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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 1992 Oct - Dec
1992 Oct -- XXV 10(92) -- LARSON ABANDONS HIS POSITION PREVIOUSLY HELD ON INCARNATION -- In 1986, Dr. Ralph Larson released a monumental work - The Word Was Made Flesh which traced one hundred years of Seventh-day Adventist Christology regarding the nature that Christ assumed in the Incarnation. The cover design even depicted it as "light from the throne of God." From the many quotations contained in the book on the Incarnation from the pen of Ellen G. White, Dr. Larson selected one which in his judgment best summarized his findings and placed it on introductory page V. This statement reads: The nature of God, whose law had been transgressed, and the nature of Adam, the transgressor, meet in Jesus, the Son of God, and the Son of man. (Ms. 141, 1901)
In recent months, Dr.
Larson has been embroiled in a controversy over his misuse
of the Writings
We pause to point out that the true doctrine of the nature of Christ is set forth in the book Seventh-day Adventists Believe (sic), pp. 37-56. (p. 32)
The book, Seventh-day Adventists Believe..., now gives
a third alternative for Seventh-day
p 2 -- which was inserted into the Adventist
Review (Nov. 7, 1991), and to which Larson directs
It is the third view which the book, Seventh-day
Adventist Believe ... endorses. In the section,
This statement is noted as coming from the Anglican divine, Henry Melvill, who defined, "innocent infirmities as hunger, pain, sorrow, etc. Further it is noted that he called this view, "the orthodox doctrine" (p. 57) This now is the view which Dr. Larson states is "my theology...precisely and specifically." In his mounting self-deception, he has now abandoned the historic position of Adventism in regard to the Incarnation - that Christ took the nature of Adam after the fall - and substituted in its place the theology of an Anglican minister. Paul did not write amiss when he warned that when we receive "not the love of the truth" God permits "strong delusion" to overtake us. (II Thess. 2:10-11)
Footnote: In his Tithe tract, Dr. Larson resorts to the same tactic used first by Enright of the Roman Catholic Church for emphasis, and used frequently by Adventist evangelists in the past to underscore the fact that nowhere in the Bible is there a text for Sunday observance - a $1,000 reward for a single reference from Scripture. We would ask Dr. Larson, "Has a reward committee been set up, and the $1,000 deposited, so that evidence can be presented in challenge for the offer?" If not, it is just so much "east wind". (See Hosea 12:1)
The Offer was doubled to $2,000 in two separate offers, but limited to Dr.Devnich, President of the Canadian Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (p. 2). But will he make it open to anyone to so prove his second offer?
p 2 -- FERRELL COMES UNGLUED -- In the issues of Waymarks Numbers 411 and 412, Ferrell seeks to justify his diabolical perversion of truth which he had written in PG 124, pages 14-16. He begins his essay with a lie declaring - "In a recent undated newsletter." The issue of WWN is clearly dated. Right above the word "Truth" in the title "Diabolical Perversion of Truth" - is the date - 7(92). Interestingly, when he quoted from WWN, he was able to document it as Vol. XXV, No. 7. Then he proceeded to date the incident of Brother Stump's and my visit to Pilgrim's Rest as "approximately a year ago." The date was Sunday, April 10, 1988, well over a year ago. Brother Stump has been serving as pastor of the Smyrna Gospel Ministries in West Virginia since the Fall of 1988. In fact, within the year, Ferrell has corresponded with Stump at his West Virginia address. He simply came unglued, and what followed is the fabrication of a confused mind.
Brother Stump has talked to Ferrell on the telephone regarding
his prevarications noting that he in no wise said what Ferrell placed
in direct quotes in column 2. To assume that either Brother Stump or I
would be overwhelmed by Ferrell's assertion that the pitter-patter of
alien feet walking the streets of Jerusalem would indicate that the city
of Jerusalem was still trodden down of the Gentiles is simply ludicrous
in the extreme. It is one thing to seek to answer another's position with
After Ferrell's lying report reached the field a well intentioned brother sincerely wrote to Ferrell suggesting a compromised position on the text - Luke 21:24. I received a copy of the letter. To this letter, I responded, and this response summarizes the issue. Here is the letter, dated August 16, 1992. (A copy was also sent to Ferrell)
Your endeavor to suggest
a compromise, or a harmonizing between what Vance Ferrell has written
on Luke 21:24, and the manuscripts we have published on the subject, though
sincerely done, cannot succeed any more than an attempt to harmonize truth
with error. I write this for the following
1) Jesus in His prophetic discourse on the Mount of Olives did not allude to the temple mount, or what is now called the Dome of the Rock. In giving the sign which would affect Christians living in Jerusalem in A.D. 66, Jesus did not say, when ye shall see the temple mount surrounded, then know ye that the destruction is nigh at hand. If the Christians had so interpreted what Jesus said, it would have been too late for them! Just so today, a misinterpretation as Ferrell has given will mean a too late experience for all who buy his heresy. Jesus had said some hours prior to the discourse, concerning the temple, "Your house is left unto you desolate." (Matt. 23:38) Ferrell is merely following modern Evangelical teaching in regard to his interpretation, and rejecting that which is founded on the Word of God.
2) Ferrell is making the date, 1967, the key date thus echoing the Evangelical opinions. He does not even consider the date 1980, when Israel moved its government from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and by the action of the Knesset declared on July 30, 1980 - "Jerusalem united in its entirety is the capital of Israel." This closed the brief but definable period covered by the Greek idiom in Luke 21:24 - achri hou. A series of three successive events of significance began with the welcoming of the Pope, John Paul II, to the White House. This was followed by the voting of a changed statement of beliefs at the Dallas 1980 GC session, and then the action of the Knesset.
3) It needs to be kept in mind that Jesus was talking about the "times" of the visitation of the nations, not individuals. The probation of the corporate bodies of earth was fulfilled in 1980, even as the time of visitation of the Jewish Church/State ended in A.D. 34. Individual probation is connected with another event to be fulfilled in the history of Jerusalem. Daniel 11:45. This will involve "the glorious holy mountain, BUT at that time "Michael will stand up." Too late then, and the blood of those deceived by Ferrell will rest on his head.
p 3 -- CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY -- Part 1 --Ever since the revival of interest in what took place at the 1888 General Conference session in Minneapolis, with its aftermath, there has been projected upon the Adventist consciousness, the concept of "corporate repentance." This was due wholly to the research, writing, and preaching of Elders R. J. Wieland and D. K. Short since 1950. Even though in recent years, these men have waffled over the meaning of "corporate repentance," if the experience these brethren called for in the beginning had occurred, then there would be no need for further consideration of other aspects of corporate accountability. While our God is a God of mercy, He is also a God of justice. His Spirit will not always strive with men. (Gen. 6:3) While the times and seasons remain at His discretion (Acts 1:7), there is no record in all Sacred Writ where He granted unlimited time in which to repent. Thus there comes a very real aspect of corporate accountability - corporate guilt - and what God will do about it. With this is involved our individual responsibility.
That we might understand what we are talking about, we should keep before us a clear definition of the term - corporate. This word comes from the Latin - corpus - meaning, body. To incorporate is to make into a body, a single unit composed of few or many members. Such a corporate body, religious in nature, is called a church. In Scripture, such a body is compared to the human organism. (1 Cor. 12:12) The legal aspects of a corporation is a body formed and authorized by law to act as a single person although constituted of more than one person, and legally endowed with the right of succession. This right of succession, while legally recognized in its provision for corporations, is a fundamental Scriptural teaching regarding the church.
Over and above, and within a corporate concept, there
is granted to every individual, the power
There is and always has been tension between individual responsibility and corporate accountability. Man was created in the Image of God, and with this image came certain power - power to think and to do. It has been stated thus: Every human being, created in the image of God, is endowed with a power akin to that of the Creator - individuality, power to think and to do....It is the work of true education to develop this power; to train youth to be thinkers, and not mere reflectors of other men's thoughts. (Education, p. 17)
Since "in the highest sense, the work of education and the work of redemption are one" (ibid., p. 30), the Church, though a corpus, to be true to its trust, must seek the development in the individuals composing the body, that restoration of the image of God, which gives them the power to think and to act. It is the object of this study to explore what God has to say about corporate accountability, so that we may know how to relate as individuals to the crisis of corporate identity at this present time.
God created the first corporation. Its formation is described in these words: And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: for they shall be one flesh. (Gen. 2:21-24)
Here we have two individuals, with individual responsibility, yet declared to be one in a corporate identity.
The next picture presented in the Scripture record is the seduction of Eve by the serpent to partake of that which God had forbidden. But the question comes - Did Adam have to sin because he was one with Eve? No! He had been created in the image of God with the power to think and to do as an individual. How God would have met the situation had Adam not chosen to eat of the fruit offered to him by Eve is a moot question. However, the Scripture does not state that by Eve sin entered the world, but
p 4 -- by "one man." (Rom. 5:17) By his
deliberate disobedience, Adam not only surrendered his
God has provided another
corporation. There is the corpus of Adam; there is the corpus
of Christ. "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made
alive." ( 1 Cor. 15:22) "Therefore as by the offence of one
judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness
of One the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life."
(Rom. 5:18) Since I by natural birth am involved in the corpus of Adam,
how do I change corpora? To as many as receive the Word made flesh, "to
them gave He power to become sons of God [not sons of Adam], even to them
that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will
of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13)
With the coming of God into humanity - "God was manifest in the flesh"
(1 Tim. 3:16) - the corpus Christi became as real as is the corpus of
Adam. This new corpus
Is this succession organizational, or is it the succession of truth? In other words - Do we find the truth by submitting to the Church, or do we find the Church by submitting to the truth?
THE CORPUS CHRISTI
-- Jesus declared - "I am the way, the truth and
the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me." (John
14:6) The only access back to the Father and to life - for "in Adam
all die" - is through Jesus Christ. When alone with His disciples
in the region of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus questioned them about whom the
people perceived Him to be. The disciples had heard various comments as
they mingled with the multitudes who came to listen and to be healed.
Then Jesus asked them directly - "But whom say ye that I am?"
(Matt. 16:15) To this question,
Paul perceived this nature of the Corpus Christi when he wrote to Timothy, stating: These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: but if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and the stay of the truth. (1 Tim. 3:14-15, margin)
The Corpus Christi is to be the pillar, the stay, the visible means through which truth is to be revealed to man. And only as it adheres to truth can it truly be the Church of the living God.
It is most informative, and also
very revealing how the Apostolic Church viewed themselves and how they
were viewed by the Jewish Church of which they were or had been a part
depending upon their spiritual progression. When Paul, sought to apprehend
heretics, dissidents, or whatever name they might have been called in
the synagogues of Damascus, his letters of authority described these people
as followers "of the way." (Acts 9:1-2, Gr.) Luke tells of an
incident on Paul's third missionary journey which occurred at Ephesus
and what he did about it.
After this decision by the Apostle Paul, the word of God grew mightily and prevailed so that "there was no small stir about the way." (Acts 19:23 Gr) This concept of "The Way" was again used by Paul as he addressed the riotous Jewish mob from the stairs of the Tower of Antonia.
Speaking in the Hebrew tongue, he told of his education and training in Jerusalem "at the feet
p 5 -- of Gamaliel, his zeal "toward God," and how he "persecuted this way unto death." (Acts 22:4) It is clear from the book of Acts, that while the disciples of Christ were first called "Christians" at Antioch (11:27), they were known throughout Jewry as simply Followers of The Way.
This concept of the way of truth which brings life is
very interestingly projected in the New Testament. Christ presented the
devil as a murderer - the one who brings death, and the reason given is
that he "abode not in the truth." (John 8:44) Christ on the
other hand is set forth as "the Prince of life." (Acts 3:15)
He came to "destroy him that had the power of death." (Heb.
2:14) He, the Word made flesh, was "full of grace and truth."
(John 1:14) Through the atoning sacrifice of Calvary, Jesus made it possible
for the sons of Adam to become sons of God, thus changing their identification
from the corpus of Adam to the corpus of Christ. This accomplishment of
Christ, and the provision thus made for man, is spoken of as "the
way out," or the "exodus." Luke, in telling of the coming
of Moses and Elijah to Jesus at the time of the Transfiguration, states
that they spoke of "His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem."
(Luke 9:31) The word translated in
The concept as to what constitutes succession in the Corpus Christi, whether it be organization, or whether it be truth, is vividly contrasted in the confrontation between Paul and the lawyer for the hierarchy of Jerusalem in his arraignment before Felix. When permitted to speak in his own defense, Paul declared, "I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and the prophets." (Acts 24:14) His basis of belief was he same that it always had been - he still accepted the truth of the Word of God. He still worshipped the God of his fathers. To Paul, he was merely continuing in the truth which the Lord had revealed - the revelation of the promised Messiah. But because Paul was willing to walk in that way, how was he viewed by the hierarchy of Jerusalem? Tertullus, advocate for the religious leaders, declared him to be "a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes." (Acts 24:5) What really was Paul's crime? He could no longer support the hierarchy, nor the program they projected for the people. To him, the leadership of Israel had rejected the Truth; they had betrayed the Trust committed to them. He with Stephen believed they had resisted the Holy Spirit to their damnation, and though they had received the law by the disposition of angels, they had not kept it. (Acts 7:51, 53)
These convictions form the basis for Paul's teachings as found in the book of Romans: "They which are the children of the flesh [the succession upon which the corpus of Israel was based], these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise [succession based upon the Word of God - truth] are counted for the seed." (Rom. 9:8) Therefore, "hath God cast away His people?" To this Paul answers - "God forbid." What then is the answer? Noting the history of Israel in the days of Elijah, Paul concludes - "Even so then at the present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace." (Rom. 11:1-5) To Paul, this remnant is "the Israel of God." (Gal. 6:16)
What did Paul want those to see - those still attached to the succession of the flesh? "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Gal. 3:29) The inheritance would not come through the corporate structure of Israel, but by following The Way - truth that leads to life. To remain attached to the earthly Jerusalem was not the answer. Paul declared that church controlled by the hierarchy to be "in bondage with her children. But the Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all." (Gal. 4:25-26) He wrote to the Hebrews that they had come "unto Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels [who still abode in the truth], to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all." (Heb. 12:22-23) And the only way - The Way - to that God with Whom we have to do, is by Jesus Christ, "the way, the truth and the life." The succession which God recognizes is not the way of organization, but the way of truth. Organization, though necessary, is only a vehicle, a means by which truth is carried. Loyalty is not to a vehicle, but to truth itself. Those who are thus loyal to truth constitute the Corpus Christi.
p 6 -- Let us consider Paul's question - "Hath God cast away His people? - in the context of today - the "now time." Hath God cast away the Advent Movement? God forbid! How can He deny that which is the fulfilment of prophecy which He himself mandated? (Rev. 1:1; 14:6-12) But the Advent Movement and the Seventh-day Adventist Church are two different things. The latter is merely the vehicle God chose through which to carry forward His Movement. God never told His people that in the balances of the sanctuary the Advent Movement would be weighed. But He did declare, through His messenger to the remnant, that "in the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist church is to be weighed." (8T:247) Even at the present time, there is a remnant according to the election of grace. To Be Continued
FALLACIOUS REASONING -- A friend very much concerned about the fallacious reasoning used in an article printed in 0FF, Vol. 7, # 8, sent me a copy. In it - "The End-Time Church" - Dr. Colin Standish wrote: Some feel free to declare that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is no longer God's church. If that were true, then probation would have already closed for the Seventh- day Adventist Church. How can humans be confident of this? When probation does close, no one will know. This decision is God's, not man's. Even in abject apostasy, God did not forsake Judah. (Then Jer. 51:5 is quoted) (p. 24)
This paragraph is so loaded with deceptive concepts that
one hardly knows which end of the
Are we dealing with a different God today? Through His "messenger to the remnant" he has defined the high calling of the Seventh-day
p 7 -- Adventist Church. Ellen G. White wrote: In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light-bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world...They have been given a work of the most solemn import, - the proclamation of the [three] angels' messages. There is no other work of so great importance. ...
The most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals have been given us to proclaim to the world...God's people are to be true to the trust committed to them. (9T:19)
God has also stated unequivocally that the Church to whom He has entrusted so much is "to be weighed" in "the balances of the sanctuary;" and if she has not proved true to "the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence, 'Found wanting."' (8T:247) And the God who gave warning to the Jewish Church, will not give warning to the Seventh-day Adventist Church? How blind can we become in our Laodicean state?
Further, the "messenger" stated positively in 1896 that her mind "was carried into the future, when the signal will be given, 'Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him. '" (R&H, Feb. 11, 1896) What do these words mean - "Go ye out to meet Him"? A separation, yes; moreover a "signal" will be given! No one will know, or see this signal? Come now, Dr. Standish, let us not continue to deceive God's people. You have played that game long enough. But how long will God's concerned people continue to let these "voices" lull them into a fatal sense of security with their fallacious reasoning?
We have been told that the Laodicean state "is represented by the foolish virgins," on whom the door is shut. (R&H, Aug. 19, 1890) In other words, the signal to be given would mark the close of probation for corporate Laodicea. Now Standish' s agnosticism comes through, "no one will know"! Many of God's concerned people are still in the blindness of Laodicea, but they do not need to continue to follow blind leaders. The heavenly eyesalve of fulfilled prophecy can awaken those who are willing to have their eyes opened. Write for the tract - "Jerusalem in Bible Prophecy."
LET'S TALK lT OVER -- In the mail a letter from a friend included some "Steps to Life News Notes" on the Ordination conducted at their recent Campmeeting, and "A Call to Action." This call to action notified the reader that Trefz was disfellowshiped by the Rapid City Seventh-day Adventist Church in South Dakota. The ordination sermon given by Dr. Ralph Larson at Steps to Life indicated that "a home church in South Dakota" had requested the ordination of Trefz. Trefz ' address is Hermosa, by map, about 20 miles from Rapid City. It is evident, therefore, that Trefz has been serving an independent group, and not meeting with the Church where he held membership. It is a wonder that they had not taken action prior to now. If a person does not want to be a part of a church, and separates from that church setting up a separate organization, then why all the hue and cry when that church acts within its authority? If Trefz believes the local church has not acted in good faith, or properly, there is provided a means of appeal from the decision rendered.
But no, the "Call to Action" indicates that the Troy Seventh-day Adventist Church in Montana has accepted Trefz into membership on cofession of faith. Now the possibility is that the Troy Church will be removed from the sisterhood of Montana churches, and the readers of the appeal are urged to write to the Conference, Union, Division, and General Conference Presidents in protest. This whole thing is ludicrous, and only contributes to compounding the confusion of mind which marks the "voices" emanating from "Steps to Life." Consider, Trefz was taken in on profession of faith by the Troy Church - what faith? The Church of which Troy is a part states that faith to be the 27 Fundamentals as voted at Dallas in 1980. If those who are members at Troy no longer adhere to these 27 Statements, then why do they want to stay a part of that body which so believes?
It comes down to the same question again. Is the Seventh-day
Adventist Church in apostasy, or is there only apostasy in the Church?
If only apostasy in the Church, and this is what Larson avers as he lists
various issues on his tithe tract - "The Tithe Problem."
He lists, NLP, Kingly Power, Celebration, Ecumenism, New Theology, and
Law Suits. But in the same breath, he declares the Church to be God's
only true church. If so, that Church has authority and discipline, and
the failure to recognize that fact is plain and simple rebellion. The
"Call toAction" is not a call to truth, but a call for God's
concerned people to join in a rebellion because the leaders of that rebellion
have become self-deceived. One wonders if Grosboll is really self-deceived,
or has a "hidden agenda"
1992 Nov -- XXV 11(92) --CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY -- Part 2 -- Even as there can be corporate repentance, so there is corporate guilt. Unless there is guilt, there would be no need to call for repentance. When therefore, judgment is executed because repentance has not followed the act of transgression which brought the guilt, how does God relate to the corporate identity involved? Does He separate the individuals who are not directly involved from the leaders who have led people into sin? In other words - to put it plainly - will the laity and the rank and file of the ministry be spared the judgments of God upon the hierarchy who have led in the apostasy from the truth of God? In seeking an answer to this question, we shall consider the God of the Old Testament, the God of the New Testament, and the God revealed in the writings.
The God of the old Testament -- In the days of ancient Israel, on their way to the land of promise from Mount Sinai, rebellion broke out. Korah, Dathan and Abiram challenged the leadership of Moses. In turn, Moses called for the leaders, and those associated with them, to appear before the sanctuary that God might reveal His will. Dathan and Abiram refused to come. The Lord then ordered all of the congregation of Israel to separate from the tents of these men. Because Dathan and Abiram would not appear at the tabernacle, Moses went to their tents, followed by the elders of Israel. Observe what followed.
Moses spoke to the congregation saying: Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs lest ye be consumed in all their sins. So they gat up from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side: and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children. (Numbers 16:26-27) [The little children had not joined in the manifesto which their grandfathers had sent to Moses. See Numbers 16:12-14]
Here were two families - corporate identities - standing together. Two men had sinned - the heads of the households. Here were ties of loyalty, kinship - and there was the command which had been uttered but a little while before from Mt. Sinai - "Honor thy father and thy mother." Would corporate identification take precedence over individual responsibility, or would the latter prevail? How would the decision of the sons of these men - Dathan and Abiram - affect their "little children"? Would God separate them from the judgment upon their fathers who had sinned? The record continues: And Moses said ... If the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit;then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the Lord. And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up,...They and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them. (Numbers 16:28-33)
While the families of Dathan and Abiram fell together under the judgment from God, because they refused to separate themselves from their corporate identity, the record also notes that the sons of Korah did not die. (Numbers 26:10-11) They did not appear with their father and the two hundred and fifty princes who had assembled at the door of the sanctuary to challenge the leadership of Moses and Aaron. The sons of Korah chose to exercise their individual responsibility, and refused to be identified in the corporate entity which initiated the rebellion, and thus they escaped the judgrnent of God.
p 2 -- The God of the New Testament -- On the Day of Pentecost - at the time of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as promised by Jesus - there were assembled in Jerusalem for the feast, Jews, "devout men, out of every nation under heaven." (Acts 2:5) These were not wicked men - but "devout" - who had come to Jerusalem from the diaspora to celebrate the feast in harmony with the instruction God had given. A few perhaps had come for the Passover, and remained the fifty days till Pentecost, but most were not even present when Jesus was crucified. Quickly coming together due to the excitement and witness engendered by the coming of the Holy Spirit, they listened intently as Peter explained the meaning of what had and was taking place. They heard him say: Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know;...ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain. (Acts 2:22-23)
Those who had not been present at the feast of the Passover were not moved. They had no part in the crucifixion of Jesus - they were not anywhere near. Those who might have come for both feasts knew that the Romans had done the act. It was their hands that were "wicked" not theirs. So they continued to listen, very sure they had no accountable guilt. Then Peter returns to the theme again, and brings it home. Note: Let all the house of Israel [the corpus of Israel] know assuredly that God hath made this same Jesus whom ye crucified, both Lord and Christ. (Acts 2:36)
Strong conviction took hold of them. Whether present or not, whether a part of the mob which shouted - "Crucify Him!" - or not, and definitely not a Roman soldier, still they were being charged by God as guilty of the blood of Jesus Christ, and accountable as participants in the crucifixion because of their corporate identity. Pricked in their hearts, they cried out to Peter and to the rest of the disciples - "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37) Their response to Peter's counsel would determine whether they would be included in the judgment of God upon the nation of Israel.
The God of the Writings -- There are those among the professed people of God who would have us believe that the God with whom we have to do today is not the same God as yesterday. They vainly hope that the God who declared - "My Spirit shall not always strive with men" (Gen 6:2) - no longer holds this dictum, but will grant unlimited time to insubordinate people for them to repent of their apostasy. The laity are told that God is too merciful to visit His people in judgment. Look, they are advised, at all the great and wonderful institutions which God has permitted to be built as monuments to His glory. Will He forsake such a people, and such an organization, they are asked?
The reasoning goes - God is different today. Times have changed. He may have called into account the Jewish people who "cherished the idea that they were the favorites of heaven, and they were always to be exalted as the church of God." (COL, p. 294) But this will not be true of the corporate body today. It is going through. To such, the God of judgment has died. But the God of the Writings is the same God who spoke in Old Testament times, and Who through the Holy Spirit gave the same message on the Day of Pentecost. Read this prophecy carefully: The Lord commissions His messengers, the men with the slaughtering weapons in their hands: "Go ye after him through the City, and smite; let not your eye spare neither have ye pity; slay utterly old and young, both maids and little children, and women; but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house."
Here we see that the church - the Lords sanctuary - was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light, and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust....Times have changed. These words strengthen their unbelief, and they say, The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil. He is too merciful to visit His people in judgment. Thus peace and safety is the cry from men who will never again lift up their voices like a trumpet to show God's people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. These dumb dogs, that would not bark, are the ones who feel the just vengeance of an offended God. (5T:211)
As we read this, we say, "Amen, Lord, let it be."
Those vho betrayed their sacred trust should
Why? Because they are identified corporately in the guilt of their leaders, and have refused to
p 3 -- exercise their individual responsibility. The God who held the sons, the son's wives, and their little children guilty with Dathan and Abiram; the God who held the "devout men" of Israel equally guilty with the "wicked hands" who crucified the Lord of glory, is the same God who will visit in judgment, not only the leadership who have "betrayed their trust," but also the laity - the men, women with their families - who by their corporate identity have supported that leadership by acquiescing to the apostasy, and who have upheld their hands by theirs and the Lord's means. Is it not time for an awakened laity, pricked by the Holy Spirit as were the devout men of Israel on the day of Pentecost, to cry out - "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
"What Shall We Do?" -- When convicted of the reality that God does hold individuals accountable for the actions of leaders and officers in a corporate identity, "devout men" of the House of Israel realizing that they had shared in the crucifixion of the Son of God, cried out from an anguished heart - "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" In response to this heart cry, Peter outlined certain steps to be taken by which they could escape the judgment of God. He said - "Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the Holy Spirit." (Acts; 2:38)
Peter closed his counsel with the admonition - "Save yourselves from this untoward [crooked] generation." (Acts 2:40) This Spirit-indited directive, if studied in the setting of the time when given, can profit a professed people of God who face the fast approaching hour when "the church - the Lord's sanctuary" will be "the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God" because the leadership, "those to whom God had given great light, and who stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust." (5T:2ll)
Peter told the "devout men" of Israel to "Repent!" This word - metanoeo - means basically to change one's mind. This change of mind for the men of the house of Israel involved a change of understanding in regard to Jesus Christ. They had knowledge of the fact that "Jesus of Nazareth" had been a man "approved of God." (Acts 2:22) Why then had they not accepted Him prior to the Day of Pentecost? While approved of God, Jesus had not been approved by the leadership of the Church to which they belonged. In fact, it was the leadership of the Church who had turned Him over to the Romans for crucifixion. While these "devout men" had not taken part in the deliberations, nor voted the death of Jesus, they had in reality consented to the crime committed by continuing in the forms and ceremonies of that Church, and by quietly acquiescing to the direction the leadership was taking them. Why?
"The Jewish people cherished the idea that they were the favorites of heaven, and that they were always to be exalted as the church of God. They were the children of Abraham, they declared, and so firm did the foundation of their prosperity seem to them that they defied earth and heaven to dispossess them of their rights." (COL 294) And "the foundation" upon which they built their hope was none other than "the word of God" to Jeremiah. (See Jer. 31:35-37) How could this word fail? Here was a promise of "eternal favor" - the House of Israel was going through! All they had to do was to stay with "the House." But they overlooked the "conditions" upon which the promise was made. "To a people in whose hearts His law is written, the favor of God is assured. They are one with Him." (DA 106) But here was a people whose leaders had made of none effect the commandments of God by their tradition - teaching for doctrine, the theology of men instead of the truth of God. (See Matt. 15:6-9) And those devout Jews assembled together on the Day of Pentecost were following those leaders, right or wrong. ¹ Peter told these men of Israel to "repent" - change your mind, come to your senses, cease to be deluded by a false sense of security.
The admonition of Peter carried the same theme as was sounded by John the Baptist as he prepared the way for the ministry of Christ. John told his hearers - "Bring forth therefore fruits answerable to an amendment of life and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our fathers." (Matt. 3:8 margin) In other words, get this theory out of your mind that you are and always will be the favorites of heaven for God is able of "stones" to raise up "children unto Abraham." (Luke 3:8) Peter preached with even greater conviction than John, because he had heard Jesus Himself declare - "Your house [no longer God's house] is left unto you desolate." (Matt. 23:38) The temple veil had been rent, and the apartment of the Unseen Presence could be gazed upon by human eyes with no fear of retribution because that Presence was no longer there. (Matt. 27:51) It dare not be over1ooked that similar language is used in
p 4 -- the present time concerning the Church: "The glory of the Lord had departed from Israel; although many still continued the forms of religion, His power and presence were lacking." (5T 2I0) And - "My Father's house is made a house of merchandise, a place whence the divine presence and glory have departed!" (8T 250)
Besides changing their way of thinking - repentance - the "devout Jews" were to make an outward confession which would publicly declare their change of thought. Each one who changed his mind was to be "baptized...in the name of Jesus Christ." Among those assembled to hear Peter were "proselytes." (Acts 2:10) These had been baptized as a symbol of their acceptance into Judaism so as to be numbered among "the House of Israel." (8 BC, article, "Baptism") 2 Now they were told to be haptized again, and the other "devout Jews" who would also change their thinking, would by this act change their identity from the corpus of Israel to the corpus Christi. Only thus could they find remission for the sin of the ages - the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, which was in reality the crucifixion of truth - doing the desire of their father the devil, who abode not in the truth. (See John 8:44)
Peter concluded his advice and counsel by telling those convicted to "save themselves from this crooked generation." (Acts 2:40) In so advising, Peter was bringing together a concept from the Pentateuch, and a charge that both Jesus and John the Baptist had used in confrontation with the Jewish hierarchy. Moses had written that God was "the Rock" upon which Israel was founded - "a God of truth." But Israel had "corrupted themselves" and had become "a perverse and crooked generation." (Deut. 32:4-5) Both Jesus and John had zeroed in on the why of Israel's predicament. John the Baptist seeing rnany of the Pharisees and Sadducees among his listeners spoke directly to them - using a symbol of crookedness - saying: "0 generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from tbe wrath to come?" (Matt. 3:7) Jesus was even more emphatic. Addressing the scribes of the law and tbe Pharisees, he declared - "Ye serpents, ye generation uf vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" (Matt. 23:33) Thus Peter, knowing through the Holy Spirit, the damnation upon the hierarchy, warned those who did not wish to be included in the corporate guilt, and thus the corporate judgment to save themselves from that crookcd generation.
Those who responded to the counsel of Peter were baptized - signifying the passing from the corpus of Israel to the corpus Christi - and "continued steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship." (Acts 2:41-42) Through Christ the Truth, and by the coming of the Spirit of Truth, the original faith was restored to men. No more need men follow traditions and perverted concepts of the scribes and Pharisees. The truth as given by the Rock of Israel became the basis of the Corpus Christi.
In the final hour uf human history, when the power of the enemy to deceive the world would appear to be supreme - "It seemed the whole world was on board; that there could be one left" - the messenger to the Remnant was advised to "look in an opposite direction" and she saw "a little company traveling a narrow pathway. All seemed to be firmly united, bound together by the truth, in bundles, or companies. Said the angel, 'The third angel is binding, or sealing them in bundles for the heavenly garner."' (EW, 88-89) Thus the basis of the final revelation of the corpus Christi is the same as it was at its inauguration - Truth, pure and unadulterated. (TM 65) This group - brought about by the Third Angel (EW 118) - "come unto mount Sion and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem." (Heb. 12:22) These realize that the Jerusalem "which now is...is in bondage with her children," therefore, they transfer their allegiance and loyalty to the "Jerusalem which is above" which "is free, which is the mother uf us all." (Gal. 4:25-26) In this we find the answer to the question - "What shall we do?"
1 -- Concerning this very concept held by the Jews that they were always to be exalted as the church of God, the warning is given - "These things are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."' (DA 106)
2 -- Rebaptism of "devout" Seventh-day Adventists, when truth is understood and experienced, is also called for. See Evangelism, p. 375. This does not mean a baptism back into so-called "historic" Adventism under a false manifestation of the Spirit of God.
p 5 -- LET'S TALK IT OVER -- In a recent issue of the Eastern Oklahoma Catholic (August 23, 1992), official organ of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tulsa, was an article captioned - "Don't Attack Mary or the Church." The author, a Roman Catholic Convert, had helped organize a Marian Peace Conference. In the article (a letter she wrote responding to someone who had sent her anti-Catholic literature because of the conference), after quoting several texts from the Bible, she comments: I am sure you do not believe that God stopped working after the Scriptures [were] written. I believe this is the reason we are having so many modern day prophets, with people receiving messages from angels, The Blessed Mother, Jesus and the Father, Himself. ...
But, isn't it in Scripture, that it says, judge a tree by its fruits? Since the Blessed Mother has been appearing in Medjugorje, Yugoslavia, there have been many, many conversions back to Jesus Christ, including people previously identified as Moslems, Protestants and Catholics.
AlI over the world now we are hearing about someone getting messages from a heavenly messenger. While I do believe we must proceed with discernment, caution and, most importantly, prayer, I believe God is diligently working through these messengers to bring all mankind (not just Catholics) back into His Light. (p. 5)
This last paragraph was emphasized in the letter-article. While we can recognize the working of the "spirits of devils" bringing about the final unification of earth under his control, there is an ominous ring in the evidence cited that God is working. Are we not being told about the results of evangelistic endeavors behind what was once "the iron curtain" in the pages of the Adventist Review. Is this not being cited that God is working marvelously for the Church? But will the Spirit of truth attest to the betrayal of truth? No matter how we want to paint the picture, the 27 Statements of Fundamental Beliefs voted at Dallas, Texas, in 1980, altered, changed, and negated fundamental principles of truth expressed in previous Statements of Belief. How can we then carry the everlasting Gospel to those in Eastern Europe with a negation of that Gospel? See WWN-5(92), art. - "The Everlasting Gospel".
It is Christ, and Christ alone, who is the way of salvation;
not Mary, nor the Church. Unless we recognize that "the
righteousness of Christ...is pure, unadulterated truth" (TM,
65), our religious teaching is empty
theory. All the pretentious celebration hoop-a-la within the regular Church
or the "primitive godliness" facade of certain "independent
ministries" echoes only human criteria of God's supposed leading.
The Adventist Community is in crisis. The reasoning used by Catholicism
is also being used in Adventism, and tragically the same "spirit"
is manifest, spiritism in angelic robes.
"Different delusions [are] prepared to affect different minds."
PARAPHRASED COMMENT -- The devil has been able to lead dedicated members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to gradually compromise the pure truth of the Bible. Working through human agents, he at first brought a slight change in doctrine, and the people not wanting to cause trouble, failed to protest. They accepted the change merely to keep peace. In a short time the change didn't seem so bad, and the devil was ready with another change. Now after forty years, those who awaken find themselves not a little out of line with truth, but way out of line.
Now the devil has another deception ready for those who awaken - "historic Adventism"! When he leads the devotees of these men down this road, they will be in the same state that the Church was when the compromises first began forty years ago. What is needed is progressive basic Adventism. And the men crying historicAdventism" are incapable of meeting the real need of God's concerned people. --(1992 Nov) --- END --- TOP
1992 Dec -- XXV -- 12(92) --LARSON: "CHECK AND SEE" -- This We Have Done. Now Read The Findings. -- After the October issue of WWN reached the field, two calls were received here at the study, one on September 24 from a Florida-based ministry which was extremely negative and vituperative; and the other, the next day from Maine, positive and commendatory in the assessment of the same subject - Larson's deviation from his original position on the Incarnation. Due to all the calumny of the first call, and being dared to call Larson direct, I accepted the challenge and called Dr. Larson. The conversation though reserved, was, as on all previous occasions, courteous and gentlemanly. His position in regard to the Anglican divine's concept as set forth in the book, Seventh-day Adventists Believe...[SDAB] (See page 47) is that it coincides with his position as set forth in the work, The Word Made Flesh. He also called my attention to the repeated times in the preceding paragraphs, that the phrase from Romans 8:3 was used - "in the likeness of sinful flesh" - meaning, "sinful human nature" or "fallen human nature." (p. 46) He insisted that the definitive parts of Melvill's conclusion be carefully noted. Hence, this article will review the section in SDAB on "Jesus Christ Is Truly Man" with special attention to Melvill's conclusions.
First, we need to review the background of the formation of the book. Unlike Questions on Doctrine [QD], a book written by a committee, this book was written a chapter at a time by Dr. P. G. Damsteegt with a committee looking over his shoulder. While the QD publication was supervised by a committee appointed by the President of the General Conference, the book, SDAB, was the dream of one man, J. R. Spangler, and sponsored by the Ministerial Association of the General Conference with the authorization and encouragement of the then president, Neal C. Wilson with the other officers of the GC. (p. v) A certain factor dare not be overlooked. The positions taken in this book have not been voted by the General Conference in session as were the 27 Statements of Fundamental Beliefs which this book seeks now to interpret and modify, as well as mollify the divergent concepts in Adventism today. Dr. Roger Coon in his tract on "Tithe" has already
p 2 -- declared that "there are at least three views on the nature of Christ current in Adventist circles." (p.3) These are the Pre-Fall, the Post-Fall (Larson's original position), and the Melvill perception which is set forth in the book, SDAB. Larson now declares that this latter position is "the true doctrine of the nature of Christ." (The Tithe Problem, p. 32)
There is another factor concerning the book, SDAB, which must be taken into considcration. "A Christ-centered manuscript on Adventist doctrines prepared by Norman Gulley ... provided both inspiration and material for this volume." (op. cit.) While there are conflicting estimates from 5% to 15% as to the amount of Gulley's material included in the book, one must decide how much inclusion would make the book, fruit from the tree of the knowledge of truth and error. This book, therefore, leaves the individual Adventist in the same position as was Adam and Eve when they stood before the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, to eat, or not to eat. Further, it leaves those devotees of the Independent Ministries of which Larson is the "patriarch" with the choice of following him as Adam did Eve, or to separate from Larson and hold to the truth on the nature that Christ assumed in humanity as revealed in the Scriptures!
In the chapter, "God the Son," is the section, "Jesus Christ Truly Man." (SDAB, pp. 45-50) This is further divided into sub-sections, one of which # 5b, concludes with the Melvill position. (p. 47) We shall note pertinent statements made in this section on Jesus, truly man, which sets forth the position taken by this book in regard to the human nature Christ took upon Himself in the Incarnation.
It is stated that Christ "could claim true humanity through His mother." (p. 45) This is true. However, unless one assumes a divine intervention, such as the Roman Catholic Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, or the Evangelical Doctrine of the Sanctification of the womb of Mary, one must conclude that Jesus received the same identical human nature that every child of Adam receives at birth. But the book, SDAB states, "there was a great difference, a uniqueness." This book confuses the difference and uniqueness of Identity with the humanity which Jesus took upon Himself. He was God manifest in the flesh, but He was manifest in the same flesh as all human children receive from their mothers.
This book sidesteps both the Roman Catholic teaching as well as the Evangelical position. However, it does teach a divine intervention which circumvents the normal process of birth, by declaring - "His human nature was created." This is not a new teaching in Adventism. The aberrant Holy Flesh Movement in Indiana at the turn of the century also taught this concept. Donnell, president of the Indiana Conference, and titular head of the Movement, wrote: In order to save men, Christ must enter humanity, and because all were sinners, and not a body could be found that was suitable, what was to be done? A body had to be made for the occasion. And so we read in Hebrews 10:5: "A Body hast thou prepared Me." (What I taught in Indiana, p. 9)
L. E. Froom, one of the Adventist conferees at the infamous SDA-Evangelical Conferences, and who "was actively involved in composing the written distillation of the conferences," wrote in an unpublished manuscript, The Virgin Birth, the same concept. It reads: The Eternal Son of God entered into the human race by means of the Virgin Birth. The HoIy Spirit generated within the humanity of Mary the body of flesh by means of which the Son of God tabernacled among men. Scripture says, "a body hast Thou prepared Me." (Heb. 10:5) [emphasis his]
In the same manuscript, in answer to his own proposed question - "How did He [Christ] escape the taint of sinful heredity?" - Froom wrote: " His human nature came into being by a direct and miraculous intervention." He defines that intervention as "a creative work for the redemption of a lost race - a creative work just as verily as was the original creation."
The position taken in SDAB that Christ's "human nature was created" echoing as it does the teaching of the Holy Flesh Movement and the thinking of L. E. Froom becomes the Adventist equivalency to the Roman Catholic Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, and the Evangelical concept of the Sanctification of the womb of Mary. All of these teachings seek to set forth a Divine Intervention whereby the humanity that Christ assumed in the incarnation is different from the humanity every other child of Adam has received.
The Extent of His Identification with Human Nature -- In the section following the stated position that Christ's "human nature was created," the "extent of Christ's identification with human nature" is discussed. Here Romans 8:3 is quoted from both the KJV and NIV with the question being proposed - "To what extent did He [Christ] identify with or become identical to fallen humanity?" The answer is given in two parts. Subdivision 5a equates the Biblical expression, "in the likeness of sinful flesh" (Rom. 8:3) to two expressions found in Adventist writings - "sinful human nature," or "fallen human nature." [See E. J. Waggoner, Christ and His Righteousness, pp. 26-27; Ellen G. White, Youth's Instructor, Dec. 20, 1900]
In subsection 5b, the concept that Christ is the second Adam is discussed. The same contrast is invoked as found in Desire of Ages, p. 48, that Christ "like every child of Adam.. .accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity." Then SDAB reads: "Christ took a human nature that, compared with Adam's unfallen nature, had decreased in physical and mental strength - though He did so without sinning." (p. 47, col. 1) This is paralleling a concept also found in the Writings, but with an omission, which is noted in the References found at the end of the chapter (p. 57). The statement from the Writings noted in the Reference reads: Adam had the advantage over Christ, in that when he was assailed by the tempter, none of the effects of sin were upon him...It was not thus with Jesus when He entered the wilderness to cope with Satan. For four thousand years the race had been decreasing in size, in mental power, in moral worth; and Christ took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity. (Signs, Dec. 3, 1902)
The subsection closes with the Melvill position which is affirmed to be "the orthodox doctrine." It reads, and note the summary word, "thus": Thus "Christ's humanity was not the Adamic humanity, that is, the humanity of Adam before the fall; nor fallen humanity, that is, in every respect the humanity of Adam after the fall. It was not the Adamic, because it had the innocent infirmities of the fallen. It was not the fallen, because it never descended into moral impurity. It was, therefore, most literally our humanity, but without sin." (SDAB, p. 47)
"Innocent infirmities" are defined by Melvill as meaning, "hunger, pain, sorrow, etc." (See References, #13, p. 57) Now if you are confused by going from a created human nature to a nature "in the likeness of sinful flesh" which is equated to "sinful human nature," and "fallen human nature," and which revealed ,decreased...physical and mental strength" to a human nature which had only "innocent infirmities," so are we.
The issue is not whether Christ sinned. He did not. The issue is what kind of human nature did He receive from Mary in which He achieved His great victory over sin. But now a new dimension has been added - a reflection is made upon God in all of this confusing meandering. If God created the human nature of Jesus, as declared in SDAB, and taught by the Holy Flesh men of Indiana, and affirmed by Froom, then He created according to SDAB, a fallen human nature with less mental and physical strength than was given to Adam, and possessing the moral worth of humanity after 4,000 years of degeneracy, inflicted with pain and sorrow. This is a reflection upon God who when He finished His first creation declared it to be "very good." (Gen. 1:31) No, Christ accepted the great working of the law of heredity receiving from Mary a human nature the same as every other child of Adam received.
Instead of creating for Jesus a body which was exempt from "the taint of sinful heredity," God "permitted Him to meet life's perils in common with every other human soul, to fight the battle as every child of humanity must fight it, at the risk of failure and eternal loss...'Herein is love.' Wonder, 0 heavens! and be astonished, 0 earth!" (DA, p. 49)
Yet this "new theology" which casts reflection upon God, and is a confusing labyrinth of conflicting thoughts is now declared by Dr. Larson to be "precisely and specifically" his "theology" - "the true doctrine of the nature of Christ." He asked that we "check and see." This we have done, and have found it to be abject heresy. May God be merciful to those who have accepted him to be their "patriarch."
p 3 -- OPEN LETTER TO FOLKENBERG -- FROM BELIEVERS IN HUNGARY -- On June 10, 1992, the leadership of the "Small Committee" church of Hungary addressed an open letter to Elder R. S. Folkenberg as a result of a visit which he and Dr. Jan Paulsen, president of the Trans-European Division made to Hungary. To understand the why of this letter, the schedule of the visit as published in Adventhirnok, official paper of the Hungarian Seventh-day Adventist Church needs to be carefully noted. We shall give the schedule as copied in the Newsletter (92/2) which is published by the "SmaIl Committee" church leaders. The open letter to Folkenberg follows.
THE OPEN LETTER --
Dear Brother Folkenberg,
We send our greetinqs to you as fellow-members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. We write to you with the best of intentions because of our deep concern regarding our common faith.
While in no way wishing to attack you personally, we would like to accept the invitation which you made in the Adventist Review of April 16, 1992, in which you remarked that regarding your activities as church leader you were ready to accept criticism. Rather than criticism, we would like you to regard our remarks as a brotherly testimony. E. G. White stressed "the necessity of faithful reproofs in the church, and the cultivation by all its members of love for the plain testimony." (Testmonies, Vol. 2, p. 15) The reason for our writing an open letter is because the things that we object to also took place in the open. The program of your visit was published in Adventhirnok, the official paper of the Union.
During your stay in Hungary, the following interpretation of your programme could be heard on various Adventist forums: That the aim of your visit was partly to minister to the pastors and members of the church, partly to raise the banner of our message as well as the subject of religious liberty in front of secular and church organizations. Reference was made to E. G. White's testimony saying: "We don't as a church seek isolation." As to your visit to the Catholic Archbishop and the Protestant Church leaders, there were two arguments for it:
1) We have to make ourselves
known in order to dispel prejudice against our church.
With reference to the latter, you were said to have thanked the Catholic Church for not having enforced her great influence on the State at the expense of the freedom of our small church. It was also said that Brother Jan Paulsen, president of the Trans-European Division, a member of your company, would pass the greetings sent by Archbishop Paskai to the head of the Polish Catholic Church, Archbishop Glemp.
While we are sure that many church members accepted that you acted with the best interests of our church, in our view, this reaction is really alarming. It shows that the majority of our church members have gradually got accustomed to these things and have started accepting this kind of reasening. Therefore, besides addressing you in person, our intention is to witness the Biblical stand-point to the church members, too. We write in the name of these Hungarian Seventh-day Adventists living ontside the Union since 1975/76 for reasons well known to you. We have
p 4 -- always felt and confessed ourselves to be a part of the SDA world church, even in those years when our membership had not yet been reestablished. In 1989, our membership was restored formally although the constitutional reunion has not yet taken place. We are writing to you as brethren who are devoted to the Advent movement and feel themselves responsible for its mission. There are many within the Union Church who think similarly to us and who were also shocked by the schedule of your visit.
We would like to present our viewpoint on the way your visit was perceived by many Seventh- day Adventist believers here in Hungary.
First of all, we do not stand for separation from either the world or the followers of other religions. On the contrary, we disapprove of any sign of Adventist pride or false sense of superiority towards sincere believers of other denominations. It frequently happens that, having listened to our cassettes or [having] read our publications, other churches - Baptist, Pentecostal or Calvinist - invite us to preach for their members. We are most happy to accept these invitations. Also, we are in favor of having friendly and open relations with State and social institutions as well in accordance with Biblical principles and Spirit of Prophecy.
In spite of all of this, we cannot approve of your visit to the Catholic archbishop and the Protestant church leadcrs. The Word of God makes it dear that we should not separate ourselves from the sincere believers and pastors of other denominations. But we are, however, to separate ourselves from the church organizations declared by the second angel's message to be fallen (Rev. 14:8). In Rev. 14:4, we read that one of the basic characteristics of the remnant church in the end time is: "These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins." It is obvious from the first six verses of chapter 17 that these "women" are thc same as churches which belong to the symbolic Babylon at the end time. The phrase "were not defiled" refers to the total separation or keeping away from them as the right attitude. This cannot be otherwise, since "Satan has taken full possession of these churches as a body." (Early Writings, p.273) God's presence is not among them so Satan and his followers take control. Rev. 18:2 says Babylon to be "the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird" before Christ's return.
Now how can the leader of God's remnant church, who should understand and believe these prophecies, and is obliged to bear witness to them, pay visits to these church bodies? The official leaders of these churches are the primary representatives of their organizations and therefore it is their duty to identify themselves with the ideas and interests of their churches. But to attempt to witness the truth under these circumstances would break all the rules of protocol and would be an anomaly.
How can we dispel the prejudices of these committed leaders of Babylon against the Adventist Church during an official visit? What we actually have to preach is that these churches as a body have fallen once and for all. As to God's people, we have to call them out of these churches. Our mission is to reveal the alliance of the Antichrist as well as its activity among the nations according to the prophecies.
Although we ought to feel respect for everyone as an individual and look to his salvation whatever his views may be, our position is in opposition to that of these church leaders, in that it is for the Lord and His truth. In these circumstances their prejudice against us cannot be dispelled other than by withholding or changing the prophetic message entrusted to us.
How can we invite them to observe human rights such as the freedom of religion? The prophecies point out that the spirit of persecution is part of the invariable essence of the Catholic Church and that the Protestant churches will soon be like them in spite of their earlier views. Do we thank the head of the Catholic Church for not hurting us as yet? Is the guarantee of the freedom of conscience a favor or the observation of a basic human right given by God? Instead of asking religious organizations intoxicated with power, we must turn to the State whose task [as] ordained by God is to ensure the freedom of religion in the interests of peace and welfare of the whole society. There are no instructions to be found in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy to say that we should expect the leaders of Babylon to respect freedom of conscience. On the contrary they are to be restrained, and this is the miraculous work of the angels holding the winds behind the scenes. According to E. G. White, it will be members of the legislature all over the world whom God will use as the means to keep this tendency in check.
Such visits cannot be regarded by the public but as a tribute and the establishment of diplomatic relations between the churches represented by their leaders. Brother Folkenberg, even if your motives for paying those visits had been the very best, you should not have done so. You have actually denied the mission of our Church by
p 5 -- inviting the above-mentioned church leaders in yourr capacity as Adventist president.
What has heen said so far can be summed up in the following question: Is there, can there be, any kind of relation between Christ and the Antichrist? If we take sides with Christ while the above church organizations belong to the alliance of the Antichrist, our only guide to what attitude to have towards these churches as a body should be II Cor. 6:14-16: "What fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness? And what concord has Christ with Belial?...And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?" If we do not keep ourselves to this instruction, we are unfaithful to the Lord and His Word. Why should we, leave the straight path shown dearly in the word of God? What would the pioneers of our movement say if they were raised to hear the new order of things, namely, that a leader of the Adventist Church conveys greetings sent by one Catholic archbishop to another?
Finally about the consequences of your visit in the Hungarian church: You knew a lot about the problems caused by the unbiblical ecumenism of Union leaders. The General Conference representatives also admitted this policy to be wrong in the Joint Statement signed in September, 1989. This document obliged the Union Committee and the Union president to set their unbiblical statements right, which has not been done since. That was the reason why the planned re-union came to nothing.
With this as the backdrop, the Union prepared your programme by using its previously established good ecumenical connections. You accepted and fulfilled this programme, which not only served to justity but also to protect the Union's ecumenical policy for the future. Can anybody criticise the Union's ecumenism after you have visited the Catholic archbishop?
This has blocked the way to re-union even more. It was also painful to us that although you came for a pastoral visit, you did not seek contact with us over the last year. You must have realized that we are sincere Seventh-day Adventists not some offshoot movement. On the other hand, you had plenty of time to meet with Catholic and Protestant church leaders.
You did one good thing during your visit which we do not want to leave unnoticed. You positively confirmed, on forums outside the church as well, that it is a fundamental principle in our church not to accept financial support from the State. It is not quite clear if you insisted on this with or without knowing that last year the Union in common with the rest ot the churches accepted millions from the State for the purpose of church ministry. We appreciate the Biblical position you took up in this case.
May the Holy Spirit convince you of our sincerity. May God bless yon in your work,
Your brother and sisters in Christ:
PS. We write this letter under the direction of the official delegates of the so-called Small Committee church.
LET'S TALK lT OVER -- In the month of October, Brother Oliver and I spent a day observing an Independent Ministries Campmeeting being held some fifty miles from the Foundation Campus. We learned several things, one of which explained to us the why of the emphasis on "historic" Adventism which is being used by these ministries as the basis of their appeal to those who are concerned about the direction the Church is taking. This we shall discuss in detail in a future issue of WWN. There is another factor which I want to talk over in this brief editorial comment on the campmeeting.
Prior to each meeting we attended, the "song service" consisted of singing texts of Scripture which had been set to folk music. There was no piano, and the use of even the old Church Hymnal was discredited.
First, let me make myself very clear. I have no objection to singing the Word of God. But should not that Word be set to the most stately and sublime music possible, reflecting to the best of human ability the Majesty of its Author? Religious folk music has its place reflecting human experience, and I have been blessed by such singing from the heart. However, as I have reviewed in my mind the whole impression of the day, one comment of Jesus which He directed to the Laodiceans of His day has heen ringing in my ears. Jesus said: "This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; hut their heart is far from Me. (Matt. 15:8)
The messages which followed each song service, without exception, were introduced by one or two texts of Scripture, and the rest of the message given was a series of quotes from the Writings of
p 6 -- Ellen G. White. Brother Oliver on his own volition kept a record on each speaker as to how many times he used the Bible, and how many times he quoted the Writings. The ratio was disproportionate. There was not a single indepth study of the Bible all day long.
Now again, I need to make myself very, very clear. I believe that Ellen G. White was as she bore record of her calling, a "Messenger of the Lord." (SM, bk 1, p. 32) She gave messages by the Holy Spirit for God's people at this time. But she also gave guidelines as to how her Writings were to be used; what was to be the source for God's people in determining both doctrine and life-style; and where the information as to the perfection to be realized by the people of God is to be found.
Let us notice the last point first before talking over the other factors noted. In an article, "Benefits of Bible Study" (ST, Jan. 30, 1893), the Messenger wrote: "In the Word of God is contained everything essential to the perfecting of the man of God." Do we believe what she wrote, "everything essential" is to be found in the Bible, or do we not? Then if we need to be perfect before the close of probation - and we do - what should we be searching? Not Margaret Davis and her neo-Holy Flesh teaching. Before you trash this paper, know for yourself just what the men in Indiana taught.They did not teach the perfection of the body of flesh. Go to the word of God and learn from the sanctuary truth just how the perfection of God's people will be accomplished. It will be a new learning experience for most of God's professed people.
Now let us talk over some of the guidelines set forth by the Messenger of the Lord for the understanding and interpretation of her Writings: "The testimonies themselves will be the key that will explain the messages given, as the scripture is explained by scripture. (SM bk 1, p. 42)
By an incomplete study, and often through manipulated compilations, the true message of the Writings is distorted. Since most of the messages given by the "voices" sounding on the periphery of Adventism today primarily cite the Writings, the failure to follow this guideline accounts for the confusion everywhere evident...An example of an incomplete use of the Writings was seen in one of the messages given at the Campmeeting. The subject concerned the Latter Rain, and admittedly the teachings on this subject are found largely in the Writings. Attention was called to Early Writings where it reads: At that time the "latter Rain...will come, to give power to the loud voice of the third angel, and prepare the saints to stand in the period when the seven last plagues shall be poured out. (p. 86)
But the listeners were left with the traditional view of "historic" Adventism as to what the work of the "third angel" is, rather than citing an explanatory reference in the same book which reads: I then saw the third angel. Said my accompanying angel, "Fearful is his work. Awful is his mission. He is the angel that is to select the wheat from the tares, and seal, or bind, the wheat for the heavenly garner. These things should engross the whole mind, the whole attention." (p. 118)
Note the work - "select the wheat from the tares" not the tares from the wheat, and "bind" the wheat in bundles for the heavenly garner. It is a separation message plain and simple. Following the guideline given in the Writings would have brought light and directed these listening on the right course of action for this hour.
Another guideline reads: Regarding the testimonies, nothing is ignored; nothing is cast aside; but time and place must be considered. (SM, bk 1, p. 57)
This is probably the most frequently violated rule given. The violation of this rule is seen in the application of the "Sunday Law" references written prior to 1888 in Testimonies, Vol. 5. Nowhere to my knowledge, is the term, "National Sunday Law" found in the Writings. After 1900, the call to leave the cities is based on other factors rather than a Sunday Law. Observing the guidelines of "time and place" would keep our perceptions of the future in proper focus as to what the "oppressive law" (R&H, Dec. 13, 1892) will be like and what might cause its enactment. The nature of society in the United States prior to 1900 is not the pluralism which marks today's American society. This factor must be considered.
As to the basis and source of our doctrine and life-style, Ellen White has written: God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms. (SP, IV, p. 413)
This is a very simple test to determine who the people of God are today. When asked what you believe, and why you dress or eat as you do, what do you quote? What is your "standard" and what is the "basis" of your reform message? Do you really believe the Writings, or is it lip service? --- (1992 Dec) ---End---- TOP
1992 May -- XXV -- 5(92) -- Commentary -- Vol. VI -- Part 1 -- BEGINNINGS OF THE WCC -- The beginnings of the World Council of Churches date back to the years just prior to World War II. The motivation for such a Council was stimulated by a world-wide resurgence of non-Christian and anti-Christian forces. In Russia, the church was outlawed; in Germany, religious rights and liberties were restricted. Race pride and race antagonism were expressing themselves in constantly growing programs which spread persecution, terrorism and hate. The dogma that the State was the be-all and end-all of existence with authority over man's political, economic, social and religious life was gaining ground in all parts of the world. Even in countries where religion was still free, large segments of the society had departed beyond the influence of the Church and were building their lives on philosophies of humanism or pure materialism. Civilization was being undermined by a world-wide process of moral deterioration.
What was to be done about this moral deterioration? "A
world process can only be dealt with effectively by a world force,"
was the conclusion of a representative committee of churchmen from every
major division of the Christian Church except the Church of Rome. They
perceived the world was "too strong for a divided Church," and
proposed a World Council of Churches in the summer of 1937 to two Christian
Councils, one on Life and Work meeting in Oxford, and the other on Faith
and Order meeting in Edinburgh. These two conferences accepted the proposal
and set up a committee of fourteen mernbers, seven from each conference,
to draft a constitution for a World Council of Churches. The primary responsibility
of the proposed World Council would be to continue the work of the Faith
and Order, and Life and Work Movements in one body.
lt should be observed that in the objective for the formation
of this World Council, the very principle underlying Christ's kingdom
was denied. His kingdom was and is not of this world, but the Church leaders
behind the WCC movements desired a "world force" to meet what
they perceived as challenges to Christianity. In this they were imaging
the concepts of the
p 2 -- Papal Church.
The leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church entered
the picture from the very start. Upon learning of these proposed conferences
at Oxford and Edinburgh, E. D. Dick, then Secretary of the General Conference
addressed a letter to the Secretary of the Northern European Division
recommending the representation on the part of the Division at these conferences.
Contact was made and the Faith and Order Conference gave permission for
the appointment of two delegates from the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The roster of the Life and Work conference to be held at Oxford had already
been finalized so that the Church could not be officially represented,
but the leadership hoped that Elder H. W. Lowe could attend as an observer.
(See Exhibit #1, p. 3) Thus the Seventh-day Adventist Church was on the
ground floor from the very inception of the WCC, and by its own request,
taking part in the deliberations which led to its formation.
Resulting from these contacts and authorizations, W. A. Visser 't Hooft, secretary of the provisional WCC, sent through the Northern European Division an official invitation to join this "forming" World Council of Churches. (See Exhibit #2, p. 4) The General Conference Committee on March 30, 1939, with Elder J. L. McElhaney in the chair, voted not to join. The minutes read as follows:
An inquiry was received from the Northern European Division with reference to our accepting an invitation to membership in a World Council of Churches that is in process of formation. It was
VOTED, To reply to this inquiry that, in harmony with our denominational position concerning such matters, we do not consider it advisable to accept membership in this organization. (See Exhibit #3, p. 4)
Because of World War II which began in 1939 the World Council of Churches did not become reality until 1948. Then in 1950, the National Council of Churches was formed in America, and the Second Phase of Adventist ecumenical involvement began. The National Council developed "units" or "commissions" covering such diversified areas as overseas mission problems;
Picture: Where the churches started with radial lines: Caption of the picture: From Representatives of these Churches Assembled at Oxford and Edinburgh came the Recommendation for a World Council of Churches
United Church of Canada Church of England
p 3 -- continuing education for ministers in the
field; radio and TV contacts; and Christian education at the local church
level. By joining one of these units, a church became a "Cooperating
Denomination" of the NCC. (See Exhibit #4, p. 4) In response to an
inquiry in 1959, Raymond
F. Cottrell, who was then Associate Editor of the Review
understand that certain officers of the General Conference have been appointed
to meet with various divisions of the National Council of Churches. (Letter
dated, August 27, 1959)
lt can be reasonably assumed though the data is unavailable to this editor that the contributions to these various "units" of the NCC has increased and not decreased.
By 1965, a Third Phase of the Adventist ecumenical contacts had begun in a renewed relationship with the WCC. This has been described in detail in the book, So Much in Cormmon. Since we covered much of the present relationship of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to the WCC in Commentary (V-2), we will only call "attention to certain facts not covered in that issue. First, in 1970, W. R. Beach, then Secretary of the General Conference, wrote in a letter dated April 14, that Seventh-day Adventists "who go to the meetings of the World Council of Churches do so as observers, without delegate status of any kind, they have neither the right to speak or to vote." Keep in mind that this was in 1970. The evidence as documented in the previous Commentary clearly indicated that the Adventist "observer" (B. B. Beach) at the Seventh Assembly of the WCC in 1991 was there as a "delegated representative" with the right to speak in any plenary session. There can be no question but that the relationship between the SDA Church and the WCC has changed since 1970. It is much closer! But the laity of the Church have not been told what has transpired to bring about this changed relationship.
p 4 --
p 5 -- RALPH LARSON'S DISTORTIONS OF THE WRITINGS -- Dr. D. Douglas Devnich, President of the Canadian Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists has performed an honorable service in documenting Dr. Ralph Larson's distortion of the writings of Ellen G. White. These distortions appeared in two articles of our Firm Foundation, September and December, 1991, Dr. Devnich zeroed in on the September issue which discussed "The Tithe Problem." it is hard to believe that Larson would stoop to this level in seeking to underpin Spear's insatiable lust for money. To seek to prop up a man, who brags about the "deep pockets" he gets his hands into, with distortions of the Writings casts a shadow upon his other studies including the incarnation. Has he done the same in those research studies? This would be tragic.
Dr. Devnich's documentation appeared in Canadian Adventist Messenger, December 1991. He wrote: Tho Ralph Larson article centres on the idea that E. G. White would approve of individual church members not submitting tha tithe of their income through the local church treasury and on through the Denomination. I will not develop on that question here. An insert on Tithe in Iast month's Messenger covers the subject adequately. (See WWN, XXV 3(92) for our analysis of the insert)
What I wish to point out is that Larson like the OFF (Our Firm Foundation) editor, Ron Spear, accuses the pastors and leaders of the Church with falsity and apostasy ...
Now here is the tragedy. And, this is a sample of how deceptive OFF writings are quite regularly. Unless the readers of OFF are vigilant they will miss the dishonesty. [Amen! ] I refer you to the following quotation in full as given in the Larson article: God desires to bring men into direct relation with Himself. ... very man has been a steward of sacred trusts; each is to discharge his trust according to the direction of the Giver: and by each an account of his Stewrdship must be rendered to God. ... We are responsible to invest this means ourselves. (Test., vol. 7, 176-177)
If you will actually
go to volume 7 of the Testamonies to (sic) the Church, pages 176
and 177, you will find that Ellen G. White does not even use the word,
"tithe" in the article entitled "The Author", pages
176-181. She addressed the issue of whether or not denominational publishing
houses should pay royalties to authors of published books
Please note that Larson with the use of ellipses (. . .) pulls together sentences that are not connected in the original source. He makes it sound like Ellen White addresses the stewardship of tithe which "we are responsible to invest ourselves" , when in fact she addresses investing the returns or profits of authorship. She says that it is the author's personal responsibility to decide how to manage their monies. Ellen white doesn't deal with the tithe question at all in that section of Volume Seven. (So much for "the straight testimony" of OFF writers.) (p. 3)
On page 6, we have reproduced the pages in Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 7, pp. 176-177 from which Larson quoted. The underscored sentences are the ones quoted. We will also include the section from the article in Our Firm Foundation which is in question.
But this is not all. In the December 1991 issue of OFF, Larson began a quotes from The Great Controversy, then modified the statement. He could not do otherwise because he had not followed the counsel given. This distortion is placed in a block by the editors of OFF indicating their full approval. (p. 29) we shall likewise place this distortion on page 6 with the full statement from The Great Controversy for your comparlson.
The counsel is clear in the Writings that "all doctrine " must find its "standard" in the Bible, and the Bible only. But this Larson did not do. In my reading of the articles in question, I could find very little, if any, use of the Bible. It is evident that Larson does not qualify to be a part of that "people" whom God will have "on the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrine, and the basis of all reforms." (GC, p. 595)
The Bible can be shown to support the individual choice as to where the tithe is to be placed. But it does not indicate that it should he used to support the distortion of Spiritual Gifts. May God have mercy on the "sheep."
p 6 -- Testimonies, Vol. 7 -- THE AUTHOR. -- (176)
God desires to bring men into direct relation with Himself. In all His dealings with human beings He recognizes the principle of personal responsibility. He seeks to encourage a semse of personal dependence, and to impress the need of personal guidance. His gifts are committed to men as individuals. Every man has been made a steward of sacred trusts; each is to discharge his trust according to the direction of the Giver; and by each an account of his stewardship must be rendered to God.
In all this, God is seeking to bring the human into association vvith the divine, that through this connection man may become transformed into the divine likeness. Then the principle of love and goodness will be a part of his nature. Satan, seeking to thwart this purpose, constantly works to encourage dependence upon man, to make men the slaves of men. When he thus succeeds in turning minds away from God, he insinuates his own principles of selfishness, hatred, and strife.
In all our dealing with one another, God desires us carefully to guard the principle of personal responsibility to and dependence upon Him. It is a principle that should be especially kept in view by our publishing houses in their dealing with authors.
It has been urged by some that authors have no right to hold the stewardship of their own works; that they should give their works over to the control of the publishing house or of the conference; and that, beyond the expense involved in the production of the manuscript, they should claim no share of the profit; that this should be left with the conference or the publish-
No, 35, The Author (177)
ing house, to be appropriated as their judgment shall direct, to the various needs of the work. Thus the author's stewardship of his work would be wholly transferred from himself to others.
But not so does God regard the matter. The ability to write a book is, like every other talent, a gift from Him, for the improvement of which the possessor is accoutable to God; and he is to invest the returns under His direction. Let it be borne in mind that it is not our own property which is entrusted to us for improvement. If it were, we might claim discretionary power; we might shift our responsibility upon others, and leave our stewardship with them. But this cannot be, because the Lord has made us individually His stewards. We are responsible to invest this means ourselves. Our own hearts are to be sanctifled; our hands are to have something to impart, as occasion demands, of the income that God entrusts to us.
It would be just as reasonable for the conference or the publishing house to assume control of the income which a brother receivcs from his houses or lands as to appropriate that which comes from the working of his brain.
Nor is there justice in the claim that, because a worker in the publishing house receives wages for his labor, his powers of body, mind, and soul belong wholly to the institution, and it has a right to all the productions of his pen. Outside the period of labor in the Institution, the worker's time is under his own control, to use as he sees fit, so long as this use does not conflict with his duty to the institution. For that which he may produce in these hours, he is responsible to his own conscience and to God.
No greater dishonor can be shown to God than for one man to bring another -man's talent under his abso-
24 Our Firm Foundation -- September, 1991
ment such as we have now. Some will be influenced by Ellcn While's statement: "God desires to bring men into direct relation with Himself....Every man has been made a steward of sacred trusts; each is to discharge his trust according to the direction of the Giver; and by each an account of his stewardship must be rendered to God. . .
We are responsible to invest this means ourselves." Testimonies, vol. 7, 176-177
29 Our Firm Foundation -- December, 1991
" But God will have a people" who will cling to the truths of the Bible regardless of the opposition. See The Great Controversy, 595. They will stand through the last great conflict because they have fortified their minds with the truths of the Bible. See ibid., 593. God will protect them from deception because they are purifying their souls through a belief in the truth. See Manuscript 122, 1905.
The Great Controversy -- The Scriptures a Safeguard -- 595.
But God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines, and the basis of all reforms. The opinions of learned men, the deductions of science, the creeds or decisions of eccliastical counsels, as numerous and discordant as the churches which they represent, the voice of the majority, not one nor all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against any point of religious faith. Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain "thus saith the Lord" in its support.
p 7 -- QUESTIONABLE DOCUMENTATION BY TREFZ -- On November 30, 1991, 1 received a call from the West Coast inquiring about the validity of a statement appearing in Freedom's Ring, a publication of the the Biblical Studies Institute, edited by Robert Trefz. The allegation in question read that "the Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry document [was] signed by one hundred theologians, including a representative of the SDA church." (Vol. 2, #9, p. 7; emphasis his.) We were called because we had written about this Faith & Order Commission's document a few years back. The question concerned the signing of the document by Dr. Raoul Dederen, the Adventist presence on this commission.
The next day, I wrote to Dr. Dederen as follows: Last evening. I received a call from the West Coast calling my attention to a paragraph in the October issue of Freedom's Ring (p.7) which stated:
"The book [Unity
of the Churches] is built on the Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry
document, signed by one hundred theologians, including a representative
of the SDA church."
The concern of the
calling party was the stated fact that you "signed" the document.
Now I have a copy of a letter which Dr. B. B. Beach wrote April 2, 1982,
that you abstained from voting on the document, therefore, it is difficult
for me to put these two concepts together. ...
In the interest of
truth, and accurate statement, I believe it best to make direct contact
with the primary source, and thus this letter to you.
In a few days, Dr. Dederen called and assured me that,
in fact, he had not signed the BEM document. This information I
transmitted to my questioner. But Trefz continued to write, and was even
featured on a video as a part of The John Osborne Show. Another reader
on the West Coast called me in disgust over the video. This resulted in
another exchange of communication between Dr. Dederen and myself. A copy
was sent to Trefz, but to this date, there has been no response. (See
What are the facts? First, what all has
Trefz written? Based on a Faith & Order Paper, #149, Trefz
wrote in a very abbreviated manner: 186
Churches have responded to the most significant document yet produced
by the World Council of Churches - the Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry
document which calls for the unity of the churches in those areas.
Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry 1982-1990 Report on the Process and
Responses: "Some communions have
adopted one common response (Roman Catholic, Salvation Army and Seventh
Day Adventists)..." (Vol. 2, # 1O, p. 3)
What was the SDA response according to Trefz? He continues
to quote from the same Paper: The
joint response of Seventh Day Adventists terms BEM as "unquestioningly
one of the World Council of Churches most significant publications to
All of this documentation which Trefz uses is from secondary and not primary sources in his church-bashing effort. In fact, the SDA "response" was not "joint" but unilateral. Why did Trefz not obtain a copy of the SDA response to the BEM document? They were available from the WCC for I have a copy before me as I write. And if he does have the document, why did he not quote directly from it? This casts a long shadow over all the "research" which he is doing.
The Adventist response
in its introductory paragraph did state exactly
as the Faith & Order Commission Paper #149 read, but after analyzing
point by point the whole document, what conclusions were drawn?
We find much in the FOC Statement on baptism with which
we can agree. At the same time we are unable to be as accommodating as
the framers of the statement would wish, since we find statements to be
allowing of (to us) mutually exclusive positions and to be undefined at
key points. (p. 7)
In the Faith and Order Statement the celebration of
the eucharist is treated as the central act of the church's worship. Adventists
concur with other Christians in seeing the celebration of the Lord's Supper
as a sacred event in the church's life, but for Adventists the proclamations
of the Word rather than the celebration of the eucharist is the center
of the church's worship. (9)
On Ministry: It may well be that the ministry statement's intent never was to canonize Orthodox or Catholic or Anglican theology and practice. Yet, as it stands, it is too Catholic in intent, too influenced by Orthodox,
p 8 -- Anglican and Roman Catholic members of the Faith and Order Commission. Its aim is probably to recover the convictions and life of the early undivided church, the church of the great ecumenical councils and the first centuries, as it developed from the New Testament church. We appreciate the attempt, but feel constrained to urge the authors of this statement to pursue their work of reconstruction farther back in Christian history; to compare and verify their statements with the biblical writings accepted as normative. (p. 19)
You, the reader, can now conclude whether Trefz's use
of secondary sources is to be adopted, or whether you wish to rely on
primary documentation. You also have a basis upon which to judge all of
Trefz's conclusions and documentations on other topics as well.
In the January 1992, issue of Freedom's Ring, Trefz
placed a summary column "About that BEM Document in the October '91
issue." (p. 17; see *Exhibit
on this page) Going down this column, one would think that Trefz
had a clear case for his assumption in the October 1991, issue. But note
the last paragraph - and observe that it is not in quotes. Here is what
the back cover of the BEM statement actually said and we quote word for
one hundred theologians met in Lima, Peru, in January 1982, and recommended
unanimously to transmit this agreed statement - the Lima text -
for the common study and official response of the churches. They represented
virtually all the major church traditions: Eastern Orthodox, Oriental
Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, Reformed,
Methodist, United, Disciples, Baptist, Adventist and Pentecostal."
The misuse of this statement serves to underscore whether the validity and conclusions of Trefz's research in other areas can be trusted without a thorough checking of the data presented. To be unable to differentiate between an unanimous vote for the Lima text, as he charges, and an "unanimous vote to transmit" as clearly stated raises some serious questions and doubts.
*Exhibit -- ABOUT THAT BEM DOCUMENT IN THE October, '91 ISSUE -- A telephone call to the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland, in which I spoke to the director of the Faith and Order Commission, Dr. Günther Gassmann, reveals the following points:
1. The vote by the Faith aand Order
Commission in Lima, Peru, was unanimous.
Another source, the back cover of the BEM document itself, published by the WCC, declares that Adventists were a part of the unanimous decision. Freedom's Ring, January, 1992, Vol. 3, No. 1 (p. 17)
p 9 -- [ Letters pictured]
"Watchman, what of the night"
P.O. Box 69 Ozone, AR 72854
Dr. R.F. Dederen
Dear Dr. Dederen,
Please find enclosed a page from Freedom's Ring, latest issue in which the BEM issue again arises based on questions evidently arising from Trefz' October allegations about which I was called.
From the telephone conversation with you, I conveyed to my inquirer exactly what you told me. As you can see, there is direct contradiction in regard to several points - abstentions, and the "list" which Gassmann faxed to Trefz. This needs to be clarified, and hopefully soon.
I look forward to your explanation. It is difficult for me to see how a "voice" or "hand" vote could be noted as "unanimous" except that a negative response was called for, and no hands were raised. It would seem to me that "abstentions" would also be called for or at least in order.
Thanking you in advance for this clarification and thanking you for the past response, I remain
P.S. You will observe that Trefz states - closing paragraph
- "Another source, the back cover of the BEM document itself, published
by the WCC, declares that the Adventists were a part of the unanimous
decision." The fact is the back cover does not so state. It reads
- "Over one hundred theologians met in Lima, Peru, in January 1982,
and recommended unanimously to transmit this agreed statement - the Lima
text - for the common study and official response of the churches. There
is a difference between approving in fact, and approving the recommendation
for transmission for study by the individual churches. This inability
on the part of Trefz to fine line his comments cast doubts in my mind
about his ability to correctly analyze his other documents he alludes
to and quotes from in his paper.
February 11, 1992
Pastor Wm. H. Grotheer, Editor
Dear Elder Grotheer,
Thank you for your brief letter of February 5 and for calling my attention to a page from a recent copy of Freedom's Ring in which the BEM issue is brought up by Mr. Trefz.
The contradiction that Mr. Trefz underlines between Dr. Gassmann's statement and mine should not be too difficcult to address. The statement on the back cover of the BEM document , as published by the World Council of Churches, speaks indeed of a "unanimous decision." Anyone reading the text in its entirety will discover that what was unanimously recommended was "to transmit this agreed statement for the common study and official response of the churches." There is a clear differnce between voting on the content of a text and voting on a decision to send it to the churches for their reaction.
I was glad to notice that you yourself noted this variance as indicated in the P.S. of your letter to me. I would also have to agree with you that this inability on the part of Mr. Trefz to be more specific in his comments casts doubts as to his ability to correctly analyze the other documents and statements he quotes in his papers.
-- This whole issue of Commentary
points up some very serious flaws both within the regular SDA Church,
and "independent ministries" on the periphery. It is evident
that as far back as the 1930s the leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist
Church was losing its prophetic vision. The book of Revelation clearly
identifies the "dragon" and the powers through which it will
operate in these last days: the beast, the false prophet, and the "image
to the beast." Yet we requested to be represented through delegates
to the meetings which formed the WCC! After pulling back, we then went
gung-ho for B. B. Beach's contacts with representatives of the WCC which
led to the appointment by the Central Committee of the WCC of an Adventist
to sit on the Faith and Order Commission in 1967. And this appointment
had the full approval of the General Conference. This led ultimately to
Dr. Dederen being in Lima, Peru, in 1982 when the BEM statement was adopted.
In our judgment this was unfortunate, and cannot be justified if we still
truly believe the book of Revelation. But neither can the falsification
of the facts surrounding the adoption of the BEM document be justified
for church-bashing purposes. On what basis can "independent ministries"
charge the leadership of the Church with dishonesty when they practice
the same themselves, and this includes airing these false charges on The
John Osborne Show.
The compounded tragedy as noted in this issue of Commentary is the prostitution of what had been the good name and scholarship of Dr. Ralph Larson to serve the ends of Ron Spear. Further, to distort the Writings in seeking to accomplish the objective is also unbelievable, except that it is documented. When will the concerned people of God wake up and see what travesties are being practiced on them? --- (1992 May -- XXV -- 5(92) -- Commentary -- Vol. VI -- Part 1 -- BEGINNINGS OF THE WCC) --- End ---- TOP
1992 Sep -- XXV -- 9(92) -- Commentary -- Vol. VI --Part 2 -- ERODING RELIGIOUS LIBERTY -- Americans United for Separation of Church and state's (AU) 45th National Conference on church-state relations was held in Alexandria, Virginia, September 19-22. The editors of WWN attended this meeting along with over 200 others of diverse faiths. Speakers, many experts in the Religious Liberty field and Constitutional law, spoke on selected topics ranging f rom the history of religious liberty to current church-state issues. Four speakers were part of a panel, discussing where the religious communities which they represented stand on church-state separation. Combined with this meeting was the Madison-Jefferson Student Seminar in which 63 law and theology students participated. Following are the highlights of this seminar beginning, as they did, with some history.
"The Constitution of The United States is a document embodying the fundamental principles upon which the American republic is conducted. Drawn up at the Federal Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia in 1787, the Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787, and ratified by the required number of states (nine) by June 21, 1788...The Constitution has undergone gradual alteration with the growth of the country. Some of the 23 amendments were brought on by Supreme Court decisions. The first nine amendments, which constitute the Bill of Rights, were added, however, within two years of the signing of the Federal Constitution in order to insure sufficient guarantees of individual liberties. The Bill of Rights applied only to the Federal government. But since the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment (1868), many of the guarantees contained in the Bill of Rights have been extended to the states through the "due process" clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The First Amendment guarantees the freedom of worship, of speech, of the press, of assembly, and of petition to the government for redress of grievances." (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1958)
When the Constitution was being framed, the lack of a Bill of Rights was one of the main concerns of Thomas Jefferson. Writing from Paris, 20 December 1787, to James Madison, he confided: "First [I do not like] the omission of a bill of rights providing clearly & without the aid of sophisms for freedom of religion, freedom of the press, protection against standing armies, restriction against monopolies, the eternal & unremitting force of the habeas corpus laws, and trials by jury in all matters of fact triable by the laws of the land & not by the law of nations." (Thomas Jefferson, Library of America, pp 915-6)
According to Jefferson, the first amendment had created a "wall" between church and state. That wall between was created by these sixteen important words, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." These are the words referred to by courts and court watchers when the establishment or free exercise clauses are mentioned. "Madison held that the fundamental
Jefferson and Madison understood the differences in a pure democracy (rule by the majority) , a republic and a monarchy. Jefferson illustrated this understanding in a letter to Madison when expressing a second dislike to the draft constitution. He wrote: "The second feature I dislike, and greatly dislike, is the abandonment in every instance of the necessity of rotation in office, and most particularly in the case of the President. Experience concurs with reason in concluding that the first magistrate will always be re-elected if the Constitution permits it. He is then in office for life." (Thomas Jefferson, Library of America, p 916) Representatives of the people were to be elected by responsible individuals; and after serving a set time, would come up for re-election. The President was to be limited to serving two terms as an elected official.
LIBERTY -- What is religious liberty?
Most individuals would answer this question in the understanding within
the framework of their own religious beliefs. Are the problems today any
different than they were 200 years ago? Many of the earliest settlers
came in search of religious freedom; however, their idea of religious
freedom was to worship the way they believed. So one of the first things
they did was to formalize their beliefs into state churches. The various
religions, opposed to the Church of England, settled in different colonies,
each setting up their own state religion. It was Roger Williams of Rhode
Island who first came up with the radical idea of
Today a SDA or Jew might focus on the right to observe their Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. A Catholic might choose to attend mass on Saturday or Sunday. But how do Catholics view religious liberty? Church & State commented - "Freedom of conscience is the most fundamental human right and worLd peace cannot be achieved without respect for it according to Pope John Paul II.11 (Feb 1991, p 13). However, one must understand the Vatican position on religious liberty. "While focusing on the importance of religious liberty, John Paul's speech left ample room for the traditional Vatican stance on such issues as religion and politics, abortion legislation and tax aid for religious education. He charged that an 'extreme and uncompromising separation of religion and political life -- effectively hinders believers from exercising their right to give public expression to their faith. '" Ibid. This merging of church-state relations does not agree with the position of our founding fathers and the writers of the U.S. Constitution.
What about the Jews? Panelist, Lois Waldman, Co-Director, Committee on Law and Social Action, American Jewish Congress, New York, N.Y. made an insightful observation. She stated "The question may arise, how the Jewish community will view churchstate in the future? This depends in part on the composition of the Jewish community and its history and
p 3 -- experience as time goes on. The fight against government and its identification with religion has improved the security of the American Jew. But that security has enabled Jews to move increasingly into the wider community and has re-enforced secularism within the Jewish world. That secularism coupled with intermarriage may leave the organized Jewish community with only the most parochial and particularistic interests. If that happens we might see a shift away from policies of strict church-state separation."
During the panel discussion, Dr. Robert Dugan, Executive Director, National Association of Evangelicals, Washington, D.C. detailed the "religious right" position. He stated that conservative Evangelicals view AU's position as being "hostile to religion"; that the recent decision in Lee v. Weisman was not regarded as a victory. Dr. Dugan made it clear that conservative evangelicals believe that religion should be a part of and an afluence in government. To illustrate his point he referenced a letter written 31 July 1788 from Jefferson to Madison stating that Jefferson's concern was that the people be protected from the government, not that the government would be protected from religious influence. Dr. Dugan may not be aware of another letter written 15 March 1789 by Jefferson to Madison stating that he in fact was concerned about religious influence on government. Jefferson wrote: "I am much pleased with the prospect that a declaration of rights will be added; and hope it will be done in that way which will not endanger the whole frame of the government, or any essential part of it. " (Thomas Jefferson, Library of America, p. 945)
As a part of the religious right, Pat Robertson, James Dobson and Donald Wildmon are included. "These national eaders of the Religious Right have .ttacked the concept of church-state separation openly, sometimes calling for its abolishment." (AU Annual Report, 21 Sept. 1992, p 1)
Another panel member, Dr. David Sapp, Pastor of Derbyshire Baptist Church Richmond, Va., speaking, as he described, from the "trenches", very aptly stated the concerns of the populace when he said, "There is no longer concensus in the pews. The masses are genuinely afraid, and for good reason. They see moral disintegration, they fear for the integrity of their families and the future of their children, for the health care and care of their parents, for the security of their jobs and for the safety of us all. They see government as the enemy, God as the good. Many of them see the church as His instrument and Church dominance of the state as our only hope agains these fears. (This was not Dr. Sapp's position) Separation of church and state in the minds of many people that sit in the pews where I preach, is the separation of values from government."
THE SABBATH QUESTION -- one questioner, later identified as a Seventh-day Adventist, commented to Dr. Gregg Ivers, Assistant Professor of Government, American University, Washington, D.C., during the question period that it seemed as though the religious right was pushing for a "national day of rest". His first question was, "Do you think it is possible for the President to establish such a day?" Dr. Iver's answer was a flat "no". Not satisfied with the answer, the next question was, "Do you think there will ever be a national Sunday law?" Dr. Ivers had just given a flawless speech without looking at any notes; but to this question he appeared stumped for the right words. While his side comment inferred there would be, "zero possibility", he confined his direct answer to, "it was a very low possibility that the president would enact such a law."
Dr. Ivers' answer reflected the same viewpoirt as others. Dr. Charles Haynes, Project Director, AU Research Foundation, referred to the problems and conflicts around the world,
p 4 -- stating that of the 32 conflicts he reviewed, 25 of them were over religious issues. While Islam is the major religion in 44 countries and the largest in the world, it would not necessarily dominate. Nations today are experiencing "exploding pluralism". This pluralism, it appears, would stop any one denomination from having the power to strongly influence governments or to force adoption of a specific day of worship.
THE FIRST STEP -- As an American
citizen educated in this country, I studied the history of the writing
of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
I even memorized the Declaration of Independence while in high school.
But, I am ashamed to say
The first amendment, in particular "religious liberty", is the focus of AU. The theme at the annual meeting was "1992, YEAR OF DECISION". How many are aware that religious liberty in America today, hangs but by a thread? Do Seventh-day Adventists realize this? Dr. Sapp summed up the situation by answering one question, Where do we stand politically? - "The support of our people in mainline churches for separation of church and state has been significantly eroded."
The following AU report will help to put the Church-State conflict in perspective: "This report covers the period of September 1991 through August 1992. Americans United does not present this report as a complete listing of all church-state conflicts in the country....This report focuses on the states and does not include church-state controversies at the federal level...A total of 196 incidents in 48 states was reported. This is a slight decrease over last year's total of 205 incidents in 45 states....The state-by-state breakdown found the following results in each category: (# of incidents/in the # of states)
"For the fourth year in a row, California led the nation with the highest reported number of church-state problems, with 17 incidents. New York was second highest with 10 incidents; Illinois had nine and four states, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Texas reported eight."
After giving this report some thought an individual should be shocked. Every case, and this is not an exhaustive list, is an attack on your religious freedom, and the freedom of
p 5 -- someone not to be religious. The previous two years were just as bad. Why are there so many of these incidents? Again Dr. Sapp addressed the issue directly when he said, "In the trenches we do not think about separation of church and state, we do not talk about it, we do not educate our young about it, nor in any other way take it very seriously." He went on to say, "Somehow the issues must be engaged at a broader and more personal level so that mainliners come once again to understand that no one is free in a land where anyone is a slave."
THE HIGH COURT -- There are four key Supreme Court cases involved in the present struggle. Three are rulings that have already taken place. The fourth, known as Hialeah, will be heard by the Supreme Court in November this year. Following is a brief overview of these cases:
Lemon v. Kurtzman, 1971. A ruling barring aid to parochial schools. The significance of the high Court ruling in this case is the three part test designed to determine violations of the Establishment Clause. To pass constitutional muster, a government action touching on religion, 1) must have a secular purpose, 2) must have a principal effect which neither advances nor retards religion, and 3) must not excessively entangle church and state. (This is referred to as the "Lemon test")
Lee v. Weisman, June 1992. A Rhode Island family, Jewish, objected to school sponsored prayer during their daughter's graduation ceremony. The Court ruled in favor of Church-State separation. However, this case is highlighted by the fact that the Bush administration sought to use this case to scrap Lemon v. Kurtzman.
Oregon v. Smith, 1990. The Supreme Court shifted gears on free exercise law when it released this ruling. The ruling curtails some of the freedoms established in the period from 1940 to 1970. In Sherbert v. Verner, an important 1963 case concerning sabbatarians' rights, the court devised the "compelling state interest" standard, holding that government may burden religious free exercise only after it has proven it has a compelling interest to do so and that no less restrictive means are available. The Smith ruling did away with this standard. The court ruled that any "generally applicable" and neutral law that has the inadvertent effect of infringing on religious freedom should be considered constitutional. In the face of this new test, minority religions have had an especially difficult time prevailing in court. AU and those that spoke at the annual meeting agree in their belief that this ruling essentially "gutted" the free exercise clause.
Church of Lukumi Babalu v. City of Hialeah, Florida This small church uses animal sacrifice in the practice of an ancient African religion, modified in the west. The city of Hialeah, in passing a law to stop the animal sacrifices, singled out a specific religion. The Supreme Court has accepted this case for the 1992 term. Because the case involves a city ordinance specifically directed at a religious practice (at sacrifice, but not at other forms of animal killing) , it presents the Court with the opportunity to revisit its Smith holding. Arguments will be heard by the Court in November 1992. A decision is not expected until late in the term.
Oliver Thomas, General Counsel, Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, Washington, D.C., pointed out that the high court may be getting out of enforcing the constitutional clauses strenuously. This would tend to agree with what A.E. Dick Howard, Professor of Law and Public Affairs, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, said about the way justices have been selected over the last 12 years. Basically, individuals have been chosen more for the individual ideology rather than as
p 6 -- a pure political appointment as in the past. Both speakers mentioned that four or five of the justices are ready to "dump" Lemon. Both see the states getting more involved in applications of the clauses.
Douglas Laycock, Law Professor, University of Texas, Austin, stated that he felt that an individual would more likely be able to protect his rights under a State constitution rather than the Federal. This could be an interesting turn, in that as more states get involved, individual Christians would be able to be God's witness in the courts of the land, whereas they would not be able to appear before the U. S. Supreme Court.
"Many church-state scholars see the Supreme Court and the legal community as divided into 'separationist' and "accommodationist' camps. The separationists advocate a clear division between the institutions of religion and government. In contrast, the accommodationists favor government assistance to religion as long as the aid is even-handed. In recent years, judicial appointments have often come from the accommodationist camp.
"Critics of the high court, however, insist that the predominant trend is not toward accommodationism, but 'statism.' In other words, some members of the court are all too ready to defer to government whether its actions advance or inhibit religion. Americans who believe in broad protections for individual religious liberty have reason for concern about these developments. Church-state cases at the high court should be watched closely." (AU Video Study Guide, Religious Freedom: Made In The U.S.A., p 14)
U.S. LEADERSHIP -- In the oath for office, the President is sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Looking at the records of Reagan and Bush, they have not done this where church-state separation is concerned. Instead, they have kept constant pressure toward breaking down the wall of separation between church and state. And what if the Constitution were "re-interpreted"? Since 1980, five of the justices have been appointed by presidents Reagan and Bush. (Kennedy, Scalia, O'Connor, Souter & Thomas) In the words of Dr. Gregg Ivers of the American University, Washington D.C., "The wall of separation metaphor is on judicial life support." And citing an example of how important the influence of an appointee can be, Dr. Ivers continues, "Six years ago, Justice Rehnquist, in a dissenting decision wrote, ' The wall of separation metaphor is a bad metaphor, based on bad history and should be frankly and explicitly abandoned.' Six years ago it was seen as another of Justice Rehnquist's shots as a Lone Ranger. Now Chief Justice Rehnquist is in a position to lead the court fundamentally in a different direction." (Americans United video, Separation of Church and State, 1992)
Below is another example of the presidential administration applying pressure: "In Lee v. Weisman, a Rhode Island parent had challenged school-sponsored prayers during graduation ceremonies at Providence's Nathan Bishop Middle School. Although the U.S. first Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the prayers, local school officials appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which subsequently agreed to hear the case. The case took on added importance when the U.S. Justice Department filed a brief before the high court, asking the justices to scrap the traditional test [Lemon] for determining church-state violations and rewrite Establishment Clause jurisprudence." (Americans United Legal Program Update, Sep 1992, p. 6)
Council on Religious Freedom, an organization separate from the SDA Church and performing much the same function as AU, but staffed only by Adventists, supplied one of the threer amicus briefs submitted. The brief sought to uphold the wall of church-state separation. In an article in CRF's FREEDOM ALERT, Lee Boothby, CRF
p 7 -- Vice-president & General Counsel, commented, "Many Court watchers blieved that a majority on the Court to reinterpret the Clause and to reduce its against government religious matters. To the surprise of many, three conservative jurist -- O'Connor, Kennedy and Souter -- joined with Justices Blackmun and Stevens to proscribe state-sponsored religious prayers at graduation exercises. And to the dismay of the administration, one of the Republican's recent appointments, Justice Kennedy, wrote the majority opinion."
Reagan appointed an Ambassador to the Vatican and often consulted with the Pope on American foreign policy. He not only supported, but pushed the giving of tax dollars to parochial schools. Roland R. Hegstad, editor of Liberty Magazine was quoted in Church & State (Oct. 1985, p 16) as saying: "President Reagan is the worst president from the standpoint of separation of church and state since the U. S. Constitution was adopted." Bush has continued these same policies.
The next President will appoint one or two new Justices to the Supreme Court. Will it make a difference if Clinton is elected instead of Bush? Governor Clinton, according to Larry Abraham's INSIDER REPORT, Aug. 1992, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral commission. It seems that being a member of these institutions is a must if you want to be an "Insider". As the INSIDER REPORT put it, "Yes, my friends, Bill Clinton knows how the world works and whose bidding he must represent. If he is elected . . .there is no doubt whatsoever how slavishly he will forward the 'insiders' New World agenda." Representatives of each political party spoke at the Americans United meeting. The first speaker to be introduced was a law professor from Georgetown University, Robert Drinan, a member of the Jesuit Order. Professor Drinan was representing the Democratic Party. (Yes -- Democratic Party!) One of the statements in his talk was, "If Clinton is elected, he will be the first Jesuit-educated President of the United States."
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS -- For many years, the Catholic Church has had a strong lobby in the legislative halls of the United States. Although other churches have received government funds, including the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Catholic Church has managed to have millions of tax dollars funded for various projects, including support of schools and colleges. Today they have their people in high government offices. The February 1992 issue of TIME MAGAZINE revealed that many of President Reagan's cabinet members were devout Catholics.
How will the Catholic influence affect American church-state separation principles in the future? An example of how their influence is felt in other countries was revealed in the following article which appeared in the ECUMENICAL PRESS SERVICE (6-10 October 1992, 92.10.38): "The strong alliance between the Roman Catholic Church and Nicaraguan President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro's government has angered many Nicaraguan evangelicals, reports 'Latinamerica Press' of 10 September. Although they make up more than 15 percent of the population, no evangelical holds a significant job in government. Evangelicals say such actions as the inclusion of Catholic catechism material in school primers, the use of public funds in the construction of Managua's new cathedral, and of both public funds and property for a new pontifical university, violate the separation of church and state guaranteed in the country's constitution. A recent decision to tax evangelical activities not dedicated ' exclusively to worship' has aggravated the tension. In a letter, dated 21 August, to Minister of the Presidency Antonio Lacayo, Gustavo Parajon of the Nicaraguan Council of Evangelical Churches complained of the 'apparent partiality of the government
p 8 -- towards the Roman Catholic Church'".
It is interesting to note that out of the six guest speakers, excluding the Discussion Panel, four mentioned the same date as being the time when religious freedom in America began to be seriously eroded. That date was 1980. Other speakers alluded to this date indirectly by continuous reference to the serious erosion as being in the last 12 years. You might recall that the final step in the fulfillment of Luke 21:24, was the action of the Knesset of Israel moving the capital from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 1980. That same year the Seventh-day Adventist Church, in General Conference session, voted the twenty-seven Statements of fundamental Beliefs currently held, some of which compromise or destroy the sacred trust once given to the Church.
What does it all mean? Some of the foregoing details may be news to some However, the end result should not be The Bible teaches that the "little horn" makes war with the saints until the end of time. (Dan 7:21, 22). God's people know there will be national apostasy and the church-state wall will crumble.
"Romanism is now regarded by Protestants with far greater favor than in former years. In those countries where Catholicism is not in the ascendency, and the papists are taking a conciliatory course in order to gain influence, there is an increasing indifference concerning the doctrines that separate the reformed churches from the papal hierarchy; the opinion is gaining ground, that, after all, we do not differ so widely upon vital points as has been supposed, and that a little concession on our part will bring us into a better understanding with Rome. The time was when Protestants placed a high value upon the liberty of conscience which had been so dearly purchased. They taught their children to abhor popery and held that to seek harmony wit Rome would be disloyalty to God. But how widely different are the sentiments now expressed." (Great Controversy, p 563). Do SDAs see any threat from Catholicism today? The statement above should be a startling revelation in view of the Protestant move toward Rome in recent years. (Facts published in various documents by ALF.) For over one hundred years we have taught that just preceding the return of Christ, exercise of liberty of conscience would result in persecution. How much plainer can the signs of the near return of Christ be?
"And after these things l` saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads." (Rev 7:1-3)
"Are you ready for the four winds to be released?" WWO
p 9 -- WHAT TO DO TO BE INFORMED -- Get on the mailing lists of Americans United and/or Council on Religious Freedom. Both groups publish a monthly paper that keeps the readers informed of the most important issues involving church-state separation issues. The AU staff is composed of individuals from various denominations. They have a strong Baptist representation. SDAs do not have a strong presence, although two sit on the Board of Trustees.
The staff for Council on Religious Freedom,
on the other hand, is composed of all
SDAs. This includes all officers, directors, advisors and many laity
and Church employees. "It
is not directly tied to the church, hence it can freely involve itself
in issues of religious freedom without reflecting on the church, while
promoting historic church positions on issues which the church might justifiably
not address." (CRF booklet, A CALL TO CONSECRATION, COMMITMENT
AND COMMUNICATION, p. 1). According to Elder John V. Stevens
Sr., President, CRF is involved in more court cases than AU and the SDA
EDITORIAL COMMENT -- We believed the best editorial comment would be a Book Review appearing in the Sabbath Sentinel, March, 1991, which notes a questionable use of the Religious Liberty issue:
-- A. Jan Marcussen, National Sunday Law, Thompsonville, IL: Amazing
Truth Publications, 1990. 94 pages.
I had problems with this book. On pages 45 and 46 Marcussen stated that "every seal has three parts: . . .the name of the ruler, the ruler's title, . . .and the territory over which he rules." He wrote that "in the 80's, when George Bush was elected president, America's official seal read: 'George Bush, President, United States of America.'" One needs only to glance at the back of a dollar bill to check that statement. If he meant the Presidential Seal rather than the Great Seal of the United States, he still erred; it says simply "seal of the President of the United States" and contains the Latin words "E Pluribus Unum" above an eagle. The president's name is not given. Queen Elizabeth's seal contains only the letters "ER" (Elizabeth Regina). It doesn't name the country she rules...
Pages 52 and 53 of the 1986 edition relate an appearance of "the President of the Lord's Day Alliance" on nationwide TV. He is said to have stated that execution of Sabbath keepers is "what we're working for". After several readers asked for verification of this alleged event, Marcussen deleted it from later editions. Evidently he found no one who had seen the program.
I believe Sabbathkeepers need to be made
aware of proposed laws that would threaten their freedom to keep the seventh
day. But to resort to sensational and unfounded statements to create an
artificial excitement is to imitate the boy who cried "wolf".
It can blind persons from recognizing an actual danger when it comes.
Comment: Perhaps Marcussen should change the name of his publications to "Amazing Lies". What is more amazing is that individuals continue to buy into and distribute this sensational lying.. --- (1992 Sep -- XXV -- 9(92) -- Commentary -- Vol. VI -- Part 2 -- ERODING RELIGIOUS LIBERTY) ---