1975 Jan-MarVIII 1(75) - VIII 3(75)
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1977 Jan-MarX 1(77) - X 3(77)
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1978 Jul-Sep XI 7(78) - XI 9(78)
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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)
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1988 Apr-Jun 3 & 4 of 4.
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2003 Oct -- XXXVI 10(03) -- The Roman Eucharist -- Editor's Preface -- On "Holy Thursday" of Easter Week this year, Pope John Paul II issued an Encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia. The first sentence read, "The [Roman] Church draws her life from the Eucharist." As he continued, he declared, "The Church was born of the paschal mystery. For this very reason the Eucharist, which is in an outstanding way the sacrament of the paschal mystery, stands in the center of the Church's life" (Emphasis his). If indeed, as stated, "the seal of the living God" is "the mark of redemption" (Letter 126, 1898), which centered in the once-for-all sacrifice of Calvary, then the "mark of the beast" must involve an opposite and contrary concept. Again, if indeed, the Roman Church is the church of the Anti-Christ, as the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation so indicate, then that which stands at the center of that church's life marks it as such. The Roman Eucharist denies the once-for-all sacrifice of Calvary. Further, the Pope, in the Encyclical, emphasizes the Sunday Mass because "precisely through sharing the Eucharist, the Lord's Day also becomes the Day of the Church" (Emphasis his).
In this issue of WWN, we give "proof" from the accepted documents of the Roman Church how blasphemous this rite really is, and also how simple, through this rite, it is to be accepted into the unity of the Roman faith; but also what is involved in so doing.
One of the saints of the Roman Church down graded Mary
in his discussion of the power and dignity of the Roman priesthood. In
this Encyclical, John Paul II, a devotee of Mary, repositions Mary's role
in connection with the Eucharist.
p 2 -- The Roman Eucharist -- The ENI Bulletin for June 11, 2003 devoted a section of its news releases to the "Ecumenical Kirchentag" held in Berlin, Germany, from May 28 to June 1, this year. When this church congress was first planned in 1996, it was hoped that it could close with shared Eucharist by both Catholics and Protestants. This hope was dashed by the Encyclical of John Paul II released on "Holy Thursday," April 17.
During the congress, groups advocating church reform gathered in a large Protestant Church in East Berlin and celebrated the Eucharist presided over by a Roman Catholic professor of systematic theology, Gotthold Hassenhutti. He invited all to partake of the bread and wine. He claimed he had broken no church rule, stating, "I hope what we have done tonight will take place more and more often." Reaction was swift. Cardinal Ratzinger, the Vatican's chief doctrinal watchdog, condemned the event as a "political action." In another incident, action was taken in regard to a priest, Bernard Kroll, who received communion from a Protestant pastor at a service organized in Berlin during this same period to challenge the official Vatican rules as outlined in the Papal Encyclical. He had preached at this service which included a Protestant Eucharist. For his actions, he was prohibited from performing his normal priestly duties, or celebrating mass. His bishop, Walter Mixa of Eichstatt, sent him to a retreat with a mentor declaring "these measures are intended to give Father Kroll the opportunity to reflect and think about how he understands his priesthood." (ENI-03-0279).
Herein, Bishop Mixa stated the second factor in the Eucharistic question which blocks the road to ecumenical unity - the perceived powers of the priesthood of Rome. This we shall discuss first, as we review the directives set forth in the Encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia. Yet in the light of the Roman position and in spite of the Roman reaction to protest events taken at the time of this Kirchentag, "16 German denominations, including Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox churches signed the Charta Oecumenica, a set of guidelines for promoting cooperation towards ' visible unity' of the church." (ENI-03-0257).
"Visible unity" not only involves the doctrine of the nature of the Eucharist itself, whether a commemoration as in "the Lord's Supper", or a transubstantiation as in the Roman Eucharist; but also the doctrine of "the sacrament of Holy Orders." This John Paul II made very clear. He stated: Lastly the [Roman] Church is apostolic in the sense that she "continues to be taught, sanctified and guided by the Apostles until the Lord's return, through their successors in pastoral office: the college of bishops assisted by priests, in union with the Successor of Peter, the Church's supreme pastor." Succession to the Apostles in the pastoral mission necessarily entails the sacrament of Holy Orders, that is, the uninterrupted sequence, from the very beginning, of valid Episcopal ordination. This is essential for the Church to exist in a proper and full sense.
The Eucharist also expresses this sense of apostolicity. As the Second Vatican Council teaches, "the faithful join in the offering of the Eucharist by virtue of their royal priesthood," yet it is the ordained priest who, "acting in the person of Christ, brings about the Eucharistic Sacrifice and offers it to God in the name of all the people." For this reason, the Roman Missal prescribes that only the priest should recite the Eucharist Prayer, while the people participate in faith and in silence. [par. 281 ...
The ministry of priests who have received the sacrament of Holy Orders, in the economy of salvation chosen by Christ, makes clear that the Eucharist which they celebrate is a gift which radically transcends the power of the assembly and is in any event essential for validly linking the Eucharistic consecration to the sacrifice of the Cross and to the Last Supper. The assembly gathered together for the celebration of the Eucharist, if it is to be a truly Eucharistic assembly, absolutely requires the presence of an ordained priest as its president. [par. 29; emphasis his]
The awesomeness of the power claimed by Rome for the priest as he celebrates the Eucharist is only declared but not described in this encyclical. To understand the blasphemy of the Roman Mass, one must turn to the writings of those whom the pope cites. One of those cited was the sainted doctor of Rome [par. 251, Alphonsus de Liguori who wrote on the "Dignity and Duties of the Priest." In a section on the "Grandeur of the Priestly Power," after noting
p 3 -- what God did at the command of Joshua (10:14), de Liguori wrote: But our wonder should be far greater when we find that in obedience to the words of his priests - Hoc est Corpus Meum - God himself descends on the altar, that he comes wherever they call him, and as often as they call him, and places himself in their hands, even though they should be his enemies. After having come, he remains entirely at their disposal; they move him as they please, from one place to another; they may if they wish, shut him up in the tabernacle, or expose him on the altar, or carry him outside of the church; they may, if they choose, eat his flesh, and give him for the food of others. "0 how very great is their power," says St. Lawrence Justinian, speaking of priests. "A word falls from their lips and the body of Christ is there substantially formed from the matter of the bread, and the Incarnate Word descended from heaven, is really found present on the table of the altar! Never did divine goodness give such power to the angels. The angels abide by the order of God, but the priests take him in their hands, distribute him to the faithful, and partake of him as food for themselves." (pp. 26-27)
In another section on the "Importance of the Priestly Office," de Liguori writes: The dignity of the priest is estimated from the exalted nature of his offices. Priests are chosen by God to manage on earth all his concerns and interests. "Divine," says St. Cyril of Alexandria, "are the offices confided to the priest." St. Ambrose has called the priestly office a divine profession. A priest is a minister destined by God to be a public ambassador of the whole Church, to honor him, and to obtain graces for all the faithful. The entire Church cannot give to God as much honor, nor obtain so many graces, as a single priest by celebrating a single Mass; for the greatest honor that the whole Church without priests could give to God would consist in offering to him in sacrifice the lives of all men. But of what value are the lives of all men compared with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which is a sacrifice of infinite value? What are all men before God but a little dust? . . . Thus, by the celebration of a single Mass, in which he offers Jesus Christ in sacrifice, a priest gives greater honor to the Lord, than if all men by dying for God offered to him the sacrifice of their lives. By a single Mass, he gives greater honor to God than all the angels and saints, along with the Blessed Virgin Mary have given or shall give to him; for their worship cannot be of infinite value, like that which the priest celebrating on the altar offers to God. (pp. 2425)
In justification of the assumption that the sacrifice of the Mass is superior to the Virgin Mary, de Liguori quotes St. Bernadine of Sienna as addressing Mary: "Holy Virgin, excuse me, for I speak not against thee: for the Lord has raised the priesthood above thee." Then he summarizes Bernadine's reasoning: The saint assigns the reason of the superiority of the priesthood over Mary; she conceived Jesus Christ only once; but by consecrating the Eucharist, the priest, as it were, conceives him as often as he wishes, so that if the person of the Redeemer had not yet been in the world, the priest, by pronouncing the words of consecration, would produce this great person of a Man-God. "0 wonderful dignity of the priests," cries out St. Augustine, "in their hands, as in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, the Son of God becomes incarnate." Hence priests are called the parents of Jesus Christ: such is the title that St. Bernard gives them, for they are the active cause by which he is made to exist really in the consecrated Host.
Thus the priest may, in a certain manner, be called the creator of his Creator, since by saying the words of consecration, he creates, as it were, Jesus in the sacrament, by giving him a sacramental existence, and produces him as a victim to be offered to the eternal Father. As in creating the world it was sufficient for God to have said, Let it be made, and it was created - He spoke, and they were made, - so it is sufficient for the priest to say, "Hoc est corpus meum," and behold the bread is no longer bread, but the body of Jesus Christ. "The power of the priest," says St. Bernadine of Sienna, "is the power of the divine person; for the transubstantiation of the bread requires as much power as the creation of the world." And St. Augustine has written, "0 venerable sanctity of the hands! 0 happy function of the priest! He that created (if I may say so) gave me the power to create him; and he that created me is himself created by me!" As the Word of God created heaven and earth, so, says St. Jerome, the words of the priest create Jesus Christ. (pp. 32-33).
In his Encyclical, the Pope connected the Eucharist with the sacrament of Penance. Citing the decrees of the Council of Trent that "one must first confess one's sins" before receiving the Eucharist, he stated: The two sacraments of the Eucharist and Penance are very closely connected. Because the Eucharist makes present the redeeming sacrifice of Calvary, perpetuating it sacramentally, it naturally gives rise to the continuous need for conversion, for a personal response to the appeal made by St. Paul to the Christians of Corinth: " We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God." If a Christian's conscience is burdened by serious sin, then the path of penance through the sacrament of Reconciliation becomes necessary for full participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice. (Par. 37)
p 4 -- This again brings into play the assumed power of the priests. The sainted de Liguori describes this power. He writes: The priest holds the place of the Saviour himself, when, by saying "Ego te absolvo," he absolves from sin. This great power, which Jesus Christ received from his eternal Father, he has communicated to his priests. "Jesus," says Tertullian, "invests the priests with his own powers." To pardon a single sin requires all the omnipotence of God. . . . But what only God can do by his omnipotence, the priest can also do by saying, "Ego te absolve a peccatis tuis," for the forms of the sacrament, or the words of the forms, produce what they signify. How great would be our wonder if we saw a person invested with the power of changing a negro into a white man; but the priest does what is far more wonderful, for by saying "Ego te absolvo" he changes a sinner from an enemy into a friend of God, and from the slave of hell into an heir of paradise.
Cardinal Hugo represents the Lord addressing the following words to a priest who absolves a sinner: "I have created heaven and earth, but I leave to you a better and nobler creation; make out of this soul that is in sin a new soul, that is, make out of the slave of Satan, that the soul is, a child of God. I have made the earth bring forth all kinds of fruit, but to thee I confide a more beautiful creation, namely, that the soul should bring forth fruits of salvation." The soul without grace is a withered tree that can no longer produce fruit; but receiving the divine grace, through the ministry of a priest, it brings forth fruits to eternal life. (pp. 34-35).
These concepts though not detailed in his current Encyclical, form the basis for the Pope's dictum in regard to "communion" at ecumenical gatherings such as the Ecumenical Kirchentag held this year in Berlin. The Pope declared pointedly: The Catholic Church's teaching on the relationship between priestly ministry and the Eucharist and her teachings on the Eucharistic Sacrifice have both been the subject in recent decadds of a fruitful dialogue in the area of ecumenism. We must give thanks to the Blessed Trinity for the significant progress and convergence achieved in this regard, which leads us to hope one day for a full sharing of faith. Nonetheless, the observations of the [Second Vatican] Council concerning the Ecclesial Communities [Protestants] which arose in the West from the sixteenth century onwards and are separated from the Catholic Church remain fully pertinent: "The Ecelesial Communities separated from us lack that fullness of unity which should flow from Baptism, and we believe that especially because of the lack of the sacrament of Orders they have not preserved the genuine and total reality of the Eucharistic mystery. (par. 30, emphasis his).
The Worship of Man-made Bread -- In the Wilderness of Temptation, Satan tempted Christ to turn stones to bread, now in the Sacrifice of the Mass, his minions profess to turn bread into the Man-God, Christ Jesus. But it is not a momentary thing. It becomes an object of worship and adoration. In the current Encyclical, John Paul II wrote: The worship of the Eucharist outside of the Mass is of inestimable value for the life of the Church. This worship is strictly linked to the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. The presence of Christ under the sacred species reserved after the Mass - a presence which lasts as long as the species of bread and wine remain - derives from the celebration of the sacrifice and is directed towards communion, both sacramental and spiritual. It is the responsibility of Pastors to encourage, also by their personal witness, the practice of Eucharistic adoration, and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in particular, as well as prayer of adoration before Christ present under the Eucharistic species. (Par. 25).
After citing his own worship "in silent adoration" before "the Most Holy Sacrament," he testifies that from this experience he has "drawn . . . strength, consolation and support." He then exhorts: This practice, repeatedly praised and recommended by the Magisterium, is supported by the example of many saints. Particularly outstanding in this regard was Saint Alponsus Liguori, who wrote: "Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest after the sacraments, the one dearest to God and the one most helpful to us." (ibid.)
Further, the Pope calls attention to an Encyclical of Paul VI which admonishes that "in the course of the day the faithful should not omit visiting the Blessed Sacrament" declaring that "such visits are a sign of gratitude, an expression of love and an acknowledgement of the Lord's presence." (ibid.)
"Visible Unity" -- The pope in this Encyclical ties the concept of "visible unity" with the Sacrament of the Eucharist. He stated: Ecclesial communion, as I have said, is likewise visible, and finds expression in the series of "bonds" listed by the Council when it teaches: "They are fully incorporated into the society of the Church who, possessing the Spirit of
p 5 -- Christ, accept her whole structure and all the means of salvation established within her, and within her visible framework are united to Christ, who governs her through the Supreme Pontiff and the Bishops, by the bonds of profession of faith, the sacraments, the ecclesiastical government and communion." (par. 38; emphasis his)
That there be no misunderstanding in what he is saying, the Pope reiterated this outline for visible unity by declaring: The ecclesial communion of the Eucharistic assembly is a communion with its own Bishop and with the Roman Pontiff. The Bishop, in effect, is the visible principle and the foundation of unity within his particular Church. It would therefore be a great contradiction if the sacrament par excellence of the Church's unity were celebrated without true communion with the Bishop. . . Likewise, since "the Roman Pontiff, as the successor of Peter, is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity of the Bishops and of the multitude of the faithful," communion with him is intrinsically required for the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Hence the great truth expressed which the Liturgy expresses in a variety of ways: "Every celebration of the Eucharist is performed in union not only with the proper Bishop, but also with the Pope, with the episcopal order, with all the clergy, and with the entire people. Every valid celebration of the Eucharist expresses universal communion with Peter and with the whole Church, or objectively calls for it, as in the case of the Christian Churches separated from Roman. (Par. 39; emphasis his).
Mark this closely: in the light of this clear pronouncement on what only will constitute "visible unity," given on April 17, six weeks later, sixteen German denominations signed the document, Charta 0ecumenica at the Kirchentag setting forth guidelines for promoting cooperation towards "visible unity." Further, the Constitution of the World Council of Churches (WCC) states that the first of its functions and purposes is "to call the churches to the goal of visible unity in one faith and in the one eucharistic fellowship expressed in worship and in common life in Christ, and to advance towards that unity in order that the world may believe." (So Much in Common, pp. 40-41) And further, the Faith and Order Commission of the WCC has as its stated aim "to proclaim the oneness of the Church of Jesus Christ and to call the churches to the goal of visible unity in one faith and one Eucharistic fellowship." (Faith and Order Paper #111, p. viii). And still further, on this Commission is a Seventh-day Adventist theologian appointed by the Central Committee of the WCC.
"The Centre" of Romanism -- While "the mystery of the Trinity is the central doctrine of the Catholic faith" and the basis of "all the other teachings of the Church" (Handbook for Today's Catholic, p. 11), the Pope in this Encyclical declares that "the Church was born of the paschal mystery," referring to the Passover Supper in the upper room. "For this very reason," he states, "the Eucharist, which is in an outstanding way the sacrament of the paschal mystery, stands at the centre of the Church's life." (Par. 3; emphasis his). He declares that "the Church draws her life from Christ in the Eucharist." (Pat. 6, emphasis his).
Speaking of his own experience, he indicated that from the time he first became the pope, "as the Successor of Peter," he marked "Holy Thursday, the day of the Eucharist and of the priesthood, by sending a letter to all the priests of the world." This year, his twenty-fifth, he wished to involve "the whole Church more fully in this Eucharistic reflection" by "pointing out with new force to the Church the centrality of the Eucharist" (Par. 7). You will observe that connected with the Eucharist, he links "the priesthood," those who are declared able to create the Man-God out of a piece of bread. He comments: If the Eucharist is the centre and summit of the Church's life, it is likewise the centre and summit of priestly ministry. For this reason, with a heart filled with gratitude to our Lord Jesus Christ, I repeat that the Eucharist "is the principle and central raison d'etre of the sacrament of the priesthood, which effectively came into being at the moment of the institution of the Eucharist. (Par. 31).
Communion with Rome -- The whole objective of the Ecumenical movement is "communion." In this Encyclical, the Pope declared that "the Eucharist creates communion and fosters communion. " He cites the Apostle Paul's letter to the divided Corinthian Church (I Cor. 11:17-34) and states "the Apostle urged them to reflect on the true reality
p 6 -- of the Eucharist in order to return to the spirit of fraternal communion." (Par. 40, emphasis his). From this point, the Pope makes a very significant observation: The Eucharist's particular effectiveness in promoting communion is one of the reasons for the importance of Sunday Mass. I have already dwelt on this and on the other reasons which make Sunday Mass fundamental for the life of the Church and of individual believers in my Apostolic Letter on the sanctification of Sunday Dies Domini. (Par. 41)
Citing a more recent Encyclical, Novo Millennio Ineunte, he stated, "I drew particular attention to the Sunday Eucharist, emphasizing its effectiveness for building communion. 'it is' - I wrote - 'the privileged place where communion is ceaselessly proclaimed and nurtured. Precisely through sharing in the Eucharist, the Lord's Day also becomes the Day of the Church, when she can effectively exercise her role as the sacrament of unity.'" (ibid.)
All of this recalls the statement made by Cardinal Edward Cassidy, then President of the Vatican Council for Promoting Church Unity, at a news conference while in attendance at the 1991 Seventh Assembly of the WCC in Canberra, Australia. The same issue arose the ban on the sharing of the Eucharist. To the question, Cassidy responded that the "sharing of the eucharist is the ultimate sign and seal of church unity, and thus a step with many and major doctrinal implications." (EPS 91.02.74; emphasis mine).
The mark of Romanism is more than just "the Day of the Church," it also includes what is done on that day, "the Sunday Eucharist," the blasphemous Mass. The simplicity by which this " mark" of Rome may be received is given in the Handbook for Today's Catholic. The section is captioned, "How to Receive Communion." Observe closely the language used: Holy Communion may be received on the tongue or in the hand [See Rev. 14:9] and may be given under the form of bread alone or under both species.
When the minister [priest] of the Eucharist addresses the communicant with the words "The Body of Christ," "The Blood of Christ," the communicant responds, "Amen."
When the minister [priest] raises the Eucharistic bread or wine, this is an invitation for the communicant to make an Act of Faith, to express his or her belief in the Eucharist, to manifest a need and desire for the Lord, to accept the good news of Jesus' paschal mystery.
A clear and meaningful "Amen" is your response to this invitation. In this way you profess your belief in the presence of Christ in the Eucharistic bread and wine as well as in his Body, the Church. (p. 42).
Pause and take time to analyze what is being said in the above paragraphs. The "Act of Faith" is the acceptance of the Roman teaching of Transubstantiation - the bread and wine becoming the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ. The clear and meaningful "Amen" indicates two things: 1) Your acceptance of the blasphemy, and 2) Your full unity with Rome.
The day is not far distant when the test will come to all who deny "the day of the Church" and who refuse to worship a piece of bread as their Saviour.
Mary and the Eucharist -- Volume XII of the published works in English of the sainted doctor of the Roman Church, Alphonsus de Liguori, is devoted to the "Dignity and Duties of the Priest." We quoted in the above article, de Liguori's citation from Bernadine of Sienna wherein he addressed the Virgin Mary - "Holy Virgin, excuse me, for I speak not against thee: the Lord has raised the priesthood above thee." (See p. 3). John Paul II, a devotee of Mary, in his Encyclical on the Eucharist seeks to mute this strong assertion, and place Mary in the forefront of the Roman doctrine of transubstantiation.
For your information, we shall quote at length from the Encyclical, the Pope's placement of Mary in defence of the Roman teaching:
53. If we wish to rediscover in all its richness the profound relationship between the Church and the Eucharist, we cannot neglect Mary, Mother and the model of the Church. In my Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, I pointed to the Blessed Virgin Mary as our teacher in contemplating Christ's face, and among the mysteries of light I included the institution of the Eucharist.
p 7 -- Mary can guide us towards this most holy sacrament, because she herself has a profound relationship with it.
At first glance, the Gospel is silent on this subject. The account of the institution of the Eucharist on the night of Holy Thursday makes no mention of Mary. Yet we know that she was present among the Apostles who prayed "with one accord" (cf. Acts 1:14) in the first community which gathered after the Ascension in expectation of Pentecost. Certainly Mary must have been present at the Eucharistic celebrations of the first generation of Christians, who were devoted to "the breaking of bread" (Acts 2:42).
But in addition to her sharing in the Eucharist banquet, an indirect picture of Mary's relationship with the Eucharist can be had, beginning with her interior disposition. Mary is a "woman of the Eucharist" in her whole life. The Church, which looks to Mary as a model, is also called to imitate her in her relationship with this most holy mystery.
54. Mysterium fidei! If the Eucharist is a mystery of faith which so greatly transcends our understanding as to call for sheer abandonment to the word of God, then there can be no one like Mary to act as our support and guide in acquiring this disposition. In repeating what Christ did at the Last Supper in obedience to his command: "Do this in memory of me!" we also accept Mary's invitation to obey him without hesitation: "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2:5). With the same maternal concern which she showed at the wedding feast of Cana, Mary seems to say to us: "Do not waver; trust in the words of my Son. If he was able to change water into wine, he can also turn bread and wine into his body and blood, and through this mystery bestow on believers the living memorial of his Passover, thus becoming the "bread of life."
55. In a certain sense Mary lived her Eueharistic faith even before the institution of the Eucharist, by the fact that she offered her virginal womb for the Incarnation of God's Word. The Eucharist, while commemorating the passion and resurrection, is also in continuity with the incarnation. At the Annunciation Mary conceived the Son of God in the physical reality of his body and blood, thus anticipating within herself what to some degree happens sacramentally in every believer who receives, under the signs of bread and wine, the Lord's body and blood.
As a result, there is a profound analogy between the Fiat which Mary said in reply to the angel, and the Amen which every believer says when receiving the body of the Lord. Mary was asked to believe that the One whom she conceived "through the Holy Spirit" was "the Son of God" (Lk 1:30-35). In continuity with the Virgin's faith, in the Eucharistic mystery we are asked to believe that the same Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Mary, becomes present in his full humanity and divinity under the signs of bread and wine. (All emphasis his)
It should be observed that the Pope not only modifies the position of Bernadine of Sienna, but places Mary on a level with the Roman priesthood. Mary conceived the "Eucharist;" the priests claim to transform the "bread" into the "incarnate God." Note closely the Pope's last sentence in the above quotation from the Encyclical. The "bread and wine" become Christ's "full humanity and divinity," in other words, God again manifest in the flesh! Man-made bread is declared worthy of worship. He who tempted the Son of man to make stones into bread to show His creative power, now asserts that he can create that same Son of man out of bread by merely uttering the word to do so. Here in this Encyclical, we have projected in the emphasis on "the Sunday Mass" a challenge not only to the memo6al of creation, the Sabbath, but to the basis of redemption, the once for all sacrifice at Calvary. Intertwined with the Eucharist of Rome, is now the Mariology of the same system. We would do well to reread carefully Rev. 13:5-6 and 14:910, keeping in mind that one does not worship a day, but in the Mass is called to worship that which is assumed created by the priest on that day.
Note: Space limitations in this issue did not permit us to discuss the call in the Encyclical, Ecc/esia de Eucharistia, to the laity of the Roman Church to do their duty "as citizens," so as to build "a world fully in harmony with God's plan" (Par. 20). As we were writing this issue of WWN (in July), we received a Fax telling us of some plans being formulated to achieve this objective in America. This we will endeavour to do in the next issue. --- (2003 Oct) --- End ---TOP
2003Nov -- XXXV 11(03) -- (EL)-- Editor's Preface -- Apart from the first article, this issue continues the consideration of the Roman Eucharist focusing on the relationship perceived by Rome between it and "the religious observance" of Sunday. While at the moment the focus is centered in Europe and its constitution, and while in America the focus is on abortion, there is a call, resulting from the Papal initiative, declaring "Now is the Time for Catholic Action!" Our Sunday Visitor, p. 10 (April 20. 2003), featured an article captioned, "Catholic voters of the nation, unite!" If there ever was a time we needed to keep our thinking straight it is now. There are some basically good programs being championed today by what is called, "the religious right," for example, "family values." The problem is simply, how far dare the government go, and the inalienable rights of the individual citizen under the Constitution not be violated? Dare we sell our "rights" for a bowl of social porridge? Slowly but surely, there is edging to the top of the social agenda, "the religious observance of Sunday." And this is not merely an enactment of an old time "Blue Law."
With this issue is our current "Order Form." The same basic documented research is being offered so that all may know what has transpired in the immediate past within the community of Adventism.
Recent publications call for evaluation: The Good News of Daniel 8:14, Investigating the Judgment, and The Trinity, as well as a pamphlet asking the question - "Start a Home Church?" - and then challenging, "Think It Through First!" All of these releases are on the drawing board as we contemplate the crucial 2004.
p 2 --
Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
This prayer of Moses the man of God is addressed to a
single Deity - EL. Yet in the
"He is before all things, and by Him all things consist" (Col. 1:17). "All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:3). At some point back in the billions of light years of the past, the Word began creation. At that point, He was (hn). The human mind cannot perceive it, yet there are those who propose to define what took place in the silence of that eternity. These would do well to remove their shoes from off their feet, recognizing that they are walking on holy ground, for only the Holy Ones existed.
I am the first and the last, (I am) he that liveth; and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forever more and have the keys of hell and of death" (Rev. 1:17-18).
In this divine testimony of Himself, the I AM is telling us something if we have a mind that can perceive it. The last part of verse 17, and verse 18 as quoted above constitute a single sentence in the Greek text. John is quoting the exact words of the risen Lord. In Revelation a contrast, but also a parallel, is given between Him who is "alive for evermore" and the Almighty. Of the Almighty it is written: I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. (Rev. 1:8).
Yet we find, that the I AM claims the same self designation - Alpha and Omega - and combines the concepts of "the first and the last" and "the beginning and the end" as one in Himself. (Rev. 22:13). The only differentiation between the two revelations of the Gods is that One, the I AM, was "dead" but now is alive forevermore and has "the keys of hell and of death." It is also interesting to observe that when John describes the Almighty stating that He "was," he uses the same verb form as he uses to define the existence of the Word in John 1 - hn - the Greek imperfect tense of "to be" which denotes continuous action in past time.
We may speculate on "the first and the last," the "Alpha and Omega" but the simple self-declaration of the One who was dead is that He is the Living One - 'oVwn (a present participle) - defining I AM. In this revelation we stand before the mysterious love which He who was equal with God manifest in emptying Himself so as to die that He might open the grave to the fearful sons and daughters of Adam. (Phil. 2:6-8; Heb. 2:14-15).
Yet today, in the community of Adventism we are faced with the blasphemous denial of the eternal Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ under the guise of rejecting the Roman doctrine of the Trinity. One may be perfectly right in denying the teachings of Rome, but deadly wrong in the rejection of the LORD Jesus Christ, by Whom and without Whom there is no salvation. (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
saith the high and lofty One
In the complex history of the Continent, Christianity constitutes a central and defining element established on the firm foundation of the classical heritage and the multiple contributions offered by various ethnic and cultural streams which have succeeded one another down the centuries.
It certainly can be said, therefore, that the Christian faith has shaped the culture of Europe, becoming inextricably bound up with its history and, despite painful divisions between East and West, Christianity became "the religion of the European peoples." It has also had a remarkable influence in modern and contemporary times, regardless of the strong and widespread phenomenon of secularization.
The [Roman] church knows that her interest In Europe is inherent in her mission. As the bearer of the Gospel, she has helped to spread values which have made European culture universal. This heritage cannot be squandered. On the contrary, the new Europe should be helped "to build herself by revitalizing her original Christian roots."
After reciting the devotional prayer, the Pope reminded the pilgrims, gathered together in the courtyard of his summer residence, that July 20 was the 100th year "of the death of Pope Leo XIII" who was to be "remembered above all as the Pope of Rerum Novarum, the Encyclical that marked the beginning of the modern social teaching of the Church." While this Encyclical placed the Roman Church's approval on Trade Unions, Leo's social teaching was also al variance with the concept of separation ol Church and State. He termed it a "fatal theory" because "the profession of a religion if necessary in the State," and "that one must be professed which alone is true." (Libertas praestantissimum naturae opus, May 20, 1888).
From the time of Leo XIII to the present ar exception was made for the United States because the population was largely non-Catholic. This acceptance of separation of Church and State was considered, "not indeed as the ideal arrangement, but as a modus vivendi." The situation is now different more than a century later. Leo's dictum of 1888 still stands - "It is in no way lawful to demand, to defend, or to grant, unconditional freedom of thought, of speech, of writing, or of religion, as if they were so many rights which nature had given to man." (Ibid. See also Facts of Faith, pp. 256-272).
Behind Leo XIII's attack on democracy, secularism and liberalism, was the work of Louis Veuillot, whom Leo called the "Lay Father of the Church." Veuillot's book, "Liberal Illusion," was translated into English in 1939 and published by the National Catholic Welfare Conference of Washington D.C. The translator, Msgr. George Barry O'Toole, Ph.D., S.T.D., Professor of Philosophy in The Catholic University of America, noted in the personal preface he wrote that the Encyclical of Leo XIII cited above "placed the seal of papal approval . . . fully upon the contents of Louis Veuillot's The Liberal Illusion" (p. 8, second printing).
Veuillot set the agenda for the revived papal power. He wrote: When the time comes and men realize that the social edifice must be rebuilt according to eternal standards, be it tomorrow, or be it centuries from now [already 100 years have passed], the 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, and He shall no longer be insulted. They will raise their children to know God and to honor their parents. They willp 4 -- uphold the indissolubility of marriage, and if this fails to meet with the approval of the dissenters, it will not fail to meet the approval of their children. 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. Those whom this may annoy, will have to put up with this annoyance. Respect will not be refused to the Creator nor repose denied to the creature simply for sake of humouring certain maniacs, whose phrenetic condition causes them stupidly and insolently to block the will of the whole people. However, like our own, their houses will be all the more solid and their fields all the more fertile on that 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)
If this is the agenda, Rome wishes to have placed in the new European Constitution, so as to "renew her Christian roots," then in the Papal discussion of the constitution, there would be introduced the Sunday question. Two weeks later, August 3, after the call to "build a new Europe," the Pope from the same summer residence gave a call to "Safeguard the precious value of Sunday." He declared:
Europe is the continent which, in the past 2000 years, has been marked by Christianity more than any other. From all Its regions - in its abbeys, cathedrals and churches - ceaseless praise has been raised to Christ, the Lord of time and of history. Baptism and the other sacraments have consecrated the seasons of life of countless believers. The Eucharist, especially on the Lord's Day, has nourished their faith and love, the Liturgy of the Hours and many other popular forms of prayer have marked the rhythm of their daily life.
Even if none of these things has been lacking in our time, a renewed commitment is still indispensable if we are to face the challenges of secularization, so that believers may make their entire life a true spiritual worship that is pleasing to God.
Special attention should be paid to safeguarding the value of Sunday, Dies Domini. This day is the symbol par excellence of all that Christianity has stood for and still stands for, in Europe and throughout the world: the perennial proclamation of the Good News of the Resurrection of Jesus, the celebration of his victory over sin and death, the commitment to the human being's full liberation. By preserving the Christian meaning of Sunday a notable contribution is made to Europe for the preservation of an essential part of its own particular spiritual and cultural heritage. (L'Osservatore Romano, 6 August 2003, p. 1)
The prophecies of Revelation, chapters 13 and 14 are becoming more discernable as to what the final issue will be. Days will be involved; but one does not worship a day. It is the worship on the day which will form the issue. The call of the First Angel is to worship "Him that made"- the Creator. The voice of the "beast" calls men to worship a bread-god blasphemously declared to be created by a priest. The final issue revolves around the Roman Eucharist on the "Day of the Church." (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, par. 41)
CATHOLIC ACTION -- In his Encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, John Paul II declared: "The Eucharist is truly a glimpse of heaven appearing on earth. It is a glorious ray of the heavenly Jerusalem which pierces the clouds of our history and lights up our journey." Then he concluded:
A significant consequence of the eschatological tension in the Eucharist is also the fact that it spurs us on our journey through history and plants a seed of living hope in our daily commitment to the work before us. Certainly the Christian vision leads to the expectation of "new heavens" and a "new earth" (Rev. 21:1), but this increases, rather than lessens, our sense of responsibility for the world today. (Emphasis his) I wish to reaffirm this forcefully at the beginning of the new millennium, so that Christians will feel more obliged than ever not to neglect their duties as citizens in this world. Theirs is the task of contributing with the light of the Gospel to the building of a more human world, a world fully in harmony with God's plan. (Emphasis mine) (Par. 20).
This is simply a call for Catholic involvement in the election process with the sole objective of making the nation where these citizens reside ap 5 -- nation structured according to "the modern social teaching of the Church" as set forth in the Encyclicals of Leo XIII, which in turn echoed the concepts of Louis Veuillot.
Overlooked by many of us, the pontificate of John Paul II began with a call for involvement in the electoral process to make the State reflective of the social teachings of the Church. In 1991, Michael and Sandy Galloway, a Catholic couple in Bakersfield, California founded, "Catholic Online," the largest Catholic media-internet presence in the world. Now, they are asking Catholics to join Your Catholic Voice (YCV), "a movement to respond to the Holy Father's call to the 'New Evangelization ' of culture, and (the) response to the call of the Church to 'Faithful Citizenship.'" The first item on their agenda is - "Promote the social teaching of the Catholic Church as a framework for a truly just social order." To this they have now added a Foundation as "a response to the call of the Church for faithful participation in social and political action." This Foundation will be "faithful to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church" and place pressure on all elected and appointed Catholics to put these teachings first before allegiance to the Constitution.
The Roman Catholic News Service (May 7, 2003) stated that this Foundation is an arm of YCV "to get Catholics to become more active in the political process." Its president is a deacon from the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, Keith A. Fournier, serving in Christ the King Parish in Norfolk. He holds a law degree as well as a degree in sacred theology and philosophy. He prepares all materials for the Web site which are designed to be "distinctly Catholic," presenting "the beauty of Catholic teaching." Fournier in an interview indicated that many people are looking for leadership from the Catholic Church. He stated that "as we get ready for elections . . . we need to move beyond liberal and conservative and Republican and Democrat, and get everybody (to understand) the treasure of the church's social teaching, which has so much to offer." (ibid.)
We need to understand that the papal call for a "New Evangelization" is not how we understand evangelism - the winning of souls to the truth - but rather as stated, "of culture." It is as Veuillot stated, "Catholic society will be Catholic" with the imposition of "the church's social teaching" through the power of the State. This will mean, among other things, making "obligatory the religious observance of Sunday on behalf of the whole of society and for its own good." The words chosen by Veuillot - "the religious observance" of Sunday - take on new meaning in the light of the Encyclical of John Paul II on the place and importance of the Eucharist in Roman worship. This aspect of the "mark" of the beast has not been given due study.
The announcement from Bakersfield, California also included the fact that to the presidency of YCV, the civic action arm, has been appointed R. L. Flynn, former mayor of Boston, and U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican. The announcement stated that Mr. Flynn "has demonstrated his loyalty and love for the Catholic Church and his dedication to living his faith in the public square. We (the Galloways) can think of no one better suited to lead the civic action part of this movement."
AN INSERT -- In the July 2, 2003 issue of L'Osservatore Romano, a "Special Insert" was placed. It was an "Apostolic Exhortation" to the Bishops of Europe for the Ecclesia in Europa. While not carrying the authority of an encyclical, Apostolic Exhortations constitute "formal instructions given on specific occasions" (The Pope Speaks, Vol. 48, #5, p. 281). This post instruction to the Synod of Europe echoed the same theme and direction which the Pope emphasized in his Sunday devotions at his summer residence.
Prefacing this six chapter Exhortation, the pope declared, "In proclaiming to Europe the Gospel of hope, I will take as a guide the Book of Revelation, a 'prophetic revelation' which discloses to the community of believers the deep and hidden meaning of what is taking place." Each of the six chapters is in turn prefaced withp 6 -- the text from Revelation. Chapter Four on "Celebrating the Gospel of Hope" is captioned with Revelation 5: 13. The pope commented: The Gospel of hope, as a proclamation of the truth which sets us free is meant to be celebrated. Before the Lamb of the book of Revelation there begins a solemn liturgy of praise and adoration: "To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour and glory and might for ever and ever!" (Rev. 5.13). This vision, which reveals both God and the meaning of all history, take place "on the Lord's day" (Rev. 1:10), the day of the resurrection, as relived by the Sunday assembly, (Par. 66; emphasis his).
The pope's call for the celebration of the "Gospel of hope" meant the celebration of the sacraments stating - "A prominent place needs to be given to the celebration of the sacraments" (Par. 74; emphasis his). He lists first, the Eucharist, calling it, "the greatest gift of Christ to the Church," "the source and summit of the Christian life," and "the pledge of future glory." It is to him, "the taste of eternity within time."
The final section to celebrating "the Gospel of hope" is introduced by stating: "The Lord's day is a highly evocative and defining moment in the celebration of the Gospel of hope." (Par. 81; emphasis his). Observing that nowadays, "Sunday is reduced to a 'weekend,' a simple time of recreation," the pope concluded:
Consequently I renew my encouragement to "recover the deepest meaning of the day of the Lord" [Emphasis his]. Sunday should be sanctified by sharing In the Eucharist and by rest enriched with Christian joy and fellowship [Emphasis mine; put this together with Veuillot's "the religious observance of Sunday"]. It needs to be celebrated as the heart of all worship, an unceasing prefigurement of unending life, which invigorates hope and encourages us on our journey. There should be no fear, then, of defending the Lord's day against every attack and making every effort to ensure that in the organization of labour it is safeguarded, so that it can be a day meant for man, to the benefit of all society. (Par. 82)
By carefully noting the papal "exhortation" and comparing it carefully with Veuillot's statement quoted from his Liberal Illusion, (p. 3-4 of this issue) and checking carefully Leo XIII's encyclicals (Facts of Faith, pp. 256-272), keeping in mind the high regard of the current pope for Leo XIII,* you have a "paper trail" that dare not be ignored.
A NEW WEBSITE
For a period of time Maranatha Developments International have now included WWN on their website, which we have appreciated. They are making available back numbers from the very first issue, January, 1968. We shall continue to work with them by supplying each month the current issue of WWN.
Website: www.adventistalert.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Within recent weeks a brother on the West Coast has opened
up a new website to be used exclusively for the Adventist Laymen's Foundation
2003Dec -- XXXVI 12(03) -- "Thou art the Christ" -- Editor's Preface -- With this issue of WWN, we complete thirty six years of continuous publication. During this year, the lead article for the September issue was captioned, "The Bible." In the article, we noted the book of Job, and singled out Eliphaz, one of Job's comforters, as having had a "séance." (4:12-15). This was an incorrect usage of the word. A séance is a consultation with a medium in an attempt to talk to the dead. Eliphaz's experience was direct communication from the devil. Satan was using every means at his disposal to break Job's integrity, even his friends.
In the same article, we quoted Elder Kenneth Richards' comments in Adventist Today regarding Statements #1 and #17 of the 1980 Statements of Belief. He was concerned about a missing word, "only" which had occurred in all previous statements of belief in reference to the Bible as the "only unerring rule of faith and practice." He wondered if the Church was adopting a "two-tiered" basis for faith and doctrine. In the next issue of Adventist Today, (11:3, p. 5), Dr. Mike Schofield of LL University responded to Elder Richard's concern. He indicated that "popular behavior" within Adventism over the previous fifty years was finally being reflected in their stated beliefs in 1980. He documented his conclusion naming the names of some who enthusiastically promoted the concept. While his observation has merit, there were at the same time, other factors at play which must also be considered. These were lurching the Church to the "left." Other major doctrines were being altered in the same Statement of Beliefs. The question must be considered as to whether the omission of "only" was a "sop" to the right so as to get the changes the left wanted?
p 2 --A Contemplation on Jesus the Christ --"Thou art the Christ"--Su ei 'o CristoV -- Alone with His disciples near the source of the Jordan River within the shadows of Mt. Hermon, Jesus asked His disciples a question, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" (Matt. 16:13). The answers gathered from their mingling with the multitudes covered a broad spectrum, none of which were correct. Then Jesus turned the question to them, "But who say ye that I am?" To this question, Peter quickly replied, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (vs. 15-16). ["Christ" is the Greek equivalent for the Hebrew "Messiah" - John 1:41] The Messiah was not only the hope of Israel, but is also the hope of the human race.
Until we get the Biblical relationship between the "Messiah" and His designation as "the Son of God" correct and in context, we can never perceive who the Son of man really was. He who came in the "flesh" was the Word (John 1:14), and that "Word was God" [QeoV hn 'o lsgoV] (1:1) even as QeoV was God, in other words, Divine.
The Messianic second Psalm places in context the relationship between the "Messiah" and the designation "Son of God." In the setting of a "controversy" between "the Lord and His anointed" ( - Messiah), with "the kings of the earth" (vs. 2), the Kingship and the Son-ship of the "anointed One" is declared. Observe carefully these verses: I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. (vs. 6-7)
In the New Testament, this decree of Son-ship is applied to both the incarnation and resurrection of Jesus (Acts 13:33; Hebrews 1:5); however, in Hebrews, Paul links the second Psalm with the promise given to David concerning the kingship of Solomon, "I will be his father, and he shall be my son" (II Sam. 7:14), and applies both the promise and decree to the incarnate Word. Then in the Book of Revelation, He whose "name is called The Word of God" rides forth as "King of kings, and Lord of lords" to "smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron" (19:13,15-16), as prophesied in the second Psalm (v. 9).
When Jesus appeared to a group of His disciples after His resurrection, He "opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures" (Luke 24:45). In the days that followed the Messiah's ascension, as the study of the Old Testament prophecies began in earnest, it is interesting to observe the unfolding of that understanding.
Apparently, they first read carefully the third section of the Hebrew canon. Psalms, its first book, is cited as the reason for the first business meeting presided over by Peter (Acts 1:15-20). On the day of Pentecost, Peter quotes freely from the same hymnal (2:25, 34-35); besides declaring that a prophecy of Joel had been fulfilled before their eyes (2:16). With what wonder they read - "The sun shall be turned into darkness" (Acts 2:20; Joel 2:31), as they recalled the terrible day of the crucifixion that "when the sixth hour (noon) was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour (Mark 15:33). Did they also note the prophecy of Amos where God said He would "cause the sun to go down at noon"? (8:9).
As they continued their study, (it appears to have been backward through the canon) they called the attention of the throng gathered together on Solomon's porch, to the promise given Moses that God would raise up a prophet like him to speak to the people (Acts 3:22). They emphasized God's pronouncement, that failure to hear the words of this prophet would bring serious consequences (v. 23). It is likewise applicable to the words of Jesus directed to this hour of time.
Finally, when confronting
the very leaders who had plotted the death of the Messiah of Israel, the
decreed Son of God, Peter boldly proclaimed: Neither
is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven
given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12.
p 3 -- "CHURCH" and/or "STRUCTURE" WHICH or BOTH? -- In an undated pamphlet published by the 1888 Message Study Committee, and written by Elder R. J. Wieland, the question is asked, "Start a Home Church?" Then a challenge is made "Think It Through First!" In the pamphlet, Wieland takes issue with the position set forth by John Grosboll in an article published in the May 1994 issue of Historic Adventist Landmarks. He is bothered by the fact that both Grosboll and Trefz refer to the Seventh-day Adventist denomination as a "structure" while he perceives the denomination to be the "church," the body of Christ. Not having available the article as written by Grosboll, I must rely on Wieland's analysis of the same.
The issue turns on the single question, is the Church in apostasy, or is there only apostasy in the Church? If the Church is in apostasy, then there is only one answer, Come out of the apostasy, and meet as "home churches." Interestingly, there is in the very body of the literature of the 1888 Message and its aftermath, the criterion by which we can determine whether to do so or not.
Ellen White wrote of the condition resulting from the attitude taken in regard to the message of 1888. She declared: I was confirmed in all that I had stated in Minneapolis, that a reformation must go through the churches. Reforms must be made, for spiritual weakness and blindness were upon the people who had been blessed with great light and precious opportunities and privileges. As reformers they had come out of the denominational churches, but they now act a part similar to that which the churches acted. We hoped that there would not be the necessity for another coming out. (Ms. Rel. 1216, pp. 5-6).
Here is stated a criterion by which a "second" coming out is validated. When the Adventist Church becomes as apostate as the church from which one came out of to be an Adventist, a second coming out is the stated solution.
In fact, the parable prophecy of Jesus of the Ten Virgins clearly teaches two coming outs. The parable begins with the first coming out which constituted them as "the ten virgins." It reads: Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins which took their lamps, and went forth ( exhlqon ) to meet the bridegroom. (Matt. 25:1).
Time passed, and they "all slumbered and slept." But at midnight - the darkest hour - a "cry" was heard a second time - "Go ye out(exercesqe) to meet him" (25:6). The same Greek word is used in both verses, the first is in the aorist (past) tense, while the second is in the present tense. Reporting the first Tasmanian camp meeting, Ellen White wrote: My mind was carried to the future, when the signal will be given, "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him." (R&H, Feb. 11, 1896)
The "future" was not left nebulous, it was to be defined by a "signal." How much study and time has been given to the determination of what this "signal" was? On the other hand, there have been repeated attempts to deny the evidence of what constituted the "signal." Until this signal was given, there was no Biblical justification for coming out a "second" time. Instead, confusion has reigned because of the "many voices" that have been sounding, each professing to have been sent "with great light" (R&H, Dec. 13, 1892), rather than acting in harmony with the "signal" of the Lord's devising.
Other warnings concerning
God's intent in regard to the Church need to be carefully considered.
Between the time that the 1903 General Conference adjourned in Oakland,
California, April 13, and it reconvened in Battle Creek, Michigan, April
22, a remarkable testimony was written. It warned that
"in the balances of the
sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist Church is to be weighed" (Testimonies,
Vol. 8, p. 247). This is
not a "perhaps" statement. It "is to be." The corporate
church is to be judged. "She
will be judged by the privileges and advantages that she has had."
she does not measure up, "on
her will be pronounced the sentence, 'Found wanting.' By the light bestowed,
and the opportunities given, will she be judged" (ibid.).
p 4 -- Observe carefully, the criteria upon which the judgment will be based - "light bestowed" and "opportunities given." Has Wieland forgotten 1950, when he and D. K. Short presented to the leadership of the Church their call for a re-examination of the 1888 Message? Was this an "opportunity given"? Has he forgotten the letter he wrote to Short after the final meeting at the General Conference offices concerning the Manuscript, 1888 Re-Examined? He would do well to read it again, noting the last paragraph of that letter. He wrote: To sum it all up, as I see the meeting in retrospect: the 1951 report said the MS was unworthy of serious consideration because it was "critical;" the 1958 report said it was unworthy of such consideration because it used EGW statements out of context; the 1967 hearing concludes it is likewise unworthy because its fruitage is evil. When we are not able to say anything effective to clarify misunderstandings, I do not think that the last charge is really fair; but I believe the time has come to "let go and let God," and to keep still. The Lord Jesus gave everybody, good and bad, an excellent example - as sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. Whether I am right or wrong, I believe I must from hereon be "dumb." (A Warning and Its Reception; Buff Sec., p. 8)
The events of our Church history from 1950 need to be kept in mind. Following the presentation of the appeal to re-examine 1888, the 1952 Bible Conference was held which sought to blunt the challenge of that appeal. This was followed soon after by the SDA-Evangelical Conferences in 1955-56, and from that day to this the Church has been in steady spiritual decline. See, The Hour and the End. And keep in mind that Wieland's final hearing in 1967 coincided with the "signal" given.
There is a connection between the Parable of the Ten Virgins and the Laodicean message. We were told - "The state of the Church represented by the foolish virgins, is also spoken of as the Laodicean state" (R&H, August 19, 1890). On the foolish virgins, "the door was shut" (Matt. 25:10). The message to Laodicea is plain. Said Jesus: "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth" (Rev. 3:16). In meaning, the thoughts conveyed by "the door was shut" and "I will spue thee out" are the same. Wieland counters, that the Greek verb, mellw , translated "I will" should read instead, "I am about to do so," and then he (not the True Witness) adds, "but He doesn't." While it is true that mellw does carry the meaning of "about to do," it does not convey the meaning that it will not take place.
The Greek word, mellw , occurs 13x in the book of Revelation in different tense and verbal forms. It is always connected with an infinitive. Accepting, the meaning of "about" for mellw , Revelation 3:16 would read (literally translated) - "I am about thee to vomit out of the mouth of Me." Does this include the thought, that He doesn't or won't do it? The infinitive is in the aorist or past tense. This combination of mellw , with the aorist (past) tense of the infinitive, is used four times in Revelation. Let us check one of these uses. Revelation 12:4 reads literally: The dragon stood before the woman, the one who is about (participle form of mellw ) to bring forth ( tekein - aorist infinitive).
Did the woman give birth to the "man-child" or didn't she? Does the True Witness vomit out Laodicea, or doesn't He? Arndt and Gingrich in their lexicon of the Greek New Testament state that mellw used with an infinitive in the aorist (past) tense can have two meanings: 1) "to be on the point of, be about to" and cites both Revelation 3:16, and 12:4 as examples; and 2) "be destined, inevitable" (p. 502).
Apostolic Example -- The Christian Church was born in a time of Divine change. The Divine plan called for a new Israel of God. The priestly and religious leadership of Israel had coerced Pilate to crucify the Messiah sent by God. God responded, and the inner temple veil was cut asunder (Matt. 27:51). A new and living way was opened through the rent flesh on Calvary (Heb. 10:20). From the moment the Holy Spirit came from the presence of the glorified Messiah, corporate involvement was charged against the individual Israelite (Acts 2:22-23), and the solution given. When "pricked in their heart" by the charge of being the murderers of Him who was "both Lord and Messiah," they asked, "What shall we do?", Peter responded. Besides calling for repentance,
p 5 -- he exhorted them to "Save (themselves) from this untoward generation." (See Acts 2:36-40).
Peter was quoting from the LXX, the words of Moses in Deut. 32:5. The word, "untoward" in Acts 2:40 is the adjective, skolioV , the same as is used in Deuteronomy, and refers to Israel as a "crooked generation," who are not His children. Long had God in mercy borne with Israel, sending prophet after prophet, and finally His Son. Now the time of reckoning had come. See Jesus' parable in Matthew 21:33-43. Israel of the flesh was to be replaced by Israel of the Spirit. Each one had a decision to make. Would he condone the action of their supreme Council in the crucifixion of Jesus, or would he accept Jesus of Nazareth for what He was, the long looked for Messiah. The only difference in the equation today is the substitution of "the truth as it is in Jesus" for Jesus, the truth and the life.
The same Holy Spirit who spoke through Peter on the Day of Pentecost, is the same Spirit who instructed the pneumatikoi of Antioch, "Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them"(Acts. 13:2). These men soon thereafter began their first missionary trip which took them into the heart of Asia Minor, as far as Derbe. On their return trip through the towns in which they had ministered, the record reads: And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. (Acts 14:23)
This verse is interesting. There is no record of any building program for the erection of a "Christian church," neither has any archaeological research unearthed any ruins designated as a Christian church in that early period. Where were they meeting and over what assembly were these elders ordained? Not the synagogues from which Paul and Barnabas had turned "to the Gentiles" (Acts 13:46). What would one call the assemblies to which Paul would later note in his Epistles, as "the church in thy house"? (See Rom. 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Col. 4:15; and Philemon 2)
There are two interesting experiences left on record which occurred during Paul's second missionary journey which we would do well to consider. The first was at Corinth. As was Paul's custom, his initial place of witness was to the Jews in the synagogues on the Sabbath. The issue was over whether Jesus was the Messiah (Acts 18:5). The resultant blasphemy on the part of the Jews in the synagogue, led Paul to take those who believed to "a certain man's house named Justus, one who worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue" (18:7). What must have ensued is interesting to contemplate, as well as to wonder what the sound insulation factor was between the walls of house and synagogue. Regardless, the first elder of. the synagogue soon became an attendant at the "home church" if not in the first group who transferred.
The second incident occurred in Ephesus when after three months of witnessing in the synagogue, Paul found it necessary to depart and "separated the disciples" taking them to one of the classrooms in "the school of Tyrannus" (Acts 19:9). Would one call this classroom a "School Church?" He didn't wait for the believers to gather warmth from the coldness of those who spoke evil of "the way." He took them out of that "coldness." The result was that in two years "all they that dwelt in (the province) of Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks" (ver. 10). The point is simple. It is not the place where one worships, it is "the word" which one receives where he worships. Is it the truth as it is in Jesus?
The Contention -- The question which disturbed Wieland was the terminology which Grosboll and Trefz used to designate the present Seventh-day Adventist Church, calling it a "structure." This matter of "church" and "structure" is more than a mere surface contention. The issue involves the "alpha" and "omega" apostasies. Ellen White described what would have taken place had the alpha been accepted. (Special Testimonies, Series B, #2, pp. 54-55). She also said that the omega "will be received" (ibid., p. 50). If we were to conclude that what didn't take place under the alpha would take place under the
p 6 -- omega, then a different church, both in doctrine and practice, would be the result. Of such a "church" divine judgment would permit "storm and tempest to sweep away the structure" (ibid., p. 54). The issue is not "church" nor "structure," nor where we assemble to worship, because there can be as much apostasy in "home churches" as in "dedicated" edifices.
Wieland could have better devoted his writing skills by calling attention to the doctrinal errors of Grosboll and Trefz rather than to have spent his time on the "no-win" home church question because that was the meeting place of many of the apostolic church units and will be the meeting places of "the remnant of her seed," as well as other secluded places.
The real issue is basically whether salvation is by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ, or is it faith plus works. A few months ago, I attended as an observer a Friday evening service of a gathering that was advertised as Grosboll's Arkansas Camp Meeting. The speaker's subject was "Beyond Belief" an obviously borrowed title. One of the first statements he made after some introductory remarks was that you cannot find in the Bible anywhere where it says, "Just believe." I gathered from some of his illustrations that he was connected with the Steps to Life Bible School. This challenge and his misquotation of other Scriptures during his sermon caused me to question his knowledge of the Bible that would qualify him to be so positioned. He also evidently did not know that "just" has as one of its meanings in the dictionary, "only." It was Jesus Himself who said to Jairus, "Fear not: believe only" (Luke 8:50). True, this was in relationship to a resurrection from physical death, but this same experience must come to those who "dead in sins" desire life, "for by grace are ye saved through faith [believing]" (Eph. 2:8).
At this point there are some interesting word usages in the above two texts that we do well to consider. Luke quotes Jesus as not only saying, "believe only," but also adding, "and she shall be saved ( swqhsetai )." Jesus by the resurrection of the daughter of Jairus was illustrating salvation.The word translated "saved" in Ephesians is seswsmenoi , a perfect passive participle of the same Greek word used by Luke in quoting Jesus. It is saying that what God has provided "by grace," salvation, is extended to the one who exercises faith. It is "through faith." "it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." The two verses together are telling us that even as Jairus' daughter could not resurrect herself, so no man can contribute to his resurrection from spiritual death. It is the gift of God: not of works!
Tragically, it is the Tridentine Doctrine of Rome that Grosboll and his cohorts are teaching. Canon XII of the Council of Trent on "Justification" pronounces this anathema: If any one saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ's sake; or that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified: let him be anathema.
To escape being classified with this "anathema" of Rome, the "voice" representing Grosboll could have said that he was talking about sanctification as being the step "beyond belief." But does the works which God "before ordained that we should walk" therein (Eph. 2:10) contribute to the "salvation" provided in "the gift of God"? We need to keep in mind that justification, as well as regeneration, is doing for man that which he cannot do for himself. We need to come to the foot of the cross - "the highest place to which man can attain" - and there accept by faith alone the salvation God provided from the foundation of the world.
CONSIDER -- Should faith and works purchase the gift of salvation for anyone, then the Creator is under obligation to the creature. Here is an opportunity for falsehood to be accepted as truth. If any man can merit salvation by anything he may do, then he is in the same position as the Catholic to do penance for his sins. Salvation, then, is partly of debt, that may be earned by wages. If man cannot, by any of his good works, merit salvation, then it must be wholly grace, received by a man as a sinner because he receives and believes in Jesus. It is wholly a free gift. Justification by faith is placed beyond controversy. And all this controversy is ended, as soon as the matter is settled that the merits of fallen man in his good works can never procure eternal life for him - Ms. 36,1890.
p 7 -- Wieland Asks -- In the 1888 Message Newsletter for August 2003, Elder R. J. Wieland asks two questions: What was the initial, rock-bottom, foundational idea that permeates "1888"? What makes the message so unique in its claim for the attention of Seventh-day Adventists today? (p. 2).
There are some further questions that need to be asked: Did the 1888 Message proclaim "the everlasting gospel" or was it a new and different gospel never proclaimed before? Paul declared plainly: Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Gal. 1:8-9).
There is only one gospel. Jones and Waggoner did not preach a different gospel in 1888 A.D. than Paul preached in 50 A. D. While Paul preached Jesus as the "great high priest" at the right hand of God exalted, interceding at "the throne of grace" (Heb. 4:14-16), God raised up a people in 1844 to proclaim the ministry of the same High Priest who alone in the final atonement would cleanse a people for translation.
For years, the church had been proclaiming the Law of God until their message was as dry as the hills of Gilboa which had neither dew nor rain. Was there anything amiss in declaring the Law of God still binding? No! The "everlasting gospel" was to produce a people who will "keep (not trying to keep) the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" (Rev. 14:12). What was the problem? The objective was not being realized. Human merit was extolled rather than divine grace. Jones and Waggoner's message in its simplest form was saying that even as man cannot forgive himself nor provide an atonement for his past sins; neither can he cleanse himself so as to stop sinning. It was the "high priest" alone who accomplished the work. The message of 1888 was to proclaim that in the same way a man is justified - by grace alone through faith - he will be cleansed and fitted for translation. There is no new gospel. God had, and still has, only one way to save a man, and that is by grace alone through faith in the Priest and Divine Victim.
What the religions of Babylon do not see is the High Priestly ministry of Christ in the final atonement. They perceive His ministry as a common priest at the Altar of the Cross in a blurred or false light, and have no perception of His ministry as the great High Priest after the Order of Melchizedec. The proclamation of this ministry of Christ was committed to the Advent Movement. The 1888 Message was given to enable us to understand how the final atonement is to be realized "in us." In other words, God has provided for our regeneration. It is ours to relate to it. "What is regeneration? - It is revealing to man what is his own real nature, that in himself he is worthless." (EGW, Nov. 22, 1896). --- (2003 Dec) --- End ---