this call. And interestingly, these servants of the Lord directed it to where it should have been given first - the leadership, the hierarchy! [How they reacted, when the call was not accepted by the "brethren" is another question which we addressed in the first article]
In the original 1888
Re-Examined, Wieland and Short called for repentance of the rejection
of the message of 1888 as given by Jones and Waggoner. There is no indication
in the Bible, nor the Writings that such was called for. Not a single
reference can be produced, though Wieland attempts to "word"
his way through to such a conclusion. In the original manuscript, they
did use a reference from Testimonies, Vol. 8, p. 250 (op. cit.,
p. 196), but this is not talking about the message of 1888, but the results
to which the rejection of the message led.
Let us briefly note the background of the call to "denominational" or "corporate" repentance which Ellen G. White made in 1903. First one must observe her analysis of what occurred in 1901. She wrote: Who do you suppose has been among us since this Conference began? Who has kept away the objectionable features that generally appear in such a meeting? Who has walked up and down the aisles of this Tabernade? - The God of Heaven and His angels. And they did not come here to tear you to pieces, but to give you right and peaceable minds. They have been among us to work the works of God, to keep back the powers of darkness, that the work God designed, should be done and should not be hindered. The angels of God have been working arnong us. (General Conference Bulletin, 1901, p. 463)
Two things need to
be kept in mind concerning this statement: 1)
The 1901 Constitution which was drawn up and adopted at this session was
God-inspired, and angel directed. 2) The
"brethren" to whom Wieland and Short directed their call, in
turn directed Wieland and Short to this inspired analysis in 1958. (See
A Warning and Its Reception, Green Tint Sec., p. 32) This they
ignored and wrote a 70 page answer to the "brethren" maintaining
that they had used "Ellen G. White statements honestly, reasonably,
and in harmony with the expressed intent." (ibid., Ivory Sec.,
p. 47) This is simply not true in their use of the statement in Testimonies,
Vol. 8, p. 250. In fact, when they published their revised edition
of 1888 Re-Examined, they did not quote Vol. 8 as they had done
In these new books,
the former "messengers" still refuse to face the facts of what
Ellen G. White was calling for when she indicated that "the church
[should] repent and be converted."
The leavening of
backsliding which had been kneaded into the dough in 1903, if continued
and not repented of, would make the church an abhorence, and a byword
among the churches. (See 1 Kings 9:7) In other words, "corporate
repentance" does involve "organization," and much more
than committee action to be sure. It involves a change in the 27 Fundamental
Beliefs so that they are not neutral on the incarnation, and express the
meaning of "righteousness by faith in an end-time setting."
The sanctuary concepts, and the "nature of sin" need to be clearly
spelled out. There are "fruits" involved in repentance! (Luke
Now another question
- Why are Wieland and Short so reluctant to face up to this fact of "denominational
repentance" in the light of how it was called for by Ellen G.
White in 1903? Simply, they still believe that the Seventh-day Adventist
Church as a corporate body will "turn around" and go through
to the kingdom.
p 5 -- Wieland,
not having a secure base for his belief either in the record of Bible
history, nor in the Writings, resorts to name calling. Those who do not
accept his premise are possessed of the devil - "We must remember
that there is one personality who firmly opposes denominational repentance
and who believes it is impossible. His name? Satan." (Wieland, op.
cit., p. 123) This is merely following the example of the Laodicean
Pharisees of Christ's day, who said to Jesus - "Say we not well that
thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil." (John 8:48) If there was
ever One who longed for the "denominational repentance" of the
Jewish Church, it was Jesus; but it proved impossible!
Short's major premise
on this point in his book is that as Christ was made like unto His brethren,
there will be "brethren" - the 144,000 - made like to Him. In
other words, Christ is our Example, and there will be a final demonstration
of God's grace which will produce a people who reflect His likeness. This
is absolutely true! However, Short fails to note the parallel in time
between the One made like unto His brethren, and those who will be like
Him. The time when Christ came to this earth as a man was "the Laodicean"
period of the Jewish Church. (See Desire of Ages, p. 280, par.
3 where Rev. 3:17-18 is quoted)
Observe Jesus' experience
with the Jewish Laodicean Church. From the local congregation of which
He had been a member since childhood, He was cast out for telling them
the truth. (Luke 4:25, 28-29) As Jesus ministry enlarged, and He confronted
the "General Conference" of His day, headquartered at the temple,
He was twice cast out. (John 5:16; 8:69) Even a third attempt was made.
(John 10:39) During His ministry, He said - "Except ye repent,
ye shall all likewise perish." lt was the same message that God asked
be given in 1950. Even the Lord of glory in earthly guise could not turn
the Jewish Laodicean Church around. God will no more force modern Laodicea
than He forced Jewish Laodicea.
In turning Jesus
over to the Romans for crucifixion, the Jewish hierarchy insured that
he would die outside of Jerusalem. In this also, His brethren must be
made like unto Him. Well is it written in the letter to the Hebrews:
Wherefore Jesus also, that He rnight sanctify
the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth
therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach. For here have
we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. (Heb 13:12-14)
While Short points to the Day of Atonement ritual as an answer (p. 118f), he reveals that he has not studied in depth the significance of the three step "cleansing" revealed in the type, and thus fails to put it all together. Both he and Wieland, as Abraham of old, need to return "unto the place of the altar which he had made there at the first" and reassess the calI God gave to them in 1950.
NOTE: A Warning and Its Reception, Second Printing, may be requested through Adventist Laymen's Foundation, P.O. Box 69, Ozone AR 72854 with $1 for postage.
syndrome is defined as "a group of signs and symptoms that occur
together and characterize a particular abnormality." Within recent
weeks and months I have heard and read this word used in connection with
specific persons of the Bible with the inference that these same symptoms
have afflicted and are afflicting certain of the "saints" today
within the Adventist Community.
This past week a
particular conference president was indicated to be suffering from the
"Eli" Syndrome. This comment sparked my interest, and I asked
what that syndrome was. The answer - "A man who knows what to do
but doesn't do it, and sits around and gets fat." Elder D. K. Short
in his book, "Made Like ... His Brethren", writes of
the "Peter Syndrome - "desire for approbation." (pp. 30-31)
In the application of this syndrome - the Church's experience with the
Evangelicals - he is on target!
A third syndrome
that I have heard several use is called the "Elijah" syndrome,
and this is based on Elijah's response to the question God asked him -
"What doest thou here, Elijah?" To this Elijah responded - "I,
even I only, am left." (1 Kings 19:9-10) Then God, who reads human
hearts, pointed out that He had found in Israel 7000 who had not bowed
the knee to Baal. Among these was Obadiah, governor of Ahab's house, who
"feared the Lord greatly." (1 Kings 18:3) He had preserved another
part of those 7000 - a hundred prophets - in two caves and fed them bread
and water. BUT, and here is the issue - when Elijah asked the people -
"How long halt ye between two opinions?" - not one of
the 7000, including Obadiah, responded. In the hour of crisis, God could
count on only one, and he had an "abnomality" from a human viewpoint
- "I, even I only." (1 Kings 18:21-22)
How do we square
our zeal for the 7000 with this dictum? It reads:
If God abhors one sin above another, of which His people are
guilty, it is doing nothing in case of an emergency. Indifference and
neutrality in a religious crisis is regarded of God as a grievous crime,
and equal to the very worst type of hostility against God. 3T:281
He who seeks truth and finds it
TALK IT OVER -- The
matter which I want to talk over with you in this "editorial"
was prompted by two telephone calls, and an article plus a video sent
as a result of one of the calls. The main question raised by the two callers
was the subject of separation, and the video and article focused on this
topic. Since the article is in black and white, and thus can be documented,
I will discuss the issue within its framework.
The article is by
Dr. Ralph Larson. He asks, "Is Separation the Solution?" (Our
Firm Foundation, August 1991, pp. 28-30) To this he answers, "In
a word, No." Yet before the article is completed, he writes, concerning
those who wish to be faithful, "they may have to meet separately
for study and prayer, and they may have to gather at camp meetings
where truth will be honored." (p. 30; emphasis supplied) If separation
is not the solution, then why recommend it, for meeting together "separately"
whether in small study groups, or at "camp meetings" is separation!
The inference is
clear that the campmeetings where truth is honored are those sponsored
by Hartland Institute and Hope International. Here is where the video
came into the picture. It was the question period at one of these mini-campmeetings.
Those in the audience were pressing Hal Mayer hard because he had taken
an untenable stand, and actually perverted Scripture in an attempt to
sustain his position. He boxed himself into the same contradictory position
in which Larson placed himself in the article.
Larson's article is primarily a series of quotations from the Writings, followed by a chastisement of those who would use the same Writings to teach some things contrary to his interpretation of them. He wrote - "But you ask, are there not being circulated papers and books calling for separation from the church and using quotations from Ellen White? Indeed there are!" Then he described an unnamed publication which did so commenting, "but not one of these quotations stated that the time would come when the faithful would have to leave the Seventh-day Adventist Church. They were all being interpreted to mean that." (ibid.) This is followed by a very insightful paragraph which reads: When reading such a document, we must never lose sight of the difference between a statement and an interpretation. A statement tells us what the writer meant and what the writer said. An interpretation is someone else's attempt to tell us what the writer meant but did not say. Thus, it represents the thinking of the interpreter, not the thinking of the writer. This fact remains, whether the interpretations number in the hundreds or in the thousands. No number of interpretations can equal a statement. A thousand times zero is still zero. (ibid.)
Usually misuse and
personal interpretations of the Writings follow a recognizable and specific
pattern, such as, 1) quoting out
of context, and 2) using ellipses
to omit key thoughts which the one quoting wishes to avoid. This Larson
has done in his article. Space will not permit an illustration of his
violation of #1. We will cite, however, his use of #2, which can be readily
checked by the reader. He quotes from the Bible Commentary (7:985),
as follows: After
the truth has been proclaimed as a witness to all nations,...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.
(See page 29)
The reference from
13, 1892, reads in full: (The part omitted will be underscored)
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 a message from
God. He has sent me with great light." Then there will be a removing
of the landmarks, and an attempt to pull 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 bv supplanting the day He blessed and
Why the omissions?
First this prophetic testimony contains a time sequence, connected by
a series of conjunctive adverbs of time - "After," "Then"
(This Larson omits, which in so doing destroys the force of the prophecy),
and "While" later on in the reference. Larson ignores, by omission,
because the statement declares that the apostasy - "the removing
of the landmarks" and the tearing down of "the pillars of our
faith" - come "after" the proclaiming of the truth
"as a witness to all nations." Since he believes this witness
is yet future, he is confronted with the fact, according to the time sequence
of this reference, that what is now taking place is not really apostasy,
but from the other references he does believe the church to be in apostasy.
So to avoid the conflict in his own theology, his best way out is to distort
truth by omission which he did by using an ellipsis.
There are only two
questions which need to be asked and answered by which the issue of separation
can be determined: 1) Has the Seventh-day
Adventist church been weighed in the balances of the sanctuary?
2) What was the decision rendered? It is clearly
stated that the Church "is to be weighed." (8T:247) The
criteria by which she is to be judged is likewise clearly defined. Once
the answers to these questions are determined, the action to follow is
plainly illustrated in the experience of Daniel the prophet.
God did not leave
Himself without a witness. Jesus gave a prophecy, and God permitted that
prophecy to be fulfilled at a specific time to let His people know that
corporate judgment had been completed. This evidence has been documented
and published in the manuscript - The Hour and the End. lt is a
must to everyone who really wishes to know the answer to the question
To separate without a Biblical, "Thus saith the Lord," is to walk in the sparks of one's own kindling. To fail to separate once God gives the signal is to walk in darkness instead of the prophetic "light that shineth in a dark place." (II Peter 1:19)
--- (1991 Nov) ---End --- TOP
1991 Dec -- XXIV -- 12(91) -- "CAN THE CHURCH FAIL?" -- This question was asked and an answer was attempted by Dr. Robert W. Olson in a recent Adventist Review (Oct. 3, 1991, pp. 11-13). The whole thrust of the article was to assure the readers of the church paper that the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a corporate, visible structure would not fail. That there be no misunderstanding that he was talking about a corporate, visible Church, Olson plainly stated in his first footnote - "It therefore must be a visible organization" - referring to the "remnant" of Revelation 12:17; and that "visible organization" will go "safely into the heavenly port" was his final conclusion.
The body of this
article consisted of "an analysis of Ellen White's statements about
the church and its leaders." Before noting Olson's distortions and
misuse of the Writings and he should have known better having served as
secretary of the Ellen G. White Estate - let us take a good look at the
message found in the Scriptures.
Nowhere in the Bible is it taught that once saved, always saved. Neither is it taught, once called, always called. If ever a people were called of God, the children of Israel were. For centuries, God bore long with the rebellion and apostasy of His chosen people. Finally after sending prophets and wise men, He sent His only begotten Son. This Son came unto His "own things" - so close was the attachment perceived - but His "own people" (John 1:11, Greek) by their deliberate decision and choice received Him not. To that people, Jesus had to finally say - "Your house is left unto you desolate." (Matt. 23:38) The temple was the centerpiece of the "visible organization" of the Jewish Church. The Lord of glory could not save the temple, nor turn the Jewish Church around.
In the prophetic
picture of Laodicea, Jesus is ever pictured as standing outside the door,
knocking. He never gains entrance. Only to the individual (tis,
Greek: "anyone") who opens the door does Jesus come in to "sup
with him." (Rev. 3:20) Corporate Laodicea never opens the door.
G. White in a letter to Elders Butler and Haskell, dated December
8, 1886, wrote very pointedly concerning the relationship between
the Jewish Church of Christ's day, and the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The letter read: I
think of His great sorrow as He wept over Jerusalem, exclaiming, "0
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou which killest the prophets, and stonest them
that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children
together, as a hen doth her brood under her wings, and ye would not!"
God forbid that these words shall apply to those who have had great light
and blessings. In the rejecting of Jerusalem, it was because great privileges
were abused which brought the denunciation upon all who lightly regarded
the great opportunities and precious light that were entrusted to their
keeping. Privileges do not commend us to God, but they commend God to
us. No people are saved because they have great light and special advantages,
for these high and heavenly favors only increase their responsibility.
The more and increased
light God has given make the receiver more responsible. lt does not place
the receiver in any safer position unless the privileges are wisely improved,
prized and used to advance God's glory. Christ said, "Woe unto thee,
Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works which were
done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented
long ago in sackcloth and ashes."
When Jerusalem was divorced from God,
p 2 --it was because of her sins. She fell from an exalted height that Tyre and Sidon had never reached. And when an angel falls he becomes a fiend. The depths of our ruin is measured by the exalted light to which God has raised us in His great goodness and unspeakable mercy. Oh, what privileges are granted to us as a people! And if God spared not His people that He loved because they refused to walk in the llght, how can He spare the people whom He has blessed with the light of heaven in having opened to them the most exalted truth ever entrusted to mortal man to give to the world? (Letter 55, 1886)
The first thing one
needs to note concerning the above quotation from this Letter 55,
1886, is that the essential parts of the letter are supposedly
reproduced in Selected Messages, bk ii, pp. 376-383. But the above,
which we have quoted is the section of the letter omitted after the first
deletion marks on page 377. Here is a prime example of the manipulated
compilations produced by the Trustees of the Ellen G. White Estate since
the death of Ellen White.
Secondly, it is from
this letter that the oft-used quotation is to be found - "The church
may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the
sinners in Zion will be sifted out - the chaff separated from the precious
wheat." But the context in which this statement is made in the letter
is ignored. Olson also ignores it in his article. It is talking about
the Church when "Satan will work his miracles to deceive; he will
set up his power as supreme." It is stated in the setting when "the
decree of national councils" and "the national laws" shall
seek to enforce the observance of the false Sabbath. (ibid., p.
380) That time is not now. When it does come, we will then be able better
"to measure the strength of Israel." lt will come as a shock
to many to see how few really "concerned" Adventists there are,
and how the "many voices" are merely the voices of individuals
on "ego-trips," let alone the rank and file of the unconcerned
Olson in his article
alludes to a comment of Ellen G. White written soon after the 1888 debacle
which expressed her hope "that there would not be the necessity for
another coming out." Then he comments - "This is the only known
statement from the pen of Ellen White indicating she might have lost confidence
in the Seventh-day Adventist Church." Is he totally unaware of the
above quoted omission from Letter 55, 1886? Re-read for yourself
this section of the letter. What is the last sentence saying concerning
the Church? Note further in the first sentence of this last paragraph
- "When Jerusalem was divorced from God, it was because of her sins."
Observe another reference to "the Jewish people...divorced from God."
It reads: When Christ
saw in the Jewish people a nation divorced from God, He saw also a professed
Christian church united to the world and the Papacy. And as He stood upon
Mount Olivet, weeping over Jerusalem till the sun sank behind the western
hills, so He is watching over and pleading with sinners in these last
moments of time. Soon He will say to the angels who are holding the four
winds, "Let the plagues loose; let darkness, destruction, and death
come upon the transgressors of My law." Will He be obliged to say
to those who have had great light and great knowledge, as He said to the
Jews, "0 that thou hadst known, even thou in this thy day, the things
which belong unto thy peace. But now they are hid from thine eyes"?
(The Kress Collection, p. 153)
We need to ask ourselves,
when "the plagues" are loosed, where will they fall fIrst? The
answer is plainly stated - "the church - the Lord's sanctuary - was
the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God." And in this pouring
out of God's wrath - "Men, maidens, and little children all perish
together." (5T:211) How does this answer the question
- "Can the Church Fail?"
When in 1889, Ellen
White hoped that there would not be a necessity for another coming out,
she did not say there would not be. In fact, Jesus Christ Himself indicated
there would be! In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, there are two "coming
outs": 1) The assembling
of the "ten virgins" in a unit. They (all ten) "went forth
(exelthon) ¹ to meet the bridegroom." (Matt.
25:1) 2) The cry at midnight
- "Behold the bridegroom cometh; go ye out (exerchesthe) to
meet him." (25:6) In this second "coming out," only five
go out to meet the Bridegroom and go with Him "to the marriage."
According to Olson,
in his misapplication of the Writings, the wise virgins are "the
chaff", and the foolish virgins, "the wheat," for according
to him, those who separate are "chaff." This merely illustrates
to what extent "blind zeal" will color the thinking of a Laodicean
bent on taking the church which God has spued out through to the Kingdom.
(Rev. 3:16) This blindness is not merely limited to one man, or the present
corporate leadership of the Church,
p 3 -- but
some of the major voices on the periphery of Adventism give evidence that
they, too, are afflicted with this same blindness.
Olson emphasizes heavily the one statement, he uses out of context from Letter 55, 1886, about the "chaff" being separate from the "wheat" and indicates that the "wheat" remains in the "visible organization." He should know, having served as secretary of the White Estate, that there are other statements where the reverse is stated under the same figure of speech, as well as another figure. One reads - one of the earliest testimonies - I then saw the third angel. Said my accompanying angel, "Fearful is his work. Awful is his mission. He is the angel that is to select the wheat from the tares, and seal, or bind, the wheat for the heavenly garner. These things should engross the whole mind, the whole attention." (Early Writings, p. 118)
Here it clearly states
- "the wheat from the tares" and not "the tares
from the wheat." lt also indicates this to be the "work"
of the "third angel." By using an interpretive key which Ellen
G. White indicated should be applied in studying her writings, namely,
"the Testimonies themselves will be the key that will explain the
messages, as scripture is explained by scripture" (Selected Messages,
bk i, p. 42), we discover more fully the work of the third angel.
This indicates that - The
first, second, and third angels' messages are to be repeated. The
call is to be given to [not, "by"] the church [singular]:..."Come
out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that
ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven,
and God hath remembered her iniquities." (R&H, October
statement is found in an article on "The Parable of the Ten Virgins,"
and harmonizes with the two "coming outs" as indicated by the
Greek in Matthew 25. (See p. 2, col. 2) ¹
using a different figure of speech in describing the separation, but in
the same contextual setting as the statement in Letter 55, 1886,
time is not far distant when the test will come to every soul. The mark
of the beast will be urged upon us....In this time, the gold will be separated
from the dross in the church. (5T:81)
While some may wish
to quibble over the "time" indicated in this reference, a careful
reading of the rest of the testimony is very apropos to the point we are
considering. One challenge reads:
God's watchmen will not cry, "Peace,
peace," when God has not spoken peace. The voice of the faithful
watchman will be heard: "Go ye out from hence, touch not the unclean.
Go ye out of the midst of her. Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the
Lord." (ibid., p.83)
and the description of the message which God indicates His "watchmen"
will be sounding just do not coincide.
There is another
amazing paragraph in the Adventist Review article by Olson. It
before leaving Battle Creek for Australia, she [Ellen White] had written:
"That these men should stand in a sacred place, to be the voice of
God to the people, as we once believed the General Conference to be -
that is past. (p. 12)
This statement was
not written by Ellen White, but spoken by her when she addressed the 1901
General Conference session. Further, she had just returned from Australia
a few months before. These historical errors are too obvious for one,
who has served as Secretary of the Ellen G. White Estate, to make. [The
editors of the Adventist Review didn't even catch it.] We might
ask, "Does this indicate the confusion of mind that God permits one
to have who seeks to mitigate truth and support falsehood through manipulation
of the Writings?" Is this not a warning flag that God permitted to
be placed in the article so that the sincere and knowledgeable could be
alerted that there was danger ahead?
Should we not pray the words of the hymn, but slightly modified -
1 -- The
two Greek verbs used come from exerchomai (exercomai)
compounded from ek a preposition meaning,
"out of," and ercomai, "I
come" or "I go." The first verb,
exhlJon, is a 2nd aroist, or past tense, while the second verb,
exercesJe, is in the present tense,
"be going out" to meet the Bridegroom.
" My people are cut off
for lack of knowledge. "
---LET'S TALK IT OVER -- The
question - "Can the Church Fail?" -answered in the light of
Scripture, is a resounding - "No!" Why? lt has been built "upon
the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being
the chief cornerstone." (Eph. 2:20) But when we seek to define the
Church at any one period in human history in the terms of "a visible
organization" charged with a God-given responsibility, the answer
to the question changes. lt can fail.
Three questions only need to be asked and answered to put the present spiritually deteriorated condition of the Seventh-day Adventist Church into proper focus, so that any sincere seeker of truth can find the answer to the present status of the Church before God. 1) Was the Seventh-day Adventist Church given a sacred trust, a God-given responsibility? 2) Will the Church have to give an accounting before God as to its stewardship of that trust? 3) If so, what is the judgment to be rendered?
The answer to the first question is simple, and has been clearly stated by the messenger whom God sent to the Church. The answer reads: In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light-bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the word of God . . .
The most solemn truths
ever entrusted to mortals have been given us to proclaim to the world.
The proclamation of these truths is to be our work. The world is to be
warned, and God's people are to be true to the trust committed to them.
The second question
has also been plainly answered by the same messenger. In two similar statements,
one written prior to 1888 and the other just after the Oakland meeting
of the 1903 General Conference session, Ellen White declared:
The church will be
weighed in the balances of the Sanctuary. (5T:83; 1882)
In the balances of
the sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist church is to be weighed. (8T:247;
The criteria which
will be used by God in this judgment to determine the fate of the Seventh-day
Adventist Church is likewise spelled out. It reads:
If her moral character and spiritual state
do not correspond with the benefits and blessings God has conferred upon
her, she will be found wanting. (5T:83-84)
She will be judged
by the privileges and advantages that she has had. If her spiritual experience
does not correspond to the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has
bestowed on her, if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to
do the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence,
"Found wanting." By the light bestowed, the opportunities given,
will she be judged. (8T:247)
Based on this criteria,
the Church will either pass the scrutiny of the judgment, or will be declared,
"wanting," and thus a failure to experience in turn the same
fate the Jewlsh church experienced.
Further it should
be perfectly clear that the judgment of the living cannot commence until
the fate of the Church as a corporate body is decided. On the typical
Day of Atonement, the cleansing of the first apartment, wherein was recorded
the confession of corporate guilt, took place prior to the cleansing of
the altar whereon was marked the confessions of the individuals.
Now some questions
must be honestly confronted. When has there been a confession made by
the Church of its failure to preserve and maintain its God-given trust?
Have we confessed the compromises made with the Evangellcals? Have we
mourned over our fraternization with "Babylon"? In 1903, after
the God-inspired 1901 Constitution was jettisoned, Ellen White wrote:
I saw our Instructor pointing to the garments
of so-called righteousness. Stripping them off, He laid bare the defilement
beneath. Then He said to me: "Can you not see how they have pretentiously
covered up their defilement and rottenness of character? 'How is the faithful
City become an harlot?' " (8T:250)
And by "the
faithful city," the divine Instructor meant the Seventh-day Adventist
Church as a "visible organization." Can one find in any official
record of the Church from 1903 to the present hour where the Church has
ever repented of her harlotry, and brought forth fruits answerable to
repentance of what she did in 1903, and since? It means more than merely
passing resolutions. It means concrete changes resultant from a contrite
and sincerely repentant corporate heart.
The third question involves more than a mere appraisal of the judgment to be rendered; it involves also the question - "Has the judgment already been rendered? In reality, the whole thrust of the article in the Adventist Review was to smother any consideration of this
p 5 -- factor,
for if the visible and organized Seventh-day Adventist Church cannot fail,
this question becomes mute. The fact however, remains that God has permitted
to be fulfilled a prophecy of Jesus which clearly tells when corporate
judgment has been completed. We either take heed to the sure word of prophecy,
or as the Jewish church/nation did when its probation closed, continue
to defy earth and heaven to dispossess us of our supposed unalterable
standing before God. (See COL, p. 294)
Let us face the fact,
an harlot, who continues to play the harlot, cannot be the bride of Christ.
2. The SDAC is regularly represented through observers and advisors at World Council of Churches (WCC) and other church meetings. T or F
For many years a SDA has been a member of the WCC Faith and Order Commission
in a personal capacity. T
The SDAC has participated in dialogues with the WCC and various religious
bodies, and since 1968 has been represented at the conference of Christian
World Communions. T
More recently, the SDAC has been represented at the annual conference
of U.S. church leaders. T
Christian World Communions and various churches have responded to the
SDA invitation and sent observers to the General Conference sessions.
T or F
7. The SDAC holds that no selfish or traditional tie should hold any church member to one's communion except the belief that in this way he or she finds true connection with Christ. T or F
reader wrote - "Now you've gone and done it! I've read so many
of your state-ments about how Wieland and Short dropped the 'ball' after
the 60's that I am going to have to have the document, A Warning and
Its Reception, so I can read for my self what all the fuss is about.
I am glad you have so many of the documents available. We need to have
access to these things so we can make intelligent decisions." If
you had questions after reading the articles, "Two New Books,"
you, too, can check the facts by obtaining the document, A Warning
and Its Reception. This publication may be requested through Adventist
Laymen's Foundation, P.O. Box 69, Ozone AR 72854 with $1 for postage.
p 2 --EDITORIAL
PREVIEW -- Sometimes
personal letters emanating from the Adventist "curia" do not
say the same things as said by the same person in published stenographic
reports appearing in the Church's official publication. One such instance
is given in this issue of the Commentary. (See page 3) A sister
on the West Coast wrote directly to Dr. B. B. Beach questioning his request
to the Vatican to send an "official observer" to the 1990 General
Conference session in Indianapolis. The reply she received was forwarded
to us. We, then, wrote to Beach ourselves, and to that letter there has
been no response. You will note that this was back in October of last
year. Perhaps, Dr. Beach was too busy getting ready to attend the Seventh
Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Canberra, Australia, as an
"Observer," to respond. But the WCC's Seventh Assembly did not
convene till February. The plain simple fact is that it is most difficult
to explain double-talk!
1990, a new book by Malachi Martin, The Keys of This Blood, was
published. It outlines from the Vatican viewpoint the struggle for world
dominion between Pope John Paul II, Mikhail Gorbachev, and the Capitalist
West. Martin, a devout Roman Catholic, eminent theologian - though a poor
Church historian - is also an ex-Jesuit. Well known as an "expert
on the Catholic Church," he has written among his previous publications,
The Jesuits, and The Final Conclave. What is interesting
is that the book points out that while John Paul II is bent on coming
out on top of this struggle for control of "the new world order,"
he has not confronted the "deterioration" in the Roman Catholic
Church "that began during the fifteen-year reign of Pope Paul VI."
How far this deterioration has gone and is going in what was formerly
a bulwark of Roman Catholicism is not widely known. An article in the
World Press Review taken from the newsmagazine, Der Spiegel
of Hamburg, Germany, tells what is happening in areas of Latin America.
In this issue, we will summarize the article with comments. (p. 4)
As noted above, the Seventh Assembly of the WCC convened in Australia during the month February. While various social issues were high on the agenda, the continuing stand-off between the WCC and the Roman Catholic Church as far as "visible unity" is concerned, received considerable space in the WCC's Ecumenical Press Service. This we will note for you, and give from the new book, Keys of This Blood, the present Vatican attitude toward the WCC and why.
At the Seventh Assembly an ingenius witness was made for truth, and the historic prophetic position of the Adventist Church. Read the report taken from the EPS in the article - "Seventh Assembly Highlighted." (p. 8)
No picture can be complete of John Paul Il's devotion to the virgin Mary without the full statement by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori regarding Mary - "All graces are dispensed by Mary, and that all who are saved are saved only by the means of this Divine Mother. It is a necessary consequence that the salvation of all depends upon preaching Mary, and exciting all to confidence in her intercession. (Glories of Mary, p. 8) See page. 9.
P 3 -- LETTERS:
OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Signed: B.B. Beach
"Watchman What of the Night?"
Signed: William H. Grotheer
4 -- "A QUIET REVOLUTION
IN LATIN AMERICA" --
question asked in Der Spiegel, a news-magazine published in Hamburg,
Germany, reads - "Is Latin America on the road of becoming Protestant?"
This area of the world has long been considered as a "Rock of Gibraltar"
for the Roman Catholic Church. Its 400 million people were predominently
Roman Catholic although in some places the adherents mingled their former
pagan rites with Catholic ritual. This area explored by the Conquistidors
of Spain since its discovery by Columbus brought Catholicism in its wake.
The Roman Catholic Church, even in the revolt of the various colonies
from Spanish and Portuguese control, remained all-powerful, the dominant
religion as well as a political force in the new governments established.
This "golden age" for the Roman Church is drawing to a close,
"and a quiet revolution comparable to the Reformation in 16th-century
Europe is taking place."
p 5 -- The
Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International has become one of
the most powerful evangelical organizations in Latin America. Its founder,
Demos Shakarian, on his first visit to a regional convention of his Central
American followers held in San Salvador's Hotel Camino Real told those
gathered through an interpreter - "God has conceived a special task
for the business people.You are messengers of a kingdom that is not of
this world!" The audience of some 500 business people, high-ranking
military officers and politicans were meeting in a hall adorned with a
Bible and statues of Christ. These with Mejia cheered Shakarian's remarks.
The influence of this organization reaches into the cabinet of the El
Salvadorian president, Alfredo Cristiani, and includes officers of the
General Staff of the armed forces. El Salvador's Lutheran bishop, Medardo
Gomez says - "The middle and upper classes think that the Catholic
church has betrayed them, because it serves mostly the poor and often
criticizes the military."
(The factual data and major quotes in the above article can be found in World Press Review, March, 1991, pp. 30-31)
UNITY STALLED? -- U.S.News
& World Report (March 4, 1991) noted "that last week in Australia,
as the World Council of Churches ended its seventh assembly almost unnoticed,
there were few signs of progress toward the 'unity of faith, life and
witness' It has sought for more than four decades." (p. 50) A senior
editor writing the report commented, "The ecumenical movement, in
short, seems stalled."
p 6 -- was
no more welcome in America than Gorbachev's intrusion into the Allied
p 7 -- Christian
unity one inch.'" (ibid.) This raises another important question.
B. B. Beach was present as an official observer according to reports available.
Did he partake of this ecumenical eucharist? What about Roy Adams of the
Adventist Review who was also to be present as an "reporter/observer"?
John Paul II did send a message to the Seventh Assembly of
the WCC. In this message,
First, SODEPAX joined
with the WCC in the condemnation of Pope John Paul's claim to head the
one, true Church of Christ. Rather making liberal use of the local offices
of the Pontifical Commission for Justice and Peace, SODEPAX promotes the
WCC's Mega-Religionist brief for the equivalence of all religions.
Well did Louis Veuillot in his book, The Liberal Illusion, state the case when he wrote: "When the time comes and men realize that the social edifice must be rebuilt according to eternal standards, be it tomorrow, or be it centuries from now , the Catholics will arrange things to suit said standards. Undeterred by those who prefer to abide in death, they will re-establish certain laws of life. They will restore Jesus to His place on high, and He shall be no longer insulted. They will raise their children to know God and to honor their parents. They will uphold the indissolubility of marriage, and if this fails to meet the approval of dissenters, it will not fail to meet with the approval of their children. They will make obligatory the religious observance of Sunday on behalf of the whole of society and for its own good, revoking the permit for free-thinkers and Jews to celebrate, incognito, Monday or Saturday on their own account. Those whom this may annoy, will have to put up with the annoyance. Respect will not be refused to the Creator nor repose denied to the creature simply for sake of humoring certain maniacs, whose phrenetic condition causes them stupidly and insolently to block the will of the whole people. However, like our own, their houses will be all the more solid and their fields all the more fertile on that account.
" In a word, Catholic society will be Catholic, and the dissenters whom it will tolerate will know its charity, but will not be allowed to disrupt its unity." (pp. 63, 64; emphasis his)
8 -- Seventh Assembly Highlighted
the Seventh Assembly of the WCC was concluding its debate on the future
direction and structure of the Vatican-WCC Joint Working Group, and the
resolutions were being adopted, "three protesters entered the hall
from a side door holding a banner tied to many white baloons. The banner,
proclaiming that 'Seventh Day Adventists believe this prophecied [sic]
Romeward unity is the Spirit of Antichrist,' drifted up to the ceiling
where it hung for the remainder of the plenary." (EPS 91.02.82)
p 9 -- language
of the Adventist conferees at the time ot the SDA-Evangelical Conferences
and declare this witness as coming from the "lunatic fringe"
of the Church?
POPE OF THE MADONNA" -- The obsession of John Paul
II over the role he is to play in the "new world order" cannot
be divorced from his devotion to the virgin Mary. In fact, his invocation
of the virgin the moment of his first appearance on the balcony of St.
Peter's after being elected to the Papal throne, caused traditionalist
groups in Rome to dub him immediately as "the Pope of the Madonna."
1991 -- COMMENTARY -- Vol. V -- # 2 -- SDA RELATIONSHIP TO WCC -- The presence and activity of various groups within the Community of Adventism this year at the Seventh Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Canberra, Australia, again focuses attention on the relationship which the General Conference has with the World Council. The issue became acute enough in Australia so that R. L. Coombe, Director of Public Affairs & Religious Liberty for the South Pacific Division issued a formal statement on the subject. It is reproduced in full on p. 3. A quick run-down of this statement reveals some very interesting things:
key is that the Adventist Church does not hold "full" membership
in the"main" ecumenical bodies such as the WCC.
p 2 -- On July 15, I received an answer indicating - "The churches which send a delegated representative to the assembly are associate members of the WCC." (See page 5, Letter #2) It is obvious that the criterion noted in the next sentence did not apply to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, so I wrote for a listing of all "associate members of the WCC." The Adventist Church was not on the list, and it was explained in an accompanying letter that the minimum membership for full participation in the WCC must be 25,000, and "associate members" must have at least 10,000 on the rolls. [The letter was written by a different person from the one writing the two previous letters. Further, the omission of the name of the Seventh-day Adventist Church from the list sent, cannot be taken as the final word that the Church is not an "associate member" of the WCC] The bottom line from the presently documented evidence is that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has such a relationship to the WCC, that while it is not permitted to vote in any plenary session of the WCC's Assemblies, its delegate can speak to any issue raised.
Another interesting factor is that the status of the delegate from the General Conference is the same as any delegate from the Regional or National Councils of Churches, and such organizations as the Baptist World Alliance, and the Anglican Consultative Council. (See page 6 where sections from Who's Who are reproduced) The evidence is sufficient to show that while the Seventh-day Adventist Church has as Coombe stated, "consistently maintained that it is not involved in the ecumenical movement," the facts speak contrary to this assertion. It is involved in the ecumenical movement, and its relationship is as close as it can get to the WCC without becoming a full member of that body. Further the ground work has all been laid for full membership when it is convenient to so request. See article, "Historical Review," of relations of the SDA Church with the WCC.
The present tragic situation of our troubled world
HISTORICAL REVIEW -- Since 1965, Conversations between representatives of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) have been taking place. At first, informally and of a private nature, they developed into annual and fully authorized Consultations. After the fifth of the series of Consultations, November 24-26, 1969, Dr. B. B. Beach wrote an assessment of these meetings, giving their background and results. This analysis was made a part of a book issued by the WCC in 1973, and co-authored by Beach and Dr. Lukas Vischer of the WCC's Faith and Order Secretariat. From this publication, So Much in Common, we give Beach's story and assessment.
"Strange as it may seem, these yearly Consultations are an indirect by-product of Vatican II. In fact, while in Rome in connection with the Vatican Council a WCC staff member and an Adventist representative came to the conclusion that an informal meeting of a small group of Seventh-day Adventists with an equal number of representatives from the World Council of Churches would fulfill a useful purpose. . . .
"The first meeting
was held in 1965, the participants being selected by the two organizers.
Thus the Conversations got under way on a completely informal basis and
were held under the sole responsibility of the participants. Subsequent
meetings have become somewhat more formal, in the sense that the employing
bodies of the SDA participants have authorized and financed their presence
and the executive committees of three Adventist Divisions involved have
given their blessing by facilitating the selection of the SDA representatives;
the World Council of Churches has defrayed the expenses of its group.
The General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists has been kept informed
regarding the meetings, though it has taken no direct, active part in
the Consultations, except through its three European Divisional branch
STATEMENT ON SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS RELATIONSHIP TO THE WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES
p 3 --Questions have been raised concerning the Seventh-day Adventist Church's relationship with the World Council of Churches and other ecumenical bodies. ...
The church has consistently maintained that it is not involved in tbe ecumenical movement, nor does it hold full membership in the main ecumenical bodies such as the World Council of Churches or the Australian Council of Churches. This does not mean that Seventh-day Adventists do not have any relationships with other churches or cooperate with church associations on various levels. To the contrary, Adventists have endeavoured to build up positive relations with other Christians in ways that do not compromise their beliefs or practice.
For example, since 1968 the General Conference of SDAs has been represented at meetings of the Secretaries of World Confessional Families, also known as Christian World Communions. For many years, Dr. Bert Beach has been the secretary of this group - which is not an organisation but simply an informal forum for the exchange of information. Although this group of Secretaries have contact with the WCC, they do not hold membersbip in the WCC.
Similarly in many countries around the world, Seventh-day Adventists have working relationships with various national church councils or ecumenical groups because they represent a significant percentage of the population. Many of these are listed in the WCC's Directory of Christian Councils. However in most cases Seventh-day Adventists are listed as "Assocciate Members" or "Observer-consultants" indicating that the church does not have full voting membership. In a few instances where SDAs are listed as full members (eg, Cook Islands, Belizo, Bahamas, Hong Kong) it is because no alternative relationship is available or the organisation is a govemment-sponsored advisory group on religious matters. However it is significant to note that none of these national church councils are members of the WCC - because membership to the WCC is restricted to individual church organisations NOT to ecumenical councils. This means that even membership in a national church council does not imply membership in the WCC.
Seventh-day Adventists are also frequently involved with other churches at local levels, through the participation of church pastors on Ministers' Fraternals and in such community programs as Women's World Day of Prayer, Bible Societies, CWA, WCTU, etc. So there is ample evidence that Seventh-day Adventists have working relationships with other churches and ecumenical groups - but this in no way diminishes the fact that Seventh-day Adventists are separate and hold no membership in the World Council of Churches.
At the recent WCC
Assembly in Canberra - General Conference director of Public Affairs and
Religious Liberty, Dr. Bert Beach, was listed along with other non-member
delegates as a "delegated representative" of the General
Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. This meant he was only an "observer"
delegate with no voting rights and he sat in a special area allocated
for observers and visitors. Such status was granted to other non-member
churches (eg, Salvation Army, Baptists) and to non-Christian faiths (eg,
Buddhists, Bahai's, Hindu, etc.) as well.
p 4 -- & p 5 --
LETTER # 1
Elder Wm. H. Grotheer
5 June 1991
Dear Elder Grotheer,
representatives" are persons representing organizations with which
the WCC maintains relationship, such as associate councils of churches,
certain world ecumenical organizations, etc. They have the right to speak
in plenary but not to vote.
I hope the above ...
LETTER # 2
WORLD COUNCIL OF
Dear Elder Grotheer,
I apologize for the
delay in responding to your letter of 26 June but have been away from
The churches which
send a delegated representative to the assembly are associate member churches
of the WCC. Associate member churches are churches whose membership
is not sufficiently large to entitle them to full member status.
Churches which are not members of the WCC may send an observer to the assembly. Some "ecumenical officers" of member churches were also present at the ssembly as observers.
Yours sincerely, ...
p 6 -- Delegated Observers, Delegated Representatives and Observers
Action of Churches
Together Sccotland Craig, Maxwell Rev.
Del. Representative UK
ACK Deutschland Basdekis,
Athanasios Dr. theol. Del. Representative Germany
of Churches Bisnauth, Dale Rev. Del. Representative Barbados
of Churches Pakistan Saroia, Yousaf Mr. Del. Representative Pakistan
p 7 -- continued
from page 2 -- basis. As a result, subsequent Consultations have been
more in the nature of dialogue, by moving from the level of information
to the niveau of serious theological discussion." (p. 98)
1) In the January 1967, Ecumenical Review, the official organ of the WCC, a paper prepared by the Faith and Order Commission concerning the Seventh-day Adventist Church was published. Beach writes that "Seventh-day Adventists consider this article as one of the fairest and finest statements published by non-Adventists about Adventists." (So Much in Common, p. 100) A careful examination of this paper reveals that ist primary source documentation is the book, Questions on Doctrine, which formalized the compromises with the Evangelicals the previous decade. [Forty nine footnotes are referenced; of these twenty seven are from QD. The entire article is reproduced in So Much in Common, pp. 57-68. The book may be requested through Adventist Laymen's Foundation, P.O. Box 69, Ozone AR 72854 with $1 for postage.
2) In 1967, the Central Committee of the WCC appointed a General Conference recommended theologian from Andrews University to the Faith and Order Commission. lt must be kept in mind that this Commission "provides theological support for the efforts the churches are making towards unity." (Faith and Order Paper, # 111, p. vii) Further the stated aim of the Commission is "to proclaim the oneness of the Church of Jesus Christ and to call the churches to the goal of visible unity in one faith and eucharistic fellowship." (ibid., p. viii)
3) "Since 1968 the General Conference has been actively represented at the annual meeting of 'Secretaries of the World Confessional Families' [Churches]" (So Much in Common, p. 100) This is the "non-organization" of which Beach is the Secretary, and through which he had opportunity to place the Seventh-day Adventist Church symbolically into the hands of the Pope by the presentation of the gold medallion.
4) "Since the Conversations got under way, it has become accepted procedure for the SDA Church to be represented at various WCC meetings, including the Assembly, by observers. These observers have not just been present pro forma, but have taken an active interest in the meetings they attended. An additional step was taken when the General Conference, as a world confessional body or church, was represented by an advisor in Canterbury at the 1969 meeting of the WCC Central Committee." (ibid., p. 101)
Too often overlooked in this recital of SDA relationships with the WCC is the fact that in 1965, the very year that the Conversations began, and very possibly from one of the Adventist participants at that first meeting, came the request to the General Conference that "our Statement of Fundamental Beliefs needed revision both from a theological and literary point of view." (Spectrum, Vol. 11, #3, p. 60) While at that time, the General Conference responded negatively, the matter was dropped, but it was not forgotten. When the one making the suggestion from Berne, Switzerland, Bernard E. Seton, became an associate secretary of the General Conference in 1970, he pursued the objective till the 27 Fundamental Statements of Belief became a reality in 1980. Then he retired. But what was accomplished?
The Constitution of the WCC sets forth certain specific confessions which a joining church must accept. In 1965, when the Conversations began, the Statement of Beliefs did not contain the confessions. The 1980, 27 Statements of Fundamental Beliefs as voted did contain them.
First, the WCC Constitution - it reads:
I. Basis --
The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess
the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the Scriptures and
therefore seek to fulfil together their common calling to the glory of
the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
-- Those churches shall be eligible for membership in the World Council
of Churches which express their agreement with the Basis upon which the
Council is founded and shall satisfy such criteria as the Assembly or
the Central Committee may prescribe. (So Much in Common, p. 40)
Observe now the parallel
concepts in the 27 Statements of Fundamental Beliefs as voted in 1980.
These concepts are not found in any previous Statement.
Statement # 11
Statement # 2
Thus in two statements we encompass the
p 8 -- "Basis"
for membership in the WCC, borrowing for the most part the very language
of the Constitution.
Further, the Faith and Order Commission in pursuing its goal of "visible unity in one faith" has chosen the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed of A.D. 381 for the basis of this unity. (One World, Jan-Feb, 1988, p. 15) Commenting on the background and development of the doctrine of the Godhead contained in this Creed, J. N. D. Kelly, in his book, Early Christian Doctrines, writes: The doctrine of one God. the Father and creator forrned the background and indisputable premiss of the Church's faith. Inherited from Judaism, it was her bulwark against pagan polytheisrn, Gnostic emanationism and Marcionite dualism. The problem for theology was to integrate with it, intellectually. the fresh data of the specifically Christian revelation. Reduced to their simplest, there were the convictions that God had made Himself known in the Person of Jesus, the Messiah, raising Him from the dead and offering salvation to men through Him, and that He had poured out His Holy Spirit upon the Church. Even at the New Testament stage ideas about Christ's pre-existence and creative role were beginning to take shape. and a profound, if often obscure, awareness of the activity of the Spirit in the Church was emerging. No steps had been taken so far, however, to work all these complex elements into a coherent whole. The Church had to wait for more than three hundred years for a final synthesis, for not until the council of Constantinople (381) was the formula of one God existing in three co-equal Persons formally ratified. (pp. 87-88; emphasis supplied)
Where do we find this confession made by the SDA Church? Look at Statement #2 again of the 27 Fundamentals: "There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons."
While we may not be a "full" member of the WCC, perhaps only a "closet" associate member, nevertheless, the stage has been set in the apostate 27 Fundamental Statements of Belief, not only for a "full" membership in the WCC, but we have also acknowledged the basis for "a visible unity in faith" as perceived by the Faith and Order Commission. Do not forget that this Commission is being manipulated by Rome which has 12 of its theologians as members, and on this Commission is a Seventh-day Adventist theologian with full approval of the hierarchy of the Church - the General Conference.
"WCC and CHURCH:" -- The Catholic Leader, official paper for Australian Catholics, headed its front page article in the February 24, 1991, issue with the bold caption - "WCC and Church: Rome's vision of the future." Written by Special Writer, Ian Mathews, it was primarily a digest of the remarks of Australian Archbishop Edward Cassidy of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity "at an international Press conference at which some 400 journalists fired questions" at Cassidy.
To appreciate the full force of the report in The Catholic Leader, one needs to see the accompanying photographs. Two pictures in full color share the page with the article under another caption - "United in diversity." These pictures were of a worship service conducted according to the Lima Liturgy. "The liturgy was first used by the Faith and Order Commission after the Lima Document was issued in 1982." The first picture shows the "Cross [crucifix] carried in procession" during the liturgical service. The second shows the preacher at the service, Jacqueline Grant of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (USA). The article begins with these words - emphasis theirs - "When you're on to a good thing stick to it." That is the current and continuing philosophy coloring the relationship of the Roman Catholic to the WCC. The first picture emphasizes this - the crucifix adopted in the celebration of worship. The second picture represents the block toward full unity for Cassidy clearly stated - "The ordination of woman for us is also a question of understanding the doctrine of ministry." This doctrine does not incclude such ordinations.
Cassidy, a special "guest" at the WCC Seventh Assembly, indicated in the Press Conference that from Rome's point of view "the WCC was rather long on social and political issues and short on theology and doctrine." Noting however, that the links between the Roman Church and the WCC were "close and constant," he cited the joint working group between the two organizations which "seek to identify areas where we can work together; where we can cooperate; look at issues together; to try to promote the multilateral dialogue between the Churches." The Roman Catholic Church is the "tail" that is wagging the WCC. "Liaison between the Roman Catholic Church and the WCC is maintained by a permanent liaison officer attached to the WCC in Geneva."
p 9 -- Further, "the Vatican's team of 24 observers was able to take part in much of the Assembly's work 'through the generous arrangements of the WCC.' "
The key revelation by Cassidy is the importance which he attaches to the Faith and Order Commission. Noting that the Commission had 12 Catholic theologians as "full members," he said: The commission was of particular interest to the Roman Catholic Church as it dealt with matters of doctrine, questions of faith and order "and those other questions in which we are primarily concerned in our relationship with the WCC."
"Those other questions" were defined as "the Petrine role of the Bishop of Rome; the questions of the infallibility of the pope and so on. The question of taking part in the "Eucharist" did come up as reported in the Ecumenical News Service (91.02.74), but Cassidy indicated "that sharing the eucharist is the 'ultimate sign and seal' of church unity." The bottom line is bow to the Pope and he will give you the wafer.
The primary emphasis
of Cassidy as reported in The
Catholic Leader was that the Roman Catholic Church was
"working towards the unity in faith and in communion."
Cassidy said that any form of union would open up the whole area of very
interesting ecumenical dialogue, "namely the diversity that one would
look for in eventual unity of the Churches. I think that is something
we have no doubt about in our ecumenical approach.
We are not working
toward uniformity among the churches of the world. We are working
towards the unity in faith and communion."
He said the Ukrainian
Church is in communion with Rome "but it has its own liturgy, its
own traditions, its language and, to a great extent, its own discipline
and way of nominating its bishops through its synods."
"So I think we have no desire to make everyone look like a French or Australian Catholic, but to create a true unity of faith with a diversity of peoples and cultures as the situation will develop." (p. 3; emphasis theirs)
things need to be re-emphasized: 1)
The Faith and Order Commission's stated aim is "to call the churches
to the goal of visible unity in one faith and one eucharistic fellowship."
2) They are attempting the latter through the Lima Document,
and are proposing the expression of unity in a common faith based on the
Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed of A.D. 381. The Seventh-day Adventist
Church is already represented on the Commission and took part in the formulation
of the Lima Document. (lt should be noted that officially the hierarchy
reacted adversely to the Lima Document in a paper presented to the WCC,
yet they still held the "Delegated Representative" status at
the Seventh Assembly of the WCC) Through the 27 Fundamental Statements
of Belief as voted at Dallas in 1980, the Church expressed its unity with
the Creed of A.D. 381.
COMMENT-- The lead article in The Catholic Leader noted
Cassidy as "President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian
Unity." His viewpoint should accurately express the Roman Church's
design for world dominance and recognition of Papal supremacy. In fact,
the article's title included the concept - "Rome's vision of the
future." This vision as explained by Cassidy clearly states - "We
[Rome] are not working towards unitormity among the Churches of
the world. We are working towards the unity in faith and in communion."
same approach was echoed in the Ecumenical
Review, (January. 1967), official organ of the WCC, in
discussing Seventh-day Adventism. In a comment on keeping the seventh
day Sabbath, a footnote read: "lt
may be of interest to draw attention to the fact that advocacy of the
seventh-day Sabbath is itself characteristic of one WCC Church. The Seventh-Day
Baptist General Convention has been a member since Amsterdam. ... Such
dlfferences provide occasions for dialogue rather than being an obstacle
to tellowship in the ecumenical movement." (So Much in Common.
While Rome does not change, and it is holding firm on the "Petrine role ot the Bishop of Rome," it is obvious from Cassidy's remarks that certain concessions will be allowed for diversity of expression in worship so long as the major objective is realized. Mass is being celebrated on Saturday night to accommodate the "family" recreation on Sunday. In fact, a bold advertisement, under the concluding part of the lead article in The Catholic Leader on Cassidy, announced that at the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace would be "First Saturday Devotions" starting March 2 for five months. Interestingly, the Sabbath is becoming less an obstacle, with the emphasis on "worship." Is this not the contrast in Revelation 14 - "worship Him who made" or "worship the beast"? Did not Ellen White, when in Australia. set forth the "Difference between Sunday Closing Laws and Laws Forbidding Sabbath-keeping?" See Ms. 163, 1898. Isn't it time we did likewise, and get the issue clear? --- ( 1991 -- COMMENTARY -- Vol. V -- # 2 -- ) --- End --