OF THE DOCTRINE
OF THE INCARNATION
AS TAUGHT BY
THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
WILLIAM H. GROTHEER
i -- PREFACE
As a minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, I had always taught
and sincerely believed that Christ assumed the fallen nature of man
when He condescended to become the Son of man. However since 1957, 1
have given intensive study to the subject of the Incarnation. In 1964
as a result of obtaining a copy of a term paper prepared for the Department
of Church History at Andrews University, my interest was stimulated
to begin a research in depth on the history of this doctrine in our
Church. This manuscript is the result. It is not claimed to be exhaustive,
especially in the final chapter that surveys the period from 1952 to
the present. The material presented, however, is representative, authoritative,
and documented for each period of our history.
chapter on the Holy Flesh Movement is a brief summary of the research
which was begun when serving as a minister in the Indiana Conference
from 1955 to 1962. Continued investigation was made with the help of
a Senior student while I was head of the Bible Department at Madison
College from 1962-64. This material was organized into a paper to meet
the requirements for the course - Research in Theology - at Andrews
University when doing graduate work in 1964-65. Further study has been
made since then, which has been incorporated into the chapter in this
pursuing this study and writing, I have had the constant encouragement
and help of my wife, Dorothea. We have searched together to eliminate
errors of typing and spelling. We have sought to see that each quotation
is correctly documented, and accurately transcribed in context. We design
that this publication be letter perfect, as far as our human eyes and
hands can make it.' There
ii -- is still the possibility of errors that we missed. We
would be grateful to our readers if they find mistakes to call them
to our attention for correction in any future editions.
would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge the fulfillment of the precious
promise which states: When
you arise in the morning, do you feel your helplessness, and your need
of strength from God? and do you humbly, heartily make known your wants
to your Heavenly Father? If so, angels mark your prayers, and if these
prayers have not gone forth out of feigned lips, when you are in danger
of unconsciously doing wrong, and exerting an influence which will lead
others to do wrong, your guardian angel will be by your side, prompting
you to a better course, choosing your words for you, and influencing
your actions. 1
In the early morning hours when much of the writing of this manuscript
was done, I was many times conscious of the presence of my unseen Guardian.
research is being published because - "The humanity of the Son
of God is everything to us" - and since it is, we need to understand
the historic position of the Church which emphasized the tremendous
victory which Christ achieved in our nature, that we may overcome as
Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3, pp.
-- -- TABLE
placed on the Left Sidebar. TOP
1 -- I
-- THE PURPOSE
The purpose of this research paper is to present an
interpretive history of the doctrine of the incarnation as taught
by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The time span extends from the
origins of the Church in the Great Second Advent Movement in the early
decades of the 19th Century to the present. In presenting the teachings
of the Church as to the nature of the humanity Christ assumed in becoming
man, no attempt is being made to detract from the dignity of His pre-existence
as One with the Father from all eternity, nor in anywAy to disassociate
Him from His oneness with the Father during His earthly sojourn. At
Bethlehem, the Word who was in the beginning with God was made flesh.
same God who was manifest in the flesh was received up into glory,
where at the Throne of the Eternal, He continues
to minister as the Son of man. 2
sources which document the teachings of the Church in regard to the
doctrine of the incarnation are the writings of the messenger of the
Lord, Ellen G. White, whose works are known as the Spirit of Prophecy;
books and publications produced by the Church's publishing houses; and
articles appearing in the journals of the Church. One important source
apart from the Spirit of Prophecy is the Senior Sabbath School Lesson
Quarterly dating from 1888-89. Inasmuch as the composition of the
Sabbath School lessons represent the combined thinking of many leaders
and scholars of the Church, and since these lessons receive universal
acceptance and use in the Church, the teachings contained in them on
any given subject would represent a true picture of the official position
of the Church. The one exception to the above guidelines is the introduction
of the teaching on the incarnation which dominated the thinking of the
leaders of the
2 -- Holy Flesh Movement in Indiana from 1898 to 1901. While this
Movement did receive the official endorcement of the local conference
committee and administration, its work and teachings did not represent
the official viewpoint of the Church as a whole at that time. However,
it is being introduced into this research on the doctrine of the incarnation
because the teachings of the leaders of the Holy Flesh Movement in regard
to the nature of the humanity of Christ have received official sanction
in recent years.
the use made of the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy, the same principles
are invoked as would be used in the study of the Scriptures on any given
subject. It is assumed that the inspired testimonies are not contradictory.
The letter which appears to be at variance with the general tenor of
the testimonies given through the years in the published sources prior
to the death of Ellen G. White is discussed in an Appendix .3
Even as Adventist scholars do not begin with the parable of the Rich
Man and Lazarus to establish the doctrine of the non-immortality of
the wicked, neither is it valid to introduce the doctrine of the incarnation
as taught in the Spirit of Prophecy with a single isolated letter to
an individual, counseling moderation of statement, when there is no
record of what that individual said or wrote for comparison or judgment.
writer does not claim a convictionless objectivity in presenting this
historical research. For this reason the title reads - An Interpretive
2 1 Timothy 3:16; 2:5; Hebrews 9:24
3 See Appendix A TOP
3 -- I
I -- FROM 1844 - 1888 -- The Seventh-day Adventist
Church developed in America out of the Second Advent Movement led by
William Miller, a Baptist lay-preacher. The doctrinal emphasis during
the early decades of the Church's development and growth reflected similar
tenets which marked the Millerite Movement plus those distinctive concepts
of faith which set the Seventh-day Adventist Church apart as the instrument
used by God to herald the Third Angel's Message. 1
1822, William Miller prepared a "brief statement of faith"
which was composed of twenty articles, one of which was left incomplete.
His biographer, Sylvester Bliss, comments that "the last article
was left thus incomplete, and the series of articles was not extended,
as it was evidently designed to have been, so as to give an expression
of his faith on subjects not included in the foregoing."
Among the subjects not
included in the twenty articles of faith was the doctrine of the incarnation.
This is not to say that Miller overlooked major concepts of theology.
He did not. He stated his belief in regard to the Godhead, the substitutionary
death of Christ for man, the operation of the Holy Spirit in the life
of the believer, the Resurrection, and the free will of man. 3
Seven, Eight, and Nine of Miller's statement of faith are most interesting
in the light of the Great Disappointment which engulfed the Movement.
In these he declared his belief in Jesus Christ as "an offering
to God" and the "sacrifice for sin which justice demanded."
Then in Article Nine, he wrote - "I believe the atonement to be
made by the intercession of Jesus Christ, and the sprinkling of His
blood in the holy of holies, and upon the mercy-seat and people."
Yet with this clear perception between the sacrifice, and the
4 -- ministration of that sacrifice, Miller failed to comprehend
the cleansing as it related to Christ's ministry in the Most Holy Place
of the heavenly tabernacle. He did not see the two apartments and the
antitypical services which they prefigured. To him verily "the
door" was shut, and only He who had the "key of David"
would open it at the proper time. 4
here in America the Advent Movement was very pronounced, and more definitely
organized than in other sections of the world, nevertheless, during
the first decades of the 19th Century, "devout men in different
lands were simultaneously quickened to search the Scriptures on the
subject of the second advent of Christ." 5
In England, one of the men who proclaimed the Second Advent,
Edward Irving, did give thought and study to the subject of the incarnation.
He taught that "Christ took human nature as it was in Adam, not
before the Fall, but after the Fall," 6
stating "that Christ took our fallen nature, is most manifest,
because there was no other in existence to take." 7
He believed that the "soul" of Christ "did mourn and
grieve and pray to God continually, that it might be delivered from
the mortality, corruption, and temptation which it felt in its fleshly
Irving sought to relate the incarnation of Christ to the experience
necessary for man to have victory over sin. He conceived of Christ's
victory in the flesh as the atonement - the sacrifice at Calvary being
merely the offering to God of that humanity which He cleansed through
a lifetime struggle with sin. Thus the salvation of man depended upon
his participation through faith in the same victory that Christ achieved.
He did not understand the ministry of Christ as High Priest in the heavenly
sanctuary. To him the "door" was. shut as it was to Miller;
and thus he could not properly relate the truth of the incarnation to
the final atonement.
5 -- Irving made another mistake in his thinking in regard to the
human nature of our Lord. He failed to differentiate between the cultivated
sins of man, and the inherited tendencies which are common to all men.
He lumped the whole and described human nature as "corrupt to the
core and black as hell, and this," he said, "is the human
nature the Son of God took upon Himself and was clothed with."
While Irving never believed that Christ sinned; but because
of this position, he was so charged, and deposed from the ministry by
the Presbytery of Scotland. Thus the truth was covered with the rubbish
of over statement. The doctrine of the incarnation was to remain muted
in the preaching and teaching of the Seventh-day Adventist Church until
the passing of the time in 1844, certain brethren who had been involved
in the Millerite Movement met together to study the word of God, and
to find answers to the questions that were perplexing them. Ellen G.
White would meet with them, and when these brethren came to an impasse
in their study, the Spirit of God would take her off in vision and give
a clear explanation of the Scriptures they had been studying, "with
instruction as to how [they] were to labor and teach effectively. Thus
light was given that helped [them] to understand the scriptures in regard
to Christ, His mission,
and His priesthood." 10
What all was involved in the study of Christ, and His mission
is not spelled out.
indicates that little study was given to the subject of the Incarnation
for the emphasis in the articles written, tracts printed, and books
published during the period from 1844 to 1888 was on the Sabbath question,
the state of man in death, and the sanctuary services. However, in a
publication by J. H. Waggoner in 1884 on the atonement is found this
comment regarding the incarnation of Christ:
6 -- He left that throne
of glory and of power and took upon Him the nature of fallen man. In
Him were blended "the brightness of the Father's glory" and
the weakness of "the seed of Abraham." In Himself He united
the Lawgiver to the law-breaker - the Creator to the creature; for He
was made "sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of
God in Him." 11
years prior to this statement in Waggoner's book, Elder James White,
in an editorial appearing in the first issue of the Signs of the
Times, wrote "a brief statement of what is, and has been, with
great unanimity" believed by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The Second Article of the "concise statement of the more prominent
features of our faith" declared:
is one Lord Jesus Christ, and Son of the Eternal Father, the One by
God created all things, and by whom they do consist; that He took on
Him the nature of the seed of Abraham for the redemption of our fallen
race; that He dwelt among men, full of grace and truth, lived our example,
died our sacrifice, was raised for our justification, ascended on high
to be our only Mediator in the sanctuary in heaven, where, with His
blood, He makes atonement for our sins; ... 12
major statements from 1844 - 1888 in regard to the human nature which
Christ assumed at Bethlehem are to be found chiefly in the writings
of the Spirit of Prophecy. These statements, however, are specific,
and clearly enunciated.
first statement from the inspired testimonies appeared in 1858. In describing
the time when Jesus made the announcement of the plan of redemption
to the unfallen angels, the servant of the Lord pictures Jesus as revealing
the fact that - He
would leave all his glory in heaven, appear on
earth as a man, humble himself as a man, become acquainted by his own
experience with the various temptations with which man would be beset,
that he might know how to succor those who should be tempted;... 13
This was difficult for the angels to accept, and they offered
themselves as substitutes; but Jesus informed them that the life of
an angel could not pay debt for sin. He, however, assured them that
they would have a part to play
in the plan for man's redemption. Note carefully the words - what Jesus
Himself stated would take place:
told them that they should have a part to act, to be with Him, and at
different times strengthen Him. That He should take man's fallen
nature, and His strength would not be even equal with theirs. 14
the 1870's as Ellen G. White began to write more fully on the life and
mission of Jesus Christ, comprehensive statements in regard to the incarnation
appeared. Except for two articles on the subject of tithing, all the
written material from her pen appearing in the Review for the
year 1874, was on the subject of the plan of redemption and the temptations
of Christ. In these articles the following specific statements are found
which define the nature of the humanity Christ assumed in becoming man:
great work of redemption could be carried out only by the Redeemer
taking the place of fallen Adam...
love! What amazing condescension! The King of glory proposed to humble
Himself to fallen humanity! He would place His feet in Adam's steps.
He would take man's fallen nature and engage to cope with the
strong foe who triumphed over Adam. 15
Son of God humbled Himself and took man's nature after the
race had wandered four thousand years from Eden, and from their original
state of purity and uprightness. Sin had been making its terrible marks
upon the race for ages; and physical, mental, and moral degeneracy prevailed
throughout the human family.
Adam was assailed by the tempter in Eden he was without the taint of
sin. He stood in the strength of his perfection before God. All the
organs and faculties of his being were equally developed, and harmoniously
in the wilderness of temptation, stood in Adam's place to bear the test
he failed to endure. Here Christ overcame in the sinner's behalf, four
thousand years after Adam turned his back upon the light of his home.
Separated from the presence of God, the human family had been departing
every successive generation, farther from the original purity, wisdom,
and knowledge which Adam possessed in Eden. Christ bore the sins
and infirmities of the race as they existed when He came to earth to
help man. In behalf of the race, with the weaknesses of fallen man
upon Him, He was to stand the temptations of Satan upon all points wherewith
man would be assailed...
8 -- In what contrast
is the second Adam as he entered the gloomy wilderness to cope with
Satan single-handed. Since the fall the race had been decreasing in
size and physical strength, and sinking lower in the scale of moral
worth, up to the period of Christ's advent to the earth. And in order
to elevate fallen man, Christ must reach him where he was. He took human
nature, and bore the infirmities and degeneracy of the race. He, who
knew no sin, became sin for us. He humiliated himself to the lowest
depths of human woe, that he might be qualified to reach man, and bring
him up from the degradation in which sin had plunged him. 16
humanity of Christ reached to the very depths of human wretchedness,
and identified itself with the weaknesses and necessities of fallen
man, while his divine nature grasped the Eternal... Christ's work was
to reconcile man to God through his human nature, and God to man through
his divine nature. 17
man fallen could not overcome Satan with his human strength, Christ
came from the royal courts of heaven to help him with His human and
divine strength combined. Christ knew that Adam in Eden, with his superior
advantages, might have withstood the temptations of Satan, and conquered
him. He also knew that it was not possible for man, out of Eden, separated
from the light and love of God since the Fall, to resist the temptations
of Satan in his own strength. In order to bring hope to man, and save
him from complete ruin, He humbled Himself to take man's nature, that,
with His divine power combined with the human, He might reach man where
he is. He obtains for the fallen sons and daughters of Adam that strength
which it is impossible for them to gain for themselves, that in His
name they may overcome the temptations of Satan. 18
the first part of the year 1875, the articles from the pen of Ellen
G. White continued to present the temptations of Christ. She commented
- "How few can understand the love of God for the fallen race in
that He withheld not His divine Son from taking upon Him the humiliation
of humanity." 19
She pointed to the fact that Satan put forth his strongest
efforts to overcome Christ on the point of appetite at a time when He
was enduring the keenest pangs of hunger. Then she wrote:
gained was designed, not only to set an example to those who have fallen
under the power of appetite, but to qualify the Redeemer for His special
work of reaching to the very depths of human woe. By experiencing
in Himself the strength of Satan's temptation, and of human sufferings
and infirmities, He would know how to succor those who should put forth
efforts to help themselves. 19
9 -- In 1878, Sister White wrote a letter to a young man setting
Christ before him as the "great Exemplar". She quoted Hebrews
2:17 that Christ was "made like unto His brethren." Then she
felt both joy and grief as they feel. His body was susceptible to weariness,
as yours. His mind, like yours, could be harassed and perplexed. If
you have hardships, so did He. Satan could tempt Him. His enemies could
was sinless and had no dread of the consequences of sin. With this
exception His condition was as yours. You have not a difficulty
that did not press with equal weight upon Him, not a sorrow that His
heart has not experienced. His feelings could be hurt with neglect,
with indifference of professed friends, as easily as yours. Is your
pathway thorny? Christ's was so in a tenfold sense. Are you distressed?
So was He. How well fitted was Christ to be an example! 20
this same time, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2, was published.
In this volume, a specific contrast between man's nature, and Christ's
humanity is made. Ellen G. White wrote:
identifies Himself with our needs and weaknesses, in that He became
a suppliant, a nightly petitioner, seeking from His Father fresh supplies
of strength, to come forth invigorated and refreshed, braced for duty
and trial. He is our example in all things. He is a brother in our infirmities,
but not in possessing like passions. As the sinless One, His
nature recoiled from evil. He endured struggles and torture of soul
in a world of sin. His humanity made prayer a necessity and privilege.
further on the prayer life of Jesus, she penned the following: He
prayed for His disciples and for Himself, thus identifying Himself with
our needs, our weaknesses, and our failings, which are so common with
humanity. He was a mighty petitioner, not possessing the passions
of our human, fallen natures, but compassed with like infirmities,
tempted in all points even as we are. Jesus endured agony which required
help and support from His Father. 22
one reads the last two quotations, it would appear that these statements
are at variance with what had been written in other places prior to,
and contemporary with these statements. There is no conflict, however,
when one understands how the servant of the Lord in another place understood
10 -- used the word - passion. The following paragraph illustrates
its use, and how the phrase - "inclinations of the natural heart"
- is associated together in thought in regard to the experiential knowledge
of our Lord: No
man can be forced to transgress. His own consent must first be gained;
the soul must purpose the sinful act, before passion can dominate
over reason, or iniquity triumph over conscience. Temptation, however
strong, is never an excuse for sin.... Cast yourself, helpless, unworthy,
upon Jesus, and claim His very promise. The Lord will hear. He knows
how strong are the inclinations of the natural heart, and He will
help in every time of temptation. 23
our experience, we have purposed the sinful acts; our passions have
dominated over reason; iniquity triumphed over conscience. We have become
possesed with evil. But not so with Christ. He did not choose to sin.
Although understanding the strength of human inclination, the desires
of our fallen human nature never dominated His reason or triumphed over
His conscience. He conquered the tendencies of the humanity He took
upon Himself. In Him were no cultivated tendencies to evil for He never
permitted human passions to dominate His thinking, and thus control
statement defining the nature of the humanity Christ assumed appeared
in 1877. In this testimony a clear differentiation is made between "form"
and "nature" as pertaining to fallen man, and what Christ
accepted as a part of the plan devised by the Godhead for man's redemption.
It reads: It
was in the order of God that Christ should take upon Himself the
form and nature of fallen man, that He might be made perfect through
suffering, and Himself endure the strength of Satan's fierce temptations,
that He might understand how to succor those who should be tempted.
years later 1887 - Sister White wrote an article for the Review
regarding pride that was leading to strife for supremacy. She set before
the reader Christ's sacrifice as an example to be emulated. In so doing
11 -- certain facts that involved the nature of the humanity Christ
assumed. Three points are clearly enunciated:
was God, but the glories of the form of God He for a while relinquished.
He humbled Himself and took mortality upon Him. As a member of the human
family He was mortal...
He brouqht into His human nature all the life-givinq energies that
human beings will need and must receive.
pictured the abuse, insult, and reproach which Jesus suffered as a man;
and finally His humiliating death as a condemned criminal. In view of
this, a question is asked - "Shall pride be harbored after you
have seen Deity humbling
Himself, and then as man debasing Himself, till there was no lower point
to which He could descend?"
during the years from 1844 to 1888 - those years which have been termed
the formative years of our doctrine - clear, specific statements were
given through the Spirit of Prophecy in regard to the nature of Christ's
humanity. Christ in becoming man, took the place of "fallen Adam"
after the race had wandered four thousand years in sin. He accepted
"the sins and infirmities" of humanity "as they existed
when He came to earth to help man." By "experiencing in Himself"
human infi mities, He came to know "how strong are the inclinations
of the natural heart." He accepted not only the "form"
but also the "nature" of fallen man, reaching "to the
very depths of human wretchedness" "that He might be qualified
to reach man, and bring him up from the degradation in which sin had
plunged him." In His struggle with sin, He did not permit evil
passion to possess Him; He was its master, its conqueror. His "nature"
not the human He accepted in union with Himself, but that which was
His - His very Self from all eternity - "recoiled from evil."
He took "mortality upon Him" so that He could yield His life
as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.
12 -- The victory gained qualified Him to be not only an Example,
but a Redeemer from sin. Without controversy, great is the mystery of
the sublime condescension.
2 Sylvester Bliss, Memoirs of William Miller,
3 Ibid., pp. 77-80
4 Revelation 3:7
5 Francis D. Nichol, The Midnight Cry,
6 A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology,
7 Edward Irving, Works, 5:15. (Quoted
by Strong, op. cit., p. 745)
9 Edward Irving, quoted by Strong, op. cit.,
10 Ellen G. White, Special Testimonies, Series B,
No. 2, p. 57
11 J. H. Waggoner, The Atonement in the Light of Nature
and Revelation, p. 161
12 James White, Editorial, Signs of the Times, June
13 Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts, Vol. I, p. 24
14 Ibid., p. 25
15 Ellen G. White, "Redemption - No. 1",
Review and Herald, Feb. 24, 1874
16 Ellen G. White, "The Temptation of Christ",
Review and Herald, July 28, 1874
17 Ellen G. White, "The Temptation of Christ",
Review and Herald, August 4, 1874
18 Ellen G. White, "The Temptation of Christ",
Review and Herald, August 18, 1874
19 Ellen G. White, "The Temptation of Christ",
Review and Herald, March 18, 1875
20 Ellen G. White, Letter 17, 1878, Quoted Our High
Calling, pp. 57, 59
21 Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church,
Vol. 2, pp. 201-202
22 Ibid., pp. 508-509
23 Ibid., Vol. 5, p. 177
24 Ellen G. White, Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 2, p.
G. White, "Christ Man's Example", Review and Herald,
July 5, 1887 TOP
13 -- I
I I -- ELLEN G. WHITE ON THE INCARNATION - 1888 - 1915 --
The presentations of Dr. E. J. Waggoner and Elder A. T. Jones on the
subject of Righteousness by Faith during the last decade of the 19th
Century, included of necessity, a discussion of the nature of the humanity
which the Son of God assumed. Their concepts on the subject of the incarnation
produced opposition. Some of those who were opposed wrote to Sister
White. These did not simply write to the prophetess to obtain the light
she had been given in regard to the humanity of the Son of man, but
to assert their doubts as the basis for questioning. To these questioners,
she replied in a morning talk given at Battle Creek, Michigan on January
29, 1890. She revealed that "letters have been coming to me, affirming
that Christ could not have had the same nature as man, for if He had
He would have fallen under similar temptations." To this reasoning
she declared: If
He did not have man's nature, He could not be our example. If He was
not a partaker of our nature, He could not have been tempted as man
has been. If it were not possible for Him to yield to temptation, He
could not be our helper. It was a solemn reality that Christ came to
fight the battles as man, in man's behalf. His temptation and victory
tell us that humanity must copy the Pattern; man must become a partaker
of the divine nature. 1
this brief answer, there is summarized the position as found in the
Spirit of Prophecy, both prior to 1888, and until, Ellen G. White's
death in 1915. While it is true that during this period - 1888 to 1915
- many more statements on the subject of the incarnation came from the
pen of Sister White, than prior to 1888, there are no contradictions,
or altering of her position from the first statement in 1858.
are two approaches which could be used in presenting the material
14 -- on the incarnation in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy
during the period of time covered by this chapter. 1) We
could simply list by year what was penned, or 2) We could
bring together in an interpretive form, the statements regardless of
the year sequence. Since this is "an interpretive" history
of the doctrine as taught in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the latter
procedure will be followed.
Ellen G. White, the incarnation was "a mystery that will not be
fully, completely understood in all its greatness until the translation
of the redeemed shall take place. Then the power and greatness and efficacy
of the gift of God to man will be understood." 2
However, she cautioned that "the enemy is determined that this
gift shall be so mystified that it will become as nothingness." 3
magnitude and the depth of the condescension revealed by the incarnation
of Jesus Christ, leaves the student "breathless." In 1896,
Sister White wrote: In
contemplating the incarnation of Christ in humanity, we stand baffled
before an unfathomable mystery, that the human mind cannot comprehend.
The more we reflect upon it, the more amazing does it appear. How wide
is the contrast between the divinity of Christ and the helpless infant
in Bethlehem's manger! How can we span the distance between the mighty
God and a helpless child? And yet the Creator of worlds, He in whom
was the fulness of the Godhead bodily, was manifest in the helpless
babe in the manger. Far higher than any of the angels, equal with the
Father in dignity and glory, and yet wearing the garb of humanity! Divinity
and humanity were mysteriously combined, and man and God became one.
is in this union "that we find the hope of our fallen race."
humanity of the Son of God is everything to us. It is the golden chain
that binds our souls to Christ, and through Christ to God."
6 Therefore, we need to "fix our minds
on the most marvelous thing that ever took place in earth or heaven
the incarnation of the Son of God." 7
"We should come to this study with the
15 -- humility of a learner, with a contrite heart. And the study
of the incarnation of Christ [will be] a fruitful field, which will
repay the searcher who digs deep for hidden truth." 6
is one to begin in the study of the incarnation? The inspired counsel
are light and glory in the truth that Christ was one with the Father
before the foundation of the world was laid. This is the light shining
in a dark place, making it resplendent with divine, original glory.
This truth, infinitely mysterious in itsel f explains other mysterious
and otherwise unexplainable truths, while it is enshrined in light,
unapproachable and incomprehensible. 8
As "one with the Father", "the Lord Jesus
Christ... existed from eternity
a distinct person."
distinct Person became the" Man
Ellen G. White definitely states that "we cannot explain how
divinity was clothed with humanity",
9 her writings during this period unfold various fundamental
aspects of what took place when Christ became man. In 1899, she wrote:
at an infinite cost, by a painful process, mysterious to angels
as well as to men, assumed humanity. Hiding His divinity
laying aside His glory, He was born a babe in Bethlehem. 10
creation, Christ had given "to humanity an existence outside of
Himself;" but "in redemption, He takes humanity unto Himself.
He makes it a part of His own being." 11 We
might then ask - "Was the human nature of the Son of Mary changed
into the divine nature of the Son of God? No; the two natures were mysteriously
blended in one person - the man Christ Jesus." 12
Or we might ask the question another way - Was the divine nature
degraded by accepting the human nature formed in the womb of Mary? The
answer is again - No! "In Christ, divinity and humanity were combined.
Divinity was not degraded to humanity; divinity held its place, but
humanity by being united to divinity withstood the
fiercest test of temptation in the wilderness." 1
What then is meant when
16 -- the expression - Christ "united humanity with divinity"
- is used in the Spirit of
Prophecy? Note the following two quotations:
united humanity with divinity: a divine spirit dwelt in a temple of
flesh. He united Himself with the temple. 13 TOP
His person, humanity inhabited by divinity was represented to the world.
nature of the humanity of the Son of God - "a distinct person"
in His own right from eternity - is also clearly and unmistakably set
forth by the servant of the Lord. While Christ was declared to be the
second Adam, He did not accept the nature of Adam in his innocency,
but Adam's fallen nature. She wrote:
were united the divine and the human - the Creator and the creature.
The nature of God, whose law had been transgressed, and the nature of
Adam the transgressor, meet in Jesus - the Son of God, and the Son of
is there any doubt left as to the condition of the humanity which Christ
accepted in connection with Himself. On this point it was written: Think
of Christ's humiliation. He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human
nature, degraded and defiled by sin. 13
did in reality unite the offending nature of man with His own sinless
nature, because by this act of condescension He would be enabled to
pour out His blessings in behalf of the fallen race. 16
she be misunderstood, what she meant by the term, "human nature",
or when she
stated that Christ became "flesh", Ellen G. White emphasized
that it was "in the likeness of sinful flesh.". In an article
for the Youth's Instructor, she penned these words - "Let
children bear in mind that the child Jesus had
taken upon Himself human nature, and was in the likeness of sinful flesh,
* and was tempted of Satan as all children are
tempted." 17 In another source
-- This should dispel
forever the deception that Christ bore our fallen nature only at the
time of the wilderness temptation, and that "vicariously".
17 -- the servant of the Lord declared - "He [Christ] was not
only made flesh, but He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh."
Some might quibble over this point and hold that because Sister
White used the expression, "likeness of sinful flesh" - which
is a Biblical phrase - she meant that the nature that Jesus assumed
was not really the sinful fallen nature, but only something which physically
resembled it. However, in two published sources it is plainly stated
that "He took upon His sinless nature our sinful nature",
and "He took upon Him our sinful nature." 20
being specific as to the nature that Christ assumed, the servant of
the Lord was just as pointed as to the results of such a union. She
declared - "In His human nature, He maintained the purity of His
divine character." 21
In taking upon Himself man's nature in its fallen condition,
Christ did not in the least participate in its sin." 22
"No taint of sin was found on Him." 23
article in the Signs of the Times from which the last sentence
was quoted bore the title - "Sin Condemned in the Flesh."
In this article the various Bible texts, which refer to Christ's sinlessness
are quoted, such as, "that holy thing"; "He did no sin";
"knew no sin"; "in Him was no sin"; and that Christ
was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners." Then
this sentence is written - "This testimony concerning Christ plainly
shows that He condemned sin in the flesh." 23
positive point Ellen G. White made in reply to the questions that came
to her as a result of the preaching on the subject of Righteousness
by Faith was that if Christ "was not a partaker of our nature,
He could not have been tempted as man has been." 1
She also recognized that -
is a possibility of yielding, temptation is no temptation. Temptation
comes and is resisted when man is powerfully influenced to do a wrong
action, and knowing that he can do it, resists by faith, with a firm
hold upon divine power. 10
18 -- Then she declared - "This is the ordeal through which
Christ passed." To pass through this experience presented a two-fold
risk to the Godhead. 1) A risk to the Son of
God personally; and 2) A risk to the unity of the
eternal throne unless certain precautions were taken. From the beginning
God had exercised great care lest sin become immortalized. Our first
parents were driven from the garden so they could not partake of the
tree of life following their disobedience. 24
Now if Christ came into humanity with the immortal aspect of the Godhead
- the glory He had with the Father before the world was 25
- and failed, which had to be a possibility or His temptations would
have been meaningless, then there would have been two Beings in eternal
antagonism. The incarnation, of necessity, had to synthesize these two
Spirit of Prophecy indicated that Christ did accept in Himself this
synthesis. He came as "a free agent, placed on probation, as was
Adam, and as is man." 10
Christ also shielded the Eternal Throne. "He humbled Himself, and
took mortality upon Him. As a member of the human family, He was mortal;..." 26
if He sinned, "divine wrath would have come upon Christ as it came
But while Christ yielded up the divine prerogatives, His place
in the Godhead
was held in sacred trust, and could not be lost, "while He stood
and true to His loyalty." 27
1891 to 1900, Ellen G. White was in Australia. It was there in 1895
that she wrote a letter to an Australian evangelist, William L. H. Baker,
which has been used extensively to mitigate the force of all that she
wrote during this period on the nature which Christ assumed in becoming
a man. This letter is discussed in the Appendix. 28
At this very time, she was writing the book, The Desire of Ages.
Nowhere in this book can be found statements which would sustain the
interpretation being given to the letter to Elder Baker. TOP
19 -- Throughout the book The Desire of Ages the description
of the humanity which Christ assumed, and the victory that He obtained
in the flesh reflect the same concepts the author penned in previous
publications, and in the articles appearing in the church papers during
this same period. Of Christ, it is stated, He "accepted the results
of the working of the great law of heredity." In context, she wrote:
would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to
take man's nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But
Jesus accepted humanity when the race was weakened by four thousand
years of sin. Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the
working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown
in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity
to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of
a sinless life. 29
A pre-publication draft of this paragraph is very expressive.
It reads: Christ
was to take humanity upon Him, not as it was when Adam stood in his
innocence in Eden, but as weakened and defiled by four thousand years
of sin. He was to come as the Son of man, like every child of Adam,
accepting the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What
these results were, what was the inheritance bequeathed to Jesus in
His human nature, Scripture reveals in the history of those who were
the earthly ancestors of our Saviour. with such a heredity, Jesus came
as one of us, to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the
example of a sinless life. 30 In
another chapter of the book, Ellen G. White wrote that "as one
of us He was to give an example of obedience. For He took upon,Himself
our nature, and passed through our experiences." 31
expressions - "as one of us", and "our nature" are
clearly defined in the book. In one place it is written - "Christ
took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity", which for
four thousand years "had been decreasing in physical strength,
in mental power, and in moral worth." 32
"Our Saviour took humanity, with all its liabilities."
Christ knew that it was impossible
20 -- for man to deny the clamor of his fallen nature, and that
through this channel, Satan would seek to take advantage of hereditary
weakness to ensnare him, so "by passing over the ground which man
must travel, our Lord has prepared the way for us to overcome."
"By His humanity, Christ touched humanity; by His divinity,
He lays hold upon the throne of God. As the Son of man, He gave us an
example of obedience; as the Son of God, He gives us the power to obey."
statement appeared in the Youth's Instructor during 1897, which
could serve as a summary of what the inspired testimonies declared in
regard to the humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ. It reads:
To human eyes,
Christ was only a man, yet He was a perfect man. In His humanity, He
was the impersonation of the divine character. God embodied His own
attributes in His Son, - His power, His wisdom, His goodness, His purity,
His truthfulness, His spirituality, and His benevolence. In Him, though
human, all perfection of character, all divine excellence, dwelt.
Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, bk. i, p. 408
2 Ellen G. White, Letter 280, 1904 (5BC:1113)
4 Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, July
6 Ellen G. White, Youth's Instructor,
October 13, 1898
7 Ellen G. White, MS 76, 1903 (7BC:904)
8 Ellen G. White, Review and Herald,
April 5, 1906
9 Ellen G. White, Review and Herald,
October 1, 1889
10 Ellen G. White, MS 29, 1899
11 Ellen G. White, "The Word Made Flesh" Andreasen
Collection # 2
12 See Footnote #2
13 Ellen G. White, Youth's Instructor, December
20, 1900 (4BC:1147)
14 Ellen G. White, "The Kingdom of Christ" June
15 Ellen G. White, MS 141, 1901
16 Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, July
Ellen G. White, Youth's Instructor, August 23, 1894
18 Ellen G. White, W-106-1896
19 Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry, p. 181
20 Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, December
21 Ellen G. White, Youth's Instructor, June
22 Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, June
23 Ibid., January 16, 1896
24 Genesis 3:22-23
26 Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, September
4, 1900 (5BC:1127)
27 Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, May
10, 1899 (5BC:1129)
28 See Appendix A
Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 49
30 From photostat copy in writer's file; taken from
Andreasen's Collection No. 2
31 Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p.
32 Ibid., p. 117
33 Ibid., pp. 122-123
34 "Ellen G. White, Youth's Instructor, September
16, 1897 TOP
V-- THE DOCTRINE OF THE INCARNATION AS TAUGHT BY JONES AND WAGGONER
During the period of time covered in this chapter - 1888 to 1905
- the subject of the incarnation was preached mote extensively, and
discussed more fully than at any time in the history of the Seventh-day
Adventist Church with the exception of the last decade. To understand
the why of this emphasis during this period of time, it is necessary
to note the messages of righteousness by faith which came to the Church
at the 1888 General Conference Session and the decade following that
the General Conference Session in Minneapolis (1888), the Lord sent
"a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner
and Jones." l
These men enlarged and emphasized this message during the years that
followed. Not only did the message present "justification through
faith in the Surety," but "it invited the people to receive
the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to
all the commandments of God." Christ through the Holy Spirit, came
near to His Church with the objective of "imparting the priceless
gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent." This
is "the third angel's message, which is to be proclaimed with a
loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large
needs to be understood also that Christ as High Priest in the Most Holy
place of the heavenly sanctuary was desirous of completing His work
for man according to covenant promise. He had upon the Cross provided
a sufficient sacrifice for the sins of mankind; but as our High Priest,
He was to complete His work,, "and fulfil His pledge to 'make a
man more precious than fine gold; even
23 -- a man than the golden wedge of Ophir."' 3
This work of Christ is referred to in the Spirit of Prophecy as "a
special atonement for Israel", or "a final atonement."
question of what was involved in making a man more precious than the
golden wedge of Ophir, and how it was to be accomplished became the
primary emphasis in the presentation of the message of Righteousness
by Faith. The truth that the incarnation had a definite relationship
to the atonement, as projected by Edward Irving 5
- though misunderstood and misapplied by him - now came into its own;
and it was seen to be an essential and vital part of the message concerning
the special work that Jesus desired to accomplish in and for man.*
this period, the special messengers whom the Lord sent to the church
so presented the doctrine of the incarnation. In 1890, the Pacific Press
released a book by Dr. E. J. Waggoner , 6
which Froom avers to be an edited presentation of the
messages given by him at the 1888 General Conference Session.
setting forth Christ's divinity, Waggoner turns to the "wonderful
story of His humiliation." 8 He quotes and
comments on John 1:14 and Philippians 2:5-8. Then he writes: - "Other
scriptures that we will quote bring closer to us the fact of the humanity
of Christ, and what it
means for us." 9
These other texts were Romans 8:3-4, Hebrews 2:16-18, and II Corinthians
5:21. Commenting on Romans 8:3-4, he wrote:
- The doctrine of the incarnation cannot be separated
from the teaching of the perfection of character which God intends His
people to manifest in the final display of His glory in the earth. In
His incarnate life, Christ finished the work the Father gave Him to
do - "power over all flesh" - thus glorifying Him on the earth.
John 17:2-4. This is to be repeated; for the final victors of earth
are to overcome, "even as [Jesus] also overcame." Rev. 3:21.
24 -- A little thought
will be sufficient to show anybody that if Christ took upon Himself
the likeness of man, in order that He might redeem man, it must have
been sinful man that He was made like, for it was sinful man that He
came to redeem... Moreover, the fact that Christ took upon Himself the
flesh, not of a sinless being, but of sinful man, that is, that the
flesh which He assumed had all the weaknesses and sinful tendencies
to which fallen human nature is subject, is shown by the statement that
He "was made of the seed of David according to the flesh."
commenting on II Corinthians 5:21, Waggoner stated: This
is much stronger than the statement that He was made "in the likeness
of sinful flesh." He was made to be sin. Here is the same
mystery as that the Son of God should die. The spotless Lamb of God,
who knew no sin, was made to be sin. Sinless, yet not only counted as
a sinner, but actually taking upon Himself sinful nature. He was made
to be sin in order that we might be made righteousness. 11
does the incarnation relate to us being made righteousness? Observe
the further observations of Waggoner: He
[Christ] is "touched with the feeling of our infirmity. That is,
having suffered all that sinful flesh is heir to, He knows all about
it, and so closely does He identify Himself with His children that whatever
presses upon them makes a like impression upon Him, and He knows how
much Divine power is necessary to resist it; and if we but sincerely
desire to deny "ungodliness and worldly lusts", He is able
and anxious to give us strength "exceeding abundantly, above all
that we ask or think." All the power which Christ had dwelling
in Him by nature, we may have dwelling in us by grace, for He freely
bestows it unon us. 12
he adds: What
wonderful possibilities there are for the Christian! To what heights
of holiness he may attain! No matter how much Satan may war against
him, assaulting him where the flesh is weakest, he may abide under the
shadow of the Almighty, and be filled with the fullness of God's strength.
Thus Dr. Waggoner inseparably
linked the truth of the incarnation - that Christ took upon Himself
the fallen, sinful nature of man - and the objective of the atonement
- "that Christ may dwell in [our] hearts by faith", "that
[we] might be filled with all the fulness of God." - the "heights
of holiness" to which we may attain.
25 -- At the 1891 General Conference Session, Elder Waggoner gave
a series of studies on the book of Romans. In these studies the same
emphasis appears as in his book - Christ and His Righteousness.
the Eighth Study, Waggoner noted the attribute of a priest as one who
had compassion, and observed that the compassion of Christ was revealed
by the fact that "it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren."
Then he asked - "What is done by the compassion,of Christ?... What
benefit is the compassion of Christ to us?" To these questions,
he answered: He
[Christ] knows the strength we need. He knows what we need, when we
need it, and how we need it. So the work of Christ as priest, is for
one thing, - to deliver us from sin. His
next question was - "What is the power of Christ's priesthood?"
To this question,
the answer was given: He
is made priest "not after the law of a carnal commandment, but
after the power of an endless life." That is the power by
delivers you and me from sin this day, and this hour, and every moment
that we believe in Him.
Waggoner considered the power of the "endless life" as coming
from two sources: 1) It was a divine power,
and 2) the earthly life of Christ in the flesh was
a life free from sin; therefore, "death could not hold Him."
To the objection that this was good theory in the case of Christ, but
we are in the flesh and sin, he replied - "That is true; but in
the flesh there may be the divine life that was in Christ when He was
in the flesh." 14
the Tenth Study, Waggoner returned to the concept of the power of an
"endless life" as it pertains to the individual. He asked
- "Now how do we get hold of Christ? How do we get the benefit
of that righteous life of His? Here was the answer:
26 -- It
is in the act of death. At what point is it that we touch ...Christ,
and make the connection? At what point in the ministry of Christ is
it that He touches us, and effects the union? - It is at the lowest
possible point where man can be touched, and that is death. In all points
He is made like His brethren, so He takes the very lowest of these -
the point of death, - and there it is, when we are actually dead, that
we step into Christ. TOP
since Christ arose, we too, rise to newness of life. "That new
life, - that newness of life which we have, is the life of Christ, and
it is a SINLESS LIFE." In this same study, Waggoner declared this
to be the very heart, life, and power of the message of righteousness
by faith. He said: In
all of our Christian experience we have left little loopholes along
here and there for sin. We have never dared to come to that place where
we would believe that the Christian life should be a sinless life. we
have not dared to believe it or preach it. But in that case we cannot
preach the law of God fully. Why not? Because we do not understand the
power of justification by faith. Then without justification by
faith it is impossible to preach the law of God to the fullest extent.
the Twelfth study, all the teaching of righteousness by faith was linked
with the incarnation. In discussing the "old man", and our
marriage to this "body of sin" as Paul presented it in Romans
7, Waggoner observed that we were one with it. Just so, when we are
crucified with Christ, and rise to a new relationship, we are married
to Christ, and thus one with Him. On this point, he commented: What
a precious thought it is, that we are one flesh with Christ! In this
we see the mystery of the incarnation appearing again. If we can believe
that Christ was in the flesh, God incarnate in Christ, we can believe
this, - Christ dwelling in us, and working through us, - through our
flesh, just the same as when He took flesh upon Himself and controlled
is the difference between justification by faith as presented in the
Protestant Reformation, and the doctrine as brought to the Church in
1888. While the basic foundation was the same - the just shall live
by faith - it was in the 1888 message that the full application of what
it meant was made - the power to keep from sinning. In other
words, a people were to be prepared of whom it could be said, - "Here
are they that keep the commandments of God."
27 -- In 1892, Elder E. J. Waggoner accepted a call to become editor
of the Present Truth published in England. He did not again speak
before a General Conference Session until 1897. At that Session he presented
nineteen studies primarily on the first section of the book of Hebrews.
In these studies, he maintained the same position on the nature of Christ's
humanity that he had held six years previously.
discussing Hebrews 2:9 which states that Jesus "was made a little
lower than the angels for the suffering of death," 17
Waggoner commented - "He was made a little lower than the angels;
He was man. So that when we consider Him now, we consider Him as man,
and from this point though we have Jesus before us all the time, but
always as man. Never forget that." 18
To emphasize how closely Jesus has identified Himself with man, Waggoner
noted that Jesus did not abandon man when he sinned, but accepted the
curse in Himself, even the curse man received because of sin. He asked
the question - "Where is that point where the curse falls upon
Christ?" In answer to his own question, he said - "Sinful
flesh. Not only sinful flesh, but that which stands as the symbol of
the curse that falls upon Christ - the cross." 19
To Waggoner, the crucifixion did not begin at Calvary, for he declared
- "Christ taking fallen, sinful humanity upon Him, is Christ crucified."
contrasting the difference between the two Adams, Elder Waggoner emphasized
what he understood the Scripture to mean which said - "The Word
was made flesh." He said, "The Word was made perfect flesh
in Adam, but in Christ was the Word made fallen flesh. Christ goes down
to the bottom, and there is the Word flesh, sinful flesh."
1901, Elder E. J. Waggoner gave a sermon at the General Conference Session
which focused on the subject of the humanity of Christ, but because
28 -- of its timing and connection with the doctrinal issues which
came before the Session, his observations will be given in the chapter
on the Holy Flesh Movement.
1892 and onward the burden for the presentation of the Message of 1888,
and the truth in regard to the incarnation at the General Conference
Sessions rested upon Elder A. T. Jones. At both the 1893 and 1895 Sessions,
Jones used the same theme - "The Third Angel's Message".
the Tenth Study of the 1893 series, Jones discussed the "white
raiment" with which the saints are to be clothed. Of this garment,
he declared: Brethren,
that garment was woven in a human body. The human body the flesh of
Christ - was the loom, was it not? That garment was woven in Jesus;
in the same flesh that you and I have, for He took part of the same
flesh and blood that we have. That flesh that is yours and mine, that
Christ bore in this world - that was the loom in which God wove that
garment for you and me to wear in the flesh, and He wants us to wear
it now, as well as when the flesh is made immortal in the end!
was the loom? Christ in His human flesh. What was it that was made there?
[Voice: The garment of righteousness.] And it is for all of us. The
righteousness of Christ - the life that He lived - for you and for me,
that we are considering tonight, that is the garment... It was God in
Christ. Christ is to be in us, just as God was in Him, and His character
is to be in us, just as God was in Him, and His character is to be woven
and transformed into us through these sufferings and temptations and
trials which we meet. And God is the weaver, but not without us. It
is the co-operation of the divine and the human - the mystery of God
in you and me - the same mystery that was in the gospel, and that is
the third angel's message 22
the above statement, Elder Jones clearly indicated that the doctrine
of the incarnation which teaches that Christ took upon Himself the fallen
nature of man is inseparably linked with the message of righteousness
by faith, and this combined message is the third angel's message. Furthermore,
this whole concept was linked with the perfection that must be man's
in the final hour of human history. In the Eighteenth Study, Jones discussed
the demands of the law of
29 -- God. He stated that the Law demanded "perfect love, manifested
'out of a pure hftrt, a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned."'
Man can only respond, "I have not got it: I have done my best."
But the Law replies: That
is not what I want; I don't want your best; I want perfection. It is
not your doing I want anyhow, it is God's I want: it is not your
righteousness I am after: I want God's righteousness from you: it is
not your doing I want: I want God's doing in your life. What
can man say to this? Nothing, absolutely nothing! What is the answer?
Here is the answer that Jones gave:
there comes a still small voice saying, "Here is perfect life;
here is the life of God: here is a pure heart; here is a good conscience;
here is unfeigned faith." Where does that voice come from? [Congregation:
"Christ"] Ah, the Lord Jesus Christ, who came and stood where
I stand, in the flesh in which I live.; He lived there; the perfect
love of God was manifested there; the perfect purity of heart manifested
there; a good conscience manifested there; and the unfeigned faith of
the mind that was in Jesus Christ, is there.
And Jones added - "The
law wants to see that thing in
the 1895 series of studies given at the General Conference Session,
A. T. Jones enunciated the doctrine of the incarnation and the nature
of Christ's humanity more clearly and more completely than had been
done before in any single presentation.
began the study of the humanity of Christ by noting the common source
from which the humanity we possess was derived. "One man is the
source and head of all human nature. And the geneology of Christ, as
one of us, runs to Adam.. All coming from one man according to the flesh,
are all of one. Thus"on the human side, Christ's nature is precisely
our nature." 24
In commenting on John 1:14 - "And the Word was made flesh"
- Jones asked the question - "Now what kind of flesh is it?"
In answering this question, he asked another, and amplified the answer
30 -- What kind of flesh
alone is it that this world knows? - Just such flesh as you and I have.
This world does not know any other flesh of man, and has not known any
other since the necessity of Christ's coming was created. Therefore,
as this world knows only such flesh
as we have, as it is now, it is certainly true that when "the Word
was made flesh", He was made just such flesh as ours is. It cannot
be otherwise. 25 In this argument, Jones was
but echoing Edward Irving, who had declared, "That Christ took
our fallen nature, is most manifest, because there was no other in existence
to take." 26*
to Hebrews 2:9, A. T. Jones noted that Christ was not made "lower
than the angels" as man was when he was created - "That was
sinless flesh" but Christ was made a little lower than the angels
for the suffering of death where "man is since he sinned and became
subject to death." 27
next point in his structure of truth on the incarnation was based on
Hebrews 4:14 - Christ "was in all points tempted like as we are."
Concerning this Jones said:
could not have been tempted in all points like as I am, if He were not
in all points like as I am to start with...
was in the place, and He had the nature, of the whole
human race - And in Him meet all the weaknesses of mankind, so that
every man on the earth who can be twqpted at all, finds in Jesus Christ
power against that temptation. For every soul there is in Jesus Christ
victory against all temptation, and relief from the power
of it. That is the truth. 28
As one reads closely
the six studies devoted to a discussion of the humanity of the Son of
God in the incarnation which A. T. Jones gave at the 1895 General Conference
Session, one is impressed with the emphasis which parallels the basic
position of Edward Irving of England. One cannot help but wonder if
E. J. Waggoner after arriving in England obtained Irving's Works,
and sent them to his friend and co-laborer? However, Jones studiously
avoided the basic error of Irving in attributing to Christ's human nature
the cultivated sins of man. There can be no doubt that A. T. Jones considered
this presentation of the incarnation an advanced step to any previous
study on the subject. He said "We are here studying the same subject
that we have been studying these three or four years; but God is leading
us further along in the study of it, and I am glad." General
Conference Bulletin, 1895, p. 330 TOP
31 -- In the study the following evening, Jones returned to the
point of inheritance which man received from Adam. He stated that "there
is not a single drawing toward sin, there is not a single tendency to
sin, in you and me that was not in Adam when he stepped out of the girden."
"All the tendencies to sin that are in the human race came from
Adam." "Jesus Christ felt all these emptations; He was tempted
upon all these points in the flesh which He derived from David, from
Abraham, and from Adam." He reminded his hearers - "And there
is such a thing as heredity." What did this mean in Jones' thinking
as it applied to the incarnation? He stated:
that law of heredity reached from Adam to the flesh of Jesus Christ
as certainly as it reaches from Adam to the flesh of any of the rest
of us;l for He was one of us. In Him there were things that reached
Him from Adam; in Him there were things that reached Him from David,
from Manasseh, from the genealogy away back from the beginning until
His birth. Thus in the flesh of Jesus Christ, - not in Himself,
but in His flesh, - our flesh which He took in the human nature, - there
were just the same tendencies to sin that are in you and me. 29
But as each temptation sought to draw upon Him through the tendencies
of the flesh, Jesus Christ "by His trust in God" received
the power to say, No, "and thus being in the likeness of sinful
flesh, He condemned sin in the flesh."
making these assertions, A. T. Jones was very careful to clarify two
points: 1) "There is a difference between a tendency
to sin, and the open appearing of that sin in the actions." And
2) "Those sins which we have committed, - we ourselves
felt the guilt of them, and were conscious of condemnation because of
them. These were all imputed
to Him; they were all laid upon Him." 30
Thus Jones carefully differentiated between.the inherited tendencies
to sin which are common to man's nature, which Christ took, and the
32 -- of evil which each man developes in his own life through yielding
to sin. The former Christ accepted in coming under the great law of
heredity; the latter He bore vicariously
when He became the sin offering at Calvary. Because of this, Jones was
able to declare: 0,
He is a complete Saviour. He is a Saviour from sins committed, and the
Conqueror of the tendencies to commit sins. In Him we have the victory.
does this victory mean to us? Is it imputed, or imparted? Is it just
something we look at and adore, or is it something we, too, can experience?
Jones discussed this point in his next study. He stated: As
weak as we,
sinful as we, simply ourselves, - He went through this world, and never
sinned. * He
was sinful as we, weak as we, helpless as we, helpless as the man is
who is without God; yet by His trust in God, God so visited Him, so
abode in Him, so strengthened Him, that, instead of sin ever being manifested,
the righteousness of God was always manifested.
who was He? He was ourselves. Then God has demonstrated once in the
world, and to the universe, that He will so come to me and you; and
so live with us, as we are in the world today; and will cause His grace
and His power to so abide with us; that, in spite of all our sinfulness,
in spite of all our weaknesses, the righteousness and the holy influence
of God will be manifested to men, instead of ourselves and our sinfulness.
- Admittedly, Jones
used "strong language" when he used the expression - "sinful
as we" - in identifying Christ with man. This is another echo of
Irving's teaching. But in reality, what difference in basic thought
from Jones is this statement:- "With the terrible weight of the
sins of the world upon Him, Christ withstood the test upon appetite,
upon the love of the world, and upon that love of display which leads
to presumption." (Desire of Ages, p. 117) The question is
how are the Biblical expressions of Christ's identity with man to be
verbalized. Paul wrote that God "hath made Him to be sin
for us, who knew no sin." Also he penned that Christ was "made
a curse for us" and "abolished in His flesh the enmity."
Peter stated that Christ bore "our sins in His own body
to the tree." Jones was speaking of Christ in the context of the
Psalms. Psalm 69:5 was quoted - "0 God, thou knowest my foolishness;
and my sins are not hid from thee." Jones commented - "We
read here His confession of sin. This was He as ourselves, and in our
place, confessing our sins." Thus, "sinful as we", is
not to be understood that Christ was a sinner, but that He had put Himself
in the sinner's place.
33 -- To A. T. Jones, it would be no mystery for God to be manifest
in sinless flesh. "But the wonder is that God can do that through
and in sinful
flesh. That is the mystery of God, - God manifest in sinful
flesh." Then he stated:
In Jesus Christ as He was in sinful flesh, God has demonstrated before
the universe that He can so take possession of sinful flesh as to manifest
His own presence, His power, and His glory, instead of sin manifesting
itself. And all that the Son asks of any man, in order to accomplish
this in him, is that the man will let the Lord have him as the Lord
God will so take us, and so use us, that our sinful selves shall not
appear to influance or affect anybody; but God will manifest His righteous
self, His glory, before men, in spite of all ourselves and our sinfulness.
That is the truth. And that is the mystery of God, "Christ
in you, the hope of glory," - God manifest in sinful flesh.
"false idea that [Christ] is so holy that it would be entirely
in Him to come near to us, and be possessed of such a nature as we have,
- sinful, depraved, fallen human nature" had its source in "the
incarnation of that enmity that is against God, and that separates between
man and God, the papacy." To accomplish this, "Mary must be
born immaculate, perfect, sinless" and "then Christ must be
so born of her as to take His human nature in absolute sinlessness from
her." But Jones declared for himself [and for all of us] - "I
need some one to help me who knows something about sinful nature; for
that is the nature that I have; and such the Lord did take. He became
one of us." Then Jones challenged those present at the meeting
that in the light of a revival of papal power, and the formation of
the image to the beast - "having the form of godliness without
the reality, without the power" is not the truth of the incarnation
needed today as never before so that there can be proclaimed "the
real merits of Jesus Christ . . . ANd His holiness?" 34
the time that Jones reached his Sixteenth Study, some of the delegates
were either openly challenging his presentation of the incarnation by
34 -- attention to the statements in Testimonies for the Church,
Vol. 2, or else were beginning to study carefully what had been presented
and sought an answer to what appeared to be a contradiction between
Jones' presentation and the Spirit of Prophecy. At the close of the
study, Jones made the following comment:
found, and all may find, in the Testimonies, the statement that
Christ has not "like passions" as we have. The statement
is there; everyone may find it there, of course.
there will be no difficulty in any of these studies from beginning to
end, if you will stick precisely to what is said, and not go beyond
what is said, nor put into it what is not said; whether it be Church
or State, separation from the world, or this of Christ
in our flesh. 35
though the concept that the Son of God assumed man's fallen nature had
been presented with clarity during the previous four years by the messengers
of the Lord. 36
many were still reluctant to express themselves in regard to
this1basic truth. At the beginning of his presentations on the incarnation
during these 1895 studies, Jones asked the assembled delegates - "Well,
then, in His human nature, when He was upon the earth, was He in any
wise different from what you are in your human nature tonight?"
A stenographer noted the reaction: "[A few in the congregation
responded, 'NO']". To this Jones replied - for to him this concept
was basic to the true teaching of righteousness by faith:
I wish we
had heard everybody in the house say, "No," with a loud voice.
You are too timid altogether. The Word of God says that, and we are
to say, That is so; because there is salvation in just that one thing.
No, it is not enough to say it that way: the salvation of God
for human beings lies in just that one thing. We are not to be timid
about it at all. There our salvation lies, and until we get there we
are not sure of our salvation. That is where it is. "In all things
it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren." What for? -
0, "that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things
pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor
them that are tempted." Then don't you see that our salvation lies
just there? Do you not see that it is right there where Christ comes
to us? He came to us just where we are
35 -- tempted,
and was made like us just where we ire tempted; and there is the point
where we meet Him - the living Saviour against the power of temptation.
the Seventeenth Study, Jones devoted the time answering the questions
some had raised because of the statements found in Testimonies for
the Church, Vol. 2. He began his study with these words:
Now as to
Christ's not having "like passions" with us: in the Scriptures
all the way through He is like us, and with us according to the flesh.
He is the seed of David according to the flesh. He was made in the likeness
of sinful flesh. Don't go too far. He was made in the likeness of sinful
flesh; not in the likeness of sinful mind. Do not drag His mind into
it. His flesh was our flesh; but the mind was "the mind of Christ
In this clear differentiation, Jones was only doing what he had done
previously, separated between the inherited tendencies to sin common
to man, and the habits of sin which men have cultivated by yielding
to temptation. On this point, he elucidated as follows:
have consented to sin. We have felt the enticements of the flesh, and
our minds have yielded, our minds consented, and did the wills and desires
of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind. The
flesh leads, and our minds have followed, and with the flesh the law
of sin is served...
the flesh of Jesus Christ was our flesh, and in it was all that is in
our flesh, - all the tendencies to sin that are in our flesh were in
His flesh, drawing upon Him to get Him to consent to sin. Suppose He
had consented to sin with His mind; what then? Then His mind would have
been corrupted, and then He would have become of like passions with
until that drawing of our flesh is cherished, there is no sin...
Jesus Christ came in just such a flesh as ours; but with a mind that
held its integrity against every temptation, against every inducement
to sin, - a mind that never consented to sin, - no, never in the least
conceivable shadow of a thought. 39
this study, Jones quoted from two sources in the Spirit of Prophecy.
One was an article in the Review and Herald, July 5, 1887, which
he quoted extensively, and the other was a pre-publication copy of the
Desire of Ages, which
36 -- he referred to as "the new Life of Christ, advance copy."
After quoting from this advance copy at length, Jones concluded his
study with these remarks:
You see, we
are on firm ground all the way, so that when it is said that He [Christ]
took our flesh; but still was not a partaker of our passions, it is
all straight, it is all correct; because His divine mind never consented
to sin. And that mind is brought to us by the Holy Spirit that
is freely given unto us.
know that the Son of God has come, and hath given us a mind;" and
"we have the mind of Christ." "Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus." 40
1905, the Pacific Press published, The Consecrated Way to Christian
Perfection, by A. T. Jones. This book based on Hebrews, contained
the same basic concepts in regard to the human nature of our Lord, which
he so clearly presented in the 1895 studies at the General Conference
Session. As indicated by the title, and summarized in the book, the
humanity of the Son of God, and the perfection of character to be attained
by the Christian cannot be separated. Here is that summary:
perfection of character, is the Christian goal - perfection attained
in human flesh in this world. Christ attained it in human flesh in this
world, and thus made and consecrated a way by which, in Him,
every believer can attain it. He, having attained it, has become our
great High Priest, by His priestly ministry in the true sanctuary to
enable us to attain it.
is the Christian's goal; and the High Priesthood and ministry of Christ
in the true sanctuary is the only way by which any soul can attain this
true goal in this world. "Thy way, 0 God, is in the sanctuary."
Ps. 77:13. 41 TOP
in his studies and presentations during a lifetime of ministry for the
Church rescued the truth of the incarnation of the Son of God presented
by Irving during the great Second Advent Movement in England. He freed
it from misstatement and overstatement, and placed it in its rightful
place in connection with the "final atonement."
1 Ellen G. White, Special Testimony to
the Battle Creek Church, p. 35
2 Ibid., pp. 35-36
3 Ellen G. White, Desire of Ages,
4 Ellen G. White, Early Writings, pp.
5 See Chapter II.
6 E. J. Waggoner, Christ and His Righteousness
(Pacific Press Publishing Company,.Oakland, Calif.) October 15,
1890, 96 pp.
L. E. Froom, Movement of Destiny, p. 189
8 Waggoner, loc. cit., p. 24
9 Ibid., p. 26 Emphasis supplied
10 Ibid., pp. 26-27 Emphasis his.
11 Ibid , pp. 27-28 Emphasis his
12 Ibid., p. 30
13 Ibid., pp. 30-31
14 Waggoner, "Letter to the Romans - No. 8",
General Conference Bulletin, 1891, pp. 130-131
15 Waggoner, loc. cit., No. 10, pp. 156, 159.
16 Waggoner, loc. cit., No. 12, p. 185
17 Hebrews 2:9
18 Waggoner, "Studies in the Book of Hebrews
- No. 4", General Conference
Bulletin, 1897, p. 45
20 Waggoner, loc. cit.,No. 6, p. 71
21 Waggoner, loc. cit., No. 5, p. 57
22 A. T. Jones,"The Third Angel's Message"
- No. 10, General Conference Bulletin, 1893, p. 207
23 Jones, loc.cit., No. 18, p. 412. Emphasis
24 Jones, "The Third Angel's Message" -
No. 13, General Conference Bulletin, 1895, p. 231
26 See Chapter II, Footnote #7.
Jones, loc.cit., pp. 232-233
28 Ibid, pp. 233-234 Emphasis his.
29 Jones, loc.cit., No. 14, p. 266 Emphasis supplied.
30 Ibid, p. 267 Emphasis supplied.
32 1bid., No. 15, p. 302.
33 Ibid., p. 303.
34 Ibid., No. 16, p. 311.
35 Ibid, p. 312.
36 See Footnote, p. 30.
37 Jones, loc. cit., No. 13, p. 233.
38 Ibid., No. 17, p. 327.
39 Ibid., p. 328.
40 Ibid, p. 333.
41 Jones, The Consecrated Way to Christian Perfection,
p. 84 Emphasis his. TOP
38 -- V
-- OTHER SOURCES - 1888-1915
The first Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly was published
by the Pacific Press in 1889. This issue was preceded by three lesson
pamphlets in 1888 and 1889, each of which contained lessons for six
months. 1 Along with the Spirit of Prophecy, these
Lesson Quarterlies for the Senior Division represent an authoritative
source as to what is believed and taught by the Church at any given
period. During the period from 1888 through 1915, where the subject
of the incarnation of Christ was either the lesson topic, or was discussed
as a section of the lesson, the concepts presented harmonized with what
had been taught by the Church prior to 1888. Also during this time,
the statements concerning the nature of the humanity assumed by the
Son of God in becoming the Son of man, became increasingly more positive
a lesson for the 2nd Quarter of 1896 which discussed the object of the
incarnation, these notes were found:
not only born a man, but He was born under the law, both to be judged
by the law, and to be dealt with according to the law in His own person;
and as man's representative, to satisfy the law for all of man's transgressions
order to meet man where he was after the fall, Christ emptied Himself
of all His glory and power, becoming just as dependent on the Father
for life and daily strength as sinful man is dependent upon Him. 2
lesson during the 4th Quarter of the same year contained this observation:
in His humanity lived a life of dependence upon the Father. This He
did, not of necessity, but of choice, that He might be a perfect example
to us. He did not exchange His divinity for humanity, but, clothing
His divinity with humanity, He emptied Himself, and did not avail Himself
of His divine attributes in His contest with evil... He won for us in
our human nature a life of victory over evil, and made it possible for
us to live the life
39 -- which He lived...
Christ in His humanity, subject to all the conditions and limitations
of humanity, obeyed perfectly that law which He in His divinity had
proclaimed with His own voice from Sinai, and thus won for us a life
of obedience, which, as our High Priest, He
ministers to all who yield themselves to Him. 3
1902, a lesson was studied which associated the incarnation of Christ
with the tabernacle constructed at Mount Sinai. After reviewing the
gospel promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the author of the lesson
stated that the chief provision of these promises was the commitment
"of the Son of God in the flesh as the power of the promise to
restore all things." Through these promises "the same lesson
was being taught which was afterward given in a more detailed form in
the tabernacle and its services. The truth thus revealed was the incarnation
of the Son of God and His mediatorship in the flesh... The tabernacle
and its services, afterward embodied in a more permanent form in the
temple, constituted a parable, a concrete revelation of the gospel.
This 'tent of meeting', this 'tabernacle of witness', was constantly
testifying to God's purpose that humanity should be His temple, through
the gift of His Son in the flesh, who would become 'the appointed meeting-place
between God and humanity.'" 4
Sabbath School classes in 1909 studied a lesson based on John 1:1-18.
The note which commented on verse 14 - "The Word became flesh"
- stated: Divinity
tabernacled in the flesh of humanity. Not the flesh of sinless man,
but such flesh as the children of earth possess. That was the glory
of it. The divine Seed could manifest the glory of God in sinful flesh,
even to absolute and perfect victory over any tendency of the flesh.
weeks later a note in the Quarterly contained this comment:
God acting in sinful flesh on behalf of the sinner. He made Himself
one with humanity. He took upon Himself the woes, the needs, and sins,
of humanity, so that He felt the consciousness and keenness of it as
no other soul ever felt it. 6 TOP
the topics for the First Quarter of 1913 was a study on the relationship
between the incarnation and the priesthood of Jesus Christ. The first
note read: It
is very important that we should have a clear understanding of the relation
of the incarnation of Christ to His mediatorial work. He was made priest
"after the power of an endless life," in order that He might
minister grace, mercy, and power to the weak and erring. This is accomplished
by making such a close union with those needing help, that divinity
and humanity are brought into personal relation, and the very Spirit
and life of God dwell in the flesh of the believer. In order to establish
this relation between God and sinful flesh, it was necessary for the
Son of God to take sinful flesh; and thus was bridged the gulf which
separated sinful man from God. 7
No. 3 concluded the lesson study for the Sabbath. It stated:
sinful flesh, and voluntarily making Himself dependent upon His Father
to keep Him from sin while He was in the world, Jesus not only set the
example for all Christians, but also made it possible for Him to minister
to sinful flesh the gift of His own Spirit and the power for obedience
to the will of God. 8 In
this lesson not only were the positive aspects of the incarnation in
relationship to the mediatorial work of Christ presented, but the false
mediatorial system of the Roman Catholic church was discussed. The Dogma
of the Immaculate Conception was declared to be a denial of Christ's
true incarnation. It was observed that "this denial of the perfect
union of Christ with sinful flesh opens the way for a series of subsidiary
mediators whose duty it is to bring the sinner into saving touch with
lessons for the Second Quarter of 1913 continued the general theme of
the Sanctuary and Christ's mediation. It was pointed out that God through
the sanctuary service sought to teach the vital truth that He indeed
would dwell with man. One lesson.noted the Babylonian teaching was that
the God of the heavens would not dwell with flesh. 9
The 18th question asked - "What is the teaching of modern
Babylon concerning this same fundamental doctrine?"
41 -- The answer read: By
the dogma of the immaculate conception of the virgin Mary,
Rome teaches that the mother of Jesus was preserved from the stain of
original sin, and that she had sinless flesh. Consequently she was separated
from the rest of humanity. As a re-
sult of this separation of Jesus from sinful flesh, the Roman priesthood
has been instituted in order that there may be some one to mediate between
Christ and the sinner. 10 The
student was referred to Note #5 which quoted a Catholic source as saying
that a belief
which considered Christ as assuming sinful flesh was "revolting".
note concluded - "Thus by shutting Christ away from the same flesh
and blood which we have.. . modern Babylon really denies the vital truth
of Christianity, although pretending to teach it. Such is 'the mystery
of iniquity.'" 11
the last Quarter of 1913, the book of Romans was the subject of the
Sabbath School lessons. In the first lesson, Note #5 commented upon
the phrase that Christ was "of the seed of David according to the
flesh." It read: Christ
was, therefore, of the royal line through His mother. But He was more
than this; He was the same flesh as the seed.of David, in and through
which for generations had flowed the blood of sinful humanity, - Solomon,
and Rehoboam, and Ahaz, and Manasseh, and Amon, and Jeconiah, and others.
The Son of God took this same flesh in order that He might meet temptation
for us, and overcome with divine power every trial we must meet. Christ
is our Brother in the flesh, our Saviour from sin. 12
study of the book of Romans reached into the first Quarter of 1914.
In the lesson which included Romans 8:3-4, this note is found:
What the law
in sinful man could not do, God did by sending His own Son. That Son
took the flesh of sinful man, and overcame where man failed, overthrew
sin in the flesh; and so He can come into the flesh of those who will
open their hearts to receive Him, with that same power, and conquer
sin there. 13
this period, an editorial appeared in the Review and Herald
42 -- entitled, "'Like Unto His Brethren."' 14
The editorial stressed the humanity of our Lord. Beginning with
Genesis 3:15, a series of texts were introduced to show Christ's identity
with humanity. Both the prophecies of the Old Testament, and the confirmation
of His life in the New Testament were quoted in support of this position.
Then this observation followed:
And it is
further declared that the flesh which Jesus took and in which He was
tempted, was the same as the flesh of the other members of the human
family, sinful flesh.
results of this life were also spelled out for the reader:
Jesus is a
perfect Saviour because, having lived in our sinful flesh without sin,
[as] the son of man, He has formed such a union between divinity and
humanity that He is able to live the same life in us.
editorial portrayed the risks that confronted Christ in His acceptance
of fallen human nature. Even as a child, He would be subject to Satan's
temptations, but inspite of the risks involved the Godhead, "accepted
the conditions which sin had imposed upon the-human family." The
Desire of Ages was quoted in support of this position:
Into the world
where Satan claimed dominion God permitted His Son to come, a helpless
babe, subject to the weakness of humanity. He permitted Him to meet
life's perils in common with every human soul, to fight the battle as
every child of humanity must fight it, at the risk of failure and eternal
loss. 15 The
editor believed that in the childhood experience of Jesus, the reader
could find his greatest encouragement. The following parallel was drawn:
was through being born of the Holy Spirit that Jesus entered upon His
new stage of existence as the Son of man... Jesus was born again by
the Holy spirit. So it must be with every child of God... The failure
to see the perfect parallel between the two experiences may arise from
the fact that Jesus was a perfect Being of an infinitely higher order
before He was born of the Spirit as the Son of man, while we are already
in the flesh as sinful beings before we are born of the Spirit. In the
process of conversion we become as little children by being born again,
43 -- our experience is
parallel with the experience of Jesus, who was born of the Spirit. There
is the same condition of weakness in both cases, and the same dependence
upon the keeping power of the Father. 14 TOP
was quick in coming from the field. Within a month another editorial
appeared answering questions raised by the readers. One asked about
the risk which Christ accepted in the light of the foreknowledge of
God. To this question, the editor replied:
practically raises the old question of free will and foreordination.
His position is that God knew before He sent His Son into the world
that He would not fail, and therefore there was no risk of failure.
In the same way Christ must have known the outcome of His mission to
this earth,... 11
coming to these conclusions our correspondent looks at the question
from the standpoint of the divinity of Christ, and does not give due
weight to the considerations which arise from the humanity of Christ.
God sent His Son into the world as a man, subject to the conditions
and experiences of humanity. As a man Jesus sustained the same relation
to the foreknowledge of God as is sustained by every man. The foreknowledge
of God did not limit His freedom as a man. His freedom as a man did
not interfere with the foreknowledge of God. As a man endowed with the
freedom of will, the second Adam, there was the same possibility of
failure as there was with the first Adam in his sinless state. otherwise
there would be neither force nor comfort in the statement that He was
"in all points tempted like as we are." otherwise the agony
and the bloody sweat, and the cry, "My God, my God, why hast thou
forsaken me?" would have been merely the acting of a part, and
Christ's experience on this earth would have been the same sort of an
example of trust in God as is that of the villain in the play who knows
that the revolver is loaded with blank cartridges, and that he will
be all right again as soon as the curtain falls. As a man Christ knew,
through faith in God's word, that His Father was able to keep Him from
falling, just as any man may know it who will believe God. In the fulness
of this faith Christ committed Himself to His Father's keeping power,
and was not disappointed. The same privilege is offered to every Man.16
second editorial appeared in December because of continued reaction
from the field. 17
The editor began by stating - "A reader of the Review has
written to the editor at some length concerning the statement made in
a recent editorial to the effect that the flesh which Jesus took was
sinful flesh." The or inal
44 -- editorial had supported this assertion by using Romans 8:3.
The reader wrote: I
notice that this Scripture does not say that God sent His own Son 'in
sinful flesh', but 'in the likeness of sinful flesh.' To me this seems
a very different statement. How could one in sinful flesh be perfect,
be holy, be unblemished (free from stain)?" In
replying to this question, the editor indicated there were two ways
to answer it. One was to introduce "positive proof in support of
our view." The other would be to reason from consequences which
"would follow from the position taken by our correspondent."
The editor decided to use both options.
"positive" proof Hebrews 2:14-17 was introduced with these
natural and legitimate conclusion from this declaration would be that
the flesh and blood of Jesus were the same as the children had...
mission of Jesus was not to rescue fallen angels, but to save fallen
man. He therefore identified Himself with man, and not with angels,
and He became "in all things" like unto those whom He professed
to help. The flesh of man is sinful. In order to be "in all things"
like unto man, it was necessary that Jesus should take sinful flesh.
text used was the text used in the original editorial - Romans 8:3.
The editor compared the wording with Philippians 2:7 where Christ came
in the likeness of men, and then asked - "Do we not rightly conclude
that Jesus was really a man when we read that He was made "in the
likeness of men"? - Most certainly. The only way in which He could
be "in the likeness of men" was to become a man. Is it not
equally clear that the only way in which God could send His Son "in
the likeness of sinful flesh" would be for that Son to have sinful
to the consequences of rejecting the fact that Christ accepted the fallen
nature of man when He assumed humanity, the editor wrote:
45 -- If the Son of God
did not dwell in sinful flesh when He was born into the world, then
the ladder has not been let down from heaven to earth, and the gulf
between a holy God and fallen humanity has not been bridged. It would
then be necessary that some further means should be provided in order
to complete the connection between the Son of God and sinful flesh.
And this is exactly what the Roman Catholic Church has done... First
come the priests on earth, which are known to have sinful flesh, then
come those who did dwell in sinful flesh, but are now canonized by the
church as saints in heaven; next the angels; and lastly the mother of
Jesus. Thus the door to heaven is not Jesus, but the church, and such
a price is charged for opening the door as it is believed the sinner
or his friends can pay. These,are the consequences which naturally follow
the doctrine that Jesus did not take sinful flesh, and we avoid these
consequences by denying the doctrine, and holding to the plain teaching
of the Scriptures.
answering the second part of the reader's question - "How could
one in sinful
flesh be perfect, be holy?" - the editor well stated:
touches the very heart of our Christianity. The teaching of Jesus is,
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven
is perfect." And through the apostle Peter comes the instruction,
"Be ye holy; for I am holy." No one will deny that we have
sinful flesh, and we therefore ask how it will be possible to meet the
requirements of the Scripture if it is not possible for one to be perfect
or holy in sinful flesh. The very hope of our attaining perfection and
holiness is based upon the wonderful truth that the perfection and holiness
of divinity were revealed in sinful flesh in the person of Jesus. We
are not able to explain how this could be, but our salvation is found
in believing the fact... It is the crowning glory of our religion that
even flesh of sin may become a temple for the indwelling of the Holy
this period - 1888-1915 - publications from two different publishing
houses of the Church taught the same fundamental doctrine in regard
to the incarnation of Christ. Uriah Smith, while serving as an associate
editor of the Review and Herald, released a book entitled - Looking
Unto Jesus. In this book the following comments are found noting
the nature of the humanity which Christ assumed as the Son of man:
... He humbled
Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant,
46 -- by consenting to
take the fashion of puny, mortal, sinful man. In the likeness of sinful
flesh, He reached down to the very depths of man's fallen condition,
and became obedient unto death, even the ignominious death of the cross.
came in the likeness of sinful flesh to demonstrate before all parties
in the controversy that it was possible for men in the flesh to keep
the law. He demonstrated this by keeping it Himself. On our plane of
existence, and in our nature, He rendered such obedience to every principle
and precept, that the eye of Omniscience itself could detect no flaw
therein. His whole life was but a transcript of that law, in its spiritual
nature, and in its holy, just, and good demands. He thus condemned sin
in the flesh, by living Himself in the flesh and doing no sin; showing
that it was possible for man thus to live. 19
1911, the Pacific Press published a book, - Questions and Answers
compiled by the editor, Milton C. Wilcox, from the Question Corner Department
of the Signs of the Times. A question was asked concerning the
text in Hebrews 2: 14-17. In answering this question, the editor noted
the steps in Christ's sacrifice to "break the power of sin, unify
God's broken creation, and save man." Commenting on the step, "in
the likeness of men", he wrote:
In this step
the eternal Logos "became flesh", the same as we; for He was
"born of woman, born under the law", under its condemnation,
as a human, having the flesh with all the human tendencies; a partaker
of the "flesh and blood" of humanity; "in all things"
"made like unto His brethren," "suffered being tempted."
And He met all the temptations even as you and I must meet them, by
faith in the will and Word of God. There is not a tendency in the flesh
of humanity but what dwelt in His. And He overcame them all.
1915, a revised Bible Readings for the Home Circle, was published
by the Review and Herald Publishing Association. This work became the
standard evangelistic publication of the Church for more than three
decades. From this book many Seventh-day Adventists received their first
knowledge of present truth. The chapter - "A Sinless Life"
- is so completely representative of the teaching of the Church till
about 1950 in regard to Christ's humanity, and the
47 -- reproduction of that life in every believer that it is reproduced
in full in Appendix B for comparison and study. The question and answer
from the chapter which concisely summarized the position of the Church
on the nature of the humanity which the Son of God assumed, not only
for this period, but from 1844 to 1950, reads as follows: 21
How fully did Christ share our common humanity?
"Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be 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." Verse 17.
Note. - In His humanity Christ partook of'our sinful, fallen
nature. If not, then He was not "made like unto His brethren,"
was not "in all points tempted like as we are," did not overcome
as we have to overcome, and is not, therefore, the complete and perfect
Saviour man needs and must have to be saved. The idea that Christ was
born of an immaculate or sinless mother, inherited no tendencies to
sin, and for this reason did not sin, removes Him from the realm of
a fallen world, and from the very place where help is needed. on His
human side, Christ inherited just what every child of Adam inherits,
- a sinful nature. On the divine side, from His very conception He was
begotten and born of the Spirit. And all this was done to place mankind
on vantage-ground, and to demonstrate that in the same way every
one who is "born of the Spirit" may gain like victories over
sin in his own sinful flesh. Thus each one is to overcome as Christ
overcame. Rev. 3:21. without this birth there can be no victory
over temptation, and no salvation from sin. John 3:3-7.
1 Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia,
art. "Sabbath School Publications", p. 1127
2 Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly,
Senior Division, Second Quarter, 1896 p.11
3 Ibid., Fourth Quarter,
1896, pp. 11-12
4 Ibid., Second Quarter, 1902,
5 Ibid., Second Quarter,
1909, p. 8
6 Ibid., p. 20
7 Ibid., First Quarter,
1913, p. 14
8 Ibid., p. 15
9 Daniel 2:11
Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Senior Division, Second
Quarter, 1913, p.
11 Ibid., p. 26
Ibid., Fourth Quarter, p. 6
13 Ibid., First Quarter, 1914, p. 16
14 Editorial, Review and Herald, November
15 Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages,
16 Editorial, "Christ and His Brethren",
Review and Herald, December 7, 1905
17 Editorial, "'In.... Sinful Flesh'",
Review and Herald, December 21, 1905
18 Uriah Smith, Looking Unto Jesus, p. 23
19 Ibid., p. 30
20 Milton C. Wilcox, Questions and Answers,
21 Bible Readings for the Home Circle, 1915
edition, p. 115 TOP
49 -- VI
-- THE HOLY FLESH MOVEMENT -- In evaluating the
Holy Flesh Movement which involved the Indiana Conference during the
years from 1898 to 1901, too often the emotional extravaganza which
accompanied the movement is considered to be the movement itself. This
is not true, and until the exterior facade is penetrated a proper evaluation
of the lessons which this deviate movement in the history of the Church
should teach us cannot be made. This movement was based in and involved
basic doctrinal concepts. In retrospect, the servant of the Lord in
1907 wrote these words: During
the General Conference of 1901, instruction was given me in regard to
the experience of some of our brethren in Indiana, and regarding the
doctrines they had been teaching in the churches. I was shown
that through this experience and the doctrines taught, the enemy
has been working to lead souls astray. 1
two major doctrines which formed the basis of this movement were the
teachings in regard to the incarnation of Christ, and the perfection
of the believer. The simple fact is, and might as well be admitted in
any study, these two concepts cannot be separated. One's understanding
of the nature which Christ accepted in becoming the Son of man conditions
his belief relative to perfection. Because the special testimony given
by Sister White to the brethren assembled in Session in 1901 in regard
to the Movement in Indiana 2
dealt with only one of these doctrines - perfection in the flesh
- the tendency is to equate the Holy Flesh Movement of Indiana with
only this one teaching. However, primary source material available by
which to evaluate this movement contains as much discussion in regard
to the subject of the incarnation as to the doctrine of perfection in
the flesh. What did the leading brethren in Indiana teach as to the
nature of Christ's humanity?
50 -- The peak of the Holy Flesh Movement was reached during the
camp meetings of 1900. The meeting at Muncie, Indiana was attended by
Elder S. N. Haskell and his wife, Hetty. Their experience at Muncie
caused them to write to Sister White upon their return to Battle Creek.
In his letter dated, September 25, 1900, Elder Haskell wrote: When
we stated that we believed that Christ was born in fallen humanity,
they would represent us as believing that Christ sinned, notwithstanding
the fact that we would state our position so clearly that it would seem
as though no one could misunderstand us.
point of theology in this particular respect seems to be this: They
believe that Christ took Adam's nature before he fell; so He took humanity
as it was in the garden of Eden, and thus humanity was holy, and this
was the humanity which Christ had; and now, they say, the particular
time has come for us to become holy in that sense, and then we will
have "translation faith", and never die. 3
doctrine of the incarnation as taught by the advocates of the "Holy
Flesh" revival in Indiana is a forked road. They took one fork.
If Christ did take the nature of Adam before the Fall, then men in accepting
Him, and becoming conformed to His image would receive the same nature
He had. It was to be left to another generation of Adventist theologians
to travel the other fork, that because Christ did take upon Himself
a sinless humanity, it is impossible for the believer to overcome as
Christ overcame. One doesn't have to have the externals - the emotional
extravaganza 4 -
of the Holy Flesh Movement to teach and believe the doctrines which
the leaders of that movement taught.
the whole Conference Committee, and most of the ministry followed the
leaders of the movement - S. S. Davis, the conference revivalist, and
R. S. Donnell, the conference president - one minister voiced his opposition,
and gave form to his protest. He printed a tract on the "Mission
Press, La Fayette",
51 -- Indiana. The conclusion of this sixteen page tract reads:
since we have been studying the humanity of Christ, let none think that
we would detract from or forget His Divinity. Although Jesus
"the sinbearer endured the wrath of divine justice, and for
our sakes became SIN ITSELF," [Desire of Ages. p. 907]
yet, through His implicit faith in His Father, He was fortified so that
His divine nature overwhelmingly triumphed over His sinful nature and
hereditary tendencies. Thus from the cradle to Calvary, His days of
trial and probation, He lived a pure, holy, and sinless life. Thus He
met the demands of a broken law, and became "the end of the law
for righteousness to every one that believeth."
just as God in Christ, 4,000 years this side of Creation, lived a perfect,
spotless life in sinful flesh, so through faith in Him, He will cleanse
us from all our unrighteousness, impart to us His own righteousness,
take up His abode in our hearts, and live the same kind of a life in
our sinful flesh six thousand years this side of Creation. Then we can
truly say, "as He is [in character] so are we in this world."
I John 4:17.
in "the blessed hope,"
S. G. HUNTINGTON 5
question between the men in Indiana was not the matter of whether the
gospel could preserve men from sin, or whether the power of the Holy
Spirit was ample to keep human beings from sinning. The question was
the humanity of Christ and its application to the life of the Christian."
demise of the Holy Flesh Movement came at the General Conference Session
in 1901. The re-organization controversy at the Conference tends to
over-shadow the doctrinal conflict projected by the advocates of the
"Holy Flesh" doctrines. Fifteen days after the Session opened,
Elder E. J. Waggoner was asked to give the evening message at 7 p. m.
He chose as his text, Hebrews 10:4-10. Then he introduced a question
that had been given to him, which read as follows:
that holy thing which was born of the virgin Mary born in sinful flesh,
and did that flesh have the same evil tendencies to contend with that
ours does?" 6
Waggoner's answer there was left little doubt as to what he was talking
52 -- about. He mentioned the concept of sinless flesh, and declared
it to be "the deification of the devil."
7 He stated very specifically as to when the
change would come in the flesh, and what the results would be. His words
flesh will be opposed to the Spirit of God so long as we have it, but
when the time comes that mortality is swallowed up of life, then the
conflict will cease. Then we shall no longer have to fight against the
flesh, but that sinless life which we lay hold of by faith and which
was manifest in our sinful bodies, will then by simple faith be continued
throughout all eternity in a sinless body. 8 TOP
then is the purpose of this earthly struggle? Waggoner continued: When
God has given this witness to the world of His power to save to the
uttermost, to save sinful beings, and to live a perfect life in sinful
flesh, then He will remove the disabilities and give us better circumstances
in which to live. But first of all this wonder must be worked out in
sinful man, not simply in the person of Jesus Christ, but in Jesus Christ
reproduced and multiplied in the thousands of His followers. So that
not simply in the few sporadic cases, but in the whole body of the church,
the perfect life of Christ will be manifested to the world, and that
will be the last crowning work which will either save or condom men;
and greater testimony than that there is not, and cannot be, because
there is none greater than God. When God is manifest among men, not
simply as God apart from man, but as God in man, suffering all that
man suffered, subject to everything that man is subject to, what greater
power can be manifested in the universe than that? 9
the sermon, Dr Waggoner challenged those listening to settle it, each
for himself, whether or not he was truly "out of the church of
Rome." He then commented:
a great many that have got the marks yet, but I am persuaded of this,
that every soul who is here to-night desires to know the way of truth
and righteousness, [Congregation:Amen!] and that there is no one here
who is unconsciously clinging to the dogmas of the papacy, who does
not desire to be freed from them.
you not see that the idea that the flesh of Jesus was not like ours
(because we know ours is sinful) necessarily involves
53 -- the idea of the
immaculate conception of the virgin Mary? Mind you, in Him was no sin,
but the mystery of God manifest in the flesh, the marvel of the ages,
the wonder of the angels, that thing which even now they desire to understand,
and which they can form no just idea of, only as they are taught it
by the church, is the perfect manifestation of the life of God in its
spotless purity in the midst of sinful flesh. [Congregation: Amen!]
O, that is a marvel, is it not? 10
next day, April 17, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg spoke at the morning meeting
on the subject of the medical missionary work. There were at least three
hundred brethren present.
11 At the close of the meeting, Sister White arose
and presented her testimony concerning the Movement in Indiana.
2 The next day, the two leaders of the movement,
Donnell and Davis, made confession to the delegates. On the 19th three
other members of the Indiana Conference committee added their testimonies.
The Holy Flesh Movement as such was over; but the doctrinal teachings
of this movement regarding the nature of Christ's humanity - that He
took the nature of Adam before the Fall - was to appear again in the
though the two leaders - Donnell and Davis - confessed their error and
professed to accept the Testimony given, neither abandoned his belief
in the incarnation as he had taught it during the Holy Flesh revival.
of their ministerial responsibilities following the General Conference
Session, S. S. Davis retired to his home in Elnora, Indiana, and R.
S. Donnell went there to live for a few years. In 1905, Elder Donnell
was called to serve the church in Raleigh, Tennessee, near Memphis.
He continued his contact with S. S. Davis by correspondence. On one
occasion, he sent to him a ten page manuscript which he had written
on the nature of Christ and man. In this manuscript, Donnell stated:
54 -- For one I must say,
upon the authority of the Bible, that Christ never sinned, and if He
never sinned, that man don't live, and never has lived that can prove
that He was in sinful flesh. The only way by which one can prove it,
is to point out the sins, or even one sin that He committed. He took
a body which showed by its deteriorated condition, that the effects
of sin was shown by it, but His life proved that there was no sin in
it. It was a body which the Father had prepared for Him. Heb. 10:5.
Christ's body represented a body redeemed from its fallen spiritual
nature, but not from its fallen, or deteriorated physical nature. It
was a body redeemed from sin, and with that body Christ clothed His
divinity; thus by His life, on earth, He showed what humanity will do
when filled with the divine mind. Then every member of the human race,
who will renounce Satan, and his works, and will permit Christ to clothe
Himself with his humanity, in that act, becomes a member of the family
of heaven. That is just what it will be, if we will let the divine mind
come into us. It will be divinity clothed with humanity, and that is
just what Christ was. And thus clothed He did no sin. Is that putting
it too strong? Well that is just the way that God wants it to be put.
1903, Elder I. J. Hankins, who succeeded Donnell to the presidency of
the Indiana Conference, wrote to S. S. Davis in Elnora, Indiana, asking
him certain questions about his beliefs. Of the eight questions asked,
four of them involved the doctrine of the incarnation. To these questions,
NUMBER FOUR -- Please
state in a few words your views on the nature of Christ? Answer.
- Luke 1:35 "that holy thing".
NUMBER FIVE -- Did Christ's flesh have in it any weakness or natural
tendency to sin as the result of the fall? Answer. - Testimony
No. 2 the last three words on page 201, and continued on page 202 says,
"was a brother in infirmities, but not in possessing like passions."
That is all on that point I care to say.
NUMBER SIX -- Was Mary the mother of Jesus like all other women,
55 -- Answer. -
I could not say how full of sin she was but I suppose that she had her
share, perhaps not as bad as some, and maybe more than some as there
are degrees in heredity and depravity, and there is no evidence that
she had an immaculate conception.
NUMBER SEVEN -- Is every child born into the world naturally inclined
to evil, even before it is old enough to discern between good and evil?
Answer. - Yes, unless preserved from the law of heredity in conception
by the power of the Holy Ghost. See Ps. 51:5 Shapen in sin, also Eph.
2:3 "by nature children of wrath." 13
all the men involved in the "Holy Flesh" Movement, only S;
S. Davis never returned to the ministry of the church. In 1920, the
Davis family moved to Nebraska, where on September 26, 1926, S. S. Davis
was re-ordained as a minister in the General Baptist church.
G. White, Ms. 39, 1907
Ellen G. White, "The Late Movement in Indiana",
General Conference Bulletin, 1901, pp. 419-422
S. N. Haskell, Letter to Ellen G. White dated at
Battle Creek, Michigan, September 25, 1900.
See Selected Messages, bk. ii, pp. 35-37
5 S. G. Huntington, "'The
Son of Man"', p. 16
6 E. J. Waggoner, "Sermon",
General Conference Bulletin, 1901, p. 403
7 1bid., p. 405
8 1bid., pp. 405-406
9 1bid., p. 406
10 1bid., p. 404
11 General Conference Bulletin, 1901,
R. S. Donnell, "The Nature of Christ and Man".
An unpublished manuscript in the files of the writer.
S. S. Davis, Letter to I. J. Hankins dated at Elnora, Indiana,
March 15, 1903.
56 -- FROM 1915 - 1952 -- Ellen
G. White, Messenger to the Remnant, died in 1915. In the intervening
years from that date till 1952, the belief of the Church concerning
the doctrine of the incarnation can be best described in the language
of the book of Joshua - "And Israel served the Lord all the days
of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and
which had known all the works of the Lord, that He had done for Israel."
Sabbath School lessons for the Senior Division continued the same clear
testimony in regard to the nature of Christ's humanity that had been
evidenced during the preceding decades. A lesson in 1921 on the purpose
of the incarnation quoted with approval a comment from a source documented
only as "The I Ams of Christ." The writer had stated:
assumed, not the original unfallen, but our fallen humanity. In this
second experiment, He stood not precisely where Adam before Him had,
but, as has already been said, with immense odds against Him - evil,
with all the prestige of victory and its consequent enthronement in
the very constitution of our nature, armed with more terrific power
against the possible realization of this divine idea of man - perfect
holiness. All this considered, the disadvantages of the situation, the
tremendous risks involved, and the fierceness of the opposition encountered,
we come to some adequate sense both of the reality and greatness of
that vast moral achievement; human nature tempted, tried, miscarried
in Adam, lifted up in Christ to the sphere of actualized sinlessness.
another lesson the same year on the Priesthood of Christ, a note commenting
on the first two chapters of the book of Hebrews stated:
He who is
introduced in the first chapter as Son, God, and Lord, whose deity and
eternity are emphasized, meets us in the second chapter as the Son of
man, with all the limitations of our common humanity. He is known now
by His earthly, personal name, and as one who can taste of death (Heb.
2:9), and can be made "perfect through sufferings" (verse
10). He partook of the same flesh and blood which we have (verse 14),
becoming just as truly man (verse 17) as He is truly God. 3
57 -- A further lesson in 1921 emphasized the same concept. A note
taught "when the Son of God was born of a woman (Gal. 4:4) and
partook of our sinful flesh (Rom. 8:3), the eternal life was manifest
in a human body (I John 1:2)." 4
1923, a Sabbath School lesson on "The Godly Life" was studied
by the Senior Division. The first note of the lesson declared: Christ
took upon Himself the infirmities and sins of the flesh..;. but to every
sin He died, every lust He crucified, every selfish deire He denied
Himself - all for our sakes. 5
first Quarter's lessons in 1928 were on the book of Ephesians. A note
in comment upon Ephesians 2:15 read:
man cannot abolish his enmity against God. It is a part of his nature.
It is intertwined in every fiber of his being. But Jesus took upon Himself
our nature of flesh and blood (Heb. 2:14), "in all things... to
be made like unto His brethren" (Heb. 2:17), "of the seed
of David according to the flesh" (Rom 1: 3); He met and "abolished
in His flesh the enmity," "the carnal mind" (Rom. 8:7),
"the mind of the flesh" (Rom. 8:7 ARV). He conquered sin in
the flesh for us forever. 6
positive emphasis which marked the Sabbath School lessons from 1889
in regard to the nature of Christ's humanity was muted in a lesson for
the Senior Division in 1941. An introductory note stated:
man finds himself without hope and without God in the world. "The
wages of sin is death" - death confronts every son and daughter
of Eve. into this hopeless picture the Son of God presents Himself.
Because of His infinite love, He took upon Himself the form of a man
and the frailties of a long ancestral line. Having accepted human nature,
He endured the sentence of sin in His body on the cross. He suffered
the death that is ours because of sin, that we might live the life that
He merited because of righteousness. This is the only avenue by which
man might escape the penalty of sin and enter into life - the more abundant
life here, and everlasting life in the eternal kingdom. 7 TOP
books, one printed by the Review and Herald Publishing Association,
and the other two by the Southern Publishing Association, presented
from two different approaches the same basic truth on the incarnation
of Christ which
58 -- marked
the Sabbath School lessons during the first part of the period under
1924, Elder Meade MacGuire's book - The Life of Victory - was
published. In the chapter on "The Awful Nature of Sin", after
describing various manifestations of the sin problem, he stated "still
another aspect of sin is set forth strikingly in Romans", where
Paul indicated that in the body there is a law "warring against
the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin
which is in my members." What is the answer to,this aspect of the
sin problem? Elder MacGuire answered:
There is only
one means of deliverance from this inherent law of sin. That is Christ.
He took humanity upon Him. He conquered sin while in a body which had
come under the hereditary law of sin. He now proposes to live that same
sinless life in my members. His presence completely counteracts the
power of the law of sin. 8
another chapter - "Delievered by Death" - this comment is
Jesus bore the cross, He acknowledged the death sentence upon the sin
nature. He took our nature, the Adam nature, the Saul life, and agreeing
with the Father that this nature was fit only to die, He went voluntarily
to the cross, and bore that fallen nature to its inevitable and necessary
this great sacrifice Christ made provision for the death of the Adam
nature in you and me, if we are willing to bring this degenerate nature
of ours to His cross and nail it there. 9
the subject of the humanity of Christ from another angle, Elder Christian
Edwardson in 1942 discussed the text in 2 John 7 which states that the
antichrist would deny that "Christ is come in the flesh."
He observed there were objections in applying this identification of
the antichrist to the Papacy because it is argued that the Catholic
church does not deny the incarnation of Christ. To this argument, Edwardson
argument, however, is based on a misunderstanding, caused by
59 -- overlooking
one word in the text. Antichrist was not to deny that Christ had come
in flesh, but was to deny that He had "come in the flesh,"
in "the same" kind of flesh, as the human race He came
to save... on this vital difference hinges the real "truth of the
gospel." Did Christ come all the way down to make contact
with the fallen race, or only part way, so that we must have saints,
popes, and priests intercede for us with Christ who is removed too far
from fallen humanity and its needs to make direct contact with the
individual sinner? Right here lies the great divide that parts Protestantism
from Roman Catholicism...
sin man has separated himself from God, and his fallen nature is opposed
to the divine will... only through Christ, our Mediator, can man be
rescued from sin, and again brought into connection with the source
of purity and power.
in order to become such a connecting link Christ had to partake both
of the divinity of God and of the humanity of man, so that He with His
divine arm could encircle God, and with His human arm embrace man, thus
connecting both in His own person. In this union of the human with the
divine lies the "mystery" of the gospel, the secret of power
to lift man from his degradation. "Great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifest in the flesh." I Timothy 3:16. The
"mystery", or secret of power to live a godly life in human
flesh, was manifest in the life of Jesus Christ while on earth.
mark! It was fallen man that was to be rescued from sin. And to make
contact with him Christ had to condescend to take our nature
upon Himself (not some higher kind of flesh). "Forasmuch then as
the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise
took part of the same... wherefore in all things it behoved
Him to be made like unto His brethren." Hebrews 2:14, 17. This
text is so worded that it cannot be misunderstood. Christ "took
part of the same" flesh
and blood as ours; He came in "the" flesh. To deny
this is the mark of AntiChrist. 10
book which presented Catholic doctrine in contrast to the plain teachings
of Scripture published by the Southern Publishing Association was written
by Mary E. Walsh, whose forebearers "for many generations... were
confirmed believers in the doctrines of the papacy." She herself
was "a faithful communicant of that religious body for 20 years." 11
In the chapter - "The Immaculate Conception" - Miss
Walsh wrote - "All that Mary gave to Christ was His human body.
It is a law of nature that one cannot give what one does not possess,
and Mary, being human in every aspect of the word, could not impart
60 -- her Son the nature of divinity." 12
Prior to this statement she noted that Mary was a sinner in common with
all mankind. Then showing both the divine and human characteristics
of Jesus in His earthly ministry, and quoting such texts as Romans 8:3,
and Hebrews 2:14, 17-18, the author wrote:
In the genealogy
of Christ as given in Matthew we find Jesus called the Son of David
and also the Son of Abraham. One has to study only the characters of
Abraham and David to learn that they were very human and had a tendency
to sin. Thus we see what kind of human nature Christ inherited from
His progenitors. 13
this period a feature article appeared in the Signs of the Times,
which contained two sentences which enemies of the Church lifted out
of context, and used to attack the teaching of the Church in regard
to the human nature of our Lord. In his book on Adventism, Walter Martin
cited this article as one of the chief sources of the critics. He wrote:
almost all critics of seventh-day Adventism contend that Seventh-day
Adventists believe Christ possessed a sinful human nature during the
incarnation, a word should be said to clarify this point. These charges
are often based on an article in the Signs of the Times, March
1927, and a statement in Bible Readings for the Home Circle,
. 15 * Martin
then proceeded to quote from an evangelical source the statement found
in the Signs of the Times. TOP
ignorance and lack of scholarship evidenced by the evangelical writer
would indicate that it could be ignored with impunity were it not for
the part it played in the dialogue between representatives of the Church
and Barnhouse and Martin. Resulting from these conferences, L. A. Wilcox,
the author of the article in the Signs, thirty years after it
was written, wrote an apology
-- This statement
is taken from a section of Martin's book entitled, "Author's Note."
It concluded a review of positions presented in the book, Questions
on Doctrine, termed "The Heart of Adventist Theology."
The teachings of the book (Q on D) in regard to the incarnation
will be discussed in the next chapter.
61 -- retracting his statements. From this letter, Martin also quoted.
analyzing Wilcox's article, there are two questions that need to be
answered. How was he quoted? What had he written in context?
evangelical writer is quoted by Martin as follows:
1927 he [Wilcox] wrote, 'In His (Christ's) veins was the incubus of
a tainted heredity like a caged lion ever seeking to break forth and
destroy. Temptation attacked Him where by heredity He was weakest, attacked
Him in unexpected times and ways. In spite of bad blood and an inherited
meanness, He conquered.' " 15 What
did Wilcox write in context? The paragraphs involved are presented in
full with the evangelical's quotes from the Signs' article underscored:
I am glad for that [Christ's genealogy]. For it helps me to understand
how He can be "touched with the feeling" of all my infirmities.
He cam where I was. He stood in my place. In His veins was the incubus
[weight] of a tainted heredity like a caged lion ever seeking to break
forth and destroy. For four thousand years the race had been deteriorating
in physical strength, in mental power, and in moral worth; and Christ
took upon Him the infirmities of humanity at its worst. only thus could
He rescue man from the lowest depths of his degradation.
we have in any sense a more trying conflict than had Christ, then He
would not be able to succor us. But our Saviour took humanity, with
all its liabilities. He took the nature of man, with the possibility
of yielding to temptation. We have nothing to bear which He has not
endured." - "Desire of Ages"
is good to know that. He, the Son of God, became the Son of man, that
I, a son of man, might become a son of God. He became as I am that I
might become as He is. He partook of my human nature that I might partake
of His divine nature. In every temptation that assails, it is strength
to know that just such a temptation in all its overwhelming force
attacked Him, - attacked Him where, by heredity, He was weakest,
- attacked Him in unexpected times and ways; and that, with equal
tendencies toward evil, in spite of bad blood and inherited meanness,
by the same power to which I have access, He conquered. He won
for me. He offers me His victory for my own - a free gift. And so in
all these things I am more than conqueror through Him that loved me.
article written by Wilcox was the answer to a single question - "Is
62 -- there hope of overcoming our inherited tendencies toward evil?"
In answering this question, Wilcox used the genealogy of Christ. He
asked the reader to "look for a moment at this pedigree" -
Jacob, Judah, Rahab, Ruth, David, and others. Then he wrote - "Yes
Jesus came from a line of sinners." The paragraphs quoted above
follow. Basically what difference is there between the thoughts expressed
by Wilcox, and the thought in the Sabbath School lesson note which stated
- "He [Christ] was the same flesh as the seed of David, in and
through which for generations had flowed the blood of sinful humanity,
- Solomon, and Rehoboam, and Ahaz, and Manasseh, and Amon, and Jeconiah,
16 Or what does the statement in The Desire of
Ages mean when it reads - "Like every child of Adam, He [Christ]
accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What
these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors.
He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and
to give us the example of a sinless life." Or what does it mean
when the servant of the Lord stated that "Christ took upon Him
the infirmities of degenerate humanity;" and "Our Saviour
took humanity, with all of its liabilities."
17 The question is simply - Did the humanity which Jesus
took ever seek expression, or was it anesthetized in the Person of Jesus
might quibble over Wilcox's temnology and figures of speech. The word
- "incubus" - is from the Latin, incubo,
lie upon. 18
Did Christ accept the weight
of our heredity? If not, why then did He in "the days of His flesh"
find it necessary
to offer "up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and
to His Father to keep Him from sinning? 19
the word - "meanness" which
Wilcox used in connection with heredity is defined as "low in grade,
quality, or condition."
18 Isaiah pictured Christ as "a root out
of a dry ground:
63 -- He hath no form or comliness; and when we shall see Him, there
is no beauty that we should desire Him." 20
Was Isaiah's prophecy fulfilled or not?
figure of speech used by Wilcox was also very interesting. The inherited
tendencies were pictured as a caged lion seeking to break forth and
destroy. This is closely parallel to the statement of the Lord to Cain
- "If thou doest not well, sin as a wild beast is crouching at
the door to overcome you." 21
Cain did not overcome "the beast"; Christ did!
mid Century a warning came to the Church from two missionaries home
on furlough from Africa. Disturbed by what they had seen and heard within
the Church, Elders R. J. Wieland and D. K. Short approached the General
Conference leadership with their concern. Unable to comprehend what
these brethren were trying to say, the officers of the Church asked
that they write out their concern. This they did in the form of a manuscript
- 1888 Re-Examined. While this manuscript is primarily a re-evaluation
of the events which took place at the 1888 General Conference Session,
and the reaction which followed, it also contains a warning that if
the message of Righteousness by Faith as given by the Lord through Waggoner
and Jones is not understood as it ought to be, the door is opened for
the Church to accept a false Christ, through the acceptance of false
doctrines in regard to Christ. The missionaries stated their position
very clearly in these words:
this phase [a confusion of a false Christ with the true] of the great
controversy between Christ and Satan is the final death grapple between
the enemy and the Body of Christ on earth, it is obvious that Satan
will not content himself with mutilating the extremities of that body.
He will concern himself with its very heart, its vitals. He will endeavor
to secure our allegiance and service through a misconception of the
third angel's message in verity. Since that verity is
the message of Christ's righteousness, it follows that Satan's final
effort to deceive and allure us would be an attempt to infatuate
64 -- us with Babylon's
understanding of the "doctrine" or "tenet" of "justification
and righteousness by faith". If he can first lead Babylon into
the worship of a false Christ; and then can lead us to mistake their
doctrine of "faith in Christ" for the third angel's message
in verity, he will have us, to all intents and purposes, confused
with a false Christ, in spite of our verbal protestations. 22
objective of Satan is to conquer Israel - spiritual Israel, the Church.
On this point the two brethren wrote:
will be the misrepresentations which will precede the impersonations,
that the elect art warned repeatedly. In fact, the deceptions Satan
will foist upon the world have as their ultimate purpose the deception
of Israel herself. Why should he labor to deceive his own children?
They are already in his grasp. He is after other game than that which
he has already "bagged", and that game is the Seventh-day
Adventist church. Dare we suppose complacently that Satan has given
up his struggle to overcome the remnant church?
Does he not
realize that here and now with Israel is the final battle.
the knowledge of the true
Christ is lost, it is only one step until the Church will embrace a
And this would come through false doctrines. The
servant of the Lord noted that "in His work on this earth, Christ
saw how, by a disregard of the
injunctions of God in regard to righteousness and true doctrines, evil
would be made almost indistinguishable from good." 24
of the areas in which the false
Christ would manifest his teachings according to these men from the
mission field would be in the area of the incarnation as it related
to the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
25 This prophecy of warning was soon to be fulfilled,
as the Church entered the last half of the Twentieth
Century. Already the first indication of things to come had"transpired.
to Froom, "in 1949, Prof. D. E. Rebok, then president of our Seventh-day
Adventist Theological Seminary, when it was still in Washington D.C.,
was requested by the Review and Herald to revise Bible Readings for
65 -- Circle."26
Coming to the study on "A Sinless Life", Rebok
judged certain notes to
be erroneous, and proceeded to make corrections. The note under the
- "How fully did Christ share our common humanity?" - was
altered to read: Jesus
Christ is both Son of God and Son of man. As a member of the human family
"it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren" - "in
the likeness of sinful flesh." Just how far that "likeness"
goes is a mystery of the incarnation which men have never been able
to solve. The Bible clearly teaches that Christ was tempted just as
other men are tempted - "in all points... like as we are."
Such temptation must necessarily include the possibility of sinning;
but Christ was without sin. There is no Bible support for the teaching
that the mother of Christ, by an immaculate conception, was cut off
from the sinful inheritance of the race, and therefore her divine Son
was incapable of sinning. Concerning this false doctrine Dean F. W.
Farrar has well said: [Farrar then quoted] 27
comparison with the original note as found in the 1915 edition is most
interesting as to what was omitted.
28 But in re-writing this note, Rebok put himself
in a very difficult position. He stated that Mary was not "cut
off from the sinful inheritance of the race." However, he leaves
unexplained how then Christ was cut off from such an inheritance if
the note as found in the 1915 edition which reads - "On His human
side, Christ inherited just what every child
of Adam inherits - a sinful nature" - was wrong.
most interesting omission and alteration which Rebok made is to be found
in the note under the question - "Where did God, in Christ, condemn
gain the victory for us over temptation and sin?" The two notes
are placed side
by side for comparison:
|God, in Christ,
condemned sin, not by pronouncing against it merely as a judge sitting
on the judgment-seat, but by coming and living in
in sinful flesh, and
||God, in Christ,
condemned sin, not by pronouncing against it merely as a judge sitting
on the judgment seat, but by coming and living in
the flesh, [omission] and
sinning. in Christ, He demonstrated that it is possible, by His
grace and power, to resist temptation, overcome sin, and live
a sinless life in sinful flesh.
sinning. In Christ, He demonstrated that it is possible, by His
grace and power, to resist temptation, overcome sin, and
live a sinless life in the [alteration]
in making these changes was logical. If Christ did not condemn sin in
"sinful flesh", then God cannot make the demonstration in
us of "a sinles life
in sinful flesh." The brethren of Indiana at the turn of the Century
that it was necessary to have "holy" flesh before the demonstration
made. There is just one step from a Christ in sinless human nature conquering
sin, to the concept of holy flesh. Otherwise, the only other alternative
is the denial of the possibility that the life of Christ can be reproduced
in humanity this side of the Second Advent. This is the alternative
by some Adventist theologians, and certain "nondenominational"
a professed "return to the objective Pauline and Reformation message
by faith." 29
2 "The I Ams of Christ", pp. 248,
249 Quoted Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Senior Division,
First Quarter, 1921, p. 16
3 Ibid., Second Quarter, pp. 13-14
4 Ibid., Third Quarter, p. 10
5 Ibid., Second Quarter, 1923,
6 Ibid., First Quarter, 1928,
7 Ibid., Fourth Quarter, 1941,
8 Meade MacGuire, The Life of Victory,
9 Ibid., p. 43
10 Christian Edwardson, Facts of Faith, pp.
204-205 Emphasis his.
11 Mary E. Walsh, The Wine of Roman Babylon,
12 Ibid., p. 132
13 Ibid., p. 134
14 Llewellyn A. Wilcox, "'The Begats"',
Signs of the Times, March 22, 1927, p.
15 Walter R. Martin, The Truth About Seventh-day
Adventism, p. 86
16 See page 41, Footnote #12
17 Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, pp.
18 Funk & Wagnalls, New College Standard
Dictionary, 1950 edition
19 Hebrews 5:7
20 1saiah 53:2
21 See Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary,
Vol. 1, p. 240 and Genesis
4:7, Farrar Fenton translation.
22 R. J. Wieland and D. K. Short, 1888 Re-Examined
as printed in A Warning
and Its Reception, p. 165
23 Ibid. p. 167
24 Ellen G. White, Special Testimonies, Series
B, No. 2, p. 7
25 See A Warning and Its Reception, p. 186
26 LeRoy E. Froom, Movement of Destiny, p.
27 Bible Readings for the Home Circle, 1958
edition, p. 143-144
28 See page 47, Footnote #21
29 See Edward Heppenstall, "Is Perfection Possible?",
Signs of the Times, December, 1963, and Robert D. Brinsmead,
A Review of the Awakening Message, Part I, p. 5. TOP
68 -- VIII
-- DECADES OF CONFLICT AND APOSTASY 1952-1972 -- To
even suggest that it would be possible for me to write with a detached
objectivity the history of the doctrine of the incarnation as taught
by the Church during this period of time - 1952-1972 - would be to create
a credibility gap in the mind of the reader. This period of time covers
the latter two thirds of my ministry to and for the Church. I have been
personally involved in the conflict over the nature of the humanity
assumed by the Son of God when He became the Son of man. Both in preaching,
and through writing, I have defended what I believed to be the historic
position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in this area of doctrinal
teaching. The book itself is evidence of the study in depth that I have
made to determine this historic position.
of those who have been principals in the conflict and apostasy which
have marked these two decades are still living. The most notable exception
is the late Elder M. L. Andreasen, prince of Adventist theologians.
Naturally then we shall be discussing the actions and writings of living
people. Names of these writers and leaders who are known to most every
member of the Church will become a part of this research record. There
are those, who, when living personalities are involved, hope and even
pray that the research writer will use extreme caution and reserve in
interpreting their writings and actions. The gravity of the conflict
forbids such an approach. This is no minor issue. It is a matter of
life and death. The destiny of the Church is at stake.
words spoken in the night season to the servant of the Lord regarding
those who accepted the sentiments found in The Living Temple
by Kellogg, apply
69 -- with equal force to those who would accept the sentiments
regarding the nature of Christ's humanity as found in certain approved
publications issued by the Church during this period. How one should
relate himself in evaluating this situation was also spelled out by
the Voice in the same night season. Here are the words of counsel:
in "Living Temple" regarding the personality of God have been
received even by men who have had long experience in the truth. When
such men consent to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good
and evil, we are no longer to regard the subject as a matter to be treated
with greatest delicacy. That those whom we thought sound in the faith
should have failed to discern the specious, deadly influence of this
science of evil, should alarm us as nothing else has alarmed us. 1
The research of this
chapter will be presented in harmony with the counsel of the Voice in
the night. It will not be written with "delicacy", but as
an alarm sounding in the "holy mountain" of the Lord.
was in 1957 that I first awakened to what was taking place in the theological
circles of the Church. Disturbed by what I was reading in The Ministry,
I wrote a letter to one of the officers of the General Conference. It
said in part:
the recent Ministry there are three articles that I have spent
much time on, one I have re-read parts of it at least three times. These
articles are entitled:- "Adventism's New Milestone", "God
With Us," and "The Incarnation and the Son of Man." I
also observed that there were at least three verses of Scripture missing
in dealing with the subject of the nature of Christ. These three verses
I checked, as far as I am able with my library, in the original Greek.
Here is what I found on these verses on the words indicated:
- "In the likeness of sinful flesh"
- omoioma - "Frequently (a resemblance) such as amounts well-nigh
to 'equality or identity."' Example cited was Romans
8:3. Thayer's Lexicon, p. 445
- sarx - "when used either expressly or tacitly opposite to the
spirit, has an ethical sense and denotes mere human nature,
70 -- the earthly nature
of man apart from divine influence, and therefore prone to sin, and
opposed to God; accordingly it includes whatever in the soul is weak,
low, debased, tending to ungodliness and vice." Then the position
of Luther and Melanchthon is quoted. p. 571, Thayer's Lexicon.
2:17 - "In all things it behoved Him to be made like
unto His brethren."
2:18 - "In that He Himself hath suffered being tempted."
reference to this last verse "suffered being tempted", just
yesterday we were reading for our girls from the book, Messages to
Young People, and found this sentence on page 67 - "He (Jesus)
knows how strong are the inclinations of the natural heart, and He will
help in every time of temptation..."
I am well aware of the fact that Jesus did not sin, that at no time,
and in no wise did He yield to sin. But what did He receive from His
mother Mary, for He was the seed of David according to human descent?
In the Ministry (April) p. 34 stress is laid on the fact that
Jesus was the "'seed of the woman', not of man." Now if, and
this is what is disturbing, Jesus did not inherit through Mary on His
human side all that we inherit by human nature, then what kind of nature
did Mary have, and how far is this from the Immaculate Conception doctrine
of Catholicism? 2 TOP
this letter, I received a reply stating:
I merely want
to acknowledge the receipt of your letter now and let you know that
we are giving study to it, and it may be that either one of the other
brethren or I will be writing you again regarding the questions you
raise. Perhaps you know that we have a group of men here in the General
Conference office who are giving much of their time to the study of
just such questions as you raise. We do appreciate the fact that our
ministers in the field feel free to write us about these things.
3 No further
word was ever received. But in a few months the book - Seventh-day
Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine - was published.
to this exchange of correspondence which marked my own awakening much
had already transpired that set the stage for the years of turmoil and
conflict which has stamped the history of the Church in these last two
1952, F. D. Nichol, editor of the Review and Herald, brought
out a revised
71 -- edition of his book - Answers to Objections. Objection
#94 stated - "Seventh-day Adventists teach that, like all mankind,
Christ was born with a 'sinful nature."' In answering this objection,
Nichol quoted in context the objector's use of The Desire of Ages,
p. 24, which states - "As one of us, He [Jesus] was to give an
example of obedience. For this He took upon Himself our
nature, and passed through our experiences." Then Nichol
quoted from page 49 of the same book in regard to the possibility of
Jesus failing. He, however, failed to quote the paragraph just prior
where it is stated that Christ accepted the working of the great law
of heredity. After continued discussion on the risk accepted by Christ,
the editor concluded: Adventists
believe that Christ, the "last Adam", possessed, on His human
side, a nature like that of the "first man Adam," a nature
free from any defiling taint of sin, but capable of responding to sin,
and that that nature was handicapped by the debiliating effects of four
thousand years of sin's inroads on man's body and nervous system and
the close of the section, the Review editor placed a note of
counsel which read:
A word of
counsel to some of our Adventist writers and speakers may be in order
here. The incarnation is a very great mystery. We shall never fully
understand how a Being could at once be both "Son of God"
and "son of man," thus possessing both a human and a divine
nature. Likewise, the presence of sin in the universe is a very great
mystery. We shall probably never understand fully the nature of sin,
and hence probably never understand fully the meaning of the term, "sinful
flesh," which we and others use without attempting to define it.
When we speak of the taint of sin, the germs of sin, we should remember
that we are using metaphorical language. Critics, especially those who
see the Scriptures through Calvinistic eyes, read into the term, "sinful
flesh" something that Adventist theology does not require. Thus
if we use the term, "sinful flesh" in regard to Christ's human
nature, as some of our writers have done, we lay ourselves open to misunderstanding.
True, we mean by that term simply that Christ "took on him the
seed of Abraham," and was made "in the likeness of sinful
flesh," but critics are not willing to believe this. 5
72 -- This book by Nichol carried a foreword by Elder W. H. Branson,
then the president of the General Conference. This was the first of
several books released during this period where the weight of the highest
office of the Church was placed behind the publication. It can be pointed
out that nowhere is it indicated that Elder Branson was the president
of the General Conference; however, in writing the foreword, he used
the official, "we", and stated - "With hearty approval,
therefore, we commend this book to every gospel worker." By context,
the force of the "we" indicated that Branson was speaking
for the Church.
year later - 1953 - Branson's book - Drama of the Ages - was
published. What he wrote on the incarnation fails to tally with Nichol's
statement, nor does Branson heed Nichol's note of counsel. Branson wrote:
was of man's flesh and blood that Jesus partook. He became a member
of the human race. He became just like men...
2:14-18 ARV quoted]
then, was real humanity. It was not the nature of angels that He assumed,
but that of Abraham. He was "in all things made like unto His brethren."
He became one of them. He was subject to temptation; He knew the pangs
of suffering, and was not a stranger to man's common woes...
4:15 ARV quoted]
order for Christ to understand the weakness of human nature, He had
to experience it. In order for Him to be sympathetic with men in their
trials, He also had to be tried. He must suffer hunger,. weariness,
disappointment, sorrow, and persecution. He must tread the same paths,
live under the same circumstances, and die the same death. Therefore,
He became bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. His incarnation
was in actual humanity. 7 A
few pages later in discussing the doctrine of the immaculate conception,
he reasoned: The
Catholic doctrine of the "immaculate conception" is that Mary,
73 -- the mother of our
Lord, was preserved from original sin. If this be true, then Jesus did
not partake of man's sinful nature. This belief cuts off the lower rungs
of the ladder, and leaves man without a Saviour who can be touched with
the feeling of men's infirmities, and who can sympathize with them in
their temptations and sufferings. By this teaching Jesus is made out
to be altogether and wholly divine. Thus the ladder does not reach to
earth where men are. 8
this incident in our Church history, questions arise in the minds of
researcher and reader alike. Why did the president of the General Conference
place the endorsement of the Church upon a book that taught differently
than he himself believed? Or did he not read the manuscript carefully
enough to note this difference, and trusted to the man's position
in the Church as editor of its official journal to state the teaching
of the Church correctly and in its historical context?
chain of events began in 1955 which involved the doctrine of the incarnation,
the outcome of which has not yet been clarified. In the January, 1955
issue of Our Hope, the editor, Dr. E. Schuyler English, who was
also chairman of the Revision Committee for the Scofield Reference
Bible, stated in an editorial note that the Seventh-day Adventist
Church "disparages the Person and work of Christ." He referred
to our teaching that Christ in His humanity "partook of our sinful,
fallen nature." English's position was Christ's "conception
in His incarnation was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit so that He did
not partake of the fallen sinful nature of other men."
Leroy E. Froom entered into correspondence with the editor of Our
Hope, and "assured him" that his position on the incarnation
was "precisely what we likewise believe," and "that the
old Colcord minority-view note in Bible Readings - contending
for an inherent sinful, fallen nature for Christ - had years before
74 -- been expunged because of its error."Closely
following the experience with Dr. English came the fateful conferences
between some of our brethren in Washington and Barnhouse and Martin.
The incident that precipitated these conferences is chronicled by Froom.
T. E. Unruh, then president of the East Pennsylvania Conference of the
Church, listened to a series of radio broadcasts by Dr. Donald Grey
Barnhouse on the book of, Romans. Unruh wrote to Barnhouse "commending
him on the Biblical soundness and spiritual helpfulness of his presentations
over the airwaves on Righteousness by Faith." 10
Here was fulfilled the warning which had been given to the Church
five years previously by the missionary brethren from Africa "that
Satan's final effort to deceive and allure us would be an attempt to
infatuate us with Babylon's understanding of the 'doctrine' or 'tenet'
of 'justification and righteousness by faith."' 11 *
the eighteen conferences that took place between our brethren and Barnhouse
and Martin, our teaching on the incarnation was one of the areas discussed.
How these men viewed the reaction of our brethren was stated in one
of their publications. When the subject of Christ's incarnation was
introduced, our brethren
-- It is altogether
possible that Elder T. E. Unruh did not know about the manuscript which
had been written by Elders R. J. Wieland and D. K. Short. The Defense
Literature Committee of the General Conference, chairmaned by W. E.
Read, had declared against this manuscript in 1951. Therefore, in 1955
the manuscript was restricted in its circulation. However, Elder Read
was involved in the Barnhouse-Martin conferences. He should have seen
the relationship. Thus the Church must share its responsibility in the
results which followed a rejection of a clear warning. On the other
hand, Unruh is open to censure. He should have known the antinomian
sentiments of the Evangelicals, and the counsel of Isaiah 8:20 - "To
the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word,
it is because there is no light in them." It is impossible for
antinomians to present righteousness by faith in its true perspective.
How then can one commend such presentations, and think of them as the
genuine message! How dark becomes our light when we call darkness light!
75 -- assured these men that "the majority of the denomination
has always held [the humanity assumed by Christ] to be sinless, holy,
perfect despite the fact that certain of their writers have
gotten into print with contrary views completely repugnant to the Church
at large." Our men explained further to Mr. Martin "that they
had among their number certain members of their 'lunatic fringe' even
as there are similar wild-eyed irresponsibles in every field of fundamental
The impression was left that it was these irresponsible lunatics
in the Church who had written that Christ accepted the fallen nature
of man when He became the Son of man.
these conferences were in progress, and understandings were being reached
for simultaneous publications by the Evangelicals and the Church, the
ministry of the Church were being propagandized through The Ministry
to accept the changes in doctrine which the brethren had already declared
to Barnhouse and Martin to be our fundamental position. This included
the nature of the humanity which Christ accepted in the incarnation.
the September, 1956 issue of The Ministry, eight pages were devoted
to quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy on "Christ's Nature During
the Incarnation." One section was captioned - "Took. Sinless
Nature of Adam Before the Fall." An editorial in the same issue
called attention to this compilation, and asked the ministry of the
Church "to carefully and prayerfully study these illuminating paragraphs."
The editor, and head of the Ministerial Department of the General Conference,
R. Allan Anderson, rationalized further on the inspired sources and
only three or four places in all these inspired counsels have we found
such expressions as "fallen nature" and "sinful nature".
But these are strongly counterbalanced and clearly explained by many
76 -- other
statements that reveal the thought of the writer [Ellen G. White]. Christ
did indeed partake of our nature, our human nature with
all of its physical limitations, but not of our carnal nature
with its lustful corruptions. When He entered the human family it was
after the race had been greatly weakened by degeneracy. For thousands
of years mankind had been physically deteriorating. Compared with Adam
and his immediate posterity, humanity, when God appeared in human flesh,
was stunted in stature, longevity, and vitality. 13
in this editorial was a comment on the statement in Bible Readings
for the Home Circle. Anderson wrote:
ago a statement appeared in Bible Readings for the Home Circle
(1915 edition) which declared that Christ came "in sinful flesh."
Just how this expression slipped into the book is difficult to know.
It has been quoted many times by critics, and all around the world,
as being typical of Adventist Christology. 14 *
becomes increasingly clear that the men who espoused the "new"
doctrine of the Incarnation read into the expression - "fallen,
sinful nature" not only the tendencies to sin, but also the "corruptions"
resultant from sinning. Thus they failed to do what the servant of the
Lord, our earlier brethren, and the writers of the Sabbath School lessons
of past decades did, that is, differentiate between inherited tendencies
and cultivated habits of sin. By confusing the issue, they have been
able to make the historic teaching of the Church look like error, and
thus rob of its power, the original doctrine of truth in regard to the
incarnation of Christ. In fact the clear statements in The Desire
of Ages are mitigated by the same devious device. Anderson stated:
-- If the head
of the ministry of the Church did not know the background of our teaching
over the years on the subject of the incarnation, then he was not qualified
to serve in such a capacity; and if he really did know, and thus sought
to hide the facts, his guilt of misrepresentation should have been sufficient
grounds for his removal from office as head of the Ministerial Department
of the Church. The question as to what should be done in regard to the
men who were involved in this illicit fraternization with the Evangelicals
has yet to be resolved by the Church.
77 -- A hasty reading
of the two or three statements from The Desire of Ages without
the repeated counterbalancing statements found in so many other places
has led some to conclude our official position to be that Christ, during
the incarnation, partook of our corrupt, carnal nature, and therefore
was no different from any other human being. 15
A summary statement from the Spirit of Prophecy drew the contrast distinctly.
It read - "Jesus was sinless and had no dread of the consequences
of sin. With this exception His condition was as [ours].
were the "three or four places" in the "inspired counsels"
that used the terms, "fallen nature" and "sinful nature"
in referring to the humanity which the Son of God assumed in the incarnation
to be explained? In an early issue of The Ministry for 1957,
Elder W. E. Read wrote an article on "The Incarnation and the Son
of Man." In this article he stated what has become the key word
of the "new" theology. He wrote:
tempted in all points as we are, - This is a wonderful, comforting thought.
But let us ever remember that although it is true, it is also true that
He was "without sin" (Heb. 4:15). His being tempted, however,
did not contaminate the Son of God. He bore our weaknesses, our temptations,
vicariously, in the same way He bore our iniquities. 17
the same issue of The Ministry, another editorial appeared from
the pen of R. Allan Anderson. In this editorial, he commented:
When the incarnate
God broke into human history and became one with the race, it is our
understanding that He possessed the sinlessness of the nature with which
Adam was created in Eden. The environment in which Jesus lived, however,
was tragically different from that which Adam knew before the Fall.
by 1957, the doctrine in regard to the nature of the humanity that Christ
assumed in the incarnation as taught by the Holy Flesh Movement, was
again being taught by leaders in high places of the Church. A brief
review of the salient points of the Holy Flesh teaching on this subject
will permit the reader
78 -- to make a comparison with the documented statements in the
foregoing pages. There were three aspects to the doctrine of the incarnation
as taught by the Holy Flesh advocates: 19
to Sister White that "their point of theology" was: "Christ
took Adam's nature before he fell; so He took humanity as it was in
the garden of Eden, and thus humanity was holy."
Donnell, one of the leaders of the Movement, wrote - "Christ's
body represented a body redeemed from its fallen spiritual nature, but
not from its fallen, or deteriorated physical nature. It was a body
redeemed from sin, and with that body Christ clothed His divinity."
Davis, the founder of the Movement, indicated that every child born
into the world receives the tendencies toward sin, "unless preserved
from the law of heredity in conception by the power of the Holy Ghost."
climax to the conferences between the brethren in Washington and Barnhouse
and Martin was the publication of the book - Questions on Doctrine.
The book carried an introduction by an unnamed editorial committee which
writers, counselors, and editors who produced the answers to these questions
have labored conscientiously to state accurately the beliefs of the
Seventh-day Adventists. But because of the very nature of the Seventh-day
Adventist Church organization it is impossible to consider this book
a denominationally official statement of doctrine, as the term "official"
is understood in many church circles. No statement of Seventh-day Adventist
belief can be considered official unless it is adopted by the General
Conference in quadrennial session, when accredited delegates from the
whole world field are present. The statement of Fundamental Beliefs...
is our only official statement. The answers in this volume are an expansion
of doctrinal positions contained in that official statement of Fundamental
Beliefs. Hence this volume can be viewed as truly representative of
the faith and beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. 20
the subject of the incarnation, the book followed closely the presentations
79 -- which had appeared in The Ministry. The writers of
the book clearly declared "although born in the flesh, He [Christ]
was nevertheless God, and was exempt from the inherited passions and
pollutions that corrupt the natural descendants of Adam. He was 'without
sin' not only in His outward conduct, but in His very nature."
The main thrust of the view presented on the incarnation, however,
was pegged to the word - "vicariously". After quoting from
Isaiah 53:4 and Matthew 8:17, this comment is made:
It could hardly
be construed, however, from the record of either Isaiah or Matthew,
that Jesus was diseased or that He experienced the frailties to which
our fallen human nature is heir. But He did bear all this. Could
it not be that He bore this vicariously also, just as He bore
the sins of the whole world?
weaknesses, frailties, infirmities, failings are things which we, with
our sinful, fallen natures, have to bear. To us they are natural, inherent,
but when He bore them, He took them not as something innately His, but
He bore them as our substitute. He bore them in His perfect, sinless
nature. Again we remark, Christ bore all this vicariously, just as vicariously
He bore the iniquities of us all.
is in this sense that all should understand the writings of Ellen G.
White when she refers occasionally to sinful, fallen, and deteriorated
human nature. 22
the book reached the ministers and laity of the Church, reaction was
swift and pointed from those who knew what the Church had taught in
regard to the nature of the humanity which Christ assumed. Elder M.
L. Andreasen met the issue "head-on". Through mimeographed
and printed Letters to the Churches, he presented to all who
were willing to read the compromises resultant from the illicit fraternization
with the Evangelicals by our brethren at the headquarters of the Church.
On the subject of the incarnation, Andreasen wrote:
had been exempt from passions, He would have been unable to understand
or help mankind. It, therefore, behoved Him "in all things to be
made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful
80 -- and faithful high
priest... for in that He himself hath suffered, being tempted, He is
able to succor them that are tempted." Hebrews 2:17,18. A Saviour
who has never been tempted, never has had to battle with passions, who
has never "offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying
and tears unto Him who was able to save Him from death," who "though
He were a son" never learned obedience by the things He suffered,
but was "exempt" from the very things that a true Saviour
must experience: such a saviour is what this new theology offers us.
It is not the kind of Saviour I need, nor the world. One who has never
struggled with passions
can have no understanding of their power, nor has he ever had the joy
of overcoming them. If God extended special favors and exemptions to
Christ, in that very act He disqualified Him for His work. There can
be no heresy more harmful than that here discussed. It takes away the
saviour I have known and substitutes for Him a weak personality, not
considered by God capable of resisting and conquering the passions which
He asks men to overcome.
is,of course, patent to all, that no one can claim to believe the Testimonies
and also believe in the new theology that Christ was exempt from human
passions. It is one thing or the other. The denomination is now called
upon to decide. To accept the teaching of Questions on Doctrine
necessitates giving up faith in the Gift God has given this people."
Andreasen was correct in drawing the line distinctly that acceptance
of the "new" view of the incarnation meant rejection of the
testimonies of the Spirit. The servant of the Lord had plainly written
- "Though He [Christ] had all the strength of passion of humanity,
never did He yield to temptation to do one single act which was not
pure and elevating and ennobling." 24 TOP
the controversy resultant from the publication of the book Questions
on Doctrine - a group of representative church members in the Loma
Linda, California area formed a Committee for the Revision of the book.
They presented a Memorial to the General Conference Committee which
charged that the book glossed "over certain vital fundamentals
and compromise[d] other tenets of our faith."
25 Then the committee illustrated what they meant
by this charge:
In Hebrews 2:14-17 and Desire of Ages, pp. 48, 49,
81 -- and 112, it is stated
in clearest language that Christ our Saviour was "subject to the
great law of heredity" and took upon Him our "fallen"
and "sinful" nature. See also Medical Ministry, p.
181; Q. 0. D., pp. 656, 657.
direct contradiction to these inspired words the book declares that
Christ "took sinless human nature", and that "He was
exempt from the inherited passions and pollutions that corrupt the natural
descendants of Adam." See Q.
0. D., pp.
650, 383. This constitutes a most unfortunate surrender to the so-called
"Evangelicals", and robs the Christian of a perfect divine-human
The Memorial also expressed the Committee's deep conviction in these
is evident that certain statements and teachings of the book will never
be accepted by a considerable number of our people. In fact, it is our
conviction that not since the time of J. H. Kellogg's pantheistic controversy
of more than a half century ago, has anything arisen to cause such disquietude,
dessention, and dis-unity
among our people as the publication of this book. 26
attending Andrews University (1964-1965) to complete work for a Master's
degree, I obtained a copy of a term paper written in 1962 for the Faculty
of the Department of Church History. This paper was a brief study of
the teachings of the Church on the nature of Christ's humanity, and
has served as a guide for the research in depth which I have done in
this manuscript. The term paper was motivated because of the charge
"that the church has changed her historic position on the doctrine
of Christ's human nature." 27 The study
was "limited to the question of whether Christ took the nature
of Adam as originally created, perfect by God, or whether He had the
'sinful' flesh with its inherent
-- The Memorial was
signed by the following: A. D. Armstrong, Frank L. Cameron, Edna E.
Cameron, R. F. Cottrell, Florence Keller M. D., Scott Donaldson, Claude
E. Eldridge, Pearl Ferguson, N. M. Horsman, Orville W. Lewis, Sharon
Y. Lewis, Daniel A. Mitchell, Harold N. Mozar M. D., 0. S. Parrott M.
D., B. R. Spear, Claude Steen M. D., Willa S. Steen, W. T. Weaver, Walter
L. Webb, Harry G. Willis, and Thomas I. Zerkle M. D. This group could
hardly be considered a part of the "lunatic fringe" of the
-- weaknesses which every child normally inherits from his parents."
The student's conclusions are most interesting. He wrote:
the specific question of Christ's humanity, this study has revealed
from its earliest days the Seventh-day Adventist Church has taught that
when God partook of humanity He took, not the perfect, sinless nature
of man before the Fall, but the fallen, sinful, offending, weakened,
degenerate nature of man as it existed when He came to earth to help
that during the fifteen year period between 1940 and 1955 the words
"sinful" and "fallen" with reference to Christ's
human nature were largely or completely eliminated from denominational
that since 1952, phrases such as "sinless human nature,"
"nature of Adam before the fall," and "human nature undefiled,"
have taken the place of the former termnology...
findings of this study warrant the conclusion that Seventh-day Adventist
teachings regarding the human nature of Christ have changed and
that these changes involve concepts and not merely semantics. 29
new concepts on the nature of Christ's humanity which He assumed were
echoed in the Review and Herald, which carried in its masthead
the statement - "The Official Organ of the Seventh-day Adventist
Church." In an issue of 1965, Donald G. Reynolds, then Minister
of the White Memorial Church in Los Angeles, California wrote: Christ
became the second Adam. He took Adam's nature, but never took Adam's
sin. Jesus was not like you and me when He was here upon earth, for
He was never a sinner. He came to this earth as Adam before Adam fell.
We know that Adam need not have fallen into sin; the second Adam withstood
all the attempts of Satan's invasion upon His life. When the Son of
God became the Son of man in the Incarnation, He linked Himself to us
for eternity. He took the effects of heredity without the effects of
to the present decade, careful consideration must be given to the monumental
work - Movement of Destiny - written by Dr. Leroy E. Froom. The
83 -- weight of two of the highest offices of the Church are employed
in placing the "imprimatur" of the Church upon the book. Elder
Robert H. Pierson wrote the Foreword, not only as an individual, but
also as "President, General Conferince of Seventh-day Adventists."
Elder Neal C. Wilson, who chairmaned a large guiding committee
which reviewed the book before it was released to the Church, wrote
the Preface in his capacity of "Vice President, General Conference
for the North American Division." 32
This book is as "official" as any publication could be except
one approved by the General Conference in Session. Froom himself maintained
that "some sixty of our most competent denominational scholars
of a dozen specialties" approved what he wrote in the book.
recent book review of Movement of Destiny cautioned readers as
to the pitfalls they might meet in the study of this work. The Reviewer
* stated that Froom "stands as
the foremost current apologist" of the Church. In writing this
book, Froom had been given the task of "countering all 'charges'
against Adventism's founding fathers and succeeding leaders." This
puts a considerable limitation upon his work. "Consequently,the
reader must always be on the alert when studying Froom, asking himself
whether he has given a full account, or whether important aspects have
been neglected, or misrepresented." "Movement of Destiny
seems to be the work of the General Conference 'defense committee to
put all things
straight', with Froom serving as an untiring preacher and organizer
of the material." 34
Froom covers many doctrines in their historical development in the
-- Ingemar Linden,
author of this Book Review, is a docent at Uppsala University in Rimbo,
Sweden. He is a member of the Church Historians Association of Sweden,
and a reviewer of theological disertations in the field of eschatology
and apocalypticism for church historians in Scandinavia.
84 -- Church, this manuscript is primarily concerned with the teaching
of the Church in regard to the nature of the humanity which our Lord
assumed in His incarnation. On this subject, Froom revealed his position
in writing of the contacts which preceded the publication of the book
- Questions on Doctrine. He placed himself and the Church in
full accord with the editor of Our Hope who had written that
Christ's "conception in His incarnation was overshadowed by the
Holy Spirit so that He did not partake of the fallen sinful nature of
a section which discussed the note in Bible Readings on the nature
of Christ's humanity, Froom declared it to be an "erroneous minority
The phrase that Froom objected to most strenuously indicated
that Christ "partook of our sinful, fallen nature." How then
did this "minority" concept get into such a book as Bible
Readings? In 1956, Anderson did not know. 14
Froom, being a part of the same study group with Anderson did
not know then, either. But now fifteen years later an answer is found
or manufactured. It was written supposedly by one, W. A. Colcord. No
proof is given; a mere statement is made - "Apparently it was first
written in by W. A. Colcord, in 1914." 35
To discredit the statement in Bible Readings, Froom resorted
to what amounts to a "smear" tactic. In a footnote, he alleged
- "In 1914, about the time his [Colcord's] note on Christ's nature
appeared in Bible Readings, he regrettably lost faith in the
teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church." 35
Not having an admissible answer in 1956, a "goat"
was found by 1971!
rewriting the doctrinal history of the Church's teachings, Froom found
himself faced with some difficulties, when presenting the teaching of
the Church in regard to the nature of Christ's humanity. He recognized
the General Conference of 1888 as towering above all other conferences
before or since. 36
85 -- also recongized that one of the chief spokesmen at the conference
was Dr. E. J. Waggoner. He alleged that what Waggoner said at the conference
was taken down in shorthand, and later published as the book - Christ
and His Righteousness. 37
But - and here was the problem - Dr Waggoner in his book taught the
concept of Christ's humanity which Froom designated as an "erroneous
minority position." How was he to get around this impasse? He rewrote
what Waggoner had written, and put in Waggoner's "mouth" the
key word - "vicariously". That the reader may see the misrepresentation
perpetrated by Froom, the two presentations are placed side by side
for evaluation: *
italics [sample] will be used to indicate emphasis by either
writer, Waggoner or Froom. Underscoring will mark words, phrases, and
clauses in Waggoner's book quoted by Froom. Important statements in
Waggoner's presentation, vital to the question, which Froom ignores
will be placed in regular bold italics [sample].
MANIFEST IN THE FLESH
the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." John 1:14.
could more plainly show that Christ was both God and man. Originally
only Divine, He took upon Himself human
nature, and passed among men as only a common mortal,
except at those times when His Divinity flashed through, as on
the occasion of the cleansing of the temple, or when His burning
words of simple truth forced even His enemies to confess that
"never man spake like this man."
BECAME FLESH TO BEAR OUR SINS AND REDEEM. - The next logical step
is set forth in section 5 ("God
Manifest in the Flesh"). Waggoner quotes John 1:14 as affirming
that in the Incarnation "Christ was both
God and man. Originally only Divine, He took upon
Himself human nature." (P. 24) He lived on earth as a "mortal"
man - capable of dying -
humiliation which Christ voluntraily took upon Himself is best
expressed by Paul to the Philippians: [Phil 2:5-8 margin,
taken the form of a servant, yet all the while
rendering makes this text much more plain than it is in the common
version. The idea is that, although Christ was in the form of God,
being "the brightness of His
glory, and the express image of His Person" (Heb. 1:3),
having all the attributes of God, being the Ruler of the universe,
and the One whom all heaven delighted to honor, He did not
think that any of these things were to be desired, so long as
men were lost and without strength. He could not enjoy His glory
while man was outcast, without hope. So He emptied Himself, divested
Himself of all His riches and His glory, and took upon
Himself the nature of man, in order that He might redeem him.
And so we may reconcile Christ's unity with the Father and the
statement, "My Father is greater than I."
all the attributes of God, being the Ruler of the
universe, and the one whom all heaven delighted to honor."
Himself of these powers, He "took upon Himself the nature
of man, in order that He might redeem him." (P. 25) To accomplish
this He became obedient "even to the death of the cross."
is impossible for us to understand how Christ could, as God, humble
Himself to the death of the cross, and it is worse than useless
for us to speculate about it. All we can do is to accept the facts
as they are presented in the Bible. If the reader finds it difficult
to harmonize some of the statements in the Bible concerning the
nature of Christ, let him remember that it would be impossible
to express it in terms that would enable finite minds to
grasp it fully. Just as the grafting of the Gentiles into the
stock of Israel is contrary to nature, so much of the Divine economy
is a paradox to human understanding.
of it all is an unfathomable truth, beyond the "human understanding"
of "finite minds." (P. 26)
that we will quote bring closer to us the fact of the humanity
of Christ, and what it means for us. We have already read that
"the word was made flesh", and now we will read what
Paul says concerning the nature of that flesh: [Rom. 8:3, 4
As to His
humanity, Christ came in the "likeness
of sinful flesh." (Rom. 8:3, 4)
thought will be sufficient to show anybody that if Christ took
upon Himself the likeness of man, in order that He might redeem
man, it must have been sinful
man that He was made like, for it was sinful man that He came
Death could have no power over a sinless man, as Adam was in Eden;
and it could not have had any
power over Christ, if the Lord had not laid on Him the iniquity
of us all. Moreover,
the fact that Christ took upon Himself the flesh, not of
a sinless being, but of a sinful man,
on Him the iniquity of us all." He "took"
is, that flesh which He assumed had all the weaknesses
and sinful tendencies to which fallen
human nature is subject, is shown by the statement that He "was
made of the seed of David according to the flesh." David
had all the passions of human nature. He says of himself, "Behold
I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me."
"weaknesses" of man, and "suffered
all the infirmities" of man.
(Pp. 26, 27)
following statement in the book of Hebrews is very clear on this
point: - [Heb 2:16-17 quoted]
He was made in all things like unto.His brethren, then He must
have suffered all the infirmities, and been subject to
all the temptations, of His brethren. Two more texts that put
this matter very forcibly will be sufficient evidence on this
point. We first quote 2 Cor. 5:21: - [quoted]
This is much stronger
than the statement that He was made "in the likeness of sinful
flesh". He was made to be sin.
Here is the same mystery as that the Son of God should
die. The spotless Lamb of God, who knew no sin, was made to be
sin. Sinless, yet not only counted as a sinner, but actually taking
upon Himself sinful nature. He
was made to be sin in order that we
might be made righteousness.
than that, He was actually "made" - vicariously
- to "be
sin for us", that we "might be
madethe righteousness of God in him." (2 Cor.
5:21) On this Waggoner comments: "Here
is the same mystery as that the Son of God should die. The spotless
Lamb of God, who knew no sin, was made to be sin. Sinless, yet
not only counted as a sinner,but actually taking upon Himself
nature. He [sic]
to be sin in order that we
might be made righteousness." (Pp. 27 ,28)
the exchange - our sins for His righteousness.
type of misrepresentation - for it is simply prevarication - in a work
that is supposed to give an accurate presentation of our denominational
history as a Movement of destiny leaves one stunned. It stands as a
mute testimony to what extent apostates will go to cover their tracks.
A credibility gap is created. Why the leadership of the Church would
place their full weight of authority behind such a work has yet to be
"exhibit" from this period of conflict and apostasy will evidence
88 -- how deeply this alien doctrine on the human nature of our
Lord has penetrated the Church, and how the very sentiments of Roman
Catholicism are being echoed. The Southern Publishing Association published
in 1971 a book by Edwin W. Reiner, M. D. In the Foreword, Dr. Reiner
stated that "Elder Harry W. Lowe, of the General Conference of
Seventh-day Adventists, and Dr. W. G. C. Murdoch, dean of the Theological
Department of Andrews University, critically read each chapter before
its final approval." 40
In the chapter entitled, "Christ the Sinless
Sinbearer", the following concepts were presented:
He lived on earth, was a singular combination of man and God. To become
human, He clothed His divinity with humanity, yet He never ceased to
also be God. It is, of course, unthinkable that Deity could dwell
in a body combined with sinful human nature. Sin cannot exist in the
presence of God, and although He shared man's physical degeneration,
He did not possess man's spiritual alienation from and rebellion against
God. Neither did He sin by thought, deed, or action. He accepted only
the human physical condition as it existed after four thousand years,
becoming tired, hungry, and weak like any other human being. 41
we find that the Church in 1971 in a published volume critically read
by the dean of the Theological Seminary declared that the concept that
Christ took upon Himself the fallen nature of man in the incarnation
to be "unthinkable". In a Sabbath School Lesson for 1913,
a Catholic source was quoted,which stated:
in the immaculate conception of the blessed virgin Mary would imply
belief in the following revolting consequences; namely, that
He who is holiness itself, and has an infinite horror of sin, took human
nature from a corrupt human source.
The Catholic Church considers the doctrine that Christ accepted
the fallen nature of man in the incarnation as "revolting",
because Christ is "holiness itself". An Adventist publication
in 1971 considers the same doctrine as "unthinkable", because
"sin cannot dwell in the presence of God." How apropos are
Elder E. J. Waggoner's words.- "We need to settle, every one of
us, whether we
89 -- are out of the church of Rome or not. There are a great many
that have got the marks yet."
another page in the same chapter, the doctor wrote: Christ
was the second Adam; He began His work where the first Adam began. The
first Adam did not begin his life under the dominion of Satan, nor did
the second Adam. He came to earth as a human being and as a representative
of man, to show in the controversy with Satan that man,as he came forth
from the hand of the Creator, in union with the Father and Son, could
obey every divine requirement. 44 *
changes that have been made in the doctrine of the incarnation as taught
by the Church from 1844 to 1950 are declared to be based on the authority
of the Spirit of Prophecy itself. A supplement in the October, 1970,
Ministry carried a study by Elder Erwin R. Gane of the Department
of Religion at Union College. In this presentation, he asserted:
to E. G. White, Christ did not inherit at birth the fallen nature inherited
by Adam's posterity. She makes it abundantly clear that in terms of
heritage Christ was distinct from the posterity of Adam. . 45
in commenting upon the statements in the inspired writings which do
state that Christ accepted the "fallen" nature of man, Gane
made this comment:
E. G. White statements usually quoted to prove that Christ inherited
our fallen natures are often those found in her description
-- The latter part
of this paragraph is a paraphrase of a statement found in an article
in the Signs of the Times, June 9, 1898. It is reproduced in
full in Selected Messages, bk i, pp. 252-256. A key explanatory
sentence is made near the close of the article - "In taking upon
Himself man's nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the
least participate in its sin." By demonstrating in fallen human
flesh that the Law of God could be kept in every particular, Christ
did show that man as he had been created could have overcome Satan.
Selected Messages, bk. i, p. 279. The statement made by the doctor
that the second Adam did not begin life on earth under the dominion
of Satan is difficult to reconcile with The Desire of Ages, p.
49 "Into the world where Satan claimed dominion God permitted His
Son to come,... subject to the weakness of humanity." See also
Christ's own words in Matthew 12:28-29.
90 -- of the wilderness
of temptation experience. And in her account of this event she especially
emphasizes that the reason for the intensity of the struggle was that
the sin, guilt, passion, depravity, infirmity of the entire race was
laid upon, imputed to, vicariously borne by Christ at this time...
is no suggestion that Christ's struggle was the result of His having
inherited our fallen natures. The point rather is that our guilt, woe,
"indulged appetite", and "unholy passion" were laid
upon Him, so that in some mysterious sense He felt as the sinner feels.
this period, not all of the voices contending for the hittoric faith
of the Church in regard to the truth of the incarnation were drowned
in the flood of water pouring forth from the dragon's mouth. 47
In 1960, the Pacific Press published a book by a layman from
Iowa on the subject. After quoting - "He [Christ] did in reality
possess human nature" - Albert H. Olesen wrote:
Christ's life upon this earth, and when He went into the grave, this
was the only human nature that He had. This nature was tempted to retaliate
when tormented, to anger when insulted, to covet distinction when adored.
Jesus was tempted, not merely vicariously, but actually through
His own human nature. He fought against this nature until the last hours
on the cross, even as we are tempted throughout life. 48
our study we come to this conclusion: While it was possible for Christ
to bear vicariously the penalty of sin for mankind, yet it appears to
have been impossible for Him to have lived the human life vicariously.
Because this sinless human living was the center and the heart of redemption,
it of necessity was exact and total reality; no substitution could here
layman also made very clear what he understood the term "human
nature" to mean. On this point he stated - "Our nature is
the inheritance we receive at birth, the legacy of inclinations and
trends that enfold us without our conscious volition.
This legacy includes the physical structure and certain tendencies that
we receive from former generations, the possession of which is not our
91 -- In a recent private publication, this same author stated
very clearly the historic position of the Church. He wrote:
to take in reality man's fallen nature, and to overcome
the devil in that very nature, and it was in the order of God
that this should be done. This was the divine plan that was to "open
the way" for Redemption.... In other words, it was the foundation
upon which Salavation was to be built. For it was not the desert or
the garden or the cross alone that saved us, but the whole lifetime
struggle of Christ against tempting fallen flesh in His own person of
humanity! It was a titanic daily accomplishment for all those human
years that saved man and refuted the challenge of Satan before the universe.
For it was in the "form and nature of FALLEN MAN"
that Christ saved us, NOT in the form and nature of sinless Adam.
This is the very foundation of Redemption, that Christ overcame Satan
in our fallen nature of flesh and blood, and there is no other salvation
for man. 51
last two Reviews for 1971, and the first issue of 1972 carried
a series of editorials on the nature of the humanity which Christ assumed
in the incarnation. These editorials echoed the historic position of
the Church. As far as this writer has been able to verify, these articles
are the first such presentation in any Church publication in over a
decade. It must be understood, however, that the Review dated,
August 31, 1967, was the last to carry in the masthead the status of
the Review as the official organ of the Church. After that date
it has simply been - "The General Church Paper of the Seventh-day
Adventists." Thus editorials appearing in the paper "in no
way bind the church body to action, nor do they reflect any particular
official position that a committee has designated." 52
the first editorial, the associate editor, Dr. H. E. Douglass wrote:
song above all songs that will be sung forever is that Jesus did not
take flesh but became flesh, taking "our sinful nature,
that He might know how to succor those that are tempted." - Medical
Ministry p. 181. He took "upon Himself man's nature in its
fallen condition" yet in no way, "not in the least" did
He "participate in its sin." (The SDA Bible Commentary,
Ellen G. White Comments on
92 -- John
1:14, p. 1131) Indeed, though beset by fallen, sinful nature, our Lord
remained sinless. 53
second editorial told of Satan's attempt to vitiate the victory won
in our fallen nature. It read:
of the mysteries of iniquity is the successful outcropping of Satan's
malice in traditional Christian thought. For example, in order to vitiate
the victory of Jesus, many attempts have arisen to explain that Jesus
did not defeat Satan in man's sinful, fallen, degenerate, hereditary
nature but in some sphere with only a physical appearance like other
men. This error is the foundation of the Romn Catholic doctrine of the
Immaculate Conception whereby to ensure the perfect, sinless nature
of Jesus He is said to have been born of a perfect, sinless mother.
But the same subtle and perverse doctrine lies under other explanations
such as "Jesus took the sinless nature of the first Adam,"
or He "vicariously bore man's weaknesses." 54
has been forever true when the Church proclaimed the truth of the greatness
of Christ's victory in fallen human flesh, that the purity of the perfection
required of the last generation shone forth in undimmed brilliance.
The third editorial projected just such concepts. Douglass stated:
who make up the last generation will have developed a clear understanding
of the meaning of faith. Faith is man's response to the call of the
Lord, the willingness to do whatever his Lord has said so that his Lord
may be glorified in the life of quality. Only when an Adventist realizes
that God is waiting for a quality people will he become serious about
the standard of maturity (or perfection) that he must reach under the
enabling power of God.
faith that made Jesus the sinless man among men is that characteristic
which distinguishes the living saints in the last generation...
last generation of those who "keep the commandments of God, and
the faith of Jesus" will dissolve forever all lingering doubts
as to whether man's will joined to God's power can throw back all temptations
to self-serving and sin. 55
1972, February issue of The Ministry carried a valuable supplement
prepared by the Biblical Research Committee of the General Conference.
It was a revision of the one appearing in Questions on Doctrine
as Appendix B.
93 -- The new compilation of quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy
on the incarnation of Christ removed the heading which introduced Section
III of the previous set. In other words, the concept that Christ "took
sinless human nature" is muted. Upon receiving this supplement,
I addressed a letter to the committee which read in part:
was with interest that I noted in detail the most recent insert in The
Ministry. Certain corrections which appear as different from the
compilation in the book, Questions on Doctrine, have been long
overdue. I refer to the heading - "III. Took Sinless Human Nature"
- which appears on page 650 of the book. But is very difficult to understand
just what objective is to be served by the present compilation which
is in itself incomplete. It is very difficult for me to believe that
you men which compose the committee are unaware of those statements
which have been omitted, and which unless included cannot give the true
picture which the title of your insertion conveys - "The Nature
of Christ During the Incarnation". In fact such an omission leaves
you brethren open to some very serious questioning.
order that you night see that indeed there is another section to this
subject of the incarnation, I am enclosing a copy of a proposed section
to be included somewhere in your brochure either after V - "Christ
Was the Second Adam", or after VI - "Christ Took Real Human
Nature". Now it is true you have in section VII used several quotations
wherein is found the expression, "fallen nature", but by your
association of these statements with others in the same section, you
are still conveying the impression that this expression means - "effects
of sin" in a physical sense alone. But you have omitted the statements
which give the full picture - a nature "defiled by sin", the
"offending nature of man." 57
A copy of the quotations as sent to the Research Committee appears as
Appendix C in this manuscript.
the letter sent to the Committee I also asked about a quotation which
is printed in several places quoted two different ways. A reply to my
letter was written by Dr. Gordon M. Hyde, Secretary of the Committee.
He kindly sent me a copy of the article from the Youth's Instructor
wherein the quotation in question was printed, but completely ignored
the section of my letter which is quoted above.
94 -- As one surveys these last two decades, and the present hour
of decision to which the Church has arrived in regard to the doctrine
of the humanity our Lord assumed in becoming the Son of man, a message
of an ancient prophet of Israel pictures this hour - "And it shall
come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark."
Would to God the next verse could soon be fulfilled in regard to our
teaching on the most marvelous thing that ever took place in heaven
or earth - "It shall be one day, which shall be known to the Lord,
not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time
it shall be light." 58
If this research will in any way hasten the "light"
at "evening time", it will have accomplished its mission.
Ellen G.White, Special Testimonies, Series
B, No. 7, p. 37
2 William H. Grotheer, Letter to H. L, Rudy
dated at Jeffersonville, Indiana, April 8, 1957.
3 H. L. Rudy, Letter to William H.
Grotheer dated at Takoma Park, Washington D. C., April 12, 1957
4 F. D. Nichol, Answers to Objections,
5 Ibid., p. 397
Ibid., .# p. 24
7 W. H, Branson, Drama of the Ages, pp. 84-85
8 Ibid., p. 88-89
9 L. E. Froom, Movement of Destiny,
10 Ibid., p. 477
11 See Chapter VII, Footnote #22
12 Donald Grey Barnhouse, "Are Seventh-day
Adventists Christians?", Eternity, September, 1956 (Reprint)
13 R. Allan Anderson, "Human, Not Carnal",
The Ministry, September, 1956, p. 13.
14 Ibid., p. 14
15 Ibid., p. 12
16 Ellen G. White, Our High Calling, p. 59
17 W. E. Read, "The Incarnation of the son
of Man", The Ministry, April, 1957, p. 26
18 R. Allan Anderson, "'God With Us'",
The Ministry, April, 1957, p. 34
19 See Chapter VI - "The Holy Flesh Movement".
20 Questions on Doctrine, pp. 8-9
21 Ibid., p. 383
22 Ibid., pp. 59-60
23 M. L. Andreasen, Letters to the Churches,
Series A, No. 1, p. 7
24 Ellen G. White, In Heavenly Places, p.
"A Memorial to the General Conference Committee of Seventh-day
Adventists", Committee for the Revision of Questions on Doctrine,
P. 0. Box 567, Loma Linda California.
Ibid., p. 3
Robert Lee Hancock, *The Humanity of Christ", Term Paper,
Department of Church History, Andrews University, July 1962, p. 1.
29 Ibid., pp. 26-27
30 Donald G. Reynolds, "Adam and Evil",
Review and Herald, July 1, 1965
31 Froom, Op. cit , p. 13
32 Ibid., p. 16
33 'L. E. Frocm, Letter to William H. Grotheer dated
at Washington D. C.,
April 17, 1971.
34 Ingemar Linden, "Apologetics as History",
Book Review, Sprectrum, Autumn, 1971, pp. 89-91
35 L. E. Froom, Movement of Destiny, p. 428
36 Ibid., p. 187
37 Ibid., p. 189
38 E. J. Waggoner, Christ and His Righteousness,
39 Froom, Op. cit., p, 197
40 Edwin W. Reiner, M. D., The Atonement,
42 Catholic Belief, p. 217, Quoted in Senior
Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, May 17 1913, p. 26
43 See Chapter VI, Footnote #10
44 Reiner, Op. Cit , p. 136
45 Erwin R. Gane, "Christ and Human Perfection",
Supplement, The Ministry, October 1970, p. 7
46 Ibid., p. 14
47 Revelation 12:15
48 AIbert H. Olesen, The Golden Chain, p.
49 Ibid., p. 33
50 Ibid., p. 15
51 Albert H. Olesen, Think Straight About the
Incarnation, p. 15
52 H. E. Douglass, Letter to William H. Grotheer
dated at Takoma Park, Washington D. C., December 29, 1971
53 H. E. Douglass, "'The Humanity of the Son
of God Is Everything to Us'", Review and Herald, December
23, 1971, p. 13
H. E. Douglass, "Jesus Showed Us the Possible",
Review and Herald, December 30, 1971, p, 16 55
H. E. Douglass, "The Demonstration that Settles Everything",
Review and Herald, January 6, 1972, p. 14
"The Nature of Christ During the Incarnation", Supplement,
The Ministry, February, 1972
57 William H. Grotheer, Letter to Biblical
Research Committee of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
dated at Florence, Mississippi, Feb. 3, 1972
58 Zechariah 14:6-7 TOP
96 -- IX
-- CONCLUSION -- If the Seventh-day Adventist Church
truly believes that the writings of Ellen G. White constitute the message
of God to the Remnant, then the historic position of the Church in regard
to the nature of the humanity Christ assumed in becoming the Son of
man is crystal clear. From the very earliest beginnings of the Church,
the servant of the Lord taught: "The great work
of redemption could be carried out only by the Redeemer taking the place
of fallen Adam." 1
"It was in the order of God that Christ should
take upon Himself the form and nature of fallen man", that by "experiencing
in Himself the strength of Satan's temptations", "He might
understand how to succor those who are tempted."
findings of this research indicate that during the last two decades,
theologians and apologists of the Church have altered this historic
position and now teach that Christ in accepting a human form from Mary
was preserved from the working of the law of heredity through the operation
of the Holy Spirit. Further it is now projected that the humanity Christ
took, except for physical degeneracy was the same as the sinless nature
of Adam before the Fall. On some of the published writings of these
theological leaders of the Church, the highest elected officers of the
Church have placed their "imprimatur", making the doctrines
taught in these publications the "official" position of the
Church. Thus the theologians and leaders united together in leading
the Church into a state of apostasy in regard to the doctrine of the
linked with the teaching of the nature of the humanity of Christ, in
fact inseparable from it, is the concept of perfection. Only as the
doctrine of the incarnation is clarified and set in the light of Christ's
97 -- for man, can the perfection expected of this last generation
be understood by the Church of God.
apostasy of the Church in regard to the doctrine of the incarnation
is a reflection upon the work that Christ accomplished for man as a
man in His humiliation. That which has taken place in the last two decades
of the Church's history in this one area alone needs to be acknowledged
by the leadership of the Church for what it is, and publicly repented
of. The leaders in this apostasy need to be brought to trial, not secretly,
but openly, that the God of heaven might be vindicated and the truth
of the condescension of Christ be cleared of the error which has tarnished
the great victory that our Lord attained in fallen human flesh.
See page 7
pages 8 & 10 TOP
p 98 --
-- APPENDIX A -- A LETTER TO WILLIAM L. H. BAKER
Ministry for September, 1956 featured a compilation of statements
from the pen of Ellen G. White on "Christ's Nature During the Incarnation,"
which were later included in,Questions on Doctrine. R. Allan
Anderson in an editorial in the same issue urged careful and prayerful
study of these quotations, Then he cautioned - "We dare not take
an isolated expression and build a doctrine upon it," (p. 15) If
this counsel were ever apropos, it most certainly is when considering
a letter which Sister White wrote to Evangelist William L. H. Baker
of Australia. There is no record of what this man was teaching, or what
he may have written in regard to the nature of Christ during the incarnation,
and are, therefore, left without a means of comparison. Thus we must
analyze the statements of caution written to Elder Baker in the light
bf what the servant of the Lord wrote on other occasions.
statements from this single letter (Letter 8, 1895) are being used by
the exponents of the "new" view to clothe their position with
the authority of the Spirit of Prophecy. This letter is reproduced in
the Bible Commentary (5BC:1128-1129). The sections of
the letter used to give credence to the idea that Christ took upon Himself
sinless human nature in the incarnation follow: Be
careful, exceedingly careful as to how you dwell upon the human nature
of Christ. Do not set Him before the people as a man with the propensities
of sin. He is the second Adam. The first Adam was created a pure, sinless
being, without a taint of sin upon him: he was in the image of God.
He could fall, and he did fall through transgressing. Because of sin
his posterity was born with inherent propensities of disobedience. But
Jesus Christ was the only begotten
Son of God. He took upon Himself human nature, and was tempted
in all points as human nature is tempted. He could have sinned; He could
have fallen, but not for one moment was there in Him an evil
99 -- Never, in any way,
leave the slightest impression upon human minds that a taint of, or
inclination to, corruption rested upon Christ, or that He in
any way yielded to corruption...
every human being be warned from the ground of making Christ altogether
human, such an one as ourselves; for this cannot be.
relate this single letter to the rest of the counsel and instruction
found in the Spirit of Prophecy, we must first understand how Sister
White used the word, "propensity". Two years prior to this
letter, she wrote in the Review and Herald:
self-pleasing, pride, and extravagance must be renounced. We
cannot be Christians and gratify these propensities. (May 16, 1893)
The inherent (innate, intrincic)
propensities of man are a very part of his "self" or ego.
They are "evil", because man's very self is evil. This was
not the situation with Christ, for His self or ego was ever pure, and
key to the whole problem is found in the caution - "Let every human
being be warned from the ground of making Christ such a one as ourselves;
for this cannot
be." Christ was unique
in comparison with all of the rest of the sons of men. But this uniqueness
was in regard to His pre-existence,
which none of the rest of the children of men have ever had. Our "self"
is the result of the union of an earthly father and mother. But with
Christ, there was a "Divine Self", which had existed from
eternity in the "form of God". This "Divine Ego",
at Bethlehem, changed foms, from the "form of God" to the
form of a "servant". This "Ego" took upon Himself,
our human nature as received from Mary. In that human nature was found
all that is in our human nature. But the acceptance of our human nature
did not corrupt
in the least the Divine Ego. "In His human nature, He maintained
the purity of His divine character." (Youth's Instructor,
June 2, 1898) Sin never rested
upon Him, for "not even
-- by a thought could our Saviour be brought to yield to the power
of temptation." (Great Controversy, p. 623) Christ "emptied
Himself" seeking to do only the will of the Father. There was not
in Him an
evil propensity - no self-indulgence, no self-pleasing, no pride, nor
love of display. In so doing, He gave an example of what man is to do
with his "self" that the character of God may become "personality"
in him. (See Fundamentals of Christian Education,
the same year that the letter was written to William L. H. Baker, the
servant of the Lord wrote the following:
royal courts of heaven Christ came to our world to represent the character
of His Father, and thus help humanity to return to their loyalty. The
image of Satan was upon men, and Christ came that He might bring to
them moral power and efficiency. He came as a helpless babe, bearing
the humanity we bear. "As the children are partakers of flesh
and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same." He
could not come in the form of an angel; for unless He met man as man,
and testified by His connection with God that divine power was not given
to Him in a different way to what it will be given to us, He could not
be a perfect example for us. He came in humanity, in order that the
humblest being upon the face of the earth could have no excuse because
of his poverty, or ignorance, and say, Because of these things, I cannot
obey the law of Jehovah. Christ clothed His divinity with humanity,
that humanity might touch humanity; that He might live with humanity,
and bear all the trials and afflictions of man. He was tempted in all
points like as we are, yet without sin. In His humanity He understood
all the temptations that will come to man. (Ms. 21, 1895)
100 -- APPENDIX B -- A
SINLESS LIFE -- Bible
Readings for the Home Circle, 1915 edition, pp. 115-116. All emphasis
as in the original.
What testimony is borne concerning Christ's life on earth?
did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth." I Peter
What is true of all other members of the human family?
all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Rom.
With what question did Christ challenge His enemies?
of you convinceth Me of sin?" John 8:46
4. To what extent was Christ tempted?
was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
In His humanity, of what nature did Christ partake?
"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood,
He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through
death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the
devil." Heb. 2:14
How fully did Christ share our common humanity?
in all things it behoved Him to be 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." Verse
His humanity Christ partook of our sinful, fallen nature. If not, then
He was not "made like unto His brethren," was not "in
all points tempted like as we are," did not overcome as we have
to overcome, and is not, therefore, the complete and perfect Saviour
man needs and must have to be saved. The idea that Christ was born of
an immaculate or sinless mother. inherited no tendencies to sin, and
for this reason did not sin, removes Him from the realm of a fallen
world, and from the very place where help is needed. On His human side,
Christ inherited just what every child of Adam inherits, - a sinful
nature. On the divine side, from His very conception He was begotten
and born of the Spirit. And all this was done to place mankind on vantage-ground,
and to demonstrate that in
the same way everyone who is "born of the Spirit"
may gain victories over sin in his own sinful flesh. Thus each one is
to overcome as Christ overcame.
Rev. 3:21 without this birth there can be no victory over temptation,
and no salvation from sin. John 3:3-7
Where did God, in Christ, condemn sin, and gain the victory for us over
temptation and sin?
what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God
sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, condemned
sin in the flesh." Romans 8:3
- God, in Christ, condemned sin, not by pronouncing against
it merely as a judge sitting on the judgment-seat, but by coming and
living in the flesh, in
sinful flesh, and yet without sinning. In Christ, He demonstrated
that it is possible, by His grace and power, to resist temptation, overcome
sin, and live a sinless
life in sinful flesh.
By whose power did Christ live the perfect life?
can of Mine own self do nothing." John 5:30. "The words that
I speak unto you, I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth
in Me, He doeth the wxrks." John 14:10
His humanity Christ was dependent upon divine power to do the works
of God as is any man to do the same thing. He employed no means to live
a holy life that are not available to every human being. Through Him,
every one may have God
-- dwelling in him and working in him "to
will and to do
of His good pleasure." I John 4:15; Phil. 2:13.
What unselfish purpose did Jesus ever have before Him?
I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of
Him that sent Me," John 6:38
APPENDIX C -- CHRIST
TOOK ADAM'S FALLEN NATURE -- In Christ were united
the divine and the human - the Creator and the creature. The nature
of God, whose law had been transgressed, and the
nature of Adam, the transgressor, meet in Jesus - the Son
of God, and the Son of man. Manuscript
141, 1901 (7BC:926)
of Christ's humiliation. He
took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled
by sin. He took our sorrows, bearing our grief and shame.
He endured all the temptations wherewith man is beset. He united humanity
with divinity: a divine
spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh. He united Himself with
the temple. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,"
because by so doing He could associate with the sinful, sorrowing sons
and daughters of Adam. Youth's
Instructor, Dec. 20, 1900 (4BC:1147)
did in reality unite the
offending nature of man with His own sinless nature, because
by this act of condescension He would be enabled to pour out His blessings
in behalf of the fallen race. Thus He has made it possible for us to
partake of His nature. Review
and Herald, July 17, 1900
was in the order of God that Christ should take upon Himself the
form and nature of fallen man, that He might be made perfect
through suffering, and Himself endure the strength of Satan's fierce
temptations, that He might understand how to succor those who should
be tempted. Spirit
of Prophecy, Vol. 2, p. 39
is the perfect pattern, and it is the duty and privilege of every child
-- and youth to copy the pattern. Let children bear in mind that
the child Jesus had taken
upon Himself human nature, and was in the likeness of sinful flesh,
and was tempted of Satan as all children are tempted. He was able to
resist the temptation of Satan through dependence upon the divine power
of His heavenly Father, as He was subject to His will, and obedient
to all His commands. He kept His Father's statutes, precepts, and laws.
He was continually seeking counsel of God, and was obedient to His will.
Instructor, August 23, 1894
our own strength it is impossible for us to deny the clamors of our
fallen nature. Through this channel Satan will,bring temptation upon
us. Christ knew that the enemy would come to every human being, to take
advantage of hereditary
weakness, and by his false insinuations to ensnare all whose
trust is not in God. And
by passing over the ground which man must travel, the Lord
has prepared the way for us to overcome. The
Desire of Ages, pp. 122-123
yourself, helpless, unworthy, upon Jesus, and claim His very promise.
The Lord will hear. He
knows how strong are the inclinations of the natural heart,
and He will help in every time of temptation. Testimonies
for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 177
APPENDIX D -- EXCERPTS
FROM UNPUBLISHED MANUSCRIPTS BY FROOM -- In
order that the reader might have some idea why Dr. Leroy E. Froom so
readily accommodated himself to the Evangelical concepts on the incarnation
as expressed by Dr. English (see page 73), excerpts are presented from
three unpublished manuscripts which Froom has written and circulated.
The manuscripts are entitled - "The Tremendous Truth of the Virgin
Birth - 1, - 2, - 3".
The references will be marked according to the number of the manuscript.
All emphasis indicated will be Froom's.
should be said at the outset that it is foolhardy for quibblers to contend
that Christ had to have two human parents in order to assume human nature
- for the simple reason that Adam, as the first man, had no parents.
-- into being by direct
creation. Creative power was similarily involved in the Virgin birth.
Christ is the one exception to the universal rule of sin and sinfulness.
How did He escape the taint of sinful heredity? There is but one answer:
His human nature came into being by a direct and miraculous intervention,
the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost. 1
Holy Spirit generated within the humanity of Mary the body of flesh
by means of which the Son of God tabernacled among men. 1
human nature originated miraculously in the humanity of His virgin mother
by the creative power of the Holy Spirit. 1
Christ is differentiated from all other men by His unparalleled conception
and birth. To be truly the "Son of man" He could become Humanity's
son only by a human birth. Had Christ been independently and directly
created, like Adam, He would have been apart from humanity. That is
obvious. So He was born. 2
is contended by some, being herself sinful, [IMary] would inevitably
convey the taint of her corruption to Jesus - for sinful tendencies
could as verily be conveyed by one parent as definitely as from two.
But the crux of the matter is not compassed simply by saying that Jesus
was born of a virgin mother. There is another and more vital factor
- He was "conceived" by the Holy Ghost. A divine, creative
miracle brought to pass this new union of Godhead with Humanity, begun
in the womb of Mary, which secured freedom from the slightest taint
of sin. The human element was not determinative in that origin. 2
"first Adam", back in Eden, came into being by direct creation
of God. Consequently he started with a sin-free existence, as sinlessness
was assured for the first Adam from the very fact that God would not
create a sinful being. In contrast, the "Last Adam" entered
into human existence by a birth. Yet in this He was protected from inherited
sin by divine generation. The Generator of this matchless Person
was likewise a member of the Godhead. Jesus' generation was consequently
from a Sinless Source - the Holy Spirit. At this point it is to be particularly
noted it was the Spirit's work to generate the humanity of Christ.
press the point: It is a mistaken notion to think that Christ received
His Deity from a Divine Parent and His humanity from a human parent.
No branch of the Christian Church, ... has regarded the Holy Spirit,as
the "Father" of Jesus.... Christ was Himself Eternal Deity
- the Eternal Word and Son. That which He had always been was now, through
the Incarnation, joined in everlasting identification with His new humanity.
God, who created all things, caused Mary, the virgin, to conceive and
thus bear a Son. But this creative act was to the specific end that
the humanity of Christ might be secured.... Mary had been expressly
told (Luke 1:31) that the Generator would be the Holy Spirit, and the
resultant Christ Child would be "holy", and legitimately and
properly be called the "Son of God." He who had the power
to create the first Adam could, of course, create or generate
the humanity of the Last Adam. In this the Holy Spirit was the Generator
or Creator, not the progentitor. And the unfallen
-- estate, guaranteed to the first Adam through direct creation
of a Holy God was, in the case of the Last Adam, generated and guaranteed
by the Holy Spirit. 3
"body" of Jesus was "prepared" (Heb. 10:5) by the
Third Person of the Godhead, Who brought to pass the "mystery"
of God "manifest in the flesh" (I Tim. 3:16). The Son, sent
of the Father and voluntarily coming into His new nature, was declared
"conceived in her" (Mary) of "the Holy Ghost" (Matt.
1:20). But the human nature of our Lord was to be "separate
from sinners" (Heb. 7:36). And the Third Person of the Godhead
is, of course, Holiness personified. He hallowed the flesh into which
our Lord entered. So Christ was without a taint of sin on earth - the
first and only One since the Fall in Eden. 3
theology is but one "generation" removed from the Catholic
Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. It should be evident to the reader
what options are open to him. Either Froom's theology, or the theology
of the Spirit of Prophecy as summarized in Appendix C. One theology
is inspired by the Holy Spirit who knew what took place in Mary, and
the other is that which was created in the mind of a man.