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 2004 Jan - Mar
2004 Jan -- XXXVI -- 1(04) -- Another Comforter -- Editor's Preface -- The New Year promises to be momentous, not only politically, but also religiously. At the time of this writing, all indications point to a new Pope on the world scene. With a new General Secretary at the helm of the WCC calling for a renewed emphasis of the purpose for which the WCC was founded - " a visible unity in one faith and one Eucharistic fellowship" - final movements could by very "rapid ones." (See page 7).
While we may discuss the meaning and force of alloV, in contrast to 'eteroV, another Greek word which likewise can be translated, "another," we miss a simple conclusion that Jesus was indicating by using the word, " another." In sending "another" Comforter, He declared plainly, "I will come to you" (John 14:18). Was Jesus only a "power" or an "influence"? Or was He a real Person? If we reject the Gnostic perceptions of the Incarnate Word, then why apply the same concepts to the Holy Spirit? "Another" implies "like." Even as Christ was a real Person, so the Holy Spirit is. Because we cannot explain the "how" of the mystery of the Incarnation, we dare not reject what the Scriptures tell us about God coming in the flesh. The Scriptures teach plainly that in the Incarnation, the Holy Spirit was involved (Luke 1:35), and Paul declares emphatically, that Christ "emptied Himself" (Phil 2:7 ARV). Put these basic concepts together from the pens of two men who worked and traveled together in a lifetime of service, with no record that they differed one from the other in their understandings of truth; they are writing the same truth.
In this issue we discuss the book, The Trinity, authored by a "trinity" of teachers from Andrews University.
p. 2 -- A Contemplation on the Holy Spirit -- Another Comforter -- AlloV ParaklhtoV --And I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter. ... even the Spirit of truth. (John 14:16-17)
This promise of Jesus was given in the upper room just before departing for the Garden of Gethsemane. Moments before, He had declared Himself to be "the way, the truth, and the life" (v. 6). John, who records this conversation, in his first Epistle declares Jesus Christ to be the Comforter [KJV - "advocate"] (2:1). The Holy Spirit is "another" Comforter. In the same Epistle he links Jesus, the Truth, and the "another Comforter" also as "the Truth." He wrote: This Is He that came by water and blood. ... And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is the truth (5:6 Gr.).
So close is the relationship of the ascended Lord and the Holy Spirit, that Dr. David Smith, writing his commentary on I John for The Expositors Greek Testament, commented: Jesus called Himself "the Truth," and the Spirit came in His room, His alter ago." (Vol, 5, p. 195).
This close relationship is likewise conveyed in the book of Revelation. John beheld "in the midst of the throne ... a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth" (5:6). The first vision of the throne revealed the "seven Spirits of God" as distinct and separate - "seven lamps of fire burning before the throne" (4:5). In the context of the vision, the Lamb was not yet, nor had He been slain. Two distinct Divine Entities are symbolized in this first vision of the throne to John. In the second vision of the throne, the first Two continue, but a Third appears as the Lamb but now combined as One with "the seven Spirits."
In the messages to the Seven Churches (Chapters 2 and 3), each begins with a "Thus saith the Lord" related to some aspect of the vision of the "Alpha and Omega" which John beheld on "the Lord's day" (1:10-20). Each message closes with an admonition to "hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches," but what the Spirit says appears not to be given, except to the first three of the seven churches, where it is associated with the phrase "to him that overcometh" (2:7, 11, 17). Is what the Spirit speaks, the same as what the "Alpha and Omega" spoke? The commitment to the overcomer of Ephesus is interesting to observe. It reads: To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (v. 7).
Who is the "I" who will give to eat of the tree of life? The Spirit, or the same "I" that appears in the previous verses? Or is this a further revelation of how closely the two Comforters are associated? Does this amplify the words of Jesus in the upper room, when He said, "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you"? (John 14:18).
The Holy Spirit was deeply involved in the coming of the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. Luke gives the account of the entrance of Jesus into flesh. The angel told Mary: The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee ... therefore that Holy (One) which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (1:35).
In the KJV, the word '"thing" is supplied. The same word - 'agion - is used to characterize the One to be born, as well as the One who impregnated Mary. Paul declares that Christ "emptied Himself " (Phil. 2:7 RV) to take "the form of a servant." While the "how" remains mysterious to both men and angels, who Jesus really was, was not questioned by even the devils. One cried out - "We know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God" (Luke 4:34).
Two other associations remain to be considered. Peter states that OT prophecies came by "holy men of God" who "spake as they were moved by the HolySpirit" (II Peter, 1:21). Gabriel told Daniel that none held with him "in the scripture of truth" but "Michael your prince" (10:21). According to Peter, it was "the Spirit of Christ" who was declaring the prophecies (I Peter, 1:11). Ap 3 -- simple algebraic formula can be applied. If a = b, and b = c, then a = c also.
Paul informs us that God "created all things by Jesus Christ" (Eph. 3:9). The record in Genesis states, "And the Spirit of God moved (Heb. brooded) upon the face of the waters" (1:2). Thus in the Old Testament, there was a Heavenly Duo: "the counsel of peace shall be between the Two of Them" Zech. 6:13 Heb.). In the New Testament it is "the Heavenly Trio," One on the Throne, Two (ParaklhtoV) Comforters in the midst of the Throne, one of whom was sent into all the earth.
When "there shall be no more curse," there shall be but one Throne - "the throne of God and the Lamb shall be in it" (Rev. 22:3: see also I Cor. 15:24-28; Col. 3:10-11). The final picture in Revelation associates the Spirit with the "bride" (22.17). We do well to contemplate the concept - "Christ became one flesh with us, in order that we might become one spirit with Him" (DA, p. 388).
A Critique: -- THE TRINITY -- In 2002, the Review and Herald Publishing Association released a book co-authored by three teachers (a Trio or a Trinity?) at Andrews University on the doctrine of the Trinity. The major portion of the book is a discussion of the theological aspects of the doctrine, with two smaller sections discussing the history of the teachings on the doctrine; one from the second to the sixteenth century, and the second on the teaching in Seventh-day Adventist church history. It could have been published as one book by Dr. Woodrow Whidden, with two appendixes. In this critique, we will focus first on the doctrine itself as set forth by Whidden.
Any presentation of this doctrine requires appeals to both the Greek and Hebrew. Setting as the target audience not only college students but also members of the local church. Dr. Whidden sought to simplify the meaning of the Greek and Hebrew words where required. He did a remarkable job in seeking to meet this objective. In some sections, his presentation at times became rather "folksy," yet remaining scholarly.
One of the core issues in today's controversy over the Godhead within the Adventist community is in regard to the eternal Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. On this point Dr. Whidden came down hard giving incontrovertible evidence that Jesus Christ was not only pre-existent, but was also ever-existent, as well as self-existent, the I AM that I AM (Ex. 3:14; John 8:58). The current antitrinitarian teachings of the Stump-Beachy-Clayton Trio present Jesus as a demigod thus denigrating the Lord Jesus Christ.
However in seeking to establish the doctrine of the Trinity in the Old Testament, Whidden was very weak. Actually it cannot be done. Zechariah clearly states, "the counsel of peace shall be between the Two of Them" (6:13, Heb.). The prologue to the Gospel of John which reaches back into eternity presents Two - the Logos and the Theos. This limits the "Us" of Genesis 1 to Two, not Three as Whidden has done (p. 34). In fact, he contradicts himself. In the next paragraph after having declared the "Us" as Three, he indicates that the "image" of the "Us" is reflected in the "plurality of two individuals" in the creation of 'humanity in 'Our ' image" (p. 35; emphasis mine).
No true doctrine of the Godhead can be set forth without the inclusion of the concepts involved in the Incarnation. While "the painful process" (Ms. 29, 1899), by which the Word became flesh remains a mystery to both angels and men, the facts of the accomplishment are clearly stated. We noted them in the above article. We shall reiterate them again now. Luke quoted Gabriel's revelation to Mary which declared: The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that Holy One which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God (1:35).
Place with this Paul's statement in his Philippian letter concerning Christ Jesus, Who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant (2:6-7 ARV).
p. 4 -- In the Greek text, the clause, "emptied Himealf " is stated in tho empthatic form - "Himself He emptied." Put now the key concepts of these verses together:
Keep in mind that these concepts are from the pens of men who walked together over many miles of the roads of the Roman Empire. and sailed tagether over the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. There can be no question that in those travels they discussed at length the birth of Jesus. In Luke's researched gospel, what Garbriel said to Mary, we can assume he heard from Mary's own lips. In his judgment, it was not contradictory to what he and Paul had discussed together. It puts the Old and New Testaments together and must be considered in the formulation of a definitive position on ths Godhead.
[Careful study of Luke's Gospel also reveals parables not given in other Gospels which underwrite Paul's teaching on justification by faith and the position of "works" in the Christian experience. For example, Luke 17: 7-10; 18: 9-14. Paul and Luke were not only cornpanions on the highways of the Roman Empire, they were companions in truth.]
We have been given specific instruction as to how we should study the Scriptures so as to arrive at truth. Observe closely the questions that are askad: How shall we study the Scriptures? Shall we drive our stakes of doctrine one after another, and then try to make all Scripture meet our established opinions, or shall we take our ideas and views to the Scriptures, and measure our theories on every side by the Scriptures of truth? Many who read and even teach the Bible, do not comprehend the precious truth they are teaching or studying. Men entertain errors, when the truth is clearly marked out, and if they would but bring their doctrines to the word of God, and not read the word of God in the light of their doctrines, to prove their ideas right, they would not walk in darkness and blindness, or cherish error. Many give the words of Scripture a meaning that suits their own opinions, and they mislead themselves and decieve others by their misinterpretations of God's word. (R&H, July 26, 1892; emphasis supplied).
While a careful reading of the introductory pages of this book indicates that the co-authors want to believe that they followed this counsel in the writing of the book, it is clear that they did put down "the stake" of contemporary Adventist thinking on the doctrine of the Trinity, and then proceeded to seek to prove the same. Dr. Whidden asked: Is there sufficient biblical evidence in support of the Trinitarian claims ot the vast majority of Christian tradition and contemporary Sevanth-day Advantism at least to merit serious consideration of these claims? (p. 21)
Then he invited the reader - "To carefully follow the lines of biblical evidence brought forward in the following pages and then ask yourselves the question: Is the evidence sufficient that we should honestly consider the Trinitarian claims of the majority of Christians in general and contemporary Adventism in particular?" (pp. 21-22). Observe closely his emphasis on "contemporary" Seventh-day Adventism. He well knows that the statement of belief which defines current Adventist thinking regarding the Trinity is of recent origin.
STATEMENTS 0F BELIEF -- The first statement of beliefs was formulated in 1872. Dr. Moon stated in his section on Adventist historical backgrounds that it was written by Uriah Smith (p. 203). In a special publication of the Pacific Press, The Living Witness, the editor indicated that James White, while not the only author, had a large part in the formulation of the 1872 Statement (p. 1). This Statement, Elder White placed in tha first edition of the Signs of the Times, June 4, 1874.
In regard to the doctrine of God, it read: There is one God, a personal, spiritual Being, the Creator of all things, omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal, infinite in wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, truth, and mercy; unchangeable, and everywhere present by His representative, the Holy Spirit. Psalm 139:7.p 5 -- There is one Lord Jesus Christ, and Son of the Eternal Father, the One by whom God created all things, and by whom they do consist.
This Statement does not detail relationships between the Beings of the Godhead, and if we did not know the personal beliefs of some of the leading Adventists of the time, we would have to say that the Statement taught a "Heavenly Trio." The Statement in this form was maintained until in 1931 a new statement was published in the Year Book. The new statement in regard to God read: That the Godhead, or Trinity, consists of the Eternal Father, a personal, spiritual Being, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, infinite in wisdom and love; the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, through whom all things were created and through whom the salvation of the redeemed hosts will be accomplished; the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, the great regenerating power in the work of redemption.
A close analysis of this Statement, which was officially ratified by the 1946 General Conference session, indicates wording from the 1872 Statement describing God; states a relationship between God and the Lord Jesus Christ; and declares the Holy Spirit to be both a Person of the Godhead and a power. This Godhead was declared to be a Trinity, "one God in three persons."
In 1980, a new Statement of Beliefs was official adopted with a greatly expanded statement on the Godhead (four paragraphs) and can be found in the current Church Manual. It is prefaced by a formula - "There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons."
Is this formula the result of a clearer understanding of the Bible during the decades from 1872 to 1980? Is it a justifiable conclusion because, that after having purged the creeds of early Christendom from the influence of Greek philosophy it was found to be Biblical? (Dr. Moon, p. 202). Or had another factor entered the picture?
In 1965 informal talks began between representatives of the World Council of Churches WCC) and the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a result of contacts made at the second session of Vatican II. This was followed by formalized meetings with the " blessing," authorization and funding by the employing bodies of the Adventist participants. (So Much in Common, p. 98).
In the January 1967 issue of the Ecumenical Review, official organ of the WCC, there appeared an article on "The Seventh-day Adventist Church" with the proposal that "'a proper place for [SDA] witness and engagement' is 'precisely within' the WCC 'rather than apart from it.'" (R&H, March 30, 1967, p. 12) But there are conditions for membership in the WCC. Its Constitution reads: Those churches shall be eligible for membership In the World Council of Churches which express their agreement with the Basis upon which the Council is founded ... (So Much in Common, p. 40)
That "Basis" reads: The World Council of Churches Is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the Scriptures and therefore seek to fulfil together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (ibid.)
This "Basis" was written into the 1980 Statement of Fundamental Beliefs. The statement on the Trinity is prefaced with the Formula, and each of the three following paragraphs begin with the word, "God" thus amplifying the formula. But not only is the definitive statement on God amplified, but a new statement never appearing previously in any Statement of Beliefs is added defining the "universal church." It reads: The churth is the community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. (#11)
Is the Seventh-day
Adventist Church now a member of the WCC? The answer is: No. It is, however,
an Associate Member, having the privilege to speak at the General Assemblies,
but without voting rights. In a letter dated, 15 July 1991, from the WCC
to this Editor it was stated - "The churches which send a delegated
representative to the assembly are associate member churches of the WCC."
This was written in regard to the Seventh Assembly of the
p 6 -- WCC
held at Canberra, Australia. The WCC had issued a "Who's Who"
of those in attendance at the Assembly, listing Dr. Bert Beach from the
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists as a "Delegated Representative."
Further, the Church is represented on the Faith and Order Commission by
a Seventh-day Adventist theologian chosen by the Central Committee of
the WCC who had received prior approval by the General Conference Committee.
The question is simply this: Was formal fellowship with the WCC since 1967, the real reason for the 1980 Doctrinal changes in regard to the Godhead rather than an evidence of a deeper Biblical insight?
ROMAN TEACHING -- The new Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Edition acclaims the doctrine of the Trinity in these words: The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching In the "hierarchy of the truths of faith." The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, reveals himself to man "and reconciles and unites with himself those who turn away from sin." [Par. 234]
In a Handbook for Today's Catholic is to be found the following: The Catholic Church teaches that the fathomless mystery we call God has revealed himself to humankind as a Trinity of Persons - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (p. 11).
Then the author of this Redemptorist Pastoral Publication, having the Imprimi Potest of the Order, and the Imprimatur of the Vice Chancellor of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, wrote that "the mystery of the Trinity is the central doctrine of Catholic Faith. Upon it is based all the other teachingis of the (Roman) Church." (ibid.)
We now must confront two questions: 1) What is the difference between what is stated in the new Roman Catholic Catechism, and the 1980 Statements of Beliefs in regard to the Trinity? And 2), If all the Roman doctrines are based on this central doctrine to which the Adventist Church now subscribes, where does that place the Seventh-day Adventist church? Muted in regard to Rome?
THE CREEDAL STATEMENT -- The English translation of the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed, used by both Anglicans and other Protestant liturgies, reads: I believe In one God the Father Almighty; Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And In one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made; who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was Incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried, and the third day he arose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God; and he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified; who spake by the Prophets. And I believe (in) one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. (The Creeds of Christendom, Vol II, pp. 58-59)
This is the Creed
from which the formula - "There
is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit," - is derived. The
phrase - "a unity of three eternal persons" - was added to the
Adventist Church's Statement. This added position is set forth and defended
in the book, The Trinity. The problem with the Andrews "Trio"
is their failure to come face to face with the duality of the Godhead
as set forth in the Old Testament (Zech. 6:13; Isa. 44:6); and to recognize
p 7 -- effect that the Incarnation had on the Godhead, as well as the final picture of God revealed in the book of Revelation (22:3, 17).
The Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed also presents some problems for the neo-antitrintarians in the community of Adventism. They hold that the high water mark in the pioneer Adventist understanding of the Godhead was stated by E. J. Waggoner. He had written of Christ, "He is begotten, not created. ... There was a time when Christ proceeded forth and came from God, from the bosom of the Father, but that time was so far back in the days of eternity that to finite comprehension it is practically without beginning" (Christ and His Righteousness, pp. 21-22). This is a direct echo of the Nicene Creed - The "Lord Jesus Christ, ... begotten before all worlds, ... begotten, not made." In the paragraph following the position of Waggoner quoted above, one would think that he was borrowing the very language of the Creed. Compare:
The Creed: "The only begotten Son of God ... very God of very God, begotten not made, being of the same substance with the Father; ... "
Waggoner: "And since He is the only-begotten Son of God, He is the very substance and nature of God" (p. 22).
While these neo-antitrinitarians reject the position of the Creed in regard to the Holy Spirit, they emphatically embrace the first paragraph of the Creed. However, like the Andrews University "trio" they have not confronted the Old Testament declarations about God, nor the impact which the Incarnation had on the Godhead.
A Change at the WCC -- In August of this past year, the central committee of the WCC elected a new general secretary, Dr. Samuel Kobia, who will replace Dr. Konrad Raiser this month. He was born in Kenya, and is an ordained minister of the Methodist Church. In his acceptance speech, he reiterated "that the Council's primary purpose as a fellowship of churches is 'to call one another to visible unity in one faith and one Eucharistic fellowship, and to advance that unity so that world may believe.'"
The WCC has charged its Faith and Order Commission which "provides theological suppor for the efforts the churches are making toward unity ... to keep always before them their accepted obligation to work towards manifesting more visibly God's gift of Church unity." (Faith & Order Paper #111, p. vii). The By-Laws of the Commission reflect this, the very stated goal to which Dr. Kobia directed the attention of the Central Committee in his acceptance speech. (ibid., p. vill). It is on this Commission that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has a representative elected by the Central Committee of the WCC. Think this through carefully: Being an "Associate Member" of the WCC, with a representative on the Commission of the Counci charged with "the goal of visible unity (of all churches) in one faith and one Eucharistic fellowship." What decision is thus demanded of the individual Adventist? --- ( 2004 Jan) ---End --- TOP
Feb 2004 -- XXXVII - 2(04) -- ANOTHER HISTORICAL REVIEW -- Editor's Preface -- The last article in this issue is the most important, and relates to all the other articles as the solution to the problems noted in them. It was taken from the Review & Herald, July 26, 1892. In answering the question, "How shall we search the Scriptures?" sound counsel was given so as to obtain a solution to the dissension arising from the controversy which the 1888 General Conference spawned. It was never followed, and the 1888 controversy is still with us. Today with the promotion of a complete misrepresentation of what the doctrinal issues of 1888 were all about, by aberrant voices within the community of Adventism, and the revival of the controversy which surrounded the SDA-Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956 by the re-publication of the book, Questions on Doctrine, the Adventist community is in greater need today for the counsel given in 1892 than at any period in its history.
The Review article noted some attitudes that serve as indicators as to whether there is a sincere desire for truth. One such attitude is described thus: "Those who sincerely desire truth will not be reluctant to lay open their positions for investigation and criticism, and will not be annoyed if their opinions and ideas are crossed." Such annoyance has been manifest by those presently leading the neo-antitrinitarianism noted as Smyrna Publishing in the card deck recently circulated by TriMedia of Fort Worth, Texas. This can be documented by correspondence as well as by those in attendance at overseas meetings.
We have not considered as we ought to have who the God
of Abraham really was. Think about it again. Then read carefully, "Think
It Over," as well as Isaiah 57:15 with the corresponding texts.
p 2 -- Another Historical Review -- In the previous issue of WWN, we discussed the book, The Trinity, from the theological viewpoint as set forth by Dr. Woodrow Whidden, the major co-author. We also challenged the historical perspective given by Dr. Jerry Moon, another co-author, as to why the changed and enlarged statement on the Godhead was made in the 1980 Statements of Fundamental Beliefs. In this issue, we shall pursue the historical record from another perspective.
In a recent mailing of a card deck of advertisements to over 150,000 Adventist homes in the United States by TriMedia of Fort Worth, Texas, there was a card which offered a 48-page booklet which asked the question, "What did the Adventist Pioneers Believe?" Then there followed this comment: This 48-page book is a compilation of quotes from Adventist pioneers, including the 1888 messengers, which reflects the unanimous position of the early Adventist Church concerning the most vital doctrine of Christianity.
The message contained on the card would lead one to conclude that "the most vital doctrine" is "the most precious message to His people" that God sent through the two "messengers" in 1888. Is this true, or is this a deceptive camouflage to cover the neo anti-trinitarian teachings the card's authors are promoting?
Certain words and concepts need to be defined. What does "pioneer" mean? How far down in time does the "early Adventist Church" extend? The word "pioneer" in Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary is defined by synonyms "earliest, original." As to the second question, by 1888 a "second" generation of Adventists were coming on the scene. E. J. Waggoner, one of the 1888 "messengers," was the son of J. H. Waggoner, who had become an "Adventist" in 1852. At the time of the organization of the Church in 1863, J. H. Waggoner was one of the committee of three that recommended the name "Seventh-day Adventist" for the Church. How then could the Church in 1888, when E. J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones united their voices in the proclamation of righteousness by faith, be considered "the early Adventist Church"?
What did the "pioneers" believe in regard to the pre-existent Christ? Uriah Smith, in his first edition of Thoughts on Revelation in 1867 - just four years after the Church was organized - commenting on Revelation 3:14, wrote that Christ was "the first created being" (p. 59). Lynnford Beachy, who originally brought together this compilation in 1996, does not tell you this but quotes rather from Smith's 1882 edition of the same book after Smith had altered his viewpoint. This is deceptive.
Further, Beachy's original edition did not contain one single quotation from Ellen G. White, which could classify her as teaching anti-trinitarianism. Neither does this new revised edition that is being offered give any such quotation. Ellen White, however, is placed on center stage (see publication cover; again deceptive) in an attempt to achieve a twofold objective: 1) that we are to let the "pioneers" speak again; and 2) that we are not to move one "pin or pillar" of the foundation, or using a different figure of speech, we are not to remove the "landmarks."
If #1 was the major intent of the counsel given, why did Beachy not let Smith "speak" until his 1882 edition of Thoughts on Daniel & Revelation, and ignore reference to his 1867 position? Here, however, is a good example of what the teaching from our past history is to teach us: "The truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light" (R&H, March 25, 1890). This is what Smith did between 1867 and 1882. Why could he make this doctrinal progression and not move a pin or pillar of the foundation? The answer is simple: because the nature of the Godhead was not one of the "landmarks" or "pillars" of the Adventist faith that was not to be moved. Ellen White listed the "landmarks": 1) The cleansing of the sanctuary transpiring in heaven; 2) The first and second angels' messages and the third; 3) The temple of God in heaven, and the ark containing the law of God; 4) The light of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment; and 5) The
p 3 -- nonimmortality of the wicked. Then she added, "I can call to mind nothing else that can come under the head of the old landmarks" (Ms. 13, 1889).
On the other hand, Ellen White did speak in regard to the Godhead: There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these three great powers - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, and these powers will cooperate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ (Special Testimonies, Series B, #7, p. 62).
Christ was God essentially, and in the highest sense. He was with the Father from all eternity, God over all, blessed forevermore. The Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, existed from eternity, a distinct person, yet one with the Father (R&H, April 5,1906).
Further, there is a duty that devolves upon us. It is stated: "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" (HM, July 1, 1897, par. 1).
This is a call to move forward, a challenge to advance as Uriah Smith did. I do not know of a single ray of divine truth given to God's people which the leadership of the Smyrna Gospel Ministries has developed "on a higher scale than it has hitherto been done." If they have, I would like to know it. Instead of advancement I have seen only deception compounded, and a call to regression from truth.
In addition to the booklet prepared by Beachy, there was also included in the packet sent to those who responded to their advertisement in the card deck, a second booklet written by David Clayton of Jamaica originally published in Old Paths, January 2002. Claiming to be "the loud cry of the third angel" Clayton sets forth his antitrinitarian message as the unique doctrine to be taught now as a revival of the 1888 Message. On the point of the 1888 Message, we will say more later; however, he sought to prove that no voice in the community of Adventism is teaching the doctrine of God as he is teaching it. This is true; however, he sought to place all others as teaching the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity, and he alone proclaiming the true doctrine as the "loud cry."
One of the individuals Clayton cites is this editor, and the publication, Watchman, What of the Night? He quotes from the January 1998 issue. He makes it appear to be two consecutive paragraphs; however, the first paragraph is taken from page 2, and the second paragraph is taken from page 6. The second paragraph is merely a summary quotation from the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. V, which I cited in connection with a Greek word. The first quotation is two of a three summary conclusion, which could be drawn from a series of verses cited. Clayton did not quote it as written or give its true context. Honest scholarship?
This article as written and now published in booklet form was designated by Allen Stump, the editor of Old Paths, as "a powerful message" and was given his full approval and blessing. But Stump knows what I believe and what I have taught. He spent a year on this campus, left for a year, and returned a year later, and asked to be placed again in the work of the Foundation. At that time I told him that if he would be honest and tell me the real reason why he left the first time, I would consider his request. He had given as his reason that his wife was not going to die and be buried outside of West Virginia. His wife being present, told him to go ahead and tell me, but he wouldn't. Perhaps now in self defence, he will.
In the January issue of WNN, this year, I have clearly stated my belief in regard to the Godhead. Perhaps I should state it negatively. I do not believe in the pagan pantheisms headed by Triads of deities. I do not believe in the papal Trinity as stated in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2 nd edition, par. #242; nor in the WCC's trinity concept as stated in their Constitution and reproduced in the Statement of Fundamental Beliefs voted at the 1980 Session of the General Conference at Dallas, Texas.
Now in regard to the assumption that Clayton has made regarding 1888 as to what the true message really was which was given by both
p 4 -- Jones and Waggoner at that session, may I suggest that the reader seek a copy of the letter which A. T. Jones wrote to Claude Holmes, May 12, 1921. It was printed in full in the 1888 Glad Tidings, October 2003. It sets forth in distinct contrast the message as given by Jones and Waggoner and the deception which the Smyrna "Trinity" are seeking to perpetrate on the Adventist Community.
Beachy's Greek -- In his booklet, What Did the Pioneers Believe?, Beachy has an additional Bible Study on "The Truth About God" in which he references certain biblical texts from both the Old and New Testaments to the numbering as found in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, which supposedly gives the Hebrew, Chaldee, or Greek meaning of the word. It appears that he has also Thayer's Lexicon for the Greek as well as a Brown, Driver, and Briggs lexicon for the Hebrew.
As I noted his references and comments, I observed one that looked interesting, and so I thought I would check it out to see how Beachy made use of his linguistic tools. From Christ's remarks at the Last Supper, he concluded that Jesus was telling them that in His pre-existent state the Father was older than He. That brought the Scripture into harmony with his theology but did not bring his theology into harmony with the Scriptures.
The words of Jesus are translated in the KJV as "my Father is greater (meizwn) than I" (John 14:28); but Beachy concluded quoting Strong, that the word means, "larger (literally or figuratively, specifically in age)," and references the word's once such use in the NT - "it was said unto her the elder ('o meizwn) shall serve the younger" (Rom. 9:12). There he stopped, happy with his linguistic finding. Actually, this verse is quoted from the Greek Old Testament (LXX) just as Paul found it written there. The word is preceded by the definite article and has a pronominal force, while in John 14:28 Jesus is indicated as using it as a simple comparative, "greater" (Analytical Greek New Testament, by Friberg & Friberg).
If Beachy had used his Thayer's, he would have found that meizwn is a form of megaV - "great." Arndt & Gingrich concur, adding the word "large" to "great." Going to Strong, Beachy's source, I found that he did not quote it completely, using only what fitted his theology. Strong (#3187) reads in full from the point where he begins to quote - "larger (lit. or fig., spec. in age): - elder, greater (est), more." Beachy stopped at "age:" changed the punctuation and emphasized "specifically in age." "Greater" is the word used in John 14:28, and "elder" with an article in Rom. 9:12 quoting the LXX. Again, deception!
Think It Over -- Facing the challenge of the Jews - "Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?," Jesus replied - "Before Abraham was, I AM" (John 8:57-58). Jesus as the I AM had appeared to Moses at the burning bush. Before giving His verbal Name, which defines Him as self-existent and ever-existent, He declared Himself to be "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" (Ex. 3:6). He who answered the challenge of the Jews was not only before Abraham, but He was the God of Abraham.
Paul tells us that "when God made promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no greater, He sware by Himself" (Heb. 6:13). That God was the Word made flesh, the I AM.
Mark 1:24 - Luke 4:34 - John 14:16-18
p 5 -- "Perception Meets Reality" -- This was the caption on the lead article in the North American Division Edition of the Adventist Review for July 2003. It was adapted from a morning devotional by Charles C. Sandefur, president of ADRA, at the Spring Meeting of the General Conference Executive Committee.
After reminiscing of his experience as a boy growing up in a home whose father was a conference executive, he declared: Something happened to the Adventist face starting 25 or 30 years ago. We had been growing in an orderly fashion; then we just exploded with growth (p. 18).
The why-fore can and will become a subject of differing viewpoints depending on how one wants to recognize it, so as to explain it. This quarter of a century of time carries us back to Adventist history which preceded and influenced the growth to which Sandefur alludes. The events of 1955-56, and the resulting book, Questions on Doctrine, changed the doctrinal face of Adventism. The liberalism promoted by Spectrum altered the "lifestyle" and thinking of a large part of the scholastic section of Adventism. As Sandefur stated - The Seventh-day Adventist Church is an overwhelming new church. Less than I percent of Seventh-day Adventists have been members of the Adventist Church as long as I have (I am now a patriarch). Very few Adventists around the world have been members more than 50 years. Fewer than half have been Adventists more than 12 years. Two thirds of all Seventh-day Adventists who have ever been baptized are alive right now. We baptize more people in some individual months than existed in the church the year Ellen White died. We are a new church overwhelmingly new - and the epicentre of Seventh-day Adventism has moved from North America to the Southern Hemisphere (pp. 18-19).
He declared himself a "patriarch" and a part of 1 % of the membership of the Church. His father became a departmental secretary in the Texico Conference a couple of years after I entered the ministry in that conference. His mother was a student at Union College at the same time I was. Thus less than 1 % are active members from the generation that preceded him, and can recall with any degree of vividness the 1955-56 conferences that changed the face of Adventism. Yet there has been republished the book Questions on Doctrine which resulted from those conferences with annotations by Dr. George Knight.
At the time of this writing (late November 2003), we have not yet received the copy ordered. When received, we will read the annotations carefully. There is one factor that needs to be pursued with diligence. The book that was published in 1957 was not the original answers given to Dr. Walter Martin, but a revised version so as to be more palatable to the Adventist laity. These original answers need to be released so that a full evaluation of the extent of the compromise may be known.
Other observations of Sandefur, as he summarized his visit to 43 countries during the year 2002, need to be underscored and their significance noted. Commenting on what the explosive growth means in reality, he stated: We are growing so fast that some of those anchor points, institutions, and behaviors that I grew up with, that were a part of the deeply woven roots that made me a Seventh-day Adventist, don't exist around the world. You can't keep your supply lines filled as fast as the Seventh-day Adventist Church is growing. But we are moving with the Spirit, and we ought never to slow down to let the rest of us catch up with Him (p. 20).
There are some questions that can be asked and should be asked regarding this evaluation which make us cringe to even think about. We would have great difficulty in admitting even the necessity to ask such a question. Some years back a missionary educator serving in Africa visited, while on furlough, some relatives living on campus. In conversing with him, I asked him about how certain teachings involving the sanctuary were being taught. He replied that they weren't, as the native African would not understand them. Thus a major teaching that is basic to Adventism is omitted. Yet 34% of all Adventists today live in Africa. What is that saying?
Then Sandefur comments on Sabbath observance and worship. He declared:
p 6 -- I've spent some 20 Sabbaths around the world, in all kinds of churches. I've found out that almost every Adventist church has Sabbath School. They study the Sabbath school lesson. We pray on Sabbath, we sing on Sabbath, we worship on Sabbath, we witness on Sabbath, we have fellowship dinner on Sabbath, we play soccer on Sabbath, we play the piano on Sabbath. We worship until 12:00 (not 12:01) on Sabbath. And we worship until it gets dark on Sabbath. We celebrate the Sabbath in a variety of ways.
Despite a hundred different ways of keeping the Sabbath (some controversial, some that make me uncomfortable), the candle of the Sabbath cannot be blown out. Adventists still celebrate it, and they participate in holy time. The Lord of the Sabbath is greater than some of our behaviours on the Sabbath (pp. 20-21).
More questions enter one's mind. What are the answers? Does the unity for which Christ prayed involve only personal relationships, or did it also include faith and doctrine? In the prayer before crossing "the brook Cedron," Jesus not only prayed that we be one as He and the Father are one (17:22), but also that they which believed on Him "through [the apostle's] word" be one together with them, "sanctified through the truth" (17:19-21). Jesus declared the word of God, the truth (v. 17). The simple fact is that the Word of God says the same thing whether it is spoken in Africa, South America, Asia or North America; and for what purpose - "that they all may be one" (v. 21). Sandefur's report does not so indicate. Playing soccer and divine worship are not compatible activities for the Sabbath. Something is wrong.
To reopen the SDA-Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956 and the compromises of the faith which resulted, will further divide, not unify. But those who can speak from first-hand experience of what happened back in that decade and the one following are much smaller in number now than then, as Sandefur's statistics indicate.
The question also surfaces - "What do the vast majority of 'contemporary' Adventists really care about what happened back there anyway - those plus thirty years ago?" They are happy in their social fellowship, and they do recognize the Sabbath one way or another. Then on the other hand, the vast majority of the dwindling minority want what they call an "historic" Adventism which reflects "the pioneers" instead of accepting "the duty" which devolves upon them of "developing that truth on a higher scale than it has hitherto been done." The "duty" involves more spiritual work than they are willing to expend.
Further, there will be those who will say that the compromises made with the Evangelicals in 1955-56, and now being reviewed in the republication of Questions on Doctrine, answer to "the advancing light" required. Or does it need to be called by its right name - Apostasy from the Truth? Then what would the advancing light of truth concern, that is to be advanced to a higher scale than has hitherto been done? Adventism has problems - major problems and has seemingly no solution in this hour of ominously fulfilling prophecy.
Counsel from the Past -- "How shall we search the Scriptures? Shall we drive our stakes of doctrine one after another, and then try to make all Scripture meet our established opinions, or shall we take our ideas and views to the Scriptures, and measure our theories on every side by the Scriptures of truth? Many who read and even teach the Bible, do not comprehend the precious truth they are teaching or studying. Men entertain errors, when the truth is clearly marked out, and if they would but bring their doctrines to the word of God, and not read the word of God in the light of their doctrines, to prove their ideas right, they would not walk in darkness and blindness, or cherish error. Many give the words of Scripture a meaning that suits their own opinions, and they mislead themselves and deceive others by their misinterpretations of God's word. As we take up the study of God's word, we should do so with humble hearts. All selfishness, all love of originality, should be laid aside. Long-cherished opinions must not be regarded as infallible. It was the unwillingness of the Jews to give up their long-established traditions that proved their ruin. They were determined not to see any flaw in their opinions or in their expositions of the Scriptures; but however long men may have entertained certain views, if they are not clearly sustained by the written word, they should be discarded.
"Those who sincerely desire truth will not be reluctant to lay open their positions for
p 7 -- investigation and criticism, and will not be annoyed if their positions and ideas are crossed. This was the spirit cherished among us forty years ago. We would come together burdened in soul, praying that we might be one in faith and doctrine; for we knew that Christ is not divided. One point at a time was made the subject of investigation. Solemnity characterized these councils of investigation. The Scriptures were opened with a sense of awe. Often we fasted, that we might be better fitted to understand the truth. After earnest prayer, if any point was not understood, it was discussed, and each one expressed his opinion freely; then we would again bow in prayer, and earnest supplications went up to heaven that God would help us to see eye to eye, that we might be one, as Christ and the Father are one. Many tears were shed. If one brother rebuked another for his dullness of comprehension in not understanding a passage as he understood it, the one rebuked would after take his brother by the hand, and say, "Let us not grieve the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus is with us; let us keep a humble and teachable spirit;" and the brother addressed would say, "Forgive me, brother, I have done you an injustice." Then we would bow down in another season of prayer. We spent many hours this way. We did not generally study together more than four hours at a time, yet sometimes the entire night was spent in solemn investigation of the Scriptures, that we might understand the truth for our time. On some occasions the Spirit of God would come upon me, and difficult portions were made clear through God's appointed way, and then there was perfect harmony. We were all of one mind and one Spirit.
"We sought most earnestly that the Scriptures should not be wrested to suit any man's opinions. We tried to make our differences as slight as possible by not dwelling on points that were of minor importance, upon which there were varying opinions. But the burden of every soul was to bring about a condition among the brethren which would answer the prayer of Christ that His disciples might be one as He and the Father are one. Sometimes one or two of the brethren would stubbornly set themselves against the view presented, and would act out the natural feelings of the heart; but when this disposition appeared, we suspended our investigations and adjourned our meeting, that each one might have an opportunity to go to God in prayer, and without conversation with others, study the point of difference, asking light from heaven. With expressions of friendliness we parted, to meet again as soon as possible for further investigation. At times the power of God came upon us in a marked manner, and when clear light revealed the points of truth, we would weep and rejoice together. We loved Jesus and we loved one another.
"In those days God wrought for us, and the truth was precious to our souls. It is necessary that our unity today be of a character that will bear the test of trial. ...
"We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they never will have to give up a cherished view, never have an occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed" (R&H, July 26,1892). --- (2004 Feb) ---End --- TOP
2004 Mar -- XXXVII -- 3(04) -- Mar 2004 -- XXXVII - 3(04) -- Questions on Doctrine Again? -- Yes, Again!-- Editor's Preface -- With the republication of Questions on Doctrine in an Annotated Edition, the Church is again confronted with the "doctrinal upheaval" it faced some forty plus years ago. This time, most of the players in that confrontation have gone to their rest. Further, all the evidence is still not on the table. The original answers given to the questions asked by Walter R. Martin are classified. The 1957 edition of Questions on Doctrine was itself a revised edition. A few copies of this current annotated edition were circulated prior to its official release in December. These had not only a different pagination but differed also in content. Does this mean that there were more pages or less pages when it was released?
There is no question that M. L. Andreasen was actively involved in the controversy which surrounded the first edition in 1957. Dr. George R. Knight, editor of the annotated edition, while admitting that Andreasen "had been the denomination's most influential theologian and theological writer in the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s," seeks to denigrate him by citing an article in the Ministry magazine, rather than noting the questionable positions advocated in the book itself. There are no annotations regarding these pages in the book. They are ignored. In this issue, we explore them.
It is remarkable that Knight admitted and documented the fact that the Adventist conferees lied to the Evangelicals about the teachings of the Church in previous decades. He seeks to cover this manipulation of the facts by the Adventist conferees and the seeming contradictions in the Writings by setting forth an Anglican position on the Incarnation. This will be covered in the next issue of WWN.
p 2 -- Questions on Doctrine -- Again? Yes, Again!-- This Time as a Part of the Adventist Classic Library Series -- Andrews University Press is planning a reprint of a series of publications which will be in "the Adventist Tradition." They indicate that the term "Adventist" will be used broadly, and that "while most of the selections in the Adventist Classic Library will be directly related to Seventh-day Adventist heritage, some will come from Millerism and other branches of the Millerite tradition." The second selection of this series was the reprint of Questions on Doctrine. It was released in December 2003 with annotations by Dr. George R. Knight, who is the general editor of the series. In a "note" it is stated that "a very few copies of Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine: Annotated Edition, circulated before the volume was officially released, and have a slightly different pagination and content" (emphasis supplied). No complete evaluation of the annotations can be given until this "limited" release is available on loan, say from the University Library, or Heritage Room, or is made available to other libraries.
After giving the factual data from which the above paragraph is drawn, a page captioned "Viewpoints" is inserted before the section listing the contents of the re-publication. The first viewpoint is what Knight considers to be "one of M. L. Andreasen's most surprising statements in his prolonged struggle with the denomination" over the book (p. xxvi). It reads: There are so many good things in the book that may be of real help to many; and some may think I repudiate it all, when what I am concerned about is only the section on the Atonement which is utterly unacceptable and must be recalled.
There was another book - The Living Temple - that was published in 1903 of which the same thing could be said - "many good things in the book" - but which "presented the alpha of deadly heresies" (Special Testimonies, Series B, #2, p. 50.) It was a "combination of good and evil" permitted by God so that His people might "understand to what lengths the sophistry and devising of the enemy would lead" (ibid., #7,p. 36). In 1905, following the printing of the book, there was the warning by Ellen White that statements from her books "may be taken out of their setting, and placed in such connection as to make it appear that the sentiments in Living Temple are sustained by Sister White's very words" (ibid., pp. 49-50). The warning given at that time dare not be ignored now: "The omega will follow, and will be received..." (op. cit., #2).
Two other viewpoints are cited, and made congruous to each other. One by M. R. DeHaan, an Evangelical editor, who expressed his "great" disappointment with the book because he "found that there had been no essential change in the historic stand of the Adventists" (emphasis his). The second was by R. R. Figuhr, then president of the General Conference who commented on DeHaan's evaluation - "The point of special interest is his testimony to the fact that the book does not represent any change of Adventist doctrine."
The final viewpoint made was by Knight himself. It reads: But Questions on Doctrine did set forth one problematic change in Adventist theology; a change done in such a way that it alienated various factions of the church theologically. The publication of Questions on Doctrine did more than any other single event in Adventist history to create what appears to be permanently warring factions within the denomination.
The question then arises, "Why republish the book?" The Adventist News Network, in a release dated November 18, 2003, called attention to an interview which Walter Martin gave Adventist Currents three years before his death. He stated: If the Seventh-day Adventist [Church] will not back up its answers with actions and put Questions on Doctrine back in print ... then they're in real trouble that I can't help them out of; and nobody else can either."
This explanation raises more questions than it answers. There can be no doubt that Walter Martin was following closely the moves within
p 3 -- Adventism, such as the changes made in the Fundamental Statement of Beliefs voted at Dallas, Texas, in 1980. It is obvious to any reader that the 22 Statements placed in the original book, Questions on Doctrine, are not the same as the 27 Statements voted in 1980. Martin made inquiry about what he termed "the doctrinal upheaval in Adventism" in a letter to the General Conference February 16, 1983. He called "for the Conference's public and official statement reaffirming or denying the authority of the Adventist book, Questions on Doctrine, which was the representative Adventist publication on which I based my earlier evaluation and book [The Truth About Seventh-day Adventism]. To this inquiry, W. Richard Lesher, then a vice president of the General Conference, and later president of Andrews University, replied on April 29, 1983, stating: You ask if Seventh-day Adventists still stand behind the answers given to your questions in Questions on Doctrine as they did in 1957. The answer is yes. You have noted in your letter that some opposed the answers then given, and, to some extent, the same situation exists today. But certainly the great majority of Seventh-day Adventists are in harmony with the views expressed in Questions on Doctrine (The Kingdom of the Cults, p. 410).
There is an interesting connection between this letter by Lesher and the republication of the book in question. In the acknowledgment by Knight of those who helped him critique "the manuscript" and provide "corrective suggestions" is the name, W. Richard Lesher (p. xii).
Why the republication of the book should be a response to Martin's warning is open to serious questioning. Knight, in his annotations indicates that the Adventist conferees "manipulated" the data regarding the teaching of the Church on the incarnation of Jesus Christ, and then in the compilations from Ellen G. White's Writings on the teaching, erroneously captioned the section on the human nature Christ assumed. They also omitted certain key statements which did not agree with the position they had stated to the Evangelical conferees that the Church held (See annotation pp. 520-521).
In plain language, the Adventist conferees lied to Barnhouse and Martin. Froom, one of the Adventist conferees, continued the lie in his book, Movement of Destiny (pp. 427-428), published in 1971. The next year, the Biblical Research Committee revised Appendix B of Questions on Doctrine and published it as an insert in the February 1972 issue of the Ministry magazine. (See p. 533, Annotated Edition).
Then how can this publication be helpful to SDA - Evangelical relationships? It is also obvious that the Adventist conferees manipulated the Writings to teach what they wanted taught even as Ellen White herself warned would be done in regard to the publication of The Living Temple in 1903. Does Knight believe that the explanation of the doctrine of the Incarnation, as given in Seventh-day Adventist Believe... , solves the problem of the differing statements in the Writings which the Adventist conferees sought to cover?
Attack on Andreasen -- A 23-page "Historical and Theological Introduction to the Annotated Edition" follows the preface. It discusses two doctrinal issues: 1) the Incarnation and 2) the Atonement, and focuses primarily upon one individual - M. L. Andreasen.
The introduction is in turn prefaced with this lone paragraph: Questions on Doctrine easily qualifies as the most divisive book in Seventh-day Adventist history. A book published to help bring peace between Adventism and conservative Protestantism, its release brought prolonged alienation and separation to Adventist factions that grew up around it (p. xiii).
There is more involved in the divisiveness than the book which was first published and now republished. The publication of Questions on Doctrine in 1957 was itself a revision of the original answers given to Barnhouse and Martin, so as to be more palatable to the rank and file in Seventh-day Adventism. The original answers have yet to be released. Until this is done, a full evaluation cannot be made.
On one occasion, I was passing through Washington D.C. I knew that Elder Robert J. Wieland was in the area at the time, and made contact
p 4 -- with him. He had an appointment that morning to see Elder Don Neufeld and invited me to go with him. After a conversation about his and Short's manuscript, 1888 Re-Examined (original edition), the conversation turned to Questions on Doctrine. Neufeld explained that it was not the answers as given to Barnhouse and/or Martin but rather a revision. He indicated that he had a copy of those original answers in his desk. Naturally, I asked to see them, but he was under an oath of confidentiality. On my return home, I wrote to him, and pled with him to release them in the interest of the cause of truth. Again he declined. However, there is evidence available on one key issue, an issue discussed by Knight in the introduction.
Question 3 of the original edition asked - "Have Seventh-day Adventists changed from some of the positions advanced by certain adherents of earlier years, from whom citations are still currently circulated? Do such citations misrepresent the present teachings of Adventist leadership?" In the answer given two interesting paragraphs are to be found: With the passage of years, the earlier diversity of view on certain doctrines gradually gave way to unity of view. Clear and sound positions were then taken by the great majority on such doctrines as the Godhead, the deity and eternal pre-existence of Christ, and the personality of the Holy Spirit. Clear-cut views were established on righteousness by faith, the true relationship of law and grace, and on the death of Christ as the complete sacrificial atonement (p. 30; emphasis supplied).
All this has made it desirable and necessary for us to declare our position anew upon the great fundamental teachings of the Christian faith, and to deny every statement or implication that Christ, the second person of the Godhead, was not one (sic) with the Father from all eternity, and that His death on the cross was not a full and complete sacrificial atonement. The belief of Seventh-day Adventists on these great truths is clear and emphatic (p. 31; emphasis supplied).
A series of articles on "The Truth About Seventh-day Adventists" written by Walter Martin appeared in Eternity, a publication edited by Barnhouse. In the second article, "What Seventh-day Adventists Really Believe," Martin chose to quote from the answer given him to Question 3. He prefaced it with this comment - "The following statement, prepared by a group of leading theologians of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, appearing in a new book soon to be released by the Review and Herald Publishing Association, covers the subject quite thoroughly and is reproduced here by permission."
The key sentences from the same two paragraphs quoted above from Questions on Doctrine read as follows: Clear-cut views were established on righteousness by faith, the true relationship of law and grace, and the death of Christ as the complete atonement for sin (From page 30).
All of this made it desirable and necessary for us to declare our position afresh upon the great fundamental teachings of the Christian faith, and to deny every statement or implication that Christ, the second Person of the Godhead, was not One with the Father from all eternity, and that His sacrifice on the cross was not a full and complete atonement (From page 31).
It can readily be seen that the word "sacrificial" was not in the original answers given to Martin, and was added to the edition which the Seventhday Adventists would read. That one word omission changes the whole picture.
[It is also interesting to observe that the word, "afresh" was changed to "anew"- While the two words are synonyms, there is a nuance between them. "Afresh" indicates "from a new start," while "anew" indicates "in a new form." Why this change was made, only the editor(s) involved can tell; however, the challenges made against the book were passed off as if the issue were only a matter of semantics, in other words, "anew,"- in a new form.]
It is over this issue of a "sacrificial" atonement, or a "complete atonement" at the cross that Knight seeks to denigrate Andreasen. He chose two "mimeographed documents" in which Andreasen challenged the position Froom had taken in an article in the Ministry (February 1957). Froom wrote: The atonement is initially and foundationally, the tremendous act of the cross. That is basic. The death of Christ on Calvary paid the debt of sin. It furnished the ransom. It provided the propitiation. It constituted the slaying of the perfect and sinless substitutionary Victim - Jesus Christ Himself - in our stead. That was a single, transcendent actp 5 -- - once for all, all-sufficient, all-efficient, and never to be repeated.
But this should be most carefully noted: That Christ's atoning death on Calvary provided redemption potentially for all mankind. That is, Christ died provisionally for every sinner in all the world, that the efficacy of His death might embrace all men in its sweep throughout all human history. That is the tremendous scope of the sacrificial act of the cross - a complete, perfect, and final atonement for man's sin.
But that is not all, nor is it enough. That completed act of atonement on the cross is valueless to any soul unless, and until, it is applied by Christ our High Priest to, and appropriated by, the individual recipient. That becomes apparent upon a moment's reflection. Then and then only, does the general covering provision become a personalized realization and a saving actuality to the individual. But that application is made, or ministered, by our heavenly Priest subsequent to His own death as substitutionary Victim. That is the second imperative part of the complete and all-inclusive atonement (pp. 9, 10; emphasis his).
Knight cites a sentence which Andreasen took from the above quoted article of Froom's. The sentence reads - "That is the tremendous scope of the sacrificial act of the cross - a complete, perfect, and final atonement for man's sin." Andreasen in quoting this sentence removed the hyphen, and substituted the "is" in its place, so that it read - "the sacrificial act of the cross (is) a complete, perfect, and final atonement for man's sin." The words following the dash in Froom's article are not only "an explanatory phrase" as Knight alleges but also definitive, justifying the transfer of "is" in the sentence when quoted in part. No amount of fallacious reasoning can alter the fact that Froorn wrote that the "sacrificial act of the cross" constituted a "final atonement."
Actually, it can be rightly assumed that Knight is suppose to be writing annotations regarding the book, Questions on Doctrine, not Andreasen's "mimeographed documents." The book itself plainly indicated the "final atonement" to be at the Cross; however, those statements carry no annotation by Knight. We need to keep in mind also that Froom was the "scribe" for the Adventist conferees. (See Adventist Heritage Vol. 4, #2, 1977, p. 38).
The questionable statements in the book, Questions on Doctrine, on the Atonement are: Adventists do not hold any theory of a dual atonement. "Christ hath redeemed us" (Gal. 3:15) "once for all." Heb. 10:10) (p. 390, emphasis theirs).
These two sentences are followed by a "but." But this "but" while enlarging the scope of the atonement does not mention the "final" atonement as understood in Adventism. If then there is but "one" atonement, then as Froom indicated in his article "the sacrificial act of the cross (is) a complete, perfect, and final atonement for man's sin." Andreasen understood Froom's position correctly. Knight has no "annotation" on this page or paragraph!
Another: Under the heading - "VIII Redemption Absolute by the Victory of Christ" - is found the following: How glorious is the thought that the King, who occupies the throne, is also our representative at the court of heaven! This becomes all the more meaningful when we realize that Jesus our surety entered the "holy places," and appeared in the presence of God for us. But it was not with the hope of obtaining something for us at that time, or at some future time. No! He had already obtained itfor us on the cross. And now as our High Priest He ministers the virtues of His atoning sacrifice for us (p. 381; emphasis theirs).
This statement speaks for itself, with the emphasis being supplied by Froom, the Conferees' "scribe." Again there is no annotation by Knight!
Not only is there the above internal evidence as to the compromise made by the Adventist conferees in regard to the Atonement, but the appraisal of the conference by the Evangelicals reveals even more. In his publication, Eternity, (September 1956) Barnhouse disclosed what was said to him and Walter Martin when they discussed the doctrine of the Atonement. In the article captioned, "Are Seventh-day Adventists Christians," Barnhouse told of their reaction beginning with the first contacts with the Adventists. He wrote after listing various areas of theological disagreement: The final major area of disagreement is over the doctrine of the "investigative judgment" [final atonement], which isp 6 -- a doctrine never before known in theological history until the second half of the nineteenth century and which is a doctrine held exclusively by the Seventh-day Adventists. At the very beginning of our contacts with the Adventist leaders, Mr. Martin and I thought that this would be the doctrine on which it would be impossible to come to any understanding which would permit our including them among those who could be counted as Christians believing in the finished work of Christ.
After reviewing some background history including the experience of Hiram Edson on the morning following the Great Disappointment, October 23, 1844, and the conclusion drawn that Christ "for the first time entered on that day the second apartment of (the heavenly) sanctuary," he commented: It should also be realized that some uninformed Seventhday Adventists took this idea and carried it to fantastic literalistic extremes. Mr. Martin and I heard the Adventist leaders say, flatly, that they repudiate all such extremes. This they have said in no uncertain terms. Further, they do not believe as some of their earlier teachers taught that Jesus' atoning work was not completed on Calvary but instead that He was still carrying on a second ministering work since 1844. This idea is also totally repudiated. They believe that since His ascension Christ has been ministering the benefits of the atonement which He completed on Calvary.
Andreasen had every evidence upon which to base his charge that the leadership compromised the faith regarding the atonement in their conferences with the Evangelicals. Even though Knight admits that Andreasen was "the denomination's most influential theologian and theological writer in the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s (p. xviii), he still sought to denigrate him, even as he tried to denigrate A. T. Jones in his 1987 book, From 1888 to Apostasy (See Website, WWN, 1988, the "Knight Descends on Jones" series of articles).
It should be noted that Knight in his recognition of Andreasen
as the leading theologian of the church for two decades, called attention
to the fact that Andreasen "had been left out of the process in both
the formulation of the answers (to the Evangelicals) and the critiquing
of them, even though he had been generally viewed as an authority on several
of the disputed points" (ibid.) This shunting of Andreasen
to the sidelines did not begin over the conferences with the
Evangelicals but was also evident in his exclusion as a presenter at the
1952 Bible Conference. While professional jealousy cannot be ruled out,
there was also evidence of a undertow that was moving the Church off course.
In 1950, the document, 1888 Re-Examined had been presented to the
leading brethren of the General Conference, and rejected. New names were
A Revealing Position -- On the back page of The Catholic World Report is a feature article captioned the "Last Word" written under the pen name, Diogenes. In the December 2003 issue, the public stance of Catholics on questions that concern the Catholic Church troubled the writer. He wrote: What do you call a Catholic who says he is "personally opposed" to some form of moral behaviour, but refuses to take action against it?
Under some circumstances, you call him Your Eminence.
Then "Diogenes" discussed the historical precedence which was bothering him. It was concerning His Eminence Richard Cardinal Cushing who was the then Archbishop of Boston. The year was 1965. Michael Dukakis, a young state representative in the Massachusetts legislature, had introduced a bill to repeal the state's Birth Control law, which barred the use of contraceptives. The Catholics constituted the voting majority in the Legislature, and thus the repeal of the law appeared remote.
"On June 22, Cardinal Cushing appeared on a local radio program, 'An Afternoon with Haywood Vincent' and effectively scuttled the opposition. Cardinal Cushing announced: My position in this matter is that birth control in accordance with artificial means is immoral, and not permissible. But this is a Catholic position. I am also convinced that I should not impose my position - moral beliefs or religious beliefs - upon those of other faiths.p 7 -- Diogenes' reaction - "So there it was: the 'personally opposed' argument, in fully developed form, enunciated by a Prince of the Church nearly 40 years ago!" Diogenes had, earlier in the article, noted the argument of Catholic legislators justifying their failure to vote for Catholic social legislation: "You can't legislate morality." But he wrote - "We can legislate morality; we do it all the time. Our laws against murder, slavery, and fraud are based on moral judgments."
Then came the paragraph which is the sole reason that I have called attention to this "Last Word" by Diogenes in the December issue of The Catholic World Report: Granted, it may be imprudent for a secular society to legislate matters of sectarian religious interest, such as dietary laws or Sabbath observance.
Ah, here I said is an article in a conservative Catholic journal I will need to keep and use when the National Sunday Law comes. But I carefully reread what was written - "imprudent for a secular society." Then I recalled the outline of Louis Veuillot in The Liberal Illusion: When the time comes and men realize that the social edifice must be rebuilt according to eternal standards.... Catholics will arrange things to suit said standards. Undeterred by those who prefer to abide in death, they will re-establish certain laws of life. They will restore Jesus to His place on high. They will raise their children to know God and to honor their parents. They will uphold the indissolubility of marriage. ... They will make obligatory the religious, observance of Sunday on behalf of the whole of society and for its own good, revoking the permit for free-thinkers and Jews to celebrate, incognito, Monday or Saturday on their own account. ...
In a word, Catholic society will be Catholic, and the dissenters whom it will tolerate will know its charity, but they will not be allowed to disrupt its unity (pp. 63-64).
There it was. Secular society cannot do what Catholic society will do. This should give us the picture clearly as to why all of this hue and cry about secularism in America. Rome and the Religious Right want to remove secularism from society, and when they accomplish their objective it will be a society in which they will enact their agenda including a Sunday Law. The structure for the final events is even now being erected before us. Are we ready?
Documents Available -- The documents which will give you as full a picture as it is presently possible to give of the 1955-56 Conferences between Seventh-day Adventists and Evangelicals are available through the Foundation. The bound manuscript will contain:
1) T. E. Unruh's report 20 years after the event in The Adventist Heritage, Vol. 4, #2.
2) The rive articles in Eternity by Barnhouse and Martin written just following the conferences.
3) A recorded telephone conversation between A. L. Hudson and Donald G. Barnhouse.
While the supply lasts in its present form, this document will be available from the Foundation.