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WWN 2000 Jan - Mar

 

2000 Jan -- XXXIII -- 1(00) -- Unfinished Business -- A History of a Movement -- Editor's Preface -- Since publishing a Special Issue in October on the "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification" between the Lutheran and Roman Catholic Churches, numerous news releases have added to the information available as well as insightful comments. Because of this additional information, we included this subject in the category of "Unfinished Business" even though we had reported on it at length. Then there is still more that we could have included had space permitted. Pope John Paul II in his Sunday Angelus address made reference to the signing that day in Augsburg, Germany. As the news releases continued to come, we did add a "Postscript" to this issue noting in particular the fact that the largest single Lutheran Church, the Missouri Synod did not sign the Declaration and what they said about the document. This Lutheran Church is not a part of the Lutheran World Federation with which Rome was in dialogue over justification.

The Doctrine of Justification. as well as the other topics we have noted under "Unfinished Business," will constitute the outline of subjects which we plan to review for our readers during the year 2000. We are also sure that with the Pope declaring this year a Jubi1ee Year, there wi1l be many activities and events which will need to be included in each issue of WWN as space permits.

During this past year we graciously received from a reader of WWN two cassette tapes which recorded Alma E. McKibbin's recall of her memories of Ellen G. White. In the course of the interview, this pioneer Adventist educator and textbook writer, made an observation stating, "There was a famous normal school in the State of Kansas that had inscribed on the front of the building - "Review, and then Review again, and Review all that you've Reviewed." Her comment to this was "It is a law of the human mind that we need review. We need drill; we need truth to be repeated." This will be our objective for the year 2000. We will review basics which elucidate the plan of salvation, such as the sanctuary teaching, with special emphasis on the final atonement.

p 2 -- Unfinished Business --There were several items which we had hoped to discuss in the columns of WWN during the past year but which lack of space prevented. Some of these items are further developments of topics which we did discuss. We will attempt in this issue to note many of them, perhaps all of the major ones.

A History of a Movement -- Long time Editor of Publications for the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement, Alfons Balbach, accepted a responsibility several years ago to begin gathering data for a history of the Movement. This monumental task was completed last year and published as a 664 page tome The History of the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement. The historical data, names and places, will have to pass the scrutiny of those who have been directly involved in its activities from its inception in 1925.

Knowing Elder Balbach, and having visited with him on several occasions, I was deeply interested in what he wrote about certain details of their history. These I read carefully, and scanned the remainder of the book. I have written to him about certain items which are open to serious question, and which to date (11/25/99), I have received no reply.

The major premise upon which this history is based is stated in its first paragraph which reads:      As the great reformation carried on by Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and others in the sixteenth century actually had its beginning several centuries earlier, so the prophesied Reform Movement among Seventh Day Adventists, in existence today, had its embryonic beginning in 1888, when the Lord sent a special message to His people. (p. 1)

This is a pure assumption without documentation. It is doubtful that a single minister or layperson who assembled at Gotha, Germany, in 1925 to organize the Reform Movement was knowledgeable about 1888, or had even heard of it. The first attempt to analyze the experience of 1888 was in 1926 with the release of a commissioned book by A. G. Daniells - Christ Our Righteousness. It is true that Ellen G. White called for reform to take place within the Seventh-day Adventist Church in connection with the 1888 experience. She wrote:      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, (1888 Materials. Vol. 1, p. 356)

The issue which was on the minds of those who assembled in Gotha, Germany, in 1925 was not the 1888 Message of Righteousness by Faith, but rather the stand which had been taken in regard to military duty, and Sabbath observance in time of war by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Europe. Balbach in his history of the Reform Movement documents well that factor in the fifth chapter "1914-1918 - The Great Crisis." There is no question from the facts which cannot be disputed that the brethren who assembled at Gotha, Germany, had a justifiable complaint. But to seek to interpret that complaint in terms of 1888 and the issue of righteousness by faith is an attempt to rewrite history and clothe the Reform Movement in garments into which are woven many threads of human reasoning.

It is the claim of the Reform Movement that they are the successor Movement to the Advent Movement which rose out of the 1844 experience. That movement, when organized as the Seventh-day Adventist Church, held to certain specific articles of faith which were stated in a 1872 Statement of Beliefs. However, the Principles of Faith which the Reform Movement adopted at Gotha, Germany, in 1925 do not reflect the 1872 Statement. In my conversations with Elder Balbach, I presented this paradox to him, He assured me that a committee would have to take care of that problem. In referring everything to a committee, they do in this aspect reflect the "mother" church. Evidently they have perfected the committee concept of church governance to such an extent that one brother who had been a second generation minister in the Reform Movement had a card printed which read - "GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE DID NOT SEND A COMMITTEE."

p 3 -- In his History of the Reform Movement, Balbach addresses this paradox to which I had called his attention. He writes:        Our delegates in 1925 did not have the Fundamental Principles of SDAs published in 1872, but they had the book Bible Readinggs for the Home Circle, which was based on that publication of 1872. They did not believe in establishing a creed but, for the sake of ensuring uniformity in teaching and practice, they deemed it necessary to adopt a set of principles based on the materials available to them from the Seventh-day Adventist Church. They did their best, according to their understanding. This is how our humble booklet Principles of Faith came into existence. (p. 85)

There are two points of interest here:   1)   The very purpose of their book - to ensure "uniformity" - is the very opposite of the 1872 Statement's preface. The preface read:      We do not put this forth as having any authority with our people, nor is it designed to secure uniformity among them, as a system of faith, but is a brief statement of what is, and has been, with great unanimity, held by them..

To set forth a statement of beliefs with the avowed purpose of "ensuring uniformity in teaching and practice" as claimed for their Principles of Faith is to formulate a creed. Thus the explanation given by Elder Balbach only compounds the paradox.

2)   If the Principles of Faith were based on Bible Readings, then why is it at variance with the teachings of that book? There are teachings in the Reform Statement which are contradictory to, and some which cannot be found in Bible Readings. In fact a source which I checked stated unequivocally that those in attendance at Gotha did not have the book as alleged by Balbach.

The problem could be settled quickly. Since they do have access now to both the 1872 Statements and 1915 edition of Bible Readings, why do they not revise their Principles of Faith so as to harmonize? But this places them in a very difficult situation, or so they assume. The Movement which began in Gotha is now split into two groups. If either one alters so much as the dot of an "i" or the crossing of a "t," the other would charge heresy and apostasy.

So the Seventh-day Adventist Reform Movement abides in tradition and error, yet believing themselves to be the "other angel" of Revelation 18.

The Signing of the joint Declaration on the Doctrine of justification -- In the second special issue of WWN for 1999, we discussed what was then to be the forthcoming signing in Augusburg, Germany, on October 31 of the "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification." It did occur. As Cardinal Edward Cassidy signed the document on behalf of more than a billion Roman Catholics, he declared - "In the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body. Let us then pursue all that makes for peace and builds up our common life."

"The agreement is significant beyond the dispute over the doctrine that it supposedly resolved. It has deep implications for future relations among Catholics and Protestants." Many theologians and church leaders, both Lutheran and Roman Catholic, "said this accord gives added promise to the ideal their denominations champion of full communion, or merger, between the churches. ... Now, as the Augsburg accord suggests, the value of separate denominations is under question." (Washington Post, Nov. 1, 1999, p. A01).

H. George Anderson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, one of the signers and negotiators of the accord declared, "This is a critical breakthrough: It's the first major step toward reconciliation between the two churches since the Reformation. Now we understand we have creeds in common, and that removes the taint of heresy from both sides." (ibid.)

This document appears to be saying that the doctrine that Luther thought was central to the Reformation, and which led him to undertake it, is not one on which there are serious enough differences between Catholics and Lutherans to justify the division of the church" was the opinion of Joseph Komonchak, professor of theology at the Catholic University in Washington, DC. According to the press release, "The agreement declares, in effect, that it was all a misunderstanding." (ibid.)

p 4 -- The Lutheran and Catholic negotiators have been involved in 30 years of discussion in formulating this joint declaration concerning the doctrine of justification. While "the Lutherans have believed that faith alone, an acceptance of God renewed every day, ensures eternal salvation," and while "the Catholic Church has long taught that salvation comes from the sum total of faith and good works," it is perceived that in the signing of the accord, "there are no winners and losers." Augsburg Bishop Viktor Josef Dammertz observed, "We are Christians of different backgrounds but we are all on the same path seeking the truth of God."

The signing service itself sought to emphasize that the participants were on "the same path." It began with "a penitential service in the Augsburg Roman Catholic cathedral." There Pastor Ernst Offner, regional dean of Augsburg and Schwaben presented one of the welcoming addresses before the walk to the Church of St. Anne where the signing took place. Speaking on behalf of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, he explained:      We shall now get started on the road literally. In this worship service we want to walk from one church to the other, ... We deliberately walk in the street, publicly, because we are convinced that the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the message of justification of the sinner, is relevant and seeks to become public. We believe this together. We do this together. (Origins, Vol. 29, #22, p. 341)

In his remarks, Pastor Offner declared that the worship service in the Cathedral "makes clear that the road continues. The will of Jesus is `that they ail be one.' The signing ceremony is not an end point but a colon." He indicated that "Eucharistic sharing remains our goal; first of all the mutual invitation to the Lord's table and the mutual recognition to this being (the one) church of Jesus Christ. All this deepens our faith which, as we officially confirm today, is common in its central elements." He recalled the question asked by Pope John Paul II in a visit to Augusburg in 1987, in that same cathedral - "Why should we have separate paths in those areas where we can already walk together?" (ibid., p. 343)

Not alone in Augsburg, Germany, was there "unity meetings" between Lutherans and Roman Catholics, but in cities of the United States and Canada joint services were conducted. In Baltimore, Maryland, Cardinal William Keeler commented - "Today marks a historic landmark. In addition to agreeing on a key teaching of our faith given us in Jesus Christ, our two churches have modelled a style of joint study in which there are no winners or losers no compromises, (but rather) mutual enrichment." He, with Bishop George Paul Mocko of the Maryland-Delaware Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran nailed copies of the "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification" to the doors of their respective churches in Baltimore and held a brief prayer service at each church.

In New Engiand, the eleven Roman bishops headed by Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston signed a pastoral letter with Bishop Robert Isaksen of the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church Its final paragraph reads:      As we rejoice together in what takes place in Augsburg, we are mindful that much theological work has yet to be accomplished as we proceed toward the goal of full unity for which our Lord fervently prayed. Indeed, we all need to be attentative that our dialogue with other Christians continue undiminished until this objective is achieved. Pray with us that we may all be open to the work of the Spirit, who often moves among us more quickly than we plan. (ibid., p. 349)

While this euphoria was evidenced on the ecclesiastical level, a well known Jesuit theologian looked at the joint declaration from an analytical perspective. In a lecture given at Fordham University in October, Avery Dulles, notes the declaration as "Two Languages of Salvation." This cannot be, and thus his analysis demands a critical review. He succinctly stated the heart of the issue involved in the first paragraph of an essay adapted from the lecture. It reads:      One of the central themes of the New Testament, if not the central theme, is the way to obtain salvation. To be on the right road is, in New Testament terminology, to be justified. The corollary is that unless we are justified we are unrighteous and are on the road to perdition. In other words, justification, as a right relationship with God, is a matter of eternal life or death. If it is not important, nothing is. (First Things, Dec. 1999, p. 25)

p 5 -- Stating that "according to Christian faith, justification is a gift of God, who grants it through His Son and Holy Spirit;" however, Duties affirms that "fifteen hundred years of intense reflection have left us with a number of questions." He then lists four questions: 1) Is justification the action of God alone, or do we who receive it cooperate by our response to God's offer of grace?" 2) "Does God, when He justifies us, simply impute to us the merits of Christ, or does He transform us and make us intrinsically righteous?" 3) "Do we receive justification by faith alone, or only by a faith enlivened by love and fruitful in good works?" 4) Is the reward of heavenly life a free gift of God to believers, or do they merit it by their faithfulness and good works?" (ibid.)

Dulles then proceed to place the whole issue in the historical setting of the past and present at Augsburg, Germany. He declared that Luther "came up with answers to all these questions based primarily on his study of Paul." At the Diet at Augsburg in 1530, the Emperor Charles V ordered the Lutherans to explain their position. This resulted in the Augsburg Confession prepared by Melanchthon and approved by Luther. However, a group of Roman theologians responded to the Confession and faulted it, "especially for its teaching on merit." The schism in Western Christianity was finalized. On October 31, 1999, in the same German city by the signing of the "Joint Declaration," the chasm has been supposedly bridged; there are "two languages of salvation." Indeed, there are two languages which claim to be; one the Pauline gospel, and the other the Tridentine doctrine of Rome.

Dulles fingered the key factor in this controversy which has plagued the Christian Church from its first Council to the present. It is at the core of the issue which convulsed the Adventist Church in 1888, and is still in evidence today. That factor is to be found in the single word - "merit." How do I "merit" salvation? Who generates or generated the "merit"?

This past Fall, we received copies of two publications with Week of Prayer readings in each. Both, one published under the claim of "Historic Adventism," and the other by the Reform Movement, echoed the Tridentine doctrine of Rome. We are nearing the end of all things, and this issue needs to be settled, for as Dulles pointed out, it "is a matter of eternal life or death." It must take high priority for the year 2000. In Adventist terminology, it involves the final atonement, and the final atonement can only be correctly understood in the light of the sanctuary truth.

The Doctrine of God -- In April of last year the Adventist Review published an article by Dr. Jerry A. Moon, of the Church History Department of the Theological Seminary at Andrews University. It asked a question as to whether the change in the concept of the Doctrine of God from early semi-Arianism to the adoption of the Nicene Creed in the 1980 Statement of Beliefs was "Heresy or Hopeful Sign?" While "the path of the just is as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day" (Prov. 4:18), to accept a concept of God which was formulated by the same apostasy which fostered Sunday in the place of the Sabbath does raise the question of the possibility of heresy.

First a word about the author. Jerry Moon received his doctorate from Andrews University. His dissertation was written under a committee chaired by Dr. George R. Knight with whom he is now associated in teaching. The dissertation was on W. C. White and Ellen G. White which investigated "The Relationship Between the Prophet and Her Son." In reading this dissertation it came through to me as a "whitewash" of "Willie." Thus Moon is now standing in line with the Church apologists writing slanted books which was begun by Froom, in his Movement of Destiny, and followed by Knight in his From 1888 to Apostasy. His article in the Review is no exception.

In this article, Moon seeks to separate the early teachings of Ellen G. White from the position held by other fellow associates. He wrote:     Adventist pioneers who questioned the doctrine of the Trinity included the most influential writers among them, with one major exception - Ellen White. Whatever may have been Ellen White's original beliefs, she never expressed anti-Trinitarian views in her writings, ... (April 22, 1999, p. 10)

In one of her earliest publications - Spiritual Gifts,

p 6 -- Vol. 1, p. 17, one can read:       The Lord has shown me that Satan was once an honored angel in heaven, next to Jesus Christ.

This poses some questions for Dr. Moon. Did Ellen White teach a "trinity" which included Satan? Or was the order of the Trinity - The Father, Holy Spirit, and Son, an order not found in the New Testament, or ever used in any formulation of the Creeds of Christendom? The New Testament does have an order at variance from the usual formulation. Paul put the order - the Lord Jesus Christ, God, and Holy Spirit. (II Cor. 13:14)

In his article, Dr. Moon relies heavily on the statement found in The Desire of Ages which described the life possessed by the Word - "In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived." (p. 530) He invokes the experience of M. L. Andreasen who first questioned whether Ellen White had actually written this, but was finally led to write - "As I checked up, I found that they were Sister White's own expressions." This book, Moon concludes, "created a paradigm shift that couldn't be reversed."

When certain positions are taken, then other questions are raised, such as the death of Jesus on Calvary. This must be sorted out to the extent allowed by divine revelation, and where the curtain is drawn, we must be content to wait further revelation in the life to come.

As was to be expected, the present advocates of the anti -Trinitarian position responded through their "official" pubilication. Old Paths (July, 1999). Fourteen of the sixteen-page publication are devoted to the reply. The basic question raised in this response by their "apologist," Lynnford Beachy, is - Did Ellen White write all that has been published under her name as a "messenger of the Lord"? This is no mean question, but rather strikes at the very authority underlying her publications. Honesty demands that we forthrightly face up to this charge. Ultimately, we will have to come to the final court of appeal - the Bible - and determine just what is revealed there concerning God.

Two questions will need to be answered: 1) Was the Deity of Christ, eternal, or was it derived? and 2) the Holy Spirit, a Person, or an influence?

Postscript -- As we were concluding the above section of this issue, we received the current release of the Ecumenical News International (ENI) Bulletin. Its final pages were devoted to the "Joint Declaration on Justification." Interestingly, this ecumenical news bulletin published by the World Council of Churches is not only sponsored by the Council, but also by the Lutheran World Federation as well as the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Conference of European churches.

Two marked paragraphs devoted to the Joint Declaration read:      The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS), based in the United States and the world's biggest Lutheran Church, though not a member of the LWF, has rejected the joint declaration as "an out-and-out concession by the Lutherans" to the Roman Catholic Church. A statement issued by the office of Dr. A. L. Barry, president of LCMS, described the joint declaration as a "surrender of the most important truth taught in God's Word. It represents a clear, stunning departure from the Reformation and thus contrary to what it means to be a Lutheran Christian."

According to the LCMS statement, the joint declaration is "an ambiguous statement whose careful wording makes possible for the Pope's representatives to sign it without changing, retracting or correcting anything that has been taught by The Roman Catholic Church since the time of the Council of Trent in the 16th century. ... (It) does not represent a change in the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. It does nothing to repudiate the doctrinal formulations put forth by the Council of Trent." (Bulletin-99-0426, pp. 34-35)

This Bulletin also reports on a news conference held by Cardinal Edward Cassidy in Augsburg prior to the signing of the Joint Declaration. He was asked by a reporter if there was anything in the official common statement contrary to the Council of Trent? He responded - "Absolutely not, otherwise how could we sign it? We cannot do something contrary to an ecumenical council. There's nothing there that the Council of Trent condemns." Cassidy indicated that the conferees had looked at today's

p 7 -- Catholic and Lutheran teachings and had found nothing in contemporary teaching that was contrary to the "two traditional strands" of the Council of Trent and the Lutheran confessions. (ibid., p. 36)

LET'S TALK IT OVER -- The "Unfinished Business" give us the agenda for this new year's topics and analysis. There can be no question but that "Justification" must be placed at the top of the list of such studies, for as the Jesuit professor rightly observed, "If it is not important, nothing is." Further, the subject of justification, its meaning and significance, has been a source of controversy within Adventism since 1888, and there are no signs that it has been settled. As both the Jesuit theologian suggested and Cassidy declared at Augsburg, there are "two traditional strands" on justification, that stated by the Council of Trent (the Tridentine), and that which Martin Luther sought to revive from the Pauline Epistles. One or the other of these two antithetical positions are to be found in the teachings of "voices" on the periphery of Adventism today. Simplified, it is the difference between two questions: 1) Are we saved by faith alone? or 2) Are we saved by faith plus works? In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote - "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (3:28). At the first Christian Council in Jerusalem there were those in attendance who held "that it was needful to circumcise them (Gentiles), and to command them to keep the law of Moses" (Acts 15:5). In the final decision of the Council, the full implication of this question was left unresolved. The two concepts of how men are saved continued.

Centuries later, Luther revived the Pauline position, and the Reformation followed. The Council of Trent responded and resolved the question for the Roman Catholic. The Council decreed - "If anyone 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." (Canon XII on justification)

Another issue discussed in "Unfinished Business" was the Doctrine of God. It, too, involves basic concepts. Who really was Jesus Christ? Is the Father-Son relationship limited to the Incarnation alone? If not, how do we relate this perception to the pre-incarnate God-head? Dare we omit considering this relationship and the post-Calvary experience? But then a larger question was interjected. In replying to the article in the Adventist Review, Beachy, for Smyrna Gospel Ministries, raised the question as to who wrote The Desire ol Ages so as to avoid the impact of what was written concerning the pre-incarnate and incarnate Christ. Is he thus advocating a "cafeteria" hermenuetic in the study of the Writings?

The newly written history of the Adventist Reform Movement, making the assumptions that it does, needs to be clarified. On the official letterhead of the Churct is found this assertion - "Founded Upon the Advent Message of 1844." The history tome declares that its embryonic beginning was in the 1888 message. Yet their statement of beliefs formulated in Gotha, Germany, in 1925, is divergent from the early position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church which developed from the Millerite Movement of 1844, as well as the Message brought by Jones and Waggoner in 1888. Where then does this leave the Reform Movement? Simply a peripheral movement that began in 1925.

May I suggest thoughtful meditation of these words o Jesus as the year 2000 progresses:
"Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, ... Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping." (Mark 13:35-36
)

"Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. ... Therefore be ye also ready: for it such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. (Matt. 24:42, 44) --- (2000 Jan) --- End --- TOP

2000 Feb -- XXXIII -- 2(00) -- The Review Begins ... Salvation Basics -- In Christ Alone -- "Justified Freely" -- By Faith Alone -- Sanctification "Simul Justus et Peccator" -- Subjugation & Mainfestation -- The 1888 Message -- Editor's Preface -- With this issue, we begin a year's review of the basics of truth which we have covered at various times during our thirty two years of publication. Even in this first issue on "Salvation Basics," we only touched certain aspects of the plan of redemption, such as the "final atonement." Hopefully when we review the sanctuary doctrine, we can detail more completely what the Word says about this final event in the High Priestly ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We have endeavored to keep it simple. yet, e have entered words from the Greek text, giving their meaning and grammatical force so that those who wish deeper study may do so. We believe that the comments and revelation arising from the Joint Declaration between the Roman Catholics and the Lutherans are providential. It should serve as a wake-up call to many who perceive of themselves as "historic" Adventists that there are not two ways of choice to be acceptable with God. One is that pure gospel which Christ revealed to Paul, and the other is Rome's version set forth in the decrees of the Council of Trent - the Tridentine gospel. Sadly, many who profess Adventism are caught up in the deceptive writings of those who promote this Tridentine gospel. It is hard, yea difficult, to recognize and to acknowledge one's worthlessness except in the light of Calvary as did Paul who confessed - "God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." Think of the Example. He who could call worlds into existence by His word, accepted a humility so as to redeem man where He could only confess: "I can of mine own self do nothing." Yet professing to be "followers of the Way," we boast of our works and vaunted righteousnesses thinking thereby to merit salvation. May God be merciful to us all - sinners saved by grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. May our confession ever be - "Now unto Him who is able to keep (us) from falling, and to present (us) faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever." May we join the chorus in singing "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive ... glory."

p 2 -- " Review, and then Review again, and Review all that you've Reviewed"
Salvation Basics -- Are there two ways by which men may be right and acceptable to God? The signing of the "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification" this past year has raised this question. At a news conference prior to the signing, Cardinal Cassidy said that the conferees, both Lutheran and Roman Catholic, found nothing in their contemporary teaching that was contrary to the "two traditional strands" of the Council of Trent and the Lutheran confessions. The Jesuit theologian, Avery Dulles, in a lecture on the Declaration captioned his analysis as - "Two Languages of Salvation."

Lars P. Qualben, in his textbook for college and seminary classes, lists four Reformation principles as set forth by Luther. Number one reads - "Man is justified by faith alone and not by works." (A History of the Christian Church, p. 216). In the same textbook, the position of the Council of Trent is given - "The doctrine of justification left room for work-merit." (ibid., p. 331) Reduced to simplest terms it is either salvation by faith alone or salvation by faith plus works. There is no way that these two positions can be reconciled. For Adventists it was the issue in 1888; and it is the same now involving most of those who claim to be "historic" Adventists, they placing themselves on the side of the Council of Trent.

In the solution of this question - Are there two ways by which men can be right and acceptable to God? - two other fundamental positions of the Reformation must come into play:   1) "The Bible is the only source and standard for faith and life;" and   2) "The Bible must be interpreted by the aid of the Holy Spirit." (ibid.,p. 217)

In Christ Alone - The first gospel introduces the salvation theme with a command of "the angel of the Lord" to Joseph that the child born to Mary was to be called, "JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21). When this child as a grown man began His ministry He was introduced as "The Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). He would declare of Himself - "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by Me" (John 14:6). The Apostolic witness would be - "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Paul would write to Timothy -"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (I Tim. 2:5).

The Old Testament witness bares the same testimony. When Abraham was asked by Isaac, "Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" he replied - "My son, God will provide Himself a lamb" (Gen. 22:7-8). Through Isaiah, God declared - "There is no God else beside Me, a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside Me. Look unto Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God and there is none else" (45:21-22). "I, even I am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember thy sins" (43:25).

The Scripture testimony is clear and distinct. Salvation is through and by One only, and man can add nothing to what this One has achieved.

"Justified Freely" -- To the church at Rome, Paul wrote that we who are sinners are "Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (3:24). Here in this brief statement Paul has summarized the whole of God's initiative for saving man. "Justified" (dikaioumenoi) is a present participle in the passive voice. The sinner is being justified; he is the recipient of the "grace" of God because of the redemption provided by Christ Jesus.

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul emphatically excluded any contribution on the part of the sinner. He stated - "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (2:8-9). A literal translation of this text reads - "For by grace ye are, having been saved through faith. And this is not out of you; of God (is) the gift. Not out of

p 3 -- works, in order that not anyone should boast."

A careful analysis of this verse is in order. "For by grace ye are." This is similar to the language Paul used of himself in writing to the Corinthians. Recognizing his unworthiness to even be an apostle, he wrote - "But by the grace of God, I am what I am" (I Cor. 15:10). He reminded the Ephesians that prior to being what they now were they had been "aliens to the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus" they who were far off were "made nigh by the blood of Christ" (2:11-13).

Further, "Having been saved through faith" (seswsmenoi dia pistewV), rather than "saved through faith." The word is a perfect passive participle. The emphasis: the sinner is being acted upon, and the provision for the resultant status is completed. And this (kai touto) is not of yourselves. "It is the gift of God." In the Greek this sentence is in the emphatic form; "Of God (is) the gift." Then follows a further emphasis of man's inability to contribute - "Not of works, lest any man should boast" (kauchshtai).

Paul uses this word, "boast" elsewhere in his letters. After affirming the justice of God in His act of justifying the sinner, he asks a question - "Where is boasting (kauchsiV) then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith" (Rom. 3:26-27). He had already testified to the Galatian believers as to his boasting. He wrote - "God forbid that I should glory (kacasqai), save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world" (Gal. 6:14).

How shall I relate to this provision? Consider the price paid. Peter says that we have "not been redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold ... but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot" (I Peter 1:18-19). This costly redemption, God offers to the sinner as a free gift. "It is the gift of God." With it comes also a life assurance policy. "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:23). How then shall I relate to God's costly provision for me? How does one relate to any giver and his offered gift? You accept it, or reject it. There is no bartering as to what you can do to contribute to the gift.

By Faith Alone -- Observe closely that this gift is based upon One, and One only. It is available because of "the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:24). It is "a propitiation (for our sins) through faith in His blood" (Rom. 3:25). The gift comes "through Christ Jesus." (Eph. 2:7; I Cor. 15:57; Rom. 6:23) In its reception, I must relate to Him. To the Philippian jailer who asked, "What must I do to be saved?" Paul replied, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:30-31). Jesus answered a similar question the same way. To the materialistic seekers who asked, "What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?" {Note carefully the "work-merit" they wanted to know about), Jesus replied - "This is the work (singular) of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent" (John 6:28-29).

It is over this singular condition of God that many stumble and fall, yet believing they are on the right road because of their works of which they boast. Instead of crying out, "I believe, help thou mine unbelief," they prefer to "Laodiceanize" (Rev. 3:17a). The problem with those who may be sincerely hesitant to "believe only" (Luke 8:50) may be a matter of linguistics. In our English language, we have no verb form for the noun, "faith." Not so the Greek. The answer Paul gave the jailer - "Believe" (pisteuson) is the verb form of the same word used in Hebrews 11:6 - "Without faith (pistewV) it is impossible to please (God)." It would be better to read our English word, "believe" as "have faith." Thus Paul said to the jailer - "Have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."

What results from the exercise of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? Faith comes from hearing the Word of God and acting upon what it says. (Rom. 10:17). That word says - "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). As a sinner born in sin, I cannot alter my status. But He whom God "set forth to be a propitiation ... for the remission of sins" says to me - "If you confess your sins, I will forgive and cleanse you." (I John 1:9) You will be declared righteous in my righteousness. (Rom. 3:25-26) Your "sins and iniquities will I remember no more" (Heb. 10:17). "As far as the east is from the west, so far "will I remove your transgressions from you" (Ps. 103:12). I thus stand before God as if I had never sinned, declared righteous, yet still in the

p 4 -- "condition" resultant from sin.

Though a forgiven sinner, I can have a status change. The Word tells me that "to as many as receive Him, to them gave He the power (exousian - authority or privilege) to become Sons of God" (1:12). This reception of Jesus leads to a restoration of that which was lost by sin. It is "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col 1:27). This experience is emphasized for the Laodicean. The True Witness says, "I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me" (Rev. 3:20). How can I ever conceive of not letting Him come in who has done so much for me?

Sanctification -- It is at this point that a new experience begins in the life that does not end, except that I choose to end it, as long as life continues. It is called sanctification. The question arises: Does this contribute to my salvation? In other words, is "merit" accrued by my works that I do in living a sanctified life? Consider for a moment a hypothetical situation. Say you live one day free from any act of sin. Your conscience is clear before God at the end of the day. You do not have to ask God for forgiveness for any sin committed that day for you committed none. How much merit did you accumulate for the short fall of yesterday? None, absolutely none!

Look at the question from another angle. If sanctification can produce holiness by which we can prepare ourselves through works to live in the sight of a Holy God without a mediator, then the one who started first has the advantage in reaching the objective. Yet the Bible tells of a dying thief (a sinner) who was assured a place in the kingdom of God, without one day of sanctification. The same One who gave the thief that assurance, Paul declares is "of God ... made unto us ... sanctification," so that no one can glory ( - boast) in himself. (I Cor. 1:30-31). In relating the words spoken by Jesus to him on the way to Damascus, Paul told Agrippa that the gospel committed to him provided "forgiveness of sins, and (an) inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in (Jesus)" (Acts 26:18). "Sanctification by faith"? Yes, that is what the risen Lord told Paul. This testimony of Paul both before Agrippa and to the Corinthian church requires more study than we have given them. It seems that those who advocate a "work-merit" concept, as does the Roman teaching in the Council of Trent, do not understand an illustration Jesus used. It reads:      Which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank the servant because he did the things that were commanded him? ... (Note carefully the lesson drawn) So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which it was our duty to do. (Luke 17:7-10)

You do not, nor can, accrue merit by doing the things which it is your duty to do. The requirement in grace, is not different than was the requirement in Eden, but doing that which is required is not merit by which I obtain salvation. Salvation "is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." After so stating, Paul enunciates the above concept of Jesus' illustration by stating, "We are (God's) workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10). We do that which it is our duty to do.

True sanctification is laying aside faith in self, and placing it in "the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." We bare "about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, ... that the life also of Jesus might be manifest in our mortal flesh" (II Cor. 4:10-11). This dying to self is a daily matter (I Cor. 15:31). That experience, and that experience only, will place us, whether we face death or the close of all human probation, where God can accept us in the Beloved.

"simul justus et peccator" -- There is a factor in seeking to live in this "mortal flesh" the "life of Jesus" with which we are confronted. This mortal flesh makes very real to us that though forgiven, and "led by the Spirit," there is still the "condition of sin" which produces a daily conflict. Paul wrote about this to the Galatians. He

p 5 -- penned -      For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. (Gal. 5:17)

Paul enlarges on this conflict in his letter to the Romans. In Chapter 7, verses 14 -25, Paul details what he wrote to the Galatians in the above verse, then he defines the victory that comes by being "in Christ," and "Christ in you" (8:1-18). This he follows with a revelation of what God has done because of sin, and the final deliverance (8:18-25). We, too often, consider these various steps outlined by Paul as separate and distinct from each other, and spend time arguing whether in the first section, Paul is is talking about his life before conversion, or whether he is talking of his experience as the follower of the Way. Keep in mind there can be no conflict so long as the "flesh" reigns supreme; but when one chooses to receive the "true Light," then the conflict between the flesh and the Spirit begins in earnest. One realizes with Paul, that in the flesh, "dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not" (7:18).

Paul affirms that there are two laws seeking jurisdiction:   1) "the law of sin which is in my members" (v. 23); and   2) "the law of my mind" in which has been placed "the law of God" (vers. 22-23; Heb. 10:16). By "the law of sin" in his "members" Paul is speaking of the "body" (v. 24) and "the flesh" (v. 25). Then n he concludes - "so then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; and with the flesh the law of sin" (ibid.). Or as Luther declared - "simul justus et peccator" - simultaneously justified and yet a sinner. So long as we are in the flesh, we face the law of sin - the condition of sin resultant from the first sin. But as Paul adds - "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Then he begins outlying the steps in the deliverance from "the body of this death."

"There is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (8:1). No condemnation, and yet still in the condition of sin? Does Christ accept such a one? Yes! Of that Man, it is written, - "This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them" (Luke 15:2). Even to the Laodicean, when he recognizes himself as "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked," and opens the door, Jesus says, "I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" (Rev. 3:18, 20).

How can this be? "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (8:2). What did Christ do which frees me from condemnation and by which He can fellowship with me? Paul responds - "God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (8:3-4). The One sent of God walked as Jesus in the flesh who had received from the womb of Mary, a body in which was "the law of sin and death" (Gal 4:4). He condemned that law of sin in the flesh and conquered death, thus He can free the sinner from condemnation and that law's dominion.

Previously, Paul had written that since Christ died ...    He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts thereof. (6:10-12)

Here again Paul refers to the "mortal body" in which is the law of sin and death. But he tells us to do something - "reckon (logizesqe - consider) ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin." But you know what the reality is, you are not dead unto sin. Here again must be exercised faith, the same faith by which you were justified but this time be in Him who "of God is made unto us ... sanctification" (I Cor. 1:30). Not only was Jesus "raised for our justification" (Rom. 4:25), but He was called to be a priest forever after the order of Melchizedec for our sanctification. This progressive victory is to be realized by those who "walk after the Spirit" which has been "sent forth into all the earth" from "the Lamb" standing before the Throne of God. (Rev. 5:6). In Romans 8 the contrast is between those who are "minding the flesh" and those who are "minding the Spirit." (vs. 6-7, margin)

While in Romans 6, Paul admonishes not to let "sin reign in your mortal body," in Romans 8 he speaks of the Spirit who can and will "quicken" our "mortal bodies" as assisting us in "mortifying the deeds of

p 6 -- the body." Such a one in whom the Spirit so works, is declared to be a son of God. (8:11-14). The questions come, which we must answer honestly, when will this mortification process be fully realized, and when will sin be completely dethroned in our lives?

Subjugation & Manifestation -- Paul in this discussion of sin and victory over sin states two concepts to which too little thought has been given:
1)   He writes - "For the creature (ktisiV - human race) was made subject to vanity (mataiothti - frailty [Thayer] ), not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope" (8:20). God, Paul declares, mandated the law of heredity so that the law of sin and death passed unto all the descendants of Adam. However, He subjected the race in hope. Even those who "have the first fruits of the Spirit" must wait for "the redemption of the body" (ver. 23). Though justified, we must wait in the condition of sin until the deliverance "from the body of this death" is consummated at the return of Christ (Phil 3:20-21).

2)   While Paul declares that those who are "led by the Spirit of God, ... are the sons of God" (ver. 14), he also states that "the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God" (ver. 19). If already "sons of God," why a manifestation of something they already are? Two other translations of the thought of this verse read:      The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own. The world of creation cannot as yet see reality, not because it chooses to be blind, but because in God's purpose it has been so limited - yet it has been given hope. - Phillips

All creation is yearning, longing to see the manifestation of the sons of God. For the Creation was made subject to futility, not of its own choice, but by the will of Him who so subjected it. - Weymouth

The plan of salvation will not end in a "fizzle" but in a burst of glory in God's final demonstration that even the condition of sin will be no impediment to a sinless life. The human race has been "subjected in hope." Through the witness of the Spirit we "wait for the hope of righteousness by faith" (Gal. 5:5). It is the Spirit who "helpeth our infirmities (asqeneia) ... because He maketh intercession for the saints (holy ones - 'agiwn) according to the will of God" (Rom. 8:26-27).

If we must wait in hope for righteousness by faith, it is not ours now, for "hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for" it? (Rom. 8:24) Righteousness by faith is to be realized through the Spirit's intercession, for He helpeth our "infirmities." This same word is used by Matthew quoting Isaiah concerning the coming Messiah, who "Himself took our infirmities (asqeneiaV)" (8:17). In the same way that Jesus conquered the condition of sin, a group of God's selection will give the final demonstration of the fullness of "the everlasting gospel."

Herein is to be found the fundamental revelation for us of Jesus as our Example. He declared, "I can of mine own self do nothing" (John 5:30). He told the disciples in the upper room - "The Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works" (John 14:10). Thus the saints of earth's final hour will recognize their nothingness and will not boast of a work-merit, but will recognize that it is Jesus in us through the indwelling Spirit that is the hope of glory. (Col. 1:27)

The sanctuary service in its unique revelation of God's redemptive work speaks the same message. The sinner came confessing, bringing the prescribed offering. The direction was - "He shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering" (Lev. 4:29). It was not a gentle touch upon the head of the victim, but his full weight. The blood of the slain animal was taken by the priest, and the record states - "And the priest shall make an atonement for his sin that he hath committed, and it shall be forgiven him" (4:35). On the Day of Atonement, the record is just as clear: "On that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord" (16:30). Forgiveness and cleansing was not the work of the sinner, but the work of the priest and/or high priest in behalf of the sinner. In fact if anyone did any work "in that same day" God would destroy him from among the people. (Lev. 23:30) The spiritual significance of this should be noted by those advocates in "historic Adventism" who are

p 7 -- promoting the Tridentine gospel of Rome, of "faith and works" as merit for salvation. The fact cannot be controverted that one can no more cleanse himself of the condition of sin, than he can provide through his works for the forgiveness of his sins.

The 1888 Message -- The 1888 Message has been closely linked to the Three Angels' Messages of Revelation 14. The first stated fact of the Biblical revelation is that the first angel comes "having the everlasting gospel to preach" to all of earth's dwellers (v. 6). It must be clearly understood that this is not a new gospel, by the "everlasting (aiwnion- age-long) gospel" - the same gospel given by Jesus to Paul. (Gal. 1:8, 12). The gospel given to Paul is what we have endeavored to set forth in this "salvation basics" issue.

Why did those to whom were committed the Three Angels' Messages need the wake up call of 1888? For two reasons:  1) "As a people we (had) preached the law until we were as dry as the hills of Gilboa, that had neither dew nor rain." (R&H, March 11, 1890) In other words in 1888 and prior they were preaching the law instead of the gospel.

True, God had called out a people and given them the Sabbath as the sign of loyalty to Him. This was part of the Law, but what was missed is that the Sabbath was God's rest - Adam had not worked even one full day prior to the first Sabbath - and now through the Sabbath God was inviting men in sin to enter into that rest which was provided by Jesus. (Matt. 11:28-30 cmp. with Heb. 4:1-4) We had missed the gospel that the Sabbath intended to convey.

And   2) Unless we understand "justification" by faith, we cannot perceive, much less believe, that the cleansing of the final atonement is on the same basis - our great High Priest doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

The result is that we go about proclaiming the necessity of doing works so as to merit the cleansing of the final atonement. This work-merit is being proclaimed as "historic Adventism" and so it is - Adventism before 1888, and much of Adventism since that time because we simply will not accept the fact that Paul was given the Gospel he proclaimed from Jesus Christ by direct revelation. The salvation proclaimed in that Gospel is simple - "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:8-9).

(Footnote: There are other aspects to the basics of salvation which we have not even touched, such as the covenants. There is more to the concept of God's rest in the Sabbath than that merely noted above. We need to consider further the concept of Jesus as our Example, and how it has been distorted in a " historic Adventist" publication. Then there is more to consider from the "unfinished" business of last year such as the Doctrine of God. All of this, besides noting the "eventful" year of 2000 as it unfolds.)

Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, "God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess."

And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast, saying, "God be merciful to me a sinner."I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for everyone that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luke 18:10-14) --- (2000 Jan) --- End --- TOP

2000 Mar -- XXXIII - 3(00) -- The Biblical View of God -- Editor's Preface -- As one opens his Bible, he is first introduced to God as the Creator. In this issue of WWN, we discuss in review, "The Biblical View of God." We endeavored to make it as simple as possible, but in facing the issues being raised in the Community of Adventism today, we found it necessary to give textual evidence, which meant using the Greek. Even then, we sought to give enough explanation so that the average reader could perceive the meaning of the Biblical references discussed. Yesterday (1/18/00) as we were concluding the first rough draft of this issue, we received through the mails an independent journal from Australia. It contained a lengthy article on the Godhead. Finally it focused on the basic question at issue - "Christ's EQUALITY with the Father." During the day, I picked up a paper which had come some weeks earlier, but due to press of time, I had not scanned. It, too, contained an article discussing certain Biblical references on the Godhead. I cringed as I read some of the exegesis. It was obvious that the writer was a novice and was in deep water well over his head. In our first article, we emphasize and give the Biblical basis, backed by linguistic support. to the fact that Christ was underived, and in Him was life original and unborrowed. Jesus Christ was the I AM of the burning bush, and though having died, is "alive forevermore."

The last two articles are a follow-up to the previous review on "Salvation Basics." One cites the length to which some will go in seeking to justify the Tridentine "work-merit" concept of salvation which they promote. When will we come to the realization that the highest place to which one can attain, in and of himself, is to kneel "in faith at the cross."   "There at the foot of the cross, he may look "up to the One who died to save him."

p 2 -- " Review, and then Review again, and Review all that you've Reviewed"
The Biblical View of God -- As one opens his Bible, the first statement that he reads is a revelation of God. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Gen. 1:1). However, the Hebrew word - Elohim - for "God" is plural. The use of the plural form is considered by Judaism as the pluralis majestatis - the majestic plural. It is used in this first chapter of Genesis with singular verbs and in other Old Testament texts with singular adjectives thus strengthening the concept of the majestic plural usage.

The last Gospel, and possibly the last book written of the New Testament canon, gives the answer to the question. "Elohim" is a plural - there are Two. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God" (John 1:1-2). However, before John concludes his Gospel narrative, he introduces "another Comforter, ... the Spirit of truth" (14:16-17). Further, the Word came to be flesh (sarx egeneto) and dwelt among men, a full revelation of grace and truth (1:14). Twice in this prologue, the Word in the flesh is described as "the only begotten" (monogenhV - one of a kind) (1:14, 18). From this point on in the gospel of John, the Word is designated as either "the Son of God" (1:34), or by His self designation, "the Son of man" (3:14).

It is evident beyond question, that the great divide in both time and eternity is the incarnation of the Word. This not only had consequences for the Word Himself, but also for the Godhead. No question about God can be accurately or truthfully answered without consideration of the factor of the Incarnation. Today, in the Adventist Community, the theological agitation over God has again been raised. The regular Church by its own action in General Conference session (Dallas, 1980) adopted the Nicene Creed formula - "There is one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit." The reaction among some of the peripheral groups in the Community has been to take an anti-Trinitarian stance.

First, we must note a question raised by the antiTrinitarian position; and this in the light of the Gospel of John. John begins his Gospel stating that the Word was "in the beginning with God" (1:2). Now the question: Was He truly "in the beginning with God" or was He derived from God at some point in the eternity past? As far as I am able to understand from what has been written in current anti-Trinitarian literature, it is on this point that the present agitation finds common ground with the Nicene Creed. Both have Jesus Christ, prior to His incarnation, a "derived Being."

The Nicene Creed reads - "I believe ... in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Farther before all worlds, ... begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father." (The Creeds of Christendom, Vol. II, p. 58) On the other hand, I have read and heard those taking an anti-Trinitarian stance state that the Word was "birthed" at some point in eternity past even as "Abraham begat Isaac." This position is difficult for many other anti-Trinitarians to "swallow," and they chose to express it as E. J. Waggoner did: - "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) Whether expressed as in the Nicene Creed, or as stated by E. J. Waggoner, the conclusion is obvious, the Word is a derived Being, and therefore, is not co-eternal, or ever-existent. Thus the name - I Am - affirmed to Moses at the burning bush (Ex. 3: 14 ), and claimed by the incarnate Word in the Temple (John 8:58), would be a false assumption.

The name - I AM (Egw Eimi) - a verbal form, conveys self-existence and ever-existence. This concept is attested in other New Testament references:    1) Heb 1:3 - "Who being (wn - present active participle of eimi - "to be") the brightness of His glory." He did not come to be that brightness (egeneto - as in John 1:14 - "came to be flesh"), but was (hn), as in John 1:1, the "brightness of His glory."    2) Rev. 1:17-18 - Literally - "I am the first and the last, even the Living One (kai 'o zwn) and became dead, and behold living I am (zon eimi) into the ages of the ages." This Living One proclaimed himself in the same language as the Almighty. Compare the self declaration (Revelation 1:8) - "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and

p 3 -- the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty" - with a great voice "as a trumpet," which John heard proclaiming - "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last" (verse 11). Turning to see whose voice he heard, John testifies, I saw "one like unto the Son of man" (ver. 13). In the final chapter of the book the same self proclamation is given - "I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last" (22:13).

The Biblical conclusion cannot be muted. The pre-existent Word was underived. He was in the beginning with God, and God in His own right. There never was a time in the eternity of the past that He was not. But not only was the Eternal Word underived but in Him was life original and unborrowed.

John's major epistle begins with the same emphatic pronouncement as his gospel, but more so. He wrote - "The One who was from the beginning ('O en ap ' archV)" we heard, we've seen with our eyes, we have touched with our hands - even "The Logos of the Life" (peri tou logou thV zwhV) (1:1). Note it is a specific "life" - "the Life" (h zwn). John comments, it was manifest, we saw it, and bear witness to you that this eternal life (thn zwhn thn aiwnion) was with the Father (hn proV ton pathra) not en (in), nor ek (out of) but proV - "a plane of equality and intimacy, face to face with each other" - Robertson) even as he twice wrote in the Gospel - "the Word was with God (proV ton qeon) the same was in the beginning with God" (1:1-12). The "eternal life" manifest in "the Logos of Life" was original, unborrowed, even as the Logos was Himself underived.

Son of God -- It should be quite obvious to any clear thinker and honest seeker of truth that inasmuch as the Scripture presents the Logos as underived and as an eternal, co-existent Deity - the I AM, "the Alpha and Omega,"  "the first and the last,"  "the beginning and the end" - that the earthly human Father-Son concept cannot be applied except as in the Gospel of John, where the incarnate Logos is called both Son of God and Son of man. (John 3:14-16).

The Messianic second Psalm, which the New Testament applies to different experiences in the incarnate existence of the Logos, must be given due weight in the appellation of the term, Son of God, to the Lord Jesus Christ. In this Psalm, there are Two, the same Two as John indicates in the prologue of his Gospel - "the Lord and His anointed" (2:2). Further, they are in face to face communion as indicated by John - "The Word was with (proV) God." The discussion and the result of the communion is clearly indicated: The Lord declares that He has set His "anointed upon Zion, the hill of my holiness" (v. 6, Heb.; See margin) and the "Anointed One" announces the decreed purpose - "Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee" (v. 7).

Paul very early in his ministry stated one fulfilment of this Messianic prophecy. In his recorded sermon in the synagogue of Antioch in Pisidia, he declared:      We declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that He hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second Psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. (Acts 13:32-33)

In his letter to the Church at Colosse, he declares Christ to be "the firstborn (prwtotokoV) from the dead" (1:18). He states the reason for such a conclusion - "that in all things He might have the pre-eminence." Prior to His resurrection, others had been called from the dead, notably, Moses, and during His own earthly ministry, Lazarus. This same term of pre-eminence (prwtotokoV) is used by Paul to designate the relationship of Jesus Christ to all creation - "He is the firstborn of every creature" because "He is before all things, and by Him all things consist" (1:15, 17) - the same as John declared in the prologue of his Gospel - "All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made" (1:3).

This same word is used in Hebrews in connection with another fulfilment of the "second Psalm." It is asked, quoting the Psalm, "For unto which of the angels said (God) at anytime, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee"? The answer is clearly - none of the angels. But when this pre-eminent one (prototokoV)) was brought into the world, God commanded, "let all the angels of God worship Him" (Heb. 1:5-6). In quoting Psalm 2, another text which makes explicit the status meaning of the decree is

p 4 -- cited. God told David that to his son, Solomon, He would be his father, and "he shall be my son" (II Sam. 7:14).

Literally, David fathered Solomon, but God gave Him a status relationship to Himself. In the messianic fulfilment, the "anointed" One became, in the incarnation, "the son of David." The angel Gabriel specifically told Mary that the "Holy One which was to be born of her shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). The word, klhqhsetai, is future passive indicative, and does not mean, "was called" or "had been called" the Son of God but "shall be" in this new relationship "called, Son of God." Further in the Greek text, the article is omitted before "Son of God" (uioV qeou). Robertson remarks that this omission makes it possible for Son of God to stand as a title, "like the Son of Man was a recognized designation of the Messiah" (Word Pictures in the NT, Vol. 2, p. 14). The anti-Trinitarian refuses to recognize the meaning of the status implied in the term "Son of God" as given to Jesus Christ.

The Bible gives unquestioned place to Jesus as the Second Adam. (I Cor. 15:47) In so becoming, He became a Son of man, nullifying the power of death (Heb. 2:14). Having regained the lost dominion (Micah 4:8), He was exalted "as a Son over His own house" (Heb. 3:6); designated to be "High Priest forever after the Order of Melchizedec" to bring "many sons to glory" (Heb 2:10).

It is clearly stated that Adam was "the son of God" (Luke 3:38). But in Adam all die (I Cor. 15:22). However, in "the last Adam" who, too, became a "Son of God," all who will, can find life. In the same prologue which outlines the transition from the Word who was Deity to the Word who became flesh, it is stated that "as may as received Him, to them gave He authority (exousian) to become sons of God" (v. 12). To subject the Father-Son relationship to the level of the flesh is to blur the intent of Christ's condescension to restore the first dominion lost in Adam. While it is true that Christ in regaining that dominion pointed those who believed on Him to a new Father, it was a higher conceptual relationship than that of the flesh. We are to pray - "Our Father who art in heaven" (Matt. 6:9).

Thus far in analyzing the Scriptural revelation of God, we have noted the two major events in the
New Testament where the Messianic second Psalm is declared fulfilled, - in the incarnation and the resurrection. Further, we have observed that John in the prologue to his Gospel clearly and plainly sets forth the Godhead as being Two co-eternal Beings - the Theos and the Logos. This echoes the prophet Zechariah who naming the coming Messiah as "the BRANCH" declares that "the counsel of peace shall be between the Two of Them - the Lord of hosts" and that Branch, the Incarnate One (6:12-13).

The Holy Spirit -- With the Incarnation, the Holy Spirit is introduced in the New Testament. As noted above, Luke made some very precise statements to Mary in regara to the "Holy One" which she was to conceive. When she asked, "How shall this be?" Gabriel replied - "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the highest shall overshadow thee" (1:34-35). This could be considered as using Hebrew parallelism - a mark of Hebrew poetry - and thus the conclusion drawn that the Holy Spirit is the "power" of God. But Luke was a Greek not a Hebrew, thus placing a question on whether he would use this Hebrew literary form. However, it should also be noted that Gabriel differentiated between the "Holy Spirit," and "the power of the Highest." This Jesus was to be called, "the Son of the Highest" (1:32). Here again in the Greek text, the article is omitted as in verse 35 before "Son of God" thus denoting a title rather than a previous state of being. The same future tense of kalew - "shall be called" - is used as in verse 35. Never do we find the name - "Son of the Holy Spirit" - used in connection with Jesus Christ. Perhaps we should ask ourselves, "Why?"

When we come to the book of Acts, while Luke gives the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost in the symbolism of "cloven tongues like as of fire" (2:3), he writes of the Holy Spirit as a Being in full charge of operations, a Divine CEO, of the Church Christ left behind. Observe carefully: To the Pneumatikoi (men of the Spirit) in the Church of Antioch, "the Holy Spirit said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul to the work whereunto I have called them" (13:2). And when Paul and Barnabas left on this first missionary journey, Luke's record reads - "being sent forth by the Holy Spirit" (ver. 4). There is

p 5 -- no way that one can conclude from these verses that the Holy Spirit is simply a power or an influence, but rather the opposite, a Being who can make decisions and issue commands. Further, the book of Acts clearly distinguishes between the directives of the Holy Spirit, and the direct intervention of Jesus as Lord in the life of Paul. (See Acts 9:4-5, 23:11; 16:6-7; 21:4, 11)

While there are specific verses in the Gospel of John and his first Epistle which relate to the question of the Holy Spirit - John 14:16-18; 16:7, 13-14; I John 5:6 - we shall pass to the symbolism of Revelation.

In Revelation 4, John beheld a throne set in heaven and on the throne a Being veiled in light "like a jasper and a sardine stone" (vs. 2-3). "Before the throne" were "seven lamps of fire" defined as "the seven Spirits of God." While there were other attendants at the throne - the four and twenty elders, and four living creatures (zwa), only Two divine entities are symbolized. They are pictured as distinct from each other - One on the throne, and One before the throne.

In Revelation 5, the scene changes - a Third symbol is added. "A Lamb as it had been slain" is seen standing "in the midst of the throne" (5:6), or as Thayer translates this verse - "nearest the throne" (p. 402). The "Lamb" is further defined as "the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David" (5:5), in other words, the Incarnate Word, resurrected and ascended to the right hand of God. There is, however, a distinct difference in the two scenes which dare not be overlooked. No longer is the "Seven Spirits of God" before the Throne, but has become incorporated as one in the Lamb as "eyes" and "horns" which has been "sent forth into all the earth." This is symbolism and must be interpreted, yet there are certain aspects of this symbolism which stand forth with a clear revelation of relationships in the Godhead since the Incarnation. This needs to be carefully studied. Within these symbolisms of Revelation 4 and 5, and the mysteries involved with the question asked by Mary, "How shall this be?" there is a veil drawn before which we must bow in silence.

There is one further point in the book of Revelation which involves the Spirit which needs meditative contemplation as to its significance and meaning. Rev. 22:17 reads - "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come." Two distinct entities, yet they speak with one voice. Is this saying that Christ became one flesh with us that we might become one Spirit with Him?

What the Old Covenant Teaches -- We return briefly to "Salvation Basics." The experience of "the church in the wilderness" (Acts 7:38) illustrates the gospel proclaimed by Paul which resisted, created controversy in the apostolic church.

God in a direct manifestation of His power brought Israel out of Egypt. They passed through the Red Sea on dry land (Ex. 14:16). They were fed manna of God's providing (Ex. 16:15); they drank water from a rock (Ex. 17:6). Arriving at Mt. Sinai, they heard God speak audibly amidst fire and smoke. The confrontation with God was so awesome, that the people requested that God not speak with them again, but rather that Moses tell them what God required of them (Ex. 20:18-19). To this He consented.

In a prologue to the judgments which God gave Moses to set before the people, He stipulated - "Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold" (Ex. 20:23). At the conclusion of the recitation of these judgments, God plainly indicated that this covenant contained no mercy. It was either obey: live; disobey: die (Ex. 23:21). When the people heard these commandments of the Lord, they responded with one voice - "All the words which the Lord hath said we will do" (Ex. 24:3). After Moses wrote them in a book, he again read them to the people. The response was the same - "All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient" (24:7). On the basis of the word of the people, God entered into a covenant with Israel and both the book and the people were sprinkled with blood (vs. 7-8).

Within forty days, while Moses was in the mount with God, the very first command in the prologue to the covenant was broken; Israel worshipped before the golden calf (Ex. 32:7-8). The first lesson of the Old

p 6 -- Covenant experience is - Man cannot of himself do what God wants him to do, however much man may commit himself to do so. In God's reaction, and the intercession of Moses, we find the basic elements of the Gospel given to and proclaimed by Paul.

God had clearly stated in the covenant, there was to be no mercy if broken. God sent Moses down from the mount and back to the Israelite camp. In doing so He declared - "Thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves" (Ex. 32:7). Rejecting them, God would destroy them and make of Moses, "a great nation." To this Moses would not consent. He admitted the gravity of the sin of Israel, but pled - "Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin --; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou has written" (32:31-32).

God provided another way. He would make a covenant with Moses and with Israel (Ex. 34:27). Moses became the surety. God dealt with Israel through him. This interim covenant could be called a "type" covenant because it became the earthly pattern of the new covenant of which Christ is surety and the mediator. God deals with us through Him.

If you will take time to note the chapters in Exodus from the time that Moses ascended into the mount, to the time he was sent down because of Israel's transgression - Chapters 25 through 31 - you will find that God was giving Moses instruction regarding the erection of the wilderness sanctuary. In this would be set forth in ceremonial type the gospel message of man's only hope.

The book of Exodus is followed by Levitucus in which are outlined the services to be carried out in the sanctuary structure, the blue print of which was given to Moses during the forty days in the Mount (Ex. 25:8-9). Two major points form the basis for the objective of the services:   1) When man sinned, he brought a prescribed offering (Lev. 4). On this victim, he placed his hand and confessed he had sinned. The priest then took the blood and "made atonement for him concerning his sin, and it (was) forgiven him" (4:20, 26, 31, 35). The sinner confessed, but only the ministry of the priest through the blood brought forgiveness. This is the second lesson resultant from the Old Covenant experience.

2) On the annual Day of Atonement, the High Priest alone ministered the atoning sacrifice. The penitent could afflict his soul, but only the ministry of the High Priest with the mingled blood of the bullock and the Lord's goat could cleanse his soul. (Lev. 16:18, 29-30). This is the third lesson.

All of this was merely ceremonial, - "the law made nothing perfect" (Heb. 7:19). The reality was Jesus Christ, "the Lamb of God which beareth the sin of the world" (John 1:29, margin). As the great High Priest, He is able to "purge (our) conscience to serve the living God" (Heb. 9:14).

This can be summarized in Paul's all inclusive statement - "Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Rom. 5:1-2).

"More Than the Crucifixion" -- Last year, we received two special issues of publications which reflect what is called, "Historic Adventism." Each contained readings for a Week of Prayer. Both reflected the Tridentine Gospel of Rome in their various articles by various authors. One article in Landmarks actually carried the section heading we have listed above (p. 25). We will quote it in full context so that you can consider for yourself the implications of what is written.      Since Christian character perfection is developed through obedience to every word of admonition which God has revealed to us on any given point in our Christian experience, is this a genuine possibility for us today? The glorious news is that Christ demonstrated that this is so.

If the single purpose of Christ's incarnation was to die on Calvary and be raised from the dead, that was accomplished in three days. If, in addition, He needed to train His disciples, this was completed in 3 years. Yet, Christ spent over 33 years upon the earth. Why? so that He could give us an example as a child, teenager and adult, (that) a man, filled with the Holy Spirit. could over-

p 7 -- come sin. "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow in His steps: Who did not sin, neither was guile found in His mouth." I Peter 2:21,22.

Read it carefully once more. Where is the cross of Calvary placed in the purpose of Christ's incarnation? In third place behind the Example set, and the training of Twelve men. Christ could have spent 66 years setting an example, and there would still have been no salvation. Example does not give salvation, it merely shows how saved men should live. He could have taught the Twelve for another three years, yet unless they had the message of a risen Lord, their preaching would have been in vain. (I Cor. 15:14). The premise assumed in this scaled value of the incarnation reveals the writer's ignorance of Scripture.

First, the 33 years were lived for more than a mere Example. The book of Hebrews states that Christ "hath suffered being tempted" so that "He is able to succor them that are tempted" (Heb. 2:18). He was made like unto "His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people" (2:17).

Paul, after reviewing Abraham's experience, declares that his experience of imputed righteousness "was not written for his sake alone ... but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ ... and rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Rom. 4:21-5:1-2).

"Without shedding of blood is no remission of sins" (Heb. 9:22). This is primary, not third on the list. Of the victorious ones who overcome the "dragon," it is written - "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and the word (not "works") of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death" (Rev. 12:11). They perceived the Example as Peter pictured it, not out of context as Standish quoted it. Read all of I Peter 2:21-24. It is the Christ of the Cross that is the Example.

Let us check some other distorted Scripture. Mark begins his gospel with the words - "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." He begins the recitation of that Gospel with the preaching of John the Baptist. John's Gospel after the prologue starts at the same point in the life of Jesus (1:19). Matthew while reciting events connected with the birth of Jesus, begins his narration with the ministry of John (Matthew 3:1). Luke alone cites a single story from the childhood of Jesus, and then also starts his recitation of what Jesus did and said with the ministry of John (Luke 3:1-3). The emphasis of the Gospels is on the 3 years of public ministry and the final week of that ministry leading to the Cross and Resurrection.

Is there more than the Crucifixion? Yes, there is a resurrection, and an ascension of our Lord to the right hand of power and authority, where as High Priest He ministers to us His "redemption" (Rom. 3:24). There as High Priest, He alone will accomplish the final atonement - with my works? Never, for if any man trusts in his works "the same soul will (God) destroy from among His people" (Lev. 23:30).

Let us free ourselves from this deceptive work-merit gospel of Rome and "stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free" - that liberty purchased at Calvary.

"Kneeling in faith at the cross,
(the sinner) has reached the highest place
to which man can attain."

Acts of the Apostles,p. 210.

--- (2000 Mar) -- -End ---

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