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.
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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."
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WWN 1985 Oct - Dec
1985 Oct -- XVIII -- 10(85) -- GC SESSION - "A WATERSHED" -- PROBLEMS WITHIN AND ON EDGES -- Comments and Observations -- On June 27, the opening day of the Fifty-fourth General Conference Session of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Elder Neal C. Wilson issued a series of public statements on secular issues after consultation with the 16 world vice presidents of the Church. (Bulletin, #2, p. 2-3) These statements included pronouncements on Peace, Racism, Home and Family, and Drugs. Each statement was noted as based upon one of "the church's Bible-based Fundamental Belief[s]" in that particular area. This phraseology is interesting in the light of the emphasis given to the 27 Statements of Belief on The John Ankerberg Show by the editor of the Adventist Review. Further with the numerous letters circulated prior to the Session calling for revision of the 27 Statements to bring them into line with the Bible, this phraseology says something of Wilson's thinking, and the thinking of the "princes" of the Church: - they are all "Bible-based" and need no revision, only editorial rewording as was done on one Statement! This is open to serious question and challenge.
While basically, the public Statements addressed forthrightly present-day issues in the secular world, it failed to come face to face with the crucial issue involving Seventh-day Adventists in various parts of the world. While it decried apartheid, it did not mention the denial of basic human rights in Communist countries, nor the murder and cruel imprisonment of true Adventists in those lands. In fact the attitude toward the delegation from the USSR manifest at the Session should cause grave concern to the laity of the Church here in America and every other free country. When the Russian delegation appeared on the platform for a report from their field, the Bulletin stated "much applause greeted" them. (#7, p. 2) The writer for "The Day in Review" commented: I feel a chill shiver up and down my spine as the Russian delegation of seven headed by M. P. Kulakov marches on stage. A Russian lady with a charming smile carries the red flag of the Soviet Union, emblazoned with a hammer and sickle.
The audience breaks out into spontaneous applause. (Ibid.)
This red flag drips with the blood of the True and Free Seventh-day Adventists as well as others, and yet the delegates and visitors spontaneously break forth into applause. Unbelievable! This should tell the laity in the field where the organization is drifting, supported by those who came as delegates to this world Session.
Not only this, but a special status was accorded to this USSR delegation. At the opening Session, Elder Alf Lohne, a vice president of the General Conference offered motion to have two representatives seated on the nominating committee. It was voted.
p 2 -- All of this raises a question. Will the "princes" of the Church ever issue a statement condemning persecution and the denial of basic human rights in the USSR and its satellites? If the reports as found in the Bulletins of this session are any indication, the answer is a resounding - NO! On the front cover of Bulletin #9 are pictured the "princes" of the Church as elected by the session. In the bottom picture standing with the Division Presidents is Kulakov, who headed the USSR delegation. He was not elected by the session, but derives his power solely from the atheistic Communist government of the USSR. If these "princes" in consultation with the "Pontiff" should decide to issue a condemnation of the USSR for its violation of human rights and the murder of Seventh-day Adventists - and they should - will Kulakov have a voice?
During the session, an attempt was made to approve a statement coming from the Annual Council on proper Sabbath observance. What did Kulakov say? It is very important to encourage our members everywhere to use God's gift, the Sabbath, and to keep this commandment. This document in the form in which it is presented makes me very uncomfortable because in the particular area in which I live and work it may create many problems. (Bulletin #8, p. 28)
To this Wilson responded: Brother Kulakov and our world leaders were present at the 1984 Annual Council when it was endorsed. We have been very sensitive to some of the matters our brother has stated, and considerable softening was done in response to suggestions. Again, I appeal that no action be taken here today. The document from the Annual Council is in the hands of the delegates as counsel, and that is sufficient. (Ibid.)
Notice Wilson's comment - "considerable softening was done in response to suggestions" of what was presented at the Annual Council, but this still was not enough for Kulakov. Would a Statement on Human Rights - forthrightly written - be any more acceptable than was the one on proper Sabbath keeping?
It was over this issue that a confrontation took place between the hierarchy of the Church and some of the members of the Adventist Community on the periphery. The Times-Picayune, on July 1, 1985, quoted Kulakov as stating: Some people here in the West, I see, have a misunderstanding about religion in the USSR. Some people think people (there) are not free to practice religion openly. It is not so.
As a result of this lie, a group headed by Adventist doctor, Deone Hanson, passed out a hurriedly printed flyer denouncing Kulakov as "A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing," and warning the delegates to "Beware." These flyers were distributed on the bridge-ramp between the Superdome and the Hyatt Regency Hotel. [A colored picture of this ramp can be seen in Bulletin #4, p. 17] However, the group was arrested, placed in handcuffs, and lodged in a New Orleans jail. One of those arrested was Patrick Jones from Ohio. Here is his story: A group of concerned Seventh-day Adventists, whom God had providentially brought together at New Orleans for the GC convention, began to distribute leaflets, hold banners, and publicity call for repentance. This was an effort to: 1) educate the average SDA lay person who perishes for lack of knowledge concerning his own condition and that of the church: 2) raise a voice of entreaty for the release of imprisoned Adventists in communist countries; and 3) counter the work of disguised evil in the church. All week long we kept on the public sidewalk in front of the Superdome. Our presence there was heatedly challenged several times by the church administration.
On Thursday night, July 4, we moved our work to the large ramp which led from the luxurious Hyatt Regency Hotel (where the SDA elite were staying), over a public road, and into the Superdome. Previously, security personnel had informed us that somewhere in the middle of this spacious, open-air ramp there was a public area where we could distribute pamphlets, etc. On this ramp we began to meet many interested people whom we had not met at the front of the Superdome. But soon the SDA administration called the security personnel who hand-cuffed and arrested us. As Independence Day drew to a close, we were led off to the New Orleans' jail.
We were arrested for "criminal trespassing," for passing our tracts on property rented by our church. We were arrested for ministering to our brethren. Our activity was repugnant only to those who do not want to hear that all is not well with the "world family." Instead of relating to us in the arena of public dialogue, the church related to us through measures of police force. The church that does not have the power of the gospel, seeks the power of the
p 3 -- state. Is the SDA church part of the image of the beast?
During the GC convention, the head of the Russian delegation, Mikhail Kulakov, was quoted publicity in the New Orleans' newspaper that there was perfect freedom to practice religion openly in Russia! The GC made no objection to this statement. Their silence can only be taken to mean that in their eyes those Adventists who are suffering in Siberian labor camps must be common criminals. Indeed, Christ says to the GC, "I was in those prisons, but ye visited me not." (Article under a cover letter dated, July 29, 1985)
The latest issue of Spectrum (Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 39-41) carries an article written by Oxana Antic, European correspondent for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Written in the latter part of 1984, it verifies the continued persecution of the true Adventists in Russia quoting Russian government sources. Yet the hierarchy of the Church pass this travesty by and deal with the USSR appointed leadership of a recognized, supposedly Adventist Church.
Some questions need to be asked of Wilson. 1) From whom does Kulakov received his pay check? 2) To whom or what agency is the tithe of the members of the recognized Adventist church sent? 3) Does the General Conference receive a percentage of the tithe of the recognized church in Russia for its world-wide work?
PROBLEMS WITHIN -- The first Bulletin carried an article by a newly elected member of the Communications Department captioned - "We're a Great Family." The last Bulletin carried an editorial analysis by the editor of the Adventist Review, but titled "New Orleans: A Watershed in Adventism." The editor's choice of the word - watershed - is most interesting. It means - "A crucial dividing point or line." Stating this crucial dividing point with clarity, Johnsson wrote: In retrospect, the winds of change were blowing from the very first business sessions. For days consideration of the first major item of the agenda, the Role and Function of Denominational Organizations, proceeded at a laborious pace as delegates spoke to point after point. By Tuesday morning, July 2, the winds became a gale. The Nominating Committee's recommendation for general vice presidents of the General Conference were challenged from the floor and adopted only after nearly two hours of lively, at times fractious, debate. At issue was not the individuals proposed but the heavily North American composition of the slate.
By now it was evident: The fifty-fourth session would not be "business as usual." (Bulletin #10, p. 8)
Before commenting, a word needs to be written so that the readers might better understand the composition of the 10 GC Bulletins, which supposedly give a full report of all said and done. When a copy of the first issue of the Bulletin was presented to Elder Neal C. Wilson, the editor stated - "These Bulletins are the official record of the session and contain both the actions and proceedings." (Bulletin #2, p. 19) However, one looks in vain to find recorded the "nearly two hours of lively, at times fractious, debate." There are other omissions as well. Instead of a full and forthright presentation of the "proceedings" as promised, it is a semi-propaganda release of what the leadership want the laity in the field to perceive.
Because of the deletions one has to try to piece things together to obtain a full and true picture in full context. However, the editorial helped greatly so as to give the background of Neal C. Wilson's statement which has and which will continue to produce reaction in the same, if not greater proportion, as Kulakov's lie about religious liberty in the USSR.
On Tuesday morning, July 2, when "the winds became a gale," Wilson entered the fray. He assured the African delegations that they did have representation at the General Conference level. Two of the African Divisions would be headed by native Blacks. A new structural relationship defining the levels of Church administration was adopted at the New Orleans session. Speaking of the Divisions, Elder F. W. Wernick, retiring vice president of the General Conference stated - "They are the General Conference in their area."(Bulletin, #8, p. 6, emphasis his)
July 1, had been a heady day for Wilson. Ribbon cutting, riding in the Parade with the Adventist world following in his trail makes for a strong potion. One can be as drunk with power as well as with strong drink. Both effect the reasoning powers of the mind.
p 4 -- With this background, Wilson's comments take on deep significance. Here is what he said: There are more vice presidents of the General Conference who represent other parts of the world than North America. If you compare vice presidents to "cardinals," we already have a "cardinal" from Africa, and before this session ends, I predict we will have two African "cardinals" among our 15 vice presidents (ten division presidents and five headquarters vice presidents.) ...
Five years ago there were eight general vice presidents in Washington. For five years there have been six. We are recommending at this meeting that only five be elected, plus, of course, the ten who are vice presidents by virtue of division presidencies. Brother Diaz could have made a far greater argument because there is no "cardinal" from all the countries of the Far East, while there will probably be two "cardinals" from Africa. (Bulletin #5, p. 11)
This analogy is hardly a "Freudian, slip," but reveals the thinking of Wilson whose tongue was loosed by the intoxicating wine of power. It was with these "princes" of the Church that Wilson consulted prior to the release, of the Statements on secular issues. But a deeper significance is involved. If the vice presidents can be compared to "cardinals," what then is Wilson? - Pope Neal I! (PAPA NEALUS I )
It must be remembered that Elder R. H. Pierson in a sworn affidavit in the civil suit - EEOC vs PPPA - designated himself as the Church's "first minister." (See Legal Briefs, p. 31) Wilson is Pierson's successor, who in the same case as President of the North-American Division, referred to himself as "the spiritual leader of approximately one-half million Seventh-day Adventists in North America." (Ibid., pp. 21-22)
The nauseating adulation shown to Wilson during the session - even in the teaching of the Sabbath School lesson by the Holbrooks on the first Sabbath - climaxed in the parade on July 1, from the Superdome to Jackson Square. Wilson and his wife rode in an open limousine driven by a bow-tied Black chauffeur. (Bulletin, #6, p. 16) The reporter for the day indicated - "Many Seventh-day Adventist leaders rode in open convertibles. ... Several North American Division leaders rode a vintage fire truck, to their great delight." (Bulletin, #4, p. 18) From the reports and pictures the parade was a blending of the festive spirit of the Mardi Gras with a papal display of hierarchical ranks - a real contrast to Him who walked the dusty roads of Palestine, and Who in his one "parade" wept over Jerusalem. [Additional Comments and Observations will be given in November issue of WWN.]
From p. 5-6 - Wurmbrand's Reply
I am sure you would have neither the courtesy or courage to publish this.
Go back over this letter, and note the italic sentences once again. It is nothing less than discourtesy to publish what they did publish and how it was emasculated.
Take note again of what was not published and compare the facts presented with the conduct and actions at the New Orleans session in regard to the USSR delegation and what was done by the leadership to those who dared protest. Perhaps Pastor Wurmbrand's counsel needs to be heeded in regard to the tithe. What do you think?
I could say with Wurmbrand,"I am depressed." Why? Because in the light of the facts, there are still those who believe that the organization can be turned around, and that the "ship" captained by deceivers of the laity is going through.
It is time for the 7000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal to take a stand.
To know how to say what other people only think, is what makes men poets and sages; but to dare to say what others only dare to think, makes men martyrs or reformers.
Elizabeth Rundle Charles: Chronicles of the Schonberg-Cotta Family, XIV
p 5 -- WURMBRAND'S REPLY -- In the September (1984) issue of Ministry, Editor J. Robert Spangler gave a glowing account of religious freedom in the USSR which echoed the same lie which Kulakov told the New Orleans' press during the recent GC Session. On November 5, 1984, Pastor Richard Wurmbrand who knows by experience the religious persecution in Communist dominated countries wrote a letter to Ministry. His letter was noted in the March (1985) issue (pp. 2, 8). While stating it to be a lengthy letter, it was abridged without indication of deletions.
We herewith reproduce in full the letter underscoring (Webmaster's note: Italicizing) the part quoted in Ministry:
the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Your article about depression was highly appreciated. [Another article in the same September issue]
I am a Jewish Christian pastor who has been persecuted since childhood for being Jew. Almost our entire family perished in the Holocaust. After I became a Christian and a pastor, I was in Nazi prisons, and then in Communist jails for 14 year.
Now in America, I lead a Mission which helps the Christians persecuted in Communist countries. Everyday I read reports about Christians who are imprisoned, tortured, and killed there. This does not depress me. What weighs upon me is the unloving attitude of American Christians toward their persecuted brethren.
Your magazine is an example of this. In your article about Russia, you find "similarity between Marx and God's promises."
How can one be a Christian teacher if he does not distinguish between what one says and what one does? I send you my book, Was Karl Marx a Satanist, with plenty of quotations from Marx. He says verbatimly that he wishes to ruin the world. To succeed in this and to catch naives, they speak about beautiful plans for the world.
Are you not aware that the language of criminal seduction and that of love are the same? If I wish a girl for one night, to throw her away afterwards like a dirty rag, I will tell her, "I love you." I will say the same if I wish a girl for honest marriage.
Before finding "similarity between Marxism and God's promises," you should have studied Marx and Lenin. The latter wrote in a letter to Gorki: "Thousands of natural catastrophies and epidemics are preferable to God." Thus, cancer is preferable to faith.
This is the major difference between us and Marxists: love toward God and hatred toward Him.
When you write about the parallel between Marxism and Christianity in morality, standards and values, again you show a complete ignorance of Marxism. They glorify violence, murder, lying. My book, The Answer to Moscow's Bible, which I enclose, too, will show that we are at opposite poles.
It is true they have no pornography in Russia. They wish their people strong, but they support pornography in the whole world to weaken their enemy. In this regard read the book of their Minister of Police, Lavrentii Beria's Psychopolitics. Is this more moral?
I wonder if you know Russian. If not, as I assume, how many of their novels and poetry have you read? What radio of theirs have you heard, to give such a preposterous appreciation of what you do not know? You wrote, "Their standards relative to literature and art resemble what most Western Christian churches attempt to teach." Their books and radio programs are satiated with God-hatred.
What does the Constitution of the USSR count? Do the authorities give the rights they promise? In what world do you live that you do not know their words to be vain promises? I sent to Brother Hegstad of your department of Religious Liberty a bunch of material about Adventists in prison for their faith in Russia. [What did Hegstad do about this material?] Where was the liberty for the Adventist preacher, Shelkov, who died in jail after 24 years of detention? The same for many others of the underground and of the official Adventist church.
It is simply a lie that the Adventist church lost its organization prior to World War II because of internal problems, as you assert. Did you not read the Guglag Archipelago? It is not permissible to write about Adventism without having read Ellen White. It is not permissible to write about Russia without having read Solzhenitsyn. Don't you know that Stalin killed millions of Orthodox, Protestants, Adventists, Jews, and that he destroyed church buildings? Where are the buildings the Adventist churches owned before? The Adventist church in Moscow must gather now with the Baptists in a building which belonged formerly to the Reformed church. Its pastor and all the congregation simply disappeared under Stalin's terror.
praise the Russian Adventist leader, Kulakov, for urging cooperation
with the government authorities. These are Marxists. Marx wrote in The
p 6 -- Communist Manifesto that his aim was to abolish all religion and morals. How can Christians cooperate with them? It was not the endeavors of Kulakov which sparked the reunification of your church. It was the fact that the KGB put in jail every Adventist who dared to say, "We do not collaborate with God-hating Communists. On what side would Ellen White, the author of The Great Controversy, have been? It is a shame that your General Conference supports the Russian Adventist preachers who have been stooges of Communists. The founder of Adventism, Ellen White, sided with Christians who worked underground against Papacy.
Why had the audience no place in the church in Kiev? Such things are solved simply. Why do they not have a second church? It is because the churches in Kiev exist not to accommodate believers, but to fool foreigners. The believers profit of this.
How could you write about Russia and not mention even one martyr? The Christians Hmara and Burda were savagely killed. They had their eyes gouged out and their tongues torn. The Christian Hailo and hundreds of others are in psychiatric asylums for their faith. Nikolai Moiseev is in such an asylum since 16 years. Michael Ershov and Basil Shipilov are in jail since 40 years. I suffer of depression. You and those like you are its cause. Nothing can help me except your conversion and return to Christ.
If you would have gone on a fact-finding tour of Israel 2,000 years ago, you would have praised the full liberty in the temple with 12,000 priests and Levites, and the fact that all over the country many synagogues functioned without interference. As about a Carpenter crucified because He was the only one who represented the true faith, why lose our time on martyrs of today? We better spread Ellen White's books about the martyrs of old. It makes interesting reading and obliges to nothing.
The story of betrayal of Adventists by its leaders is old. I remember the German Adventist leadership shouting, "Heil Hitler!" The General Conference collaborated with them, while true Adventists filled jails under Hitler and some of them were beheaded.
I attended an Adventist congress in Rumania in which the dictator king, Charles II, was praised. Many Adventists were in jail at that time. The Adventist leadership of Rumania today also praises the Communist government. I was at the same time in jail with many Adventists, official and underground, beaten to the blood because they refused to work on Saturdays. In jail they almost ate nothing, fearing there might be some pork in the food. In times when they got one slice of bread a day, they gave tithe. They renounced to this bit of bread in favor of somebody who was older, sick, or weaker.
At the burial of Tachici, the former Adventist general secretary of Rumania, a delegate of the Communist party spoke, disclosing only then that Tachici had been a member of this Party secretly, many years before its coming to power. They also carried cushions with the medals he had obtained from the God-hating Communist government. The Adventist leaders of Russia are of the same kind.
When I was in South Africa, I heard that Communists jailed there were tortured. I am against Communism, but Communists are human beings and should be well treated. I knocked at the gate of their jail and asked to see them in the absence of any guards. I was permitted without difficulty. They themselves denied the story of tortures. In every civilized country, pastors have access to prisons. Why did you not ask for the permission to visit the imprisoned Adventists? Wherever you are, you are meant to seek Jesus. Jesus has given His address in Russia: "I was in jail and you visited me not." Did you even try? A refusal of the authorities would also have been illuminating.
Ellen White prophesied there will be a great persecution of Sabbath keepers in USA. Suppose this will happen, will you be on the side of the Adventists loyal to the faith, who will worship underground, or will you collaborate with the persecutors as your kin does in Russia?
If I were an Adventist, I would leave the church if you do not get disciplined for the grave sin of having written this article. The board of your General Conference would have to be dismissed, too, for siding with the Communist stooges in Adventism. I would also retain my tithes until assured you refunded this holy money which has been misused for such travels and pro-Communist propaganda. [What about the travels of Lohne, Pierson, and Wilson to Russia with their reports?] Return to page 4, col. 2 --- (1985 Oct) --- END --- TOP
1985 Nov -- XVIII -- 11(85) -- "BEACH BOYS" WRITE THEME -- GC Delegates Sing "Tune" -- According to the official report of the 1985 General Conference Session in New Orleans, "Brad Braley, veteran Adventist organist, wrote the 1985 General Conference theme song, 'Christ Our Hope Forever.'" (Bulletin, #1, p.9) This was the theme for the "on-stage" view of the Session, that which was orchestrated to feed the imagination of the viewer, and dazzle the sensory perceptions. It is also true that the "Beach Boys" theme song was sung "on-stage" at the official business sessions but well concealed behind the facade of pageantry and "off-stage" conferences. There were some protests as the "music" was played and the words "sung" - but in the end, it came through virtually as written.
Early on in the Session, Friday afternoon, June 28, at 2 p.m. , the "report of the Role and Function of the Denominational Organizations Commission" was introduced to the delegates. (Bulletin #3, p. 20) Elder Neal C. Wilson made an introductory statement. He said - "The modern trend in our world today is toward decentralization. ... We cannot allow even the beginnings of a congregational-type of church government, which would ultimately totally destroy the thrust of our world mission and dilute our message." (Ibid.) As the Session progressed, and the delegate response to what was offered in motion was weak, Elder Wilson again took the floor. This time he said: I am a little uneasy, because I sense uneasiness among the delegations on the voting. The vote on both the previous motions was very weak. I don't mind people expressing different views. I don't mind someone challenging these positions, but when we complete the discussion I would like to feel that there is a strong vote from this body in support, and I am not sensing that at this point. If we aren't together, then let's take so more time to look at it. Perhaps because we are so scattered, we should vote by a show of hands. Organizationally there is no real autonomy in the Seventh-day Adventist Church." (Ibid., p. 21)
During this Session - though not reported in the Bulletin - Wilson urged all the delegates to obtain and carefully study the "Beach Boys" theme song. This publication was written and readied for the Session by Elder W. R. Beach, former secretary of the General Conference, and his son, Dr. B. B. Beach who gave to Pope Paul VI a medallion - "a gold-covered symbol of the Seventh-day Adventist Church." (Review, Aug. 11 , 1977, p. 23) The paperback book - Pattern for Progress - on the role and function of Church organization has a "Preface" by Nea1 C. Wilson.
Introduction, B. B. Beach admits the book has as its immediate background
the work of the GC Commission on the Role and Function of Denominational
Organizations, with which he was personally involve. He
writes - "The reflections in this book come from
a mix of organizational theory and history held together by the cement
p 2 -- on the various levels of church structure." (p. 11) The intent of the book is clearly stated. It reads: The authors have limited the scope of the book to dimensions of church organization - that is, to the larger view of the measure, extent, capacity, importance, and consequence of Seventh-day Adventist Church organization. The reflections present, in their historical context, achievements and problem areas of the organized church. The authors believe that there is here an organizational "pattern for progress" in accomplishing the mission of the church. (p. 12)
Every chapter - a part from the "Introduction" - is prefaced with a quotation from the Writings of Ellen G. White. This gives the impression that the concepts expressed are based upon inspired authority. Thus to question the book, puts an individual in the position of questioning what the "messenger of the Lord" has written. Tragically, the "Beach boys" do not deal with all that Ellen G. White has said or written on organization - and this involves some very key pronouncements, which, had they, considered them, Would have led to different conclusions.
The heart of Pattern for Progress is to be found in Chapter 19 - "Unity in Organization and Structure." The first paragraph reads: In contrast to most other churches, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is a world church. Her organization possesses both a centralized structure demonstrating an authoritative and effective world headquarters with divisional offices, and a decentralized church structure, broadly sharing in all parts of the world administrative and promotional responsibilities with thousands of individuals and many organizations on four constituency levels. Enhancing the basic Seventh-day Adventist organizational structure thus becomes an important ingredient of practical down-to-earth unity in working methods and soul winning. The part of wisdom suggests, therefore, that the unity of the basic Seventh-day Adventist organization and structure be affirmed and enhanced. (p. 125)
Note carefully the wording - "the unity of the basic ... organization and structure be affirmed and enhanced," - in the light of the important definitive second sentence which declares that the Church "possesses ... a centralized structure demonstrating an authoritative and effective world headquarters." Further, they indicate there is a sharing of "administrative and promotional responsibilities" with individuals "on four constituency levels." The fact is that the Church in General Conference Session had not voted this structure when the book was written and published. The "Beach Boys" were writing the "theme song." (See note at the end of this article.)
The first section of this Chapter "Ways to Maintain Organizational Unity" states as its first point - "1. Faithful adherence to the Church Manual, applicable throughout the world." (Ibid.) Here is where a very interesting confrontation took place. The actual commission report on "Role and Function" to the Delegates read - "5. Faithful obedience to the Church Manual, applicable throughout the world." (Delegate Agenda and Support Material, p. 99) When the "smoke" had cleared from the debate - again not reported in the Bulletin - as to what word should be used to express an individual's relationship to the Church Manual, the delegates, voted to stay with the "Beach Boys'" theme song and adopted the word -"adherence" - being only a shade of difference in meaning from the word - "obedience" (Bulletin, #7, p. 9)
All of this needs to be carefully analyzed. The Church has a "centralized structure" but supposedly also "a decentralized" organization which shares "in all parts of the world administrative and promotional responsibilities" down to the local church level - the fourth and bottom rung of the constituency levels. But now catch the picture - the individual church member throughout the entire world must faithfully adhere to the Church Manual. And where is the Church Manual formulated? The 1985 Session voted: Areas of authority and responsibility delegated to the General Conference in session are: 1. Church Doctrine. 2. Church Manual. (Bulletin #7. p. 9)
So as Wilson stated - "Organizationally there is no real autonomy in the Seventh-day Adventist Church." The individual members of the Church throughout the world march to the cadence of the one "drummer boy" - the Church Manual. Is this the unity wrought by the Holy Spirit?
The second stanza of the "Beach Boys"' theme song for the maintenance of organizational unity is to have "respect for constitutional structures" as contained in the General Conference Working Policy. It was suggested that "perhaps more such constitutional models should be worked out and included." Then.
p 3 -- it was written: These are to be followed closely and adhered to in essence at the various levels of church organization. When a constitution is adopted or revised by a church organization, it should be with the counsel of the next higher organization and only in harmony with the General Conference Working Policy. (p. 125)
This was duly voted at the New Orleans' session. (Bulletin #7, p. 9). Now the Working Policy formulation is not limited to the General Conference in session, but can also be altered and "enhanced" by the Executive Committee between Sessions. (Ibid.) This becomes awesome when one understands that at the 1985 Session, it was voted: During the interim between sessions the Executive Committee shall constitute the body of final authority on all questions where a difference of viewpoint may develop. (Bulletin #8, p. 8 emphasis mine)
This concentration of power in the General Conference was the 5th stanza of the "Beach Boys"' theme song. They wrote: "5. A strong, effective central authority with ability to achieve the mission of the church," (p. 126) is essential to maintain "organizational unity."
of EEOC vs PPPA --
The reorganization effected at the New Orleans Session merely
mandated the position taken in Federal Court in the EEOC Vs PPPA case.
In the Opening Brief for Defendants in Support of Their Motion for
Summary Judgment, the hierarchy of the Church through their legal
counsel declared: The
General Conference, being the general body embracing the church in all
parts of the world ... The General Conference, then, is the Seventh-day
Adventist Church. So the term "General Conference" has three
In Reply Brief for Defendants in Support of Their Motion for Summary Judgment, the hierarchy through counsel explained: First, the phrase "General Conference in Session" is not an entity or an organism but is one facet of the Church (the most important and powerful, of course, but still only one facet of the phrase "General Conference"), and they [plaintiffs] fail to recognize that between the quadrennial now quinquennial) sessions of the delegates in General Conference, the Executive Committee wields all of the powers of the Church, excepting two: the power to alter the structure of the Church and the power to alter its doctrine. Everything else, without exception, which can be accomplished in General Conference when it is in its infrequent sessions can similarly be accomplished by the General Conference Committee between those infrequent sessions. (General Conference Working Policy, p. 36; ... the Working Policy "is recognized as the authoritative voice of the Church in all matters pertaining to the work of the SDA denomination in all parts of the world.") [Ibid. p. 44, Emphasis theirs]
Neal C. Wilson, then Vice President of the General Conference of the North American Division, stated unequivocally that it was "necessary for the Church [defined as the General Conference] to establish its authority in the community of believers." (Ibid.)
While the expression - "community of believers" - is usually used to describe the essence of what is truly the church, the thrust intended by Wilson was that the institutions of the Church, such as the publishing houses and hospitals, were such communities, and that the General Conference had authority to govern, regulate, and control not only the operations of these institutions, but also the people who work therein without interference by the State. In the Opening Brief, cited above, it was stated - "Those who work for the Seventh-day Adventist Church respond to a religious vocation in exactly the same sense as does a cloistered nun." (Op. cit., p. 18) However, the Federal Court did not perceive these institutions of the Church, nor the employees in this light. Now at the New Orleans Session, among the actions voted is the following relating to "The Church's Institutions": Seventh-day Adventists see in the gospel commission and the example of the Lord and His apostles the responsibility of followers of Christ to serve the whole man. In their world outreach they have therefore followed the pattern of their beginnings in the development of educational, health-care, publishing, and other institutions.
In Seventh-day Adventist theology and philosophy of church operations, such institutions have been from their inception integral parts of the church, direct instruments in the carrying out of its divine commission. Therefore, the Seventh-day Adventist Church makes use of its denominationally owned and operated institutions such as health-care institutions, publishing houses, and schools as integral parts to fulfill health, literature, and teaching ministries; therefore, they are indispensable to and inseparable from the church's total ministry in carrying the gospel to the world.
p 4 -- The multiple units of the world church whether congregations, conferences, health-care institutions, publishing houses, schools, or other organizations, all find their organizational unity in the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, in which they have representation. (Bulletin #8, p. 8)
Iron Teeth -- In the voted actions, it was clearly defined what non-compliance with the General Conference Working Policy would mean. [This was also stanza 7 of the "Beach Boys'" theme song. (p. 126)] The action reads stating how unity may be maintained: 9. Church leaders and organizations operating the the church in their area of responsibility in full harmony with the General Conference Working Policy. Thus unity of working methods and organization are maintained. (Church officials not able or willing to do this should not be continued in leadership positions.) (Bulletin #7,p. 9)
This same spirit was expressed during the discussion on the merger of the various departments into one "Church Ministries" department. Elder "Ted" N. C. Wilson son of the GC President) commented: With all due respect to the Role and Function Commission and to those who have worked on it, it simply appears to me that the problem is administrative rather than organizational. In the Africa-Indian Ocean Division we work together in a fine way. If at the General Conference level there is difficulty between departments, let the Nominating Committee take that into consideration and make some personnel changes. (Bulletin #4, p. 12)
Is this a "like father, like son comment? Does this explain some unexplained changes at, the General Conference Division lave even the Africa-Indian Ocean Division?
- The revised edition of the Church Manual, 1981, Chapter
4, section 3, reads: Five
Steps in Our Organization:
These "five steps" or levels were - local church, conference, union, division, and the General Conference. At the New Orleans Session, this section of the Church Manual was amended to read: FOUR CONSTITUENT LEVELS IN THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST ORGANIZATION -- Among Seventh-day Adventists there are four constituent levels leading from the individual believer to the worldwide organization of the work of the church: ... (Bulletin #8, p. 8)
These new four levels are local church, conference, union, and General Conference. The former fourth level - the Division - is now perceived as the General Conference in that particular area of the world field.
However, prior to the Session - and keep in mind that only "the General Conference in session" has the authority to amend the Church Manual - the publication of the "Beach Boys" was written and off the press. In it the Church was described as having "four constituency levels." (p. 125) And keep in mind, the "Preface" was written by Neal C. Wilson! Was the tremendous expense justified in calling the delegates together merely to rubber stamp what had been previously decided ---- in other words, to sing the "Beach Boys"' theme song?
p 5 --SUMMARY REPORT 7 -- In this report we shall seek to conclude the section of "Factual Allegations" contained in the Complaint filed by American United for the Separation of Church and State seeking to set aside the appointment of the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican. Summary Report - 6 is to be found in WWN, XVIII - 8.
Factual Allegations -- (Concluded) -- Under Article II, section 2, clause 2, the President has the power to appoint ambassadors and officers of the United States. Under Article II, section 3, the President has also been given the authority to receive ambassadors and other public ministers. Plaintiffs, however, claim that the President's authority is not unlimited in that the President of the United States has not, by Article II, been granted any authority to appoint ambassadors to a church.
under Article II, section 2, clause 2, of the Constitution, the Senate
is empowered to grant or to withhold its advice and consent to the appointment
of an ambassador. Under Article I, section 8, the Congress of the United
States is empowered to tax and spend. However, the taxing and spending
powers are subject to the limitation of the Religious Clauses of the First
Amendment to the United States Constitution which prohibit any law respecting
the establishment of religion. Plaintiffs claim that the Congress of the
United States is without constitutional authority (a) to consent to the
appointment of a diplomatic representative to a church organization; or
(b) to consent to the use of tax funds for the aforesaid purpose. Plaintiffs
further claim that by these congressional acts, taken together, Congress
acted outside of its constitutional authority and in violation of the
First Amendment. Any additional congressional appropriations to fund the
diplomatic mission to the Holy See, that is the Roman Catholic Church,
will directly violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment
of the United States Constitution. Since annual appropriations will be
required, there will be repeated congressional violations of the First
The action here complained of violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution because it prefers one religious denomination over all others, has the effect of advancing one religion and inhibiting all others, creates the potential for excessive church-state entanglement, provides the means whereby the federal government can openly or secretly participate in the affairs of a specific religious organization and provides the means for a specific religious organization to openly or secretly participate in the affairs of the federal government, requires the government to use the agency of a religious organization acting directly through members of its clergy and as a part of its "spiritual mission" to carry out the nation's governmental purposes, and provides the potential for a divisive conflict based on religious interests. In this regard, plaintiffs show that the contact between the United States government and the Roman Catholic Church, through the ambassador to the Holy See, requires that such contact, in large measure, will take place at the administrative and spiritual headquarters of the largest Christian denomination in the world. The atmosphere where the ambassador to the Holy See functions is pervasively sectarian. Those with whom the ambassador deals are, in large part, high ranking religious leaders, thus, creating the circumstances under which the likelihood that religion will be eventually entailed.
Under the Religion Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Supreme Court decisions interpreting the same, the government must be certain that tax supported diplomatic representatives of the United States Government do not become entangled in religious affairs. Plaintiffs claim that in the context of the diplomatic relationship carried on within the religiously dedicated lands of a world church there, by necessity, is a fusion of governmental and religious functions. This is particularly true because "Papal Diplomacy rests essentially upon the spiritual sovereignty of the Holy See" because the Holy See functions under its spiritual and moral authority. In such a situation any secular aspects of the diplomatic contact would be so inextricably intertwined with the spiritual mission of the Roman Catholic Church that it would be impossible to sever the secular from the spiritual.
p 6 -- As a result of the foregoing there would be the ever-present temptation for the government of the United States to tailor its foreign and domestic policy to satisfy the private urgings of one church or to influence, or seek to influence, the internal affairs of a church, or to use the same instrumentality of a church to try to effect the policies of our nation.
In addition, the mere appearance of a continuing joint exercise of church and state involvement of the United States Government with a church headquarters provides a significant symbolic benefit to the Roman Catholic Church and a corresponding detriment to all other organizations.
Plaintiffs further show that, unlike most instances where the government's activity has the effect of advancing one religion and inhibiting all others, here there is not even the opportunity to provide for a continuing governmental surveillance of the governmental involvement with religious affairs because so much of the diplomatic contact is under the veil of secret private meetings and exchanges memorialized in classified State Department documents. Thus, the only guarantee of protection from violations of the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment lies in the elimination of the potential for diplomatic assurances being negotiated in the halls of the Holy See with the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church.
Certain plaintiffs herein listed are members of the Roman Catholic Church or are organizations whose members belong to the Roman Catholic Religious Orders or are lay members of the Catholic faith. Those plaintiffs specifically contend that the presence of a representative of the White House at the Vatican with the direct access to the Holy Father is almost a direct invitation to civil interference in internal American church affairs. Plaintiffs contend that there have been historical examples of attempts by presidential advisors to cause the President to use his diplomatic representatives to solicit the support of the Holy Father for the appointment of an American church official to a church post. An attempt was made by President Theodore Roosevelt to cause the Pope to appoint a certain American archbishop to the position of cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church. In addition to the possibility of White House interference in domestic ecclesiastical affairs, there is also the danger that the government might seek to influence Catholic opinion on legislation through the machinery of the official diplomatic contact between the United States Government and the Holy See. As Vatican observer Reverend F. X. Murphy stated: The real fear, I think, among Catholics, you know, committed Catholics, is that the President may try to use the connection to put pressure on the bishops. For example, when they were working out the pastoral letter on peace, that the -- Mr. Clark sent a letter to Archbishop Bernardin, and then the State Department sent General Vernon Walters to talk to the Pope about it. Well, we don't like that type of interference, and you know, that has happened in history. (An excerpt from the Sunday, January 15,1984, CBS Television's edition of "Face the Nation.")
When spiritual and moral issues espoused by one church and political concerns merge, the potential of governmental intrusion into the internal affairs of a church is constantly present.
7 -- A
MIX BETWEEN 1901 & 1903 -- A
TROIKA HEADS THE CHURCH -- In amending the Church
Manual, the General Conference at New Orleans voted that between sessions
"all subordinate organizations and institutions throughout the world
Recognizing that the Seventh-day Adventist Church and its conferences function on the local, union, and General levels by what is called "the committee system" the Statement declared - "The committee has policy-making, executive, and oversight functions." Noting that a conference constituency not only elects the president, but also the other officers and departmental directors, it stated, "they all work under the authority and direction of the conference executive committee." (Is not the "all-powerful" executive committee itself elected by the constituency?) In authenticating the committee system, the Statement noted that Ellen G. White "repeatedly counseled to avoid 'kingly power' in church structure," but gave no references. Her strongest statements were made "at a meeting in the Battle Creek College library, April 1, at the General Conference of 1901." (See Spalding & Magan Collection, pp. 162-174)
A new and different constitution was adopted at the 1901 Session. It set up an Executive Committee of 25 members to administer the affairs of the Church. The By-laws, Art. 1, Sec. 3, reads - "The Executive Committee shall have full administrative power during the intervals between sessions of the conference." This committee was to be presided over by a rotating chairman, - no president! (1901 GC Bulletin, April 22, p. 379) Thus the "committee" concept with full power to act between sessions was embodied in the 1901 Constitution. But the 1901 Constitution lasted only two years, and in 1903 it was superceded by a document which created anew the office of president of the General Conference.
The 1903 Constitution still declared that between sessions "the Executive Committee shall have full administrative power." The President in his duties functioned "as the Executive Committee may advise." The other officers - secretary and treasurer - were not given administrative roles. In fact, the treasurer was mandated to disburse funds received by his office "by order of the president." (1903, GC Bulletin #10, pp. 145-46)
The 1985 definitive statement on the "committee system" creates a "troika" to head the General Conference and each sub-section of it. While a president remains "the first officer and chairman of the executive committee," he is only "first among equals." And while the co-officers - the secretary and treasurer - are "to acknowledge his leadership," they exercise "collegial authority" with him. These officers are "not a substitute for the committee," but rather have a "management function, supported by the department directors, and supervise executive implementation of the actions of the committee." (Op.cit.) This constitutes a real mix between the 1901 and 1903 Constitutions with the added troika concept of collegial authority exercised by the three chief elected officers.
It appears that in the mix of concepts from 1901 & 1903, one problem was not addressed. Ellen G. White in evaluating the 1901 Session indicated a "thorough work" had not been done. (Test., Vol. 8:106) While this lack of a "thorough work" referred to structural reorganization, it also included a heart work on the part of those chosen for leadership. Wilson's rhetoric during the session - Vice Presidents compared to Cardinals - hardly conforms to the concepts of committee governance as outlined in the Statement. Further, one of the delegates to the Session aptly fingered the problem. He noted in reference to the committee system of governance: "All of us recognize that when an administrator of this church is elected, one of the very first questions that he is asked is who he wants to serve with him. In my estimation his vigorous work to get his staff in place does not sound like a committee system of governance. Many times the real will of the people is lost because one who has ascended to a position of responsibility is, by charisma, determination, and intellect, able to get his way. (Bulletin #5, p. 12)
When time passes judgment on the reorganizational concepts of the 1985 Session, and their implementation, an unheeded recommendation may then be seen as the only viable solution of the structural and personnel problems of the Church. Elder John Stevens said: "Our base problem in the church is not structural, it is not economic; it is spiritual." Then he recommended - "I would like to recommend that we give far more serious study to our spiritual condition." (Bulletin #4, p. 12) --- (1985 Nov) --- End --- TOP
1985 Dec -- XVIII -- 12(85) WHERE IS THE AUTHORITY OF GOD INVESTED? IN THE GC? -- A Question Which the 1985 Session Forces Every SDA to Answer -- Among the revisions of the Church Manual voted at the New Orleans Session of the General Conference was one captioned - "General Conference the Highest Authority." (Bulletin #8, p. 8) Keep in mind, that previous to this action, the Session had voted to require"faithful adherence to the Church Manual." (Ibid., #7, p. 9) This now means the recognition of the General Conference "as the highest authority, under God," on earth by every Seventh-day Adventist. Further, this authority is made to include "the Executive Committee between sessions." In fact, "during the interim between these sessions the Executive Committee shall constitute the body of final authority on all questions where a difference of viewpoint may develop." (Bulletin #8, p. 8)
The logic used to arrive at this conclusion is based on a perception of power derived from the Constitution of the General Conference. The Constitution authorizes the General Conference "to create subordinate organizations to promote specific interests in various sections of the world." (Ibid.) Naturally, that which is created is subject to its creator.
in mind that while this creation extends down only to the Union Conferences
p 2 -- human bondage imposed upon them by men in high places.
To give credence to this pronouncement of ecclesiastical power, the Writings were quoted. A partial paragraph from Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3, p. 492 , was included. It reads: I have been shown that no man's judgment should be surrendered to the judgment of any one man. But when the judgment of the General Conference, which is the highest authority that God has upon earth, is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be maintained, but be surrendered.
In the discussion over this revision of the Church Manual, Elder Louis Venden, senior pastor of the Loma Linda University Church advised - I would strongly urge that three very important paragraphs from Testimonies, Vol. 9, pages 260, 261 be included in the Manual. They provide a more detailed exegesis of Ellen White's understanding than in the quotation we have. [Quoted above]
To this, Elder F. W. Wernick, a retiring "cardinal" of the Church responded: I think we would be happy to do that. We may have to condense it, but I can understand the point you are making. (Bulletin #8, p. 6)
However, when the action was reported in the Adventist Review, no mention was made of the reference in Volume 9 as urged by Venden.
What Has Ellen G. White Said? -- The reference quoted from Volume 3 above, in context, is most interesting. It is a letter written to a "Brother A" who "had strength to bear some responsibilities." (p. 495) He had, however, delayed in responding to a summons issued by the General Conference to appear in Battle Creek. He made "a mistake in relying upon [James White] to tell him what to do." It was not his understanding of the principles governing leadership that were wrong, it was "the application of them" which produced the basic difficulty. (p. 493) In the same letter, certain brethren are declared to be "deficient in the experience" they should have had because they were not "self-reliant." (Ibid.) It appears that the bottom line is very simple. Exercise self-reliance and maintain your individuality, surrendering it to no man; but counsel together with brethren placed in positions of responsibility. However, much more than this has been read into the statement, and seemingly with the full approval of Ellen G. White. In 1901, when a reorganization was called for, Ellen G. White included herself in the perception of the power and authority of the General Conference which has been deducted from the testimony sent to "Brother A." In addressing the session at Battle Creek, as soon as it was declared open for business, she stated: That these men should stand in a sacred place, to be the voice of God to the people, as we once believed the General Conference to be, - that is past. What we want now is a reorganization. We want to begin at the foundation, and to build upon a different principle. (1901 GC Bulletin, p. 25)
Two things should be noted from this statement. She called the General Conference "a sacred place." However, she declared the position that they should stand as "the voice of God to the people" - that was and is past! In other words, she was not saying that the house was being left desolate. In 1901, it was still "a sacred place." But it was not and could not be declared"as the voice of God to the people" with the policies and activities being carried out within its sacred precincts. She called for the cleansing of the temple!
question remains - Would the General Conference be restored to its position
"as the voice of God to the people" and the highest authority
under God in the church, if it were cleansed, or in other words, if a
reorganization occurred built on " a different principle"? Some
so conclude based on a statement read by Ellen G. White at the 1909 General
Conference session and appearing
p 3 -- not take any man's say-so; that they are amenable to no man. (p. 257)
Then she cautioned of the other extreme by stating - On the other hand, the leaders among God's people are to guard against the danger of condemning the methods of individual workers who are led by the Lord to do a special work that but few are fitted to do. Let brethren in responsibility be slow to criticize movements that are not in perfect harmony with their methods of labor. Let them never suppose that every plan should reflect their own personality. (p. 259)
In the final section of the manuscript [three paragraphs] Ellen G. White wrote of the position and authority of the General Conference. However, she never gave the Executive Committee the authority assumed in the 1985 Session actions at New Orleans. She restricted the scope of the authority of the General Conference to plans "for the prosperity and advancement of [God's] work." (p. 261) She confined the authority of the General Conference to a conference "composed of an assembly of duly appointed, representative men from all parts of the field" in session - "when assembled in a General Conference." (Ibid.) She also noted that in times past she could "no longer regard the voice of the General Conference ... as the voice of God" - an unmistakable reference to the 1901 comment.
How can this question of authority be resolved, and how can the variant statements be reconciled? This brings us in our church history to the 1903 General Conference Session; to a statement made by one of the delegates; and to a prophecy written following the session.
The 1903 Session -- The 1903 General Conference session convened in Oakland, California, March 27, with the least number of delegates present from the world field since 1893, and only slightly more than half the number present at the 1901 session in Battle Creek when the call for reorganization resulted in a new Constitution with the office of General Conference president eliminated. Near the close of the session the Committee on Plans and Constitution brought in two reports - a Majority and a Minority Report. The Majority Report called for a new Constitution which would restore the office of President. Elder P. T. Magan, one of three who signed the Minority Report which called for the preservation of the reformatory Constitution of 1901, stated during the floor discussion: It may be stated there is nothing in this new constitution which is not abundantly safeguarded by the provisions of it; but I want to say to you that any man who has ever read Neander's History of the Christian Church, Mosheim's, or any other of the great church historians, - any man who has ever read those histories can come to no other conclusion but that the principles which are to be brought in through this proposed constitution, and in the way in which they are brought in, are the same principles, and introduced in precisely the same way, as they were hundreds of years ago when the Papacy was made.
Further: This whole house must recognize this, before we are through with this discussion, that the proposed new constitution, whatever improvements may be claimed for it, whatever advantages it may be stated that it contains, that, in principle, as far as the head of the work is concerned, it goes back precisely where we were before the reformatory steps of two years ago. (1903 GC Bulletin, p. 150)
Within eight days from the time of the adjournment of the 1903 Session in Oakland, Ellen G. White penned a prophetic warning to the Church, asking "Shall We Be Found Wanting?' She wrote: In the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist church is to be weighed. She will be judged by the privileges and advantages that she has had. If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence, "Found wanting." By the light bestowed, the opportunities given, will she be judged. (Testimonies, Vol. 8, p. 247)
statement is in the future tense. Those who would hold that the church
Key Prophecy --
This prophecy is the key to the present crisis and dilemma.
If the church has not been weighed as yet in the balances of the sanctuary,
or having been weighed found
p 4 -- not to be wanting, then verily, the Church is the highest visible authority under God on earth for the Holy Spirit speaks through her in the actions which the church in General Sessions vote. However, if the church has been weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, and has been found to be "wanting," the whole picture changes. No longer is the Spirit of God speaking through the church; no longer are her actions clothed in the authority of Heaven.
In this prophecy, "the heavenly Teacher" is quoted as declaring: "What stronger delusion can beguile the mind than the pretense that you are building on the right foundation, and that God accepts your works, when in reality you are working out many things according to worldly policy, and are sinning against Jehovah? 0, it is a great deception, a fascinating delusion, that takes possession of minds when men who have once known the truth, mistake the form of godliness for the spirit and power thereof; when they suppose that they are rich, and increased with goods, and in need of nothing, while in reality they are in need of everything." (Ibid., Pp. 249-250)
This divine "Instructor" asks a question - "How is the faithful city become an harlot? - and declares that should this condition prevail, the church becomes "a place whence the divine presence and glory have departed!" (Ibid., p. 250)
In the call to corporate repentance at the close of this prophetic testimony, the Messenger of the Lord indicated that "now" - in 1903 - the church was being "leavened with her own backsliding." (Ibid.) Magan had sounded the warning that should the new Constitution be adopted - and-it was - papalism would finally be set up within the Seventh-day Adventist church. This has happened, even though there has been an attempt to cover the fact with a troika executive concept carrying out the actions of an all supreme committee.
In another testimony given years before the 1903 Session, but timed to the period when "Jesus is about to leave the heavenly sanctuary" (V: 207), the same picture emerges. Using the symbol of Israel for the church, Ellen White wrote - "The glory of the Lord had departed from Israel; although many still continued the forms of religion, His power and presence were lacking." (V: 210)
Now we may give lip service to the messages which were sent to the church in 1888 which would have preserved the church from the present crisis; but to fail to recognize these testimonies which give God's intent and reaction under certain conditions is to put one's head in the sand and invite eternal condemnation. The message of warning calling the church to repentance was sounded in 1950. The reaction of the church to this warning is a known fact and cannot be disputed. Now at this late hour, we must determine God's response to the rejection of His call to repentance. Let it be clearly understood that any repentance after God has weighed the church in the balances of the sanctuary and found it to be wanting will only be a repentance comparable to the repentance of Esau and Judas.
The bottom line returns to the all important key question - "Has the church been weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, and was the decision of Heaven - 'Found wanting?'" All other questions pale into insignificance in the face of the gravity of this question. At stake is the destiny of "men, maidens, and little children." (V: 211) How can we blissfully go on saying that there is nothing negative about Laodicea, and that she will triumph, even if "the divine presence and glory have departed?" Should there be an apparent triumph, whose power would be thus manifest in a false "latter rain" experience? Whose messenger would such a messenger be? Is it not time to stop and reconsider where we are in the stream of time, and order our messages in harmony with the decisions of the Heavenly Sanctuary?
The True Voice of God on Earth -- When Jesus walked among men on the earth, He was the voice of God on earth. Of Him, God declared - "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him." (Matt. 17: 5) When Jesus was about to leave the disciples - those who would constitute His church on earth - He told them He would send "another Comforter," even the Spirit of truth who would abide with them to the end. (John 14:16; 16:13) This Holy Spirit is the voice of God on earth until withdrawn. He has and does speak through men and human organizations. The decision of the first General Conference session in Jerusalem was confirmed in the name of the Holy Spirit. The written decision read - "For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us..." (Acts 15:28)
p 5 -- So long as a person and/or an organization remains true to the trust committed to them, the Holy Spirit abides with them, but should a person and/or an organization be found by the balances of the sanctuary to have betrayed that trust, the Spirit of God no longer uses that person and/or organization. It is declared to have been - "Found wanting." This is the issue today, and the only question to be answered at the present time - for all else hinges on the answer! If the answer is not determined beyond shadow of doubt, those on the wrong side of the answer will find themselves ultimately to have been false prophets, and the people who listen to them will be deceived with eternal consequences at stake. The true voice of God must be discerned and followed. This is not an issue over which we can play "tiddly-winks." To say that we believe what Ellen G. White had to say about the message and messengers God sent in 1888, yet refuse to take heed to what she wrote in prophecy following the 1903 General Conference session is to nullify our profession of belief in the gift of prophecy.
An Example -- In the book set aside for the time of the end is to be found an example which sets forth the actions to be followed by those who know and understand prophecy and its fulfillment. In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar, Daniel received a vision while residing at Shushan in the province of Elam. (8:2) In this prophecy, he was told plainly who the, next world rulers would be - the Medes and Persians. (8:20)
Daniel was no stranger to the kings of Media. Nebuchadnezzar's sister had been given in marriage to a Median king. During the reign of Nebuchadnezzar friendly relations existed between the two courts. It is highly possible that Daniel on various occasions was sent on diplomatic missions to the Median court by the Babylonian king.
As the forces of the Medes and Persians pushed down upon Babylon, the province of Elam would have been one of the first to fall. Daniel could have remained behind as the Babylonian forces retreated and asked for "political asylum" knowing that the arms of Medo-Persia would prevail. But no, the final night of Belshazzar's reign found Daniel in Babylon. The verdict of the Heavenly Sanctuary had not been revealed to him. He dare not move ahead of God.
p 6 -- The story of the last night of Belshazzar is well known. While feasting in his palace, the Hand came forth and on the palace wall wrote the fateful words - "Found wanting." When Daniel read the words, he had his answer, and moved swiftly in harmony with heaven's plan. The next day, Daniel became the first of the three presidents placed over the 120 princes appointed to rule the provinces of the Kingdom of Medo-Persia.
What a lesson! Know the decision of God, and then move in harmony with it. We can know - we have been told specifically - that God would weigh the Seventh-day Adventist church in the balances of the sanctuary. Further, we have been put on notice that this would occur prior to Jesus leaving the mercy-seat of the heavenly sanctuary, or in other words, prior to the close of human probation. Besides this we have been told on what evidence the decision would be based - whether the church had been true to the trust committed to her.
The sad situation at the present time is that there are those who profess to believe the Lord's messenger who will not face up to the prophetic testimony given in 1903. There are others who know the answer to the key question for this present hour, but who are unwilling to take positive action as did Daniel as soon as he knew.
What shall the outcome be - continuance under human authority, or bowing to the fact that God has taken things into His own hands? The prophecy of Ezekiel 9, the basis for Testimonies, Vol. 5, pp. 207f, clearly indicates, that once the decision is rendered in the sanctuary - while Jesus still remains there - the One who abides between the cherubim goes to the threshold of the tabernacle and takes command of the situation resulting from the apostasy in Jerusalem. Ignorance of these things is not bliss; and deception is deadly. ####
1 I have often been instructed by the Lord that no man's judgment should be surrendered to the judgment of any other one man. Never should the mind of one man or the minds of a few men be regarded as sufficient wisdom and power to control the work, and to say what plans should be followed. But when, in a General Conference, the judgment of the brethren assembled from all parts of the field, is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be stubbornly maintained, but surrendered. Never should a laborer regard as a virtue the persistent maintenance of his position of independence, contrary to the decision of the general body.
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 world, when assembled in a General Conference, shall have authority. The error that some are in danger of committing, is in giving to the mind and judgment of one man, or of a small group of men, the full measure of authority and influence that God has invested in His church, in the judgment and voice of the General Conference assembled to plan for the prosperity and advancement of His work.
When this power, which God has placed in the church, is accredited wholly to one man, and he is invested with the authority to be judgment for other minds, then the Bible order is changed. Satan's efforts upon such a man's mind would be most subtle, and some times well-nigh overpowering; for the enemy would hope that through his mind he could effect many others. [Compare this part of the paragraph to Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 493, par. 2. This will give you some insight as to how this manuscript was brought together.] Let us give to the highest organized authority in the church that which we are prone to give to one man or to a small group of men. (Testimonies, Vol. 9, pp. 260-261, Section - "The General Conference.")
the light from the Heavenly Sanctuary guide you in 1986
p 7 -- CONFERENCE APPROVED -- by Clarence A. Settle --
dear pastor, tarry, I pray.
you, my child, for coming to me;
pastor, I have heard it said that in '77
child, you are I so naive -----
pastor, thank you indeed, those words I just love to hear.
child, can you not see
understand, pastor, but it does bother me.
my child, don't worry yourself so.
you kind sir, such words I truly love to hear.
one thing more I would like to ask;
I then hear your calm and soothing words declare:
THE LORD PROVIDES -- For some time now, we have wanted to reach out to the Spanish speaking section of the Adventist Community with the message which for eighteen years the English members have had opportunity to read. We are indebted to the untiring efforts and unceasing determination of Elder Wellesley Muir, Senior Pastor of the Central Seventh-day Adventist of Bakersfield, California, in helping to bring this about. Because of Elder Muir's objective in ridding the church he governs of all "dissident" voices, he has provided the Foundation with an editor and translator for the Thought Paper - "Watchman, What of the Night?" - in Spanish. The plans call for the Spanish edition to be edited and translated in Bakersfield; printed and distributed from Lamar, Arkansas. Those knowing Spanish speaking members of the Adventist community who need to be informed in their own language, please send us their names and addresses. The first issue is being readied for January, 1986. It has been suggested by the editor of the Spanish edition that we dedicate the first issue to Elder Muir. Elder Muir spent a number of years working in the Inca Union Mission of the South American Division. Now he is again instrumental in helping to meet the spiritual needs of those whom he served in mission service. As the Psalmist Asaph wrote - "Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain." (Ps. 76:10) --- (1985 Dec) ---