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WWN 1997 Jul - Sep


1997Jul -- XXX -- 7(97) -- AN EVANGELICAL ADVENTIST -- Editor's Preface -- According to the late Walter Martin. Seventh-day Adventism is a "puzzle." It has become a puzzle to itself When it loses its self-identity, it loses its sense of direction, and confusion results. The president of the General Conference believes there ought to be only one kind of Adventist. He is right, but what kind? In the first article we discuss Folkenberg's perceptions, then we consider what a thoughtful laymen has concluded. Each one who considers himself a Seventh-day Adventist must decide what kind he is. The confusion within the community of Adventism is not merely whether you are a member of the regular Church, or a participant in some "independent" ministry, the real confusion is over who you really are. Then follows the basic question - By what criterion does one make this determination? Until the right criterion is used and followed, God will not find the people for whom He is looking.

Along with identity is mission. If we really believe that to Seventh-day Adventism has been committed the trust of proclaiming the Third Angel's Message, then do we not identify who the "beast" is, so that the inhabitants of the earth can make the right choice in the matter of worship? Should not then our evangelistic thrust be to identify and warn? But what is happening? Take note of the article on "John Paul's Global Vision."

In, "Let's Talk It Over," we bring together a series of events involving various segments of the regular Church which have a common denominator. The bottom line is the Bible, and how we relate to the Word of God.

What day is Easter? Should that concern us? See p. 7.

p 2 -- An Evangelical Adventist? -- In the North American edition of the Adventist Review for April, 1997, the center spread was devoted to an article by the General Conference President, Robert S. Folkenberg. It was given the title, "Will the Real Evangelical Please Stand Up." Whether Folkenberg chose the title, or whether it was an editorial choice, the article closed with the summation, "That's the essence of true 'evangelical Adventism.' It is the only kind there ought to be." (p.19)

Apart from the "Trade Mark" controversy over the use of the name, Seventh-day Adventist, with its legal ramifications, the article raises the question as to the true designation of an inheritor of the faith growing out of the 1844 Movement. The fact is that there was no such thing as an "Evangelical Adventist" prior to the 1955-56 conferences between Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders and the evangelicals, Barnhouse and Martin, which compromised basic doctrines of the Church. The fact also remains that since those infamous dialogues, there has been continuous doctrinal turmoil in the Church resulting in multiple schisms. Beyond this, is also the fact that many of the schismatics, dissidents, or whatever name describes their action in relationship to the "mother" church, have chosen to refer to themselves as "historic" Adventists.

If the facts noted in the above paragraph are not confusing enough, the title given to Folkenberg's article notes the designation as "Evangelical Adventist," while Folkenberg writes - "evangelical Adventists" - as the designation used by those who see a tension between the gospel and Adventism. (p.17) There is a difference, but the difference is hard to define. There is no Evangelical Church organization as there is a Seventh-day Adventist Church. For example, Barnhouse was a Presbyterian pastor, while Martin was an ordained Baptist minister, yet both were "evangelicals," and in association with "evangelicals" of other church affiliations. Evangelicals profess to be teaching the "true gospel" and set certain concepts as basic, apart from which one is considered a cultist. The bottom line is that the term, "evangelical," involves doctrinal concepts. This brings us back to "square one," to the point where the major doctrinal changes resulting from the SDA-Evangelical Conferences fractured the community of Adventism.

The doctrinal compromises with the "Evangelicals" were published in the book, Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine [QonD]. Two primary teachings were involved: the Incarnation and the Atonement. On these two points, the new position, as stated in the book, read:       Although born in the flesh, He {Jesus} was nevertheless God, and was exempt from the inherited passions and pollutions that corrupt the natural descendants of Adam. (p.383)

Adventists do not hold any theory of a dual atonement. "Christ has redeemed us" ..."once for all." (p.390)

How glorious is the thought that the King, who occupies the throne, is also our representative at the court of heaven! This becomes all the more meaningful when we realize that Jesus our surety entered the "holy places," and appeared in the presence of God for us. But it was not with the hope of obtaining something for us at that time, or at some future time. No! He had already obtained it for us on the cross. And now as our High Priest, He ministers the virtues of His atoning sacrifice to us. (p. 381; emphasis theirs)

A comment is in order before continuing the historical record. In regard to the new position on the Incarnation as stated in QonD, p.383, the word, "exempt," has theological connotations. This term is used in defining the Roman Catholic Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Referring to Mary, this dogma is explained - "She alone was exempt from the original taint [of sin]." (See James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers, p. 171, 88th ed.) In other words, Mary was free from "the inherited passions and pollutions that corrupt the natural descendants of Adam." The "new theology" in Adventism presupposes a similar divine intervention in the birth of Jesus as the Roman Catholic Church presupposes for Mary. There is only a "generation gap" in the new Adventist theology.

As for "the theory of a dual atonement," the typical service of the sanctuary taught two atonements; one at the Altar of the Court (Lev. 4:35), and the second on the Day of Atonement (16:30). The "new" evangelical theology simply denies the second or final atonement, and teaches that all was finished on the cross. While Folkenberg gives lip-service to the sanctuary in his call for the true evangelical Adventist to stand up, he limits the final atonement to a mere repeat of the atonement of forgiveness. He calls this "a pure gospel message" and not "new theology teaching."

The alterations in Adventist theological teaching resultant from the compromises with the Evangelicals have never been repudiated. The 1980 Statement of Beliefs voted at Dallas, Texas, incorporated the major compromises as noted above with an added alteration as a "sop" to the Adventist "religious right." This added position had never appeared in any previous Statement of Beliefs.

Following the Dallas Session, events within Adventism were carefully watched by Walter Martin. Prior to his final and expanded edition on Cults, he made contact with the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists "calling for the Conference's public and official statement reaffirming or denying the authority of the Adventist publication, Questions on Doctrine. The reply came from Dr. W. Richard Lesher, then a vice-president of the General Conference, later to become president of Andrews University. Lesher wrote:      You ask if Seventh-day Adventists still stand behind the answer given to your questions in Questions on Doctrine as they did in 1957. The answer is yes. (Kingdom of the Cults, p.410)

What is interesting about this 1985 edition of Martin's book, is that he discusses Adventism in the "Appendix Section" under the caption - "The Puzzle of Seventh-day Adventism." In the

p 3 -- paragraphs leading to the revelation of his letter to the General Conference and the answer he received are some interesting observations on the "turbulence" within Adventism which he alleges "is more extensive than any turmoil in the organization's history."

How Lesher worded his reply is also of interest. He did not say, that the Church "still stands behind the answers to your questions," period; but rather the answers "to your questions" in the published volume, Questions on Doctrine. Unknown to most, is the fact that the original answers given to Martin were revised and altered to be more acceptable to the rank and file in Adventism before being published in book form. In other words, Questions on Doctrine was a revised edition as it first appeared as a publication. This fact was not revealed, and therefore, the book was a deception perpetrated upon the Church from its very first release. Folkenberg would do well to release all the missing pieces in the "puzzle" of Adventism, then the community of Adventism could decide if "evangelical Adventism" is "the only kind there ought to be."

Folkenberg considers himself to be "a true evangelical Adventist" and asks, "What does an evangelical Adventist believe?" (p. 17) He then lists three tenets of faith:

1) "That God so loved the world that He gave Jesus Christ as a sacrifice to atone for my sins."

2) "That by faith in Him and what He has accomplished for me and what He is doing in me, I am accepted in Christ right now, deemed perfect, holy, and righteous in the sight of God."

3) "That when the Father looks down upon Robert Folkenberg, a sinner, He sees the perfection and holiness of Jesus Christ instead - not because I am worthy, not because I deserve it, but only because God loved me and gave Himself for me so that though I deserve eternal death, I can have eternal life in Him, even now." (ibid.)

Primarily, this is justification by faith. He then concludes, "This is the essence of the gospel, and it is the essence of Adventism." Two questions arise:   What does Folkenberg mean by "right now," "even now"? Though not stated, it carries overtones of "once saved, always saved." Yet, by faith, I can be accepted in the beloved and stand before God as if I had never sinned. This is indeed a "now" time experience but must be renewed daily. The second question that needs to be asked is:   Is this all there is to the essence of Adventism? Before discussing this question, we need to note at this point two relating factors in the on-going conflict of righteousness by faith as it relates to the 1888 Message.

In this confession of faith for an "evangelical Adventist," Folkenberg emphasizes the "in Christ" motif in connection with the "right now" experience. There has been an ad hoc committee set up by the General Conference known as the Primacy of the Gospel Committee to study into the "in Christ" motif and other related issues that are recognised to be a part of the "righteousness by faith" issue. This committee is composed of various Adventist theologians as well as representatives from the 1888 Study Committee. A report of a meeting of this ad hoc committee on October 16, 1996 was summarized in the 1888 Message Newsletter [Jan-Feb., 1997, pp.9-10.] This all day October meeting was devoted to hearing five presentations by the 1888 Study Committee on the "in Christ idea." Does this mean that Folkenberg has embraced the 1888 Message Study Committee's position? Further is Folkenberg trying to say that the 1888 Message, if acknowledged, would make Seventh-day Adventists "evangelical Adventists"?

Another interesting facet to this whole picture is that while the 1888 Message Study Committee is confessing that they do not hold "that Jones and Waggoner were infallible" (ibid., p.9), Folkenberg in his article takes direct issue with the position of E. J. Waggoner. Waggoner held that "justification" means to be "made worthy." (See WWN-5(97), pp.5-6) Folkenberg in the Adventist Review article writes - "Justification is, technically, not to be 'made worthy,' but to be 'accounted worthy."' The question remains, how much more give and take will be evidenced so that Folkenberg's objective, that the only kind of Adventist there ought to be is an "evangelical Adventist," will be embraced by the 1888 Message Study Committee?

Now to the question, Is justification by faith the sole essence of the gospel? Folkenberg takes the position that the distinctive doctrines of the Church, such as the Sabbath are adjuncts to the Gospel. This is true with the exception of the sanctuary teaching which is the same gospel in type. The type and antitype dare not be separated. In this is the uniqueness of Adventism. M. L. Andreasen stated it forthrightly when he wrote:       Christians would do well to study more diligently the sanctuary and its services. They contain precious lessons for the devout student. Too many have failed to give study to Christ's high priestly ministry and His session at the right hand of God. They are not acquainted with Him as high Priest, though this work is the very essence of Christianity, the heart of the atonement. (The Sanctuary Service, p.8)

What Christ has done for us, and because of this, my relationship to God through faith, is stated by Folkenberg, but what Christ will do for us in reality in the final atonement is ignored. Why? To do so would be to say that the position of evangelicalism which was embraced in QonD was wrong and its acceptance sent the Church into apostasy. But until we recognize the uniqueness that was once the hallmark of Adventism, we shall continue in apostasy. Perhaps Waggoner's perception of justification by faith was faulty technically, but did he mix his perceptions with the "second" justification of the final atonement when he that is declared holy is made holy?

"The intercession of Christ 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 His resurrection He ascended to complete in heaven. " The Great Controversy, p. 489

p 4 --Evangelical, Historical, or Biblical? Which? -- In the previous article, we noted the call on the part of the President of the General Conference for the "real" Evangelical Adventist to stand up. He defined what he believed such an Adventist to be, and concluded - "It's the only kind there ought to be." However, a large segment in the Community of Adventism differ with this conclusion and have opted for the designation of "historic" Adventist. This is defined in various ways by those choosing that designation. Some define "historic" as holding to the teachings of the Church prior to the SDA-Evangelical Conferences of 1955-56. Others are introducing teachings which they claim to be truth because these teachings were held by certain pioneer Adventist ministers.

In recent weeks, we have been seeking to organize the Foundation library so that we could more readily access items which we wished to use. In so doing, we came across some tracts and booklets that we had forgotten we had. One such booklet, written by a laymen, discussed a controversial position held within Adventism. The topic is not the point of prime interest at the moment, it is this laymen's insightful analysis of why a certain position is presently advocated in
regard to the topic. He wrote:      
The strongest defence offered in support of this view, is that it was the view held by our forefathers. This is same argument offered by historical Lutherans, historical Methodists, and historical Catholics, as the reason why they, as well as many other mainline churches refuse to accept the increased light on such issues as the Sabbath, the state of the dead, the millennium, and a host of other plain and obvious Scripture truths, simply because they cannot accept the fact that their forefathers, in some areas were just plain wrong, not having Scriptural evidence for certain of their teachings.

Historical Lutherans will always be so, likewise historical Methodists, or historical Catholics. The instant any of these accept ANY new light in exchange for tradition or false doctrines regarding the Sabbath, the state of man in death, or the millenium, they will cease to follow the historical positions of their forefathers. Historical Adventism is not in all cases, Biblical Adventism. Historical Adventism holds to and defends the historical church position regardless of Scripture evidence to the contrary. Biblical Adventism holds to the Bible evidence for its belief and teachings regardless of historical views IF they are NOT Scripturally sound. I would much rather be a Biblical Adventist than an historical one. Just because a teaching is part of Adventist history, does not make it Biblically correct. The belief that Christ would come in 1843-44, is historical Adventism, but we cannot continue in such a belief. ... Jesus taught true Biblical Judaism, but He was accused of speaking against Moses' law, and against what had become accepted as ' historical Judaism' which was far from Biblical Judaism. (Emphasis his)

This laymen then stated the purpose of his challenge to a traditional concept. He wrote:      Our purpose here is to verify the Biblical soundness of what we have been teaching, and not in any case to cling to a historical view unless, it can be firmly supported from Scripture, and not to accept any new teaching which we cannot prove to be Biblically sound. (Emphasis his)

If this layman's insight were to become the credo of every professing Adventist, what would result? The "evangelical" Adventist would be embarrassed to stand up because his compromised position would be seen for what it is in the light of Scripture, apostasy from the truth committed in sacred trust to Seventh-day Adventists. Such a determination to be a Biblical Adventist on the part of those professing "historic" Adventism would send shock waves through most of the "independent" ministries. These "many voices" who proclaim themselves "historic" hold to positions which they cannot sustain from the Bible, as well as refusing to walk in the advancing light of truth. The sad plight today is that the "regular" Church continues in apostasy, while the independent "voices" in the community of Adventism are lulling the concerned Adventist into a neo-Laodiceanism with a cry similar to that which echoed through the corridors of the Church in 1888 with its aftermath, "Stay by the old (historic) landmarks."

The layman who wrote the booklet, from which we have cited, also called attention to an interesting reference in the Writings. It reads:      When no new questions are started by investigation of the Scriptures, when no differences of opinion arises which will set men to searching the Bible for themselves, to make sure that they have the truth, there will be many now, as in ancient times, who will hold to tradition, and worship they know not what.

I have been shown that many who profess to have a knowledge of present truth, know not what they believe. They do not understand the evidences of their faith. They have no appreciation of the work for the present time. When the time of trial shall come, there are many now preaching to others, who will find, upon examining the positions they hold, that there are many things for which they can give no satisfactory answer. Until thus tested, they knew not their great ignorance. (Gospel Workers, p.298; 1915 ed.)

p 5 -- Sadly, today, the ignorance herein described is the hallmark of many of the "many voices" professing to be "historic" Adventist preachers. This is compounded by the fact that many are willingly ignorant. They need not be for multiplied opportunities are afforded them to know truth and the advancing light of that truth. If these "voices" were all that were involved, that would be one thing, but large segments of laymen who likewise are Scripturally illiterate are following these "voices." Would to God that all concerned Adventist laymen would adopt the credo of the layman we have quoted in this article, and from henceforth study and react as Biblical Adventists.

"John Paul's Global Vision" -- This is the title given to an article in the February, 1997, issue of the Signs of the Times. Pictured on the cover is a photo of John Paul II taken from the Catholic News Service. The author of the article is Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi of Andrews University. The article is not only informative as to the objectives of John Paul II, but it also raises some questions as to where Adventists now stand in regard to the Pope and Catholicism.

First, let us note some of Bacchiocchi's observations: He wrote:      A major goal of John Paul's pontificate has been to forge a united church, updated in its external forms but strongly traditional in its adherence to church discipline and teaching. One of the first steps he took to achieve this goal was to revive the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the Inquisition. (p. 16)

This revived Inquisition has already been at work within the Roman Church. Head by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, it has dealt with liberal theologians removing them from their teaching posts. Bacchiocchi observed that the Catholic revisionists and feminists here in the States who accuse the Pope of being out of touch with the Roman Church of America "are out of touch with the reality of the Church in Rome. They do not realize that John Paul is not running a democracy, but a hierarchy whose head is the pope and whose center is Rome." The question is then, how soon will the "inquisitional" forces of Rome move against the dissidents in their own ranks in America, and
then how soon will it move against all who challenge its authority. For as noted in the article - "John Paul aims to make the pope the undisputed spiritual leader of mankind.

Certain facts of history are noted by Bacchiocchi. When in 1987, the Pope visited America, President Reagan travelled to Miami to welcome him. This was the first time that an incumbent president travelled to another city to welcome a head of state to these shores. In welcoming him, Reagan declared him to be "the spiritual leader not only of Catholics but of all Americans." Further, the President urged the Pope to preach freely to the American people declaring, "As you exhort us, we will listen." Then an important change of history is noted:      Reagan could hardly have done this forty years ago, when conservative Protestants nourished a deep hostility toward the papacy. In 1951, President Truman had to abandon the plan to extend diplomatic recognition to the Vatican because of strong protests from Protestants. By the 1980s, however, Reagan was able to appoint an official ambassador to the Holy See without stirring significant Protestant reaction." (p. 18)

Why? Bacchiocchi sets forth what he terms three important factors for this change. However, the key factor is ignored. In 1980, the final act was put upon the prophecy Jesus gave in Luke 21:24. On June 29,1967, the official reunification of Jerusalem took place, and the old city to which Jesus referred was once again under Jewish control. "On 22 July 1980, in a move which created instant
international protest, the Knesset voted ... to annex East Jerusalem. 'Jerusalem, complete and undivided, is the capital of Israel,' the Jerusalem Bill began." (Jerusalem in the Twentieth Century, p.327) In this fulfilled prophecy, God gave notice that the probationary time of the nations
was fulfilled. The final movements would begin, and "the spirits of devils" would begin their work to marshal the nations to the battle of the great day of God Almighty. The place to which they would be gathered was called in the Hebrew tongue, Har Magedon (Har-Mo'ed - Mount of the
Congregation). *  Thus with God's mercy withdrawn from the nations, and spiritism taking over the White House, events were beginning to move to the final drama.

Bacchiocchi concludes his article by emphasizing that John Paul II is strongly Roman Catholic, and that doctrinally "the great truths" of the Reformation, "are still unacceptable to Catholicism." He is for an ecumenical unity but only if there be "no deviating from the true Catholic doctrine." This commitment to "traditional Catholic teaching" constitutes a challenge "to seek for saving truth in the Word of God, not in the broken cisterns of human traditions or of contemporary social values. That Word, the Bible, is the only source of the truth that can make us free and secure for eternity." (p.27)

Why are we citing this article by Samuele Bacchiocchi in the Signs of the Times? There is a missing piece in the picture. Whether deleted by the editor, or not in the original manuscript submitted by Bacchiocchi, that part of the Word of God which can make us truly free is omitted. Nowhere in the article is found the prophetic fingering of the Papacy, "whose head is the pope" as "the little horn" of Daniel 7, "the man of sin" in Paul's Epistle to the Thessalonians, or the "beast" of Revelation 13. Yet this is an evangelistic publication of the Seventh-day Adventist

p 6 -- Church, whose Consulting Editors are none other than Mark Finley and Lonnie Melashenko. "Red lights" should be flashing from all sides. It should be obvious that no longer is "the trumpet" being given a certain sound, but that the evangelistic "voices" in Adventism are either muting their testimony, or their training was sadly deficient in the fundamentals of prophecy. In the "Golden Years" of Adventist evangelism, one of the key subjects in any series of meetings was the topic, "The Anti-Christ, Who Is He?" No holds were barred; it was given forthrightly from the Word. I know because I conducted many series of such meetings during those years.

·*  Note the use of Revelation 16:13-14 in The Great Controversy, pp.561-562

LET'S TALK IT OVER -- In the previous issue of WWN, we observed in the "Editor's Preface" that while we were devoting our attention for the past six months to the all-important topic of "The Everlasting Gospel" many things were taking place in the regular church which needed comment. In that issue we cited one such incident. Several other Items have been called to my attention by readers of the "thought paper," which also need comment, and these all have a common denominator. We shall list them one by one, and then note the common thread which runs through all the Incidents cited.

A copy of the Bulletin of the Seventh-day Adventist Church of Kettering (Ohio) indicated that for Sabbath, September 14, 1996, - "The Church at Study" leadership had scheduled as a special "feature" - Fr. Benedict O'Cinnsealeigh, was to speak on the topic. "The Similarities of Adventism and Catholicism."

Another bulletin outlining "A Spintual Retreat for Women," to be held at the Adventist World Headquarters, March 1, 1997, and sponsored by the Potomac Conference indicated that this retreat was "featunng" Sheila Walsh as the Keynote Speaker. In a bnef sketch on who Sheila Walsh is, the bulletin read "Sheila is an internationally known recording artist, author, and television host. Former co-host with Pat Robertson of 'The 700 Club, [she is now] host of her own show, 'Heart to Heart with Sheila Walsh.'"

The Visitor, official organ of the Columbia Union Conference, reported (March 1, 1997) the gathering of the workers of the union in a four day session in Ocean City, Maryland, January 5-9. The report read in part; "The featured guest for the week was John Maxwell, one of the top thinkers and equipers in the area of leadership, church growth and personal development. A gifted communicator and frequent guest on the radio program Focus on the Family, Maxwell now conducts church leadership seminars across North America." (p.6)

What is the common denominator in all of these events which were scheduled by leadership at various levels of the Church? One thing, and one thing only - Disbelief of the Word of God. Are we no longer a people of propheecy? Does the prophetic word of God mean nothing? Is a representative of "the man of sin," the o anomoV of II Thessalonians 2:8 to be a featured speaker for the Church at Study? Are there "similarities" between Christ and Satan, or pronounced distinctions? Are there to be "similarities" between the followers of Christ, and the followers of "the man of sin"? If there are, what does that say to us? Tragically there are. Even a Federal Judge, William T. Hart, of US District Court for the Eastern Division of the Northern District of Illinois, could observe that fact. In an opinion rendered October 29, 1986, the Judge declared - "Next to the Roman Catholic Church, the Adventist Church is the most centralized of all major christian (sic.) denominations in this country." This hierarchical resemblance was predicted by Dr. P.T. Magan at the 1903 General Conference Session when the Conference jettisoned the 1901 Constitution, and put in its place the recommended draft of the 1903 Session. (See the General Conference Bulletin, 1903, p.150)

What about the "featured" speakers at these events? Do we no longer believe the Second Angel's message of Revelation 14? Is there any difference today In sending to spiritual Babylon for instruction, than in Elijah's day for the king of Israel to send to Baalzebub, the god of Ekron, for information? (II Kings 1:2-4) Is God's insigilt to be questioned when He warns that Babylon is motivated by spiritism? (Rev. 18:2) What does God mean when He declares that if they speak not according to the Law and the testimony concerning the Law, "there is no light In them"? (Isa. 8:20) The bottom line is simply that we are still following in the footsteps of our first parents. "It was distrust of God's goodness, disbelief of His word, and rejection of His authority, that made our first parents transgressors." To continue to follow a path of disbelief opens "the door to every species of falsehood and error." When truth is mingled with error, the mind becomes confused, and the mental and spiritual powers benumbed. (Education, p.25) Babylon and the voices from Babylon represent that kind of confusion.

This, however, was not all there was to the report on the Columbian Union Ministerium. The theme song especially composed for the occasion was "The Lifting Song". Its composer wrote:      The song is designed to be naturally rhythmic; but an optional enhancement is the "stomp-clap," where the feet are brought down on beats one and three and the hands are clapped on two and four, done to great effect on wooden floors. Why rhythm? Rhythm is the great unifier, helping each to march to the beat of the same drummer, so to speak, testifying to the unity in the church. And the rhythm intensifies and concentrates energy, much like rocking a stuck car can get it out of a snowbank. (p. 7)

p 7 -- Will there be no unity when the victors of earth stand on the sea of glass? Will they "stomp-clap" when they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb" (Rev. 15:3), to demonstrate that unity. The author of this theme song indicated his inspiration came when he awakened at 6 a.m., one day before it was to be ready for the Ministerium. Isn't it time for each to know for a surety from what source his "inspiration" of the early morning hour is coming - "a Voice, a whisper small" (I Kings 19:12 Heb.), or the voice of him who has perverted the gifts which were created in him (Eze. 28:13)?

Which Day Is Easter? -- The Christian world today - those who observe Easter - observe it on two different days. "This year most Protestants and Roman Catholics celebrate[d] Easter on 30 March, while most Orthodox, along with some Protestants and Catholics, [held] their Easter services a month later, 27 April. The different datings are the result of disagreement over reform of the calendar by Pope Gregory XIII 400 years ago." (ENI Bulletin, #07-0137) In the year 2001, both divisions will have the same date for Easter, 15 April, even though using their different methods of computation. There has been "strong pressure for the churches to reach an agreement on the Easter date by the end of the century."

Dr. Thomas Fitzgerald, a priest of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, as well as a theologian and senior World Council of Churches (WCC) official, called the division over Easter, "an internal scandal" and declared "we have to ask what sort of witness this division gives to the world at large. We're talking about the resurrection of Christ, a sign of our unity and reconciliation. There is no greater feast than Easter, and yet when you look at how we celebrate it, we do so in a divided way."

To seek a solution, a meeting was held in Aleppo, Syria on March 5-10, sponsored by the WCC, and the Middle East Council of Churches. The "representatives of the world's main Christian traditions" reached an agreement which the WCC described as "an ingenious proposal to set a common date for Easter." The controversy in the early church over the time to celebrate Easter was solved at the Council of Nicaea. The new agreement is based on the Nicaea formula because according to Dr. Fitzgerald, "the churches want to remain in harmony with Nicaea."

The organizations represented at the Aleppo meeting included "the Anglican Communion, Armenian Orthodox Church, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Evangelical Churches in the Middle East, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, Lutheran World Federation, Middle East Council of Churches, Old-Catholic Churches ..., Patriarchate of Moscow, The Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Seventh-day Adventists, and the World Council of Churches " (ibid) What interest has the Seventh-day Adventist Church on which day Easter is celebrated? Who represented the Church? None other than the Adventist ecumenist, B. B. Beach. The Adventist Review (April 24, 1997, p. 21) carried a report of this Aleppo meeting. This managed news release did not tell its readers that this meeting was over which day to celebrate Easter. It presented Beach's visit as establishing "friendly relations with several Christian leaders in Syria." Beach is quoted as saying:         The Adventist Church should not only be recognized as an established Christian church in Syria, but should be able to contribute to the well-being of society through expertise in health care and development Sometimes we are misunderstood, for example, in regard to our Sabbath-keeping, and then labeled for something that is foreign to our theology and practice." (p. 22)

Does Beach and the Church think that taking part in a decision on Easter will help the Christian world to better understand why Adventists keep the Sabbath? Is the Church now going to make the Adventist participation in Easter sunrise services an official part of their ecumenical outreach? As for managed and deceptive news coverage such as this release is, there should be a thorough "house cleaning" of the editorial staff of the Adventist Review. --- (1997 Jul) ---End---- TOP

1997 Aug -- XXX -- 8(97) -- OVERCOMING PHARISEEISM -- Editor's Preface -- This issue for the most part was written and assembled by the Foundation Librarian, Terrie Lambert. Drawing from her reading as she filed letters and publications as well as from her own private study of the Word, she challenges the reader by some insightful observations in the first article from the life of Paul, the Pharisee of the Pharisees. There is a precise balance to be drawn between truth as a theory and "the truth as it is in Jesus." Our doctrines must be correct, but they must also correct our lives. "A theoretical knowledge of the truth is essential. ...[but] the truth must be brought into [the] heart," is the counsel given.

In the field are many who are reading the various publications which are flooding the homes in the Community of Adventism. As they read they sense that things are not adding up, but rather confusion is increasing. Some are seeking to find answers as to why the confusion. The second article was the result of one such answer which was suggested in a telephone conversation. What is written in "Corporate Calvinism" is straight to the point. and the example chosen to illustrate it is very apropos. The hour of the end is upon us. The complacency of living with fulfilled prophecy in the past, and with other prophecies to be fulfilled at some future time is no longer viable. We are in the midst of fulfilling prophecy! We can no longer play "tiddlywinks" with the real issues confronting the individual in Adventism. A straight testimony must be borne.

The article - "Spare the Rod ..." - is not only practical in its insightful diagnosis of child raising, but it also can suggest to the thoughtful reader some questions about the Babe of Bethlehem. Printed with permission, we suggest more than a casual scanning of what the author is saying.

In "Let's Talk It Over," we confront one of the most trouble some questions in Adventism today, the use and the misuse, as well as the place of the Writings of Ellen G. White.

p 2 -- Overcoming Phariseeism -- To overcome Phariseeism, one must first understand it. How does one understand a Pharisee when they are among the most misunderstood group of people in the Bible. First, we need to take a brief look at their history.

After Alexander the Great conquered the ancient Near East (331BC), there followed a more permanent cultural invasion by Greek language, customs, ideas and religion. Antiochus Epiphanes attempted to "Hellinize" the Jews, that is, to compel them to adopt Greek culture, and this pro voked the most determined resistance, the Maccabean wars being the result (164BC). However, among the Jews, particularly beyond the borders of Palestine, there was a gradual tendency to adopt Greek culture which resulted in a liberal element in Jewish society.

The Pharisee sect arose in Judea in opposition to Greek influence. It was a conservative movement as they clung tenaciously to the customs and religion of their forefathers - historic Judaism. Their name means "the separate ones," ie. the holy ones, the true community of Israel. Joachim Jeremias, in his book Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus, says that "the Pharisees were the people's party; they represented the common people as opposed to the aristocracy. ... Whereas the Torah laid down rules of purity and rules on food for the officiating priests alone, the Pharisaic group made these rules a general practice in the everyday life of the priests and in the life of the whole people" (p.265).

In short their motives were to prepare a people, by strict adherence to the law, to be ready for the coming Messiah. As a result "the people wholeheartedly supported the Pharisees and looked to [them], in their voluntary commitment to works of supererogation, as models of piety, and embodiments of the ideal life" (ibid p. 265,266). The similarities to the Adventist independents of today cannot be missed.

To understand the individual Pharisee, one has only to look at the most famous of them all, at least from the Biblical perspective, Paul. In describing his background to Agrippa, Paul said that "after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee" (Acts 26:4-5). You could not get more pharisaical than Paul. So much so that he tells the Philippians that he was a "Hebrew of the Hebrews; ... Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless" (Phil 3:5-6) But what made Paul what he was, for not all Jews were Pharisees? The Scripture reads:       I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. (Acts 22:3)

Paul was taught to be a Pharisee. It was his education that was the contributing factor to his religious zeal. He "was a Jew, not only by descent, but by the stronger ties of life-long training, patriotic devotion, and religious faith. Though a Roman citizen, born in a Gentile city, he was educated in Jerusalem by the most eminent of the rabbis, and diligently instructed in all the laws and traditions of the Fathers" (Sketches from the Life of Paul, p 10). And Paul truly excelled in his learning. The Jewish leaders considered him a man of great promise and had high hopes concerning him. Paul was admired for his genius and eloquence. But he, along with his compatriots, despite their thorough education, were ignorant - ignorant of saving faith. For all Paul's learning and preparation for the Messiah, he could not even discern Him when He came. Historic Judaism failed Paul.

What did the education of Paul actually achieve for him? In recounting the testimony of Stephen, it is stated that it appealed loudly to [Paul] and thrust conviction upon his mind; but his education and prejudices, his respect for priests and rulers, and his pride of popularity, braced him to rebel against the voice of conscience and the grace of God" (ibid., p 24; emphasis supplied). What did it really achieve? It created prejudices against all that were not of his ilk; it made him a respecter of persons; it made him desirous of popularity and acceptance from his peers and superiors. It eventually took him to the point where he rebelIed against his conscience.

However, beneath the blindness and bigotry of the pharisee, God discerned a heart loyal to truth and duty, and thus Christ revealed Himself personally to Paul on the road to Damascus. Paul's response was true repentance:       And as he journeyed he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me? And he said, who art thou Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. ... And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what will thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. (Acts 9:3-6)

Paul recognised and accepted the voice as from God but received no direct answer to his earnest and genuine enquiry. Why didn't Jesus give him the instructions he asked for? Christ performed the work of revelation and conviction and now the penitent was in a condition tolearn of those whom God had ordained to teach His Truth. Christ sent Ananias to restore Pauls sight, and then Paul became a learner of the disciples (vs. 18-19). From the very beginning of his conversion, Paul had to come to terms with the prejudices that had been instilled in him through his education. He not only had to become a "babe" and re-learn of those who only hours before he considered inferior, but he had to learn from people he

p 3 -- didn't even like! And there is no indication that he was enticent in doing so. It was true conversion.

Was this the end of Paul's battle with his Pharisaical background? One particular occasion where his upbringing resurfaced, needs to be noted.

Years passed from the time Paul met Christ on the road to Damascus. He was on his second missionary journey. Having left Berea because of the persecution stirred up by the Thessalonian Jews, he was accompanied to Athens by some new converts. Timothy and Silas were left in Berea to strengthen the work. However, no sooner does he arrive in Athens but he sends the Bereans back with "a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed" (Acts 17:15). Paul is on his own in Athens.

Now Athens was the metropolis of heathendom. Paul encountered there a people famous for their intelligence and education. Statues, magnificent architecture and paintings abounded. Sanctuaries and temples were built with untold expense. The senses of the people were entranced by the beauty and the glory of art. But what was Pauls reaction to all of this? How would an ex-pharisee react? "His spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry" (17:16). If there was one thing a pharisee learned to loathe, it was idolatry; and to see it exhibited so brazenly had to have brought back some old atti tudes for Paul. The difference this time was that his heart was drawn out in deep pity for the citizens and his mind was deeply impressed with the importance of the work before him.

However, Paul was alone. So much so that "his solitude in that great city where God was not worshipped was oppressive; and he longed for the sympathy and aid of his fellow-labourers. As far as human fellowship was concerned, he felt himself to be utterly isolated" (ibid., p 90; emphasis supplied). But Paul didn't remain idle. He felt a holy zeal for his Master's cause and went to work; first in the synagogue and then the market place (17:17).

How was Paul received? Surely such a learned and edu cated community would have recognised the intellectual calibre of this visiting speaker. But what happened?      Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? Other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. (17: 18)

The word "babbler" in the Greek is spermologo (spermologos) and means a "seedpicker". Just as a crow or sparrow would pick up grain in the fields or tidbits in the marketplaces, a "babbler" was one who picked up stray scraps of knowledge and was overready to use them on those better informed. It was a piece of Athenian slang, with connotations of a parasite, empty talker or ignorant plagiarist. This insult was not aimed at Paul's speaking ability, for despite a speech impediment, he was known for his eloquence. This was a direct attack on his intelligence and would have been an affront to the ex-pharisee.

Paul's opportunity to fully display his wisdom and oratory came with an invitation to Mar's Hill, and he made the most of the occasion. (Please take the time to read care fully the speech as recorded in Acts 17:22-31.) Paul ably exposes the fallacies of their religion, and charges the Athenians with ignorance for worshipping "THE UNKNOWN GOD." His words could not be controverted. The people were "carried away with admiration" as he spoke in "the most impressive manner" with "earnest and fervid eloquence." "The wisest of his hearers were astonished as they listened to his reasoning" (ibid., p 94-95). Paul would have done old Gamaliel proud that day! Surely such reasoning and logic must have raked in the converts, but what were the results?      And when they had heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. So Paul departed from among them. Howbeit certain men dave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them. (vs 32-34)

What went wrong? We know that our God is not the God of numbers, but ever since the day of Pentecost, when an Apostle had the opportunity to speak before a crowd of people, many believed. This is the history of the early church when thousands were converted in a day. Something was wrong; something was missing.

In order to find the answer, we need to take a closer look at the Athenians, and the Greeks as a whole. The condition of the world at that time is recorded in I Corinthians 1:21 as being at the point where "the world by wisdom knew not God." Commenting on these verses, A.T. Jones makes the following statement:      It was ' by wisdom' that the world was caused not to know God. And that wisdom was the world's philosophy, the world's science,  -  in a word, the world's education. Therefore inspiration plainly shows that that which was accepted by the world as education, was itself the means of their not knowing God. But Christianity is the definite and certain knowledge of God. How could any two things be more directly at opposites, than are a system which causes men definitely and certainly to know, and a system that definitely causes men not to know? The Place of the Bible in Education, p.10

What made the Greeks what they were? It was their education. And what did their education give them? It gave them prejudices, made them respecter of persons (intellectual snobs), and caused them to desire popularity (attention seekers). And for all their learning and intellec-

p 4 -- tualism, they were the most ignorant men, ignorant of the true God.

The question needs to be asked; what was the difference between the Pharisees and the Greeks, or woridlings? And the answer is  -  nothing! Both made a profession of religion and yet both were ignorant of what true religion is all about. How ironic that the sect of the Jews that arose in direct opposition to the worldly influences of the Greeks, ended up most like them. The education of the Pharisees failed them, as did the education of the Greeks. It achieved nothing more than to fill them with self and pride. And the same results are being seen today:      Athens was the third of the great centers of the world's education. Athen's was more than this: she was the mother of the then world's education. Yea, she was even more than this: she was the mother in a large sense, of that which has been the world's education to this day. (ibid., p.11-12)

Early Adventists understood well the principles involved in education, but midway this century Adventism lost the vision, and as a result generations have been churned out of the best of S.D.A Colleges thoroughly ignorant. Let's face it  -  how ignorant is it to believe that one is fully clothed when you are actually naked?

So back to Paul's speech on Mars Hill. What went wrong, or more appropriately, what was missing from his sermon that day? Just what was Paul trying to accomplish? Try to picture the situation again. Here is Paul, all alone, and in the worst place that a lonely expharisee could be - in the midst of brazen idolatry. Not only that, he was facing public ridicule from the idolaters themselves. His education was questioned, and his prejudices aroused. He had no popular support for he was alone. And Paul demanded respect. Paul had to prove himself.

His intellectual power commanded the respect and attention of the more intellectual and learned; while his earnest logical reasoning, and his power of oratory, held the promiscuous audience. Thus the Apostle stood undaunted, meeting his oppsers on their own ground, matching logic with logic, and philosophy with philosophy. Sketches. op. cit., p 92

Paul presented logic and philosophy instead of the message of the Son of God uplifted on the cross as man's Substitute which arrests the attention and awakens the interest of sinners. He brought himself down to the level of the Greeks and lost his priorities. How very, very human! And lest it be said that we are being too critical, we are not the only ones, for Paul was also critical and disappointed with himself that day. Paul left Athens for Corinth, determined to pursue an entirely different course. Later in writing to the Corinthians, he reminded them of what he taught them. He wrote:      For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath God not made foolish the wisdom of this world. ... For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. ... And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I Corinthians 1:17-24; 2:1,2

Paul presented the plain simple truth, unadorned with worldly wisdom and, as a result, the fruits of his labours were notably different for "many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized" (Acts 18:8). He "did not labour to charm the ear with oratory, nor to engage the mind with philosophic discussions, which would leave the heart untouched. He preached the cross of Christ, not with laboured eloquence of speech, but with the grace and power of God; and his words moved the people" (ibid. p .105). Paul taught the Corinthians that salvation is not the result of adopting a creed, embracing a doctrine or believ ing a theory, but receiving the Truth in a Person, the very Truth itself. The learning of the world appeals to the intel lect but is powerless to move hearts. It is the incarnate Lord, uplifted on the cross as man's Substitute, that ar rests the attention and interest of sinners.

There is the tendency today to consider the Pharisees in our ranks as those who give strict adherence to outward reforms, in short, those working their way to heaven. While this is true and there are plenty of them; there are generations graduated from Adventist colleges with the same attitudes and problems with which Paul struggled. How many, for example, under the pretence of medical work, use portions of the sacred hours of the Sabbath to earn a living, not discerning the difference between the original health message and the deceptive counterfeit promoted by the world? We have to come to terms with the fact that there is little difference, if any, between the worldly education based on the Grecian model, and the education presently received by students in Adventist in stitutions.

A few years after his visit to Corinth, Paul wrote to the Philippians concerning his pharisaical past and testify that "what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ" (Phil. 3:7-3).

p 5 -- Did Paul regard his learning and education as worthless? No, but he had come to the realization that education taught and acquired for a purely selfish purpose is idolatry. All that he had achieved was of value only so far as it could be used to reveal Christ. For what good is it to know the Sabbath truth, and not know Him who is "the Lord of the Sabbath" (Luke 6:5); or to know all the texts for the state of the dead and not know Him who has "the keys of hell and of Death"? (Rev 1:18) What does it profit to understand the Sanctuary message, and not know the great High Priest who alone will accomplish the final atonement? (Lev. 16) Or what value is it to be an historic Adventist and fail to walk in the advancing light of truth?      This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be... ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the Truth. (2 Tim. 3: 1,7)

Corporate Calvinism -- Calvinism, the name given to a theological concept, dominates, with more or less rigidity, the doctrine of a large section of Protestant churches. It has become synonymous with the notion of "once saved - always saved," a perception rejected by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church as unBiblical. Calvin asserted that God had from eternity foreordained all things that should come to pass, so that some individuals were predestined, or "elected", to eternal salvation and others predestined, or "reprobated" to eternal punishment. The elect were made willing to be saved by God's grace which was irresistible. They were regenerated by the Holy Spirit, and once saved always saved. The saved ones could not finally fall away from a state of grace.

The Bible teaches that God, prior to creation, foreordained the divine provision for man's redemption, and that He desires that all men should be saved (2 Tim. 2:3,4). This is Biblical predestination. God does forsee each individual's choice that will be made, but His foreknowledge does not determine what that choice shall be. All who choose to believe in Christ shall be saved, with human choice being the determining factor (Deut. 30:15-19; John 1:12).

Is it possible to reject Calvinism as far as the individual is concerned, and yet accept it for a corporate structure? Can it be that our salvation, individually, depends on the choices we make, but the Seventh-Day Adventist Church is unconditionally God's predestined church, going through to the end? A brother in the East has suggested a term for this perception - "Corporate Calvinism" - which neatly defines the warped reasoning occurring in Adventism today.

From the beginning God stated emphatically that, "My spirit shall not always strive with man" (Gen. 6:3), and this we apply to the individual. Years later He predestined a chosen people from the seed of Abraham, and established an "everlasting covenant" with them (Gen. 17:7). Israel, for thousands of years, would cling to this as an unconditional calling. Prophecy, that could be taken out of context to support their thinking, was dwelt upon (Jer. 31:35,36); while prophecy that would dare to tell them otherwise - "Seventy weeks are determined apon thy people..."(Dan 9:24), was rejected, as were the many calls to repentance from the Lord's messengers. Finally, Christ Himself was rejected (Matt. 21:3345), probation closed for the corporate structure in 34 AD, and only those individuals who heeded the prophecy given by the Lord (Luke 21:20,21), were saved from the final destruction.

History is being repeated. God has not changed, and His Spirit will not always strive with man. In 1844, God predestined a people with a "Sacred Trust" to take the last message of mercy to a dying world. For generations, Ad ventists have clung to this as an unconditional calling. Writings, that could be taken out of context to support this thinking is dwelt apon (See Testimonies to Ministers p. 15); while warnings that dare to state otherwise are muted (See quotation below from Testimonies for the Church Vol. 8, p.247), as well as the rejection of the calls for denominational repentance (See A Warning and its Reception). Finally, Christ's own prophecy (Luke 21:24), that signals the end of corporate bodies, is also being rejected. Individuals are now making their final choices; either to accept Calvinism and remain with the corporate structure that has been spewed out of the mouth of God (Rev. 3:16), or to open the door and let Christ come in (Rev. 3:20).

An outstanding example of this Calvinistic attitude occurred in an article entitled The End-Time Church written by Colin Standish. He wrote:      Some feel free to declare that the Seventh-Day Adventist Church is no longer God's church. If that were true, then probation would have already closed for the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. How can humans be confident of this? When probation does close, no one will know. This decision is God's, not man's. Even in abject apostasy, God did not forsake Judah. "For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the Lord of hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel" (Jer. 51:5). Neither has He forsaken the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, though many within the church have no doubt forsaken Him. (Our Firm Foundation Vol.7, No.8, p. 24)

To question the prophecy that Jesus gave for the last days is one thing, but to ignore the full history of the Jewish nation is another. God did reject Israel; and we can be confident that in the same way that He has worked in the past, He will work again. God does not alter, He "will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7). He has done so through His suffering Servant, Jesus Christ. The irony in all of this, is that

p 6 -- many of the voices in Adventism that are advocating corporate Calvinism and urging the laity to "stay with the church," are themselves outside the church!


"The Jewish people cherished the idea that they were the favorites of heaven, and that they were always to be exalted as the church of God. They were the children of Abraham, they declared, and so firm did the foundation of their prosperity seem to them that they defied earth and heaven to dispossess them of their rights. But by lives of unfaithfulness they were preparing for the condemnation of heaven and for separation from God." (Christ's Object Lessons, p.294)

"In the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-Day Adventist church is to be weighed. She will be judyed by the privileges and advantages that she has had. If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence, ' Found wanting.' By the light bestowed, the opportunities given, will she be judged." (Testimonies for the Church, Vol.8, p.247)

Spare the Rod . . . . . -- While researching material for a previous WWN, we came across an article from the March 1997 issue of Signs of the Times which puts an interesting angle on the battle with "self". The author is John Rosemond, director of the Center for Affirmative Parenting in Gastonia, North Carolina. The title of the article is "Dethroning the Omnipotent Infant," and we reprint it in full below:      
"Egocentric" was the term Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1980)  -  the "Einstein" of child development  -  used to describe the infant's sense of omnipotent self-centeredness. The belief that he is the source and center of all creation is the child's first construction of reality. And for the first eighteen months or so of his life, his parents and other significant adults - assuming they are adequately sensitive to his needs - respond to him as if that belief were true.

When he's hungry, he signals to be fed, and someone feeds him. When he's tired of walking, he signals to be carried, and someone carries him. His parents roll him through shopping centres and other public places in a portable throne, in front of which perfect strangers kneel and ask for his blessings in the form of a smile. Given all of this, which isn't the half of it, the young toddler has every reason to believe he controls the world and everyone in it.

In short the toddler is his own first concept of God.

It takes the better part of two years to instil this fantasy in the mind of a child. It takes another eighteen months or so to wipe it out. In effect, a parent's job description reads:      Convince your child that he is God. Then convince him that he is not - and in the latter process, lead him toward a true understanding of his relationship with his heavenly Father.

During the second eighteen months of life, the Terrible Two's, parents are charged with "dethroning" the child and assuming the authority he once believed was his and his alone. If they are successful, then by age three or thereabouts, the child will have made the passage from egocentricity to parentcentricity. His parents will have taken him out of the center of their attention and established themselves at the center of his.

The importance of this transition cannot be overstated. A child who remains mired in self-centeredness, who occupies the center of his parent's attention, cannot be successfully disciplined. Under the circumstances, he cannot develop respect for them; therefore, he cannot develop respect for anyone else. Scripture is also clear that we attain self-respect only after we've given away a sufficient amount of it to others. So the child who remains at the center of his parents' attention long past toddlerhood, while perpetually self-absorbed, can never develop true self respect. But the full tragedy in all this is that until a child is gently forced ( ! ) out of the cocoon of his parent's doting attention, he cannot begin the journey toward a deeply meaningful relationship with God.

In this regard, parents would do well to be always mindful of Proverbs 6:23:  "For these commands are a lamp, this teaching a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way of life."

Think of it! The child who is deprived of adequate discipline is deprived of life itself! Such a child will likely become an adult who is obsessively enslaved to serving the demands of self and unable, therefore, to fathom the freedom of serving God.

Using terms similar to those of Proverbs 6:23, Christ said He was "the way" and "the light" John 14:6). He also said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them" (Luke 18:16). Taken together, these words of Christ might serve as a warning to parents of the ruinous effect of inadequate discipline.

Unfortunately, too many of today's parents, with the best of intentions, are depriving their children of the way of life Because they never stop catering and indulging, their children remain stuck in emotional/spiritual toddlerhood - demanding, whining, petulant, rebellious, and irresponsible. In short, spoiled. In a state of decay.

The bad news is there are entirely too many such children.

p 7 -- The good news is this condition of deterioration - of uselessness to God - is not irreversible. No, it is not easy to turn the state of a child's corruption, but the rewards of doing so are as abundant as life itself.

Family Psychologist John Rosemond is the author of eight books on child rearing and family life, including "A Family or Value" (Andrews and McMeel). Reprinted with permission

Let's Talk It Over -- A recent mailing from Pilgrim's Rest included an article from the February 19, 1894 issue of The Signs of the Times (#767). On the back of the page, a concept was lifted from the article and printed in Old English script at the top with deletions. The deleted version reads:      God has a people who will preserve their fidelity to His truth (and) who will elevate the standard, and hold aloft the banner on which is inscribed, "The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. "

In full context the "lifted part" reads:      But though the attitude of the churches is discouraging, yet there is no need of being disheartened; for God has a people who will preserve their fidelity to His truth, who will make the Bible, and the Bible alone, their rule of faith and doctrine, who will elevate the standard, and hold aloft the banner on which is inscribed, "The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." They value a pure gospel, and make the Bible the foundation of their faith and doctrine.

This is a misuse and perversion of the Writings, and shifts the emphasis which the "messenger" of the Lord intended to convey. The phraseology and emphasis used in the Signs article echoes what Ellen White wrote in the 1884 Great Controversy edition:      But God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms. (Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. IV, p.413)

It should be obvious to even the casual reader that Ellen White did not change her position from 1884 to 1894 in regard to the primacy of the Bible. In reporting her final words at the 1909 General Conference Session, which would be her last session to attend, W. A. Spicer has written:      Well I remember the last words this faithful servant ever spoke regeneral assembly of the movement. At a world's General Conference in Washington D.C., she came to the platform, on the last day of the session, to speak a farewell word to the delegates who had come in from the four quarters of the earth. She felt impressed that she would never attend another General Conference: and she never did. What would be the last message by personal presence, in such an assembly, by one who had been so many years the agent through whom the writings of the Spirit of prophecy had come? Mrs. White spoke a few words of good cheer and farewell, and then tunied to the pulpit, where lay a Bible. She opened the book, and held it out with hands that trembled with age. And she said:

"Brethren and sisters, I commend unto you this Book."

Without another word, she closed the Book, and walked from the platform. It was her last spoken word in the world assembly of the remnant church. Well was it symbolic of the lifelong ministry through this gift, ever exalting high, supreme above all, the Holy Scriptures as the foundation of the faith of the people of the advent movement (The Spirit of Prophecy in the Advent Movement, p.30)

What makes men, who claim to be "leaders" in this hour of crisis and confusion in the Community of Adventism, want to mute the position of "the Bible, and the Bible only"? And Ferrell is not alone in this work; the Standish Brothers have added their voices, as well as others. It is the hallmark of what is termed, "historic" Adventism. Well did the servant of the Lord write - "If you had made God's word your study, with a desire to reach the Bible standard and attain to Christian perfection, you would not have needed the Testimonies." Is the converse not also true, the Writings are exalted by men who do not know their Bibles? These voices may mouth texts but they are unable to exegete the Word of God. --- (1997 Aug) ---End---- TOP

1997Sep -- XXX -- 9(97) -- THE SECOND ANGEL'S MESSAGE -- EDITOR'S PREFACE -- In this issue we discuss three different topics, each of vital concern in the community of Adventism. The first, seeks to clarify the "fall of Babylon" as given in the Second Angel's Message of Revelation 14. Unless we can place ourselves in the mind-set of those who lived at the time following the Great Disappointment, we can never clarify the Second Angel's Message as required linguistically by the text. John used the Greek past tense to express the message as it was revealed to him. This meant simply that when the message would be proclaimed Babylon had already fallen. However, this could not occur until the first message, announcing the hour of God's judgment, which was also stated in the past tense, had been fulfilled. This hour being October 22, 1844 means simply that these messages both came after that date. In the article, we discuss only the Second Message.

Presently in the community of Adventism there is agitation over the doctrine of the Godhead. Darren Lambert, who is assistant to the editor, discusses a facet of this issue. If we do not honor the Son, we do not honor the Father. The Jews clearly understood that when Jesus declared Himself the Son of God, He was claiming equality with God. One aspect of God is that He is eternal. Unless the Son is likewise eternal, He is not equal with God, and thus as the Jews of old, we do not honor the Son; and therefore, do not honor the Father. Old heresies which were introduced into the early Apostolic Church in the form of Gnosticism are again plaguing the Community of Adventism. This new Gnosticism, or neo-Gnosticism needs to be clearly discerned by those who want truth pure and unadulterated. We discussed it thoroughly at our annual fellowship, and will be addressing this in future issues of WWN.

Last month, after having written correctly in this preface the correct title of an article used by permission. I inadvertently captioned it wrongly. The admonition is still, "Spare the Rod . . . " and spoil the child, not, "Spare the Child . . ."

p 2 -- The Second Angel's Message -- And there followed another angel, saying, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. " (Rev. 14:8)

The first two verbs of this verse - "followed" and "fallen" (repeated) are in the Greek past (aorist) tense, indicating a prior action. In others words, the first angel preceded this second angel; likewise, Babylon fell prior to the giving of this message. It announces what has taken place. The third verb, "has made drink" is in the perfect tense, indicating completed action.

We have traditionally placed the fulfilment of this message as coming during the summer of 1844. This was to be expected inasmuch as those who so believed, also believed that Christ was to come October 22, 1844; thus all prophetic events would have to had been fulfilled by that date. However, time continued, and thus the prophecy of Revelation can take its proper sequence governed by the language John used to relate the events revealed to him. Even the First Angel's Message, also stated in the Greek past (aorist) tense, indicates that when it sounded, the hour of God's judgment had commenced.

Based on the premise that Babylon fell because of its rejection of the First Angel's Message, what was rejected by the religious community which was either unique or basic to the first message?

Dr. Kai Arasola, President of the Finland Finnish Conference, wrote his dissertation for a doctoral degree from the Department of Theology at Uppsala University on Millerism, and which is published under the title of The End of Historicism. In his research, Arasola listed the characteristics of "historicism," some of which are:

-- The endorsement of the year/day theory and a preoccupation with prophetic time periods.

-- Continuous historical application of various apocalyptic symbols and calibrating of all prophecies with history.

-- The identification of the Papacy as the little horn/antichrist

-- At the foundation of this method, its distiuguishing feature, was the creation of a coherent system of independent synchronizations between prophecies.

Arasola observes that "the rationale" for this system of interpretation was to be found in a "biblicist concept of inspiration" which "believed that all parts of the Bible had equal value and that the Bible contained a mystical network of prophecies to be unfolded and harmonized by rational processes. It was the biblicist view of the Bible which empowered historicism." (p. 29)

This is the method used by Miller. He set forth fourteen rules by which to study the Bible. By the use of these rules, it was Miller's belief that none need "err far from the truth." But all of these rules, "whether they mention prophecy or not, are relevant within the frame work of continuous historical interpretation of prophecy. Several among Miller's hermeneutical precepts encourage Scriptural analogy. The idea of the Bible being its own expositor was the backbone of historicism from its beginning." (pp. 53-54)

With the tools that historicism provided, William Miller exploited the Bible to produce a time for the parousia [Second Advent]. When the expectation ended in a disappointment, it was not only an end of a great revival but also that of a popular method of exegesis."

"Millerism is a watershed in the history of prophetic exegesis. Soon after Millerism, historicism was replaced by Darbyan futurism or the more scholarly preterism. Few outside the churches that stem from Millerism ventured to continue using the historical method of interpreting prophecies." (Back Cover)

It should be pointed out in passing that "Darbyan futurism" is a Protestant futuristic interpretation of the prophecies, a methodology which had its origins in the Roman Catholic counter reformation interpretations of the Jesuit Ribera.

Regarding the Great Disappointment, October 22, 1844, Dr. Arasola makes a very telling comment:      As the morning of October 23 dawned it was again true that "the hour knoweth no man." Millerism came to an end. As it died it gave birth to Adventism." (p. 17)

We believe that to the Seventh-day Adventist Church was committed the trust of the Three Angels' Messages. It was this movement that corrected the error of Millerism in regard to the "sanctuary;" but who held as valid the interpretation of Daniel 8:14 relating to the time period which would mark the "hour" when His judgment began. In so doing, they held to the historistic method for the interpretation of prophecy.

Further, the sabbatarian Adventists were considered by Miller as "illegitimate children." (p.19) Why? Because they also continued to hold as valid the exegesis of "the seventh month movement." And it is "the seventh-month movement" which was "the real exegetical watershed that marked the end of historicism and made futurism and preterism attractive." (ibid.) Arasola could conclude that "Seventh-day Adventists owe their hermeneutic and emphasis in particular to the seventh-month movement." (p. 20)

After the first disappointment in the Spring of 1844, Miller wanted to tone down the emphasis on time, and simply cling to the concept that the parousia was imminent. However, his supporters would not buy this generalizing of prophecy. He

p 3 -- lost control of the movement, and it passed to other hands. George Storrs and Samuel Snow entered the picture. Snow corrected the time line of Miller showing the error of calculation because there was no year Zero. This brought the end of the 2300 Day prophecy to the fall of 1844. Applying the dating of the Jewish Day of Atonement - the tenth day of the seventh month - the exact date, October 22, was determined. Miller objected to this specific date until a fortnight before the actual time. By introducing the timing of the events of the Jewish festal year into the understanding of the prophecy of Daniel, a new element of interpretation was united with the historicist methodology of prophetic interpretation, that of typology.

Arasola comments on this new element. He writes:      Typology has a background distinct from that of general historicism. The Christian church has from its beginnings seen many Old Testament images and passages as types and prophecies of Jesus Christ. As one looks back further one finds a pattern in the writings of the Old Testament. The prophets were the first to use typology. As Israel was facing national disasters "they looked for a new David, a new Exodus, a new covenant, a new City of God: the old became a type of the new and important as pointing forward to it" This pattern was taken up by the NT writers who saw the Old Testament as a prefiguration of the Christ-event (pp.161-162)

This understanding of typology presupposes the unchanging nature of God, as well as the conviction that the past acts of God will be repeated on a greater scale than in the past. Such a conviction was a part of the first Christian faith.

Typology in the New Testament is two dimensional - horizontal and vertical. The horizontal dimension was used by Snow. The date for the annual Day of Atonement - the tenth day of the seventh month - was a type of the day of the cleansing of the sanctuary in reality. A Biblical example of the use of horizontal typology is found in I Corinthians 10, where Paul regards events of the Exodus experience of Israel as symbols reflected in the Christian experience. An example of the vertical dimension is the book of Hebrews. The priests served unto the example and shadow of the heavenly reality. (8:5)

"During the period of Protestant orthodoxy 'Types were regarded as Old Testament facts which were ordained by God to adumbrate or foreshadow aspects of Christ or the Gospel in the New Testament.' This view has in succeeding centuries been accepted as the traditional understanding of Biblical typology. It is still regarded as the true concept on the subject by many with a Biblicist view of the Scriptures." (ibid, p.163)

Modern Protestant scholarship disassociates itself strongly from this type of typology. It is basic to Adventism. Thus in two areas - the methodology of prophetic interpretation, and typology, which is the key to the understanding of the work Christ as the High Priest is doing for us now - "Babylon" fell. These aspects of the "fall of Babylon" are now being echoed in the corridors of Adventism.

Disregarding the fact that the understanding of prophecy from Adventism's very inception was founded on the historicist hermeneutic, many voices in the Community of Adventism today have adopted a form of Jesuitical futurism and have produced many speculative concepts of the fulfilment of what the book of Revelation is saying. Why should we fall with the Babylonians?

Equally as tragic is what we have done in the area of sanctuary typology. While there are those who have gone to extremes and find typical significance in every socket and board of the earthly sanctuary model, others have nullified the basic type by compromise. This latter is exemplified by the infamous conferences between the Evangelicals and Seventh-day Adventist leadership in 1955-56. The book, Questions on Doctrine, confirmed a part of the extent of the compromise. One example will suffice:

In seeking to reflect Evangelical thought that the atonement was completed on the Cross, the book, Questions on Doctrine, reads  -  "When, therefore, one hears an Adventist say, or reads in Adventist literature - even in the writings of Ellen G. White - that Christ is making atonement now, it should be understood that we mean simply that Christ is now making application of the benefits of the sacrificial atonement He made on the cross." (p.354-355; emphasis theirs) Further, this is enlarged in another section of the book. Indicating that Christ "our surety [has] entered the 'holy places,' and appeared in the presence of God for us." The book states:   "But it was not with the hope of obtaining something for us at that time, or at some future time. No! He had already obtained it for us on the cross." (p.381, emphasis theirs) Where is the "final" atonement which formed the basic pillar of the structure of Adventism?

The type taught a dual atonement, one at the Altar in the Court (Lev. 4), and the other on the Day of Atonements (Heb) which began in the Most Holy apartment and closed at the Altar in the Court (Lev. 16). This type prefigures the Lamb of God as the sacrifice on the Cross, and as High Priest ministering that one sacrifice in a final atonement ministry. The book, Questions on Doctrine, unequivocally declares  -  "Adventists do not hold any theory of a dual atonement. 'Christ hath redeemed us' (Gal. 3:13) 'once for all."' (p. 390 emphasis theirs)

To proclaim the fall of Babylon is one thing; but to fail to recognize what caused the fall of Babylon, and, therefore, to fall into the teachings of Babylon is another thing. This tragedy is applicable whether adopting the prophetic hermeneutic of Babylon, or accepting their version of the atonement. Both have produced dire consequences in the community of Adventism.

To say that all interpretations of the prophecies which have been drawn, using the historicist methodology, are correct

p 4 -- would be nothing but a manifestation of blind ignorance. However, you do not correct error by changing to another alien hermeneutic which is known to have been formulated to evade truth. Neither do you combine two hermeneutics, applying one to the book of Daniel and a different one to the book of Revelation. This is total self-deception and ignorance.

The same problem faces us in noting our sanctuary theology. To conclude that the sanctuary teaching as perceived by "historic" Adventism is infallibly correct, again shows one's ignorance of the problems that have surfaced due to a more thorough searching of the Word. But to throw the "baby" out with the bath water as was done through the compromises made with the Evangelicals is sheer folly. How can one proclaim that "Babylon" is fallen, and in the next breath pronounce one's acceptance of the very concepts which led to the fall of Babylon in the first place? You cannot accept the theology of Babylon, and proclaim the Second Angel's Message. If one will but observe carefully the final call of Revelation 18, it is a call to the people of God who have either ignorantly fallen into "Babylon" or who have in blind loyalty followed their leaders into Babylonian captivity. It is time now to proclaim the message - "Come out of her my people" - and to declare plainly wherein "Babylon" itself first fell. You cannot do so by adopting "Babylonian" hermeneutics of prophetic interpretation, nor by blurring the typology of the sanctuary either by over-kill, or by false assumptions.

"Honoreth not the Son, honoreth not the Father" -- John 5:23 -- During the last few years, if there has been one volatile subject ahove others which has divided the community of Adventism, it has been the Doctrine of the Godhead. During this time we have seen many and varied perversions of what is supposed to be the ultimate truth on this subject. It is surprising that with the limited number of "Gods" involved, that so many "truths" can be proposed. Although in many cases the major difference is in relegating one or both of the "other" Gods to "lesser" Gods. As a result great confusion continues to divide and splinter the independent community of Adventism today! It is our hope, as we address some basic principles and understandings, that some of this confusion may be dispelled and those with teachable spirits blessed. (Heb. 5:12)

No one as yet, that we are aware of, has had a problem with accepting the fact that the Being we call our Father, is God - "self existent, ever existent". However, many are unable to place "The Word" (John 1:1) as "self existent, ever existent," let alone identifying the Holy Spirit as a personal Being. Why is this?

We have found that it is primarily due to a misconception of what constitutes the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Trinity. The assumption is that there are three Gods, a Trinity, where a closer view of the theological meaning of the word Trinity is ONE GOD, with three generations or emanations.
Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (Fifth Edition) defines Trinity as, "The union of three persons or hypostases (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost) in one Godhead, so that all the three are one God as to substance, but three persons or hypostases as to individuality." (Emphasis mine) Many while seeking to distance themselves from the Roman Catholic Doctrine of the Trinity have, in fact, drawn closer to what Catholicism has taught for centuries. The Catholic position
can be found in I John 5: 7, 8: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost:   and these three are one.    And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood:   and these three agree in one. Interestingly, the part of these verses which reads "In heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth," cannot be found in any Greek manuscript prior to the sixteenth century. However, late manuscripts of the Vulgate have them word for word. (See footnote: The Zondervan Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, p.714)

The Converts Catechism of Catholic Doctrine (p.31), by Geiermann reads:

Q.    What does the Catholic Church teach about God?    A.    About God the Catholic Church teaches as divinely revealed, that:

(1)   There is one God, infinitely perfect, who exists of Himself from all etenity.
(2)   In God there are three persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, equal in all perfections.
(3)   The Son proceeds from the Father by generation, and the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son from all eternity.
(4)   God loves to show His goodness and mercy to mankind.

Sadly, there are those in Adventism teaching a concept very close to this. Especially is this true among some prominent independent voices, who in their fear of being tainted as "Trinitarian," have led many to the very doors of Babylon. Unfortunately in arriving at their conclusions, the character of our Creator is denigrated. Although most acknowledge that Jesus Christ is God, for some incomprehensible reason, He cannot be "as God" as the Father. They claim that He must have had an origin. Whether it be in the remote eternity, or just prior to the creation of this earth, really makes little difference.

These "Seventh-day Papists" must then twist some basic statements of New Testament Scripture. Recently we received several tracts, in each of which were quoted a portion of 1 Tim. 6:16; "Who only hath immortality ..." and this was attributed to the Father. But notice the preceding verse; "Which in His times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords." The

p 5 -- context of this verse reveals that it is Jesus Christ who "shall show" the Father as King of kings and Lord of lords. Scripture also declares Jesus Christ to be King of kings and Lord of lords. (Rev. 17:14; 19:16) But this is ignored. This is less than honest!

We find a similar problem in the declaration to John in Revelation. "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." (Rev. 1:8) Jesus also declares Himself to be the Alpha and the Omega. (Rev. 22:13) This Biblical factor wherein God and the Word can both claim the same titles and prerogatives, is not given due weight by these independants.

Unfortunately many have chosen to take an eisegetical view of Scripture, resulting in a Doctrine that conforms beautifully to their opinions, and only incidentally to God's Word. They would have Isaiah mistaken, when in referring to the Messiah, he declares Him to be "Immanuel - God with us." (Isa. 7:14; 8:10 & Matt. 1:23) Or worse still, to consider Isaiah confused when he declares this Messiah to be "The mighty God," and "The Father of Eternity." (Isa. 9:6 Heb.)

What has not been fully understood is the duality that comes across in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, such as the word, Elohim as Gods; and in the Shema of Israel which linguistically reads - "Hear, O Israel: the Lord thy Gods is one Lord." (Deut. 6:4)

These same ones are promulgating the heresy that Christ was "begotten," "generated" or "birthed" prior to the incarnation. Regardless of what they want to call it, whether it be a generating, an emanation, or a "birthing," it comes back to the point that the Word is less than a "self existent, eternally existent" Being. The how is irrelevant. Out of the three descriptions above, "begotten" is the only term found in Scripture in reference to Christ, other than the virgin birth at Bethlehem. (Matt. 1:18, Rev. 12:2)

We find in John 1:14 that the words "only begotten" are translated from the Greek word "monogenhV" (monogenos). Thayer states in regard to "only begotten" that; "He [Jesus Christ] is spoken of by John not because the Word ... was eternally generated by God the Father (the orthodox interpretation), or came forth from the being of God just before the beginning of the world (subordinationism), but because of the incarnation." (Thayer's Greek - English Lexicon of the New Testament p.417, 418; emphasis mine)

Ellen G. White makes the correct position transparent, when she writes;   "In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived." (The Desire of Ages, p.530)

If one alleges that the Word had an origin, then He automatically becomes the literal Son of God. While recognizing that to the human mind, a father - son relationship is always associated with procreation, is this what Scripture reveals happened with God? Is this what Deity seeks to reveal for man's salvation? We do not believe so. In humanity, it is often recognized, that there is no closer relationship or bond than that between a father and his son. We believe that it is this bond or oneness that God seeks to reveal to mankind, thereby "bringing many sons unto glory." (Heb. 2:10) It is this oneness between Himself and the Father, that Jesus sought to reveal at every opportunity. Comparing the oneness of Their relationship, with the oneness that we may have with the Father through Him (John. 10:30; 17:11), we desire such a oneness with the Father and therefore receive the Son that we might have the privilege of sonship (John 1:12). For it is only in being one with the Son that we can be one with the Father, and thus be "made perfect in one". (Jn. 17:23)

"By His obedience to all the commandments of God, Christ wrought out a redemption for man. This was not done by going out of himself to another, but by taking humanity into himself. Thus Christ gave to humanity an existence out of himself. To bring humanity into Christ, to bring the fallen race into oneness with divinity, is the work of redemption. Christ took human nature that men might be one with him as he is one with the Father, that God may love man as he loves his only begotten Son, that men may be partakers of the divine nature, and be complete in him." (Review and Herald, April 5, 1901)

We find that in Gabriels disclosure to Mary, he declares more than just the birth of the Messiah, but proclaims also what He shall be called:    "... therefore also that holy (thing) which shall be born of thee shall be called (future tense) the Son of God." (Luke 1:35) It becomes apparent that the Word was not previously known as "the Son."

The Bible reveals a decree wherein God says "thou art My Son this day have I begotten Thee." (Ps. 2:7) Paul quotes this in connection with his comparison of the pre-eminence of Christ above the angels. Further, Paul quotes God (the Father) as addressing this decreed Son as God, quoting again from Psalms - "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever." (Heb. 1:8) Here in connection with the decree of sonship is introduced the fact that two Beings are equally God. This decree does not declare that the Son was inferior to the Father, or that the Father was superior to the Son. It was an arrangement whereby One would be as a father and the other as a son. This arrangement is also noted by Zechariah. He wrote that "the counsel of peace shall be between them both." (6:13) This was the objective of the plan of redemption. "We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1)

Apostle John put the duality concept in as simple language as is possible, when he wrote that: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1) The word was in the Greek is hn; it is a verb in the imperfect tense, which expresses continuous action in past time. What John is telling us is that there never was a time that the Word was not, or that there never was a time that the Word was not with God, or that there never was a

p 6 -- time that the Word was not God. Both God and the Word are eternal. It is this Word which "was made flesh and dwelt among us,... full of grace and truth."

John, having introduced the Word as God, and as always with "the God"(Gr.), quotes that Word as defining the nature of God. "God is Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in Spirit and in truth." (John 4:24 Gr.) Paul also understood the original status of the Godhead, as well as the results of the incarnation. He wrote;   "Who being in the form of God [Spirit], thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a slave, and was made in the likeness of men." (Phil. 2:6, 7 Gr.)   The word "equal" which Paul uses here,"isa " means equal in "quality and quantity." Paul is stating categorically, that the Word lacked nothing in comparison with "the God."

It is critical to understand the factors of the Godhead correctly, if we are to understand what actually took place during the incarnation, and to properly recognize the huge sacrifice that was made by God to obtain man's salvation.

There are many texts in reference to the Father and Son in the New Testament, and yet how many of us fail to recognize what the Pharisees understood in the Father - Son relationship. They understood perfectly what Jesus was claiming when He referred to Himself as the Son of God. Because Jesus healed on the Sabbath a controversy arose, at which time Jesus responded, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." (John 5:17) The response of the Jews to this assertion is immediately recorded:   "Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God." (John 5:18)   Again this word is " isa" - equal in quality and quantity. The Jews understood what Jesus claimed.

Even those who would soon crucify their Messiah, who killed and stoned their prophets, could recognise what was meant by calling Jesus the "Son of God". John does not record the Pharisees words - perhaps they were unprintable - but he does record Jesus' response. He then explained the condition of the incarnation. "Jesus ... said unto them, Verily, Verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son." (John 5:19, 20)

The Word was continuing to reveal while in the flesh, what He had tried to reveal, while as the Spirit. We find in Moses' conversation with Jehovah at the burning bush, that He had described Himself as; "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 Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary records that this name has specific meaning;   "In Hebrew as in English, this name is a form of the verb 'to be,' and implies that its possessor is the eternal, self existing One." (1 BC p. 511) While on earth He was continuing to reveal Himself, though incarnated, as the "eternal, self existing One."

In a continuing encounter with the Jews, Christ left no question as to who He was and identified Himself as the One who appeared to Moses at the burning bush. He declared;   "I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am, ye shall die in your sins." (John 8:24; Gr.)

The Pharisees responded "Who art thou?" In the continuing heated exchange, Jesus frankly proclaimed;   "Before Abraham was, I am" thus removing all doubt that He indeed was the eternal, self existent One. It was then that they took up stones to render the proscribed punishment for blasphemy. How many independent Adventists today are spiritually stoning their Creator, by not acknowledging His eternal, self existence? As Christ proclaimed, these same ones "will die in their sins."

Many years have passed since the agitation arose resultant from the book Questions on Doctrine wherein the true humanity of Christ was questioned. The book claimed that God did not play fair and favoured His Son by exempting Him from "the inherited passions and pollutions that corrupt the natural descendants of Adam." (Q on D p. 383) As then, even now Satan is attacking with the same objective, but from the opposite direction. He is seeking to undermine just how great the sacrifice made by God on man's behalf was, and thereby deplete the drawing power of our uplifted Saviour. (John 12:32) This time it is not His equality with man that is brought into question, but His equality with God the Father.

Just as there were those who have refused to acknowledge that Christ became truly man in fallen sinful nature without sinning, so there are those today who refuse to acknowledge that He is truly God eternal and self existent. They are just as devoid of the "divine nature" and cannot be "complete in him," as those who deny that He came "in the likeness of sinful flesh". (Rom. 8:3)

Christ was God essentially, and in the highest sense. He was with God
from all eternity, God over all, blessed forevermore.

The Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, existed from eternity,
a distinct person, yet one with the Father. He was the surpassing glory
of heaven. He was the commander of the heavenly intelligences,
and the adoring homage of the angels was received by Him as His right.
This was no robbery of God.
Review & Herald, April 5 , 1906

p 7 -- Let's Talk It Over -- During a trip West in June, I kept facing various facets of an issue which has become a hallmark of "historic" Adventism and by which every "voice" in the community of Adventism is judged. However, this issue is not confined to them alone. The question, what is your view of Ellen G. White, completely over-shadows the question, "What think ye of Christ?" In fact, one would think that the latter question is irrelevant, if only the first question is given the answer expected by the "historic" Adventist.

I have been aware for some time of the position held by the Standish brothers, published in Spear's publication, that it is their "expectation that in the kingdom Sister White will be seen to have been a major prophet." (OFF, April 1989, p.15) This places her in the canon of Scripture next to Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. I have heard it expressed that the corpus of the writings of Ellen G. White constitutes a third canon of Scripture. However, I was not prepared to hear from a friend of many years that even as the New Testament is an interpreter of the Old, so Ellen G. White is an inspired interpreter of the New, thus when one studies a question in theology, or any other issue, he first goes to what Ellen G. White has written, and then works back to the Old Testament. This comes close to what Ferrel holds that the Scriptures consist of the Bible and the Writings of Ellen G. White. I was faulted by one that in presenting a study on the Godhead I used only the Bible as counseled by Ellen G. White herself. (See The Great Controversy p. 595) One must recognize that if he really believes the Bible, he must accept the doctrine of spiritual gifts; and the evidence is clear that Ellen G. White did possess a spiritual gift, perhaps several. But surely, one
must also recognize how God indicated she was to be set before the people. She, herself, stated what her position was:    "I am not to appear before the people as holding any other position than that of a messenger with a message." (Signed communication from St. Helena, California, November 17, 1903)

In a meeting two and one half years previously in the Battle Creek College library, Ellen White plainly told the workers assembled:      Don't you quote Sister White. I don't want you ever to quote Sister White until you get your vantage ground where you know where you are. Quote the Bible. Talk the Bible. It is full of meat, full of fatness. Carry it straight out in your life, and you will know more Bible than you know now. (Spalding & Magan Collection, p.

One is reminded of the testimony to a "Bro. R" that "if you had made God's word your study, with a desire to reach the Bible standard and attain to Christian perfection, you would not have needed the Testimonies." (Vol. 5, p.665) There is much spiritual blessing to be derived in reading the messages God sent by His messenger, but the Bible must be basic in our study of, and search for, truth.

While on the trip West, I stayed one night in the Wiemar Inn. While there I took advantage of the opportunity to talk via telephone with Dr. Herbert Douglas. He is writing a book on the writings of Ellen G. White. In it, he will be dealing with current questions which have surfaced relating to these Writings. For example, I asked him about the letter W. W. Prescott wrote to W. C. White questioning the way he was handling his mother's Writings. Douglas told me he was incorporating this question into the material which will be discussed in his book.

Also, while on the trip West, I learned of another publication that is in the "works." Dr. Jean R. Zurcher has written a book in French on a historical review of the doctrine of the Incarnation as it has been altered in recent Adventist teaching. It is being translated with a foreword by Elder Kenneth Wood. From what I was told of the book by one who has previewed it, Zurcher contends that the doctrine of the Incarnation is a major and decisive issue in Adventisim This, with another recent publication on the subject, should bring the doctrine of the Incarnation again to a front. --- (1997 Sep) --- End ---

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