1975 Jan-MarVIII 1(75) - VIII 3(75)
1975 Apr-Jun VIII 4(75) - VIII 6(75)
1975 Jul-Sep VIII 7(75) - VIII 9(75)
1975 Oct-Dec VIII 10(75) - VIII 12(75)
1976 Jan-Mar IX 1(76) - IX 3(76)
1976 Apr-Jun IX 4(76) - IX 6(76)
1976 Jul-Sep IX 7(76) - IX 9(76)
1976 Oct-Dec IX 10(76) - IX 12(76)
1977 Jan-MarX 1(77) - X 3(77)
1977 Apr-Jun X 4(77) - X 6(77)
1977 Jul-Sep X 7(77) - X 9(77)
1977 Oct-DecX 10(77) - X 12(77)
1978 Jan-Mar XI 1(78) - XI 3(78)
1978 Apr-Jun XI 4(78) - XI 6(78)
1978 Jul-Sep XI 7(78) - XI 9(78)
1978 Oct-Dec XI 10(78) - XI 12(78)
1979 Jan-Mar XI 1(79) - XI 3(79)
1979 Apr-Jun XI 4(79) - XI 6(79)
1979 Jul-Sep XI 7(79) - XI 9(79)
1979 Oct-DecXI 10(79) - XI 12(79)
Feb Knight Descends On Jones. 1of 4.
Mar Knight Descends On Jones. 2 of 4.
1988 Apr-Jun 3 & 4 of 4.
last of WWN published
ADVENTIST LAYMEN'S FOUNDATION OF CANADA (ALF)
SHORT STUDIES - William H. Grotheer -
End Time Line Re-Surveyed Parts 1 & 2 - Adventist Layman's Foundation
- Legal Documents
Holy Flesh Movement 1899-1901, The - William H. Grotheer
Hour and the End is Striking at You, The - William H. Grotheer
the Form of a Slave
In Bible Prophecy
Doctrinal Comparisons - Statements of Belief 1872-1980
Paul VI Given Gold Medallion by Adventist Church Leader
Sacred Trust BETRAYED!, The - William H. Grotheer
Seal of God
Adventist Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956
SIGN of the END of TIME, The - William H. Grotheer
of the Gentiles Fulfilled, The - A Study in Depth of Luke 21:24
BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
Song of Solomon - Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary
Ten Commandments - as Compared in the New International Version & the King James Version & the Hebrew Interlinear
OTHER BOOKS, MANUSCRIPTS & ARTICLES:
Various Studies --
Bible As History - Werner Keller
Canons of the Bible, The - Raymond A. Cutts
Daniel and the Revelation - Uriah Smith
Facts of Faith - Christian Edwardson
Individuality in Religion - Alonzo T. Jones
"Is the Bible Inspired or Expired?" - J. J. Williamson
Letters to the Churches - M. L. Andreasen
Place of the Bible In Education, The - Alonzo T. Jones
Sabbath, The - M. L. Andreasen
So Much In Common - WCC/SDA
Which Banner? - Jon A. Vannoy
As of 2010, all official sites of ALF in the United States of America were closed. The Adventist Laymen's Foundation of Canada with its website, www.Adventist Alert.com, is now the only official Adventist Layman's Foundation established by Elder Grotheer worldwide.
The MISSION of this site -- to put works of the Foundation online.
Any portion of these works may be reproduced without further permission by adding the credit line - "Reprinted from Adventist Layman's Foundation, AdventistAlert.com, Victoria, BC Canada."
Thank you for visiting. We look forward to you coming
WWN 1990 Apr - Jun
1990 Apr -- XXIII -- 4(90) -- The Latter Rain Now? -- Simultaneously in the first issue of the Adventist Review for 1990, and in the January issue of Ministry, a call for Revival by Elder Neal C. Wilson was given first place of importance in both papers. The heart of Wilson's message was- "it is time for God's people to press together and earnestly seek the power of God's Spirit in the latter rain." He emphasized that "we can and must have this blessing now."
This call is not being taken lightly by either the Editor or Executive Editor of Ministry. In "First Glance" (January, 1990, p. 3), Elder J. R. Spangler tells of a conversation between himself and J. David Newman, the Executive Editor, concerning Wilson's call. Recognizing misplaced priorities of their time, they vowed to be accountable to each other to spend "one hour a day in study and prayer, focusing on the life of Christ.".
In the February issue of Ministry, there was a follow-up article by Wilson, "Why Wait?" (pp. 32-33, 39); plus a report on happenings in the Atlantic Union Conference by Philip Follett, "Whispers of the Spirit's Voice" (pp. 34-35); plus a report by the president of the Oklahoma Conferefice, Robert Rider, "Sprinkles of the Latter Rain" (pp. 36-37); plus a compilation from the Writings of Ellen G. White on the subject of "Revival and Reformation Now." All of these "pluses" indicate the seriousness of this emphasis in the Seventh-day Adventist Church at the present time. Furthermore, it brings every independent ministry, and some who do not wish to be so considered, such as the 1888 Message Committee, to their moment of truth.
An indirect report from Western Australia indicated that certain visiting
men from the Ministry and the E. G. White Estate related at meetings
"down under" that a revival was commencing in the United States.
Elder Philip Follett, in his article noted the E. G. White prophecy that
"God's power" would "return to the East." (See 9T:98)
The implication was clear that what Follett was reporting was evidence
p 2 -- prophecy was beginning to be fulfilled. If these are genuine experiences as are being related as occurring in both the Atlantic Union and the Oklahoma Conference, then every independent ministry must make a valid assessment or capitulate in confession and humility. This involves Wieland and Short who have been calling upon the Church's leadership to confess and repent. If the Holy Spirit in the latter rain is being ministered to the Church through its present leadership, the 1888 Message Committee is going to have to do more than merely devise plans for the release of more propaganda.
Admittedly, when I read the articles by both Follett and Rider - and
there is no evidence that they are fabricating, but rather they are relating
things as they know them to be - I had to stop and do some praying. I
do not wish to miss the Kingdom of God through any obstinate or rebellious
attitude. If this is indeed genuine and the working of God, I want it.
So I prayed most earnestly to God to give me an answer. As I was praying,
there flashed into my mind a reference in The
First, one cannot but be suspicious of Wilson's involvement in the process. Frankly, he is and has been for years the Church's number one hindrance to the experience he says he is now seeking. Further, 1990 is either re-election or retirement for him. Add to this the call at the Annual Council for a decade of healing and the illustrations he used. These create more doubt than confidence in his true motives in fostering this present call for the latter rain now. The Church and those watching need to see more than mere lip service in a call for revival by Wilson before they can even begin to be convinced that his articles are not more than mere rhetoric.
There is a cautionary statement in the Writings which has a bearing on this whole picture. It reads - "Unless the early showers have done their work, the latter rain can bring no seed to perfection." (TM:506) Simply put, unless we have experienced the first work of the Holy Spirit and what He was sent to accomplish, we might as well forget the latter rain. Closely related to this are the facts as to what the "early showers" actually are, and what the "latter rain" is to be.
Add to this the fact that when the genuine "manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain" shall be poured out, it will be done in such a way that while falling on hearts of those around us, we may not discern it, nor receive it. (See TM:507) Again simply put, it will not be a charismatic manifestation as is done in modern Pentecostal Spiritism.
This factor alone cast long shadows over the report of Robert Rider and activities in Oklahoma. If as his report indicates, the workers in Oklahoma are experiencing a deep spiritual and observable revival, then why was the pastor of the first church in Oklahoma City sent to Oregon to learn first hand how to turn his church into a charismatic pentecostal Celebration Church? This question is based on letters being received from Oklahoma City.
"The Early Showers" -- In the Upper Room, Jesus knowing that soon He was to be parted from His disciples and return to the Father, told them that in His place - "a Divine Spirit dwelling in a temple of flesh" (See YI, Dec. 20, 1900) He would pray the Father and receive for them "another Comforter" to be with them to the end. (John 14:16)
Leaving the Upper Room, on His way to Gethsemane, Jesus reminded them again of the promised Comforter and outlined the Spirit's work: "And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." (John 16:8) Herein is the beginning work, "the early showers," and unless accomplished, the latter rain can bring no seed to perfection. The question as to whether the "latter rain" can fall on the leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church now, can only be answered in the light of how much of the beginning work of the Spirit has been done.
In his initial appeal calling for prayer now for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Neal C. Wilson wrote -"As an elected leader of God's covenant people, I want you all to know that I commit my life to seeking the outpouring of the latter rain upon myself and upon the world church. By God's grace I will fulfill the conditions upon which God has promised to give the Holy Spirit." (Adventist Review Jan 4, 1990, p. 3) What things Elder Wilson has to do about his own personal life is between him and God. That is beyond our ken and comment, but what things
p 3 -- Wilson has done in ministering his stewardship of the high offices which the Church has bestowed upon him are subject to review and comment.
The first work of the Comforter is to convince of sin. When one is so convinced, if he desires the fullness of the Spirit, he will confess, and seek to rectify the wrongs done to individuals. "It was by the confession and forsaking of sin, by earnest prayer and consecration of themselves to God, that the early disciples prepared for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. The same work only in greater degree must be done now" (TM, p - 507) There are some questions that need to be asked of Elder Wilson. Has he made contact with Merikay McLeod (Silver) and confessed the duplicity he practiced when visiting with her and leaving a false impression of his intents? Has he contacted Elder Leonard Mills and confessed the wrongness of his threats against him, and the attempted conference frame-up against Mills if he had knowledge of the same? (See Betrayal, pp. 295-298, 329) What about others against whom he has practiced administrative duplicity? - and the list of names could go on.
The second work of the Holy Spirit is to convict of righteousness. Speaking of the danger to which the Church was exposed in 1896 because men in positions of leadership sought to define the way the Holy Spirit was to come, Ellen G. White noted that the problem was that men "were not willing to exchange their own righteousness, which is unrighteousness, for the righteousness of Christ, which is pure, unadulterated truth." (TM, p. 65) We can talk all we want to about 1888, and the message of Christ's righteousness, but unless we are willing to come face to face with truth, pure and unadulterated, we will not receive the genuine latter rain experience.
In 1980, Wilson chaired the discussion and adoption of the 27 Fundamental Statements of Belief at the Dallas General Conference session. These Statements confirmed the compromises of the SDA-Evangelical Conferences of 1955-56, plus adopting language from the Constitution of the WCC. In 1985, at the General Conference session in New Orleans, Wilson resisted any review to rectify or alter these Statements. The acknowledgment in the book - SDA's Believe ... - begins with this sentence - "With the authorization and encouragement of President Neal C. Wilson and other officers of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, ..." The genuine latter rain is not going to be poured on apostasy and error, no matter how subtly written or devised.
The closing paragraph in Wilson's second article in both the Adventist
Review (Feb. 1, 1990, p. 9) and the Ministry (Feb. 1990, p.
39) reads: "Let prayers for the outpouring of the latter rain ascend
to Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary and to the throne of grace 24 hours
a day from somewhere in the
What kept Wilson from writing - "Let prayers for the outpouring of the latter rain ascend to Jesus in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary." The counsel is clear; it does make a difference as to where the petition for the latter rain is sent - the holy place, or the most holy. We might ask, to where is Wilson directing his prayers? Or, have the Desmond Ford concepts made such an imprint on Wilson's thinking, that he now thinks of the heavenly sanctuary as merely a unit with "the throne of grace" synonymous with "the great white throne" from which the sealing latter rain light comes? (See Early Writings, p. 38)
the Latter Rain Is Not! -- Paralleling the beginning of the
message of righteousness by faith in 1888 was modern pentecostalism. The
Adventist Church was led to believe that the acceptance of the message
would bring the long expected latter rain and the finishing of the work.
These two factors meet in what came to be known as the Holy Flesh Movement
of Indiana. In 1895, Elder S. S. Davis was asked to go to Evansville,
Indiana, to establish the work in that section of the State. Growth must
have been rather slow as no report of progress appears until 1898 after
Davis attended a
p 4 -- worker's meeting at which Elder A. F. Ballenger stressed that the time had come to receive the Holy Spirit in all of its fullness. It was soon after this meeting, Davis reported from Evansville: Sabbath and Sunday, August 13, 14, were eventful days in the history of the work in this place. In the Sabbath meeting the Spirit was present to impress hearts, and nine persons requested baptism. Among them was a Baptist minister of considerable prominence, ... Sunday night our meeting was well attended. The subject was "The Baptism of the Holy Ghost;" and the Spirit was poured out in a large measure. It seemed that we were filled to the utmost of our capacity to receive. We have reached the time of the message, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost;" and we are actually having pentecostal times and apostolic experiences. The message is rising, and grand and awful times are upon us. This message will close with power and great glory; and if it is the will of the Lord, I want to live and see it triumph. (Quoted in The Holy Flesh Movement, p. 6)
A combination program of evangelism uniting the literature ministry and public evangelism was inaugurated at Evansville. The conference State Agent, as the Publishing Department Secretary was then called, worked closely with the program. Between visits by the State Agent during the program, Elder S. S. Davis made contact with a group of Pentecostals. When Jesse E. Dunn, the State Agent, returned after the contact, Davis said to him of these people - "Brother Dunn, they have the 'Spirit;' we have the truth; and if we had the 'Spirit' as they have, with the truth we could do things." Whatever assimilation Davis worked out, he was given a team of workers and became Conference Revivalist in 1899. It was from this date that what is called the Holy Flesh Movement began.
During the past few weeks, we have received from the West Coast announcements,
some old, some very recent, of goals and objectives for the Church. One
project was called CHURCH-LIGHT which was introduced in Northern California
last year. The comparison made to encourage the Church "to come out
of the dark" has echoes of the Davis reasoning at the turn of the
Century. The challenge read:
Again, what was the rationale? The Assemblies of God have the "Spirit;" we have the truth, and if we had their power, we could have had as many new church "buildings," too!
The most recent report--comes from Southern California, where on Sabbath, February 24, in the Glendale Academy Auditorium, the area Adventists were invited to "an extraordinary series on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit." It was called an "Upper Room Encounter." Assisting Elder John Carter was Elder Garry Williams, also from Australia via Oregon, who was to be the special guest speaker. According to the Carter Report those who attended were to receive instruction from "the Word how to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit." They would discover "how to pray in the Spirit, worship in the Spirit, and sing in the Spirit." These are terms of pentecostalism used in describing their form of worship. These same forms accentuate the worship in Celebration Churches growing in Seventh-day Adventism today. While presently, there have been no reports of speaking in tongues, or even the radical forms of worship which marked the Holy Flesh Movement, the ground work is being laid.
The newest SDA church in the Southeastern California Conference is the Celebration Center in Colton. On September 14, 1989, the president of the Conference, Stephen Gifford, welcomed the Celebration Center as one of the Conference congregations. In his welcoming remarks, Gifford "thanked Simpson [senior pastor] for reviving excitement in the spirit of worship. He affirmed the need of diversity of worship style in order to meet the spiritual needs of today's society." (Pacific Union Recorder, Dec.18, 1989, p. 23)
There is another interesting aspect of the beginnings of the Holy Flesh Movement, and what could be a parallel in today's call for the latter rain now. About the same time that S. S. Davis began his work as Revivalist for the Indiana Conference, there was a change of presidency. R. S. Donnell came from Upper Columbia. At a worker's meeting in Indianapolis soon after his arrival, the Revival Team proclaimed with vigor their message of holiness. Elder Donnell openly opposed these men and is quoted as saying, "I am not going to have any such gang as Davis's, Hickeys and Crarys going over this conference preaching any such doctrine." He called them into his office to straighten them out. At the end of the study session, he made a complete about face, and became the leader of the Movement.
The question now arises. Since the Celebration Centers have the two active ingredients by which the Conference marks success - numbers and the inflowing of means, is Neal C. Wilson by his call for the latter rain now, seeking to place himself at the head of the Movement as Donnell did in 1899? A revival of form without substance as was demonstrated in Indiana is to take place again. (Could it be again at Indianapolis?) Ellen G. White wrote to Elder S. N. Haskell - "The things you have described as taking place in Indiana, the Lord has shown me would take place just before the close of probation." (SM, bk ii, p. 36)
Note: Those desiring documented information regardin the Holy Flesh Movement can obtain the manuscript - The Holy Flesh Movement - 1899-1901
p 5 -- The Day of Pentecost -- And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. Acts 2:1
Adventists have looked forward to the time when as at the first Pentecost of the Christian era thousands were converted in a day. Pentecost symbolizes in the Adventist mind a day of power and a time when the membership will be increased numerically. While it is true that on that first Pentecost following the ascension of Jesus - the day of His enthronement as High Priest forever after the Order of Melchisedec (Acts 2:33), there was a numerical increase 25 times greater than the number gathered together in the upper room prior to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we still fail to read correctly what Acts 2 tells us that day was all about.
Prior to the day of Pentecost, the disciples were using the "upper room" for prayer and the study of the Word of God. From this study they gained insights which they never before perceived possible. The "one place" when "the day of Pentecost was fully come" was not the temple courts, even though all Jewish males were required to appear before the Lord three times a year, and this day was one of those times. (See Ex. 23:14-17) If any had gone, they would have missed the outpouring of the Spirit. None went; they were all of one accord.
It is obvious that the Holy Spirit was not poured out on the priests ministering the temple services, nor on those gathered to celebrate the ritual of the day. The temple had indeed be left desolate, and those who officiated were no longer under Divine guidance. They continued to minister by the sparks of their own kindling. But the Holy Spirit did come upon those "in one place" - the upper room.
Those who heard the Apostles testify in the Spirit, and who heard Peter preach truth brought by, the Spirit direct from the Throne of the Eternal were "Jews, devout men." (Acts 2:5) Luke alone uses the word, eulabes, translated "devout," and then only sparingly.
Simeon, a man waiting for the consolation of Israel, is described by Luke as "devout." (Luke 2:25) Those who buried Stephen and lamented his death were likewise designated as "devout." (Acts 8:2) Such also were the men who, listened to Peter on the Day of Pentecost. This day was not a time of an evangelistic outreach to "heathen" Gentiles. It was a message directed to "all the house of Israel." (Acts 2:36)
What was that message? To put it in the plainest of terms, it was a message telling the individual layman of Jewry that he was corporately accountable for the deeds of his church leaders. Hear Peter's words - "Let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." (Acts 2:36) Most of those "devout" Jews who heard these words had not even been present at the Passover when Jesus was crucified. The Roman soldiers had actually performed the crucifixion. Yet the Holy Spirit, through Peter, was holding them just as accountable as if they had sat on the Sanhedrin itself, and cast the deciding vote!
When the impact of that truth sank home they asked the only question which could be asked - "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (2:27) [They didn't say - "Men and offshoots, what shall we do?"] The, answer was twofold. In regard to Jesus as the Lord and Messiah, they had to change their minds in regard to the propaganda they had been hearing from their religious leadership. In other words, "Repent, and be baptized." But what about their corporate involvement? Peter's answer was just as forthright: "Save yourselves, from this untoward generation." (2:40) Luke uses this same word in his gospel, but there it is translated, "crooked." (3:5) The sense of Peter's challenge is borrowed from Deuteronomy 32:5. The word, "generation," is also used by Luke in the Gospel. (11:29)
Perhaps the real message of the Day of Pentecost is that instead of 3000 "devout" Jews being converted in a day, there will be 144,000 "devout" Seventh-day Adventists converted!
ye the gates, that the righteous nation
p 6 -- Let's Talk It Over -- The willingness to receive the Holy Spirit in all its fullness is a serious matter. The Spirit which Jesus promised to send - the allos Comforter - was designated by Him as "the Spirit of truth." The coming of Jesus into the world was a key event of time and eternity. He was the truth made f lesh. He didn't come to stimulate the emotions, nor to give power to satisfy human vanity. This "Another (allos) Comforter" would be like Him, equal to Him, finishing that which he came and initiated. Thus the fullness of the Spirit means the fullness of truth. For only when this is realized in the life can one be truly a son of God. We either have the devil as our father - who abode not in the truth (John 8:44) - or God as our Father through the Spirit of truth. (Rom. 8:14) That is why the "latter rain" can be falling on hearts all around us, and we not discern nor receive it.
The reception of truth is an individual decision. No one can accept or reject it for another. The acceptance of truth can bring a blessed soul satisfying experience. But it can also be very disturbing. My reaction to it determines which experience I will receive.
The message of Revelation 18, the "loud cry," and the "latter rain" are terms which describe the final work of God in giving one last moment of truth to those still in the valley of decision before the final irrevocable sentence is delivered from the Throne that closes all probationary time. There will be signs, wonders and miracles, some by the power of God, some not so, for we are warned of "spirits of devils working miracles." (Rev. 16:14) How then can we decide between that which is true, and that which is not? Herein enters the answer to my prayer which I prayed when reading what was taking place in the East, in Oklahoma, and elsewhere. The question is asked - "Are the people of God now so firmly established upon His word that they would not yield to the evidence of their senses? Would they, in such a crisis, cling to the Bible, and the Bible only?" (GC, p. 625)
Faith comes by hearing the Word of God; it is not the evidence of things seen. Genuine saving faith in this final hour of time will accept the revelation of the Bible, and not seek to mitigate its meaning to make it conform to presuppositions. If I mitigate the word, in the crisis, I have nothing to aid me in discerning between the false and the true, except my senses. This is the position in which many have been placed unwittingly at the present time by voices who should know better.
Along with the various sheets coming across the desk telling of programs to seek "The Baptisn of the Holy Spirit" come announcements of meetings sponsored by the 1888 Message Committee. These announcements read - "Join the loyal Seventh-day Adventists who believe that the church has been entrusted with a message Ellen White identified as the 'beginning' of the latter rain ..." On the other hand as we have noted in this issue of WWN, the leadership believes that the "latter rain" is beginning to fall, and they have not accepted Wieland and Short's version of the Message. Something is incongruous. Yet Wieland mitigates the force of Rev. 3:16, and assures the "believers" in the 1888 Message Committee [It can't save you] that the "angel" will not be spued out; but rather it is the "angel" who opens the door in Rev. 3:20. Perhaps the "angel" has opened the door, and is now receiving the "'sprinkles" of the latter rain, and Wieland knows nothing about it. Away with such confusion!
It is now time that the issues be simply but fully addressed. But when is Wieland going to let self be crucified so they can be addressed?
~~~~~ Another factor raised by the questions asked in The Great Controversy, p. 625, has to do with "the Bible, and the Bible only." In a letter to George I. Butler after he returned to active work following 1888, and was serving as president of the Southern Union, Ellen G.White gives a testimony of her work and how God used her. Keep in mind that during the period leading up to 1888, Butler wanted Ellen White to give an "inspired" interpretation as to what "law" was referred to in Galatians. The letter reads: For half a century I have been the Lord' messenger, and as long as my life shall last I shall continue to bear messages that God gives me for His people. I take no glory to myself; in my youth the Lord made me His messenger, to communicate to His people testimonies of encouragement, warning, and reproof. For sixty years I have been in communication with heavenly messengers, and I have been constantly learning in reference to divine things, and in reference to the way in which God is constantly working to bring souls from the error of their ways to the light in God's light. (Letter 86, 1906)
What this personal testimony of Ellen White does not say is equally as
important as what it
p 7 -- does say. When we are willing to accept at face value her call as "messenger" and become grounded in and upon the Bible, and the Bible only, then we will be able to make decisions on other than our senses.
~~~~~ In the brief comments on "The Day of Pentecost" (p. 5), I closed with the suggestive thought that perhaps the "latter rain" will be the conversion of 144,000 devout Seventh-day Adventists. There are such, even as there were devout Jews who listened to Peter that day long ago. When one surveys from where these men had come, and consider all the cost, time and hazzards to come to Jerusalem for that feast, one can begin to catch an appreciation of their devotion. But they had to repent - change their mind - as to their spiritual security. Devout Seventh-day Adventists face the same issue today.
What an hour of soul searching would take place were the fact to suddenly dawn on the consciousness of devout Seventh-day Adventists that they are held accountable for the compromises with truth made at the SDA-Evangelical Conferences in 1955-56. How would they respond should they realize that they are held accountable along with the delegates to the session for the apostasy written into the 27 Fundamental Statements of Belief as voted at Dallas in 1980?
What would some of the devout Seventh-day Adventists who are enamored with the messages of the so-called firm foundation do, could they realize that now after a decade those teachers still cannot discern truth from error? Isn't it time devoted Seventh-day Adventists become convicted and cry out "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
Add to this the scandals - Davenport - and litigations and remember the
message of the Day of Pentecost is corporate accountability. Are we going
to be lulled into a fatal security by the call for a decade of healing,
and the "latter rain" now? ---
(1990 Apr) --- End ---
1990 May -- XXIII -- 5(90) -- Gulley's Christology -- Offers False Christ as Basis for Unity of Chruch -- In six consecutive issues of the Adventist Review beginning with the January 18, 1990 issue, a series of, articles by Dr. Norman R. Gulley of Southern College on Christology was featured. The editors prefaced the series with this comment: This article begins a series in which the author examines Christ's dual role as example and substitute. He suggests that a meeting of minds on this question can bring us together as a church. In part 1 he lays the foundation for the other segments, with a call for unity. (p. 8)
These articles by, Gulley contain truth mingled with much error. They are but a thinly veiled attack on the doctrine of the incarnation as was once held by the Church, and emphasized by both A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner in their 1888 Message. In part 1 of the series, Gulley notes the issue in 1888 as a balance between the righteousness of Christ and the law. Without once noting the Christology as taught by Jones and Waggoner, he slides into the present and seeks to make the issue - a "balance between two functions of Christ's ministry - substitution and example." (p. 9)
Using a wheel as an example, he closes his first article with the suggestion that one may be able to "get by with a bent spoke or two, but when the hub is off-center, the wheel is in jeopardy." Observe carefully his comment which follows: That is our doctrinal predicament today in the church. 0ur greatest need is to understand the truth as it is in Jesus - to grasp the full balanced truth about the God-man, giving place both to the fullness of His divinity and the fullness of His humanity, both to His role as example and substitute." (P. 10)
It is true that the hub is off-center today in
p 2 -- official Adventism. But "unity'" is not obtained by keeping it off-center, under a guise of restoration, but rather by returning to the concept of the God-man held at the point of departure. The assault on the doctrine of the incarnation as held and taught by the Church in the time of the 1888 Message has come from two sources, one without the mainstream of Adventism in the Holy Flesh Movement, and the other within the mainstream of the Church at its highest administrative levels. We shall discuss the Holy Flesh teaching of the incarnation later, but first we will focus on the attacks from the highest levels of official Adventism into which category Gulley's articles can be placed, given the space and prominenceallotted to them in the Adventist Review.
The official statements of belief up to and including the 1914 Statement read that Christ "took on Him the nature of the seed of Abraham for the redemption of our fallen race." (1914 Yearbook, p. 293) In the 1931 Statement, this was modified to read - "While retaining His divine nature, He took upon Himself the nature of the human family." (SDA Encyclopedia, p. 396) However, each of these statements say one thing in common - Christ took upon Himself the nature of man after the Fall.
The first major attempt to alter this teaching came in 1949, when Dr. Denton E. Rebok, then president of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, was requested by the Review & Herald to revise Bible Readings for the Home Circle. According to Froom, he altered the statement which Froom alleges was placed in the 1914 edition by W. A. Colcord. (Movement of Destiny, p. 428) Yet what was written in the 1914 edition of Bible Readings was in accord with the 1914 Statement of Beliefs. However, Froom refers to Colcord's statement as an "erroneous minority position." (Emphisis mine)
The statement in Bible Readings read: "God, in Christ, condemned sin, not by pronouncing against it merely as a judge sitting on the judgment-seat, but by coming and living in the flesh, in sinful flesh, and yet without sinning. In Christ, He demonstrated that it was possible, by His grace and power, to resist temptation, overcome sin, and live a sinless life in sinful flesh." (p. 116)
Rebok revised it by omitting that which we emphasized. It should also
be noted that this revision was in the chapter on "The Sinless Life,"
and the note quoted was commenting on the question - "Where did God,
- in Christ, condemn sin, and gain the victory for us over temptation
The next attack on the doctrine of the incarnation came in the book,
Questions on Doctrine issued in 1957 following the compromises
made at the SDA-Evangelical Conferences in 1955-56. The book stated:
could hardly be construed, however, from the record of either Isaiah 
or Matthew , that Jesus was diseased or that He experienced the frailties
These weaknesses, frailties, failings are things which we, with our sinful, fallen natures, have to bear. To us they are natural, inherent, but when He bore them He took them not as something innately His, but He bore them as our substitute. He bore them in His perfect, sinless nature. Again we remark, Christ bore all this vicariously, just as vicariously He bore the iniquities of us all. (pp. 59-60; emphasis theirs)
Although born in the flesh, He [Jesus] was nevertheless God, and was exempt from the inherited passions and pollutions that corrupt the natural descendants of Adam. (p. 383; emphasis mine)
The word, "exempt" has theological overtones. The Roman Catholic Dogma of the Immaculate Conception notes that "Unlike the rest of the children of Adam, the soul of Mary was never subject to sin, even in the first moment of its inception into the body. She alone was exempt from original sin." (The Faith of Our Fathers, 88 ed., p. 171; emphasis mine)
While Gulley ducks this point and substitutes for "exempt" the word, "unaffected," he still arrives at the same basic conclusion indicating that Jesus was exempt or "unaffected" due to a "miraculous conception." (AR, January 25, 1990, p. 14; emphasis his) In this he follows Froom using the exact language used by Froom. (The Virgin Birth, unpublished manuscript, p. 20) Yet Gulley would have the reader believe that this position he and Froom take is Biblical by stating - "that is designated by Scripture (e.g., Rom. 5)." (op. cit.) But Romans 5 says no such thing! We do not deny that the birth of Jesus was a miracle of divine grace, but the intent was not as indicated by Gulley or Froom to "exempt" Christ from the fallen nature of man.
The latest evaluation of the doctrines of the Church - SDA's Believe... - holds to a position on the incarnation as advocated by an Anglican clergyman, Henry Melville, who called his view, "the orthodox doctrine." (pp. 47, 57) This Gulley also notes in his articles. (See AR,
p 3 -- Feb. 1, 1990, p. 19 & Footnote #2, p. 22) However, the author of SDA's Believe... was more dependent on Gulley, than Gulley on the book. The acknowledgment reads: A Christ-centered manuscript on Adventist Doctrines prepared by Norman Gulley, professor of religion at Southern College of Seventh-day Adventists, provided both inspiration and material for this volume. (p. v)
What Is Sin? -- In laying the ground work to nullify the doctrine of the incarnation as once held by the Church, Gulley begins with a discussion of the sin problem. If one can enlarge the definition of sin sufficiently to include the results of sin as sin itself, one must accept the Roman Catholic and apostate Protestant concept of the human nature of Christ, in other words, the false Christ.
Gulley asks, "How should we define sin?" Observe most carefully his answer and the context of time in which he f rames it. He wrote: "Within contemporary Seventh-day Adventist thinking, sin is variously defined as breaking the law (act); broken relationship (relationship); and corrupt nature (nature)." (AR, Jan. 25, 1990; emphasis mine)
"Contemporary" Adventism is not historic Adventism. While Gulley recognizes that "The Bible does def ine sin as an act - 'transgression of the law' (I John 3:4), or 'lawlessness ' "(VIV, RSV), he asks, "But is this all there is to sin?" (Ibid., p. 13) But let us go back in time prior to "contemporary" Adventism and see what was taught. Gulley was my immediate predecessor as head of the Bible Department at Madison College. While chairing the department, he authored a syllabus for Sanctuary Course - 350. Chapter 2 of this syllabus was captioned, "The Sin Problem." His first question reads - "What is sin?" In the answers as outlined, I John j:4 is quoted and the statement from Ms. 27, 1899, (7BC:951) with this emphasis - "'Sin is the transgression of the law.' THIS IS THE ONLY DEFINITION OF SIN." (p. 7) Interestingly he also notes the concept of "separation" but phrases it - "separation between God and man" and quotes Isaiah 59:2 - "But your iniquities (acts) have separated between you and your God, and your sins (acts) have hid His f ace f rom you, that He will not hear." [the word, "acts" supplied by writer] He also quoted from Steps to Christ with this emphasis - "But this small matter [eating of the forbidden fruit] was the transgression of God's immutable and holy law, and it SEPARATED MAN FROM GOD,-" (Chapter, "Repentance," p. 33)
Basically, the gulf between "contemporary" and "historic" Adventism is over the definition of sin. The evidence is that Gulley has been converted after the modern order of things. Historic Adventism had only one definition for sin - the Biblical - with the concepts of separation from God and the fallen nature, recognized as the results of the first sin. Continued transgression only intensified and broadened those results.
Historic Adventists could understand clearly the results of sin as a separation f rom God, but they had trouble with the second result - the fallen nature - and this due to the "original sin" concept of Augustine now held by "contemporary" Gulley. This concept teaches "that both the effect and guilt of Adam's sin are imputed to the race." (AR, Jan. 25, p. 12) Guilt and effect need to be separated. The Bible is plain - "And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image." (Gen. 5:3) We are not only conceived in the heat of passion (Ps. 51:5, Heb.) and receive by birth the fallen nature of our parents, even as Seth did from Adam; we also are born into the environment of sin. But the question is the imputation of guilt. Is the fallen nature which makes acts of sin inevitable for us, the basis of condemnation?
God does not condemn us because of what we are through no choice of our own. Condemnation results when we sin willfully and do not take advantage of the grace provided through the love of God, and the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Gulley seeks to make Romans 5 teach that guilt comes upon the race due to Adam's sin. But the text reads in both instances that Adam's offence worked upon all men "unto condemnation" because of the effect pf sin, in that all men have sinned, and therefore are condemned. (Rom. 5:16, 18, 12) To teach that God condemns us because of our fallen nature is to cast aspersion upon the character of God and echo the accusations of Satan that God is not a just God.
Further, to teach that the fallen nature is a definition of sin, and
so if Christ in His humanity assumed such a nature, He would thus be a
sinner and in need of a saviour and could not be a holy "Substitute"
is to deny the teaching which the sanctuary reveals. The law of the sin
offering reads: This
is the law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering
is killed shall the sin offering be killed
before the Lord: it is most holy. The priest
p 4 -- that offereth it for sin shall eat it: in the holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation. Whatsoever shall touch the flesh thereof shall be holy. (Lev. 6:25-27)
With "contemporary" Adventism denying the truth of the sanctuary doctrine, it is easy for them to imbibe the errors of the evangelicals. But consider the force of the law of the sin of f ering. By the confession of the individual upon the head of the sacrifice, it became not only a sin bearer, but the very symbol of the sin itself. It was to be killed. "The wages of sin is death." The ministering common priest was to eat it. And where? - in the court, a symbol of earth where the great antitypical Substitute would be offered. But note that symbol which became verily the sinner was declared to be"most holy." The priest though having partaken of the flesh wherein the nature of sin resides was not declared unholy, because he did not the sin. Failure that in any way blurred the significance of this ritual was condemned. Moses chided the sons of Aaron: Wherefore have ye not eaten the sin offering in the holy place, seeing it is most holy, and God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord. (Lev. 10:17)
The common priests bore it by partaking of it. Of Jesus as a common priest, the Scriptures teach that "forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He likewise took part of the same." (Heb. 2:14) God "hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin." (II Cor. 5:21)
What Nature Did Christ Take? -- Gulley following the Augustinian concept of original sin stresses Psalm 51:5 quoting from the interpretive evangelical version (NIV) David's confession - "I have been ... sinful from the time my mother conceived me." This verse he indicates gives "the clearest Old Testament insight into hereditary roots for sin." (AR, Jan. 25, 1990, p. 13) For the "contemporary" Gulley, this makes it impossible for Christ to have taken as His human nature, our fallen nature. Evidently in his zeal for Romans 5, he has forgotten Romans 1:1, 3 where Paul states what is part of the Gospel. This reads: "... the gospel of God, ... concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh." The only body of flesh which Mary could form in her womb was a f lesh with the nature she received from David plus all the rest of her fathers and mothers between herself and David. The body that Christ took was subject to the human inheritance of "the seed of David."
Now there was a Divine intervention in the formation of the body which was to be the human body of Jesus. The Scriptures plainly teach, putting the words as from Jesus - "A body hast Thou prepared Me." (Heb. 10:5) For Mary to have conceived without the introduction of the male sperm would have produced a female body. The Bible declares that she knew no man. (Luke 1:34) However, the victorious Christ is stated to be a "man child" - a male, sexually. (Rev. 12:5; Greek, arsen) The power of God introduced the y-chromosome.
There is another key factor in the revelation of the God-man that dare not be overlooked. Jesus Christ was pre-existent! In this He was indeed different from any other person of human origin. "The Word was God, ... and the Word was made flesh." (John 1:2, 14) The Divine Identity who had co-existed with God throughout all eternity, by a painful process known alone to God and Himself, divested Himself of the "form" of God and united the body prepared in the womb of Mary to Himself. That body is declared to have been "the slave form" of man. (Phil. 2:7, Greek) Again the picture emerges: The unfallen Adam did not have a slave form, but the fallen Adam so became. This "slave form" Adam passed to all his children through "the great law of heredity." From this law, Christ was not "exempt."
The Writings give a very interesting picture of the union between the Divine and the body formed in the womb of Mary. It states of Christ - "He united humanity with divinity: a .divine spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh. He united Himself with the temple." (YI, Dec. 20, 1900; 4BC: 1147) This casts light on what would be an otherwise difficult text. The angel told Mary - "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy [spirit] which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35) The word, "thing" as in the KJV is supplied not being in the Greek text. The quotation from The Youth's Instructor helps us to fill in the right word.
The reason for the nature that Christ assumed can be viewed from another angle. The last enemy to be destroyed will be death. (I Cor. 15:26) By Whom and through what means? We read "that through death" Jesus would destroy him that "had the power of death" and "deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondagae." (Heb. 2:14-15)
What risk was demanded of Jesus to achieve this objective? "Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren." (Heb. 2:17) Death is the result of our "slave form." Jesus could not by-pass this and conquer death. But to be a sinless Substitute, He had to overcome the liabilities of that form, which had become to man an irresistable force and make it a conquered power. Jesus entered the house of the strong man, and bound him, then spoiled his goods providing for the release of his captives. (Matt. 12:29)
When Jesus prevailed, there was heard in Heaven "a loud voice" proclaiming - "Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down." (Rev. 12:10) Why do men want to rob Jesus of His great victory? Why do we pervert truth to deny Him the full salvation His own arm wrought - not only over acts of sin, but over the very nature which in all the rest of humanity breaks forth into sin?
Because He emptied Himself and took the slave form of man becoming "obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, ... God hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name." (Phil 2:7-9) Then why do we go about doing Satan's work seeking to denegrate that glorious name under the guise that we are seeking to have a holy "Substitute." He is not only holy, but He is a "most holy" Sin Offering - a Brother to us in fallen humanity, and our Saviour in the sacrifice of Himself, the Victorious One!
NOTE FROM June, 1990, WWN: As we were checking the last issue of WWN [XXIII - 5(90)] just before sending it out we noticed that in writing of the Roman Catholic Dogma of the Immaculate Conception (p. 2) we quoted instead of the Dogma, Cardinal Gibbons exposition of the Dogma. The Dogma reads: We define that the Blessed Virgin Mary in the first moment of her conception, by the singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from every stain of original sin.
Then Gibbons' amplification follows: Unlike the rest of the children of Adam, the soul of Mary was never subject to sin, even in the first moment of its inception into the body. She alone was exempt from original sin. (The Faith of Our Fathers, 88th ed., p. 171.)
p 5 -- TEXTS & REFERENCES -- Since the articles by Gulley appeared in the Adventist Review, I have received a letter from one who was following each issue closely. The person was perplexed about Gulley's suggestion that Christ used His divine power in the conflict with sin. He used a reference from the Writings in the form of a question that "Christ's humanity alone could never have endured" the test in the wilderness, "but His divine power combined with the humanity gained in behalf of man an infinite victory." (AR, Feb. 1, 1990, p. 22) This was footnoted and other references from the Scriptures as well as the Writings were given but not quoted. We do well to look at these texts and references.
Jesus said - "I can of mine own self do nothing." (John 5:30) To His disciples, He revealed the secret of His power. He told them in the upper room - "The Father that dwells in Me, He doeth the works." (John 14:10) It was God in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. Christ had emptied Himself to be only an instrument of divine grace and truth. (John 1:14) Herein is the example. As God was in Christ, so Christ by His Spirit is to be in us, the hope of glory. (Col. 1:27) But there must be the same emptying as He emptied Himself.
The references in the Writings are worth noting. They read: When Jesus was awakened to meet the storm, He was in perfect peace. There was no trace of fear in word or look, for no fear was in His heart. But He rested not in the possession of almighty power ... That power He had laid down, ... He trusted in the Father's might. It was in faith - faith in God's love and care - that Jesus rested, and the power of that word which stilled the storm was the power of God. (DA, pp. 335-336; 1935 ed.)
Christ in His humanity was dependent upon divine power. (Ibid., p. 675)
Stress is placed by Gulley on the fact that one of Christ's severest temptations was to keep to the level of humanity. This is true, but in what way since He laid aside His divine powers? In Heaven He was Commander. He could summon, and hosts of angels would respond. To resist the use of this authority is noted in the Bible. But even this while in humanity was through the Father. (Matt. 26:53)
We seem not to sense what the incirnation actually was. Let me illustrate: If that indefinable thing called self identity which is "me" were to operate in and through another body which was not restricted to the limitations of earth, what could I do differently than I can do now? Much in every way! In Christ's incarnation, He - the Divine Identity that had existed prior to Bethlehem as Michael - came to exist in a body prepared in the womb of Mary. The divine prerogatives resultant from the form of His eternal existence, He laid aside. In the "likeness of men" (Phil. 2:7) what could He do? Just what He said - "I can of mine, own self do nothing" because He was not existing in the form by which to do.
When we get to the bottom line, the issue is not about His divinity. He was eternally divine. But what is the meaning of "He took upon Himself the form of a servant"? The Greek indicates that form to be a "slave form." Then there is the other closely related text "God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh." (Rom. 8:3) Gulley does not put these two together. He associates Romans 8:3 with the brazen serpent of the wilderness, writing - "Just as that brazen serpent only looked like a serpent, so the sinless Jesus only took the 'likeness of sinful flesh."' (AR, Feb. 8, 1990, p. 9; emphasis his) While he seeks to justify this association by a quotation from the Writings, it is doubtful that the application he makes of the comparison was the true intent of the statement.
In Romans 8:3, the word for likeness in the Creek is, homoiomati. This same word, in the same dative form, is used by Paul in Philippians 2:8 in, the phrase - "in the likeness of men." Now is Gulley going to say that Jesus in His humanity only looked like a man, but really wasn't a man - just a phantom! What seems so utterly impossible to perceive is that Christ in taking our fallen, sinful nature did not sin. We look at things seen - our fellow associates that are daily with us, and we see sinners even in the best of them. But the Word says that in the "likeness of sinful flesh," Jesus did not sin! This is by faith, and that is what the victory is all about.
Gulley calls for "balance," and he quoted liberally from the
Writings in seeking to sustain his
[Gulley - "Nowhere do inspired sources speak of Satan appealing to some fallen inclination within Jesus, for He was sinless by nature." (AR, Feb. 1, 1990, p. 21)]
In Christ were united the divine and the human - the Creator and the creature. The nature of God, whose law had been transgressed, and the nature of Adam, the transgressor, meet in Jesus - the Son of God, and the Son of man." (Ms. 141, 1901; 7BC:926)
Think of Christ's humilation. He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin. (YI, Dec. 20, 1900; 4BC:1147)
p 6 -- LET'S TALK IT OVER -- To take issue with a person one has known and respected over past years is much more difficult than to "cross swords" with one known only by name. The contact with Elder Gulley began prior to my following him as head of the Bible Department at Madison College. We had joined together with Elder W. D. Frazee on the Wildwood Campus for a study of certain basic concepts of Adventism which were placed in jeopardy as a result of the release of the book, Questions on Doctrine. It was a deeply rewarding experience with each presenting a topic followed by a give and take discussion of each one's topic.
When invited to follow Elder Gulley on the Madison College campus, I felt very comfortable in teaching the classes which he had taught because I knew that students would not be challenging me with "Elder Gulley didn't teach that," or "Elder Gulley said it was this way." I also became aware that during his time at Madison, he prepared various syllabi for the classes, some of which I have kept in file. Besides this, for students in the upper classes, he assigned the preparation of commentaries on various books of the Bible. These commentaries consisted of verse by verse comments taken from the Writings of Ellen G. White.
After leaving Madison College, Elder Gulley took graduate work at the Edinburgh University in Scotland where he received his doctorate. The evidence indicates that it was during this advanced study that his theological thinking changed so as to accommodate to "contemporary" Adventism. In 1982, the Review & Herald published for him the controversial book, Christ Our Substitute. In the "Preface," he wrote - "Beyond the credits given in the book, I am indebted to a year's class in Christology from Professor T. F. Torrance of Endinburgh University; ...
Gulley may reply that the change in his theological thinking from his teaching days at .Madison College to the present represent prepresents a "growth in grace." But "growth in grace" is not a retreat into heresy. One results from the guidance of the Spirit of truth into a greater discerning of truth; the other is a work of the flesh (Gal . 5:20) so as to avoid "the offence of the cross." While it is true that everyone upon whom "the light of present truth" has shown is accountable to develop "that truth on a higher scale than it has hitherto been done," it does not mean that we are to present concepts which our spiritual forefathers knew to be heresy and call it truth. It is to be the development of "that truth" which we have received to a clearer perception. This is to be our duty!
In the Fall of 1987, a group of Andrews University professors set in
motion the formation of an Adventist Theological Society. A year later,
the Religion Department of Southern College took action to invite the
faculty of the Seminary to the college campus to develop a constitution
and bylaws for such a society. Dr. Norman Gulley served as secretary pro
tem of this organizational
I have followed carefully these various articles. His article in the Adventist Perspectives (Vol. II, No. 2) was a detailed presentation of which the second article in the Adventist Review series was but a summary. At the time of the release in 1988, 1 gave it careful study intending to devote an issue of WWN in response. However, this series in AR has afforded a better opportunity with an abbreviated reply which can be better understood by the average lay reader.
In the last issue for 1989 (Vol. III, No. 3), Gulley writes on "A Deeper Look at the Investigate Judgment." In reading this article, I noticed certain assumptions were made without Biblical validation. I wrote to Dr. Gulley asking for the Bible texts which supported these assertions. This was in November, 1989. There was no response. I followed up a month later. In reply, Gulley indicated he never received the letter, and the Postal Service did not return it to me. I made a copy of the first letter and forwarded the same to him. His response was a note at the bottom of my letter - "God bless you with His presence! We are nearing home. His coming is soon!" Still no Bible references! He referred me to some pages in Patriarch & Prophets. This is not the way a
p 7 -- gentleman and a scholar should or would respond; nor the way the Norman Gulley I had known in past decades would have responded.
The question must be raised: Is that which is taking place in the theological circles of the Church as reflected in the formation of the Adventist Theological Society, Southern College's Ellen G. White Memorial Chair in Religion, and Adventist Perspectives, symbolically portrayed in Gulley's response when demanded a "Thus saith the Lord" for a theological position taken? (See GC, p. 595, par. one) We have written to the Adventist Theological Society asking them to explain an incongruity in their bylaws. This request was written on December 29, 1989, and as of this date, April 1, 1990, there has been no reply even though a follow-up letter was sent. - We expect to discuss more about the incongruity of the by-laws of the Society in a future issue of WWN. --- (1990 May) --- End --- TOP
1990 Jun -- XXIII -- 6(90) -- The Doctrine of the Incarnation -- As Taught In the Holy Flesh Movement -- Somewhat over thirty years ago, while serving a pastor of the Marion District of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Indiana, I had occasion to visi the late Jesse E. Dunn, who had retired at Rockford. The course of our conversation turned to the book, Questions on Doctrine, which had just been released. A discussion of certain controversial concepts including the section on the incarnation of Christ led to the observation by Dunn that a similar teaching had been advocated by the leader of the Holy Flesh Movement in Indiana at the turn of the century.
Jesse Dunn had been State Agent (now known as th Publishing Department Secretary) for the Indiana Conference at the time of the Holy Flesh Movement. With his help and contacts plus his first hand knowledge of what took place, I began an intensive research of the movement. Attention was not only focused on the nature of their religious services, but their teaching on the incarnation was carefully studied. However, it was not until recently that the complete concepts of R. S Donnell on the doctrine came to my attention. (Donnell served as conference president through the duration of the Movement.) I am indebted to Jeff Reich for a copy of Donnell's tract on "What I Taught in Indiana."
What makes this research of such crucial value a the present time is:
1) Ellen G. White was shown
p 2 -- for church unity. The similarity between what was happening in the church as the 19th Century closed and what is happening today as we near the close of the 20th Century cannot be overlooked or dismissed. The increasing proliferation of Celebration churches in Adventism with their incorporation of pentecostal elements into their worship services marks the most obvious parallel between the two movements. But with the emphasis given the doctrine of Christ by Dr. Norman Gulley and featured through six issues of the Adventist Review, the official organ of the church, though no longer so noted, brings the parallel together.
Further, as Gulley's series was ending, one of the associate editors, Roy Adams, began a series specifically directed to the doctrine of the incarnation asking the question - "Like Adam or Like Us?" (AR, March 29, 1990, p. 5) In a footnote, it indicated that these articles were a modification of a series he had written in the Canadian Union Messenger when its editor. These were being reintroduced "in response to queries that have come in to us, some arising from a recent series that touched on the nature of Christ."
While the, Gulley series did not "headline" the incarnation, - emphasizing rather Christ as Substitute and Example, the doctrine of the incarnation was foundational because there could have been no "example" or "substitution" without an incarnation. The associate editor wants to make the point emphatic and projects the issue in regard to the incarnation - Did Christ take the humanity as created, or the humanity as it became through sin? Before discussing this latest and flagrant extention of the heresy set forth by Gulley, we need to outline in full the teaching of the Holy Flesh Movement on this doctrine.
The articles, in the tract - What I Taught in Indiana, [All page references will be from this tract] - were a reprint of a series which Donnell had written and published in the Indiana Reporter, while serving as president of the conference. He was making these articles available because of an action taken against him by the president of the Southern Union Conference. After leaving the presidency of the Indiana conference, Donnell ultimately went to Memphis, Tennessee. There he taught the same things he had taught in Indiana, and, on February 27, 1907, action was taken to remove his credentials and disfellowship him from the Adventist Church. The report of this action was made in the Watchman with the reason being given that he was teaching "Holy Flesh" as he had done in Indiana. Donnell in this tract admits that "a number of the General Conference Committee" took strong exception to the articles when originally published, and that this "opposition" became so strong that he was forced to resign the presidency of Indiana. He .then makes this comment: The articles were headed "Did Christ Come to This World in Sinful Flesh?" I know not, unless it was my article, as well as in the pulpit, I took the negative side of the question." (p. 1)
Then- he added - "The Laodicean message involves the nature of Christ, hence the articles." On this point, Donnell does not enlarge.
[Here is an intimation -as to why the name, "Holy Flesh," was attached to the aberrant movement in Indiana. It was not their incorporation of pentecostal elements into their meetings, but rather that Christ took "holy flesh" in the incarnation. Thus the doctrine of the incarnation becomes primary in any discussion of their teachings. This also makes this doctrine a crucial issue at the present time due to the teachings being set forth by the church's theologians and editors. Tragically, some on the periphery of Adventism are advocating shades of the same.]
In Donnell's articles, he leaves no question as to what and to whom he is responding. At the time in 1900, a series of editorials were being written by one of the editors of the Review and Herald, on "The Faith of Jesus." Although the editorials are not initialed, Donnell clearly identifies the editor as A. T. Jones rather than Uriah Smith. He wrote: From the last two articles it appears evident that the object of the writer is to refute the idea that when Christ came to this earth, He came in sinless flesh, and that he writes in support of his theory, which he began to advocate only about ten years ago, viz: that Christ did actually come in sinful flesh, and that He did actually possess man's sinful nature." (p. 15)
These articles appeared in the last, two issues for 1900, and thus "ten years ago" puts the whole issue back into the 1888 Message era. The fact is beyond dispute that one cannot divorce the acceptance or, rejection of that message, from what one believes about the incarnation of Christ.
Donnell's key reason for his position on the incarnation is exactly the
same basic premise which Gulley set forth in his articles; namely,
p 3 -- that Christ could not be a Substitute acceptable to God unless He came in a nature "unaffected by" the results of sin.. [Catholic doctrine and the book, Questions on Doctrine use the expression, "exempt from" instead of "unaffected by"] Here is what Donnell wrote: When Christ came to this earth He came to make Himself an offering for sin and, in order to make an offering that would be acceptable to the Father, He must at least be as free from sin in every particular as was Adam before he fell. It was because of this that He could not step into some human body already on earth, and purify that body and offer the sacrifice.(p.8)
What we see today is the Church rejecting the 1888 Message and in turn advocating the foundational teaching of the Holy Flesh Movement, plus adopting the policy which was formulated in its inception - the "spirit" of pentecostalism mingled with what has now become apostate Adventism.
After the 1901 General Conference session, a special constituency meeting
of the Indiana
But not alone do we find this "thread" of Holy Flesh doctrine advocated by the theologians and editors of the Church, but on the periphery of Adventism, we find the same basic premise taught by the editor of Our Firm Foundation. Donnell taught that. "when Adam sinned, divinity left him." For humanity to be saved, "the Holy Seed, divinity and humanity combined, must be restored. This seed was found in Christ, the second Adam." (p. 19) "Christ's nature was a divine human nature, a nature which prior to the new birth, has not been possessed by a single son or daughter of Adam since the fall." (p. 20, emphasis mine) Spear teaches: Yes, Christ [in the incarnation] had an advantage in one sense. He had a sanctified will from birth to the cross. He was born with the nature that becomes ours when we are born again - divinity united with humanity. (The Waymarks of Adventism, 2nd ed., July, 1981, p. 39)
The underscaring for emphasis in both quotations was done so that each reader can clearly see the same "thread" that was in Donnell's teaching is to be found in Spear's book. . Among the "waymarks" of Adventism, Spear has placed the "waymark" of the Holy Flesh Movement!
Also of interest is the fact that the night before Ellen G. White bore a testimony at the 1901 General Conference session concerning the Holy Flesh movement which ended it, Elder E. J. Waggoner was scheduled to speak. He chose as his text - a key text of the advocates of the Holy Flesh Movement - Hebrews 10:4-10: "A body hath thou prepared Me." After reading this Scripture, Waggoner indicated a question had been given him. The question asked - "Was that holy thing which was born of the virgin Mary born in sinful flesh, and did that flesh have the same evil tendencies to contend with .that ours does?" Dr. Waggoner told the delegates that in the very question itself was the idea of the Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Then he stated: We need to settle, everyone of us whether we are out of the church of Rome or not. There area a great many that have got the marks yet ...
Do you not see that the idea
that the flesh of Jesus was not like ours (because we know ours is sinful)
necessarily involves the idea of the immaculate conception of the virgin
Mary? Mind you, in Him is no sin, but the mystery of God manifest in the
f lesh, ... is the perfect manifestation of the life of God in its spotless
purity in the midst of sinful flesh. (Sermon,
Today, everyone needs to set the question as to whether he is out of
the church of Rome or
Roy Adams' Position -- There is only one word to, describe what Adams wrote - tragic! Penetrating his verbage, he refers to three sources upon which to draw a conclusion regarding the incarnation, and eliminates one of these. The three editorials as noted above pose the question - "Like Adam or Like, Us?"
In the first editorial (March 29, 1990, p. 5), Adams accurately assesses the prime importance of the doctrine of the incarnation. He writes: This is the central doctrine of the Christian faith. Without it, the whole canon of Scripture becomes a meaningless document, a non-sense. (Emphasis his)
p 4 -- He then proceeds to outline the Christological debate of the early centuries of the Christian era quoting the decrees of the Councils of Nicea (325) and Chalcedon (451). He is enamored with this last decree noting that "it was a ringing testimony to reverent and careful scholarship." In fact, he begins the second editorial (April 19, 1990, p. 4), quoting from it. He writes: I Would hazard a guess that all Adventists accept the phrase, from the Creed of Chalcedon concerning Jesus Christ, highlighted in Part 1 of this editorial: "In all things like us, sin only excepted."
This would have been true had Adventists maintained the only Biblical definition of sin (which even Gulley held when he headed the Bible Department at old Madison College) that sin is the transgression of the law. (See WWN, XXIII - 5(90), p. .3) But since the definition of sin has been changed, the whole issue has been reopened.
Recognizing that "herein lies the debate," Adams states - and note this carefully: The problem we face here is similar to that which confronted our Christian pioneers in the early centuries - the lack of any definitive statement in Scripture.
Consider the import of this. First, he is not referring to the pioneers of Adventism, but to the Church Fathers in their Council decrees, noting them as "our Christian pioneers." (The Adventist pioneers had a clear perception of the doctrine.) Secondly, he dismisses the Scripture as a source by which to determine the question. Then he comments - "This is one reason that Adventists have leaned so heavily on the Writings of Ellen G. White on this question." But what does he do about the Writings?
In this second editorial, Adams quotes two sets of quotations from the Writings of Ellen G. White, one supporting the concept that Christ was "like Adam," and the other set that Christ was "like us." Herein lies the real problem. If the Writings come down on both sides of the question, and the Scriptures "lack any definitive statement," then this leaves only one basis for the doctrine of the Incarnation - the Church Fathers and the decrees of the Councils. This is not a happy solution for either the Adventist theologians or the hierarchy of the Church. So where do we go from here?
In Adams' third editorial (and hopefully his final one; but no chance
for this), he sets forth the position outlined in the new book - SDA's
Believe ... - without mentioning it. Rather, he refers to a report
f rom the White Estate by Tim Poirier. (AR, April 26, 1990, p.
5) This report appeared in the Ministry (Dec., 1989) fully documented.
It revealed the source of several of the Ellen G. White statements on
the incarnation which are at variance with such plain statements as -
"He [Christ] took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded
and defiled by sin." (YI, Dec. 20, 1900) This source was a
sermon by an Anglican clergyman, Henry Melville, entitled, "The Humiliation
Adams then takes off f rom this position of Melville, and seeks through, the use of the now famous "Baker Letter" and other E. G. White comments to sustain the Melville position, and thus the book, SDA's Believe... So what is Adams' conclusion? Read what he wrote carefully: So He came among us as a human being - in every essential sense of the word, "in all things like unto us, sin only (experiential and inherited) excepted."
These interpreted quotes are from the Creed of Chalcedon. So now we have it. We cannot reply on the Bible, it gives no definitive statement on the question. The Writings of Ellen G. White are contradictory on the subject. But we I can depend on the Church Council of Chalcedon - interpreted by Roy Adams! This is human egotism at its height - tragic! And this is what the laity of the Church are being subjected to if they read the Adventist Review. If the Church hierarchy are really, serious about receiving the "Latter Rain" of the Spirit of truth, shouldn't there be a "house cleaning" starting with this associate editor of the Adventist Review, and a recommendation to the College Board of Southern Adventist College of Seventh-day Adventists? Perhaps, this is ill advised, because if the "broom" really 'swept clean, there would be but few left, if any, to teach Bible in our universities and colleges and what would we do with the book, SDA's Believe ...?
It would be much easier to simply admit that the Bible does make clear definitive statements in regard to the human nature that Christ took upon Himself in the incarnation. Paul wrote that "the gospel of God ... concerning His Son Jesus Christ" was that He "was made of the seed of David according to the flesh." (Rom. 1:1, 3) Paul further indicated that Christ laid aside "the form of God" and in its place accepted "the slave form" of man. (Phil 2:6-7 Gr.) And to these, others could be added with much less interpretation than Adams gave the Creed of Chalcedon.
p 5 -- ONE LAYMAN'S TESTIMONY & APPEAL -- Allen M. Steward -- Forty-six years ago, after attending a series of evangelistic meetings, I accepted the Three Angels' Messages. In connection with the meetings, the evangelist held a series of Bible studies for those who had accepted the message. In one of these studies, he used the text - "Hearken unto Me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye were hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye were digged." (Isa. 51:1) 1 do not recall now all that he said in the study, but having been a worldly man deep in the pit of sin, I knew that Christ in His incarnation came to this pit, and by His righteous, sinless life rescued me, and put me on the solid ROCK of Truth. He lowered Himself till He could go no lower, drinking the very dregs of outer darkness itself. This text has never left my thinking. This is still fundamental truth.
We have been told "The Lord has made His people the repository of sacred truth. Upon every individual who has had the light of present truth devolves the duty of developing that truth on a higher scale than it has hitherto been done." (EGW, March 30, 1897) By God's grace, I want to do this, as there are some things we need to face.
We know of the events taking place in Europe; the pope drawing everybody together. But what about the heresy, error and apostasy in the body of the Adventist Church? I do not believe I would be doing any violence to the text - Isa. 51:1 - to say that the corporate body has become a pit and hole of apostasy. We have had the compromise with the Evangelicals, the resulting book, Questions on Doctrine, which denies the final atonement; the 27 Statements of Fundamental Beliefs in which there is language borrowed from the Constitution of the WCC. Elder Neal C. Wilson calls for the "Latter Rain" when the preliminary work of reproof of sin, righteousness, and judgment has not been heeded. (See John 16:8)
We are in a serious situation for we as individuals will be held accountable for the sins of the corporate body. There are numerous examples of this in the Bible. Consider David's numbering Israel (I Chron. 21). Of the men of Israel, seventy thousand fell in the pestilence sent by God (verse 14). David was permitted to see the angel with His sword drawn over Jerusalem (verse 16). He prayed to God - "I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed; but as for these sheep, what have they done?" David was the king and corporate head of Israel, yet all Israel suffered under corporate guilt.
In the book of Ezekiel, we note that God's judgment falls upon the individuals involved with the corporate entity. The command of God was - "Slay utterly old and young, both maids and little children, and women: and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began with the ancient men which were before the house." (9:6; See also 5T:211) How tragic! But how can Christ take to Heaven anyone who in mind still sympathizes with those in error and apostasy?
The Holy Spirit through Peter held all of the House of Israel responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus (Acts 2:36) When those hearing cried out for an answer, Peter said - "Repent," change your mind, your thinking and save yourselves from this crooked and perverse generation. If we are looking today for things to be different, and the church to be turned around, we are deceiving ourselves. We have been told: One thing it is certain is soon to be realized, the great apostasy, which is developing and increasing and waxing stronger, and will continue to do so until the Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout. We are to hold the first principles of our denominated faith and go forward from strength to increased faith. (Series B, #7, pp. 56-57)
"For the leaders of this people cause them to err, and they that are led of them are destroyed and swallowed up." (Isa. 9:16, margin)
"A nation's sin and a nation s ruin were due to the religious leaders." (COL, p. 305)
Where or to whom are you looking? Jesus Christ has made it possible to
be digged from this pit and hole of sin. Are you willing? He advises -
"Hearken unto Me, ye that know righteousness." (Isa. 51:7) The
righteousness of Christ is pure, unadulted truth. (TM, p. 65) Look
at the pit from which to be dug, and look at the Rock upon which He desires
to place you. Let us prepare for the final atonement when the special
group - the 144,000 - shall be revealed, those who have vindicated God's
p 6 -- LET'S TALK IT OVER -- In the latest issue of Ministry (May, 1990), Dr. Daniel Augsburger, retired professor of historical theology at Andrews University, writes the lead article on "The Minister as a Theologian." He tells of asking one of his theology classes to evaluate the spiritual impact of the class. One of the students answered tersely, "It is theology; it cannot be spiritual." This is false perception of theology, but too often true, if theology is kept in the abstract. But theology applied can be just as false as abstract theology.
Theology is simply the study of God. Christology is the study of Christ, who He is and what He taught. Soteriology is the study of salvation. All are involved in the study of the Incarnation. It need not remain in the abstract. If we have found the truth of the incarnation as revealed in the Scriptures, that truth received into the heart can change our lives.
The Holy Flesh advocates applied the doctrine of the incarnation as they perceived it. Actually, their perception differed little from the teaching of Melville, the Anglican clergyman, whose teaching on the incarnation is the basic concept in the book, SDA's Believe ... Melville's concepts differentiating between "innocent infirmities" and "sinful propensities" were more neatly defined than were the teachings of the men who advocated the Holy Flesh doctrine in Indiana. Donnell wrote: He [Christ] took a body which showed by its deteriorated condition, that the effects of sin was shown by it [innocent infirmities], but His life proved there was no sin in it [sinful propensities]. It was a body which the Father prepared for Him. Heb. 10:5. Christ's body represented a body redeemed from its fallen spiritual nature [sinful propensities], but not from it fallen, or deteriorated physical nature [innocent infirmities]. It was a body redeemed from sin, and with that body Christ clothed His divinity. ("The Nature of Christ and Man," an Essay written by Donnell and sent to S. S. Davis; see The Holy Flesh Movement, p. 31)
Those Holy Flesh men of Indiana believed that Christ in the flesh was our Example, and we are to realize that experience after "being born again." They believed that Christ "because being born of God" had "no lust" that is, evil propensities, in the flesh He assumed. Then they asked, "Doe's God want to make Gods out of us?" To this they replied, "Yes that is just what He wants to do. He wants us to become Gods so that we cannot be tempted to sin." (Ibid.) This was related to the experience of the 144,000. Donnell wrote: The 144,000 must attain in this life unto this high estate of perfection of character, as the sons of God, and the daughters of the Almighty, for they do not go through the grave, to leave their imperfections there. Like Christ they must become so related to God that they cannot even be tempted to sin. (Ibid.)
Those who today teach the Holy Flesh doctrine of the incarnation take two distinct avenues in application. Gulley in his article, "Jesus Our Example" sets forth the example to the point where it is vicarious, that is, for us, but not in us. On the other hand, Spear who also teaches that Jesus took the nature that "one born again" receives comes very close in application to what the Holy Flesh men taught, righteousness "by us," which is now termed, "perfectionism." Both miss the mark of Romans 8:3-4, coming down on either side of it.
So how do we relate the theology of the incarnation as taught in the Scriptures to life? Christ came in "the likeness of sinful flesh" and "condemned sin in the flesh." (Rom. 8:3) This victory which He obtained, God gives to us. "Thanks be unto God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Cor. 15:57) We overcome the evil one "by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word [not works] of (our) testimony, and (we) love not (our) lives unto death." (Rev. 12:11)
Even as Christ was surrendered to the will of the Father, so we must
be surrendered that God may work in us "both to will and to do of
His good pleasure." (Phil 2:13) The true doctrine of the incarnation
as taught in the Scriptures causes us to realize, if applied, how helpless
we are when confronted with our fallen natures, and how incomprehensibly
great was the victory of Christ in
p 7 -- Priest who alone on the Day of Atonement accomplished the cleansing. We sense now anew that "divine grace is needed at the beginning, divine grace at every step of advance, and divine grace alone can complete the work." (TM, p 508) We see in the life of Christ that "the victory to be gained is not won by human power. The field of conflict is the domain of the heart. The greatest battle which we have to fight - the greatest battle that was ever fought by man - is the surrender of self to the will of God, the yielding of the heart to the sovereignty of love." (MB, p. 203, Sec., "Strive to Enter in at the Strait Gate.")
STUDY HELPS --
On the Doctrine
of the Incaranation
did in reallity unite the offending nature of man
religion of Jesus Christ we need daily. ...