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1979 Jan-Mar XI 1(79) - XI 3(79)
1979 Apr-Jun XI 4(79) - XI 6(79)
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1988 Apr-Jun 3 & 4 of 4.
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ADVENTIST LAYMEN'S FOUNDATION OF CANADA (ALF)
SHORT STUDIES - William H. Grotheer -
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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
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of the Gentiles Fulfilled, The - A Study in Depth of Luke 21:24
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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
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WWN 1979 Jul - Sep
1979 July -- MODERN PHARISEES -- One can learn much from the study of the Life and Teachings of Jesus, if he will use an Harmony of the Gospels, and in connection with it, The Desire of Ages. Inspired lessons drawn from the latter show a distinct relationship between what Christ faced in His earthly sojourn, and what we face in the times in which we live. One such comparison is who are the modern counterparts of the ancient Pharisees. We read - and note the tense of the verbs: As it was in the days of Christ, so it is now; the Pharisees do not know (present tense] their spiritual destitution.- To them comes the message, ''Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.'' Faith and love are the gold tried in the fire. But with many the gold has become dim, and the rich treasure has been lost. The righeousness of Christ is to them as a robe unworn, a fountain untouched. To them it is said, ''I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. (Desire of Ages, p. 280)
Two pertinent facts force themselves upon our consciousness in the reading of this paragraph. 1) Modern Pharisees constitute the Church of Laodicea. And 2) The warning given to the Church at Ephesus because it had left its first love, God also applies to the Church of Laodicea - He will remove its candlestick from its place among the Churches. As unwelcome as these statements are, we need to awaken from our Laodicean deception and give earnest heed.
This inspired comment
is found in the chapter on "Levi-Matthew." After calling Matthew
from the custom booth to follow Him, Jesus accepted an invitation to attend
the feast given in His honor by Matthew in his own home. The Pharisees
were aghast that Jesus would do such, and because He did, they tried to
make the most of the situation to not only discredit Him with the people,
but to form "wedges" between Jesus and His disciples, and John
the Baptist and his disciples. But Jesus responded to the questions which
the Pharisees asked. He gave three illustrations - the bridegroom and
his attendants; the new patch in an old garment, and new wine in old wineskins.
He left no doubt as to whom the old wineskins were - the Pharisees themselves.
From these illustrations,the servant
p 2 -- of the Lord drew important lessons involving modern Pharisees the Laodiceans. We can obtain a clearer perception of the truth for this day, if as we read the lessons thus drawn, we substitute for "Pharisee" the term, "Laodicea." Follow closely the principles and lessons set forth in The Desire of Ages pp. 278-279.
Noting the teachings of John the Baptist - which the Pharisees had rejected, but now wished somehow to incorporate with their own traditions - the comment reads: The message of John the Baptist [the Elijah Message of his day] was not to be interwoven with traditions and superstition. An attempt to blend the pretense of the Pharisees [Laodiceans] with the devotion of John would only make more evident the breach between them.
Nor could the principles of Christ's teaching be united with the form of Pharisaism [Laodiceanism]. Christ was not to close up the breach that had been made by the teachings of John. He would make more distinct the separation between the old and the new. (p. 278)
Again: The faith that works by love and puri ies the soul, could find no place for union with the religion of the Pharisees [Laodiceans], made up of ceremonies and the injunctions of men. The effort to unite the teachings of Jesus with the established religion would be in vain. The vital truth of God, like the fermenting wine, woul burst the old, decaying bottles of the Pharisaical.[Laodicean] tradition. (p. 279)
In the study of these
illustrations, and the interpretation given in The Desire of Ages,
the "new wine" does not represent "new light" but
rather the fundamental faith
which has been committed to the saints, but which to the Laodiceans have
lost "its original significance and beauty." Observe:
Jesus pointed out the power of false teaching to destroy the appreciation and desire for truth. "No man," He said, "having drunk old wine, straightway desireth new; for he saith, The old is better." All the truth that had been given to the world through patriarchs and prophets shone out in new beauty in the words of Christ. But the scribes and Pharisees [Laodiceans] had no desire for the precious new wine. Until emptied of the old traditions, customs, and practices, they had no place in mind and heart for the teachings of Christ. They clung to the dead forms, and turned away from the living truth and the power of God. (ibid.)
This brings us to
the very heart of the issue And crisis in Laodicea. The hierarchy
under seige from the forces of heresy in its midst; confronted with a
which wants to set aside all that has been committed to the trust of the
p 3 -- Movement of 1844, seeks to maintain its supremacy by professing to adhere to orthodoxy, but at the same time rejecting in vital areas of doctrine the historic position of the Church. It was the historic revelation "of that which had been taught from the beginning" which constituted the teachings of Jesus in which the Pharisees of His day saw no light. To the modern Pharisees - the Laodiceans - the historic position committed to the Movement contains no light. The hierarchy wants it compromised, mitigated, and in its place a more palatable system of doctrines by which they may fraternize more freely with the fallen church, which the Scripture in prophecy calls, Babylon. We need to remember: We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history. (Life Sketches, p. 196)
Solzhenitsyn in his book The Gulag Archipelago has an interesting comment relative to those who wish to forget the past. He writes that the same hands which once screwed tight his handcuffs now hold out their palms in reconciliation: "No don't! Don't dig up the past! Dwell on the past and you'll loose an eye." To this Solzhenitsyn aptly comments: But the proverb goes on to say: ''Forget the past and you'll lose both eyes.'' (p. x.)
Is this why, the True Witness says to the leadership of Loadicea - Thou "knowest not that thou are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked"? (Rev. 3:17) Would that same Witness say today as He said yesterday - "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" (Matt. 23:33) We pretend to garnish "the tombs of the prophets" but refuse to learn the lessons of 1844, 1888, or 1955-57 (Barnhouse-Martin dialogues). The case of the modern Pharisee is as hopeless as that of the ancient Pharisee.
MISAPPLIED PRINCIPLE -- The
Full Gospel Business Men's International, a charismatic interdenominational
organization, hold their meetings on platforms over which they have hung
a pennant with the message - "HIS BANNER OVER US IS LOVE." Dr
Billy Graham tells us that - "In these last days the Holy Spirit
is doing a new thing among the people of God. He is regrouping His people.
"What does he mean by "regrouping"? Graham answers the
question - "He is regrouping it not by definition of our doctrine
but by the way we live together and love
one another." (Decision, Nov. , 1974, Quoted in Faith for
the Family, March, 1979, p. 4) Roman Catholic Bishop Leo T. Maher
of San Diego told an ecumenical service at a First Methodist Church -
"We must find a way of presenting the gospel in vital challenging
terms... Love is the driving force behind all our efforts toward unity.
Love makes us more perceptive." (ibid.) Pope John Paul II
in meeting with the Bishops of New Zealand in his private library stressed
that they must help lead the Church to draw closer to their "separated
brethren" and that this work be carried out with "much understanding,
with much patience, and with
great love." (RNS, Nov. 14, 1978, p. 11)
p 4 -- On
the surface, it would appear that the Charismatics, the Apostate Protestants,
the Roman Catholics, and the Ecumenists have found the long lost key from
the Scriptures by which to solve and heal the schisms in the religious
world. This would not be so deceptive to the Seventh-day Adventist were
it not for the fact that the hierarchy use the same approach to maintain
their position of authority. "Now you must love the brethren; it
is not true Christian charity to criticize
We may point with smug complacency to what the Beloved John has written, reminding ourselves that he is often spoken of as the Apostle of Love. He did write emphatically "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God, He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." (I John 4:7-8) But this same loving John wrote equally as emphatic concerning our relationship to those who would pervert the truth. He counselled: Many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we loose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, recieve him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (11 John 7-11)
Commenting on those who would mitigate this fothright admonition from the pen of John, the beloved, Alford in his Greek New Testament wrote: This command has been by some laid to the fiery and zealous spirit of St. John, and it has been said that a true Christian spirit of love teaches us otherwise. But as rightly understood, we see that this is not so. Nor are we at liberty to set aside direct ethical injunctions of the Lord's Apostles in this manner. Varieties of individual character may play on the surface of their writings: but in these solemn commands which come up from the depths, we must recognize the power of that One Spirit of Truth which moved them all as one. It would have been infinitely better for the Church now, if this command had been observed in all ages by her faithful sons. (Vol. IV, p. 521)
This brings us face
to face with what really constitutes love as it relates to truth. When
pressed sore by the "archers" who would have me tone down the
messages of the thought paper, telling me that I should have more "love"
for those of whom I write who have perverted the truth, I turn for refuge
and increased faith to the following inspired paragraphs: Today
there is need of the voice of stern rebuke; for grievous sins have separated
the people from God. Infidelity is fast becoming
p 5 -- fashionable. "We wiII not have this man to reign over us," is the language of thousands. The smooth sermons so often preached make no lasting impression; the trumpet does not give a certain sound. Men are not cut to the heart by the plain, sharp truths of God's word.
There are many professed Christians who, if they should express their real feelings, would say, What need is there of speaking so plainly? They might as well ask, Why need John the Baptist have said to the Pharisees, '' 0 generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?'' Why need he have provoked the anger of Herodias by telling Herod that it was unlawful for him to live with his brother's wife? The forerunner of Christ lost his life by his plain speaking. Why could he not have moved along without incurring the displeasure of those who were living in sin?
So men who should be standing as faithful guardians of God's law have argued, tiII policy has taken the place of faithfulness, and sin is allowed to go unreproved. When wiII the voice of faithful rebuke be heard once more in the church?
"Thou art the
man." Words as unmistakably plain as these spoken by Nathan to David
are seldom heard in the pulpits of to-day, seldom seen in the public press.
If they were not so rare, we should see more of the power of God revealed
among men. The Lord's messengers
Those ministers who are men-pleasers, who cry, Peace, peace, when God has not spoken peace, might well humble their hearts before God, asking pardon for their insincerity and their lack of moral courage. It is not from love for their neighbor that they smooth down the message entrusted to them, but because they are self-indulgent and ease-loving. True love seek first the honor of God and the salvation of souls. Those who have this love will not evade the truth to save themselves from the unpleasant results of plain speaking. When souls are in peril, God's ministers will not consider self, but will speak the word given them to speak, refusing to excuse or palliate evil.
Would that every minister might realize the sacredness of his office and the holiness of his work, and show the courage that Elijah showed! As divinely appointed messengers, ministers are in a position of awful responsibility. They are to "reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering." In Christ's stead they are to labor as stewards of the mysteries of heaven, encouraging the obedient and warning the disobedient. With them worIdIy poIicy is to have no weight. Never are they to swerve from the path in which Jesus has bidden them walk. They are to go forward in faith, remembering that they are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. They are not to speak their own words, but words which One greater than the potentates of earth has bidden them speak. Their message is to be, ''Thus saith the Lord." God caIIs for men Iike EIijah,
p 6 -- Nathan, and John the Baptist, - men who will bear His message with faithfulness, regardless of the consequences; men who will speak the truth bravely, though it call for the sacrifice of all they have.
God cannot use men
who, in time of peril, when the strength, courage, and influence of all
are needed, are afraid to take a firm stand for the right. He calls for
men who will do faithful battle against wrong, warring against principalities
and powers, against the rulers of the
When we think of
the primitive faith and godliness which marked; the early church - and
which must mark the closing work of God in the earth are reminded that
they had a love which could not bear "them which are evil,"
and "tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast
found them liars." (Rev. 2:2) The Apostle Paul was vehement that
"if any man preach,any other gospel unto you than that ye received,
let him be accursed." (Gal 1:9) Love for truth predominated
It was when the early church lost that first love, that the Lord of the Church had to censure them, and call to their attention that they were in a fallen condition and need to repent, lest He would come and remove their candlestick from its place. (Rev. 2:5) What we fail to realize all too often is that truth gives to love its purity and real effectiveness as constrasted to that love-sick sentimentalism which pampers heresy, and deviation from the firm platform. We are told: Truth is sacred, divine. It is stronger and more powerful than anything else in the formation of a character after the likeness of Christ. In it there is fulness of joy. When it is cherished in the heart the love of Christ is preferred to the love of any human being. This is Christianity. This is the love of God in the soul. Thus pure, unadulterated truth occupies the citidel of the being. (IHP, p. 140)
Not only did the beloved John write concerning heresies and heretics, and how those who really have true love are to relate to them, but he also wrote what should be our attitude toward those who seek to exert an hierarchical spirit within the body of Christ. John declared: I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. (III John 9-10)
We may preach righteousness by faith all we wish, but unless we realize that not only is there the theological side, but also a practical side to the question, we are only as a cake half baked, and thus serving to the people undigestible
p 7 -- food. Not only does the righteousness of Christ produce men and women in whom the love for and of Christ is perfected in truth, but also a group of people who know what their Lord meant when He said - "All ye are brethren." (Matt. 23: 8) Those who can sing - "Blest be the tie that binds our hearts together in Christian love and fellowship" - are those who are bound together by the Third Angel with the cords of truth (EW, p. 88), and not by those who as Diotrephes of John's day loveth to have preeminence among the believers, and throw out of the fellowship and maliciously castigate those who seek to uphold the truth aqainst heretics.
WORTH THINKING ABOUT -- While on a recent itinerary North and East, I had occasion to call a doctor and his wife who lived near where I was to speak. In the course of the conversation, this faithful and concerned sister called my attention to a statement she read a few days previous. She said that when she read it, she thought about the work of the Adventist Laymen's Foundation, and the thrust of the monthly thought paper, "Watchman, What of the Night?" She was unable to locate at the moment the exact source, and so I asked that she drop me a card with the book and page so that I could share the same with all the readers of the thought paper. Here it is: To substitute external forms of religion for holiness of heart and life, is still as pleasing to the unrenewed nature as it was in the days of these Jewish teachers [in the Church of Galacia]. Today, as then, there are false spiritual guides, to whose doctrines many listen eagerly. It is Satan's studied effort to divert minds from the hope of salvation through faith in Christ and obedience to the law of God. In every age the arch-enemy adapts his temptations to the prejudices or inclinations of those whom he is seeking to deceive. In apostolic times he led the Jews to exalt the ceremonial law, and reject Christ; at the present time he induces many professing Christians, under pretense of honoring Christ, to cast contempt on the moral law, and to teach that its precepts may be transgressed with impunity. It is the duty of every servant of God to withstand firmly and decidedly these perverters of the faith, and by the word of truth fearlessly to expose their errors. (Acts of the Apostles, p. 387)
QUOTABLE QUOTES -- Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall mke you free. (John 8:31-32)
Truth never brings
the soul into bondage. It is the turning from truth to error that brings
the soul into captivity. The one who is bound up in close relationship
with Christ is freed from the slavery of sin. (Signs, Aug. 22,
8 -- IF BACCHIOCCHI COULD TALK TO ELLEN
G. WHITE? -- In a letter dated, January 25, 1978, Dr. Samuele
Bacchiocchi wrote to a lay-person who challenged some of the positions
in his book - From Sabbath to Sunday - which were contradictory
to what had been written in the Spirit of Prophecy. Bacchiocchi.suggested
that if he could talk to Ellen G. White he would be able to change her
mind in regard to certain statements made in The
article referred to from the pen of Dr. Arthur White, formerly the Secretary
of the Ellen G. White Estate, Inc., was one of a series of four on the
over-all subject - "Toward an Adventist concept of inspiration"
- beginning in the January 12, 1978 issue. Among the liberal intelligensia,
within the ranks of the Church there has been an increasing demand for
clarification of what they consider historical inaccuracies in the book
- The Great Controversy. The matter of "borrowing" from
historians has also been introduced. One former professor of history at
Andrews University who is now serving as President of Southwestern Union
College at Keene, TX. , has written a manuscript, as yet unpublished,
entitled - "Ellen G. White and the Protestant Historians: The Evidence
from an Unpublished Manuscript [autograph] on John Huss." This manuscript
by Dr. McAdams, whether with.conscious intent or not, puts the f inger
on Elder Willie White and the literary assitants for the "damage"
done. The influence of Willie White on his mother, especially during her
declining years, and the emphasis in her writings at that period which
have been used to build up the power of the hierarchy has not been fully
documented or exposed.
p 9 -- Those sections of her writings which downgrade the subserviance to ecclesiatical edicts have been in instances supressed. (This will be noted in the next thought paper in the discussion of a critical manuscript, which has been released only in part.)
2 A careful reading of the references cited by Bacchiocchi do not confirm his conclusions. He infers that she stated without qualification that "all Christians" in the earliest centuries observed only the Sabbath day. On page 52 of The Great Controversy is found this sentence - "In the first centuries the true Sabbath had been kept by all Christians." However, in the same paragraph is found this qualifying statement - "That the attention of the people might be called to the Sunday, it was made a festival in honor of the resurrection of Christ. Religious services were held upon it; yet it was regarded as a day of recreation, the Sabbath being still sacredly observed." This conforms to literature found even in the 5th Century regarding the observance of the Sabbath. Socrates Scholasticus in his Ecclesiatical History (bk 5, chap. 22) stated: "Although almost all churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries on the sabbath of every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient tradition, have ceased to do so." (Quoted in SDA Bible Student's Source Book, 1962 edition, p. 881)
The other statement with which Bacchiocchi takes exception is that "Pope Sylvester first made Sunday Lord's Day at the time of Constantine." However, by reading Spirit of Prophecy IV, p. 55, the sentence in question reads simply: "A few years after the issue of Constantine's decree, the bishop of Rome [No-name stated] conferred on the Sunday the title of Lord's day." To have "made" is one thing, to confer by ecclesiastical decree thus confirming what the Pagans had called Sunday for centuries is another thing. If Bacchiocchi was as "sloppy" in the analysis of the material he used in his book - From Sabbath to Sunday - as he was in this analysis of the Spirit of Prophecy, the whole book stands in question.
One needs to keep in mind that the book - From Sabbath to Sunday - is not published by any press of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but rather by The Pontifical Gregorian University Press in Rome. In a brochure advertising this book, Bacchiocchi states: I thought you might appreciate learning about the availability of my study From Sabbath to Sunday, recently published (with the imprimatur [of the Jesuits] ) by the Pontifical Gregorian Press, in Rome, Italy. In less than a year the book has been reprinted four times for a total of over 40,000 copies. I am taking the liberty of informing you about this personally, inasmuch as the publisher has no outlet in this country to promote and distribute its publications.
Yet this book is now appearing in the libraries of Adventist churches, and promoted at Church convocations, without an accompanying explanation that if read uncritically it my be dangerous to one's spiritual health and faith.
IF ELLEN G. WHITE
COULD TALK TO DR SAMUELE BACCHIOCCHI?
p 10 -- Review of Bacchiocchi's book - From Sabbath to Sunday - by W. A. Jurgens in The Catholic Historical Review, states: - "The scholarship of From Sabbath to Sunday is not just impeccable, it is truly a marvel. No patristic stone has been left unturned." The term - "patristic" - means "relating to the church fathers and their writings." To another minister - Elder W. L. H. Baker - who at the turn of the century was also reading the Church Fathers but on a different subject, Sr. White wrote: "The popular opinion of what saith the Fathers will not help my case. My work is given me of God to know and understand His will for my own individual self. By thoughtful, prayerful study, I must seek to know for myself the true meaning of the Scriptures. We should thank God every day that we are not left to human traditions and man made assertions. We cannot be safe in trusting to any other word except "It is written." We can not float with the current; we cannot build our faith on any human theory, lest we come under condemnation as did the Jews. "Ye teach for doctrine the commandments of men," said Christ to them. And this statement is made decidedly plain to us in these last days.
1979 Aug -- Corporate Accountability-- Ever since the revival of the 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 has been due largely to the research, writing, and preaching of Elders R. J. Wieland and D. K. Short since 1950. If such an experience as these brethren called for 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 does not always strive with men. (Gen. 6:3) While the times and seasons are 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 with this, there 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 came from the Latin - corpus meaning, body. To corporate is to make into a body, a single unit composed of many members. Such a corporate body, religious in nature, is called a church. In Scripture, such a body is compared to the human organism. (I Cor. 12: 2) The legal aspects of a corporation is a body formed and authorized by law to act as a single person although constituted by more than one person, and legally endowed with the right of succession. This right of succession is more than a legal endowment; it is a fundamental Scriptural teaching.
Over and above, and within a corporate concept, there is granted to every individual, the power of choice. In most instances, I choose to become a part of a "corpus," the only exception being my natural birth, with its gift of family ties, nationality, race, and citizenship. But even here, I can spurn my family; I can renounce my citizenship. However, in the area of the corpus we call the church, I must choose what that church shall be. Then what are my responsibilities by so choosing? What is my accountability because of the choice? What choices do I have once I am a part of such a "corpus"?
There is and has a1ways been a tension between individual responsibi1ity and corporate accountability. Man was created in the image of God, and with this image came a certain power - power to think and to do. It is 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)
p 2 -- 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 its body, that restoration of the image of God, which gives to them the power to think and to act.
It is the object
of this study, and the ones to follow in successive thought papers on
this subject, 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. The entire study with footnotes, comments
and other texts not used in the main study will be made available on tape
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 instead thereof; and
the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, brought
her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my
Here we have two individuals, with individual responsibility declared to be one in a corporate identity. The next picture presented in the Scripture record is the seduction of Eve by tb 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. 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 by "one man." (Rom. 5:17) Out of Adam's deliberate disobedience, he not only surrendered his individuai responsibility, thus denying his individuality, but also incurred for the human race corporate guilt. "As in Adam all die." (I Cor. 15:22a.) And since a corporation has the power of succession, death has passed upon all men because of our identity in that first corporation. Paul stated it this way - "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. " (Rom. 5:12)
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." (I 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." (Rorn.
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 indentification of God in humanity - the Word was made flesh
and dwelt among us (John 1:14) - the corpus Christi is as real as the
corpus of Adam. This new corpus brought about by God, as was the first
corporation in Eden, has likewise the power of succession. To that new
corpus Christi, Jesus committed the great
p 3 -- commission, and clearly stated that it was to endure to the end of the age, for He would be with them by His Holy Spirit through all this period of time. (Matt. 28:19-20; John 14:16-18)
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? In the next thought paper, we shall consider what constitutes the "corpus Christi."
ELLEN G. WHITE LETTERS AND THEIR RELEASE -- Prior to her death, Ellen G. White made a will dated, February 9, 1912, in which she provided for the care and the use of her writings. Five Trustees were chosen to administer not only her modest estate, but also to be responsible for the care and promotion of her books in the English language, and to prepare adequate translations for publication of her writings in foreign languages. These Trustees were also charged with "the custody of the manuscript and letter files, and the selection of matter therefrom for general circulation." (The Custody and Use of Ellen G. White Writings, p. 7)
It is this last provision that has created some basic problems in the use of the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy. Five men hold absolute power over when, how and what statements found in the letters and manuscripts shall be released to the rank and file of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The statements released - many of them only in part and fragmentary - can be out of context, and thus project a contradictory concept to what appears in other published writings. This brings the Spirit of Prophecy into disrepute through the actions of the very Trustees who were charged with upholding these writings. We shall cite as an example a letter written to Elder Wm. L. H. Baker in 1895.
Before an analysis of this particular letter, we should note problems involved in the release of letters which the Trustees face. Some letters do contain personal items, which have no value for this present time. It is also possible that some letters might contain observations which could embarrass the descendants of the person to whom the letter was addressed. We can well understand the decision of the Trustees to delete any such references from all releases for publication.
Now to the Baker
letter. Elder Wm. L. H. Baker to whom the letter was addressed was born
in Kellogg, Iowa , in 1858. At the age of ten, he with his parents, united
with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. At 24, he began employment with
the Pacific Press, and five years later was sent to Australia to engage
in publishing work there. Within a few years he was called to field evangelism.
He was thus laboring in Tasmania in 1895 when Ellen G. White wrote the
nineteen page testimony which is documented as Letter 8, 1895.
Two years following this letter testimony,
p 4 -- College in 1914. In 1922, the Bakers returned to the States where he served as a Bible teacher and chaplain in two sanitariums. He died in 1933 at Springdale, Arkansas.
Parts of the nineteen page letter written to Elder Baker in 1895 are to be found in Evangelism, pp. 329, 296, 154, 284-285, 158, 297, 650, 628, 326; Welfare Ministry , p. 89, and in the Bible Commentary, Vol. 5, pp. 1128-1129, besides two Manuscript Releases #286 and #355, prior to the current #414. (The paging in Evangelism indicates the order of the paraoraphs quoted as they appear in Letter 8, 1895.) he release from this letter which has caused the most concern is the part to be found in the Bible Commentary (5:1128-29). This has been used by the advocates of the incarnation theory that Christ took the unfallen nature of Adam when He took upon Himself our humanity. Thus this statement has been placed in opposition to all the c1ear-cut statements found in the publications of the Spirit of Prophecy which teach without question that Christ "took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin." (4BC:1147) Due to the request of Dr. Raoul Dederen of Andrews University, and one of his students in Christology, Lyle Heise, "for a fuller context of the important 'nature of Chrisl' statement" a new release was produced - #414.
When we were bringing together the material for the manuscript - An Interpretive History of the Doctrine of the Incarnation as Taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church - all that we had available was the section of this letter which was quoted in the Bible Commentary, Vol. 5. To harmonize this statement with the rest of the consistent statements from the pen of Ellen G. White, and the teachings of the church as found in its publications, we had only the internal evidence upon which to base the analysis as found in Appendix A of the manuscript. However, the fuller Manuscript Release #414 contains an admonition which clarifies the whole picture. It reads: The popular opinion of what saith the Fathers wiII not help in my case. My work is given me of God to know and understand His will for my own individual self. By thouqhtful, prayerful study, I must seek to know for myself the true meaning of the Scriptures. We should thank God every day that we are not left to human traditions and man made assertions. We cannot be safe in trusting to any other word except "it is written.'' (p. 9)
The statement from
Letter 8, 1895 as found in the Bible Commentary, Vol 5, was placed
out of full context which when given in its complete setting indicates
that Sr. White was writing about certain theories of the Church Fathers
which Elder Baker had been reading and using in his presentations on the
Incarnation of Christ. This analysis of the Letter in question has been
explored in a very
BUT, Manuscript Release #414 still does not contain the whole of Letter 8, 1895. There are still deleted parts. Among those sections still deleted are to be found these two statements: When a minister is appointed to a certain work, he is not to consider that he must ask the president of the conference how many days he
p 5 -- should labour or in a certain locality, but he must seek wisdom from One who has appointed him to his work, one who has promised to given wisdom and unerring [word in question], who giveth liberaIIy and upbraideth not. Eph. 1:17, 18.
Let no man become another's shadow. The promise is "ask of God;" and if you present the divine credentials, He will hear your petition. Asking counsel from men largely robs one of that experience [that] he can and ever should obtain for himself. If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of other men? No; "Let him ask of God.'' (James 1:5)
You ask why should these two statements - which contain no personal references - still be withheld? That is a good question! But just ask yourself - If this counsel were followed, how long would the hierarchy presently enthroned whether on the Sligo, or in a local conference or union office continue to exercise its present domination over men? In answering this question, you have the answer to the first question, and with this will come the realization that the White Estate is being used - consciously or unconsciously - as a tool of the powers that be to maintain the status quo. Further, and this is far more dangerous - the release of letters and unpublished manuscripts in part, and out of context, so that there is seeming contraditions in the writings of Ellen G. White, only tends to make of non-effect the testimonies of the Spirit of God. Thus the Trustees who were entrusted to uphold and sustain the gift that God gave to His people are in reality contributing to its mitigation.
"COOL IT!" BRETHREN, "COOL IT!" -- In "An Open Letter to the Church" (Adventist Review, May 24, 1979, pp. 4-5) Elder Neal C. Wilson as the "First Minister" of the Church wrote - "We are requesting that we refrain from involving ourselves in public presentations of the fine points and the controversial aspects of the theology of righteousness by faith." (The same letter also appeared in the Ministry, June, 1979, pp. 10-11). In response to an inquiry regarding this letter at a Question and Answer session at the Medford, Oregon, Campmeeting, June 7-9, 1979, Elder Max C. Torkelsen, President of the North Pacific Union Conference commented: Righteousness by faith is a tremendously important teaching. And all that Neal Wilson was trying to do my dear brethren - I have been at meetings with him too many times - he was trying to say in the modern word without using it - COOL IT! That's what the young people would say COOL IT! We are getting so all absorbed in this, like I said, the young people are laughing at us. They are saying, "0 have you heard now in the Adventist Church it is righteousness by faith." And I say, if you read between those lines, it is sure tragedy that our young people feel that way. They are saying in effect, ''You old timers can't get it together, what are you asking us to do." That's what they are saying. And some of you are here. I have one at home. He can sit back and smile and shake his head over all the arguments in the old
p 6 -- gray hairs of the Church. And Neal Wilson is saying to this Church in that article if you will read it carefully, 'Let's talk about all the Church, and get out of our little shell and our little narrow understanding here that we are putting all our energy and time and effort into - righteousness by faith. Let us not ignore it by any means. Let us know what we believe about it. But what about getting out there and proclaiming the Word as the simple Gospel and some of these other things we need to be doing. (From a Cassette Taped Recording of the Question and Answer Period)
Before going directly
to the Open Letter, the comments made by Elder Torkelsen need to be noted
in at least one respect. (One needs to keep in mind that as President
of the North Pacific Union Conference, he was one of the "Cardinal-Bishops,"
who along with the "Cardinal-Archbishops" concurred in what
the "First Minister" wrote in his "Open Letter." On
this point of the "principle of collegiality" we sha1 comment
in a later paragraph Torkelsen's appeal to "Cool It!" was based
on the reaction that the youth - teenagers - in the Church are having
toward the message of Righteousness by Faith. This is not the first time
that this writer has noted the injection of the teenage problem into the
theme of rightoeusness by faith. I attended a Sabbath afternoon and evening
session several years ago in the Jackson, Mississippi Church, on Righteousness
When we seek to justify
a mandate from the "first minister" of the Church because the
agitation over the subject of righteousness by faith is receiving an adverse
reaction from the teenagers, something is wrong. What needs to be done
is for parents to sit down and explain to their young people the why of
Elder M. L. Andreasen's Letters to the Churches. At family worship,
let Waggoner's Studies in Romans be read and explained. Add to
this The Consecrated Way by A. T. Jones, and Lessons in Faith,
which has been compiled by Dr. John Ford from the writings of both Waggoner
and Jones. If this were done, the young people would not have time to
smirk and smile at the "old gray hairs." They would be able
to intelligently enter into the controversy raging over "a most precious
message" which the Lord in His great mercy sent to this people. (TM,
p. 91) And when they have comprehended the message as given by the men
chosen by God to give it, and have some understanding of what has happened
within the Church since 1950, then they will eagerly seek to know the
history of the 1888 episode as faithfully chronicled in 1888 Re-Examined
by Elders R. J. Wieland and D. K. Short. When our youth are kept in darkness,
what else can be expected, than what is happening? Then why close the
door further against these "spiritually illiterate" young people?
p 7 -- people are destroyed for lack of knowledge applies to the youth as well as to the adult.
Now to the Open Letter. Elder Wilson as "First Minister" of the Church assumes the message of righteousness by faith - and he alludes to the reference in Testimonies to the Church which calls it "a most precious message" - "will produce an atmosphere of love and harmony within the church. It will bring about a unifying influence; ..." Did the message when first given in 1888 produce such a result within the church? No, a controversy continued until an organizational set-up was achieved which imposed unity by control, and the message of righteousness by faith was muted until in 1950 it was revived in the manuscript by Elders Wieland and Short - 1888 Re-Examined. Then the controversy began all over again. Now it is true that righteousness "is sown in peace of them that make peace." (James 3:18) It is also true that "Blessed are the peacemakers." (Matt. 5:9) but - "The peace of Christ is born of truth." (DA, p. 302) A false concept of righteousness by faith will never produce peace nor unity. Neither will a "representative group of lay persons, pastors, evangelists, theologians, church historians, Biblical scholars, editors, and church administrators"- appointed by the "First Minister" in consultation with his "bishops" produce unity, but only a compromise. This has been amply demonstrated in the Palmdale meeting with its resulting Accord as arranged by Wilson's predecessor - Elder R. H. Pierson. (See Review & Herald, May 27, 1976, pp. 4-7)
We do well to consider the following: Jesus prayed that His folowers might be one; but we are not to sacrifice the truth in order to secure this union, for we are to be sanctified through the truth. Here is the foundation of all true peace. Human wisdom would change all this, pronouncing this basis too narrow. Men would try to effect unity through concession to popular opinion, through compromise with the world, a sacrifice of vital godliness. But truth is God's basis for the unity of His people. Sanctification, unity, peace, - all are to be ours through the truth. (Review, April 12, 1892. Note the date)
We might simply ask
- Did the message of Jesus who was the very embodiment of righteousness
by faith - bring "peace" to the Jewish church? Within the very
heart of the Jewish Church - and remember it was still God's church till
34 AD - "there was a division among them." (John 9:16; 10:19)
Because of this should Jesus have "cooled it"? On what basis
did Jesus operate? Read carefully:
8 -- true
to pinciple without exciting opposition. A Christianity that is spiritual
will be opposed by the children of disobedience. But Jesus bade His disciples,
''Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul."
Those who are true to God need not
What does Wilson consider so intolerable as to demand that the ministry and the laity of the Church - "Cool It!"? He lists such subjects as "the nature of Christ, the nature of man, the nature of sin, perfection, and the question of whether it is possible for a Christian to live a sinless life," and then states - "In our judgment these complex theological and Biblical issues need not be settled in detail in order to rejoice in the gracious provision of salvation through faith in Christ which includes justification, sanctification, and glorification." The phrase - "in detail" - does have some merit of truth, but let us take one of these subjects as a simple i1lustration - the nature that Christ assumed when taking upon Himself our humanity. The "how" forever remains a mystery (7BC: 915: Ms. 29, 1899), but what He took, when He took our humanity is no mystery. Is the nature that Christ assumed in humanity to be considered an inconsequential detail that can either be overlooked, or compromised? Then consider another one of Wilson's "concepts" which "in our judgment" ("the principle of collegiality") needs not to be settled in detail - "the question as to whether it is possible for a Christian to live a sinless life." If this is not so, then how do we understand that " those who receive the seal of the living God, and are protected during the time of trouble, must reflect the image of Jesus fully"? (EW, p. 71 ) Did Jesus live a sinless life in our humanity - or was the humanity He contended with different than ours? What then, does Wilson and his "college of cardinals" understand the expression - "the image of Jesus fully" - to mean? And if we do not receive the "seal of the living God" what will all the preaching about "salvation through Christ" accomplish?
The ministry and the concerned laity of the Church have been asked to "Cool It!" We might ask - why, what is the real reason? The reason that the "First Minister" gave was that the unity of the church was being effected. But the servant of the Lord states the matter much differently. She wrote - "The righteousness of Christ has been ignored by some; for it is contrary to their spirit and their whole experience. Rule, rule, has been their course of action." (TM, p.. 363.) Those who exercise this type of administrative policy are declared to be following in the track of Romanism." (TM, p. 362, 1962 edition) Wilson sought to avoid this appearance by stating - "Therefore, with the concurrence and support of the vice-presidents, including those who are the world division presidents, and of the North American union presidents, I am proposing a plan designated to minimize or to end such controversy." But while the objective of Rome does not change, the "track" twists and turns to accomodate the accomplishment of the objective. Pope John Paul II in his first encyclical - Redemptor Hominis - while emphasizing the human dignity of man, and according to Newsweek sounding "almost Protestant in proclaiming that the church must measure its performance by its faithfulness to the 'person' of Jesus Christ," nevertheless showed his "profound appreciation for the institutions of the modern church." Time and again, he pays tribute to the principle of collegiality and exults in the development of collective
p 9 -- decision-making at all levels of Catholicism. The frequence with which he cites the teachings of Vatican II indicates that John Paul II has no intention of returning to an autocratic papacy." (March 26, 1979 Sec: "Religion") It would seem that Wilson took a page right out of the "track of Romanism" as developed in Vatican II, and issued his "Open Letter" based on the "principle of collegiality," in other words by the "concurrence and support" of his "college of Cardinals."
There is another aspect of "the track of Romanism" illustrated in the "Religion Section" of Newsweek (May 14, 1979). It is called "'Holy Watergate' in Baton Rouge." The Catholic Bishop of Baton Rouge removed the Claretian Fathers as the chaplains at LSU because they permitted their facilities to be used by a Methodist group sponsoring a lecture by a liberal Catholic moral theologian. The Bishop in defense of his action issued "an icy public statement declaring that 'the faithful are not expected to be sufficiently informed to make judgments on these matters.'" Is this not almost parallel to what the Open Letter is saying in regard to the "nature of Christ, the nature of man, the nature of sin, perfection, and the question as to whether it is possible for a Christian to live a sinless life," that because the laity are not expected to be sufficiently informed to make judgments on these matters, therefore, a committee will be appointed to determine what the truth is in these areas, and when the highest authority has spoken this should end such controversy."
There is a very interesting admission made in this Open Letter. Wilson seeks for a Scriptural precedent upon which to base his action by alluding to the first general council of the Christian Church as recorded in Acts 15. He also quotes from the book, Acts of the Apostles, noting "the mind of the apostles regarding this matter was the mind of the Spirit of God. " (p. 194) Then he states - "The committee such as we suggested will not be inspired in the same way as the apostles and elders were in the early church." If not, then what authority will the findings of this committee have? Nothing more than the aurthority of men - the men who are operating on the "principle of collegiality" which is the present operational policy of the Vatican today. In other words, the "encyclical" issued by this committee will "follow the track of Romanism" for its pronouncement and authority will come from the hierarchy on the Sligo, not from the mind of the Spirit of God.
Now there is another and far more reaching question to be considered. Th servant of the Lord stated concerning the message of righteousness by faith as given through Elders A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner - "This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel's message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure." (TM, p. 92) The Open Letter, and this command of God brings us to a "crisis of authority." God commands that it be given. The hierarchy through the "first minister" of the Church says - "COOL IT!" Who are we going to obey God or man? This places some voices who have been proclaiming the message of 1888 in a very strange position. They have been declaring themselves - truthfully - in the areas in which Wilson calls "details" that need not be settled, and in the same breath they have counselled complete loyalty to the hierarchy. Now what are they going to do? Elders R. J. Wieland and W. D. Frazee to name two, and Dr. John Ford are facing a crisis in their ministry. And if they do not bow to the hierarchy and "cool it," what will happen to them? They can no longer preach this
p 10 -- message in its fullness in the pulpits of the Church; yet God has commanded them to so preach. They face the challenge of corporate accountability, and their own individual responsibility. These are most interesting days to be alive. May God give us insight to see, and not continue in Laodicean blindness.
NOTES AND C 0
M M E N T S -- ''Spiritual
I1literacy" In the above section of the thought paper, we scored
heavily the spiritual illiteracy of the youth of the Church. We recognize
that this does not apply to all of the teenagers in the Advent Movement,
but does cover the vast majority. If our youth would devote themselves
to the study of God's Word, they could understand far more than they do
of the deep things of God. If they would read carefully and prayerfully
Messages to Young People - with a willingness to yield to its challenge,
wonders would be worked for them spiritually. True, they may in their
youthful enthusiasm make technical errors, but continuing education and
a growing experience in the things of God would correct these faulty factual
understandings. We had
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 Ceasarea Philippi, Jesus questioned them about what 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 Peter replied "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." This perception of reality in contradiction to what He appeared to be - the Son of man - came only through revelation. It could not be comprehended through the insight available to "flesh and blood" but came by the "Father which is in heaven." Upon this revelation of truth - divine in origin, solid as a rock - Jesus declared He would build His Church. (Matt 16:17-18) He, the very embodiment of Truth, became the head of that body - the Corpus Christi.
Paul perceived this nature of the Corpus Christi when he wrote to Timothy. He counselled the young minister in these words: 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. (I Tim. 3:14-15 margin)
The Corpus Christi is to be the pillar, the stay, the visible means through which truth is revealed to man. And only as it adheres to truth can it truly be the church of the living God.
is most informative, and also most revealing how the Apostolic Church
viewed themselves and how they were viewed by the Jewish church of which
they had been a part. When Paul, as Saul, 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 the followers
"of the way." (Acts 9:1-2 Greek) Following his conversion, when
on his third missionary journey, Luke tel1s of an experience which Paul
had at Ephesus, and what he did about it. The record reads:
p 2 -- space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of the way [Greek] before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, (Acts 19:8-9)
After this decision by the Apostle Paul, the word of God grew mightily and prevailed so that "there arose no small stir about the way." (19:23, Greek) This concept of "The Way" was again used by Paul as he addressed the riotous mob from the stairs of the Tower of Antonia, adjacent to the Temple, which housed Roman soldiers charged with the responsibility to maintain peace and order. Addressing the mob in the Hebrew tongue, he told of his education and training in Jerusalem "at the feet 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 (11:26), 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 bring's 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, 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 the 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 portraying the Transfiguration, the coming of Moses and Elijah to talk with Jesus, tells that they spoke of "His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem." (Luke 9:31) The word translated "decease" is in the Greek - exodus - or "the way out." Thus those who proclaimed Him as the only way to the Father, as the sole source of salvation (Acts 4:12) were dubbed by the Jewish religious leaders as the followers of "the Way." And to the Hebrew Christians, Paul wrote of that "new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say His f1esh." (Heb. 10:20)
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 at the time Paul was
arraigned for his first hearing before Felix. When permitted to speak
in his own defense, he 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 in the
prophets." (Acts 24:14) His basis of belief was the same as 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 Word 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 perverted
the Word committed to them. He with Stephen believed they had resisted
the Holy Spirit to their damnation, and though they
p 3 -- had received the law by the disposition of angels, they had not kept it. (Acts 7:51, 53)
These concepts form the basis for Paul's teaching 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) Let us make this practical for the present time. Has God cast away the Advent Movement? God forbid! How can He deny that which is the fulfillment of prophecy which He Himself gave and ordered? So even at this present time, there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
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 by organization, but by following The Way - truth that leads to life. To remain attached to the earthly Jerusalem was not the answer. Paul declared that city 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 told the Hebrews - those considered to be of the sect of the Nazarenes they had come "unto Mt. 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 is ever only a vehicle, a means, by which truth is carried. Loyalty is not to be to a vehicle, but to truth itself. Those who are thus loyal to truth constitute the Corpus Christi.
TEENAGERS AND RIGHTEOUSNESS BY FAITH -- In the previous thought paper, we scored heavily the fact that the leadership of the Church in the Pacific Northwest would seek to justify the moratorium placed by the "first minister" of the Church on the discussion of righteousness by faith because the youth are saying - "0 have you heard now in the Adventist Church it is righteousness by faith." Elder Torkelsen indicated that the youth "can sit back and smile and shake [their] heads over all the arguments in the old gray hairs of the Church." (See August issue, pp. 5-6) In our comments (p. 10) we wrote - "If our youth would devote themselves to the study of God's Word, they could understand far more than they do of the deep things of God." We called this lack of understanding - "Spiritual Illiteracy." On the following pages we are reproducing two short articles in full from the -Review written by a teenager
p 4 -- which show what a youth can understand if he or she will devote their time to the study of the Word of God, and seek to be guided by the counsels of the Spirit of Prophecy. It is true that one article contains a linguistic error which further education would correct, and some of the theological concepts would be understood with more clarity and deepen with maturity. The first article is from the Review and Herald, December 23, 1937, pp. 7-8: Spiritualy Illiterate -- The world today is spiritually illiterate. Illiteracy is especially noticeable in the fields of political science and economics. It is considered gross ignorance not to be intelligently informed about one's government or not to be able to deal successfully in the business world. Is it not worse to be uninformed about the government of God and the most advantageous methods of saving souls? Spiritual Iilliteracy ranks as one of the outstanding deficiencies of the world in which we live.
The other day I showed a friend an article written on a Biblical theme. As he read, he questioned the meaning of such words and phrases as these: ''atonement," "decalogue,'' and ''pure and undefiled doctrines.'' This person had studied Latin, and yet when it came to applying his knowledge to a spiritual theme in order to understand the word ''decalogue," it just "never occurred to him'' to do so. As to "atonement," he had never before heard of it. Yet this person stands high in scholastic attainments, and is studying to enter one of the professions.
This deficiency is a sign of the last days. "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be. . . ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.'' 2 Tim. 3:1-7. Marvelous things have been wrought through the increased knowledge which God has allowed to enlighten mankind in the closing hours of earth's history. But, alas, instead of delegating that knowledge to bring to man the realization of the soon-coming Saviour, man has tried by the knowledge given him to prove the nonexistence of the God of all light. By his so doing there has arisen a generation that knows not God, and that has no desire to learn of Him. This generation considers Christianity as just another theory trying to bring mankind to the desired Utopia. As a result, gross darkness is converging on the people. The command of the Lord to the Seventh-day Adventist is: "Arise shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee." Isa: 60:1, 2
We should have a religion that works, not just theory. We have light and knowledge contained in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy that will carry us through to the end of time. Our duty is very clear. We should so live, by the grace of God, that our beliefs, becoming a vital part of our lives, will shine out as a great light penetrating the darkness of this world. Jesus said, "Ye are the light of the world." This light comes from within, shining out to enlighten mankind. Or as the text in Isaiah said, "His glory shall be seen upon thee."
The glofy of the Sun of righteousness shines upon our lives, and we, as reflecting
p 5 -- agents, transmit the light to others. But our lives, like a spiritual mirror, cannot reflect the glory of God if we have not been freed from the dross of the flesh. Worldliness must be swept aside. The carnal desires must be superceded by spiritual achievements. We must show to a spiritually illiterate world, by our everyday Iife, the meaning of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many throughout the world are watching the progress we are making in putting our beliefs into everyday living. The sum total of our efforts is to put into action, in this wicked world, the character God desires us to possess. This is not impossible, for all things are possible with God: and when He says, ''Be ye holy, for I am holy,'' He does not set a goal impossible of attainment. Since men today will not study the Bible to learn of the holiness of God, we must be a living Bible, so that by our lives we may exemplify the holiness of God.
The world will stand guilty before the judgment bar of God. How will the spiritually illiterate, whose learning is of such a perverted nature that they cannot comprehend the holiness of God in the Bible, be guilty before God? It will be by this one means, - by the Christians having displayed in the everyday life the perfect moral image of the Master.
Our goal should ever be to have out lives at all times an unmarred mirror, through which a spiritually illiterate world may behold Jesus Christ, so that by beholding Him they may have kindled in their hearts a desire to serve Him.
With the acceptance and publication of the first article, the challenge to try again, resulted in this second article appearing in the Review and Herald, May 26, 1938: Blessings in the Curse -- To Adam, as he stood before the Lord God to receive the just sentence for partaking of the forbidden fruit, were these words directed , ''Cursed is the ground for thy sake: in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the says of thy life." This pronouncement has dogged the steps of each son of Adam as he has trudged the weary path of life.
Some, as they have faced the unalterable fact of life, have lifted their heads toward heaven and cursed God for giving them such a hard life. Others have lifted their hearts to God and thanked Him for the curse, for have they not, when bowed down under the load of life, turned to Him and found His blessed peace. These latter are the children of faithful Abraham. Sojourning among the thorns and the thistles of life as strangers and pilgrims, they realize that, ''we've no abiding city here,'' but look for ''a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.''
We plan a future;
we build a foundation. We seek to transform our dreams into realities.
We strive to obtain the honor of this world. But alas, cursed is the ground,
and in sorrow we lay aside our ambitions, remembering that that which
is of the earth is earthly. Then it is we turn and seek Him who has placed
flowers upon the thistles and covered the thorns with roses. Our attempts
to beautify the cursed ground fail. Only in obedience to the God above
p 6 -- can we realize the fullest life, the greatest, most beautiful life.
Many times we fail to see the flowers, and view only the thorns and the thistles of the curse. The cares of this life, coupled with its perplexing problems, produce clouds of doubt and woe. We cry, "Truth forever on the scaffold. Wrong forever on the throne." But we fail to see beyond the clouds, "Behind the dim unknown, standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above His own."
When by persevering faith we pierce the darkness the glory of the Sun of righteousness shines forth in a new splendor we never before visualized.
Jesus has said, ''Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; nor more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches." John 15:4,5. Here is a plant of life - the vine and the branches - that knows not the thorns and the thistles.
The vine sends its roots far down into the soil to gather minerals and water to aid the branches with its leaves through the process of photosynthesis to manufacture food for the sustenance of life. So it is in the spiritual life. Christ as the vine, by His sacrifice on Calvary, can obtain from the Father all the help and power necessary for the Christian as the branch, to live a victorious life. When He says, "Abide in Me, and I in you," He gives us the formula for success. He gives us not only success in this life, but also the means whereby we can attain the life beyond.
By abiding in Him we attain that peace, the eternal peace. "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.'' John 14:27. Surrounded by the thorns and the thistles of Iife, the curse of the ground, we by abiding in Him can experience that peace which passeth understanding.
Observations: No doubt by now from your reading, you have suspected, and rightly so, I was that teenager. Re-reading these articles after four decades of time from the microfilm card of the Reviews in our library, I recognized some errors that I made, and the phraseology which does not express as clearly as it should my beliefs, hopes, and aspirations, and so hesitated in reproducing them. But while the product of immaturity, I believe these should encourage some other youth that they, too, can by the study of the Word have deeper insights into truth than they are presently experiencing, and so I have reproduced the articles.
The first article
was written as I was beginning my last semester of my senior year at the
public High School in Boone, Iowa. By mid-school term, I had completed
all requirements for graduation. It was in the midst of the Depression
years, and jobs were hard to come by. I spent my time, when unable to
p 7 -- the occasional odd job, reading and studying my Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. The second article reflects my reading of Steps to Christ. Interestingly, the publication of the first article came as a "Christmas present" to me - one of the best I ever received,and the second article came as a "graduation gift" at the time of the final exercises of my Senior c1ass.
The background up to that point in my life was very simple. My mother, a devout Baptist, had dedicated me to the Lord prior to my birth. This fact of her life she never let me forget. She backed up her dedication by providing for me only Bible stories till I went to school at five. From her reading to me from The Story of the Bible by Foster, and Hurlbut's Story of the Bible, I knew the history the Bible contained forward and backward prior to attending school. Then reading these books for myself after I learned to read, I had riveted into my mind the structure of the Bible upon which to build spiritual concepts. At eleven, when we studied with a retired Bible Worker, the Advent Message, I was able to grasp, and enter into these studies with the decision which followed. It was then that I was introduced to the works of the Spirit of Prophecy. The book - Messages to Young People - had an effect on my life second only to the Bible. The summer prior to my fourteenth birthday, I received a challenge to preach, and prepared and presented my first sermon on "Prepare to Meet Thy God, 0 Israel." At the time the articles were written, I was preaching on alternate Sabbaths at Ames and Perry, Iowa, and on the fifth Sabbath, I would go with youthful friends to their home in Knoxville and speak there.
As I have tried to analyze this past experience, and the opportunities that teenagers have today, I asked myself, did I have an advantage they do not have, or do they have advantages that I didn't have. I have been forced to conclude that I had the advantage. Living in poverty - coming home often to just one bowl of food in the center of the table - having a mother who knew her God, and who loved, me - she didn't hesitate to use a trunk strap on me, until one day in the process it broke - and who provided for me the Word of God from the first dawn of intelligence; and then, a God who in the greatness of His wisdom opened before me the richness of the spiritual gift He had bestowed upon His people at just the right time in my life; yes, I say I did have an advantage.
Then there is one thing more - it really "bugged" me. To think that a son of one of the hierarchy would smile and smirk at the "old gray hairs" of the church who are seeking to get together "a most precious message" given by their heavenly Father is beyond my appreciation. I recall that when a teenager on one of my birthdays, I hitchedhiked to Nevada, Iowa - twenty-four miles from my home town - to spend the day with a retired minister just to enjoy his fellowship and counsel. This white-haired saint of God - Elder W. A. McKibben - was a great blessing and encouragement to me in my teenage years. May God richly reward him in the first resurrection
parents refuse to discipline their children, and those who are ministers
advise a righteousness by faith based on the philosophy - "Don't
get shook; roll with the boat" - what can we expect of teenagers.
Pampered, indulged, and allowed to become spiritually illiterate by parents
who are leaders in the Church - what an accounting will have to be given
in the day of judgment. Need more be written?
p 8 -- SIGNS OF THE TRENDS -- WHAT HAPPENED TO CHRISTIAN UNITY?-- The Catholic Archbishop of Toronto, Cardinal G. Emmett Carter, and the Anglican Bishop of the same city, Lewis S. Garnsworthy jointly called a two day conference at the University of Toronto on the theme - ''What We Share." The Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and Chairman of the Central Committee of the WCC, Dr. Edward Scott was the keynote speaker. Before 100 Roman Catholic priests, 100 Anglican clergy, and 100 lay delegates, he urged "unity with Roman Catholics." He said every priest must ask himself - "How deep is my penitence over past prejudices and lack of love toward the other church? How deep is my thankfulness over our common baptism and Christian faith? How deep is my sense of urgency about the need for union? How deeply committed am I really to seeking ways to bring it about?" (Toronto Star, June 8, 1979, A2)
Johannes Cardinal Willebrands, Head of the Vatican's Pontifical Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity spoke the second day. One Anglican rector commenting or) Willebrands' speech said he "had the impression that he was raising the drawbridge rather than building a bridge." This rector concluded that "the new ecumenical age that began with Vatican II seems to be rapidly fading into history." Two reasons were noted for this change of attitude: 1) The attitude of the Catholic hierarchy to opt for "a new age of triumphalism - the Roman church's view, always held up until Vatican II, that Christian unity was to be achieved by all other denominations submitting themselves to the authority of the one true church led by the Pope." And 2) Roman Catholic delegates attending the two day conference who were disappointed in the posture taken by Willebrands explained "that the church's current ecumenical stance may reflect the style of Pope John Paul II, who, although being a man-of-the-people and a social progressive, is very much a theological conservative." (Toronto Star, June 23, 1979, F6) One must never forget that the present Pope told the Bishops of New Zealand - ''Let the work of drawing closer together to our separated brethren be carried on with much understanding, with much patience, with great love, but without deviation from the true Roman Catholic doctrine." (RNS, Nov 14, 1978, p. 11)
Religious News Service in its ''Week in Religion" for May 25, 1979, asked the question - ''The Ecumenical Movement: Is it Dormant or Dynamic?'' One of the leaders of the NCC "lamented that Christian unity had ceased to be essential and had become peripheral within the 32-member Protestant and Orthodox Churches' organization." Catholic leaders on the other hand, including the chairman of the U. S. Catholic bishop's committee on doctrine, Cardinal William Baum, believes the ''ecumenical movement is 'fundamentally healthy.''' The director of communications for the Graymoor Ecumenical Institute said: "The Pope has a unique position that extends beyond the Catholic Church." Just as it happened under Pope John XXIII, a creative initiative by Pope John Paul would propel the whole ecumenical movement toward the goal of Christian unity."
At the present moment, the force toward unity in Christendom is the charismatic renewal. Cardinal Leo J. Suenens ''contends that the charismatic renewal movement is a principle force currently bringing Christian Churches together." (ibid.)
p 9 -- At Princeton Theological Seminary in April, the Cardinal "described the ecumenical and charismatic movements as two rivers coming together, blending and almost imperceptibly becoming one." (ibid.) We must keep in mind that the book of Revelation pictures unto the end - the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet, as distinct, separate, and indentifiable. But from all three come ''unclean spirits like frogs" which "are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them together to the battle of that great day of God Almighty." Rev. 16:13-14
"JESUS 79: PENTECOST RALLIES SPREAD A GRASSROOTS UNITY" -- This caption headed a combined report in Christianity Today (June 29, 1979, pp. 42-43) filed by Senior Editor Edward E. Plowman and Correspondent John Wagner in Oklahoma City. It noted that the Pope's arrival in Poland ''wasn't the only big religious story on Pentecost weekend. Jesus 79, a series of day-long rallies sponsored jointly by Roman Catholic and Protestant charismatics to celebrate salvation in Christ and unity in the Holy Spirit, attracted 200,000 persons of all ages, colors, and denominational backgrounds to stadiums and arenas in 27 cities across America."
The idea for Pentecost rallies appears to have originated with Vinson Synan , the assistant general superintendent of the Pentecostal Holiness denomination. He said ''his vision for Pentecost weekend celebrations came as he prayed late one night on the steps of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Rome in 1975. Praying with him was Veronica O'Brien, secretary to Cardinal Leon Josef Suenens." She in turn took Synan's idea to the primate of Belgium.
Cardinal Suenens has been commissioned by the Vatican with the oversight of the charismatic renewal in the Catholic Church. Liking the idea of Synan's, he ''summoned'' him "for a more detailed look at the proposal" which he endorsed. Both the Cardinal and Synan spoke at the Jesus 79 Rally in Oklahoma City. At an interdenominational gathering for the clergy prior to the Rally, Suenens said God told him to come to Oklahoma City. He stated - ''Young men have visions and old men have dreams. And since I will be 75 very soon, one of my dreams is to seek the visible unity of the church coming in the not-too-distant future.'' Then at the close of the evening celebration in the Myriad arena, the 5,000 persons gathered heard Suenens give a moving personal testimony which called for a "visible Christian unity" after four centuries of disunity. He urged the closing forever and ever on the past of ''bitterness, war, and hatred'' among churchman. To sustained cheers he pleaded - "Let us look at each other with the eyes of Jesus Christ and say, 'I love you.'"
"Clergy and laity from Pentecostal, as well as mainline denominations helped plan the Oklahoma City Rally. The Roman Catholic archbishop of Oklahoma City, Charles A. Salatka, attended the prayer and praise rally along with many Catholic nuns and lay people. A black Nazarene pastor led the audience of 5,000 in singing 'Amazing Grace.'"
p 10 -- Another significant Jesus 79 address was given by Ralph Martin in the Giants Stadium. Martin is a founding leader of the Catholic charismatic renewal movement, and heads the international coordinating office of the movement in Belgium working under Suenens himself. The views of both Martin and Suenens can be regarded, therefore, as reflecting the thinking and direction the movement is heading theologically. Martin in his speech lashed out at ''theological liberalism" which he said made the church "ill, weak, and confused." He scored the affluent West for its "gospel of human or psychological development" and noted that the Third World considered the message of Christ to be a "gospel of liberation" one that calls ''primarily to help bring about a Marxist revolution." He declared that the church's first task was to evangelize, with peace and human rights goals as secondary.
Martin disclosed that Cardinal Suenens had assembled a group of Catholic charismatic leaders to design a portrait of the normal Christian life. The picture which evolved was that "the normal Christian life is (1) based on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord; (2) lived in the Holy Spirit; (3) yoked with other persons committed to Christ; and (4) fruitful." Notice the absence of a life based on the Word of God. No true relationship can be formed with Jesus as Lord and Saviour, except as founded upon the Word of God. It is truth that makes one free, and that truth can be found only in the Word.
In contrast to this picture which ignores the Word of God, and bases it on a life "lived in the Spirit," Episcopalian Maureen Gross of New York City expressed her gratefulness for the charismatic movement, because as perceived by her, unlike the ecumenical movement which seek unity by pushing aside biblical doctrines, the charismatic renewal brings the experience of "unity of a solid scriptural basis." Thus a subtle deception is compounded. How meaningful the counsel - "So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true, that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures. . . None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict. (GC, p. 593) --- ( Sep. 1979) --- END ---