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WWN 1998 Jan - Mar


1998 Jan -- XXXI -- 1(98) -- Eternal Verities -- Part 1 -- The Godhead -- Editors Preface -- Thirty years have now passed since we published the first issue of WWN. Our original objective for the publication has not always been realized. (See "Footnote" on page 7) It is our intent as we continue to publish to achieve a better balance between our original objective with the need to comment on obvious events of importance to concerned members of the Adventist Community.

In this first issue of 1998, we introduce a series on the Eternal Verities. These will be summations, with added comments, from the 1997 Seminar studies on these verities. We would suggest that each reader take time to study this first article with his Bible open, and read, not in a hurried manner, but carefully and prayerfully, asking himself, do the suggested deductions tally with the Scripture exegetically. If after reading, or while reading, you have questions, please, either write or call us and we will be most happy to discuss with you the question, or questions you have. If we do not know the answer, we will tell you and seek to find the answer for you.

The second article is the type we have in mind when we suggest the concept of a "thought paper." The idea was not original with me. When taking graduate work at Andrews University following the closing of Madison College where I was teaching, I took classes under Dr. George Akers. He required that the students write "thought papers." In other words, do some thinking. Get out of the traditional mode of thought and get on the cutting edge of truth. Let your mind expand as the Spirit of truth opens new vistas of thought. We have sought to do so in the article based on the great controversy motif which was basic in revelations given to the messenger of the Lord for his people. We suggest that you ponder the force of a "new order" of being in the creation of man. What did God have in view when He desired man created in His own image to ultimately become a "counterpart" of Himself? Why did this ignite "the war" in Heaven? What battles ensued on earth? How met?

p 2 -- The Eternal Verities - Part 1 -- THE GODHEAD -- The great divide between two eternities; the great divide in time, and in the chronological reckoning of time, was the Incarnation. However, had there been no God, there would have been no Incarnation; and if no Incarnation, there would have been no atonement; and if no atonement, no Intercessor. Thus the "eternal verities" - the Godhead, the Incarnation, and the Atonement - are inseparably linked as a chain connecting and reconnecting earth with Heaven, and Heaven with earth.

As we study the Godhead, we shall note various verses of Scripture and seek to exegetically analyze them. Having done so, we shall draw certain conclusions, and where there is apparent mystery in reconciling the revelation, we shall leave it as a mystery until other texts which we will consider illuminates that mystery. It will be a progressive study with the sole objective to comprehend truth as far as a mortal can.

Luke 1:35   The angel [Gabriel] answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that Holy [One] which shall be borne of thee shall be called the Son of God.

{The word, "thing" is not in the Greek text, and we have substituted the word, "One" inasmuch as the word, "holy" is an adjective, and requires an object to modify. The word, "Spirit" could just as well be substituted. Such usage is found in the Writings. See 4BC:1147}

This text reveals the following data:    1)    To speak "after the manner of men," the Holy Spirit was
paternally related to Jesus Christ; thus the Holy Spirit pre-existed Bethlehem.
2)    The "Holy One" born of Mary "shall be called the Son of God." Twice Gabriel reiterated this fact. In Luke 1:32, he declared that this Holy One "shall be called the Son of the Highest." Gabriel, who had "firsthand" information of relationships involving God, did not say, "was" or "is" the Son of God, but "shall be" called the Son of God.
3)    There was to be conceived in the womb of Mary a unique Being, never before known in the Universe from all eternity  -  a God-man. Yet this unique Being inherits eternity through the Eternal Spirit. He had a pre-existence in Spirit, and now would become "flesh."

Now follow closely the conclusions which this data permits one to draw:    1)    The Holy Spirit existed prior to Bethlehem as the "Eternal Spirit." (See alsoHeb.9:14)
2)   Jesus "had a beginning at Bethlehem." (Note the name designation of "Jesus," the God-man, begins at Bethlehem)
3)    With God as a "given" factor, you have Two Beings - God and the Eternal Spirit - before Bethlehem, and Three Beings - God, the Eternal Spirit, and Jesus  -  after.

One further factor to the "mystery" - He who had a beginning at Bethlehem as a unique Being, Jesus, of Him it could be prophesied that His "goings forth [were] from of old, from everlasting" (Micah 5:2).

John 1:1-3   In beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with the God, and God was the Logos. The same was in beginning with the God. All things through Him came into being, and without Him came into being not even one [thing] which has come into being. (Greek, literal translation)

The Gospel of John was among the last books of the New Testament to be written, if not the last one. In the first eighteen verses of his Gospel, John gives a prologue, setting forth data of what was prior to the Incarnation, as well as what happened at the Incarnation.

From these verses, we can observe the following data:   1)    There were Two Beings - the Logos (the Word) and God.
2)    The Logos was of the same essence as God. He was as much God as God Himself. "God was the Logos." The article is used to denote separate Beings; and omitted when defining the nature of the Logos.

Conclusions which can be drawn:   1)    Since "God" is defined as "Spirit" (John 4:24 - no article,
literally, "God is Spirit"), then the Logos was as God, also "Spirit."
We are "flesh" in our reality; God is "spirit" in His reality. Paul could use the word, "form" to designate both the reality of God, and the reality of man. (Phil. 2:6,7)
2)    The Logos created all things in conjunction "with the God." Paul states that "God ... created all things by Jesus Christ." (Eph. 3:9)
3)    In John 1:1-2, the word "was" (hn ) is used 4x. This is in the Greek imperfect tense and denotes continuous action in past time. John is simply saying that there never was a time when the Logos was not.

[ On page 3 we have reproduced the Greek text of John 1:1-35 from the Analytical Greek New Testament edited by Barbara and Timothy Friberg. On this text we have circled the verb hn (was), and designated the absence of the article before arch and qeoV with arrows. The letters under hn tell you that it is verb ( V ) in the indicative mood ( I ) of the imperfect tense ( I ), active in voice ( A ), third person ( Z ) and singular ( S ) ]

p 3 --

p 4 -- Genesis 1:1-2, 26      In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. ... And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. ... And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.

The Hebrew for "God" in these verses is Elohim, plural in form. It is used with singular verbs and adjectives, and thus perceived as the "pluralis majesticus" or majestic plural. However, in verse 26, the Elohim concur in "Let us." The question arises - How do you obtain a singular force from a
plural word? Here is where the Shema of Israel enters the picture. It reads - "Hear, O Israel: The Lord God our God is one Lord." (Deut 6:4) [See page 3 for Hebrew text] The key word is the compound word (two words), Elohenu - "Gods" and the suffix, a plural pronoun, "our." "The masculine plural [ In this case Elohim] has before all suffixes the ending ay. ... But certain modifications in the form of this ending take place, due to the character of the following consonants: ... b. The original form ay is contracted to e before all plural Have no hebrew alphabet
suffixes." (Elements of Hebrew, Wm. R. Harper, p.144) This is the case in the Shema of Israel. Thus it reads literally, "Jehovah, our Gods is one Jehovah."

The word for "one" (Echad) expresses oneness in duality. The word appears in Genesis 1:5 - "There was evening; there was morning, day one (echad)" It is also used in Genesis 2:24 - "They [two] shall be one (echad) flesh." This simply implies that both the Logos and God of John 1:1-3 are one Jehovah.

Let us return now to the text in Genesis 1:2 - "And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." The Hebrew word translated, "moved" is merahepheth - brooded. Gesenius in his lexicon, observes that this word in the Piel Hebrew form (as used here) implies "to cherish one's young, to brood over, as the eagle its young (Deut 32:11) ... of the Spirit of God as thus brooding over and vivifying the chaotic mass of earth. Gen. 1:2" (p.976)

Does this suggest the conclusion that the Spirit of God which "vivified" the mass at creation is the Logos of John 1:1-3, by which nothing was created except by Him?

Exodus 3:13-14       And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is His name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM; and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel , I AM hath sent me unto you.

The Hebrew word translated, "I AM" is the imperfect form of the verb, hahyah, "to be." Most of us have names which are classified as nouns. Not so the name chosen by God to designate Himself. Further the verb is in the impeffect tense denoting unfinished action. Gesenius suggests in his Lexicon that the meaning of "I Am that I Am" is that God "will never be other than the same" and is. (p.384) In other words, by this name God designates Himself as eternal and immutable. This word is the root for the name Jehovah. Jesus in His humanity claimed this name for Himself. (John 8:58)

A comparison of various verses in Revelation (1:10-11,17-18; 22:12-13 with 1:8) indicates that both He who liveth and was dead but is alive forevermore, has the same designation as "the Almighty." This reinforces the Hebrew Shema that the Gods of Israelis is one Jehovah. Gesenius observes in his discussion of the Hebrew word, Yehowah that "several ancient writers" relate "that the God of the Hebews was called IAW." (ibid.) ["I am Alpha and Omega"]

Isaiah 9:6       For unto us a child is born, unto us a child is given . . . and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

Young's Literal Translation of the Holy Bible, following closely the Hebrew, renders the titles of the prophesied God-man, as: "Wondeful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Mighty God." The expression, "the Father of Eternity" is the best that human language can find to express the eternal pre-existence of the Logos. Eternalness is an attribute of Deity, and thus "eternity" is synonymous with God, and not a creation of God. It is the "time" frame of God's ever-existence which the human mind, limited as it is by time as we know it, cannot comprehend.

The same thought is given in Micah 5:2 where the Messianic prophecy, revealing the place of the birth of the Coming One, describes His "goings forth" as being "from everlasting." The word translated "everlasting" (gohlahm) is the same word used in Psalm 90:2 - "From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God." Again, the eternalness of God cannot be limited because of the limitations of human language and thought to express or comprehend what "everlasting" really is. He who has existed from all eternity comes forth in time from that incomprehensible reality.

Zechariah 6:12-13       Thus saith the Lord of Hosts saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord: Even he shall build the temple of the Lord: and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne: and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.

The literal Hebrew reads that "the counsel of peace shall be between the Two of Them." It was "through our Lord Jesus Christ" that man could be once more at peace with God. (Rom. 5:1) He, as the great High Priest, sits upon His "throne of grace" (Heb. 4:15-16), at "the right hand of the Majesty on high." (Heb. 1:3) It is in this context that the Sonship motif is set. Observe closely Hebrews 5:5-6:

p 5 -- Christ glorified not Himself to be made an high priest; but He who said unto Him, Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee. As He saith also in another place, Thou art a priest forever after the Order of Melchisedec.

The "Sonship" came to Christ in the same way that the High Priesthood came to Him - by the calling and decree of God. This calling is emphasized in the context of Hebrews 1. The rhetorical question is asked  -  "For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son?" (1:5) The first question is drawn from Psalms 2:7, and the second from II Samuel 7:14.

The Messianic second Psalm speaks of Christ by three titles or offices:    the "Anointed" One (ver. 2);  the "King" (ver. 6);  and the "Son" (ver. 7). He who became the Anointed One (Messiah), and the Son, and who will come as King of kings, emanated from times eternal as the Logos. It is clearly stated in language that should not be misanderstood by anyone, that the "Sonship" was by "decree." Peter set forth to Cornelius that He who is "Lord of all" was "anointed ... with the Holy Spirit and with power" at His baptism. (Acts 10:36-38) While He is now a priest upon His throne, He anticipates His return as King of kings and Lord of lords. (Rev. 19:16) In this prophetic picture of Revelation, He is called "the Word (Gr. Logos) of God."

When one reviews the second quotation from II Samuel 7:14 in context, he can see, if he has eyes to see, that it is a literal promise made to David concerning Solomon. No stretch of the imagination can perceive of Solomon as having been "conceived" or "generated" by God. It was a commitment by God to David to make his son, Solomon, His son. Paul, recognizing this as an apt illustration of the relationship of the Logos to God in the redemptive process, lifted it from context and applied it to the "Sonship" of Jesus Christ.

In this same setting of Hebrews 1 there is another word, firstbegotten (prwtotokoV ), which has been misrepresented so that its true meaning is misunderstood. The same word is used of Christ in Colossians 1:15, 18 - "first born (prwtotokoV) of every creature" and "the firstborn (prwtotokoV ) from the dead." One has but to review the record of the Old Testament to know that Jesus was not the first to have been resurrected from the dead. (II Kings 4:34,36) The Gospels tell of the Widow of Nain whose son was restored to her, and the resurrection of Lazarus. What then is the force of this word? Paul states it clearly - "that in all things, He might have the pre-eminence." (Col. 1:18) This concept of "pre-eminence" is the force used in Heb. 1:6. The One coming into the world is so pre-eminent that God instructs the angels of Heaven - "Let all the angels of God worship Him." Even though a Babe in Bethlehem's manger, He is God manifest in the flesh, to be the pre-eminent One of humanity, to stand at the head of the fallen race, the Second Adam.

To this same Son by decree, pre-eminent in every way, God speaks - "Thy throne, 0 God, is forever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom." (Heb. 1:8) He "forever" will be as He "ever" has been, the I AM. He "laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of His hands." (v.10)

Romans 9:4-5       My kinsmen according to the flesh: who are Israelites; ... and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God, blessed for ever. Amen.

In these verses, Paul is contrasting the origin of the Messiah - from the "flesh" of Israel, yet God in that flesh. Some have attempted to make this merely a doxology to God - "Blessed be God" - instead of Christ as God "over all ... blessed forever." The word, euloghtoV (blessed) follows the word, qeoV (God). Alford in commenting on this verse writes - "Without one exception in Hebrew or Greek, whenever an ascription of blessing is found, the predicate euloghtoV precedes the name of God." (Vol.11, p.405) In Romans 9:5, it follows, therefore cannot be interpreted as a blessing on God.

John 1:18       No man hath seen God at anytime; the only begotten Son; which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.

This verse is the final verse of the preface to John's gospel, which is recognized as one of the last, if not the last book written of the books in the New Testament. Textual evidence is divided as to whether this verse should read - "only begotten Son" or "only begotten God." It must be understood, which ever reading is chosen, that John is writing from his viewpoint in time. He is saying that He who had declared Him in the flesh (verse 14), was then, at the time of the writing, in the "bosom of the Father."

The Greek word, monogenhV , is translated by two words in the KJV, "only begotten." This is a faulty translation and thus a false interpretation is drawn by those promoting the neo-Gnosticism.

In analyzing this word, we will first give every reference in the New Testament where this word is used and how it is translated in each verse:

Luke 7:12- the only son of his mother,
8:42- For he had only one daughter,
9:35 - for he is my only child.
John 1:14 - as of the only begotten of the Father,
1:18 - the only begotten Son, which is
3:16 - his only begotten Son, that whosoever
3:18 - of the only begotten Son of God.
Heb. 11:17- offered up his only begotten (son),
I John 4:9 - God sent his only begotten Son

A careful comparison of the use of monogenhV in the New Testament indicates that only John uses the word in reference to Jesus. To translate it as "only begotten" places the Scrip-

p 6 -- tures in error as seen by its use in Hebrews 11:17. Isaac was not the "only begotten" son of Abraham; but he was uniquely begotten, a son of promise by the intervention of God. The Greek word, monogenhV is from two words meaning "only" and "kind," thus could be translated "only (one) of a kind," or unique.

The translation "only begotten" in John's Gospel and First Epistle, originated with the Fathers of the Roman Catholic Church. It entered early English translations of the Bible through the influence of the Latin Vulgate, the official Bible of the Roman Church. Various Old Latin manuscripts which preceded the Vulgate read, "only" rather than "only begotten." The idea that Christ "was born of the Father before all creation" appears first in the writings of Origen, about A.D. 230. Arius, about one hundred years later, was the first to use gegennemenon, the correct Greek word for "begotten" if used in reference to Christ to affirm that He was "begotten of God before all ages." This Greek word is never used in the Bible in reference to the pre-incarnate Christ. "The idea that Christ was 'begotten' by the Father at some time in eternity past is altogether foreign to the Scriptures." (See Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol.5, p.902) To Be Continued

The Great Controversy Motif -- Perhaps one of the greatest contributions, if not the greatest, to Adventist thinking, which God introduced through His "messenger," was the concept of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. Through the Writings we learn that the plan and purpose of God for the creation of man was the spark that ignited a rebellion which had been long - we do not know how long - simmering in the heart of one of the highest of the angelic orders - Lucifer.

In one of the earliest of the recorded visions on the great controversy motif, Ellen White wrote:       The Lord has shown me that Satan was once an honored angel in heaven, next to Jesus Christ ... And I saw that when God said to his Son, Let us make man in our image, Satan was jealous of Jesus ... He wished to be the highest in heaven, next to God, and receive the highest honors. Until this time all heaven was in order, harmony and perfect subjection to the government of God. (Spiritual Gifts, Vol.1, p.17)

Scripture reveals that Satan, as Lucifer before his fall, was one of "the anointed cherub(s) that covereth," and was so set by God (Eze. 28:14). Sanctuary symbolism reveals that there were two cherubs that stood in the presence of God. At this point, we must introduce a suggestive thought which cannot be documented. Michael was the other covering cherub as His first step of condescension, made mandatory because of His exercise of the Divine prerogative and power to create. From what is revealed, this condescension was not of the magnitude of what would be the ultimate. "God is spirit" (John 4:24). [ No article in the Greek text ] The angels are defined as "ministering spirits" (Heb. 1:14).

It is also reasonable to assume that Lucifer was party to the conversation between God and the Logos (John 1:1). The plan of the Elohim was to create a "new order" of beings. The exact language used by the Lord's messenger is thought provoking; "Human beings were a new and distinct order." (R&H, Feb.11, 1902) "God created man a superior being; he alone is formed in the image of God, ..." (R&H, April 21, 1885) Then in 1895, Ellen White wrote - "Man is the crowning act of the creation of God, made in the image of God, and designed to be a counterpart of God; ..." (R&H, June 18) Yet man was created flesh, not spirit. The difference between "flesh" and "spirit" is spelled out in Scripture. Jesus said - "A spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." (Luke 24:39) Yet God who is "spirit" has a form which has been reflected in the image of man (Phil. 2:6). Further, the resurrected body of Jesus, while no longer limited as in the incarnate state, is referred to as a "glorious body," into which likeness all the saved will be imaged (Phil. 3:21).

At this point some interesting questions can arise, the answers to which we do not have. Did Lucifer question the feasibility of creating a being of flesh rather than one of spirit? What was the purpose of creating a being of flesh and one of that flesh becoming "a counterpart of God"? How far into eternity was God planning and thinking? When man sinned, was one basic element in the accusation, the suggestion that God did not create one capable of withstanding the power of a "spirit" being? It needs to be kept in mind that the incarnation is described as "a divine spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh." (YI, Dec. 20,1900) In this encounter the fallen flesh withstood the most fierce assault of a fallen spirit.

It is at this point that a problem behind the incarnation comes into focus. Adam was created a mature being, not a baby, and did not have a childhood, nor an adolescence. It was with this mature being of flesh with which Satan contended and won. All that the Logos needed to demonstrate was that in the flesh in which Adam was created, He could conquer. However, the Logos did more than that. He took the flesh of fallen man and conquered, and then even submitted to death itself as a ransom for many.

At this point another question arises. How could the Logos get to the mature state of Adam, so that the contest could be unquestioned? If God created another body of flesh, it would not be of the line of Adam, and perhaps on the second try, He could do a better job, or at least it could so be alleged. So He came taking our flesh and blood, which meant He would begin the contest handicapped from where the first Adam stood. So coming as a baby,

p 7 -- how could He be preserved, till as an accountable being He could make His own decisions?

Various theories and assumptions have been made to circumvent the reality of the condescension. The Roman dogma of the Immaculate Conception is the basic concept from which all other concepts are but variation in degree. The evangelical position is that only a part of the womb of Mary was sanctified from which Jesus was conceived. Certain "historic" Adventist voices are speaking of Jesus coming as a born again, converted person. Let us let that which is hidden remain hidden, from the developing fetus through the babyhood of Jesus. Jesus did make a decision when at twelve years of age, and that is recorded. He declared to His mother, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" (Luke 2:49) The same Father whose business He perceived, kept Him till His hour was come.

The response is that Jesus then had an advantage over us. Yes and No. Let us consider the "No" first. When I, a sinner, accept "the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:24), I stand before God as if I had never sinned. What advantage then did Jesus have in this respect? While you may reluctantly answer, None, you will be quick to let me know there are other "respects." This is true. He had a tremendous advantage over us. He was "God manifest in the flesh" (I Tim. 3:16; KJV). He was "the Word made flesh" (John 1:14). We are not. Even partaking of the"divine nature" does not make us God in the flesh. But the same "messenger" who introduced us to the great controversy motif, has also emphasized Jesus Christ as Substitute and Surety. While the emphasis on "substitution" may make one wince a bit, and draw back in fear that "cheap grace"
is being suggested, perhaps the approach through "surety" would be more helpful in understanding the depth of "the redemption in Christ Jesus."

Furthermore, while Jesus emptied Himself at the incarnation, laying aside the "form" of God, would it be too much to suggest that at His baptism, He laid aside the use of His powers as God manifest in the flesh, and accepted what we each have to accept when we are placed on vantage ground - the guidance of the Holy Spirit. To perceive of the incarnation and its objective outside of the motif of the great controversy between Christ and Satan, is to fail to take in the whole of God's plan and purpose in the original creation of man. Further, this failure has blurred our perception of what the judgment scene in Daniel is telling us.

A Footnote --
This issue of WWN begins our 31st year of publication. The original idea and objective in publishing was to produce a monthly "thought paper," with articles to stimulate thinking - articles which might on occasion raise some questions and challenges. Over the years, the issues of WWN have tended to report events within the community of Adventism of a questionable nature and comments on these events. We plan to veer the issues of 1998 toward the original objective, and make secondary the reporting of events within the community of Adventism which are of a questionable nature. The above article on the great controversy motif is an example of the "thought paper" type of articles we have in mind. We do not expect the readers to agree with every thought expressed, but we would hope that all who read would do some thinking. We will preface each such article with the intent of its being written, or will make a notation even as we are doing now.

As we have written on other occasions, not only are the youth in their studies to be trained to be thinkers, but adults as well need to come to grips with concepts which require more than surface thinking. Traditionalism under the guise of "historic" Adventism, only keeps us Laodicean bound. One may break away from the corporate structure, but still not open the door for Jesus to come in and "sup" with him. --- (1998 Jan) --- End --- TOP

1998 Feb -- XXXI -- 2(98) -- Eternal Verities -- Part 2 -- THE HOLY SPIRIT -- Editor's Preface -- The August issue last year, authored and put together by our librarian, contained an article on "Corporate Calvinism." In response to this article, we received the essay we have published in this issue on the same subject but from the perspective of a reader. While the thought may be re-emphasized and in some aspects repeated, it needs to be. We may shun as a personal doctrine the assumption, that once saved means always saved, and then turn about face, and embrace the same equally false assumption that once a group of organized people receive a commission from the Lord, that commission cannot be withdrawn. This flies in the face of salvation history as well as the history of the Christian Church since the time of Christ. My Spirit will not always strive with men is a divine dictum that has never been repealed and thus cannot be ignored. To seek to mitigate the force of this dictum in the light of fulfilled and fulfilling prophecy is to lead those, who hear what otherwise is truth, into a false sense of security.

The article on "The Holy Spirit" completes the first segment of the Eternal Verities we are summarizing from our 1997 Seminar Studies. The Holy Spirit will be fully understood only when Heaven becomes a reality. There is a reason for this "veil" which covers His reality. Even as Christ came to glorify the Father, so the Holy Spirit is come to glorify Jesus. (John 16:14) Even as Christ's self abasement hid His reality, so the Spirit's selflessness disguises His reality, except to those who desire to know truth. (John 14:17) We suggest a serious and meditative study of this article.

As a result of some previous correspondence, we received the letter which stimulated the third article on Miguel Serveto. We only briefly outlined biographical data. After writing the article, we found a more complete resume in the Encyclopedia Britannica. We hope the one with whom we have corresponded will sense that we had our tongue in our cheek when we asked the final questions.

In any study of the Incarnation, the question of sin comes up. What is sin, is basic to the issue as to what nature Christ assumed in taking humanity upon Himself. We need to differentiate between sin and the results of sin. Christ accepted the latter, and overcame the former in that He did no sin. Read "Let's Talk It Over."

p 2 -- Eternal Verities -- Part 2 -- THE HOLY SPIRIT -- In the previous study, we noted that the Holy Spirit was involved in the birth of Jesus. This means in the simplest of terms that the Holy Spirit antedated the Incarnation. In the Scriptures He is described as "the Eternal Spirit." (Heb. 9:14) The designation, "Holy" Spirit sets Him apart from the angelic hosts who are "ministering" spirits. (Heb. 1:14) While the gospel of Luke revealed the relationship between the Holy Spirit and Jesus at the Incarnation, the Gospel of John revealed first, the Heavenly Duo - the Logos (Word) and God (John 1:1-2) - and then recorded the ultimate relationship between the Logos made flesh, and the Holy Spirit. Of this latter relationship, Jesus Himself was the revealer. Let us observe closely what Jesus said:       I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth. (John 14:16-17)

Two Greek words need to be noted - paraklhtoV (Comforter), and alloV (another). In his first Epistle, John declares Jesus to be a Parakletos (2:1; KJV - "advocate"). This close relationship was further emphasized by Jesus in His continuing revelation in the upper room. He said, "I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you." (John 14:18)

While this close identity is emphasized, the distinction between the Two is also clearly defined by the word, alloV (another). There are two words in the Greek for "another." Besides, allos, there is heteros. The contrast between these two words is seen by Paul's use in Galatians 1: 6-7. He wrote:       I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Chdst unto another (heteros) gospel, which is not another (allos).

Both words indicate two distinct things or beings, but the use of heteros defines the two as different in kind, even to the extent of one being inferior to the other. John in his Gospel and Epistle indicates that the Comforter to come from the Father, and the Advocate that was "with the Father," were both of the same kind - allos - God. Even as "God is spirit" (John 4:24), likewise the Comforter is a HOLY Spirit, in contrast to the "unclean" spirit beings who are antagonistic to God.

Jesus in his continuing conversation with the disciples on the way to Gethsemane, speaks of the Comforter as "He, the Spirit of truth," twice emphasizing the "He" (ekeinoV ) rather than "it" (ekeino), which would be demanded by the neuter word "Spirit" in the Greek (John 16:13, 14). In the very designation itself, "the Spirit of truth," the closeness of His relationship to Jesus Christ dare not be overlooked. Jesus declared Himself to be "the way, the truth, and the life." (John 14:6) This close identification covered by al-loV paraklhtoV ; is described in theological works as an alter ego relationship. (See The Expositor's Greek Testament, Vol. V, p.195 in comments on I John 5:6) From His incarnation (Luke 1:35) through to the cross (Heb. 9:14) the mysterious relationship prevailed. The "how" is enshrouded in mystery, the fact remains for our contemplation. This closeness is further emphasized in the Revelation of Jesus Christ which we will note later.

In the book of Acts, two insights of the Holy Spirit are given. One involves Ananias and his wife, Sapphira. Both had publicly committed themselves to the support of the early Church. In fulfilling this pledge, the price received for the dedicated land was more than anticipated, so they decided to retain a part of the funds received. In presenting these funds to Peter, Ananias left the impression that the total price received was being brought. Peter responded:      Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land? ... Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. (Acts 5:3,4)

Here is clearly set forth two orders of Being  -  created (men) and uncreated (God). The Holy Spirit is not of the order of men, thus leaving only one conclusion; the Holy Spirit is as much God as the Logos, or God Himself. Further, lying is not done to an influence or a power but to a Person.

The second insight is revealed in the call of Paul and Barnabas to a special work. The record reads:      Now there was in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers: ... As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. (Acts 13:1-2)

Observe the language:   The Holy Spirit stated that He called them - "the work whereunto I have called them." Further, it states that these two men were "sent forth by the Holy Spirit." (ver. 4) The Holy Spirit was in command of the activities and program of the Church. (It is interesting to observe that the Holy Spirit did not relay His directive through the leadership of the Christian Church at Jerusalem. It was given to men possessed by the gifts of the Spirit - Pneumatikoi) The question arises - Did Christ leave His Church under a "power" or "influence"? No, by "another Paracletos" the authority was exercised. He did not leave them comfortless nor guideless. He came to them in the Person of the Holy Spirit - His alter ego.

One more reference must be considered before going to the final book of the New Testament. Paul in his second letter to the Corinthian Church, writes to the believers de-

p 3 -- fining them as being an "epistle of Christ ..., written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in the fleshy tables of the heart." (3:3) He then draws a contrast between the ministration written in stone, and the ministration of the Spirit written in the heart. While the ministration written in stone was glorious, so much so that Moses had to veil his face in speaking to Israel, Paul indicates that the veil is done away in Christ (v.14). If the Israel of the flesh would turn to the Lord "the veil shall be taken away." (v.16) Then Paul writes - "the Lord is that Spirit." It is this Spirit which ministers to the living "epistles" so that they are "the epistles of Christ." The close working relationship is further heightened by the fact that Paul differentiates between Him to whom the Israelite of the flesh can turn - "the Lord" - and He who changes the believer into "the same image." The change is "by the Lord, the Spirit" (apo kupiou pneumatou). [See verse 18, margin]

This close working relationship between Jesus and the Holy Spirit is emphasized in symbol and context in the book of Revelation. First, John extends the blessings of Heaven - grace and peace - "to the seven churches which are in Asia." These blessings come from Him, Who Is, Who was, and Who is to come; and from "the seven Spirits which are before the throne," and from Jesus Christ. (1:4 -5) The most apt language to describe these Three Beings is to be found in the Writings - "the Heavenly Trio." (Special Testimonies, Series B, #7, p.62) There is One who is constant, unchangeable, without "variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James 1:17) The other Two, due to the entrance of sin, to accomplish the redemption of men, and to maintain the security of the Eternal Throne, have altered. What further activity is anticipated by the Heavenly Trio is only intimated in this unveiling of Jesus Christ.

This inter-relationship of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit is emphasized at each progressive revelation to the Seven Churches to whom the book is addressed. Each message is prefaced with a testimony from Jesus Christ. Each is concluded with an imperative from the Holy Spirit - "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith." Further, within the messages there is an intermingling of what Jesus will do, and what the Spirit will do. For example, to the victor of the Church at Thyatira, Jesus promises - "He that overcometh and keepeth my works to the end, to him will I give power over the nations" (2:26); while to the victor of the Church at Ephesus, the Spirit promises - "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life" (2:7).

In the rich symbolism of the vision which John was given of the Throne of God and the activity connected with the Throne, he sees first the One sitting on the Throne, and before Him are seven torches (Gr.) of fire, which are declared to be "the seven Spirits of God." (4:5) Not until an impasse is perceived is "a Lamb as it had been slain" revealed (5:6). This Lamb is described as "having seven horns and seven eyes" which are declared to be "the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth." This ''Lamb'' who was ''conceived ... of the Holy Spirit'' (Matt. 1:20), and "who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself," is symbolically portrayed before the Throne possessing the Spirit of God, as "seven horns and seven eyes," which is dispatched to the earth. He promised His disciples, "I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you." (John 14:18)

The final scenes of the Revelation of Jesus Christ center on the time when all things are made new and the call is extended to come and drink of the water of life freely. John hears "a great voice out of heaven" saying -       Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Rev.21:3)

Here again is introduced the Heavenly Duo of the Gospel of John. The Word (Logos), who became flesh and tabernacled among men, now comes once again to ever dwell with them. And God - "He Who is, Who was, and Who is to come" - comes to dwell with men as their God. He makes a pronouncement from the Throne:       I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountains of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things: I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Rev.21:6)

In the call to this occasion, the Spirit and the bride say, "Come" (Rev.22:17). [A bride gives the invitation to her wedding] One voice comes from the "bride" - the voice of the Spirit. There is one group of earth people - the last generation - who experience this in their final testimony of victory. When delivered up, they speak, but "it is not [they] that speak, but the Holy Spirit." (Mark 13:10-11) In them "the mystery of God" will be finished. (Rev. 10:7)

Some Helps -- Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally; therefore it was altogether for their advantage that He should leave them, go to the Father, and
send the Holy Spirit to be His successor on earth. The Holy Spirit is Himself, divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. He would represent Himself as present in all places by His Holy Spirit as the Omnipresent. (Letter 119,1895)

The impartation of the Spirit is the impartation of the life of Christ. (Gospel Workers, p.285)

Christ declared that after His ascension, He would send to His church, as His crowning gift, the Comforter, who was to take His place. This Comforter is the Holy Spirit, - the soul of His life, the efficacy of His church, the light and life of the world. (R&H, May 19,1904)

p 4 -- [The true seeker after the truth] is determined to stand on the side of righteousness. Truth has found its way into the heart, and is planted there by the Holy Spirit, who is the truth. When truth takes hold of the heart, the man gives sure evidence of this by becoming a steward of the
grace of Christ. (Testimonies to Ministers, p.122)

Truth, eternal truth, is ever present with the true believer. The Spirit is the appointed instructor of such a soul, his guide, his continual strength and righteousness. (Ms. 29, 1899)

Pray that the mighty energies of the Holy Spirit, with all their quickening, recuperative, and transforming power, may fall like an electric shock on the palsy-stricken soul, causing every nerve to thrill with new life, restoring the whole man from his dead, earthly, sensual state to spiritual soundness. You will thus become a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust; and in your souls will be reflected the image of Him by whose stripes you are healed. (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. V, p.267)

Faithful to His promise, the Divine One, exalted in the heavenly courts, imparted of His fullness to His followers on earth. His enthronement at God's right hand was signalized by the outpouring of the Spirit upon His disciples. (Education, p.95)

Some Further Thoughts and Warnings regarding "Corporate Calvinism" --
In the August 1997, issue of "Watchman, What of the Night?"was a very important article, "Corporate Calvinism," which exposed a grave danger and a serious deception within the Adventist Community. This bizarre belief is held not only by supporters of the regular church but also by most followers and supporters of "historic" independent ministries.

In response, I would like to give some further thoughts and warnings about some of the dangers which are connected with this heresy of Corporate Calvinism. Hopefully, they will serve to help at least a few Adventists to reassess their present relationship with the Church structure and with the professed "historic" independent ministries which accept, promote, and teach this bizarre heresy.

First, allow me to give my definition of "Corporate Calvinism." Based on what I have heard and read in the SDA community, I would define this strange belief as follows:   "The Seventh-day Adventist Church, according to Adventist thinking, is God's one, true remnant church on the face of the earth. Very closely connected with this view is the belief that God has unconditionally elected and predestined the Seventh-day Adventist church - meaning the SDA institutional organizational church structure - to go through to the end and the heavenly Kingdom, no matter how apostate, corrupt, or worldly laymembers and leadership become. Supposedly, God has a special, irrevocable covenant with the SDA church - once again, meaning the SDA institutional
church structure - and He cannot break, nor will He disavow, that covenant, no matter what evil, sin, or wickedness is accepted, practised, and supported within the SDA church structure."

I must frankly state that I find it quite contradictory and strange for the Church and most of the "historic" independent ministries, to reject the Calvinistic concept of unconditional election and predestination (also known as "once saved, always saved"), as applied to the individual Christian, but then turn around and apply the "once saved, always saved" concept to the institutional SDA church. It is absurd and ridiculous for SDA's to contend that, while an individual Christian may fall from God's grace and eventually be lost without true repentance, a church struture can never fall from God's favour and grace, no matter what is corporately allowed.

At this point, let's examine several serious dangers connected with this deceptive heresy of Corporate Calvinism:

1.    Corporate Calvinism causes Adventists to lean on the arm of man, instead of the arm of Jesus. Jeremiah 17:5 gives a blunt warning about this danger:   "Thus saith the Lord; cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm ... " Instead of following Jesus, Who is "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6), the average institutional Adventist follows the directives and teachings of the Church's hierarchy, despite many of those directives and teachings being out of harmony with the Bible and or the writings of Ellen White.

Over the last 40 years, more than a few SDA church leaders, and theologians have introduced and promoted in the church, doctrinal pluralism, as well as heretical concepts, on such subjects as righteousness by faith, prophecy, the heavenly sanctuary, and the incarnation. Many of these same influential men have also introduced into Adventist thinking, through various channels, unscriptural and worldly philosophies like ecumenism, humanism, liberalism, modernism, and forms of mind control, like NLP or imaging and meditation exercises.

In light of such a questionable track record over the past few decades, spiritually discerning Adventists should seriously question the ability of such men to lead the SDA church successfully and triumphantly through to the end and into the Heavenly Kingdom. Even more importantly, Adventists need to question the safety of looking to and leaning upon such men for spiritual direction and guidance.

2.    Corporate Calvinism inflicts a grievous case of spiritual blindness upon those Adventists who accept it. One of the most astounding illustrations of this spiritual blindness is the unconcern by the vast majority of Adventists - both institutional and "historic" - over what occurred at one of the 1990 General Conference sessions. According to the church report, a Roman Catholic priest, T.J. Murphy, who was representing the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, was allowed to address and "bless" the session with a prayer from Catholic liturgy. (1990 GC Bulletin, #7, p.8)

If the SDA General Conference session is supposed to be "the highest authority of God on the face of the earth when in session," and SDA church leaders link ecumenical hands with the Vatican through one of its representatives during such a session, then this "chummy" SDA - Roman Catholic fellowship should wake up every Adventist who claims to believe the Bible

p 5 -- and the writings of Ellen White, to the fact that the institutional Church and its leaders have fallen away from - and even rejected - prophetic truth, including the Third Angel's Message, which warns against the beast, his image, and his mark. Instead, largely because of the blighting and blinding influence of Corporate Calvinism, most institutional Adventists and many professed "historic" independent ministries with their "leaders," either ignored this event or attempted to give justifications or rationalizations for it. These Adventists would do well to remove the prophetic and spiritual cataracts from their eyes by re-reading The Great Controversy as soon as possible.

If another denomination, such as the Lutheran Church, the Assemblies of God or the Southern Baptists, allowed a Roman Catholic priest to address and "bless" one of their world-wide conferences or sessions, Adventists would announce that event from their pulpits and in their presses. Yet, when such an ecumenical event occurs within the institutional SDA world at its highest level, most SDA's - and this includes most professed "historic" SDA's - express little or no concern about it, one reason being because of the blighting and dangerous influence of Corporate Calvinism.

3. Corporate Calvinism also causes an attitude of spiritual presumptuousness among many SDA's. This attitude claims God's blessings and promises to the SDA church structure are unconditional and unqualified, when in reality those blessings and promises are conditional upon the church and its leaders upholding standards of holiness, righteousness, and truth. Furthermore, this dangerous attitude declares and insists that God's blessings and promises will always be with the SDA church organisation even if the church's hierarchy allows corruption, evil, and compromise within the church's structure.

Let's give two examples of this problem:

(a)    It is spiritually presumptuous to claim that the SDA church structure is the "remnant church which keeps the commandments of God" when its leaders from the pulpit, its teachers in the classroom, and its writers in books and magazines proclaim that a person cannot keep the commandments of God, even with the power of the Holy Spirit, and that trying to keep the commandments is legalism. No commandment breakers, whether individuals or corporate church structures, are "unconditionally elected" to go through to the Heavenly Kingdom.

(b)    It is spiritually presumptuous - and even intellectually dishonest - for Adventists to claim that while evils and wrongs like ecumenism, higher criticism, and liberalism, which exist in other churches, make those churches "fallen churches," these same evils and wrongs when accepted and practised by the institutional SDA Church will not stop it from being "unconditionally elected" to go through to the end. This is spiritual blindness and presumptuousness of the highest order.

May God open the eyes of concerned Adventists to the dangers of spiritual presumptuousness, inherent in Corporate Calvinism.

4.    Corporate Calvinism even causes Bible prophecy to be denied, ignored or rejected by both institutional and "historic" Adventists. If none of the above dangers of Corporate Calvinism cause Adventists concern, this danger certainly should.

Jesus clearly warned in Luke 21:24 that "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Just over 30 years ago, in June 1967 during the Six Day War, Israeli military forces took old Jerusalem, thus restoring Jewish control to the entire city for the first time since A.D. 70. In 1980, the entire Jewish government was moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. With this final sign, the times of the nations had come to an end, and were given over to Satan to work his will with them. The event also revealed that the corporate SDA church had been weighed in the balances in the Heavenly Sanctuary and found wanting.

This prophecy of Jesus in Luke 21:24 about Jerusalem and the times of the Gentiles is every bit as important as the other prophecies of Jesus regarding other endtime signs. And yet, while both the institutional SDA church and the "historic" independent ministries focus on other endtime prophecies of Jesus, like the one found in Matthew 24:29 about the Dark Day in November 1780, and the falling of the stars from heaven in November 1833, they simply ignore the prophecy of Jesus in Luke 21:24. It is almost as if there were a great conspiracy of silence in the Adventist community about this prophetic warning of Jesus.

Why this wall of silence regarding Luke 21:24 among Adventists? Could one cause be the fear of a loss of authority, control, and power by Church leadership and even "historic" Adventist "voices" over the "sheep"? Might another cause of this silence be a fear by both institutional and independent leadership, that to focus on this prophecy might produce a "cash flow problem" to the church structure and to the "historic" independent ministries which do not preach the whole truth? Could yet another cause of silence about this prophecy be a fear on the part of institutional church leaders and "historic" ministry leaders of the loss of man's applause and approval if they forthrightly defend and preach what Jesus predicted, and which has come to pass?

Whatever the reasons for Luke 21:24 being ignored in the Adventist community, those reasons will not serve to reduce the guilt before God of those who ignore or reject this prophecy, and neither will it change the status of the corporate SDA church in the Heavenly Sanctuary.

5.    There is one final point about Corporate Calvinism which merits serious consideration. Those ministries like Amazing Facts, The 1888 Message Study Committee, Hope International, and Light Bearers, which are promoting Corporate Calvinism, have yet to explain how the institutional SDA church will survive the final crisis over enforced Sunday observance, and what those Adventists who are presently clinging to and depending upon the church structure should do in the event that the structure either collapses, falls under the judgements of the Lord, or is taken over by the government. I have noticed that whenever this point is raised, it is either ignored or met with double talk and evasions. Concerned SDA's should stand up and demand some straight answers on this point.

How much better it would be for all Adventists to make Jesus the foundation of their spiritual hope, instead of the Church structure. How much better it would be for all Adventists to make
Jesus their refuge and sanctuary, instead of a church organization. How much better it would be for all Adventists to cast aside once and for all the dangerous and deceptive heresy of Corporate Calvinism, and instead look only to Jesus, Who is the Author and Finisher of their faith (Hebrews 12:2).

p 6 -- MIGUEL SERVETUS (Michael Servetus) --Following the identification of certain current teachings in the community of Adventism on the Godhead as neo-Gnosticism, a friend on the West Coast wrote and in a postscript asked - "Did Michael Servetus have tritheist notions?" I recalled the name from Church History, but the recall of biographical data eluded me. I took first from our library shelves, the Church History book by Qualben which had been used in my college class at Union College. The index read simply - "Servetus, burned." Turning to the referenced page, I read the brief account and comment in a chapter on Calvinism:      There was no thought of religious toleration. Servetus, a famous Spanish physician, was condemned and burned on October 27, 1553, because of his anti-Trinitarian doctrines. This is the darkest blot in the history of Protestantism. (A History of the Christian Church, p.261)

It should be noted in passing that the City State established under John Calvin had as its goals and agenda an objective not too different from the Religious Right of the present. One did not only have to conform to the lifestyle dictated by a religious Consistorial Court whose regulations the City Council of Geneva put into civil law, but his beliefs had to be in line with Calvin's. This latter aspect is what brought Servetus to the stake.

Qualben did not enlarge further, so I turned to another church history text by Walker. It gave more biographical detail, and the convictions of Servetus. He was a Spaniard by birth about the same age as Calvin. "In 1531 he published his De Trinitatis Erroribus. Compelled to conceal his identity, he studied medicine under the name of Villeneuve, being the real discoverer of the pulmonary circulation of blood. He settled in Vienne in France, where he developed a large practice. He was working secretly on his Restitution of Christianity, which he published early in 1553. To his thinking, the Nicene doctrine of the Trinity, the Chalcedonian Christology, and infant baptism were the chief sources of the corruption of the church." (p.399)

Servetus' real identity was unmasked to the Roman ecclesiastical authorities in Lyons by a friend of Calvin's, who a little later supplied further proof obtained from Calvin himself. He was condemned to be burned, but before the sentence could be executed, escaped from prison in Vienne, and for reasons hard to understand made his way to Geneva, miscalculating the strength and enmity of Calvin. There he was finally burned.

Still unable to determine just what did Servetus believe and teach, I turned to another old book in our library - A Manual of Church History - by Albert Henry Newman. Having only Vol. 2 of the two volume set, I wondered if it would cover the period under study. It did. It contained a detailed biographical sketch of his life. Born in Spain of well-to-do parents, he was educated at the University of Saragossa, becoming "skilled in classical languages, scholastic philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, and geography." He "trained in law at the University of Toulouse, where he devoted considerable time to theology and especially Biblical studies." Upon completion of his
studies, Servetus "entered the court of Charles V, as secretary of Quintana, the emperor's confessor." In this capacity he travelled widely, not only getting an inside view of the ecclesiastical corruption, but also becoming acquainted with many of the leading lights of the Reformation. His first published work, noted above, in 1531 "is remarkable for learning and argumentative power. It was sharply criticized by the leading theologians (Luther, Bucer, Melanchthon), and its author was generally regarded as a dangerous heretic. Yet Melanchthon and Capito were free to confess that the doctrine of the Trinity involved grave difficulties." (pp.191-192)

In 1532, Servetus entered the University of Paris under an assumed name where he studied mathematics, physics, and medicine, obtaining in 1536 degrees of M.A. and M.D. After leaving Paris, he finally settled in Vienne, where he enjoyed the protection of the archbishop, a former fellow-student. In 1541, he produced "an annotated edition of Pagnini's Latin Bible, in which he made constant use of the Hebrew language and showed himself a biblical critic of no mean order." (p.193)

Newman in his history, suggests that since "it was Servetus' teachings regarding the Godhead and his Christology that furnished the chief ground for his condemnation as a heretic, It seems important that this aspect of his teaching be somewhat carefully set forth." This he did, noting:       It may be premised that his reverence for the Scriptures was unbounded ... It is evident that it was far from his intention to dishonor and degrade Jesus, whom he recognized as in the fullest sense Lord and Saviour. That the divine Logos was in the beginning, was with God, and was God, he believed with all his heart; and that the Logos became flesh in the Person of Christ and wrought atonement for sinful man, was the ground of his hope and trust. He differed from the orthodox theologians of the Nicene and following ages, in denying emphatically that the preincarnate Logos was Son of God. Sonship began when Jesus was begotten of Mary by the Holy Spirit. (p. 194)

In replying to my friend's question, I wrote - "In regard to the Logos, God, and the concept of Sonship, I can only concur. Will you now join Calvin in my execution? At the stake?"

p 7 --LET'S TALK IT OVER -- In any discussion of the Incarnation, the question of what is sin enters the picture. The stock answer for the traditional Adventist is that "sin is the transgression of the law," unmindful that the full text reads "whosoever comitteth sin transgresseth also the law" (I John 3:4). Those who advocate that the incarnate Word took the unfallen nature of Adam, perceive the "fallen nature" as equivalent to sin. Thus, if Jesus took our fallen nature, He could not be our Saviour, and would Himself be in need of a saviour. These and other concepts are describing the results of sin, and not sin itself.

For a few moments, let us picture ourselves in Eden. There we see the father of the race and Eve his helpmeet, standing as created, in the perfection of humanity. There are no Ten Commandments. How could they have understood the command, -Thou shalt not commit adultery"? There was no one with whom to commit adultery. Thert were only two relationships built in love - love to God, and pure love for each other. Jesus was later to declare, on "these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matt. 22:40)

[For those who may think this heretical thinking, may I suggest you note the series of quotations from the Writings as given in The Book of Hebrews by M. L. Andreasen, pp. 314-315. The gist is that the Ten Commandments "were expressed to meet man in his fallen condition." (Emphasis supplied)]

Actually, there was only one command imposed upon them. Of every tree of the garden, they could freely eat, but God commanded - "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17). The designation of the tree as a tree of the knowledge of good and evil, was a post appellation. Eve knew the tree only as the one "in the midst of the garden" (Gen.3:3). The tree was not poisonous in itself, for all that God made was "very good" (Gen. 1:31). The experience involved in eating from the tree reveals the real definition of what sin is. God said - "thou shalt surely die." The suggestion was made - "Ye shall not surely die" (Gen. 3:4). In taking of the fruit, they chose to disbelieve God's word, and thus rejected His authority. The "serpent" held out to them alluring possibilities - "Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (v. 5). God's goodness through restriction and delay were brought into question. Our first parents chose to transgress the commandment of God. In carrying out their choice they acted out their sin. It was the corruption of thought that led to sin. It effected the whole nature and forced God to separate them from His presence. Our first parents did not want to leave Eden. God "drove out the man," and Eve followed (v. 24). But, and this should never be forgotten, the Incarnation is God coming out to where we are both in space and nature. Jesus was "God with us."

What sin really is, is embodied in the following quotation:      There was nothing poisonous in the fruit itself, and the sin was not in yielding to appetite. It was the distrust of God's goodness, disbelief of His word, and the rejection of His authority, that made our first parents transgressors, and that brought into the world a knowledge of evil. (Education, p. 25; emphasis supplied)

Observe carefully what is stated  -  "The sin was not in yielding to appetite." It had not been perverted. They had every other tree of which to eat. It was an act based in self exaltation - to be gods - as well as fear of self deprivation - to lose Eve. The way back to God and Eden restored is clearly outlined:   1)   Trust His goodness;   2)   Believe His word;   and 3)   Accept His authority. To learn the first, makes the other two much easier. To accept the fact that God is too wise to err, and too good to withhold anything from those who choose to serve Him, what else could one do but to believe His word and accept His authority?

As Jesus contemplated how John the Baptist had been received in the light of who he really was - the messenger sent by God to prepare His way - the "Elijah which was for to come" - and the rejection of His own message in the light of the works which He had performed, He "began to upbraid the cities wherein most of His mighty works were done, because they repented not." Then He paused, and prayed - I thank thee, 0 Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so Father: for so it seemed good in Thy sight. (Matt. 11:25-26)

In Him, there was no sin; He trusted in the goodness of God! --- (1998 Feb) ---End---- TOP

1998 Mar -- XXXI - 3(98) -- Eternal Verities -- Part 3 -- THE INCARNATON -- Editors Preface -- With this issue we begin a two part study of the Biblical texts relating to the Incarnation. Since Special Issue #1 of this year covered the historical data of the doctrine as it relates to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, we will not summarize the similar data that was presented at the 1997 Seminar.

The second article - "Some Assessments" - takes a good hard look and an in-depth evaluation of the current activities and teachings of the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement. With the decision of Venneta Marcussen, wife of Jan Marcussen, to unite with this Movement, and the revelation that Marcussen has been using the Reform Movement's Senior Sabbath School Lesson Quarterlies, with only cosmetic alterations, and without their permission, has propelled this movement's profile to the front page in the community of Adventism. It is evident also that the leaders of the Reform Church are making capital of Venneta Marcussen's defection to the Movement. We noted previously in an editorial (XXX-12 (97), pp. 6-7) of the "new look" they are giving to their services and life style. In this article, we have given a more detailed discussion of
their teachings, especially in regard to their perceptions of salvation. In a packet of material sent out from their headquarters to anyone making contact with Venneta Marcussen, is to be found a booklet summarizing their objectives, teaching, and history, written by their apologist, Peter Lausevic. Seeking to associate themselves with the 1888 Message of Righteousness by Faith, they attempt to cover the teachings of their Gotha Statement which reflect Roman Catholic overtones.

Both in the article assessing the Reform Movement, and in the editorial, we have given documentation of the distinct difference between the Biblical teachings of Paul, as revived in the Reformation, and the Roman teaching of a dual grace, and "means of grace" by which one obtains salvation. We are acutely aware of the desire of those Seventh-day Adventists, who find the trends in the Church so abhorrent, for fellowship with humble and sincere people, but we also realize that real fellowship can be based only in truth pure and unadulterated.

p 2 -- Eternal Verities -- Part 3 -- The Incarnation - I -- The first promise after man sinned involved the incarnation. This Protevangelium reads:      And I [the Lord God] will put enmity between thee the serpent and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: He shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heal. (Gen. 3:15, Heb)

All the Biblical revelation that follows merely enlarges and confirms the basic elements of this first promise. Observe that it states - "the seed of the woman" - not "the seed of the man." Further, the head of the serpent would be bruised, while it would also cost the Seed, His heel would be bruised. The first element - "the seed of the woman" - has two factors:   1)   It was the seed after the Fall. The only nature the woman could give would be the fallen nature resultant from sin. It could not be otherwise, as there was no need of a Saviour until after the fall. The unfallen nature needed no Redeemer. And   2)   No human father would be involved. It was not the seed of Adam. This introduces the basic mystery - how can a woman not impregnated by a man have a child? This Is the very question that Mary asked of Gabriel - "How shall this thing be, seeing I know not a man?" (Luke 1:34)

Both the serpent and the Seed would be "bruised." Does it matter where a venomous serpent bites you? "The sting of death is sin" (I Cor. 15:56). This promise indicates the extent of the condescension. He would be made "sin for us who knew no sin" (II Cor. 5:21). To destroy the power of sin at its head - would cost God; His heel would be bruised.

Before leaving this original promise, we need to note how it was perceived by the one whose mind had been influenced to sin. Upon the birth of Cain, Eve declared - "I have gotten a man, the Lord" (Gen. 4:1, Heb). Some translations read - "I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord," thus translating the sign of the direct object (eth) which precedes "Lord" as "with His help." The text plainly states - "Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived." There is no question as to who the father of Cain was. This is simply the evidence of the difficulty of the human mind, perverted by sin, to understand divine revelation. It also indicates the human attitude toward God's promises; man can accomplish them. The element of faith is lacking; is there anything too hard for the Lord?

Further it says in essence that man can create God. This blasphemy is still with us, and is basic in the Eucharistic contentions. Thus from the very beginning we find the seeds of a misconception of the Incarnation, a salvation by works mentality, and base presumption. Well might we tremble as we seek to understand truth with six thousand years of warped thinking behind us. We need to
tremble at His Word.

There is in the book of Genesis another revelation of the coming incarnation. Through the dream given to Jacob, the first night of his being away from home in his sixty years of life, God reveals to him where his consolation can be. Pause in your reading and take time to review the experience as recorded in Genesis 28:10-13. The first thing Jacob saw was "a ladder set up on the earth." Its base was on the earth, not dangling a rung or two above the earth. The redemption of man was not to be a "chopper" rescue mission, something let down from heaven; but it was to be a mission beginning where sin began, and which would bridge the gulf - the top of it "reached to heaven." Communication was restored; he saw "angels of God ascending and descending on it."

That ladder was declared by Jesus to be Himself (John 1:51). Nathaniel saw in Him "the Son of God, ... the King of Israel" (v.49). Jesus identified Himself as "the Son man" who would create the ladder. Clearly He was God manifest in the flesh of man - the Word made flesh. Further, Jesus did not set up "three ladders" to heaven - just ONE! There are not three ways to understand the Incarnation; just one.

Various revelations of the Incarnation come from the record of the Exodus movement. First the "burning bush" which inaugurated it (Exodus 3:2-3.8). Moses was doing his menial task of tending for his father-in-law's flock which he had taken to the vicinity of Horeb, described as "the mountain of God." Here he saw a bush glowing with fire but not consumed. Turning aside to see this unusual sight, God spoke to him, telling him that having seen the bondage of Israel, He was "come down to deliver them." Again the emphasis is that human redemption would not be accomplished from a remote distance, but God would dwell even in a form represented by a desert shrine. However, His glory as a burning fire would not consume the form of man but would draw man unto it, even as Moses was attracted to the manifestation of God. It would be God manifest in the flesh, which had become as a thorny desert shrub. He revealed his name to Moses as I AM THAT I AM (3:14). Gesenius, the Hebrew lexicographer, translates the Hebrew as reading, "I shall be what I am," in other words, the Unchangeable, the Eternal One.

The sanctuary, built by Israel in the desert of Sinai, very near to the place where God had revealed Himself to Moses, was but an enlargement of the revelation of the burning bush. It was to be a place in which God would dwell among them (Ex. 25:8). Its outward appearance contrasted with its interior glory. Covered with "rams' skins dyed red, and a covering above of badger's skins" (26:14), its interior appointments - furniture, and walls - were overlaid with gold (25:10-11; 23-24, 31; 26:29). John catches the significance of the sanctuary and declares that "the Word came to be (egeneto) flesh and tabernacled (eskhnwsen) among us, and we beheld His glory, the

p 3 -- glory of the unique one (monogenouV) of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John l:14). To all outward appearances, Jesus was only a man, "a desert shrub," but that form veiled an inward glory of God - the fullness of grace and truth.

The final revelation of the exodus from Egypt, came as they neared the end of the forty years of wilderness wanderings. "The soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way" (Numbers 21:4). They spoke against both God and Moses. God responded with "fiery serpents" and "much people of Israel died" (v.6). In response to Moses' intercession, God said:      Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. (ver. 8)

All the elements of the extent of the condescension and resulting redemption are found in this one symbolism. He "who knew no sin" was "made to be sin for us" (II Cor. 5:21). He was lifted "upon a pole" that all who would look might live. The New Testament is clear as to the significance of this symbolism. Jesus told Nicodemus that as Moses lifted up the serpent, so must He be lifted up (John 3:14). The book of Revelation translates the very language into the Greek, and applies it to Satan. It Is the puroV drakwn (fiery dragon), or serpent (Rev. 12:3, 9), who contends with Michael, but Michael entering into the strong man's house (Matt. 12:29), and binding the strong man by condemning sin in the flesh, brings "salvation" (12:10). It is ours to look, believe, and live. No understanding of the Incarnation which destroys this symbolism has any validity.

Isaiah, the gospel prophet, emphasizing the first gospel promise, wrote:      Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. (7:14-15 KJV)

Three points should be noted:   1)   "a virgin;"   2)   "His name;"   and 3)   the freedom to choose.

While the KJV uses the word, "virgin," other translations simply state, "woman" (REV & RSV). The Hebrew word is alma, which is used to describe a woman of marriageable age. The Hebrew word for virgin is bethulah and is used five times by Isaiah, but he chose not to use it here. The promised one is to be "the seed of the woman." Paul also makes this emphasis - "God sent forth His Son, made of a woman" (Gal. 4:4).

His name was to be Immanuel, "God with us" (Matt. 1:23). The child of the woman was God who came to be as us with us. He was "as us" through the woman; He was with us because He was God manifest In the flesh.

The third point needs clarification. Literally this part of the text reads - "Butter and honey he doth eat, when he knoweth to refuse evil, and to fix on good." (Young's Literal Translation of the Holy Bible) The concept of "when" would indicate that there would be a time when as all normal earth children, he would not know to choose - he would develop. He learned obedience (Heb. 5:8). He would be endowed with the power of choice - He would be a free moral agent.

Isaiah prophesies further that He would not only be "a tender plant" but He would also be "as a root out of a dry ground." What a contrast is herein expressed! Then to emphasize the conflicting contrast he added - "He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him" (Isa. 53:2). Well would His life represent the "tabernacle" of the wilderness. His would be a life whose glory of the fullness of grace and truth would be veiled to the eyes of men and only perceived by those who would come to believe on and in Him.

In the New Testament       In the fullness of time, God was manifest in the flesh. In Bethlehem, a name which means "house of bread," the Bread of Life was born and cradled in a feeding trough for cattle. The contrasts prophesied by Isaiah were seen from God's first entry into flesh. The first invitation to behold Him was to shepherds, and His humiliation was emphasized as a signature of His Divine Identity. The angels proclaimed over the hills of Bethlehem - "Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger" (Luke 2:11-12).

This detailed description of the birth of Jesus dare not be overlooked. Paul wrote that when this uniquely begotten One was brought into the world, God declared - "Let all the angels of God worship Him" (Heb. 1:6). The baby Jesus was God in the flesh. The contrast widens as we perceive the significance of Isaiah's prophecy. This child is "the Father of eternity" (Isa. 9:6 Heb. KJV- "the everlasting Father"). Well did Paul wrote - "Without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness" (I Tim. 3:16). We need to remove our shoes, for the ground whereon we walk is holy ground.

The Gospels reveal Jesus as the Son of man experiencing all the feelings of our humanity. "He hungered" (Matt. 21:18). He who as the God of Israel neither slumbered nor slept (Ps. 121:3-4), as a man became so wearied that he slept "in the hinder part of a boat...on a pillow" in the midst of "a great storm" until awakened by His thoroughly frightened disciples (Mark 4:37-38). He manifest "anger" due to the hardness of human hearts because they refused to make judgments based in truth (Mark 3:1-5). "Jesus wept" as He saw disbelief mingled with human

p 4 -- sorrow (John 11:35). He saw talent covered with selfish desire, yet "loved" the individual and offered him the way to true success (Mark 10:21). He "suffered" being tempted with the temptations common to man (Heb. 2:18; 4:15). He was in "agony" as He wrestled to accept the
penalty of sins which were not His, even sweating "as it were great drops of blood" (Luke 22:44).

Before considering the Incarnation as set forth in the Epistles, we need to take another look at the announcement of Gabriel to Mary. It reads - "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy [thing] which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). The word, "thing" (KJV) is supplied by the translators. The preceding word, "holy" ('agion) is an adjective and requires an object. The supplied word would be more accurate if it read - "spirit." The Holy Spirit could only beget Itself. "A divine Spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh" (YI, Dec.20, 1900). This uniqueness, in contrast to every other human being, dare not be overlooked. Our identity is the result of father and mother; Jesus' Identity was pre-existent of the Eternal Spirit. It was the Logos who was with God (proV ton qeon), and who became flesh ('o logoV sarx egeneto). In this there is both difference and likeness. He was different - He was God; yet likeness - He became flesh, even our flesh through Mary. This is why He was and is monogenhV, the One of a Kind (John 1:18).       To Be Continued

Some Assessments -- As 1997 closed, events were taking place in the Community of Adventism both within and without the regular Church which need to be carefully considered by every concerned Adventist. Inasmuch as the data on events outside the regular Church is more complete, we shall assess this data, and leave to another issue an assessment of the events within the Church. But first some background:

Since the SDA-Evangelical Conferences in 1995-1956, there have been schisms within the Church. The proliferation accelerated following the 1980 Dallas General Conference Session, with the adoption of a new Statement of Beliefs. "Independent" Ministries seemed to be the order of the day. One, through the use of television and theatrical showmanship, became very prominent and received millions of dollars in support. This ministry, through invitation, gave name recognition to men who under ordinary circumstances wouldn't have been given a second hearing. Through over
extension and ego gratification, this ministry has ended in oblivion. Another ministry is seeking to take its place and dominate the field. However, splintering continues within the splinters. All of this has left many a sincere and concerned Adventist bewildered.

On the sidelines is another "break away" movement resultant from administrative decisions of leaders of the European section of the Adventist Church during World War I - the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement. Due to the discontent within Adventism, this church group has sought to move into the gap and fill the need of the concerned Adventist for fellowship. It has been unusually successful. To do so, it has given its outward image a face-lifting. Noticeable changes have been made in its services, and the emphasis shift from almost total use of the Writings, to presentations from the Bible plus the Writings. Sabbath School lesson quarterlies have been programmed to resemble closely the Senior Quarterlies used by the Church prior to the SDA-Evangelical Conferences. A multicolor folder advertises lesson quarterlies for each division of the Sabbath School. Prior to the present, they had not been able to do so. What has made the change? One factor is the increased tithe and offerings received from former members of the Adventist Church, as well as those who had been supporting various "independent" ministries.

For "several years" the Amazing Truth ministry, headed by Jan Marcussen, has printed "the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement Sabbath school quarterlies, changing only the cover, dates, and titles," without giving recognition to the source, or securing permission from the publishers. It is our understanding that this unethical plagiarism has ended and Marcussen is seeking to write his own quarterlies. However, last year, on May 25, Venneta Marcussen, Jan's wife, united with the Reform Movement. Then on November 17, 1997, she wrote a letter telling of her experience, sending the letter to everyone on the Amazing Truth's mailing list. (The letter
is a fact, the use of the mailing list has not been confirmed) The letter carried an invitation for those who wished to call her at an 888 number on two Fridays in December between 8:30 and 12 noon. This we did. We found her very friendly and well schooled in how to reply to questions. Those questions to which she either did not know the answer, or did not wish to respond, she suggested that we call their General Conference headquarters in Roanoke, Virginia, on their 800
number. There was no question but that Venneta Marcussen was being used to make contacts and create an interest in the Reform Movement.

In closing the conversation, Venneta Marcussen asked for one's name and address to which she sent a packet of material. This material is most revealing. Included was a Literature Order form. Apart from reprints from SDA authors such as Jones, Waggoner, Ellen G. White, and health publications by the Drs. Thrash, the key writer for the Reform Movement was Peter D. Lausevic with 25 listings. The packet contained one of his booklets -What is the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement? - with comments on its teaching and history. Based on what we read, we are led to believe that Lausevic has become the apologist for the Reform Movement even as Dr. Leroy E. Froom was for the "new look" in Adventism following the SDA-Evangelical Conferences, and as Dr. George R. Knight is now. What is an apologist? Let us explain first by definition and then by illustration.

The dictionary definition of an apologist indicates that he is

p 5 -- "one who speaks or writes in defence of a faith, a cause, or an institution." This in itself is good and many times needful. The problem that has arisen in current apologetics is that this form of defence has become propaganda, and its use has not evidenced strict integrity to fact or to truth.

Following the publication of Questions on Doctrine, of which L. E. Froom was the principle writer, he wrote - Movement of Destiny. Basically, it was a reiteration of the compromised positions taken in the SDA-Evangelical Conferences, with an enlarged defence of these positions, even if documents and evidence had to be altered to establish his thesis. We cite two examples:

1)    He summarized what he called "E. J. Waggoner's Actual Message at Minneapolis." (Chapter Eleven) Froom wrote that Waggoner taught that Christ existed "from the days of eternity" (Micah 5:2, margin) --- so "far back in the days of eternity as to be far beyond the grasp of the mind of man" (p. 193 ). What Waggoner actually wrote after quoting Micah 5:2 in full was - "We know that Christ 'proceeded forth and came from God' (John 8:42), but it was so far back in the ages of eternity as to be far beyond the grasp of the mind of man." (Christ and His Righteousness, p.9)

2)    On page 428, Froom indicates that the statement in the 1914 edition of Bible Readings for the Home Circle, teaching that Christ "partook of our sinful, fallen nature" was an "erroneous minority position." This is stated in the light of evidence to the contrary.*

Dr. George R. Knight, of Andrews University, has taken up the mantle left by Froom, and has sought to rewrite the history of the Church starting with 1888. In his book, From 1888 to Apostasy, he sought to denigrate A. T. Jones, and continued the same line of attack on the doctrine of the Incarnation as Froom has done. (See Chapter 10)**

What Froom and Knight have tried to do for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Peter Lausevic is attempting to do for the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement. Back in 1925, when the Movement was first organized, they adopted what is known as the Gotha Statement. This Statement does not reflect, and bears little resemblance, if any, to the Statements of Belief which had been published by the Seventh-day Adventist Church up to that time. Yet this Movement claims to be the successor to the Church, to restore by "reform" the original teachings and practices of the Church. A decade or more ago, this discrepancy between the Gotha-Statement and
the original Statements of the Church was pointed out to the leaders of the Reform Movement. They admitted to me that changes needed to be made but that it would have to be done through committees. It still has not been done. This may be the reason why one of their former ministers circulated a card which reads - "God so loved the world that He did not send a committee." In the Gotha Statement, there is so much Roman Catholic doctrine and rhetoric involved that for the
teachings of the Reform Movement to appeal to the unsuspecting target group, something had to be done. Lausevic has supplied that need in his booklet - What is the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement. What is his take off point? After listing all of the reforms - referenced by him as "every divine institution" - he writes:      As the great reformation carried on by Luther in the 16th Century had actually had its beginning two centuries earlier, so the prophesied Reform Movement among SDA's, in existence today, had its embryonic beginning in 1888, when the Lord sent the message of Christ's Righteousness to the General Conference delegation assembled in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (p.11; emphasis supplied)

There is not a shred of documentary evidence given that those assembled at Gotha, Germany, in 1925, knew what 1888 was all about, or had even heard about it. Now we are informed that the 1888 message was the "embryonic beginning" of the Reform Movement for which Lausevic is writing. This makes good rhetoric and is calculated to deceive,coated as it is in falsehood.

The packet of material sent by the Reform Movement on behalf of Venneta Marcussen, and which contained Lausevic's booklet, did not contain, however, a copy of the Gotha Statement. Lausevic only referred to it (p.16). This for good reason. It does not teach the righteousness by faith message of 1888. Under a heading captioned, "Grace and the Means of Grace," the Gotha Statement reads:      We believe that grace means the covering of our sins through Christ He is the founder of the kingdom of grace. ... We can only have the benefits of redeeming grace if we shun sin through the power of Christ, united with our will (pp.6,7)

This is nothing more than the Roman teaching of "infused righteousness" so as to be worthy of God's grace. To emphasize the point, the Statement continues - "We believe that God has provided several means to draw sinners to Himself and give them the promised redemption through the grace of Christ." These are listed as:   a)   The Word of God;   b)   The Church of God;   c)   The Washing of Feet; and   d)   The Lord's Supper (p.7).

The overtones of Romanism cannot be missed. There are means of grace, and these "graces" are dispensed through the Church via its ordinances. It is further stated that while "Baptism is administered only once," "other means of grace like feet-washing, the Lord's Supper, and prayer are repeated in the life of faith" (p.8). Strict guidelines are set forth as to who can minister these "means of grace" and by what authority they do so (pp. 15,19, 21-22).

Tragically, many Adventists who have become concerned with the events and changes taking place within the main body were not taught how to study the Word of God, and to think for themselves. Thus they become gullible to the outward display of humility and good works. Merely adopting the message of the Reform Movement will not cure their defective experience while in the Adventist Church, because

p 6 -- the same hierarchical structure meets them in that Movement The Gotha statement reads - "Principles of truth" are not determined from the Word, but by "the General Conference" as "the appointed agency" (p.29).

A careful study of the Gotha Statement reveals no clear cut statement on the Incarnation which harmonizes with the Word of God (p.3). Key texts, which define the human nature Christ assumed in humanity, are not even noted. What advantage then is gained by rejecting the main body because of its heresy, and then adopting another heresy?

Another interesting teaching set forth in the Gotha Statement is how they view the clergy of the Movement. Under "The Offices in the Church" (p.14) are listed three "main officers:" Minister, Elder, and Deacon. These are to be ordained and can officiate in baptism and administer "the Holy Ordinances." The Statement does declare that by ordination, "no capability or rank" is "imparted, since these have to be proven to be in existence by prior service" (p.15).

The problem arises as to how they view the ordained minister. The Gotha Statement reads - "also named apostle." Reduced to simple terms, this means that every ordained minister of the Reform Movement has demonstrated that he has received the gift of an apostle, for in the New Testament Church this is listed as a gift along with "prophets," "evangelists," and "pastor-teachers" (Eph. 4:11). This compounds the problem, and no solution is noted in the Gotha Statement. Is this listing to be considered on a horizontal plain, or is it to be considered vertical? If horizontal, all these gifts are of equal import, except that the "apostle" would be first among equals (I Cor. 12:28). If vertical, as the listing in Corinthians suggests, then the ministers of the Reform Movement, as apostles, are of higher authority than the prophetic gift to the Church through the ministry of Ellen G. White.

In the editorial of the December, 1997 issue of WWN, we reported our "observer" visit to the Reform Campmeeting in northwest Arkansas in September, at which "apostle" Peter Lausevic was the speaker at the Hour of Worship. We noted the challenge which he presented to the well attended worship service. For our part, we had a conversation with Elder Lausevic and accepted his challenge to meet with him and discuss the points of the Reform faith as indicated in the Gotha Statement. Present at the time were Elders Benjamin Burek, head of their General Conference Sabbath School Department, and Francisco DiVai, former General Conference president of the Reform Movement. We met all of the requests asked and conditions set by Peter Lausevic, but to
this date (January 1, 1998), he has not arranged a time for a first meeting. Rather, he has found one excuse after another so as not to keep his word. In this there is a common thread which weaves its way through these major break-a-ways from the main body. Several years back an invitation was
given to leaders of "independent" ministries to meet in Iowa for a frank and open discussion of issues current in Adventism. This invitation was given twice to meet objections given the first time. But Grosboll, Marcussen, Spear, and Standish found multiple excuses a second time, so as to absent themselves or a representative.

Did not the Messenger of the Lord to the Remnant write - "Truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation" (Review & Herald, Dec.20, 1892). Can the laity not see that continued reluctance to face an investigation of "truth," sounds a warning call of alarm, and failure to heed such a call places their own souls in jeopardy?

*    For documentation of the position taken by the Church in its history up to 1930, see An Interpretative History of the Doctrine of the Incaniation as Taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It was anything but a "minority position."

**   When Dr. George R. Knight's book was first released, we published a series of four articles in WWN captioned  - "Knight Descends on Jones" -  which critiqued the book and showed some of the fallacies it contained. His conclusions were based on assumptions. He was not forthright as the man he was condemning for his forthrightness.

LET'S TALK IT OVER -- We concluded the Special Issue #1 for 1998 with the earnest admonition of Dr. E. J. Waggoner, as he focused his message toward the teaching of the Holy Flesh Movement on the Incarnation. These words bear repeating:      We need to settle it, every one of us, whether we are out of the church of Rome or noL There are a great many that have got the marks yet (1901 GC Bulletin, p.404)

He was speaking in regard to the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, but his words apply equally to other areas of doctrine which have Romish overtones. We need to take a perceptive look at the Roman Catholic understanding of salvation. Its stark contrast with the Protestant view
can be readily seen in an anathema issued by the Council of Trent. Canon XII of Justification reads:      If any one saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ's sake; or that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified; let him be anathema.

Justification by faith alone is anathema to Rome. Too many professing to believe and teach the Everlasting Gospel, teach a Gospel bearing the marks of Rome.

Rome proclaims two kinds of grace - an "actual grace" and a "sanctifying grace." Actual grace is defined as "an impulse" given to the soul so as to "keep us from sinning and to practice virtue" (Chats with Prospective Converts, P.96). A Catechism explains that "man disposes himself

p 7 -- for the grace of God by observing the Law of God as far as he knows it." In the same catechism the "actual grace" bestowed is defined as "a transient help of God which enlightens the mind, and moves the will to perform virtuous actions" (A Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, pp. 65, 66). Still another book of Roman instruction verbalizes the work of "actual grace" as "a supernatural assistance which God gives to our minds and wills," so that we by this
"passing assistance" can "perform good or avoid evil acts," explaining that that is why it is called "actual" grace. This "gift of grace must precede the conferring of sanctifying grace, since the Bible[?] assures us that we cannot even begin the work of our salvation without the impulse
resulting from actual grace" (Father Smith Instructs Jackson, p.130). This Romish duality of "grace" is resonated in the Gotha Statement which, as we have noted above, reads - "that grace means the covering of our sins through Christ," but "we can only have the benefits of redeeming grace if we shun sin through the power of Christ, united with our wills." However, the Reform Movement is not alone in projecting this Roman teaching. Another ''voice among the "independent" ministries states, that unless one is keeping the commandments of God, he cannot be born again of the Spirit.

The Roman Church teaches further that Christ has "instituted" divine helps "to make the way of salvation easy." These helps are termed, "The Means of Grace" (ibid., p.119). In fact the teaching holds that "sanctifying grace" is given through one of these "means" which is called the "sacrament of baptism." While the Roman Church lists seven sacraments, the Reform teaching states there are four "means of grace," one of which is baptism. Of baptism, the statement reads - "Baptism is administered only once, while the other means of grace like feet-washing, Lord's Supper, and prayer are repeated in the life of faith" (p.8).

Again, the warning of Waggoner is so apropos:   -   "We need to settle it, every one of us, whether we are out of the church of Rome or not."

The former mayor of Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek, while visiting in Rome, had an audience with Pope John Paul II. Describing the visit, Kollek said that "it was a very nice, short visit." The Pope greeted him saying - "Welcome honored guest from the spiritual capital of the world." Kollek responded indicating that he "thought Rome takes preference." "No," replied John Paul, "Jerusalem is first, Rome is only No.2." (The Jerusalem Post, Dec.13, 1997, p.4)

The Pope Speaks - The first special issue of WWN for 1997 reported the planned 46th International Eucharistic Congress that was held in Wroclaw, Poland. During this congress, Pope John Paul II addressed an ecumenical prayer service on May 31,1997, attended by representatives of the Polish Ecumenical Council, Orthodox Churches, and "other Christian Churches and communities." The burden of his remarks concerned his "burning desire for full unity." He stated:      
"The Lord of history is bringing us to a third millennium of Christianity. A great hour is striking. Our reply should be equal to the great moment of this special kairos of God. Here in this place I wish to say: Tolerance is not enough. Mutual acceptance is not enough. Jesus Christ, He who is and who is to come, expects from us a visible sign of unity, a joint witness. ...

"That unity will be perfect when it becomes possible for everyone to join in the celebration around the same chalice." (pp.344, 346) ---(1998 Mar) ---End----