1975 Jan-MarVIII 1(75) - VIII 3(75)
1975 Apr-Jun VIII 4(75) - VIII 6(75)
1975 Jul-Sep VIII 7(75) - VIII 9(75)
1975 Oct-Dec VIII 10(75) - VIII 12(75)
1976 Jan-Mar IX 1(76) - IX 3(76)
1976 Apr-Jun IX 4(76) - IX 6(76)
1976 Jul-Sep IX 7(76) - IX 9(76)
1976 Oct-Dec IX 10(76) - IX 12(76)
1977 Jan-MarX 1(77) - X 3(77)
1977 Apr-Jun X 4(77) - X 6(77)
1977 Jul-Sep X 7(77) - X 9(77)
1977 Oct-DecX 10(77) - X 12(77)
1978 Jan-Mar XI 1(78) - XI 3(78)
1978 Apr-Jun XI 4(78) - XI 6(78)
1978 Jul-Sep XI 7(78) - XI 9(78)
1978 Oct-Dec XI 10(78) - XI 12(78)
1979 Jan-Mar XI 1(79) - XI 3(79)
1979 Apr-Jun XI 4(79) - XI 6(79)
1979 Jul-Sep XI 7(79) - XI 9(79)
1979 Oct-DecXI 10(79) - XI 12(79)
Feb Knight Descends On Jones. 1of 4.
Mar Knight Descends On Jones. 2 of 4.
1988 Apr-Jun 3 & 4 of 4.
last of WWN published
ADVENTIST LAYMEN'S FOUNDATION OF CANADA (ALF)
SHORT STUDIES - William H. Grotheer -
End Time Line Re-Surveyed Parts 1 & 2 - Adventist Layman's Foundation
- Legal Documents
Holy Flesh Movement 1899-1901, The - William H. Grotheer
Hour and the End is Striking at You, The - William H. Grotheer
the Form of a Slave
In Bible Prophecy
Doctrinal Comparisons - Statements of Belief 1872-1980
Paul VI Given Gold Medallion by Adventist Church Leader
Sacred Trust BETRAYED!, The - William H. Grotheer
Seal of God
Adventist Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956
SIGN of the END of TIME, The - William H. Grotheer
of the Gentiles Fulfilled, The - A Study in Depth of Luke 21:24
BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
Song of Solomon - Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary
Ten Commandments - as Compared in the New International Version & the King James Version & the Hebrew Interlinear
OTHER BOOKS, MANUSCRIPTS & ARTICLES:
Various Studies --
Bible As History - Werner Keller
Canons of the Bible, The - Raymond A. Cutts
Daniel and the Revelation - Uriah Smith
Facts of Faith - Christian Edwardson
Individuality in Religion - Alonzo T. Jones
"Is the Bible Inspired or Expired?" - J. J. Williamson
Letters to the Churches - M. L. Andreasen
Place of the Bible In Education, The - Alonzo T. Jones
Sabbath, The - M. L. Andreasen
So Much In Common - WCC/SDA
Which Banner? - Jon A. Vannoy
As of 2010, all official sites of ALF in the United States of America were closed. The Adventist Laymen's Foundation of Canada with its website, www.Adventist Alert.com, is now the only official Adventist Layman's Foundation established by Elder Grotheer worldwide.
The MISSION of this site -- to put works of the Foundation online.
Any portion of these works may be reproduced without further permission by adding the credit line - "Reprinted from Adventist Layman's Foundation, AdventistAlert.com, Victoria, BC Canada."
Thank you for visiting. We look forward to you coming
WWN 1988 Oct - Dec
1988 Oct -- XXI -- 10(88) -- The Goals of the Faith and Order Commission of the WCC -- Seventh-day Adventist Involvement -- Forty years ago this year, the World Council of Churches was formed by the union of two ecumenical movements; Life and Work, and Faith and Order. Joining these two movements in the World Council formation was lthe International Missionary Council. The Constitution as adopted at Amsterdam in 1948 declared that among the functions of lthe WCC would be the responsibility "to carry on the work of the world movements for Faith and Order and Work and Life and the International Missionary Council." (So Much in Common, p. 34) The work would be done through "Commissions."
The Faith and Order Commission was charged in this constitution "to proclaim the essential oneness of the Church of Christ and to keep prominently before the World Council and the churches the obligation to manifest that unity and its urgency for world mission and evangelism." (Ibid., p.36) In keeping with this charge the By-Laws of the Commission state as its work the duty "to proclaim the oneness of the Church of Jesus Christ and to call the churches to the goal of visible unity in one faith and eucharistic fellowship, expressed in worship and common life in Christ, in order that the world might believe." (Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry, p. viii) Because of these accepted goals, the primary work of this Commission has been "the study of what keeps churches divided - differences in doctrine, church order and liturgy. ... This focus has kept the ecumenical theological work at the centre of Faith and Order's agenda." (One World, No. 132, p. 15.)
p 2 -- The reason why this Commission, its goals and its work, should be known and understood by every member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is that the Church is represented on this Commission, even though the Church itself is not officially a member of the World Council of Churches. Another point should be kept in focus. The General Conference Committee did not elect its representative to the Faith and Order Commission, only nominated. The Constitution of the WCC clearly states that the various "Commissions may add to their,membership clerical and lay persons approved for the purpose by the Central Committee." (So Much in Common, p. 36) However, no one would be approved by the Central Committee, to represent the Seventh -day Adventist viewpoint, except he be first recommended by the General Conference Committee. Some history is in order.
Growing out of contacts made at the Vatican II Council of the Roman Catholic Church between Adventist and WCC observers, the Ecumenical Review (January, 1967), official organ of the WCC, published an "essay" introducing the Seventh-day Adventist Church to those interested among "the membership of the WCC." The documentation for this "essay" was based largely on the book - Questions on Doctrine. The "Essay" concluded by suggesting that the Adventist witness might be more properly found within the WCC "rather than apart from it." (So Much in Common, pp. 57-67.) The Church was quick to respond. In a series of editorials in the Review, then "the official organ" of the Church, R. F. Cottrell, an associate editor, while declining the invitation for open membership in the WCC, suggested an appointment to the Faith and Order Commission. (Review, April 6, 1967, p. 13) Things moved swiftly. Dr Earle Hilgert, then of Andrews University, was recommended by the General Conference Committee, and approved by the Central Committee of the WCC. It was done quickly enough that Dr. Hilgert was able to meet as a member of the Commission on Faith and Order at its meeting in Bristol, England, from July 30 to August 8, 1967. His place is now held by Dr. R. F. Dederen, also of Andrews University.
the WCC magazine - One World (No. 132), is an article captioned,
"Models of Unity." This article was written by Thomas F. Best,
executive secretary of Faith and Order. Under the title is a brief paragraph
reading - "The WCC constitution lists 'calling the churches to
the goal of visible unity' first among the WCC's reasons for being.
But what would 'visible unity' look like?" With this article is
a picture of a reopened church in Nanjing, China. It was built by the
Anglicans in the 1920's, but used as an optical instruments factory
during the Cultural Revolution. Now a part of China's "post-denominational
" church, it has "pastors of Presbyterian and Seventh-day
Adventist backgrounds." (p. 13) [The picture would indicate it
was well attended.] The article itself begins: The
goal of the ecumenical movement is visible unity among the churches.
In practice this would mean the following:
While the idea of "a single monolithic structure" is denied as a part of the goal, in other words, no "super church," yet the objective is to enable "Christians, in their proper diversity, to experience themselves as belonging to the one body of Christ and, when necessary, to speak and act as one." Then a question is asked as to how even such a goal can be achieved "from our fragmented state"? The writer observed that "despite many growing areas of agreement and cooperation, Christians still differ over important issues of faith and practice." The work of the Faith and Order Comission is to bridge this gap, and have churches mutually recognize each other's baptism (thus membership), eucharist (holy communion, whether the mass or the Lord's Supper, or something in between) and Ministry (ordination).
Giant strides have been made. At Lima, Peru, in 1982, Faith and Order adopted a convergence statement on "Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry." (Faith and Order Paper No. 111). This Lima Text "has become the most widely discussed document in modern ecumenical history. About 350,000 copies have been circulated all over the world in 35 languages."
"Over 160 churches have already presented their official responses to BEM [the Lima Text] to the Faith and Order office in Geneva. These include several churches and communities
p 3 -- which are not members of the WCC, such as the Roman Catholic Church (which is, however, officially represented on the Faith and Order Commission)." (One World, No. 132, p. 17)
The conclusion is drawn - "Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry has become an integral part of the current ecumenical movement and an impetus for renewal, mission and growth in Christian community... " (Ibid.)
The Roman Catholic response to this document was heralded in the Ecumenical Press Service of the WCC as an affirmation "in a concrete, authoritative and unambiguous manner its commitment to the full participation in the one and comprehensive ecumenical movement." (87.09.32) The final form of the Roman Catholic response was prepared by the Vatican Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Input included suggestions from the national conferences of bishops and theological faculties. While critical questions were raised to the section on "Ministry", the Catholic paper considered BEM "a significant result and contribution to the ecumenical movement" which "demonstrates clearly that serious progress is being made in the quest for visible Christian unity." Then they added according to the news service - "We recommit ourselves to this process with other churches and ecclesial communities ..." (Ibid.)
The significance of the Lima Text is given in the Faith and Order Paper No. 111. It reads: This Lima text represents the significant theological convergence which Faith and Order has discerned and formulated. Those who know how widely the churches differed in doctrine and practice on baptism, eucharist and ministry, will appreciate the importance of the large measure of agreement registered here. Virtually all the confessional traditions are included in the Commission's membership. That theologians of such widely different traditions should be able to speak so harmoniously about baptism, eucharist and ministry is unprecedented in the modern ecumenical movement. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that the Commission also includes among its full members theologians of the Roman Catholic and other churches which do not belong to the World Council of Churches itself. (p. ix)
On the back cover of this booklet is to be found the following two paragraphs:
The statement published here marks a major advance in the ecumenical journey. The result of a fifty-year process of study and consultation, this text on baptism, eucharist and ministry represents the theological convergence that has been achieved, through decades of dialogue, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. [?]
Over one, hundred theologians met in Lima, Peru, in January 1982, and recommended unanimously to transmit this agreed statement - the Lima text - for the common study and official response of the churches. They represented virtually all the major church traditions: Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, Reformed, Methodist, United, Disciples, Baptist, Adventist and Pentecostal.
But BEM was only a beginning. "If BEM can be described as a search for a new way to approach sacramental questions that divide churches, so as to promote unity, a second Faith and Order study is seeking to discover whether Christians today can confess their faith together ecumenically.
study, 'Towards the Common Expression of the Apostolic Faith Today'
will not write
"For the study, the Faith and Order Commission has chosen the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed of A.D. 381 - already officially recognized by many churches - as a summary of the apostolic faith." (One World, op. cit., p. 15)
But why this particular Creed? In a textbook on early Christian doctrines, one finds a summary of this creed formulated by the Counci1 of Constantinople:
The doctrine of one God, the Father and creator, formed the background and indisputable premiss of the Church's faith. Inherited from Judaism, it was her bulwark against pagan polytheism, Gnostic emanationism and Marcionite dualism. The problem for theology was to integrate with it, intellectually, the fresh data of the specifically Christian revelation. Reduced to their simplest, these were the convictions that God had made Himself known in the Person of Jesus, the Messiah, raising Him from the dead and offering salvation to men through Him, and that He had poured out His Holy Spirit upon the Church. Even at the New Testament stage ideas about Christ's preexistence and creative role were beginning to take shape, and a profound, if
p 4 -- often obscure, awareness of the activity of the Spirit in the Church was emerging. No steps had been taken so far, however, to work all these complex elements into a coherent whole. The Church had to wait for more than three hundred years for a final synthesis, for not until the council of Constantinople (381) was the formula of one God existing in three co-equal Persons formally ratified. (J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, rev. ed., pp. 87-88; emphasis mine)
It is this creed concerning the Trinity which was placed in the 27 Fundamental Statements of Belief as voted at Dallas, Texas, in 1980. Statement #2 - The Trinity - reads: There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons.
The hierarchy of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is well in line with the objectives of the Faith and Order Commission of the WCC in seeking to realize a common ecumenical faith.
"Since common recognition of the creed would mean little unless accompanied by a common understanding of it, the first step in the Faith and Order process is an 'ecumenical explicitation' of how this 1600-year-old creed expresses the apostolic faith for Christian faith and life today.
"As with BEM, the process involves a series of provisional drafts, to which as wide a range as possible will be sought, before a text is submitted to the churches for official response." (One World, op. cit., pp. 15-16; emphasis theirs.)
[NOTE: On page 5, we have reproduced "The Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed" as found in Philip Schaff's The Creeds of Christendom, Vol. II, The Greek and Latin Creeds.]
C0MMENTS -- In 1972, the Central Committee of the WCC approved and authorized for circulation to member churches revisions to the original Constitution. The revised Constitution was approved by the Fifth Assembly. The "Functions and Purposes" of the WCC were more clearly defined. No. "i" reads - "to call the churches to the goal of visible unity in one faith and in one eucharistic fellowship expressed in worship and in common life in Christ, and to advance towards that unity in order that the world may believe." (So Much in Common, pp. 40-41) We need to keep in
mind that the Faith and Order Commission "has been charged by the Council members to keep always before them their accepted obligation towork towards manifesting more visibly God's gift of Church unity." (Faith and Order Paper No. 111, p. vii) Thus the very "Purpose" of the WCC as defined in the 1972 constitutional revisions are a part of the "By-Laws" of the Faith and Order Commission. (See p. 1, par. 2) Now we can techinically say, that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is not a member of the WCC, but in reality it is represented by a voting member on the Faith and Order Commission whose objective is the same as the WCC, and mandated by that Council to carry forward the work of "visible unity in one faith." The fact is, the SDA Church is on the cutting edge to achieve that goal! In releasing the "agreed" Lima Text, the Faith and Order Paper (No. 111) indicated that it was sent to the churches for their official response by unanimous recommendation. Among those "church traditions" listed as participating in this unanimous decision was the "Adventist." (See page 3, col. 2)
Now that the Faith and Order Commission has decided to move forward from a "sacramental" unity study to an actual "creedal" basis for "visible unity in one faith," the Seventh-day Adventist Church is in the vanguard having anticipated this advance step by bringing the 27 Fundamental Statements of Belief into line at the Dallas General Conference Session. Circumstantial evidence even indicates that the Constantinopolitan Creed suggested by the Faith and Order Commission was in mind as the proposed "new" statements of belief were being readied by an ad hoc committee appointed by the officers of the General Conference. This original statement as prepared by the ad hoc committee was sent to Andrews University for "comments and emendations." Commenting on this statement as received, Dr Lawrence Geraty, then a part of the Seminary faculty wrote: In general, the statement prepared by the ad hoc committee in Washington and sent to the Seminary professors was a genuine improvement over the 1931 statement. I did have some questions: for example, Christ "was born of the Virgin Mary" (virgin with a capital "V"?); ... (Spectrum, Vol. 11, No. 1, p. 3)
You will observe that "Virgin" is also capitalized in the Constantinopolitan Creed. (See p. 5) This is not common usage in either Protestant nor Adventist terminology. Not -- To page 6
p 5 --
The Constantinopolitan Creed
p 6 -- only that, it has yet to be denied that the prime mover for a new statement of beliefs was not directly involved with the conversations carried on between the WCC and the Seventh-day Adventists beginning in 1965. Keep in mind that the design of the Faith and Order Commission to project the Constantinopolitan Creed as "a summary of apostolic faith" wasn't conceived over night, but had been in the planning stage for some time.
The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed is actually an enlarging of the Apostles' Creed (See bottom of this page) The main difference is that the creed of the Council of Constantinople clearly sets forth the trinity concept. The Apostles' Creed merely states "I believe in the HOLY GHOST" - while the formulation in A.D. 381 says - "I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; ... who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified." This then allows for a summary statement on the Trinity to read "There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons."
A major problem arises for the individual member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, whether a lay person, or a rank-and-file minister. The 27 Fundamental Statements of Belief including the statement on the Trinity was voted by the General Conference in session. Was this the work of the Holy Spirit? In other words, is the General Conference in session "the voice of God" on earth? Now the WCC believes that BEM (Lima Text) was achieved "under the guidance of the Holy Spirit." (page 3, col. 2) The Seventh-day Adventist Church through its representative joined all the other members of the Faith and Ordcir Commission in an unanimous vote for its transmittal and study. The General Conference in session voted the statement of the Church Council of Constantinople into our 27 Fundamentals. Is this all one and the self same "Spirit" at work? It is obvious that here is a "common denominator" working both in the WCC and the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Either the Holy Spirit is working in both organizations and was in control of the formulation of the Statements of Belief which were finally voted at Dallas, Texas, or else "the spirits of devils" has taken possession of the General Conference. This "either-or" must be faced and faced squarely.
COUNSEL ADAPTED -- "The [WCC] must not be introduced into the church, and married to the church, forming a bond of unity. Through this means the church will become indeed corrupt, and as stated in Revelation, 'a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.'
"Through association with the [WCC, individuals] will become unsubstantial, unreliable; because these [individuals], introduced and placed in positions of trust, are looked up to, as teachers to be respected, in their educating, directing, and official position, and they are sure to be worked upon by the spirit and power of darkness; so that the demarcation becomes not distinguished between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not. The parable is given by Jesus Christ in regard to the field in which it was supposed had been sown pure wheat, but the intrusted ones look upon the field with disappointment, and inquire, 'Didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?' The master of vineyard answered, 'An enemy hath done this.'" (TM, pp. 265-266)
Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, Vol. II, p. 45
I believe in GOD the FATHER Almighty; Maker of heaven and earth. And in JESUS CHRIST his only (begotten) Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell [Hades, spirit-world]; 2 the third day he rose from the dead; he as.cended into heaven; and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the HOLY GHOST; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body [flesh]; 3 and the life everlasting. Amen.
p 7 -- 45,000 ADVENTIST HOMES INVADED -- A special issue of Wieland's official organ - "The 1888 Message Newsletter" - came to the desk. In it was a letter from the editor, Helen Cate, telling that this issue was being sent to 45,000 new names. As one reads this report of "the most precious message," he becomes aware that it contains only half-truths - in other words, deception!
Dr. A. V. Wallenkampf's centennial year book - What Every Adventist Should Know About 1888 - was given front-page introduction. The book review lauds his positions which harmonize with Wieland and Short's analysis of our 1888 history. Reading the review, one could conclude that now a man retired from the Biblical Research Institute has come out 100% in favor of the position of "the messengers" of 1950. This is a deception. One of the major premises of Wieland - "denominational repentance" - Wallenkampf rejects. He writes: The church never officially rejected the teaching of righteousness by faith. And even if a vote had been cast by the assembly and the majority had voted against the 1888 message, the sin committed still would not have constituted corporate sin, but would be sin on the part of each person voting against it. (p. 55)
This leaves us back at "square one." A "corporate repentance" was called for - 8T:250. This reference was used in the original edition of 1888 Re-Examined. But it doesn't fit the 1888 Message, only its application. This "special report" doesn't explain this to you, again deception!
Then an edited summary of a study by Lewis Walton is given front-page play-up. As one reads his study - it sounds so "good," - so "easy". You do not have to "strive" anymore to enter the narrow way! A few things are left unreconciled. Are we "born sinners"? Christ died for us, while we were yet sinners. How can this be aligned with "Christ came into human flesh" with "the very same tissues and nature" -that we have? Perhaps Walton's Roman Catholic trained mind will be able to come up with a variation of the "immaculate conception" theory? This will only compound the deception.
But to those who know and have had correspondence with the editor, half truths are her trade mark. Sad that Wieland has chosen such a surrogate to be his voice for "the most precious message." Such a message demands a higher representation. --- (1988 Oct) --- END --- TOP
1988 Nov -- XXI -- 11(88) -- Statement #23 -- Christ's Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary -- Following the action of the General Conference in session at Dallas in 1980 by voting the 27 Fundamental Statements of Belief, no other article has received the criticism that #23 has received. Why the focus on this article is understandable. The Adult Sabbath School Lessons admit - "The sanctuary doctrine is virtually unknown and untouched by other churches. No group seriously studies and preaches this doctrine as do Seventh-day Adventists." (Quarterly, 4th Qrt, 1988, p. 80) The message of the sanctuary is the unique feature of Adventist belief and the basis of the "sacred trust" committed to the Church. Both the Sabbath School lesson quarterly and the new book - SDA's Believe ... make every effort to give the reader the impression that nothing has been changed in the way the Church has always believed and taught the Sanctuary truth. Yet at the same time they would leave in place the compromises made with the Evangelicals. In both the lesson quarterly and in the book is found the familiar diagram of the earthly sanctuary, and the book carries a chart of the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14.
In the time allotted for the Sabbath School lesson discussion, there is no way that the Article #23 can be adequately covered. It would be hoped that small groups would convene apart from the Sabbath School and study in detail the issues at stake. We in this study paper propose to note important areas point by point, thus enabling any serious student to see behind the facade made of fundamental truth to cover the deviations from that truth..
In Statement #23 as voted at Dallas isasentence which never appeared before in any previous statement of beliefs. It reads: "In it [the Heavenly Sanctuary] Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross." While the lesson quarterly skirts this part of the "Central Teaching," the book meets it head-on. The first three paragraphs of Chapter 23 in SDA's Believe ... portray
p 2 -- the hour of Christ's death on the cross. Then the next paragraph reads: But there is more to salvation history. It reaches beyond the cross. Jesus' resurrection and ascension direct our attention to the heavenly sanctuary, where, no longer the Lamb, He ministers as priest. The once-for-all sacrifice has been offered (Heb.9:28); now He makes available to all the benefits of his atoning sacrifice. (p. 313) 1
The next section is captioned - "The Sanctuary in Heaven." The one reading only casually is left with the impression that here is the "old time" Adventist ring. The atonement was not completed on the cross, only begun. But go beyond thi s next secti on to the middle of the following section on "The Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary." Then note: On the cross the penalty for human sin was fully paid. Divine justice was satisfied. From a legal perspective the world was restored to favor with God (Rom. 5:18). The atonement, or reconciliation, was completed on the cross as foreshadowed by the sacrifices, and the penitent believer can trust in this finished work of our Lord. (p. 315, col. 2, emphasis mine)
To understand the force of the language - "making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once-for-all on the cross" and "the penitent believer can trust in this finished work" of Christ - one must become conversant with some "recent" past history.
1 -- This paragraph is not without question. Is Jesus "no longer the Lamb" in heaven? In Revelation, He is not only pictured as "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (13:8), but also as "a Lamb as it had been slain" before the Throne (5:6). To recognize this, however, would be to negate the conclusion drawn in "The Sanctuary in Heaven." (pp. 313-314) See section - "One or Two" - in this article.
Some History -- The first time that Adventist leaders were quoted as believing "that since His ascension Christ has been ministering the benefits of the atonement He completed on Calvary" was in the report of one of the conferees for the Evangelicals as it appeared in Eternity. Following the SDA-Evangelical Conferences in 1955-56, Donald Barnhouse and Walter Martin wrote a series of articles on these conferences and Seventh-day Adventism. The first article - "Are Seventh-day Adventists Christians?" was by Barnhouse, the editor of Eternity. After reviewing the disappointment of' the Advent believers in 1844, and the conclusions drawn by these believers that Christ entered the second apartment of the Heavenly Sanctuary, Barnhouse writes concerning "the Adventist leaders" - They do not believe, as some of their earlier teachers taught, that Jesus' atoning work was not completed on Calvary but instead that He is still carrying on a second ministering work since 1844. They believe that since His ascension Christ has been ministering the benefits of the atonement which He completed on Calvary." (Eternity, Sept., 1956, p. 44; emphasis mine)
When Questions on Doctrine was published in 1957, it said the same thing and defined what was meant by this phraseology. This book was said to be "truly representative of the faith and beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church." (p. 9) Here i s one of the key quotes from the book on the point, and as you read, keep in mind that the undersccring is the emphasis as found in the book: When, therefore, 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 of the benefits of the sacrifical atonement He made on the cross; that He is making it efficacious for us individually, according to our needs and requests. (pp. 354-355)
This is the last paragraph of the chapter (30) except for a misinterpreted quote from the Writings of Ellen G. White which attempts to make her say the same thing. In the new book - SDA's Believe... - the author recommends this chapter as "a full discussion of this Biblical concept." (p. 117, Ref. #3)
Now what does this
phraseology - "making application of the benefits of the sacrificial
atonement" mean in reference to the ministry of Christ in the Most
Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary? In the book - Questions on Doctrine
- there is a chapter captioned - "The High-Priestly Ministry of Christ."
Section VIII is headlined - Redemption
Absolute by the Victory of Christ. Then it states:
is the thought that the King, who occupies the throne, is also our representative
at the court of heaven! This becomes all the more meaningful when we realize
that Jesus our surety entered the "holy places," and appeared
in the presence of God for us. But it was not with the hope of
obtaining something for us at that time, or at some future time. No! He
had already obtained it for us on the cross. And now as our High Priest
He ministers the virtues [benefits] of His atoning sacrifice to us. (p.
381, emphasis theirs)
p 3 -- The position that Christ obtains nothing for us after His sacrifice on Calvary, nullifies a final atonement by which a people are cleansed and prepared for translation. This strikes at the very heart of the sacred trust committed to the Church. (See Documentary - "The Sacred Trust Betrayed" --) Further the hierarchy have gone on record that the Church still holds to the teachings as found in Questions on Doctrine. On February 16, 1983, Walter Martin "wrote the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (Washington D.C.), calling for the Conference's public and official statement reaffirming or denying the authority of the Adventist book, Questions on Doctrine,-...." (Kingdom of the Cults, p. 410) In a letter dated, April 29, 1983, W. Richard Lesher, then a vice-president of the General Conference and now president of Andrews University, wrote: You ask first if Seventh-day Adventists still stand behind the answers given to your questions in Questions on Doctrine as they did in 1957. The answer is yes. You have noted in your letter that some opposed the answers given then, and, to some extent, the same situation exists today. But certainly the great majority of Seventh-day Adventists are in harmony with the views expressed in Questions on Doctrine. (Ibid., emphasis mine)
[Note: Anyone desiring a facsimile documenta tion of this page from Martin's book, The Kingdom of the Cults, may send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Foundation, making request.]
All the facade used in Statement #23, in the Sabbath School Lesson #10 for this quarter, and in the book - SDA's Believe... - does not alter the basic position which the hierarchy took for the Church in 1955-1956 in their dialogue with the Evangelicals.
Two Or One? -- The book - SDA's Believe... - teaches a single "room" in the Heavenly Sanctuary. When speaking of the originals from which the types were modeled, the author uses Rev. 1:12 as the New Testament reference for the Golden Candlesticks, rather than Rev. 4:5. (p. 314) This latter verse is ignored. The reference in Rev. 1:12 could not serve as the original from which the type was designed because Jesus is seen as walking among seven separate lampstands, not a single stand with seven lamps. In Rev. 4:5, the symbolism represents "the seven Spirits of God" - yet one Spirit. (See Isa. 11:2 where the one Spirit is noted with the six branches enumerated.) The reason why Rev. 4:5 is ignored is not difficult to see. The verse states that "seven torches (Gr.) of fire" were "burning before the throne." This would place "the throne" in the Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary with the "Lamb as it had been slain." (Rev. 5:6) But by omitting reference to this, and stating that "the heavenly altar of incense is located before God's throne (Rev. 8:3) - which in the type was only separated by the second veil, the conclusion can be drawn that "the heavenly sanctuary is the primary dwelling place of God" (Ibid.) - no apartments, no veils! This one-room Heavenly Tabernacle is declared to be "the command center where Christ conducts His priestly ministry for our salvation." (p. 316)
Ta Hagia -- In the section "The Sanctuary in Heaven" (pp. 313-314) Hebrews 8:1-2 is quoted and the reader is directed to a footnote. (pp. 327-328) This footnote discusses the use of ta hagia , the Greek translated, "sanctuary" in the KJV of Heb. 8:2. The conclusion is drawn that in all the other places in the book of Hebrews where ta hagia is used, the translation should likewise be, "sanctuary." The appeal for this conclusion is to the Septuagint (LXX) and Josephus. It is true that the LXX was the Early Church's Old Testament, and that they would understand the meaning of ta hagia as used in the LXX. The footnote reads - "the term ta hagia does consistently refer to "holy things" or the "holy places" - i.e., to the sanctuary itself." It is true that ta hagia does refer to the "holy things" of the sanctuary in LXX use, but this does not say that the term is used consistently to refer to the sanctuary as a whole in the LXX. In fact, where there is a clear unmistakable reference to the "sanctuary" as a single unit, the singular of hagia is used. See Numbers 3:31. This is the use followed in Heb. 9:1. There the word translated "sanctuary" is to hagion, singular. The same word, only in the genitive case is used in Numbers 3:31.
Further, the footnote seeks to unitize the sanctuary of heaven by comparing the use of skene (tent) in Chtpter 8, and noting that it, refers to the sanctuary as a whole. This is true, but not so in Chapter 9, where skene is used to refer to each of the apartments of the earthly sanctuary. Note Heb. 9:2-3, where in the KJV, the word is translated, "tabernacle." Whoever was writing down what Paul was saying became aware of the fact
4 -- that his choice of terms in Chapter 8 could cause misunderstanding
and confusion. Therefore, in Chapter 9, before proceeding to describe
the work of Christ as High Priest, he defined his terms. He stated that
when referring to the first apartment, the word, Hagia,
would be used, and for the second apartment, the words would be, Hagia
Hagion. (verses 2-3) In the KJV, the word, Hagia,
is translated, "sanctuary", and the words, Hagia
Hagion are translated, "Holiest of all." Thus all
the references - Heb. 9:8, 12, 24, 25; 10:19 and 13:11 - where ta
hagia is used, according to the definition refer to the first
apartment. This conclusion is reinforced by the fact that after describing
The only possible references to the second apartment ministry of our Lord is in Hebrews 9:27-28 and 10:25. In this latter verse, it speaks of "The Day," a Hebrew usage referring to the Day of Atonement. (See The Sanctuary Service, p. 170) But in this text it refers to a future work thus leaving the book of Hebrews emphasizing the High Priestly ministry of Jesus in the first apartment as was also given to John in vision. (Rev. 4) Why we would wish to ignore the definition given for the usage of ta hagia in Hebrews is difficult to understand if we really want truth, pure and unadulterated.
The Lesson Quaterly -- Lesson #10 - "God Tells Us About Christ's Heavenly Ministry" - as written contains some errors in the presentation of the sin offerings as outlined in Leviticus 4, and the conclusions drawn as to the transfer of the record of confessed and pardoned sins. We will note what is written, and then what the Bible actually teaches. (These errors are found in the authors' comments on p. 76)
1) In the case of a sin-offering for the priest and the entire congregation, the officiating priest sprinkled the blood seven times before the veil in the holy place, and upon the horns of the altar of incense.
Comment: This is factually correct, but "the priest" noted in Lev. 4:3 is "the priest that is annointed," i.e. the high priest. On the Hebrew of this text, Keil-Delitzsch state - "If he sinned 'to the sinning of the nation,' i.e. in his official position as representative of the nation before the Lord, and not merely in his own personal relation to God, he was to offer for a sin offering because of his sin an ox without blemish, the largest of all the sacrificial animals, because he filled the highest post in Israel." (Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. 1, p. 303, emphasis supplied) The fact is that the priest as an individual came under the category of a ruler. The word for "ruler" in Lev. 4:22 is the same word translated "chief" in reference to Eleazar, son of Aaron in Num. 3:32.
2) None of the sin-offering for the priest was eaten by the priest.
Comment: Since as noted above the priest as an individual was considered in the same category as a ruler, the blood of his sin offering was not taken into the sanctuary, and therefore, was eaten in the court by the priest who officiated. See Lev. 10:17-18; 6:25-26.
3) Because he [the common priest] later ministered in the holy place, the sin was taken into the presence of God and symbolically transferred to the sanctuary.
Comment: There is no transfer without blood, or the taking of life. (Heb. 9:22) Merely ministering in the daily service - trimming the lamps, offering incense, replenishing the table of shewbread - cannot be considered as acts of transfer. A careful study of Leviticus 4 indicates that the only one who could transfer the record of confessed sin to the Holy Place was the High Priest, not the common priest. The common priest ministered the sin-offering for the ruler and the lay person. He ate the flesh of these offerings in the court, thus taking the guilt of the sin into and upon himself. The record of these confessed and pardoned sins were never taken into the sanctuary but marked on the horns of the Altar of Burnt Offering. This truly represents Jesus who came in the likeness of sinful flesh, and bore our sins in His own body on the Cross, typified by the Altar in the Court. This is alluded to in statements found in DA, p. 25 and 7BC:933, quoted in the Teacher's Quarterly (p. 120) - "Christ 'offered sacrifice, Himself the priest [not High Priest], Himself the victim.'" He , then, as High Priest stands in the judgment not as a "defense attorney" (Qrt., p. 78), but as One who has the right to claim as the trophies of His victory over sin, and His sacrifice for sin, those who have placed their full and complete trust in Him. (John. 5:24)
It should be obvious that the authors of the Sabbath School lessons did not take time to really study the sanctuary service before writing this lesson. Tragically, there has
p 5 -- been little study given to the sanctuary teaching over the past few decades, except to make it of non-effect.
General Comment -- While Statement #23 makes no reference to the "final atonement," the Quarterly suggests such. It reads - "In the investigation the righteous dead are vindicated, and the living believers are filled with the Spirit of Christ and righteousness as the means of victory over sin." (p. 78) And in the "Summary" (p. 80), it is stated - "In this judgment the heavenly sanctuary is cleansed of the record of pardoned sin, and God's living people are spiritually purified as a preparation to meet their returning Lord." Why not call it the final atonement? Why not admit that the type teaches an atonement at the Altar in the Court (the Cross) resulting in forgiveness. (Lev. 4:26, 31); and a final atonement in the Most Holy Place resulting in cleansing (Lev. 16:30) - in other words - a dual atonement. The reason neither the book, SDA's Believe... - nor the lesson authors can so state is clear to those who know the history of the apostasy and the compromise that has marked the trail of the leadership. They told the Evangelicals - "Adventists do not hold any theory of a dual atonement. 'Christ has redeemed us' (Gal. 3:13) 'once for all' (Heb. 10:19)" (Questions on Doctrine, p. 390, emphasis theirs)
A final observation concerning the Teacher's Quarterly is in order. The author of the helps, Carl Guenther, (his comments are the green type) refers to the writer of the book of Hebrews as "the apostle-teacher who wrote the Epistles (sic) to the Hebrews." (p. 120) [I assume the use of the plural is a proof-readers oversight.] There is much discussion as to who wrote the book of Hebrews. The editor of the Adventist Review in his doctoral dissertation refers to the author of Hebrews as "auctor ad Hebraeous" and comments - "We therefore approach the study of the cultus in Hebrews without commitment to any particular author, readers, or date." (pp. 23-24) Recently, Kurt and Barbara Aland, well known scholars of hard research in New Testament textual criticism, co-authored a book - The Text of the New Testament. There in a passing remark, they wrote that "the early Church assumed Hebrews to be Pauline." (p. 49) If, therefore, those closest to the writing of the book could believe it to be of Pauline authorship, even though it differed in style and format from all of his other letters, who am I to seek to avoid designating the authorship as less than Pauline. Perhaps to seek to determine why it differed would be more profitable.
In Conclusion -- At the end of this year, each one following the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterlies, and those reading the book - SDA's Believe... will have had the opportunity to study and evaluate the 27 Fundamental Statements of Belief as a Seventh-day Adventist. One conclusion is inescapable. There has been a terrible mingling of truth and error in many of the 27 Statements. May I suggest an answer. Determine to be a truly Bible orientated Seventh-day Adventist in belief and practice, but not a part of the organized apostasy. If you have further questions, please write to the Adventist Laymen's Foundation. We are here to help you to know the truth as it is in Jesus.
Facts and Choice of Words -- In the previous issue of WWN (XXI-10), in reviewing the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church's involvement with the Faith and Order Commission of the WCC, we wrote concerning Dr. Earle Hilgert's appointment to the Commission in 1967 - "Dr. Earle Hilgert, then of Andrews University, was recomended by the General Conference Comittee, and approved by the Central Comittee of the WCC." (p. 2, col. 1) Interestingly, the day after we placed the issue in the mails, Dr. B. B. Beach was writing a reply to a letter received by Elder Neal C. Wilson from an Adventist on the West Coast. In this letter, he declared - "Dr Hilgert was not recommended by the General Conference Committee." (Emphasis mine)
The cover-up intent of the letter by Beach is revealed in the second paragraph. It reads: The meeting in Bristol, England, to which you are referring, took place over a dozen years ago. Dr. Earle Hilgert was a member of the Faith and Order Commission of the WCC for a few years, but for many years he has no longer been a member.
There is no mention in the letter that Dr. R. F. Dederen is now a member in place of Dr. Hilgert, and the inquirer is left with the impression that no longer is the Church represented on the Commission. The final paragraph closes with the usual denial - Let me emphasize, that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is not a member of the World Council of Churches and has never been a member and has no plans of becoming a member of this organization.
p 6 -- On this point, which is technically correct, it is only necessary to observe that since the revision of the WCC Constitution in 1972, the "Functions and Purposes" of the WCC are identical with the stated objective of the Faith and Order Commission in its By-Laws (See So Much in Common, pp. 40-41 & Faith and Order Paper #111, p. viii) Thus giving consent by being represented on the Commission to the goals of the Commission is also allying the Church with the objectives of the WCC itself, membership or not!
However, this leaves the denial of Beach in regard to Hilgert in direct contradiction to the statement we made in the Thought Paper as to how Dr. Hilgert was placed on the Faith and Order Commission. It was necessary, therefore, that we either seek to verify, or to clarify our statement. We didn't use the right word! Instead of "recommended," we should have used the word, "endorsement." Here is the background as we have been able to put it together: (B. B. Beach can fill in any of the details we have not been able to obtain.)
As a result of the "conversations" which took place between representatives of the SDA Church headed by B. B. Beach, and representatives of the WCC involving Dr. Lukas Vischer, then Secretary of the Faith and Order Commission, a warm relationship developed between these two men. Beach calls it a "friendship." This is further evidenced by the fact that these two men co-authored the WCC publication - So Much in Common - which contains - "Documents of interest in the conversations between the World Council of Churches and the Seventh-day Adventist Church." When, therefore, it was decided to have a Seventh-day Adventist viewpoint represented on the Faith and Order Commission, it was B. B. Beach himself who suggested the name of Dr. Earle Hilgert. But while only the Central Committee of the WCC can vote to place a member on the Faith and Order Commission, it has to have an "ecclesiastical endorsement" from the Church whose viewpoint this person will represent. It also needs to be kept in mind that while this person, whether Hilgert, and now Dederen, does not represent the church per se, he does represent to the Commission the belief and conviction of the Church in theological matters.
As to how the "ecclesiastical endorsement" was given, there are three possible avenues: 1) The General Conference Committee [This Beach would appear to deny.] 2) The General Conference Officers; and 3) A letter from W. R. Beach, who, at the time of Hilgert's appointment, was Secretary of the General Conference. If in fact this latter avenue was the way the "endorsement" was conveyed to the WCC's Central Committee, then it needs to be clarified whether "Papa" Beach consulted with the officers of the General Conference before writing the letter, or whether it was done as a unilateral act. If the letter was written with the consent of the Officers of the General Conference, this would then implicate Robert H. Pierson, who was the President at that time.
Certain facts remain: 1) The Faith and Order Paper #111 clearly states that the Lima Text, a "convergence" statement on Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry, was "unanimously" recommended for transmittal to the churches as a step in the Commission's goal of "visible unity in one faith and one eucharistic fellowship." Further it names -"Adventist" - as one of the "traditions" which gave consent. 2) The objective of the Faith and Order Commission for one confession of faith based on the Creed adopted by the Church Council of Constantinople (A.D. 381) has already been made a part of the 27 Fundamental Statements of Belief as voted at Dallas, Texas, in 1980. These facts speak louder than all the denials of B. B. Beach.
Point Loma Seventh-day
Adventist Church -------- Gary
January 21, 1980
The controversial issue of homosexuality raised its eternal head in a very clear and forceful manner as I read your Jan. 15, 1988 journal. On the one hand we heard a plea from Philip Yancy - a summons, really - for genuine, Christlike civility and respoct of one's neighbor, even if that neighbor is a homosexual. Contrasted with Yancy was David Wells' expose on how, supposedly because we don't want to offend someone, we skirt around calling a spade a spade by using toned-down, "secularized" phraseology. But, as I'm sure many readers noticed, Mr. Wells' article was really about sex. Nine-tenths of its contents dealt with various sexual illustrations. And what forcefully comes through his pen is not so much.that we have used "linguistic sleights of hand" in our sexual-terminology, but rather that sexual promiscuity has become all-pervasive, and we evangelicals are in danger of getting caught up in all the fun!
Mr. Wells also addressess homosexuality, showing his colors as clearly as Yancy does. To wit: "the suggestion is made, ever so subtly, that being gay is a legitimate option, an alternative. This is their 'sexual preferonce.' Sexual preference? What on earth are we talking about? God offers no such alternative, and he allows no such preference.
I'm wondering two things, really: (1) How can Mr. Wells be so sure? Certainly being gay is not an "option," but neither is being straight! I've never in my life met a homosexual who made a well-thought-out decision to have sexual urges for someone of the same sex ... And I have yet to meet a heterosexual who made a similar decision for someone of the opposite sex. Is being gay a sin? The scriptures certainly have little light to shed in response to that question. (2) What is the difference between Mr. Wells' blatant assumptions regarding the homosexual, and the self-righteous taunts of the zealous Christians Yancy observed that day in our nation's capital? I know that if I were gay Mr. Wells' remarks would sting just as powerfully as any "Aids, aids, it's comin' your way" chant.
These two articles point out an ever-burgeoning threat to evangelical Christianity, namely, that our understanding and misunderstanding, our knowledge and ignorance, of homosexuality, may one day split the church in a very visible way. I don't know of a Christian worth his salt who denies that homosexual "promiscuity" (Yancy's carefully chosen word) is a sin. The confusion and debate centers around whether a committed, monogamous homosexual partnership is sin. Many are still waiting on evangelical scholarship to clear the air. A little over two years ago, Dr. John Stott presented an article, published in your journal, that was a start. But it was not a textual treatment from scripture. might CT be willing to pick up the torch and carry it farther?
1988 Dec XXI-- 12(88) -- What's In a Name? -- In recent months reams of paper have been used to tell Seventh-day Adventists, either directly or through the mails, about the "trademarking " of the Church's name, and the legal results when the hierarchy sued a small break-away church in Hawaii for using the name - "Seventhday Adventist Congregational Church." Just before leaving for Minneapolis to attend the 1888 Centennial celebration, a whole packet of 4-page tracts listed variously as Part I, Update 1 and Update 2, came through the mail . Then on arriving at the Northrup Auditorium on the campus of the University of Minnesota, where the meeting was to be held, concerned Adventists placed in our hands the SDA Press Bulletin. In banner headlines this newspaper proclaimed - "Human Rights Violated at Minneapolis '88" - and sought to associate this issue with the "Trademark Lawsuits" as a major item for Centennial consideration. An interesting sidelight is that one of the speakers during a panel discussion sought to introduce his own brand of "human rights" as involved in the righteousnes by faith issue declaring his "hobby horse" was "where the rubber hits the road." The dissidents felt the same way about their "human rights" issue.
So that I will be clearly understood, let me state from the beginning certain convictions:
1) Even though the hierarchy may have had valid reasons for facing the problem they perceived as existing, the route chosen - trademarking the name - has not proved to be the correct solution. A problem does exist, but they would not admit to themselves, they contributed to the problem.
2) There is no Scriptural justification for legal action, such as has been taken in the Hawaii case, unless the hierarchy no longer looks upon those who broke away as. brothers in Christ. The Scripture forbids only "brother going to law with brother." (I Cor. 6:6) If they do not consider the Hawaiian church as "brethren," this should tell all dissidents something!
3) The use of a Roman Catholic lawyer to reprepresent the Church is reprehensible and only
p 2 -- compounds a bad course of action. To speculate as one voluminous writer has done as to the nature of the funds used to pay the lawyer doesn't add to his tarnished credibility resulting from other journalistic ventures. If, as speculated, the tithe is being so used, this only adds to the hierarchy's sin; but let us document, and not just give our "opinions." Opinions do not help concerned Seventh-day Adventists arrive at truth!
4) This action on the part of the hierarchy of the Church does create what the Bible calls "an image to the beast." To use the power of the State - in this instance, the courts - to solve a problem perceived to exist is truly following "in the track of Romanism." However, in so recognizing this aspect, is not saying that the "trademark" issue is a fulfillment of Revelation 13.
Using all of these factors, the dissidents are having a heyday in castigating the Church and its leadership - yet the voluminous writer and many of the chief agitators whom I met and talked with at the Centennial meeting in Minneapolis are still members of the Church. If indeed, as is claimed by the dissidents this is an "image to the beast," then they are a part of that "image"!
Now if the dissidents and the voluminous writer, along with the small Hawaiian Church would have simply sat at the feet of Jesus and learned of Him, this whole thing would have been diffused. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: If any man will I sue thee at law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. (Matt. 5:40)
Jesus was talking to professed believers of the House of Israel and their problems. He was setting forth the ground rules of the new Kingdom, He came to establish.
Are we so busy climbing up Mount Sinai, playing God, thundering our opinions and speculations, that we have forgotten to climb up Golgatha's hill and pray, "Lord put into my heart your Sermon on the Mount?" Because dissidents are reading and studying any and everything but the Bible, they have been majoring on minors, and minoring on majors. Besides this, reams of paper do not cover spiritual nakedness, no matter how white the paper may be, but most of the time it has been off-shade.
Now what is in a name? The tear-shedding "brothers" of John Marik say that we must have the name - "Seventh-day Adventists" because Ellen White said that is the name the God of heaven wanted us to have. That is true at the time the name was chosen by our spiritual forefathers. Just one question - Does the name - Seventh-day Adventist stand for the same thing today, it stood for in 1863? If the dissidents can say, "Yes" to this question, then they better cease to be dissidents!
p 3 -- The Lord Himself changed the name of Jacob to Israel. (Gen. 32:28) His descendants took upon themselves the name - "House of Israel." This name was recongized by Jesus as the name of the Jewish Church. (Matt. 10:6) On the Day of Pentecost, Peter accused that Church with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. (Acts 2:36) The name - Israel - changed from one who had prevailed with God to one who killed God in the Person of His Messiah. Even though the New Testament pictures the Christian community as "the new Israel" (Eph. 2:12-13), the Jewish hierarchy did not need to "trademark" the name - "House of Israel." Why? The Apostolic Church did not use that name, but called themselves - "The Followers of the Way" - and were so recognized by the leadership of the Jewish Church. (See Acts 9:2 margin; 19:9, 23. In each verse, the Greek reads - "the way.")
Paul in his defense before Felix clearly understood the change that had taken place in "The House of Israel" and how he perceived himself in relationship to it. He stated: This I confess ... that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets." (Acts 24:14)
So what's in a name? Only what it stands for at any given point of time even if given by God, such as the name, "Israel." The question is simple: What does the name - Seventhday Adventist - stand for today? The answer is equally as simple: - "The 27 Statements of Fundamental Beliefs as voted at Dallas, along with the policies of the hierarchy who are in control of the Church."
So if I want a name to express what the name expressed in 1863, along with an organizational structure, if one wants to go the "church" route which apparently the Hawaiian group prefers, what can be chosen? Here is a suggestion - "Congregational Seventh-day Maranatha Church." Such a course could have saved money, time, and trouble before the time of trouble. But because the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount were counted of little merit, and the case of the Hawaiian Church was seen as a way to castigate the hierarchy for their policies, the dissidents have chosen to take a course of action contrary to the law of Christ wrapping themselves up in clothes of righteousness made out of paper.
Another complaint of this group of dissidents is that the hierarchy of the Church through the power of the Courts are going to take all Adventist books from this little Hawaiian Church. Won't they still have their Bibles? I asked this question of one who came to Minneapolis to protest. The answer - "They wil1 take f rom them the Bibles with the "Richards' Helps." If so, the sooner, the better! Now the "Richards' Helps" are good in and of themselves, but isn't it time we stopped using "crutches" in no matter what form or size they come, and get down to the, business of knowing for ourselves just what the Word of God teaches? No man, organization or government,can take that from us. Perhaps if more time had been so spent, the Church in Hawaii and the dissidents who have taken up their plight might have discovered Jesus and His guideline. Did not this same Jesus also counsel the Laodiceans to buy of Him, His righteousness, instead of paper righteousness to cover spiritual nakedness. It doesn't take reams, Part I and Part So-many of so many, plus "Updates" to tell the truth, pure and unadulterated, which is Christ's righteousness. (TM, p. 65) There is nothing wrong with using paper to convey concepts. It is a good means of communication, if used wisely and judiciously.
p 4 -- Ethics -- While the independent presses have been turning out reams on the Hawaiian Trademark Case, another item was being distributed. It was set forth as an interview with Neal C. Wilson following the morning services at PUC. As published, one was led to believe that Wilson granted this interview, but I learned from direct conversation that it was recorded from a hidden microphone and during a time when a number were around Elder Wilson asking questions. Then one of two things must have occurred. Either this exchange of questions and answers amounted to a two-way conversation between Wilson and Alabach with the others merely listening in, or else the recording was heavily edited. Whatever the circumstances, the whole was unethical, deceptive, and of the earth, earthly. I do not care how many things Wilson has done with which dissidents can rightly disagree, nor how sanctimoniously he closed the 1888 Centennial celebration, two wrongs do not make one right. When those who profess, and I say, profess, to be holding up basic and fundamental Adventism, stoop to deception to obtain information, or quote to someone's disadvantage information so obtained, they are in reality worse than the ones they seek to castigate. Say what you mean; mean what you say without malice or intrigue. What you write document using the highest ethical standards possible.
The excuse was offered that tape recorders are used in many services to record what is being said. This is true, but if there is no official recording being made, ethically one should obtain permission before recording privately. Then when asking questions in an off-the-record manner, having a hidden microphone with the view of printing and circulating the questions and the answers, - how low do we stoop to do "battle" in the name of the Lord? There is no question but that we should earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3), but in what and in whose armor do we fight? Truth is never advanced by using the standards of the devil - deception! END
Observations -- The Sabbath of the 1988 Centennial Celebration of the Minneapolis General Conference session had arrived. I was sitting in the Northrup Memorial Auditorium on the campus of the University of Minnesota waiting for the events to unfold. "Hottel" 1 type of weather had settled in on Minneapolis. It was misty and wet outside, and snow would begin falling on Sabbath morning. However, the dimly lighted auditorium was warm and comfortable.
During each of the evening meetings of this Minneapolis Commemoration, John Carter of Australia had presented an "evangelistic" type of message. This Sabbath evening his subject was to be - "How to Be Saved and Stay that Way." In the presentation, he did not skip a single note in giving a pure Desmond Ford perception of the Gospel. He challenged - "Will there ever be a time when we will not need to pray the Lord's Prayer: 'Forgive us our debts'?" His answer was clearly - "No!" The leadership of the Church is ill prepared to answer this challenge because in the two Centennial celebrations I attended, on the West Coast and now at Minneapolis, the final atonement and its meaning had not been presented, and my notes indicate that it was only verbalized once during the formal presentations.
p 4 -- In faulting Carter on this concept, is not to say there is no truth in the positions taken by Desmond Ford. The Biblical truth of Justification by Faith alone was clearly presented at both the John W. Osborn Lectureship Series in Riverside, California, and Minneapolis. But there was no attempt to "go on unto perfection" (Heb. 6:1) and seek earnestly for the significance and meaning of the Day of Final Atonement. The idea of a final atonement was projected, in a presentation given during the week, to the time when after the Millenium "one pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation." (GC, P. 678) This can never be until those who willingly afflict their souls and cease from their own works receive the finished work of the Great High Priest in the Most Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary.
Preceding the Friday evening "Evangelical" message, a thirty minute musical program was presented which included songs on the screen, special selections by soloists, and the Seminary Chorus from Andrews University. The audience this evening, as on other evenings, was composed of a small number of non-Adventist visitors, the laity of the area churches and ministers at all levels of church administration in the North American Division. Following the rendition of a deeply moving medley by the Seminary Chorus, the audience clapped their approval to the embarrassment of the conductor who sought to stop it. This reponse, entirely inappropriate, can be understood by the fact that each night when Carter came on stage for his act, the assembly was urged to give him a warm "North American" welcome by clapping vigorously their hands. However, during this evening's musical prelude before the stage actor gave his performance, the assembly was led in a chorus based on Isaiah 35:10 - "The Ransomed of the Lord." This was sung through several times, and each time the audience clapped hands to the beat to such an extent that I wondered when they would get up and start dancing. This with the use of large kettle drums beat loudly during a musical rendition for the Sabbath worship service made me wonder how near we are to the fulfillment of the prophecy made in the Writings. In a letter addressed to S. N. Haskell, concerning the Holy Flesh Movement in Indiana, Ellen White wrote: The things you have described taking place in Indiana, the Lord has shown me would take place just before the close of probation. Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit. (SM, bk ii, p. 36)
Carter departed sufficiently from his outline on how to be saved to clearly state that all were sinners from the General Conference president on down. It was also clear that he was answering his critics in high places. He emphasized heavily the parableof the Pharisee and Publican. There was little doubt left in the minds of those present as to who was who in 1988.
p 5 -- The next morning, as a part of the Sabbath School program was an abbreviated reenactment of the pre-session of the 1888 General Conference. It was performed simply, yet dramatically, fully portraying the tensions of 1888 and the major personalities involved. It was well done and very instructive. This reenactment clearly showed that the brethren in 1888 did not disguise their disagreements but spoke openly to each other. The tensions in 1988 are just as real, but disguised under a cloak of "brotherly love."
At the Sabbath morning worship hour, Charles Bradford, president of the North American
Division, did not speak on the subject as indicated in the Bulletin, but rather assailed Carter's Friday evening message, both from a theological viewpoint involving the depravity of man and the incarnation, and from an administrative point of view. It was made clear that if the "brethren" at the top needed correction, God would take care of it without the help of "critics" whether within or on the periphery of the Church. At points in the presentation, one could almost hear Bradford express the Wieland-Short theme that God was going to turn the Church around, and that all would be well. 2
Sabbath afternoon was devoted to a musical program featuring singing groups from Andrews University, Union College, Collegedale, Tennessee, the Minneapolis Korean Church, as well as vocal and instrumental soloists. The large stage was arranged for the musical groups to be as near center as possible with the moderator on the audience's left. All announcements and reading of the Scriptures were given from the same pulpit as was used at the 1888 session.
As the Sabbath was drawing to a close, the "George I Butler" 3 of 1988 made his first appearance before the gathering. It was to be a dedication service. After a few brief comments from the pulpit, Elder Neal C. Wilson moved to center stage, mounted the conductor's podium, and without notes spoke for about thirty minutes. His movements were carrying a message prior to his verbalization. In an introspective manner, he discussed Carter's Friday evening appeal in a commendatory way, thus easing Bradford's attack, yet explaining how the various calls did not apply to him. He then sought to lay to rest the 1888 issues just as Elder W. H. Branson had done in 1952. (The language in part was almost parallel.) Wilson indicated we should forget the 1888 episode and direct our focus on only that which had been proclaimed during the 1988 Centennial. He urged the Church to move forward to a finished work under the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. And with the close of the Sabbath, the Centennial Celebration of 1888 also closed - another failure to come to grips with the real message the Lord sought to begin in 1888. From a private conversation, I learned that at the highest levels of the Church, the leadership is unable to come to a concensus as to what the work and mission of the Church should be in the present hour. Thus again, as prior to the 1888 General Conference session, the Church is adrift without chart or compass. 4
p 6 -- Certain significant facts from 1888 were recognized at these centennial celebrations. It was clearly documented that Ellen G. White refused to be placed in the role as an inspired interpreter of the Bible, and instead urged those listening to the prophetic conflicts between A. T. Jones and Uriah Smith, and the theological conflicts between E. J. Waggoner and George I. Butler's surrogates to go to the Bible in deep earnest study to find the truth. She said in her final message at the 1888 session: Let us take our Bibles, and with humble prayer and a teachable spirit, come to the great Teacher of the world; let us pray as did David, "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wonderous things out of thy law." (Ms. 15, 1888)
Her final admonition to the delegates was: We should not reject or oppose the views of our fellow laborers because they do not agree with our ideas until we have used every means in our power to find out whether or not they are truth, comparing scripture with scripture. (Ibid.)
Many concepts were presented both at Riverside and at Minneapolis based in the Bible. Vital material, however, was omitted, or merely alluded to. While many in the Church would like to forget 1888 5 now, and no longer be reminded of the failure at the first Minneapolis session, the failure of the Centennial celebration to come to grips with the unique truth given to the Adventist Movement, requires that the message which began in 1888 be brought to full revelation. This we have vowed to do, along with continued reports and analyses of current happenings.
1 -- In George R. Knight's book - From 1888 to Apostasy, he alludes to a diary which was recently discovered belonging to R. Dewitt Hottel who attended the 1888 General Conference as the only delegate from Virginia. But as Dr. Mervyn Maxwell put it at the John W. Osborn Lectureship series, Hottel didn't record much except the weather, his sight- seeing, being sick and taking a bath in a rubber tub downtown somewhere in Minneapolis. For Thursday, October 18, Hottel entered the notation - "Rain". For the next day, he wrote - "Cold - Snow". This sequence was followed this year in Minneapolis, except instead of Thursday and Friday, it was Friday and Sabbath. (See Manuscripts and Memories of Minneapolis 1888, p. 5 4)
2 -- In the Ministry (October, 1988), J. Robert Spangler interviewed Charles Bradford regarding the conference scheduled for Minneapolis.
One of the questions Spangler asked Bradford was - "Brethren Wieland and Short have had a great burden for the 1888 Message. How do you relate this commemoration to these good brethren?" Bradford replied in part: -- Brethren Wieland and Short ought to be happy. Their message has gotten through. We are all receiving it. They have done the church a service. (p. 9)
When I read this - before the meetings I attended - I had to smile. Who is trying to fool who? If the message presented either on the West Coast or at Minneapolis was the message Wieland and Short were sent by God to give to the Church, as written in the original edition of 1888 Re-Examined, then I am unable to read or understand plain English. But if the message had really gotten through, then why were Wieland and Short not permitted to tell that message at Minneapolis in 1988? They were there, but were given no place on the agenda. Or could it be that they have so watered down their message for acceptance by the hierarchy that God could not overrule in their behalf lest He compromise Himself? However, the message on Sabbath morning by Bradford did reveal something. He liked the part Wieland and Short have been teaching that God will heal the backslidden Church and Laodicea will go through. The section of Bradford's message based on Jeremiah and Hosea could have been lifted right out of one of Wieland's sermons. However, the parallel drawn between Judah of Jeremiah's day and today has no validity. The only parallel that meets today's reality is the parallel between the Jewish Church of AD 27-34 and the Church today.
p 7 -- 3 George R. Knight in his book - From 1888 to Apostasy - indicates that George I. Butler "had a lof ty view of the role of the General Conference president" (p. 33) In 1873, Butler had written that never had there been a "great movement in this world without a great leader" in reference to James White, and that the members of that movement should follow "the counsels of those best qualified to guide. " Knight observes that when Butler became president "he adopted that leadership style for himself" believing himself to be a strong leader and exercised authority from the top down. To him, he was holding "the highest position that our people could impose." Following the 1888 session, Ellen White would write that Butler "thinks his position gives him such power that his voice is infallible." (Ibid.) Now 100 years after 1888, another man occupies the presidency of the General Conference whose actions and demeanor evidence that he too, believes as George I Butler in regard to the highest of all church offices.
4 Prior to the General Conference session in 1888, Ellen G. White through the pages of the Review sent messages to prepare the Church for what was to come at that session. (See Christ Our Righteousness, pp. 40-55; 1926 edition) In these messages, she stated the real condition of the church at that time. She wrote: -- Spiritual death has come upon the people that should be manifesting life and zeal, purity and consecration, by the most earnest devotion to the cause of truth. The facts concerning the real condition of the professed people of God, speak more loudly than their profession, and make it evident that some power has cut the cable that anchored them to the Eternal Rock, and that they are drifting away to sea, without chart or compass. (R&H, July 24, 1888)
The message in 1888 as given through Elder Jones and Waggoner was to have remedied this condition and given to the Church its chart and compass. The failure then, and the failure now, still leaves the Church adrift without chart or compass.
5 In introducing his presentation at the John W. Osborn Lectureship series at Riverside, California, Dr. William G. Johnsson, Editor of the Adventist Review, quoted at length from a letter he received from the field which indicated the writer's antipathy for all the agitation over 1888. The writer indicated he was sick of it all and that he would "be glad when 1989 rolls around." Johnsson commented - "I expect (sic) that not a few Adventists echo his sentiments." Wilson in his sole appearance before "Celebration 88" in Minneapolis alluded to this same attitude. The letter quoted by Johnsson clearly indicates that the writer has been turned off by the agitation which Wieland and Short have been doing over the past several years, and how those listening to their messages have represented them in their respective home churches. The whole thing is a sad picture. There is no question but that much new research has been done as to what happened in 1888 and its aftermath. This documentation needs to be carefully analyzed. Besides this some of the emphases given both at Riverside and Minneapolis must be brought to the testing investigation of the Bible. It is doubtful that some of it will hold up. This distortion of truth along with the failure to give the whole truth has only compounded the problem. The question has been left unanswered - "Where do we go from here?"
Riding High -- During his remarks at the Dedication service in Minneapolis closing "Celebration 88", Elder Neal C. Wilson mentioned that in recent months he had visited with several "heads of state" and other dignitaries. Returning to my desk, I took time to scan the various periodicals that had accumulated during my absence of several weeks. An article in the Adventist Review (Oct. 27, 1988, p. 11) reporting the Annual Council in Nairobi, Kenya, caught my eye in the light of Elder Wilson's remarks. It was captioned - "Wilson's Road to Nairobi." It was a "high road" from various elevations. Setting aside the mountain climbing that was done, we shall note the more serious aspects of the report.
Five weeks prior to the Annual Council,Wilson went to Africa. He first visited Ghana. Arriving atthe Kotoka International Airport, he was welcomed by a crowd of more than 2000. "The government of Ghana received the Wilsons [his wife accompanied him] as state guests and placed at their disposal one of the aircrafts reserved for the private use of the "chairman of the Provisional National Defense Council." During his 10-day itinerary in Ghana, the Wilsons "were paraded through the streets of Kumasi with police motorcade" and "were received by the traditional rulers (Ashanti) ... "
Another pre-Council stop on Wilson's schedule was Kampala, Uganda. Here he was met at the airport by the head of government, the prime minister, Dr. Samson Kisekka, a Seventh-day Adventist. On Sunday, Wilson "was taken by police motorcade for the one-and-one-half meeting with Uganda's chief of state, President Y. Museveni."
In a more recent Adventist Review (Nov. 10, 1988, p. 20), a report is given of Wilson's visit to Oslo, Norway, where he attended the Nordic Congress in May. This Congress included Adventist members from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. During this time, Wilson visited with "representatives of parliament, the Norwegian state church, the Council of Independent Churches and the National Ecumenical Council." The climax came on May 16 with a visit with King Olav V at his palace which lasted for 20 minutes instead of the customary 10 minutes. Topics of discussion during these visits included "alcohol prevention, racism, the world situation and the role of the Christian church."
All of this activity raises some very serious and perplexing questions. Who paid for the cost of the government plane placed at Wilson's disposal in Ghana? Who paid for the expense of the motorcades in both Ghana and Uganda? Did the Church, or was it all goverment expense? Did the money come from the taxes taken from the poor of those countries, poor that write to America asking for Bibles? Or was it money from Foreign Aid - money from American taxpayers? If the Church did not pay for these services, then what right does the Religious Liberty section of the Public Affairs Department of the General Conference to protest the expenses paid by the government for the Pope's itineraries here in the USA?
In the Bible, I do read of one of the Lord's apostles speaking before "heads of state" even kings - Felix and Agrippa. But I find no resemblance between what Paul talked about - except "temperance" and I suspect in the case of Felix it got rather personal (Acts 24:25) - and Wilson's agenda of topics. Nowhere, do I read where Paul met with the religious leaders of his day, and the Roman Empire was full of various religious traditions. Paul also appeared before the head of state for the entire Empire - Nero himself. But I am told that before Nero, Paul presented "the truths of the gospel." He pointed his hearers, those assembled at the Judgment Seat of Nero - Jews, Greeks, Romans, with strangers from many lands - "to the sacrifice for the fallen race." (AA, p. 495) Is it not sad that the Church has so lost its concept of the unique message entrusted to it by God of Christ's final atonement in the Heavenly Sanctuary, that its "chief officer" dialogues on common earthly matters with heads of modern states and regales in exaltation rivaled only by the Pope! It will be countered that Wilson left some good Adventist literature with these men.
Perhaps, however, there needs to be painted on a sign near the new General Conference headquarters a similar duo of pictures as was painted in Prague long ago by "two strangers from England." The only change would be, instead of the Pope, a picture of Wilson as he was paraded though the streets of Kumasi, Ghana,with a police motorcade. (See -The Great Controversy, pp. 99-100)
Kingdom is not of this world."
Jesus to Pilate
Christ's ambassadors, [His laborers] are to search the Scriptures, to
seek for the truths that are hidden beneath the rubbish of error.
1988 Special 1-- XXI -- Vol II Number 1-- Cast out of the Synagogue -- Part 2 -- "What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one." (Romans 3:9, 10) During the reformation, neither Luther nor any of the reformers raised up by God claimed to have any self-righteousness. Luther realized that except by the grace of God he might have been the one sitting on a hierarchical chair ruling over God's heritage. The spirit of the Pharisee was not to be found in the Protestant reformation nor will it be found in its continuation.
While many attacks are being leveled on A. T. Jones today calling him a "bitter man," the true side of Jones is not being given a fair hearing. While it is true that Jones had many differences with the Brethren, it is also true that he treated the Brethren in a Christian manner. When faced with what he considered apostasy, Jones spoke in no uncertain terms. However, I do not believe anyone has found anything Jones wrote to be harder than what is found in John 8:44; Matthew 23:33; 3:7. The implication of Matt. 15:12 is clear! Jones, who probably understood the third angel's message better than anyone living in his day, understood clearly that he was nothing but dust, a sinner who could be saved only by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Likewise, those who are led of God, those who are working to see the reformation finished in their day, weep and pray over their own spiritual conditions.
Does having a realization of our own condition excuse us from speaking out during this great time of apostasy? No! By the grace of the Lord Jesus we may each one be prepared for His kingdom and be used of the Lord to help the Laodicean church member to see the state of "Baal" worship that the church has fallen into in these last days.
While writing the first part of "Cast Out of the Synagogue," I was mindful that I would be accused of being bitter and pharisaical by some, and even satanic by others. My position has not changed since the writing of the first part. I do not write with bitterness or hard feelings toward anyone for anything that was done to me. I account many of the people involved as my friends. I have no desire to unnecessarily call names or label people. This is no laughing matter nor something to be taken lightly. The souls of those being mislead are at stake and the truth must be presented.
This concluding article will pick up the chronology of events where Volume 1, No. 4 of Commentary left off.
Sabbath, October 11, 1986 - Our first Sabbath service apart from the recognized group. We rejoiced that we were at liberty to speak freely, and sad that we could not do it with those whom we consider to be our Brethren.
Sunday, October 12, 1986 - Those who attended the meeting come to discuss future plans for a ministry. We have no desire to start any "new organization." Our people are Seventh-day Adventists who love the Lord Jesus and His truth. Feeling the need to share the truth that God has given us we organize Smyrna Gospel Ministries. We view Smyrna Gospel Ministries as a vehicle with which to spread truth somewhat similar to other ministries operated by Seventh day Adventist XXXXXX However, there are some
XXXXX ferences between Smyrna
XXXXX and other Adventist ministries
accept tithe funds, never at any time will there be any solicitation for tithe or any other kinds of funds. Second, we will not accept the conference as final authority on anything. The group asks me to lead out in pastoral lines and I accept.
Sunday, October 19, 1986 - Elder Earl M. Clough, former pastor at Indian Creek, came to visit with my family and Brother and Sister Ford. Elder Clough has always professed to believe in the pillars of Historic Adventism and we have had confidence in him through the years that we have known him. He wants to know if we would be willing to return to the Indian Creek Church if he came back as pastor. We tell Pastor Clough we love him and will support any part of his ministry that we can, but we will not be returning to Indian Creek if the rest of the membership still desires to support the hierarchy. We can see nothing but confusion as a result of so doing. (Please see Matthew 12:25.)
p 2 -- November 2, 1986 - Elder Clough writes to Elder Broeckel and invites him to come to Indian Creek to meet with our group. Elder Broeckel agrees to come and the time is set for November 14, 7:00 p.m. at the Indian Creek Church.
November 8, 1986 - The need for a place of worship had already been realized and after Sabbath we have a business meeting and decide to build a small chapel in which to meet.
November 14, 1986 - We meet with Elder Broeckel, in the Indian Creek Church. Elder Broeckel offers to organize our group into a recognized (by the church) company if the differences cannot be resolved. His primary desire is to see the two groups reunited. While we desire to be able to worship with our Brothers, we make it clear that we will not do so just for the sake of unity, unless it is unity in the truth. We state that we cannot support the "New Theology" nor leadership that condones and/or supports it. One church member from Indian Creek asks Elder Broeckel if the atonement was finished at the cross. His reply is, "Yes, it had to be." The sadness that came upon that church member's face can never be erased from my mind. I also remember looking over at Elder Clough who had desired to work as a mediator of sorts between the conference and the group from Smyrna Gospel Ministries. His head is hung down in what appears to be despair. I believe that he realizes the challenge that would be before him if he were to accept the pastorate of the Indian Creek Church. Though Elder Broeckel is totally sincere in his beliefs, the group that represents Smyrna Gospel Ministries will not accept someone with the "New Theology" beliefs as a leader.
November 19, 1986 - Elder Broeckel writes to the members of the Indian Creek Church regarding the meeting of November 14. He states in part, "The meeting was conducted in a fine Christian manner, a spirit of love for one another being exhibited by all
XXXXX through this letter we are
XXXXX Elder Clough has accepted the
XXXXX at Indian Creek until
XXXXX end of the year.November 26, 1986 - We receive a letter from Pastor Clough outlining the minutes from a church board meeting of November 22. Pastor Clough in part writes: New appointments include a Friday evening study/prayer meeting to begin on December 5 at 7:00 p.m., when we will consider the topic, "What are the pillars of our faith?" Come prepared to contribute! Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. will begin a series of evangelistic meetings. Through the miracle of electronics, Joe Crews of Amazing Facts will bring a stirring message, after a health message presentation by Jim Brackett. We encourage you to attend those services that appeal to you and/or which you can contribute.
Friday evening, December 5, 1986 - Several attend the study session from both groups. Pastor Clough discusses the pillars of our faith and hands out a page of Spirit of Prophecy quotations entitled, "Pillars -- Landmarks." Pastor Clough states that he would like for others to take part in the presentations and asks if I would be willing to have a study next Friday evening. I accept Elder Clough's offer and the meeting is closed with prayer.
Saturday evening, December 6, 1986 - Several from both groups came out to see the Joe Crews video. Relations were friendly.
Friday evening, December 12, 1986 - The turnout for this meeting is much smaller than last Friday evening. Since the sanctuary is the central pillar of our faith, I thought that it would be good to speak on a topic related to the sanctuary. I chose the offering of the red heifer and its symbolism to the plan of salvation.
Sabbath afternoon, December 20, 1986 - We are invited to a dinner and social at the Indian Creek Church. We all attend even though some feel very awkward being there.
Sunday morning, December 21, 1986 - We had Pastor Clough and his wife Louise over to our trailer for breakfast. Our trailer is still behind the church on the back lot that we leased from the local church. (We have had no success in our efforts to sell our trailer and live behind the church for the next five months until it sold.) The men from Smyrna Gospel Ministries started work on a chapel for a meeting place.
Friday evening, January 4, 1987 - Pastor Clough has asked me to speak at the Friday evening meeting again. Since we have been discussing the pillars of our faith in order to determine what they were and if we as a church have moved away from them, I present the study, "Sacred Trust Betrayed!" 1
Saturday evening, January 5, 1986 - Elder Clough had Sid Young, a retired stipend minister, come to Indian Creek to speak. His sermon was on the covenants. When asked what his view on the nature of Christ was, he replied that he was still studying on that issue. The question that went through my mind was; how many years does the man need to study the incarnation? After the meeting was over Elder Young and I studied Revelation 3 in connectin with the Philadelphia and Laodicea messages. After reading Revelation 3:8 - ("I know thv works: behold, I lhave set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and has not denied my name.") - I asked Elder Young what the "open door" represented. He quite frankly told me that he was sure that he had studied that years before, but that he could not remember what it meant! I was shocked. While I have never made any claim in the least to be a walking encycloedia of the Bible, I believe that there are certain important texts of Scripture that Adventist ministers should know and this is one of them. Upon hearing Elder Young's admission I went to the church library and got an 1884 edition of Great Controversy. After reading chapter 19, "An Open and Shut Door" and discussing such texts as Revelation 3:7-22; and Revelation 14:1, Elder Young asked me if I believed that Laodecia was an apostate church and Philadelphia was a true church. I told him that I thought he had it exactly correct. Upon hearing my reply, Elder Young shut his Bible, pushed it forward and stated that there was no use
p 3 -- studing any more with me.
January and February 1987 - The Cloughs continue their ministry at Indian Creek while we continue our ministry with Smyrna Gospel Ministries. The chapel is under roof without one offering or solicitation being made, and free from debt.
March 5, 1987 - As certain issues come to a head, Elder Clough and I have a very frank talk. I appreciate the fact that even though Elder Clough and I differ radically in the manner that we relate to the apostasy in the church, we can still discuss the issues in a Christian way. Our "frank talk" was precipitated by a letter Elder Clough had sent another minister in which he had misrepresented myself and the Smyrna group.
Sabbath afternoon, March 7, 1987 - Charmaine and I visited the minister and his wife to whom Elder Clough had written. They have been very close to us for several years and we desired to visit them and reassure them of our love for them. Our visit with them was pleasant. When in our discussion the subject of the incarnation came up, this minister told me that Mrs. White had said we should not study the incarnation! When I asked him for a reference he could not give one but said that he was sure it was so. 2 By this time I am beginning to understand why our people are in such a sad state. Many of our ministers either believe the New Theology or do not know what they believe about the nature of Christ and other important doctrinal issues.
April 15, 1987 - Elder Broeckel sends a letter to the members of the Indian Creek Church. In his letter he commends Elder Clough for his efforts to unify the Indian Creek Church. He is also critical of Elder Grotheer and while stating correctly that Elder Grotheer is not a member of of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, he fails to mention that he was disfellowshipped for similar issues that I was facing. With his letter is a questionnaire asking whether those from the Smyrna group wish to be organized into a company recognized by the conference, or whether they "do not wish to be part of the Mountain View Conference of Seventh-day Adventists."
April 28, 1987 - Elder Broeckel visits us in our trailer. Elder Broeckel seemed to be lovey-dovey in some ways, quite critical in other ways. He accused me of using my influence to lead others astray, especially the "ignorant, backward people in Southern West Virginia." During this part of our conversation I became upset. I didn't believe that the people of southern West Virginia fit the stereotype that they had just been labled, especially the group from Smyrna. They are smart enough to know the difference between true Bible teaching and New Theology, and that makes them a lot more intelligent than many other Seventh-day Adventists!
The subject of our trailer still being parked on the church lot was also a topic of discussion. We had offered to sell it to the conference but they said that they did not have the extra money to purchase it. We had also been trying to sell it by advertising on the radio, in the newspapers, etc. Elder
reply to Elder Broeckells questionnaire as a group. (Please see exhibit B.)
Exhibit BBroeckel made it clear that we should move as soon as possible. We made it clear that we wanted to move out just as bad as the conference and the local church members wanted us out. However, we had found nobody to purchase our mobile home and because of the nature of the land, the cost of moving it and relocating was out of our budget. We reminded Elder Broeckel that we had two more years on our lease agreement with the church. To this Elder Broeckel stated that the lease probably was not valid because the church lot was owned by the "corporation" (conference) and that the local church really didn't have the right to make the lease to start with.
In an effort to help Elder Broeckel to understand the lack of insight our pastors have on the Scriptures and current issues I referred to my study with Elder Young (see notes on Jan. 5). I told Elder Broeckel that I wanted to ask him a question. Stating he feared that I was trying to trap him, I assured Elder Broeckel my question was sincere and that it was for the purpose of helping him see that not all the pastors were studying the Bible. After consenting to be questioned, I asked Elder Broeckel what the open door in Revelation 3 represented. To my surprise and shock, he didn't know either. I again requed to meet with the Conference Committee to express what we feel the issues are.
May 2, 1987 - Those of the Smyrna company reply to Elder Broeckel's questionnaire as a group. (Please see exhibit B.)
[LETTER} SMYRNA GOSPEL
May 2, 1987
Elder Herbert H. Broeckel
Dear Elder Broeckel:
Greetings with John 8:31, 32. On behalf
XXXXX me thank you for the personal
XXXXX Indian Creek area in the past and for
XXXXX After counsel with Smyrna Gospel Ministries, we
XXXXX your letter dated April 15, 1987. Instead of
XXXXX let me comment concerning the questionnaire that was
XXXXX members of the Indian Creek Church. I believe that you have completely missed out on the necessity of Smyrna Gospel Ministries. The issue is not with Elder Clough or the local Indian Creek Church concerning basic fundamental docrtines that our Church had believed for over 100 years.
Neither of your proposals meets with our acceptance. We are Seventh-day Adventist people who love the truth as it is in Jesus. God has led us by His Spirit to exert our liberty in Christ Jesus. This being the case, we feel God can lead out in this program just as it is.
We have been called "critical", "hybrid Israelites", "apostates", and even "heathens" by Seventh-day Adventist Church members in southern West Virginia. However, noneof these, nor others have told us what we were doing or believing that was so heretical. We of Symrna Gospel Ministries are dedicated to the truth. (Please See John 14:6; 3 John 4; Testimonies To Ministers page 65.)
I would at this time like to make a formtl request to present to you and the Conference committee at your convenience what the issues are based on the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. If we are incorrect in our understanding of doctrines, then we desire to know where we are in error. However, if what we are stating is truth, then the issues are of the greatest importance and deserve to be heard.
We of Smyrna Gospel Ministries are Seventh-day Adventist people who love the truth and desire to teach and preach truth, pure ind unadulterated. William Grotheer whom you mentioned, does not hold SDA membership because he has been disfellowshipped by the "corporation". Huwever, one who believes the teachings of the Bible (of which Elder Grotheer does) is closer to a true Seventh-day Adventist than one who denies the final atonement, yet maintains membership in the organization.
Looking for your reply,
* I did start a study with one of the conference pastors one evening after he preached at the Indian Creek Church. About half way through the study he __ to see the conclusion that the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy taught and he shut his Bible and would study no more.__
p 4 -- June 1, 1987 - An agreement is made on the purchase of our mobile home. To be able to sell the trailer we take a $2,000.00 out of hand cash loss. The money is provided from the sale of some farm equipment that belonged to my father that I had hoped to keep.
June 10, 1987 - We receive Elder Broeckel's letter of June 8. The first part is a record of recent Conference Committee action concerning myself. (Please see exhibit C for that portion of the letter.)
-- MOUNTAIN VIEW
CONFERENCE OF SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS
Mr. Allen Stump
Please convey to those who signed the May 2 letter of request to me and the Conference Committee the following actions of the Conference Committee on June 1, 1987:
Allen, I convey these actions of our Conference Committee to you in full confidence that we have dealt with you and other members who attend your group, in Christian love, sufficient time for healing to take place, and through the ministry of Earl Clough offered every opportunity to keep the church body in Indian Creek in unity and harmony.
It is still my earnest prayer and desire that you respond to my appeal in my last visit with you and Charmaine in your home, that you use every effort to bring the group that meets with you back into full membership and attendance and support of the worldwide Adventist Church. Further, Allen, I have met with the Indian Creek Church concerning the future pastoral coverage of their church. I had that meeting last Friday evening, June 5. We shared, with much prayer, the action of the Conference Committee contained in this letter. The memebers of the church conveyed to me that they will proceed with much ...
1400 LIBERTY STREET - PARKERSBURG. WEST VIRGINIA 26101(304) 422-4581
June 12, 1987 - I reply to Elder Broeckel's letter by phone call in the the form of reading him a letter that I had written. That letter was then mailed to him for his records. (Please see exhibit D for an edited portion of that letter.)
Exhibit D --
Elder Herbert H. Broeckel
Dear Elder Broeckel:
Thank you for your letter dated June 8, 1987. Please let me make the following comments concerning the actions voted at the June 1 Conference Committee meeting t hat were listed in your letter.
I am ashamed that the Committee will not meet with me. The idea that truth must come from the higher level is most papal in form. The mention of Earl Clough being your official repesentative will have to wait for later comment as Christian principle will not allow me to do so till I have first discussed the matter with him.
I did not indicate to Earl Clough, or anyone that I would be moving my mobile home from the church property within the month. I did tell Brother Clough that I had a party interested in buying my trailer, but that our deal fell through. I also confered to him that it truly was my desire to be gone within a month if something could be worked out. At that time (the time of my visit with Brother Clough) nothing was settled. To be able to be out by June 30, 1987 we have made a deal that will cost Charmaine and I $2000. This may not seem like such a sacrifice to a full-time conference pastor on a fulltime "budget" or ot a conference staff worker. However, to a teacher on the lowest pay scale, in the lowest paying state in the Union, it is quite a sacrifice. May I assure you though that the Lord Jesus Chrrist has already blessed us in ways to help make up for this loss and I am not talking about tithe money received from Smyrna Gospel Ministries.
Concerning your third action regarding my church membership: If the Conference Committee wants this done, why ask the local church to do the dirty work? If the church has learned a lesson from what has happened in Hungary, then there will be no need to have the local church involved. It has been the practice of countries that practice democracy as well as men of Christian principle that a man is corisidcred innocent until tried and proved guilty. The Committee has voted me guilty without even a trial and has asked the local church to perform the execution of their desire. How ironic that your first action against me does not allow me a voice and your third action does not even consider giving the accused a voice. Even the papacy gave Luther a trial before he was to be excommunicated, and that by leaders on a higher level of the papal hierarchy than the Conference Committee is on the S.D.A. hitrarchical level.
Elder Herbert H. Broeckel
Please excuse me for not saying these things face to face to you as I would have desired. I am just too pressed for time to make a trip to Parkersburg now due to my packing and relocating. That is why I am now reading you this letter over the telephone instead of just letting the mail service do it for me.
Thank you for your time and I will be praying for you and the Committee. May the God of Exodus 34:6, 7 truly have mercy on you. Time and the courts of heaven will prove that this action was not taken against a sheep-stealer, but rather one of the least of the brethern of Christ which means that it was in fact done to the Lord Himself. ( See Matthew 25:45.)
May I assure you that I write with much Christian love and a sincere desire to see a true heart-felt repentance among God's people. One that comes from the heart, and not a forced repentance.
Yours in the stand for truth and truth alone,
June 27, 1987 - The first Sabbath services are held in the Smyrna Seventh-day Sabbath Chapel, debt free from start to finish.
July 15, 1987 - I receive a letter from Elder Broeckel stating that the Indian Creek Church has "taken action" on my membership. This is the first notice that I have been disfellowshipped. I had not been given notice as the church manual requires and Elder Broeckel understanding this states: the Church manual does call for you to have an opportunity to appear in your own defense ...
Therefore, as president of Mountain View Conference, I am recommending the following: That a hearing be granted to you if you choose to have one, and that I be chairman of the meeting in the absence of a minister assigned by the Conference Committee to the Indian Creek Church. [The conference moved Elder Clough earlier in the spring.] Further, that the discussion be limited to the matter in question the establishment and operation of an independent ministry, operating in competition with the local Seventh-day Adventist Church.
A debate on theology, doctrine, etc., would not be appropriate and in fact, would be out of place, because you are not being questioned about those matters. Only the question of organizing another ministry is xxx (emphasis supplied.)
local church elder
Friday evening, August 14, 1987 - My trial is to start at 6.00 p.m. After a short devotional by the conference treasurer, the president takes the next hour discussing the situation and reading portions from the Working Policy, North American Division, 1986-1987 edition. I am informed by the conference president that the prior vote on my membership will stand even though he admits that I was disfellowshipped illegally. He states that the reason for meeting is to give me a chance to speak for myself. I tell
p 5 -- Elder Broeckel that is like sentencing a man to death without him being present, and then to be fair give the man a chance to speak in his behalf, but still go ahead and execute the man anyway.
Elder Broeckel states
very clearly that in no way am I up for a moral charge of any kind. The
charges are resisting church authority, and supporting and organizing
a ministry that is considered to be "subversive to the denomination."
Elder Broeckel, instead of showing impartiality as a chairman should,
became in effect the prosecuting attorney. It must be sadly noted that
most of the rest of the discussion did not involve the real issues - New
Theology, the Omega, and our
Further comment on
the kangaroo court of that night would be useless with the exception of
the last half hour. As the time of the Sabbath was drawing near and everybody
started watching the clock so as to be finished before Sabbath a non-Adventist
couple entered the church. The Indian Creek Church had been having some
Friday evening meetings and the Bible worker had invited
Postlude -- What is to be learned from this? Is it just the attempt of a bitter ex-pastor to give his side of the story, to have his own trial in which he can be judge and jury and thereby acquit himself, or can someone really be helped by understanding this experience?
Many in the Adventist community believe that as long as one is treated nicely by the conference and their pastors, that everything is okay. What this experience does show is that even though the conference does a lot of sweet-talking and shows what appears to be patience and long-suffering with the individual church member, the end result is still the same if you do not come around to their way of thinking. The bottom line is: say what you want, teach what you want, do what you want, except for two areas: finance and organization. To the church, New Theology is fine. Many of our pastors preach it, even conference presidents endorse it; what one believes is not so important since we now have an open-end theology. The pastor's duty is to keep the money coming in and keep the membership content with the structure. The remedy for a sick church is to preach love and unity, unity that is based upon organization instead of truth. Well did Jesus speak of such: "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."
There is another
lesson. If the church member just desires to retain his membership within
the church, remaining silent and not speaking out on the issues will assure
his continued membership. If he wants to go f urther, and be in "good
and regular standing" with the Brethren, then he must be sure to
return all his tithe (or at least all the conference knows about) to the
conference. Today there is
a lot of preaching done on Ezekiel 8 and 9 in reference to abominations
in the chruch mixed with agitation on the question of separation. Most
fail to read the whole vision which extends to the 11th chapter. In verse
15 we read, "Son of man, thy brethren, even thy brethren, the men
of thy kindred, and all the house of Israel wholly, are they unto whom
the inhabitants of Jerusalem have
1 -- This
study originally compiled by
2 -- Please see 7BC:904 and Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 244.
3 -- There is a certain amount of irony to the rest of this particular story. This last fall I requested from this elder a copy of the minutes from that portion of the business meeting in which I was disfellowshipped. How could it be proved that I was disfellowshipped without them? To this day, no copy has been provided. Perhaps the elder has made good on the promise that they would not be recorded!
"When men who profess to serve God ignore His parental character and depart from honor and righteousness in dealing with their fellowmen, Satan exults, for he has inspired them with his attributes. They are following in the track of Romanism." (TM p. 362)
p 6 -- EDITORIAL
More Dangerous than Ford? -- The January 1988 issue of the Sabbath Sentinel contains at least two articles that should be of interest to Seventh-day Adventists. The first is "An Interview with Dr. Desmond Ford." The second is an article written by Dr. Ford entitled, "God's Bulwark Against Apostasy." It will be the first article that concerns this editoral. All emphasis is supplied unless noted.
While reading through the interview with Dr. Ford I came across some very interesting statements. When asked by editor Richard Wiedenheft about his "current relationship with the Seventh-day Adventist General Conference," Dr. Ford replied: I have nothing but a friendly spirit towards the brethren in the General Conference, and with many of them that would be reciprocal. I have very good friends in the General Conference, but we don't have any official relationship. My name is still on the roll of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Many think it should not be there, others are sure it ought to be there. But my belief is that the church invisible is the true church of God. The denominations are only a part of it. (p. 5)
Fact number 1: Desmond Ford is still a member with good standing in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Fact number 2: Dr. Ford does not see any uniqueness to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This is further commented on by Dr. Ford: The traditional Adventist believes that he or she is a member of the remnant church, the sole object of God's supreme regard. Other Adventists are coming to understand that the true church of God is a church invisible, composed of all the regenerate whatever their name or sign. (p.7)
On October 22, 1979 Dr. Ford, then a guest lecturer at Pacific Union College, gave an "address protesting the doctrine of The Investigative Judgement as being extra xxx Dr. Ford ' s comments, were in part:xxx church agreed with me; almostxxx agreed in essence with my protest xxx doctrine.It ceased to be taught at Andrews; it ceased to be taught at many places. Most of the scholars had given it up years ago. (p.4)
Fact number 3: Dr. Ford's theology had a great impact upon the theologians in the church in 1979 and the influence of that theology is still being strongly felt. Dr. Ford's position that the teaching of the investigative judgement as extra-Biblical has become the philosophy of many theologians and church leaders today. Some are asking, is the doctrine of the sanctuary Biblical? In response, how easy it is to quote: "The Scripture which above all others had been both the foundation and central pillar of the Advent faith, was the declaration, 'Unto two thousand and three three hundred days: then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.'" (Great Controversy, p. 467) Without question, the quotation from the Spirit of Prophecy is true. Using the Spirit of Propohecy to prove this fact about the central pillar of our faith only plays into Dr. Ford claimed that the doctrine was "extra-Biblical." Unfortunately, most Adventists understanding of the sanctuary is not based in the Bible - but in the Writings. While a study of the Writings is to be commended, and especailly those that deal with the sanctuary, the believer's faith must be based upon the Scriptures and the Scriptures alone. Try to give a "Bible" study on the Atonement with a non-Adventist using Ellen G. White's writings and see what kind of a reaction you get.
Concerning the ministry founded by Dr. Ford, Good News Unlimited, he states: We now have access to millions if they choose to tune in to our programs; probably only thousands do. We're heard in northern California, in southern California, in different places across America on radio, in Canada, New Zealand, and parts of Australia. Our magazine, Good News Unlimited, goes to about 4200 people in 20 countries. Australia sends out another one or two thousand, with some things Australianized. (pp. 5, 6)
Fact number 4: Dr. Ford has a ministry with far reaching possibilities. No mention is made whether the message of Good News Unlimited contains any of the unique third angel's message outside of the Sabbath. However, the article mentions that emphasis is placed upon the preaching of the cross and salvation.
If a ministry is to work in cooperation with the church than it should be teaching the unique doctrines that have been given to us as a sacred trust. However, with the church voting the Statement of Belief at the 1980 Dallas General Conference Session, we have put ourselves in a position with which Dr. Ford has little problem agreei ng. During the Glacier View Conference the denomination decided to maintain a strong line based upon the recently voted statement from Dallas. The editor of the Ministry magazine stated that the consensus paper, "'Christ in the Heavenly Sanctuary,' adopted at the Glacier View meeting, is not the official view of the church other than that portion taken from our Fundamental Beliefs." As one studies the conscensus paper he finds that there is no great deviaiton between it and the voted statement from Dallas. Elder Spangler writing in Ministry related some of Dr. Ford's thoughts concerning the Dallas Statement and the consensus paper formulated at Glacier View. He wrote: Dr. Ford replied, in effect, that the statement of "Fundamental Beliefs" voted by the church at Dallas showed a very definite shift away from Ellen White's interpretation in the area of the sanctuary. He declaired that the statement on the sanctuary voted at Dallas says nothing about two apartments in the heavenly sanctuary. He professed to be able to feel very comfortable preaching under the umberella of the consensus paper voted at Glacier View. In his opinion that paper showed a definite shift away from Ellen White's interpretations of the sanctuary. He said that the church had moved considerably from its past position toward his direction, and that in a few years the church will eventually see things as he does ...
Dr. Ford was then asked whether his doctrinal positions were more than tentative, to which he responded that the brethren had made tremendous progress in the past
p 7 -- few days and that the church's position was closer to his than it had ever been before. He expressed the thought that if we have come this far in four days, imagine how far the church will go four years in changing its position. (Ministry, October 1980, p 9)
As I collected my thoughts concerning Dr. Ford I wondered why he had not been disfellowshipped? After all, he had caused quite a cntroversy in the world wide church. He had attempted to pull down the central pillar of our faith. He has organized a ministry, and he now fails to see any uniqueness to the remnant message. But as I thought, the pieces of the puzzle began to fit together.
Dr. Ford's position
on the sanctuary is fast becoming the standard among many Adventists.
So we come to the title of the editorial , "More Dangerous than Ford?" I hardly conceive of myself being more dangerous to the Seventh-day Adventist organization than Dr. Ford. Then why did I get the boot and not Ford? Is it because the conference looks upon Smyrna Gospel Ministries as more dangerous than Good News Unlimited? We can hardly claim the outreach they have. Is it because the conference thought that I have more influence than Dr. Ford? Hardly! Then what is the answer? Is it the association that I have had with Elder Grotheer? Possibly, but probably not. Elder Grotheer's daughter and her husband work here and help with the program of the foundation and have from the start and their names have never been deleted from any church books. Could the answer be the desire of a conference
to look good to
In commenting upon the persecution of the early Christians by the Jews, A. T. Jones wrote: For upon this whole story of the church of Israel against the apostles, there stands out with transcen- dent meaning a truth that is worthy of the most solemn consideration by every Christian: this truth is,-
That which until that time had been the true church, called and preserved by the Lord, then and there ceased to be the true church at all; and that which this church despised, and forbade, and persecuted, and cast out, became itself the true church. And so it is forever. John 9:34-38. (Individuality in Religion, pp. 66, 67 - Emphasis in original.)
The True Church -- With each member of the family having their own private Bible study, and family worship together each morning, what do you do in the evening? Noting that chapter four of Great Controversy is based in part on the History of Protestantism, book 16, by Wylie, we decided to read and discuss the reprint under the title - History of the Waldenses.
In the very first chapter, we found some key points that are very apropos to the present times, and gives a basis for the decisions of the associate editor as noted in his own "exodus" experience. Wylie cites the fact of the Waldensians direct descent from the apostolic church free from any connection with Rome. He noted this apostolic connection based in doctrine, "if doctrine be the life of the churches." (p. 9)
This is a very present day issue. Is "doctrine" the life of the church, or can we believe what we want to believe, the theology of the church being "open-ended"? This latter concept is being promoted during this 1888 Centennial Year. Our reaction to this ecumenical concept should be the same as the Waldensian when confronted with union with Rome. Wylie stated: When their coreligionists on the plains entered within the pale of the Roman jurisdiction, they retired within the mountains, and spurning alike the tyrannical yoke and the corrupt tenents of the Church of the Seven Hills, they preserved in its purity and simplicity the faith their forefathers had handed down to them. (Ibid.)
We read history, and so long as it is past history, we applaud noble decisions, but when similar history becomes "now" time, we refuse to apply the experience.
Wylie has drawn the conclusion as to the status before God of the two groups at the time of their decision. He wrote: Rome manifestly was the schismatic; she it was ihat had abandoned what was once the common faith of Christendom leaving by that step to all who remained on the old ground the indsputably valid title of the true church. (Ibid.)
Paraphrasing Wylie's conclusion for the "now" time, it would read: The Seventh-day Adventist Church is manifestly the schismatic; she it is who has abandoned what was the common faith of Adventism, leaving by that step to all who remained on the old ground the indisputably valid title of the true church. --- (1988 ) ---End---- TOP
1988 Special 2-- XXI -- Vol II Number 2 -- The Moment of Truth for the Laity -- Editorial -- To know what one believes and why one believes what he believes, one must know what the Bible states on a given doctrine. To be a Seventh-day Adventist in the truest sense of the name, one must adhere to teachings and have a life-style in harmony with the Bible. To anyone who has been a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church for the past three decades or longer, it is evident that there have been some major changes in the beliefs and practices of the church body. The question is simply - Have these changes been for the good of the Church and its members, or do these changes constitute apostasy from the truth both in belief and practice?
One way to determine apostasy from truth in doctrinal beliefs is to carefully compare various statements of belief either issued by the Church through official publications, or voted by the Church in its general sessions. Just a casual comparison between the 27 Statements voted at Dallas, Texas, in 1980, and the previous 1931 Statement reveals change. The 1931 Statement contained 22 articles rather than 27.
Change, if truly progressive, is not wrong in and of itself. The Bible declares the path of the just to be "as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." (Prov. 4:18) For example, the 1980 Dallas Statement has an article on "Marriage and the Family." In the light of the breakdown of the home in this late 20th Century with its impact being felt within the Church, such a statement is needful. The anly question in considering this statement, as well as the other "new" statements, is - Is it in harmony with the Bible?
Ellen G. White wrote - "The Lord has made His people the repository of sacred truth. Upon every individual who has had the light of present truth devolves the duty of developing that truth on a higher scale than it has hitherto been done." (M.V.H., March 30, 1897) A change, therefore, which would correct a faulty position would not make a statement, apostate; neither would a statement which advances beyond a previous position in the formulation of truth, yet in harmony with it, be an evidence of apostasy. The question would be - Does the new statement develop "that truth" committed in trust, or does it divorce itself from "that truth"? What guidelines, therefore, can be used in the study of the 27 Fundamental Statements Belief in the Sabbath School lessons as they will be formulated?
In commenting on 2 John 9 - "He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son - one scholar has well commented: John does not comdem theological prgress; he defines its limits: "abide in the teaching of the Christ." (1) We must never break with the past; the new truth is always an outgrowth of the old [truth]. A theology which is simply new is false (cf. Matt. xiii. 52) (2) We must maintain "the teaching of the Christ." (The Expositor's Greek Testament, Vol. 5, p. 203)
There is nothing wrong in and of itself to formulate a "new" statement of beliefs. To place a period at any point in our theological development would be to repeat the history of the churches of the Reformation. This is aptly stated by John Robinson in his farewell to the Pilgrims as they readied to embark from Holland for the New World. He charged them: I cannot sufficiently bewail the condition of the reformed churches, who have come to a period in religion, and will go at present no farther than the instruments of their reformation. Luther and Calvin were great and shining lights in their times, yet they penetrated not into the whole counsel of God. I beseech you, remember it - 'tis an article of your church covenant - that you be ready to receive whatever truth shall be made known to you from the written Word of God. (Cited in Bancroft's History of the United States, Vol. 1, p. 205; 1888 edition)
How then should each statement of the 27 Fundamental Beliefs be evaluated? Key questions need to be asked: 1) Has the statement broken with past truth? 2) Is any part of the statement inconsistent with the Bible, and contradictory to "the repository of sacred truth" committed to God's people? If either of these two questions cannot be answered concerning any part of any statement of belief with a resounding - "NO!" that statement is apostate. It would take only one such finding to render the whole of the 27 Fundamental Statements of Belief a "Tree of the Knowledge of Truth and Error."
You ask, Why draw the line so close? Read carefully this counsel - "Many, many are very dull of comprehension in regard to their obligation to preserve the truth in its purity, uncontaminated by one vestige of error." (FCE, p. 501)
It will be our objective as editors to prepare at least a page on each of the 27 Fundamental Statements of Belief giving for comparison, if a comparable statement exists in a previous formulation, that statement. We will also point out if there is a break with past truth, and wherein the 1980 Statement is inconsistent with the Bible. This will give those who wish, the opportunity to study with discernment each of the Sabbath School lessons for the last two quarters of 1988.
Note: Those interested in these special comments on each of the 27 Fundamental Statements of Belief, see Key Doctrines Comparison.
p 2 -- The Moment of Truth for the Laity -- In 1979, the Annual Council of the hierarchy of the Seventh-day Adventist Church voted to recommend to the General Conference in session a new Statement of Beliefs. While the identical articles as recommended by the Council were not presented to the delegates, the 1980 Session at Dallas, Texas, did vote a new statement of beliefs. This has become known as the 27 Fundamental Statements of Belief. In the events, and decisions which led to this changed outline of beliefs held by Seventh-day Adventists, the laity of the Church had little if any say. It was expected of them to keep the machinery or organization oiled and operating with their tithes and offerings, and let the hierarchy do their thinking as to what to believe. Now the moment of truth has arrived for the individual member of the Church. Opportunity through the Sabbath School lessons will be given for each to decide whether they concur in that which has been done and formulated over the past three decades, especially the capstone of the 27 Fundamental Statements of Belief as voted at Dallas.
In the April, 1988, Ministry, Elder Neal C. Wilson revealed the plan for the Sabbath School lessons of the last two quarters of 1988. He wrote: The framework is already in place for intense study of the fundamental doctrines that make us a church. The Sabbath School lessons for the last two quarters of this year focus on our 27 fundamental beliefs. Seventh-day Adventist Believe..., the 325-page doctrinal book on which we have been working for two years, will be on the press by May 1. The manuscript for this book has been read and critiqued by more than 200 Adventist scholars and church leaders around the world. Each of the 27 chapters takes an in-depth look at one of our beliefs. And yet the book is written in such a way that every member can understand and grasp the importance of these great truths that bind us together. (p. 24)
While the book may be written in a style that the average layman can grasp what is being stated, if the laity are unable to make a comparison with what the previous position of the Church was on any given doctrine, they will be handicapped. They need to decide if indeed the 27 Statements are fundamental truths, or apostate formulations. As the Lord said through Hosea of old - "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (4:6). It is not that the laity have not had opportunity to obtiain knowledge. The facts of what has taken place over the past three decades have been available to all who wished to know. But "false apostles" on the periphery of Adventism, while plucking leaves from the "pretentious" fig tree (DA 581), have, to lure the unsuspecting laity, given a show of discernment of the apostasy in the Church. Nevertheless, these agents of Satan (II Cor. 11:13-15) have urged the laity to keep in line with the 27 Statements of Belief so as to be accepted. Thus this segment of concerned laity have been robbed by these "false apostles" of the facts by which to evaluate correctly the up-coming lessons and new publication.
A vast segment of the laity who will study these lessons have been brought into the Church under men who have taught, and who were themselves taught, the apostate teachings arising from the compromises made with the Evangelicals thirty years ago. But with this plan for the Sabbath School lessons for the final two quarters of 1988, none will be able to say before God that he nor she did not have an opportunity to evaluate that which was done at Dallas in 1980, and to either concur or dissent. Once this decision is made, the destiny of each life is determined by his own evaluation.
When this decision is made - and every member of the Church will have that opportunity through the Sabbath School lessons - then the prophecy given years ago can be fufilled and God stand justified. We are told in comments on Ezekiel 9: "The church - the Lord's sanctuary (is) the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. (5T:211)
And we are told why: The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light, and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust. (Ibid.)
But the final sentence of this prophecy "Men, maidens, and little children, all perish together" - could not be fulf'illed until these would have an opportunity to make a decision in regard to the betrayal of the "ancient men." This opportunity will be given during the last six months of 1988 in the setting of the Sabbath School. How momentous this year is to be!
The fearful import of the final six months of this year cannot be fully perceived unless we understand clearly the lessons of the final years of the Jewish Church as a corporate entity before God, and the time of decision granted by God to the individual members of that Church. Further the close parallel between recent Jewish history, and Seventh-day Adventist history tells us to borrow the words of Ezekiel - "It is coming, the hour has come, the hour is striking, and striking at you, the hour and the end!" (Eze. 7:6-7 Moffatt)
We shall pursue these points in the next two articles.
is sown for the righteous,
p 3 -- The Close of Probation for the Jewish Church -- God in His foreknowledge had determined the time to be allotted to the Jewish Church and its Holy City. To Daniel was revealed that "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city." (9:24) Yet in the close of the probation of the Jewish Church, the time varied for the different segments of that Church.
A careful study of the book of Acts reveals the hierarchy of the Jewish Church passed the point of no return prior to the time that probation closed for the Church as a corporate body. Observe closely, with your Bibles open - the following points:
1) On the Day of Pentecost (31 A.D.), Peter preached to "devout" Jews (2:5), and called them to repentance (2:38). The hierarchy were busy with the festivities of that day in the Temple. 2) At an unspecified time after Pentecost, but prior to 34 A.D., Peter again called the laity who had gathered in the Temple courts at the hour of prayer, to "repent". (3:1; 19) 3) While speaking to the people, Peter and John were arrested by the temple guard, and on the following day were arraigned before Annas, Caiaphas, and other of the kindred of the high priest. (4:6-7) Peter boldly charged these top members of the Jewish Church with the crucifixion of Jesus (4:10); and proclaimed Him to be the sole source of salvation (4:12). But at no point did Peter call upon them to repent. The leadership of the Jewish Church had passed their day of probation prior to the time allotted to the Jewish nation as a corporate body.
In 34 A.D., Stephen standing before the supreme "council" of the Jewish Church arraigned them in judgment before God as the "betrayers and murderers" of "the Just One." (6:15; 7:52) There was no call to repentance; for the "seventy weeks" were completed. For the Jewish Church as a corporate body, probation had closed. Yet for another 36 years, the forms and ceremonies of the Jewish religion continued to be practiced before the "curtains" fell on the city of Jerusalem. Why that extended time?
In-the decision of
the Jewish hierarchy to kill Jesus, the laity of the Jewish Church were
not involved, although as a part of "the House of Israel," they
shared accountability. (2:6) When Stephen was stoned, the decision was
made by the Jewish "council". Again, the laity were not involved;
but as a part of the corporate body, shared in the guilt. God, being a
God of justice and
In the fate of this once "holy city" we can see "a symbol of the world hardened in unbelief and rebellion, and hastening on, to meet the retributive judgments of God." (GC, p. 22) But also in the history of this city, we see fulfilled events which Jesus connected with "the scenes which are to take place in the history of this world just prior to the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." (Counsels to Writers, pp. 23-24) But in these final events, it is not the probation of the Jewish Church which is involved, it is the probation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, "modern spiritual Israel" to whom sacred trusts have been committed as was to the ancient Jewish Church.
To this we must direct our attention.
The Jewish people cherished the idea that they were the favorites of heaven, and that they were always to be exalted as the church of God. They were the children of Abraham, they declared, and so firm did the foundation of their prosperity seem to them that they were the favorites of heaven, and that they were always to be exalted as the church of God. They were the children of Abraham, they declared, and so firm did the foundation of their prosperity seem to them that they defied earth and heaven to dispossess them of their rights. But by lives of unfaithfulness they were preparing for the condemnation of heaven and for separation from God. (COL:294)
p 4 -- A Historical Parallel -- The Seventh-day Adventist Church cannot divorce itself from the fate of the nations. To the Church was committed the trust of giving "the everlasting gospel ... to every nation." (Rev. 14:6) In a special sense, to the Seventh-day Adventist Church was "entrusted the last warning for a perishing world." (9T:19) Following the Great Disappointment in 1844, as the minds of a small group of the disappointed ones were directed to the High Priestly ministry of Jesus, they perceived as "the closing work of the church" the giving "to the world the warning of the third angel of Revelation 14." (SP, IV, 272)
Jesus linked the fate and probation of the nations with events which were to take place in the history of Jerusalem. He plainly foretold the destruction of the city, and gave the sign by which His followers would know the time was imminent. In the same prophecy, Jesus, also set the boundary of the probation of the nations as corporate entities. Jesus declared that Jerusalem - the city, not the temple - was to be trodden underfoot by the nations "until the times of the nations be fulfilled." (Luke 21:24) [In the Greek, there is one word for "nations" and "Gentiles."] Inasmuch as the fate of the Church is linked to the fate of the nations because the trust committed to the Church involved a final warning to the nations, this prophecy of Jesus assumes a major role in understanding the moment of truth that will come to the laity this year.
Further, the fate of the Jewish Church and the fate of the Seventh-day Adventist Church was linked in a letter sent to Elders George I. Butler, and S. N. Haskell in 1886. That letter read: I think of His [Jesus'] great sorrow as He wept over Jerusalem, exclaiming, "0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under he wings, and ye would not!" [Luke 13:34] God forbid that these words shall apply to those who have great light and blessings. In the rejection of Jerusalem it was because great privileges were abused which brought the denunciation upon all who lightly regarded the great opportunities and precious light that were entrusted to their keeping. Privileges do not commend us to God, but they commend God to us. No people are saved because they have great light and special advantages, for these high and heavenly favors only increase their responsibility. ...
When Jerusaliam was divorced from God it was because of her sins. ... The depths of our ruin is measured by the exalted light to which God has raised us in His great goodness and unspeakable mercy. Oh, what privileges are granted to us as a people! And if God spared not His people that He loved because they refused to walk in the light, how can He spare the people whom He has blessed with the light of heaven in having opened to them the most exalted truth ever entrusted to mortal man to give to the world? (Letter 8-55-1886)
The parallel between the history of Jerusalem in the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jesus in Luke 21:24, and the history of the Church in the rejection of the truth entrusted to her is so interrelated that it dare not be overlooked. This parallel and the message of the book of Acts tells us where we are in the stream of time as God's professed people today.
On June 21, 1948, Israel again became a nation. This did not fulfill a prophecy; coming events were merely casting their shadows before. This event did, however, force the Seventh-day Adventist Church to review its prophetic interpretation concerning Jerusalem. In 1944, the Pacific Press published a book - Palestine in Prophecy which stated that "those who are holding the hope of national restoration of the Jews are following a theological will-o'-the-wisp." (p. 95) In 1947, the same Press published another book --The Jews and Palestine - with the same message. (p. 61) Yet within a year, what we said could not and would not be, did occur. We then backed up to the position that Edson White had taken in his book - The Coming King - first published in 1898 which stated: We also- read that "Jerusalem shall be todden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Luke 21:24. Jerusalem has never again come into the possession of the Jews, and will not until "the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." This will be when the work of the gospel is finished. (p. 98)
We publically proclaimed this position at the 1952 Bible Conference. Elder Arthur S. Maxwell in his presentation noted Luke 21:24 as one of the yet unfulfilled prophecies in 1952, stating that "Jerusalem is to remain trodden down of the Gentiles till the probationary time of all Gentiles has run out." (Our Firm Foundation, II, p. 231) But today, Jerusalem is under Jewish control, and has become the capital of the nation. We are again confronted with an interpretation of the prophecy which is not to our liking because our fate is tied to the fate of nations because of the message which was committed to our trust. God is trying to say something, and we will not listen.
In 1950, God sent to the Church two "messengers" even as He did in 1888. Elders R. J. Wieland and D. K. Short called for a denominational repentance, the only solution to the problem and need of the Church as it was faced with the fact of the soon fulfillment of Luke 21:24, resulting from the establishment of the Jewish State in 1948. What was the reaction to this call from God via His "messengers"? The first report in 1951 rejected the manuscript - 1888 Re-Examined as too "critical." Another evaluation in 1958 also rejected it.
Between 1950 and
1958 a series of events occurred within the Church. The SDA-Evangelical
conferences were held and the resultant book - Questions on Doctrine
- denied the sacred trust committed to the Church. Then in 1967 (June
5-10) came the Six-Day War, and old Jerusalem was again in Jewish hands.
This was the beginning of the of final period of the times of the nations
(Gentiles). Within days a series of events began:
p 5 -- of
the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches met in
Bristol, England. For the first time a representative of the Seventh-day
Adventist Church - Dr. Earle Hilgert then of Andrews University - sat
in session as a member so voted by the Central Committee of the WCC as
recommended by the General. Conference Comittee.
Prior to 1967, another series of events began to unfold which reached fruition in 1980. At the final session of Vatican II, an observer of the SDA Church and a member of the WCC Secretariat made arrangements for private dialogue. The first unofficial meeting took place in 1965. (So Much in Common, p. 98) Also in 1965, Dr. Bernard Seton wrote from Switzerland to the General Conference of the need for a revised Statement of Beliefs. This beginning, though at first rejected by the General Conference, ultimately led to the 27 Fundamental Statements of Belief voted at Dallas on April 25, 1980. (This Statement contains quotes from the WCC Constitution necessary for membership in the World Council.)
In 1967, when Israel took Jerusalem, the capital remained in Tel Aviv. However, on July 30, 1980, the Knesset [Parliament] of Israel made Jerusalem "the capital of Israel" and "the seat" of all government of the State. Thus was completed the fulfillment of Luke 21:24. What does this mean? We are now living in the time which would be parallel with the end of "the times of the Jewish Church" - 34 AD - 70 AD - when the Jewish laity had to make a decision regarding the actions of the Jewish hierarchy.
For the Seventh-day Adventist Church today, all the actions of the leadership of the Church from 1950 onward focus in one document - the 27 Fundamental Statements of Belief. Thus the laity will be able to decide during the final six months of this year in the Sabbath School, what the laity of the Jewish Church had to decide in the 36 years given them after 34 AD. When 1989 dawns, we will stand at the same point of time for us as the inhabitants of Jerusalem stood just prior to 66 AD.
is coming, the hour has come,
The same article to
which we referred on page 1 written by Elder Neal C. Wilson for the Ministry,
now has been printed in the Adventist Review, April 7, 1988, pp.
The Importance of Proper Documentation -- "And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so." (Acts 17:10, 11) Seventh-day Adventists have often quoted these words to others knowing that upon close investigation of the Bible, the truths presented would be seen to be just that - truth. However, we have often failed to follow the example of the Bereans when dealing with truth for these last days.
One might ask, "How have we failed to follow the example of the Bereans that we ourselves have promoted?" There are two areas: 1) Listening to a sermon either in person, or through recorded medium (cassette tape or VCR) and failing to study for ourselves as to the truth of the matter presented. 2) Reading printed materials that come into our possession without taking the time to carefully check all the references given to see "whether those things" be so. While this article will deal with the second area, the principles that are involved will apply equally to the first area as well.
Recently I received a photo-copy of correspondence between a retired pastor in Australia and the president of the South Pacific Division which was printed in the publication: Last Day Messages (March - Apri1, 1988) As the letters were read, it became clear that here was another "battle" between the hierarchy and an awakened minister, though retired, of the church. The first letter written by the division president was in responce to a letter written by the retired pastor to the Northern Star. In this letter, the president stated that there were "at least seven inaccurate statements" in the retired pastor's letter to the Northern Star.
As one reads the reply letter to the president, it becomes clear that here is a historical Seventh-day Adventist who loves the truth entrusted to us and is desirous to defend the truth whatever the cost may be. While the retired worker is to be commended for his desire to stand for the truth, the facts are that in his reply letter to the division president there are inaccurate statements concerning the 27 Fundamental Statements of Belief (FSB), and the World Council of Churches (WCC). Not only were certain statements incorrect, but there were also improper uses of quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy. This article is not written for the purpose of critiquing the letter of this sincere, retired worker; but so that our people might understand that if we are to be taken seriously by the brethren, we must have facts - truth - and not misrepresentations.
An example of the importance could be given. In a court of law, if the testimony of a witness is found to have even one discrepancy, then a shadow is cast upon the integrity of
p 6 -- the witness and the validity of the whole testimony will be challenged by opposing counsel. In other words, the witness to be given for these last days must be wholly in accord with the message - "pure, unadulterated truth." The hierarchy are clearly guilty of treason and we need not misrepresent the true picture to prove it. Misrepresenting the picture through poor documentation only muddies the waters and tends to invalidate the correct portions of our testimony.
Perhaps one of the most unfortunate uses of the testimonies is the failure to consider time and place in the writings. This concept of using time and place was strongly urged by Sister White. She wrote: Regarding the testimmies, nothing is ignored; nothing is cast aside; but time and place must be considered. (Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 57 - Emphasis supplied)
Spirit of Prophecy Misrepresentations -- With this background, we will analyze certain .references given by Pastor G. in his letter to the division president. Pastor G. states that "The evidence against Laodicea is overwhelming, as anyone can observe from reading the message to Laodicea in Rev. 3. I will confirm it from the Spirit of Prophecy." Pastor G. then gives a Spirit of Prophecy quotation without a reference. In the quotation a key phrase of the testimony is deleted, and the writer fails to take time and place into consideration. The quotation will be given below with the reference, date, and the ellipsis supplied in bold type.
What greater deception can come upon human minds than a confidence that they are right when they are all wrong! The message of the True Witness finds the people of God in sad deception, yet honest in that deception. They know not that their condition is deplorable in the sight of God. (3T, pp. 252-253, 1873)
The next quotation is correctly given from 5T, p. 217 - "The Church has turned back from following Christ her Leader, and is steadily retreating toward Egypt." The time of the writing of the testimony is 1882. Near the close of the letter is the following quotation with the proper references given: The facts concerning the real condition of the professed people of God, speak more loudly than their profession, and make it evident that some power has cut the cable that anchored them to the Eternal Rock, and that they are drifting away to sea, without chart or compass. (R&H, July 24, 1888)
These testimonies give an inspired view of the condition of the church in 1873, 1882, and 1888. The church was "drifting away to sea without chart or compass." So what did God do? "The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones." (TM, p. 91) Our history is clear that that "precious message" began without people in 1888, (See 1893 G.C.B. page 183) To state that the testimony from July 24, 1888 is describing the condition of the people today - I am not denying that there is a parallel - without noting time and place and making the application by principle is improper reasoning and inadequate research. For example, note carefully the following two testimonies:
Men who have not learned
to submit themselves to the control and discipline of God, are not competent
p 6 -- train the youth, to deal with human minds. It is just as much an impossibility for them to do this work as it would be for them to make a world. That these men should stand in a sacred place, to be as the voice of God to the people, as we once believed the General Conference to be, - that is past. (G.C.B., April 3, 1901, p. 25 - Emphasis supplied)
At times, when a small group of men entrusted with the general management of the work have, in the name of the General Conference, sought to carry out unwise plans and to restrict God's work, I have said that I could no longer regard the voice of the General Conference, represented by these few men, as the voice of God. But this is not saying that the decisions of a General Conference composed of an assembly of duly appointed, representative men from all parts of the field should not be respected. God has ordained that the representatives of His church from all parts of the earth, when assembled in a General Conference, shall have authority. (9T, 260-261, May 30, 1909 - Emphasis mine)
Without using the principle of time and place, one would not be able to reconcile these statements. In other words, the dissidents can quote from the 1901 G.C.B and Vol. 5, p. 217, etc., while the hierarchy can quote from the 1909 G.C.B., etc., and each can "prove" their point by failing to take time and place into consideration. While the principles in the testimonies always hold true, item for itern parallels cannot always be drawn between the condition of the church 115 years ago and today. This is not to say that certain parallels do not exist.
Again, for example, even though a testimony may have been written at a certain date, it does not mean that the application of the testimony is for the time of the writing. The context of the statement must be examined. The testimony in Vol. 5, 207-216 "The Seal of God" - written in 1882, specifies the time of application - "Jesus is about to leave the mercy seat of the heavenly sanctuary." (pp. 207, 208) Any Adventist would define that time as just before the close of probation.
These examples should help illustrate., the need for careful research and proper documentation before quoting from the Writings to prove the brethren are in apostasy. I believe that if Ellen G. White were alive today, she would be the first to condemn the improper use of her writings, regardless of the condition of the church.
Factual Inaccuracies Concerning Current Events -- Another area that demands consideration is the misrepresentation of facts concerning current historical events. In his letter, Pastor G. wrote: The changing of the SDA religion by official action of the church in plenery session was signalled when in 1980 the church produced what is known as "The 27 Fundamentals." In it, mostly by equivocation, the faith was, by premeditated deliberation, denied. Because the slumbering members are not aware of it, and will not believe it, these "27 fundamentals" are powerfully used in the church's deception strategy to disguise the fact of the changed religion, denuded of the distinctives which separated God's people from the world, and providing the common denominator with the apostate, Sunday-keeping churches.
p 7 -- Having now based the faith heretically on the triple papal heresies of (1) Original Sin, (2) the False Incarnation (False Christ - in the sinless nature of unfallen Adam), and (3) Christian Perfection (not the "Absolute" Perfection of God) only at the Second Coming (Salvation in Sin), you are now standing on the platform with all false religions, and must agree with the conclusions of "comparative religion" as praticed by the WCC in accepting Buddhists, Hindus, Moslems, & Pagans as equal members of their oranisation. (Emphasis in printed letter)
When Pastor G. wrote that our religion was changed at Dallas in 1980 he was totally correct. However, the accusation that our faith is now based "on the triple heresies of (1) Original Sin, (2) the False Incarnation (False Christ - in the sinless nature of unfallen Adam), and (3) Christian Perfection ... only at the Second Coming, ..." cannot be sustained by the 27 FSB. The facts are: 1) , There is no direct statement on "Original Sin." (Except through possible implication of statement # 7 - "The Nature of Man") 2) There is no statement that Jesus took the sinless nature of unfallen Adam. 3) Statement # 10 - "The Experience of Salvation" although not using the word perfection, it does state: "Through the Spirit we are born again and sanctified; the Spirit renews our minds, writes God's law of love in our hearts, and we are given the power to live a holy life." (In His Steps, 1987 Edition - Emphasis mine)
Now while it is true that there are those in leadership positions that teach the three heresies mentioned above, they are not official doctrines of the church. The bottom line is that the 27 FSB are the standard the church members are to follow and they are told "not [to] raise a private doctrinal concern, no matter how dearly we hold it, to the level of the fundamentals." (William Johnsson, Editorial, Adventist Review, July 2, 1987) Now this does not in any way mean that the 27 FSB are all Biblical. In fact, close study reveals compromise, and/or error in a number of statements. For example, Statements # 9 and # 23 teach a completed atonement outside of the heavenly sanctuary. These statements reflect concepts taught in the book Questions on Doctrine (QOD), especially pages 355, 381, and 390. This should come as no surprise since Adventists still hold that the book QOD teaches official Adventist doctrine. On Feb. 16, 1983, Walter Martin wrote the General Conference asking for an "official statement reaffirming or denying the authority of the Adventist book, Questions on Doctrine ..." (The Kingdom of the Cults, Walter Martin, p.410 - Emphasis supplied) Then vice-president, Richard Lesher, responded to Martin as follows: You ask first if Seventh-day Adventists still stand behind the answers given to your questions in Questions on Doctrine as they did in 1957. The answer is yes. You have noted in your letter that some opposed the answers given then, and, to some extent, the same situation exists today. But certainly the great majority of Seventh-day Adventists are in harmony with the views expressed in Questions on Doctrine. (Ibid. Emphasis supplied)
The doctrine of the incarnation is not specifically spelled out in the 27 FSB, therefore, we cannot accuse the, 27 FSB of teaching a pre-fall nature. Yet, we must most seriously question why the doctrine of the incarnation (as related to pre-fall or post-fall) was deleted when prior statements were clear on the subject. This does constitute a break in the past foundation of our faith.
A second area of factual inaccuracy that must be addressed is the statement concerning the WCC admitting "Buddhists, Hindus, Moslem, & Pagans as equal members ..." To be eligible for membership into the WCC, a church must be in agreement with the "Basis upon which the Council is founded ..." (Constitution and Rules of the World Council of Churches) The Basis states: The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the Scriptures and therefore seek to fulfil together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" (Ibid.)
The Adventist Laymen's Foundation receives certain news releases published by the WCC. To date, no mention has been made in reference to changing the "Basis" in the constitution, nor of admitting the above mentioned groups. Without that change, this writer cannot document the validity of his charge.
Now if Pastor G. had wished to witness against our involvement in the WCC, he could have sighted our involvement by having a member on the "Faith and Order Commission." He could have shown how that the church has voted the "Basis" for membership into the 27 FSB. (The "Basis" can be found almost word for word, in Statement # 2 and Statement # 11.)
In conclusion, false documentation will only cast reflection upon the integrity and whole message of the one using it. Thus if one wishes to confront the brethren, he/she must be sure that the witness for the truth is just that, TRUTH! There is an abundance of material to refute the fallacies of the 27 FSB with accurate and verifiable documentation. Let us stand on truth alone! --- (1988 ) ---End---- TOP
1988 Special 3-- XXI -- Vol II Number 3 -- BRI SURVEYS INDEPENDENT EDITORIAL MINISTRIES -- Editorial --All three of the synoptic Gospels in recording Jesus' prophetic discourse state that He began with the admonition - "Take heed lest any deceive you." (Mark 13:5; See also Matt. 24:4, Luke 21:8) Besides this, the nature of the deception to be is given. Said Jesus -"Many will come in my name, ... and shall deceive many." (Mark 13:6) Deception in the guise of truth is the hallmark of the last days. This deception will be so intense and subtle that if possible, "the very elect" could be deceived. (Matt. 24:24) But this situation is compounded by the fact that those deceiving are themselves deceived they think they are voices of truth. (See Il Timothy 3:13)
We fail to see the nature of the final conflict between truth and error. We are sure that when Satan appears as Christ, we will not get hooked; we know that this will take place. But a key verse upon which we base this deceptive appearance says much more than this. It reveals that "his ministers" will "also be transformed as ministers of righteousness." (II Cor. 11:13-15) A cloak of righteousness as a facade will cover the intent and actions of professed voices of truth. This deception is intensified at a time when "righteousness by faith" is being stressed.
Terrible is this present hour; for every voice sounding in Adventism today among the "independent ministries" must ask himself the question - "Am I truly God's voice, or am I self-deceived and only a minister of the devil under a cloak of professing to teach fundamental Adventism and righteousness by faith?" Paul told Timothy that "the church of the living God" was to be "the pillar and the stay of truth." (I Tim. 3:15 margin) But when one discovers that this is no longer the state of the Church, what is he to do? This discovery is what has produced the "independent ministries" whether they will face up to it or not. But Paul had something else to say in this same context. "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith,giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." (I Tim 4:1) If I give heed to "seducing spirit," I become self-decieved, and thus will decieve others.
What is the answer for anyone in an "independent ministry"? Because the time is upon us when many "having itching ears" are not really desirous of "sound doctrine" but want to listen to "teachers" of all sorts, Paul's counsel to Timothy is apropos - "Preach the Word." (See II Tim. 4:2-3) This doesn't mean speculative prophetic interpretation, nor reading back into the Scriptures perceptions from compilations.
Then we come to a very crucial question. In the light of the many voices sounding today on the periphery of Adventism - and they cannot all be right - what is the concerned lay person to do, who has discovered that the 27 Fundamentals are not really fundamental truth but a mixture of truth and error? A word of counsel given in 1884 contains the answer. It tells us: So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true, that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the word of God. (Great Controversy, 1884 ed., p. 411)
The chapter in which the above quotation is found is on the Bible as a safeguard. This counsel alone will rule out most of the "independent ministries"in one stroke. Ask yourself - Is what you are reading and hearing preparing you for the crisis through diligent instruction from the Bible? Or are the Writings being used to make you believe that the complier is indeed a fundamental Seventh-day Adventist, instead of doing what the Writings state ought to be done at this hour - finding support for the truth from the Bible? The basic and unique truth which made Adventism what it still should be,was and is the sanctuary teaching. What "independent ministries" are seeking to give you a defense of this truth from the Bible and the Bible alone as we are counseled to do? In the same chapter as quoted above is this promise: God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms. (Ibid., p. 413)
Herein is to be found the answer to deception, and the means to discern deception in these last days.
p 2 -- BRI SURVEYS INDEPENDENT EDITORIAL MINISTRIES -- In January of this year, the Biblical Research Institute of the General Conference released "A Survey of Some Independent Ministries." This four-page document gives a short, but comprehensive summary of eight of these ministries. Included in the list are Charles Wheeling (Countdown Ministries); Dr. Robert Hauser; John Osborn (Prophecy Countdown); Vance Ferrell (Pilgrim's Rest); Ron Spear (Hope International); Dr. Colin Standish (Hartland Institute); Elder Joe Crews (Amazing Facts); and Elder William Grotheer (Adventist Laymen's Foundation).
Noticeably absent from this list is the 1888 Message Committee. Its newsletter - "The 1888 Message" - edited by Mrs Helen Cate is the official organ of Elder R. J. Wieland. There is no question, had such a committee existed in 1950 when Wieland and Short first submitted their original 1888 Re-Examined, this committee would have been the No. 1 "Independent Ministry" in the General Conference books. This should tell the careful observer something. Has this committee controlled by Helen Cate so completely maneuvered Wieland that he is now no longer considered by the church as an independent ministry, but rather one of them with a slightly different emphasis? Over the years, Wieland has craved acceptance to such an extent that he has now compromised his original thesis. So this new status of not being on the 1ist of " independent ministries" may appeal to him.
We found the summaries to be honest, fair, and over-all conciliatory. Naturally written from the viewpoint of the hierarchy, they stated the position of the Church in regard to each in a very forthright manner. It must also be kept in mind that this survey was released in January, and thus in the case of John Osborn is not up-to-date. But BRI cannot be blamed for this, due to the vacilation of John Osborn. Really does anyone know where he stands from month to month!
Before further comments on the other independent ministries, we will quote in full what was written about this editor. It was factual, and we will add only explanatory comments to it. This summary read: 8. William Grotheer. This brother was for many years
a pastor-evangelist in several conferences. He was teaching Bible at Madison College when it closed. He was eventually disfellowshiped, and presently operates a ministry under the name, Adventist Laymen's Foundation in Lamar, Arkansas. Brother Grotheer publishes a paper entitled, "Watchman, What of the Night?"
He is very critical of the church leadership ("the hierarchy") and his paper usually reveals a critique of some aspect of the church. He is, among other things, quite critical of the 27 Fundamentals as they were formulated at Dallas, Texas, General Conference Session in 1980. On the other hand he is also critical of the stance that such persons as Robert Hauser has taken on interpreting the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation.
Certain facts following the closing of Madison College where I served as head of the Bible Department need amplification. When Madison was closed, I was placed under the sponsorship of Southern Missionary College and sent back to Andrews University to complete my graduate work. Hearing what I heard in the classes at Andrews, and knowing what I knew had taken place in the previous decade as a result of the SDA-Evangelical Conferences, I asked for and obtained a leave of absence from the ministry of the Church, June 1, 1965, so that I would be free to write and speak without any entanglements. Holding at that time credentials from the Southern Union Conference, I requested and secured a letter stating that in taking this leave of absence, I was doing so as a minister "in good and regular standing." (This letter was signed by the then president of the Union Conference.) Since no longer in the employ of the Conference, my credentials were allowed to "lapse" at the next union session.
In December, 1967, we published the first issue of "Watchman, What of the Night" (WWN, Jan, 1968) It was a small beginning. No funds were solicited at that time, nor at any time since. However, funds were sent to us and receipts were requested. To enable us to give bona fide receipts, four laymen and I formed the Adventist Laymen's Foundation. It was immediately branded as a subversive organization, and from the viewpoint of the hierarchy would appear to be true. The objective of the Foundation was to research, document and publish what the hierarchy was doing behind the backs of the laity. Further we were concerned about the doctrinal apostasy in the book - Questions on Doctrine, and would soon become aware of the Church's dialogue with representatives of the World Council of Churches. The laity and the rank and file of the ministry needed to know. The hierarchy didn't think so, and they moved in on me assuming if I were disfellowshipped, the laymembers of the Board of Directors would cave in. They didn't.
Resulting from the action, an appeal to Neal C. Wilson, then vice president for the North American Division, created a "blue ribbon" committee known as "The Grotheer Hearing Committee." They were very generous from their viewpoint. If I would dissolve the Foundation; give them all the money; the names of all contributors; to whom any of the funds had been sent (we had sent money to the misson field); defrock myself (they couldn't, for they had no grounds) and sit on a back pew for awhile, I could have my name restored to any church list I might choose without being rebaptized, or making a profession of faith. I could not and would not deny my call by the Lord to His ministry, so I told them they could keep their offer.
Their have been no regrets nor bitterness, and now for some twenty plus years, we are still moving forward without soliciting one penny, and yet lacking nothing. God is good, and His truth is marching on!
Now to the other "independents" surveyed.
Both Charles Wheeling and Dr. Robert Hauser are scored for their prophetic interpretations, and rightly so. What is said of Hauser can equally apply to Wheeling. The attempt of "a marriage of futuristic and historistic thought, ... employing unsound principles of interpretation" as done by these men, weakens the prophetic foundation which forms the basis of theAdvent Movement.
Vance Ferrell's connection with Brinsmeadism is noted: "In the '60s he wrote often for the 'Sanctuary Awakening Fellowship Newsletter' which featured the doctrinal teachings of Robert Brinsmead. He labels his theology as 'traditional Adventist theology' - beliefs that appear to be substantially in agreement with the old SAF positions." This is Ferrell's deceptive base, and not recognized by many because of the facade he constructs in reporting on various actions of the Church leadership, such as the Hungarian schism. But as this survey states - "Ferrell's material appears to be widely read, but it is not always trustworthy." This we have found to be very true.
Ron Spear has the longest write-up in the survey. His deceptive practices are only suggested by the BRI. More could have been noted. His solicitation of funds is mentioned, and here the survey has been overly kind, for Spear boasts of his going after "the deep pockets" in obtaining money. It is obvious to any observer that Spear is attempting to set up a church within a church, mimicking the old Review, having a Signs of the Times-like publication, and then planning "a medical missionary-colporteur training center and health retreat." He professes "loyalty to the SDA church"and teaches that the "church" is going through, but does he mean "his" SDA church? Again one must go behind the facade which Spear has erected, and see the doctrinal deviations from truth which have marked Spear's trail.
Both Crews and Standish are connected with the conference; Crews working "under the umbrella of the Chesapeake Conference, while Standish "holds ministerial credentials from the Potomac Conference." Hartland is a member of the ASI, and Crews has a relationship with the hierarchy similar to the Quiet Hour. These men are scored because at times they may expose the apostasy in the church, which in the judgment of the BRI writer "only builds distrust."
The final revealing paragraph of the survey is very It reads in part: It is probably safe to say that there is a common thread that link persons who are conducting independent ministries. You could place them right of center. They have certain concerns that relate to the nature of Christ, to the nature of sin, and to sanctification. For the most part they are conscientious persons who mourn for the sins which they perceive in Zion. ... Since we believe a common core of truth in the 27 Fundamentals, it would be a great boon to this church - as well as to them - if we would pull together.
Here is the crux of the whole issue. Only one of the eight independent ministries surveyed by the BRI takes a positive stand in regard to the 27 Fundamentals, and that is the Adventist Laymen's Foundation. We took it immediately following the Dallas session. All the rest tell you about apostasy, schisms and financial problems in the Church, but they use this as a facade to appear concerned. Yet they refuse to take a stand on the 27 Statements of Belief as voted at Dallas. Anyone carefully studying the Sabbath School lessons this quarter must know by now that the 27 Fundamentals are a deadly mixture of truth and error, a veritable "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil." Yet seven of these eight ministeries along with the 1888 Message Committee, are giving lip-service to the fruit of this tree. Each one has to make his own decision in regard to these independent ministries. All we can do is what w have been doing these past twenty years, document, and warn of the deception being practiced. But on the decision you make will hang your eternal destiny. It is just tha serious.
p 3 -- Deceptive Words -- Christianity Today (Jan. 15, 1988) featured an article by Dr. David Wells of the faculty of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary captioned - "How to Avoid Offensive Language While Saying Absolutely Nothing." This article describes how current language is used in such a way as not to offend others, and in so doing, fails to call sin by its right name. The article begins - I was startled the other day to hear myself talking about "alcohol and drug abuse." The words tripped off my tongue so smoothly and easily that it almost seemed as if they had a life of their own. Did I really say "alcohol and drug abuse"?
This kind of language is used by TV announcers and social commentators, as well as the millions like myself who listen to them. But such phraseology is, nevertheless, an odd way to use words. Abuse implies that there is a proper use. And yet, whatever we may think about the use of alcohol, we have indubitably crossed the lines of legality and good sense to suggest that there is a proper use of pot, crack, angel dust, and heroin. Why, then, do we speak of "drug abuse"? (p. 24)
The same use of language is applied to sex. Dr Wells comments further on this misuse of language: Have you noticed, for example, how we talk about a person's "lifestyle"? We may know someone who enjoys the company of loose women. "Well," we say, "that is not my lifestyle." We mean that we do not approve of the promiscuity. In a pluralistic society, however, one has to be careful about offending people who have different values from our own, or who have no values at all.
Fortunately, we have at hand a linguistic convention that short-circuits any possible embarrassment. It is the word lifestyle. A style is simply a fashion. But styles are hardly ever intrinsically right or wrong. They have more or less appeal, but seldom can they be commended or dismissed on moral grounds. So, a "lifestyle" becomes something we may or may not like, but it is not something that is either good or bad. The awkward moment has passed. We can now distant ourselves from those in the fast lane without having to say that what they are doing is wrong.
Now we are ready for something bolder: that newly created hybrid, the "alternate lifestyle." What we have in mind, of course, is the person who is homosexual. Not only does the word lifestyle conceal the wrong doing, but the suggestion is made, ever so subtly, that being gay is a legitimate option, an alternative. This is their "sexual preference." Sexual preference? What on earth are we talking about? God offers no such alternative, and He allows no such preference. (Ibid.)
The following letter was printed in the March 18, 1988 issue of Christianity Today as a response to Wells' essay: As I'm sure many readers noticed, Wells's article was really about sex. Nine-tenths of it dealt with various sexual illustrations. And what forcefully comes through his pen is not so much that we have used "linguistic sleights of hand" in our sexual terminology, but rather that sexual promiscuity has become all-pervasive, and we evangelicals are in danger of getting caught up in all the fun! How can Wells be so sure? Certainly being gay is not a "option," but neither is being straight! I've never met a homosexual who made a well thought-out decision to have sexual urges for someone of the same sex. And I have yet to meet a heterosexual who made a similar decision for someone of the opposite sex. Is being gay a sin? The Scriptures have little light to shed in response to that question. Rev. Gary McCary, Point Loma Seventh-day Adventist Church, San Diego, Calif.
(This article in Christianity Today and response was called to our attention by the Executive Secretary of the Adventist Laymen's Foundation of Canada.)
p 4 -- What is "The Latter Rain"? -- Seminars Unlimited, "an entity of the Texas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists," is a promotional vehicle for the sale of Revelation Seminar materials. It publishes a paper by the same name for the purpose of "sharing successful soul-winning ideas and materials." In this 12-page publication, one finds testimonials of the effectiveness of the "Revelation Seminar" approach, advertisements for the materials, order blanks, explanations of the how and why of "Revelation Seminars," and articles designed to promote the desire to witness using these seminars.
In the Summer 1988 issue of "Seminars Unlimited," was an article captioned - "The Latter Rain." Elder Bob Boney who authored it received his stimulus from a conversation with a General Conference executive who told him - "I believe the latter rain is falling." Boney's emphasis is on power! Here are some of his perceptions: Who will be the recipients of its awesome power? For what reason is it necessary for this power to be demonstrated in the remnant church?
Only the Lord Himself knows if we are presently experiencing the latter rain power from on high. Although, the implicitness of scriptural testimony verifies a time of great power for the church just prior to the Lord's return.
... I am convinced that another outpouring of God's mighty power will be given for a final culminating proclamation of the gospel to all the world.
Is it possible for us to receive the latter rain of power from the Lord? I believe so. (p. 3, emphasis is supplied)
After quoting Revelation 18:1, Boney writes: Yes, I, like our General Conference friend, have recently seen and heard of hundreds of stories where miracles are happening and God's people are awaking out of sleep and asking for and receiving the latter rain.
Friend, let us repent daily and be converted; be changed into His likeness and constantly in His presence so that we can be ready to receive power from on high to help finish the task God has given us. Ibid.
Without question, the Holy Spirit is to be poured out in these last days, but is that pouring out, one of power alone? Is this the emphasis God desires us to understand?
First, we need to clarify that in Revelation 18:1, where the word, "power" is used, it is the Greek word, exousia, which means, "authority." It is so translated in all modern translations including the NKJV.
What is the "Latter Rain"? Is it just a great empowering, or is there more involved? What is the work of the Holy Spirit? What connection does the Bible reveal between the Holy Spirit and the Latter Rain? Let us note the words of Jesus at the Last Supper: I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, ... even the Spirit of truth. ... But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, ...(John 14:16-17, 26)
Jesus called the Holy Spirit, "the Spirit of truth." He was to come to carry on the work of "The Truth." (John 14:6) Jesus had told the disciples previously that the Holy Spirit would teach them. He said - "For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say." (Luke 12:12)
After leaving the Upper Room, Jesus gave His disciples further insight into the work of the Holy Spirit. He to1d them: Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. (John 16:13-14)
Here, once again, Jesus refers to the Spirit as "the Spirit of truth." He indicates that the Spirit will "guide into all truth." The Spirit would "show" that which was from Christ. He had stated just before - "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me." (John 15:26) The mission of the Spirit was and is to reveal Christ, not Himself.
What was the great mission of Christ? He said: " For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost?" (Luke 19:10) IF the Holy Spirit is the personal representative of Christ, will not His mission be the same? In Christ we find the embodiment of truth. Jesus called the Holy Spirit "the Spirit of truth." The Spirit is a teacher and a guide; therefore, the emphasis of the mission of the Spirit will be to reveal truth for the saving of souls.
The Biblical basis for the early and latter rain is to be found in the book of Joel. There we read: Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former [early] rain, and the latter rain in the first month ... And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call. (Joel 2:23, 28-32)
What is the purpose of the early and latter rain? "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be saved." (verse 32, margin) The bottom line is salvation! Peter used this text from Joel on the day of Pentecost. (See Acts 2:17-21) What was the bottom 1ine? "Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (verse 21) Again the message was a messageof salvation.
The text in Joel makes reference to dreams, visions, wonders and signs; yet other than
p 5 -- the gift of languages which was given so all could hear in their own tongue the call of salvation, how many "miracles" as we use the word today, were performed on the day of Pentecost? There were no dreams or visions mentioned. No dead were raised! No sick were healed of any physical ailment! This is not to say that these things did not happen later. However, when the early rain fell, a message of salvation was given first, and then power exhibited in signs and wonders followed.
Has a special message of salvation been entrusted to Seventh-day Adventists? Yes, most assuredly. Of that message, we read: The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family. All power is given into His hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto men, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent. This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel's message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure. ...
Now it had been Satan's determined purpose to eclipse the view of Jesus and lead men to look to man, and to trust to man, and be educated to expect help from man. For years the church has been looking to man and expecting much from man, but not looking to Jesus, in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. Therefore God gave to His servants a testimony that presented truth as it is in Jesus, which is the third angel's message, in clear, distinct lines. (TM, pp. 91-92, 93, ; emphasis supplied)
It is important to know how Ellen White looked upon this message in 1892. She wrote then: The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth. (R&H, Nov.22, 1892; emphasis supplied)
Prior to this S. N. Haskell recognized the import of this message. He wrote: The light has come; the light which will enlighten the whole earth with its bright rays, has been shining from the throne of God ... Will we walk in the light? .... How long will we disappoint Jesus by a cold, half-hearted life, destitute of love? ... I tell you, God is testing us now, just now ... The light is shining now, and how hard it is for proud hearts to accept Jesus as their personal Saviour ... Let self be crucified. ...
This is really the beginning of [the loud cry], and is not this now taking place? (R&H, July 26, 1892, quoted in A Warning and Its Reception, 2nd Printing, p. 80, White Section)
Haskell called it "light." 0. A. Olsen, then General Conference President, also recognized that something special was taking place. He challenged: We have long been talking about the loud cruy of the third angel's message ... well, has the time come for that loud voice to be heard? Has the time come when that warning should be given with earnestness and power? - It certainly has brethern ... Then don't be looking forward to it any longer; don't be expecting it at some place way off; realize that it is here, and that it means something. (R&H, Nov. 8, 1892, quoted from A Warning and Its Reception, 2nd Printing, p. 80, White Section; emphasis supplied)
Ellen White, S. N. Haskell, and 0. A. Olsen, all recognized the latter rain with loud cry power in the message of righteousness by faith. While both Jones and Waggoner may have prayed for people to be healed as all ministers are called upon to do, there are no records of mass faith healings. Neither did Jones or Waggoner's prayers ever raise a dead person. (I have never seen any documentation that they even prayed for such.) Other than the vision which Waggoner saw at his own conversion, the "messengers" never claimed to be seers.
Is there any evidence to support the view that the latter rain is primarily light? Yes! The Scriptures give a clear presentation of the relationship between the light of truth and the latter rain.
The clearest text of Scripture is to be found at the beginning of the Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32). The song begins: "Give ear, 0 ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear 0 earth, the words of my mouth. My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass." (32:1-2)
Here Moses in song declares that his "doctrine" of God (verses 3-4) "shall drop as the rain." His proclamation of the "name of the Lord" as "a God of truth" would be "as showers upon the grass." The "God of truth" as "Wisdom," tells us - "I will pour out my spirit upon you, I will make known my words unto you." (Prov. 1:23) Here the pouring out of the Spirit is making known His word - His doctrine, His teaching - to men. Jesus said - "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life." (John 6:63 NKJV)
We need to get our thinking straight concerning the latter rain. We have been thinking in terms of receiving "awesome power" to preach a message we already have. But God's plan is to give a message by His Spirit, and then give power by His Spirit for its proclamation. This brings us face to face with certain facts, and as President Reagan has been recently quoted, "facts are stubborn things." If we are preaching nothing more than an Evangelical gospel, will the Holy Spirit empower that? Will the Holy Spirit give "mighty power" to proclaim a completed atonement at the Cross? Is the "New Theology" from the Spirit of truth? Is that what we are to give as the loud cry? The answer should be clear - "No, No, No!!! Yes, "facts are stubborn things."
It is interesting to note that A. T. Jones accepted the testimony of Ellen G. White for just what it said concerning the loud cry. He realized that he was preaching latter rain light. Note what he said in 1893: You remember the other evening when I was reading that
p 6 -- second chapter of Joel, that one of the brethren, when I had read that 23rd verse, - Brother Corliss - called attention to the margin. Do you remember that? And I said we would have to use the margin at another time. Now all of you turn and read again that margin. the 23rd verse says: "Be glad, then, ye children Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He hath given you the former rain, moderately." What is in the margin? He hath given you "a teacher of righteousness." How? "According to righteousness." "And he will cause to come for you the rain;" then what will that be? When he gave the former rain, what was it? "A teacher of righteousness." And when he gives the latter rain, what will it be? "A teacher of righteousness." How? "According to righteousness." Then is not that just what the testimony has told us in that article that has been read to you several times? "The loud cry of the third angel," the latter rain has already begun, "in the message of the righteousness of Christ." Is not that what Joel told us long ago? Has not our eye been held that we did not see? Did we need the anointing? Brethren, what in the world do we need so much as that? How glad we ought to be that God sends his own Spirit in the prophets to show us, when we did not see! How infinitely glad we ought to be for that!
Well then the latter rain - the loud cry - according to the testimony, and according to the Scripture, is "the teaching of righteousness, " and "according to righteousness," too. Now brethren, when did the message of the righteousness of Christ, begin with us as a people? [One or two in the audience: "Three or four years ago."] Which was it, three? or four? [Congregation: "Four".] Yes, four. Where was it? [Congregation: "Minneapolis."] What then did the brethren reject at Minneapolis? [Some in the Congregation: "The loud cry."] What is that message of righteousness? The testimony has told us what it is; the loud cry - the latter rain. Then what did the brethren in that fearful position in which they stood reject at Minneapolis? They rejected the latter rain - the loud cry of the third angel's message.
Brethren, isn't it too bad? Of course the brethren did not know they were doing this, but the Spirit of the Lord was there to tell them they were doing it, was it not? But when they were rejecting the loud cry, "the teaching of righteousness," and then the Spirit of the Lord, by his prophet, stood there and told us what they were doing, - what then? Oh, then they simply set this prophet aside with all the rest. That was the next thing. Brethren, it is time to think of these things. It is time to think soberly, to think carefully. (GCB, 1893, p. 183)
The declaration from the Review & Herald (Nov. 22, 1892) was not all that Ellen G. White had to say on the point. She also wrote: To-day God has given to men the truth with power. He has opened His Word to those who are searching and praying for light. But when these messengers gave the truth they received to the people, many were as unbelieving as were some of the Israelites. To-day many are caviling over the truth brought to them by humble messengers. How can this message be truth? they question. How is it possible by looking to Jesus, and believing in His imputed righteousness, I can gain eternal life? Those who have refused to see the truth do not realize that it is God with whom they are in controversy, that in refusing the message sent, they are refusing Christ. God designs that the message of redemption shall come to His people as the latter rain. (ST, March 6, 1907; emphasis mine)
When we understand that the latter rain is primarily light, then it helps us to understand some of the following statements: The latter rain, ripening earth's harvest, represents the spiritual grace that prepares the church for the coming of the Son of man. (TM, p. 506)
The work that God has begun in the human heart in giving His light and knowledge must be continually going forward. Every individual must realize his own necessity. (Ibid., p.507; emphasis supplied)
It is God who began the work, and He will finish His work, making man complete in Jesus Christ. But there must be no neglect of the grace represented by the former rain. Only those who are living up to the light they have will receive greater light. (Ibid. emphesis supplied)
It [the latter rain] may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it. (Ibid.)
Often in past years I have wondered, how could this great power be falling on those around me and I not even discern it? How do we receive the early rain if it is necessary for the latter rain? The understanding that the latter rain is primarily light clears up these questions. Light of truth, can be perceived by those around us, and yet we not perceive it, or know that they have. Only the Lord reads the receptive mind. But to have the latter rain - truth for the last days - we must have the early rain, truth that forms the basis of the firm platform. New light is not to nullify previous light, but rather it is to develop "that truth [to] a higher scale than it has hitherto been done." (M. V. H, March 30, 1987) It is in this sense that we must have the early rain before we can benefit from the latter rain. If we deny the final atonement, and truth of the condescension of Christ to the slave form of man, can we receive the latter rain? NO!
The loud cry that constitutes the latter rain has a special message in it. It is not signs and wonders. In the last days, God designs that His people base their experience in the Word, not signs and wonders that can be seen. Miracles are not enough for we are warned of the devil and those under his control performing such in the last days. The Bible teaches: And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do. (Rev. 13:13, 14a)
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils working miracles ... (Rev. 16:13, 14a)
Miracles and great power are not to be the test in the last days. The gifts of the Spirit will continue until the end of time, but the emphasis is a message of redemption. Today we are seeing a great false revival starting to swell in the Adventist church. Many will be fooled because they are "looking" instead of "hearing." We are to "walk by faith and not by sight." (I Cor. 5:7) And "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing the word of God." (Rom. 10:17)
We are instructed to "sow in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up the fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. " (Hosea 10:12) James counsels that "if any ... lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." (James 1:5) And Zechariah tells us to "ask ye of the Lord rain in
p 7 -- the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field. " (Zech. 10:1) May we be willing to receive the light that God has yet to give us on the great controversy and the final atonement that we may be prepared for "the battle of the great day of God Almighty." The following testimony, published just three weeks after the testimony of November 22, 1892, should warn us about receiving any error. It reads: At the time of the loud cry of the third angel those who have been in any measure blinded by the enmy, who have not fully recovered themselves from the snare of Satan, will be in peril, because it will be difficult for them to discern the light from heaven, and they will be inclined to accept falsehood. Their erroneous experience will color their thought, their decisions, their propositions, their counsels. The evidences that God has given will be no evidence to those who have blinded their eyes by choosing darkness rather than light. After rejecting light, they will originate theories which they call "light," but which the Lord calls, "Sparks of their own kindling," by which they will direct their steps. (R&H, Dec. 13, 1892)
One last concept
must be addressed. When Peter quoted from Joel on the Day of Pentecost,
he omitted the last part of verse 32: "For
in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath
said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call." When Peter failed
to quote this sentence, was he rightly dividing the word of truth? Peter
was filled with the same Spirit that inspired Joel to write. Why did Peter
not quote the last part of verse 32? Because salvation
all the testing time will come. ...
but those who have trained