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WWN 1991 Jul - Sep


1991 Jul -- XXIV -- 7(91) -- "IN EARTHEN VESSELS" -- The Apostle Paul, in his second letter to the Church at Corinth, declared that through the ministry of the Spirit, the glory of the Lord is to be revealed in the believers. This glory was to be "in earthen vessels" so that it would be recognized as a manifestation of divine power at work, and not human effort. He wrote:          We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory as by the Spirit of the Lord. Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of the invisible God, should shine on them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus sake. For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (II Cor. 3:18-4:7)

The "earthen vessel" is this mortal body, for the life of Jesus is to be "manifest in our mortal flesh." (verse 11)

There are two factors in these verses - the gospel and the objective of the gospel, the life of Jesus manifest "in the earthen vessel." There are those who extol the gospel emphasizing the work God has done for us, and either ignoring or seeking to minimize the objective of the gospel - the God bestowed "treasure in earthen vessels." Then on the other hand are those who would emphasize the objective of the gospel even to the extent that human effort is substituted for "the excellency of the power" provided by God alone.

While our primary concern in this study is what God has to say about "the earthen vessels," we need to review briefly the gospel which Paul was called to proclaim. He writes that he "was separated unto the gospel of God" which concerned His Son, Jesus Christ, "made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." (Rom. 1:1, 3-4) What is the good news about this? Jesus Christ was "delivered for our offenses," and "raised for our justification" that "being justified by faith, we have peace with God" through Him. (Rom. 4:25-5:1) We are "justified freely by [God's] grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." (Rom. 3:24) "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

To this gospel, God has required a response on our part. With our minds, we must believe, so that "the glorious gospel of Christ" might shine upon us, unless we wish to continue in darkness, blinded by the god of this world. (II Cor. 4:3-4)

This obedience is simply but forcibly stated. To the jailer at Philippi, Paul declared - "Believe [imperative] on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." (Acts 16:31) Too many are either afraid of this command, of

p 2 -- think that Paul omitted some of the conditions in order to be saved. Not so; Jesus Himself told Jairus who desired the saving of his daughter - "Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole." (Luke 8:50) The clause, "she shall be made whole," is from one word, the root of which is, sozo, meaning "to save." To fail to obey the gospel command - "believe" - is to face judgment. For "when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, "He shall take vengeance on those who "know not God, and that obey not the gospel." (II Thess. 1:7-8) We need to face the fact that this text does not say, "obey not the Law," but "obey not the gospel." Unless one obeys the gospel, he will never obey the law, because without the gospel, he cannot even keep the commandments.

While God alone has provided the redemption in Christ Jesus, there is still another factor in the redemptive process. It is the interaction with the one who believes, the "earthen vessel." The one tabernacling in mortal flesh is to house "the glory of the Lord" through the ministry of the Spirit. God is to shine in our hearts to give His glory as revealed in Jesus. (Note again, II Cor. 3:18, 4:6) Jesus came and dwelt in our mortal flesh, and there was revealed a glory "as the glory of the only begotten of the Father" - a glory "full of grace and truth." (John 1:14) In this redemptive process, the action is by God as He uses the same creative power that called the light into existence that expelled darkness. We are merely "earthen vessels" holding "this treasure" of grace and truth.

God has some very definite things to say about this "earthen vessel" in which He would place the "treasure" of His glory. We read:
       "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

This "earthen vessel" is to be dedicated as "the temple of the Holy Spirit." Thus glorifying God in our "body" and in our "spirit" because we are no longer our own, and have been bought with a price, means simply a careful, intelligent consideration of, and adherence to, what we so often call "standards" and "reforms." Here a point needs to be made with strong emphasis. In no way does the carrying out of the "reforms" God outlines for the "temple" become a contributing factor in what God has done for us in Christ Jesus, or is doing for us through the ministry of the Spirit. But to fail to do what God asks us to do in regard to "the temple" can hinder "the ministry of the Spirit" in our lives to the extent of destroying our usefulness as reflectors of the glory of the Lord. This reflection can be marred by "extremes" either to the right or to the left. How then should one relate to "standards" or "reforms"?

God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible,
and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrine,
and the basis of all reforms. (SP  IV, p. 413)

The question then is what does the Bible teach in regard to reforms in general, and to certain reforms in particular? Paul addresses the issue in general by reiterating the fact that we are to be the temple of the Holy Spirit, and that that temple is to be kept holy. Here are his words:       Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. ( I Cor. 3:16-17)

This warning is couched in similar terms to the warning God gave our first parents in Eden. If they ate of the forbidden fruit, dying they would die. (Gen. 2:17 margin) If one defiles the temple, he, too, shall die. The word translated, "defile" and "destroy" - phtheiro - is in every other instance of use in the New Testament, translated, "corrupt." The noun form of the word, is used by Paul to describe those who see death, corruption. ( I Cor. 15:53) To corrupt by my acts this body, God permits that process to accelerate -"dying thou shalt die." Basically then, all reform is the recognition of the laws that govern the physical life, and augmenting these laws in the daily life.

God is as truly the author of physical laws as He is the author of moral law. His law is written with His own finger upon every nerve, every muscle, every faculty, which He has entrusted to man. (COL, pp. 347-48)

All true reform, and adherence to standards must begin with the heart. The wiseman wrote - "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." (Prov. 4:23)

Christianity proposes a reformation of the heart. What Christ works within, will be worked out under the dictates of a converted intellect. The plan of beginning outside and trying to work inward always fails, and always will fail. God's plan with you is to begin at the very seat of the difficulties, the heart, and then from out of the heart will issue the principles of righteousness. (Series A, # 9, p 54)

p 3 -- Herein is the reason for so much tension in matter of reforms. The outward appearance and life-style according to the standard or reform is "perfect" but the inward life remains unchanged. The tongue is still untamed; the temper, uncontrolled; the mean-spirit, still manifest; and an evident love for deception rather than truth, still cherished. This is exactly what Jesus was talking about when He said:       Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. (Matt. 23:25-28)

Today's modern "scribes and Pharisees" can be found in the ranks of reformers and those whose whole religion consists of standards devoid of heart transformation. Let us consider, as an example, the matter of dress reform. What does the Bible teach? Paul wrote:
      will. . . in like manner also that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. (1 Tim. 2:9-10)

Peter adds this counsel:       Likewise, ye wives,...whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or putting on of apparel, but let it be the hidden man of the heart in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. (1 Peter 3:3-4)

One concise statement can summarize the dress style of a Christian lady - modest apparel which shuns display. While the Bible does not define detail in inches from the floor, neither does "modest apparel" include the mini-skirt nor the bikini attire. In fact, if the heart is truly transformed, there is no need even to talk about this reform. How far afield is the zeal of some ardent dress reformers from the recommended approach to the subject. The counsel reads:         
Those who seek to correct others [in manner of dress] should present the attractions of Jesus. They should talk about His love and compassion, reveal His spirit, and they need not touch the subject of dress at all. There is no need to make the dress question the main point of your religion. Talk of Christ, and when the heart is converted, everything that is out of harmony with the Word of God will drop off. It is only labor in vain to pick leaves off a living tree. The leaves will reappear. The ax must be laid at the root of the tree, and then the leaves will fall off, never to return." (ST, July 1, 1889)

But how can one who herself is using the "reform" to cover an unchanged heart, lead another into an heart experience with the Lord Jesus Christ? One who is devoid of the love of Jesus cannot tell anyone else about that great love.

Another area which becomes the subject of unnecessary contention is the subject of health reform. God gave to man his original diet. It consisted of grains, fruits and nuts, the "seed" of the herbs, and the "fruits" of the trees. (Gen. 1:29) The first modification of this diet came with the entrance of sin. God added to man's diet, the diet of the brute beast. (Compare Gen. 1:30 with 3:18) A second modification came after the Flood. It reads:
       Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. (Gen. 9:3)

While the difference between the clean and the unclean was known to the antediluvians (Gen. 7:2), it was not until God chose for Himself a "peculiar" people was the diet involving flesh foods restricted to the "clean" animals. This is the extent of the Bible prohibition on flesh food by direct command, except for details negating blood, and even the fat of clean animals. (Lev. 7: 23, 27) However, when Jesus introduced the symbols of the New Covenant, He made provision for the return to the original diet. Before Him at the Last Supper was the lamb which had represented His coming sacrifice for centuries. But He took bread, and said - "This is my body which is given for you." (Luke 22:19)

Had not Jesus changed the Passover symbolism, there could not be a Christian vegetarian, because every time he celebrated the services of the Lord's house, he would eat meat. This fact, the change the Lord made, dare not be overlooked by those who have entered into the New Covenant relationship with their Saviour. The care of the temple of the Holy Spirit, which temple we are, involves even our daily menu.

One of the problems with which all reforms are plagued is extremism and fanaticism. This was illustrated by an article in the Ministry, and

p 4 -- the response to it. In the October, 1990, issue is to be found an article by Dr. J.A. Scharffenberg - "The Story of Fat in the Diet." (pp. 22-25) Key points of the article were highlighted by the editors. These read:
1) lt is a misconception that refined oils increase the risk of heart disease.
2) Scientific groups recommend that at least one third of our fat be from polyunsaturated fatty acids.
3) The Bible not only does not condemn the use of oil, but even commands its use.

The first response published in "Letters" (Feb., 1991, p. 2) came from a Loma Linda doctor who decried the poor timing on the release of the article by Dr. Scharffenberg. After the second response in "Letters" (April, 1991, p. 2), the editors of Ministry asked Dr. Scharffenberg to reply. He did. The reply reads in part:
        Adequate oil (linoleic) acid in the diet lowers blood cholesterol further than a "no oil diet, decreases the platelet stickiness and therefore the tendency to clot, reduces heart attack risk, lowers blood pressure, and increases heart muscle contractibility. . .

Regarding my reference to the Bible and Ellen White's writings: People consumed many of the sacrificial offerings - including bread prepared with oil. And when in 1868, Ellen White spoke against the use of "grease" (CDF, p. 83) she was still using butter. "Grease" in her mind did not include butter. As far as can be ascertained she also used oil ...

The strictest diet Ellen White spoke of is one without milk or eggs. Some today have been attempting to develop a diet stricter than her strictest. (ibid.)

The Apostle Paul sets forth the Biblical basis for a balanced attitude in regard to all kinds of reforms. It is found in Romans 14. We have been so involved with certain aspects of this chapter from a doctrinal viewpoint that we have overlooked the sane counsel it gives in human relations. While Paul is meeting two issues that were creating controversy - the observance of certain feast days, and the eating of food sacrificed to idols - he also set forth certain principles which apply in human judgment of another's life-style. He wrote:
       Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. (verse 4)

But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (verse 10)

Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way. (verse 13)

Too many of us love to play the Holy Spirit. His work has not been assigned to us. We are to preach the gospel. There are many not knowing what the gospel really is, nor the objective of the gospel, who preach far more for gospel than is defined as gospel in the Bible. Can we not let the Holy Spirit take care of convicting what is appropriate and proper for the "temple" in which He desires to dwell? Does not the Holy Spirit know and respect the individuality of each "earthen vessel" which accepts His ministry? The Bible sets forth the principles which govern all necessary reforms. Let these be presented, and then let the Holy Spirit apply the conviction individually to the human heart.

Paul has still more to say:        The kingdom of God is not meat and drink but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he that in these things [righteousness, and peace, and joy] serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. (verses 17-19)

Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is the man that condemneth not himself in that which he alloweth. (verse 22)

One text summarizes the whole picture for our "earthen vessels" that we may possess the "treasure" of "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." Paul writes this summary:   
     Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. (1 Cor. 10:31 - 11:1)

NOTE:     The cassette tape of the full message may be requested through Adventist Laymen's Foundation. .

p 5 -- THIS AND THAT -- PROTEST AT SEVENTH ASSEMBLY OF WCC -- The Record, the official voice of the South Pacific Division, detailed the protest made at the Seventh Assembly of the WCC at Canberra on February 19th by individuals representing various independent ministries in Australia. As the WCC Assembly was discussing a report on the Vatican-WCC Joint Working Group (JWG),       " three protesters entered the convention hall from a side door. They held a large banner tied to many helium-filled balloons. The banner proclaimed that 'Seventh-day Adventists believe...this prophecied [sic] Romeward unity is the spirit of Antichrist!' The balloons and banner drifted up to the ceiling, where they hung for the remainder of the plenary session." (March 23, 1991, p. 10)        The reaction was mixed - some were amused, others angered - but       "other observers generally agreed that the demonstration had been cleverly carried out."

Elder Ray Coombe, the Director of the South Pacific Division's Communication Department, commented:      It could not have been more perfectly timed. Even delegates within the plenary session could not have predicted the time when the report of the JWG would be considered. There is no way the demonstrators could have known that the closer links between the WCC and the Roman Catholic were being discussed at the very moment that they released their banner. (ibid.)

This should tell any honest soul something. If no man knew, and the timing was perfect, Who knew? And Who directed by His Spirit?

Of course, Dr. B. B. Beach, General Secretary of the Adventists' Council on Inter-Church Relations, who was present as the only "official observer" for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, made an apology indicating that the small group of protesters had not been sponsored by the Church. Deploring "such a breach of etiquette and lack of common Christian courtesy," he said, " Like other churches, we have our dissidents and people who use their liberty in inappropriate though somewhat comical ways."

We wonder if Beach thought the cartoon involving him, as the "dissidents" attacked the involvement of Seventh-day Adventists at the WCC Assembly, was also comical. In a cartoon banner, Beach was depicted as "linking arms with ' The Beast ' and 'His image,' enfolded in the arms of the devil. "The Communications Director cried "poor taste" and indicated that the cartoon did not impress "most of the delegates" because they did not "understand the apocalyptlic language of the banners." However, a more descriptive representation could not have been made which focused in one picture Beach's activities since 1965. (See, So Much in Common)

The report In the Record concluded with this summary:   Although the Seventh-day Adventist Church is not a member of the World Counsel of Churches, Dr. Bert Beach was attending as an official "observer, " Dr. Bryan Ball (President of the South Pacific Division) and Dr. Arthur Ferch ( field secretary of the SPD) were accredited " visitiors " and Dr. Roy Adams (Adventist Review) and Pastor Ray Coombe, (Record, SPD) attanded as reporters.          ~~~~

B. B. BEACH AT SOUTHERN COLLEGE -- On the first weekend in November, 1990, Dr. B. B. Beach was "the presenter of the annual Robert H. Pierson lecture series at Southern College." An adapted article of his Sabbath sermon was published in Adventist Perspectives (Vol. V, #1, pp. 13-17). This publication, "A Journal of Topics in Religion," published by Southem College, is the "voice" of the Adventist Theological Society through the Ellen G. White Memorial Chair at the College. Beach's presentation asked the question - "Can a College Be Christian and Free?" While he surveyed the Christian and Adventist concept of education in contrast to the secular philosophy of education, a major portion of his discussion, as reported, was devoted to "the question of academic freedom."

In 1984, the Annual Council of the General Conference Executive Committee developed guidelines in academic freedom for Seventh-day Adventist higher education. In 1987, these guidelines became a position paper of the General Conference, Beach noted "that Annual Council actions have three difference levels of Importance. There are guidelines, there are position papers, and there is policy, which has the higher and more permanent standing." (p. 15) The 1987 action "acknowledges the centrality of academic freedom" granting to the professor freedom to pursue knowledge but only in his "Professional specialty." in other words,

p 6 -- a medical doctor is not covered by the "academic f reedom" guideline should he do research in theology, or visa versa.

Connected with the concept of "academic freedom" for the Seventh-day Adventist teacher is what Beach termed, "responsibility." He considered it triple in application:    1)    "The professor is responsible as a self disciplined scholar without restraints;"    2)    The professor must safeguard "the character and aims of the institution" which employs him; and    3)    "The professor has an obligation for the spiritual and intellectual needs of the students." Then he adds, "There is, however, one clear limitation to academic freedom, and only one: Teachers are expected not to teach as truth what is contrary to the 27 Fundamental Beliefs of the church."

Teachers who are truly historic and progressive thinkers in teaching truth will teach contrary to the 27 Statements, for these statements deviate from the truths taught by the Founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Thus to teach in the department of theology in any Adventist College or University, one has to be an apostate. To send their children to any of the presently constituted colleges and universities of the Church, Adventist parents automatically place their children in an apostate environment. Even to place one's child in a school operated by a dissident who will not take his stand on the 27 Statements is to place that child In an atmosphere of compromise, thus teaching him wrong principles of life.

Beach calls attention to a parallel document adopted by the same Annual Council in 1984, "dealing with the theological freedorn and accountability of denominational workers in general." According to Beach:       It is stated that the church reserves the right to employ only individuals who believe in and are committed to the 27 Fundamental Beliefs. That is related to the whole question of academic freedom. Dealing with workers who do not believe in the 27 Fundamental Beliefs is not a violation of their freedom, but a protection of the corporate rights, integrity, and identity of the church, because the church also has freedoms. (ibid., emphasis mine)

This raises some very serious questions, and establishes some basic points. The 27 Fundamental Beliefs constitute the position of the present 1991 Seventh-day Adventist church. It is its "corporate Identity." It should be obvious, that if you wish to be a Seventh-day Adventist in 1991, and be counted a member of that corporate body, you must be "committed" to the 27 Statements. Even if you have reservations in regard to the Statements, the control of the church, the pastors you will hear on Sabbath morning, and the teachers to whom you send your children, will give only thata which is outlined in those 27 Staternents, a mixture of truth and error, thus apostate and deceptive.

In these statements are reflected the work and activities of B. B. Beach since 1965. Little wonder he comes down so positive on this factor. The Austrailan cartoon was on target!

LET'S TALK IT OVER -- This past weekend (April 20) at our monthly convocation, I received the documentation of the sad story of what happened in the Indiana Conference involving the pastor of the Elkhart Seventh-day Adventist Church. As I read the letter written to the conference president, Elder John Loor, by a group of the lay members from the Church, my heart went out to the pastor. This group of devoted members had written, "Firstly, ever since Elder Caleb Alonso came to our church, he has preached his heart out and fed us spiritually with the straight truth as he has perceived it." I could not but recall my own experience in Indiana now some thirty years ago, the president then being T. E. Unruh. The issue then as now, is the book, Questions on Doctrine. But now the strearn of apostasy has broadened into an ever widening river.

I was also saddened as I noted some of the "broken reeds" upon which the pastor leaned. This only tended to confuse the issues rather than give clarity to the basic questions of theology involved in the confrontation. This resulted in the mingling of truth and error on each side of the questions raised. The devil had a heyday. No doubt one of the "broken reeds" will incorporate the "fired" pastor into his organization, but unless the embattled pastor can free himself from the deceptive teachings of these "broken reeds," his own spiritual welfare remains in jeopardy as well as his family, and those who have given him their loyalty.

One of the major questions raised in the confrontation between the pastor, and the faculty of theology at Andrews University was that of "perfectionism," Will God have a people living on the earth who will cease to sin prior to the close of probation? The answer is, Yes He will! The emphasis that I have given in both the question and the answer is the basic problem. This emphasis effects other questions as well, even the incarnation - Jesus as our Example.

Two things, a concept, and an experience, uniquely Adventist are involved here- 1) The final atonement, and 2) The reason for the 1888 message. Sadly the "broken reeds" upon which the pastor of the Elkhart Church leaned are modern day counterparts of the Butler-Morrison group who opposed Jones and Waggoner at Minneapolis In 1888. The message of 1888 was to bring to the people of God the experience

p 7 -- of justifleation by faith so that they would be able to perceive the meanirig of, and receive the blessings of the final atonement.

The message of the sanctuary, if understood and accepted, clarifies the whole issue of "perfection. " On the Day of Atonement, the people were to gather and afflict their souls - and do no work. (Lev. 23, 27-31 ) A work was being done for them by the high priest which they could not do for themselves. They were to be cleansed but not by their own efforts to achieve cleansing. Those who are afflicting their souls today will see in their great Example, who took their "weaknesses," the example for them, and will confess with Him - " I can of mine own self do nothing." (John 5:30) Their faith will be in what their great High Priest can and will do, for and in them, resulting from His final attonement. Their hope will rest in Him who "is able to keep [them] from falling, and to present [them] faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy." (Jude 24)

In their soul affliction, God's peple will realize more and more the sinfulness of their own lives, and the total impossibility of realizing by human achievement that which God requires. They will be drawing closer arid closer to Jesus. Perceiving the holiness of God rather than glorying in their own righteousnesses, they cast themselves wholly upon the merits and power of the lamb of God who came to take "away the sin of the world." (John 1.29; note "sin" not "sins") In their soul affliction, they will see that the "treasure" bestowed upon them through the ministry of the Spirit is ever in an "earthen vessel " and will continue to be until "the redemption of the body. " (Rom, 8: 23) By faith, they will perceive what they cannot see, that before the Throne of God, they stand faultless, because in their mouths will be found no guile. (Rev. 14: 5) They are honest before God, because they accept the verdict of God on their own "righteousnesses." (Isa. 64:6) Through affliction of soul, they cease to be self deceived!

Sadly, not only have the "broken reeds " led the " fired" pastor amiss, but hundreds more of concerned Adventists are likewise being led to accept as "historic" Adventism, the pre-1888 position on righteousness by faith. When will we cease to teach that we must demonstrate our own "righteousnesses," and rely wholly upon the merits of our risen Saviour? "Divine grace is needed at the beginning, divine grace at every step of advance, and divine grace alone can complete the work. " (TM, p. 508) --- (1991Jul) --- End --- TOP

1991 Aug -- XXIV 8(91) -- THE PARABLE OF THE "FAT LADY" -- Dr. George R. Knight, professor of church history at Andrews University, has written two articles on the same basic theme, one adapted to speak to the laity through the Adventist Review (AR), Feb. 14, 1991, pp. 8-10; and the other addressed to the clergy through the Ministry, June, 1991, pp. 6-10, 29. The title of the article in the AR - "The Fat Lady and the Kingdom" - reflected the parable which Knight created to introduce his challenge. The article in the Ministry forthrightly encompassed the issue in its title and subheading: - "Adventism, Institutionalism, and the challenge of Secularlism," stating - "Adventism has reached that critical point where it must deliberately choose and courageously act to reverse the patterns of institutionalism and secularization that threaten its heritage and mission."

The contrast between the attitudes with which the editors of the AR looked at the challenge presented by Knight, and the editor of the Ministry is clear and sharp. An editor's note prefaced the article in the AR. It read:
       " The editors and the author wrestled together on the wording of the title of this article - all of us keenly sensitive to avoid sexist stereotypes. After a multitude of alternatives proved unworkable, we fell back to the title that you see, finding it most in keeping with the image of Scripture in both Testaments. We anxiously hope that our readers will look past this detail to the message of the piece. We also feel it appropriate to note here that the opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily represent in every particular the views of the editorial staff. "

Now mind you, these editors wrestling with the author over the title because of "sexist" terminology, indicates how decadent some of the editorial staff have become. Then they hasten to put distance between themselves and some of Knight's concepts. Perhaps one the "packages" the "fat lady" needs to discard is most of the editoral staff! On the other hand, the editor of Ministry wrote:
       " Two years ago, June 1989, we published a ground breaking article called "Church Structure - Servant or Master?" Since

p 2 -- that time the author of that article has become the General Conference president and has convened a commission on governance to examine how the church operates.

" We continue looking at that topic with articles in this issue by George Knight and L. A. King. The problem with Laodicea is that it does know its condition. Despite what many say, all is not well with the church. These articles might lead to a deep pessimism if we focused only on the difficulties. The authors point out that we will not reverse the trend by "business as usual." Some tough decisions need to be made." (p. 3)

The article to which Elder Newman referred was also noted by Knight in the AR article. Folkenberg's study in the Ministry magazine introduced the problem by discussing the fig tree Christ cursed. It had an abundance of leaves but no fruit! Then he wrote:       
" The Lord did not condemn the tree's foliage, but rather its fruitlessness - its lack of mission. Should we not evaluate the foliage-to-fruit (structure-to-mission) ratio in our own lives and in the church?

(Note:  Accuracy of interpretation of this parable, should observe that Christ cursed the whole tree, foliage and all because of its unfruitfulness.)

While we have an outstanding system of church government, even the best of organizations deserve periodic self-evaluation. Robert Michels, a German sociologist, found over time an organization tends to be motivated less and less by its original sense of mission, and that it becomes increasingly bureaucratic. The preservation of the structure gradually overtakes mission as its dominant concern. He calls this phenomenon the "iron law of oligarchy." (June, 1989, p 4)

While Folkenberg focused on the statistical data of structure to mission, Knight has placed the
whole issue in a historical setting. Before discussing this approach of Knight and the conclusions he drew, let us note the force of the parable he set forth in introducing his article in the AR which set the staff afire over "sexist imagery." Knight made up his own parable:        
" The church is like a fat woman returning from a shopping spree. (Matt. 13:44) (1844-1991)

" Then he gives his interpretation:       " The woman may be likened unto the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which in its maturity has grown 'rich, and increased with goods,' and has 'need of nothing.' " (p. 9)

However, the "packages" the fat lady acquired on her shopping spree prevent her from opening the door into the kingdom of heaven. If she uses her hand to open the door, she will drop some of her packages, and unless she can open the door, she cannot get in. In the picture drawn by Knight, the issue facing the Church is vividly portrayed. Either the church preserves its mission, or she preserves her "packages," the institutional structures by which she is identified. The means by which the church seeks to preserve her "packages," Knight notes as "degenerative processes" which mark an aging church. He then cites Moberg's analysis.

David Moberg, a sociologist, observes that churches, like other organizations, pass through
five stages in their life cycle. These stage are labeled as    1)    incipient organization,    2)    formal organization,   3)    maximum efficiency,    4)    institutional, and    5)    disintegration. Using Moberg's five stages, Knight defines stage 4, and comments:
        " In stage 4, the institutional stage, formalism saps the group's vitality, leadership comes to be dominated by an established bureaucracy "more concerned with perpetuating its own interests than with maintaining the distinctives that helped bring the group into existence," administration centers on boards and committees that tend to be self-perpetuating, and institutions tend to become masters rather than servants. lt is Moberg's stage 4 that much of Adventism has definitely entered. " (ibid.)

The question is asked - "Is life then hopeless? Is the church merely a cog in a sociological machine?" To these questions, Knight replied with an emphatic - "No! Not unless it fails to take corrective action." He cites Moberg as indicating the process may be reversed. But here is where the basic problem comes into the picture. The Church is not an ordinary organization; it was a called movement with a sacred trust. Its path along these stages as outlined by Moberg is conditioned by how it has responded to its sacred trust. Not by human judgment will the decision be rendered, but "in the balances of the sanctuary" will the Church be weighed. (8T:247) To understand the force of this factor, we must consider Knight's variation of this theme as it appeared in Ministry. He placed the five stages of Moberg into the setting of Adventist Church history:

1) incipient organization - 1844-1863.
2) formal organization - 1863-1901
3) maximum efficiency - 1901-?

Here is where the picture breaks down. Knigh himself writes:       "Even though it seems rather clear that Adventism arrived at the stage of maximum efficiency around 1901, it is much less clear where the denomination is in 1991." (p. 8)

Knight's first problem is that though a professor of church history at Andrews

p 3 -- University, he distorts the real history involving the events of the 1901 GC Session as pertaining to organization. He writes:       " That year saw the administrative reorganization of the General Conference along a more rational line. lt also witnessed the election of Arthur G. Daniells as the first president who could be viewed as a "statesman." (ibid.)

The fact is that Danielis was not elected president of the General Conference in 1901. There was no General Conference president from 1901-1903. If the reorganization of 1901 was called "more rational," how would Knight describe the reorganization of 1903, when the 1901 Constitution was thrown out and another substituted in its place which set the groundwork for the very institutionalism Knight is now decrying?

Knight goes a step further in his evaluation of the history of the Church. He equates Stage 3 - maximum efficiency - as the period which brought the Church to its "adulthood." He writes:     
" If a specific date can be given for Adventism's arrival at 'adulthood,' it may best be seen as 1956, when the denomination had the 'right hand of fellowship' extended to it by Donald Grey Barnhouse, editor of Eternity and a highly influential fundamentalist leader. (ibid.)

(Knight footnotes this event by referencing Barnhouse's article in Eternity, September, 1956. To this same article, we shall also refer in following paragraphs.)

Here is the basic issue again surfacing. The whole thrust of Knight's articles in both the AR and Ministry is that the present enmeshment in institutionalism and away from mission must be reversed. But to what "mission" will the Church revert?

In the 1955-1956 Seventh-day Adventist-Evangelical Conferences following which Knight states the Church received the "right hand of fellowship by Barnhouse, the leadership of the Church betrayed its sacred trust, and in so doing denied its "mission." The "handle" on the door of Knight's parable which the "fat lady" must open is interpreted by him to mean - "Adventism's evangelistic mission to the world." (AR, 2/14/91, p. 9)

We need to face reality. To the Church was entrusted the three angels' messages of Revelation 14 as its "evangelistic mission" to the world. (9T:19) The first angel's message announced the fact that "the hour of (God's) judgment" had come. This was to be based in the sanctuary message and involved the final atoning ministry of Christ. But what did the Church leaders tell Barnhouse so that he would extend to them the "right hand of fellowship"? Observe the Barnhouse report in Eternity which Knight footnoted. After noting the morning following the "Great Disappointment," he quoted Hiram Edson's conviction "that instead of our High Priest coming out of the Most Holy of the heavenly sanctuary to come to this earth on the tenth day of the seventh month at the end of 2,300 days, He for the first time entered on that day the second apartment of that sanctuary, and that He had a work to perform in the Most Holy before coming to this earth." Then Barnhouse commented:        
" lt is to my mind, therefore, nothing more than a human, face-saving idea! lt should also be realized that some uninformed Seventh-day Adventists took this idea and carried it to fantastic literalistic extremes. Mr. Martin and I heard the Adventist leaders say, flatly, that they repudiate all such extremes. This they have said in no uncertain terms. Further, they do not believe, as some of their earlier teachers taught, that Jesus' atoning work was not completed on Calvary but instead that He was still carrying on a second ministering work since 1844. This idea is also totally repudiated. They believe that since His ascension Christ has been ministering the benefits of the atonement which He completed on Calvary." (Eternity, "Are Seventh-day Adventists Christians?" Sept., 1956, p. 44)

This compromise was confirmed in the 27 Statements of Fundamental Beliefs voted at Dallas, Texas, in 1980. The Church today has no original "mission" to which to return. It has betrayed its sacred trust. The verdict of the sanctuary has been rendered. All that is left is stage 5 of Moberg's analysis - disintegration!

Note: Available is the manuscript containing the facsimile reproduction of the articles in the Eternity magazine plus T. E. Unruh's version of the SDA-Evangelical Conferences, plus a telephone conversation that A. L. Hudson had with Barnhouse. Also available is a documented taped study on "The Sacred Trust Betrayed." These may be requested through Adventist Laymen's Foundation, P.O. Box 69, Ozone AR 72854 with $1 for postage.

" If you were arraigned for being a Christian,
would the evidence convict you? "

p 4 -- REACTIONS OF SDA'S AT WCC -- In reporting his observations of the Seventh Assembly of the WCC held in Canberra, Australia, in February, this year, Dr. Roy Adams of the Adventist Review staff noted the witness of some concerned Adventist young people with disgust. Here is his report of the witness given -- he calls it "confrontation" - to the truth once held by the Church:         "One hot afternoon, with the doors into the plenary hall wide open to let in fresh air, four demonstrators claiming to be Adventists entered the stage area with a huge protest banner, helium-filled balloons attached. Once directly in front of the 3,000-member assembly, they let it go. Coming to rest against the ceiling, it provided a perfect camera shot as it spoke it's message to all and sundry; ' Seventh-day Adventists Believe...This Prophecied Romeward Unity Is The Spirit of Anti-Christ!' (see p. 5)

" I found myself deeply embarrassed and sickened by this crude and unethical tatic on the part of these self-appointed 'Adventist' demonstrators, and I'm sure the great majority of our people would have found it equally offensive and lacking in good taste. (Adventist Review, May 2, 1991, p. 10)

Adams indicates that he was "sickened". But let him bear in mind that he could not have been as sick as some become in reading certain of his editorals. (See "Via Postal Service," p. 7) Adams' problem is that he has been so long drunk on the wine of error, that the taste of truth causes him to become nauseated.

In this same report, Adams lauds certain items of the WCC agenda, such as the "affirmation of youth." However, he condems Adventist youth in Australia for their witness to truth which our spiritual foreforthers bore with a strong voice based on their convictions of Bible prophecy. Now, when their spiritual heirs see these very prophecies in the process of fulfillment, and witness to the fact, those who have abetted the apostasy in prophetic witness, such as Adams, condems such a witness as "confrontational," "offensive," and "lacking in good taste." Last month [ 7(91) p.5] , we noted the report of this protest in the Australian Record. There was a response from a reader from New South Wales, and this brief letter should give men such as Adams pause for thought. It read:         Concerning the World Counsel of Churches protestors (RECORD, March 23), I would ask, Was the hand at Belshazzar's feast "moral and ethical"? Was John the Baptist following ethical practices when he called the leaders of the church "vipers and hypocrites"? Jesus, Himself, referred to them as '" whited sepulchers." Was this polite? When was the invitation extended to Elijah to present his case through "proper channels"? (May 4, 1991, p. 3)

Since the last issue of WWN, we have received an on-the-spot description of the reaction of Beach and Adams when the banner was floated aloft. This tells much. Two young men who had Press credentials and who at the time were in the press box watched the reaction closely. Here is the report from one of them:         "When the banner was raised, we were watching Beach. Adams and our local Liberty Director, Coombe. At first Coombe was amused until he saw, 'Seventh-day Adventists Believe...' His amusement turned to horror. Adams had to run down the stairs of the press gallery to get a better view, so he could write down the wording of the banner. And last but not least, by any means, was Beach's reaction. He was sitting next to his ecumenical buddies when the banner went up. Although near the back of the building the sign was large enough for all to see. Bert hung his head in his hands as he saw what it all meant. He shook his head from side to side, and then all of a sudden he must have realized where he was, and he turned to his ecumenical friends and pointed to the side of his head twisting his finger, indicating that this was the result of the 'lunitic fringe' of Adventistism. After all calmed down, Beach raced upstairs to the press gallery and had a serious talk with Coombe and Adams. (D. J. Husk, Letter dated May 3, 1991)

Some two hours after the witness, the other young man approached Adams and asked, "Did you like that"? To the question, Adams replied, "No I didn't; it was very poor taste! And who are you?" He then took the brother's "name, rank and serial number," and questioned - "You thought it was a good witness then?" The brother responded, "I thought it was excellent!" Adams replied, "Well, I and many others did not!" He then walked off. (Letter, dated May 23, 1991)

" And they overcame him (the dragon) by the blood of the Lamb,
and by the word of their testimony;
and they loved not their lives unto death.
" Rev. 12:11.

p 5 --

Dr. Bert Beach is well known in the ecumenical circles of the WCC. His influence with certain leaders of the ecumenical fraternity is sufficient to block requested information of his activities and participation in the ecumenical services. His "buddies" help him cover his tracks.

It is hard to conceive that the leadership of the WCC does not know his true official position in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. (See note under picture ) However, they might not know that he is the Church's Secretary State for Ecumenical Affairs. He was listed in the Who's Who Address list of the WCC's Seventh Assembly as the accredited "Delegated Representative" from the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. ( p. 25) This in and of itself says something about the relationship existing between the General Conference and the WCC.

The above article and picture was taken from Assembly Line, a daily publication of events and news of the World Counsel of Churches Seventh Assembly. (# 11, p. 3)

p 6 -- LET'S TALK IT OVER -- It is very difficult to understand how a professor of church history at Andrews University can garble the facts concerning his own church's history as Dr. George Knight did in his article for Ministry, ( June, 1991). Knight writes speaking of 1901:       That year saw the administrative reorganization of the General Conference along a more rational line. (p. 8)

This is an understatement. At the beginning of the session, Ellen G. White clearly called for more than a "rational" reorganization. Speaking of the leadership of the Church, she stated:       That these men should stand in a sacred place, to be as the voice of God to the people, as we once believed the General Conference to be, - that is past. What we want is to begin at the foundation, and to build upon a different principle. (1901 General Conference Bulletin, p. 25)

What was done at this session was indeed to reduce the organizational structure to its foundations, and to build upon a different principle. The end result was a committee of men who were to elect a rotating chairman to guide in the affairs of the Church. As the session came to a close, Ellen G. White asked a series of questions and gave an answer:      " Who do you suppose has been among us since this conference began? Who has kept away the objectionable features that generally appear in such a meeting? Who has walked up and down the aisles of this Tabernacle? -- the God of heaven and His angels. And they did not come here to tear you to pieces, but to give right and peacable minds. They have been among us to work the works of God, to keep back the powers of darkness, that the work God designed should be done and should be hindered. The angels of God have been working among us." (ibid., p. 463)

But in 1903, this whole picture was changed, and this God-designed plan of organization guided through the 1901 session by His angels was thrown out. In its place was substututed an instrument of organization which P. T. Magan declaired introduced "the same principles and introduced [these principles] in precisely the same way, as they were hundreds of years ago when the Papacy was made." (1903 GC Bulletin, p. 150)

Two weeks after the close of the session, Ellen G. White would write that the Church "was being leavened with its own backslidding." (8T: 250)

Unless the facts of our church history involving 1901 and 1903 are correctly set forth, a true analysis of the problems of the "Fat Lady" cannot be made. As laudable as Knight's attempt to assess the problem of getting the "Fat Lady" into the door of the kingdom, his garbling of church history, either through ignorance or in an attempt to rewrite history thwarts the objective. No solution for the present could be possible unless there is an honest apprasial of what went wrong in the past starting with 1888.

Wieland and Short likewise stumble over these conferences. It is interesting to note that the brethren when replying tot he original manuscript submitted to the General Conference in 1950, called their attention to Ellen G. White's evaluation of the 1901 session. (See "Further Apprasial of Manuscript," 1888 Re-Examined, September, 1958: A Warning and Its Reception, Green Tint section, p. 32) But Wieland and Short chose to ignore this evaluation to which the brethren in Washington directed them, and continued to focus attention on the reaction to the message given in 1888, by-passing the practical outworking in 1901, and its rejection in 1903 which called for a "denominational repentance." This incorrect understanding of 1901 and 1903 has become a stumbling block both to Knight in his analysis and to Wieland and Short in their emphasis. Thus today, we have tragically compounded with the rank and file wandering in confusion.

THE POPE IN JERUSALEM? -- A Reuter's dispatch from Bonn, Germany, reported an inverview with David Levy, Foreign Minister of Israel, given to a German newspaper concerning Arab-Israeli peace talks and the Palastinian question. Linked together in this dispatch was Levy's comments later in Rome. Concerning these the news report read:       "Later yesterday, in Rome, Levy said Israel would welcome a visit by Pope John II.

" The Pope, ending a Vatican summit of Catholic leaders on the Persian Gulf War last week, said he wanted to go to Jerusalem to pray for peace with Jews and Muslims. ' If the Pope has expressed a desire to visit Israel, we would be very happy and hope this trip can take place as soon as possible. He would be received with all honors, " Levy said when questioned at Rome airport.

"Levy is in Rome for a brief un-official visit before holding talks Sunday with Foreign Minister Gianni de Michaelis.

"The Vatican supports Israel's right to exist within secure borders, but has never established diplomatic relations with the Jewish state. The status of Jerusalem, which the Vatican wants placed under international protection as a holy city, the Vatican's support for a Palastinian homeland are the two main obstacles to forging diplomatic ties. (Toronto Star, March 16, 1991)

Those who have either the second printing of the indepth study of Luke 21:24 or the third -The Hour and the End - can check closely Papal policy in regard to Jerusalem. It is set forth in a letter filed with the president of the UN Security Counsel, June 30, 1980 (Exhibit #7). Also the attitude of John Paul II toward Jerusalem is clearly stated in his Apostolic Letter released in L'Osservatore, April 30, 1984 (Exhibit #9).

Never for a moment dare we under estimate nor ignore the movements at play in the Middle East. We must never forget that when "he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain," we stand face to face with the moment when "Michael shall stand up." (Daniel 11:45; 12:1) "Evil on evil! says the Lord Eternal - it is coming, the hour has come, the hour is striking, and striking at you, the hour and the end." (Ezekiel 7:5-7 Moffatt)

" In the twenty-first chapter of Luke Christ foretold what was coming upon Jerusalem, and with it He connected the scenes which were to take place in the history of this world just prior to the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." (Cousels to Writiers and Editors, pp.23-24)

"Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkedness, and cares of this life, and so that the day come upon you unawares." Luke 21:34.

Via Postal Service -- A "Deplorable Editoral" is just exactly what it was. You "hit the nail on the head." I was just as incensed over Adam's editorial as you were. Since I get only the NAD REVIEW, I did not see Johnsson's - which is just as well, since I can't take more than one a month of that paper. It causes me too much emotional stress.   (CA 922)

From National and International Religious Report -- A Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) agency called on the Supreme Court to scrap the 20-year old test it uses to determine the line that separates church and state. The so-called Lemon Test, which got it's name from a 1971 ruling, has created a form of "religious apartheid, " "promotes secularism," and is "inherently hostile to religious liberty," the SBC's Christian Life Commission ( CLC) declaired in an amicus brielf filed in Rhode Island's graduation prayer case. In departing from the strictest separationist viewport many Baptists have long espoused, the CLC said public schools should transmit values, including the value of religious pluaralism. The Lemon Test, it said, should be replaced with the guidelines suggested by Michael McConnel, a University of Chicago Law School professor. ( Vol. 5, No. 12, p. 4) --- (1991Aug) --- End --- TOP

1991 Sep -- XXIV 9 (91) -- THE HIGH CALLING OF GOD -- When Madison College closed, I requested to be sent to Andrews University to complete my studies toward a Master's degree. A counter proposal was made suggesting that in addition to, studies iIn Religion, I strengthen my history minor from college so as to fill a contemplated assignment which did not materialize. The result was that besides a major in New Testament, I completed a minor emphasis in Systematic Theology, History and Education. During the time at Andrews, I took two courses which taught conflicting concepts. Dr. E. F. J. Harder taught an educational course in Inductive Bible Teaching. The class was conducted as an example of this type of instruction. We began at Genesis 1. He attempted to show that this first chapter, rather than a detailed account of what took place, was simpiy a piece of Hebrew literature structurally arranged to convey a speritual lesson. In another class - Science and Religion - Dr. Frank L. Marsh likewise directed the emphasis to the first chapters of Genesis, but we studied them as a matter of inspired historical record of the creation of the world in s.ix literat days about 6,000 years ago.

In 1974, 1 returned to Andrews University to attend one section of the North American Division Bible Conferences. One evening, I was sitting with Dr. W. G. C. Murdoch who was Dean of the Seminary when I was there in study. That evening Dr. E. F. J. Harder, was giving a response to the aftenoon presentation. He read for quite a period of time from a series of file cards, quotation after quotation frorn the Writings of Ellen G. White. I was amazed. I could hardly believe the performance I was seeing. I turned to Dr. Murdoch and asked, "When did he get converted?"

In 1975, the then Southern Publishing Association published a book, Perfection - the Impossible Possibility. This book contained the essays of four men - Douglass, Heppenstall, LaRondelle, and C. Mervyn Maxwell. These four essays presented two conflicting and diametrically opposed points of view on the same subject. In a book review appearing in the student publication - Southern Acccent - the insightful reviewer catagorized these essays on the use of the Bible in comparison with their quotes from the Writings. Douglass on one side of the question quoted the Bible 47x, but used the Writings 101x. LaRondelle taking a position diametrically opposed to Douglass quoted the Bible 232x and the Writings but 4x. The conclusion was drawn:        It cannot be doubted that sinlessiness is not usually implied in the Biblical concept of perfection; the "impossibles" have proved their point. Yet they have largely ingnored the Spirit of Prophecy in doing so. ... It is difficult to deny that Ellen G. White taught sinlessness as a requirement for translation; many of her statements are simply too plain to be explained away. (September 16, 1975, p. 6)

In the Adventist Review (May 30, 1991) a short article appeared from the pen of LaRondelle - "The Final Generation of Christians." In this article there are three direct quotes from the Bible and 23 from the Writings. We might ask, "When did LaRondelle get converted?" He didn't; he, this time around, quoted the Writings to sustain the same position he took previously in 1975. After quoting at length from the Writings, he writes:        The close of probation, then, marks the divine settlement of everyone's destiny....The righteousness will continue in victory over Satan and his allied powers. They cannot be lost any longer! And this is not because they cannot sin anymore, nor because they have achieved sinless perfection. The decree of Revelation 22:11 speaks only of the finality of God's decision regarding the trend of their character. (p. 9: emphesis his)

Now we have Ellen G. White teaching just what

p 2 --the "new theology" teaches on the sinlessness of those to be translated out of the last generation, in other words, the 144,000.

This manipulation of the Writings has been a constant pattern since the SDA-Evangelical Conferences of 1955-56. Take a look at the Appendices in the book, Questions on Doctrine. There one finds gathered together from the Writings, series of statements which seek to justify the positions taken in the book on major points of Christology. It is true, statements teaching differently in the Writings are omittod, but this points up the fact that one can find statements in the Writings coming down on both sides of each major Christological tenent now in contention. I became painfully aware of this when doing the original research in drafting the manuscripts on the Incarnation which can be requested through Adventist Laymen's Foundation, P.O. Box 69, Ozone AR 72854 with $1 for postage. Here are some examples:

In 1901, Ellen G. White wrote in a manuscript:       In Christ were united the divine and the human - the Creator and the creature. The nature of God, whose law had been transgressed, and the nature of Adam, the transgressor, meet in Jesus - the Son of God, and the son of man. (Ms. 141, 1901; 7BC:926)

You do not find this quotation in the section of the Appendix of Q on D captioned, "Took Sinless Human Nature," nor in the section, " Assumed Liabilities of Human Nature." Why? It does not sustain the position taken in the book. But you do find this one:       Christ came to earth, taking humanity and standing as man's representative, to show in the controversy with Satan that man, as God created him, connected with the Father And the Son, could obey every divine requirement. (ST, June 9, 1898; Q on D, p. 650; emphasis theirs )

The troublesome clause which places this quotation into contradiction with the 1901 Manuscript is - "as God created him." In checking this out you have some problems. The facsimile reproduction of this Signs of the Times article is not in the Signs reproductions of the Ellen White articles because it appeared in Selected Messages, bk. i, pp, 252-256. It reads there just as quoted in Q on D. One would have to go back to the orgiginal autograph and the secretarial draft of that autograph before final verification could be made relative to the clause in question. This becomes a major hurdle. Let me explain.

There is another quotation on the same subject printed twice in the original edition of the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, 7A, but one had an added word which altered its meaning from the other. This quotation printed in the Youth's Instructor in 1901 is in the same time frame as Manuscript 141 quoted above. As quoted in 5BC:1108, it reads:       When Christ bowed His head and died, He bore the pillars of Satan's kingdom with Him to the earth. He vanquished Satan in the same nature which in eden Satan obtained the victory. (April 25, 1901)

However, in 7BC:924, the last sentence reads - Christ "vanquished Satan in the same nature over which in Eden Satan had obtained the victory." The addition of the word, "had" changes the meaning completely and conforms it to the concept set forth in Manuscript 141 which was written the same year.

At the first opportunity, I sought to check the article as it actually appeared in the Youth's Instructor. (This was before the facsimile reproduction of the articles) Going to Andrews University, I checked with the Ellen G. White Estate office there. Mrs. Helwig Jemison, who was in charge, produced the article on screen. The entry in 5BC had been correctly transcribed frorn the article. There was no "had." Had the "had" been omitted through secretarial error? Here in the same year were two contradictory concepts coming from what was purported to be the pen of Ellen G. White. Or had the press typesetter omitted the word? I asked to see the autograph and/or secretarial copy, preferably the autograph. I was told they had been burned. This stunned me. I asked no futhther questions, but left for a contact in a neighboring city. All the way there, the idea that they had been burned bothered me to such an extent that after the contact, I returned to Andrews University to ask Mrs. Jemison some more questions. She told me they had been burned in the Battle Creck Review & Herald fire In 1902. But I asked, "Did Ellen G. White send the autograph, and all secretarial copies of each article to the publishers?" I was assured that this was the case. I know that carbon copies of articles and manuscripts were made, for I have some, on file. To think that all source documents were sent to the publishers is unbelievable, as well as totally unacceptable as an explanation as to why this autograph was burned.

Let us check another major area of Christology - the Atonement. In I884, Ellen G. White wrote in Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. IV as follows: The intersession in man's behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was his death upon the cross. By His death he began that work which after the ressurection he ascended to complete in

p 3 -- heaven. (p. 313:emphasis supplied)

In 1911, when Acts of the Apostles was published, this concept was set forth:        Listen as [Paul] makes plain the work of the Redeemer as the great high priest of mankind, - the One who through the sacrifice of His own life was to make atonement for sin once for all, and was then to take up His ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. (p. 246: emphasis supplied)

What adds problems to this contradiction is that the parallel paragraph in Sketches from the Life of Paul published In 1883 does not say this, but is in harmony with the statement in Vol. IV of the Spirit of Prophecy series.

Let it be clearly understood that the issue is not whether Ellen G. White had a spiritual gift, the evidence is too clear to question that point. The question is why these theological contradictions; and more could be sited than above. Too this problem, the Ellen G. White Estate has given no satisfactory explanation as yet. Until this is explained, in the areas of doctrinal understanding, one must rely soley on the Bible and quote only those statements from the Writings which harmonize with scripture. Furthermore, in so doing, we would be but following the counsel given by Ellen White herself.

Now to the the question raised by LaRondelle - the perfection of "'The Final Generation of Christians"? We shall seek the Bible answer.

Paul addresses the question of perfection in his letter to the Church at Philippi. It reads:      "Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the exellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded. (3:7-15a; emphasis mine)

It should be observed that Paul desired to attain unto "the resurrection of the dead" and with this he connected, perfection. He designated it "the high calling of God." But this calling is "in Christ Jesus." This "in" concept is emphasized by Paul in other references. Observe the following:      Being justified freely by His grace the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. (Rom.3:24)

For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power. (Col. 2: 9-10)

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,...for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Rom. 8: 1-2)

'This same idea was expressed by Ellen G. White, when she challenged the errors of the Holy Flesh Movement in a prepared statement read to the delegates at the 1901 GC Session on the morning of April 17. The statement read:       We are not to be anxious about what Christ and God think of us, but about of what God thinks of Christ, our Substitute. Ye are accepted in the Beloved. The Lord shows, to the repenting, believeing ones, that Christ accepts the surrender of the soul, to be molded and fashioned after his own likeness. (SM, bk. ii, p. 33)

There is another emphasis in Paul's teachings which we dare not overlook. This is the emphasis of what shall be the experience of those who are in Christ Jesus. Observe these verses.

Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 15:57)
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom.5:1)
Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by [Greek - through] Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intersession for them. (Heb. 7:25)

We have redemption in Him; we have victory through Him. But the point is that the victory through Him is resultant from His intercession

p 4 -- as High Priest whereby He saves to the uttermost. That uttermost means full arid complete restoration, in other words, absolute perfection. Whether through the grave, or via translation, perfection is required. The nature of that perfection which involves both groups - the resurrected and the translated - is given by Paul. "As many as be perfect, be thus minded." (Phil. 2:15a) By faith the high calling of God in Christ Jesus will be realized, and we press toward that mark. Our minds do not doubt the possibility, nor do we manipulate our theology to accommodate our present arid obvious weaknesses. We believe that what He has promised in Christ Jesus, He is able to perform through Jesus Christ.

Previous in this same letter to the Philippians, Paul makes it imperative that the mind of Christ must be our mirid. (Phil. 2:5) Christ made Himself of no reputation - He emptied Himself. (verse 7) Only the Father's will was to he done. (John 5.30) Paul tells us that Jesus loved righteousness arid hated iniquity. (Heb. 1:9) This must be our "mind" if we would be presently perfect. The resultant "uttermost" comes to those who trust the High Priestly intercession of Jesus.

Here is our problem: What do we do about the "fallen nature" - the forces that surge through our beings - the flesh? One who has the mind of Jesus will come forth from the grave no longer possessing this " flesh." How will he live? Hating iniquity, loving righteousness, with no counter forces intruding, he will no longer sin, nor desire to sin. But what about those alive when probation closes? How can they live in fallen flesh and not sin?

On this point in an early vision, the angel of the Lord directed the attention to the "heavenly sanctuary" in reference to a perfected people who will keep not only the commandments of God but also the faith of Jesus. It reads:      The third angel closes his message thus: "Here is the
patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." As he repeated these words, he pointed to the heavenly sanctuary. The minds of all who embrace this message are directed to the most holy place, where Jesus stands before the ark, making His final intercession for all
those for whom mercy still lingers, and for all those who have ignorantly broken the law of God. This atonement is made for the righteous dead as well as for the righteous living. (Early Writings, p. 254; emphasis mine)

We can understand the meaning of this "final intercession" only through the services of the typical which foreshadowed the heavenly mediation. The book of Hebrews plainly states that the earthly priests "serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things." (Heb. 8:5) This LaRondelle completely ignored in his article "The Final Generation of Christians."

In the typical service of final atonement, not only "sins," but also "uncleanness" was involved. (Lev. 16:16) The high priest, after the mediation in the most holy and holy places of the sanctuary, approached the altar of the court with the mingled blood of the bullock and the "Lord's goat" to "cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel." (16: 18-19) The objective of the Day of Atonement is clearly stated - "For on that day shall the [high] priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean of all your sins before the Lord." (16:30) Two things are here involved:    1)    The record of sins was not only blotted out, but the uncleanness that caused sin was cleansed.    2)    The work was done by the high priest, not the people whose sole active requirement on that day was to afflict their souls. (Lev. 23:27)

This is the picture of the final atonement in type. What does it mean in reality? How wi1l it be accomplished? These are the questions to which our study and attention should be not only directed but devoted in these final hours of human history. Two experiences are found in the Bible, one in the Old Testament, one in the New, which suggest answers to these questions.

In Genesis 18, an experience in the life of Abraham and Sarah is recorded. The Lord and two angels visit the tent home in the plains of Mamre. In the conversation which ensued, the Lord promises, "I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son." (18:10) Sarah laughed for she was already eignty-nine years of age, and was physically incapable of having a child - that time of life had passed. However, the Lord reponded - "Is there anything too hard for the Lord?" (18:14) Now think, what did God have to do so that Sarah could bear a son? That which was dead, incapable of functioning, was given life, and functioned perfectly.

In the New Testament, it says of Jesus in our fallen humanity, "God giveth not the spirit by measure unto Him." (John 3:34) Can we not ask ourselves, Is the latter rain, therefore, "the Spirit without measure" unto those whom through the final intercession, Jesus as High Priest provides for their cleansing? Are we not advised to pray --       "that the mighty energies

p 5 -- 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 of spiritual soundness." (5T:267)

LaRondelle's essay in the book, Perfection, the Impossible Possibility, did not discuss "perfection" in the book of Revelation, nor was Revelation 22:11 among the 232 Biblical references used. But in the present article in the Adventist Review, the book of Revelation is made central in connection with the references from the Writings, and Revelation 22:11 is emphasized above the few Biblical citations. To this text, we need to direct our attention.

It is impossible to translate Revelation 22:11 directly into the English from the Greek. The four verbs of this verse are in the third person of the imperative mood. In the English language there is no third person imperative form. Thus the force of this verse must be amplified.

Using the reconstructed Greek text by F. H. A. Scrivner "which directly underlies the KJV, "we note the two categories of the wicked as designated by verbal nouns in the active voice - "the one who is doing unjustly" and "the one who is being filthy" and the verb in each category is active imperative - let them continue to do and to be! On the other hand the two categories of the righteous are designated as "the righteous one" and "the holy one." These nouns are followed by verbs in the passive voice, indicating that the subject is being acted upon, rather than acting themselves. Having been acted upon, they remain in that state.

We ourselves can act unjustly; we can of ourselves be filthy; but of ourselves, we can be neither righteous nor holy. This final experience as far as the holy ones are concerned is well pictured in the vision of Zechariah where Joshua "clothed in filthy garments" stands before the angel of the Lord. The Lord says, "Take away the filthy garments from him." Then He informs Joshua how this is possible. "Behold I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with a change of raiment." (Zech. 3:3-4) Only the final intercession of the great High Priest can produce that condition which will receive the mandate from the Throne - "Let him be holy still." On those only who truly "afflict" their souls and cease from "works" as a means of grace will these blessed words fall.

As impossibie as the prospect appears to human judgment and possibility, nothing is too hard for the Lord. I, therefore, believe that God will have a people, who not only reflect the image of Jesus in the denial of self, who love righteousness and hate iniquity; but who by the authority and power bestowed upon them as sons of God, will sin no more. In fact, "the whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own." (Rom. 8:19, Phillips) Why can we not also unite in the expectation of the universe as the final atoning ministry is being completed in the sanctuary above, instead of' limiting the power of God. Let us with steadfastness"through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith." (Gal. 5:5)

INTERNATIONAL WORSHIP CONFERENCE -- The North Pacific Union Confrence's official organ, The Gleaner (May 20, 1991), published a feature article by its editor telling of an International Worship Conference held In Portland, Oregon's Sunnyside Church in April. The 300 in attendance came from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, England and Switzerland, as well as the United States and Canada.

The keynote address was given by the editor of the Adventist Review, who according to the report based remarks around the First Angel's Message of Revelation 14 - "Worship Him that made heaven and earth." Johnsson is quoted as saying:        We have come to worship the living God, to enter into that worship and to learn how better to bring out that experience. For we are called to worship Him, the Creator of heaven and earth, who is judge of all and who is the soon appearing King, to call others to the worship the God of heaven.

Unless our hearts have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb we will never worship in spirit or in truth. (p. 7)

It is true that Jesus specifically stated to the woman at Jacob's well that those who worship the Father "must worship in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24) But what does it mean to worship "in spirit"? The editor of The Gleaner began his feature article with the assertion - "Changes are in the offing for the style of Adventist worship" - but nowhere in the report was there a single reference to Scripture telling what worship "in Spirit" meant. In fact, aside from the reference to Revelation 14:7, I found no Biblical support given to justify the suggested changes in worship style advocated by the various speakers.

One speaker, Hyveth Williams from the Boston Temple and "the only Adventist female senior pastor in the United States" based the need for change in worship format on the fact that "we change our cars regularly as well as our homes and yet we insist on keeping the same old program year after year," indicating that "Adventists have had the same style of worship for the past 150 years." [She needs a course in Adventist Church history] Not a single "Thus saith the Lord" just human analogy to justify changes as radical as the celebration style of worship presents.

At this point, we might inject that had the Church followed the Bible guidelines in its criteria for ministerial selection, this conference on worship would never have heard this kind of reasoning. In all the apostasy of ancient Israel, and at times it was exceedingly deep, never once as far as the record indicates did they ever induct a female priestess into the services of the sanctuary. Modern Israel has gone far deeper into deviation from God's arrangements than ancient Israel ever did. Then the results of this apostasy are used to promote further changes without Biblical justification. The end is not yet as the Church accelerates its downward course having discarded "chart and compass."

The basic justification for change given at the International Worship Conference was simply change itself; other churches of Babylon are sensing a need to do it, and we should "be leaders in spirit-filled worship." (ibid.) While the Seventh-day Adventist Church was entrusted with holding forth to man the worship of the true God as Creator; announcing the hour of His judgment; and calling man from the false worship of the "beast," its leadership should be aware that what they are now promoting as "spirit-filled worship may indeed be one phase of the very worship of "the beast and his image."

The Writings tell us that those who after 1844 did not follow by faith the entrance of Jesus into His ministry in the Most Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary, were ministered to by Satan. Does the present rejection of the ministry of Jesus in the final atonement produce the same results - the spirit of the "spirit-filled worship" being the spirit of Satan disguised as an angel of light? See Early Writings, pp. 54-56. One final question, where do these who are advocating so strongly a change in worship style stand on the Sanctuary truth once committed to the Church? Take a canvass of their doctrinal teaching in this area, and you can then tell before whose throne they are celebrating. lt was not an accident that the keynote address was given by the editor of the Adventist Review. One has only to check his doctoral dissertation at Vanderbilt University to learn where he stands on the basic historical sanctuary teaching of the Church's pioneers.

lt is too late in the day to cry out against men for manifesting too much earnestness in the Service of God;
to say, "You are excited; you are too intense, too positive." ...
We know falsehoods are coming in like a swift current,
and that is just the reason why we want every ray of light that God has for us,
that we may be able to stand amid the perils of the last days.
(Review & Herald, March 4, 1890)

p 6 -- LET'S TALK IT OVER --In the July issue of The Sabbath Sentinel, the section called, "The Mailbox" contained a letter worth thinking about. It read:      I am so thankful for spiritual deep thinkers, for those who are enlightened by the Holy Spirit. I am thankful for God's patience with those who are not; and I pray for all those who are honest in heart. Both the Biblical prophets and our inspired E. G. White made some prophecies not (yet) fulfilled: but God will cause earnest souls who study to continue to believe He fulfills all in His time. Please send no more! I pray that Desmond Ford [whose opinions sometimes appear in TSS] has not sinned away his day of grace! He surely has led many astray. 99% truth, but that 1% error has been lethal. (p. 20) Former Reader

It should be noted in passing that the editor of The Sabbath Sentinel is himslf a devotee of Desmond Ford, but that is not the point upon which I wish to comment from this "former reader's" letter. While I would differ considerably on the ratio between truth and error in Ford's teaching, the idea that even 1% error is lethal spiritually, and thus eternally, is a point that few Adventists take into consideration when seeking truth amid the present apostasy in the Church.

In 1888, the Lord did send a most precious message to the Church. That message of Christ's righteousness was defined as "pure, unadulterated truth." (TM, p. 65) There was no room for 1% error. Then in 1950, God sent two other messengers calling for a revival of that message to be paralled by a "denominational repentance." But to make it acceptable, it was compromised in 1987. The percent of compromise is immaterial, but it was more than 1%, which has made it lethal. Do your own research. Secure a copy of A Warning and Its Reception, which contains the original 1888 Re-Examined, and compare it with the 1987 edition. A Warning and Its Reception can be requested through Adventist Laymen's Foundation, P.O. Box 69, Ozone AR 72854 with $1 for postage.

When Dr. Desmond Ford initiated his attack on the sanctuary teaching of the Church in 1979, some fellow Australians, with more zeal than knowledge, counter attacked through various publications. To distance themselves from Ford, they took the opposite side on most of Ford's teachings, forgetting that error cannot stand alone, but must have some truth for its main stay. (See Evangelism, p. 589) Thus their zeal introduced into their counter teachings more than that lethal 1%.

How long will it be, before we recongize that the devil's first success has been his key weapon in every phase of the running controversy he had with truth from the beginning. Just mix it, ever so little, only 1%, and he repeats his Garden of Eden success, and those who eat of the fruit will find themselves outside of the City of God wherein is the Tree of Life. Those who prefer the concealed 1% lethal dosage of error will some day discover the price of that 1%. How tragic to contemplate!

One says, How can we tell? Only by the Spirit of truth. (John 14:16-17; 16:13) Thepromises of Jesus are not mere words. He will send to us the Spirit of truth if we really truly desire His guidance and in the heart have a willingness to follow where that truth leads. We have been warned:      The track of truth lies close beside the track of error, and both tracks may seem to be one to minds which are not worked by the Holy Spirit, and which, therefore, are not quick to discern the difference between truth and error. Series 8, #2, p. 52

If this were true in the time of the alpha of deadly heresies, how much more so in this time of the omega of apostasy? Should we not pray and search our Bibles as never before so that we can know truth, pure and unadulterated, and be quick to discern error, even though it may be only 1%, but nevertheless lethal? Only then can we be sanctified by the truth. (John 17:17)

A TESTIMONY T0 CONSIDER -- I have been shown that Satan has not been stupid and careless these many years, since his fall, but has been learning. He has grown more artful. His plan are laid deeper, and are more covered with a religious garment to hide their deformity. The power of Satan now to tempt and deceive is ten-fold greater than it was in the days of the apostles. His power has increased, and it will increase, until it is taken away. His wrath and hate grow stronger as his time to work draws to its close. Spiritual Gifts, Vol. II, p. 277.

A WARNING IN THE WORD -- Such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
II Corinthians 11:13-14.

--- (1991 Sep) --- End ---

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