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 1982 Oct - Dec
1982 Oct -- XV -- 10(82) -- Representatives of Sabbath Keeping Groups Meet -- "Unite Now In Christ Only" - Objective -- Early this summer a letter was received at the Foundation office announcing a conference of various Sabbath-keeping groups for the purpose of exploring avenues whereby their witness to the Sabbath might be in unity. The sponsoring organization - UNICO - Unite Now in Christ Only - is headed by a former Seventh-day Adventist minister, Elder M. L. Bartholomew, who calls himself "Brother Bart." Invitations were extended to all Sabbath-keeping churches to send representatives. On the recommendation of the leader of one of the associations, I received a personal invitation, and was urged to attend.
Consideration was given to this request, and inasmuch as the counsel reads - "To those who reverence His holy day, the Sabbath is a sign that God recognizes them as His chosen people." (6T:350) - I decided to attend as an observer. It was clear that here was an ecumenical thrust among Sabbath keepers to join together toward a common goal with the basis in Christ according to the name of the organization. The meeting was held at Camp Soaring Hawk near Purdy, Missouri, August 27 - 31.
Representatives came from the various segments of the Church God (7th Day); a minister who had been put out of the Radio Church of God served as Secretary of the Conference. A minister from one of the Assemblies of Yahvah was present. The SDA Reform Movement was represented by Elder John Baer and his son-in-law, Dr. R. Kramer. The leader of the Davidian SDA Church, Elder M. J. Bingham, and a number of its members from Bashan Hill attended the Sabbath services and the Sunday discussion periods. A group from Waco, Texas, headed by its Bishop, Lois Roden, was also in attendance. An invitation had also been sent to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but none appeared. A personal invitation was given to Elder George Vandeman to come because of his friendship with Brother Bart over the years. Various Black groups came from as far away as Toronto, Ontario; also a pastor from a large assembly in Nashville, Tennessee.
A very democratic process was used to select the speakers for the Sabbath, and to structure the Agenda. All were urged to be at the Camp site by 9:30 Friday morning for the organizational meeting. At this meeting the speakers for the Sabbath services were selected by recommendation and vote of those present. The formal opening of this ecumenical conference began with the Friday evening service conducted by the Secretary of the Conference. Two services were held on Sabbath morning, one at 9:30, and the second one at 11 a.m. The message at the latter service was given
p 2 -- by Elder Paul Wilds of the Pilgrim Acres Assembly of Yahvah. It was a practical message on the Christian home, and a ringing denunciation of sexual deviations which mark this final age like the days of Lot in Sodom. Apart from his transliteration of the Hebrew name for Lord, and Jesus, one would think that he was hearing an old-line Seventh-day Adventist sermon of yesteryears. The evening service by Elder Ross from Nashville carried many homely and down-to-earth comments on the proper mode of dress and conduct for the Christian, both men and women. However, there was a wide contrast between what was said from the pulpit on dress, and the dress of many present; besides the wide contrast of dress by the various groups present. On Sabbath, the women from the Toronto-based Black group wore white including either hats or turban-like head coverings. Others wore a thin lace veil on their heads and this was at all services as well as the Sabbath - and were otherwise modestly attired, but not extreme. Another segment came to the Sabbath services in form fitting slacks, and tight sweaters. Jewelry was also much in evidence.
The actual observance of the Sabbath - except for a few deviations which the leadership of UNICO did not approve - was in keeping with the highest standards for the observance of God's Holy Day. Food was prepared on Friday, and was composed mostly of salads. However, following the last meeting on Saturday night - and this was past 9:30 p.m. - a large spread ad of hamburgers on buns, French fries, and other vegetables, was set out in the dining room. I was in the dining hall visiting with various folk, and was surprised at the number who ate heartily at such a late hour including the representatives of the SDA Reform Movement. Again the contrast between what is and was said in the pulpit, and the actual practice remains vividly distinct.
On Sabbath afternoon an ordination was conducted for two young men. Brother Bart urged all ministers present to take part in the laying on of hands so that the ordination would be across denominational lines. (I sat this one out.) A baptism followed conducted by a father-son team. (The son was one of the ones who had been ordained, and two of the candidates for the baptism had been studied with by family members of this team.) The invocation pronounced over the candidates was a bit different from the formula, one is used to hearing at Seventh-day Adventist services - the baptism being done in the name of Jesus. Returning to the assembly hall there was a laying-on-of-hands for the reception of the Holy Spirit. This was quite a scene inasmuch as the ones who had just been baptized appeared up in front dressed in either short shorts, or form fitting slacks. (Upon inquiry, I found that the wearing of shorts was an error in instruction, and the couple had not been fully informed as to the dress code, thus their wardrobe was lacking in Sabbath attire. It should be said in support of this, that the folk who had studied with them were themselves modestly clothed for the Sabbath services.)
The music was definitely slanted to what is termed "Pentecostal" in nature, not in the songs selected, but in what accompanied them - hand raising, shouting of "glory," "alleluia," and/or "praise the Lord." Some of these exclamations were in keeping with the way one would say, "Amen." Also on occasion there was feet stomping and hand clapping to the music. During the song service prior to the 9:30 Sabbath morning service, the group from Toronto started shouting and swaying with their hands raised. I thought for a while that we were in for a tongues demonstration. I prayed earnestly. Soon the emotion subsided, and a calm returned to the assembly. All of this emotional response was encouraged by the song leader himself. It appeared as a purposeful effort to generate the Spirit.
same democratic process by which the speakers were selected for the
Sabbath services was also used in selecting topics for the discussion
sessions. A procedure was suggested and adopted which allowed for the
largest amount of input from all present. The speaker who presented
a designated topic was given thirty minutes. All present were then divided
into groups for discussion with a secretary taking notes to formulate
a summary for presentation and discussion by the reassembled body. An
hour of discussion on the topic based on the summaries followed. Thus
each topic was given extensive evaluation.
p 3 -- The first topic was - "Why Have Unity?" It was presented by Elder John Baer of the SDA Reform Movement. He built his presentation around the concept of Rev. 12:1-3, indicating that it is the devil who has introduced disunity. Then noting John 17:21-23, he called attention to what the unity for which Christ prayed would accomplish. He confessed that he in the Reform Movement had a very "narrow vision" in the past, but that he with others needed to have their vision "widened" so that unity might be realized. He told the conference that his concepts and those of the leadership of the conference were "not very far a part." This was indeed a new concept on the part of the SDA Reform Movement. In the discussion which followed in the group which I chaired, and which was taken to the floor, it was pointed out that Jesus asked in Luke 12:49-51 - "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth?" "I tell you, Nay, but rather division," was His answer. This needs to be put into the "computer" in any consideration of unity. Is unity merely a profession of love for one another, or must it include truth?
In the Sunday afternoon session, the topic - "The Scriptural Basis of Unity" - was presented by Elder M. J. Bingham. He pointedly asked the question of Scripture: "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3) It was over this basic difference of approach to unity which divided the thinking of the conference. One group believed in brotherly love in the Holy Spirit would accomplish the objective, thus playing down the theological differences, while a second group believed that truth, pure and unadulterated, based in the Word of God only, must form the basis of all genuine unity.
It had been announced for the Sunday night service there would be a healing line to be followed by prophetic revelations which Brother Bart through the Spirit would bring to those present. (It was at this point, I decided to take my departure. Following the afternoon presentation, I left for home.) It became very apparent to me that while the gift of prophecy manifest in the ministry of Ellen G. White was totally rejected by fully half of the groups represented, and distorted by others; these in turn claimed to have that gift themselves. Gifts as outlined in Eph. 11-15 do not divide, but rather bring "the unity of the faith" - not diversity of the faith!
From dialogue and conversation, it was evident that the beliefs of the groups present were so diverse there was little hope to bridge the gap if truth were to be the basis of unity. On the part of most, there was a complete denial of the prophecy of Daniel 8:14 in connection with Gabriel's explanation in Daniel 9. "Remember ye the Law of Moses my servant," (Mal. 4:4) was emphasized strongly, but the type concept was confused if not completely ignored by some. Few had any desire to study in depth the connection between Daniel 8 & 9, - preferring to denigrate linguistic tools by which truth may be more, clearly perceived. Others, who did accept the sanctuary teaching of the Bible, had so added their own aberrations to it, that it repelled thinking men and women. On top of this was the introduction of the pagan triad concept of a female goddess in the trinity by seeking to set forth the Holy Spirit as a female in the Godhead.
table was provided upon which all who wished could place their literature
representing their, various beliefs and concepts. I took time to look
over the table and gathered some of the items for reference and documentation.
But this table of confused voices of the pen and press did remind me
of other tables I had seen set up in various meetings I had attended
over the past few years. I thought - How subtle has been the devil's
philosophy, "Let us have unity in diversity." We have become
confused in our thinking. We have come to believe that any exercise
of authority to protect the sheep of His pasture is an exercise in hierarchical
control, and an infringement upon the individuality of those propagating
error. It is true that we each do possess a distinct individuality,
and thus all have a different depth of perception, and utilize different
modes of expression. But whether differing in mode of expression, or
depth of perception, we should all speak the same things, as the Spirit
is not divided, nor the Truth relative. Truth having its origin in God
is as absolute as He is. It is the one who abode not in the truth who
brought disunity. Unity can, therefore, be achieved only by returning
to the Truth.
p 4 -- If we find that truth through the Spirit of truth, then we can walk together in unity. To permit the dissemination of confusion is not charity, but serves well the purposes of the archdeceiver who would have us believe that we can unify in fellowship but have diversity in doctrine and teaching.
During the few days I was at the Conference, I was able to become well acquainted with Brother Bart. We shared the same room in the Lodge where the meetings were being held. Brother Bart is a likable, jolly, good-natured person. He is friendly, approachable, disarming, and yet well versed in the position he now maintains. He had labored in various conferences of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Southern, Southwestern, and Columbia Unions. When Elder John Ford, one of the church's greatest evangelists was removed from the ministry for personal reasons, Elder Bartholomew was asked to go to Philadelphia to work against Ford. He was at that time holding a large evangelistic series on his own. The end result was that Brother Bart ended up by becoming Ford's singing evangelist. He was with him for about two years, and then found his way into various segments of the Church of God, 7th Day. Just prior to his setting up UNICO, Elder Bartholomew was Chairman of the Apostolic Council of the Church of God headquartered in Salem, West Virginia.
In conversations with Brother Bart, I asked him about the beginnings of UNICO. He told me that in 1971, as he was walking down the street a cloud came over him on a clear day, and a voice said to him that he should work toward getting all the Sabbath-keeping groups together into unity outside of denominational boundaries. From that day to now, this has been the driving force in his ministry. On Saturday night, after we had retired, we talked across the room, and I expressed my concern as to the Pentecostal overtones of the meetings that day. He told me that he was not Pentecostal but of that group who were "Spirit-filled." A fine line is drawn here. He defined Pentecostalism as the belief which required speaking in tongues as the evidence of the gift of the Spirit. One, however, who was "Spirit-filled" may exercise varied gifts, not necessarily speaking in tongues. Brother Bart claims the gift of prophecy, and told me that at no time had any of his messages proven false in regard to the individuals to whom he delivered them. Further he confesses to having spoken in tongues. He cited to me one of his experiences. He gave a testimony of a linguist to whom he related what he has said in the Spirit, and the interpretation given him. The linguist said that he praised God in an African dialect, and that the interpretation was accurate. Let me assure you that there was an uncanny "spirit" in that lodge room as we were talking. I again prayed most earnestly to be kept by the power of God. I made a request from God, and made Him a promise. He answered my request, and I kept my promise!
Herein is a new force, which we have not before confronted. In dealing with Sunday-keepers, we have not had difficulty, because we could say simply, because they did not keep the commandments of God, the manifestations of the "spirit" which they exhibited in tongues and prophesyings were not of God, but of the devil. We could cite Scripture that the Holy Spirit is given by God to those only "that obey Him." (Acts 5:32) But here is an ecumenical Sabbath-keeping movement which not only professes to have the gift of prophecy, but whose leader has spoken in tongues, claiming to have had a genuine experience in both. He is lovable, and teaches a loving fellowship as the basis of unity. How shall we relate to all of this?
While it is true that Elder Baer pointed out in his conference presentation that the the devil is the source of disunity he, failed to perceive, or to present the truly "wider" revelation of prophecy which indicates that in the last hours these same spirits of devils will seek to gather all - kings and people alike - into a united fellowship. (Rev. 16:13-14) It is terrifying in its contemplation. We have failed to note that God in giving this prophecy changed the symbolic representation of Satan from a dragon-serpent to the symbol of "frogs." Now a frog catches its food by its tongue, and makes all kinds of varied sounds at the time of the mating season as they all get together. How apt is this prophetic imagery of the tongues movement, which has become since 1967 a great unifying factor in the divergent religious world. Now it is becoming
p 5 -- associated with a Sabbath-keeping ecumenical thrust. Truly as stated by Peter - "We have a word of prophecy made sure: whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light shining in a squalid place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts." (II Peter 1:19 ARV margin)
There is another divine revelation through Paul - though severe - which needs to be carefully considered. Paul clearly states that when we receive not "the love of the truth" that we might be saved, then God permits strong delusion to come upon us that we believe a lie. (II Thess. 2:10-11) Herein is again the issue of truth - absolute, unchangeable as its Source - which if we reject and turn from, we are left to the deceptions of the enemy who abode not in the truth. Further, we need to recognize that in these last times Satan is to be transformed into an angel of light and his ministers, "as ministers of righteousness." (II Cor. 11:13-15)
This brings us face to face with some unpleasant evaluations of our own. Written prior to 1900, the testimony cited on page one of this thought paper - 6T:350 - indicated that reverence for the true Sabbath is the sign by which God recognizes "His chosen people." We must frankly ask ourselves the question - "Does this hold true in this hour?" - and face up to the implications such an evaluation suggests. We failed our "Kadesh-barnea," and have been wandering in the wilderness all these many years. There has been for us as well as it was for ancient Israel an "altering of the divine purpose." (See Numbers 14:34 margin) With this altering has come some different priorities. I told this conference of Sabbath keepers on Sabbath morning, that if all would take the research of Crosier, Hahn, and Edson and build on this foundation, then all could arrive at unity of both fellowship and doctrine under the Spirit of truth.
It is my firm conviction that the one truth which will mark the people of God as His chosen people in this late hour of human history is the truth portrayed in the types and shadows of the Sanctuary while Israel was assembled before the Mount of the Law - Sinai. (Is not the way of God in the sanctuary? Ps. 77:13) From that mount has flowed all basic truth - grace and law - in perfect balance and harmony. Moses declared - "The Lord came from Sinai from His right hand went a fiery law for them. Yea He loved the people." (Deut 33:2-3) Here in will be found that love which will unite God's people, and which will be seen in their conduct one for another - love for God that will not compromise His truth, and love for another that will not allow them to countenance error in their brother. Rather, "speaking the truth in love, we [will] grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ." This is the unity in Christ which we must now have.
HISTORY - WITH A CONTINUING BLESSING -- The first campmeeting of the Adventist Laymen's Annual Fellowship is now past history, but there lingers an ever present blessing as the truths presented and the fellowship enjoyed are recalled. One sister came to me at the close of the last service and said - "When I came, I told my son that if this campmeeting was anything like last year [Silver Lake East-II], I was going to go home. But you see, I have stayed clear through the last meeting." In a telephone call this past week, another person told me - "If all come next year who say they will from what we have told them about this year's campmeeting, you will have to find more sleeping accommodations." We hope we will have to crowd the facilities. Arrangements have already been finalized to use the same campgrounds and the same week in August as this year. We will pray for the same beautiful mountain weather that we had this year.
This meeting was prefaced by fasting and prayer. God did answer our petitions. As the meetings were drawing to a close, I approached several and asked if they would write out and send to me after they returned home a testimony of the blessings received. Some didn't wait but wrote out their convictions right then and there. From these and those sent in by mail, we wish to share a few with our readers:
"What a spiritual - plus physical and mental -blessing we received from the fellowship
p 6 -- in Arkansas. We're thankful we were able to take advantage of the opportunity and to be refreshed from God's book in His great outdoors. It was good to meet with others from so many different places, and share in common our faith, our love for the truth, and the special burden we have about the time in which we live." (Nebraska)
"Our hearts burned within us as we listened to the truths as they were preached from the Bible. The spirit and fellowship seemed to be a foretaste of heaven. Everyone was so courteous. In the services, even the littlest ones were well-behaved.
"We received more blessings in a few days as we listened to the truths of Bible prophecy about the nearness of the end, than we have in many years in the regular church's services. (Indiana)
"We arrived home safe from Campmeeting. Really enjoyed the meetings. There was a good spirit the whole time. I feel every one received a blessing. The camp was ideal out in God's nature among the pines." (Arkansas).
"It was such a blessing to be there, and if time lingers, I pray we all may be there next year. I think this campmeeting was the best in the East yet. I thought the one in Illinois was good but to me this was much better." (Pennsylvania)
"I sure did enjoy the meetings this year, and I really got a blessing out of the sermons. It does us all good to come together and hear some good old fashioned preaching without a lot of stories that we don't know if they are true or not."(Arkansas)
"It was a wonderful week at Pinecrest. We received an abundance of spiritual and physical food. We especially cherish the fine friendships made." (Missouri)
"Worshiping among the pines at the Fellowship was an inspiring experience. There was an abundance of enthusiastic singing entered into by the entire congregation. The prayers were fervent; the studies on last day events, based on careful study of the Bible, plus present conditions in the world and in the church, thoroughly documented, increased our realization of the nearness of Jesus' return."(Oklahoma)
"Just a word to tell you how much the Campmeeting was appreciated this year. It was a feeling of an old-time campmeeting where Bible study was most important and Christian fellowship was abundant. Seeing old friends and meeting new ones was very pleasant. And the lack of condemnation and bitterness to anyone was very apparent as was the central theme of striving to learn Bible truth concerning last day events. We look forward to next year's campmeeting and hope the same spirit prevails." (Virginia)
"The campmeeting held at Pinecrest was a unique experience for us. In our imagination it was a throwback to what we think an early pioneer campmeeting would have been like. The high spiritual and moral level of the meetings and people were refreshing. We hope you are arranging for another gathering next year, because we are, God willing, planning to be there. (Ohio)
From a letter which came this morning - "I learned once again to appreciate children." Their "sweet spirit" - no "crying, whining, and, carrying on" to get their own way, plus their "sitting quietly in the meetings" made me "realize that there are still God-fearing parents who are training their little ones for the Kingdom of God." --- (1982 Oct) --- END --- TOP
1982 Nov -- XV -- 11(82) -- HOW READEST THOU? -- JESUS CHALLENGED A LAWYER WITH THIS QUESTION -- On one occasion a "certain lawyer stood up and tempted" Jesus. To his question, Jesus responded - "What is written in the law? how readest thou?" (Luke 10:25-26) To the many questions which today are facing sincere and concerned Seventh-day Adventists about their Church, and its future, we might also ask - "What is in the Testimonies for the Church? How readest thou?"
One question posed for the individual church member is to be found in the title of a testimony written in 1903 - "Shall We Be Found Wanting?" (8T:247) - Within this message written within days following the close of the 1903 General Conference Session held in Oakland, California, was a paragraph that has startled every reader who has given it careful thought. It declared: "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." (Ibid.)
How Readest Thou?" -- It is obvious there is to be a judgment of the Church in the balances of the heavenly Sanctuary, if language has any meaning at all. The verdict depends on some "ifs." But if those "ifs" are not met, the irrevocable sentence will be pronounced - "Found Wanting!" When will this time of judgment be? Was it at the time of writing in 1903, or was it future to that date? If future, can a time be known when such a judgment will take place? These are questions which must be answered if we are to read this solemn testimony correctly.
The very first sentence of the paragraph carries the future aspect - "is to be," not the word - "now." The sentence does not read -"In the balances of the sanctuary, the Seventh-day Adventist church is now being weighed." In this Testimony the word, now, is used to distinguish the time elements of the concepts being presented. In describing the Church of 1903, the messenger of the Lord stated: "Unless the church, which is now being leavened by her own backsliding, shall repent and be converted, she will eat the fruit of her own doing, until she shall abhor herself." (Ibid., p. 250) But in the paragraph under consideration, the simple futurity of the English language has been used - "will" with the third person - "she." Thus we are faced with the question - Can we find the time when this judgment shall take place?
p 2 -- Within this testimony, the "heavenly Teacher" is quoted, stating concerning the Church "My Father's, house is made a house of merchandise, a place whence the divine presence and glory have departed! For this cause there is weakness, and strength is lacking." (Ibid.) This same description of the Church is to be found in another testimony which gives us a time element. In the 1880's in a message pointing to the time when "Jesus is about to leave the mercy-seat of the heavenly sanctuary," is to be found similar language. It reads: "But the glory of the Lord had departed from Israel; although many still continued the forms of religion, His power and presence were lacking." (5T:207, 210) Thus just prior to the final intercession in the heavenly Court, the Church is to be weighed in the balances of the Sanctuary - for the past tense is used to describe the Church at that time: "the glory of the Lord had departed" (5T:210), and "a place whence the divine presence and glory have departed." (8T: 250)
The prophetic time as pictured within the chapter on "The Seal of God" can be further pinpointed. After calling attention to the decision of God regarding the Amorites, the lesson is drawn: "With unerring accuracy, the Infinite One still keeps an account with all nations. While His mercy is tendered with calls to repentance, this account will remain open; but when the figures reach a certain amount which God has fixed, the ministry of His wrath commences. The account is closed. Divine patience ceases. There is no more pleading of mercy in their behalf." (5T:208)
The antecedent of "their" is "all nations." Then it is further stated: "The prophet, looking down the ages, had this time presented before his vision." The prophet is Ezekiel, who is quoted in the introduction to this testimony. One looks in vain for any mention of "nations" in Ezekiel 9, the chapter quoted. Ezekiel 9 concerns the sealing work for those who are sighing for the abominations being done in the Church, or what is called "the sealing time of the one hundred and forty four thousand." It is at this time "the closing work for the church" takes place, described as "the last work." (3T:266) This involves among other things, the weighing of the Church in the balances of the sanctuary. It is the hour when the times of the nations are fulfilled, when their account is closed - yet Jesus lingers momentarily at the mercy seat in behalf of "the remnant. " (See EW, p. 38) When on earth, Jesus had foretold - "And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles [Greek = nations] until the time of the Gentiles [nations] are fulfilled." (Luke 21:24) 1 Where are we in the stream of time? How readest thou?
Another Question -- Now let us turn our attention to another question - How has God spoken to His people in these last days? Through one messenger, or through many? What is written in the Testimonies? How readest thou? Again in 1903, from St. Helena, California, the servant of the Lord wrote: "From the year 1846 until the present time, I have received messages from the Lord, and have communicated them to His people. This is my work - to give to the people the light that God gives to me. I am commissioned to receive and communicate His messages. I am not to appear before the people as holding any other position than that of a messenger with a message." (Dated, Nov. 17,1903; quoted in The Final Word and a Confession, p. 10)
G. White knew and understood her work and mission - she was the Lord's
messenger with a message for the Church. The concept of being "the
Lord's messenger" was a distinctive term and designation. When she,
therefore, used this designation for another, she was well acquainted
with its import. This is, however, the very language she chose to use
to describe the work of Elders E. J. Waggoner, and A. T. Jones. She wrote: "The
Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through
Elders Waggoner and Jones...
3 -- people
Because of Ellen G. White's recognition of the fact that God spoke through more than one messenger - even in her day - should cause us to pause and think twice before we restrict ourselves to only certain published testimonies. There were other testimonies given to this people, and those by the pens of Jones and Waggoner. God designed that His voice should be continually heard in testimony to His church, until such a time that it should be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary. Just prior to the terrible apostasy at the Jordan - the SDA-Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956 - the voice of God's messengers was again heard in warning. Elders R. J. Wieland and D. K. Short called the attention of leadership of the General Conference in 1950 to the Baal worship which was permeating all the decisions and goals set for the Church. They called for a corporate repentance and a turning to the message of 1888. The warning went unheeded, and apostasy followed. This was met by another messenger - Elder M. L. Andreasen - as he sought to counter the bold departure from the historic faith in the publication of the book resulting from the Evangelical Conferences - Questions on Doctrine. He did this through Letters to the Churches. But the apostasy continued unabated.
There is yet another and final warning prophesied. In 1896, the servant of the Lord wrote concerning the parable of the Ten Virgins - "My mind was carried into the future, when the signal will be given, 'Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet Him.'" (R&H, Feb. 11, 1896) This final midnight call by "an earnest voice" (COL, P. 412) does not originate among the ten sleeping virgins, but comes from outside of them and arouses all of them. There is a separation - some respond and go forth to a meeting of the Bridegroom, while the others go to the vendors of spiritual merchandise. Since the Church is to be weighed as a corporate body, no separation can take place till a final decision can be declared in the heavenly sanctuary. Following this decision comes the final judgment of the living, when decides in what direction he shall go - to a meeting with the Bridegroom, or back to those who make merchandise of the things of God. The earnest voices are even now being heard. How readest thou? How hearest thou?
One Final Question -- There is one final question to be answered. What is the future of the Church which is weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, and found to be wanting? In 1911, when the book - Acts of the Apostles - was first released, there was an interesting description given to the voice of God's Church in the earth. Writing of the Jerusalem Council - the first general conference of the Apostolic Church - Ellen G. White stated concerning the decision sent by four men to Antioch: "The four servants of God were sent to Antioch with the epistle and message that was to put an end to all controversy; for it was the voice of the highest authority upon earth." (p. l96) The expression - "the voice of the highest authority upon earth" was not new language for Ellen G. White, for in the middle 1870's she had written to a Brother A - "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 on earth, is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be maintained, but be surrendered." (3T: 492)
at the convening of the General Conference Session, Ellen G. White arose,
and stated among other things - "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." (GC Bulletin, April 2, 1901, #1, p. 25)
As a result of this presentation, a new Constitution was adopted which
abolished the office of
General Conference President. This,
p 4 -- however, was reversed in 1903 when the reformation constitution was annulled, and the new one adopted, returned the Church to its old system. It was then that Sister White wrote that the Church was to be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, and that in the actions taken in 1903, the Church "is now being leavened with her own backsliding" which could only be reversed by repentance and "a thorough reformation." (8T:250-251) No reformation has been forthcoming. Instead further attempts to strengthen the power of the hierarchy over the lives of the laity have been made.
In the legal case involving the Church through the Pacific Press Publishing Association and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission of the Federal government, a Brief presented by the Lawyers for the Church declared that "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 ... that between the quadrennial (now quinquennial) sessions of the delegates in General Conference, the Executive Committee wields all the powers of the Church, excepting only 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." (Reply Brief for Defendants of Their Motion for Summary Judgment, p. 9; Emphasis theirs)
Further, Elder R. H. Pierson, in a sworn affidavit in the same case declared "the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists" to be "the Seventh-day Adventist Church." (p. 1) Elder Neal C. Wilson in an affidavit, swore that it is "necessary for the Church to establish its, authority in the community of believers." (p. 6) What will the Church do, - the Church now declared under oath to be the Executive Committee between Sessions of the General Conference, a Church from which "the glory of the Lord" has departed, and which no longer has the Divine Presence? Note carefully - How readest thou? "'And at that time shall Michael stand up, ... and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time...' When this time of trouble comes, every case is decided; there is no longer probation, no longer mercy for the impenitent. The seal of the living God is upon His people. This small remnant, unable to defend themselves in the deadly conflict with the powers of earth that are marshalled by the dragon host, make God their defense. The decree has been passed by the highest earthly authority that they shall worship the beast and receive his mark under pain of persecution and death." (5T:213)
The "remnant" referred to in this above paragraph are composed of "the little company who are standing in the light" (p. 209) and the "some" who have responded to their "entreaties." The rest - the "many" - continue "the forms of religion" even though God's "power and presence" are lacking. (p. 210)
It was the Sanhedrin - the General Conference of the Jewish Church - who in executive session "consulted that they might take Jesus by subtlety, and kill Him." (Matt. 26:3-4) Members of this committee took Jesus to Pilate and demanded the death sentence. (John 19:6) Jesus warned His disciples - "They shall deliver you up to be afflicted." (Matt. 24: 9) When these disciples gave the final warning to the Jewish Church, the prophecy was fulfilled in the death of Stephen, James and other Christians. The "remnant of her seed" are not greater than the original "Seed." As the Jewish hierarchy did to Christ, and those first disciples, the testimony declares - "So it will be again." (DA, p. 630) "How Readest Thou?"
following questions and notes are to be found in the 20th Century Bible
Course, Lesson 5 - "Time Running Out.": "2.
What sign did Jesus give that would indicate when the destruction
of the city (Jerusalem) was at hand? Luke 21:20 -- "The
city of Jerusalem was surrounded by the Roman armies in A.D. 66. After
p 5 -- a period of time the army withdrew and the Christians, recognizing the sign given by Christ (Matt. 24:15-20) fled the city and did not return. In AD 69 the Romans returned, and destroyed the city in AD 70. Nearly a million people died or were sold into slavery at that time, but not a single Christian died. They watched for the sign Christ had given and obeyed His instructions. [Emphasis theirs] The temple was burned to the ground as Christ foretold (even though the soldiers had orders not to destroy it). Christ foresaw the future and outlined it to His followers so that they could be saved.
How long did Christ say that Jerusalem would be trodden down? (verse
For further information on the Times of the Gentiles fulfilled, see our monograph by that title. It can be obtained through the Foundation office. By December we plan to have available "The Seal a new revision of the tract of God" - a reprint of 5T:207-216 with notes. order form
PROCTOR FOLLOW-UP -- On August 24, 1982, a Consent Judgment was issued by Thomas L. Brown, Presiding Judge of the Ingram County Circuit Court at Lansing, Michigan. This was in response to a Complaint that had been filed by the Attorney General of the State of Michigan against the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, the Review and Herald Publishing Association, and their entities in the State of Michigan. The Church by this Order is "restrained from entering into, adhering to, maintaining, furthering, implementing or enforcing any policy, contract, agreement, understanding, plan or program which has the purpose or effect of fixing, stabilizing or maintaining the prices, price margins or mark-ups at which trade and subscription books and/or printed material sold or distributed [by the Church] may be sold or offered for resale by any independent reseller." (Section VII)
However, the Church in consenting to this judgment through legal counsel retained its control over the Literature Evangelists, and the prices for which they can sell the publications of the Church. The Order reads - "As used in this Consent Judgment, 'independent reseller' does not include Literature Evangelists, also known as Colporteurs, and [the Church's] dealings with them are not subject to the prohibitions" stated in this Order.
A further "loophole" is to be found in the Consent Agreement, by which the Church can "select or limit the number of independent resellers" and "reduce, suspend or terminate sales or shipments to any independent reseller." Thus the battle is not over, and the price control and distribution system of various publications including the Conflict of the Ages series is still maintained as a prerogative of the hierarchy.
RUSSIAN APPEAL -- On page 6 we have reproduced an article from a previous "thought paper" giving details in the life of the imprisoned minister of the - True and Free Seventh- day Adventists in Russia, Elder Rostislav Galetsky. This article by Peter Raddaway, originally appeared in Keston College's publication - "The Right to Believe." Also included with this thought paper is a petition to be signed urging the release of Elder Galetsky from the labor camp where he is confined.
We would encourage you to have all your friends and neighbors join you in signing this petition for Galetsky's release. Concerned non-Adventists in England will be sending us a packet of signed petitions and we would like to include a large packet from the readers of the thought paper. When signing, persons may put their name and full address, or their name, town, and country. The petitions returned from outside of the U.S.A. will be sent to appropriate Ambassadors in the respective countries. (People intending to travel in the Soviet Union would probably be wiser to refrain from signing.)
When you have obtained as many signatures as possible return the completed petition to us. Please do not place any signature on the back of the page. If you need a second page, you may reproduce the one enclosed, making it exactly like the original, or you may write us for more copies.
All the information we have from former prisoners in the USSR suggests that such activity in behalf of those still confined is helpful. It may not lead to an early release, but it is likely to cause camp authorities to treat them better. Any effort made is well worth the endeavor. We may not be able to visit in prison our brothers, and sisters in Russia, but remember what we do for them, Jesus recognizes it as done for Him.
p 6 -- The Case of the Russian "Robin Hood" -- An urgent appeal for a world campaign to free a Russian "Robin Hood" held in prison since July 1980 reached the West recently.
Rostislav Galetsky, a leading pastor of the True and Free Seventh Day Adventist Church, eluded the KGB for five years. While his wife lived in the central Russian town of Voronezh, he flitted invisibly round the country, comforting the oppressed, issuing samizdat reports of arrests and searches, and appearing in Moscow to speak at press conferences for foreign journalists. Each time the KGB arrived too late: he had slipped away to his next assignment.
The appeal is signed by his Church's governing council and calls for the release of 39 church members in all and of other jailed Soviet Christians. "We are deeply convinced," the council writes, "that only an intensified campaign by the world community to defend these unjustly persecuted Christians can produce a breakthrough in our struggle for our legal rights, in freeing the prisoners of conscience and in achieving genuine freedom of belief."
Galetsky, now aged 32, became well known in Moscow in 1977-78 when he gave an interview to the New York Times and publicly supported leading dissidents who had been arrested. In February 1978, he spoke out on behalf of Alexander Ginsburg at a press conference and as a result was strongly attacked in the government paper, Izvestia.
Following the arrest in March 1978 of Adventist Church head Vladimir Shelkov, Galetsky's role grew still more in importance. Shelkov died in January 1980 in a Siberian camp, aged 84.
The True and Free Seventh Day Adventist Church is not officially recognized by the Soviet state. Since breaking away from its parent body, the official Adventist Church, in the 1920's, it has refused to submit to the extensive controls which the authorities try to impose on all religious communities. The True and Free Adventists argue - along with other unofficial churches - that these controls violate a basic principle of the Soviet Constitution which decrees the separation of church and state.
The official Adventists have been tolerated in recent years, while since early 1978 the KGB has been waging a strong campaign against the unofficial wing. "In the last two years," the appeal says, "more than 200 police searches have been carried out in Adventists' homes, involving confiscation of purely religious and human rights literature, and 39 people have been imprisoned."
Even before this campaign, which has been conducted in a dozen localities from Tashkent in Central Asia to Riga on the Baltic, Galetsky was evading the police to avoid arrest.
"As a true and conscientious pastor" the appeal says, "he helped persecuted believers with sensitivity and compassion. By his active pastoral witness and participation in the human rights struggle, publicizing acts of violence and persecution by the state atheists against innocent believers, Galetsky incurred the special hatred of the KGB." Eventually he was caught in Moscow, where he is being held in Batyrki prison on charges of circulation of deliberately false fabrications and slandering the Soviet State and social order.
Rostislav Galetsky was arrested in Moscow on July 1, 1980. He had just arrived at the Kazan railway station in Moscow. As he left the train five men in plain clothes began following him at a distance. At the entrance to the metro station one of the men following him ran ahead to block his path.
Rostislav Galetsky was a close associate of the longtime leader of the True and Free Adventist Church, Vladimir Shelkov, who died in a Soviet labor camp at the age of 84, January 27, 1980. (Labor camp officials refused to release his body to relatives because he had not completed his sentence). Galetsky was denounced in Izvestiya (May. 13, 1979) as an "agent" of Shelkov and accused of passing "slanderous" materials about Soviet religious policy to western journalists.
p 7 -- 1901 GENERAL CONFERENCE CONSTITUTION --
Article 1. Names -- This organization shall be known as the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
Article 2. Object -- The object of this Conference shall be to unify and to extend to all parts of the world, the work of promulgating the everlasting gospel.
3. Membership -- Section 1. This Conference shall be composed
of; (a) such Union Conferences as have been or
shall be properly organized; (b) such local Conferences
as are not embraced in any Union Conference, provided such Conferences
shall have been accepted by vote at a session of the General Conference;
and (c) such mission fields as have not been
organized into Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists in any part of the
4. Executive Committee -- Section 1. The Executive Committee
of this Conference shall be twenty-five in number, and shall have power
to organize itself by choosing a chairman, secretary, treasurer, and auditor,
whose duties shall be such as usually pertain to their respective offices.
It shall also have the power to appoint all necessary agents and committees
for the conduct of its work.
5. Sessions -- Section 1. This Conference shall hold a
regular session once in two years, reckoning from 1889, at such time and
place as the Executive Committee shall designate by a notice published
in the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, at least eight weeks before
the date of the session.
1982 Dec XV -- 12(82) - TAKE YOUR CHOICE -- Open-ended Theology Marks 1st Quarter SS Lessons for 1983 -- The subject of the Adult Sabbath School Lessons for the first quarter of 1983 is "Christ's All-Atoning Sacrifice." While throughout the lessons the subject of the Incarnation is referred to, the third lesson discusses in detail this primary truth. Part #1 of this third lesson is captioned - "The Second Adam." In this section it is stated - "Christ came in the same nature as Adam ... (p. 21) - without defining which nature, the pre-Fall nature, or the post-Fall nature. Part #2 discusses the text "The Word was made flesh," (John 1: 14) - and suggests there are three possible interpretations to the meaning of the "flesh" Christ took. However, only two are discussed in this section - the "after-the-Fall" position, and the "pre-Fall" viewpoint.
The question is asked - "Can the Bible be used to support the 'after-the-Fall' position on Christ's nature?" Then certain texts are cited - Isa. 53:12; Romans 8:3; 2 Cor. 5:21; Hebrews 2:14-17. In the comment which follows, it is suggested that in addition to these texts, " support" can also be found in certain Ellen G. White statements - and these are cited but not the strongest ones. The second question reads - "Can the Bible be used to support the 'pre-Fall' position on Christ's nature?" Two of the same texts are cited as given for the first question, except Hebrews 2:14-17 is omitted, and a different verse in Isaiah 53 is used. It is stated in the comments which follow that those who wish to hold this view can also find support in the writings of Ellen G. White, but entirely different references are given than were used in the comments on the first question, - albeit, the strongest that can be found. The student is left to make his own choice as to the nature Christ took upon Himself in the Incarnation.
The very structure of the questions, with the comments, present a very serious problem. While the same Bible references are used for both questions with but two exceptions, thus suggesting a variance of interpretation; different references are cited from the writings of Ellen G. White, thus suggesting contradiction. With these lessons for the first quarter of 1983, the question of the Incarnation which came to the forefront due to the SDA-Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956, again confronts the Church.
picture is further complicated in the "Teaching Aids for the Adult
it is suggested - "Teachers should not try to resolve this issue
as they teach today's [The Incarnation] or any other lesson this quarter."
(p. 40) The
subject of the Incarnation is to remain open-ended as far as the design
of the hierarchy is concerned. Previous to this suggestion, it is stated
- "The Seventh-day Adventist Church has not spelled out a definitive
stand in this matter. Neither the previous 22 statements of belief nor
p 2 -- the recent 27 Statements of Fundamental Belief voted at Dallas in April 1980 take up this matter. " (Ibid.) These teaching aids were written by Dr. William G. Johnsson, the new editor-in-chief of the Adventist Review. This factor must be considered before entering into a discussion of the lessons as found in the Adult Quarterly. These comments on the part of Dr. Johnsson reveal either a lack of knowledge on the part of the Editor-in-Chief, or a willful cover-up to deceive the laity of the Church. Whichever the situation is, this is but another reason why he should not have been selected editor of the official organ of the Church, and this serves as a forewarning of the continued apostasy to which the readers of the Adventist Review will be subjected.
The Dallas Statement of Beliefs does leave the incarnation undefined in reference to the question under discussion. It reads: "God the eternal Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ [A questionable formulation in itself] ... Forever truly God, He became also truly man, Jesus the Christ. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived and experienced temptation as a human being, but perfectly exemplified the righteousness and love of God." (Adventist Review, Max 1, 1980, p. 23) In this statement, Jesus is declared to be "truly man," and "a human being." Adam was truly man and a human being both prior to and after the Fall, so the 1980 Statement reflects and open-ended theology on the Incarnation. But this is neo-Adventism, not historic Adventism.
The "previous 22 statements of belief"to which Johnsson referred is the Statement of Beliefs first published in the 1931 Yearbook, and formally voted at the 1950 General Conference Session with only two sentences added to Statement #19. In this 1931 Statement of Fundamental Beliefs, the subject of the Incarnation was formulated in these words: "Jesus Christ is very God, being of the same nature and essence of the Eternal Father. While retaining His divine nature, He took upon Himself the nature of the human family, lived on earth as a man, exemplified in His life as our example the principles of righteousness ..." While this statement does not use the language of "pre-Fall" or "after-the-Fall" terminology, it does state that Jesus took "the nature of the human family." While not explicit, it is implicit that Jesus took the nature of a race that possesses a fallen nature. This is a "bridge" statement between the historic Adventist Church's position on the Incarnation, and the neo-Adventist Church which emerged in the sixth and seventh decades of this Century. A comparison of thought between the Dallas Statement and the 1931 Formulation should stimulate some thinking. The 1931 Statement indicated that Jesus Christ "took upon Himself the nature of the human family," while the Dallas Statement declared "the eternal Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ." There is a difference between these two concepts.
While the neo-Adventist Church - as suggested by Johnsson - has not spelled out a definitive statement on the Incarnation, the historic Seventh-day Adventist Church did. The 1889 Yearbook contained a section captioned - "Fundamental Principles of Seventh-day Adventists." (p. 147f) Principle II reads: "There is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father ... that He took on Him the nature of the seed of Abraham for the redemption of our fallen race; that He dwelt among men, full of grace and truth, lived our example ..."It should be observed that this statement used words from John 1:14 - "dwelt among us, full of grace and truth" - and defines the "flesh" of this verse to be "the nature of the seed of Abraham."
Prefacing these "Principles" in the 1889 Yearbook, it was stated - "The following propositions may be taken as a summary of the principal features of their religious faith, upon which there is, so far as we know, entire unanimity throughout the body." Historic Adventism did define its position on the Incarnation - Christ took upon Himself the fallen nature of Adam through the seed of Abraham - but neo-Adventism as expressed in the Dallas Statement allows you to take your choice, supposedly, between where we once stood, and the Evangelical concepts of Apostate
Protestantism. This open-ended theology is reflected in the 1983 Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly. How can two walk together, lest they be agreed?
p 3 -- WHAT DO THE SCRIPTURES TEACH?-- When one surveys the five texts used by the author of the Sabbath School Lessons for the first quarter of 1983, in the questions asked concerning the Incarnation (p. 22) , he becomes a bit puzzled as to why Isaiah 53:12 is listed first. The 53rd Chapter of Isaiah is primarily a prophecy of Christ's sufferings on behalf of man when He would "brought as a lamb to the slaughter," and when His soul would be made "an offering for sin." (verses 7, 10) It is true a few concepts at the beginning of the Chapter could be understood as applying to the Incarnation - "He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground." (verse 2) However, when one looks carefully at the book Dr. Norman Gulley of Southern Adventist College has written to parallel these lessons he has authored, one immediately becomes aware of a new attack seeking to nullify the historic position of Adventism in regard to the nature Christ assumed in the Incarnation. While apparently open-ended - take your choice approach - the Helps are weighted toward the "pre-Fall" nature of Christ's humanity. In Christ Our Substitute, some parts of which are written in a conversational style with dialogue between two "voices," the reason becomes very clear as to why Isaiah 53:12 is listed first among the verses cited. Isaiah 53:12 is introduced with the objective of making key New Testament texts which teach that Christ took the "after-the-Fall" nature of man in the Incarnation, not teach this at all, but rather are referring really to the time He "was numbered with the transgressors" at Calvary, when upon Him was laid the iniquity of us all. Note the subtle dialogue Gulley has woven into his book: But the Bible says He was "numbered with the transgressors" (Isa. 53:12), the first voice persists. "He was made like unto his brothers in every way" (Heb. 2:17). In agreement with Isaiah 53:4, Matthew affirmed He "took our infirmities" and carried our diseases (see chap. 8:17). Paul said it straight - "[God] hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin" (2 Cor 5:21). There you have it. What could be more plain? He did become one of us, taking our sinful flesh through Mary.
"Ah, but wait a minute," the second voice cautions. "Don't pluck the passages out of context. What they say is true. He did become sin for us, was numbered with the transgressors. But when?" At Bethlehem or when He became our sacrifice? The context of Christ becoming "sin for us" in 2 Corinthians 5 is His death, not His birth (see verses 14ff.) Isaiah agrees. For He "poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors" (Isa. 53:12).
The questioner shakes his head. "You haven't said anything about Christ being 'made like unto his brethren in every way' (Heb. 2:17). Surely it refers to His birth and not His death."
"Again look at the context. He came to experience human suffering and temptation to (1), reconcile man's sins and (2) empathize with man's struggle (verses 17, 18). 'Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil' (verse 14)." (pp. 35-36)
Turning to the second text used Romans 8:3 - "God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh" - Gulley in his book has the one who protests the neo-Adventist viewpoint state: - "'Yes,' the protest continues, 'but isn't there still more to it than that? What about the Biblical texts 'made in the likeness of men' (Phil 2:7), 'in the likeness of sinful flesh' (Rom. 8:3)?"' To this Gulley retorts - "'Likeness' doesn't mean 'sameness."' (p. 35)
at this point that Gulley gets all caught up in his own assumptions, and
the fallaciousness of the whole position becomes apparent. By having the
one protesting bring together Phil 2:7 and Romans 8:3, indicates that
Gulley is well aware of the connection and meaning of the words in these
two verses. The same Greek prepositional phrase - en
homoiomati - is used in both references. The question in Phil.
2:7 is simply - Did Jesus in taking the "likeness of men" become
a real man, or was He only a phantom, appearing to be a man? In Lesson
5 - "Tempted As We Are" Gulley emphatically declares - "Jesus
Christ was fully God and fully human when He came to earth." (p.
34) (This is not true, but is Gulley's view]
p 4 -- Now if "made in the likeness of men" means Jesus was "fully human" to Gulley, then why does not "made in the likeness of sinful flesh" mean that He fully took upon Himself our fallen human nature? You cannot have "likeness" mean "fully" in one verse, and less that "fully" in another reference, when the same human author - Paul - uses the same word in both texts.
Romans 8:3 has more significance than merely the concept of "likeness of sinful flesh." The text states that Jesus condemned "sin in the flesh." If language has any meaning at all, it means simply that Jesus took a nature resultant from the Fall - a nature "degraded and defiled by sin," a nature in which "He could understand 'how strong are inclinations of the heart.' Uniting in Himself 'the offending nature of man' 'all the strength of passion of humanity' clamored for expression, but 'never once did He yield to temptation to do a single act which was not pure and elevating and ennobling.' He condemned sin in the flesh." (In the Form of a Slave, p. 46 order form) To teach that Christ only overcame in the "pre-Fall" nature of Adam is to rob God of His glory and deny the authority of "His Christ." (Rev. 12:10) Even as Christ was able to command demons to come out of men held as slaves of Satan, so with authority, He broke the hold of Satan on fallen human nature by repressing every desire to express and do His own will. "Not my will, but Thine be done," was the prayer of the conquering Christ.
We need to look only as how the word "flesh" is used in Romans to understand what liabilities Christ assumed in becoming man. At the very beginning of the Epistle, Paul stated that Jesus Christ "was made of the seed of David according to flesh." (Rom. 1:3) Thayer in his Lexicon notes that when "flesh" is used in contrast with "spirit," it "has an ethical sense and denotes mere human nature, the earthly nature apart from divine influence, and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God; accordingly it includes whatever in the soul is weak, low, debased, tending to ungodliness and vice." (Article, sarx) But in such a flesh - "degraded and defiled by sin" - Jesus maintained the purity of His character, for He is declared to be "the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness." (Rom. 1:4)
This "flesh" is described further by Paul in Phillipians 2:7 as the "form of a slave" which He accepted at Bethlehem in place of the "form of God" which He shared in Eternity with God. Now Adam possessed no "slave-form" when he came forth from the hands of the Creator on the sixth day, but after the Fall, he became a slave to sin, and was unable to resist the slave nature resultant from sin. But the second Adam taking the liability of the first Adam resultant from the Fall, conquered - He exercised authority over all flesh. (John 17:2)
One final text used in the Sabbath School Lesson on the Incarnation is Hebrews 2:14-17 where it states that "forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He [Christ] also himself likewise took part of the same." The order in the Greek is "blood and flesh." Not only did Jesus carry the outward resemblance of man in His flesh, He also bore the inward nature of man - the blood. "It was in the order of God that Christ should take upon Himself the form and nature of fallen man." (SP, II, p. 39)
PERSONAL NOTES -- Elder Norman Gulley, the author of the Sabbath School Lessons for the first quarter of 1983, was my immediate predecessor as head of the Bible Department at Old Madison College. Between his service at Madison College, and his present position at Southern Adventist College as a member of the Religion Staff, he became Dr. Norman Gulley with a degree from the University --of Edinburgh (Scotland). Those who still have some of his Syllabi from Madison College, such as Studies in the Sanctuary, Course #350, will find that what Gulley taught at Old Madison is not what is to be found in the Sabbath School Lessons.
of the editors of these lessons of the first Quarter, 1983, Dr. Leo R.
Van Dolson, in 1977, prepared the Adult Teaching Aids for the 2nd Quarter's
Lessons on "Jesus the Model Man," authored by Dr. Herbert Douglass.
He also co-authored with Douglass, the book for additional
p 5 -- are almost in complete contrast to the 1977 Lessons on the Incarnation. If Jesus were to ask the laity what they go to see - there could be but one answer - "A reed shaken in the wind." (Matt. 11:7) The "breed" of John the Baptist is an endangered species, if not altogether extinct due to the actions of the hierarchy, and the self-preservation instinct of the clergy.
The other editor of the Sabbath School Lessons for the first quarter of 1983 is. Dr. Gordon Hyde, who has been placed as head of the Religion Department of Southern Adventist College to correct the inroads of Ford's theology among the Bible Faculty. Few actual changes have been made - these lessens appear to give one reason. They are expressing a theology on the atonement which lies halfway between where the Church once stood, and where Ford stands today. By this new theological umbrella, it is hoped to keep all factions happy, united, and the tithe still coming in to oil the hierarchical machine.
All of the change that is occurring recalls some correspondence following the conclave at Glacier View, and some conversations with Dr. Desmond Ford as noted in Ministry.
On August 15, 1980, Elder K. S. Parmenter, President of the Australian Division, wrote to Dr. Ford, and asked him if he would be willing to "hold in suspense [his] particular views which are at variance with the established 'Fundamental Beliefs' as voted at Dallas. Further Parmenter asked Ford if he would be willing to hold beliefs out of harmony with the Dallas Statement "in abeyance and not discussed unless at some time in the future they might be found compatible with the positions and beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church?" (Ministry, Oct. , 1980, p. 10)
At a meeting where these requests were presented orally to Dr. Ford, before their being incorporated into an official letter, Ford was also asked if "his doctrinal-positions were tentative?" To this Ford responded - "The brethren had made such tremendous progress in the past few days and that the church's position was closer to his than it had been before. - He expressed the thought that if we have come this far in four days, imagine how far the church will go in four years in changing its position." (Ibid., p. 9) These coming Sabbath School Lessons can only be viewed as the beginning of the approach which will ultimately bring neo-Adventism and Fordism into a working accord, so that the only "heretics" will be those who stay by the historic faith.
FULLY GOD AND FULLY MAN OR GOD AND TRULY MAN WHICH? -- In thinking through this question, one might dismiss it as a matter of semantics. However, words do convey thoughts. As a man thinketh in heart, so is he. Basic in the doctrine behind the Sabbath School lessons for the first quarter of 1983 is the concept that Jesus Christ in the Incarnation was fully God and fully man in one Person. The direct sentence reads: "Jesus Christ was fully God and fully human when He came to earth." (p. 34) In his book, written to aid in the understanding of the lessons, Dr. Norman Gulley declared emphatically - "Seventh-day Adventists believe that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man." (Christ Our Substitute, p. 33) He does not document the source for such a pronouncement. The fact is that the Dallas Statement, which supposedly governs the theological thinking of the Church at the present time does not so teach. It reads - "Forever, truly God, He became also truly man, Jesus the Christ." (Adventist Review, May 1, 1980, p. 23)
Gulley gives us insight as to where this new view of the incarnate Christ came from which is being projected in these Sabbath School lessons. He writes: "In the councils of Nicea (A.D. 325) and Chalcedon (A.D. 451) discussion about Christ concluded in the ringing assertion, 'He is fully God and fully man.'" (Gulley, op. cit., p. 43) At this point, we need to ask ourselves a question. Since the Statement on the Godhead as formulated at the
p 6 -- Dallas Session reflected the thinking of the Council of Constantinople (A.D. 381) so as to be in harmony with the Constitution of the World Council of Churches, are we now to expect that at the next Session of the General Conference, the Statement of Beliefs will be amended to reflect the "assertion" of Nicea and Chalcedon? Departing further and further from the Word of God, we now find it necessary to draw on discussions and pronouncements of Church Councils to establish the teachings concerning Jesus Christ in neo-Adventism. But setting up a Christ outside of Scripture, are we not erecting an antichrist in place of the real Christ, and thus worshipping Baal, instead of the Lord God of Israel?
Paul taught that Jesus Christ was equal (hisa) with God in quality and quantity as He existed in the "form of God." This "form of God" Christ willingly laid aside, and took in its place, "the form of a slave." (Phil 2:6-7) Having divested Himself of the "form of God," He no longer was, "fully" God." Jesus recognized this fact when He told, His disciples that it was necessary for Him to return to the Father so that He could be ever and everywhere present with them through the Holy Spirit. (John 14:16-18; 16:7) In other words, Jesus was no longer omnipresent - and never would be again thus no longer, "fully" God.
In sending His disciples forth to teach, Jesus declared - "All power is given to me in heaven and earth."(Matt. 28:18) If "fully" God, then there would have been no need to have authority given to Him, it would have been His by the very nature of His being. When He returned to the Father after His resurrection, He was highly exalted above every name in heaven and earth. Thus if "fully" God, such an exaltation would place Him above where He had been prior to the Incarnation.' (Phil. 2:9-11)
In the Gospel of John, Jesus Christ is presented as the Eternal Word - "the same was in the beginning with God." (John 1:2) As that Word, He made all things. (1:3) But when manifest in the flesh - the fulness of the Godhead in human form, that fulness was manifest in grace and truth, not in power and divine demonstrations. He was "truly" God - the very essence of God to meet the human need - "full of grace;" and "full of truth" - to answer the charges of one who abode not in the truth. (John 1:14; 8:44)
Turning briefly to His human side - "fully" man, or "truly" man - He had what no man has ever had - a preexistence. There was in Him - in His very Person - an Eternal Identity which no man can ever have. "A divine Spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh." Jesus Christ was "truly" man having all the human organism and faculties, but not "fully" man, for He possessed that which no man had ever possessed - a preexistent Self.
Where does the doctrine of Christ promulgated by Gulley lead? In his distortion of the "kenosis" - emptying of Himself - Gulley brings the "fully-God; fully-man" concept to the Cross. He writes: "Just as in death the natures were separate - only humanity, not divinity, died - so throughout His life the two remained separate." (Christ Our Substitute, p. 44) Then he explains - "Our Saviour could not give us His divinity. That would be a change, not substitution. He could only be a human substitute for man. Thus He came as the second Adam, lived a human life, died a human - for divinity cannot die - and offered man a perfect humanity to replace his." (Ibid.) Thus sin was atoned by a human sacrifice by the "fully man" side of Jesus Christ - that is if we adopt the neo-Adventism taught in the upcoming Sabbath School lessons.
To add to the problem we find that Gulley states - "We can look at the phrase 'fully man' in two ways. Jesus had either (1) unfallen human nature, such as Adam possessed prior to the Fall, or (2) fallen human nature. Which is correct? He took both. For Christ took the spiritual nature of man before the Fall, and the physical nature of man after the Fall." (Ibid., p. 33) Since the "fully" God concept excludes the preexistent One from the Sacrifice at Calvary, the great antitypical Sin Offering, the Substitute, turns out to be merely the undeveloped character of Adam before his fall, created anew to dwell in a body degenerated by four thousand years of sin, and as developed in Christ during thirty-three years of living, offered to God in sacrifice as the means
p 7 -- of atonement.
Is this the Sacrifice God promised Abraham He would provide? Did God give Himself? or did He create a Victim in which to dwell, and then to leave in the final agony? Did Jesus Christ, the God-man, taste death for every man? The Gospel as proclaimed by Paul, in his own testimony states - "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures." (I Cor. 15:3) A Person - Jesus Christ - truly God and truly man - died for my sins. Who died for your sins? The antichrist of neo-Adventism, or the Christ of the Bible?
For a copy of An Interpretive History of the Doctrine of the Incarnation as Taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and In the Form of a Slave - order form
1901 GENERAL CONFERENCE CONSTITUTION -- (Continued from Nov. 1982 WWN)
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