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 1996 Oct - Dec
-- XXIX -- 10(96) -- THE
GOSPEL OF JOHN -- Editor's
Preface -- The
first article in this issue is a summary of the introductory message given
at the 1996 Annual Fellowship. The entire message is included in the taped
recordings of the Seminar on the Gospel of John. See page 6.
While the issues of WWN for the first
nine months were devoted almost exclusively to the discussion of the Accord
between the Evangelicals and the Roman Catholics, with Special Issues
focusing on the Adventist Hospital System of Colorado joining forces with
the Roman Catholic Hospital corporation in the same state, a number of
events of interest were passed by. "Trends" covers two of these.
Just prior to the Annual Fellowship, a telephone
contact in Indiana alerted me to a statement in the adult Sabbath School
lesson quarterlies for the third quarter. The principle author of these
lessons was Dr. Norman Gulley of Southern College's religion faculty.
His position on basic Adventist theology has been questionable since his
departure from Madison College. He was on line while teaching there. This
I know as I followed him as head of Madison's Bible Department, and had
access to study materials he developed while there. In the Sabbath
School lesson on "Christ's Ministry of Forgiveness," Gulley
makes a summation regarding Hebrews Chapter 9 and the ministry of Christ
in the Heavenly Sanctuary. It is a two-pronged assertion denying the position
of Desmond Ford on the chapter, and yet at the same time muting the position
of basic Adventism which teaches that Christ began a heavenly ministry
in the first apartment of the Heavenly Sanctuary. Back in 1980, we devoted
a large part of an issue to Ford's allegations. From that material, we
have adapted the article on Hebrews 9, and then added comments on the
use of hagia in
three other places found in the book of Hebrews. It is not light reading,
but essential data.
The material in "Notes and Comments"
should be of interest to all as it reveals the thinking of the recognized
ecumenist who heads the World Council of Churches. It represents a radical
departure from the previous attempt at church unity and appears to have
Roman Catholic approval.
p 2 --
OF JOHN -- The last books of the New Testament
to be written were written by John. Of these, the Gospel may have been
the last. It is a fitting capsheaf to the Apostolic age. All the leading
lights of that age had passed from the scene of action. John alone remained.
He speaks freely of people and events in a very forthright manner. For
example, the other Gospels picture the "brethren of Jesus" coming
with Mary to see Him. It could be inferred that they were concerned about
Him. John reveals their real attitude. He writes: "His
brethren... said unto Him, Depart hence, and go into Judea, that thy disciples
also may see the works that thou doest. ... For neither did His brethren
believe in Him. (John 7:3, 5)
John, along with the other Gospel writers,
tells of Peter's denial of Jesus, but he alone reveals the restoration
of Peter by Jesus Himself. (John 21:15-17) These brief insights give added
light to some of the unexplained details as are recorded in the book of
Acts. To illustrate: why was Peter the unquestioned spokesmen
on the Day of Pentecost just fifty days after his base denial of his Lord?
The objective of the gospel of John is clearly stated: "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ [Messiah], the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through His name." (John 20:30-31)
The Gospel of John is noted as didactic rather
than synoptic as the other three gospels. That is, the Gospel of John
emphasizes the teachings of Jesus rather than listing events and series
of experiences from His life. In this formation of His gospel, we are
challenged by a unique revelation. This gospel was written some sixty
years after the words recorded were spoken, and John was well advanced
in age. Many chapters of the book are recorded as direct quotes. (Note
John 14-16) Some of the conversations are detailed exchanges at which
John was not present. (See John 18:33-38)
How are these to be explained? Here is an
example of verbal inspiration. The Gospel of John is a Spirit-dictated
book. Herein lies its power as a gospel - the good news
- of the redemption that is in Jesus Christ our Lord. Its simplicity
both in its Greek, and English translation speaks to the heart of every
reader from the scholar to common man. The mind of John was controlled
by the Spirit of truth Who dictated the teachings of Him Who is the Way,
the Truth, and the Life. To each who believes in Him who speaks is granted
the privilege to become the sons of God. (John 1:12)
The theme of the book is found in the very
heart of the gospel itself. In the midst of controversy, and even name-calling
on the part of the Jewish leadership. Jesus proclaimed Himself as the
"I AM." (John 8:58) This was the core of His self-revelation.
To those who were seeking a higher standard
of living. He said. "I am the bread of life." (John 6:35)
To those groping in the darkness of Phariseeism.
He declared of Himself - "I am the light of the world."
(John 8:12) Then He demonstrated His power to give light to those so darkened
by creating eyes for the man born blind. (John 9:5-7)
To those seeking the right way in the midst
of confusing voices. Jesus declared - "I am the door."
(John 10:7) [The Greek word for "door" is
thura, from which comes "The Through Way" or "thoroughfare"]
To those who accept the one provision for
sin - through Christ alone - He says -
"I am the Good Shepherd" who "giveth His life for the sheep."
To those facing the hour of death:
to those standing at the open grave of a loved one, with comforting assurance
He speaks - "I am the resurrection and the life."
To those seeking to return to their Father's
house, He opens His arms and declares - "I am the way,
the truth, and the life." (John 14:6)
To those desiring true growth in grace, He
presents Himself - "I am the vine.... Abide in Me."
(John 15:1. 4)
There is an unique use of the "I Am"
in John 6:20-21. It reads: - "He
saith unto them, I am: be not afraid. Then they willingly received
Him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they
The Greek translated in the KJV. "It
is I," is the same as the "I am's" quoted above -
ego eimi. The evening before, Jesus had dismissed the thousands
He had fed, and left for a time to be alone in a nearby mountain. The
disciples waited till dark, and then embarked for Capernaum. A great wind
arose against which they made little progress. In the midst of their fear
of the elements, they see a figure walking on the billows which only compounded
their terror. However, after "willingly" accepting Him into
the ship as the "I AM," they were immediately at their objective
- the home port.
This experience dare not be lost on us. In
the encounter during which Jesus declared - "Before Abraham
was, I AM" (John 8:58) - He had warned. "I said
therefore unto you,
p 3 -- that ye shall die in your sins:
for if ye believe not that I AM, ye shall die in your sins." (John
8:24) [The word "he" is supplied in the KJV] It
is at this point that many today need to pause and do some serious thinking.
The self chosen designation of Himself as the
I AM is not an accident nor incidental. He is the I am
- the self-existent One - and the I
AM - the ever-existent One. Moffatt
well translates this sacred name simply as the Eternal. And so He is!
Only God could provide the price of redemption.
Through Isaiah, He declared - "There is no God else beside
Me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside Me. Look unto Me, and
be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none
else." (45:21-22) Jesus was noting what Isaiah had written, and declared
that unless one believed in Him as that Saviour-God, there was no hope,
one would die in his sins. John makes it crystal clear in his gospel that
the I AM is the Logos who was "God" and was with "the God"
(Gr). Beside these Two, "there is no Elohim." (Isa. 44:6) To
deny to the Logos this position is to deny Him as the Saviour thus leaving
one to die in his sins.
TRENDS -- At the 1903 General Conference Session a warning was sounded before the vote was taken which jettisoned the reform Constitution of 1901. Dr. P. T. Magan, who had signed a minority report charging the newly proposed Constitution to "be subversive of the principles of organization" given at the General Conferences of 1897 and 1901, declared: It may be stated there is nothing in this new constitution which is not abundantly safeguarded by the provisions of it: but I want to say to you that any man who has ever read Neander's History of the Christian Church, Mosheim's, or any of the other of the great church historians, - any man who has ever read those histories can come to no other conclusion but that the principles which are to be brought in through this proposed constitution, and in the way in which they are brought in, are the same principles, and introduced in precisely the same way, as they were hundreds of years ago when the Papacy was made. (1903. GCB p. 150)
We have called attention to this perceptive statement
of Magan's several times previously through the columns of WWN
, as recently as the last issue, and asked two serious questions:
I be in fellowship with [an] hierarchical system structured as Rome is
structured, and not find an affinity with Rome which could ultimately
lead me into communion with Rome?" and
"Where does affinity to, lead?"
With Magan's warning, must also be placed what Ellen G
White wrote concerning the adoption of this 1903 Constitution immediately
following the session in San Francisco. It reads: Unless
the church, which is now being leavened with her own backsliding,
shall repent and be converted, she will eat of the fruit of her own doing,
until she shall abhor herself. (8T:250: emphasis supplied)
That leaven has been working steadily, and at times almost
imperceptibly. We have documented some of the trends to Rome in the Manuscript
- Steps to Rome. A Federal Judge of a United
States District Court in an opinion of a case involving the Church wrote: Church
documents that prescribe the Church's structure and governance confim
that all parts of the Church are parts of a single entity. Next to the
Roman Catholic Church, the Adventist Church is the most centralized of
all major christian denominations in this country. (Case 81 C 4938,
Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, "Findings of Fact,"
#77. p. 22)
Affinity in structure, leads to affinity of expression as the "model" expresses itself. A friend on the West Coast sent us an article from the Gleaner, the voice of the North Pacific Union Conference. The article (June 3, 1996, p- 8) concerned "the grand opening of the new $600,000 sanctuary" of the Anchorage Seventh-day Adventist Church. The picture included speaks a thousand words. We reproduce it here:
Truth needs no outward display of its authority.
The representative of truth does not project self, but remains but a
channel of communication. Of the Church which Christ established, He
declared - "All ye are brethren." (Matt. 23:8) It is Romanism
which seeks to exalt its clergy, thus separating them from the people.
In 1903, we initiated the beginnings of the structure of Rome, now the
p 4 -- For several decades, ministers
and members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church have worked in active
fellowship with the Billy Graham Crusades when they "came to town."
If my memory serves me correctly, in Russia some of the ministers of the
Church attended the training school of evangelism which Graham conducted
there in recent months. This trend continues. We received a clipping from
the Canadian Union Messenger (June. 1996), which told of a campaign
by Graham's son, Franklin, in Saskatoon. The Church participated in this
Province-wide crusade. Then the report read "Members were privileged
to receive some excellent training by the Graham Evangelistic organization
which prepared them for a series conducted by Pastor Ron Johnson immediately
following." (p. 18) All of this raises some serious questions which
should be addressed.
How many "gospels" are there? If
I read the Bible correctly, there is but one gospel, and that "everlasting
gospel" was committed in sacred trust to a people whom God raised
up following the Great Disappointment of 1844. Is it not incumbent upon
those to whom this "Everlasting Gospel" was entrusted to seek
in every way possible to distinguish between the true and false gospel?
If the Graham Evangelistic organization has the true "gospel,"
why should we seek to follow its endeavors in any locality with a "series"
of our own presentations? Is there no God in Israel, that we need to seek
to the god of Ekron for help in presenting what God has committed in sacred
trust? Or have we betrayed this trust to such an extent that we are no
longer able to distinguish the true from the false?
In the Golden Age of Adventist evangelism, men were
not trained by attendance at evangelistic crusades conducted by Graham
or men of his thinking. Adventists had their own evangelists who had the
gift - Detamore, Shuler, and others of that period -
and young ministers were placed in "on-the-job" training as
a part of the Evangelistic teams.
The "messages" which the Evangelists preached
during this "Golden Age" were the full and complete messages
as given by the Three Angels of Revelation 14. It is true that after the
SDA-Evangelical Conferences, which followed the Golden Age, that the compromised
version of Adventism led to a large church growth. Today, the majority
of the membership of the North American Division of the Church is composed
of those who were so introduced to, or instructed in, Adventism.
Step by step the departure from truth, pure and unadulsterated has been made. As the trend continues, and there is no reversing of what has become a "tide," there needs to be some deep heart-searching on the part of those who knew the truth as it was once presented so as to rescue souls who are being overwhelmed in the sea of the resultant confusion. Merely claiming a label, such as "historic" Adventism, is not the answer.
HEBREWS NINE -- In
the third quarter's Adult Sabbath School Lessons for the regular
church was a lesson captioned, "Christ's Ministry of Forgiveness."
The part of the lesson for Friday - "Further Study" -
is interesting for two things: It reads:
1) "The purposes of the ministries in the two
apartments of the earthly sanctuary was to point to the ministries of
Christ in the two apartments of the heavenly sanctuary:" and
2) "It cannot be proved from Hebrews 9 that
Christ entered only one apartment of the heavenly sanctuary at His ascension.
nor can it be proved that His antitypical Day of Atonement ministry began
at that time." (p. 28)
In regard to the #1 statement, this is the first time
in a decade that an official publication of the Church has stated that
Christ's ministry was divided between a two apartment Heavenly Sanctuary.
The official Statement of Beliefs voted at Dallas in 1980 spoke of Christ's
heavenly ministry as "phases." (See #23 of Statement)
Further, this admission of truth if honestly and accurately applied could
also enlighten and enlarge our perceptions of the sanctuary doctrine freeing
it from traditional concepts which cannot be supported from the Biblical
typology of the earthly sanctuary.
It is the #2 statement quoted above which is open to question
stating both truth and error. Being a compound sentence, the second clause
is in line with truth, while the first clause - "It cannot
be proved from Hebrews 9 that Christ entered only one apartment of the
heavenly sanctuary at His ascension" - is a false conclusion.
This conclusion is drawn based on a faulty interpretation of the Greek
which is cited.
Certain facts need to be first noted. The Bible of the
Apostolic Church was the Septuagint (LXX). Every reference in the Book
of Hebrews from the Old Testament is quoted from that Greek translation.
The key Greek word in Hebrews 9, raised by the assertion in the Sabbath
School lesson, as well as the same word in chapters 8, 10 and 13, is
hagios a Greek adjective meaning "holy." The lesson
quarterly indicates that this word when used in the LXX "usually
refers to the sanctuary as a whole." This is open to question, and
especially so when referring to the typical Day of Atonement ministry
of the High Priest. In Leviticus 16, the word, to hagion,
neuter singular of hagios,
is used to denote the Most Holy Place [KJV - "holy"
with the word "place" supplied]
p 5 -- Christ entered upon "His antitypical
Day of Atonement ministry" at His ascension would have validity.
Not so, immediately some definitions are given. For
there was a tabernacle made: the first, wherein was the candlestick, and
the table, and the shewbread: which is called the sanctuary. (9:2)
The word translated,"sanctuary," in the KJV
is the Greek word, Hagia
(nominative, neuter plural). Paul chooses this word, to define the first
apartment of the earthly sanctuary. Then he continues: And
after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all."
The phrase "Holiest of all" in the Greek is
Hagia Hagion. This phrase never appears again in the book of
Hebrews. All other references to the priestly ministry of Christ following
the definitive verses, use a form of the word,
Hagia. Prior to the definitive verses in Chapter 9, the word,
in its plural genitive form, is used in Hebrews 8:2, and the verse could
be rendered that Christ is "a minister of the holy things (ton
hagion), and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched,
and not man.
Apart from its use in Hebrews 8, and the definitive verse
in Chapter 9, hagios
occurs six other times in the Book of Hebrews. The first is Hebrews 9:8,
which reads: The
Holy Spirit this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all [ton
hagion - genitive neuter plural] was not yet made manifest, while
as yet the first tabernacle was yet standing. (KJV)
The sense of the
Greek word translated "standing" is "retaining its divinely
appointed status" or as the Lesson Quarterly states "still had
significance." This ended when Christ's sacrifice was completed on
the cross and the Divine Presence no longer had regard for the Temple.
The judgment of God was manifest in the rending of the veil from top to
bottom by an unseen hand. (Matt. 27:51)
The error of interpretation in regard to this verse can
be made by failing to note the emphasis placed on, "first,"
in regard to the tabernacle. Paul had just declared in his definitive
verses that the "first" tabernacle was the
Hagia. (See 9:2) What right do we have to interpret this same
designation as referring to the sanctuary as a whole?
Further, by letting the Word give its own exegesis, it
is plainly indicated that Christ did enter into His ministry in the first
apartment following His ascension. The Holy Spirit attests to this significance
of the type. After confirming the figurative nature of the types, the
declaration in Hebrews continues: But
Christ being come an high priest of good things to come . . . by His own
blood, he entered in once into the holy place (ta hagia) thus obtaining
eternal redemption for us" (9:11-12)
In these verses there is another point of contention which
needs to be carefully noted. Within the Church, as a part of the present
controversy over the sanctuary teaching, there is the issue concerning
the Cross. Was the Cross, "the Act of the Atonement", and thus
the work completed on the Cross (Movement of Destiny, p. 500):
or was the Cross, "the condition of the Atonement" (Acts
of the Apostles, p, 29), and thus Christ would enter the Heavenly
Sanctuary "to complete His work." (Desire of Ages, p.
790) In these divergent concepts, basic fundamental Adventism is involved.
To formulate the basic Adventist concept on this point would be to state
that Christ "by His death
began that work which after His resurrection, He ascended to
complete in heaven." (The Great Controversy, p.
498) A correct understanding of these verses will clearly set forth the
truth, and thus establish the basic teaching of the Church prior to the
compromise with the Evangelicals in 1955-56. It is my understanding, though
without documentation, that these verses were the verses which tipped
the scale at the time of the conferences. The question, therefore, is
- Did Christ when "He entered in" obtain eternal
redemption, or had He obtained it for us prior to His entering in, in
others words, on the Cross? To put it another way as revealed in the type
- Did the sinner by transferring his sin to the substitutionary
victim and then slaying the animal receive forgiveness, or was forgiveness
conferred when the priest taking the blood made atonement for the sinner?
(See Lev. 4:32-35)
These verses in Hebrews 9 constitute one sentence in the Greek text. There is one main clause in the past tense - "He entered in" - with two subordinate participial clauses in the same Greek past tense (aorist). While the past (aorist) participle is most frequently used to denote an action prior to the time of the main verb, which in this case would then mean that Jesus obtained redemption prior to His entering in. However, there is a use of the past participle called "identical action" which means that the action, as indicated by the participle, is identical with the time of the main verb. This, then, permits the translation to read that Jesus having entered in obtained eternal redemption for us. (See the RSV) When "identical action" is intended, the main verb as in these verses is also in the past tense rather than the present. The conclusion is, therefore, warranted as stated in basic Adventism that Christ appeared in the presence of God for us in the first apartment of the Heavenly Sanctuary and by the acceptance of the sacrifice - His own blood - a redemption eternal in quality was secured so that all who come unto God by Him might
p 6 -- be saved to the uttermost.
Two more verses remain
in Hebrews 9 in which the word, hagia
is used. These read: For
Christ is not entered into the holy places (hagia) made with hands,
which are the figures of the true: but into heaven itself, now to
appear in the presence of God for us: nor yet that He should offer Himself
often, as the high priest entereth in the holy places (ta hagia)
every year with blood of others. (24-25)
Paul is here writing in the "now" time. He declares
plainly that Christ is not entered into the "hagia,"
defined as the first apartment, of the earthly, but into its antitype
in the heavens above. However, the second use of
hagia raises some questions. Is Paul speaking of the Host Holy
place, thus referring to the ministry of the high priest on the Day of
Atonement? If this be true, then it can be affirmed that Christ upon His
ascension - "now" - entered immediately into the
work of the Most Holy Place of Heaven.
Two factors argue against this conclusion:
1) Paul's definitions in Hebrews 9:2-3. Let it be
underscored that he designates "a tabernacle ... the first"
as the Hagia.
Then after the second veil comes "the tabernacle which is called
the Hagia Hagion.
If, therefore, Paul was referring to the ministry in the Most Holy Place,
he would have used the term,
Hagia Hagion, rather than Hagia.
2) Paul's use of "every year in verse 25
is not the same as in verse 7 where without question he describes the
work of the high priest on the Day of Atonement. The phrase in 9:7 is
- Hapax tou eniautou
monos - which literally reads - "once the
year alone." In 9:25. the phrase is - kat'
eniautou. The preposition, kata,
when used with the accusative means, "during." Also, eniauton
- year - denoted the year as the ceremonial cycle of
time. In 9:7, the work of the high priest in his Day of Atonement ministry
was designated as "once" in that yearly cycle, while in 9:25
the work was designated as
kat' enlauton - during the yearly cycle.
It is also interesting to observe that it was "the
priest that is anointed," in other words, the high priest, who brought
the blood of the sin offerings into the holy place when such was required.
(See Lev. 4:5. 16) Not until the Day of Atonement did the high priest
bring blood into the most holy place. (Lev. 16:14-15) Paul was not speaking
of that day, as the antitypical day had not come. He was dealing with
the "now" time - a time when priests were still
offering gifts according to the law. (Heb. 8:4) Further, the phrase
- kat' enviauton
- is unique to the book of Hebrews being found in three different
places - 9:25, 10:1, 3. In each of these latter references,
the concept of the yearly cycle of ceremonial services fits the demand
of the context instead of considering it as an allusion to the Day of
Atonement besides harmonizing with the definitions of terms as given in
Beyond Chapter 9, two other references use the word, hagia. Hebrews 10:19-20 reads: Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest (ton hagion) by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; ...
Again the text is speaking to the Christian of that time
frame. How Paul had defined the term would still be applicable. They were
to follow Jesus by faith "within the veil." (Heb. 6:19-20) Some
would have us believe that the "veil" in Hebrew 6:19 refers
to the second veil which separated the two apartments. However, when Paul
meant the second veil, he called it the "second veil." (Heb.
Hebrews 13:11, the final verse to use
hagia reads: "For
the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary
(ta hagia) by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.
While this verse may appear to be alluding to the "cleaning"
up following the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:27), it can also find its source
of reference in the sin offerings wherein the blood was brought into the
first apartment of the sanctuary. (Lev. 4:11-12, 21)
In all of these verses whether in Hebrews 9, or in the two other chapters where hagia or hagion is used, depending upon which case is required in the Greek, no violence is done to the context or its meaning by applying the definition as is set forth for that word. The teaching of Hebrews 9 is simply that Jesus having made the sacrifice of Himself - meeting the condition of the Atonement - entered into the presence of God in the first apartment of the Heavenly Sanctuary at the Throne of Grace (Heb. 4:14-16) in fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah - "He shall be a priest upon His throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both." (6:13) In the sanctuary above, He shall pursue His work of atonement until completed before the Throne of Judgment in the Host Holy Place.
p 7 -- NEWS
and COMMENTS -- In the February issue of
WWN. [XXIX-2(96)], page 7, we commented regarding an
Ode to Mary appearing in the 1888 Message Newsletter.
Since that time we have been in correspondence with Elder R. J. Wieland.
He sent us a letter written to Dr. and Mrs. Lloyd Rosenvold because they
also had expressed an adverse reaction to the Ode. Wieland claimed in
the letter that his poem is written as an apostrophe "a time honored
literary form . . . especially prevalent in poetry." He cites several
examples of its use, one from the Bible, and others from the hymns we
sing. We will grant Wieland his literary license, but are still under
the conviction that it was ill-timed for publication in view of the present
heavy emphasis on Mary by the Roman Catholic Church. It left a wrong impression
on many readers.
We had hoped that by renewed correspondence with Wieland, there could be a closer meeting of minds over the Message of Righteousness by Faith as given in 1888 in contrast to the modified Tridentine Gospel being taught by many so-called "historic voices" in Adventism. The message as given in 1888 was set forth by the Lord's messenger as "advancing truth" with the counsel - "We must walk in the increasing light." (R&H. March 25. 1890) A. T. Jones honored this counsel and applied it his study of Bible prophecy and the sanctuary question. The result was that he perceived the "daily" in relationship "to the continual service in the sanctuary." (The Consecrated Way. p. 99) It was very disappointing to read of a recent 1888 Message Conference held at Union College in which the erroneous pagan application to the "daily" was set forth. (Newsletter, July-August, 1996) If the message of Christ's righteousness is truth,"pure and unadulterated" (TM. p. 65). the Committee on 1888 has much work to do before they can truly claim, as it is inferred in their masthead, that they are bearing "a special testimony, a special message of truth appropriate for this time." At present it is mingled with error.
Konrad Raiser, not only the general secretary of the World
Council of Churches, but also a recognized leading authority on ecumenism,
recommended at a major ecumenical symposium at Trier, Germany, this past
April that "a universal Christian Council to resolve the issue dividing
the church" be convened. This proposal was set forth in the presence
of Cardinal Cassidy, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting
Christian Unity. He asks that the main church families Orthodox. Roman
Catholic. Protestant and Pentecostal - begin now toward the
preparation necessary for such a Council to convene as soon as possible
after the year 2000.
The road to the goal includes a binding process which Raiser describes as a "conciliar process" to prepare for the universal council. "The proposal holds fast to the belief that a council in the full sense can only meet if the participating churches can together confess the faith and celebrate the Eucharist together." The proposal for this Council takes its inspiration from the universal Church Councils which were held in the first centuries which brought bishops together to settle doctrinal differences. One of these doctrinal differences which Raiser perceives as a "central" issue is the question of "the primacy of the Pope." (ENI-#12-96-0317)
"In little over a year's time, hundreds of delegates
from all Europe's main churches will descend on the Austrian city of Graz
for a second European Ecumenical Assembly. The gathering -
from 23 to 29 June 1997 - will be only the second such meeting
since the time of the Reformation." The organizers of this Assembly
are the Conference of European Churches [CEC] and the Council of European
(RC) Bishops' Conferences [CCEE] The CEC brings together 118 Protestant,
Orthodox and Anglican churches from all European countries. CCEE incorporates
33 national and regional Roman Catholic Bishops' Conferences. The theme
for the assembly is "Reconciliation - gift of God and
source for new life." Rudiger Noll, assembly secretary for the CEC,
stated that the churches involved need to discover for themselves what
"reconciliation" meant rather than draw up prescriptions for
the rest of the world. The last such assembly in Basle produced a mammoth
document on "peace with justice. The organizers of Graz "want
an action plan in which participating churches in the assembly commit
themselves to specific actions of reconciliation.
-- 11(96) -- THE
TRACK RECORD of
When one speaks forthrightly,
or writes pointedly even to the extent of naming names in harmony with
inspired counsel (See Prophets and Kings, p.141), there are those
who quote the words of Jesus from the Sermon on the mount without bothering
to quote his other admonition to "judge righteous judgment."
(John 7:24) Apparently others who have faced similar accusations have
had "their fill" and are striking back. An interesting tract
which was received by this editor is reviewed in the article which questions
- "Is It Right to Judge?"
One would never have
believed the day would come when a Seventh-day Adventist educational institution
would sue the State because they could not get tax funds to support the
program of the school. Yet, believe it or not, the Baltimore Sun
carried an article telling of such a suit. Has the spirit of sacrifice
so completely vanished from the Church that it must lean upon State monies
to carry forward their educational program, or is there a far more serious
reason? Have the schools of the Church failed to give the kind of education
they were founded to give, so that they have lost the confidence of their
supporting constituencies? Then to cap this breach in the wall of separation
of Church and State is the advocacy by an editor of the Adventist Review
calling for a piece of the "tax pie" to support his "kids"
in school. He doesn't tell you how much the Church helps him with his
children's tuition! Such editorial musings are reprehensible.
p 2 --
Track Record of "Historic" Adventism --
who rejected the "light from heaven" were the ones who were
calling for the Conference to remain "historic" and stand by
the "old landmarks." They could not discern between the periphery
and the substance, and see the substance of truth in "new settings."
These "historic" Adventists refused to understand that "the
truth is an advancing truth" and that to be in line with God, "we
must walk in the increasing light" of that truth. (Review &
Herald, March 25, 1890) The moment we place a "period" on
either our knowledge of truth, or our experience in the truth, and seek
to rest in that "historic" experience, we place ourselves in
a position to reject the light of advancing truth which God has for His
professed people. Even as the Jews of old, who stubbornly rejected the
source of truth - Jesus Christ Himself, we commit the same crime. There
is no difference in the ultimate end between rejecting Christ, or rejecting
"advancing truth" inasmuch as Jesus is the truth, and the way.
That way is "the path of the just" which "is as the shining
light, that shineth more and wore unto the perfect day." (Proverbs
The attitude, that
was manifest in 1888 by "landmark" Adventists toward the message
God sent, is the same attitude manifest today toward the same message
by those who claim to be leaders in the crusade to maintain "historic"
Adventism. The "followers" of these leaders are imbibing the
same attitude because of devotion to men, even as in 1888. When are we
going to learn the lessons of history instead of being a part of past
The issue is serious.
It concerns the gospel whereby men are saved. It is verily the heart of
the Three Angels' messages - "the everlasting gospel" itself.
Of this we shall have more to say, but for now let us continue the history
of the track record of "historic" Adventism.
In the providence
of God, the attention of the leadership of the Church was called in 1950
to the fiasco of 1888. The warning and its reception to this call for
"denominational repentance" has been documented in a manuscript
by that name. However few realize the extent to which the hierarchy went
to mute the validity of the call. At the time the call was made, few were
aware of the manuscript - 1888 Re-Examined - which had been submitted
to "the brethren" in responsible places. The result was that
the measures taken to defuse any active interest would not be suspected
Two years following
the submission of the manuscript by Elders R. J. Wieland and D. K. Short,
the president of the General Conference, Elder W. H. Branson, called for
a Bible Conference which was reported in a two volume work - Our Fim
Foundation. A "General Introduction" written by the Secretary
of the 1952 Bible Conference, 0. E. Rebok, after the completion of the
conference, contains some interesting observations. Rebok began his summary
with the assertion - "The Seventh-day Adventist Church is the remnant
of God's church." He begins with Noah "and his message of righteousness
by faith" continues to cite various Biblical personages - Abraham,
Moses, Ezra, Nehemiah - as well as voices from the period of the Reformation
- Luther, Calvin. Knox and Wesley, concluding that as these proclaimed
their message of righteousness by faith "so are Seventh-day Adventists
and their message of righteousness by faith in this last crisis hour of
earth's history. (Vol. I, p. 11) No mention is made of the fact that the
Church rejected its message in 1888. All was well.
The theme, according
to Rebok, of "the everlasting gospel - Believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ, for He is our Righteousness ran through "every one of the
eighty messages given until a grand spiritual climax was reached in the
communion service and the praise and testimony hour on that never-to~be-forgotten
Friday afternoon," prior to the final Sabbath of the Conference.
Then Rebok concluded - The conference "was indeed a high-water mark
of the Advent Movement. Such was the power and influence of one of the
greatest convocations of God's people this side of Pentecost." (ibid..
Who were the men
that spoke? Individual names are not the critical issue, even though some
of what they presented was deleted in the editing process. They were in
Rebok's words - "sincere, honest, earnest, devoted, loyal men - Seventh-day
Adventists. first. last, and always - who tried to give expression to
our conceptions of the great truths believed, held and taught by Seventh-day
Adventists generally in all parts of the earth." (ibid., p.
p 3 -- In fairness, it should be noted that while the Conference held to fundamental Adventism in doctrinal presenation, they did not hold these presentations to be the last word on any subject presented. Rebok concluded his introduction by stating - "The Spirit of truth will most assuredly continue to impress men everywhere with other aspects of these great truths, for they are inexhaustible." (ibid. p 13) As a conviction it was good, the outworking was not so good.
Near the close of
the conference, Elder W. H. Branson gave a study on "The Lord Our
Righteousness." As he concluded his study, he said: To
a large degree the church failed to build on the foundation laid at the
1888 General Conference... But the message of righteousness by faith given
in the 1888 Conference has been repeated here ...
And this great truth
has been given in this 1952 Bible Conference with far greater power than
it was given in the 1888 Conference... No longer will the question be,"What
was the attitude of our workers and people toward the message of righteousness
by faith that was given in 1888? What did they do about it?" [A
clear reference to the manuscript. 1888 Re-Examined] From
now on the qestion must be,"What did we do with the light on righteousness
by faith as proclaimed in the 1952 Bible Conference?" (Vol. II.
The final question
asked by Branson has indeed become
the question. It has been answered in two ways:
1) by the regular church in the SDA-Evangelical
Conferences, and 2) by most
of the independent ministries, as the point to put the period and call
it "historic" Adventism. Both involve how we relate to "advancing
Within three years
of this Bible Conference, the Church leadership would begin the fateful
dialogue with Barnhouse and Martin which ended in compromises of the basic
doctrines held by Seventh-day Adventists. In the list of names of those
who placed their stamp of approval on the contents of the book, Questions
on Doctrine were many who had presented papers at the 1952 Bible Conference.
Their approval denied what they had declared to be truth in 1952. Why?
They had failed to do what they confessed was the obligation of truth
walk in its advancing light, and thus they were easily persuaded that
the Evangelicals presented to them advanced light. Mere profession of
"historic" Adventism will not save one from apostasy from the
truth. The track record of "historic" Adventism proclaims this
loud and clear.
What has happened
now because those placing a "period" on their Adventist perceptions
of truth have stopped with the enunciations of the 1952 Bible Conference?
While the 1952 Bible Conference was loudly proclaimed to be a greater
presentation of the 1888 Message than 1888 itself. those who see the 1952
Bible Conference as the period point for "historic" Adventism
have joined in the rejection of the 1888 Message, and in its place these
leaders are selling a modified Tridentine version of the "Everlasting
The track record
in Adventism of placing a period at any point in the study of and experience
with truth should cause some careful reflection on the part of individuals
who, having become disillusioned with the mainline body's continued apostasy,
have thought themselves safe in the "historic" Adventism being
offered by various voices professing to be upholding fundamental Adventism.
Just what is involved in this crisis over the "everlasting gospel"
committed in sacred trust to the Advent Movement?
A careful survey
of the Three Angels' Messages of Revelation 14 leads to the inescapable
conclusion that the heart of these angel messages is what is termed "the
everlasting Gospel." All other aspects are ancillary and reveal aspects
of "present truth" to be proclaimed as adjuncts of the gospel
to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. The thrust of the gospel
is primary. This is not a new gospel, but the everlasting gospel which
was first intimated in the promise of Genesis 3:15. This gospel in its
final proclamation will point the way for the revelation of a people of
whom it will be said - "Here are they that keep the commandments
of God and the faith of Jesus." (14:12)
The conflict within
the community of Adventism today is not which day is the Sabbath, but
what is the everlasting gospel. When we realize the full import of the
warning that "not all who profess to keep the Sabbath will be sealed"
(5T:213), we need to take more than merely an academic look at
what constitutes the seal of God as it relates to the "everlasting"
Gospel. In Ezekiel 9, the command was given - "Mark a
tau" (Heb) - on the foreheads of those sealed. The taw
is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and is not only symbolic of
the last work to be done, but also in the days of Ezekiel, it was written
in the form of "X" or a cross.
Every aspect of apostasy
is a perversion of some reality of truth. Making the "sign of the
cross" is one such perversion. What is the reality? Note carefully
the question asked, and the answer given: What
is the seal of the living God, which is placed in the foreheads of His
people? It is a mark which angels, but not human eyes, can read: for the
destroying angel must see this mark of redemption. The intelligent mind
has seen the sign of the cross of Calvary in the Lord's adopted sons and
daughters. The sin of the transgression of the law of God is taken away.
They have on the wedding garment, and are obedient and faithful to all
God's commands." (Letter 126, 1898)
p 4 -- "Redemption"
is the objective of the gospel; the "cross" is the place where
the sacrifice - "the condition of the atonement" - was made.
The everlasting gospel in sum and substance is the proclamation of "the
redemption that is in Christ Jesus." (Rom. 3:24) Here the battle
lines are being drawn in the community of Adventism today. Are we going
to stay by "landmark" Adventism and reject the "increasing
light" which was sent by two "messengers" in 1888? (This
question can be translated into the terminology of the present hour) There
are not two "gospels." There is only one "everlasting"
gospel. It is the same gospel which Paul declared he was taught "by
the revelation of Jesus Christ." (Gal. 1:12) However, there is a
false gospel, and the true and the false anathematize each other.
Paul wrote -
"Though we, or an angel
from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have
preached unto you, let him be accursed (Gr. anathema)
(Ga 1. 1:8)
The false Tridentine
gospel of Rome also pronounces an anathema. Canon XII of the Council of
If any saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in
the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ's sake: or that this confidence
alone is that whereby we are justified: let him be anathema.
There can be no modification of the everlasting gospel, but there can
be varying shades of the Tridentine gospel, and these are the "shades"
which we are seeing in what is being set forth by "voices" proclaiming
themselves to be the upholders of "historic" or "landmark"
Adventism. One may say that he is proclaiming the Three Angels' Messages
but unless he is proclaiming the "everlasting gospel" as set
forth by the Apostle Paul directly from Jesus Christ, he is not preaching
the Three Angels' Messages but is proclaiming a false message. No proclamation
of the Three Angels' Messages is a genuine proclamation which does not
produce in the hearer "the mark of redemption" "the sign
of the Cross of calvary" in the professed sons and daughters of Jesus
In the light of how
serious this battle within the community of Adventism really is, it is
our intention in the January 1997 issue of WWN, to begin a series
of studies on "the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." We will
seek to set forth this redemption as revealed by Jesus Christ to the Apostle
Paul. We do not propose to compromise with Rome to escape her anathema,
nor to set forth a gospel which deceptively retains the human ego as a
contributing factor in redemption. Further, we will accept the counsel
given by the messenger of the Lord in regard to the message of 1888, that
to "landmark" Adventists. God gave precious light and it was
their responsibility "to walk in this increasing light." We
will seek to turn devotion from men to the message - "Fear God and
Airplanes -- Communique,
the General Conference Staff Newsletter for June 6, 1996, was received
by this editor from a friend in the area of circulation. The lead article
was captioned - "Paper Airplane Flying Contest lakes Off."
The suggestion was
made - If
you have aspirations of having the longest hang time and Chuck Yeager
is your childhood hero, then start saving your scrap paper and get your
arm in shape for the fifth annual Paper Airplane Flying contest being
held June 12 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. in the [General Conference
office building's] atrium.
Awards were given
for the greatest distance and longest time aloft. The previous year's
record was a 97 feet hurtle, and the longest time aloft was 10 seconds.
The awards were presented at the 15th annual employee picnic in the afternoon
at Smokey Glen.
The one sending me
the Communique wrote a brief note in the margin of the publication asking
- "What are the GC folks up in the air about?" Another could
wonder - Flying paper airplanes while "Rome burns" to borrow
an observation from history. There is nothing wrong with some time out,
and freeing the mind from the intensity of decision making, but did not
Paul say - "When I was a child, I spake as a child ... I thought
as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."
(I Cor. 13:11)
p 5 --
Suing the State of Maryland -- The report in the Baltimore Sun is not only startling, but in some respects ironical. The state funded program was named for the late president of Loyola College in Baltimore, and has for 25 years made grants to private colleges. It would not be far from the mark to assume that the Church through its Religious Liberty department spoke against this program when it was put through the Maryland legislature. Now a college affiliated with the Church is suing the state's Higher Education Commission because they were denied what they considered their share of the grants, it is obvious that some "church" thinking has changed or is muddled.
This trend was voiced
by the associate editor of the Adventist Review when he editorialized
that he wanted a piece of the tax pie for education so that he could be
helped with his "kids" tuition. Adams even suggested that it
would be "prudent to make common cause with Catholics" to obtain
this kind of assistance for students in private religious schools. He
added - "Think how much we stand to gain - as parents and as a church!"
(August 30, 1990, p. 4) This is just another example of the warped thinking
that comes from this editor's pen in other areas as well.
One will need to watch for the response, if any, to come from the Liberty magazine over this lawsuit. The veteran editor of many years has retired, and a novice has taken his place. Has the Seventh-day Adventist Church a new position on separation of Church and State? Adams would have one believe that the issue of separation of church and state is not involved but that it is merely the matter of "equal treatment under the law." That is what public education is all about. One can choose otherwise, but he must pay for it.
IT RIGHT TO JUDGE?" -- Recently we subscribed to a
fundamental evangelical bi-monthly publication so as to assess the viewpoint
of Evangelicals opposed to the E&CT Accord. With each issue they include
samples of tracts which they publish, one of which bore the above title.
We suspect that it was written in response to the flak which they received
for their outspoken opposition to the Accord. They do not hesitate to
name names in their publication. Sadly the same attitude is exhibited
in the Community of Adventism when error is noted and the names of those
teaching the error are given. The response is defensive - "Don't
judge" - instead of exercising good judgment to discern the error
being promoted. The problem is that many concerned Adventists are attached
to men rather than to truth. These have merely transformed allegiance
from "church" to an "independent." They refuse to
use their God-given power to think, and choose rather to be lulled into
a fatal sense of security because of an attachment to a "voice"
sounding in Adventism today.
p 6 -- The
tract confronts the question forthrightly by stating "Many do not
know that the Scripture commands us to judge." Then the following
references are cited: "The
Lord Jesus Christ commanded, 'Judge righteous judgment' (John 7:24).
He told a man, ' Thou hast rightly judged' (Luke 7:43). To others,
our Lord asked, ' Why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?'
Paul wrote, ' I speak as to wise men: judge ye what I say' (I Cor.
10:15). Again Paul declared, ' He that is spiritual judgeth all
things' (1 Cor. 2:15). It is our positive duty to judge."
The tract then proceeds
to note what things we are to judge, the first being "false teachers
and false teaching." Matthew 7:15 is quoted - "Beware of false
prophets" and the comment made - "But how could we 'beware'
and how could we know they are 'false prophets' it we did not judge?"
The admonition of Paul is cited fom Romans 16:17-18: Now
I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses
contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned: and avoid them. For they
that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly: and
by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple."
The comments in this
tract on these verses are worth not only careful but prayerful consideration:
apostolic command could not be obeyed were it not right to judge. God
wants us to know His Word and then test all teachers and teaching by it.
Notice also that it is the false teachers who make the 'divisions,' and
not those who protest against their false teachings. And these deceivers
are not serving Christ, as they profess, 'but their own belly,' or their
own 'bread and butter,' as we would put it. We are to 'mark them' and
'avoid them.'" Begin now
such a judgment, Check the mail you receive, and note if it contains a
small white envelope, What is that for? From that point on you will begin
an eye-opening process if honest and sincere, You will as Paul commanded
- "Mark them" and "avoid them." It is a sure commentary
on the validity of the truth presented, when the leader of a "ministry"
brags about how many "deep pockets" he gets his hand into. Yet
the gullible Laodicean who has merely transferred allegiance from "the
church" to that "ministry" falls for such deception instead
of exercising "righteous judgment."
The little tract gives consideration to the command of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount - "Judge not, that ye be not judged." (Matt. 7:1) They suggest that one read carefully the verse in full context - Matt. 7:1-5. We suggest that you do the same before reading their observation on these verses, which we shall note for you. The author of the tract stated: Notice that it is addressed to a hypocrite! -- not to those who sincerely want to discern whether a teacher or teaching is true or false to God's Word. ... Many who piously quote. 'Judge not, ' out of its context, in order to defend that which is false to God's Word, do not see their own inconsistency in thus judging those who would obey God's Word about judging that which is untrue to the Bible. It is tragic that so much that is anti-Scriptural has found undeserved shelter behind a misuse of [this] Scripture. ... The reason the professed church of Christ [or "ministry "] is today honeycombed and paralyzed by satanic [liberalism or pharisaic conservatism] is because Christians have not obeyed the commands of God's Word to judge and put away and separate from false teachers and false teaching when they first appeared in their midst. Physical health is maintained by separation from disease germs. Spiritual health is maintained by seperation from germs of false doctrine. The greatest peril of our day is not too much judging, but too little judging of spiritual falsehood. (Emphasis theirs)
This same peril is
found in the community of Adventism today. "Voices" are sounding
from every direction, a false gospel is being proclaimed as "the
everlasting gospel" by many "voices" professing themselves
to be "historic" Adventists. Even as in 1888, so today it is
"Satan's determined purpose to eclipse the view of Jesus, and lead
men to look to man, and trust to man, and be educated to expect help from
man." (See TM. p. 93) What is the answer - "Judge righteous
judgment." (John 7:24)
Federal Credit Union -
This credit union serves Adventist employees in the Washington D.C. area
including the General Conference, Columbia Union College, and Shady Grove
Adventist Hospital. In a recent circular the Credit Union announced an
expanded list of locations where its services were offered. The new locations,
among others, includes the Roman Catholic Holy Cross Hospital. A recipient
of the circular called the main office and asked if the funds of all these
institutional credit unions were held in a common account. The answer
received - "Absolutely."
Catholic Hospital Accords -
Information received indicates that the Washington Adventist Hospital,
Shady Grove Adventist Hospital. and the Facility at Hackensack, New Jersey,
are working on an accord with the Roman Catholic Holy Cross medical facility
in Silver Spring. Another contemplated merger in the New England area
is on "hold" due to laity opposition.
p 7 -- Let's
Talk It Over -- Communications received from the field
concern us. We are challenged for putting, what is termed, too much emphasis
on the papacy in the final events of history. Other responses urge us
to consider that Islamic forces actually meet better the criteria of the
prophecies that have been applied to papal Rome in the past.
To better understand
the workings in Catholicism of the conservative forces allied with Pope
John Paul II, our library subscribed to a Catholic journal which reflected
that perspective. One result was that we are now on numerous mailing lists
of Catholic publications as well as other agencies of the Roman church.
For better or for worse, we are receiving some very interesting insights
into the objectives of Rome. Since the beginning of this last decade,
several new Catholic journals have begun publication with the avowed objective
of presenting the Roman Catholic church in the way they believe it to
be - the true "Bride of Christ." With this objective is connected
another goal: the return to Roman allegiance of all possible
"separated" brethren. A little known provision for the married
ministers of Protestantism who defect to Rome is a dispensation known
the Episcopal Provision. This permits them to remain married, and yet
become priests of the Catholic church.
The most recent of
the new Roman Catholic publications of which we have received sample copies
is one named, Sursum Corda! ("Lift up your hearts") dedicated
to "The Catholic Revival." This special promotional edition
contained an unique approach. Twelve pages of this 30-page edition were
devoted to testimony of recent converts to Catholicism. One, now a married
priest from Lutheranism, told of his life's story. His backgound in the
study of history was replete with a grasp of Catholicism of the Dark Ages.
He espoused as a Lutheran minister the position that the Papacy was the
antichrist of Bible prophecy until - and here is his testimony: "I
came the conclusion that I could not say that this Polish man was the
antichrist." This conclusion
with incidents in his ministry led him to make contact with a Catholic
priest friend and in the end - he converted.
In this experience,
there is a warning lesson. This man knew the facts of history which justify
the prophetic fingering of the Papacy as antichrist. What he did not perceive
were the words of Scripture that Satan himself would be "transformed
into an angel of light" and hence "his ministers" would
also "be transformed as ministers righteousness." (II Cor. 11:14-15)
There is no change in reality. only the appearance is altered. The coming
of that "Wicked" one is still "after the working of Satan"
with the same deceptive cunning that snared our first parents. (II Thess.
This is a repeat
of the Garden of Eden in the final deception of the last confrontation.
When Eve "saw
that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes,
and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof.
and did eat." (Gen. 3:6) The word of God was clear and beyond question
as to intent and result. Eve judged on appearance casting aside that Word.
The prophecies of God's word in Daniel, Revelation, and the writings of Paul are clear and cannot be refuted. The "little horn" of Daniel 7, the "man of sin" in the writings of Paul and the "wounded head" of the beast of Revelation 13 is the papal antichrist. The current occupant of the papal throne is charismatic and has changed the image of the papacy in the public eye, but the heart and core remain the same. I care not how saintly the present pontiff appears, nor how many compromises are suggested in his encyclical letters, the aims of the papacy dictated by the "energy and power of Satan" have not altered. The Word of God is the true indicator of reality, not the disguised appearance projected by the facade employed by Satan. It is time that we know the truth of Bible prophecy and hold stiffly to the position defined by it. If you have any lingering questions or doubts, may I suggest that you review the taped recordings of the Seminar in Daniel with its documented helps. It's time to stop being entertained each Sabbath by the weekly and/or monthly videos being offered by various "voices" in Adventism, and get your Bibles out and do some serious study of the Word free from the Jesuit "Futuristic" speculations so prevalent today. --- (1996 Nov) --- End --- TOP
Dec -- XXIX
- 12(96) -- ECUMENICAL NEWS
The news item on "The Virgin Mary" highlights the growing devotion to her in Romanism. However, the emphasis on Mary is not unique to Romanism. Just yesterday (10/16), we received through the mails a copy of a Church Bulletin used in a bilingual Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Texico Conference. In a section captioned a "Resume of the Teaching of the Scriptures," was this assertion "All doctrines must be in complete harmony with the Holy Scriptures, as taught by Christ, and lived out in the lives of St.Peter, St. Paul, St. John and the blessed Virgin Mary, leaving no room for the traditions or commandments of men."
One has only to read the new book by Bernstein - His Holiness - to know that the whole world is "wondering" after the "beast." When the devil appears as Christ, and is welcomed by "his holiness" will those who are expecting the return of Jesus know who has really come? They will not unless they are convinced by the Word of God who the one is who is leading the way in the worship of the "antichrist par-excellence." Bernstein has described Pope John Paul II as a "mystic" who believes that he possesses the gift of the Spirit. Does not Paul relate that "that Wicked" one comes energized by Satan? See II Thess. 2:8 Gr.
light is breaking at the end of the tunnel of human history. Jesus soon
will come. We close this year with many events of significance breaking
upon us. What lies just ahead, the months of 1997 will tell. Let us watch
and be ready.
p 2 -- ECUMENICAL NEWS REVIEW FOR 1996 -- CHURCH UNITY (IN DIVERSITY?) --
Germany, 21 February -- A prominent German Roman
Catholic has called for the "institutional reunification" of
the Catholic and Protestant churches .............. Norbert Greinacher
said that while there needed to be some form of church authority at the
world level, this should not be a "petrine service" of the type
exercised by Pope John Paul II. The two main Christian traditions - Roman
Catholic and Protestant - needed to work together ecumenically on issues
such as that of creating a new world order, Greinacher said. A leading
German Lutheran theologian (Wolfhart Pannenberg) has said that Protestants
should be ready to accept the role of the Bishop of Rome as "first
among equals". ENI Bulletin -96-0128
1 March -- The general secretary of the National
Council of Churches in Australia, David Gill, has said, "I find that
there is great trust, understanding and commitment among church leaders
There is a lot happening at the local level in Australia. People are using
their brains and saying their prayers and getting together to find new
ways of embodying unity." Gill was one of the people instrumental
in forming the new National Council of Churches which came into being
18 months ago. It replaced the Australian Council of Churches with a structure
which for the first time included the Roman Catholic Church. Though there
were some reservations on the part of the Protestants about including
Roman Catholics, Gill said he did not have to fight any great battles
on that score. "The inclusion of the Roman Catholic Church has been
a great gift for relations between the churches," he said. The Catholic
Church is now the country's biggest denomination, representing just over
a quarter of the population; ... ENI Bulletin -96-0156
April -- The general secretary of the World Council of Churches
(WCC) has made a passionate appeal for Europe's Protestant churches to
put aside their remaining national and confessional differences. Konrad
Raiser said that Europe was rapidly moving towards a situation "where
the traditional distinctions between different Protestant churches become
irrelevant ... " More than 90 of the WCC's Protestant member churches
throughout Europe were already in full communion with each other, ...
He called on Protestant churches to move to a "new level of ecumenical
understanding" and "relegate their remaining differences to
a secondary level". ENI Bulletin -96-0230
Geneva, 20 June
-- The main Christian traditions should start talks in the year 2000 to
settle outstanding differences, including the role of the papacy, according
to an ambitious plan unveiled by the general secretary of the World Council
of Churches. Konrad Raiser called for these Christian traditions to agree
to a series of proposals to strengthen church unity, which should include
allowing married couples
who belong to different churches to receive the Eucharist in their partner's
church. Raiser's proposals were first outlined in April this
year at a major ecumenical symposium at Trier, Germany, in the presence
of Cardinal Cassidy, president of the Pontifical Council for promoting
Christian Unity. Raiser proposed that the major Christian traditions should
start a binding process - which he describedas a "conciliar process"
- to prepare for a universal council. "The proposal holds fast to
the belief that a council in the full sense can only meet if the participating
churches can together confess the faith and celebrate the Eucharist together."
One of the central issuesto be settled as part of this process, Raiser
said, was the question of the primacy of the Pope. Last year, in his encyclical
on ecumenism, Ut unum sint,
Pope John Paul II ... invited non-Catholic churches to help him find a
form in which the primacy of the Bishop of Rome could be exercised in
a form acceptable to everyone. ENI Bulletin-96-0317 and 96-0405
Geneva, 27 June
-- Milan Opocensky, the general secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed
Churches (WARC), has stated that he fully supports the proposal of Konrad
Raiser, general secretary of the WCC and one of the world's leading ecumenists,
that the main Christian families of churches should start preparations
at the beginning of the next millennium for a universal Christian council
to resolve the issues dividing the church. "The year 2000 is a special
opportunity for Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant and Pentecostal Christians
to begin a process leading to a universal council.
The ultimate goal of such a council is a common confession of faith and
the celebration of the Eucharist together," Opocensky
said. "The end of the millennium is an invitation for celebration
and repentance. The long years of separation and division should not hinder
Christians from starting the conciliar process soon." ENI Bulletin-96-0346
Moshi, Tanzania, 13 August -- Mary Tanner, moderator of the Faith and Order commission, said that an "ecumenical convergence" on the role of the papacy was possible if churches responded positively to Pope John Paul II's encyclical on church unity. Tanner described the Popes invitation to other churches to discuss the issue of papal primacy as an "important and timely opportunity". She also stated that "If our Roman Catholic sisters and brothers tell us that the communion of particular churches with the church of Rome, and of their ministers of oversight with the Bishop of Rome, is in God's plan an essential requisite of full communion, then it is incumbent on all of us to engage with that challenge, whatever our own tradition. ENI Bulletin-96-0455
p 3 -- Rome,
21 February -- Konrad Raiser of WCC, has urged churches to
look upon the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Christ as an occasion
for cooperation and unity..... Raiser said in Rome that Pope John Paul's
apostolic letter on the year 2000 - Tertio Millenio Adveniente
- had "begun to die the imagination". The WCC general secretary
said that the Pope had also suggested an encounter on Mount Sinai between
Jewish , Muslim and Christian leaders, representing the three faiths following
in the tradition of the prophet Abraham .... sHe continued by saying that
the churches are caught in a framework of rules and norms which have been
formulated over centuries to justify and maintain separate identities.
They are the victims of false utopias which are in danger of being perverted
into instruments of power. "An ecumenical vision that can inspire
new commitment and can generate hope must break out of these constraints."
March -- The Vatican is "re-considering" the case
of Jan Hus, the Bohemian reformer who was executed in 1415 as a heretic,
but is not planning to rehabilitate him, according to a spokesperson for
the Roman Catholic Church in the Czech Republic. Jan Hus was the rector
of Prague University, and was put to death after being summoned to Constance
on a pledge of safe conduct to explain his teachings. He was burnt at
the stake. Several Roman Catholic experts have urged Pope John Paul II
- who, during a visit to Prague in 1990, spoke of Hus's "personal
integrity of life" - to condemn the treatment of Hus. They said that
this would help to overcome continuing tensions between Roman Catholics
and Protestants. ENI Bulletin-96-0169
Geneva, 19 September
-- Konrad Raiser, general secretary of the World Council of Churches,
has been reappointed by its central committee to a second five-year period
of office. Raiser, a theologian and member of the Evangelical Church in
Germany, was elected general secretary by the central committee in 1992,
and assumed his post in Geneva in January 1993. His first term of office
expires at the end of 1997. Konrad Raisers reappointment means he will
hold the post until the end of the year 2002, which is likely to be a
pivotal time in the life of the WCC as it renews and rethinks its role.
Announcing the election, the central committee's moderator said that Dr.
Raiser had "the full support of the central committee as he continues
his responsibilities as general secretary at this crucial juncture of
the history of the ecumenical movement in general and of the World Council
of Churches in particular". ENI Bulletin-96-0546
PAPAL PRIMACY --
Rome, 15 March -- Pope John Paul II may be considering changing the "Petrine primacy", a principal obstacle to unity between the Roman Catholic Church and other churches, according to comments by a senior cardinal in Rome. Cardinal Angelo Sodani, Secretary of State at the Vatican, has told an Italian newspaper that while Pope John Paul II has stated that the "mission of Rome" could not be changed, the Pope had "taken note" of requests from other religious leaders to find a "new form" of exercising the Petrine Papacy which would be open to a "new situation". ENI Bulletin-96-0166
5 June -- A leading German Protestant has strongly criticized
essential elements of Roman Catholic teaching about the role of the Pope.
. . , but Richard Frieling also suggested that Protestants might be able
to accept a scaled-down role for the Pope. Frieling said he could imagine
"communion with, but not under, the Pope", and that while Protestants
believed in the need for a global framework for church unity, Christian
truth could not be represented by a single person or by a single institution.
"Peter was no pope, and the Pope is not the only Peter," Frieling
said. Communion with the Pope would be possible for Protestants, only
on the basis of a common understanding of the Gospel and provided the
Vatican did not require non-Roman Catholics to accept papal infallibility.
However Frieling also said that Protestants could imagine a situation
in which the Pope, as the leader of the biggest Christian church, took
initiatives for the whole church and - in special situations in consultation
with other churches - spoke for the whole of Christendom. ENI Bulletin-96-0301
20 August -- The World Alliance of Reformed
Churches has been told that there is growing concern about the "unique
and certainly questionable" status enjoyed by the Vatican at the
United Nations .... According to Robert F. Smylie, official observer for
WARC and the Presbyterian Church (USA) at the UN headquarters in New York
.... No other religious body - Christian or otherwise - has the same status
or privileges as the Vatican which is recognized at the UN as a sovereign
state. The Pope has an automatic right to address - as head of state -
the UN general assembly, and the Holy See has full rights to participate
and speak at UN meetings. "This arrangement for voice but no vote
allows the Vatican to influence debate at the highest level, and to use
its leverage with other states that have been traditionally 'Catholic'
in identity, politics or history. Yet the Vatican bears no responsibility,"
according to Smylie's report. Smylie also acknowledged that it was difficult
for other religious groups to raise the issue publicly for fear of being
accused of "sour grapes."
p 4 -- JERUSALEM --
23 January -- The Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem has expressed
the firm hope that Jerusalem, known as a city of peace, would become a
"symbol" and could change our present world, the starter of
the new order". Bishop Samir Kafity, a prominent Palestinian called
Jerusalem the mother not only of the Christian Church, but of Judaism,
and Islam as well. The holy city, he said, was "a mother who loves
all her children equally and alike. She loves her three children, the
Jews, the Christians and the Muslims. She has no preference. "We
pray that it may once again be the answer to the quest for peace,"
Bishop Kafity said. "May it be a city completely shared in every
respect and at every level by Jews, Muslims and Christians - including
a sharing of sovereignty." "The full-time vocation and comprehensive
calling" of Christians, Bishop Kafity said, "is to be peace-makers.
Not peace negotiators or peace-keepers, but peace makers." He defined
a peace-maker as "one who loves self and the other equally".
23 January -- Fresh from conversations in Rome with Pope John
Paul II, the Latin (Catholic) Patriarch of Jerusalem told an ecumenical
and international conference in Jerusalem on 22 January that the Vatican
wanted Palestinians and Israelis to agree on the question of who has sovereignty
over Jerusalem. ENI Bulletin-96-0062
24 January -- The minister for Jerusalem affairs in the Palestinian
National Authority told an international conference here on 24 January,
that if negotiations with Israelis succeed "the warm sun of Jerusalem
will shine across the whole Middle East." But Faisal Hussein warned: "If
we fail, Jerusalem can also be the 'black hole' of the Middle East - swallowing
everything including the peace process". Geries Khoury, director
of the Al Liqa Center for Christian-Muslim dialogue, told the conference:
"I cannot be a Palestinian Christian, or a Christian Palestinian,
unless Jerusalem is my capital". He quoted United Nations resolutions
calling for a special status for Jerusalem. Canon Naim Ateek, founder
of the Palestinian Liberation Theology Center said "it is essential
to understand that what makes Jerusalem great is not its political character.
It is rather its religious character which is equally important to Jews,
Muslims and Christians. That is why it is mandatory for political sovereignty
to be shared. We can either make Jerusalem a city of perpetual strife
Jerusalem, 30 January
-- At the end of a five-day conference on the future of Jerusalem, the
gathering of representatives of Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches
worldwide said that Jerusalem must "remain undivided and serve as
the capital for two sovereign and independent states, Israel and Palestine".
Germany, 19 August -- The world's main Christian traditions
are hoping to organize a "truly ecumenical" celebration in Jerusalem
to mark the new millennium, the general secretary of the WARC has revealed.
Milan Opocensky said that a meeting in Geneva earlier this year of representatives
of Christian World communions - including the Roman Catholic Church -
had agreed to approach the Orthodox
THE VIRGIN MARY --
Paris, 7 June -- The Tour de France bicycle race, which is France's most publicised annual sporting event, was overshadowed by media coverage of a religious "tour". The Tour de la Vierge Marie included 108 statues of the Virgin Mary - each contained in a glass "mammamobile" pulled by a car, and made their way around France's Roman Catholic dioceses. Edmond Fricoteaux, a solicitor from Baillet-en-France, said that he had been "inspired", during a visit to Rome in 1982, to raise the Virgin Mary's profile in France. "I was a lukewarm Catholic until the day I heard Cardinal Gantin in Rome, but I got up from my seat filled with love for the Virgin .... Shortly afterwards, I recieved a letter from a student who had had a 'vision' of 99 statues of the Virgin Mary - one for each diocese - coming to Baillet-en- France." This gave Fricoteaux the idea for the tour of replica statues, including nine extra statues of the Virgin from French speaking parishes overseas. He then recruited 108 volunteer drivers. One of them, Catherine Le Gall, an office manager who gave up her job when she heard of the project, said "People thank us. We allow them to rediscover prayer. For them, seeing the Virgin Mary is a lot less difficult than going to mass." Fricoteaux says that the tour will not come to an end on the 8th September. He is already planning a world tour of the Virgin Mary which will end on the 24th December, 1999 in Bethlehem. ENI Bulletin-96-0303. --- (1996 Dec) --- End --- TOP
Special -- A
LEGAL OPINION -- RE:
CENTURA HEALTH AGREEMENT -- Part
Preface -- Two of the last three Special Issues of WWN
have been devoted to information regarding the Adventist-Roman Catholic
Hospital Accord in Colorado. With this issue we conclude our reporting
of this so-called "partnership." After completing the ground
work for this Accord between PorterCare and the Sisters of Charity Hospitals
in Colorado, Charles Sandefur, president of the Rocky Mountain Conference
was elevated to (rewarded with?) the presidency of the Mid-American Union
Conference. However, he was soon to face a constituency meeting. The Colorado
Accord became a major issue facing him. A delegate from Minnesota prepared
a manuscript of documents which was distributed to the delegates. A cover
letter dated April 18, 1996 indicated that this manuscript was "to
share information and opinions regarding the recent merger that took place
between our Adventist Health Care System and the Catholic Health Care
System in Denver. This merger was promoted and lead by our Mid-American
In this Manuscript of documents was a legal opinion by
an Adventist lawyer from Iowa, Donald G. Juhl. His analysis of the Agreement
signed with the Roman Cath-olics is outstanding. We have reproduced it
in this special issue of WWN.
In spite of the opposition, and the documented evidence presented, Charles Sandefur was elected to the office which he had held by committee appointment. Information received was that the president of the Minnesota Conference, Elder C. Lee Huff, was the choice of those opposed to the Colorado Accord. The Adventist Review, June 20, 1996, reports that Elder Huff will now go to Russia as president of the Euro-Asia Division. It looks like an "exile to Siberia" so that Sandefur can have free reign. On the surface it appears to be a promotion. The real promotion in the report is Neal C. Wilson's son to the presidency of the R & H Publishing Association.
A LEGAL OPINION -- RE: CENTURA HEALTH AGREEMENT -- (A letter to Mr. Garwin McNeilus from Donald G. Juhl, P.C., dated April 17, 1996.)
At your request, I have examined the following doc-uments
for the purpose of summarizing their respective salient features:
1) A November 16, 1995
draft of a proposed agreement between PorterCare Adventist Health Care
and Sisters of Charity Health Services Colorado consisting of 55 pages;
You have asked that I review the draft of the Agreement and, initially, compare the Agreement with the interpretation and explanation published by President Sandefur and secondly, point-out any additional legal concerns that I might have regarding ary provisions of the Agreement.
I am compelled to say at this juncture that all of my comments are referenced to a draft of the document dated November 16, 1995, which I am advised was not the final draft that was actually executed by the parties, but which was modified only slightly prior to its execution, according to information furnished me.
Throughout this letter, I will refer to PorterCare Adventist Health Care and PorterCare Facilities as "PorterCare" and Sisters of Charity Health Services Colorado and Sisters of Charity Health Services Colorado Facilities as "Sisters of Charity."
The draft document dated November 16, 1995 will be referred
to as the "Agreement" and the corporation created by the Agreement,
known as Centura Health, will be referred to as "Centura."
I have intentionally omitted any comments on the Agreement
from a Biblical or E. G. White perspective, as I do not purport to possess
any specialized knowledge in that area, over and above any other church
member. I might say in passing, however, that the Agreement gives a whole
new slant to Paul's admonition that we should not be unequally yoked together!
Perhaps the best way to organize this writing is to refer to President Sandefur's comments first, then to the Agreement for a discussion of whether or not his comments are supported by the actual terms of the Agreement.
At the outset, however, I want to point your attention to President Sandefur's prolific use of the word "Partner" or "Partnership" in his document captioned "Questions and Answers about the PorterCare Partnership." In the first three pages of the four page document, President Sandefur uses the word "partner" or "partnership" no less than twenty-five (25) times.
While accountants and lawyers may know that a large number of partnerships might consist of any number of partners, each possibly owning unequal shares, I respectfully submit that the vast majority of lay-persons in our Church - or any other segment of society would automatically assume that a "partnership" consists of two individuals or entities each owning an equal 50 percent of the assets, each sharing the profits and losses equally, and each having an equal voice in management decisions. Furthermore, I believe that most lay-persons believe that anyone involved in a partnership can dissolve the partnership at any time and go their separate way.
I have serious concerns regarding President Sandefur's
repeated characterization of Centura as a
The Agreement creates a perpetual (lasting forever) non-profit
corporation under the laws of Colorado which can only be terminated pursuant
to Article XIV of the Agreement which will be discussed later. The Agreement
obligates PorterCare to remain a participant for as long as the perpetual
corporation exists. (Sec. 2.1, p. 8; Sec. 2.3 (b), p. 9)
Furthermore, as alluded to above, this "partnership"
is anything but equal. Centura's initial envision of assets and division
of cash flow is 70/30 - 70% to Sisters of Charity, 30%o to PorterCare.
(Sec. 1.366, p. 7; Sec. 7.2, p. 29) An additional provision allows Sisters
of Charity - and only
Sisters of Charity - to unilaterally increase their ownership interest
by bringing in other Catholic
p 3 -- hospitals and health care facilities which could dilute PorterCare's interest to a minimum level of 20 percent. Any increase in capitalization by PorterCare can only be made if both parties agree. (Sec. 7.3, p. 30).
Of even greater concern is the unequal balance of power that exists with the body that controls Centura, the Board of Trustees.
The Agreement provides that Centura's business and affairs shall be managed by a Board of Trustees consisting of 17 members: 12 appointed by Sisters of Charity and 5 by PorterCare. Moreover, the Agreement states that the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Centura shall be an exofficio member of the Board with voting rights, but the senior Adventist executive shall be an exofficio member without voting rights. (Sec. 3.4, p.14-15).
Furthermore there is a provision which allows the Board to designate as few as 3 board members as an Executive Committee which will have all authority and all powers normally exercised by the full Board unless otherwise reserved for the full Board of the Agreement or state law. Only one member of the Executive Committee must be a PorterCare Trustee. A majority of the Executive Committee (any 2 of the 3 trustees) constitutes a quorum for the conduct of business. In other words, 2 non-PorterCare trustees can essentially "run" the entire system. (Sec. 3.4 (d) (1), pp. 15-16).
A quorum exists for the full Board if only 50% of the
members attend - 9 out of 17 - and only 1 of
Turning now to President Sandefur's February 13, 1996 letter, I note that paragraph two begins with these words: "PorterCare is still a completely Adventist health-care system . . ." the fundamental purpose of the Agreement, however, is the creation of an "Integrated Delivery System" or "IDS". This is defined in Section 1.26 of the Agreement as "...the integrated health care delivery system to be formed by the Parties, their respective IDS Participants, operating units and programs for the development and operation of IDS Activities, which IDS will be vertically and horizontally integrated, able to assume financial risk for a defined population and will offer a comprehensive spectrum of community health services."
Centura will be the organization that totally manages and directs the health care facilities owned by Sisters of Charity and PorterCare. Centura will be in charge of the finances, the marketing of services, the decision of which facility will be used for what services, the formulation and marketing of any Health Maintenance Organizations that may now or in the future be owned by the parties or affiliated with Centura, and all dealings and transactions with physicians, clinics and health insurance companies. "Porter Hospital" may still be the name over the door and PorterCare will still have a separate, all Adventist Board of Directors, but the only meaningful activity of the PorterCare Board will be the election of the 5 of 17 members of the Centura Board that will actually run the new integrated system. True, PorterCare will still hold legal title to the existing assets, but it will retain no control over how those assets are utilized. It will, of course, continue to remain responsible for all existing PorterCare debt.
The document does provide that each party and its facilities
may retain its particular religious orientation, which, I presume would
forbid the installation of a statue of the Madonna in the lobby of Porter
Hospital. However, the statement that Portercare is still a completely
Adventist Health Care system is 180 degrees from the stated purpose of
Integrated Delivery System created by the Agreement and the new management
Much of the language used by President Sandefur to justify the "partnership" - as he calls it - with Sisters of Charity in lieu of a non-church related health care system is the statement that both PorterCare and Sisters of Charity are mission oriented, mission motivated and mission driven, as opposed to profit motivated.
True, the Agreement pays lip service to the historic medical mission of both the Catholic and SDA Churches. However, the driving force of Centura and the wide ranging powers of the management corporation are aimed squarely at improving the financial performance and economic viability of the institutions governed by it.
The visions and goals of the IDS as stated in Sec. 2.2 of the Agreement are definitely economic in nature, with the last two stated objectives being
p 4 -- unity and enhancement of the historical commitment of both churches to care for the whole person through pastoral care, charity care, community education and care of the indigent. (As a practical matter, I am not aware of any hospital, public, private, profit or not for profit, that does not address these concerns to a greater or lesser degree.)
Section 4.4 however, leaves no doubt that financial performance is central to the Agreement. It sets forth precise financial performance expectations that will be measured by various financial indexes published by Standard and Poors and Moody's, which are used to measure and evaluate a hospital's financial performance. The Agreement further sets forth the corrective action that will be taken, and the powers of Centura to take that action, as well as the consequences of non-performance.
Moreover, Section 7.12 deals with "Removal of Distressed Assets" and states as follows: "(a) If the board determines in its reasonable discretion that any JDS Health Care Facility cannot be operated as part of the IDS in a cost effective manner, CMC [Centura] shall be entitled to direct that such IDS Health Care Facility cease its operations, upon the expiration of a reasonable period of time..," (emphasis supplied) The party whose institution is not "cost effective" does have the right to remove the failing institution from Centura management, without penalty, but its survival on its own would certainly be questionable if it could not make it under the Integrated Management System to begin with.
While Mr. Sandefur states in his letter that "each system will retain ... its assets," that statement does not completely address the entire ownership issue, as Sec. 7.8 of the Agreement states that, unless modified by mutual agreement of the parties, any assets funded by Centura after the qualification date will be titled in the name of Centura, not PorterCare or Sisters of Charity. The new asset would then be owned in the 70/30 ratio.
President Sandefur's letter concludes with the statement that "The President of PorterCare will always be a Seventh-Day Adventist, as well the on-sight managers of the PorterCare institutions." In my opinion, I do not believe that the agreement requires this result, or even promotes this result.
Section 3.6 (a), Management, first states that the President
of Centura shall be the CEO of Centura and the initial individual to hold
that position shall be the present head of Sisters of Charity, Mr. Gary
Susnara. Any replacement shall be recommended by a search committee, with
no particular specified qualifications or religious
Section 3.6 (b) goes on to state that the Centura CEO shall appoint a (meaning "one") PorterCare nominee as an executive officer of Centura with senior level operating responsibility, which individual shall be acceptable to both the CEO and the PorterCare Board. All executive officers of Centura shall serve at the pleasure of the CEO, in other words, he or she has sole discretion to hire and fire at will. The 17 member Board of Centura and its 12 to 5 composition selects the CEO and the CEO in turn selects the senior executives responsible for operations. Sub-section (c) states that the CEO has the authority to select the senior executives responsible for the PorterCare Facilities after consultation with and subject to approval by PorterCare." I find no language whatsoever in the Agreement that requires all senior executives of PorterCare facilities to be members of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
The question and answer sheet published by President Sandefur is more significant for what it fails to state than what it does state. His answer to that question "Is this a merger?" states correctly that the Centura Board is appointed by the respective existing Boards, but fails to mention the 12 to 5 ratio of the Board or the 70/30 ownership ratio of newly acquired assets and distribution of cash flow.
The second question relating to mission and identity includes,
among other things, a statement that PorterCare will retain "Adventist
Management." A later answer on page 2 of the President's Questions
and Answers also states that "the on-sight managers of the PorterCare
institutions are all Seventh-Day Adventist, and these positions will always
be held by Seventh-Day Adventists." (emphasis supplied).
As set forth in the above discussion, the terms of the Centura agreement
simply do not require this or guarantee this. Indeed, the President and
all the Board members of PorterCare
(not Centura) may always be Seventh-Day Adventists, but as stated previously,
this Board is now devoid of management powers and its only meaningful
function is to elect its 5 members of Centura's 17 member Board and rubber
stamp the executives named by Centura's CEO to run the PorterCare facilities.
I choose the phrase "rubber-stamp" with caution but with confidence.
To do anything else would "gridlock" the entire system and thwart
its underlying purposes.
Another one of the President's comments states that
p 5 -- "a unique feature of this Agreement is that a portion of Centura Health's net gain each year will return to the separate sponsoring Boards as 'tithe and offerings' for additional ministry activities." I find no such provision for a return of "tithe and Offerings" in the Agreement.
Several comments made by President Sandefur indicate that if PorterCare is unhappy with the "partnership," or if it just "doesn't work out," PorterCare can simply walk away from it all and go back to its previous form of management. The final remark in the President's document does in fact mention that if PorterCare withdraws "not for cause, it would be assessed a penalty. No amount is mentioned by the President, or even alluded to.
Section 14.2 (b) governs termination without cause and
is, in my opinion, absolutely shocking from a legal and economic standpoint,
without mentioning any religious, moral or ethical concerns.
I quote the provision:
"(2) If PorterCare terminates this Agreement without cause S.C. Health Services Colo. [Sisters of Charity] in its sole discretion, may elect one of the following options:
(i) To require
PorterCare to pay liquidated damages of twenty-five ($25m) million dollars
and grant a right of first refusal to [Sister of Charity] to purchase
PorterCare's Denver assets at a value to be established as of the date
this Agreement terminates if PorterCare enters into an affiliation with
any other person within five (5) years following the date of termination.
(ii) To sell S.C. Health Services Colo. 's [Sisters of Charity's Denver assets] to PorterCare at a premium." (emphasis supplied)
While I am not intimately familiar with Porter Care's present financial position, other than President Sandefur's comments that economic survival requires the "partnership," I believe I can predict with a reasonable degree of certainty that withdrawal without cause would bankrupt PorterCare forthwith. Moreover, if PorterCare attempted to withdraw for cause because of an alleged breach by Sisters of Charity, the legal fees and other costs of litigation would probably produce the same result.
Point (c) of the General Conference's
guidelines for affiliations such as this, as set forth in the conclusion
of President Sandefur's communique, requires "Control and governance
of material balance sheet assets by Church recognised entities, includinq
the ability to withdraw." The language used by our G.C. makes no
distinction between cause and non-cause withdrawals and certainly the
intent of the provision is to provide for withdrawal for any reason. I
cannot believe our G.C. guidelines embrace payment of a 25 million dollar
penalty or the purchase of all the Catholic hospitals and nursing homes
in the Denver area at a premium,
as the price that must be paid for severing the unequal yoke.
Furthermore, the G.C. comments on retained control of
material assets does not mesh with Sec. 4.9 of the Agreement which forbids
sale, transfer or disposal of material assets of PorterCare without Centura
approval. If you can't sell it, you don't control it.
An interesting provision allowing termination for cause
is contained in Sec. 14.2 (a). This allows Sisters of Charity to terminate
the Agreement at any time, without penalty, if Sisters of Charity or any
of its assets are later determined by the Catholic Church to be subject
to Canon Law. Canon Law is defined in Section 1.6 as "...the universal
law of the Catholic Church as found in the 1983 Code of Canon Law, as
amended from time to time, or any successor Code of Canon Law."
Assuming the obvious, that the Catholic Church and its
hierarchy is the ultimate interpreter of its own law, anytime the Catholic
Church may choose to state that its hospitals are subject to its Canon
Law, Sisters of Charity may terminate the Agreement and go its separate
way without penalty.
The Agreement does not contain a similar provision that PorterCare may terminate if the G.C. or Mid-American Union later determines that the Agreement violates guidelines or that the PorterCare assets are subject to our "Church Law," whatever that might be, now or in the future.
Not only does President Sandefur's communique neglect to mention the cost of "getting out," it conspicuously fails to mention the cost of "getting in."
Sec. 7.3 of the Agreement requires each party to contribute their pro-rata share (70%, for Sisters of Charity, 30% for PorterCare) of the start-up capital required to fund Centura and, presumably, get it off to a "running start." This contribution must be in cash and must be paid on the date that Centura qualifies as a tax exempt organization. The actual amount shall be the smaller of the following: (a) an amount later agreed to by the parties, (b) an amount that does not adversely affect the credit rating of either party or exceed an amount autho-
p 6 -- rised by any mortgage holder or creditor of either party who has a right to object, or (c) $100,000,000. That's One Hundred Million Dollars. PorterCare's share would be $30m.
Of course, I have no idea what the eventual figure was or will be, and because of the final provision I shall address, neither you nor I will probably ever learn, unless the amount is so nominal that it precludes embarrassment or criticism by the laity.
As a practicing attorney, citizen of the United States and member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, I have long believed that any business arrangements we enter into with anyone, when that arrangement involves the use and management of assets or funds that have been placed with us to oversee, the entire arrangement should be open to public scrutiny, or at least the scrutiny of the individuals who are members of the organization. Porter Hospital and the other Denver area facilities did not just descend down from Heaven. They exist solely because thousands of loyal church members, as well as other benefactors and the organised SDA Church, cared enough to sacrifice and provide the funds to get the facilities out of the ground and running. It would seem only fair that the present day church members should have the right and privilege to know the details of the legal and financial arrangements-the yoke, if you please - that now binds SDA and Catholic health care facilities together in the Denver area.
Unfortunately, the Agreement speaks directly to this
point as well. Sec. 11.7 states in part as follows:
"Confidentiality. Each IDS participant shall hold in confidence terms
and conditions of this Agreement ..."
In other words, each party is
legally bound by the Agreement itself to keep its provisions
secret! What better excuse can anyone have for keeping the terms of the
Agreement from the general church membership than the response: "I'm
sorry, I cannot disclose that information because to do so would be a
definite breach of the Agreement itself and subject us to the possibility
of severe sanctions."
This provision is probably the most unfortunate of all.
It's price tag cannot be calculated, as it breeds mistrust and suspicion
- with or without good reason - it encourages criticism of our church
leaders - with or without just cause and it fosters discouragement and
discontent among the loyal brothers and sisters of our church family.
Finally and hopefully least important of all, it provides a fertile environment
for those very few op tunists who may or may not be in our ranks, promote
their own financial interests at the expense of PorterCare, the Mid-American
Union and the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and its members. I sincerely
hope and pray this will not happen.
To summarize, the Centura Agreement
-- is not a partnership;
-- is a perpetual corporation that the Roman Catholic Church can withdraw its assets from without penalty if the Church decides the assets are subject to its own church law;
-- does not contain a similar provision for withdrawing SDA assets;
-- does not allow the SDA member to withdraw for a non-cause without a devastating penalty;
-- requires an apparently substantial cash start-up contribution from PorterCare that could be as high as $30m;
-- provides for a minority ownership share of the new management corporation and all assets it may acquire in the future - 30 percent with the provision that the Sisters of Charity can unilaterally force it down to 20 percent by bringing tp other Catholic health care assets;
-- provides for minority representation
on the Board of Trustees (Board of Directors) - 5 to 12,
-- provides that the CEO, who is elected by the Centura 12 to 5 Board, has authority to appoint all other managers and executives with the additional requirement that executives of PorterCare be subject to approval of the PorterCare Board;
-- does not provide that all future managers and executives of SDA facilities must be SDA church members;
-- makes numerous references to the requirement that all Catholic activities will strictly conform to Catholic Canon Law and Directives, which is a detailed body of written law similar to government statutes, while the similar provisions for PorterCare only make reference to the "mission and vision of Adventist Health Systems" and the "values of the Mid-America Union of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and the Adventist Health System" - whatever that amorphous definition might entail from time to time;
-- results in total, 100 percent surrender of all management functions to Centura, including the right to dispose of existing assets;
-- provides that Centura will hold legal title to all new assets acquired with Centura funds;
-- is primarily performance and profit driven; and
-- requires all individuals employed
p 7 -- involved with the Centura organization, to keep the ms and provisions of the Agreement confidential. That means secret.
Finally, it is my opinion that the Agreement that I have
examined does not legally satisfy the third requirement of the SDA Church's
guideline for affiliations such as this, namely, that the Agreement provide
for "Control and governance of material balance sheet assets by Church
recognized entities, including the ability to withdraw."
I would be happy to re-evaluate my opinion if I were furnished a true, attested copy of the final draft copy that was actually executed by the parties. Of course, I will be happy to re-examine my position on the document I have reviewed if I have overlooked or misinterpreted some provision and my error can be pointed out to me.
In closing, I cannot resist the temptation to do a little crystal ball gazing and engage myself in my own question and answer session regarding this unprecedented arrangement
(Q) Will the arrangement
be economically successful?
(Q) Will the Sisters of
Charity try to impose their Roman Catholic religion on the management,
staff and patients of PorterCare?
(Q) Will Adventists continue
to hold respon-sible positions within Centura and PorterCare?
(Q) Will the Sisters of
Charity ever attempt to get out of the Agreement?
But perhaps the greatest advantage to our "partners" will not be seen for a few years - but it will happen. It's a Biblical imperative. Some day we will hear this compelling invitation: "Come now, my Protestant children, be reasonable. Look at how well we have gotten along with the Seventh-Day Adventists in Denver. Why, it was only a few years ago they were accusing me of being the Beast of Daniel and Revelation! Certainly if we can get along with the SDA's, we can get along with anybody! Don't be afraid. There is nothing to fear. We can all be one big happy family of Christians."