Letters to the Churches
Part 1 of 2
by M. L. Andreasen
p 3 -- THE INCARNATION - Was Christ Exempt? -- (title page)
p 4 -- The word incarnation derives from the two Latin words, in carnis, which mean "in flesh" or "in the flesh." As a theological term, it denotes "the taking on of the human form and nature by Jesus, conceived of as the Son of God." In this sense John uses the word when he says, "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God. And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God." 1 John 4:2, 3. This makes belief in the incarnation a test of discipleship, though doubtless more is meant than a mere belief in the historical appearance of Christ.
The coming into the world of a new life - the birth of a babe - is in itself a miracle. Infinitely more so must be the incarnation of the very Son of God. It will ever remain a mystery beyond human comprehension. All man can do is accept it as a part of the plan of redemption which has been gradually revealed since the fall of man in the garden.
For reasons which we cannot fully fathom, God permitted sin. In doing so, however, He also provided a remedy. This remedy comprises the plan of redemption and is bound up with the incarnation, the death, and the resurrection of the Son of God. It cannot be conceived that God did not know what creation would cost Him; and the 'council of peace' which decided the matter must have included provisions for every foreseen contingency. Paul calls this plan "God's wisdom in a mystery, even the wisdom that hath been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds unto our glory." 1 Corinthians 2:7.
The phrase "before the worlds" means before there was creation of any kind. Thus the plan of salvation was not an afterthought. It was "foreordained."Even when Lucifer sinned, the plan was not fully revealed, but was "kept in silence through times eternal." Romans 16:25 A.R.V. For this God gives no reason. Paul informs us "that by revelation He
p 5 -- (God) made known unto me the mystery . . . the mystery of Christ which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit." Ephesians 3:3-5.
There are two words in the epistle to the Hebrews which are of interest in this connection. They are "became" in verse ten of chapter two, and "behoved" in verse seventeen of the same chapter.The Greek word for became is prepo, and is defined as "suitable, proper, fit, right, comely." Paul, whom we believe to be the author of Hebrews, is very bold when he thus presumes to attribute motive to God and declares that it is fit and right for God to make Christ "perfect through suffering," Hebrews 2:10. He considers it "comely" of God to do this; that is, He approves of it. In judging God, he emulates Abraham who was even bolder than Paul. Misunderstanding what God intended to do, Abraham counseled God not to do it. Said he, "Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?. . . That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked. . . That be far from thee. Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?" Genesis 18:23, 25.
Moses also essayed to admonish God and instruct Him. When Israel danced about the golden calf, God said to Moses, "Let me alone that my wrath may wax hot against them and that I may consume them." Exodus 32:10. Moses attempted to pacify God and said, "Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people? . . . Turn from thy fierce wrath and repent of this evil against thy people." Exodus 32:11, 12. "And the Lord repented of the evil which He thought to do unto His people." Verse 14.
We readily see that in this interesting episode God was merely testing Abraham, and giving him an opportunity to plead for the people. But we also note that this illustrates God's willingness to talk over matters with His saints; yes, and with those who are not saints. His invitation to mankind is, "Come now, arid let us reason together." Isaiah 1:18
6 -- God is anxious to communicate with His people. Neither Abraham
nor Moses was rebuked for his boldness.
The other word to which we would call attention is behoved. Speaking of Christ, Paul says, "In all things it behaved 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."
Hebrews 2:17. While became in verse 10 is a mild word, behoved in verse 17 (ophilo in Greek) is a strong word and is defined "under obligation," "ought," "must," "should,""bound," "indebted," "duty," "owe." If Christ is to be a merciful and faithful high priest, Paul says it behoves Him "in all things" to be like His brethren. This is obligatory. It is a duty He owes and must not avoid. He cannot make reconciliation for men unless He takes His place with them and in all things becomes like them. It is not a question of choice. He should, He must, He ought to, He is under obligation to, He owes it. Unless He has to struggle with the same temptations men do, He cannot sympathize with them. One who has never been hungry, who has never been weak and sick, who has never struggled with temptations, is unable fully to sympathize with those who are thus afflicted.
this reason it is necessary for Christ in all things to become
like His brethren. If He is to be touched with the feeling of our infirmities,
He must Himself be "compassed with infirmity." Hebrews 4:15;
5:2. Therefore, if men are afflicted, He also must be afflicted "in
all their affliction." Isaiah 63:9. Christ Himself testifies: "I
was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smiters,
and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from
shame and spitting." Isaiah 50:5, 6. He "Himself took our infirmities,
and bare our sicknesses." Mattheww 8:17. In nothing Christ spared
Himself. He did not ask to be exempt from any trial or suffering of man;
and God did not exempt Him.
p 7 -- every
child of humanity; for He knows hunger by actual experience and sickness
and weakness and temptation and sorrow and affliction and pain and feeling
forsaken of God and man. He has been "tempted in all points
like as we are, yet without sin." Hebrews 4:15. It is Christ's partaking
of men's afflictions and weaknesses which enables Him to be the sympathizing
Saviour that He is.
WAS CHRIST EXEMPT?
With these reflections
in mind, we read with astonishment and perplexity, mingled with sorrow,
the false statement in "Questions on Doctrine," P. 383 that
Christ was "exempt from the inherited passions and pollutions that
corrupt the natural descendants of Adam." To appreciate the import
of this assertion, we need to define "exempt" and "passions."
The College Standard
Dictionary defines exempt: "to free or excuse from some burdensome
obligation; free, clear or excuse from some restriction or burden."
Webster's New World Dictionary, College Edition defines exempt: "to
take out, deliver, set free as from a rule which others must observe;
excuse, release...freed from a rule, obligation, etc., which binds
others; excused, released. . . exemption implies a release from some
obligation or legal requirement, especially when others are not so
Passion is defined: "originally suffering or agony...any of the emotions as hate, grief, love, fear, joy; the agony and sufferings of Jesus during the crucifixion or during the period following the Last Supper. Passion usually implies a strong emotion that has an overpower.ng or compelling effect." Passion is an inclusive word. While originally it has reference to sorrow, suffering, agony, it is not confined to these meanings nor to passions of the flesh only, but includes all man's emotions as mentioned above, as well as anger, sorrow, hunger, pity; it includes, in fact, all temptations that incite men to action. To take these emotions away from a man, to exempt him from all temptation, results in a creature less than a man, a kind of no-man, a shadow man, a non-entity, which Markham calls.
p 8 -- a "brother to the ox." Temptations are the character-building ingredients of life for good or ill, as man re-acts to them.
If Christ was exempt from the passions of mankind, He was different from other men, none of whom is so exempt. Such teaching is tragic, and completely contrary to what Seventh-day Adventists have always taught and believed. Christ came as a man among men, asking no favors and receiving no special consideration. According to the terms of the covenant He was not to receive any help from God not available to any other man. This was a necessary condition if His demonstration was to be of any value and His work acceptable. The least deviation from this rule would invalidate the experiment, nullify the agreement, void the covenant, and effectively destroy all hope for man.
Satan's contention has always been that God is unjust in requiring men to keep the law, and doubly unjust in punishing them for not doing what cannot be done, and what no one has ever done. His claim is that God ought at least to make a demonstration to show that it can be done, and done under the same conditions to which men are subject. Noah, Job, Abraham, David - all were good men, but all failed to come up to God's high standard. "All men have sinned," says Paul. Romans 3:23.
God was not moved by Satan's challenge; for long before, even from eternity, God had decided upon His course of action. Accordingly, when the time came, God sent "his own son, in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, and condemned sin in the flesh." Romans 8:3. Christ did not condone sin in the flesh; He condemned it, and in so doing upheld the power and authority of the law. By dying on the cross He further enforced the law by paying the penalty required for its transgression, and upheld the infliction of its penalty by paying its demand, He was now in position to forgive without being accused of ignoring the law or setting it aside.
When it became evident that God intended to send His Son and in Him demonstrate that man can keep the law, Satan knew that this would constitute the crisis, and that he must
p 9 -- overcome Christ or perish. One thing greatly concerned him; Would Christ come to this earth as a man with the limitations, weaknesses and infirmities which men had brought upon themselves because of excesses? if so, Satan believed he might overcome Him. If God should exempt Him from the passions that corrupt the natural descendants of Adam, he could claim that God played favorites, and the test was invalid. In the following quotations we have God's answer;
"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." The Desire of Ages, p. 49"
Many claim that it was impossible for Christ to be overcome by temptation. Then He could not have been placed in Adam's position . . . our Savior took humanity with all its liabilities. He took the nature of man with the possibility of yielding to temptation." The Desire of Ages, p. 117
"The temptations to which Christ was subject were a terrible reality. As a free agent he was placed on probation with liberty to yield to Satan's temptations and work at cross purposes with God. If this were not so, if it had not been possible for Him to fall, He could not have been tempted in all points as the human family is tempted. The Youth's Instructor, Oct. 26,1899.
"When Adam was assailed by the tempter, none of the effects of sin was upon him. He stood in the strength of perfect manhood, possessing the full vigor of mind and body. ..It was not thus with Jesus when He entered the wilderness to cope with Satan. For four thousand years the race had been decreasing in physical strength, in mental power, in moral worth; and Christ took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity. Only thus could He rescue man from the lowest depth of his degradation." The Desire of Ages, p. 117
Christ "vanquished Satan in the same nature over which Satan obtained the victory. The enemy was overcome by Christ in His human nature. The power of the Savior's Godhead was hiddenHe overcame in human nature relying upon God for power. This is the privilege of all." The Youth's Instructor, April 25, 1901.
"Letters have been coming in 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, 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 temptations, He could not be our helper. It was a solemn reality that Christ came to fight the battle as man, in man's behalf. His temptation and victory tell us that humanity must copy the Pattern; men
p 10 -- must become a partaker of the divine nature." Review, February 18, 1890.
"Christ bore the sins and infirmities of the race as they existed when he came to the earth to help man. ...He took human nature, and bore the infirmities of the degenerate race." The Temptations of Christ, pp. 30,31.
If Christ had been exempt from passions, He would have been unable to understand or help mankind. It, therefore, bahoved Him " in ail things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful 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 Savior 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 Savior must experience: such a savior is what this new theology offers us. It is not the kind of Savior 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 Savior 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.
It 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.
It may interest the reader to know how these new doctrines came to be accepted by the leaders, and how they came to be included in Questions on Doctrine, and thus receive official standing.
p 11 -- The question of the nature of Christ while in the flesh is one of the foundation pillars of Christianity. On this doctrine hangs the salvation of man. The apostle John makes it a deciding factor by saying, "Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God. And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God." 1 John 4:2 ,3.
In what kind of flesh did Jesus come to this earth? We repeat a quotation which we have given above: "Christ took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity. Only thus could He rescue man from the lowest depth of his degradation." The Desire of Ages, p. 117.
Only as Christ placed Himself on the level of the humanity He had come to save, could He demonstrate to men how to overcome their infirmities and passions. If the men with whom He associated had understood that He was exempt from the passions with which they had to battle, His influence would immediately have been destroyed and He would be reckoned a deceiver. His pronouncement, "I have overcome the world," (John 16:33) would be accepted as a dishonest boast; for without passions He had nothing to overcome. His promise that "to him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father in his throne," (Revelation 3:21) would be met by the claim that if God would exempt them from passions, they also could do what Christ had done.
That God exempted Christ from the passions that corrupt men, is the acme of all heresy. It is destruction of all true religion and completely nullifies the plan of redemption, and makes God a deceiver and Christ His accomplice. Great responsibility rests upon those who teach such false doctrine to the destruction of souls. The truth, of course, is that God "spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us" (Romans 8:32); rather, because His nature was sensitive to the least slight or disrespect or contempt, His tests were harder and His temptations stronger than any we have to endure. He resisted "even unto blood." No, God did not spare or exempt Him. In His agony He "offered up prayers and supplicatians with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to
p 12 -- save Him from death, and was heard in that he feared." Hebrews 5:7. "Though he were a son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered." Verse 8.
In view of all this, we repeat the question, how did this God-dishonoring doctrine find its way into this denomination? Was it the result of close and prayerful study by compentant men over a series of years, and were the final conclusions submitted to the denomination in public representative meetings, advertised beforehand in the Review giving the details of what changes were contemplated, as the denomination has voted as proper procedure? None of these things were done. An anonymous book appeared, and men were judged and the brakes tightened on anyone who objected.
Here is the story of how these new doctrines found their way into the denomination as reported by Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse, editor of the religious journal, Eternity, in September, 1956, issue of his magazine, later issued as a copyrighted article entitled "Are Seventh-day Adventists Christians?" With permission we quote from this article. We may inject that Dr. Barnhouse advises us that the entire content of the article was submitted to the Adventist brethren for approval before publication. The fact that this report has been in print for nearly three years and no correction or protest has been forthcoming from our leaders would strongly argue that they accept the truthfulness of the account.
Dr. Barnhouse reports that "a little less than two years ago it was decided that Mr. Martin should undertake research in connection with Seventh-day Adventism." Mr. Walter R. Martin was at that time a candidate for degree of Doctor of Philosophy in New York University and also connected with the editorial staff of Eternity. Wishing to get firsthand and reliable information, Mr. Martin went to Washington to the Adventist headquarters where he got in touch with some of the leaders. "The response was immediate and enthusiastic."
Mr. Martin "immediately...perceived that the Adventists were strenuously denying certain doctrinal positions which had been attributed to them.
p 13 -- Chief
among these were the question of the mark of the beast, and the nature
of Christ while in the flesh. Mr. Martin "pointed out to them that
in their bookstore adjoining the building in which these meetings were
taking place, a certain volume published by them and written by one of
This concerned particularly the doctrine of the mark of the beast, one of the fundamental doctrines of the Adventist church held from near its beginning. When the leaders discovered that Mr. Martin was correct, they suggested to the officers that the situation be "remedied and such publications be corrected." This was done. We are not informed which publications were so "remedied and corrected," nor if the authors were notified before the changes were made; nor if the duly appointed book committee was consulted; nor if the book editors or the publishing house were agreeable to the changes. We do know, however, that in the Sabbath school lessons for the second quarter of 1958, which dealt with the book of Revelation, chapter by chapter, the thirteenth chapter which discusses the mark of the beast was entirely omitted. Chapter 12 was there, so was chapter 14, but there was no chapter 13. The Sabbath school lessons had evidently been "remedied and corrected."
It is certainly anomalous when a minister of another denomination has enough influence with our leaders to have them correct our theology, effect a change in the teaching of the denomination on a most vital doctrine of the church, and even invade the Sabbath schools of the world and withhold from them the important lessons of Revelation 13. For our leaders to accept this is tantamount to an abdication of their leadership.
THE SAME PROCEDURE
p 14 -- But
this is not all. Dr. Barnhouse reports that the same procedure was repeated
regarding the nature of Christ while in the flesh, the subject with which
we have been here dealing. Our leaders assured Mr. Martin that "the
majority of the denomination has always held (the nature of Christ while
in the flesh) to be sinless, holy, and perfect, despite the fact that
certain of their writers have occasionally gotten into print with contrary
views completely repugnant to the church at large."
If our leaders told
Mr. Martin this, they told the greatest untruth ever. For the denomination
has never held any other view than that expressed by Mrs. White in the
quotations used in this article. We challenge our leaders, or anybody,
to produce proof of their assertion. How grossly untrue is the statement
that certain writers got into print with views "completely repugnant
to the church at large." Mrs. White was one of those writers who
"got into print." Hear also what our standard book, Bible
Readings for the Home Circle, sold to the public by the millions,
has to say on the subject. I have before me two copies, one printed by
the Pacific Press in 1916, the other by the Southern Publishing house
in 1944. They both read alike. Here is the accepted teaching by the denomination:
"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 Savior man needs and must have to be saved. The
idea that Christ was born of an immaculate or sinless mother(Protestants
do not claim this for the virgin Mary), 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, fallen
nature. On the divine side, from His very conception He was begotten and
born of the Spirit. And 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 (Revelation 3:21). Without
this birth there can be no victory over temptation, and no salvation from
sin (John 3:3-7)." Page 21.
p 15 -- In explanation of how there writers "got into print" with their views, our leaders told 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 Christianity." I think this is going too far. Mrs. White did not belong to the "lunatic fringe" who got into print, nor did the authors of Bible Readings. Our leaders should make a most humble apology to the denomination for such a slur upon their members. It is almost unbelievable that they should ever have made such statements. But the accusation has been in print nearly three years, and there has been no protest of any kind. I am humiliated that such accusations should have been made, and even more so that our leaders are completely callous in their attitude toward them.
That the reader may see for himself the original report of Dr. Barnhouse, I append a copy of the reprint, "Are Seventh-day Adventists Christians?" This is not the report in full, but only that part which relates to the questions here discussed. Later I shall present other extracts.
less than two years ago it was decided that Mr. Martin should undertake
research in connection with Seventh-day Adventism. We got into touch with
the Adventists saying that we wished to treat them fairly and would appreciate
the opportunity of interviewing some of their leaders. The response was
immediate and enthusiastic.
"Mr. Martin went to Takoma Park, Washington, D.C., the headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist movement. At first the two groups looked upon each other with great suspicion. Mr. Martin had read a vast quantity of Adventist literature and presented them with a series of approximately forty questions concerning their theological position. On a second visit he was presented with scores of pages of detailed theological answers to his questions. Immediately it was perceived that the Adventists were strenuously denying certain doctrinal positions which have been previously attributed to them. As Mr. Martin read their answers he came, for example, upon a statement that they repudiated absolutely the thought that seventh-day Sabbath keeping was a basis for salvation and a denial of any teaching that the keeping of the first day of the week is as yet considered to be the receiving of the anti-Christian , 'mark of the beast.' He pointed out to them that in their book store adjoining the building in which these meetings were taking place a certain volume published by them and written by one of their ministers categorically stated the contrary to what they were now assert-
p 16 -- ing. The leaders sent for the book, discovered that Mr. Martin was correct, and immediately brought this fact to the attention of the General Conference Officers, that this situation might be remedied and such publications be corrected. This same procedure was repeated regarding the nature of Christ while in the flesh which the majority of the denomination has always held to be sinless, holy, and perfect despite the fact that certain of their writers have occasionally gotten into print with contrary views completely repugnant to the Church at large. They further explained 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 Christianity. This action of the Seventh-day Adventists was indicative of similar steps that were taken subsequently.
on Seventh-day Adventism will appear in print within a few months. It
will carry a foreword by responsible leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist
church to the effect that they have not been misquoted in the volume and
that the areas of agreement and disagreement as set forth by Mr. Martin
are accurate from their point of view as well as from our evangelical
point of view. All of Mr. Martin's references to a new Adventist volume
on their doctrines will be from the page proof of their book, which will
appear in print simultaneously with his work. Henceforth any fair critticism
of the Adventist movement must refer to these simultaneous publications.
of the Adventists seems to some of us in certain cases to be a new position;
to them it may be merely the position of the majority group of sane leadership
which is determined to put the brakes on any members who seek to hold
views divergent from that of the responsible leadership of the denomination.
"To avoid charges that have been brought against them by evangelicals, Adventists have already worked out arrangements that the Voice of Prophecy radio program and the "Signs of the Times," their largest paper, be identified as presentations of the Seventh-day Adventist church."
In closing this paper,
I wish to re-emphasize certain salient facts:
1. Questions on Doctrine, page 383, states that Christ was exempt. The Spirit of Prophecy makes clear that Christ was not exempt from the temptations and passions that afflict men. Whoever accepts the new theology must reject the Testimonies. There is no other choice.
p 17 --
2. Mr. Martin was instrumental in having our teaching on the mark of the beast and the nature of Christ in the flesh changed. Similar changes were made in other books, but we are not informed what those changes are.
3. Our leaders have promised not to proselytize. This effectively will stop our work for the world. And we have promised to report to Mr. Martin those who transgress.
4. We have been threatened to have the brakes applied to such as fail to believe and follow the leaders. Such are characterized as "wild-eyed irresiponsibles" and are said to constitute the "lunatic fringe."
5. We are appalled to learn that in some way these evangelical clergymen have had enough influence with our leaders to cause the Voice of Prophecy and the Signs of the Times to trim their sails to "avoid charges that have been brought against them by evangelicals." This is terrifying news. These organs are instruments of God, and it is unbelievable that the leaders should permit any outside influence to affect them. In this a great sin against the denomination has been committed that can be blotted out only by deep repentance of the guilty parties, or in lieu of this, that the men concerned quietly resign from holy office.
Our members are largely unaware of the conditions existing, and every effort is being made to keep them in ignorance. Orders have been issued to keep everything secret, and it will be noted that even at the late General Conference session no report was given of our leaders' trafficking with the evangelicals and making alliances with them. Our officials are playing with fire, and the resulting conflagration will fulfill the prediction that the coming Omega "will be of a most startling nature."
Seven times I have asked for a hearing, and I have been promised one, but only on the condition that I meet privately with certain men, and that no record be given me of the proceedings. I have asked for a public hearing, or if it is to be a private one, that a tape recording be made, and that I be given a copy. This has been denied me. As I cannot have
p 18 -- such a hearing, I am writing these messages which contain, and will contain, what I would have said at such a hearing. Can the reader surmise the reason why the officers do not want the hearing I ask?
I am a Seventh-day Adventist, and I love this message that I have preached for so long. I grieve deeply as I see the foundation pillars being destroyed, the blessed truths that have made us what we are abandoned.
The next letter will be sent only to those who order it, so send name and address. Extra copies of this or subsequent letters may be had at ten cents each.
I am thankful to be in good health and wish the blessing of the Lord may be with each reader. We have come to strenuous times, and it behooves each to keep close to God in these perilous times. The Lord be with you.
(Signed,) M. L. Andreasen - TOP
p 19 -- SERIES A - NO. 2 - ATTEMPTED TAMPERING
p 20 -- Early in the summer of 1957 1 had placed in my hands, providentially I believe, a copy of the minutes of the White Board of Trustees for May of that year. For those who are not familiar with this board, I may state that it is a small committee appointed to have in trust the large volume of letters, manuscripts, and books left by the late Mrs. E. G. White. In counsel with the officers of the denomination, the board decides who is to have access to the material, and to what extent and for what purpose; what is to be published and what is not; and what material is not to be made available at all.
Much of the work of the committee consists in examining and editing these writings and recommending for publication such matter as appears to be of permanent value. This work is of great importance to the church, for only that which is released by the board sees the light of day. During her lifetime Mrs. White herself did much of the work of selecting and editing, and in all cases she had the oversight of what was done. All knew that whatever was published was under her supervision and that it had her approval. The board now has taken over this work.
TWO MEN AND THE COMMITTEE
According to the White minutes, it was on the first day of May, 1957, that two men, members of the committee which had been appointed to write the book that came to be known as Questions on Doctrine, were invited by the board to meet with them to discuss a question that had received some consideration at a meeting the previous January. It concerned statements made by Mrs. White in regard to the atonement now in progress in the sanctuary above. This conception did not agree with the conclusions reached by the leaders of the denomination in counsel with the evangelicals. To understand this fully, and its importance, it is necessary to review some history.
p 21 -- The
Adventist leaders had for some time been in contact with two ministers
of another faith, evangelicals, Dr. Barnhouse and Mr. Martin, respectively
editor and an assistant editor of the religious journal Eternity,
published in Philadelphia, and had discussed with them various of our
doctrines. In these conversations, as in the numerous letters that passed
between them, the evangelicals had raised serious objections to some of
our beliefs. The question of greatest importance was whether Adventists
could be considered Christians while holding such views as the doctrine
of the sanctuary; the 2300 days; the date 1844; the investigative judgment;
and Christ's atoning work in the sanctuary in heaven since 1844. Our men
expressed the desire that the Adventist church be reckoned as one of the
regular Protestant churches, a Christian church, not a sect.
The two groups spent
"hundreds of hours" studying, and wrote many hundreds of pages.
The evangelicals visited our headquarters in Takoma Park, and our men
visited Philadelphia and were guests of Dr. Barnhouse in his comfortable
home. From time to time other men were called into consultation on such
matters as the Voice of Prophecy and our periodicals, all with
a view of ascertaining what stood in the way of our being recognized as
a Christian denomination.
After long and protracted discussions, the two parties came at last to a working agreement, and though the evangelicals still objected to a number of our doctrines, they were willing to recognize us as Christians. We would need to make some changes in some of our books in regard to the"mark of beast" and, also, "regarding the nature of Christ while in the flesh." Eternity, September, 1956. This was brought to the "attention of the General Conference officers, that the situation might be remedied and such publications might be corrected." The corrections were made, and "this action of the Seventh-day Adventists was indicative of similar steps that were taken subseauently." Ibid. We are not informed what other books were "remedied and corrected." The evangelicals published a report of their conferences with the Adventists in Eternity from which the above quotations are taken. Dr. Barnhouse states that they took the precaution to submit
p 22 -- their manuscript to the Adventists so that no misstatement or error might occur. The Adventists published no report. Even at the General Conference session last year, the matter was not discussed. Only a few knew that there had been any conferences with the evangelicals. There were rumors that the Adventist leaders had been in conference with the evangelicals, but that was considered by some only as hearsay. The few who did know, kept their counsel. There seemed to be a conspiracy of secrecy.
Till this day we do not know, and are not supposed to know, who carried on the conferences with the evangelicals. We do not know, and are not supposed to know, who wrote Questions on Doctrine, Diligent inquiry produced no result. We do not know, and are not supposed to know, just what changes were made, and in what books, concerning the mark of the beast and the nature of Christ while in the flesh. We do not know who authorized the omission of the thirteenth chapter in our Sabbath school lessons for the second quarter of 1958, which deals with the mark of the beast. Dr. Barnhouse reports that to "avoid charges brought against them by the evangelicals," the Adventists "worked out arrangements" that concerned the Voice of Prophecy and the Signs of tha Times. What was "worked out" we do not know and are not told. Should we not have a detailed report? We, of course, also wonder how it came to pass that ministers of another denomination had any voice or any say whatsoever in how we conduct our work. Have our leaders abdicated? How is it that they consult the evangelicals and keep our own people in the dark?
WHAT WAS DONE AT THE CONFERENCES?
a report of this we are confined almost entirely to the published account
The subject that took up much of the time at the conferences was that of the sanctuary. Dr. Barnhouse was frank in his estimate of this doctrine. In particular did he object to our teaching on the investigative judgment which he characterized as "the most colossal, psychological, face-saving phenomenon in religious history." Later he called it
p 23 -- "the unimportant and almost naive doctrine of the 'investigative judgment"' and said that "any effort to establish it is stale, flat, and unprofitable." Eternity, September, 1956.
Dr. Barnhouse, in
discussing Hiram Edson's explanation of
the disappointment in 1844 says that the assumption that Christ "had
a work to perform in the most holy before coming to this earth. . . is
a human, face-saving idea (which) some uninformed Adventists . . . carried
to fantastic, literalistic extremes. Mr. Martin and I heard the Adventist
leaders say, flatly, that they repudiated all such extremes. This they
said in no uncertain terms. Further, they do not believe, as some of their
earlier teachers taught that Jesus' atoning work was not completed on
Calvary, but instead that He was still carrying on a second ministerial
work since 1844. This idea is also totally repudiated." Ibid.
Note these statements: The idea that Christ "had a work to perform in the most holy place before coming to this earth. . . is a human, face-saving idea," "Mr. Martin and I heard the Adventist leaders say flatly that they repudiated such extremes. This they said in no uncertain terms."
I think it is due the denomination to have a clear-cut statement from our leaders if Dr. Barnhouse and Mr. Martin told the truth when they heard our leaders say that they repudiated the idea that Christ had a work to do in the second apartment before coming to this earth. This question demands a clear-cut answer.
- Before reporting further what was done at the conferences let us come back to the two men who on that first day of May, 1957, met with the White Board of Trustees to seek their counsel and, also, to make a suggestion. The men were well acquainted with the statements made by Dr. Barnhouse and Mr. Martin, that the idea of Christ's ministry in the second apartment in the sanctuary had been totally repudiated. This had been in print several months at that time, and had not been protested. The men, however, did not need the printed statement, for both of them had had a part in the discussions with the evangelicals. One of them in particular had
p 24 -- taken a prominent part in the conferences, had visited Dr, Barnhouse in his home, had spoken in Dr. Barnhouse's churches at his invitation. He was one of the four men who really carried the load, and the one chosen to accompany Mr. Martin on his tour of the west coast to speak in our churches. He was held in high esteem by Dr. Barnhouse. This feeling was mutual.
About the time when the two men first visited the vault, a series of articles appeared in the Ministry which claimed to be "the Adventist understanding of the atonement, confirmed and illuminated and clarified by the Spirit of Prophecy." In the February issue, 1957, the statement occurs that the "sacrificial act on the cross (is) a complete, perfect, and final atonement for man's sin." This pronouncement is in harmony with the belief of our leaders, as Dr. Barnhouse quoted them. It is also in harmony with a statement signed by a chief officer in a personal letter: "You cannot, Brother Andreasen, take away from us this precious teaching that Jesus made a complete and all-sufficient atoning sacrifice on the cross. . . . This we shall ever hold fast, and continue to proclaim it, even as our dear venerated forefathers in the faith.
It would be interesting if the writer would produce proof of his assertion. The truth is, our forefathers believed and proclaimed no such thing. They did not believe that the work on the cross was complete and all-sufficient.
They did believe that a ransom was there paid and that this was all-sufficient; but the final atonement awaited Christ's entrance into the most holy in 1844. This the Adventists have always taught and believed, and this is the old and established doctrine which our venerated forefathers believed and proclaimed. They could not teach that the atonement on the cross was final, complete and all sufficient, and yet believe that another atonement, also final, occurred in 1844. Such would be absurd and meaningless.
Paying the penalty for our sin was, indeed, a vital and necessary part of God's plan for our salvation, but it was by no means all. It was, as it were, placing in the bank of heaven a sum sufficient and in every way adequate for any contingency, and which could be drawn on by and for each
p 25 -- individual as needed. This payment was "the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb, without blemish and without spot." 1 Peter 1:19. In His death on the cross Jesus "paid it all;" but the precious treasure becomes efficacious for us only as Christ draws upon it for us, and this must await the coming into the world of each individual; hence, the atonement must continue as long as people are born. Hear this: "There is an inexhaustable fund of perfect obedience accruing from His obedience. How is it, that such an infinite treasure is not appropriated? In heaven, the merits of Christ, His self-denial and self-sacrifice, are treasured up as incense, to be offered up with the prayers of His people." General Conference Bulletin, Vol. 3, pp. 101, 102, Fourth Quarter, 1899.
Note the phrases: "inexhaustable fund," "infinite treasure," "merits of Christ." This fund was deposited at the cross, but not "used up" there. It is "treasured up" and offered up with the prayers of God's people. And especially since 1844 is this fund drawn on heavily as God's people advance to holiness; but it is not exhausted, there is sufficient and to spare. Hear again: "He who through His own atonement provided for them an infinite fund of moral power will not fail to employ this power in their behalf. He will impute to them His own righteousness. . . . There is an inexhaustable fund of perfect obedience accruing from His obedience . . . as sincere, humble prayers ascend to the throne of God, Christ mingles with them the merits of His own life of perfect obedience. Our prayers are made fragrant by this incense. Christ has pledged Himself to intercede in our behalf, and the Father always hears His Son." Ibid.
When we pray, in this very year of 1959, Christ intercedes for us and mingles with our prayers "the merits of His own life of perfect obedience. Our prayers are made fragrant by this incense. . . and the Father always hears His Son."
Contrast this with the statement in Questions on Doctrine, page 381: "(Jesus) appeared in the presence of God for us. . . . But it was not with the hope of obtaining something for us at that time or at some future time. No! He had already obtained it for us on the cross." (Emphasis his.) Note the picture: Christ appears in the presence of God for us. He pleads, but He gets nothing. For 1800 years He pleads, and gets nothing. Does He not know that He already has it?
p 26 -- Will
no one inform Him that it is useless to plead? He Himself has "no
hope" of getting anything now or at any future time. And yet He pleads,
and keeps on pleading. What a sight for the angels! And this is represented
to be Adventist teaching! This is the book that has the approval of Adventist
leaders and is sent out to the world to show what we believe. May God
forgive us. How can we stand before the world and convince any one that
we believe in a Savior who is mighty to save, when we present Him as pleading
in vain before the Father?
But thank God, this is not Adventist doctrine. Hear this from Sister White, as quoted above. "Christ has pledged Himself to intercede in our behalf, and the Father always hears His Son." This is Christianity, and the other is not.
Shall we remain
silent under such conditions? Says Sister White:
past fifty years every phase of heresy has been brought to bear upon us
. . . especially concerning the ministration of Christ in the heavenly
sanctuary. ...Do you wonder that when I see the beginning of a work
that would remove some of the pillars of our faith, I have something to
say? I must obey the command, 'Meet it!"' Series B. No. 2,
"The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a
great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and
that this reformation would consist in giving up doctrines which
stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization.
Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles
of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would
be discarded. The fundamental truths that have sustained the work for
the last fifty years, would be accounted as error. A new organization
would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A
system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced.. . . Nothing would
be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement." Ibid,
pp. 54, 55.
we keeip silent for fear of hurting their feelings? . . . Shall we
keep silent for fear of injuring
THE MAY lst MEETING
that the Adventist leaders were fully aware of the many references in
Mrs. White's works to the atonement
p 27 -- now
in progress in the heavenly sanctuary since 1844. If they were, how would
they have dared to take the position they did in regard to the sanctuary
question? This idea finds support in tne apparent surprise of the two
men who visited the vault and stated that in their research they had "become
acutely aware of the E. G. White statements which indicate that the atoning
work of Christ is now in progress in the heavenly sanctuary."
Minutes, May 1, 1957, page 1483. Why did they become acutely aware?
The discovery seemed to surprise them. In using the plural, statements,
they admit of more than one reference. I do not know how many they found.
I have found seventeen, and there are doubtless others. And why did they
use the word "indicate"? Sister White does more than indicate.
She makes definite pronouncements. Here are some of them:
"At the termination of the 2300 days, in 1844, Christ entered the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, to perform the closing work of atonement, preparatory to His coming." Great Controversy, p. 422. "Christ had only completed one part of His work as our Intercessor to enter upon another portion of the work, and He still pleaded His blood before the Father in behalf of sinners." Ibid. 429. At "the opening of the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, in 1844 (as) Christ entered there to perform the closing work of the atonement. They saw that He was now officiating before the ark of God, pleading His blood in behalf of sinners. Ibid, p. 433.
"Christ is represented as continually standing at the altar, momentarily offering up the sacrifice for the sins of the world. . . A Mediator is essential because of the continual commission of sin. . . Jesus presents the oblation offered for every offence and every shortcoming of the sinner." Manuscript. 50, 1900.
These statements are definite. It was at the end of the 2300 days, in 1844, that Christ entered the most holy "to perform the closing work of the atonement." "He had ONLY COMPLETED ONE PART OF HIS WORK as our intercessor," in the first apartment. Now He "enters upon another portion of the work." He pleads "His blood before the Father." He is "continually standing at the altar." This is necessary "because of the continual commission of sin." "Jesus presents the oblation for every offence and every shortcoming of the sinner. This argues a continuing, present atonement. He offers up "momentarily." "Jesus presents the oblation offered for
p 28 -- every
offence." "He ever liveth to make intercession for them."
It is presumed that
when the two men stated that they had "become acutely aware of the
E. G. White statements which indicate that the atoning work of Christ
is now in progress in the heavenly sanctuary," that they had read
the quotations here given and perhaps others. In view of this knowledge,
what did they suggest should be done? Would they change their former erroneous
opinions and harmonize with the plain words of the Spirit of Prophecy?
No, on the contrary, they "suggested to the trustees that some footnotes
or Appendix notes might appear in certain of the E. G. White books clarifying
very largely in the words of Ellen White our understanding of the
various phases of the atoning work of Christ." Minutes, p.
Ponder this amazing
statement. They admit that Sister White says that "the atoning work
of Christ is now in progress in the heavenly sanctuary," and then
they propose that insertions be made in some of Sister White's books that
will give our understanding of the atonement! They were, however,
only acting in harmony with the official statement in Questions on
Doctrine that when one reads "in the writings of Ellen G. White
that Christ is making atonement now, it should be understood that we simply
mean that Christ is now making application" etc., page 354, 355.
If Sister White were
now living and should read this, she would most certainly deal with presumptious
writers and in words that could be understood. She would not concede the
right of anyone, whoever he might be, to change what she has written or
interpret it so as to vitiate its clear meaning. The claim which Questions
on Doctrine makes that she means what she does not say, effectively
destroys the force of all she has ever written. If we have to consult
an inspired interpreter from Washington before knowing what she means,
we might better discard the Testimonies altogether. May God save His people.
Early in this century when the fate of the denomination hung in the balance, Sister White wrote: "Satan has laid his plans to undermine our faith in the history of the cause and
p 29 -- work
of God. I am deeply in earnest as I write this: Satan is working with
men in prominent position to sweep away the foundations of our
faith. Shall we allow this to be done, brethren?" Review and Herald,
Nov. 12, 1903.
Answering her question,
"shall we allow this to be done?" she says:
"My message is: No longer consent without protest to the perversion of truth. . . I have been instructed to warn our peopie; for many are in danger of receiving theories and sophistries that undermine the foundation pillars of the faith." Letters to Physicians and Ministers, Series B, No. 2, page 15. "For the past fifty years every phase of heresy has been brought to bear upon us, to becloud our minds regarding the teaching of the Word - especially concerning the ministration of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary . . . But the waymarks which have made us what we are, are to be preserved, and they will be preserved, as God has signified through His Word and the testimony of his Spirit. He calls upon us to hold firmly, with the grip of faith to the fundamental principles that are based upon unquestionable authority." Ibid. p. 59. "Do you wonder that when I see the beginning of a work that would remove some of the pillars of our faith, I have something to say? I must obey the command, 'Meet it.'" Ibid, page 58. (Emphasis supplied.)
COME PROMINENTLY TO THE FRONT
After the two men
had suggested the insertion of notes and explanations in some of the E.
G. White books that would give the reader the impression that she was
not opposed to their new interpretation, they had another suggestion to
make. "This is a matter," they said, "which will come prominently
to the front in the near future, and (that) we would do well to move forward
with the preparation and inclusion of such notes in future printings of
the E. G. White books." Minutes, p. 1483.
I leave to the reader to decide why the men were in haste to get the notes and explanations into the Ellen White books. Could it be that doing this would constitute a "fait accompli," an accomplished fact, a thing that had already been done and which would be difficult or impossible to change? This is an important consideration, for there is reason to believe that things are happening to other of our books, and there is a definite movement to change our doctrine in other
p 30 -- matters. This should be further explored, before it is too late.
May 2 this is recorded
in the Minutes: E. G. White Statements on the Atoning Work of
Christ - "The meeting of the Trustees held May 1 closed with
no action taken on the question which was discussed at length - suitable
footnotes or explanations regarding the E. G. White statements on the
atoning work of Christ, which indicate a continuing work at the present
time in heaven. Inasmuch as the chairman of our board will be away from
Washington for the next four months, and the involvements in this question
are such that it must have the most careful consideration and counsel,
it was "VOTED, That we defer consideration until a later time
of the matters that were brought to our attention by Elders "x"
and "y" involving the E. G. White statements concerning the
continuing atoning work of Christ.
It was presumably
four months later when Elder Olson had returned that a vote was taken
not to grant the request. This
was eight months after their first January meeting, by which
time the matter had been exposed.
CORRESPONDENCE WITH WASHINGTON
After this situation
came to my knowledge, I did a deal of praying. What was my responsibility
in this matter, or did I have any? I confided to no one. I decided my
first responsibility would be to the officials in Washington, so I wrote
to headquarters. I was there informed that I had no right to the information
I had. That was supposed to be secret, and I had no right even to read
After four letters
were passed, I was told that they did not care to discuss the matter further.
The matter was settled. When I inquired if this meant that the door was
closed, I received the reply: "I have considered the matter to which
you have referred as closed." As to the scurrilous and untrue article
in the Ministry., "I have discussed this with the brethren
concerned and would like to leave the matter there." So the door
Here are some of
the official pronouncements: "The of minutes are confidential
and not intended for ipublic use," If wrong is committed, is
it forbidden to expose it merely
p 31 -- because some want to keep it confidential?
"You are doing this upon hearsay and upon confidential minutes which you had no right even to read," No one ever talked to me of this or informed me. I read the minutes and acted upon them. The minutes are not hearsay. They are officially documented and signed.
". . . you have no right even to read." When I have evidence that to me seems destructive of the faith, am I to close my eyes to what I consider premeditated attempts to mislead the people by the insertions of notes, explanations, and appendix notes in the books of Mrs. White? Is this officially approved?
"I wish to repeat what I wrote before, that men have a perfect right to go to boards, including the White Estate group, and make their suggestions without fear of being disciplined or dealt with as heretics."
This was re-emphasized: "I re-affirm my former statement that I believe these brethren were entirely in order in going to the properly delegated and responsible individuals with any suggestion they had for study."
This makes it clear that the act of the two brethren is officially approved; that they did not do anything for which they should be reproved, but that they did what they had a perfect right to do. I do not think our people will welcome this new principle.
".To suggest that good and faithful Seventh-day Adventist men sat down to tamper with the pillars of our faith is as far from fact as the poles are apart: . . . tampering with the Testimonies, when no such thing ever took place, nor was there any attempt ever made to do this."
I leave to the reader's decision just why the men went to the committee: did they not come to have insertions, notes Appendix notes, explanations made in "some of the E. G. White books"? While the committee eventually decided not to do this, the guilt of the men is not changed by that fact. To assert that as for "tampering with the Testimonies (when) no such thing ever took place nor was there any attempt ever made to do this," the Minutes speak for themselves.
A SERIOUS SITUATION
p 32 -- - This vault episode brings into focus a serious situation. It is not merely a matter of two men attempting to have insertions made in some of Mrs. White's books. A much more serious thing is that this act had the approval of the administration, who stated that the men had a "perfect right" to do what they did. This pronouncement opens the way for others to follow, and as the matter is kept secret, great abuse could readily result. Undoubtedly, if the matter is left to a vote of the people, there will be no permission for any to tamper, or attempt to tamper, with the writings of Ellen G. White.
The men who visited the vault May 1, as related, stated clearly that they had discovered that Mrs. White taught plainly "that the atoning work of Christ is now in progress in the heavenly sanctuary." On the other hand, the Ministry of February, 1957, stated the very opposite. It said that the "sacrificial act on the cross (is) a complete, perfect and final atonement for men's sins." Questions on Doctrine attempts to reconcile these opposing views by stating that whether one "hears an Adventist say or reads in Adventist literature - even in the writings of Ellen G. White - that Christ is making atonement now, it should be understood that we mean simply that Christ is now making application," etc. pp. 354, 355. It is clear that if the atonement on the cross was final, there cannot be a later atonement also final. When we therefore for a hundred years have preached that the day of atonement began in 1844, we were wrong. It ended 1800 years before. The hundreds of books,we have published; the more than a million copies of Bible Readings we have sold; the millions of hand bills we have distributed saying that it is "court week in heaven," were all false doctrine; the Bible instruction we have given the children and the young ministry and which they have imbibed as Bible truth, is a fable. Uriah Smith, Loughborough, Andrews, Andross, Watson, Daniells, Branson, Johnson, Lacey, Spicer, Haskell, Gilbert, and a host of others stand convicted of having taught false doctrine; and the whole denomination whose chief contribution to Christianity is the sanctuary doctrine and Christ's ministry, must
p 33 -- now
confess that we were all wrong, and that we have no message to the world
for these last days. In other words, we are a deceived and deceiving people.
The fact that we may have been honest does not alter the fact that we
have given a false message. Take away from us the sanctuary question,
the investigative judgment, the message of the 2300 days, Christ's work
in the most holy, and we have no right to exist as a denominated people,
as God's messengers to a doomed world. If the Spirit of Prophecy has led
us astray these many years, let us throw it away.
But no! Halt! God
has not led us astray. We have not told cunningly devised fables. We have
a message that will stand the test and confound the undermining theories
that are findirg their way in among us. In this instance it is not the
people that have gone astray except as they have followed the leaders.
It is time that there be a turn-about.
It is now more than four years ago that the apostacy began to be plainly evident. Since that time there has been a deliberate attempt to weaken the faith in the Spirit of Prophecy, as it is clear that as long as the people revere the gift given us, they cannot be led far astray. Of this we shall speak shortly. The time for action has come. The time to open up the dark corners has arrived. There must no longer be any secret agreements, no compact with other denominations who hate the law and the Sabbath, who ridicule our most holy faith. We must no longer hobnob with enemies of the truth, no more promise that we will not proselytize. We must not tolerate leadership which condones tampering with the writings entrusted to us, and stigmatizes as belonging to the lunatic fringe those who dare disagree with them. We must no longer remain silent. To thy tents, 0 Israel!
Be of good courage, brethren. The Lord still lives. We have a work to do. Let us all work together. And let us not forget that our greatest strength lies in close union with God, in prayer. Let us all dedicate ourselves anew to Him.
p 34 --Information on how to order this book. (May be ordered through Adventist Laymen's Foundation, P.O. Box 69, Ozone AR 72854 with $1 for postage. ) - TOP
p 35 -- SERIES A - NO. 3 - DOWNGRADING MRS. WHITE
p 36 -- - Years ago while traveling in northern Minnesota, I stayed one week-end in a small town, as there was no train service on Sunday and buses did not exist. I did not like to remain idle so I arranged for the use of the Town Hall with the intent of holding a public service. I posted a handwritten notice that I would speak in the afternoon on the topic of "Seventh-day Adventists." I confess that I would rather not have spoken, for I needed a rest. My posted notice would certainly not draw many people.
my surprise the hall was well filled. As the people showed interest in
the subject, I decided to appoint another service for the evening. Promptly
a well-dressed man arose in the audience, introduced himself as the temporary
pastor of the only church in town, and invited me to come over to his
church and speak in the evening. I reminded him of my topic, but he stated
that this was satisfactory and I could come over and speak on Adventism.
I thanked him and accepted the invitation.
the meeting that night he told me that he was almost sorry he had invited
me. "When I heard you this afternoon," he said, "I thought
you were an intelligent man. Now I know you are not."
This led to a conversation that lasted most of the night, and was very illuminating to me. I was somewhat
37 -- acquainted with his institution, and one of my teachers was
attending some classes there. "Do you teach your students what you
have told me tonight?"
episode came to mind as I have considered the situation in our denomination
of late years. I have been uneasy since I first heard that our leaders
were negotiating with the Evangelicals; but I had hoped that the blandishment
of our church's being reckoned among the established churches as being
one of them would not appeal to our men. We had heard too many sermons
on the text, "The people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned
among the nations," to be deceived. Numbers 23:9. As the negotiations
were considered top secrets it was some time before any definite news
leaked out. When it did, it was disturbing. Washington furnished little
news, and all others informed me they had nothing to say. It seemed apparent,
however, our leaders were being influenced and steps were being taken
that would be hard to retrace.
The first authentic news did not come from our leaders or through our journals but from an Evangelical publication dated September, 1956, which issued a special edition with an account of what had taken place. This account was so unbelievable that we hesitated to give it credence. We were sure that what it reported had never taken place and that our leaders would promptly issue a denial. We waited a year, we waited two. But until this date, no protest or denial has been issued. Reluctantly, we must, therefore, accept the account as true. Let us consider the situation as it has developed.
OUR LEADING JOURNALS
As I read the Review from week to week, I find the articles generally helpful. The contributors quote freely from the Spirit of Prophecy, as do the editors and feature writers. There are times when I disagree with certain positions which I consider unsound, but this is not often. There are at times reports that savor of boasting, and at other
p 38 -- times much stress is laid on statistics. But I have learned not to take too seriously some minor matters. I read the Review with confidence; I enjoy it. I can say the same for the Signs of the Times.
not so with the Ministry, our ministerial journal.. The general
articles are of the same kind and quality as the Review, but this
is not always so with the special features and editorials. Them I must
read carefully and critically. At times they contain what I consider heresy
and dangerous perversions of truth. This may seem a serious charge. And
it is so intended. I can best illustrate what I have in mind by presenting
a concrete example.
Of late years there has been a definite change of emphasis in the Ministry, and not for the better. This change coincides with the period in which our leaders have been in close contact and rapport with the Evangelicals. The trend was in evidence before, but now has blossomed. As an example of this, I shall call attention to an article in the February, 1957, Issue entitled, "The Priestly Application of the Atoning Act." It is claimed that it "is the Adventist understanding of the atonement, confirmed and illustrated and clarified by the Spirit of Prophecy." As it has not been renounced or protested, we may justly conclude that it is officially approved.
The author gives a short tribute to the "magnifying glass," the Spirit of Prophecy, then goes on to state that the atonement "...Is not, on the one hand, limited just to the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross. On the other hand, neither is it confined to the ministry of our heavenly High Priest in the sanctuary above, on the antitypical day of atonement, or hour of God's judgment, as some of our forefathers first erroneously thought and wrote." Ministry, February, 1957, p. 9. The author stresses the fact that the Spirit of Prophecy clearly teaches that both these aspects are included, "one aspect being incomplete without the other, and each being the indispensable complement of the other." Ibid. That is, both the death on the cross and Christ's
p 39 -- ministry in the second apartment are necessary to atonement. With this, we are in full agreement. The death was a necessary part of the atonement. The one is incomplete without the other.
point should be noted, for a few sentences further on the author will
say that the death on the cross is complete in itself; to quote:
"The sacrificial act of the cross (is) a complete, perfect
and final atonement for man's sin." Page 10. After having
first said that the sacrificial death was incomplete, he now says it is
complete, perfect, and final. He does not consider the death merely
as a partial atonement, but a complete and perfect and final
one. With this we disagree. The two statements are irreconcilable.
is more than merely an unfortunate wording. While in the next paragraph
the author gives lip service to the need of a ministration in the sanctuary
above, he leaves out every essential feature of the atonement and omits
the dates which are essential to the Adventist concept of the atonement,
which justifies our existence as a denominated people with the message
for the world at this time.
In his explanation of Christ's work in the sanctuary, he does not refer to or mention Daniel 8:14: "Then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." Without this text, Christ's work in the sanctuary becomes meaningless. He does not mention 457 B.C. or the 70 weeks, or the middle of the week which pinpoints the time of the sacrifice on the cross, and is ". . . as a nail in a sure place," (Isaiah 22:23) to which we fasten the whole chronological scheme in prophecy and which also justifies the date, 1844. Remove or change these dates, and Adventists are without an anchor for the chronological system climaxing in 1844, and are unable to justify their existence as a people who are to proclaim this most important message to the world for this time: "Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come." Revelation 14:7. Every one of these dates the author leaves out, and what remains, in the words of Dr. Barnhouse, "is flat, stale and unprofitable." Eternity Extra, September, 1956, p. 4.
40 -- - In Questions on Doctrine, beginning at page
661, there is a section C consisting of collections from the writings
of Sister White on the subject of atonement, thirty pages in all.
It claims to be a "comprehensive assemblage" of Sister White's
teachings on the atonement. From the use of the word, "comprehensive,"
I expected to find a full and extensive collection. But in consulting
this material, I was disappointed in its paucity and one-sidedness. I
found it to be a very incomplete and meager collection, leaving out numerous
quotations that rightly belong even in a small compilation, not to say
a comprehensive one. And strangely enough, quotations that were omitted
were such as must on no account be left out.
First of all, I wanted to know what Sister White had to say of the date, 1844, which is the "crisis year." I wanted to know if it had anything particularly to do with the atonement, or if it could safely be left out. I found that the author had omitted it. So I looked in turn for other quotations, not one of which I found in the assemblage. I looked for the statement: "At the termination of the 2300 days in 1844 . . . our great High Priest. . . enters the holy of holies, and there appears in the presence of God, to . . . perform the work of the investigative judgment, and to make an atonement for all who are shown to be entitled to its benefits." This is said to be the "great day of final atonement." Great Controversy, p. 480. 1 searched for this important statement in the comprehensive assemblage, but it was not there. I looked for the parallel statement: ". . . at the termination of the 2300 days in 1844, Christ entered the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary to perform the closing work of atonement, preparatory to His coming." Ibid., p. 442. 1 did not find it. I looked for this statement: ". . . this is the service which began when the 2300 days ended. At that time, as foretold by Daniel the prophet, our High Priest entered the most holy, to perform the last division of His solemn work - to cleanse the sanctuary." I could not find it. I looked for the statement: "The end of the 2300 days in 1844 marked an important crisis," Ibid. p. 429. 1 did not find it.
p 41 -- I looked for other statements, such as: "The sacred work of Christ (that) is going on at the present time in the heavenly sanctuary, " ". . . the atoning work of Christ is now in progress in the heavenly sanctuary," "Today He is making atonement for us before the Father." Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 520; White Board Minutes,p. 1483; Mss, 21, 1895, quoted in Ministry, February, 1957, p. 30. I found none of these.
At first I thought that this book, Questions on Doctrine, did not have room for these texts, nor did the Ministry. But I had to anandon this reasoning when I observed that it was only a particular kind of statements that was omitted. The omitted quotations all clustered about the important "crisis" date, 1844, the investigative judgment, Christ's entering into the most holy for the final atonement; His making atonement now; His making atonement "today before the Father." These are the statements that Dr. Barnhouse ridiculed and which he said our leaders had "totally repudiated." He had also ridiculed Hiram Edson's experience in the cornfield and had called the investigative judgment not only a "peculiar" but a "human, face-saving idea," in fact "the most colossal, psychological, face-saving phenomenon in religious history." Eternity Extra, September, 1956, pp. 3, 4. And now we found all these offending statements left out of the "comprehensive assemblage." Can this be a mere coincidence?
We wonder what effect the ridicule of the Evangelicals had upon our leaders and upon the author of the article in the Ministry, which we are discussing. One thing that kept our men from going overboard, body and soul, to the Evangelicals, was, doubtless, Mrs. White's writings. She is very emphatic on the question of the sanctuary, and it would not be easy to convert our people to the new view, as long as they had the Testimonies to sustain them in the old position. The faith of our people in the Spirit of Prophecy must be weakened, or better yet, destroyed, before much headway can be made in bringing in the new view. The Ministry article serves well for this purpose.
It was the editor, himself, who in his research had "become acutely aware of the E. G. White statements which indicate that the atoning work of Christ is now in progress
p 42 -- in the heavenly sanctuary," White Minutes, p. 1483. This did not at all fit in with the new view that the atonement was made on the cross, and so he suggested that "footnotes or Appendix notes might appear in certain of the E. G. White books clarifying very largely in the words of Ellen White our understanding of the various phases of the atoning work of Christ." Ibid. And he suggested, haste in the "preparation and inclusion of such notes in future printings of the E. G. White books." When the plan became known, it was abandoned. The author of the article in the February, 1957, Ministry then took over and had the article printed which we are considering.
NOT IN A SINGLE CASE
author asks this question, "Why, in the early days, in the light
of all this, did not Mrs. White point out and correct the limited or sometimes
erroneous concept of some of our early writers concerning the atonement?
And why did she employ some of their restricted phrases without contrasting,
at the time, her own larger, truer meaning when using them?" Ministry,
February, 1957, p. 11.
was the dilemma: Some of our early writers had erroneous concepts about
the atonement, the author claims. Sister White did not correct them, but
even used some of their own restricted phrases. How could this be explained?
The answer, which the author gives, is the most astonishing and astounding
answer that has ever been given to such a question. Hear this: "In
answer: it is essential that we first of all remember this basic fact:
No doctrinal truth or prophetic interpretation ever came to this people
initially through the Spirit of Prophecy - not in a single case."
those words again. And have in mind that this is an article which claims
to give the true meaning of the atonement, the official interpretation;
that it has the approval of the administration and that the editor passed
it. Also, it has not been retracted or changed. It stands.
These are bold words, almost unbelievable words, and utterly untrue words. To assert that Sister White never, not
43 -- even in a single case, initially contributed any doctrinal truth
or prophetic interpretation will not be believed by her thousands and
millions of readers who all have been benefited by her works. For myself,
I have been greatly helped and instructed by her doctrinal teachings and
prophetic interpretation. Even the author himself, who on page 11 of the
February, 1957, Ministry, says, "We are fundamentally Protestants
taking the Bible only as our sole rule of faith and practice," in
a signed letter the next month asserts, "I take the total Spirit
of Prophecy teachings on a given subject to be the
"Many of our people do not realize how firmly the foundation of our faith has been laid. My husband, Elder Joseph Bates, Father Pierce, Elder Edson, and others who were keen, noble, and true were among those who after the passing of time in 1844, searched for the truth as for hidden treasure. I met with them, and we studied and prayed earnestly. Often we remained together until late at night, and sometimes through the entire night, praying for light and studying the word. Again and again these brethren came together to study the Bible, in order that we might know its meaning, and be prepared to teach it with power. When they came to the point in their study where they said, 'We can do nothing more,' the Spirit of the Lord would come upon me. I would be taken off in vision, and a clear explanation of the passages we had been studying
p 44 -- would be given me, with instruction as to how we were to labor and teach effectively. Thus light was given that helped us to understand the Scriptures in regard to Christ, His mission, and His priesthood. A line of truth extending from that time to the time when we shall enter the city of God, was made plain to me, and I gave others the instruction that the Lord had given me."
In this case there was no human intermediary. Unless we are to believe that Sister White did not tell the truth, she got her instructions from above. In this case the instruction concerned "Christ, His mission, and His priesthood," the very subjects we have now under consideration. Whatever we may be, or not be, sure of, we know now that the instruction that came to Sister White on the subject of Christ, His mission and His priesthood came direct from God. This means that the sanctuary question as our forefathers taught and believed it has God for its author. It came as a result of a vision, which I do not believe can be said of any other doctrine we hold.
We have reached
a crisis in this denomination when leaders are attempting to enforce false
doctrine and threaten those who object. The whole program is unbelievable.
Men are now attempting to remove the foundations of many generations,
and think they can succeed. If we did not have the Spirit of Prophecy
we would not know of the departure from sound doctrine which is now threatening
us, and the coming of the Omega which will decimate our ranks and cause
grievous wounds. The present situation has been clearly outlined. We are
nearing the climax.
I am well aware that oftentimes visions were given to confirm previous study. I am well aware that for some time Sister White's mind was "locked," as she expressed it, and that hence visions were given, as in the instance here considered. She herself says that "for two or three years my mind continued to be locked to an understanding of the Scriptures." During that time the Lord gave visions. Then an experience came to her, and she records, ". . . from that time to this I have been able to understand the word of God." Ibid. p. 58. For "two or three years" Mrs. White's mind was locked.
p 45 -- This was evidently intended by God to strengthen their faith in the gift; for the men knew that of herself she had no knowledge. Then, when they came to the end of their knowledge and did not know what to do, light came from a source of which they knew that of herself she could not solve their problems. It was clearly the Lord's leading, and they confessed it and "accepted as light from heaven the revelations given."
In an attempt to protect himself, the author now turns completely around and says that she frequently went "far beyond the positions taken by any of the original advocates, and her counsels would often be so clear, so full, and so far reaching that they proved to be far ahead of the concepts of any of her contemporaries - sometimes fifty years in advance of their acceptance by some." I wonder whom she copied under such circumstances?
In composing the book, Questions on Doctrine, it became necessary to do some research work in Sister White's published and unpublished manuscripts to ascertain beyond a doubt just what she had said on various matters. This work was turned over to the Ministry author who reports as follows in the Ministry for February, 1957, p. 11:
The Ministry Report
"The further question has likewise arisen: 'Just why were these counsels, clarifications, and expositions on the atonement, and its priestly manifestations, not brought together for our use before this?' The answer, we believe, is equally simple and straightforward and obvious: No one had taken the time for the sustained effort involved in laborious. comprehensive search necessary to find, analyze, and organize them.
"Since our leaders were largely unaware of this latent evidence and its priceless value, the need was not felt, and the time required for such a vast project was not considered available. Access to the complete files of all the old periodicals containing Ellen White's two thousand articles is not easy, for there is no complete file in any one place. More than that, the priceless manuscript statements are not available in published form.
"Further, as a church we have been so engrossed in giving our special message to the world, in keeping with our complex movement rolling onward in its multiple activities, that no one seemed to have the time
p 46 -- or even the burden for such a huge task. It was known that the search would be a most laborious one because of the vast amount of material that must be compassed.
"However, when the need clearly arose and the time for such a search had obviously come, the necessity was recognized and the time taken to compass not only the familiar book statements, but the vast array of periodicals, articles, and manuscript counsels bearing thereon."
It will be noted that the author does not minimize the task that faced him - and it was a great task. It is to be regretted that he should take the opportunity to inform us that the leaders had not felt the need of this work, did not have the time for it, and did not even have any burden for it.
It was in this research that he discovered that Mrs. White did not contradict or change what she said in the beginning of her work. The author puts it in his peculiar phraseology that, "Mrs. White's later statements do not contradict or change her earlier expressions." He had evidently hoped that she had changed her position on the atonement, which position he had criticized and attempted to explain by saying that she never, not even in a single case, had contributed anything initially to doctrine or prophetic interpretation. It is clear that if she intended to change her position, she had abundant opportunity to do so in the sixty or more years she lived after making her position clear on the atonement. But she did not contradict or change what she had once written. This is the testimony of the very one who had challenged her early position, and who now is compelled to testify that she did not change. It is a poetic justice that the author of the Ministry article should be the one to testify after he had examined all the material there is no evidence that she ever changed her mind or contradicted what she had written earlier. This created another dilemma for our author. He must now let stand all she had ever written, and could not argue that she had authorized any change whatsoever. What then could he do or did he do? A most unique solution he had: he calmly asserted that Sister White did not mean what she said! Note again his peculiar use of the English language, not a direct statement but a passive approach: he says, "...
p 47 -- a
distinct clarification of terms and of meaning emerges that is
destined to have far-reaching consequences." Her later statements
"invest those earlier terms with a larger, truer meaning inherently
there all the time." And so he explains when she says that Christ
is making atonement (he is omitting the word now), she is "obviously
meaning applying the completed atonement to the individual."
This is in complete
harmony with the statement in Questions on Doctrine where the author
boldly asserts that if any one "hears an Adventist say, or reads
in Adventist literature - even in the writings of Ellen White - that Christ
is making atonement now, it should be understood that we mean simply
that Christ is making application of the benefits of the sacrificial
atonement He made on the cross."
This is news indeed.
I have written several books, one of them on the Sanctuary service and
hence these may come under what he calls"Adventist literature."
And now some unauthorized individual proclaims to the world that when
I say that Christ is making atonement now, I do not mean it. I mean that
He is making application, but not atonement which was made 1800
years ago. However it is only a minor matter that he presumes to act as
my interpreter and tell what I mean by what I say. But when he undertakes
to tell the world that when Sister White says Christ is making atonement
she means simply that He is making application, that is serious.
God's reproof to Job when he was talking too much may apply here: "Who
is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?" Job 38:1.
It is not often that God is sarcastic. But here He is. Read verse 21.
Job deserved it.
And so when I read, "...even in the writings of Ellen G. White," that Christ is making atonement, I am not to believe it. He made the atonement 1800 years ago, not now; and even if she affirms that Christ is making atonement now, that "today He is making atonement," that "We are in the great day of atonement, and the sacred work of Christ for the people of God that is going on at the present time (1882) in the heavenly sanctuary should be our constant study," I am still to apply to the interpreter to find out what she means."
p 48 -- Testimonies to the Church, Vol.5, p. 250.
Such is playing with
words, it is playing with fire, and makes any interpretation possible.
If the author is right, I am permitted to take any word of an author and
say that he means something else than what he says. Such makes inter-communication
impossible, and the world a Babel. What would agreements amount to, or
contracts, or words of mouth, if I am permitted to put my own interpretation
on what another man says? The Bible says that the seventh day is the Sabbath.
That seems plain enough. But the author's theory would permit me to hold
that the Bible means no such thing. Absurd, you say. And I say Amen. When
the Bible says seven, it does not mean one. With the author's
philosophy, however, words become meaningless. "Let your nay be nay,
and your yea, yea," James says. That is, mean what you say. To make
the plain statement that "Christ is making atonement now"
means that He is making application now is indefensible on grammatical,
philological, theological, or common-sense ground. And to go farther and
upon such false interpretation build a new theology to be enforced by
sanctions, is simply out of this world. Undue assumption of authority
coupled with overconfidence in the virtue of bestowed honors have born
fruit. And the fruit is not good.
The present attempt
to lessen and destroy confidence in the Spirit of Prophecy and establish
a new theology, may deceive some, even many, but the foundations upon
which we have built these many years, still stand, and God still lives.
This warning should not go unheeded: "If you lessen the confidence
of God's people in the testimonies He has sent them, you are rebelling
against God as certainly as were Korah, Dathan, and Abiram." Testimonies
to the Church, Vol. 5,. p. 66.
In an incomplete research which I conducted years ago I found what the author found, and more. Among other things, I found in a small pamphlet entitled, "A Word to the Little Flock," published by James White in Brunswick, Maine, May 30, 1847, a statement by Sister White on the sanctuary that immediately drew my attention. It is dated April 21, 1847, and written from Topsham, Maine. On page 12, I found these words, which I suppose our Ministry author also found. Says Sr.
p 49 -- White:
"I believe the sanctuary, to be cleansed at the end of the 2300 days, is the New Jerusalem Temple, of which Christ is a minister. The Lord shew (showed) me in vision, more than a year ago, that Brother Crosier had the true light on the cleansing of the sanctuary, etc., and that it was His will, that Brother C (Crosier) should write out the view which he gave us in the Daystar, Extra, February 7, 1846. I feel fully authorized by the Lord, to recommend that Extra to every saint. I pray that these lines may prove a blessing to you, and to all the dear children who may read them. Signed, E. G. White."
I lost no time to get a copy of that Extra and read it. As I write this I have before me a photostatic copy of the Day-Star Extra for February 7, 1846, and on pages 40 and 41 of that issue I read Brother Crosier's article. After having discussed certain theories in which he does not believe, Brother Crosier observes:
"But again, they say the atonement was made and finished on Calvary when the Lamb of God expired. So men have taught us, and so the churches and the world believe; but it is none the more true or sacred on that account, if unsupported by Divine authority. Perhaps few or none who hold that opinion have ever tested the foundation on which it rests.
the atonement was made on Calvary, by whom was it made? The making of
the atonement is the
"2. The slaying was not making the atonement; the sinner slew the victim. Lev. 4:1-4, 13-15, etc., after that the priest took the blood and made the atonement. Lev. 4:5-12, 16-21.
"3 . Christ was the appointed High Priest to make the atonement, and certainly could not have acted in that capacity till after His resurrection, and we have no record of His doing anything on earth after His resurrection which could be called the atonement.
"4. The atonement was made in the sanctuary, but Calvary was not such a place.
"5. He could not, according to Heb. 8:4 make the atonement while on earth. 'If He were on earth, He could not be a priest.' The levitical was the earthly priesthood; the Divine, the heavenly.
"6. Therefore, He did not begin the work of making
p 50 -- the atonement, whatever the nature of that work may be, till after His ascension, when by His own blood He entered the heavenly sanctuary for us."
This, then is the "true light," which the Lord showed Sister White in vision, had His approval, and which she felt fully authorized to recommend to every saint. Only as we downgrade Sister White can we reject this testimony of hers. We not ready to do this.
We now face this situation: Did our Ministry author in his thorough search find this statement that Brother Crosier had "the true light?" If he did not find it, he has little ground to feel pleased with his work. In either case, if I were a teacher and had sent him to do this research work and he presented the collection in Questions on Doctrine as his report, I would have to give him a straight F, which in school language stands for Failure. It is either a case of poor research, or of omission, which latter, under the circumstances, is most serious.
Continued: Letters to the Churches - Part 2 of 2